Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Unearthly Meme

From Byzantium's Shores.

1. Favorite childhood book?

Watership Down by Richard Adams. It was the first book of serious length that I'd ever read, and I read it several times (the first time when I was 10). It did lead me into epic fantasy (as did reading The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander), but it also lead me into an enjoyment of complex, multi-character novels.

2. What are you reading right now?

Right now, I'm only reading IDW's new collection of Bob Montana Archie comic strips. I'm still on my old comics kick right now, and I'm having too much fun to stop. I'm surprised, too, by the degree to which I'm really enjoying these old Archie stories. Yes, it was funny once. Very funny. It's just that it was in the 1940s...

3. What books do you have on request at the library?

None right now.

4. Bad book habit?

Checking out more books than I can read out of the library at the same time. I always think I'm going to have more time for them.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

Just the aforementioned Archie book. I just returned a bunch of books late...

6. Do you have an e-reader?

No. I'm not really interested in that. I like a physical book, and why would I want to pay for equipment and subscriptions to read what I can get for free from my local library?

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

I usually read several at once, but I'm taking it easy right now.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

No, not at all. I take more recommendations, though.

9. Least favorite book you read this year?

Some of the Essential Marvel collections have been a trial--especially Ant-Man and The Incredible Hulk.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?

Simon Rich's humor collections.Yotsuba!

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

I don't know... what's my comfort zone?

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

I... don't know.

13. Can you read on the bus?

I used to on the way to school and the way back when I was in high school. I haven't been on a bus since then.

14. Favorite place to read?

Home. I used to read a lot waiting for classes to start.

15. What is your policy on book lending?

I don't like to lend out my things. My sister used to give my CDs to friends as gifts, and now my Mom wonders why I won't let her borrow anything...

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?


17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

Sometimes, depending on what they are. Mostly reference books and history books.

18. Not even with text books?

No way; those things could be sold back for something like 85% less than what I paid for them.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

English. But I think German's really pretty.

20. What makes you love a book?

It depends on what the author makes me feel.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

Not much; no one ever takes my recommendations, anyway, and when they do, they seem to hate everything I like. I don't bother.

22. Favorite genre?

Used to be science fiction and fantasy; now I just want to read something good, no matter the genre.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)

See above.

24. Favorite biography?

I always liked The Ragman's Son, by Kirk Douglas. I like Simon Callow's Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu. I would say my favorite, though, is Isaac Asimov's posthumously published I. Asimov. I can read anything by Asimov, and that's my favorite.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

No, not really. I read How to Win Friends and Influence People when I was in high school. I don't go much for the self-help section.

26. Favorite cookbook?

I don't have a favorite (I use the internet a lot), but I've gotten some good recipes out of the South Beach Diet book, from Rachael Ray's books, and, most recently, the MasterChef cookbook.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or nonfiction)?

Nick Abadzis' graphic novel Laika. Sad, but beautiful.

28. Favorite reading snack?

None in particular; I do like to snack and read sometimes. I like Club Crackers a lot.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

I can't think of one right off the top of my head; I tend to not read stuff that gets overhyped just because, like a snob, I figure it must not be very good. Plus, the last time I read something people were hyping up, it was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, and I hated that.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

I don't read book reviews, generally.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

Fine. I'm just sharing my honest opinion.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

Spanish. I'd like to read Don Quixote in its original language.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?

I remember when I was in my sophomore year of high school and we were going to read Julius Caesar. Everyone was intimidated to read William Shakespeare, including me. But I loved it. I still love Shakespeare. I was so caught up in the reading and the words, and I thought that I was pretty silly to have ever been scared of its reputation. So, since that experience, I've never been intimidated to read anything else.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?

See above.

35. Favorite poet?

Honestly, Robert E. Howard. And Poe. And Milton. And Tolkien. And...

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

A dozen or so.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?

Lots of times. Every time. Like I said, I check out too many at once.

38. Favorite fictional character?

Well, Kermit the Frog. But my favorite fictional character from literature? Maybe Gandalf the White. Or Ayla from The Clan of the Cave Bear.

39. Favorite fictional villain?

Stephenie Meyer. She is a villain of fiction.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?

Whatever I'm already reading, plus alternate. By the way, what's a vacation?

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.

I'm always reading something.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.

I didn't finish Battlefield Earth or Michael Crichton's The Lost World.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

Depends on what I'm doing while reading. Music, sometimes, if I have it on.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

Lord of the Rings.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

I don't know; I've said this many times, but I'm not the kind of person who thinks fidelity to source material is sacrosanct. I'm interested in seeing a good movie, not a good adaptation of source material in another medium. So any kind of liberties or whatever don't really bother me as long as they make sense within the logic of the film itself.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?

I don't know; when I worked at Waldenbooks and then Barnes & Noble I used to spend quite a bit on books.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

I don't know; I never really thought about it. I'm sure I do it, though.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?

Boredom. If you're not going anywhere, I'm not, either.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

I wish I was as organized as I'd like to be.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?

Depends. If it's something I enjoyed, I'll keep it. If things are stacking up too much, I'll give them away or take them to a used bookstore.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

Not consciously. There's stuff I forget I want to read, though...

52. Name a book that made you angry.

Twilight pissed me off with its awfulness. And Jesus Christ, A Separate Peace, what the fuck?

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?

I'm sure most of those were read in school, but I can't remember any that I just actively did not want to read at all.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?

Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight, or whatever the first Pern book is called. I really didn't like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when I was a kid.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

I don't believe in guilty pleasures. It's a stupid concept.


Taranaich said...

Many kudos to you for mentioning Howard's poetry: he is truly underrepresented as a poet. The man was a natural.

Autumn said...

Quick question, have you read and what did you think of the Watership Down sequel "Tales from Watership Down"? I keep wanting to read it and hearing how bad it is. I don't want it to ruin any of my favorite characters from a book I have loved since I began reading....

I figure you would be honest.

Also, my name was almost Ayla, named after the book character, and my mother summarized the story for me as a kid until I got old enough to read it (I borrowed it without her knowing in the sixth grade and my sixth grade self was appalled at the sex scenes in Valley of the Horses, but I loved the books) so she was who I pretended to be when running through the woods. Great novels...

SamuraiFrog said...

Taranaich: My wife doesn't like poetry, except for Robert E. Howard. She considers his poetry more honest than most, and I guess that's what I respond to: this sort of primacy in his expression.

Autumn: That's neat about your name. I don't think we'll ever have children, but after finishing Clan of the Cave Bear I remember thinking I wanted to name my daughter Ayla. She's just that kind of character.

I haven't read Tales from Watership Down, either. I was working at Barnes & Noble when it came out, and I remember unpacking it. I even bought a copy, but I started hearing bad things about it and it just kept getting pushed back on my to-do list and I've just never ended up reading it.