Melbourne on My Mind introduced me to a list of book-related questions that originated here. Like her, I am splitting this into two parts to make it more readable. I tried to avoid elaborating too much on any response because it's still quite long — share reactions, questions, thoughts in comments!
1. Favorite childhood book: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster or Matilda by Roald Dahl
2. What are you reading right now? Audiobook: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. Kindle: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.
3. What books do you have on request at the library? Hard copy: The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King. Audiobook: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Kindle: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty; Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty; Spiritual Misfit by Michelle DeRusha; Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber.
4. Bad book habit: Putting holds on too many books (see #3), ending up getting them all at the same time, and getting stressed out about finishing them before I have to return them.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? Nothing hard copy. Digitally, the books I'm currently reading (see #2), plus all the ones I finished recently: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde; Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor; The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson; I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai.
6. Do you have an e-reader? Yes, I have a Kindle. Most of my reading is ebooks I check out through OverDrive and then read on my Kindle plus the Kindle apps on my phone and on my desktop.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? I almost always have three books going at once: one on audiobook, which I listen to when I run in the morning; one on Kindle, which I read before bed and wherever I happen to find a spare moment; and one hardcover or paperback that I'll pick up when I have free time in the evening or on the weekend.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? I just started this blog, so... no.
9.Least favorite book you've read this year: Love Does by Bob Goff. Supposed to be about service and Christian living, but really should be subtitled "A Story of Wealth and White Male Privilege."
10. Favorite book you've read this year: Probably Parent Effectiveness Training by Thomas Gordon or "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" by Beverly Daniel Tatum. I'm a sucker for a well-written non-fiction book.
11. What is your reading comfort zone? I didn't think I had one until my friend asked for recommendations of a fun, escapist book and I realized most of what I read deals with serious topics — I read a lot of non-fiction, classics, and what would probably be considered contemporary literature (as opposed to commercial fiction). I'm open to most genres, but I generally don't read sci-fi/fantasy, romance/chick lit, or poetry.
12. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? This is one of the reasons I love my book clubs, because they get me to pick up books I wouldn't necessarily read otherwise. Even so, they tend to stick within the same realm of literature/classics. I've been trying to do a better job of not turning down recommendations just because they fall in one of my less-favorite genres.
13. Can you read in the car? Not for more than a couple of minutes. That's another bad book-related habit: reading in the car for more than a few minutes and making myself sick. When we go on long trips I sometimes volunteer to drive just so I can listen to an audiobook.
14. Favorite place to read: On a porch swing or hammock when it's nice out, although this often ends up with me taking a nap.
15. What's your policy on book lending? I'm a fan; I primarily keep books because 1) I want to reread/reference them or 2) I want to have them to lend out. I am not great about keeping track of who has my books, though, which is how I lost my copy of Will Grayson, Will Grayson (thankfully the only John Green book I have that was not signed).
16. Do you dog-ear your books? Never. I recently got a book from the library that had a bunch of dog-eared pages and I dutifully unfolded them as I went.
17. Do you write notes in the margins of your books? No, because I mostly read books from the library, and those I get in hard copy I either turn around and post on PaperBackSwap — which requires clean pages — or want to lend out to people (without their reading my notes!). I got in the habit of margin-writing in high school, when it was required, and quickly got out of it when I got to college and wanted to sell my books at the end of the semester.
18. Do you break/crack the spine of your books? I try not to — I have a lot of bookmarks so I don't have to lay a book flat open.
19. What is your favorite language to read? I'm only fluent in English, but I'm proud of myself for the few books I've made it through in French.
20. What makes you love a book? Hard to pin down. Obviously, well-rounded, real characters, a lack of plot holes, and an interest in what happens next are all important for fiction, and I appreciate beautiful writing if it's not too dense. If it makes me laugh or cry on more than one occasion, it's probably pretty good. For nonfiction, it needs to teach me something new about something interesting in a way that's clear and easy to follow without logical leaps or a lack of sources.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? Often people will ask for recommendations of a specific kind, so I'll just pick books I enjoyed that fit the request. I'll recommend a book I just finished on Goodreads if I think a friend would particularly like the topic or writing style.
22. Favorite genre: I enjoy nonfiction probably more than most people. I love mysteries but don't read them often enough. Other than that, I'm pretty open as long as it's good.
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did): I should read more poetry. I like it, but it can require a lot of brainpower and so I tend to skip over poetry recommendations more than I should.
24. Favorite biography: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
25. Have you ever read a self-help book? (And was it actually helpful?) Yeah, some, with varying degrees of helpfulness. It's not clear what exactly qualifies as "self-help," but books like Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and Switch by Chip and Dan Heath would be some of my favorites.
26. Favorite cookbook: The Hungry Girl cookbook, only because I used to read her site and I e-mailed her to say, "You should create a cookbook!" and then a few years later she created one and I felt like I had some small part in that :)
27. Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or non-fiction): The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIV inspired me to pay more attention to which things in my life create or detract from happiness.
Stay tuned for the rest of the questions and answers next week!
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Thanks for supporting A Cocoon of Books!