Friday, October 24, 2014

55 Questions About Books (Part 2)

Happy Friday! Here are the rest of the book-related questions I started answering here last week.

28. Favorite reading snack: I don't usually eat while reading (unless I'm reading while eating a meal), but I like having a cup of tea or hot chocolate to drink.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience: Paper Towns by John Green. I'd heard him talk so much about it while writing it that the book's symbolism ended up hitting me over the head.

30. How often do you agree with the critics about a book? If by "critics" you mean "popular opinion," probably about 75% of the time. There are always those books that I love regardless of what anyone else says, and those I do not understand the appeal of, but most of the time the "wisdom of crowds" is fairly accurate.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? I have zero qualms. I rely on other people to provide honest reviews, so I want to do the same. I always provide an explanation; I wouldn't just write "This book sucks" anymore than I'd write "This book is awesome." My reviews tend to be particularly lengthy if I disliked a book other people are passionate about.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? I'd love to be able to read in French more fluently.

33. Most intimidating book I've read: I read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy this year (~1,400 pages), as well as A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (~1,500 pages). War and Peace was on audiobook and took me several months to get through, but A Suitable Boy was in paperback and my friends could not get over how big it was.

34. Most intimidating book I'm too nervous to begin: Some day I'd like to tackle something super-dense like Finnegans Wake by James Joyce or Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.

35. Favorite poet: Robert Frost

36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at any given time? Ebooks, usually around 8, because I typically just let them sit in my account until they expire. Audiobooks, 1, because I don't know how long it will take me to get through so I won't download another until I'm done. Hardcover/paperback, anywhere from 1 to 4 depending on how many holds came through simultaneously / how many book club books I couldn't get on OverDrive.

37. How often do you return books to the library unread? Rarely.

38. Favorite fictional character: Matilda from Matilda by Roald Dahl. She's brilliant and she loves to read.

39. Favorite fictional villain: Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Evil and creepy without actually being supernatural.

40. Books I'm most likely to bring on vacation: I'll bring anything on vacation with me, but I sometimes specifically choose books I'm having a hard time getting through to take on the plane. Time to focus!

41. The longest I've gone without reading: There were probably some weeks in high school or college I went without reading when I didn't have anything specific to read for class but no time to read anything else. But generally I'm always reading something.

42. Name a book you could/would not finish: 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. Unlike some people who have had NDEs, there's no evidence he ever actually died, and his vision of heaven was really stereotypical. This part lasts only a few pages anyway, and then the rest of the book is a detailed medical description of his recovery from his accident. No thank you.

43. What distracts you easily when you're reading? If someone is having a conversation near me, my brain can't focus on the words in front of me.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel: Probably Matilda. Again. I liked the movie as much as the book, and it's one of my favorite books, so that's a feat.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. They took my favorite book in the whole series and changed the plot so it didn't make sense anymore.

46. Most money I've ever spent in a bookstore at one time: It's been a long time since I bought books without a bookstore gift card. Back in the day, there was probably at least one time I dropped $60-$70 on a stack of books, though.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? Never for fiction; nonfiction, only if it catches my eye and I'm trying to decide whether to add it to my to-read list.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through? If the writing is bad (which could mean all kinds of things) AND it's not a book I'm reading for any particular reason — e.g., a book club pick, a classic, or a book someone recommended it to me. I might also stop if a book is too violent/disturbing, but my threshold is much higher with print than with visuals.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? Yeah, we have one bookshelf of nonfiction (arranged by color because I rarely remember who wrote a nonfiction book), one small bookshelf of our favorite series, and one large bookshelf with two shelves for fiction (alphabetized by author), one shelf for Bibles and reference guides, and two shelves for books posted on and

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they've been read? See #15. If I don't plan to reread a book or lend it out, I'll post it on Half or PaperBackSwap.

51. Are there any books that you've been avoiding? Dracula by Bram Stoker. I don't like supernatural stuff and I don't like scary stuff, but it's a classic... I'm sure I'll read it eventually.

52. Name a book that made you angry: The Younger Gods by David Eddings. I am a big Eddings fan, and this was the last book of his last series before he died. The first three books of the series were great, and then this one had the worst ending ever. It wasn't quite an "it was all a dream" ending but it was close. It was ridiculous.

53. A book I didn't expect to like but did: American Gods by Neil Gaiman. As I said, I'm not much of a fantasy fan, and I was kind of meh on the other books by Gaiman I've read, but this book was absolutely fantastic.

54. A book I expected to like but didn't: This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl. I'm a devoted Nerdfighter and John Green wrote the introduction plus kept talking about how great the book was, but I think much of that was probably because he knew her personally. I found it very difficult to read.

55. Favorite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading: Hmm... probably mysteries, most recently Robert Gailbraith / J.K. Rowling's Cormoran Strike novels. Most of what I read is more "literature," with symbolism and stuff, but I love a straight-up action-packed mystery.

Whew! That's more than you probably wanted to know about my reading habits. If you've answered these questions, leave your link in comments!

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