Friday, January 25, 2008

Reading Meme...

Sarah Miller tagged me for this meme. And as I'm almost always game for a book-related meme, here I go.

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

I'm going to cheat on this one a tiny bit. There are a few books that make me cringe--not that I've ever read them--but positive or negative reviews hasn't really got a thing to do with it. For example, I cringe away from any and all animal books where it looks like the animal (dog, cat, horse, whatever) might die or be abused. If there's a dog on the cover, chances are good that it might end badly. So I don't go there. Exceptions to the rule being if someone I know--someone who knows my quirks--tells me that all ends well. But it has to be someone I trust. I wouldn't put it past some people to lie to me and then BAM I'm hit with a dying dog and I'm a mess.

Other books that I'm not particularly drawn to...I've never really sought out the Gossip Girls, "It" books, and "A-List" type books. They could be good, bad, or mediocre. I'm just not sure I want to read about them.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

This is difficult. I'm not really a party person--not in your traditional sense. My birthday parties are immediate family plus one or two friends that are so much a part of my life, so aware of my quirks, that they're just as much a part of my family as if they were born into the craziness. But that being said, I'd choose characters that I've been friends with a long time. Anne Shirley, perhaps. Lucy Pevensie (sp?). Francie from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It would be a food-related event. Nothing funner than snacking on cookies and maybe-just-maybe mini-quiches. (I love those!)

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

This one will be tough. Some of the most boring books in the world where some of my "required" textbooks. Going into Library Science, I didn't expect some of the textbooks to be so mind-numbing. Maybe other people are just smarter than me. But every time I saw a chart, a graph, a statistic represented in some way incomprehensible to a me of very-little-brain, my eyes would glaze over. But speaking in terms of literary boredom, I'm not sure. So many of the long books I've just given up on altogether. War and Peace. I *want* to finish that someday. But my past two attempts have not worked. I get almost-almost halfway through (within a hundred pages of the middle) and then I'm tempted away by another book that is easier. It doesn't help that I have the itty-bitty print edition. Squinting never does much good for the entertainment value of a book. Don Quixote is another example. So if I went with an answer like that, I'd probably be here forever. So it has to be something short enough that I don't give up on reading, but boring enough that I die...or want to die. I'm still coming up with nothing. But in the meantime I can give you a title or two that I'd (almost) rather die than read again...
Jude the Obscure (oh-there-aren't-enough-words to describe how much I hate this book) by Thomas Hardy.
The Iceman Cometh. Oh-how-I-hate-this-play.

Come on, we've all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you've read, when in fact you've been nowhere near it.

I am a good girl. In school, when we were assigned to read something, I actually read it. 99.9% of the time. Even if I hated it. The exceptions were I was more likely to stick to an unpleasant-to-me novel or play for lit class than I was a textbook.
Socially speaking, I don't "pretend" to have read things I haven't. For one thing, it would be silly.
That being said, there are many, many, many things I've read that I've blocked--unknowingly perhaps--from my memory. Books that I read in Junior High and High School that I *know* I sat down and read at some point. Books that I know I passed quizzes and tests on. Essay questions that I know I discussed these books in some way or other. But I remember zero of what I've read. Silas Marner. Great Expectations. Great Gatsby. Treasure Island. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Most likely some Hemingway as well.
So I might pretend in those situations. If asked have you read this, or did you like this, I'd answer like I *still* knew what I was talking about.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to reread it that you haven't? Which book?

This doesn't happen to me. Sometimes the opposite happens to me. I thought for example that I'd never read Northanger Abbey. I could have sworn that I hadn't. Yet, when I was reading it just felt so very familiar. The words, the phrases. It was weird. I still have NO memory of when I read it the first time. But it would just be too uncanny for me not to have at some point.

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (if you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead and personalise the VIP)

There are a few books I'd consider to be must-reads. The Giver by Lois Lowry. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. These two probably don't show up on too many lists as must-reads, but Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I'd choose a book--or a handful of books--that captured humanity. The *really* good books are those that capture what it means to be human, to live, to think, to act. Books that capture the good, the bad, and the ugly side of humanity. These meaning-of-life type books.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

This one's tough. I don't really see myself reading in another language just-for-the-fun-of-it. I'm not a literary snob dying to read literary masterpieces that are prone to being over my head in more ways than one. If I said "French." Part of me would cringe a bit. While I love some French literature I've been exposed to--the more modern bits after the first world war haven't been to my liking at all. I took a whole course (a painful course) reading French existentialist philosophy. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. I've never felt the same about the French since then. Which is REALLY unfair of me I know.

My other choice--the first choice really--would be Italian. I don't really have a desire to *read* Italian. But I just love, love, love to hear it spoken. I have a super-super-super weakness for Italian (or should I say Italian-American) crooners. Whether they're singing in English or Italian or another language altogether--like Dean Martin recorded a French album--I just love it. I love listening to music in Italian. It just makes me happy.

While the fairy is granting me powers of other languages, I'd love to learn American Sign Language. That would be cool.

A mischievious fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

I would say the greatest thing I've discovered--and this is tough--is to push the boundaries of what I read. Carl's R.I.P challenge for example, got me to read some H.G. Wells which I loved, loved, loved. Not to mention Ray Bradbury. Carl's sci-fi experience challenge has exposed me to Isaac Asimov. In particular his Foundation trilogy. That I loved. I LOVE reading blogs and getting ideas for what to read next. Some of these titles are books that I wouldn't have sought out on my own.

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

Sarah's answer was good--really good. I'll borrow a bit of it. My ideal library has built-in ceiling to floor bookshelves. Wall after wall of shelves to be filled. I imagine I've got a pretty good start on filling up an entire library. While I tend to prefer hardbound for some things, I'm not a total snob. For example, some books I would *never, ever* waste that much money on. For example, (shhh!) my romance novels. I had a real weakness in my college days especially of buying romance novels. Book sales on campus--for example--you could buy paperbacks 2 for a $1. At half-priced books, there for a while, you could get a stack of eight to ten books for $1 or $2. Of course, you didn't get to choose WHICH books you got. They came in shrink-wrapped packages. And with my favorite author, Julia Quinn, 95% of the time I'd find them for at least 50% off. I wasn't about to spend eight or nine bucks for cheap entertainment. Those books are like throwing away your money and wasting your afternoon. They're fun. But there's no lasting value. That being said, I wouldn't part with my Julia Quinn books ever. I love her books. I have reread them several times apiece. But the rest is mostly junk, junk, junk. You can take a stack of fifty or sixty books and be told that they're worth less than a dollar or two dollars total for all of them. Most places won't even take them if you wanted to donate them. Boy, that was a tangent. I wonder how I got started down that road? Anyway, back to my dream library. It would be nice to have my books behind glass but not 100% essential. Hardbacks mostly. My library would need comfortable reading chairs and plenty of lights that you can turn off and on and adjust so it's just right. Also I like the idea of having a table and a few chairs.

This is the part I'm copying from Sarah. I want the ability to snap my fingers (an ability I lack actually) and have all the ARCs I want. To have all the books I want. For example, I just "found" that there's a new book (2007 release date) called None But You by Susan Kaye. It is the first of two books that tells the story of Jane Austen's Persuasion from the viewpoint of Captain Wentworth. It is published by Wytherngate Press. The sequel is coming out in 2008. It is called For You Alone.

I tag: Abby the Librarian, the Longstockings, Melissa from Book Nut, Paige from Reading and Breathing, Booklogged from A Reader's Journal, and Chris from Stuff As Dreams Are Made On.

10 comments:

Ms. Yingling 12:11 PM  

I know what we're talking about at dinner tonight! When Ann and Francie get together, can we invite Betsy from Lovelace's books, too? She'll bring fudge. As for boring, I don't know if I will get all thr way through the Silmarillion. It may BE the death of me. I'm nearing the T's in readin through my library's collection, and I'd better start with a page a day of that NOW.
Thanks for the fun thoughts!

Melissa 12:46 PM  

I liked your answers... :) And thanks for the tag. I did it, and it should be up shortly.

Eva 3:43 PM  

I love Anne Shirley. :) Recently, my copy of Anne of Green Gables has gone missing, and I can't think about it or I start to hyperventilate.

Chris 4:16 PM  

This was so much fun to read Becky :) I'm having so much fun reading peoples' answers for their dream library! Wouldn't it be nice if we could all have our dream libraries. Lol...I'm just imagining the size our houses would have to be to have the libraries we want! I probably won't have my answers posted until Monday because Megan's in town for the weekend, but I can't wait to do this one!

Debi 9:57 AM  

Such fun answers, Becky! I gotta tell you, I never would have pegged you as a romance reader. Don't ask me why.

Becky 10:20 AM  

Debi, I don't typically read romance. much. not anymore. only when weak or sorely tempted. Most of the time I'm busy reading "real" books.

Chain Reader 2:11 PM  

The worst dog-dying book I ever read was the children's book Stone Fox. It was awful, and I had read it out loud to my kids. Never have I wanted to burn a book so much.
My social event would likely include yummy treats too!
I only made it through half of Don Quixote. I figured I had gotten the gist(sp?) of it by then!

Paige Y. 2:31 PM  

I just got back from a weekend in the mountains and saw that I've been tagged. I'll try to have an answer up by tonight.

Framed 9:52 PM  

I love reading these memes. It's great to find books to avoid instead of ones that have to be added to my TBR list, which is totally out of control.

BTW, I love Anne Shirley too. I'd like to meet the young Anne as well as the mother, Anne.

Jeane 10:14 PM  

I enjoyed reading your answers.
There are so many required-reading books from HS and college that I promptly forgot, I can't even try to name them.

You are the first person I know who's mentioned Francie! I love Ender's Game, too.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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