Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Book Review

I'm visiting my FIL in Boston. Yes, I know he lives in England. Yes, I know he promised never to come to the United States again. Nevertheless...

I picked this meme up over at Brave Astronaut and CinDC, both of whom had sense enough to break it up.
Favorite childhood book? I re-read Understood Betsy several times, though I swear to you it was called Misunderstood Betsy when I was a girl. You can download it free on Amazon.
What are you reading right now? Inside of a Dog, March, Gilead.
What books do you have on request at the library? I recently requested one and promptly forgot about it and can’t tell you what it was. It’s okay—the library’s sent it back.
Bad book habit? I suppose I would have to define a habit as bad, but I don’t.
What do you currently have checked out at the library? Nothing.
Do you have an e-reader? A Kindle; I love it.
Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? I sometimes read several at once. It’s a leftover habit from grad school.
Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? I stitch more, read less.
Least favorite book you read this year (so far?) Knitting Bones.
Favorite book you’ve read this year? I've started quite a few books that I haven't finished. So, of the ones I've finished Lisa Lutz's The Spellmans Strike Again.
How often do you read out of your comfort zone? I do push myself every now and then to read non-fiction.
What is your reading comfort zone? Fiction, mystery
Can you read on the bus or train? Yes
Favorite place to read? On the couch.
What is your policy on book lending? I’m happy to share.
Do you ever dog-ear books? I try not to.
Do you ever write in the margins of your books? I spent a million years in graduate school. Of course I write in books.
Not even with text books? Yes, even with text books.
What is your favorite language to read in? English
If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose? The University of Southern California will tell you I can read in French.
What makes you love a book? I have to fall into it entirely, like I’ve woken up in a new world that I don’t want to leave. I also want to be blown away by the language and surprised by a sentence. (Although, honestly, when you are writing and think, "I love that sentence" you should probably cut it.)
What will inspire you to recommend a book? I almost always hate books other people recommend. I also hate it when people reject a book I’ve recommended, so I’m not a recommender. I used to recommend books to my mother, but she wouldn’t read them until Oprah recommended them. (Seriously. One Christmas I gave her a hardbound copy of Beloved. She didn’t read it until Oprah suggested it about ten years later; and then she went out and bought a new copy.)
Favorite genre? Mystery, I guess.
Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?) If I wished to read it, I would. I never read fantasy.
Favorite biography? I don’t think I read biographies. I occasionally read memoirs, and I really enjoyed Give Me the World by Leila Hadley.
Have you ever read a self-help book? Do business books count? I've been reading Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty, Harvey Mackay.
Favorite cookbook?  Moosewood Cooks at Home--it's falling apart.
Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? The Happiness Project.
Favorite reading snack? I don’t think I associate a particular snack with reading.
Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. I couldn't come up with an answer to this, so I googled overhyped books. I found a list from Goodreads. I had not realized some of these books were even "hyped" let alone "overhyped." And a lot of them are just popular,  and I'm usually not that interested in those. (How on earth does Ann Coulter make the list? Why wouldn't everyone just assume it was more of the same crap?)

How often do you agree with critics about a book? I don’t usually read the critics.
How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? I think negative reviews make the world go round.
Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? Why would I be intimidated by a book?
Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin? Really?
Favorite Poet? Seamus Heaney. We had this poem read at our wedding. And someday I am going to read his translation of Beowulf.
How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? Not enough.
How often have you returned book to the library unread? Regularly.
Favorite fictional character? Elizabeth Bennett: she remained true to her values in the face of societal constraints. She's intelligent, impertinent, and she has the sense to refuse Mr. Collins.
Favorite fictional villain? Aren't we not supposed to like villains? Wickham, because he almost wins me over every time.
Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation? The Kindle.
The longest I’ve gone without reading. After my dissertation was accepted, I went into freefall. I never read anything longer than a magazine article for two years.
Name a book that you could/would not finish. I would not finish Bonfire of the Vanities. Such self-indulgence, and really you could only use the word “raconteur” for storyteller? I mean once, okay; twice is annoying. I swore I’d put it down if he used it again, and he did. So I did.
What distracts you easily when you’re reading? Nothing. When my mother used to call me I couldn’t hear her. One day she started turning the hall light off and on (it could be controlled from three switches, so she could stand downstairs and make the light outside my door flicker). That apparently gets my attention.
Favorite film adaptation of a novel? Hands down Bourne Identity. When the movie came out, we picked up the book at my FIL’s house. It was AWFUL. AWFUL. The movie, however, fabulous.
Most disappointing film adaptation? Every adaptation is disappointing in some way. Books aren’t visual (well, the reader is forced into the role), movies are. Read Joyce Carol Oates’s New York Times article, "When Characters on the Page are Made Flesh on the Screen." 
The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time? Not more than $200.
How often do you skim a book before reading it? Never.
What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? Apparently poor word choice.
Do you like to keep your books organized? Our books have always been in alphabetical order. Now they are categorized as well (fiction, non-fiction, reference, poetry, plays, cookbooks, and craft books).
Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? We usually resell or donate books unless only one of us has read them. Also if someone has a strong feeling about rereading a book, we keep it. We err on the side of ownership.
Are there any books you’ve been avoiding? I avoid books that people recommend. This year it’s The Help.
Name a book that made you angry. Misogynies by Joan Smith.
A book you didn’t expect to like but did. Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott. I had to read it in high school. I didn't think I would, but I loved it.
A book that you expected to like but didn’t. Cold Heart by Lynda La Plante.
Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading. Mysteries.


Anonymous said...

Love your book comments. I've enjoyed several that you post about. If I recommend "Palace Walk" by Naguib Mahfouz, will you hate it? It's old, but new to me and I love it. Cin

KarenV said...

Oh, you really should read The Help. It is absolutely fantastic, my favourite read of 2010.

I read less now that I stitch too, but I made an effort to read more books this year than last and I have at least managed that.

Kathryn said...

Since you hate book recommendations, I will recommend authors. I like mysteries, but they better have a good sense of place (OK, and good writing) or sayonara. Laura Lippman (Baltimore), Julie Smith (New Orleans), early Marsha Mueller (San Francisco), and my current favorite Dana Stabenow (Alaska).

Susan said...

So much to comment on in this post, but I'll limit myself. Just curious why Misogynies made you angry (haven't read it myself). And what particularly about The Happiness Project inspired you? I read it and find myself repeating the sentence "Tackle a nagging task." It really does make me feel happier when I get some little thing out of the way rather than having to keep thinking about it.
I'm a mystery junkie, too. Apparently, it's genetic since my grandmother had a whole shelf of Earl Stnaley Gardner mysteries. I, too, will go out on a limb and recommend an author I discovered recently through a free download to my Nook. Try Timothy Hallinan who has a series about an English-speaking detective in Bangkok.

valerie said...

I agree with KarenV. The Help was wonderful! A book I managed to read in a weekend because I couldn't put it down. That's saying a lot because I'm now the slowest.reader.ever. I stitch more than I read now so this was one of 4 books I've read all year. I've become very selective and am not usually a "jump on the bandwagon" reader either.

Megan said...

I totally agree with you on "The Bourne Identity" - I also read it after loving the movie, and was shocked at how bad it was. I'm amazed they could make such a good movie from it.

Alice said...

This was very interesting and informative! I also like Elizabeth Bennet best. Rejecting Collins was the best move ever!