Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Quizzing

Saw this quiz over on Simon's blog, STUCK IN A BOOK and it looked like so much fun I thought I'd take a crack at it too. Since I'm so new at this blogging thing, I hesitated before plunging in because, I mean, who would want to read my answers? But then I though, what the heck, if I can't have fun on my own blog - who can?

1. Favorite childhood book?
The Pippi Longstocking books. They actually helped shape my view of the world when I was a kid.

2. What are you reading now?
Just finishing up TIME TRAVELERS NEVER DIE by Jack McDevitt. Also re-reading THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS by Agatha Christie, reading SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS by Marisha Pessl and looking askance at THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
ALL CLEAR by Connie Willis, ON THE LINE by S.J. Rozan, ONE WAS A SOLDIER by Julia Spencer-Fleming, TO FETCH A THIEF by Spencer Quinn, WORTH DYING FOR by Lee Child.

4. Bad book habit?
Same as Simon's: hoarding.

5. What do you have currently checked out at the library?
TIME TRAVELERS NEVER DIE by Jack McDevitt, SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS by Marisha Pessl, THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin, THE LABOURS OF HERCULES by Agatha Christie, THE VARIOUS HAUNTS OF MEN by Susan Hill, COMMUTERS by Emily Gray Tedrowe, THE BLIND ASSASSIN by Margaret Atwood, NO TRACE by Barry Maitland, MURDER AT MANSFIELD PARK by Lynn Shepherd, WHAT THE DOG SAW by Malcolm Gladwell, WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
No. I rarely travel so I don't see a need for one.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
Several at once, though, occasionally it drives me nuts.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
I never expected my tastes would be influenced, but they really have been. Didn't realize there were THAT many authors I'd never heard of, much less read. The book blogs that have changed my outlook and added new titles to my tbr list are blogs which specialize mostly in literary books, especially Brit. mid-century literary. My eyes have been opened a bit, no question. For the better, of course.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far)?
The last book in the Stieg Larsson trilogy, THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST. Couldn't even get past the first few chapters.

10. Favorite book you've read this year?
2010 has been a great book year for me, so it's especially hard to choose. I can only narrow it down to six: CRYPTONOMICON by Neal Stephenson, THE CITY AND THE CITY by China Mieville, THE FIRST RULE by Robert Crais, MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson, THE WEED THAT STRINGS THE HANGMAN'S BAG by Alan Bradley and MISS HARGREAVES by Frank Baker. Sorry, best I can do.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
All the time. I'm not saying it's always a success, but I hope I keep an open mind and heart.
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Mysteries without exploding stomach type violence and without heavyweight social issues masquerading as plot.

13. Can you read on a bus?
No. I can't read in any moving vehicle. I can listen to audio books in a car, though.

14. Favorite place to read.
Sitting at the dining table or curled up in my large living room sofa-chair.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I only lend books to trusted friends and even then I'm leery. Ha!

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Although I have a huge collection of bookmarks, I still dog-ear paperbacks occasionally. Hardcovers - no.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Yes, especially in paperbacks. I circle passages I especially like and want to remember for whatever reason. Once in a blue moon, I'll write in hardcovers if they're old and much loved, but never in my first/firsts.

18. Not even a text book?
I don't think I've opened a textbook in a hundred years.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English. I'm fluent in Spanish, but never read it. Consequently, I am very rusty.

20. What makes you love a book?
Connection, connection, connection and my own instant recognition of that indefinable something that tells me I'm in the presence of a terrific writer. Style carries weight with me as well. I am also a very big fan of character driven books.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
See above. Although I sometimes will recommend a book I'm merely lukewarm about or have only just skimmed, if I know that a friend is interested in the subject matter, theme or characters.

22. Favorite genre?

23. Genre you rarely read?

24. Favorite bio?
JANE AUSTEN by Carol Shields.
Favorite Autobiography: ACT ONE by Moss Hart

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Not really. Do decorating books count as self-help? I read plenty of those.

26. Favorite cook book?
Don't have a specific one.

27. Most inspirational book you're read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeanette Walls and THE LADY IN THE PALAZZO by Marlena di Blasi. Both non-fiction.

28. Favorite reading snack?

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Can't think of one. Hype, positive or negative doesn't influence me except that over-hyping a book might delay my picking it up.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Well, jeez, it all depends on the book and the author. Once I read a book, if I'm interested in seeing a critic's p.o.v. I'll check the NY Times or Publisher's Weekly or one of the blogs, but that's generally only after I've read the book. I rarely read a complete review of a book I'm interested in reading because most reviews give too much away. This doesn't apply to non-fiction though. I read more non-fiction reviews than I do fiction, depending on the subject matter of course.

31. How do you feel about giving bad or negative reviews?
Rarely happens because I simply do not finish books I can't stand. That doesn't mean I might not make a comment on someone else's blog. But a negative review? Nah, I just don't have it in me.

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

33. Most intimidating book you've ever read?

34. Most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin?
THE BLIND ASSASSIN by Margaret Atwood. Well, in truth, anything by Margaret Atwood.

35. Favorite poet.
Probably William Blake.

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

37. How often do you return a book to the library unread?
Happens once in awhile when I simply run out of time or if I dislike the first few pages.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Sherlock Holmes.

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Sir Eustace Pedler in Agatha Christie's THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT.

40. Books I'm most likely to bring on holiday.
Mysteries, myseries, mysteries.

41. The longest I've gone without reading.
About three weeks give or take a few days. Sometimes I get in a funk and just stop. Of course, when I'm ill, it's hard to concentrate.

42. Name a book you could/would not finish.
Oh so many, so many...AHAB'S WIFE by Sena Nasland. THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger. (Hmmm, do I spot a trend?)

43. What distracts you easily when you're reading?
Not much.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
COLD COMFORT FARM with Kate Beckinsale.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation.
The new version of BRIDESHEAD REVISITED released last year. So disappointing I never even saw it. Once I read they'd altered a very important scene, I gave up. I can't ever imagine seeing it.

46. The most money I've ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I once spent a hundred bucks in Barnes and Noble. It was a great day.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
If the book has a main character who happens to be a dog, I always check to make sure that dog is alive at the end. This is my own personal criteria.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Clunky writing and/or bad characterization.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yeah, sure, I'd love to keep them better organized. But right now this is it: mass paperbacks in a separate bookcase in the laundry room, cookbooks in a bookcase in the kitchen, hardcovers in the floor to ceiling bookcases in the living room, hardcovers and trade paperbacks in another bookcase in the kitchen and one in my bedroom. I'm hoping, eventually to organize by subject, but so far, no dice.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them?
I never give my books away.

51. Are there any books you've been avoiding?
Oprah books. I rarely read family saga type books. Those seem to be the sort of things she recommends.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett

53. A book you didn't expect to like, but did.
The Harry Potter books.

54. A book you expected to like but didn't.

55. Favorite guilt-free pleasure reading?
I occasionally re-read my old Signet Regency romances. But in truth, all my reading gives me pleasure. Reading should never be a chore. Heaven forbid.


  1. Hah! Love it.
    Did you read the first 2 Girl with the Hornet's Nest books, and did you like them? They've been recommended, but I've hesitated.

    I've never read Brideshead Revisited, but I got the old British series at the library and watched most of it this last year. Really enjoyed it.

  2. Hi Cathy, thanks for posting. To answer your question re: The Girl With...books, I read the first one, thought it merely ok. Read about half of the second one and skimmed the rest. Don't know why I picked up the third. Maybe I WAS influenced by hype. Ha!

    BRIDESHEAD REVISITED is a great book, well, Evelyn Waugh is a great writer. I read the book AND loved the Granada TV/BBC production you're talking about. Boy, did I cry....!

  3. Even now, all I have to do is here the wonderful theme music and I tear up. I am such a wuss!

  4. Great insight, and I'm a new visitor to your site! I'm interested to hear how your thoughts are on The Passage, I'm hoping to pick that up soon!

    I'm definitely thought The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was really good, but the other ones fell flat...unfortunately. What's sad is that the author passed away and he was originally planning to write a total of ten in the series -- if I understand correctly, book 2 and 3 unfortunately were released after the author passed away, so obvious rewriting didn't occur. The last book especially was disappointing for me.

  5. Coffee and Book Chick: I've just realized I never responded to your comments when I thought I had. Jeez. Where is my memory? Thanks so much for taking the time to drop by, I really and truly do appreciate it.

    I've had THE PASSAGE sitting here for awhile, hopefully I'll get to finish it before it's due back at the library. Don't know what to think. My close friends have recommended it highly.

    Of the three Stieg Larsson books, I admit the first one was the best, though I didn't love it. Well, you saw my comments. It's hard sometimes to know exactly what you'll like best when choosing something new.

  6. My cousin recommended The Glass Castle to me! I have it on my TBR list and someday, I promise that I will actually read it! Oh you should read in Spanish too. I wish so badly that I could speak Spanish. I really need to find a class and start taking lessons.

    I love all the answers to your questions. I think we are somewhat similar so I'll definitely be coming back to your blog to read more! Thanks for stopping by my blog today as well!

  7. Hi Carin, thanks for posting, You know, it's funny about THE GLASS CASTLE, it's not normally the kind of thing I read at all. Don't know what got me interested, but boy is it a good book. I really do recommend it.

    I liked what you all were talking about on your blog today so I joined in. :)


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