55 Reading Questions

I have a Tumblr, which you can find here.  I don’t do much with it; I think I’m not really in the demographic it’s meant for, but I signed up so I could see what my daughter posts.  And recently I happened upon this list of questions from timaspublishing via bookaddict24-7.  Y’all know how much I love to read so I thought this would be fun. (It’s self-indulgent, I know.)
55 Reading Questions
1. Favorite childhood book?
1955_black_beauty_book001
2. What are you reading right now?
Well, this is a little embarrassing.  I can’t recall the name of it and I will no doubt forget all about it within 24 hours of reading it.  It’s one of my guilty pleasure books, a Love Inspired Suspense paperback that I got for free by temporarily joining their book club.  (Update:  That’s what I WAS reading when I started writing this.  Since then I’ve read Up Country for my book club, The Horse and His Boy which I found laying around the house somewhere, and probably more that I can’t remember.  I’m actually currently reading Freakanomics.)
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None.  I only do libraries in the summer.
4. Bad book habit?
I’m actively training myself in the use of bookmarks right now.  I usually leave my books lying open and face down.  I have, however, stopped bending the corners of the pages down. [UPDATE: Mission Accomplished.]
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Nothing (see above).  I think my privileges are probably suspended at the moment anyway.  I am just terrible about returning books on time.
6. Do you have an e-reader?
Nope, and I don’t want one.  Hope I never cave on this. (Update:  My birthday has come and gone and now I own an iPad with an app on it that opens the doors to the wide world of e-reading.  I have a friend who only e-publishes a lot of her work and I want to read her stories.  Don’t look to find me curled up with my iPad reading Gone with the Wind any time soon.)
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
One at a time.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
No.  I would not be reading right now, I’d be working.  Or perhaps doing dishes.
9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)?
I have probably read 50 books or more this year and I don’t keep a list.  I don’t recall actively hating any book but most of the romances are pretty forgettable.
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Probably The Quiet Game.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Never.  Why would I take something that’s a pleasure and make it unpleasant?  Besides, my zone is pretty big.
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
See above!  I like stupid romances, mysteries, suspense, religious books, parenting books . . . I especially like legal thrillers.
13. Can you read on the bus?
As a child I did it all the time.  These days I would get sick.  I can only read on the interstate (not, of course, while driving).
14. Favorite place to read?
In my bed. [Update:  Not any more.  I can no longer see well enough to read in dim light.  And I’m too tired to read at night.  New answer:  front porch.]
15. What is your policy on book lending?
No problem.
16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
I used to but I’ve stopped.  I don’t want to mutilate the books I’m keeping and I want the ones I’m getting rid of in good enough condition to be accepted by the used book store.
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Not since college.
18. Not even with text books?
LOL.  See above.  It was hard for me even to get used to doing that.  I know people make notes in books and sometimes it seems like it would be a good idea but I just can’t bring myself to do it.
19. What is your favourite language to read in?
English.  I am proud of having at one point been able to more or less read books in French but now that my French, Latin, and Old English texts are gone I doubt I will be replacing them.
20. What makes you love a book?
A gripping page-turning story.  Characters I get emotionally involved with.  A sense of place and time.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
I will recommend non-fiction books that made enough of an impression on me to actually influence what I DO (or try to do).  As for fiction, that depends on what the people I’m talking to are looking for.
22. Favorite genre?
Legal thrillers/mysteries.
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
Spiritual/Theology.  I have tons of them but most days my brain is too tired.
24. Favourite biography?
You know, I get these but never seem to get through them.  I had a lovely one of St. Thomas More that I read part of, and another enormous one about Dickens.  These were in the to-be-read pile pre-fire.  I cannot remember when I’ve read one as an adult.  Now, as a child, I read tons.  There was a shelf in the school library with somewhat simplified stories, always starting with the famous person’s childhood, and I loved those.  I was especially fond of Helen Keller and read every book about her I could find.
25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
I’m sure I have.  My husband is a big fan, and he had a couple of shelves full.  But I can’t really remember any, unless you call parenting books self-help books.   In general, I’m suspicious of any books that promise smooth sailing and a happy life in a few easy steps.  Life is hard and I don’t know any shortcuts.
26. Favourite cookbook?
I’m not a huge cookbook collector.  Mostly I don’t use recipes.  The two go-to books I relied on were the 1970s edition of The Joy of Cooking and the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.  If I needed to make a pie crust or cook a lobster tail that’s where I turned for advice.  I had a couple of beautiful cookbooks with gorgeous pictures and never got around to making a single thing out of them.  The exception to all this is Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking, which I loved loved loved and made almost every single recipe in.  I even broke my writing in books rule to put personalized comments on the recipes, how we liked them, what changes I made.  And later I bought the author’s second book on making soups.  These are books I will definitely be replacing, because not only are the recipes good, they are spiritual books filled with interesting and inspiring stories.  And the premise of the bread-making book is that making bread is a spiritual experience–the author examines his conscience as he mixes his dough each day. [UPDATE:  I did indeed get a new copy.  I highly recommend it.]
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Couldn’t tell you.  Can’t remember.  I guess I wasn’t that inspired.
28. Favorite reading snack?
N/A since I usually read in bed.
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
For me, it’s usually the opposite.  I’m suspicious of hype.  I did not read the Harry Potter books for years because I figured a book everyone was making such a fuss over was probably lowbrow (I’m an intellectual snob.).
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don’t really seek out critical comment in advance.  I read what looks good to me.
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
Since I don’t have a huge reach and am not likely to end anyone’s career with my opinion, I enjoy it.  [UPDATE: If someone gives me a book to review, I would be unlikely to give it a scathing review–that just seems ugly.  I generally try to find some nice things to say about it to balance out my critical comments.]
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Latin.
33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
I guess Madame Bovary, in French, for a college French Lit class.  It was exhausting and took forever, and I had to cheat and read the last few chapters in English.  And then after all that suffering I hated the book anyway.
34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
I wouldn’t say I’m nervous but I know I should read things like War and Peace and Ulysses and the thought makes me exhausted.
35. Favorite Poet?
Oh, William Wordsworth, definitely, courtesy of Professor Betz and his Sophomore Honors English course.  Professor Betz was my advisor in college.  He’s a renowned Wordsworth scholar who spends summers hanging out in the same places Wordsworth did.  I find that when someone is that passionate about a subject, he cannot help but transfer some of that passion to his students.  I’m also fond of William Blake and all the Romantic Poets.  I love Poe.  I can appreciate modern poetry, but I will always prefer the kind that rhymes.
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Probably around ten.
37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
Not too often, occasionally at the end of the summer when I know that if I don’t I will probably never remember and will end up with another enormous fine and be stuck without the use of my card until they have another one of those days where I can trade them cans of food to erase the fines!
38. Favorite fictional character?
How can I answer that? I don’t think I can.  There are so many characters that I love.  Today I will go with Will McLean from The Lords of Discipline, arguably my favorite book of all time.

39. Favourite fictional villain?
I’m supposed to like the villains?  Today I will go with Rhett Butler.  I know, he’s a scoundrel, not a villain, but I really do think he gets off lightly.  Scarlett would never have gotten into so much trouble if he hadn’t egged her on.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Something I’d like to read aloud in the car.  This used to be a favorite pastime of mine and my husband’s.  I also bring all the magazines I’m behind on.  Because I read ALL THE TIME, I have no need for a special “beach book.”  I ALWAYS find time to read, so it’s not a priority on vacation and I might actually watch t.v (which I don’t do at home) instead!
41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
I gave up reading for Lent in the second grade.  Dumb idea and I was miserable.  It sure was a sacrifice though.  I did not read a book for about a month after the house burned down.  For one thing, all my books burned up.  I was also overwhelmed and exhausted.  Too, there was some kind of weird element of, “My books are all gone.  I can’t read any more.”  I didn’t even FEEL like reading.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
I can’t think of one.  I know I had a few that I put down halfway through but I always planned to get back to them.  And that’s rare.  Usually if I’ve gone to the trouble to start I will finish.
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Nothing.  It’s a problem.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
The Lord of the Rings films.  I can remember mourning as a child that it would be impossible to bring those books to the screen, but they did it and did it well.
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Umm . . . most of them?  I know that you have to make changes when bringing a book to life on the screen.  But when I cannot understand WHY the changes were necessary, I don’t like it.  The first thing that comes to mind is “The Secret of Nimh,” loosely based on Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, one of the best children’s books ever.  WHY was her name changed to Mrs. Brisby in the movie?  Why did the rats look like terrifying otherworldly creatures instead of, you know, rats?

[UPDATE: The Hobbit.]
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I may have spent around $100 at Christmas time.  But that’s not typical.  I get almost all of my books used.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I might look at a book a little first to decide whether to buy it.  But once I’ve got it at home I don’t skim it.  Why would I want to spoil the surprise?
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
I would have to be either very frightened or very bored.
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yes, I like to keep series together of course, and I had a whole bookshelf devoted to series.  I had all the “best” books in the living room, and they were loosely grouped around themes–literature, language, coffee table . . . I kept the things that I hadn’t read yet, or were very special to me, on the bookshelf in my room.  Things are different now, with stacks on the table in my room, the classics we got at the used bookstore at Spring Hill in our one book case in the living room, kids books in the playroom, and soot-stained books in the garage.
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I used to keep a lot more than I do now.  Now I only keep them if it’s a series I’m collecting or I really, really love them.  Otherwise they go to McKay’s or the church Book Swap.
51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
If I was, they are gone now.
52. Name a book that made you angry?
Breaking Dawn.  Waste of money.  Waste of time.  Waste of potential for the moral uplift foreshadowed in the earlier books in the series.  Basically badfic and wish fulfillment.
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
The Harry Potter series.  Did it EVER exceed my expectations.  The Sue Grafton ABC murders.  These are EXCELLENT.  I thought they’d be gimmicky but they are first class.


54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
11/22/63.  I DID like it, but not as much as I thought I would.  It had some problems that I think Stephen King gets away with because he’s, you know, STEPHEN KING.
55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
I call it a guilty pleasure but really, what’s to feel guilty about?  I like to read Love Inspired Christian romance novels which I can almost always get for free through book club offers.  I like to read them because they are mildly entertaining but I have no trouble putting them down, whereas if I get involved in a good thriller I may be up half the night or neglect other things I need to be doing.  And I prefer the Christian ones even though the spirituality can be a bit ham-handed, and even though they are always non-denominational Protestants (one of these days I am going to write a Catholic one, or get my daughter to do it!) because there are no sex scenes in them.  No, I don’t have moral objections to love scenes in novels, but after all the romance novels I consumed as a teenager, they frankly bore me.  And it’s also nice to read about characters who have the same moral values that I have in that area.
Okay, if you got this far, now it’s your turn.  Answer some or all of the questions, either in the comments below, or in your own blog post (post the link in the comments)!  I’d like to hear what YOU have to say about books and reading.

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  1. Jo says:

    Great post, not self indulgent at all. I love reading about what others think of books, it often inspires me to seek those books out.

  2. Wow, those questions would take me half a day to ponder and come up with answers for. It was fascinating to read your answers to them, thank you for sharing.
    I will answer the children’s book question at least: The Phantom Tollbooth. Still reread it every couple of years, but now the fun is I get to read it to my kids when I do.

  3. Karen says:

    Oh, I know the answer to your question in #45. I, too, hate the movie version of that book. My kids got it out from the library and adored it, but I refuse to purchase it. Anyway, Mrs. Frisby’s name got changed due to the company that makes Frisbees pitching a fit about “their” name being used in the move without them getting paid. I always detested how Mrs. Frisby was portrayed in that movie; in the book she’s very brave! For a mouse.

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