55 Reading Questions meme

Book memes, wheeeee! Ganked from winterlover.

1. Favorite childhood book?
Robin Hood and Ronja Räubertochter in my primary school days. Most of the Wolfgang Hohlbein YA fantasy books when I was a young teen. Also had my phases of utter obsession with Trixie Belden and Drei Fragezeichen and the usual suspects. Also a bunch of old-timey myths and sagas in various incarnations. And Michael Ende's The Neverending Story.

2. What are you reading right now?
“The Tempering of Men” by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear (2nd wolfporn book arrived today, yay!), “Animal Farm” by George Orwell (I’d never read it before), “Written in Stone” by Brian Switek and “All the Windwracked Stars” by Elizabeth Bear.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
Currently nothing. I did have Robin Hobb’s “City of Dragons” on request but they hadn’t even bought it yet so eventually I grew impatient and just ordered it myself.

4. Bad book habit?
I break the spines, which I don’t terribly care about because I don’t like having to be super-careful and squint into the inside margin and struggle to figure out what it says because I can’t bend the book far enough. Sometimes I bend one half of the book all the way around but only if it’s the kind of book you can do that to without actually damaging it. Also when I don’t have a bookmark handy, I sometimes put the book down on the open pages. And I eat while reading. And sometimes while walking. (Apparently I have lots of bad habits.)

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Nothing, because they have nothing. Our local library is incredibly crap. Literally all they have is large-print Barbara Cartland and Maeve Binchy. If it wasn’t for The Book Depository and its cheap prices and free shipping, I’d never get my hands on any books at all :p

6. Do you have an e-reader?
No. I know they have their advantages, but I like flipping pages, I like touching paper, I like the way books smell, I like the feel and weight of them in my hands, I like having tons of them on my shelves. It’s not something I want to replace with something electronic.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
Usually I read more than one, up to five at a time. I enjoy switching back and forth and having different options to suit whatever mood I’m in at whatever moment. But if it’s a book that I’ve waited for a long time or that captures me so much I can’t put it down, then I do read just the one until I’m done. I usually finish those fast, though, so I never read just one for very long.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
That’s an oddly specific question. No? My reading habits go through cycles; sometimes I read more and sometimes less, and whether I have another current obsession certainly has something to do with it – I tend not to read much when I write a lot or when I’m really wrapped up in a fandom – but my IJ usage (I don’t keep an actual blog) doesn’t tend to affect my reading. Internet usage at large, maybe.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)?
"How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf" by Molly Harper. Cliché, shallow and insipid. Reminded me why I don't read chick lit.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Sarah Rees Brennan's "Demon's Lexicon" trilogy. I've rambled about them at length in this entry. They are awesome.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Not sure what this means. There are genres I don't read a lot, but that doesn't have anything to do with my level of comfort, it's because they're genres I'm not very interested in.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Again, don't really get the comfort zone thing. I'm going to liberally interpret it as "comfort reading" and say that I love rereading (either in whole or in part) books that I know I'll enjoy again when I'm too braindead to start something new or craving the familiar company of a book that feels like an old friend.

13. Can you read on the bus?
Sadly no. I get awfully motion-sick.

14. Favourite place to read?
Bed, couch, in the grass in the sun, cafés if they're not too loud or busy.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
Only to people I trust will give them back within a reasonable amount of time and in the same condition they got them. I'm protective of my books.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
No. That just seems wrong.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Almost never - only rarely when it's 1) a book I own, 2) a book I don't greatly care about, 3) a book that really pissed me off. The last time I can remember doing it was with one of the essays in Finding Serenity, written by a woman who clearly didn't get Firefly at all and was ranting about how sexist it was (citing as examples exclusively scenes where sexist clichés had in fact been turned on their heads and she apparently didn't understand how subversive use of stereotypes worked either).

18. Not even with text books?
Definitely with text books. Mostly doodles and random art, though. Depends on how boring it is.

19. What is your favourite language to read in?
I have no preference between German and English, as long as it's the original. Not a fan of reading translations when I don't have to.

20. What makes you love a book?
Good characters, a good story, good writing, in that order. If it has all three, I'll probably love it. I need two out of the three to like it. And a sense of humour is always a nice bonus. And I completely agree with [info]winterlover about wanting to be moved. The more a story engages me emotionally, the better. It's no coincidence that most of my favourite books are ones that broke my heart in a dozen places.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If I liked it, it doesn't take much! I'm always shoving recs on people. Especially if we're talking about random interests that remind me of a book, or we're talking about stuff we're currently reading, or films that are based on books, etc. I try not to be annoying about it, but I'm not sure if I always succeed - especially when it's something I really loved, I want everyone I know to read it too, lol. I like exchanging recs, too, I've been exposed to some great books that way that I would otherwise never have read.

22. Favourite genre?
I still love fantasy best. It has all the elements of human interest that I enjoy the most - long-term character development, being pushed to your limits and beyond, relationships in all their twisty tangly messy glory, self-discovery, growing or breaking through experience - set against the colourful canvas of magic or history or politics or myth or war or horror or all of it together, so I don't have to choose just one thing I like. Also because this.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
Hmmm. I wish I read more non-fiction, especially history and science. I always really enjoy it when I do, but there's so much of it that I rarely know where to start, and I always have so much fiction to read that it falls by the wayside.

24. Favourite biography?
In keeping with the recent Elisabeth craze in the Igloo, I really enjoyed Sissi - die schöne Kaiserin by Ludwig Merkle because it was so snarky and de-mythifying. Otherwise - I like books about historical figures but I'm not that interested in biographies of contemporaries.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Can't remember, to be honest. Probably? Definitely not a genre I tend to go for, though.

26. Favourite cookbook?
Don't have one. Cookbooks are boring. All the recipes already live on the internet.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Wonderful, wonderful book.

28. Favourite reading snack?
Chocolate? Crisps? Carrots? Anything will do, really (though I prefer snacks that don't get my page-turning fingers gross).

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I wouldn't say "ruined", but there have definitely been books that came so highly and repeatedly recommended that by the point I actually read them, my expectations were perhaps unrealistically high and the experience suffered for it. Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel books are one example.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don't read many reviews. Usually only when I really hated a book and feel the need to read someone else express (more eloquently than I could) why it sucked so much and how right I was to loathe it ;)

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
If you have good arguments and can point out examples, I'm all for articulating why you didn't like a book. If a book really pissed me off, I usually need to write down why so I can get it out of my system. It's less for other people than for myself, though.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
I do muddle through the occasional French book (with a 40% reading vs. 60% looking up words ratio) and wish I was more fluent in it. I can't really pick one other language, though. I want all the books in all the languages, please.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
I've started "The Name of the Rose" about 4 times but never got far. That book and my brain are like oil and water.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Can't think of one. I'm prepared to begin anything - whether I'll finish is another matter, lol.

35. Favourite Poet?
Shakespeare? Poe? I'm happy to read poems when I stumble across them or someone recommends some and I do enjoy it when one genuinely moves me, but I'm not generally passionate enough about them to have an all-time favourite poet.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
See 3. If they had anything I enjoy reading, it'd be oodles! Seeing as they're shit, none. But I do have piles of books that I own and haven't read yet.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
Whenever I didn't enjoy them or didn't get around to reading them before they were due back.

38. Favourite fictional character?
Yay, I can actually answer a "name one" question! After a good 15 years, it's still The Fool from Robin Hobb's various trilogies. I've never met another character whose very nature appealed to me so much - the history, the gender thing, the sly sense of humour, struggling with your nature and responsibilities, the issues of destiny vs. choice - I get a lump in my throat just thinking about him. And then there are dozens of "normal" favourites that I love to bits, but he still takes the very top spot.

39. Favourite fictional villain?
Used to be Stephen King's Flagg - both interestingly layered and genuinely terrifying. IF I considered Melanie Rawn's Andry a villain, then him, but it's really not a label I think suits him, so... no. Robin Hobb's would also rank highly, because she's so good at creating genuinely despicable but complex, real characters who are just horrid people - Kennit, the Pale Woman, Kyle Haven, Hest, Regal, etc. It's a hard question, though - I like my villains to have interesting backgrounds and believable motives for their actions, and when they do, I tend to not think of them as villains anyway. Problematic.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
No idea? The same books that I'd be reading if not on vacation? If I'm feeling lazy, I might bring something good to reread. I REALLY love rereading things.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
I didn't read (or socialise, or sleep, or eat) much during my three EKP years because I just didn't have time.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Most recently, the Strangers in Paradise series (it annoyed the crap out of me). But I frequently don't finish books once I'm reasonably sure they're not going to grow on me. There are too many good books in the world to waste time with ones I don't enjoy.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Loud conversations nearby. I can deal with music or telly but generally I prefer it to be quiet.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Classic choice: The Lord of the Rings, because the films brought the characters alive in a way the books didn't.
All-time favourite: The Last of the Mohicans, even though and/or because they changed the source material so much - usually that's a big no-no with me, but in this case the movie version was so different and so much better than the novel. Madeleine Stowe and Daniel Day-Lewis were magical.
Newbie contender: I really loved what Gary Ross did with The Hunger Games.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
I second [info]winterlover with The Neverending Story. And that early 90s miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand was pretty godawful.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
A few hundred dollars. I LIKE BOOKS.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Not often - sometimes when I'm a ways in but not terribly gripped, I skim ahead to see if it looks to be worth going. I did have a period when I was a teen where I did the bad bad thing and read the end before finishing the book, but it didn't last long.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
When it's boring or offensive or really not my cuppa.

49. Do you like to keep your books organised?
Not hugely. I keep series together and arrange them to look semi-nice, but I don't alphabetise or sort by genre.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Keep, unless I think someone else might enjoy a particular book and I didn't. ALL THE BOOKS ARE BELONG TO ME.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
The Twilight books and those Grey ones. Just not interested.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
The Time Traveller's Wife is made of utter suck. All the characters are pretentious douches and the ending pissed me off so much I wanted to beat the book with a rolling pin. Also Stephen King's last three Dark Tower books, especially the final one where he made himself a character (no, not a character who was like Stephen King; STEPHEN KING AS A CHARACTER) and essentially ruined the entire series. I loved the first four books so much that that made me really furious. Still wish I could go back in time and make it so I never read the last three.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
An Exact Replica of A Figment of My Imagination
It's an autobiographical account of the author's recent experience with stillbirth. I don't like autobiographies, I'm not very interested in pregnancy experiences, I don't care very much about babies. This book slammed right through all of those preferences and broke my heart while making me smile.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Another hype phenomenon, perhaps? I also disliked her werewolves books so much I didn't even finish the first one (Twilight with werewolves, blergh). I don't think she's for me.

55. Favourite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
...all of it? I don't tend to read for anything but pleasure. I used to read bodice rippers if that's what this is about. Preferably with pirates or vikings or highlanders, not too insipid heroines, and lots of graphic porn. I don't anymore but that's because fanfic is better, lol.


You know, Giles talking about book smells will NEVER get old.

I'm sorry your library is so sucky! They had a great selection of tourist books, for which I was extremely grateful, but that's really not very useful for people who live there. It's really unfortunate. I am glad you have BD. And they're probably glad that you're supporting them singlehandedly!

Ah, I think you answered the "comfort zone" question right. Re-reading is something I used to take a lot of comfort in - I re-read Mists of Avalon I don't know how many times - but I haven't done that much lately. I'm so intrigued to hear how you're re-reading books like Demon's Lexicon and liking them so much more now. That's a very interesting result!

I don't think you're at all annoying about reccing books. I love your recs - I can't ever thank you enough for introducing me to Robin Hobb!

But gah! Taunt me with another Elisabeth book that I can't read, why don't ya?! I'm pretty sure that The Lonely Empress is the last that my library has to offer; I'll just have to wait for a translation of this one. *grows old waiting* But I'm glad to hear that this new one is good and demythifying. Sounds like an interesting read!

I can't believe we both stopped reading (and everything else) during EKP. Oh, obsession! It was fun, no doubt, but now we definitely need to reclaim that time with ALL the books!!!
Yeah, the library thing blows, but at least this way I have to be proactive and specifically hunt down books I know I want rather than going with whatever limited selection the library has. Still, it's sad. I like libraries!

Ooooh, you've got me wanting to reread Mists of Avalon now. It's been absolutely ages!

I think this is the translation of the Sissi book, though I have no idea why it claims to be in Japanese AND English, lol. Those Japanese really seem to have a huge boner for all things Elisabeth.
Never stop reccing, please!

Your answer to #20 is so perfect that I feel the need to write it down, in case anyone ever asks me what I expect from any form of entertainment, be it literature, films or tv - sometimes even music - and, strangely enough, a certain set of people getting this exactly right is probably the reason why I'm commenting on your journal right now ;)

Anyway, I've ordered Robin Hobb as well as Sarah Rees Brennan, the artwork that you linked alone made it irresistible to me, and I can't wait to meet The Fool. From what I heard so far, I have a hunch that he might totally appeal to my taste in fictional characters in many respects.

Also, total love for #44
Wooohooooo! I love the Eskimos' willingness to embrace new things and ping-pong shiny new obsessions around. It's been a good year for it!
You're worse than me in breaking the spines! I don't bend half of the book - ouch, but I put books down on open pages like you.

"chick lit" - that was the term I was looking for to describe what I didn't like to read!
German authors like Amelie Fried, Ildikó von Kürthy or earlier Hera Lind - ugh - I've only read one of their books each because friends gave them to me as presents.

I also prefer real books to an e-reader, but reading in bed is great with my ipod. It's not heavy, I can change hands holding it, etc.

The comfort zone might be connected to the genre that you like to read in. Or - like my friend, who only wants to read happily-ending love stories in fanfic. That might be her comfort-zone which she doesn't want to leave. To do this is easier with fanfic, because of warnings etc. but I like books that surprise me. Comforting or not.

As a child I did an awfully lot of re-reading. Now that I have so many unread books I haven't re-read in a long time, but I definitely know what you mean, and it's great one can discover new aspects of the story.
Hahah, I try not to actively damage books or be super-careless with them, and there are some that I do handle more carefully. If it's just regular paperbacks, though, I figure they were made for reading and enjoying, which for me includes being able to handle them casually and not minding the "read" look. But I don't do it willfully.

Ah, that makes sense about the comfort zone thing. It still resonates most with the rereading habit for me - there are times when I'm not in the mood for being surprised or even having to think much, that's when I fall back on something I'm familiar with.

Yeah, I can see the appeal of ipod reading in bed with the weight etc. But then I've spent most of my life coming up with ways to hold books in bed that are comfy so it doesn't bother me :)

Aaaah, that icon. It is like the epitome of relaxation! *paws Constanze*
Robin Hobb?!?!? How have I missed this author - it totally sounds like stuff I read but I have never even heard this name before. Bounces excitedly at the thought of a new series to read - hoping my library will cooperate with my desire to read some Robin Hobb but not holding my breath ;)
Yay!! She is really good - one of those few authors I'm quite happy to rec to anyone whether they like fantasy or not because she is remarkable at transcending genre. I hope your library will be useful - she is quite popular so I'd hope they'd have her. I recommend you start either with the Farseer series (Assassin's Apprentice is the first) or the Liveship Traders trilogy (Ship of Magic is the first).

February 2018



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