Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Books, Books, Books

I've totally done this before, but that doesn't mean I can't do it again.

Name a book you have read more than once.
Whenever I'm in a hibernating mood, as I have been the last couple of weeks, I like to reread. It's comforting. I've spent the last couple of days skimming through some vamp porn - for all that I get regularly mocked for my love of the vamp books, I'm not embarrassed to admit that I love them.

I do a lot of rereading at work: both books I read as a child, like Ramona Quimby, or things I read in high school. I have to say, I wasn't very impressed after reading The Catcher in the Rye now that I'm out of my teens, but I loved my reread of Lord of the Flies and 1984.

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
Dignity through candor is my new motto and I picked it up from American Nerd by Benjamin Nugent. Payback by Margaret Atwood also gave me some new ideas to mull over. Eat, Pray, Love made a big impression.

How do you choose a book? (by cover design and summary? recommendations? reviews? etc.)
Since I spend most of my book choosing time in used bookstores, I generally scan the shelves fairly quickly and pick up anything by a familiar author or with an interesting title (in which case, blurb and cover do influence me.) I've been sticking with stuff I've heard of lately - when I went to trade in books and pick up an order today, I got Tall, Dark, & Hungry (vamps!), Faster by James Gleick, and three books by Philip Roth: Exit Ghost, Everyman, and Indignation. Interestingly in the link above, I was hugely excited by a book by Roth. I do add books to my Amazon Wishlist based on comments on blogs and from Bust or Bitch reviews - though I seldom purchase directly off it, once I become more familiar with the title and author I am fairly likely to pick it up eventually.

Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction?
Both and usually one of each at the same time.

What's more important in a novel, beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
At least one of the two - both is better. I can quite happily read a book that goes nowhere but reads like fine wine and chocolate, but I also enjoy a good plot and mediocre writing. The writing can't be horrible though, because bad enough writing will pull me out of the plot too often and that I don't enjoy. I do have problems sometimes adjusting to really abrupt changes in tone when switching from novel to novel, so I've been trying to read things in related groups lately.

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)?
Recently, Franny K. Stein. Most recently remembered, Ramona Quimby and Leslie from Bridge to Terabithia. Maud in Possession by A.S. Byatt and Jeanette from Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson.

Which book(s) can be found on your nightstand at the moment?
Between the nightstand and the bed, I've got a stack of Anita Black vamp books that I picked up used. On the bed (and they've been there for several nights) Lynsay Sands's vamp series. Plus, I'm reading Ramona & Beezus, The First Woman Doctor and a Wrinkle in Time at work and at home, Tall Dark & Hungry, A Year of Living Biblically, Guilty Pleasures, and Losing Confidence: Power, Politics and the Crisis in Canadian Democracy.

What was the last book you've read, and when was it?
At work, The Magic Finger, to which I say "meh" and at home, Payback, which was fabulous.

Have you ever given up on a book halfway in?
Pride and Prejudice I started several times before finishing it. I accidentally stopped reading War and Peace - I was enjoying it and then I went hiking and by the time I returned, I had forgotten too much to keep going without rereading and that just seemed too annoying. I seem to recall not ever finished a Lloyd Alexander novel as a kid. There might be one or two others, but I'm usually too goal oriented not to finish - I even read magazines cover to cover. I've more recently been sidetracked while reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - they're still in the bookshelf though, and I'll get them. Oh, and I never did finish The Picture of Dorian Gray which apparently I was reading the last time I did a book meme.

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