Booking Through Thursday on a Saturday

Maybe once I get back into the swing of things at school—this was our first week back—I’ll abide by the posting schedule I set for myself. What I don’t want to do is let my blogs go weeks or even a month or more with no posts, like I have done in the past. I didn’t get my Booking Through Thursday post up on Thursday, and indeed, I didn’t even look at the prompt until today, but it is one that I liked and want to answer even if I’m late.

1. Favorite childhood book?
Rascal by Sterling North. I really wanted a raccoon.

2. What are you reading right now?
The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (DailyLit), and The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None right now. I kind of owe them some overdue book fees, and I have been avoiding them until I can get myself together enough to pay.

4. Bad book habit?
Hmm… maybe that I don’t use the library as much as I should and wind up spending too much money on books. To my credit, I do try to save up for when I receive my Amazon Associate payments.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Well, I don’t have anything checked out, but my kids have their own cards, and none of them owe the library money, so I took Maggie to the library and we checked out a bunch of books about the Salem witch trials as well as some books about art for Dylan and some Junie B. Jones books and Amber Brown is Not a Crayon by Paula Danziger.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Yes, I love my Kindle very much.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I usually have three going at once: one on DailyLit and two others so I can pick between them based on which one I feel like reading. I don’t know if I could juggle more than that.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Yes. I know I read more because I’m conscious of wanting to update with my reviews. In terms of what I read, probably not a lot except that sometimes I will choose a book because of other book bloggers’ reviews when I might not otherwise have heard of the book or been interested in it. I also never used to read more than one book at at time.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer or perhaps Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. No, Charity Girl.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Hard to pick, but I loved A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, The Help by Kathryn Stockton, and The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Not often. Someone on Goodreads said to me that I “have an amazing ability to choose to read books that you’ll love.” I am pretty sure it was a dig because I often rate books 4 or 5 stars. I just don’t pick too many books that I wind up feeling like I was sort of ambivalent about or don’t enjoy very often. Sometimes I do, but for the most part, my gut tells me I will either like it or not, and I’m right about it a lot of the time. So I tend to stick with what I like.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Now there’s the rub. My comfort zone is pretty darned big. I like lots of genres. I like classics, contemporary fiction, fantasy (sometimes), nonfiction, poetry, literary fiction, children’s and YA, and historical fiction. I don’t tend to like mysteries as much, and I’m not sure why. I love Sherlock Holmes stories. I just don’t think to read them. I might actually like them more if I tried them. I don’t really go in for sci-fi much, though I am a huge Star Trek and Star Wars fan, so you’d think I would. I don’t really like some kinds of fantasy. I have discovered over time I have to be careful what I select in that genre. I don’t care for romance novels. I have tried those in the past, and I think writers like Nora Roberts are better than some others in that genre, but I am not crazy about them in general.

13. Can you read on the bus?
Yes. It doesn’t bother me to read on the bus. I do have more trouble reading in the car.

14. Favorite place to read?
At home in bed. I like to curl up.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I lend books. Sometimes they don’t come home again, but most of the time they do. I prefer to share and expose people to a good book than worry about not getting books back.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Never! That’s awful!

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Yes, if they’re professional reading or textbooks. Not really novels. However, I do annotate and highlight books on my Kindle because it doesn’t feel like I’m ruining them.

18.  Not even with text books?
I actually mark up professional reading books more. I especially like it when they have wide margins so I can write in them. I wrote all over Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
I can only read in one language, so I’m going to have to say English.

20. What makes you love a book?
Characters that are so real and so well-developed and so likable that I wish I knew them in real life.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
Great characters, great language, thinking that the person would enjoy it.

22. Favorite genre?
Hard to pick. I’m not sure I really have one, but maybe historical fiction.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
I should probably give mysteries more of a go.

Favorite biography?
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Oh, I forgot this was a genre when I was answering the questions earlier. I have read one. Do I read them regularly? No.

26. Favorite cookbook?
The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book: Celebrating the Promise Limited Edition (proceeds go to breast cancer research and familiar check cover is pink and white instead of red and white). I love everything about it: the ring binding, which makes it stay open when I’m cooking; the great recipes for buttermilk-brined fried chicken, pepper-lime chicken, French onion soup, and so many others; the help sections.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
The Help.

28. Favorite reading snack?

Anything! Chips, popcorn, fruit, whatever. I’m not picky.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Hmm… the only thing I can think of that comes close to answering the question is The Da Vinci Code or perhaps The Rule of Four. I certainly turned the pages with The Da Vinci Code, but it got so much press, and it ultimately wasn’t that well written, and then I discovered how shoddy the research upon which Dan Brown based his book was (Holy Blood, Holy Grail), and it became kind of a frustration of mine that the book remained so popular. I never touched another of his books despite the fact that the students are continually recommending Angels and Demons to me. With The Rule of Four, it was more like the book got attention for being like The Da Vinci Code and then when I read it, I was really disappointed. I felt the authors’ youth showed, and ultimately, it just didn’t do anything for me.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I actually don’t read a lot of critics, so I’m not sure. I would tend to say that I probably don’t agree with them a whole lot because I tend to give way too many good reviews.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I have mixed feelings. For instance, if someone recommended a book, and I didn’t like it, I feel bad. That’s how I felt after The Meaning of Night and Charity Girl. Because I like the people who recommended it, I really want to like the book. If I don’t have that sort of emotional investment, however, I don’t feel bothered at all.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
I think I would like to read in Hebrew because there is so much of it around my school, and it would be nice to know what some of it says. Sometimes I can pick out enough French or Spanish to get by, but not Hebrew.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Well, just because of when I read it, it was Gone with the Wind. I read it in 7th grade. It was my first grown up book. It was intimidating at over 1,000 pages in paperback. I’d never read anything that long. It took me two weeks at a time when other books usually took a couple of days. It was also two weeks of reading whenever I could: at school waiting for class to start, at lunch, at home, in bed, on the school bus, etc. I was really proud when I finished because it was so long and it was considered an adult book.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
It’s going to have to be something like War and Peace or Proust. I’ll probably never read books like that. Although, I did read Moby Dick, and I was nervous about that one.

35. Favorite Poet?
Percy Bysshe Shelley.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Depends on whether I owe them money. I try to limit myself to one or two because I often need more time than typical checkouts and sometimes even renewals give me to read. I feel too much pressure.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
I can’t say the exact number, but I am sure I’ve done it.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Severus Snape. Although I love Una Spenser from Ahab’s Wife a great deal.

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Darth Vader, though he’s not really from books. The best villain in books is probably Bellatrix Lestrange. I did name my cat after her. She’s more interesting to me than Voldemort, who is kind of one-dimensional.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
I brought my Kindle so I didn’t have to narrow anything down last time. Light fare that I don’t have to concentrate on too much.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Can’t be more than a few weeks because it makes me go crazy.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
John Berendt’s book about Venice: The City of Falling Angels. I loved Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I’ve read that one a couple of times at least. I just couldn’t get interested in City of Falling Angels.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
My kids and my husband. The television.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Hmm. Even though I do have my problems with them, the Harry Potter films.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Their Eyes Were Watching God. I think the acting was fine, but they made some pretty unnecessary changes. Why, for instance, did they need to underscore the title so much by having Janie say it so often? She never says it in the book. It comes in when the hurricane hits and the narrator says it. Also, Halle Berry, who is gorgeous I love her, was not Janie. Michael Ealy was, however, Tea Cake. The book is just so lyrical and beautiful, and you can’t capture that kind of beauty or lyricism on film all the time. Although I felt like Brokeback Mountain did, so it’s possible. I don’t know why they couldn’t do it better justice, but they didn’t.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Oh, I’m sure it was insane, but probably not more than about $100.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I do that sometimes, but not a lot.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Half-way is pretty far for me to go and stop. It would have to be pretty bad. I can’t think of anything. I’d probably plow through at half-way.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Ha ha! Organized? They’re stuffed willy nilly on shelves in no order at all. On my Kindle, however, they’re in nice, neat folders.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Keep them. I don’t know why. I don’t re-read too many of them.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Maybe the Stieg Larsson books because I’m just not sure I’d like them.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
Memnoch the Devil when Lestat drank blood from Jesus’s neck. I have a high tolerance for sacrilege, but I actually threw that book against the wall, sulked for a while, picked it up, and finished it, and really, really hated it. I gave her a couple of chances after that—read Merrick, tried to read but didn’t finish Blackwood Farm or Blood and Gold, but honestly didn’t really like a book after The Tale of the Body Thief, so I’ve given up on Anne Rice.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
The Sun Also Rises. I had little experience with Hemingway when I was assigned this book in college, but I found I really did like it quite a lot. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it at all when it was assigned.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
The most recent one was The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox. It honestly has a lot of the ingredients I like in a book: a bit of mystery, a Victorian setting. Just didn’t gel for me.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
I have given myself permission not to feel guilty for enjoying books. Life’s too short.

I would actually love to see your answers to these questions, too, so consider yourself tagged even if you don’t do Booking Through Thursday.