So after delving through my blog archives and taking hours and hours to finally decide on the posts I'm submitting for my BBAW nominations, I need a brain-break. When I was younger I took surveys whenever I needed something fun and easy. I'd post them on my Xanga, MySpace, Facebook... whatever the space-of-the-moment is. It's because I really love lists of all kinds: to-do lists, wish lists, Christmas present lists, lists of favorites--it never ends!
I've been seeing a ton of fun book-related memes that I've been wanting to do for a while. This is as good as any time to do them! Yay for lists and surveys!
Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I've become quite a bit of a hardcover lover over these past few months. I take great care of my books, and it's a lot harder to keep them pristine when they're paperbacks and are more likely to be bent or otherwise damaged in transport. With hardbacks it's a lot easier to take off the dust jackets and carry the sturdy book around!
Barnes & Noble or Borders?
It used to be Barnes & Noble because that was the closest one to my house, but at school I have a Borders down the street, and now wherever I am I go to Borders (at home in New Jersey, I'm willing to go the extra ten minutes to Borders) because of their fantastic and FREE Borders Rewards Program. Their weekly coupons are addictinggg.
Bookmark or dog-ear?
NEVER DOG-EAR. NEVER EVER EVER. Bookmarks are something I've only begun to use lately. I used to just la-la-la flip through the pages until I find where I had left off.
Amazon or brick-and-mortar?
I like going to the actual store to see and feel the physical books. Talk about a sensory delight for book lovers! However, I do like to save money when buying books, so I'll either wait for a coupon, try to swap for it, or buy it on Amazon. The case is different for indies, though: I never mind paying full price there!
Alphabetize by author, or alphabetize by title, or random?
Eventually in my future dream library I will have my books organized by age genres--juvenile fiction, middle grade, young adult, adult, classics, nonfiction (yes, I know this off the top of my head)--and then alphabetically within each genre. Now, however, I've got my books organized by size, then alphabetically, so that I can save room and pile books on top of each other. I like orderliness. ^_^
Keep, throw away, or sell?
I rarely sell my books. I have a habit of buying more books than I can read, but I end up only keeping the ones I really enjoy, am impressed by/can learn from, and/or will reread. The others I either give away or swap. Throwing books away is blasphemy!
Keep dust jacket or toss it?
UGH. Keep, all the way. I won't keep a book in my permanent collection if it doesn't have its dust jacket.
Read with dust jacket or remove it?
Yeah, I answered this in the first question, but I remove it to keep it pretty. :)
Short story or novel?
I'm a novels girl. I've been a novels girl my whole life, except for the occasional exception such as short stories by Roald Dahl or, uh... yeah, the exceptions are rare. There is just something more satisfying about novels, either reading or writing them.
Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Definitely Harry Potter. Quality writing, dozens of unforgettable characters, and a plot so intricate I have no idea how J. K. Rowling keeps track of everything. I only read/listened to the first couple Lemony Snicket books, but they got old pretty quickly, unfortunately. Although the other day I was tempted to buy a brand-new complete set of The Series of Unfortunate Events for the bargain price of $25...
Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
I stop when I'm tired. Sometimes stopping in the middle of a chapter or even a paragraph works better for me than trying to stop at chapter breaks, especially when the writer likes to write cliffhanger-y, wait-what-happens-next?! chapter endings a la Maria Snyder. For the most part I think of chapter breaks the same way I think of those double-spaced breaks in between chunks of writing, both of which tempt me to read on. It's thus better if I just stop in the middle of something.
“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
"Once upon a time." I'm a fairy tale lover, and a hopeless romantic at heart. For the most part, "Once upon a time" promises a "happily ever after."
Buy or borrow?
lol I used to be so much better at just borrowing from the library! Unfortunately I've gotten into a really bad habit of wanting to covet the books over the past few years, which has led to awful buying sprees. I'd say that of the hundreds of books I've bought, I've read only about a third; the other two-thirds remain to be read, only more books keep on coming in! Ahhh!
Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations, or browse?
Ooh, this is a hard one for me. I think word-of-mouth (or, er, -hand, in this blogging, twittering world) influences me the most. I enjoy reading reviews but when a blogger I respect raves about a particular book in his or her Goodreads or Twitter statuses (statii? hee) I snap to attention and take great notice. I haven't bought from browsing in a long while, but I sometimes do that when I'm at the library.
Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
Like, ending-of-the-book ending or chapter ending? With chapter endings I'm a sucker for cliffhangers; it's what's caused me to finish The Da Vinci Code
and Poison Study
and The Hunger Games
in one straight stretch of reading. I like tidy final endings, though, even if the book is part of a series; series are strongest when each book can technically stand alone. (See: Harry Potter.)Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading?
I often read at night, when I find myself unable to immediately fall asleep--and I do give up pretty quickly. Since this summer I've grown to enjoy reading while commuting to work. Hopefully I'll be able to get a job with a commute, so that I can do the bulk of my reading then and during lunch breaks. ^_^Stand-alone or series?
Stand-alones are great. Series can be tricky buggers to accomplish well, but if they're done well--whoo boy, I absolutely love them. What I'm not really a fan of is companion stand-alone novels where important characters from previous books pop up. I'm really not a fan of Sarah Dessen's characters all being linked through less than the average seven degrees of separation. Egads.Favorite series?
Oh man, this is soooo hardddd... Let me think. I'd have to say that Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling series is my all-time favorite. I never get sick of that series, no matter how many times I reread those books.
Favorite children’s book?
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine literally elevated me from serial juvenile fiction to quality middle grade fiction and a greater love of reading in general. Seriously. I discovered that book and my whole outlook on reading and writing changed. That was the book that made me want to WRITE.
But for the record, honorable mentions are The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensburger. Oh, and Anne of Green Gables, of course, though that was more in my middle school years.
Favorite YA book?
These questions are why I like that the info on my Facebook page is so thorough... It's impossible to pick just one so I'll go with several that will forever be my favorites: Stargirl, Saving Francesca, The Hero and the Crown, Tithe, The Goose Girl, This Lullaby, The Hunger Games, Poison Study.
Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
*pulls up handy-dandy Word document of--you guessed it!--my favorite books of all time* I don't know if there's anything THAT obscure, but I absolutely loved Good Girls
by Laura Ruby.Favorite books read last year?
2008, eh? I wish I had kept better track that year. Let me pretend I know exactly when I read these books: Audrey, Wait!
by Robin Benway, Girl With a Pearl Earring
by Tracy Chevalier, Sula
by Toni Morrison, Life As We Knew It
by Susan Beth Pfeffer.Favorite books of all time?Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
The Overachievers by Alexandra Robbins
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Poison Study by Maria Snyder
I would say that those books complete my life.
What are you reading right now?
Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick
What are you reading next?
Probably Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani, for review. Finishing up a reread of Graceling by Kristin Cashore since Beth and I have been having an awesome conversation about it lately.
Favorite book to recommend to an 11-year-old?
Oh boy, let's see. When I was 11... Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine for a girl, the Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix for a boy.
Favorite book to re-read?
I read The Hunger Games twice in a row when I first read it, and I don't think I can ever get sick of it. Ever.
Do you ever smell books?
Um, yeah. I love the new books smell. It makes me giddy.
Do you ever read primary source documents like letters or diaries?
I wish I had a greater attention span, because I do love reading diaries. I'd like to finish reading all of L. M. Montgomery's journals one day.
I readjusted the question so it made sense, idiots. I'm taken.Best Friend?
I would say my...boyfriend, probably. Although he fills a number of important roles in my life.
Cake or Pie?
Depends on what kind of pie. Seriously. Cherry pie? I'm all yours. Anything else, I'll take the cake.Drink of choice?
I am an absolute sucker for Nestea sweetened iced tea.Essential item for every day use?
Unfortunately lately it's been my laptop. It used to be my pen and journal. Let's revert to the olden days.Favorite color?
A lovely, rich shade of emerald green.Google?
Um...yes? I don't get this question.Hometown?
I was born in New York City, but I moved to a nice lil' suburb in northern Jersey when I was a month old. And yet my friends still like to joke that I'm a New Yorker at heart. Maybe I am.Indulgences?
Food. Lots and lots of it.January or February?
I would say January if not for the grueling ten-day swimming training trip I have to take. So it's February because of tapering and championships (all related to swimming). Ask me again in a few years and it might change. :)Kids and their names?
I've always been partial to Evan and Luke for boys, Lea for a girl, and I'm sure there were more (I have a list somewhere; I AM the listmaster, after all) but I can't remember anything else off the top of my head.Life is incomplete without...?
Mid-October, when the leaves are brilliant.Number of siblings?
Two younger brothers. I love them to pieces, even if they won't acknowledge our relation sometimes.Oranges or apples?
Clementines or fuji apples. Or those light green ones that have a twinge of sour and tang to them.Phobias and fears?
Suffocation. Breaking a bone or otherwise causing my body some sort of serious injury.Quote for the day?
"Hope is the thing with feathers" - Emily Dickinson. I saw it on someone's tag line in Paperbackswap and had to immediately look the poem up. I love Emily.Reason to smile?
Because I'm living and breathing and experiencing and passionate.Season?
Autumn. The colors, the temperature... perfect.Tag 3 people?
Well, if you really want to... and only if you want to! Beth Revis
, and KhyUnknown fact about me?
I love playing the piano. I specialize in showtunes and film scores.Vegetable you hate?
Celery. The fuzzy pea ones...edamame?Worst habit?
I bite the skin around my fingernails.Xrays you've had?
My head... MRIs are awful.Your fave food?
I would probably die without my mom's curry chicken with rice. Particularly the rice part. As a swimmer, I'd be dead without my carbs. I love my carbs.Zodiac sign?
Actually, the next few may all be from Steph... she went through a period where she did a bunch of these... now it's my turn...
Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?
Only positive reviews dont' turn me away from books, although I do have to admit that I didn't enjoy Shiver quite as much as everyone else seems to have.
If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?
I can't answer this question, because in groups of more than two people, my conversational abilities shut down. Seriously. I'm absolutely awful in groups, but engage me in a one-on-one conversation and I'll seem like the most interesting and intelligent and funniest person you've ever met. (Er, sort of.) Anyway, I'd meet Jessica Darling (from Megan McCafferty's books) in some place where the wait/subpar service/idiotic company would make us form an unbreakable lifetime bond, and she'd go home and wax eloquent about me in her journal.
(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realize it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?
Moby Dick. If the book is anything like that old movie rendition I saw, then I'd be dead before page 30.
Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?
There are three big ones that I can think of. Moby Dick by Herman Melville, which was the book I got randomly selected to do a ridiculous project on in high school English. The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens in 9th grade English: I just cannot stomach his writing. And Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner for a college course: it was my third Faulkner book of the semester and by far the worst. I already had enough of Faulkner, so I just stopped reading after the first chapter and Sparknoted it.
As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book?
Um, Romeo and Juliet? We failed to get to it in 9th grade English, and instead only spent, like, two days on it right before the final. Talk about disrespecting the Bard! (Although the story in question is cheesy, anyway...)
You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (If you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead and personalize the VIP.)
The Hunger Games, because it's a book that will appeal to any gender, any race (I think/hope), and any age.
A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?
Japanese; do you know how hard it would be for a non-native speaker to master otherwise?
A mischievious fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?
Um, I have no problem with this fairy, although I think she should go do something better with her time. I think I'll pick any of Kristin Cashore's books; they're always good for questions about gender equality, feminism, and the constructs of fantasy.
That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead—let your imagination run free.
Easy question. I'd love as much hardcover as possible, and for all the covers to match within series. A bright, spacious, and well-lit room with plenty of comfy sofas to read in. Maybe even a super-cool fireplace at night. Floor-to-ceiling light-colored shelves. No annoying rollable ladder, please.
What author do you own the most books by?
I'd say either Sarah Dessen or Margaret Peterson Haddix--but the latter only because she's so prolific.
What book do you own the most copies of?
I don't really know... I suppose I've owned at some point several copies and variations of Anne of Green Gables.
What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Char from Ella Enchanted. More recently Valek from Poison Study, but Char has got my back for the past ten years.
What book have you read more than any other?
Excluding the books that I read over and over again as a child because they were the only books in my house... probably The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.
What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensburger.
What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
I've read some god-awful self-published books for review.
What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Impossible to pick. Top honors go to The Hunger Games, Poison Study, and Ash.
What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Anything by Faulkner. Hah! Take that, you dead old white Southern man!
Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Oh noooo. The French had Dumas, with The Count of Monte Cristo (absolutely brilliant book, you must read it for high-class entertainment), but I love Crime and Punishment and The Cherry Orchard. I may have to go with the crazy Russians for now... at least until I've read more Dumas and finally attempt Les Miserables.
Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer?
Difficult. Maybe Chaucer, because The Canterbury Tales is kind of like a collection of short stories, which is the length I like my Old English classics to be.
Austen or Eliot?
Austen. Even though I haven't read any Eliot. But I'm pretty sure my decision would not change even if I had.
What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Probably modern adult classics like Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver, Jonathan Safran Foer, Joseph Heller... and on and on. Luckily I have all of their books on my TBR shelf!
What is your favorite novel?
If I had to go with just one, it'd be Austen's Pride and Prejudice. She wrote it two centuries ago and it's still my favorite. That's a crazy accomplishment for a classic.
What is your favorite play?
Difficult. I enjoy a lot of them. The existentialists were bizarre. But probably Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. In 12th grade English I did an assignment where we had to write one more scene to the ending. I loved doing that, and finding out all the symbolism.
What is your favorite poem?
Lots of short ones, but a longer one would probably be Tennyson's "Lady of Shalott," if only because Megan Follows performs it so brilliantly as Anne Shirley in the movie.
What is your favorite essay?
I mean, I haven't really read much, but probably "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift. Come on, when a man writes intelligently satirizing eating babies as the solution to world overpopulation, you can't but love it.
What is your favorite short story?
I really like "The Wonderful Tale of Henry Sugar" by Roald Dahl, even though the anthology it was in scared me when I was younger. That man is crazy!
What is your favorite non-fiction?
The Overachievers by Alexandra Robbins. A heartbreaking, eye-opening, and shocking look into what high schoolers will do to get into the "elite" colleges.
What is your favorite graphic novel?
I don't really read graphic novels... I read manga sometimes? For manga I like Marmalade Boy and Absolute Boyfriend. I'm absolutely girly when it comes to my manga.
What is your favorite science fiction?
Depends on what you label as science fiction. I'll just go with Ender's Game, to be fair and to avoid too much head-hurting.
I read one called Gift Hands by Ben Carson that I really enjoyed. First They Killed My Father is an account of a Cambodian childhood. And Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah should be a must-read for every middle schooler.
Favorite History/Historical Novel?
When I was younger I read Ann Rinaldi's The Second Bend in the River over and over again. Tecum-theh! Tecum-theh! And Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years in Laura Ingalls Wilder's series are my favorites.
Favorite mystery or noir?
Mmm... I don't read much in that genre... uh, Dan... Brown? His Robert Langdon books are good for one-time reads.
I don't read much romance, but I'm recently getting into Gena Showalter's paranormal romances. They're pretty awesome.
Favourite teen book?
*in Cockney accent* Difficult to say, me friend. Er, maybe The Hunger Games. But then again, it might be because that's the one that's been on my mind the most throughout this whole post...
Who is your favourite writer?
I admire Sarah Dessen, Robin McKinley, Megan McCafferty, and Beth Kephart, among many others.
Who is the most over rated writer alive today?
Well, Faulkner's dead, so... is Salinger still alive? Cuz I hated The Catcher in the Rye. What a whiny, useless, foul-mouthed protagonist.
What are you reading right now?Purple Heart
by Patricia McCormickWhat book do you wish someone wrote so you could read it?
I want a Jessica Darling-like character who's Asian. I think we need a kick-ass Asian protagonist with the wit and snark of Jessica. Actually, I just think we need some more Asian main characters in YA lit in general, who are not going through an identity crisis of the racial bent.