Posted by: Mish | August 22, 2010

BTT Fifty-Five

Booking Through Thursday asks this week:

1. Favorite childhood book?
Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle came to mind first.

2. What are you reading right now?
James Joyce’s Ulysses, Catherynne Valente’s Circumnavigated Fairyland, Ursula Le Guin’s Language of the Night, and Year’s Best Fantasy 3 from Eos Books.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None, I prefer buying books or borrowing from friends.

4. Bad book habit?
Can’t think of any.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

6. Do you have an e-reader?
I occasionally use my palm pilot for old books available through Project Gutenberg. Much to my chagrin I left Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at a friend’s so read all but seven chapters on my palm. I finished it the night before returning, go figure.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
Several, I like having something for different mindsets.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth was okay.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Hmm…either Steven Barnes’ Lion’s Blood, Michael Swanwick’s Iron Dragon’s Daughter, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. They’re really phenomenal and so different from each other.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Rarely, I have a hard enough time reading everything I’d like in my zone.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Just about anything: classic lit, general and speculative fiction, nonfiction.

13. Can you read on the bus?
No, I get carsick. But I can read on an airplane or a boat no matter the conditions.

14. Favorite place to read?
On my bed, in my chair, or a friend’s backyard on the river.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I trust those I’m lending to so don’t feel the need for one.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Not since I was a kid.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Sometimes, though mainly in play scripts.

18.  Not even with text books?
Certainly, highlighting and penning in texts.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

20. What makes you love a book?
Compelling plot, the storytelling and writing, and character development.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
The plot and writing and if I think a person will like something based on their tastes.

22. Favorite genre?
Speculative fiction. I could use a new bookshelf specifically for all the SF/F that’s currently double rowed and stacked.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
I don’t read as much classic literature as I used to, though I’ve been gorging on it this summer.

Favorite biography?
Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman about his father’s experiences during the Holocaust because it reflected those of my relatives and too many others. Read at 14, the graphic novels made a lasting impression.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

26. Favorite cookbook?
The binder of recipes I’ve compiled through the years. It started as a copy of my mom’s collection and grew from there.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
The alternate history Lion’s Blood by Steven Barnes for which I still need to do a proper post. It’s spiritual, emotional, psychological, insightful, moving, better the second time around, a long time favourite, and then some.

28. Favorite reading snack?
I occasionally treat myself to the Chinese buffet and nosh while I read.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Paulo Coehlo’s the Alchemist was raved about by a lot of people, including the friend who highly recommended it, and it wasn’t that great.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don’t pay attention to them so don’t know.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
Honesty is a good policy and if I didn’t like something I’ll say so.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Yiddish. I know some of the basics, but if I were fluent then reading Isaac Bashevis Singer’s and other Yiddish writers’ works would be more enjoyable and colourful. A lazy, good for nothing just doesn’t have the same ring as schlimazel nor does clumsy jerk instead of schlimiel.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
If I can survive James Joyce’s Ulysses I can read anything. I finally made the 300 page benchmark, only 450 pages to go.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
It was Ulysses, but the runner up would be Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

35. Favorite Poet?
Robert Frost who wrote my favourite poem, “the Road Not Taken”:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

I had the unexpected pleasure of visiting his house turned museum and grave site in southern Vermont last summer.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
I don’t think ever.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Kai from Lion’s Blood. He’s a bit self-serving at times, but he questions, struggles, and grows.

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Count Fosco from the Woman in White is the epitome of evil brilliance, plus he’s quite the character.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
One or three from the Dread Pile o’Reads that’s been waiting in the queue.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Maybe 48 hours.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Gone With the Wind when I was about 16. I got distracted by school and assigned reading and never finished the last two or three hundred pages.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
MysTic when she walks in front of the pages.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Frankenstein directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh with Robert DeNiro, Helena Bonham Carter, and Aidan Quinn. Seeing it again recently reminded me I hadn’t read the book. Aside from omitting a few minor scenes and characters, it stays true to the book. Plus it has a great cast.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Wizard of Earthsea was a butchering of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea books.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Probably $100 once or twice.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Once in awhile if it’s a book that just happens to catch my eye while browsing and I’m not familiar with the author.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
An apocalypse, I usually finish what I started.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

Yes, it makes it easier to find something. Bookshelf 1: General fiction, Mercedes Lackey, speculative fiction, esoteric books by subject. Bookshelf 2: Classic literature, plays, art, non-fiction, reference, college texts by subject, theatre texts by subject on the bottom because they’re the heaviest. Cookbooks are basically sorted by cuisine on the baker’s rack in the kitchen.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Keep them for my personal library, but I’ve gotten better at getting rid of books I don’t really feel the need to keep.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Harry Potter because of all the hype and having several other books/series that take priority. After an interesting conversation with a friend who forced me to take them I have the first four books on my shelves. When I’ll actually get to them, I dunno.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
The Treasure Box by the preachy bigot Orson Scott Card. I’d never been so tempted to throw a book against the wall as with “Soap Box”.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
I had a vague idea that I would like Moby Dick, but was surprised at how much I did.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Until “Soap Box” I thoroughly liked what I’d read by Card, a couple of his works are among my favourites, so it was a huge disappointment that pissed me off- still does.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
I never feel guilty when reading and it’s always for pleasure.



  1. I just finished re-reading the 2010 Newbery Medal book, When You Read Me, and it referenced A Wrinkle in Time a lot. The book I read is excellent, and very much deserves the medal. I’d be curious as to what you would think of the book considering how much you liked A Wrinkle in Time – a book I have never read.

    The library is becoming my number one source for books, but my first love is buying them…for sure.

    1984 is a book that I stated at the beginning of the year that I should read. I keep forgetting about it though…I should get it into my possession so that I remember.
    Oh yeah, I need to read Iron Dragon’s Daughter. Okay…putting these on my list of books I would like to try and read this fall.

    I think it is great that you copied your Mom’s recipe collection. I need to do something along this line for my son who just moved into his first apartment…list out our most favorite meals, the ones that are easy to make.

    I love the way you organize your bookshelves. I organize mine in a similar fashion.

    Have you read Orson Scott Card’s book, Enchantment? I did and really enjoyed the read. I have thought of reading more books by him, but have not….yet.

    Loved reading this post! It was fun.

  2. Who’s the author? I can’t seem to find it. I re-read A Wrinkle in Time a few years ago and still really liked it. As a kid it was a cool story and as an adult I understood more of the concepts (like tesseracts). I’d like to re-read the rest of the series too.

    You really don’t want to forget about 1984 or Iron Dragon’s Daughter. I’m curious what you think of them.

    I’m glad you liked Enchantment, I’ve no interest in reading it nor any of his fantasy after Treasure Box- the worst by Card that I’ve read. I think his strengths lie in science fiction. His short story “Unaccompanied Sonata” was eerily awesome, brilliant, and my Card introduction. I absolutely loved Ender’s Game and its sequel, Speaker for the Dead. I liked his biblical fiction Rebekah, but you would probably like it more. There’s the rub, I usually love Card’s writing, but can’t abide by his ultra-conservative preaching and have no interest in supporting him. There are artists I like as people I’d rather finance. I’ll most likely finish the Ender Saga and possibly read more of the Alvin the Maker series (alternate history) and be done with Card. Anyway, those are my suggestions.

  3. When You Reach Me was written by Rebecca Stead. My friend and I are doing a joint review, we are done, but I am waiting to post it until early September as we have another joint review for me to post first. Anyway, if you have interest, and the time, please read the book. I would be very interested to know what you think as compared to Jody and I.

    As I already mentioned, I have not read A Wrinkle In Time but the series is sitting in my closet. The books belong to Jody so I suppose I ought to read them soon to return to her. Do you think you will re-read the series, or is a re-read a passing sort of thought?

    1984 and Iron Dragon’s Daughter was put onto my short list…the list that I keep in my date book so that when I am at the library next, I am going to place a hold on them.

    I just read your review for Rebekah, and you did a great job writing about the book, as usual. It does sound like something I would like to read, especially considering I am reading the Bible. I am going to look into this one. I have thought about reading Ender’s Game but was not certain. Seeing that you liked them a lot, I going to give them a go. Several more books to put on my read list. 😀
    By the way, I did not feel that there were any ultra-conservative preaching in Enchantment from what my memory is telling me. In other words, Enchantment was a neutral book in the sense of his leanings. I can understand why you would not want to finance someone you do not agree with, but maybe one day you will want to read another Card book, if so, I’d be curious as to what you think of Enchantment.
    Thanks for the suggestions.

  4. Ahh, Reach not Read. 😉 I may have to check out the homage to L’Engle. I’ll see if the library has it, I could use some quick n’easy reading.

    I’ll re-read the Time series, when I get them again. I’m bemoaning that I gave them away a few years ago.

    I’m curious what you’ll think of the stack of suggestions- 1984 and all.

  5. Ha…I did not even realize that I put in “read” instead of “reach”. I must have been multi-tasking and saying read or something like that to one of the kids.

    Ugh…I hate when I give away something only to later wish I had it back because I have “need” for it. The one thing good about books that are given away is that for the most part I can get them again even if it is from the library. 😉 My friend Jody, who I read When You Reach Me with wants to read the Time series. We are planning on doing it sometime this fall, and probably write a review or something about it. It would be cool to read them with you as well.

    Okay…1984 is one that I for sure plan on reading at some point during the Fall. I was talking to a friend at work about the book. She listened to it via audiobook and enjoyed it, but I think I’d rather read the book itself.

    I searched for Iron Dragon’s Daughter, it seems that it may be re-released? That sound right? Amazon has it as a pre-order. I checked my library and there is a 1994 edition. Is that the edition you read?

  6. I haven’t given thought to what I’ll be reading in the fall, but could possibly read the Time series then followed by Reach Me.

    I think even if I were one for audio books I’d say read 1984 anyway. It’s one of the top five books I’ve read this year.

    Cool that Dragon’s Daughter book will be re-released. I borrowed the 1994 edition from a friend, but would like my own copy to re-read and lend.

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