Even though I give you three book recommendations every month, I also love answering questions about reading and books. I saw Kirsti did a Q&A about books that were different than questions I'd answered before, so I'm going to go through the same questions and share my answers.
Favorite book cover?
Then they went and renamed the book and gave it a cover with Post-Its or something.
What are you reading right now?
On audiobook, I'm listening to The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. On my Kindle, I'm reading The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
Do you have any idea what you'll read when you're done with that?
Yeah, I have to read The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin for my local book club. Then I have How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, recommended here, ready to go on audiobook.
What five books have you always wanted to read but haven't got round to?
This is challenging, as I have 100 books on my to-read list now (which I think you can see on my Goodreads profile). The ones that have been on there the longest aren't necessarily the ones I've wanted to read for the longest, they're just the ones I could remember when I first created an account earlier this year.
Probably the ones I've had on my to-read list for the longest time are
- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
- The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
- The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by Paul Zindel
- Roots by Alex Haley
What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
Mike used his expiring airline miles last year to subscribe to three: TIME, Entertainment Weekly, and Sports Illustrated. So we've got a bunch of those in our bathroom; the trick is getting him to get rid of the old ones before they spill out of the magazine holder we have in there.
What's the worst book you've ever read?
Another difficult one. I abandoned 90 Minutes in Heaven because it was completely unconvincing and the majority of the book was just excruciating detail about his physical recovery from the accident that "killed" him. Of books I've actually finished, I have quite a few 1-star ratings in my Goodreads (meaning "I hated it"), but I hate them all for different reasons.
The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt may take the cake for the worst; besides just being badly edited, the book basically consisted of creating far more characters than anyone could keep track of, then having everyone have sex with one another for most of the book, and then killing off most of the characters at the end. I also hated Wicked by Gregory Maguire for having zero plot resolution (disappointing when the musical is so intricately plotted and cleverly worded) and The Younger Gods by David Eddings, book 4 of The Dreamers series, for being the worst series resolution I've ever read.
What book seemed really popular but you didn't like it?
Definitely more than one on this one:
- The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (this one was OK)
What's the one book you always recommend to just about anyone?
Books that I recommend often in the course of conversation are 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam, Quiet by Susan Cain, The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, and Ask for It by Linda Babcok and Sara Laschever. If people specifically ask for fiction recommendations, though, I'll recommend The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, or the Belgariad and Mallorean series (starting with Pawn of Prophecy) by David Eddings.
What are your three favorite poems?
Not sure I can narrow it to just three poems, but I've previously shared my three favorite poets!
Where do you usually get your books?
The library, in particular the OverDrive/Library2Go digital system. Just a couple clicks and a new ebook is sent right to my Kindle, or downloaded to put into my iTunes. So laziness tends to prevail in which book I read next. Now that the campus library's back open, though, I may start picking up books from there on my way home from work.
When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
Like Kirsti said, "Read All The Things All The Time?" I'd get a big stack of books from the library and blaze through them. Mysteries were my favorite for a long time; I think that phase finally petered out once I'd read Agatha Christie's complete works.
What's the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was too good to put down?
I can't remember when I last stayed up super-late reading, but the last book to really absorb me was probably Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Before that, I couldn't put down the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.
Have you ever "faked" reading a book?
No, and in fact, I found out near my college graduation that I was one of the few people (if not the only person) who did all of the reading for my scholars program; apparently since I participated in class so much, everyone was just taking cues from me what the book was about and adding their own commentary accordingly. I had no idea until a bunch of them told me. It would not have occurred to me to even try that -- I'd be too worried about getting caught.
Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Not for a long time -- I rarely buy books nowadays unless I've read them already and want my own copy. But I have picked up library books based on the cover/title, including Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog and I Had Brain Surgery, What's Your Excuse? by Suzy Becker (both of which are good).
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
I liked the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary, and anything by Roald Dahl.
What book changed your life?
Funny you should ask... Here are three books that literally changed my life.
What is your favorite passage from a book?
I don't think I could pick one favorite. There is one passage that comes to mind from King of the Murgos (part of the Mallorean series) that had my friends and I cracking up for weeks, but as it contains a fantastic plot twist (or maybe "character revelation" is more accurate) I don't want to spoil it. I also entertained my friends in high school by reading the "Sex" passage from Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys. Neither is particularly profound, though; for that, I've started using the Quotes section of Goodreads to record favorite lines and passages.
Who are your top five favorite authors?
Last time I was asked this question, I gave 10, and I think those are still pretty accurate, so here you go:
- William Shakespeare
- Agatha Christie
- David Eddings
- Bill Bryson
- Barbara Kingsolver
- John Green
- J.K. Rowling
- Malcolm Gladwell
- C.S. Lewis
- E.L. Konigsburg
What book has no one heard about but should read?
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield. I don't remember who recommended it to me, but it's incredible. Look for it on an upcoming 3BoT list.
What books are you an "evangelist" for?
Definitely Torn by Justin Lee. I think it's one of the most important books written in the past year about the church in America, which is why I ran a giveaway for seven copies of the book in January.
What are your favorite books by a first-time author?
I was surprised to learn that Jenny Wingfield (The Homecoming of Samuel Lake) was a first-time author. The Help by Kathryn Stockett was also a debut novel. And as much hype as John Green's The Fault in Our Stars has gotten, his first novel, Looking for Alaska, is pretty amazing as well.
What is your favorite classic book?
Probably The Count of Monte Cristo or The Scarlet Pimpernel. I don't remember much about either of them, just that I read both of them in middle school and loved them.
Five other notable mentions?
Have I not named too many books already?? OK, here are five more books that got five-star ratings from me:
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
- A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
Want even MORE book recommendations? Check out my monthly Three Books on Thursday posts, or visit my Goodreads account for more in-depth reviews and recommendations.
What do you think about any of the books mentioned here? If you answer the Q&A, leave a link in comments!
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