Friday, April 3, 2009

A Book Meme

Rebecca over at the Book Lady's Blog has posted a book meme to help us all beat the bad-weather blues. She lives in Virginia, where it rained this morning and is not warm and humid. Here in upstate New York, it's just raining, although it's lessened considerably and the sun is struggling to break through.

I too sometimes lack for blogging inspiration, so here I go!

Hardback, trade paperback, or mass-market paperback? I'll take hardcover if I can get it cheap; otherwise, I prefer trade paperback. Mass-market paperbacks I associate with the "low-brow" stuff, although I do have some great books in that format.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? Independent bookstores! Sometimes I do go to B&N by default, however, as we have no Borders in this area.

Amazon or brick-and-mortar? Tough one. Amazon is way more convenient, no doubt about that, but they've got some sketchiness going on with the reviewing system. But just as the Kindle can never replace real books, nor can Amazon ever replicate the full bookstore experience.

Bookmark or dog-ear? Dog-ear, unless it's a more expensive book with heavy pages. But I'm really not too concerned with pages getting folded. Same thing with the bread: is it really such a big screaming deal if it gets smooshed a bit?

Alphabetize by author, alphabetize by title, or random? First I group them by size (large hardcovers and trade paperbacks, smaller hardcovers and trade paperbacks, then mass-market paperbacks) and then chronological by time period. See, this way I can just look at my bookshelves and see the gradual evolution of Western literature over the course of centuries. History books I keep together.

Keep, throw away, or sell? I'll sell if I can. If not, give away to the local art center's annual used book fair. But really, unless it's totally falling apart, who throws away books?

Keep the dust jacket or toss it? Keep. I was actually very mad that the $27 copy of Jáchym Topol's City Sister Silver I ordered from Amazon came with no dust jacket! I've been meaning to contact them about that.

Read with dust jacket or remove it? With. You can use the flaps as bookmarks.

Short story or novel?
I prefer novels but short stories are cool too.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Uh, neither. Am I the only bookworm on the planet who's never read Harry Potter? (And yet I read Twilight. . .)

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? I try to stop at chapter breaks. If the chapter is really long, I'll wait for a break in the narrative.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"? The first one! ATMOSPHERE! SUSPENSE!

Buy or borrow? Buy, buy, buy! I like to support authors. I really don't use the library that much anymore except to read the magazines.

New or used? Prefer new, but I'll take a used copy if it's in good condition.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations, or browse? Browse. I don't trust the herd. Plus, my reading tastes have gotten progressively obscure.

Tidy ending or cliff hanger? Depends. Cliff hangers often annoy me, but sometimes a tidy ending can be too neat.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading? Whenever the mood hits.

Stand-alone or series? Usually stand-alone, but I do enjoy Star Trek books.

Favorite series? I don't read many series but I love Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. Faye Kellerman's Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus books are a close second.

Favorite children's book? Lois Lowry's The Giver.

Favorite YA book? Like Rebecca, I pretty much skipped YA and went straight to adult fiction. Actually, Rebecca mentioned The Giver for this one. She wasn't sure if it counted as YA and I'm not sure either. Oh well, it's my favorite book aimed at a youthful audience.

Favorite book of which nobody has ever heard? Oh boy, where to begin. A lot of great international literature in translation - check out my master review list or browse the categories. Victor Serge's Unforgiving Years is absolutely stunning. Ferenc Karinthy's Metropole out-Kafkas Kafka. Marguerite Duras's The Sailor from Gibraltar is one of the few romance novels I've actually enjoyed. Esther Tusquet's The Same Sea as Every Summer is about a lesbian love affair, but I found it incredibly sexy even as a straight woman.

Favorite books read last year? I actually did a whole Best/Worst of 2008 list.

Favorite books of all time? In addition to the books mentioned above (two questions ago), there's also Dan Simmons's Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion. A Star Trek novel by Peter David called Vendetta. Ghost in the Shell, an amazing and visionary manga by Masamune Shirow. John Dos Passos's The 42nd Parallel. W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz. Virginia Woolf's The Waves. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

What are you reading right now? I'm almost done with City Sister Silver. First Czech novel I've ever read. Expect a review within the next couple of days.

What are you reading next? A publishing company is going to be sending me a copy of their new Mark Twain book. It's a bunch of his previously-unpublished papers.

Favorite book to recommend to an 11-year-old? Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, especially the third one, High Wizardry.

Favorite book to re-read? Classic Dean Koontz: Phantoms, Winter Moon, Midnight, The Face, Seize the Night. But none of his preachy schmaltz.

Do you ever smell books? Sometimes, but not often.

Do you ever read primary source documents like letters or diaries? Not really, but I'm open to it.

Update: It's raining again!


the_young_dude said...

Weather report: it's raining in Massachusetts too. It's raining EVERYWHERE in America...

Sandra said...

I'm just across the border in Ontario so we had rain all day too.
Interesting way of shelving you have, I'd never have thought of that. I've never read Rowling either. I have two books by Victor Serge but not the one you named. And I recently won a copy of Duras'The Sailor from Gibraltar for the Lost in Translation reading challenge. I read Dan Simmons's Hyperion too. And Conrad's Heart of Darkness is on my all time favourites list as well. I'm impressed by your reading, quite a range for someone young. I must go look at your Best/Worst List. This was a fun meme. I did it too, my post is here:

E. L. Fay said...

Dude: IT'S SNOWING RIGHT NOW! It was 55 degrees yesterday! WTF???

Sandra: I've been wanting to read other Serge books, since Unforgiving Years is just so amazing. I strongly recommend it. My exposure to international literature came last year when I did an internship with Open Letter Press, a publishing company that specializes in it. I hope to write a lot about it on this blog. It's really a shame how few Americans read it (if they read at all . . .). Are things different in Canada?

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