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January 17, 2014

an awful lot of bookish questions


This has been floating about recently (well, last month...ish) on The Penslayer and Tea and Bree and other such lovlies.  It looked like a proper waste of time fun, and you know how I love boring you all with lengthy answers to lengthy questions.  So I'm going to bore you now. 

1.  Your favourite book as a child?  The Chronicles of Narnia are the approximate origin of my love of words.  I was 7 and a half when I reluctantly took my fingers out of my ears and let mom try to hammer literacy into my stubborn head.  Tangible things (like play-doh, for instance) and pictures were the thing for me.  I didn't words.  Words were boring.  But then Narnia showed me that words could be pictures, play-doh, whole worlds, and other things besides.  They were the the door at the back of the wardobe into books for me, really.  I still love them like I love few other things.  Then, besides that, the Lara and the Grey Mare series were a close second, and who didn't love Magic Tree House?

2.  What are you reading right now?  The Harp of the Grey Rose by Charles de Lint.  It's been sitting unopened on my shelf since my birthday last year.  It was high time I read it.  It's reminiscent of The Chronicles of Prydain, but not so humourous.

3.  What books do you have on request at the library?  
None, at the moment.  Don't tempt me.  I've far too many to read at home.

4.  Bad book habit.  
My aversion to required reading.  I'll choose to read Dickens, Shakespeare, Dante, or whatever, and I'll give it my best go.  But if you told me that I had to read it, my brain would automatically place that book on my mental Shelf of Supreme Archenemies.  

5.  What do you currently have checked out from your library?  
Not a one.  

6.  Do you have an e-reader?  No.  But I really wouldn't mind one.  

7.  Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or do you tend to read several at once?  
I am equipped with a mind notoriously one-tracked.  I don't have the ability to give any sort of proper attention to two books at once.  I even have trouble eating and reading at the same time ("You don't know what I suffer!").  So just one, for maximum comfort and efficiency.  

8.  Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?  
Don't think so.  

9.  What was your least favourite book this year?  
Tahn by L.A. Kelly probably.  Which really wasn't bad.  The first half was good.  Then everything got all just sticky-sweet and saintly.  (review)

10.  What was your FAVOURITE book this year?  
(clarification: "this year" means 2013)  The Silmarillion, probably.  That was grand indeed.  The Spear by Louis de Wohl was also nothing short of magnificent.  (review)  De Wohl always is, but this one especially so.  The Silver Branch by Rosemary Sutcliff is wonderful.  Blood Red Horse by K.M. Grant is also noteworthy.  So are The Chronicles of Prydain (I've read the first 3 only). The Screwtape Letters must be mentioned, as a well.  Let's see...anything else?  A Tale of Two Cities and Pride & Prejudice, maybe.  Code Name Verity (review) would be on there if we were counting the books I've read in 2014, as would The Queen of Attolia (review).  They were both brilliant.  Especially Code Name Verity.

11.  How often do you read out of your comfort zone?  If I have one, my reading comfort zone is very large. 

12.  What is your reading comfort zone?  Why didn't you ask this first?  I do tend to stay within the vast and vague confines of historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, the occasional sci-fi (there's barely any in house, so I'm a touch deprived), and classics.  I don't seem to have read much YA, or thriller/adventure/action/suspense/whatever you call that sort, but I'll read anything that looks like it might be worth my time, really.  

13.  Can you read in the car?  
One line of text used to be enough to make me feel sick for hours, but now I can read quite well in the car (most days, anyway).  That makes life so much more convenient.

14.  Where is your favourite place to read?  
Propped up on a pillow in the corner of my bed is ideal, but busy restaurants, packed malls, and social events are almost as good.

15.  What is your policy on book-lending?  
Don't wreck it any worse than I would and you may just see your next birthday.

16.  Do you ever dog-ear in books?  
Only by accident.  

17.  Do you ever write in the margins of your books?  
I don't have the sort of soul that lets me write in books and then sleep at night.

18.  What about text books?  
If it's a math book, I'm suddenly Michelangelo and Shakespeare all at once, but even textbooks don't get written in much.

19.  What is your favourite language to read in?  I have a special sort of fondness for being able to understand what I'm reading, so English usually works just fine.

20.  What makes you love a book?  
Vivid prose, real characters, and an engaging plot are the main aspects.  It if it makes me see colours, or really think, or bite my lip in concern, or gasp in surprise, or choke with laughter, that's a beautiful thing.  If I need to stay up 'til 2:30 because I just can't let it go, I applaud it.  

21.  What would inspire you to recommend a book?  If I love it, I'll recommend it.  And I guess, even if I didn't really like it, I'll recommend it to someone if I think they might.

22.  What is your favourite genre?  Historical fiction and fantasy both deserve that position.

Where do I want to go today?
23.  What is a genre you rarely read but wish that you did?  Science fiction.  I be sore deprived. 
24.  Favourite biography?  Haven't read many of those that can strictly be called biographies, to be honest.

25.  Have you ever read a self-help book?  
Not really.

26.  Favourite cookbook?  Ah.  Cookbooks.  The books for cooking.  The books chosen especially to cook things.  Cook's books.  Those books.

27.  What is the most inspirational book you have read this year?  The Spear, I guess.
28.  Favourite reading snack?  Chocolate.  But anything works.  
29.  Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.  I do so hate to admit it, but I rather think I would have appreciated The Hunger Games more if it wasn't the world's current obsession-point.
30.  How often do you agree with critics about a book?  Well, there are good and bad reviews of every book, aren't there?  

31.  How do you feel about giving negative reviews?  Perfectly fine, actually.  I don't like to bash a book.  People put hard work into writing that book.  But if I don't like it, I have nary a qualm about being brutally honest.

32.  If you could read a foreign language, which would you choose?  French would be useful.  Latin would be cool.  Greek would be fantastic.  German would be brilliant.  Anglo Saxon would be magnificent.  

33.  What was the most intimidating book you've ever read?  The Lord of Rings.  To my 12-year-old self it was a veritable walk to Mordor and back again.  I was not at all the sort of reader I am now.  It took me a most of a year.  

34.  What is the most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin?  Les Misérables is daunting, to say the very least.

35.  Who is your favourite poet?  I'm not overly well-versed in poetry, to be honest.  But I do like Robert Frost.  And I love Tolkien's poetry. 

36.  On average, how many books do you have checked out of the library at any given time?  Usually around 3 or 4, when I do have any checked out. 

37.  How often do you return books to the library unread?  Only very seldom.

38.  Who are your favourite fictional characters?  Oh dear.  This question.  Faramir, Aragorn, Samwise Gamgee, and Éowyn (LOTR), Sir Percy (The Scarlet Pimpernel), Sydney Carton (Tale of Two Cities), Justin (The Silver Branch), Eugenides (The Queen's Thief), Edmund, Puddleglum, Lucy, Reepicheep, and Eustace (Narnia), Halt (Ranger's Apprentice), Sherlock Holmes, Beleg (The Children of Húrin/The Silmarillion), Elizabeth Bennett (P&P), Rudy Steiner and Max Vanderburg (The Book Thief), Anne With An E, maybe Julie Beaufort-Stuart (Code Name Verity), and possibly Uli von der Flue (The Golden Thread) are all on the large list of characters that infested themselves in my heart.  And those are just the ones from books.  

39.  Who is your favourite fictional villain?  If were just talking books (which we are), Smaug and Jadis are both pretty excellent.  I don't know... I have more favourite villains from the screen.

40.  What are the books you are most likely to take on vacation?  Something easy and fun.  A P.G. Wodehouse or Ranger's Apprentice will do.  Or Narnia.

41.  What is the longest you have gone without reading?  I used to go weeks and months in between books.

42.  Name a book that you could not or would not finish.  There are a few mediocre books my sister has taken out of the library and I never got through, but the most notable case I Just Can't Finish is The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.  After a month I had just dragged myself to the halfway point.  Then I had to stop.  I don't ever remember being so bored.  But everyone else seems to have found it thrilling.  I'm so confused.  Maybe I'll give it another go someday.

43.  What distracts you easily when you're reading?  Some days I can really zone out of the world and get well and truly lost in a book and can only be brought ought by death in the family or french fries, but other days I have the attention span of a dog in room full of squirrels.  

44.  What is your favourite film adaptation of a novel?  The Lord of the RingsThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Pride & Prejudice 1995 are my favourites.  Not to mention The Scarlet Pimpernel 1982.  I also really like The Eagle.  The Book Thief was really, really good.  I love Sense & Sensibility 2008.  The Hobbit: AUJ is excellent (and I don't actually hate DOS) but it's not notably brilliant as an adaptation. 

45.  What is the most disappointing film adaptation?  Ugh.  There are so many.  

46.  What is the most money you have spent in a bookstore at one go?  I'm not a huge spender at bookstores, to be unreservedly honest.  My Christmas and birthday lists are usually made up almost entirely of books, and when people don't know what to get me, they generally opt for a Chapters giftcard.  So I can usually walk into bookstore and only spend around $15 (besides giftcards).

Love this
47.  How often do you skim a book before reading it?  Several times, generally.  I put way too much time and thought into choosing a book to read.  I really do.

48.  What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?  If it's incredibly dull.  Like, so dull, I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of bleak, grey dullness.  Or excessively inappropriate.  

49.  Do you like to keep your books organized?  They must be organized.  By genre and by author.  

50.  Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you're done with them?  If I really don't like it, then I might let a used-book store have it.  But if it's really pretty, I might just keep it anyway.  It looks good on my shelf, you know.

51.  Are there any books you've been avoiding?  Thick-as-a-brick classic literature and extremely popular YA novels, collectively.

52.  Name a book that made you angry.  Mockingjay is the only book I remember ever actually throwing violently on the floor.  Boggs got blown up, Prim got blown up, Finnick got his head bloody ripped off... Not that I didn't like it.  I did.  But bloody heck.  

53.  A book you didn't expect to like, but did?  Little Women (aggressively shoved at me by Mater), Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter (again with the aggressive shoving), The Golden Thread by Louis de Wohl (I was sure it was going to be boring...which I guess it was, technically   grandma told me as much when I aggressively shoved it at her (aggressive shoving runs in the family, apparently), but de Wohl does his characters in such a way it's a delight to behold) all rather snuck up on me from behind.  Oh, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was brilliant.  I wasn't expecting brilliant.  

54.  How about a book you expected to like, but didn't?  I barely pulled myself through Robin Hood by Henry Gilbert, I was surprised to find.  The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw was drudgery, in stark contrast to Mara: Daughter of the Nile, which is one of my favourite books.  I loved Around the World In 80 Days and couldn't put it down, but 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, though cool as all heck, d r a g g e d o n f o r e v  e   r.  Same story with El Dorado by Emmuska Orczy (one of the sequels of The Scarlet Pimpernel).

55.  Favourite guilt-free pleasure reading?  Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan.  Hilarious and cheering.  The character relationships are the  b  e  s  t.  And Heist Society by Ally Carter, as well as the Kingdom and Knights of Arrathtrae series by Chuck Black.  


  1. I loved reading this post. :) We've read a lot of the same books!


  2. Hehe...this was brilliant. Your book lending habits are very kind and considerate. I also have a tendency to love English. I'm weird that way, too.

  3. The Eagle? As in the Jamie Bell Eagle? Is that a book? It would be brilliant if it was a book, because then I could read it while I am waiting to get my hands on the movie.

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, aw, I love Narnia.

    1. Yes! The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. 'Tis brilliant. You should read it. You should read it now.

    2. I got the recommendation on Goodreads! Thank you so much for sending it to me! I am going to see if I can find it at my library

  4. It's been ages since I've had time to read blogs, but I popped by yours today and completely loved this post. Your answers are genius! I hope you wouldn't mind if I borrowed the questions for my blog... I'll link back to your post! :)