Reader’s meme!

I think I may need to apologise to

 , who had barely posted her version of this one when I swooped down and bore it off delightedly. I did read her post through first, I swear (and enjoyed it besides).

1) The worst reading experience that you have ever had?

A thriller called Birdman, which I gacked off the ‘New’ shelf at the bookstore whilst between mystery series. The first chapter in I was already dry-heaving, but I kept going out of some vague belief that ugliness must somehow = sophisticated. I must’ve been nuts. Just an utterly vile string of sexual vilenesses, beginning with the random subplot in which the hero lives across the way from the paedophile who he suspects – but cannot prove – raped and murdered the hero’s younger brother years ago. No, really. They trade Dark Looks over the fence each evening before bed.

2) The best reading experience you have ever had?

No question. I was ten or so, and it was the end of a long day delivering flyers for the current family business. I’d been hoarding one of the Blish novelisations of Star Trek TOS all the while; which one I forget now, only that I’d recently discovered the series, and regarded them as treasure. Shoemom had bought us candy necklaces in payment – a commodity second only to FunDips on my preteen NASDAQ – and I remember riding home in the fading light of the backseat clutching them and finally, finally cracking open the coolest book ever. Thinking to myself: ‘Years from now, when you’re Very Very Old, you will look back on this as A Perfect Moment.’ And I became very solemn, slurping on sugar beads and contemplating the rarity of perfection. It was wonderful.

3) Which book has affected or influenced you the most so far?

The Bible. From the secular POV, probably any one of the numberless humourists I devoured as a kid. PG Wodehouse and Dave Barry especially, for making me realise it was possible to really, seriously, make someone laugh out loud with words.

4) Have you ever read a book that you got really scared of?

The Book of Lists et seq. No, really. Weirdness affects me more than plain ol’scariness, and the weirdness in these books just ran overwhelmlngly deep and wide and strange. Of course, to a trivia-loving teen they were also as manna, so every now and again I’d scoff bravely and bring a couple home from the library. And then – so help me – I could not bring myself to be in the same room with them after lights out. In my imagination (generally a bit overheated at the best of times) I rose up against nameless Evil itself, in the form of a Ripley’s ripoff sitting on the nightstand. To this day, I don’t bother asking myself if I want to look ’em up on Amazon. I just don’t.

5) What do you use as a bookmark?

Whatever comes to hand, usually; although I have a large collection of those tasselled jobbies, I also tend to start reading new acquisitions on the way home. Hence library tags, train tickets, candy wrappers…I have quite a few purchases from bygone days at the bookstore still marked with their receipts; bright little memory bonuses.

6) When do you usually read? At home, work, while cooking, in the morning, noon, afternoon, before you go to bed…?

Yes. Left in the car while Shoemom runs errands I have been known to haul out the owner’s manual (quite good value, really; you can memorise the Warnings! and mention them innocently at random intersections). During the summer vacation I turned nine, unusually bored, I spent a week reading the dictionary cover to cover.

7) Do you remember the first book that you read?

Oh gosh no. Shoemom claims it was something called Small Pig, which she would read to us all before bed. We worry about this, frankly, because Shoemom is the only one who remembers this book at all. Literally. She goes into these elaborate tangents about which parts we liked best, and we’re nodding and smiling and exchanging covert ‘Does the Home accept credit?’-type glances. It’s all very odd.

8) Which do you prefer – paperback or hardcover?

Hard to say, really. Hardcovers are of course the most satisfying, and they don’t have that frustrating tendency to pull apart at the corners, but they’re not nearly as portable. You pull one out on the subway, people look at you funny.

9) What are you currently reading? What page are you on?

Just finished Lynn Truss’ Talk to the Hand, in which she charts the downfall of Western Civilization past punctuation and on through fundamental manners. (This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.) Oh, and on eBook, Anderson’s Fairy Tales. Also there was that quite good chapter on emergency turn signals while Shoemom was in the dry cleaners yesterday…

10) Do you ever leave "a mark" (deliberate and/or not deliberate) in your books? For example, write in them, underline quotes, coffeemarks or food crumbs and etc.

Noooooo. Hate that. Really hate that. Have gotten into mild amounts of trouble because I refuse to underline important points in Bible study aids. Have unbreakable habit of snacking while I read, so occasional stains, but am immediately overcome with remorse.

11) Does the title, amount of pages and the cover affect you when you are considering a specific book?

Amount of pages, yes. Especially with older novels, in which more pages tends to indicate more supplementary passages detailing the oh-so-fascinating history of convent construction in mediaeval Moldovia, or something. I have avoided Les Miserables for years based on just this reasoning.

12) Do you ever browse through to the last pages in order find out the ending?

Yup. (Up to and including the last Harry Potter novel; didn’t even bother reading the other six, just marched into the local drugstore, checked out the last chapter, and marched out again, satisfied…if a little bemused on the faithful masses’ behalf. I mean, six world-shattering books and suddenly it’s all Happy Hogwarts Days are Here Again?)
Anyway. This habit drives Shoemom absolutely nuts. As I patiently explain to her, though, I have to find out if my favourite characters make it through OK, don’t I? Otherwise, what’s the point? (Mystery novels are an exception, of course. Although I’ve gotten pretty good at – ahem – barely skimming the last page or two, just to make sure the right person didn’t do it…)

13) Has knowing the ending of a book (example, through spoilers or a movie) ever made you decide whether you will read the book or not?

See above.

14) Is there a book that you have read more than five times?

Every book in my personal library – I don’t buy one unless I know I’m going to get best value out of it. So that’s…lemme see here…two hundred fifty or so? Not counting another fifty-odd standing library reorders?

15) Have you ever been in an accident where the book was the cause? (for example, almost getting hit by a car when reading while walking, or having stacks of books falling on you from a bookshelf…)

Look, I worked at a book superstore for five years. That had previously – like, fifty years previously – been a bowling alley. Don’t make me come over there and show you the scars from the woodpecker incident.

16) Do you sell/give away your books or do you keep them, even though you don’t like one of them?

I do periodic purges, usually to secondhand shops. Sometimes I’m gripped with seller’s remorse later (my entire collection of mint Sweet Valley High originals? What was I thinking?!) but most often not.

17) Do you have some kind of book system, where you write down what you are reading, have bought, will read, will buy and etc?

No. I am frankly in awe of people who do stuff like this. Best I have is a vague running mental tally of Stuff I Should Probably Read If I’m Gonna Call Myself Well-Read. Dostoyevsky is on there somewhere. So is Middlemarch.myspace profile view counter

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tree_and_leaf
    Apr 17, 2009 @ 08:47:37

    Middlemarch is awesome. I keep meaning to read some Dostoevsky, because the Archbishop of Canterbury always makes it sound awesome (yes, I’m weird).

    I can’t bear scribbling in Bibles (though it’s not something people go in for at my end of the candle); what’s wrong with a notebook for copying Significant Bits into? Though I suspect that when/ if I end up studying theology, I’ll have to compromise, because I am incapable of academic study without a pencil to write on things. Maybe I can just use a lot of post-its, or something….

  2. tree_and_leaf
    Apr 17, 2009 @ 08:47:37

    Middlemarch is awesome. I keep meaning to read some Dostoevsky, because the Archbishop of Canterbury always makes it sound awesome (yes, I’m weird).

    I can’t bear scribbling in Bibles (though it’s not something people go in for at my end of the candle); what’s wrong with a notebook for copying Significant Bits into? Though I suspect that when/ if I end up studying theology, I’ll have to compromise, because I am incapable of academic study without a pencil to write on things. Maybe I can just use a lot of post-its, or something….

  3. tree_and_leaf
    Apr 17, 2009 @ 08:47:37

    Middlemarch is awesome. I keep meaning to read some Dostoevsky, because the Archbishop of Canterbury always makes it sound awesome (yes, I’m weird).

    I can’t bear scribbling in Bibles (though it’s not something people go in for at my end of the candle); what’s wrong with a notebook for copying Significant Bits into? Though I suspect that when/ if I end up studying theology, I’ll have to compromise, because I am incapable of academic study without a pencil to write on things. Maybe I can just use a lot of post-its, or something….

  4. Trackback: tree_and_leaf
  5. Shoebox
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 03:59:53

    *grin* Hey, if you can’t trust an Archbishop for reading material…

    Yes, post-its are always a fun alternative. I have friends whose Bibles etc are so stuffed with colourful little flutters they look oddly like they’ve just come back from Mardi Gras.

  6. Shoebox
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 03:59:53

    *grin* Hey, if you can’t trust an Archbishop for reading material…

    Yes, post-its are always a fun alternative. I have friends whose Bibles etc are so stuffed with colourful little flutters they look oddly like they’ve just come back from Mardi Gras.

  7. Shoebox
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 03:59:53

    *grin* Hey, if you can’t trust an Archbishop for reading material…

    Yes, post-its are always a fun alternative. I have friends whose Bibles etc are so stuffed with colourful little flutters they look oddly like they’ve just come back from Mardi Gras.

  8. Trackback: Shoebox
  9. personals
    Nov 11, 2014 @ 13:13:13

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