Saturday, February 24, 2007

Read a Book!

My soon-to-be Chief Justice Avitable ran a meme yesterday that looked interesting, so I'd thought I'd steal it, and save myself from having to think up something original today.


Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror? Well, Stephen King is my all-time guilty pleasure, so I'd have to say horror. I'll read all three though, and have great affection for books from each of these genres.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback? I have a lot of trade paperbacks from my "Buck A Book" era, back when you could get decent crap from B-a-B if you paid attention and went in daily. For instance, I've got the entire Richard Nixon library, special edition, in trade paperback. The problem is I'm a re-reader, that is, I find a book I like and I'll read it over and over again, so the paperbacks tend to get a little beat up over time. I do love the feel of a good hardcover, it feels so substantial - so official. But if I'm reading on the train, nothing beats the convenience of a mass market paperback. So put me down for "yes" on all three.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar? You ever notice that bookstores make you pee? I swear to god they're pumping up the humidity or something to make sure you don't just lounge around for hours and read all those wonderful words for free... If I'm after something specific, which is usually the case with the books Wifeypooh needs, we'll go Amazon, or more likely, Barnes and Noble's website, because she has a teacher discount. If I'm just looking to blow a half and hour and find something that will catch my fancy, nothing compares to an actual store.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? B&N for stuff the wife needs, but my lunch hour browsing is done at the local Borders, as the B&N in downtown Boston went bye-bye a couple of months ago.

Hitchhiker or Discworld? I laugh out loud at parts of the Hitchhiker series. Never read Discworld.

Bookmark or Dogear? I'm with Av, I'll use a bookjacket, if the book comes with it. If I own the book, I'll dogear - I don't see it as defacing the book, I see it as a tangible expression of my affection for these books.

Asimov’s Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction? I've only read a couple of Asimov's short stories, and was never too impressed by them. What do you mean by Fantasy & Science Fiction? Color me confused.

Alphabetize by author, Alphabetize by title, or random? I actually separate by genre - fiction, non-fiction, and then by author, usually. But mostly I just throw things around and stack 'em in the corners. My Buck-a-Book era left me with several hundred books I routinely have to hide from the Wife.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell? Keep. I have a copy of the freakin' Bhagavad Gita for goodness sakes...

Keep dust-jacket or toss it? Keep it, until it disintegrates into little bits. Then tape it up and still keep it. Why on earth would you throw it away?

Read with dustjacket or remove it? I use it as a bookmark, so definitely leave it on.

Short story or novel? It really depends on my mood. A short story is like a quick affair, a little peck. A novel is a commitment (well, a commitment for a couple of days on the train, I blow through books pretty quickly). I'll usually read a novel, then do a collection of short stories, then onto the next novel.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Both. Love the movies too, although "The Prisoner of Azkahban" was too short -- although it was very, very good. "Goblet of Fire" was very good, and bodes well for the next one. They're getting darker, and thus I think more richly textured and enjoyable. I loved the art direction for the Lemony Snicket movie, matched the feel of the book's illustrations perfectly.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? Never stop until I need to eat, or sleep.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time?" Ditto Avitable: "Who thinks up these stupid fucking questions?"

Buy or Borrow? Prefer to buy, because I'm lousy at giving back and I always feel bad when I have someone else's books... Plus I forget who I borrowed it from until they angrily confront me, usually at some family event.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse? Recommendations. Wifeypooh's in a book club, and they actually hit upon a good book now and again (The Time Traveler's Wife).

Lewis or Tolkien? Tolkien. I find the Narnia series too thin gruel. (And I like the overblown, pompous language of the Tolkien stuff. So there.)

Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)? Collection. I fall in love with authors and read their entire bodies of work, and then move on.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger? Things have to end. Endings may be ambiguous, but to not end is a cop out, unless there's another book in the series.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading? Train reading. Bathroom reading. Very rarely bed reading anymore, because now that I'm an old fart I fall asleep when I'm tired and in a prone position. Plus, now that I've got someone in bed with me, I've got to use a booklight. When I was a kid I'd stay up all night and read in bed, but that's a thing of the past.

(oh, and if I'm in the middle of a particularly engrossing book, or coming to the end of a book, I'll often sneak off into the can for extended periods... even if I don't really have any other business in there, if you get my drift)

Standalone or Series? Series. I love getting to know a character, and coming back time and time again to visit his or her world.

New or used? Doesn't matter. We go to the library sale each year, when in the last hour you can get buy a grocery-bag's worth of books for two bucks. We'll usually fill four or five bags and walk out with 100 books for ten bucks and have our book needs taken care of for the year.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? Perhaps "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger, although it is a book club favorite and is in being talked about for a movie, so lots of people have heard of it. Hmm... I'm stumped. I can't think of anything I've read lately and would recommend that hasn't been read by everyone and their brother...

Top 5 6 7 favorite genre books of all time? I don't contain my reading to a single genre, and a lot of my reading mixes across genres, so let's try top five favorite Sci Fi / Fantasy / Horror books of all time:
  • Inkheart, Cornelia Funke
  • The Stand, Stephen King
  • The Time Travelers Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery, Various (it's a collection of horror stories for juvenile readers)
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling.
  • The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
  • It, by Stephen King
Favorite genre series? Oh, I have a couple. I love the Potter series, and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, and Stephen King's Castle Rock books, which all seem to go together. Also, of course, the Lemony Snicket series, and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

Currently Reading? I'm currently slogging my way through "The Earth is Flat" by Tom Friedman. It's a 400 pound hardback, so I haven't taken it on the train with me, and what with wives and kids to entertain, I'm stuck reading it five pages at a time. I may be reading this thing forever...

There. That's it. Have a great weekend, and read a book!


Avitable said...

No Dark Tower love?

The fucking Ghostly Gallery series! I used to love those short stories. Boy, that brings back memories.

Kal said...

I've only read the first of the Dark Tower books and couldnLt get into it at the time. But that was 20 years ago, so maybe I should try again.

I did love "The Talisman", which I thought formed the basics for the universe the Dark Tower series inhabits.

There was also a short story in one of his short story collections that took place in the Dark Tower universe, which I thought was wicked cool.

My copy of the Gallery comes from my Mom and was printed in 1962. There's some real neat stories in it, it was my first exposure to "spooky" stories -- although most of them are pretty tame..

Harmonica Man said...

See I could never do this meme because I never get the chance to read. I'm envious of your daily train ride for just that reason - but that'll never happen for me. On a bad day it takes me 10 minutes to get to work. Normally I'm there in 5.

Kal said...

HM: Proof that we're never happy with what we have. I'd kill for those fifteen hours a week back that I spend trudging from one place to another.

Penny said...

Okay, buddy-boy.

If you don't post something soon, it won't matter HOW much money you offer me.

The answer will be NO.

Kal said...

So, P, by that logic, there is a price?

Just wondering... the jackpot's up to 320 million tonight...