Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

55 Book-Related Questions

To get me back in the swing of things after a long book blogging break, I thought I'd answer these bookish questions I found from 2 weeks ago (ugh...this is my attempt at playing catch up) @ Sarah Says.  Here goes...

1. Favorite childhood book?
Curious George, especially Curious George Goes to the Hospital.  I used to plunk myself down by the CG books in my school library and go to town :D

2. What are you reading right now?
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and My Life by Bill Clinton (plugging away occasionally for 8+ months).

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None.  I haven't used the library in some time since my town nearly cut it in half :/

4. Bad book habit?
Creasing the spines of paperbacks.  I don't mean to (really!) but it happens naturally as I read and sometimes they're really deep.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
See #3.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Nope.  I'm not too interested in getting one, either.  I don't have anything against them, per se, but I think nothing tops the real deal.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
Usually one at a time is all I can handle but sometimes I dip into something else if my current read isn't catching on.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Just my reading pace & the number of books!

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Rabbit, Run by John Updike.  I finished it and liked the prose style but I found the characters very empty and the plot was almost nonexistent.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
I've been very fortunate to have read lots of amazing books so far in 2011.  If I had to choose, I would say Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  It's the most important book I've read and every book lover should read it.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Only if someone has highly recommended a book to me that is otherwise not something I would normally pick out myself.  It would have to be a really convincing recommendation ;)

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I'm very open to most genres, fiction & nonfiction.  I love reading literary fiction, modern classics, some bone-dry classics (ha ha), biography, autobiography, even sci-fi, mystery & popular fiction if the book is right for me.

13. Can you read on the bus?
Yes and I love to!

14. Favorite place to read?
Curled up in bed or on the couch.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I've never been asked but after a friend borrowed a DVD from me & didn't return it for a year (!), I'm a bit hesitant to do so unless I know the person very well and live near that person.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
No, I don't like the beat-up look it leaves behind.  I bookmark my spot.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Only if I'm reading the book for work or a course.

18. Not even with text books?
See #17.  Yes, I did highlight, underline or jot in the margins religiously during university.  I had to if I wanted to get anywhere with the readings!

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
I'm only fluent in English.

20. What makes you love a book?
When it's irresistible, when the story makes me think/feel/laugh/cry, when the characters feel like friends or closely relate to myself.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
When I'm asked or it comes up in conversation, I immediately think to the newest A or A+ book I've read.

22. Favorite genre?
Literary fiction.  That's a broad one, but it represents most fiction that is somewhere between populist and classic.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Science fiction.  I love the imagination that oozes out of this genre but I often think to read it last.

24. Favorite biography?
I love Kiss Me Like a Stranger by Gene Wilder, Me by Katharine Hepburn, and Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda.  Those would be considered memoirs or autobiographies, but they count, right? :)

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
I used to read Chicken Soup books in my teens but lately I feel they're mostly money-grabbers.  Not too interested.

26. Favorite cookbook?
The recipes off the box :D  I love my grandma's old recipes and Company's Coming.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen inspires youth and exuberance in the human spirit.  I also really liked A Twist of Lemmon by Chris Lemmon, which spoke eloquently about the parent-child relationship (especially father-son).

28. Favorite reading snack?
I don't normally eat while reading but anything "chocolatey" is an added bonus :)

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Probably Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.  Should have known that not liking The Corrections would foretell my dislike of Freedom.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don't pay much attention to book critics, but I definitely do book bloggers :)  About 95% of the time I agree with the blogger's review of a book.  Sometimes you might feel differently but it's amazing how many people think similarly about a book (either positively or negatively).

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I don't have a problem with giving them.  I'm fair but firm about my opinion and I don't badmouth anyone.  I also tend to keep my C, D & DNF posts short & to the point.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
French would be glorious!  I'd love to read all the romantic writers in their original language.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
In a good way:  The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks.  It was outside my comfort zone but I really enjoyed it.  In a bad way:  The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Anything by James Joyce.  Yikes!

35. Favorite poet?
Poe, Keats, Shakespeare, Percy Shelley.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
See #3.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
I rarely did.  I would renew them to the max before that happened!  I think I might have had to return one once or twice but not often.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Is it even possible to pick just one?  Here's a top 10: Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables), Christopher (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), Morag Gunn (The Diviners), Lizbeth Salander (Millennium trilogy), prot (K-PAX), Hassan (The Kite Runner), McMurphy (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), Leah (The Poisonwood Bible), Duncan Garp (The World According to Garp), Judith (Wild Geese).

39. Favorite fictional villain?
That's another tough one to single out just one favourite.  My top 10 would be:  Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs), Mr. Hyde (Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), Jim Rennie (Under the Dome), August Rosenbluth (Water for Elephants), the Warden ("The Shawshank Redemption" from Different Seasons), Annie Wilkes (Misery), Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), Percy Wetmore (The Green Mile), the cult of Gilead (The Handmaid's Tale), Jack (The Lord of the Flies), Nathan Price (The Poisonwood Bible).

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Anything I'm itching to read at the time from my TBR shelf.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Maybe a week or a few days.  It depends on how busy work & life get :)

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Unfortunately this happens from time to time.  The most recent was Slaughterhouse-Five, which I may pick up again some day.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Usually background noise or the TV if I'm sneaking in some reading during TV commercials (of course, I mute the sound).

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
The Shawshank Redemption, though technically that was a short story.  If you want to be from a specific novel, I would say The Green Mile, ironically both written by Stephen King.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
I found the Roman Polanski version of Macbeth very gruesome and unwatchable.  The Great Gatsby was a pretty dull movie.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Probably between $100-$200, usually a birthday cheque ;)

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Very rarely.  I sometimes read the last sentence of the book (and to be honest, it's never been a big spoiler) but other than that, unless it's nonfiction and I'm mainly interested in a particular topic from the book, I read it from page 1, word 1 on :)

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Boring or nonexistent story, dull, uninteresting characters, not relating to a single character (especially if the preceding two points exist), having no clue what is going on with it & not wanting to find out

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yes, I shelve my books by like authors and genres on my bookshelf, and keep my TBR books on a separate shelf & my nightstand.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I keep all my favourites, any I liked & might like to reread or refer to another time.  Any "meh" or disliked books are given away, boxed for a future garage sale, or donated to amity.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
I feel like I'm avoiding any book or author that is particularly intimidating, such as James Joyce.  Ulysses seems daunting to me.  Also, the major Russian works--War & Peace, Crime & Punishment, Anna Karenina (which I have a copy of but haven't started yet).

52. Name a book that made you angry.
I can't think of a book that made me angry in its entirety, but I have read parts of books that anger me, such as (spoilers ahead--highlight betwen the brackets to read) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Mikael pretty much abandoning Lizbeth at the end) or how Amir treats Hassan in The Kite Runner or how Mrs. Bennet demeans her unmarried daughters in Pride & Prejudice.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.  I was a bit afraid that it would be too dark & depressing but it was quirky, often delightful, and full of fascinating family lore.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Julie & Julia by Julie Powell.  I thought the movie was sweet and lots of fun, but the book was flat, not at all funny, and took itself too seriously.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
People magazine every week :D

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Meme / Monthly Wrap-Up

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

FINALLY!  I'm back on track.  After three weeks with a heavy work schedule and a big side project on family genealogy, I can catch up on my reading.

Books Read in the Last 3 Weeks (2)
(Reviews coming soon)
The Cider House Rules- John Irving
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- J.K. Rowling

Currently Reading
Rebecca- Daphne du Maurier
This is my mom's favourite book and I'm borrowing her copy.  I love the descriptive prose and am intrigued so far.

Next to Read
I'll get back to my challenge books.  Probably something shorter to get my momentum back in check.

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend or Passover.  I can't wait to catch up on all the great books you've read.  Prepare for my comments to appear on old posts :D

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Checking In...

This is just a quick note to say I'm still here and sorry to have disappeared this past week.  Some family & work obligations got in the way and I'm still about 200 pages away from finishing The Cider House Rules, so I may not be able to review it for another week.  My apologies also to those bloggers that I normally send comments to as I haven't read any posts this week, either :(   I'm relieved & thankful that no one has "unfollowed" me because of this absence.  Please don't leave...I'm still here...really! :D  I hope to get back on track as soon as I can.  I hope you'll fill me in on any great books you read and/or reviewed this week that I missed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Blog Hop!

A weekly meme hosted by Jennifer @ Crazy For Books.

This week's question is:

Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you?

Happy April Fools' Day!

I only remember one:  my dad was a science teacher and loves birds in particular.  It was a cold day and way too early in the season for cardinals to fly by, but my mom thought she'd fool him on April 1st.  She put a bright red plastic cardinal on our backyard bird feeder and acted all surprised to find one.  My dad actually believed her and when he saw it, he thought it was real...until he got the binoculars and noticed it wasn't moving :)  Gotcha!

I can't wait to hear all the funny ones you came up with!