RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

Cold Case is on in half an hour. Until then, book survey!

at least, I think it's interesting.  This has been sitting on my computer for a while, thought I'd finally fill it out.  Upon closer inspection, I think it may be a compilation of multiple book surveys in an attempt to make it longer.  I do that a lot.  Anyway... 

All About Books!

Number of books I own…
*runs to count* Well…my personal bookshelf contains 272 titles.  But were you to add in the books on the living room shelves, in my parents’ room, my brother’s room, the basement box, and the attic boxes, I bet our family could crack a thousand.

The last book I bought...
Dark Sunshine, $2 I think, at a used bookstore.  Not counting textbooks, right?  Because most of those are so boring and/or irritating that I try not to realize I’ve actually spent money to own them.

The last book I read (and finished)...
Hit by a Farm:  How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn – Catherine Friend.  A memoir about jumping from children’s book author to farmer (mostly sheep).

The five books that meant the most to me...
I'd like to say I have no idea, because there are so many, but in the interest of providing SOME answer, I'll go with...

1. Harry Potter series - about the only phenomenon that I ever got on board with right from the start.  Better yet, I grew up with it.  Perfect, really.

2. Black Beauty - still the standard by which I hold all horse stories

3. The James Herriot books (All Creatures Great and Small, etc.) them for the first time at my best friend's house, when she lived in the country...I don't talk to her anymore, but whenever I read them I'm spun back into nostalgia.

4. Little Women - I haven't read this in years, but my mom got it for my 9th birthday, convinced I would love it.  Somehow neither the "classics" tag on the cover nor its 500+ pages discouraged me from merrily diving right into it.  I'm sure I'd understand it better now, but even as a kid I know I was enchanted by the story of the sisters.  And cried over Beth.

5. Black Unicorn - Another one that I only read because the aforementioned friend did, and it's still one of the only fantasy novels that I actually enjoy

What book are you reading now?
Nothing; need to hit up the library soon.

How did you learn to read?
I started reading at 4, probably aided by the fact that I attended preschool, and Mom read to me a lot.  She’s quite fond of telling me how she found out I could read, as she was looking at the newspaper and I started sounding out a Bugle Boy Jeans ad.

What foreign languages do you read?
I can pick my way along pretty decently in French.  At least, I could a year ago.  The ability might be gone by now.

What books have you changed your mind about?
Catcher in the Rye, as long as nobody ever makes me read it again, has been removed from my Most Horrible Books In the World list, as time has softened my irritable attitude towards it.

 What 's the funniest book you ever read?
Erm...have to get back to you on that?

What are some of the scariest books you've ever read?
It wasn't THE scariest ever, but there was one Goosebumps book called...uh, I forget the title, but the girl woke up to find her room was on fire and she was trapped.  Eventually she woke up and it was just a nightmare...except it WASN'T, and she was really a ghost.  After I read that book, I was not only afraid to go to bed if my dad was still outside with a campfire burning (because that was how the fire spread in the story), but TO THIS DAY I have an irrational fear that if I leave the house, when I come back I'll find it ablaze. 

Oh, but "Evil in the Attic" was a pretty terrifying one too.  I read it in 3rd grade.  That was probably a mistake on my part.

About how many books do you think you have you read in your life?
Considering the length of the average child’s picture book, coupled with records showing I’ve read about 800 books in the last 6 years, I would venture at least a couple thousand.  (Wow, that sounds scary)

How many books per month do you usually borrow from the library?
Varies extremely, anywhere from 5-20.

How much would you say you've paid in library fines in your life?
No idea...I'd say $50, but it would be a total guess.  Whatever it is, it's mostly thanks to overdue movies, with their shorter rent time, no grace period, and higher fines.

Do you read in bed?

Do you ever read while walking or driving?
Teehee…I used to read while I followed my dad through the grocery store.  I maintain that I can see where I’m going when I read and walk.  I’d read while I walked the dog, if I didn’t fear getting strange looks.  But driving?  Uh, dangerous.

Where is the strangest place you've read a book?
Church.  (I was real ornery when I was little.)  And some people apparently think that the dinner table is a strange place to read. 

Do you listen to audio books?
No…they don’t read quickly enough.

Has anyone ever read aloud to you or you to them? Tell us more.
Mom and Dad read to me (well, mostly just Mom did, because I complained that Dad was boring because he read in a monotone).  I read bedtime stories to the kids I babysat.  And then in first grade, when we were “learning” to read and the teacher made us get in pairs and read aloud to each other for practice, I have funny stories about that…

The story was Sal’s Blueberries. You were supposed to partner up and take turns reading aloud.  My best friend and I, also an early reader, would take our books, read them silently in a few minutes so we could find out the story more quickly, and then we’d hold reading races to see who finished faster (Christine beat me by 3 words), and read backwards, and all manner of amusing things while the room around us struggled to pronounce words.  When the teacher went by, we’d pretend to read slowly too.  I’m not sure why we did that…I think we were afraid of getting in trouble, that she wouldn’t believe us if we said we read it silently.

What book was the most difficult to read?
I’m telling you, The Chosen dragged on forever, and ever, and it was SO boring…

Do you read every word of a book, or skip parts that don't hold your interest?
Well, I don’t read a book if it’s not interesting.  If I find myself skipping pages then I just quit reading entirely.  I can’t skim.

What books do you keep intending to read but put off?
Elizabeth, Captive Princess and Dark Sunshine – I bought them months ago but I keep reading my library books instead of them…oh yes, and I keep telling myself that someday I’ll read Sense and Sensibility and/or Vanity Fair.  On the former, I’ve seen the movie and since I’ve already read and loved Pride and Prejudice, I want to read more Austen.  As for the latter, it’s shelved in the YA fiction section instead of the regular classics, so I figure it can’t be too hard.  Oh!  And Little Men, since I loved Little Women so much...

Do you buy new or used books, paperbacks or hardbacks, leather or collector's items?

Very few books are good enough to be purchased new, although Harry Potter is one of them.  (and some of my textbooks I’m forced to buy new for lack of used ones)  However, in 95% of cases, I want used books both because they’re cheaper and because I like old books, especially if they have inscriptions in them.  It gives them character.  Paperbacks are typically cheaper so I go after them, but I really like vintage books, and those are almost always in hardcover, but they still cost under $5, which is about the price of a brand-new paperback.  Collector’s items are too expensive; however, my lone book dream is to own the complete set of Marguerite Henry’s stories in their 1960’s/70’s hardcover editions, and it would be really neat if one or two of them were signed.

How do you feel about writing in books, dog earing, etc
            I hate dog-earing but I do it anyway, usually without thinking.  I like writing and highlighting in textbooks or class texts, as it’s helpful for discussion, but never in books purchased for personal enjoyment.

What is the first book you remember reading?
Not sure about reading, exactly, but some of my very first kid books included Good Night, Moon and Mog and Me and The Velveteen Rabbit

 Do you lend your books? Ever had to hire Large Louis to get it back for you?
 Who, what, where?  I don’t have enough friends for them to borrow my books, though back in the day I was never shy about asking to borrow THEIR books, especially if they had horse stories I hadn’t read.

What were your favorite books when you were a child?
I was big on the series books: Thoroughbred, Saddle Club, Babysitter’s Club, Boxcar Children, Sweet Valley Twins, Animorphs…but I also snapped up anything by Jim Kjelgaard or Jean Craighead George.  Anything with an animal or an Indian on the front grabbed my interest.

Oh, and when we found some of my mom’s old Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books in my grandparents’ attic…I was obsessed with those too.

What books would you especially recommend to young people?
            Anybody who hasn’t read Black Beauty yet needs to get their butt to a library and check it out, no matter what their age.  Similarly important are Big Red, Misty of Chincoteague, Anne of Green Gables, the Little House on the Prairie series, Witch of Blackbird Pond…  

 Do you ever read the ending first?
NEVER.  How stupid that would be.

Did you ever agree to read the book somebody was pushing on you if they would read one for you in exchange? What were the books?


What frequently recommended books have you been unable to finish?
The Color Purple was not so good.

Which of these world classics did you actually plow through at one time or another in your life?
The Iliad
The Odyssey
The Aeneid
Dante's Inferno
Paradise Lost
Goethe's Faust
War and Peace
Les Miserables
Atlas Shrugged
Moby Dick
Gone with the Wind
Remembrance of Things Past
Churchill's History of England
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Excellent, I’ve never plowed through any of those classics! :D Well, I read parts of all the Greek titles mentioned, but it was a survey course, so…I don’t think it counts.  I only bolded The Iliad because we read a good 75% of it before starting with the excerpts.

What other favorite books of yours are extremely long?
Fire Bringer, Little Women, Harry Potter, and the James Herriot books (All Creatures Great and Small, for example) are the only favorites of mine that top 400 pages.

When is your favorite time to read?
It’s always a good time to read.  Whenever I’ve got books handy, I’m reading.

Where is your favorite place to read?
My bed

What is your favorite quotation?
“She was the girl in the fairy tale sleeping in a prison of thorns and roses… She was suffocated by roses that no one else saw - only their shadows showed on her lips and around her eyes.” –Francesca Lia Block, Weetzie Bat.  I think it was after this book that I coined the phrase “word art” and subsequently determined my favorite style of writing.

Who is your favorite novelist?
Erm…to name a few,

Marguerite Henry
Jim Kjelgaard
John Clement-Davies
Jean Craighead George

Which school-assigned book did you enjoy the most? The Scarlet Letter, beyond compare.  Oh, the imagery…the symbolism…*purrs*

What is the most erotic book you have ever read?
            Hm, if by that you mean “book with the greatest number of pages I had to mentally block out,” that honor wold go to The Mists of Avalon and Wicked.  I have subsequently decided not to trust any fantasy-genre books recommended by my friends. 

If you mean books that cause me to blush and take a cold shower, which I’m pretty sure you do, can’t say I’ve run across any of those yet.  Pretty sure I never will.

And saddest?
I usually cry over any book in which a beloved pet dies or is lost.  The one jumping to mind that I cry over EVERY TIME is The Incredible Journey.  Even though it’s ultimately a happy ending, I tear up at the part where Tao and Luath return but there is no sign of the bulldog. 

What is the most overrated book?
Easy… any book by Toni Morrison, and also The Da Vinci Code.

What is the most underrated book?
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.  It’s listed among the classics-for-purchase in a lot of books (first printing: 1899), but nobody seems to remember it anymore.  :(

Who are your favorite characters?         
Haven't a clue.

Which characters do you hate most?

With which character do you most identify?
The girl whose name escapes me, from The Glass Menagerie.  Laura Wingfield?  Yeah, that's it.

With which character would you most like to have an affair?

Who would be your ideal literary dining companions?
…it’s okay that I’m skipping most of these things, right?  Because I honestly have no idea.  I don’t re-read books that often, despite my desire to own a large collection.

What is the worst screen adaptation?
Goodbye, Mr. Chips. While I was easily swept up in the nostalgia of the novel, I couldn’t stand the movie at all.

What are your favourite poems?
To be perfectly honest, most of the best poems I’ve ever read have been ones written by my classmates, or found on  The only two exceptions coming to mind are Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shallot” and Alfred Noyes’ “The Highwayman.”

What is the oldest book you own?
Treve – Albert Payson Terhune.  1924.

 What is your least favorite book (that you’ve read)?
*springs to action* Have a look at my "Most Horrible Books in the World" list!
The View from Saturday
The Chosen
The Red Pony
The Yearling
A Day No Pigs Would Die
I Am Charlotte Simmons

 Name a classic you should have read, but haven’t:
I have never read anything by Charles Dickens.  Lousy school, hating on British classics… I haven’t read anything by Ernest Hemingway either, but I’m less perturbed by that.

What is the next book you’re going to purchase:
Harry Potter 7, unless I can get myself to Half Price Books before July, in which case it’ll be some sort of vintage animal story, I’m sure.

 What book do you wish you’d written:
The Mystery of Pony Hollow.  It’s a kid’s book, but it’s such an astonishing blend of an animal story with the spooky and paranormal, I can’t get over it.  It’s out of print now, and was never a best seller, but I wish I’d thought of it.

The longest book you’ve ever read:
I’d say Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but I dunno…when you consider font size, I wonder if Crime and Punishment wasn’t worse…or hey, maybe Little Women.

Tags: books, surveys

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