We’re having a little more fun this week.
A friend posted this on Facebook, and I stole it, but knew I would be saving it to post to my blog one day when I hadn’t anything else prepared instead of posting it directly to Facebook. Some of the original wording of the questions are NSFW. I have censored them because I know there are school age children reading some of these reviews. You’ll all probably still know what they said.
1. Book you threw across the room (or wanted to):
I have done this to very few books. The only book that I remember having thrown (against the bed a foot or so away from me) is Cassandra Clare’s City of Glass.
2. If someone reeeeaaaally loves this book, you’ll never be friends:
I’m really struggling with this one, because some of the worst books that I have read have been loved by good friends. And some books that I dislike on principle but have never actually read, like ones in genres that I just am not interested in even trying (sports nonfiction, say, or business books), have been loved by friends too.
I think it pretty safe to say that if a person absolutely adores some of BS books put out by those praising the current US president and tearing down his “enemies,” we likely won’t be more than friendly to each other when see each other in passing and only then if we never start actually discussing politics or worldviews. The cover of Glenn Beck’s latest book (Arguing with Socialists) is disrespectful if not offensive in and of itself, and I’m surprised the publisher let it be printed as such. But admittedly I have not read any of these books (nor do I intend to do so).
3. Longest read:
I’m going to let Goodreads do some of the work for me on this one… According to Goodreads, the longest individual book that I’ve read since 2012 is George R. R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords, clocking in at 1,177 pages.
4. Book that got you through the bad stuff:
This is absolutely the Harry Potter series for me. I’m rereading it now. For reasons. Things are bad again. Globally.
5a. Scared the s*** out of you:
I tend to avoid books that are likely to frighten me as a rule. So I can’t say that anything has ever “scared the s*** out” of me. BUT I do remember that after reading Frankenstein for school, even though it didn’t seem frightening as I was reading it, I would feel like I was seeing the monster’s shadow in the forest around our house at night, and I would just… go inside and shut the door and sit in a lit room for a bit.
5b. Unsettled the s*** out of you:
One of my most unsettling recent reads has been Vox by Christina Dalcher for the parallels that I saw in this fictional future America to America in the present. But I was severely unsettled long ago by one particular scene or two in Gregory Maguire’s Wicked because small me was not ready for (READ ON AT YOUR OWN PERIL!) multi-creature, drug-spurred, ropes included sex in that brothel or for chains meant to deform the wearer used on a little girl later. For the scarring it left on my psyche, it definitely deserves a mention here. I remember fairly little of the rest of the book, but that one scene in particular is burned into my memory—and I think has effected some of the backstory for my WIP.
6. You laughed your a** off:
I don’t usually “laugh my a** off” at books either. I sometimes give a little giggle or a snort. Sometimes a single bark. Usually at a line that strikes me as funny in an otherwise not wholly funny story. Something I think though I can’t now remember what caused me to bark when I was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the other night. It might have been some claim about the Ministry’s competency. I do have books that I read because I think that they are funny and which really haven’t much value besides: Books from the Wayside School collection by Louis Sachar, Roddy Doyle’s The Giggler Treatment, and Meet Mr Mulliner by P. G. Wodehouse.
7: Movie version was also good:
My favorite adaptation (of a book that I’ve read because I’m taking that “also” seriously) is I think actually Ever After, which is a “Cinderella” story.
8: Author(s) that can do no wrong:
This is Rick Riordan right now because he is learning. His first kids’ series was about a biracial family with siblings who don’t look alike, but his second series was rather assumed-white and cis and het. But the third and fourth and fifth have proved more diverse in every way. And though I’ve not enjoyed the most recent series as much for its style, I’ve been proud of some of his bold plot choices. And he has stepped out of the way. He has also started an imprint to uplift other writers with similar styles writing about living mythologies about which they are knowledgeable and he is not.
9: Guilty pleasure read you’re willing to admit:
You know what I feel guiltiest about is re-reading the same few series when I have so many new friends waiting in the house to be discovered….
10: Best smut:
I’m asexual and probably not the one to judge. I used to read some of Nora Roberts’ more fantastical series because friends were reading them and I enjoyed the characters and the plots and the romantic side of the relationships if not the scenes where things were more physical (which are usually in hers only a few pages per book anyway). Three Sisters’ Island was my favorite trilogy, mostly because I aspired to the bookstore/cafe that the protagonists co-own. Once upon a time, those friends alongside whom I was reading those books and I thought that such a shop was our destiny too. I’ve not entirely given up the dream.
11: True Crime:
Not my genre. I don’t think I have ever read one.
12. Kids Book:
I’m going to interpret this more specifically as a picture book because most of my answers to these questions have already been kids’ books. And my favorite picture book right now is Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima.
13: If someone wants to know you, read:
I feel like this has to be Harry Potter again because it was so foundational to my childhood and teen years.
14: Life can neatly be divided into before this book and after this book:
…Ah, still probably Harry Potter.
15: Eye-opening true story:
I read so few nonfiction books… and most that I do read are mythology collections and studies…. So we’re going to reach way back and call up the ghost of a class on children’s literature and a book called From Instruction to Delight, which traces the evolution of society’s way of thinking about children and childhood through the books that are written for that age beginning in the 1500s and going up through 1850. I hadn’t really realized how recent childhood is as a concept.
16: Book you’ve tried to read at least three times:
Though I am ashamed to admit it, Andrew Peterson’s final book in The Wingfeather Saga, The Warden and the Wolf King has made it from my bookshelves to my bedside table at least three times since its release in 2014 without my having finished it yet—not because it is a bad book. It doesn’t seem to be, and I enjoy it whenever I pick it up again (though I do have my quibbles), but I am still only 45% of the way through it. Something else always comes along and distracts me. It’s on my bedside table again now, but I haven’t actually read any of it since December 2018, and it really ought already to be back on the bookshelf, awaiting a time when I decide to try again to defeat Gnag the Nameless.
17: Worst book recommendation anyone ever gave you:
Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.
18: Popular author with hidden depths:
I feel like this has got to be Rick Riordan again. You think you’re buying an action-adventure story based on Norse mythology. What you don’t expect is the crash course on what it’s like to be homeless in Boston in the winter or on what it means to fast for Ramadan or what it means to identify as genderfluid or the few words of ASL that Riordan describes well enough to be tried.
19: Best book you studied in school:
There’re actually a few to narrow down: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Odyssey, Little Women, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Beloved, As I Lay Dying, Virginia Hamilton’s collection The People Could Fly, Maria Tatar’s The Classic Fairy Tales, ha! I technically did take a class that required Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
By the time Harry Potter was required, I cut myself some slack and relied on previous readings rather than reading it for class, and it had already influenced me (and I recognize that it is not the best written among that set). I think To Kill a Mockingbird had the most profound influence on me as a book that I was reading first for class. The book that I read for class that I’m proudest to have finished is the full translation of The Odyssey by Robert Fitzgerald. That’s my brag book. Partially because I attended a different high school my freshman year than I did sophomore-senior year, and the first school that I attended read the full translation, while at the second freshmen only read a few short selections from a textbook, so it did feel like something that I could brag about, something that I had done that the my peers had not. But I also enjoyed it, and I enjoy having the knowledge of it now.
20: Fave short story:
My favorite short story may actually be “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” (that’s it; that’s the entirety of the text) because of what it is able to accomplish in SO little and because of the challenge that it issues. The story is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway, but it seems that the idea of this ad as a story predates him.
If we’re refusing to allow flash fiction, then my favorite short story is probably Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Lightning Tree” which was published in the anthology Rogues edited by George R. R. Martin. I like it because I like being in that world and that town and I like the focus on the children who are absolutely invisible in the larger novels of Rothfuss’ once Kvothe matures out of childhood himself, but I love it because of my memories of a being on a beach with two friends while one of them read it aloud to the other two of us, of playing in the ocean between sections, and of wandering down the boardwalk, trying to escape the sun and the heat.
21: Most beautiful writing:
I aspire to write like Patrick Rothfuss.
22: Favorite novel:
I may just have to choose Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix here. It’s my favorite of those 7.
23: Favorite short story collection:
Maria Tatar’s The Classic Fairy Tales is a fantastically put together collection of fairy tales organized by tale type so that stories resembling, say, “Cinderella” or “Bluebeard” are side by side despite their countries of origin, allowing for an easy comparison of cultures and tales of the same type with introductions to each tale type by Tatar. This collection includes folktales with and without known attribution, a wide collection from different countries, and includes a few modern retellings by authors like Roald Dahl and Margaret Atwood.
Please feel free to take this questionnaire and format it for whatever social media platform you use. I’m afraid I don’t know who to credit with its origin. Ping back to me if you do fill one of these out. I would love to read some more.