Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A - Z Book Survey

A little while ago, My Life as a Teacup posted this little survey and, as I'm a sucker for these kinds of things, I figured I'd fill it in with my answers, too!

photo courtesy the wonderful Emile Frey

Author you've read the most books from:
Jo Rowling (under one of her pennames).  [I've got a feeling she's going to be the answer to many of these questions...]

Best sequel ever: Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card considered a sequel, or a companion novel?  If it's a sequel, I'd say it's one of the best ever, in that it's even more compelling than the original (or, at least, I think Bean is a more awesome character than Ender).  If that doesn't count...then it's hard to decide between the Potter books!  As far as a direct sequel is concerned, Chamber of Secrets is pretty amazing because as a first-time reader, you're not sure if it will hold your interest the same way the original did...and it does!  But the best Potter book is either Prisoner of Azkaban because we're introduced to the best characters ever (the Marauders) or Half-Blood Prince because of Snape's epically tragic life story.

Currently reading:
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, the first in The Mortal Instruments trilogy.  It's actually pretty good!  hopefully I can finish it in the next week so I can publish my monthly book review here on the blog!

Drink of choice while reading:
Hmm...I don't necessarily need a drink with me while I'm reading, but a good mug of hot chocolate makes any situation better.  A pumpkin spiced latte is pretty amazing, too- decaf, of course, in my current condition :)

E-reader or physical book?
Physical book all the way!  I love having a very visible library when you first walk into our house- two entire bookcases full of treasures.  I love the smell of book pages and the feel of a worn-out, well-loved book.  Plus, you can loan a physical book to someone and share your love with them!

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:
Hmm, let's high school, I went for the brooding types who "needed me" to "fix" them- I had sort of a saving-people-thing back then, and boys were my favorite projects.  A school-aged Remus Lupin would've been right up my alley- quiet, bookish, and emotionally needy.  Ender Wiggin could've been a contender, too- dealing with the ramifications of having destroyed an entire intelligent race at the age of 12, he was one messed-up teenager and as long as he told me I was pretty, I would've made it my mission to fix that wounded soul of his, or get lost in his dreamy eyes while trying.  (And yet either of these would've been better choices than most of the fellas I actually dated in high school...)

Glad you gave this book a chance:
Definitely The Great Gatsby.  We read it in 11th grade AP English, along with a slew of other classics and randomly-selected snooze-fests, so I was sure I'd enjoy it as much as I enjoyed The Scarlet Letter- which is to say, not at all.  Obviously I was going to read it anyway- the only book I ever used Cliff Notes for instead of reading in high school was The Crucible because urgh- but I'm glad I was forced to, because it's really an amazing story.  (Not in a "Oh what a sweet, tragic love story!" type of way, more in a "Geez these people are messed up and yet I can't look away from the trainwreck!" type of way.)

Hidden gem book:
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith.  Obviously it's not quite so hidden anymore since we know who the real author is, but as I explained in my review- even if you're not into noir-style crime dramas, it's really a wonderful read with complex characters and an engaging story.

Important moment in your reading life:
It's cheesy, but the day I met Harry Potter changed the way I look at books forever.  My sister had bought the first book at the book fair because all of her friends did, too, but she never actually read it, so it sat on our family bookshelf.  Then a friend of mine did a book report in our advanced English class that was the longest paper she'd ever written because she could not stop gushing about this book and dissecting its story and characters.  Then our 6th grade homeroom teacher popped in a book on CD in the morning before the announcements...a book that started with the line, "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number 4, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."...and I was hooked.  Harry Potter was the first book I read purely because I wanted to- not because it was assigned, or because I needed something to write a book report on, or because somebody told me I should read it- I just read it because I wanted to.   And it opened me up to a world of books that I could read just becausePotter even kindled a passion for foreign languages and Greek and Roman mythology and word etymologies and world history and...everything!  Was I always destined to be a bookish nerd?  Probably, but Potter was the door I walked through to get there.

Just finished:
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Kind of books you won't read:
I don't want to say that I flat out won't read any one genre- if it comes highly recommended, I'll give anything a shot.  I tend to not stray too far outside the sci-fi and fantasy realm, but my library covers all sorts of genres.  I guess the only books I don't read voluntarily are non-fiction- unless it's for a class, or I'm studying a topic intensely (like, say, being pregnant and birthing a child and nursing and raising that child...), I don't go anywhere near the non-fiction section of a bookstore.

Longest book you've ever read:
Um...Atlas Shrugged, I think, as it clocks in at over 1000 pages.  I'm glad I read it, and it is a good book that should be read, but I think Rand could've used a better editor- it didn't need to be that long, honestly.  And maybe I prefer my novels to be more story and less didacticism- by the end, she's beating the reader over the head with her philosophy, rather than letting him figure it out on his own by enjoying the story.  Still, it was very worth reading, and there are definitely more people on my Facebook feed who need to read it...but that's another discussion entirely.

Major book hangover because of:
Untouchable by Scott O'Connor.  The feels, you guys, the feels.  Mr. Geek and I refer to this book as "The Sad Book of Sad"'s sad.  I couldn't read anything else for a few weeks after putting that book down- and I couldn't really do anything else for a few hours afterwards because I just needed a hug.  Read my whole review here.

Number of bookcases you own:
Two, in our front room / library / formal sitting room / whatever you want to call it.  Not all the books are mine, but I think more of them are mine than Mr. Geek's, and we have 2 full shelves of textbooks (plus more in my car that never quite made it into my new office at work...) so they're not both packed with novels.  Plus Chief has her own bookshelf in her room, but her library is quite small at the moment- although it is ever-growing as I stumble upon more childhood classics every time we're in Target or Walmart or any bookstore...

One book you have read multiple times:
The entire Potter series, duh.

Preferred place to read:
I can read anywhere- in bed, on the sofa, curled up in an armchair, near a window on a rainy day, on a plane, in the lobby of a doctor's office, at work over my lunch preferred place to read is anywhere that I can bring a book.

Quote from a book you've read that inspires you:
I guess I can't really claim that the text of an entire book is a quote, so if I have to reduce it to just a few lines, let's go with this:

“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is inprobably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?”
 -The Fault in Our Stars

Reading Regret:
I certainly don't regret any book I've ever read...but I guess I regret not reading The Hobbit sooner.  If I had picked that up instead of the first Lord of the Rings in middle school, I may not have had such a strong distaste for Tolkien in high school and I would have been able to enjoy Middle Earth much longer than just the past year.

Series you started and need to finish:
Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy.  I've only read the first one- I'm selfishly waiting for the second to be released in paperback because, at the moment, I don't feel this is a hardback-worthy series.  (That is, it's not a series I need to own in hardback.  Or want to shell out the money to own in hardback.)  I do intend to finish the series as I'm interested to see where it goes and I enjoy Tris as a character.  I will also definitely be finishing The Mortal Instruments series, as City of Bones has sucked me in.

Three of your all-time favorite books:
Oh dear.  Oh dear dear dear.  Don't make me do this.  Can the Potter series count as one?  Can Orson Scott Card's Shadow series (the books about Bean) count as one?  So if that's just 2 books (heh) then I guess my third choice would be The Fault in Our Stars as it's much easier to pick a favorite John Green book than to pick a favorite Rowling or OSC book :)

Unapologetic fangirl for:
Have you not figured out my Potter obsession yet???  Also, I am unapologetically a fan of Orson Scott Card, though perhaps not a "fangirl"- popular culture has placed such a double standard on him lately for his political beliefs, so it's not cool to be a fan of his work.  There are plenty of authors whose political beliefs I don't agree with- and yet I still enjoy their work.  Get over it.

Very excited for this release more than all the others:
Hmm.  I haven't really craved a book release since Potter ended, but I am looking forward to the rest of the Divergent trilogy- it will be nice to pick up the second one knowing that the series does, in fact, end.

Worst bookish habit:
Um...talking about my favorite books too much?  When I'm really into something, I can get a bit obsessive and over-excited and I'm sure that turns people off.  Oh well :-P

X marks the spot: the 27th book on my shelf:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Our bookcases are arranged sort of arbitrarily, though.  My Fitzgerald books are on the shelves that are alphabetized by author and then title (except for series), but then the bottom shelf of that bookcase is entirely devoted to Tolkien.  The other bookcase has an entire shelf dedicated to Potter, and an entire shelf dedicated to futuristic sci-fi which includes all of my OSC books, The Hunger Games, and Divergent, and then the bottom shelves are text books.  (And cookbooks are sitting on top of this bookcase since I have nowhere else to put them.)

Your latest book purchase:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, for Chief's library.

Zzz-snatcher book (latest book that kept you up way late):
I've spent a couple of nights staying up late to read City of Bones both because I'm really enjoying it and because I'm so freaking pregnant that it's impossible to find a comfortable position to sleep in, so I might as well sit up and read.

Phew, that was quite the survey!  I'd love to read your answers to some or all of these questions, either in the comments or on your own blog.  Do you love books as much as I do?

Much love,
The Geeks


  1. This is the coolest survey! I may have to do it. I completely agree with you about Harry Potter changing your view on books. I loved to read before I picked HP up, but it seriously wasn't the same after. Everything became...more special I guess. I really like the way you mentioned that!

    1. Exactly! I'm not sure it's fair to say I wouldn't have been quite so academic or that I wouldn't have read for pleasure without Potter, but that was definitely the turning point for me, where I started looking at books as entertainment and not just something you did for school. And then the farther I got into the series (and the fandom), the more subjects I wanted to study in order to better understand the infinite layers to Jo's writing. Gah Potter.