lunes, 8 de septiembre de 2014

55 Quirky Questions for Readers

I saw this at Luna's Little Library a couple of weeks ago and it looked interesting, so I'm giving it a try. The questions originated from The Literary Lollipop.

1. Favourite childhood book:
Any tale by Beatrix Potter. I had (and still have!) one of those fancy Complete Tales edition, and might have read it hundreds of times. I had a penchant for traditional fairy tales (The Snow Queen and The Vain Little Mouse were some of my favourites). I also loved Michael Ende's The Neverending Story, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, and Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree StoriesHarry Potter also has a special place in my heart, but it wasn't so much a childhood book as a book I grew up and matured with.

2. What are you reading right now?
Saplings by Noel Streatfeild.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None at the moment.

4. Bad book habit:
I crack the spines. Please don't throw stones at me. It really bothers me when you can't open a book and read it properly. You know, when you have to tilt your head just so in order to read the very last words on each sentence of the left page and the very first words on each sentence of the right page. What is the use of pristine books if I can't read their content? I think that's why I like dust jackets so much - they hide the mess after I'm finished.

5. What do you currently have checked out the library?
The Arachnids by Félix J. Palma, a Spanish author who is a hell of writer and whose short stories never fail to surprise me.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Yes I do, but I don't use it often. It was a thoughtful gift given how much I travel, but I just can't get used to it.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I usually read a couple of books at the same time, one for commuting and one at home.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Hmm. I'm not really sure yet, but I'd say it is helping me read more. It definitely has added a good number of books to my TBR.

9. Least favourite book you read this year:
It has to be a tie between George Martin's A Dance with Dragons and Eva Weaver's The Puppet Boy of Warsaw.

10. Favourite book you read this year:
Nada by Carmen Laforet.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Not that often. Because of that, I'm making a conscious effort this year to branch out, by taking Alison's Reading Outside the Box Challenge.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Classics and litfic, specially if it is has to do with women or World War Two. It also includes a little bit of fantasy, scifi and comics.

13. Can you read on the bus?
I do, and it is really useful. It really helped when my boyfriend and I were on the long-distance phase of our relationship.

14. Favourite place to read:
The sofa or the bed. Ideally, it would be on a hammock, but I'm not so lucky.

15. What's your policy on book lending?
I have a select group of people whom I trust with my books. Outside of them, it's a big no. I keep my books because they remind me of places I've been, people I've met and experiences I've had. A look at my books is a look at my past - much like Proust's madeleine, they are memory triggers. I'd hate losing them.

16. Do you dogear your books?
Never. I even unfold dogeared pages when I find them on library books.

17. Do you write notes in the margins of your books?
I don't unless they are textbooks.

18. Do you crack the spine of your books?
As I answered to question 4, I do it if I can't avoid it.

19. What is your favourite language to read?
I don't think I have a favourite language to read. Maybe English? I also read a fair amount of books in Spanish and a little number of French books, and I love reading them all.

20. What makes you love a book?
It has to speak to my soul as if it was written for me - be it for the subject matter, for how it's handled or how it's written, be it because it's fun and I forget myself in the fun, be it because the characters become friends.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
I tend to recommend books I've liked and which have made me think or have dazzled me with their brilliance.

22. Favourite genre:
I hate labeling. Would classics be a genre, when it encompasses romance, scifi, mystery, bildungsroman and lots more?

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
Contemporary romance and erotica. I am overwhelmed by the quantity of books out there and really don't know where to start. When I have read romance, I have resorted to the classics.

24. Favourite biography:
I haven't read many biographies, but I enjoyed Alison Bechdel's autobiography, Fun Home.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book? (And was it actually helpful?)
I have tried, just to see whether I'd enjoy them, though I highly suspected I wouldn't. I found the majority of self-help books full of useless platitudes, and self-help authors too willing to prey on people insecurities.

26. Favourite cookbook:
Simone Ortega's 1080 recipes. This book was always present at my childhood home, and I learned to cook following these recipes. It is (or was, rather) hugely popular in Spain and has sold millions of copies. It is not the most entertaining cookbook out there, it doesn't include pictures, which is unthinkable in the age of Pinterest, and I wouldn't read it just for the sake of it, but the recipes make me feel at home.

27. Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or non-fiction):
I have a problem trying to come up with an answer for this one, mainly because I really don't know what an inspirational book is - I don't read many spiritual books, nor epic stories about changing the world or about being more productive/focused/meaningful/whatever. I can't identify the influence a book has on me until I've distanced myself in time from that reading experience.

28. Favourite reading snack:
Sweets of any kind, preferably sweets which don't crumble or melt. I hate having crumbs and stains on my books.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience:
The Puppet Boy of Warsaw. Every GR review was so positive, but the books was just so bland.

30. How often do you agree with the critics about a book?
I honestly don't know - I don't read traditional critics and reviews anymore.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
As this blog is place to record my feelings, I prefer to be honest and give a negative review if I didn't like the book. I don't see the need to sugar-coat my opinion on a personal blog, but that said, I don't like that the problems of a book I wanted to read are so huge (for me!) that I can't enjoy the book. 

Authors put a lot of effort in writing their books and they want their readers to enjoy that effort. I want to enjoy what I read, so I only choose books I think I'm going to love. When I happen upon a book I thought I was going to enjoy but I don't, I feel so exhausted that I can't help giving a negative review.

What I'm saying is, I hate giving negative reviews, but I view them as necessary.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Swedish! And I have a very particular reason behind this choice. 

When I was a child, I found Maria Gripe's Shadow series in the public library. We are talking about the Spanish edition, which was the only language I knew then. I read the first book, Skuggan över stenbänken, which would be something like Shadows over the stone bench, and loved it. It was a darker book than I was used to. It tackled (if I remember correctly) adoption and growing up like no book I had ever read before - it didn't feel patronising or moralising, and it was genuinely gripping. I was haunted by the mystery, and went to get the sencond volume, then the third. When I asked the librarian about the fourth and final volume of the series, we discovered it hadn't been translated and there weren't any plans to do so. Womp womp womp. Fifteen years later, I still don't know the ending. And no, it hasn't been translated into English, either.

33. Most intimidating book you have read:
Marcel Proust's Swann's Way.

34. Most intimidating book you are too nervous to begin:
James Joyce's Ulysses.

35. Favourite poet:
I haven't read enough poetry to be comfortable choosing a single favourite poet, but I would say T.S. Eliot.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at any given time?
Usually, 2-3 books.

37. How often do you return books to the library unread?
Very rarely. When I get books for Dewey's readathon, I give myself permission to return the books I didn't feel like reading during the readathon. Otherwise, I read them in their entirety.

38. Favourite fictional character:
This is too difficult to answer right! I'd say that I prefer strong heroines - not necessarily phisically. Women who have or could have their own adventures, like Hermione Granger, Anne Shirley, Katniss Everdeen, or Lyra Belacqua.

39. Favourite fictional villain:
Villains who have a reason to be villainous, who make sense as characters, who think they are doing the right thing even when we as readers see they are not. Villains like Marissa Coulter, or Severus Snape.

40. Books you are most likely to bring on vacation:
This depends completely on my mood. This summer I read mostly thrillers, but this is not a constant every vacation.

41. The longest you have gone without reading:
I'm not really sure about this one - I'd say a week, when I go to congresses and meetings, or when I have too much work and need a break from thinking.

42. Name a book you could/would not finish:
I rarely DNF. In fact, the only book on my DNF shelf on Goodreads is Jared Diamond's Collapse.

43. What distracts you easily when you are reading?
I don't like reading when the TV is on, but I can still read, albeit at a slower speed. What really distracts me from reading is video games. When the boyfriend is playing a video game I like (see Alan Wake or Skyrim), I don't focus on my book and end up watching him play.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel:
The Hunger Games. Both films are faithful to the source and entertaining on their own.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation:
I didn't enjoy The Golden Compass or Mrs. Dalloway.

46. Most money you have ever spent in a bookstore at one time:
Not counting textbooks, because that is a whole other league regarding price. I'd say around 50 €, when I bought George Martin's A Dance with Dragons.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Always. Whenever I decide whether to buy a book, bring it from the library or pick one from my actual TBR, I sample the first paragraph and skim to see if I'm in the mood for that particular book.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?
I'm too stubborn to stop reading a book, and if I stop I have this nagging feeling that it might get better or that the end might redeem the bad parts, so I usually power through this kind of books. Luckily, I don't encounter them often, since I've been getting better at choosing books I like. My only DNF so far, Collapse, was a nonfiction too focused on menial details and uninteresting facts. On top of being boring, the thesis defended by Jared Diamond wasn't completely supported by these very facts. It was maddening, and I couldn't stomach the boring bullshit any longer. On the other hand, I can't help thinking that I should give the book another try, since it is Jared Diamond and I surely wasn't in the mood.

49. Do you like to keep your books organised?
With my current shelves, the only way to keep my books organised is by weight. I'm thinking of implementing a better organisation system when I get new shelves, which should be soon.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they have been read?
I keep them. See answer to question 15 for more details.

51. Are there any books that you have been avoiding?
I'm not really avoiding any books I own. There are books I know will need more effort or commitment than others, so I am not going to force myself to read them if I'm not in the mood. So far, I'm slowly getting through all of them, so I have no reason to think I won't read all of them.

52. Name a book that made you angry:
George Martin's A Dance with Dragons. It has so many problems I don't even want to think about it.

53. A book you didn't expect to like but did:
Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I expected it to be enjoy it, but barely so. I wasn't expecting such a gripping story with such an emphasis on women rights.

54. A book you expected to like but didn't:
Eva Weaver's The Puppet Boy of Warsaw was my latest disappointment.

55. Favourite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading:

2 comentarios:

  1. Such a great tag. I will totally do this one!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Off to your blog to see what your answers are - I'm a nosy reader :)