Monday, October 25, 2010

Molto Bene!

This is being passed around by Hillsdale English majors and I like the questions, so I decided to answer them here for fun. 

1. Favorite childhood book?
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

2. What are you reading right now?
On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs: Teaching, Writing, Playing, Believing, Lecturing, Philosophizing, Singing, Dancing by Fr. James V. Schall.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None. I have not been to the library since I moved back.

4. Bad book habit?
Reading too many books at once. It makes it harder to finish in a timely manner.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
This is a poorly constructed interrogative question which I already answered above: 1) None and 2) the preposition should be “from”, not “at”.

6. Do you have an e-reader?

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
Several, but I would really prefer to read faster while retaining a good comprehension.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Twitterature by two numbskulls from the University of Chicago; I reviewed it for The Collegian. The book idea had potential, but the authors were overly aware of their snarky hilarity and battered the classic books to have the voice of two immature 19 year olds—including Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird. Seriously?! She’s a 6 year old girl from the South!

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy or Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Quite often, if comfort zone is defined as reading things I agree with, more or less. I like reading different viewpoints and see how people persuasively argue or defend their position to better defend my own point of view. I also enjoy learning, so different sources of information provide more resources I would not have previously known about and can thus dig deeper.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Anything not blatantly offensive or disturbing.

13. Can you read on the bus/car?
Yes. I can also read in a house with a mouse, as well as with a fox in a box.

14. Favorite place to read?
On a wide window ledge or on the couches.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
Usually open to it, unless the person is inconsiderate of others’ belongings. My family likes to borrow without asking, so my policy is null and void in most circumstances. Besides, if a person will read it, I will lend it. Books should be read, not gather dust.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
If I do not have any other way of marking pages, but not typically.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

18. Not even with text books?
Especially in text books.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
American and all other variations of English.

20. What makes you love a book?
Style, then story.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
I have to really like it, then think another person will like it; I do admit to being hesitant to recommending books to people whom I am not completely sure if they will appreciate it.

If people “don’t get it” immediately, they oftentimes push the book aside without even giving it a proper chance. That’s a shame, because it is oftentimes the build-up that makes the ending so fantastic. Examples: Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust, Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One, Willa Cather’s Death Comes For the Archbishop—I got to the end of these books and couldn’t speak except to say WOW. All four began a little slower, but I re-read them over and over again and still feel the same amazement. They are not “happy” endings—they’re all a bit like reading Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” in a longer form—but you never want change the ending either.

22. Favorite genre?
Essays and literature

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
Epic novels (i.e. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien)

24. Favorite biography?
The Life of Pico, translated by Sir Thomas More

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Yes; grammar and writing books

26. Favorite cookbook?
I suppose The Joy of Cooking, but really any cookbook that helps me make a successful dish is okay by my standards. An emphasis on pies helps too.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Thy Will Be Done: Letters to Persons in the World by St. Francis de Sales

28. Favorite reading snack?

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Murray Rothbard's writings were supremely disappointing.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
It depends on the book.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Don Quixote by Cervantes

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo- not nervous, per se, as much as knowing I don’t have the time to give the massive volume

35. Favorite Poet?
If I have to pick one... Tennyson is sublime.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Is “a lot” a good enough answer? In college, I wrote about 7-10 papers a semester, so I always had library books stacked around my desk. I think the most I had checked out during my last few weeks of senior year was between 50-70.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
None to very few. I usually checked books out for papers, so they were all read in some capacity.

38. Favorite fictional character?

39. Favorite fictional villain?
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie has a pretty bad one, but I can’t say who because it will spoil the plot.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Anything that strikes my fancy. I took Michael O’Brien and Flannery O’Connor with me this past summer.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading?

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Native Son by Richard Wright; strongly and passionately dislike that book.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
The 1992 version of James Fennimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans is pretty BA.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
The 2008 version of Brideshead Revisited was poorly done; not sure if they misunderstood the point of the book or just decided to use the basic plot and premise as a way to make their own point in the movie adaptation. I shall also plug the BBC mini-series one as phenomenal because it actually follows the book and doesn’t try to make insinuations.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
If Amazon counts as a bookstore, I’m pleading the fifth. I used to buy books like some people buy shoes or clothes. I’m better now.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Fairly regularly

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
It has to be pretty bad; if I start a book, I usually finish it. The real question is why I start reading a book, outside academic reasons.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? Keep them, unless I intensely dislike them or consider them a waste of book shelf space.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
I avoid most poorly-written garbage on principle.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I will never forgive Jo for turning down Laurie or Laurie for marrying Amy. I’m still mad about it. I don’t think I’ll ever let it go. It completely ruined the otherwise excellent book for me.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; it was like pulling teeth to read that book. It didn’t pick up till the end, and by that time, the fact that I was required to read it was the only thing that was keeping me going. Also, Herman Melville’s Billy Budd.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Anything by Flannery O’Connor.

What's your favorite book to read and/ or recommend? How would you answer these questions?

Happy Monday!


  1. Responses #13 and #43...FTW!!!

  2. :D

    28: I heart cheese.
    32: I heart Greek.
    35: I heart Tennyson.
    39: I heart AC (esp. MRA!)
    45: I HEART SEBASTIAN!!! ... though, actually, maybe it's just Anthony Andrews ... !
    46: I heart Amazon.
    49: I heart organization.

    51: technically speaking, if you haven't read it, you don't KNOW for a FACT that it's poorly written. Technically ... ! ;) Morally speaking, though, I heart avoidance of poorly written garbage which passes for literature in this sorry, illegible, illiterate modern world.