Thursday, 26 August 2010

Reading Questions


Mt friend Sam over at Books, Time and Silence posted this meme which he had found at Booking Through Thursday and I couldn't resist having a go myself.

1. Favorite childhood book?
My real favourite was a book called The Learning Tree. I got very excited when I found a copy at bootfair recently but when I tried to reread it I found it dire. It had a good environmental message but was so didactic. I hope I didn't make my parents read it aloud too often!

2. What are you reading right now?
I have several books on the go at the moment - Fahrenheit 451, a travel guide, a day by day diary of the German Occupation of Guernsey and the translation of an Arabic novel called The Proof of the Honey.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
I have about 10 books on request at present, all are books that should be published in the next few weeks and they range from teen fiction through to histories of the Holocaust.

4. Bad book habit?
Buying too many!

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
I currently have one travel guide, 2 history books, 1 social science book, 1 book about the Second World War, 2 adult fiction titles and a junior fiction book.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Yes - I have a beBook mini and iBooks on my phone.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I tend to have several on the go, usually one non fiction, one in my work bag and a novel. When I am on holiday I tend to read more books but only one at a time.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
I think about the books I read for longer but I don't choose books with the blog in mind.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
House of Special Purpose - John Boyne. I wish he'd stop messing around with history in his books. He is considered such a good writer that his books are being studied and I worry that his versions of the past will soon become accepted as true despite their terrible inaccuracies.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Adult novel - The Help by Katherine Stockett

Teen novel - Matched by Ally Condie

Children's Book - the very advance copy of Suzanne LaFleurs new book

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
All the time, but a lot more at present as I prepare for our Banned Books event at work.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I'm not sure I know this as I read so much and so widely. I don't like very scary books or gory books and crime often leaves me cold but apart from that if it is written I'll read it.

13. Can you read on the bus?

14. Favorite place to read?
On a sun lounger somewhere warm and sunny! When at home curled up on the sofa or in bed.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
Hmm tricky this one as when I've read something and loved it I want everyone to read it BUT if I've really loved it I can't part with it.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
*whispers* yes

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
No, if I am making notes for an essay/presentation I write longhand notes as I am reading.

18. Not even with text books?

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English, I can read a little in French and German but it takes me so long that English is easier.

20. What makes you love a book?
Good characters, something that makes me think, something that moves me, reading it at the right time in the right place.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If I've loved a book I will try to find the right person to recommend it to, Sometimes if I've disliked a book I'll want to get someone else to read it to see if my objections are general or personal.

22. Favorite genre?
1920s school stories, historical fiction, some fantasy

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Sci-Fi - I love 'hard' sci-fi rather than speculative but I find one book every so often satisfies this.

Favorite biography?
Usually the last one I've read!

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Probably but the genre does nothing for me

26. Favorite cookbook?
I have three Vefa's Kitchen, 1080 Recipes, and Madhur Jaffrey's Curry Bible.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Guernica by Dave Boling as it has led me to read loads more about the Spanish Civil War, a conflict I'm ashamed to say I knew nothing about.

28. Favorite reading snack?

Probably chocolate but I often get so engrossed in the book that I lose track of where I am so don't event snack.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Working in the book trade for so long I got used to ignoring the hype around books. Harry Potter became a full on experience as each book launch had to be bigger and better than the last but luckily for me that increased my enjoyment of the wait for the books and I still enjoyed them once I had recovered enough to read them.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Some and some.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
That is a hard one, usually review very personally so if I haven't liked a book I say why *I* didn't like it rather than anything else. I do remember writing a scathing chapter about a book/author in my MA Dissertation and then the author coming into the shop to sign books which was awkward, although of course they couldn't know what I'd been writing the day before!

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
There are so many good translations out there that I'd rather read them than struggle to read a translation.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Some of the reference tomes I read for my MA. I love children's literature but found some of the theory around them hard going.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
I'll generally try anything but I do have a mental block when it comes to Watership Down and Catch-22. I can't get past the first few pages of either novel.

35. Favorite Poet?
I'm not a poetry fan but the First World War poets were amazing.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Around 10

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
I often borrow books for the library to see if I like them before buying so I read a lot of the starts of novels but don't always finish them!

38. Favorite fictional character?
This changes all the time but the books I turn to time and again are the Tortall Books by Tamora Pierce

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Again this changes as often as my mood but I have a soft spot (if that is the right phrase for a villain) for Lord Voldemort

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Anything, but in quantity.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Probably no more than a day

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Catch-22 and Watership Down spring to mind but I have got better at abandoning books I'm not enjoying.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
If I'm reading on my iPhone or laptop then the Internet distracts as I keep looking things up as I read. If I'm in bed it is probably sleep!

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
I'm not a great fan of film adaptation of books I've already read as the pictures in my mind are generally better.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Most of the ones I've seen.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I can't answer that my mum and my husband read this!

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Sometimes with non fiction I will and sometimes I'll read the first chapter of a book before buying.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Boredom, too much gore, being badly written.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
If I had more space I would, at present our books on Space, Space Travel and astronomy are grouped together, as are our novels/books on ancient Greece and Rome. My collectable books are all together and so are the travel guides but apart from that you'll often see me tearing the house apart looking for something to read.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
That really depends on the book, sharing a book is one of the pleasures of reading

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Not avoiding as such but I don't tend to read a lot of what are termed classic novels.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Because I'll read anything this happens all of the time.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
I read in hope all the time so there are plenty of books that I try but that ultimately disappoint. Some of the autobiographies/ biographies I have read I have wanted to like more as I like the subject but the books have left me cold.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
I try to make all reading guilt free!

Monday, 23 August 2010

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - attributed to Voltaire.

Banned Book Week 2010

I've been working on a big project for work just recently. The last week in September is the ALA's Banned Book Week and this year Norfolk Libraries are taking part.

The library where I work is planning a discussion evening and to prepare I am reading lots of books that have been banned as well as lots of reference books about censorship.

It is a really interesting project to work on and my eyes have been opened to a lot of things - including just how much censorship has taken place in this country in the not too distant past.

I don't know if I am too liberal but so far while I haven't liked some of the books we've read there is nothing I'd want to ban or restrict. Just because I don't like something, or find something uncomfortable to read it doesn't mean that I don't think anyone else should read it, it just means that it wasn't my cup of tea.

I'm not even sure where I stand on books like The Satanic Verses. OK I don't think that people should go out of their way to insult other races/creeds/religions etc but at the same time if you know you are going to be offended you don't have to read it and for most views it is possible to find another book proposing the other side of the story...

This whole project is stirring up a lot of thoughts and emotions in me, and one of the things that it has really done is to make me want to study seriously again.

If anyone is interested the discussion evening is going to be on Tuesday 5th October at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library. We will spend a little time talking about the ALA, Banned Books Week, Censorship in the UK and Norfolk and how we buy books for the Norfolk Library Service and then we shall move on to discussing ten books that have been banned or challenged around the world.

The ten books are:

Alice in Wonderland
James and the Giant Peach
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Tropic of Cancer
Fahrenheit 451
To Kill a Mockingbird
Not Without My Daughter
Nineteen Minutes
The Da Vinci Code

Monday, 16 August 2010

Non Fiction

After last weekend's teen fiction binge I've been reading a lot of non fiction. Some of it in preparation for the Banned Book event at work, who knew that there was so much censorship of the printed word in this country right up until the late 1950s?

As light relief I've been reading the wonderful history of the Girl Guides in wartime.

I was an enthusiastic, if inept, Brownie from the age of 7 but was only a guide for about a year. The company I joined was not very active and I got very bored at meetings. There was also the small issue of Church Parade...

This history of the Guiding Movement is fantastic, it doesn't just feature the British movement but really emphasises the importance of Guiding world-wide, and the bravery of Guides, especially in occupied countries.

I really want to savour this book and make it last as long as I can, but sadly there is a waiting list on my library book and I shall have to return it far sooner than I'd like.

I've read many books, fiction and non, about the two world wars but this book is really bringing something new to the social history of the era. If you were a Guide, wanted to be one or if you scoff at the idea this book has something for you and will amuse, move and educate all while you are having a wonderful read.

And no there are no photos of me in the 1980s Brownie uniform - sorry.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Memory Lane Revisited

Mr Bookworm and I were out and about yesterday and as we always seem to, we ended up in a secondhand bookshop.
Once more I have a huge pile of books to read, and some of it is more complicated than normal as I am busy researching a special topic for an event at work - more details soon, so I wasn't really going to buy anything.

Then I saw the shelf full of books by Paula Danziger. I read everything I could by her as a teenager, I guess that she was the Jacqueline Wilson of my youth. Her books featured teenagers that were nothing like me, or my friends, but I think it was the exotic (New York, and New York State) that really appealed to me.

The books weren't threatening, and unlike Judy Blume didn't have to be hidden from grown ups!

I treated myself to 6 of the books yesterday and unlike many re-reads they didn't disappoint me. Yes they are hideously dated, and each book took me less than an hour to read but they were fun. The characters were real teenagers - they had problems that seem huge when you are 13 but as an adult really are nothing much and they had ideals that they were willing to fight for but that in the grand scheme of things aren't that important.

I'm glad that I'm not still a teenager but it was fun to read the books that I loved as a teen. I think that Remember Me to Harold Square is still my favourite - and when I get to visit NYC I will take the book to help act as a guidebook, although the chapter on visiting the World Trade Center feels horribly poignant now.

Today I shall grow up and read some more of my more academic tomes, or maybe I shall find myself sidetracked by the pile of recipe books I have from the library...