Monday, July 14, 2008

Still Life with Books

Yes, I'm still alive. Between family visits, sick children, and overflowing laundry baskets, I've not had much time to blog. To jumpstart things, I'm borrowing this reading meme from Lucy at Lucy Pick Books.

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
I can't remember learning to read--it seems like I always have! One of my first reading memories is buying easy readers at the grocery store when I was about five years old. My mom would take me and my brothers to the store, and if we were good, she would buy us a book at the end of the visit. I still can picture one week's prize: Barney the Beagle, a salmon pink and white hardback I think is still floating around my parents' house somewhere. I loved that book, especially because it was hardback. We always had piles of books around our house; I always read voraciously. One of my favorite memories is going through the monthly Scholastic book flyer and picking out books to order.

What are some of the books you read as a child?
I'll always remember a book a read in fifth or sixth grade--it was the story of two friends who wrote a book together, passing a notebook back and forth each night for the other to add the next installment. I think it was this book that inspired me to be a writer. I would love to read it again, but unfortunately I've forgotten the title and author. If anyone can identify the book for me, I'll love you forever! As a young girl I read all the Little House on the Prairie books and biographies about famous women like Florence Nightingale and Molly Pitcher. One of my favorite books was Elizabeth Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond. As a teen, I read Gone With the Wind umpteen times and all of Victoria Holt's books.

What is your favorite genre?
My favorite genre is historical fiction, although I read contemporary fiction as well. I have high standards for books and have no qualms at all about putting down a book that loses my interest or is poorly written.

Do you have a favorite novel?
My favorite novels are Sigrid Undsett's Kristin Lavransdattir trilogy, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and George Elliot's Middlemarch.

Where do you usually read?
I read wherever and whenever I can, although I find I can't read in bed anymore--I fall asleep too easily!

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at the same time?
I don't have any trouble reading a couple of books at the same time. I usually have one or two novels going, as well as a few research books.

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?
The only nonfiction I read is research books for my novels and an occasional parenting or spiritual book. Since the books are for research, I skip around and read only the relevant parts, taking notes as I go. When I read fiction, I never skip anything or jump ahead.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?
I buy very few books, although I would buy many more if I could afford to. I joke that our family keeps the local library in business. We often have 50 books and movies checked out on my card at a time.

Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?
I always keep all the books I buy, since I only buy books that are especially meaningful. Even with my small book budget, our house is running out of shelf space. We always hit the library book sales, where we can buy hardbacks for $1. We often wind up bringing in cartons full of them.

If you have children, what are some of the favourite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child?
My daughter never liked to read too much--I'd buy her my favorites and they'd sit on the shelf unread. My middle son and I spent many hours reading together. One of our favorites was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, along with Silverstein's books of verse. I read a lot to my toddler, although I must admit I'm getting quite sick of books about trucks and trains.

What are you reading now?
Right now I'm reading After This by Alice McDermott and The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai.

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
I have a lengthy list, as well as several piles of books in my bedroom bookcase.

What's next?
I'm eagerly awaiting Michelle Moran's The Heretic Queen, which comes out in September.

What books would you like to reread?
I don't reread many books--there are so many books I haven't read, I hate to devote the time to revisiting ones I've already seen. I have started reading Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles again--I enjoyed them so much the first time, and they are rich enough to sustain a second reading. I suppose I would reread The Lord of the Rings if I had time, or some of the Thomas Hardy novels I read in college.

Who are your favourite authors?
My favorite authors are Sigrid Undsett, Dorothy Dunnett, George Elliot, and Elizabeth Speare. I know there are more, but I always blank whenever anyone asks me this question. My LibraryThing display to the right of this blog shows many of my favorite authors.

I'd love to read your answers to these questions. Let me know in the comments if you do the meme on your blog.

1 comment:

Sheramy said...

Just did the meme over at Van Gogh's Chair. That's a good one! I was amused to see we liked some of the same things growing up. :-)