Booking Through Thursday: Villainy

Today is the 7th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I know that not all of you who read are in the U.S., but still, it’s vital that none of us who are decent people forget the scope of disaster that a few, evil people can cause–anywhere in the world. It’s not about religion, it’s not about politics, it’s about the acknowledgment that humans should try to work together, not tear each other apart, even when they disagree.

So, feeling my way to a question here … Terrorists aren’t just movie villains any more. Do real-world catastrophes such as 9/11 (and the bombs in Madrid, and the ones in London, and the war in Darfur, and … really, all the human-driven, mass loss-of-life events) affect what you choose to read? Personally, I used to enjoy reading Tom Clancy, but haven’t been able to stomach his fight-terrorist kinds of books since.

And, does the reality of that kind of heartless, vicious attack–which happen on smaller scales ALL the time–change the way you feel about villains in the books you read? Are they scarier? Or more two-dimensional and cookie-cutter in the face of the things you see on the news?

I don’t read espionage books or any book involving terrorists, crime, catastrophes, and real-world issues. I read for enjoyment and escape, so I take pleasure from books that are not too heavy and similar to the world I live in. I am aware of what is going on in my country and in the world, but I want to keep my reading separate from that. All the crime, the hatred, the violence…they are just too much for me to take, so I choose not to read books that involve those things.

Therefore, my answer is no.

(Excellent question, though. I agree that it is important not to forget the scope of the disaster no matter where we are in the world. And well said…”It’s not about religion, it’s not about politics, it’s about the acknowledgment that humans should try to work together, not tear each other apart, even when they disagree.”)

Catching up on Booking Through Thursday Part II

And here we go again…June to August 2008.

Let’s continue.


June 5, 2008

Trends
Have your book-tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romance?

I think my taste in books has changed over the years. Of course, when I was very young, I could only appreciate Archie Comics, Sweet Valley Twins (not High, not Kids, just Twins), Sweet Dreams, and Love Stories (Mills & Boon for teens, I suppose). I didn’t read too much in grade school and high school except for these teen fluff books. I absolutely had no interest in Newbery titles or other recommended books for the YA/teen set. I did read Judy Blume but enjoyed the teen romances more.

It was in college when I started to appreciate the better written YA book. I’m not sure how I stepped out of my teen-romance phase and into broader genres. I can’t remember what it is exactly that made me realize that there are more books out there. But I do know that it was only after high school that I became a booklover.

After high school I started to read Newbery titles, other award-winning and controversial teen books, and then branched out to general fiction. And then over the years I started to appreciate a few classics, some historical titles, and then even tried reading non-fiction books. I grew to love the Medieval era books and books on the Tudors and Tudor era. Memoirs and biographies became good reads for me, but I still preferred memoirs by non-political and celebrity figures. I still love a good YA book and I am addicted to a few teen series. And it is only recently that I discovered that I liked regency romances.

Yes, my taste has changed over the years and will continue to do so.

Right now, I very much enjoy light fiction (not frivolous, just light). I can only take books with serious and challenging issues once in a while. I try to appreciate sci-fi/fantasy, but I think I’m not at that stage yet. I do know that I will never like mysteries and suspense novels. I get scared too easily. I want to read more of the heavy classics, but I also know I’m not ready for that yet. Soon, soon.


June 12, 2008

Clubbing
Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (or, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?

Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?

I am not a part of a book club and will never be a part of a book club. I am a solitary reader. I like it that way. I read to escape reality and immerse myself in a good story. Whenever someone asks me what the book I’m reading is about, I get annoyed and just shove the back cover under their noses. Read it yourself, I always think. And when I’m done reading a book and they ask me what I thought of it, I just say I loved it, I liked it, I didn’t care for it, or I hated it. I’m not the kind of person who analyzes books and the characters’ motives. I prefer to enjoy the reading experience by merely letting myself be enveloped by the story. I may muse about a book for a while after reading, but never aloud or to someone.

Maybe that’s why I never liked writing long-winded book reviews. I prefer just giving my star-rating, giving a synopsis in one sentence, and then just saying what I liked or hated about the book in a few sentences as well. Some people love doing book reviews or talking about books with their friends or even joining book clubs. Good for them, but those aren’t for me. I may talk about some books with my friends, but never the in-depth kind (books, not friends). I may do book-ratings or mini-reviews, but never the super long and intense kinds. But I just can’t take part in a book discussion with a book club because it lessens the fun in reading. It will start to feel like homework, and I don’t ever want to turn my reading pleasure into something obligatory.


June 19, 2008

Flavor
Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

I love Megan McCafferty, Emily Giffin, and Curtis Sittenfeld. Their writing is witty, smart, funny, sarcastic, and straightforward. I am not a big fan of flowery and lyrical writing. I don’t like very descriptive prose. I don’t need two pages of a description of a sunset. One sentence will do. And these three authors know just how to capture a scene or an emotion without overdoing it. That’s why I like them so much.

My favorite book is The Pillars of the Earth. I love its sweeping majesty. Follett took everything that I love and put it in one book: the Middle Ages, a good love story, a good versus evil situation (and good triumphing over evil), and straightforward and gripping writing (okay, I admit I dozed off during the part where Follett was describing the cathedral ceiling or something). I was also so disappointed when I only had a couple of pages to go, and was more disappointed when the story ended because I wanted more. Great books do that to me. Make me want more!


June 26, 2008

Definition
What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?

A reader is someone who reads all the time. It doesn’t matter if it is for leisure (fiction? romance? graphic novels?) or for academic reasons or for enlightenment. As long as he or she picks up a book, understands what he’s/she’s reading, takes pleasure/enlightenment from that reading, then he or she is a reader.


July 3, 2008

Holidays
It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S., so let’s keep today’s question simple––What are you reading? Anything special? Any particularly juicy summer reading?

Let’s see. July in the Philippines isn’t summer. Summer ended in May. But looking back on early July, I was reading Lori Lansens’ The Girls. Not exactly light reading, but it was good!


July 10, 2008

Doomsday
One of my favorite bookstores burned down last weekend, and while I only got to visit there while I was on vacation, it made me stop and think.

What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?

Whether it’s a local book shop, your town library, or an internet shop … what would you do if, suddenly, they were out of business? Devastatingly, and with no warning? Where would you go for books instead? What would you do? If it was a local business you would try to help out the owners? Would you just calmly start buying from some other store? Visit the library in the next town instead? Would it be devastating? Or just a blip in your reading habit?

My favorite book source right now is BookMooch. If something were to happen to my beloved BookMooch, suddenly, devastatingly, and with no warning, I would probably mourn for weeks. I really would. Every day, since the day I joined BookMooch, I make time for the site, whether it’s to check my wish list, accept mooches, request for books, see what my friends are up to, or merely to window shop. I log in every day. I have to have BookMooch every day. So if BookMooch were to be taken away from me, I’d be completely at a loss as to what to do next. I could still get my books at the secondhand bookstore, Booksale, or at National Bookstore, Powerbooks, or Fully Booked, but it wouldn’t be the same. Sure, I could get my hard-to-find books on Amazon, but it still wouldn’t be the same. One big part of BookMooch’s success is the people who I trade books with. There’s something so amazing about exchanging books with someone in France or Canada or Portugal or Israel. It feels good to be part of a worldwide group of readers and booklovers. It would definitely be devastating if BookMooch would disappear from my life. I wouldn’t know how to pick up the pieces.


July 17, 2008

Vacation Spots
Another question inspired by the Bunch of Grapes on Martha’s Vineyard having burned down on the Fourth of July.

Do you buy books while on vacation/holiday?
Do you have favorite bookstores that you only get to visit while away on a trip?
What/Where are they?

All of the bookstores in the Philippines are the same: National, Powerbooks, Fully Booked, Booksale, A Different Bookstore, Goodwill…what else? If there are independent bookstores out here in the country, I would love to know about them. Most of the places I’ve been to on vacation had no bookstores. But abroad, I just go to the big bookstores like Barnes and Noble. I also like Books-A-Million in Chicago (love the remainder table). If I don’t have time to go to bookstores, I just do my book shopping at the airport!


July 24, 2008

Beginnings
Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?

“A few months ago, my husband and I decided to mix our books together.”

I love that line. And I look forward to mixing my books with my future husband. There’s something so comforting in sharing you love for books with the love of your life.

From Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader


July 31, 2008

Endings
I had a couple of people (Readerville and Nithin) leave me suggestions in response to last week’s post on Beginnings, but this one was already on its way! I mean, it was the obvious next question….

What are your favourite final sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked especially because of its last sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the last line?

Adam looked up with sick weariness. His lips parted and failed and tried again. Then his lungs filled. He expelled the air and his lips combed the rushing sigh. His whispered word seemed to hang in the air.

“Timshel!”

His eyes closed and he slept.

From John Steinbeck’s East of Eden


August 7, 2008

Other Worlds
Are there any particular worlds in books where you’d like to live? Or where you certainly would NOT want to live?

What about authors? If you were a character, who would you trust to write your life?

(This came to me when reviewing a Jonathan Carroll book – I’m not sure I’d like to live in the worlds of his books.)

I am a very big Medieval Ages enthusiast, but I sure as hell don’t want to be alive during those times. Maybe as an invisible observant, yes. I would also love to have seen the Tudor court and all of Henry VIII’s wives, but still I wouldn’t want to be alive then.

So maybe I would like to live in Judith McNaught’s Regency England. Assuming, of course, that I am one of her strong-willed heroines with a happily ever after.


August 14, 2008

Gold Medal Reading

You, um, may have noticed that the Olympics are going on right now, so that’s the genesis of this week’s question, in two parts:

First:
Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general? Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

And, Second:

Do you consider yourself a sports fan? Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story. (Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)

This week’s answer will be super short because I don’t like sports-related books. I also don’t follow any sport or sports team. I may watch the occasional basketball game, but that’s about it. I do watch ‘Friday Night Lights’ though, but mainly for the hot guys.


August 21, 2008

Libraries
Whether you usually read off of your own book pile or from the library shelves NOW, chances are you started off with trips to the library. (There’s no way my parents could otherwise have kept up with my book habit when I was 10.) So … What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you? Do you have you any funny/odd memories of the library?

My earliest memories of the library weren’t great ones. I didn’t enjoy going to the library because the nuns at my school were very strict. I had to be very quiet, had to have my hair tied back, and had to have my uniform clean and presentable before I was allowed to enter. I was also very, very obsessed with being cool when I was young (you know, peer pressure and all that) and since being at the library wasn’t cool, I didn’t go as often. I do remember sneaking in a few times to borrow some Judy Blume books. I wish I didn’t care so much about status when I was younger. I could have enjoyed all those books at the library.

I also remember that we had a special reading class every week at the library. We were required to read several short stories and then answer an assessment test. Depending on your score, you were labeled a certain color (let’s say red being the best reader and brown being the worst). I remember hating those reading assignments because I didn’t like being forced to read and then being rated afterwards. I don’t think I ever reached the best reader status even if I loved to read. Those forced reading classes ruined the library experience for me. (Well, that and the coolness factor, too.)

In college, I had a much greater appreciation for libraries. I checked out as many books as I could. That was a fun time because there were no more forced reading classes and I no longer cared about popularity.

Now that I am out of school, of course I can no longer use the school libraries. The public libraries here are in a very sad state, so I just get my books somewhere else. However, I do volunteer at one of the public libraries in QC. I help them acquire books through BookMooch and I make sure to get a variety of genres so that the library can attract more readers. Hopefully, I can help turn this library into a good one so that other libraries will follow suit.


August 28, 2008

Stories
If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite reasons to read is for the story. Not for the character development and interaction. Not because of the descriptive, emotive powers of the writer. Not because of deep, literary meaning hidden beneath layers of metaphor. (Even though those are all good things.) No … it’s because you want to know what happens next?

Or, um, is it just me?

It’s me, too. I tried to give in to the pressure and read those award-winning and critically-acclaimed books, but I soon gave up the pretense. I don’t want to waste my time on books that are hard to read and so heavily laden with metaphor and meaning that it takes out the enjoyment in reading. I know some people love books like that (and others who pretend they love books like that) but I’m not one of them. Reading should be enjoyed. And I just enjoy reading a good, well-written story.

So, yes, it’s because I want to know what happens next. I’m just like you.


September 4, 2008

Peer Pressure
I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.

Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?

No, I don’t feel pressured to read trendy books. I read what I like. But I am sometimes curious about certain popular books. I don’t go out of my way and buy them full-price, though. I wait until I can find a copy on sale or on BookMooch or from my sister (who likes buying books full-price). And then I read them. If I don’t like it, I don’t finish the book. If I do, then great!


Done! Yay!

Catching up on Booking Through Thursday

I love book blogs and have been reading many of them for years now. I tried keeping my own book blog on other sites or on social networks, but since I am more of a reader than a writer, it really was no surprise when disinterest in writing hit me (therefore, leading me to abandon those blogs). But for some reason I really want to keep this blog going, and to do that I will need consistent, regular postings. So, what better way to post regularly than with memes, right? I’m always up for memes. And Booking Through Thursday is perfect for this.

Today is Friday and I’m frustrated that I’m one day late. I can hardly wait for a whole week to pass by before I can start answering the new BTT question. So to pass the time, I think I’ll answer the older questions—dating as far back as January 3, 2008! I’ve got time on my hands right now. I think I’ll do just that.

Let’s begin.


January 3, 2008

Anticipation
What new books are you looking forward to most in 2008? Something new being published this year? Something you got as a gift for the holidays? Anything in particular that you’re planning to read in 2008 that you’re looking forward to? A classic, or maybe a best-seller from 2007 that you’re waiting to appear in paperback?

Let’s see. I remember looking forward to Ken Follet’s World Without End. It was released in the US in late 2007 but wasn’t released until the new year here in Manila. I was finally able to get a copy last month, but I’m still waiting for a certain mood to set in before I devour this heavy tome.

I also looked forward to my guilty-pleasure reads: Kate Brian’s Legacy (Private, Book 6) and Ambition (Private, Book 7). Both books I was able to get on Amazon and Powerbooks, respectively. I am now looking forward to the next in the series Revelation (Private, Book 8 ) plus the prequel Last Christmas: The Private Prequel (Private). Anticipation!

I also remember looking forward to Curtis Sittenfeld’s new book, American Wife: A Novel. Well, I’m still looking forward to it since I don’t have a copy yet. I hope it will be available at the Manila International Book Fair this September!


January 10, 2008

May I Introduce…?
How did you come across your favorite author(s)? Recommended by a friend? Stumbled across at a bookstore? A book given to you as a gift? Was it love at first sight? Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance?

I don’t have a huge list of favorite authors, but I do have one of favorite books. Most of the time I only like a few or have just read a few of an author’s books, so I don’t feel fair in saying that he or she is my favorite author. However, there are still some who I do love and whose books I look forward to buying and reading.

My favorite authors are Curtis Sittenfeld, Megan McCafferty, Emily Giffin, Philippa Gregory, and Bill Amend. The first four mentioned I came across simply by clicking-clicking-clicking on Amazon (Listmania, So You’d Like To, Recommended Books). I’d read about the reviews of their books and how many people marked them as their favorite. I became curious so I decided to buy their books (Prep, Sloppy Firsts, Something Borrowed, The Other Boleyn Girl) at the local bookstore (but I mooched Something Borrowed). And for all of them, it was love at first sight!

Prep: A Novel was ah-mazing. I laughed, I cringed, I cried. It was high school all over again. Some people didn’t like this book because it was too realistic, too heartfelt, but that’s why I loved it…it didn’t glorify the high school experience.

Sloppy Firsts: A Novel was also a great read. McCafferty, like Sittenfeld and Giffin, is an excellent and witty writer. I love her narrative. I’m not a Marcus Flutie fan, but I do love Jessica Darling. She is one of my favorite characters in fiction.

Something Borrowed was AWESOME. I remember seeing copies (about a dozen or more) of this book three years ago on the floor at National Bookstore. It was forever on sale and I thought, why should I buy this book if all of the copies are on sale? It must be an awful novel. So I ignored it and forgot about it. It was only this year that I decided to give it another chance when I saw the rave reviews on Amazon. Thankfully, my friend CZ had a copy available on BookMooch so I got it from her. I was hooked from the first page. Emily Giffin’s writing blows me away. She’s intelligent, witty, observant, and funny—she has a talent at turning dreary and clichéd relationship issues into something original and true and achingly real. She also gives her books excellent perspective (I’ve read her follow-ups, too: Something Borrowed, Baby Proof, Love The One You’re With). Emily Giffin is a genius.

The Other Boleyn Girl marked the beginning of my Tudor obsession. I was already interested in Henry VIII and his wives when I was in high school. I had no problem remembering all their names and children (heck, there were only three anyway). But I soon forgot about them until Gregory’s book on Mary and Anne Boleyn. Granted that it took several liberties on the story (it is fiction after all) but it did lead me to seek out biographies by Alison Weir and Antonia Fraser, and other novels by Jean Plaidy, Norah Lofts, Margaret Campbell Barnes, Anya Seton, and many more.

Now with Bill Amend, I found out about his FoxTrot comic book series from my aunt who gave me a FoxTrot school planner (I can’t remember if it was 1995, 1996, or 1997—it was sometime in the 90s). I remember that I didn’t have much use for the planner because I wasn’t big on organizing my schedule back in high school (it was only in college that I started being OC with how I spent my time), but I lovedlovedloved the comics every few pages! OMG, it was so funny! And nerd-funny, too, because it had a lot of physics and computer jokes. After that, I just had to get all his comic books. My love for FoxTrot grew more when sometime in the late 90s (1997? 1998? 1999?) I sent an email to Bill Amend thanking him for drawing and writing FoxTrot—just a typical fan-letter. I expected an automated reply (because he stated on his web site that he can never find the time to reply to everyone’s email messages, so only had the server generate automated replies), but instead got a real email from Bill Amend himself! Awesome! That email is long gone now, but I do remember that he said that he was very, very happy that he has a big fan in the Philippines and that he looks forward to having FoxTrot in a Manila newspaper. I asked him how to go about getting FoxTrot printed on the Philippine Star or Manila Bulletin or the Philippine Daily Inquirer, but he just said that I should contact the newspaper directly, etc, etc. Of course, I wasn’t able to do any of those because I didn’t know where to start. But years later, surprise! surpise! The PDI printed FoxTrot! Woo-hoo! (Of course, the dailies have stopped now because Bill Amend chose to do just Sunday runs so he can spend more time with his family.) I can hardly wait for his next FoxTrot book. I wonder when that’ll be written and released.


January 17, 2008

Let’s Review…
How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try?

If there’s a book I think I might want to read, I always check the Amazon reviews. If the reviews are very good, then there’s a bigger chance that I will go out and buy the book immediately. If the reviews are bad, but it’s a book that I’m really curious about, I’ll just put off buying the book and maybe wait for it to pop up at Booksale (secondhand bookstore). Now if it’s a book I’m sure I won’t like but the reviews are all positive, I might still go and read it but I will not shell out big money for it. I would probably just borrow the book from someone or wait for it to reach Php 15.00 (US $ 0.33) or Php 40.00 (US $ 0.85) at Booksale.


January 24, 2008

Huh?
What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”

I absolutely love Susan Breen’s The Fiction Class. I wasn’t expecting much when I bought the book. I’m not a big fan of mother-daughter issues (who is?) but I bought it anyway because of its cover and because at the back of the book the synopsis says that Arabella Hicks is “passionate about books”. That’s good enough a reason for me to buy and read it!

After reading just a few sentences from page 1, I was hooked! I couldn’t stop dog-earing pages (I do this when I especially like a certain passage). I even took out a new notebook from my shelf and started to do the writing assignments. The book was beautifully written (none of those flowery phrases—just direct and heartfelt narrative) and so easy to read. I couldn’t put it down even when the sun had started to set and my eyes were straining to read the pages. It was so good I just kept tilting the book so the the last of the sun’s rays would light up the pages. I remember that I grumpily turned on the light so I could keep reading (I was very annoyed that I had to stop reading for even 5 seconds).

I am really surprised that this book isn’t on the bestseller lists or any kind of list. It rates 4-1/2 stars at Amazon but only has 22 reviews. I wish more people knew about this book. I’m sure booklovers and writers will really enjoy it.


January 31, 2008

Quirky
Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them?

Hmmm. This is a tough one. I’ll have to pass on this BTT question.


February 7, 2008

But, Enough About Books…
Okay, even I can’t read ALL the time, so I’m guessing that you folks might voluntarily shut the covers from time to time as well… What else do you do with your leisure to pass the time? Walk the dog? Knit? Run marathons? Construct grandfather clocks? Collect eggshells?

When I’m not reading, I am BookMooching (surprise, surprise) or shopping for books at Booksale (love those low, low prices). Okay, so enough about books. I also like to bake cookies, cakes, bars, and pies. I like to watch TV (CSI, Psych, Everyday Italian, Healthy Appetite, Barefoot Contessa, and you gotta love those F.R.I.E.N.D.S. reruns, too). I also love arranging and re-arranging my books on my shelves. Sorry! I really can’t get enough of books. I almost have no life outside books. Okay, that’s not completely true. But if it is, that wouldn’t be so bad a life, now would it? 🙂


February 14, 2008

After the Honeymoon
Here’s something for Valentine’s Day.
Have you ever fallen out of love with a favorite author? Was the last book you read by the author so bad, you broke up with them and haven’t read their work since? Could they ever lure you back?

I had to think really long and hard about this one. I was going to say that I am still in love with all of my favorite authors, but then I just remembered one author who got bumped off the list…Madeleine L’Engle. I still love her Time Quartet but her other books just didn’t interest me anymore. I guess I outgrew her Chronos and O’Keefe books. However, I still have yet to read her other adult fiction books. So maybe it’s too early to say that I have fallen out of love with L’Engle’s writing. Let’s wait and see. Maybe we’re just on a break right now.


February 21, 2008

Format
All other things (like price and storage space) being equal, given a choice in a perfect world, would you rather have paperbacks in your library? Or hardcovers? And why?

I was going to say hardcovers because they hold up well and don’t age too quickly (because hardcovers have better-quality paper than paperbacks) and that they look good on a shelf, but they’re just too difficult to hold. I sometimes like to read in bed and there were just too many times that I dropped a hardcover on my chest or head (it’s annoying and painful!). So my final answer is paperbacks. Most of my books are paperbacks anyway and I do like the feel of a paperback in my hands. But FYI, I prefer trade paperbacks to mass market paperbacks even if the small ones are cheaper.


February 28, 2008

Heroine
Who is your favorite female lead character? And why? (And yes, of course, you can name more than one . . . I always have trouble narrowing down these things to one name, why should I force you to?)

Definitely Jessica Darling of Megan McCafferty’s books. Jessica is witty and sarcastic and smart. Megan McCafferty, in her website, describes Jessica the best: she is ballsy. I also wish I were more like her back in high school. (Lee Fiora is a close second to my favorite heroine. Flawed but so real.)


March 6, 2008

Hero
You should have seen this one coming … Who is your favorite Male lead character? And why?

Oooooooooh…let’s see, let’s see. I looooove Matt Farrell and his strength, determination, and raw sex appeal, but not his stubborn pride. I also love Ian Thornton because unlike the Westmoreland brothers, he has a head on his shoulders when it comes to women (he’s also incredibly tall and handsome in my head). I love Henry, but can’t remember why exactly. I have to read the book again to remember. I lovelovelove Dex Thaler despite the fact that he cheats on his girlfriend. Tall, smart, cool, handsome…*melt*. And I love Andy as well. The perfect husband.

I just realized that all my favorite male characters have the same things in common…they’re all tall, smart, and handsome. And all deliciously yummy. *grin*


March 13, 2008

Playing Editor
How about a chance to play editor-in-chief? Fill in the blanks:
__________ would have been a much better book if ______________________.

Breaking Dawn would have been a much better book if Little, Brown whacked Stephenie Meyer on the head with the manuscript and demanded her to re-write the whole book.


March 20, 2008

The End
You’ve just reached the end of a book . . . what do you do now? Savor and muse over the book? Dive right into the next one? Go take the dog for a walk, the kids to the park, before even thinking about the next book you’re going to read? What?

(Obviously, there can be more than one answer, here–a book with a cliff-hanger is going to engender different reactions than a serene, stand-alone, but you get the idea!)

If it is a book that I lovedlovedloved, I always take a few minutes after reading and just hold the book in my hands. Sometimes I hug my books—don’t knock it till you try it! It’s a great feeling!

If it’s a book that is merely satisfactory or something I didn’t like all that much I just put it back on the shelf. No fanfare.

Now if it’s a book that really annoyed or disappointed me, I either put it back on the shelf or leave it lying around the house (hmph) and quickly march to the nearest computer and rant about it on aNobii.


March 27, 2008

Cover-Up
While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?

I do judge books by their covers. I have no shame in saying that. Why shouldn’t I? If a publisher cared about their product they should ensure that it gets great cover art! Anyway, if it’s a book that I am already looking forward to read, I couldn’t care less about its appearance. But if I’m shopping at a bookstore and I’m looking to buy something new, I take the cover art into consideration. When I take the book home and discover that I didn’t enjoy reading the book, I think at least it will look pretty on my shelf! 🙂

I prefer trade paperbacks to mass market paperbacks. I like hardcovers but only for display. Books with deckled pages win extra points. I love paperbacks with inner flaps. I don’t like books with pages like newsprint (I really don’t like those Penguin books)—they fox and yellow easily. I would also prefer that books not have the author’s photo on them. They distract me to no end! I don’t want to see what they look like!


April 3, 2008

Lit-Ra-Chur
When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?) Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

The first thing I think of is the classics even though I know that literature encompasses much broader forms. I know that some book snobs (a.k.a. critics) do not consider popular fiction as literature but I disagree with them. I, however, agree just a teeny-tiny bit when they say that books with a poor standard of grammar and syntax shouldn’t be classified as literature.

To answer the other questions, I read what I like no matter how readers and critics classify them. The only books that I read because I must are text books.


April 10, 2008

Writing Challenge

  • Pick up the nearest book. (I’m sure you must have one nearby.)
  • Turn to page 123.
  • What is the first sentence on the page?
  • The last sentence on the page?
  • Now . . . connect them together.
    (And no, you may not transcribe the entire page of the book–that’s cheating!)

Augh. I’ve been working on this post for 20 minutes now and still nothing’s coming to me. I really suck at writing. Pass, please.


April 17, 2008

Vocabulary
I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?

I always have my digital dictionary handy when I’m reading a book so that when I come across a word I don’t know, I look it up. And then I save the word on my word-list. If I don’t have a dictionary nearby, I either type the word on my cell phone (which is always nearby) or just dog-ear the page. There are other times, though, that I just forget about the word and hope that it will come up again the next time I have a dictionary with me.


April 24, 2008

Springing
Well, here where I live, Spring is sprung–weeks early, even. Our lilac bush looks like it will have flowers by this time next week instead of in the middle of May as usual. The dogwood trees, the magnolia trees–all the flowering trees are flowering. The daffodils and crocuses are, if anything, starting to fade. It may only be April 24th but it is very definitely Spring and, allergies notwithstanding, I’m happy to welcome the change of season. What I want to know, is:

Do your reading habits change in the Spring? Do you read gardening books? Even if you don’t have a garden? More light fiction than during the Winter? Less? Travel books? Light paperbacks you can stick in a knapsack?

Or do you pretty much read the same kinds of things in the Spring as you do the rest of the year?

Here in the Philippines we only have two seasons: sunny and rainy. I don’t really care much about the seasons. I just read pretty much whatever I want. My mood determines what I should read next, not the weather.


May 1, 2008

Mayday!
Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??

And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember…

I would think that I would be too fidgety to be able to concentrate on reading something at length. So I would probably buy a magazine and flip through that. Or read a newspaper someone left behind. Or read the small print on my airline ticket. Or stare off into space. Or organize my wallet. Organizing my things calms me down. Surprisingly, reading doesn’t.


May 8, 2008

Manual Labor
Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?

I have lots of these books. But I never finish reading them. I’d buy them, maybe read a few chapters, put the book down, read something else, and then forget about the reference books eventually. It’s a little sad that these books are ignored by me, but right now I have no use for them. So they just sit on my shelves.


May 15, 2008

Manual Labor Redux
Following up last week’s question about reading writing/grammar guides, this week, we’re expanding the question…

Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not? Do you ever read manuals? How-to books? Self-help guides? Anything at all?

Yes, I read the manual cover to cover. I don’t read the other documentation like warranties and such, but I do read the how-tos and the troubleshooting guide and the features and what-have-yous.


May 22, 2008

Books vs Movies
Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?

No. I want the same things from books and from movies. I want to be entertained. I want an escape from reality. I want to laugh or cry or cringe or be annoyed. I want good to triumph over evil. I want a happy ending but nothing too sappy. I want the same things, simple as that.


May 29, 2008

What is Reading, Fundamentally?
What is reading, anyway? Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks — which of these is reading these days? Are they all reading? Only some of them? What are your personal qualifications for something to be “reading” — why? If something isn’t reading, why not? Does it matter? Does it impact your desire to sample a source if you find out a premise you liked the sound of is in a format you don’t consider to be reading? Share your personal definition of reading, and how you came to have that stance.

(Two weeks late for Reading is Fundamental week, but, well…)

I am not a book snob. If someone prefers manga over a novel, that’s fine with me. If someone else prefers an e-book over a paperback, that’s fine. If another prefers romance over classic literature, it’s all right. And if someone likes an Archie comic book over a Newbery Medal winner, no worries. As long as everyone is reading something, learning something new (no matter how small a thing), and enjoying the experience of being a part of literature, then that should be perfectly okay, now shouldn’t it? Books in any form is a good thing. They promote literacy, make you exercise your imagination, and open up new worlds for you. That’s what reading is, fundamentally.


Okay, I’m done with BTTs from January to May. I’ll finish June to August over the weekend. I’m sure I’ll be done by the time Thursday rolls around. I can hardly wait!

To be continued…

Thanks for Joining My BookMooch Contest!

Last August I celebrated my first year on BookMooch on the 3rd and my birthday on the 12th. In addition to these occasions I also celebrated 300+ books given away on BookMooch (yay!). Since joining, I have mooched excellent and hard-to-find books and given away my pre-loved books as well. But more significant than that, I have made so many friends locally and internationally and have found a cause I believe in—promoting the love of books through volunteering at and helping the Quezon City Public Library – Pasong Tamo.

In celebration of all this good fortune, I held two contests for everyone on BookMooch. Books and BM points were given away as prizes for the lucky winners and deserving BM charities.

LOCAL MEMBERS (Philippines): Thank you for joining my contest! Congratulations to Rise and Blooey (winners of 5 points each and two new books of his/her choice—from Powerbooks), Czar, Dianne, Amanda, and CZ (winners of 2 free books from my inventory and 3 points each), Aloi, Fria, Czar, Blooey, Peng, Marie, Jem, CZ, Pink, and Rise (winners of a smooch), and Ria, Mutch, and Amanda (winners of personalized address labels). Thank you for celebrating my anniversary and birthday with me and supporting the Quezon City Public Library. Everyone who joined this contest also received 10 BookMooch cards! Everyone’s a winner!

INTERNATIONAL MEMBERS: Thank you so much for joining my contest and supporting the BookMooch charities. Congratulations to Michael (winner of a book of his choice from Powerbooks and 5 BM points) and his favorite charity, the Quezon City Public Library (Pasong Tamo) (winner of 10 BM points). Congratulations also to Lisa, Lola, and Mark (winners of 3 BM points) and to their favorite charities, Operation Paperback, ASDfriendly, and The Prison Book Project (winners of 3 points as well). Other charities who were nominated by the other contestants were also given BookMooch points as additional prizes.

Thank you for celebrating my BookMooch anniversary and birthday with me and the BookMooch charities!

BookMooch rocks!

The Funniest Book Titles Ever

A BookMooch member posted a link to this article on our forum. I can’t help but re-share it to all of you.

My favorite is this one:

Hilarious!

See the rest of the ludicrous book titles here.