Sarah of All the Book Blog Names are Taken has gracefully nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger award, with the implication that I spread sunshine to the blogging community. Well, shucks. There are questions that I’m meant to answer, and I’m also supposed to create my own questions and tag some people who I think spread sunshine, but I’m either lazy or a rebel, take your picture. Thanks so much to Sarah, and here are my responses to her questions!
What genres do you prefer? Why?
I most like reading books that help me understand the way the world works, especially society – so I’m equally delighted by a book on infrastructure as by a novel that teaches me how lawyers might operate.
What genres do you ? Why?
While I have no interest in romance books, I wouldn’t say I refuse them because they don’t even make it in the door. What I refuse to read are political rants (books written as deliberately inflammatory, complete with a hostile title) or campaign books. My political reads tend to be on things that aren’t partisanized (foreign policy and city development stuff), or which are so outrageous that neither party would agree with me (i.e. the anti-state stuff).
What is the easiest thing about blogging for you? The hardest?
It’s always easy to find books to read. The hardest is finding time to read everything I want before an interest in a given subject is overwhelmed by interest in something else!
If you could become a character in a book, which book and why?
Oh, easy. Bertie Wooster. I’m in 1920s London, my flatmate is brilliant and does all the cooking and cleaning, and I’m free to do whatever little thing pops in my head so long as one of my aunts isn’t trying to get me engaged or gainfully employed. And if I’m being played by Hugh Laurie, I can even play the piano!
If you could travel to any period in history, which would it by and why?
I’m deeply interested in the rise and constant re-creation of the city in the late Victorian period, so much so that one of the photographs in my computer/writing area is a shot of a traffic jam on Chicago’s Randolph street in 1909. That sounds about right.
Do you ever DNF books? What makes you DNF?
I tend to be picky about the books I buy, so this doesn’t happen a lot. For fiction, an uninteresting story or characters would do the trick; for nonfiction, sloppy fact checking or an obnoxious style will put me off.
Who are your favorite authors?
I’ve had many over the years. As a kid, it was Beverly Cleary, Bruce Coville, and R.L. Stine. In middle and high school, I discovered Paul Zindel and S.E. Hinton. Some of of my favorites since starting this blog have been Isaac Asimov, Bernard Cornwell, Wendell Berry, Anthony Esolen, and Bill Kauffman. Jack London has been a constant from childhood on.
How important is book cover quality to you?
Not very. When shopping online, I use it to discriminate between professionally-published works and those which are self-published – not because the indie stuff is necessarily bad, but there’s more quality control by default if a book has been submitted to publishers and run through the editors.
Name a character you would want to be best friends, and why.
Jayber Crow, of the novel of that name; or Ducky, from California Diaries. Both are good souls in slightly different ways – Ducky is far more outgoing and assertive, I think, than Jayber….who most of the time is content to keep company with friends in the background.
Name a character who would become your mortal enemy were your paths to cross IRL.
Obadiah Hakeswill. I can’t remember all of what he did in the Sharpe novels, but the only character I’ve hated more was Dolores Umbridge. Cornwell made Hakeswill a frustrating object of hate, as he evaded Sharpe’s attempts to kill him time and again.
Which authors would you invite to a dinner party?
Isaac Asimov, of course, because he knows enough about every thing to pull more than his weight in any conversation. (Asimov is my inspiration as a generalist!) Right next to him, I want G.K. Chesterton, because by god those two will love arguing with one another. (Asimov was very fond of Chesterton’s fiction, and one of GKC’s Father Brown stories inspired an Asimov Black Widower short.) Bill Kauffman, the author I’d most like to have a beer with, has to be there. At the…less loud end of the table, I could see C.S. Lewis, Anthony Esolen, and — ooh, Alain de Botton. There’s probably room in the middle for a couple of others.