Cyberkitten recently posted a couple of book memes, and I’m borrowing questions from both.
What’s the first book you remember reading?
The earliest reading memory I have is a Sesame Street title involving Bert, Ernie, and some monster in the closet.
Did someone read to you as a child?
Ohhh, yeah. I can remember my dad reading Tom Sawyer to me. We were a reading family.
Who is your all-time favorite book character?
Who is your favorite author of all time? Your favorite book by them?
Has a book ever changed your life?
What genres do you love?
In fiction, I mostly read historical fiction, with some science fiction. In nonfiction: history and science duke it out every year. History is the reliable winner but it can never rest on its laurels. Politics and social issues bring up the second tier.
Are there any genres you dislike?
Dodgy self-help and romance.
What author (who is still living) would you dearly love to meet?
Easy easy easy. Bill Kauffman. I’d love to split a bottle of decent whiskey and tie up a bar’s best table for a few hours with him. His strong localist views, knowledge of America’s most interesting and original characters, and command of obscure American literature make him someone whose company I’d love to hang out in.
Have you ever met a (famous or semi-famous) author face to face? Where?
I ate lunch next to Jim Kunstler back in 2008. I hadn’t read any of his stuff yet, so he was spared both interrogation and adulation.
Do you prefer paperbacks or ebooks? Why?
Ebooks for most reading, physical for books that amazon might decide are thoughtcrime and try to delete.
Have you ever read a self-published book?
Via kindle, many times. My first kindle title was a minimalist youtuber’s manifesto, Disrupting the Rabblement. Niall Doherty was the name.
What book or series do you hope will be turned into a movie or TV show one day?
None of them. I don’t consider dramatizations an improvement. I’m dreading what AppleTV does to Foundation.
What attracts you to a book? The cover? Blurb? Recommendation from others?
Title, price, author, reviews.
Have you read any of the old classics? What did you think of them?
Many. It varies on the book. Some, like Gulag Archipelago, were amazing. Others, like Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, had solid writing but were not fun to read.
What is your favorite book cover?
Bill Kauffman’s Look Homeward, America comes to mind. It uses Grant Wood’s “Spring in Town”.
How many books do you read a month?
On average, 13.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
I went through a stack of books a week as a kid, so it’s hard to say. The Call of the Wild was one I often re-read, though, along with Robinson Crusoe.
Do you like to write reviews on Amazon or Goodreads?
I write reviews here and crosspost them to Goodreads, but sometimes I’ll post a one-liner on goodreads for books that don’t give full writeups here.
Where do you usually discover new books? Physical bookstores? Online? Social media?
Mostly online, using amazon’s “Related” tab, but I also make a monthly trip to Books a Million to sip coffee and photograph book covers that interest me. I look up reviews for them and keep an eye out for used copies later in the year.
Have you ever joined a book club?
I used to be a member of the library’s “Book Bunch”, a group that met weekly to talk about the books we were reading. We didn’t do a common reading, but if a book was popular it would make the rounds: everyone wound up reading Where the Crawdads Sing, for instance.
What deceased author would you have liked to meet?
Isaac Asimov or Carl Sagan: Asimov would be more interesting on the whole, I think. (Now, ‘deceased authors whose conversation I’d like to eavesdrop on’ would be Lewis and Tolkien!)
Think about your favorite genre. To you, which author is the master of that genre?
For fiction, I’d say historical fiction and that means Bernard Cornwell.
Do you judge a book by its cover? Would a shoddy cover put you off?
This is important for ebooks, because it’s a fast and dirty way to see how much effort has been put into the book. If the cover was something I could have put together in MS Paint, I may move on without looking at the book further. Bad covers are not always indicative of low-effort contents, but it’s a useful rule of thumb.
Do certain tropes attract you? For example, orphans, love triangles, anti-heroes?
I’m attracted to stories about people who go wrong and then redeem themselves, which is probably why I love Red Dead Redemption II so much.
Are there any books you haven’t been able to finish? Why not?
Life is short. No time to waste on books that are badly written with subjects or stories that don’t interest me.
Did you read books in school? Can you remember which ones?
I always had books in my bag, beyond what we were reading for class. Gooosebumps, Boxcar Children, Animorphs, Roswell High, and California Diaries were some series I’d invariably be reading or re-reading.
Are there any books you could read over and over again and never get bored of?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reread Asimov’s Black Widower stories or the first Foundation collection. The same would go for a few John Grisham titles (The Rainmaker and Last Juror), or Max Shulman’s The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
What’s the last book you read?
I just finished Imperial America, a collection of essays (1980s – 2004) from Gore Vidal.
What’s the last book you bought? Did you buy it online or at a store? Ebook or paperback?
An ebook called Star Trek: Agents of Influence by Dayton Ward. Every month a small number (5- 10) of Kindle/Star Trek titles are put on sale.
What book can you recommend to me?
The Code of the Woosters, P.G. Wodehouse. You don’t know how funny English can be until you’ve experienced its treatment at the hands of Wodehouse.
When did you last visit a library?
This morning. (I work at one.)
Has a book ever made you laugh out loud?
Bernard Cornwell invariably does with his dialogue.
Has a book ever made you cry?
The Pigman by Paul Zindel comes to mind, as does Redshirts by John Scalzi – not the main story, but its codas.
What book will you read next?
I’m currently reading The Lonely American and The End of Gender, but both are rather serious so I may stop for something more fun.