May 4, 2009

My Book Preferences (Meme)

A couple of weeks ago, Donna over at Lit Bites posted a book meme/survey of sorts. I guess she first came across it at Book Junkie. Well, I couldn't resist, and while fending off a small case of writer's block, I figured I'd partake as well. It's all over the blogosphere apparently, so I'm a little late to the dance. Sue me.

Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback? Out of sheer convenience, I look through the mass market paperbacks first while browsing the shelves of my local independent bookstore. I'm not made of money, so when I can get a title for ten dollars or less then I'm happy. The vast majority of my book shopping happens at the used-book stores though, and in those joints I'll take whatever I can get my hands on.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? I have never had the opportunity to set foot in either of these chains. I'm in a small, small town. My excursions to the big ol' city are few and far between, and at no point have those trips been to go book shopping.

Bookmarks or dog-ear? Bookmarks. I used to dog-ear when I first got back into reading, as I wasn't concerned in the least about the condition of the book. But now, as I add more titles to my "keeper" pile, I make sure to use a bookmark, whether it's one I picked up at a store for free, or a piece of looseleaf.

Amazon or brick-and-mortar? I don't shop online. And—big secret revealed here—I don't have, have never had, and am not likely to have anytime soon, a credit card. So, shopping at Amazon isn't really up my alley. I enjoy the mini-adventures in searching shelves for one of those elusive titles on my wish list, anyway.

Alphabetize by author, by title or randomize? I have my to-be-read shelf organized by author. What's more, I have the paperbacks separate from the hardcovers. I'm not in High Fidelity territory—watch the movie—but I could go down that slippery slope in quick fashion.

Keep, throw away or sell? If I don't add a book to my "keeper" pile, I exchange it for credit at a used-book store. I'll also donate some to the local food bank, church, or Salvation Army. I never, ever throw a book away unless it's beyond repair.

Keep dust jacket or remove it? Keep, of course. What am I? A savage?

Read with dust jacket or remove it? Lately, I've been removing the dust jackets while reading a hard cover. Some of them just become unruly and distracting while I'm trying to read.

Short story or novel? If forced to choose to read one format for the rest of my days, I'd choose novel. I love a good short story, and own several anthologies and collections, but it's the novel I always look for first.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? I haven't had the chance to read a Lemony Snicket novel, though I would jump at the chance. I've only read the first Harry Potter novel, but the second in the series is sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? Chapter breaks. Even if I'm bone-tired, I'll slough through to the end of a chapter, or at least to the end of a scene.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"? If it's a short story, give me a dark and stormy night. I want to get right into the action as soon as possible. With a novel, I'll take those in more gradual fashion. "Once upon a time" type stories are like getting into a hot bath.

Buy or borrow? Buy (on credit). My library card is still good, but I haven't used it in about a year.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations or browse? Recommendations are valuable to me when I appreciate the person's opinion. That accounts for about two thirds of my purchases, while casual browsing makes up the other third. I've been reading blog book reviews over the last few months though, so they could easily start to influence my picks.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger? I like a tidy ending. A cliffhanger needs to be especially compelling in a book to make me want to read the next in the series. If the first story in a series is of high quality, I'll keep an eye out for the next installment regardless of a cliffhanger or tidy ending. It's not a plot device that influences my loyalties.

Morning, afternoon or nighttime reading? Afternoons are usually when I'm reading the most, as nighttime is when I'm at my keyboard writing or killing my wrist by writing freehand.

Stand alone or series? I don't feel like I have a preference, but I must admit that some of my favorite books have been in trilogies and series. I just read Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz last week. It's the first of a series, but it was summed up so well in that first novel, I'm almost reluctant to read the next book in the "Odd" series.

Favorite series? The Dark Tower by Stephen King. I'm currently reading the fifth book, Wolves of the Calla, and I'm loving every page.

Favorite children's book? I haven't read it since I was a little kid, but I've seen the film based on it more than once since then ... The Witches by Roald Dahl.

Favorite YA book? It may be more of a children's book, but I'll say Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. I saw the trailer for the movie and immediately tracked down the book. I was hooked on the trilogy after that.

Favorite book of which no one else has heard of? I have no idea how popular the title really is, but I will say I have never heard it mentioned as a great fantasy novel or children's story. The book I'm referring to is Clive Barker's The Thief of Always. I'd recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series or Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy.

Favorite books read last year? In 2008, I finally got my butt in gear and increased the number of books reads in a calendar year. Of all those fifty-some titles, I'd have to place Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones at the top of the list. I hadn't heard much about it, but I thought I'd check it out. I'm glad I did because I absolutely loved it.

Favorite books of all time? Cell by Stephen King, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, The Gunslinger by Stephen King, Watchers by Dean Koontz, Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

What are you reading right now? The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King, Maritime Mysteries by Bill Jessome, and The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

What are you reading next? The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Favorite book to recommend to an 11-year-old? Again, I must mention Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass.

Favorite book to re-read? Honestly, I don't often re-read a book. One I will pick up from time to time, to read a particular passage, is an autobiography by a professional wrestler, if you can believe that. It's chalk full of amusing anecdotes, and makes me remember what it was like to be a "rasslin'" fan. The book is Mick Foley's Have A Nice Day.

Do you ever smell books? I guess I do, though the question seems kind of dirty for some reason. What I don't care for is the smell of old books. I can't really explain it properly, but the musty odor of long neglected books displeases me. I like my books smelling like ... well, like nothing at all.

Do you ever read primary source documents, like letters or diaries? I don't read diaries. I don't care for memoirs. I rarely receive letters, though I have received postcards in the past written with some very amusing passages. Primary source documents aren't really up my alley, either.

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