What Are Your Reading Habits?

I got this from Lisa’s blog. I don’t do these quizzes much, but this one somehow struck a chord.

1. Favorite childhood book?
A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeleine L’Engle. This is one of those terrific books that is just as good to read for adults as for children. Maybe better even.

2. What are you reading right now?
I’m partway through Drums of Autumn, by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander series), and just started a biography of Catherine de Medici by Leonie Frieda.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I think I’m eleventy-billionth in line, so it’s a good thing I have lots of books at home.

4. Bad book habit?
None really, unless you count buying way more books than I can possibly read.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
None. I just returned The Tudors, by G. J. Meyer. It was OK, but not as good as his A World Undone, a history of WWI. That was a great book.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Nope. I’m a Luddite, I like the feel of a “real” book in my hands.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I usually have at least one fiction and one non-fiction book going. Sometimes I get carried away and start a bunch of things, but I usually only am actively reading one or two.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
I don’t think so. I don’t read as much since I started knitting, though.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Hmmm. I can’t really think of one.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Probably the last Outlander book before this one. They are just thoroughly enjoyable books.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Not all that often. I tend to get bored with stuff that I’m not comfortable with, and it sits on the nightstand till I get tired of looking at it.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I tend to read a lot of historical fiction recently. I got sucked into a bunch of Philippa Gregory novels earlier this year. Somewhat fluffy, but fun. I like reading the “classics” as well. There are a surprising-to-me number of them that I’ve never read, so I’m trying to correct that. I also tend to buy and read a bunch of books by the same author. I’ll read one, get sucked in, and go out and buy everything they ever wrote.

13. Can you read on the bus?
I don’t ride the bus, but I’d guess that my motion sickness issue would prevent that. I can’t read in the car, either.

14. Favorite place to read?
Big comfortable chair in my kitchen, big comfortable chair in my living room, bed, the deck, you name it.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I don’t have a policy. If someone wants to read a book out of my collection, they’re welcome to it. I’ve been known to force copies of books on people. I’ve been trying to get rid of books once I’ve read them, so I either give them to someone I know to read, or take them to the library and leave them. I try not to get personally attached to them.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
On occasion. I have some Levenger Page Points that I generally use, but sometimes I dog ear if I don’t have one.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Not usually, but not because I’m opposed to it, I just don’t take the time to write notes, since I tend to get rid of books once I read them.

18.  Not even with text books?
I do sometimes highlight in text books.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
The only one I read, which would be English.

20. What makes you love a book?
Great characters, first of all. A story that keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next helps, too. I also love writers who have a command of the English language and use just that perfect word that keeps you going back and re-reading the sentence just for the sheer pleasure of it. Wallace Stegner is an example. His Angle of Repose is one of my all-time favorite books.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
See number 20. Probably the two books I’ve pushed on more people are 1) Soldier of the Great War, by Mark Helprin, and 2) Undaunted Courage  (the Lewis & Clark adventure), by Stephen Ambrose. I’ve bought several copies of both and given them away. I should start getting a commission.

22. Favorite genre?
Probably historical fiction, but general literary fiction is also on the top of the list.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Science fiction. I try to like it, but just don’t get into it much. I like sci-fi TV and movies, so I can’t explain that. I also wish I liked fantasy fiction more than I do. I love multi-book series, which is common in that genre, but I just can’t get into it much.

Favorite biography?
No Ordinary Time, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, about the Roosevelt years in the White House. It’s not technically a bio, but close enough. And Undaunted Courage (see number 21).

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Not if I can help it. Not unless you count knitting books. On the rare occasion that I’ve read them in the past, I usually end up hurling them across the room by page twenty. Silly faux-psychology drives me to drink. Oh wait, I already drink. Never mind.

26. Favorite cookbook?
Oh dear. My cookbook collection is even larger than my knitting book collection. If I had to pick just one it would be Julia Child’s The Way To Cook. Or maybe the Joy of Cooking. We tend to improvise recipes a lot around here, so a general technical cookbook with basic recipes I can use as a framework is quite helpful.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
I don’t know if I have read anything this year that I’d call inspirational. I’ll get back to you on that one. Perhaps my Bible counts, though. Which reminds me of a funny text message from the website Texts From Last Night. This one really cracked me up.

“i got kicked out of Barns and Nobles cuz i put all the bibles in the fiction section”

28. Favorite reading snack?
I tend to not eat and read, but a glass of wine and some cheese wouldn’t be out of the ordinary.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Can’t think of one at the moment.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Usually, though on occasion I think “they” might have a screw loose. John Grisham comes to mind. Why those books hit the best seller list is beyond me.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
Not a problem. If I hate a book, I’ll let you know.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
French. One of those life goals I’ve had is to read Les Miserables in the original. I better get on that.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Oh Lord. Gravity’s Rainbow. It took me forever to wade through it, and I loved it, but it was a major challenge, as is everything Pynchon writes.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. It’s been sitting here forever, taunting me. I’m pretty sure I won’t understand any of it.

35. Favorite Poet?
I don’t actually read a lot of poetry. One that’s currently on my nightstand is Wendell Berry, I dip into it from time to time.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Usually only one. I generally try to read either from the vast stash of books I already have, but if something comes out that I just have to read NOW, I try to get it from the library.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
Not often.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Frances Crawford of Lymond, from the Dorothy Dunnett Lymond Chronicles. Best series of historical fiction books, ever. If you haven’t read them, do.

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Hmmm. I’ll have to get back to you on that one. Can’t think of one right now.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Anything and everything. Usually fiction, though. I’m a sucker for big 800 page novels, which is really a pain for packing.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Not long. A few days to weeks, maybe.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
For some reason that escapes me, I tried to read the first book in the dismally written Left Behind series. I might have gotten 20-30 pages into it before I wanted to burn it in the backyard.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Noise. I like to have quiet when I read. It didn’t bother me much when I was younger, but it’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I think my ability to multi-task isn’t as good.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Lord of the Rings, easily. I loved the books, so was skeptical about the movies, but I’ve watched them all several times.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Hmmm. Perhaps the Mists of Avalon. I loved that book so much. The movie wasn’t bad, but it just didn’t live up to the book.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it might incriminate me. Let’s just say that the book spending rivals the yarn spending around here.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Not usually. I’ll glance at the first few paragraphs when I’m buying a book or checking it out at the library, but I generally read from beginning to end.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
If I don’t like it, I don’t get to half way. Silly writing, boring characters, plot that doesn’t seem to go anywhere, all of those things will make me banish a book. I don’t give a book more than 40-50 pages if I don’t like it.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yes. All the unread fiction books are alphabetized by author, the non-fiction section by general topic. Of course there’s that pile by the bedside that is totally disorganized, but I like to think of that as the on-deck circle.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I used to save absolutely everything except the total rejects. Now I get rid of them as I read them. The “library” in my house is the loft over the living room, and it’s in danger of collapsing if I don’t purge now and then. I keep a box in my office, finished books go in it, and when it’s full it goes to the library.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
The Twilight books. I bought the first one, and I’ve actually picked it up a few times to read, but never started. I’m pretty sure I will hate it, so I don’t know why I don’t just read 20 pages and make a decision.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
Can’t think of one. Oh yes, maybe that Left Behind crap I mentioned.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
I didn’t really think I’d like Don Quixote for some reason, but it’s a great book. Very funny in a lot of places, really.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Can’t think of one of these either. I’m usually good at guessing what I’ll like or not. I might give it a try anyway, but my instinct is usually fairly good. Oh I do know one. Confederacy of Dunces. I really hated that, and expected to like it.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Historical fiction. I read a lot of non-fiction history, so it’s great fun to read a novel set in the same time period as a history book I’m reading.

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About Lorette

My name is Lorette. I learned to knit in 1999, and took up spinning in 2009. I'm a physician specializing in internal medicine, and live in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy my blog!


What Are Your Reading Habits? — 19 Comments

  1. That’s a great quiz (though, at 55 questions it seems more like a test!) (ha!) (or an interview). Fun reading about your reading!
    ; )

  2. Ooh, this is fun. I love the questions! I might have to do this one, too.

    Re: Wrinkle in Time–about which I agree it’s fantastic–did you know about WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead? It combines time travel, WiT, and a really entertaining story. (A Newbery Award-winning one at that)

    Agree about the Lymond Chronicles, though I still lean ever so slightly in favor of Nicholas. But, did you know I’m in the middle of reading the Lymond books again?

    I have to check the title, but I think I’ve got the free sample for “A World Undone” on my Kindle right now. I’ve been doing a lot of WWI-era reading lately! (Research, you know, for my book)

    (What? You didn’t think I was going to comment on EVERY answer, did you? Though, yes, the LOTR movies really were fantastic.)

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  4. This was a great meme. I’m currently reading the first Outlander novel on my iPad (tell John I’m using the Kindle app). I’m loving it. Don’t bother with Twilight. I tried because all the moms coming into the practice were reading it. I can’t imagine it appealing to anyone beyond the age of 15. Hmmm can we go through the book box? That’s almost as good as the yarn stash!

  5. Wrinkle in Time was my favorite childhood book, too. I reread the whole series as an adult and was surprised at how dated they were. Fantastic in the 1960s, though.

    I didn’t like Confederacy of Dunces, either.

    You might like The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin (if it sounds familiar, that’s because I recommend it at every opportunity). It’s fantasy set in a quasi-medieval world, but the characters are very well-developed and the story lines intriguing. The first book is Storm of Swords. I am not a big fantasy fan, but I adore this series.

    I enjoyed Undaunted Courage, too; Stephen Ambrose may have been panned for a number of things, but I still enjoy his books. No Ordinary Time was excellent.

    I gave #1 Son Gravity’s Rainbow (plus several other books I thought he would enjoy) a few years ago. Then a couple years ago he gave ME Gravity’s Rainbow, saying I would like it. Maybe I will if I can ever get beyond page 20…

  6. I’m with you on #12!! I knit until the last minute of the day, head for bed and usually fall asleep with the book in my hands and light still on. I’d rather knit!

  7. Great meme! I’ll be looking for some of the suggested titles! Have you read Elizabeth Kostova’s _The Historian_? Well written and fascinating history (it’s a novel) of the Dracula legend. Didn’t think I’d like it, but am intrigued. And I’m going to dig out the Faery Ring too.

  8. Wrinkle in Time is an all time favorite. I remember reading it when I was in fifth grade and loving it. Read it again a few years later. Can’t wait to share that one with Anna Grace.

    Right now I’m enjoying sharing another book from earlier in my childhood, The Boxcar Children, with Anna Grace. I remember my teacher reading that book to the class and wanting to go live in a boxcar with Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny. I’m getting a kick out of seeing Anna Grace enjoy the story as much as I did.

  9. Definitely a fun meme! 🙂

    I have three scifi recommendations for you, all by Connie Willis:

    Bellwether – Come on, there are sheep! 😉 It’s about a researcher studying trends. Brilliantly funny, insightful, and a quick read.

    To Say Nothing of the Dog, Or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump At Last – Have you ever read the classic Three Men in a Boat? Anyway, this is a witty and wise tale of time travel. You must keep reading through the first 100 pages, no matter how confused you are. You’re in the narrator’s headspace, and he has no idea what the heck is going on. 🙂

    The Doomsday Book – Much darker. A major award winner. Time travel back to the Black Plague.

  10. As I expected! I now have added more stuff to the reading list and have laughed at your sharp wit! I think I could absolutely go with wine and cheese as companions to a good book. Looks like I may have to stalk some of your other friends as well to see what goodies they may offer up! I’m glad that you liked the LOR movies too. I was so worried about them at first because I didn’t want to be disappointing.

  11. Hey – I bought Undaunted Courage at your recommendation. Perhaps now I’ll actually read it. On a positive note, it’s on my bedside table.

  12. This is a fun quiz. I read a lot of historical romance novels, because they’re brain candy to me. Some are very well written, but there’s a lot of garbage.

    I’m also reading The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. If you want to get into a multi-book fantasy series, but have a hard time getting into the genre, these are great, because they’re set in modern Chicago, but they’re about a professional wizard/private investigator.

    As for books that you’re on the waiting list for at the library, you could check out http://www.paperbackswap.com. Although they have a waiting list for that book as well, they are a resource for getting rid of books you’ve read while obtaining books you want. I’ve gotten into a lot of books that way.

  13. Good quiz and lots of good suggestions here. Have you read Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese? It’s an amazing first novel that has really stuck with me. Lots of medical, historical, Ethiopian culture, great characters and plot. My reading list has just expanded!

  14. That quiz really does sum up your reading habits. I’ve become quite the audiobook “reader” after the various endorsements on different blogs. And I have “Soldier of the Great War” in audio form and as a real book. I think it will move to the top of my list based on your endorsement (I’ve enjoyed other Helprin books). I have very similar fiction tastes.

    I think that if eReaders drop below $100, I could be persuaded to part with some of my dustier books in favor of reading them electronically.

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