A book meme, found here.
1. Favorite childhood book?
Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.
2. What are you reading right now?
Elaine Lomax's book on Hesba Stretton, Anne Stevens' study of pre-Sir Walter historical fiction, and, for bedside reading, the Mammoth Book of Dracula. (No bats at my window as of yet. The stories avoid most of the pitfalls in my Dracula pastiches post, incidentally--there's some quite good stuff here.)
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
I just ILL'd five books, two by Paul Fiddes, two by David Jasper, and one by somebody else whose name I've momentarily forgotten (but I'm sure it will return to me soon).
4. Bad book habit?
You've seen the bookshelves, right? Friends have made pointed comparisons between books and rabbits.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
This could take all day--I've got about thirty books checked out, on a combination of British heritage films (the article I'm writing), various things having to do with Book Two, and religion & literature books (for the bibliographical essay).
6. Do you have an e-reader?
No. Given that my plumbing decides to throw a temper tantrum every time I think I've got the spare cash to buy one, it's possible that there may be some sort of Master Plan interfering with my acquisition of same.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I have been known to read up to three at once.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
No, although the blog has altered my writing habits--I wind up posting about books that I would never be discussing in my professional work. Or, on the flip side, I develop ideas that one day reappear in my professional work, albeit in considerably different form.
9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
It occurs to me that this is an odd question for somebody who specializes in religious fiction of dubious aesthetic value. But I'd have to say Emily's Ghost.
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
In scholarship, I'd say Gregory Jackson's The Word and Its Witness. In fiction, Bruce Duffy's The World as I Found It and Ernst Weiss' Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer.
11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Strictly speaking, much of what I read for "business" is pretty darned discomforting.
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I read quite a lot of British literature.
13. Can you read on the bus?
If I can hold the book open, I can read anywhere.
14. Favorite place to read?
At home, generally on the bed or the living room couch, but I also like reading in coffee shops, in the snack bar at the grocery store...
15. What is your policy on book lending?
I'm happy to do so.
16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Usually not--I mark important places with slips of paper, and write on those.
18. Not even with text books?
Assigned texts, yes. I extemporize lectures on poetry, so I'm working directly from the notes in the text.
19. What is your favorite language to read in?
20. What makes you love a book?
Was the language seductive? Do I keep thinking about it? Does it reshape how I understand other books? Was it so absorbing that I stayed up to 2 AM to finish it?
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
For some reason, I'm pretty shy about recommending books to other people. (Even my blog posts don't usually say OH YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.)
22. Favorite genre?
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
I'm afraid that travel writing has never done anything for me.
24. Favorite biography?
Robert Blake's biography of Benjamin Disraeli.
25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
No, unless the Guide to MLA Style counts...
26. Favorite cookbook?
I generally rely on online sources for my recipes.
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
This was not, perhaps, an inspirational year.
28. Favorite reading snack?
I prefer to have something to drink, rather than eat.
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I'd have to go back several years, but I'd say Thomas Pynchon's Mason and Dixon.
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
The critics and I tend to go our separate ways when it comes to pop historical fiction.
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
When I'm writing scholarly reviews, I try to think myself into the shoes of the intended audience, particularly when that audience is clearly not me. But there are times when you just have to say "there's no evidence here," or "I've read machine translations that make more sense than this author's prose."
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Classical Greek. Which is ironic, of course, because I deliberately avoided becoming a classicist.
33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
William Gaddis' The Recognitions.
34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
I can't think of anything that is making me "nervous," exactly...
35. Favorite Poet?
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
I've had close to a hundred or so. It depends on where I am in a particular project.
37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
Not very often.
38. Favorite fictional character?
Dorothea Brooke in Middlemarch.
39. Favorite fictional villain?
Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair.
40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
This is when I go for long contemporary novels.
41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Huh. A couple of days, maybe?
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
A collection of Jane Bowles' work, My Sister's Hand in Mine. And I just couldn't get into Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet, even though I've enjoyed all of Waters' other novels.
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Noise actually helps me focus. But I can't multitask.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Tie betwen Atom Egoyan's adaptation of Russell Banks' The Sweet Hereafter and Peter Weir's adaptation of Joan Lindsay's Picnic at Hanging Rock.
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
The 1988 adaptation of Little Dorrit (which may well have been a hype issue). Derek Jacobi is a great actor, but I thought he was about as wrong for Arthur Clennam as it was possible to get.
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Hrrm. I think I dropped at least $200 on my one visit to Powell's in Portland, OR.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Either "I'm learning nothing" or "I would probably enjoy this book more if I were using it for fireplace kindling."
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Everything is categorized and then alphabetized.
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I keep almost everything, but do have occasional purges. Pop fiction tends to leave once I'm done with it, although I keep everything by Reginald Hill (really the only author I collect in first editions).
51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Not really, no.
52. Name a book that made you angry.
I'm blanking on the title, but it was a Horatio Hornblower/Aubrey-Maturin knockoff that had a scene so repulsive that I just said to myself, "I can't be having this in the house."
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Frans Bengtsson's The Long Ships.
54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Sigrid Undset's Master of Hestviken novels. Kristin Lavransdatter was hugely absorbing, but these...
55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
British mysteries--Hill, as I said above, but also Ruth Rendell, Ian Rankin, P. D. James, etc.