Sheila did this, and as I cannot resist a good quiz, I shall do it too.
Worst Books Ever, or Five Hours of My Life I’ll Never Get Back
Five hours? I wish. I lost several days of my life, altogether, to crap like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, The Celestine Prophecy, Twilight, and others. As I get older, though, I get a lot less tolerant of bad books. I used to believe that I couldn’t really frame a full opinion of something fairly unless I read the whole thing. Now, if I think it sucks after a hundred pages, I’m only too glad to set it aside and say “It sucks.”
Books I Have Lied About Reading
Well, there were readings I was supposed to do in school that I never did, and only bluffed my way through in the discussions. Sometimes I was successful. Other times, less so.
Books I Have Lied About Liking
I don’t really do this. If I hate it, I hate it. Why not say so?
Book-to-Movie Adaptations Where, Frankly, the Movie Was Better
The Bridges of Madison County is a bizarre little book, but the movie is really, really, really good. And Goldfinger the movie is better than the book (even if it’s not my favorite Bond movie).
Books I Used to Love, of Which I Am Now Ashamed
“Shame” isn’t the right word, but there are books that were once meaningful to me which I’ve now moved beyond. Much of Richard Bach’s output falls in this category. (More on my once-thriving relationship with Bach’s work here.)
Best Book Titles of All Time
The Lord of the Rings; They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?; The Once and Future King; Lamb, or, the Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal; The Stars My Destination.
I love a good title.
Books That I Expected to Be Dirtier
Ummmm…I never really expect dirt in my books, so I have no idea.
My Real Guilty-Pleasure Reads, and Not the Decoys I Talk About Openly
Geez, why so much guilt? I feel no guilt about reading. I do keep dreaming about reading some book, and having some stranger squeal with delight as they see someone else reading their favorite book. This has never happened yet.
Books You Must Read Before You Die, but Would Rather Die Than Read
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: One day, I am going into the woods with The Brothers Karamazov, and only one of us is coming back alive.
Books I Refused to Read for a Long Time Because too Many (or the Wrong) People Recommended Them
Hmmmmm. Not really sure. I’m not one to avoid the popular thing because it’s popular; I will explore something popular out of curiosity, but since I tend to read stuff when I want, I might wait for years before reading something that was popular a while back. Harry Potter was up to Prisoner of Azkaban before I read him, for example.
Books I Read Only After Seeing the Movie
2001: A Space Odyssey; The Hobbit (referring to the animated version of the 1970s). I’m sure there are others, but none are leaping to mind right now.
Books I Most Often Try to Persuade Other People to Read
Anything by Guy Gavriel Kay.
Authors I Wish Had Written More Books Already
There was a writer named John J. Robinson who wrote a couple of terrific history books, Dungeon, Fire and Sword and Born in Blood, which deal with the Knights Templar and the Crusades and the formations of Freemasonry, respectively. He had a wonderful voice to his writing that I loved.
I also wonder why Caleb Carr has never done anything in his 1900s New York City after The Alienist and Angel of Darkness; I loved those books.
Overused Plot Points That Drive Me Nuts
I can’t think of any, really.
Books in Which I Liked the Secondary Characters Better Than the Main Character, or Books in Which I Wanted to Beat the Main Character Senseless with a Tire Iron
Well, I certainly wanted to beat each and every one of the principles in Twilight to death!
Books I Lied About Reading and Then Wrote an A+ Term Paper On
I never did this. I never got an A+ on a paper, that is. I did get a couple of B’s.
Books I Lied About Reading/Liking Solely to Look Smart/Pretentious
Nope, I’ve never done this.
Books I Wish I Hadn’t Finished, or Worst. Ending. Ever.
The Yearling. I only read that book because it was required by my seventh grade teacher, who was utterly stunned when I wrote a caustic paper on how much I hated it. The whole “Young boy grows up when he must kill his beloved pet” mini-genre sickens me. (In other words, F*** Old Yeller.)
Books I Read after Oprah Recommended Them
I don’t pay any attention to Oprah’s book recommendations. At all. Not because I’m anti-Oprah, but because I don’t really care about her one way or the other. I know she’s a force of nature and all that, but she’s not really on my radar. (I did hear once that she said that she “doesn’t read science fiction”, which irritated me. But I wouldn’t ignore her on that basis.)
Books I Will Never Read Precisely Because Oprah Recommends Them
Yeah, what I just said.
Literary Characters I’ve Developed Crushes On
Princess Eilonwy in Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles; Jehane bet Ishak in GGK’s Lions of Al-Rassan; Lady Guinevere as portrayed in Gillian May’s Arthurian trilogy.
Books I Only Read to Impress Other People
Haven’t we covered this? I read what I want to read. If you’re not impressed, then sod off already.
Best Books Not to Read from Start to Finish, or Best Bathroom Books
Ahhhh! Get Fuzzy compendiums. (Hmmmm…is the right plural there “compendia”? Look that up, self.) Comics of all stripes. Books of nature photography. And cookbooks! I’ve planned entire weeks’ worth of meals in the bathroom. And I haven’t bought a copy in years, but Roger Ebert’s yearly collection of movie reviews always made great bathroom reading.
Books I Shouldn’t Admit Made Me Cry Like a Baby
Why shouldn’t I admit it? GGK’s Fionavar Tapestry hits me on the sweet spot every damn time I read it. I had to resort to lots of strategic throat-clearing when I was reading The High King aloud to The Daughter, especially in that final chapter.
Books I Only Read for the Title
I’m not really sure what this means. Titles catch my eye and pique my interest, to be certain. Many books I choose because the title caught me first.
Books I Re-Read When I Have Nothing Else to Read
I don’t do full re-reads all that often, but I do dip into favorite books a lot. Lord of the Rings, GGK, favorite scenes from Stephen King, et cetera. Any book I have read and enjoyed is fodder for dipping.
Books People Keep Recommending That, Frankly, Sucked Ass
I may sound like the proverbial broken record, but Jeez Louise, how could Twilight have been that awful? And don’t tell me “It’s a guy thing”, or “Well, you were never a teenage girl in love so you won’t know.” It was Stephenie Meyer‘s job to make me understand that, not mine. I’ve read a lot of popular stuff that I didn’t like all that much, but few that I’ve loathed to that degree.
Books My Teacher Made Me Read That I Really, Really Liked
To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Johnny Tremain, The Scarlet Letter. Some others that I don’t recall.
Books My Teacher Made Me read That Made Me Question the Value of My Education
I didn’t care for Ordinary People. And the afore-mentioned The Yearling.
Here’s a true story: as we neared completion of The Yearling, we each had to write a paper in which we either recommended the book or didn’t. I didn’t, primarily because I found the book awfully boring, and I didn’t buy the central moral lesson. So I didn’t recommend it, and got something like a B- on my report. The kid next to me said the same things in his report, but at the end, he said, “I’d recommend the book anyway.” He actually asked the teacher, in class, why he got a higher grade when he too said the book was boring and the “Man up and kill your pet!” lesson was crap. The teacher sagely spread her hands and said, “You recommended it. There’s no problem there.”
So I probably could have said, “This book is complete shit, but I recommend it!”, and she’d have given me an A-.
I didn’t like that teacher very much.
Books That Made Me Want to Have Sex with at Least One Character
I was all set to say “As if I’d ever think such a thing!”…and then I remember the wonderfully sensual Kushiel’s Dart. Sigh…and add Kushiel to my list of literary crushes up above. Can’t wait to resume this series in the fall.
Books I Actually Read but Got a Poorer Grade on the Paper I Wrote on the Subject Than My Best Friend Who Did Not Read the Book
This never happened, but see above on The Yearling.
Books I Read Because the Author Looked Hot
Books I’ve Read Aloud
Many with The Daughter! The Prydain Chronicles, the Dark is Rising Sequence, et cetera.
Sadly, The Daughter has reached the point where she likes to read her own stuff at bedtime, so Reading Aloud time has come to an end at Casa Jaquandor. Those will always be some of my fondest memories of this whole parenting gig.
Books I Love Even Though the Last Twenty Pages Made No Damn Sense
The Neal Stephenson novels I’ve read fall into this category. His endings just come out of nowhere, really. Most times, though, the endings “make sense” in that I understand what happens.
Books I Have Written a Prequel/Sequel to in My Own Head
I don’t think I’ve ever done this, really!
Books I Keep Meaning to Read, but Then I See Something Shiny
Well, my reading is all over the map. I could make a list of books I mean to read that would be hundreds of titles long. I rarely plan my reading; I just pick whatever looks like it may suit my mood from one book to the next.
Books I Will Go to the Mattresses for, Even Though I Hate the Writer
I can’t think of one, really. Maybe Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, which really is an awfully good summation of the pitfalls of writing both genres, even though I think Card is sufficiently loathsome that I can reasonably guarantee that I will never read any of his fiction, no matter how many people tell me how good Ender’s Game is. Way I see it, I’ll never have time to read all the books I want to read anyway, so if I don’t read Ender because Card is a homophobic lout, I don’t think my literary life will suffer.
Books You Must Read Because You Must Mock
I don’t do this. I never read anything because I expect to dislike it. That really seems like a cynical thing to do, and like a terrible waste of time. I even read Twilight hoping to like it — I love a well-written teen romance, and I love a good vampire story, after all.
Worst How-To Books Ever
Anything by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
Books That Were on the ‘To Be Read’ List the Longest
Brothers K, maybe. I’ve been meaning to re-read David Copperfield for years, too. (Read it in ninth grade and didn’t like it, but I was in ninth grade and likely had difficultly, speaking in literary terms, of distinguishing between my arse and a hole in the ground.)
Books I Hated Having to Read in School, But Love Now
Shakespeare. I hated him at first. But then, I’ve always questioned the way we went about it: barely a month into ninth grade, and we’re handed Romeo and Juliet. We barely know anything about poetry, much less all that iambic pentameter, and none of it seems to make any sense. I warmed up to Shakespeare a little more each successive year.
(This is part of my half-baked hypothesis that maybe teaching literature should start with contemporary stuff and work backwards, getting to Shakespeare at the end of the year, rather than doing the forwards-chronologically thing which puts the Bard in the leadoff position.)
Books Whose References Have Worked Their Way into My Household Lexicon
Ummmm…I’m not sure on this.
Books I’ve Read Because I Liked Their Cover Design/Font
Lots of them! As I note above, it’s the covers that catch my eyes when I’m book shopping. Not every pretty cover I buy, but I do like to pick up books based on covers and look them over.
Books Which, When It Comes Right Down to It, I Would Have No Problem Burning
I’m still ripping on Twilight. But I can’t burn it; I sent it to SamuraiFrog. But who am I kidding? I would never burn a book, except for, possibly, old phone books that I might use for kindling.
Books Which I Read Only for the Sex Scenes
The Call of Cthulhu. I was misinformed.
Books I Pretend to Like So People Won’t Think I’m a Snob, or Books I Pretend to Like So I Won’t Hurt Your Feelings
Oh, come on. That’s just dumb. I’ll admit to having had a passing fascination with Nicholas Sparks a while back (but I think that’s worn off, since I’ve come to realize that he’s basically the Funky Winkerbean of romance novels). And since a lot of the time I’m reading a space opera novel with exploding spaceships on the cover, or fantasy novels with sword-wielding strongmen on the cover, being thought a snob is the least of my worries!
Books with Covers So Embarrassing You Can’t Read Them in Public
None, really, although Christopher Moore’s You Suck has a fun cover to hold up whilst reading in public!
Books You Are Sorry You Didn’t Read Decades Ago
Any that were written decades ago!
Wow, that was a long quiz….
Man, there are some dumb questions on this quiz!
Regarding The Brothers K: I have read that and Crime and Punishment and liked both fairly well. At least, I don't feel like I totally wasted my time. What I think is odd and disappointing about both of the books is that each one has a few chapters and short passages that are stunningly brilliant but much of the book is dull or even silly. Recommendation: If you haven't read it already, find The Grand Inquisitor chapter in The Brothers K and read that as a standalone then either read or give up on the rest. Personally, I think you won't be missing a lot if you just give up on it but you must read The Grand Inquisitor.