"A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that “great wits have short memories:” and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation." - Jonathan Swift, "A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book survey!

Here's a fun little book survey I got from http://kayleyhyde.blogspot.com/. Perfect for a rainy day.

1. Favorite childhood book?
A Separate Peace by John Knowles, plus many others...
2. What are you reading right now?
Between books, about to start either Hunger Games or Mansfield Park.
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
Hunger Games.
4. Bad book habit?
Waiting for the perfect time to start reading...and never finding that perfect time.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Many, many books about fairy tales (for my thesis), a book of Keats's poetry, a collection of Austen's letters, a book of Carroll's poetry.
6. Do you have an e-reader?
No, goodness, no. One of my favorite things about reading is the physical sensation of a book in my hands and smell of the pages when you bury your nose in them.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I'm not sure I have a preference, but I seem to have a few going at once right now.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Yes! Now I have somewhere to share my thoughts about what I'm reading, I'm more eager to read outside of class.
9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
I haven't read much this year yet, but maybe Robinson Crusoe - I read an excerpt for class and thought I'd take the opportunity to read the whole thing, but it wasn't as exciting as I thought a desert island adventure would be, so I never got back to it.
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Mrs. Dalloway and The Honourable Schoolboy - I can't rank them because they are utterly different and both extremely good in their respective genres.
11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
I'm trying to do so more often.
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Fantasy, sci-fi, and classics. What I don't read much of is contemporary fiction.
13. Can you read on the bus?
No: nausea.
14. Favorite place to read?
Trains, bed, armchairs, cafés.
15. What is your policy on book lending?
I'm not very good at lending anything out. Besides, I annotate and dog-ear so much that it's like lending out your personal notes on a book, which is a bit odd.
16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
See above.
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
18. Not even with text books?
I don't read text books.
19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English, I guess, but only because I'm most comfortable in it. I love reading in French, and I hope to get good enough to truly enjoy reading in German as well. I love to read in the original whenever I can.
20. What makes you love a book?
A good plot, good setting, a careful and exiting use of language, and the feeling when an author perfectly expresses something I myself have experienced.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If I think of a specific person who will enjoy it. My tastes often diverge from my friends', so I don't recommend books willy nilly to everyone.
22. Favorite genre?
I couldn't say. I like books about everyday life, whether it's the life of a young woman living in a country house in a George Eliot novel or the life of a spy in a John le Carre novel.
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Contemporary fiction.
24. Favorite biography?
I don't really read biographies. I guess maybe I prefer collections of letters.
25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
26. Favorite cookbook?
A little book of Irish baking my family owns.
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
I find any book I like inspirational for me as a writer.
28. Favorite reading snack?
Hot chocolate or a hot milk steamer.
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I can't think of any. Except for the fact that I hesitated a long time before reading Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings because of hype. Thankfully I finally did read them!
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Often, I suppose. At least I find their opinions interesting.
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I like it because I am very bothered by the amount of crap books, movies, etc. that are produced, and because I hate false praise.
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Italian, Russian, Gaelic.
33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Anna Karenina. I had to take a break half-way through to read Pride and Prejudice.
34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
35. Favorite Poet?
Seamus Heaney.
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Usually none, but right now, a whole bunch because of thesis.
37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
Fairy often, I suppose.
38. Favorite fictional character?
Phineas from A Seperate Peace, Aragorn, pretty much any Jane Austen heroine....I need to think more on this one, it's a good question.
39. Favorite fictional villain?
Smeagol, Draco Malfoy. I LOVE semi-villains.
40. Books you’re most likely to bring on vacation?
Big ones.
41. The longest you’ve gone without reading.
Too long.
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Invisible Man, that Phillip Pullman series, The Gathering by Anne Enright (I'm not sure that's write, but I disliked that book too much to spend time looking it up.)
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Things to do, sleepiness, the internet, hunger, people, finding the perfect comfortable position to sit in, etc, etc, etc.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Lord of the Rings and Atonement.
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
A Series of Unfortunate Events was a bit disappointing. I'm generally very wary of film adaptations.
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Probably buying books for school.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I used to, but now I don't ever.
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
If it's bad.
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Not really.
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Keep forever.
51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Can't think of any.
52. Name a book that made you angry.
The House of Sleep. I was mostly mad at the professor who assigned it.
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Harry Potter. Lord of the Rings. Now some of my favorite books ever. Ironic.
54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
That Phillip Pullman book. Why can't I think of its name?
55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Spy novels.


  1. His Dark Materials? Starts with the Golden Compass, and the third book of that series may have changed my life.
    Also, have you noticed that Harry Potter is absolutely full of semi-villians? It's so wonderful :)

    1. That's the one! Never got to the third book. I suppose I must try again.
      And yes, semi-villains! Just one more reason why Harry Potter is wonderful.