Q&A: Relationships with Books

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?

Probably the children’s book about the adventures of a tooth fairy and me. Remember those stands in the malls in the ’80s where they’d put your child’s name in the book and print it right there for you. (Wow, 80s technology, that must’ve been annoying at the time.) Anyway, it’s a thin little memento from my childhood.

The oldest book I own is a copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was given to me by my great-grandma. I never read it. And keep it more as a family heirloom than anything else.

2. What is your last read, your current read, and the book you’ll read next?

The last book I read was Charlene Harris’ Club Dead, the 3rd book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Currently, I have a stack of comics to read and am part way through Tara Hunt’s The Whuffie Factor, which I’m reading slowly and taking job-related notes on. I’m not really sure what book I’ll be picking up next. I have an entire shelf full of “to-read” books.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bonte
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bonte
3. What book did everyone like and you hated?

I really, really couldn’t stand Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. The only reason I made it through was I had to read it for one of my college courses. While I certainly understand why it’s a classic, I found the story less than romantic and Jane not my kind of heroine.

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I’ve had a copy for ages. I read about 15 pages of it, but I don’t think I’m ever going to pick it up and read the other 500+.

5. Which book are you saving for retirement?

Why would I do that?

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?

I definitely wait. Sometimes with comic books, I’ll thumb through to look at the art before I read it. However, I can be a very linear person when reading, especially novels. First to last page with no peeking.

7. Acknowledgments: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?

Mostly a waste of ink. On some classic works, they might serve as an interesting aside or a reference to whom that author was inspired by. But in most works, the author often just thanks a family member or friends. Which I guess is nice for the author and people s/he cares about.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Lyra from Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. I love her fantastical journey and her friends. While I would like to say I wouldn’t get with stupid Will like she does, but at her age, I probably would. Lyra gets to ride a freaking Ice Bear, that’s all I have to say about that.

Lyra rides Iorek, the Ice Bear
Lyra rides Iorek, the Ice Bear

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?

My Bible will always make me remember Lutheran middle school. It’s full of notes. Specially from 7th grade, when the crazy theologian teacher worked us through the entire Old Testament and “Revelations.” No joke. I can still picture where we all sat in class, and the looks of boredom on everyone’s faces during afternoon Bible lessons.

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.

Nothing “interesting” really comes my way. Beyond associating certain people with certain books as the books were gifts from those people.

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

I gave my copy of Interview with the Vampire to my maternal grandma when she was scared I was reading inappropriate books at age 12. I don’t think she ever read it.

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?

I can’t really say I take a comfort book with me.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad ten years later?

I don’t think I was ever that harsh on any book, except for The Scarlet Letter. Which I still don’t like.

14. What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?

I’ve founds lots of “to beloved” so-and-sos. Or things signed by the authors or artists. I always can’t believe people get rid of books signed by the creators. Otherwise, I’ve found things like grocery store lists and bookmarks to used bookstores on the side of the country.

15. Used or brand new?

I don’t really care. Though with used textbooks, I always made sure there wasn’t a lot of other writing and highlighting in it. Gentlely used books are certainly different than destroyed ones.

16. Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses?

King’s not my style. But I think he’s a little bit of both.

The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?

In many ways, both the Narnia Chronicles and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy were better movies than books as epic adventure fantasies. With modern technology, both suite the big screen so well. With Narnia, the big screen eliminated a lot of the anvil-over-the-head Christianity. You might not be able to get rid of Aslan dying and rising like Jesus, but the more subtle message were taken out, and it celebrated the epic fantasy to pull in your imagination. With LotR, Tolkien’s writing can be incredibly dense for the modern reader, especially given it being an adventure story. But mostly, the films remove Tom Bombadil, the worst character and all his annoying singing.

18. Conversely, which book should NEVER have been introduced to celluloid?

I’m not a fan of saying never to any adaptation, just not many turn out very well. One of my least favorite adaptations is the movie of Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride. I do think Mary Louise Parker was perfect casting as Zenia. However, the film loses a lot of the book’s magic, allusions, and character depth by focusing far too much on Zenia and not enough on the other women, Tony, Charis, and Roz, whose story it really is.

19. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?

I can’t think of one.

20. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

I’ll always take my friends Pearl and Anna’s advice. Mostly because they’ll be painfully honest about why I’d like the book, whether it’d be fluffy, enjoyable crap or something I’ll sink my teeth.

0 Replies to “Q&A: Relationships with Books”

  1. I agree so much about Great Expectations. I tried to read it about five different times and could never get past the first twenty or thirty pages. And based on many friends saying they hated it, I never read Jane Eyre either.

    I just finished the second Percy Jackson book, and am almost finished with yet another Tanya Huff novel.

    I’m sorry to hear you had to suffer through Bible lessons. My parents hated organized religion, so we never did that. I think we went to a UU church once or twice.

    1. @Carole — I’m glad to know it’s not only me who can’t get through Great Expectations. (However, I did read both Ulysses and Madame Bovary at the same time during college for two different classes. So I can deal with tedium.) I wouldn’t have picked up Jane Eyre without having to for school.

      I haven’t read the Percy Jacksons book or anything by Tanya Huff. Despite fantasy making it on my list, I really have read that much. I tend to read more literature if I’m not reading a comic book. 🙂

      Oh, yeah, I went through religious middle school, Lutheran confirmation, weekly church, the whole nine yards. Thankfully, my mom hated the Lutheran church (and they kicked us out for not attending monthly, seriously) so we eventually stopped going.

  2. Oh man, Great Expectations. Had that book read to me by an overly enthusiastic Dickens fan/my fifth grade teacher. Never really could get into Dickens since he pretty much overdosed us with Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and a Tale of Two Cities. Ugh.

    Re Bible: This is why Christians suck at religious education. The Old Testament and “Revelations” are not theology. Biblical studies and theology are in fact two separate disciplines that get really ugly when mixed. Sorta like trying to make a pretty color by mixing red and green fingerpaints, but you know, categorically worse. But that’s okay, I’ll just add this onto the list of things not to do.

    I’m actually terrible at finishing classics. I think it’s because I’m so used to wolfing books down in one gobble that I don’t remember how to have patience enough to take more than one or two sittings to make it through a book.

  3. @Ruth — I have never actually read another Dickens’ book either. Though I love Christmas Carol movies with Patrick Stewart or the Muppets or Catherine Tate making fun of it.

    Oh, I totally agree. I should’ve mentioned he’s a self-proclaimed “Creation Theologist” so he liked to lecture on proving that everything in the Bible is the literal Word of God and completely true, especially historically. He even founded some institution, quit his day job to lecture on Creationism, and preach on the streets of Nebraska. Anyway, I definitely think there are ways to do religious education and ways not to; and the school I went to was a way not to.

    For a long time, I didn’t think I was ever going to read a book without pictures, where I could read an issue in 15 minutes. I love language and the music of words so I do love Classics when I get into them. In fact, there’s probably a post in my brain about how you miss out when you read Literature too quickly.

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