A-Z of Books

I saw this fun little survey of sorts over at Cleopatra Loves Books and thought… why not!

  • Author You’ve Read the Most Books From:

Let’s see… probably Agatha Christie, although P.G. Wodehouse probably gives her a close run for her money!

  • Best Sequel Ever:

//published 1950// please ignore the 'look inside'// I really wanted to post the same cover as the one I have and that was the only image I could find! //

This is quite difficult.  Some of my favorites – Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott (the sequel to Eight Cousins), Pollyanna and the Orange Blossoms (actually the third book in the series but just so, so delightful), and Wild Trek (the sequel to Snow Dog), which was a dearly-loved childhood favorite!

  • Currently Reading:

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher and The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way by Bill Bryson.

  • Drink of Choice While Reading:

Hot chocolate in the winter, and ice water in the summer.

  • E-Reader or Physical Book:

I rebelled against purchasing an e-reader for quite a long while, but finally gave in.  I have to admit that it is convenient for traveling and for days where I’m not sure how much reading I’ll have time for (doctor visits and that kind of thing).  But at the end of the day, given a choice, I always pick up the physical book.  The scent, the feel, the ability to flip around throughout the story – I genuinely love everything about reading an actual book.  I’m also a bit in love with the way that every book I’ve read carries with it the memories and history of where I was the last time I read it.  I love writing in the flyleaf where I was when I purchased a book, and then reading it again and remembering the happy holiday I was on when I found it.  I love the ease of being able to hand someone an actual book and say, “YOU MUST READ THIS.  TODAY IF POSSIBLE” – and the fact that other people can do that for me.  In short – physical books!  :-D

  • Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Dated in High School:
Gilbert-3

Okay, so maybe a LITTLE aided by Jonathan Crombie!

Um, Gilbert Blythe comes to mind immediately.  He’s definitely my all-time book crush.  (Aided by Jonathan Crombie??  No, of course not!  :-D)

  • Glad You Gave This Book a Chance:

I think I’ll go with Jeeves and the Wedding Bells for this one.  A Bertie & Jeeves book written not by P.G. Wodehouse initially sounded terrifying.  But, aided by the comfort that FictionFan hadn’t hated it, I gave the sequel, by Sebastian Faulks, a shot – and it was actually quite good.  It wasn’t, of course, Wodehouse, but it was still a somehow gentle and happy epilogue to give that famous duo some closure that I ended up really enjoying.

  • Hidden Gem Book:

Hmmm.  I think I’m going to go completely off the reservation here and throw out a book that I haven’t actually reviewed on this blog, The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N. Southworth.  Originally published in 1859, it has been reissued by Lamplighter Publishing, a small company that reprints old books with strong moral/religious messages.  While ridiculously dramatic, The Hidden Hand is nonetheless a gripping tale full of adventure, solid characters, good vs. evil, redemption and justice.  Melodramatic yes, but with a great story to back it up, and a heroine who is no alabaster princess waiting to be rescued, but a harum scarum spitfire who goes out and gets stuff done.

  • Important Moment in Your Reading Life:

I’m not sure I can pinpoint a really specific moment, but I think just the way that I was raised, surrounded by books, constantly encouraged to read, and to answer all my questions by “looking it up!” – we always had read-aloud evenings when we were children, and it wasn’t unusual for an evening to be spent with everyone reading his or her book in the living room.  It was only when I got older that I realized that that wasn’t necessarily “normal” and that many people my age weren’t brought up with a love for books.

  • Just Finished:

Remembered Death by Agatha Christie.

  • Kind of Books You Won’t Read:

I’m pretty open to most anything.  Lately, I’ve even been trying some sci-fi, which was always a genre I avoided.  I’m not really into super smutty romance/erotica, and I don’t like really long novels that are super depressing.  Other than that… I’ll probably try it.

  • Longest Book You’ve Read:

Um…  does the Bible count??  Other than that, I’m not sure, but probably some crazy nonfiction.  While several were in the 500-600 range, GoodReads tells me that The War That Ended Peace is 793 pages, and thus my longest read in recent history.  (And an excellent one, by the way.)

  • Major Book Hangover:

download (1)Oh dear, so many choices!!!  A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is definitely a title that has stayed with me.  Over a year since I read it, and I still find myself thinking of it now and again.  The story, the illustrations, and the language wove together a perfect and emotional tale.

  • Number of Bookcases You Own:

Um.  Twelve?  Ish?  Plus books stuffed in various other nooks and in boxes all around…  shhh…  I don’t have a problem…

  • One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott comes immediately to mind – probably the book I’ve read the most times.  However, I have many books that I revisit like old friends, some every year – The Secret Garden, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Blue Castle, Spindle’s Endand the entire Harry Potter series.  I love rereading books, actually.  Many of the books on my shelves have become a part of me through many rereadings – I also think it may be another reason that I love physical books so much more than ebooks.  (PS – I didn’t do a very good job with the “one” part of that question, did I??)

  • Preferred Place to Read:
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My beautiful window seat – and, incidentally, one of my many bookshelves!

Oh dear, I read anywhere and everywhere – while walking from one room to another, while folding laundry, while brushing my teeth.  I may or may not have slipped in a paragraph here and there at a red traffic light!  My husband did build me an amazing window seat last year, so that has become a favorite place to curl up.  We’re in the process of rebuilding the front porch, and I already know that that is going to be a favorite spot as well – I love reading outside.  Lately, I’ve been doing most of my reading on my lunch hour at work, which generally finds me on my favorite bench hidden away in an arbor in the sample gardens – perfect!

  • Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All the Feels from a Book You’ve Read:

Oh dear, another hard one!  For today, I think that I will go with one of my favorites from A Little Princess.  I loved this book as a child – and still love it as an adult – and was always very much inspired by Sara, who handled tragedy and difficulty so graciously and generously. 

‘Whatever comes,’ she said, ‘cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.’

  • Reading Regret:

I feel that this must be the same for all of us – far more books than time!

  • Series You Started and Need to Finish:

I actually can’t think of one, as I’m a bit obsessive with reading series from beginning to end – none of this jumping about through the middle bits for me!

  • Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books:

image3I’ll try to choose three I haven’t already mentioned… let’s go with The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, Dear Enemy by Jean Webster (which I probably should have chosen as my favorite sequel – I love it even more than its predecessor, Daddy Long-Legs!), and The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

  • Unapologetic Fangirl For:

I’m not entirely sure that I qualify as a fangirl for anything or, if I do, it’s for really random people like P.G. Wodehouse and Daniel Pinkwater.

  • Very Excited for This Release More Than All Others:

Tragically, I always seem to be quite behind the times with books, so I never know what is coming down the pike until two years after everyone else has read it!  Combined with the fact that most of my favorite authors seem to no longer be in the land of the living…

However, I will take this opportunity to rant about a book that was supposed to appear in 2011, but there is still no sign of it – the sequel to Pegasus by Robin McKinley.  That is a fantastic book and I loved every page, but it LEGIT stops IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORY.  There is literally NO wrap-up.  The book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger – it ends in the middle of the book!  It makes me shake my fist in rage every time I think about it.  ROBIN MCKINLEY, WHERE IS THE SEQUEL YOU PROMISED US!?  Arrrrrggghhhhhhhhh

  • Worst Bookish Habit:

Reading when I ought to be doing something else, like listening to someone’s attempts to converse with me, or walking the dog, or cooking dinner.  Whoops.

  • X Marks the Spot – Start on the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book:

Remember that multiple bookshelf thing???

::: Basket of Flowers – written by an anonymous author in Germany back in the 1800’s.  It’s actually a book published by Lamplighter, the company I mentioned earlier.

::: Wild Palomino: Stallion of the Prairies by Stephen Holt.  When I was a kid, I was way, way into horse books.  Grosset & Dunlap published this fantastic series called “Famous Horse Stories.” I still collect them when I find them in second-hand shops.

007::: The Never-Ending Story by Michael Ende.  Classic.  Everyone should read it.

::: The Mysterious Schoolmaster by Karin Anckarsvard.  Actually the first book in a fantastic little series originally published in Sweden, and published in the US in the 1950’s by Scholastic.  A genuinely fabulous little mystery that I read and reread as a kid.

::: Orienteering by the Boy Scouts of America.  Because yes, these are the type of books I pick up a book sales all the time.  :-D

::: The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects by Spike Carlsen.  Highly recommended, actually – it’s printed by Storey Publishers, my favorite go-to for all books about homesteading, gardening, and other old-time skills.

::: The Great Smoky Mountains by Insiders’ Guides.  Because yes, I also pick up used travel guides at book sales, too!

::: Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie.  That’s on my Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse shelf!

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Many of Thelwell’s cartoons have no need for words!

::: Riding Academy by Norman Thelwell.  If you’ve never looked up Thelwell’s cartoons, you certainly should!

::: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  Considering I own about ten copies, I suppose it isn’t surprising that it would crop up!  However, this is my favorite reading copy, the perfect size, and one of those delightful old hardbacks that they printed in the early 1900’s that fall open just right.

  • Your Latest Purchase:

Ooo.  I think it was Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence which I picked up secondhand.  It’s on the short TBR list!

  • ZZzzzzz Snatcher – the Last Book That Kept You Up Way Too Late:

Another Agatha Christie, I believe – I started And Then There Were None around suppertime, and stayed up until it was finished!

Well, friends, I have been working on this little survey off and on for over a week.  Things are still quite busy what with working, but I think next week is my last week at the greenhouse.  We will see what happens with life then!  In the meantime, there are at least ten books awaiting review…  someday, little books, someday!