Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tag -- I'm It!

The two books I'm reading right now are loooooooooooooooooong. Long in pages, and long in time it takes to read them.  Which means I've been neglecting this blog dreadfully. I was just thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice if I had a bookish tag sitting in my drafts I could finish off?" And I didn't, which made me frowny. But then I was playing catch-up on reading the blogs I follow, and look what I found on Flowers of Quiet Happiness! Kara was so kind as to tag everyone in the blogosphere, which includes me, so... here we go!

RULES: You must be honest. You must answer all the questions. You must tag at least 4 people.

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?  If I'm not counting children's picture books, junior fiction, or middle grade fiction, then it would be my copy of Robin Hood by Henry Gilbert.  I bought it at a rummage sale when I was 7 or 8, too young to quite read it, but so fascinated with Robin Hood that I tried anyway.

The binding was already messed up when I got it, and my fervent loving didn't help it any.  There's actually no copyright or printing date inside!  Just says "Books, INC. Publishers, New York."

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?  I'm currently reading Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash (a collection of short stories) and The Searchers:  The Making of an American Legend by Glenn Frankel.  The last book I finished reading was The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson.  And if I ever finish the books I'm reading right now, I'll start Hood by Stephen Lawhead.

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?  Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.  I don't so much hate it as have a great distaste for all but one of the main characters.  And I know a lot of people who love it.  I refused to see the movie for years, but finally got persuaded to watch it, and whaddaya know?  I loved the movie!

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?  Oh, probably something by Charles Dickens.  I tell myself I will read all his books, but there will probably be one or two that I just die without ever getting around to.

5. What book are you saving for retirement?  Possibly Don Quixote or Moby-Dick.  Or War and Peace.  I've been meaning to read those for years and years, but haven't gotten to them yet.  I certainly hope I'll read them before I'm retirement age, but at this rate....

6. Last page: read it first, or wait 'til the end?  Wait for the end!  On the very rarest of rare occasions, I will skip to the end -- I can remember doing this once in the last forever.  I did flip to the back of And Now Tomorrow by Rachel Field to be sure that it would end basically the way the movie did, because if it didn't, I would be angry.

7. Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?  Um, yeah, I tend to skim or skip.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?  Dr. Watson!  I would LOVE to be Sherlock Holmes' trusty sidekick, chronicler, and friend.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)  So many!  I attach memories to objects, so most of the books I own hold some kind of memory for me.  To pick one, The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King reminds me of several specific VeggieTales songs (and the songs remind me of it) because, when my son was very young, I would let him watch five Silly Songs a day on YouTube, and he picked the same ones over and over.  I would sit by the computer with him on my lap and read while he watched.  "Monkey" and "The Biscuit of Zazzamarandabo" are particularly linked to that book in my head.

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.  Hmm.  Um.   Hmm.  I think I've acquired all my books in pretty normal ways -- by buying them or getting them as gifts.  I've never stolen a book, or had one sent to me by a secret admirer, or found one on a train.  Oh!  I know!  When we were little kids, we used to get books from our church's library, and when my little brother was like two, he scribbled all over inside one of the books.  And got in biiiiiiiiiiiiig trouble, believe you me.  So my parents bought a replacement copy for the church library, and then we got to keep the ruined one, only they didn't want to give it to my brother because that would be like a reward for being naughty, so they gave it to me.  Which means I have a copy of this book because my brother vandalized it:

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

12. Which book has been with you most places?  Every book I got before the age of 4 and still own has gone from Iowa to Michigan, to North Carolina, to Minnesota, to Wisconsin, to Connecticut, to Virginia.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad later?  Not exactly.  I didn't have a lot of "required reading" in high school -- I was homeschooled, and my mom basically gave me this list of great books and said, "Read at least half of these over the next four years."  So I did.  But I got to pick and choose.  There were books I read that I disliked -- especially Lord of the Flies by William Golding and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte -- but I disliked them so much, I've never felt the urge to re-read them.

However!  There are two books that are often "required reading" for people who are in high school that I first read after I was already done with high school and really disliked.  They're The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  First time I read them, blech.  Second time, wow.  In fact, I like them so much now that I lead a read-along for Old Man a couple of years ago, and I'm leading a read-along of Gatsby in June.

14. Used or brand new?  Both!

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?  No.  What a weirdly specific question.

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?  Inkheart, but I said that already.  Oh, I know!  North and South.  I like the book, but I love the movie way more.  This is almost entirely Brendan Coyle's fault.

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?  So many.  Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Lizzy & Jane and A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay.  Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen.  And don't get me started on cookbooks :-9

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?  My mom.  If she says I'll like a book, I pretty much always do.

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?  Okay, so... I read almost every genre.  I've even dipped a very hesitant toe into horror.  I've never read a bodice-ripper, though I did read a couple of Victoria Holt books in college that got way more swoony than I needed.  So what is my comfort zone?  I mean, mysteries are my favorites, and I love historical fiction and classics.  But I'll also read fantasy and sci-fi and chick lit.  Hmm.  And it has to be one I ended up loving.  Hmmmmm.  I guess I'll go with the Harry Potter books, because I didn't like the first one when I read it in college, but then I tried them again a few years later and, once I got past the first book, started really getting into them, and now I love the series.  Does that work?

I hereby tag:

Abby P. at Lavender Spring
Kathryn at The Language of Writing
Oliva at Meanwhile, in Rivendell...
Meredith at On Stories and Words
Miss March at Sunshiny Corner

Play if you want to!


  1. Victoria Holt was my guilty pleasure when I was a young teen but I started noticing how her plots were redundant after awhile ("Oh, this is just like the last one, except the place and names are different...").

    You want a long book? "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel." Creative. Fun. Interesting. BUT LONG. It killed my soul when I'd been reading it for 8 hours and my Kindle was like, "Congrats, you're 1% more finished with it than last time you opened it!" :D

    1. Charity, so funny! I only read two books by Victoria Holt, so didn't notice a lot of overlap, but yeah, I've read other authors like that.

      I actually tried reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel -- I started it a couple days before my son was born. I remember taking it along to the birth center, and just never having time for it once he arrived. Sent it back to the library having only gotten a couple chapters in. But I'd like to try it again one day!

    2. My favorite was "Mistress of Mellyn," it was Jane Eyre + Rebecca rolled into one.

      JS&MN is great, but... meanders. It's not focused. The ideas are great, though. I actually started in on it, daunted by the size, when it first came out, and gave up a couple of chapters in; when the miniseries came out last year, I got so hooked on it, I couldn't stand waiting a week between episodes to find out what was going to happen, so I read through the novel in a couple of weeks.

      (I recommend the miniseries, btw. It's fabulous and I'm sorry it's not better known!)

    3. Charity, if I had read that one, I would have loved it!

      I've been vaguely interested by the miniseries. If I ever get through all the gazillions of things I already own and haven't watched yet, maybe I'll try it out!

  2. Oh, goodness, yes—the descriptions of meals in Farmer Boy! Some of Mary Stewart's books are like that too—there was a description of a meal at a French restaurant in Nine Coaches Waiting (awesome book all around, by the way) that made me wish the restaurant existed in real life.

    1. Elisabeth, I read Farmer Boy aloud on our last long vacation car trip, and we all got sooooooo hungry all the time. Cowboy got so obsessed with all the food that he started cooking things from my Little House Cookbook when we got home.

      Don't think I've read anything by Mary Stewart, but I'll see if the library has NCW.

  3. Yeah, on all the book challenges there is often a "a book you were supposed to read in high school but didn't" and I'm like well, I wasn't forced in classic literature category.

    I really struggled with reading for awhile so all I did was skim, so when I started getting back to reading, I tried to eventually discipline myself to stop reading, skimming, and going back to really read (I read aloud and my sisters said I had to make sure I read every punctuation point), when I skim now, it often means I'm really disliking what is happening and often means I won't finish the books at all (like for And Now Tomorrow; I wanted to slap that main character so hard; and that heartbreaking story of the working class man who loved her her whole life who died? Plus another decent guy? I also prefer the childhood sweethearts? So, nope, just nope).

    I might have to borrow these questions just for fun.

    1. Livia Rachelle... wait... you have read And Now Tomorrow??? Oh my goodness! You are only the second person I have ever run into who has read it. Sounds like you had a pretty opposite reaction to it from me, though.

      Enjoy the tag! It's a nifty one :-)

    2. I found it on YOUR blog, so that would be why . . . I'm rarely a rare book finder. I loved Calico Bush, so I thought I would try that.

      I started it . . . it made be so disgusted I couldn't finish . . .

    3. Aha! Yeah, it's a very different book from Calico Bush. But disgusted? Hmm. Because she's so selfish and clueless for like 3/4 of the book? She does have a lot to learn, but that's part of the charm for me -- I love characters whose arcs involve them learning not to be so selfish or self-absorbed.

    4. I cannot stand long-term deceptions, self or otherwise, particularly in main characters in books, and most of the book was that way (probably why I've never understood the extreme popularity of JA's Emma). I disliked the resolution (and lack of resolutions on some counts) and didn't feel any explanation could atone for everything.

    5. Livia, aha! I get that. I hate plots that depend entirely on one or more characters continually lying when the whole plot would be resolved in two seconds if they just told the truth. Like the movie Christmas in Connecticut. Nope, nope, nope.

      But I feel like most of us are not self-aware enough to see all our own faults. While I'm also not a huge fan of Emma, it's because she's meddlesome, not because she's self-deceived or not self-aware. I'm a big fan of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," which Emma Woodhouse is basically the antithesis of, lol.

    6. Livia, I just realized something -- you said you never finished reading the book. When you referred to "another decent guy" who loved her, I assumed you meant Merek Vance. But I just realized that, depending on where you quit reading, you might have meant Jeff, her fiance. Because you might have quit reading before learning that Jeff was cheating on Emily with her sister -- he was not "a decent guy." He was spoiled and selfish and frivolous, much like Emily started out, but with a different character arc. While Emily's arc is to realize her shortcomings and strive to overcome or remove them, Jeff's arc is to go the other direction and pity himself because people don't give him what he wants.

      And if you quit reading wishing that Emily and Jeff would just get married already, that's a whole different story from what unfolds by the end of the book. Just so you know.

    7. No, I knew that, that is why I was so irritated with her, because there were SO many clues right early on. I meant Joe. The one killed. And that is why I was so frustrated. I just felt that Merek kind of got in the way, and she never realized about Joe (even though he hinted, plus his still returning after all the union stuff; her self-absorbed cluelessness was just too much).

    8. The way I saw it, she had zero romantic feelings toward Joe. He was a friend, and he was sweet, but no one has any obligation to get together with someone who likes them. Sure, I felt bad for Joe having to deal with unrequited love for her, but having dealt with that myself, I know it's something you can live through, get over, and go on from. I don't think she was unaware that he had feelings for her, she simply did not return them, and that was that. I never once felt like, "Oh, he loves you so much, just try to love him to make him happy."

  4. Thanks a bunch! This looks like a lovely tag; will have to try and do it soon! (Random side note #1: It's really bugging me that there are 19 questions. Why 19?! Why not 15 or 20 or some other even number or multiple of 5?!)

    Okay, your header. That is really cool.

    Well, as you know, I love both the book and the movie Inkheart, but YESH. The movie. <33 (Especially DUSTFINGER. <3333)

    Ah, good point about Moby-Dick. Another one that I've been *ahem* avoiding. (Random side note #2: I actually just picked up a copy of it at a thrift store today for my mother, as my brother may need to read it next year...)

    I really enjoyed reading your answers!! :)

    1. Olivia, that bugged me too! I actually followed the blog trail back like 5 blogs to see if there was a 20th question that disappeared somewhere along the way, but nope. I would have done 18 or 20, myself, being fond of multiples of 3 and 5.

      Thanks! Back when I celebrated my one-year-Alaniversry, I really wanted to switch this header to something with Alan Ladd in it too, not just the one on my Soliloquy, so I fiddled with that photo for like an hour to get it just right.

      Dustfinger was the only character I liked much at all in the book, and even he did things that bugged me. But in the movie, nope. Loves him, precious.

      I have a nice hardcover copy of Moby-Dick. Just haven't read it yet.

  5. Love your answer to number 10. "Which means I have a copy of this book because my brother vandalized it" Haha. That's just funny! :)

    Some of these questions seem like they'd be a bit hard to answer, but I may give a whirl one of these days. Thank you so much for tagging me! :)

    1. Miss March, sometimes it's handy having younger siblings! Even if it does mean my copy of that book has green crayon all over a couple pages.

      If you do try this, have fun with it! I liked that some of them were challenging.

  6. Hee! Your answer to 10 is awesome. Love 8 too. :-D

    1. DKoren, yeah, it's really fun to read that book in Sunday school and tell his children that "Oh, and look at this page that some naughty little boy colored all over. Do you know who that naughty little boy was? It was your daddy!"

  7. Just finished Wuthering Heights for the first time, and I am beside myself. What the heck was Bronte thinking?

    I'm reading Old Man and the Sea again (again, again) to my kids, and they are really enjoying it.

    And I agree about North and South. I feel that way about Last of the Mohicans, too.

    Also, some of Dickens' works are such a commitment - they are intimidating!

    BTW,Don Quixote, Moby Dick, and War and Peace (though W&P took me nine months to read!) are essential reading material. I think you'll be pleased.

    P.S. I'm totally looking forward to Great Gatsby this summer!!! I already cleared my calendar. : D

    1. Ruth, yeeeeeeeeeeees. Wuthering Heights is really something else, huh?

      How cool that you're reading Old Man to your kids! And even cooler that they're liking it.

      I have not yet read or watched The Last of the Mohicans. I own cool old vintage copies of like 5 of Cooper's books, including that one, but have not read them. yet.

      I wonder what Dickens' writing would have been like if he hadn't been paid by the word. I really do.

      I AM looking forward to DQ, MD, and W&P... but the time commitment! Still, I survived Middlemarch and loved it, so really, I shouldn't be so intimidated.

      I should do an official announcement about the Gatsby read-along. Getting closer!!! I'm so pleased you're planning to join :-)

  8. Oh I love the Inkheart movie (I also love the books, but shh, we'll just ignore that right now)!!

    I tagged you for the Sunshine Blogger tag!

    1. Laura, thanks for the tag! I will check that out in the morning.

      Always glad to meet another fan of "Inkheart" the movie!

  9. Wonderful Post! I feel exactly the same way about Wuthering Heights! I mean blech! Super blech! Why is it cried up as a great work is beyond me.I know Dickens seems intimidating, but once you get started you will love it. Try starting with Great Expectations or Bleak House or if you want ease it in, the Pickwick Papers!

    1. Thanks, Madcaphat! Glad you agree about WH.

      I've read a fair bit of Dickens -- I quite liked A Tale of Two Cities, and I do enjoy A Christmas Carol. I've also slogged through Great Expectations and Hard Times and Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. I'd like to give The Pickwick Papers a go next. One of these days!

  10. Nice answers! I also would love to be Shelock Holmes assistant!!!

  11. When you said you hated all but one of the characters in Inkheart I guessed it was Dustfinger before the picture. xD I liked him too-- something about anti-heroes has always intrigued me. :)

    I think I may have liked the N&S movie better as well! But for me it was because I preferred the ending and Richard Armitage was a fantastic Mr. Thornton. Brendan Coyle is a great actor, but he threw me off because I'd imagined Nicholas Higgins looking much differently.

    Harry Potter!! :)

    Thank you again for tagging me-- I will get to it eventually. :)

    1. Meredith, Dustfinger is just... awesome. Isn't he?

      I very much like Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton, but I like the character equally well in the book. Nicholas Higgins is... less acerbic? more approachable? in the movie, and I chalk it up to Brendan Coyle's ability to project an innate kindness even in the midst of anger or other strong emotions.

      Enjoy it when you get to it :-)

    2. I think I preferred the book Mr. Thornton (more dynamic and intense), but the movie Mr. Higgins (more dynamic and intelligent, more coherent). I think it was probably both due to the screen-writing and the actors themselves. I loved the book FAR better overall. Margaret was so fickle-seeming in the movie. Of course Thornton would think she liked him; she spent most of her time staring at him in a goopy manner.

  12. "13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad later?" I don't know that I hated "A Tale Of Two Cities" in 9th grade at my middle school, but I probably wouldn't have read it otherwise. And, darn it if that Dickens doesn't have a way with characters! That villainous Madame LaFarge!!

    1. John Smith, I really like A Tale of Two Cities myself -- it's my favorite Dickens!


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