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Book meme

I posted this meme on 2K bloggers today (I stole it from elsewhere; attribution is on that page). So I am answering it here! I'd love to see your answers as well - your journal or mine.

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I usually buy paperbacks just because they're usually cheaper and can be carried around more easily. I prefer trade paperback when available. Nicer quality. But I buy my share of hardbacks. I don't discriminate. Whatever looks good and is available.

Amazon or brick and mortar?
No discrimination here either. I buy a ton of stuff from Amazon but that doesn't keep me from browsing and buying at the real stores. I want them all to stay in business.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
I like them both (and am glad I can get to both, as well as to more obscure bookstores). I love the "last chance" sales at B&N and I like the customer access to computers at Borders. I like that both have cafes and don't get weird if you bring a few books to peruse there. Both of these, in my area, tend to get saturated with students in the cafe, something that doesn't please me - but I feel it is more the students' responsibility to be fair to other customers than it is the stores' responsibility to police them all the time. I admit that I don't go to the local bookstores as often as I go to these biggies, but I love used book stores, sometimes more than any other type.

Bookmark or dogear?
Bookmarking is the only polite thing to do. However, I have dogeared plenty in my time. Usually mass-market books.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
Generally I arrange books by subject. It's a miracle if I organize within that general method, but if I did I would probably alphabetize by author last name. Maybe the question refers to book stores? In that case - subject, author usually, but in the case of techie subjects, for example, might make more sense to group similar sub-subjects together. I think B&N does it this way.

Keep, throw away, or sell?
I do them all. I have a "permanent collection", which is a group of books I expect I will refer to again and again for whatever reason (often these are more reference-types but not always). I don't actually throw away books. But I do "release" them, through bookcrossing. I release them "into the wild" and to specific persons. Depends on the book. I don't just give away books that I don't care about, either. Sometimes I sell some, but not as often as I just give away. I can find so many used books in so many places, and people give me books as well, so I don't fret so much about recouping book investments. 

Keep dustjacket or toss it?
I usually keep them. I have some idea that they are protecting the book. 

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
With. I use it to mark my place.

Short story or novel?
Both. This seems such a silly question but I suppose it isn't to many. Well, cripes, the dustjacket questions are dumb, too. 

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
Both! Sometimes an anthology introduces me to writers I've never heard of. And I read collections because I usually have heard of the author. 

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
What I've seen of Potter I don't love, but I haven't read enough to know. What I've seen of Snicket I do like. Pretty funny stuff. But I haven't read a full book of either.
Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
Who would stop at a chapter break??

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
Oh please. This question should be deleted.
Buy or Borrow?
Both, although usually I buy. I do return books!! I do! So if you want to lend me some you'll get them back. 

New or used?
Both. The used bookstores are real treasures. So much more to find there. But sometimes I want a specific book and the only way is to buy it new. I don't struggle with it, just take the easiest way. 

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?
All. I read reviews, I hear interviews on the radio and see them on television, and sometimes I just see a book that looks good. I am delighted that I can still find reviews and interviews. So many books are published each year that I would miss a lot of good ones without these pointers.
Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
Both. Depends on the author and the story. Some stories are just not neat and shouldn't try to be. Others are very lightweight or cleaner in some way and they need a clean end. 

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading?
Every time of day or night.

Stand-alone or series?
Both. I guess I'm coming across as a person with Catholic tastes? Is that the term for "everything"? 

Favorite series?
I tend not to like to pick favorites. One series I like a lot: Elizabeth George's Lynley & Havers series of mysteries
Favorite children’s book?
Too many. Some I love: The Cat in the Hat, The Terrible Things, Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are. That's just what comes to mind. 

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
One is The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

Favorite books read last year?
Too many. Take a look at my bookcrossing list. I read almost all of these last year, and reviewed them all.

Favorite books of all time?
I simply don't play favorites. I tell people A Prayer for Owen Meaney is one of my all-time faves but I dont' know how I would feel about it if I were to read it now.
Least favorite book you finished last year?
A mystery (I used the word loosely) called Phoebe's Knee

What are you reading right now?
The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
What are you reading next?
I haven't decided yet. I read about six books at a time, in various stages. One of those might take center stage.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 31st, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
People would really throw out the dust jacket? Why even BUY a hardcover if you hate the dust jacket that much? And I hate when the book is so thick the dust jacket "sleeves" won't stretch to the middle.

I don't understand the Harry Potter/Snicket question. What is the obsession with these particular series? Why are GROWN ADULTS so rabid over a kids book? I want someone to whip up a frezy for other children's books. I want a children's book revival. I want to see every adult on my bus route reading "The Celery Stalks at Midnight" or "A Cricket in Time's Square". I want work places to bring back the Scholastic book ordering sheets, so all employees can fill out that cool little slip of paper and bring their money in an envelope. But most of all I want to see every book sporting those cardboard book marks with the yarn tails. And every other one should have "Garfield" on it.

Oooh. . .*curbs self*. I'm about to go off on an "oprah" book club rant. MUST RESIST.
May. 31st, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
No no no, don't resist! I wanna hear the rant!

But wow, your comments sure brought back memories. The scholastic books. How I loved ordering those.

Frankly, Idon't really get the Potter-Snicket thing either. I don't see that they are so much better than other children's books. It may be that they sprang almost full-grown with lots of books in the series...but no, lots of children's books are like that. Just don't know.

Now Nancy Drew I loved. And the Hardy Boys were okay. But now I do not read either one of them.
Jun. 1st, 2007 12:40 am (UTC)
Grrrr, Oprah and her suburban ewe book club. . .and that fucking 'O', how I hate that fucking 'O'. Speaking of my pet rant, I was in the library just this evening and I saw that waste of a tree book by Franzen, "The Corrections". Rubbish. If you ask me, it was PERFECT for the Oprah book club. Please, slap that miserable 'O' on the cover so we can all be warned to stay away from it.

And Wally Lamb? How perfect that an author named Lamb be welcomed into the flock of slow blinking fluffy sheeple that populate Oprah's audience.

And even better, how that flock is fleeced by the publishing companies who, by branding the dust jackets with that garishly stylized 'O', prove the old saying "A fool and his money are soon parted."

Please, spare me the "at least they're reading" line, too. That's like saying the children in the Hooked on Phonics commercials can read. Yes, they can READ, but can they COMPREHEND? Those children, sighing out paragraphs as one big run on sentence, should not be applauded. And those glassy eyed women, gathering together in the living rooms of their McMansions to regurgitate what Oprah told them the book is about should be pitied.

And Oprah herself? Should we crush her to our bossom just because she gives away high thread count sheets and copies of Maya Angelou Hallmark cards? Should we hoist her onto our shoulders for going to Africa to give poor girls makeovers? Should we sing Hosannah for her Angel Network? I'm not saying she isn't generous, but throwing gifts and money at problems doesn't make them go away. And honestly, every nickel she gives away is an investment in the most important thing: her bottom line. Every "good" thing she does ("the book clubs get people reading" "giving away gifts makes people happy" "going to New Orleans/Africa/celebrity charity location du jour makes people aware of the problem") is encrusted in celebrity worship and does little to really HELP.

After they turn off the television or leave the studio audience, how are the flock really going to make a difference? Wanton consummerism? Well that's going to help poor people, right? When they go and buy those high thread count sheets Oprah endorses, why they're helping that impoverished worker in a third world country earn the fifteen cents they collect for sewing those sheets. How generous of them. How generous of them ALL.
Jun. 1st, 2007 05:05 am (UTC)
Well, that was worth waiting for!

I actually liked The Corrections. Don't think it was the best book of the year or anything but I actually liked it.

What I'm wondering, though, is how come you know so very much about Oprah?? So much more than I do! hmmmm????
Jun. 1st, 2007 12:17 pm (UTC)
I like to make it a point to learn about things I dislike (so that I may better rant about them). And, back when Oprah was just a trashy talk show and not the huge brand it is now, I used to watch. Hey, I like trashy talk shows, I won't deny it. I miss Phil Donahue for just that reason.

I could forgive Oprah (the person and the brand) of all my above rants if it weren't for one thing: Oprah brought the world Dr. Phil (or, if you please, Dr. Shill). THAT I can't forgive. And Dr. Phil can't be excused with a "oh, at least they're reading" or "but it helped poor people". Dr. Phil has NO REDEEMING SOCIAL VALUE. PERIOD. Dr. Shill is nothing more than an Oprah dingleberry. One that was shaken free and took on a life of its own. And Dr. Shill's audience? They make the Oprah herd look like free thinkers. *glares thinking about Dr. Shill*

(I'm glad you enjoyed my rant, I must admit it was one of my better ones)
Jun. 1st, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC)
Ah, you maka me laugh.

I have seen Dr Phil only a couple of times. My take is that he is regurgitating fairly well-known principles, some of which make some sense. He's certainly not doing anything earth-shaking. Certainly not enough to justify his empire. Undoubtedly you've given him more screen time. And so have some reason to get especially ranty. I would probably join you if I knew more, given my irritation at so many advice-givers. Get me started on Dr Laura...I have conversations with her in my mind from time to time. Hard to let go.

I used to love Phil Donahue. Where is he when we need him???

Jun. 1st, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC)
I'll admit to watching Dr. Phil JUST to get riled up (and for the train wrecks they have on there--good lord, where do they find these people?).

I wouldn't mind Dr. Phil if his advice wasn't just plain bad (which happens more often than you'd think). One of the most irritating pieces of advice he's given was for a family to get rid of their pets because they were too expensive. Yup, that's nice, huh? Those parents should just teach their kids that animals are nothing more than pieces of furniture that, if you can't make the payment, you can just get rid of. WRONG, Shill, WRONG. But I do enjoy watching him give clueless people a rap uside the head with the clue-by-four.

I miss Phil Donahue, too. I have such great memories of being at my grandparents house (after school) and watching Donahue. I'm sure my mother would have been horrified by what I learned!
Jun. 1st, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC)
That animal thing really does irritate me. The real message needs to be that when you take animals into your home you are obligated to take care of them. They are part of the family. If this means you cut costs elsewhere then so be it.

Ah yes, the lowlifes they get on these shows. It's astounding. And they tend to learn nothing from being there. The real shame with these shows is that there is an opportunity here to help people understand some basic ways of behaving. But instead, their ineptness is exploited.

But what I forget is that "help" is not the aim. Profit is.

Back to Oprah. What I find grating - I hear her in ads on xm radio sometimes - are her references to religion. I realize that the majority of Americans do not believe in evolution and do believe in angels but why do we perpetuate these myths? Oh why do I ask??
Jun. 1st, 2007 02:51 pm (UTC)
Admittedly, I haven't watched Oprah's show in many years. And I've never heard her XM offerings. But I don't think she peddles any "religion". I think it's more the "we're all spiritual, we're all angels who can bring happiness to others" and on and on. Peddling one particular religious view would narrow her reach. By going the "spiritual" route, she can rope in the most consumers. Kind of like Thomas Kinkaide paintings. Make the same thing over and over (but just a little bit different) and people will keep buying it (I loathe Thomas Kinkaide paintings, too--but I think he DOES toe a particular--read fundie--religious line).

Why perpetuate the myths? Because it's an easy commodity to sell. Faith/myth has very little overhead and has a nearly never ending profit potential. And if one faith/myth gets stale, you can just re-work it a bit and resell it to the masses.

Jun. 1st, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC)
I agree that Oprah's approach is more "spirtuality" than a specific religion. Which I find equally obnoxious, but that's me.

Kincade...ugh ugh ugh! "painter of light" indeed. Anybody around here hear of Rembrandt? I read an article about him (Kincade) recently. Not a nice person.

Jun. 1st, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
Your rant on "comprehend" hits close to home. When I was working for Lindamood Bell in 1998 one of the things we did was to help children learn how to comprehend. They called that other thing "decoding" and I can see why. There were students who "read" fluently but had absolutely no idea what they had read. The method they use to help students learn how to comprehend involves getting them to picture what they are reading. Most of us do this automatically, but some people don't make any pictures at all.

I worked in the clinic all summer and I was able to see the progress of some of the more difficult students, the adults. (I don't mean they were difficult - they weren't.) Two twenty-something adults had struggled all their lives because they couldn't comprehend what they were reading and therefore they didn't progress in a lot of areas. At the end of the summer I gave one of them A Catcher in the Rye and she just loved it.

It was good to get that experience, even though it was colored by management issues and the fact that most of the tutors ("traveling clinicians" is what we were called) were about 22 years old. The ones I worked with were mostly really good kids. I was impressed by their caring and capabilities (leading me to realize that that generation is not all lost). At the same time, of course, I felt like the odd one out much of the time. But that's another story for another day.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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