Pinch-Hitting for the Friday Five: Book Questions Meme

I dunno, I think I'm a little burned out. I'm at the end of Week Four of my field experience (unless you count my homework, which is coming along slowly still), and part of last night's activities entailed mortal combat with fruit flies. I gotta say, man, am I annoyed I had to throw out bananas--I'm annoyed I have to throw out anything I spent good money on, these days. On the way home from school, I stopped at a bookstore and asked if they were hiring part-time. They said yes, for seasonal positions, and I took an application. Took a break from filling it out when I realized I'd have to think really hard about three references. It's probably crazy of me to want to take on a job right now--or whenever seasonal positions start--but (A) I feel guilty whenever I spend money on anything that's not groceries, gas, or bills; and (B) I'm feeling pretty isolated and maybe a part-time job would alleviate some of that. Or make me annoyed with people in general, so in that case I wouldn't mind feeling so isolated.

The bottom line: The Friday Five isn't happening today. In fact, I'm thinking about doing something new. How do you feel about that, dear blogreaders of mine? Please vote in the poll over at the sidebar. If you would like to elaborate on your choice, please feel free to do so in either the combox or via e-mail (also on side). Thanks!

Instead of the Friday Five, I'm picking up this meme from Lady Sheila, and I'm going to do it off the cuff. By that I mean I'm not going to sit around thinking of the perfect answer to each question. Adding to the challenge, I'm going to allow myself only thirty minutes to complete it--averaging out to three minutes for each question. No searching, except for the recesses of my mind and heart, and a possible run to the bookcases in the other room. My thirty minutes starts now:

What was the last book you bought?
I’m not sure if schoolbooks count, so I’ll do two: for school, Administering the School Library Media Center by Betty J. Morris, and for leisure, Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. I’ve been assigned random chapters of Administering every week, and I’ve been reading a few pages of Eclipse every night before I go to sleep. I haven’t enjoyed it as much as its two predecessors (seems drawn out and the storytelling monologues were killing me), but I want to keep going through the series and I hope either someone gives me the final one for my birthday or gives me the means to purchase it for myself.

Name a book you have read MORE than once.
You’d think there’d be several of these, but to be honest, I’m the kind of referential reader who goes back to reread parts of books. It’s really rare if I reread a book, except by assignment. That said, I’m very sure I’ve read Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott more than once. There’s also the amazing Myths & Mythology by Anthony Horowitz that my Confirmation sponsor gave me way back in ’85. It’s beautifully written and illustrated, and totally inspiring to a kid who was into reading and art. One of the pieces I submitted for the art scholarship at high school was a copy of a Bosch plate from there. (I got the scholarship and was spared having to go to the archdiocesan high school with most of my eighth grade class who hated me.)

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
So many have done that for me that it’s hard to say there’s just one. Off the top of my head, and coming off the last question, Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco. [Edited to correct title.] Her time in school resonated with me, and I finally didn’t feel so alone in my experience.

How do you choose a book? e.g. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews?
Probably all of the above, and admittedly I am picky. I don’t like to waste my time if I can help it. I tend to do research. For example, recently I came across an ad by Penguin Young Readers Group in a teen magazine (it was preparation for my time at the high school, I swear!) for several books, and I looked them up at various online venues—believe it or not, I might check out at least one of them. While I tend to be picky, probably because I am a typical Libra, and because I just like to read and am curious, I also get overwhelmed by the choices sometimes. Everything looks good. The entire fiction section in the high school library keeps distracting me because it’s next to one of the computer labs where I help out with class. I want to read many, many, many of them.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?
No preference, although I spent most of the summer reading non-fiction. To my surprise. (Shoot, eleven minutes to go. I’d better hurry.)

What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
Based on my recent experiences with Ms. Meyer’s series, I’d say if the plot is really gripping, I can overlook fairly mediocre writing. (Update 10/11/2008: Case in point: The repeated use of "free reign" last night. It's wrong. Arrrrrgh.) If the writing is absolutely horrid, though, I can’t make it. Grammar and diction do matter to me. In an ideal world, I’d be both reading beautiful prose and feeling gripped by the plot.

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)?
(Seven minutes! Aaaah!!!) I do love the characters in Eight Cousins, especially Phebe, Rose, and Uncle Alec. But there are many, many more.

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?
Eclipse, but it’s on the floor next to my bed. Easier to pick up and put down from there.

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?
That would be New Moon, the book before Eclipse. I finished it at the end of August/beginning of September. I remember going out in the remains of a hurricane to purchase Eclipse on a Saturday, and I think that was the first weekend of September.

Have you ever given up on a book halfway in?
The only two I can think of are Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (sorry, summer reading) and The Notebook by Sparks (don’t hold your breath for an apology). And I stopped well before halfway. I’ve put a couple aside with the intention of returning—The Hobbit and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone—but it has been a few years since I put them down, and my interest level just hasn’t risen. Yet.
(I typed the period just as the timer beeped. Perfect.)

Have a fantastic weekend.


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