Sunday, May 30, 2010

Reading Habits Meme

I saw this meme about reading habits at Letters From a Hill Farm, and thought it would be a fun one for this holiday weekend. You should do it, too!

Do you snack while reading?
Yes, but not habitually. It depends on if there's something worth eating in the house.

What is your favourite drink while reading?
Coffee. Or possibly water.

Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I sometimes dog-ear a page, if I don't have a 3x5 notecard near. That's my preferred method--to make notes as I go on a notecard that I also use as a bookmark.

How do you keep your place? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book open flat?
Bookmark, or aforementioned 3x5 card. If I can't find anything else, I'll dog-ear a page.

Fiction, non-fiction or both?
Both, but mostly fiction.

Do you tend to read to the end of a chapter or can you stop anywhere?
I can stop anywhere. Sometimes I fall asleep in the middle of the page.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
I never throw books! It hurts me to think about it. I might put it down, but would never, never throw it.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
I wish I did. I intend to. Sometimes I'll write down the word and plan to look it up later...

What are you currently reading?
The Makioka Sisters, by Junichiro Tanizaki. It has really drawn me into its world.

What is the last book you bought?
Home Cooking, by Laurie Colwin.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?
I will read any time and any place. But I tend to read in bed lately, because bedtime is the only reliable reading time I have.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?
I don't really have a preference.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Jane Austen. Over and over!

How do you organise your books?
I have big plans to organize my library one day, but right now it's pretty disorganized.

Barbara's additional question: background noise or silence?
Silence is preferable, but with three kids, I can tune out almost anything!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Booking Through Thursday--Bedside

Today's Booking Through Thursday question is:

What books do you have next to your bed right now? How about other places in the house? What are you reading?

Next to my bed is a precarious pile of books. On top is Tanizaki's The Makioka Sisters, which I am reading for my book group, and which I read once before, maybe fifteen years ago. I like it!

Under that are several other books that I plan to read next, including Chang-Rae Lee's A Gesture Life, and a novel called Bone Worship, by Elizabeth Eslami. Underneath that is a copy of Walter Mosley's book This Year You Write Your Novel--all I can say to that is "Ha!".

Around the house are so many other books I don't have the space to mention them. Next to the TV is a copy of Kim Boyce's new book on whole grain baking, called Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours. Yes, I flip through it while watching TV. Yes, I have a rich baking fantasy life.

What books are next to your bed, or lying around your house right now?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Salon: old favorites?

The Sunday

My book group is reading The Makioka Sisters, by Junichiro Tanizaki, this month. It's a book I read probably 20 years ago, and I remember really liking it. I've kept it on my "good" book shelf, the one where I keep classics or nice hardbacks, books I connected with in some way. How strange it was to open it up again and start reading, and find that I remember virtually nothing about this book.

It's like reading it for the first time. It's very disconcerting to me, because I usually remember something about a book I've read, other than just that I liked it.

I am enjoying the book, however. As usual, I find the marker for this is how late I am willing to stay up reading the book, even though I know I have to get up at 6 the next morning as usual. I've definitely sacrificed some sleep reading this book.

It's the tale of four sisters, part of an aristocratic Japanese family that has seen better days, in the years leading up to World War II. It is one of those novels that concerns itself with the details of everyday private life, rather than the grand, sweeping events of public life. And not only do the details give a picture of a bygone life in Japan, which I find fascinating, they also accumulate slowly to create a kind of realism that is really engaging.

The result is a delicately beautiful novel, a book that transports you to another world. I love the descriptions of the natural world around them, of the women's clothing, of their daily habits, of their intricate relationships with each other. This is a great example of a novel that does not have a traditionally strong plot that nevertheless keeps me engaged, turning the pages, reading past my bedtime!

So has anyone else had that experience--re-reading a book and not remembering anything about it? Or should I be consulting a memory specialist?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Booking Through Thursday--Influence

Okay, first of all, you might be wondering where the heck I've been the last few weeks. And the answer would be, "right here." But obviously not blogging. Oh no, not that. It's just been a crazy few weeks of kid stuff, including this:

And this kind of stuff:

And yes, even this:

But there has been little blogging. Fortunately, there has still been some reading, which I will get to some time soon. But now, a little Booking Through Thursday question for you on a Friday:

Are your book choices influenced by friends and family? Do their recommendations carry weight for you? Or do you choose your books solely by what you want to read?

And my answer is that my book choices are influenced by the friends and family I know have good taste! I have a few go-to book-loving friends and family members whose taste I trust and whose recommendations I really treasure. There are a couple of family members in particular who seem to read everything before I do, and I love hearing what they have to recommend, and what they tell me I can steer clear of.

What about you?