Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Because You Know I Can Never Resist A Book Meme...

Currently Reading: Wizard by Trade by Jim Butcher (aka The Book That Hit Me in the Eye). Actually, it's an omnibus volume consisting of two of Butcher's "Dresden Files" novels: Summer Knight and Death Masks. I'm about halfway through the latter. The Dresden books are a fun fantasy/detective/action series; I'm enjoying them, when they're not doing me physical injury. I understand there's a TV series based on them coming out soon. This seems like a good idea to me. I've frequently thought while reading them that they'd translate very nicely to film, and on reflection I think there is enough substance in the premise to support a weekly series fairly easily.

Next Reading: I'm figuring on some non-fiction next. Possibly Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer by Doron Swade or Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens by Susan A. Clancy.

Last Read: Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons by Terrance Dicks. I've got a ton of these old Doctor Who novelizations. They're about as far from substantial reading as you can get, short of The Cat in the Hat, but you can read 'em in an hour or two, and they're perfect for when you want something quick and undemanding, or as a sort of palate cleanser between heavier books. "Terror of the Autons" is kind of a fun episode, too. There's just way too much goofy entertainment value to be had out of the concept of evil alien-possessed plastic.

Last Book Bought: A few days ago I took some money I got for my birthday -- thanks, Dad! -- and bought books on Amazon: Mathematics and Humor: A Study of the Logic of Humor by John Allen Paulos, The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig and Lieutenant Hornblower by C.S. Forester.

Longest Book Owned: I think that'd have to be Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, at 3,067 pages. Although the edition I own is incredibly dated; I've had it since I was a teenager.

Shortest Book Owned: Apparently it's When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs, at 40 whole pages.

Favorite Book: Don't have one. Can't pick.

Book Read Most Times: I honestly don't know... Despite my obsessive tendency to hoard books and never, ever let them go, I don't actually re-read much. There are too many books out there that I haven't read once yet! Probably a favorite book from my childhood qualifies, as there were a few books I read over and over and over as a kid. Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time might be a good guess.

Least Favorite Book: There are far too many bad books in the world to single any one of them out, but, well, there was that horrible Buffy novel about which I found myself thinking that if the world ended tomorrow, the only thing I'd regret is having wasted the last week of my life reading the wretched thing.

Favorite "Serious" Fiction: I don't know what "serious" even means in this context. I like Jorge Luis Borges, does he count? Although the only book of his that I own is Labyrinths. And he might not count, anyway. And there are doubtless lots of other perfectly "serious" books I like every bit as much.

Favorite Comedy: Again, I can't really pick a favorite anything. I suppose I should mention The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in here somewhere, though. Actually, that might possibly qualify as "Book Read Most Times," based on high school alone.

Favorite Classic: Well, I'll mention Hamlet in the next category, so maybe Huckleberry Finn? Man, I'm getting a sudden urge to re-read that right now. Twain rocks.

Favorite Shakespeare: Yup, definitely Hamlet.

Favorite Poetry Collection/Poet: Robert Frost. I have a volume of his collected works that gets picked up off the shelf surprisingly often.

Favorite Fantasy: Oh, I suppose I'll have to be dreadfully conventional and say The Lord of the Rings. Justifiable criticism can be leveled at Tolkien's prose, but I really do view the story itself as one of humanity's great tales, and I think there's an essential quality to it that not even a thousand second-rate imitators can detract from.

Favorite Sci-Fi: No, really, I just can't do it. Can't pick.

Favorite Non-Fiction: I can't pick any one thing for this category, either, but I'll mention that Carl Sagan's Cosmos holds a special place in my heart, due to having influenced me profoundly at an early age.

Favorite Historical Fiction: I dunno. I, Claudius is quite wonderful. I'm in the middle of watching the TV series right now, in fact, and it's also quite wonderful.

Favorite Chick Lit/Lad Lit: Well, I'm sure I've read something in my life that's qualified, but I'm drawing a blank.

Favorite Horror: Again, I can't pick a favorite, but I can name a horror novel that left a great impression on me recently: Stephen King's Thinner. I think it's easily one of his best, not least because it's one of the sadly rare examples where he doesn't sort of fall apart at the ending. And there's something about the basic premise that is just deeply, perfectly disturbing.

Favorite YA: Um... Again, there are lots, but I have deeply fond childhood memories of The Wizard of Oz and sequels. Having recently re-read the original book as an adult, I can say that it holds up pretty well, too.

Favorite Manga/Graphic Novel/Comic: Alan Moore's Watchmen, which is quite simply a work of literary genius. Also Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, ditto.

Favorite "Other" Genre: I'm afraid I just really don't have any "other" genres that leap to mind.

Favorite Series: Terry Pratchett's Discworld. The level of quality Pratchett has managed to maintain over the course of dozens of books is astonishing.

Favorite Short Story: Roger Zelazny's "For a Breath I Tarry."

Favorite Play: Hamlet, but since I've already mentioned that twice, I'll supplement it here with Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Best Book Read This Year: It's a tough call, but I think I'm going to give the nod to The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier.

Worst Book Read This Year: The Other Extreme by T.J. MacGregor, which I have mocked here before.


  1. Thinner was one of favorite King books. The Talisman was my favorite of all. Your welcome for the donation to your library. Or is it an Archive?

  2. It's a heck of a lot of books, whatever you call it. :)

    And I liked Thinner much better than The Talisman, which seemed to take me absolutely forever to read. That was another good thing about it: it wasn't too darned long, which is another thing King's books often suffer from.

  3. You want any strawberry pie?

  4. Just catching up.

    Some King books might justifiably have been called Fatter. If The Tommyknockers, for instance, had hit you in the eye, you'd certainly know about it. The moral is, that if you are going to be balancing books above your head, there's a lot to be said for a little light reading. :)

  5. Heh. Too true. I still can't believe that he put more stuff back into The Stand. Or that I read the whole damned thing. :)

  6. I'm loving The Brief History of the Dead so far. (I'd picked up a copy at the local library the other week, coincidentally enough.) All day long, I look forward to my commute home, when I have time to read.

  7. It's a really cool book. Well-written, absorbing, thought-provoking and original. (Although, geez, now I sound like cover copy. :))