55 Reading Questions

  • 1. Favorite childhood book? I’d have to say The Hobbit as an older child, and A Child’s Book of Heroes as a younger child.
  • 2. What are you reading right now? Hourglass by Myra Mcentire.
  • 3. What books do you have on request at the library? I have 21 on hold, but the list includes Defiance (C. J. Redwine) The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness) Waterfall (Lisa Bergren) The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman) Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Zafon) Shatter Me (Tahereh Mafi) The Hawk and the Dove (Penelope Wilcock) and Sabriel (Garth Nix).
  • 4. Bad book habit? I tend to have overdue books because I check out so many at a time. I DO read them!
  • 5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? Several, but they include Bumped (Megan Mccafferty) Perfect Ruin (Lauren Destefano) Finnikin of the Rock (Melina Marchetta) Assassins Creed: Renaissance (Oliver Bowden) The Monstrumologist (Richard Yancey) and Angelfall (Susan Ee).
  • 6. Do you have an e-reader? No, but I have Kindle downloaded so I can read Kindle books.
  • 7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? I tend to  read several at once.
  • 8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? I wouldn’t say my habits have changed. I still read everything I can.
  • 9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)? Oh, goodness….I’d say the biggest disappointment was Asylum by Madeline Roux. I loved Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, so Asylum was a letdown.
  • 10. Favorite book you’ve read this year? Oh, man…there have been so many good books this year. I’ll just list my favorites. The Kneebone Boy (Ellen Potter) Meant to Be (Lauren Morrill) The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield) Splintered (A. G. Howard) Forest of Hands and Teeth (Carrie Ryan) Shadow and Bone (Leigh Bardugo) The Iron Thorn (Caitlin Kittrdge) The Books of Pellinor (Allison Croggon) Percy Jackson (Rick Riordan) Stormdancer (Jay Kristoff)  The Chemical Garden trilogy (Lauren Destefano) and The Scorpio Races (Maggie Stiefvater).
  • 11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? I don’t have much of a ‘comfort zone’ when it comes to books. I’m up for nearly anything.
  • 12. What is your reading comfort zone? I tend to read things with a hint of fantasy, but it’s by no means the only zone I read in.
  • 13. Can you read in the car? I can, and I d0.
  • 14. Favorite place to read? On my bed. My bed has seen many books.
  • 15. What is your policy on book lending? I will lend you a book if I trust you to return it in the same condition I gave it to you, before three months are up.
  • 16. Do you ever dog-ear books? No.
  • 17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? Only non-fiction books.
  • 18. Not even with text books? See previous answer.
  • 19. What is your favourite language to read in? English.
  • 20. What makes you love a book? It’s a combination of things, but a sense of humor is the one thing that, for me, a book can’t do without. Romance, good action, and tragedy are also excellent ingredients.
  • 21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? If a book made me stay up late into the night, if the characters stick in my head or the story was particularly fantastic.
  • 22. Favorite genre? I don’t really have a ‘favorite’ genre, but I’m happiest if it has fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, or paranormalcy in it.
  • 23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)? Mystery. I can’t really read mystery novels because I figure out the plot halfway through and it spoils the ending.
  • 24. Favourite biography? Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature (Linda Lear).
  • 25. Have you ever read a self-help book? It depends on what you mean by self-help. I don’t tend to read self-help books, but I used to read plenty of D.I.Y. ones.
  • 26. Favourite cookbook? Anything with recipes I like.
  • 27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? I have no idea. I don’t tend to remember books that way; I absorb them and remember elements, not necessarily titles and authors. Goodreads has been a lifesaver.
  • 28. Favorite reading snack? A bowl of little things, like M&Ms or mints or raisins, etc. – whatever lasts longest.
  • 29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. The Mortal Instruments.
  • 30. How often do you agree with critics about a book? I’d say probably 40% of the time.
  • 31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? I’m fine with it unless I know the author. I don’t want to personally offend anyone.
  • 32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose? Japanese, defiinitely. I love Japanese storytelling and would love not to have to wait for English translations.
  • 33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? I don’t quite understand the question.
  • 34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin? I still don’t understand the question. I don’t tend to feel intimidated by books unless they’re on a subject I’m loathed to read about.
  • 35. Favorite Poet? A tossup between Emily Dickinson, Emily Brontë, and Rainer Wilke.
  • 36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? On average, I’d say 20.
  • 37. How often have you returned books to the library unread? Yes, but only when absolutely necessary. I always feel like I’m betraying something when I do that.
  • 38. Favorite fictional character? That was a dangerous question to ask me. I’m going to throw a list out there of a bunch of favorites, and then I’ll wake up at three in the morning realizing I didn’t name half the ones I intended. Dustfinger (Inkheart) Deth (The Riddle-Master Trilogy) Astrin (The Riddle-Master Trilogy) Morpheus (Splintered) Howl (Howl’s Moving Castle) Otto (The Kneebone Boy) Cadvan (The Books of Pellinor) Peet the Sock Man (The Wingfeather Saga)  Milligan (The Mysterious Benedict Society) Finnick (The Hunger Games) Charles (The Grand Sophy) Jared (Incarceron) Augustus (The Fault in Our Stars) Ian (The Host)…there are a million more, but I’ll stop now.
  • 39. Favourite fictional villain? Once again, you do this to me. My favorite fictional villain of all time…well, when I was younger, the sisters from Ella Enchanted and Selia from The Goose Girl.
  • 40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation? Whatever I have on hand at the time, but I’ll probably always pack Howl’s Moving Castle.
  • 41. The longest I’ve gone without reading. Once I did not read anything for a week. I nearly died.
  • 42. Name a book that you could/would not finish. There have been a lot of those. I confess, I got very bored with the Lunar trilogy, despite the hype.
  • 43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? If someone turns on a movie or a TV show, I find the noise very distracting. If it’s a movie or TV show I like, I’ll end up watching.
  • 44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel? Oh, this is difficult. So many adaptions of my favorite books are coming out this year and I haven’t seen them yet, so I feel like I can’t say…probably The Hobbit. I’ll stick with that for now.
  • 45. Most disappointing film adaptation? Eragon; oh, my goodness. The only good things about that adaption were Murtagh and Durza.
  • 46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time? I don’t generally have enough money to go on a spree, but $50 is probably the most I’ve had at one time.
  • 47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? I always skim it when I’m deciding which book to read first. Whichever one appeals to me most is the one I’ll read.
  • 48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? Boredom, the appearance of something hefty I disagree with, too much foul language or explicit sexual content.
  • 49. Do you like to keep your books organized? I try. It doesn’t work. I have too many books. I have books stacked on the floor.
  • 50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? I do not understand people who buy books, read them, and then get rid of them. I don’t get it.
  • 51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding? No; but there are plenty of books I’ve been trying to get my hands on and can’t!
  • 52. Name a book that made you angry. Forest of Hands and Teeth. I cried. Many times.
  • 53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did? Shadow and Bone.
  • 54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t? The Evolution of Mara Dyer.
  • 55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading? Books.

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Taking a leap of faith

I know that at least eighty percent of the people who follow my blog are writers. I also know that at least seventy percent of that eighty percent are very, very protective over what they write. I don’t blame you, either. Our writing is like cutting open our own flesh and bone and baring our soul to someone we aren’t sure will understand. And so, let me tell you a little story.

reading - moonacre

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved to write. She wrote and wrote, things she thought were brilliant and things she felt like burning. Once she felt brave enough, she sent snippets to a few select friends. The friends liked the snippets, so she began sending more and more, until there were full chapters. Something miraculous happened – people really liked the chapters. It kept her  going. The friends were encouraging and she loved hearing their responses. Years passed, and she had written three books and was working on half a dozen more. She showed her writing to anyone who wanted to see it…except her own parents.

Why was this? Well, when I think really hard about it (because I’m pretty sure you’ve figured out this girl was/is me), I think it’s because parents are tough love. The friends I send my writing to are honest, and give me feedback, but they’re not family. They don’t know you like family does.

I knew this was something I needed to fix. I thought, “Mirriam, you’re nineteen years old and you still hide your writing from your mother. This is ridiculous.” Because in reality? I was scared. Remember the aforementioned soul-bearing? It’s a frightening thing. I took a deep breath, printed out the first few pages of Not to Be, and handed it over to my mom.

You want to know several reasons why you should let your parents read your writing?

1. They’re probably interested in it. If they don’t act interested, it’s most likely because you act as if you don’t want them to be interested.

2. They will give you honest critique.

3. They will also give you the opinion of someone older and wiser than you are.

4. They love you more than even your best friends ever will.

5. If writing is your life, as it is mine, then you need to share it with your parents, even if it’s a snippet at a time. If you don’t, you’re leaving them out of something that’s incredibly important to you. It’s a connection you should have.

Now, you’re a different person than your parents. You’ll disagree on some points. They might not get what you’re trying to say at another point. They might despise a character you love. They are, after all, readers as well as parents. For instance, Mom likes Not to Be, but with reservations. She finds it a bit dark and she’s not overly fond of a certain flirtatious vampire (who happens to be almost everyone else’s favorite). Mom doesn’t read much fantasy, particularly semi-urban/steampunk fantasy with vampires – but she likes Not to Be. She’ll tell me if she thinks I overstep something I shouldn’t, and even if it’s painful, I have to cowgirl up and seriously consider what she says. I’m pretty much an adult, but nineteen years isn’t enough time to gain the wisdom she has.

Letting her read Not to Be was an enormous leap of faith for me. If she hated it, I would have been shattered. Would it have stopped me from writing it? Probably not, but a writer’s ego is a fragile thing. Harsh critique can shatter your confidence, and encouragement can put your head too far in the clouds. So, it’s hard knowing you’re going to get the toughest opinions you’ll ever get in your literary life – but it’s worth it.

Your characters are your children, but you are your parent’s child. Don’t forget which is the most important.

In which you wonder how I really feel about it.

Would you like to know something that irritates me? I mean, really irritates me? As in, sticks a needle into my arm and digs under my skin-irritates me? It’s something parents say about their children’s literary choices.

“Well, as long as they’re reading.”

*clasps hands together and draws in a deep breath* Aaahhhhh.  Okay. Now.

Seriously, what are they thinking? What is that even supposed to mean? ‘As long as they’re reading?’ So your child can pick up and read any book, regardless of the content? Your ten-year-old can read a book full of graphic sex but it’s all right as long as they’re READING? Your eleven-year-old can read a book full of foul language so long as they’re digesting literary content!? As someone who grew up an avid reader and is STILL an avid reader as well as writer, this…this makes me angry.

Do these parents not know what what their child is reading is something that they will digest? Something that will become part of them? If your child is not old enough to discern right from wrong or know what’s okay and what’s not, if they don’t have the spiritual training to know when to put the book down, or how to tell the difference between the hero and the villain, then you are not doing them a favor. These parents think they’re promoting literacy! And yay, their child is reading!

Yes. Reading is a good thing. But reading ANYTHING? This can be incredibly harmful. My parents were very careful about what I read until I was old enough to discern things for myself. I grew up in Narnia, I championed alongside Greek heroes and knew ‘the rest of the story.’ I learned good and evil. I learned how to make right choices, and I learned that wrong choices had consequences. Stories like this are harder and harder to find, and junk is everywhere. And I know that what your impressionable young child reads will become part of who they are.

When I was young, I was given good literature. Thanks to that, as  I grew older, I was able to be discerning. Sadly, though, that’s a rare instance. Nowadays, kids in school are given mandatory books to read that I would never let my child read, at least until they were old enough to understand and question and learn. I know this because I’ve had friends in public school tell me how much they hated having to read these books.

I was once told that books are amoral, like a table. I disagree; pretty strongly, in fact. No book is written without a theme behind it, without a worldview or belief that someone wants to become part of you. There is no such thing as ‘just a book.’ No. Such. Thing.

I look forward to having kids, and one of the things I look forward to the most is reading to them. I’m going to teach them how to think and read and learn the way my parents thought me. I’m going to raise them with tales of heroes and villains, right choices and wrong choices and old-fashioned values. They’re going to have real stories, so that when they get older and I let them free to read whatever they choose, they will choose well. They will know a good book from a bad book.

And one day, maybe they’ll teach their kids to read the same way.