Saturday, August 24, 2013

A to Z (Fun) Survey...


This week I have several projects in the works, but in the midst of prepping my next blog, I stumbled across a fun survey I would love to pass along to you. I was reading one of my favorite blogs, My Life in Books by Jennine G. who posted an "A to Z Survey" from blogger Wensend...who, in turn, picked it up from The Perpetual Page-Turner. Jamie explains she created her survey as a typical A-Z survey--that is, the questions correspond to the letters of the alphabet. Have fun. Here they are with my answers to the questions:

Author you've read the most books from:

Lois McMaster Bujold. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 books. I've read, of course, the Vorkosigan Saga and the Sharing Knife Series. My favorite series by Bujold, though, is the Chalion Series (winner of the 2003 Hugo, Nebula and Locus Fantasy Awards). A truly wonderful fantasy series by a great writer.

Best Sequel Ever: Orson Scott Card's new book (co-authored by Aaron Johnston) from his The First Formic War Series, Earth Afire: The First Formic War, Book 2, released June 4, 2013. What a fantastic read! For followers of the Ender Series, Earth Afire: The First Formic War is nothing short of incredible. I loved not only finding out what happened after book 1, Victor arriving at (planet) Luna, why Wit O'Toole's MOPS were important, but most of all, getting to see Mazer Rackham at his best. In this book I've come to love Mazer far more than I did in the Ender series. We get to see Mazer before he takes out the buggers (and buys the earth time to regroup and find a commander that will save them all). Exciting, fun read! It blew me away...I can't wait for Book 3 of this new series.

Currently Reading: I'm currently reading The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Like all books you can get this book in a variety of formats. I found it for free from Amazon as a Kindle download. I try to select books to read that give me a well-rounded collection, knowledge and education. I try to pick my books from different genres, authors I haven't read, prize winners, by word of mouth, and sometimes just a random selection. To that end, every couple of months I select a book from the list of Pulitzer Prize Winning novels to read. This month my selection is by a wonderful author who won the Pulitzer in 1921. On Amazon, it is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars. Edith Wharton was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize--she won it for this book.

Drink of Choice While Reading: I love tea! My favorite is a Auyervedic white chai (I love the cinnamon and cardamom flavors), seconded only by a very delicious and smooth Monkey Picked Oolong.

E-reader or physical book? I used to read strictly from physical books, but since the e-readers have gotten so good, I tend to read more, now, on my e-reader. I have to add that having an e-reader has given me access to a lot of good FREE books that I might never have had the opportunity to read.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: In high school I loved horses and actually owned three beautiful horses of my own. I think I might have dated someone like Albert in Warhorse by Michael Morpurgo. I think I'd choose him because he loved horses, too. After all, he goes to the lengths of joining the military to try to track down his favorite horse friend, Joey, and bring him home. What's not to love?

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez. Since I'm not really into horror, I quelled in trepidation at picking up this book. When I eventually did pick it up, I discovered it is a quirky, amusing, and enjoyable satire. It doesn't take itself seriously--that's the point. This is not high-brow reading, but enjoy it, I did. Everyone needs a mild diversion from all that serious stuff every now and again. And I got it in spades with this charmer. I really am glad I gave it a chance.  

Hidden Gem Book: Two of Red and Two of Blue: The Story of a Page and a Prince by Marjorie Phillips. Unfortunately, this book is UNAVAILABLE. I first read this little gem in grade school, back around 1960. Since then, I tried to find it for my children and found it to be out of print. I searched everywhere for a copy of a used book, even rare book sellers, all to no avail. In July (this year, 2013), I found it, of all places, on Amazon. The second I saw it, I bought it. Price: $95.00. I am so happy to have this beautiful little gem and thoroughly enjoyed reading this delightful book again! If there were a button, I'd click it to have it reprinted, released to e-books, or even audio or CD. Such a wonderful little story. This is, indeed a Hidden Gem Book.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life: When I went to law school, I read law books and cases morning, noon, and night. I loved learning about the law, and I liked that going to law school changed the way I think and process things. The one really bad thing about going to law school was that I got burnt out on reading. I totally stopped reading fiction all together--for years! Also, my vision got worse and I had to start wearing glasses. So, about six years ago, my husband and I were in a book store and he suggested I pick up the book, The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I argued with him and told him I didn't read fantasy books, but he persisted. I went home with a copy and eventually read the book. It only took that one book and I was reading again. Also, my snobbery at not wanting to read fantasy books evaporated into thin air. Now, I don't limit myself to any genre, I read them all. So, kill two birds with one stone. Way to go Sharon.

Just Finished: Sea of Monsters: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. I knew this book was coming to the big screen. Since I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie, I picked this book up on Amazon to read on my Kindle reader. I know this is a YA book, but as I stated above, I try to pick books from all genres; yes, even YA. Also, when the movie is brought up in conversation, I can speak intelligently about having read the book and speak to how the book differs from the movie. It is good to remember that we all were young adults at one point, and going back to revisit that state of mind can't hurt. The only potential difficulty I see is not judging the book from a more mature reader's standards and expectations. It can be delightful to enjoy a book from the young adult perspective, sometimes...just as I did with this book.

Kinds of Books You Won't Read: Well, I guess it is just too late for this question. I looked up a list of book genres and it looks like I've dabbled in most of them. But...if I had a genre that really didn't appeal to me, I guess it would be the Horror genre. Too late, though, I've already read books from this category.

Longest Book You've Read: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas at 1202 pages. A real bargain at $.99, you, too, can read 1202 pages of text of this humongous story. I also read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand which came in a close second and missed out by only two pages (1200 pages).

Major Book Hangover Because of: I'm guessing that most of us avid readers often have book hangovers. I've read some books that have lingered pleasantly in my memory for days. But I did have an unpleasant experience with one book. 

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It lingered in my mind and in my life for over a week. I had a lot of difficulty dealing with the cannibalism in the book. In my reading journal I wrote, "It's been days after I've finished reading this book, and images from the book are still in my mind. I've had bad dreams about bodies, death, graves, etc." To be fair, many people love this book. Among other awards, it won the Pulitzer prize in 2007 and it was an Oprah's Book Club book choice. Even my daughter highly recommended this book to me. While it may be a great book, people who are sensitive to post-apocalyptic themes of murder and cannibalism should avoid this book. To help get over the book I read comedy and romance books voraciously for a while. Sorry about the downer folks, on this one.

Number of Bookcases You Own: Right now, I only own three large bookcases. I used to have more, but the books became a problem to store. I weeded out books and kept the ones I truly loved. Now, I have a virtual bookcase containing hundreds of books.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: Ahhhh. All through grade school and even a few times in high school I read one book over and over and over. I am sure I must have read it at least thirty times. I checked it out of the library and book-mobile over and over again...that is, until I got enough quarters together to buy a copy for myself. I sated myself on the beautiful story. The most beloved book of my childhood is none other than Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. This iconic children's story may have been loved by many, but the me as a child loved it more than anyone else in the world. 

Preferred Place to Read: My soft, wonderful couch that has a place for me to put my Kindle on its stand and a place for a cup of tea over by the side.

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From A Book You've Read: [The character "Simi" speaking to another character called "Gallagher" who has lost his family and is achingly lonely:] "We have three kinds of family. Those we are born to, those who are born to us and those we let into our hearts. I have let you into my heart, so the Simi is your family and she won't give you up. [Gallagher responded:] I can't give them up. [Simi answered him:] And you shouldn't. Ever. No one should ever forget those they love. But your heart is an amazing thing. It can always expand to take in as many people as you need it to. The people who live there, they don't go away. It's kind of like a house. You just make room for one more person and then another and another and another...Somehow there's always space for more." Location 402 of 1074, Kindle Edition of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter: An Insider's Guide (an anthology). This quote is kind of self explanatory. It's a wonderful statement about love. Even though we may have lost people and love in our lives, we can fill up our hearts again by letting other people into it.

Reading Regret: Since I have already listed one book I have regretted reading, I am going to list a book I regret I did not read. As a young person, I never read Sci-Fi. I wish I had read Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series. I am slowly working my way through the series, and enjoying it, but I wish I would have read the series years ago so I could talk to my husband about it (he is a big fan of Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series). 

Series You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out in the series): Well, shoot, I guess I blew that one, didn't I? And to think it would have been as easy as saying "Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series. OK. Since I gave that one up already, I guess I would have to go with the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. (Three books down, four to go.)

Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books: This is an easy one for me. I've already done a post on my blog listing my Top Ten Books. So, here are three of my Top Ten All-Time Favorite Books: (1) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo; (2) East of Eden by John Steinbeck; and (3) A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. See my first post for my other seven favorite books.

Unapologetic Fangirl For: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. I absolutely love this series. My favorite character in this series is Oberon--an Irish Wolfhound that communicates with the protagonist and hero this series, Atticus O'Sullivan, Celtic druid. Oberon makes me laugh out loud and is always asking Atticus for food, like sausages. Atticus battles any number of gods with his truth-commanding sword, Fragarach. Well, there is just too much to put, here, for a short answer-- suffice to say that it action-packed beginning to end. I LOVE it.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: I loved the first book of Brandon Sanderson's new Stormlight Archive series, The Way of Kings. Book 2 of the series will be released in January. It is entitled, Words of Radience and will be released January 21, 2014. I can't wait. I can't wait. I can't wait....Did I say, "I can't wait?" I really can't...wait.

Worst Bookish Habit: I probably shouldn't admit to this one, but while the family and I are together watching movies on the television (or Blu-ray), I am surreptitiously reading. I sincerely hope this doesn't get me into any trouble with the family--or intervention! Maybe I should rethink this answer.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: At location 27 in my book case I found The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I finished reading this book on April 25, 2010. It is a paperback book.

Your Latest Book Purchase: Cast in Secret: The Chronicles of Elantra (Book 3) by
Michelle Sagara. This is a new series, to me. I've only finished two books, so far. I plan on reading this book, soon. I guess I will let you know, later, how much or little I like the series. I do have hopes of it being really good, though. The concepts are intriguing.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): A Memory of Light: The Wheel of Time Series (Book 14), the final book of the series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I took a day off work the day it was released, and then stayed up all night to finish it. The book was 912 pages long--I had waited for this book for a long time and was so happy to get it, to read it, and finally find out what happened to all my favorite characters. It was definitely worth it. Two thumbs up.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my A-Z answers for this fun survey. Take it yourself. Have some fun. Until next time,

Many happy pages of reading...

Sharon P.

_______________________________________________________ Cover photo of Earth Afire. Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez on Amazon. Two of Red and Two of Blue: The Story of a Page and a Prince by Marjorie Phillips on Amazon--UNAVAILABLE in books. A Memory of Light, The Wheel of Time Series, Book XIV, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson at Amazon.