Booking Through Thursday — Quotes

Today’s Booking Through Thursday is an easy one: “Do you have a favorite quote from a book?”

Why yes, yes I do. I used to keep better track of awesome book quotes, but I can tell you with certainty two of my favorite quotes, as they’re still hanging around on my Facebook page even if no one can really see them anymore. Neither is terribly upbeat, I notice, but they’re both awesome nonetheless.

“The world is unkind to the shoeless and frolicsome.”
This quote, from my beloved The Manual of Detection, comes after this beautiful passage about shoes and polished floors and socks and you should go click on that title and read it because I had to share it then and I have to share it now.

“Danger doesn’t brush her teeth, and probably has rabies.”
This is another quote I just had to share after reading. It comes from The Mischief Maker’s Manual, specifically a passage recounted here about staying away from danger, for realsies! It’s basically a fantastic life motto, and you should adopt it.

What are your favorite quotes?

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Booking Through Thursday — Eternity

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question asks… “What book took you the longest to read, and do you feel it was the content or just the length that made it so?”

Hmm. If we’re talking in terms of when I picked it up for the first time and when I put it down for the last (well, I hope not last ever), I think that would be The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, which I started in the spring of 2007 and didn’t finish until the end of December 2009. That was a while. But in that case, I read a few of the short stories when I got it and then just didn’t read it until I was motivated to read it again, at which point I read all the stories in like two weeks. Not very long.

If we go by length of time spent actively reading a book, I’m pretty sure that would be Pillars of the Earth, a thousand-page book that I read a page or two at a time over the course of two months. It was intense, but ultimately worth it, and actually worked much better than that time I listened to the sequel over five weeks. In both of those cases, it was definitely the number of pages (or discs) that made the book take so long, both in that it just takes a long time to read that many words and because after an hour or so with no end in sight I needed a break!

Booking Through Thursday — Snap Recommendation

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is… “If someone asked you for a book recommendation, what is the FIRST book you’d think to recommend (without extra thought)?”

The SparrowThe Sparrow. That’s the absolute first thing that came to mind as I was reading the question. I’ve mentioned my adoration of this book before, and it still stands — this book is fantastic. And there’s something to appeal to all sorts of readers. If you like science, space, aliens, whatever, it’s a book about humans discovering life on another planet and going to see it for themselves. If you like to think deep thoughts about religion and morals, well, it happens to be a Church-sponsored trip with a Jesuit priest on board, and he comes back to Earth questioning his faith. If you like non-linear narratives, this one jumps between the Before and the After with ease. If you like to be a little grossed out THE HANDS OMG THE HANDS.

Anyway, why haven’t you read this book yet? Go! Go now!

Booking Through Thursday — Only Five

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question asks, “If you had to pick only 5 books to read ever again, what would they be and why?”

Okay. Five books that I wouldn’t get horribly terribly bored reading over and over again for the rest of my life. No big deal, right?

Well, the first one I would pick would be The Phantom Tollbooth, which I have already read about eight million times. I always find different parts to fall in love with all over again, so I could probably read it eight million more, easy.

The other four? That’s more difficult… there are plenty of books that I’ve read and would certainly love to read again, but forever? Or books that I’ve read twice or three times and enjoyed every time, but would I like them a fifth time? Augh!

So, let’s cheat a bit for the next one and pick Fragile Things, a short story collection I read recently and mostly enjoyed. So now I have like 30 stories I can pick and choose from, which makes the rest of my life a little more varied!

A hopeful choice would be The Sparrow, which I’ve only read once but I absolutely adored it and I keep telling everyone else to read it and now I kinda want to go read it again. So, fingers crossed that it has staying power!

Another book I’ve only read once but might be okay reading forever is The Manual of Detection — it’s technically a mystery novel, which would eliminate it from consideration because, hey, I already know whodunnit, but it’s so delightfully written that I think I could dip into it for a dose of wonderful every once in a while.

For a last book, let’s cheat some more and throw in the Oxford English Dictionary, because hey, I want value for my limit and that thing is honking big. And, I mean, it’s a dictionary! That’s useful AND educational AND entertaining if you’re a big enough nerd, which I totes am. I do miss my online access to the OED…

So there you go! Any objections to my list? Additions of your own?

Booking Through Thursday — Excitement

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question is more like several: “What’s the last book you were really EXCITED to read? And, were you excited about it in advance? Or did the excitement bloom while you were reading it? Are there any books you’re excited about right NOW?”

Oooh, good questions! To the first couple, the last book that I was all “omg why is this book not in my hands RIGHT MEOW” about was One of Our Thursdays is Missing, which feeling was only heightened by the fact that I saw it come into the library about a day or two before it made it into my grubby little hands. And it was totally worth it.

The last book that I was excited about while reading it was A Visit from the Goon Squad, which I was vaguely familiar with as “that awesome book that won some schmancy prize or other” but otherwise clueless about. Then I started reading it, and I was just so smitten with the way Egan built the book that I couldn’t put it down. Love.

What am I excited about right now? Well, I have a whole stack of books sitting here at home, but none of them are really crying out to me. And I am terrible at keeping track of when books come out, so I’m not sure what’s out in the near future. I did hear the other day that there will be another Flavia de Luce mystery coming out for the holidays, and while I won’t quite be first in line to get that book, I am definitely planning on reading it!

What are you guys excited about? What should I be excited about, if only I had any idea it was happening?

Booking Through Thursday — To Own or Borrow

Today’s Booking Through Thursday asks, “All things being equal (money, space, etc), would you rather own copies of the books you read? Or borrow them?”

Well, I imagine that if I had more money and more space, I would buy more books. Because I like books, and I like authors, and I like supporting the books and authors I enjoy. And I do quite like owning the books that I love because a) I get to see them on a regular basis and b) I can easily loan them out to friends (read: force them upon unwitting victims).

But of course, I am also a longtime lover of the library, as you would know if you saw the shelf my husband just cleared out for me today just for my library books. I have a problem. But it’s a good problem, I think, in that the books are free and when I go to read one and I don’t like it or I realize that I no longer have an interest in reading it, I can go give it back to the library without hard feelings. And if I like it, I can wait a little longer to get the trade paperback (which is cheaper and lighter, which is good for my wallet and shelves) because I don’t usually have an intense need to re-read things immediately.

So, all things being equal, I’d say that I still like my current method of obtaining books — checking millions out of the library, loving a handful, and showing off that handful on my shelf. If only I could afford bigger hands…

Booking Through Thursday — Age-Inappropriate

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question is… “In contrast to last week’s question–What do you think of censoring books BECAUSE of their intended age? Say, books too “old” for your kids to read?”

There are two components to my answer. The easy one first — I absolutely do not believe in blanket bans on books that are “too old” or “too young” for a certain age group. Kids should have the opportunity to read what they want.

The second one is in regards to my own hypothetical children, or even my kid brother who is twelve these days, which is astounding. As I’ve mentioned before, I take a lot of care in picking out books for William, largely because I want him to like what I get him and thus like reading. Which he seems to, so excellent. He’s not the best reader, and reads a lot of things I would have been well past at his age, so I try to strike a balance between things that are written for kids his age and things that he is capable of reading without giving up on. I won’t buy him the little-kid books he loves because I think he can do better, but I do try to find similar stories in a higher reading level.

On the opposite side, you can take my reading habits as a kid — I started reading The Baby-sitter’s Club books in kindergarten and was reading Sweet Valley University when I was ten or eleven. I bring up this latter because I distinctly recall asking my mother what condoms were after reading about them in an SVU book, because from the context I thought they might be snack food and maybe we could get some. Yeah. Gross. I am certainly glad that my parents never kept me from reading whatever the heck I wanted, because I read a lot of great books that way, but I know that my hypothetical children will not be getting books with sex in them for Christmas when they’re eleven. And if they’re reading them on their own, they will be informed that I expect to be able to a) read that book and b) discuss it with them after they read it. It’s not that I want to keep my kids from reading things that are above their age-appropriateness; I just want to make sure they understand what they’re reading, because that’s really the important part.

My poor, poor, hypothetical children.