BTT: Meme Squared

I’ve seen this series of questions floating around the ‘net the last few days, and thought it looked like a good one for us!

What was the last book you bought?

This is actually a very difficult question, because I don’t buy many books these days, between ARCs and Bookmooch.  I just sorted my LibraryThing Catalog by date entered.  The last time I was at a bookstore I was only there to buy books for my 100th review giveaway, which is going on right now (although we did buy some books for my husband).  Around the same time, my husband bought me Maus and My Mistress’ Sparrow is Dead from Amazon, but I’m not sure if that counts, because I didn’t buy them.  Going even farther back, LT has sparked my memory that I bought Philippa Gregory’s new book The Other Queen (my review) on September 21st.

Name a book you have read MORE than once

There are lots of books that I’ve read more than once, but the one I probably read most often is East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.  I just LOVE that book!

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?

I think so, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan completely changed the way I look at food and I’m slowly trying to integrate what I learned in that book.

How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews

Well, lately I’ve been less actually choosing book than reading whatever’s next on my shelf of ARCs and review copies.  Although I suppose that I chose to ask for or accept most of those.  I go by all of the things listed above, I suppose.  An intriguing cover draws me in, the summary gets me interested, and then I try to see what people have said either about the book or the author to see if it is really something I want to read.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Honestly, I like both.  I do prefer more creative nonfiction to some other kinds of nonfiction, but I’m good either way.  I like to learn when I read.

What’s more important in a novel – beautiful writing or a gripping plot?


Seriously, both are important, although I don’t know it is so cut and dry, because I like having good character development too.  However, I think it is a little easier to read a really gripping plot with so-so writing than a so-so plot with great writing (unless that is because it is a good character-driven book).  However, if the writing is really bad, no plot can save it.

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)

She’s not my most loved character, but the most memorable character in literature (for me, anyway) is probably Cathy/Kate in East of Eden.  Just read this passage when Steinbeck introduces us to her, it gives me shivers:

I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents. Some you can see, misshapen and horrible, with huge heads or tiny bodies; some are born with no arms, no legs, some with three arms, some with tails or mouths in odd places. They are accidents and no one’s fault, as used to be thought. Once they were considered the visible punishment for concealed sins.

And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?

Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or a less degree. As a child may be born without an arm, so one may be born without kindness or the potential of conscience. A man who loses his arms in an accident has a great struggle to adjust himself to the lack, but one born without arms suffers only from people who find him strange. Having never had arms, he cannot miss them. Sometimes when we are little we imagine how it would be to have wings, but there is no reason to suppose it is the same feeling birds have. No, to a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself. To the inner monster it must be even more obscure, since he has no visible thing to compare with others. To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.

It is my belief that Cathy Ames was born with the tendencies, or lack of them, which drove and forced her all of her life. Some balance wheel was misweighed, some gear out of ratio. She was not like other people, never was from birth. And just as a cripple may learn to utilize his lack so that he becomes more effective in a limited field than the uncrippled, so did Cathy, using her difference, make a painful and bewildering stir in her world.

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?

I don’t really have a nightstand, but lately I’ve been falling asleep reading “The Green Beauty Guide,” so it always ends up on the floor next to the bed when my husband comes in (it isn’t boring, I’ve just been going to sleep around 9, so I can fall asleep reading, which I love.

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?

Well, I’m in the middle of three books right now: The Green Beauty Guide; Descartes Bones; and A is for Atticus.  The last book I completed was Sharon Kay Penman’s Devil’s Brood, which I finished on Monday.  I don’t ever actually have time between books, I go straight from one to the next.

Have you ever given up on a book half way in?

Yes!  **shudder** Two Brothers: One North, One South **shudder** (my review).  Actually, I only made it 45 pages in, but the writing was just SO BAD!.

Don’t forget to check out my huge giveaway in honor of my 100th review!  The contest closes Wednesday, October 15th.

11 comments to BTT: Meme Squared

  • I don’t know how you read more than one book at a time. You’re obviously smarter than I am!

  • Usually 3 is too many for me. It is usually two (if not just one), and they are usually very different genres (all three right now are nonfiction, which is odd for me, although they’re pretty different). What amazes me is some of the people on LT who read 5, 10, or more books at once. I couldn’t handle that, particularly the fact that it would take forever to finish any of them!

  • I hope Descartes’ Bones is good, it’s up next for me. Usually when I’m reading three books, it means I’m really reading one and the other two are on hold.

    I never take time between books anyway. It’s very very rare for me to wait more than a few hours before starting another. It only happens if I’m busy or if the book was phenomenal.

  • Ti

    I loved East of Eden too. And that passage that you included gave me shivers as well.

  • Now East of Eden I have read and loved. The Grapes of Wrath are giving me trouble though.

  • I haven’t gotten to East of Eden, but you just intrigued me. It’s one of those books on my shelves that has gone woefully unread. Thank God books do not go bad! :)

  • I have East of Eden on my must read list.

  • tracy

    I usually have two or three going also, but they are all different, like one is fiction, one Christian, and one for learning about something new.

  • I got through Da Vinci Code although the writing was mediocre.

    This question pretty much sums up many of the past ones.

    I mostly read fiction, although once in a while a non-fiction, like history or a biography will interest me.

    My favorite genres are historical fiction, foreign literature, and classics.

    My complete answer.

  • I loved the Green Beauty Guide! Hope your enjoying it also.

    I’m very interested in reading the Omnivore’s Dilemma but I am also leery of what I may learn.

  • :-)

    shudders !! ->ROFL 😀

    I did this same :)