Thursday, March 26, 2009

You Asked, I'm Answering: Reading and Books

Marny asked,
"How do you choose the books you read? Recommendations from fellow book bloggers, random finds at the library/book store, ARCs?"

Great question! A combination of all of the above. While I do receive review copies, I still consider the ones I agree to review as selecting the books. I also buy and read books based on blogger reviews...that is probably the number one influence on my purchasing choices at present. And I also buy books that I see at the bookstore that look good.

Lilly asked,
"If you were reading romances in your adolescence, do you feel they may have left you with great expectations towards your future love life and men you'd meet?"
I think Lilly's worried about my singleness.

I actually didn't read many romances in my adolescence, the ones that stick out are the classics like Jane Eyre and L.J. Smith's books. It's so funny because I don't know if they influenced my expectations, but I love reading romances now. At the same time, I'm pretty happy being single. More than anything, I think I thought I would be happily married and finished having kids by now, because both my mom and sister married young and had kids young. But I'm really glad that didn't happen for me. I didn't have a shred of an idea of who I was and I did end up having some rather destructive relationships that I got the chance to grow through and learn through.

TexasRed asked,
"Here's mine -- what's the first book you can remember picturing yourself in (as one of the characters, or interacting with the characters)?"

Hmmm...I think from the moment books became part of my life I imagined the characters. I used to actually play Nancy Drew in school and this is so incredibly embarrassing but my friends and I asked our teachers to call us the names of the characters in the Baby-sitters Club. (then we didn't respond when they did...ha!)

In recent times, I could totally see myself as Becky least as far as being a shopaholic.

Marie asked,
"What is one book that you know that you have read at least three times? (doesn't matter when)"
That's actually really easy to answer because I read the same books over and over and over with my students! (we have a very small and specific library) But not counting that, I have read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone three times.

Nymeth asked,
"Who was your first favourite author? Are they still one of your favourites today? Why or why not?"
Well. The first author I can remember just absolutely adoring was Ann M. Martin. And no, I don't consider her a favorite today. I know she's written some other books, but I haven't read them, since she primarily writes for younger children. But some other favorites from when my mom read aloud to us (as opposed to reading to myself) like Laura Ingalls Wilder or Roald Dahl are still favorites.

Jenny Girl asked,
"Do you ever re-read books and if so which ones? Are they basically your all time favorites?
Who are your top 5 authors?"

I do re-read books, but I haven't for awhile. Generally, I re-read non-fiction more than fiction...particularly books related to my faith that serve as devotionals. I also will reread epic romances, feel good fiction, or series books.

Top 5 authors....that's hard!
Frederick Buechner
Julie Lessman
Francine Rivers
Sophie Kinsella
Ravi Zacharias

I don't know...those are all auto-buys but I love so many authors.

Melody asked,
"Which is your favourite genre and which is your least favourite genre? Why?"
This is such a great question, because I've been thinking a lot about it lately. Before I started reviewing, I'd pretty much get hooked on a genre and then read it for like 5 months straight...I went through a legal thriller phase, chick lit phase, Amish fiction phase, etc. But now, I guess I would say general fiction as in "literary" fiction (I know a lot of you don't like that terminology, but I don't know how else to describe it). Books that fit in this genre usually move me on a deeper level. While I read to escape sometimes, I also read to know and learn to be moved and to change. Sometimes, you read a book and rather than allowing you to escape it hits you right where you are. And how can you escape? Story has a way of slipping beneath the surface and digging in. (I just had this happen recently...the experience is fresh!)

As far as least favorite? I'm going to say traditional fantasy. It's so weird because I like the idea of fantasy...and even like urban fantasy. But when you are creating brand new worlds with a bunch of weird names and rules? I get confused. I think that's why I could never read Lord of the Rings. I really should give it another go, sometime, though.

I do have a giveaway today and I'm slipping it in here for the people who actually read the post. :) Just leave a comment...I'll draw a random winner and send you a surprise! Of course, this is open worldwide.



Lenore said...

I also tend to shy away from traditional fantasy, though I liked Lord of the Rings. Generally though, if there are a bunch of weird made up creatures, I'm not that interested.

lilly said...

LOL! I wasn't worried about your singleness :-), I actually did not know you were. This question was prompted by my own experience where for a while I did have that notion of chivalrous gentlemen whorshipping women at their feet. Anyway, I'm gld to read your answer and that you certainly know what you want from life and when.

Molly said...

I am glad there is someone else who has difficulty comprehending the world of Middle Earth! I have grown to really love The Hobbit however (since I teach it), so maybe someday I will be able to sit down and enjoy the Lord of the Ring series.

I have so enjoyed getting to know you through these question/answer posts.

bermudaonion said...

I'm not big on fantasy either, although I don't think I've ever tried urban fantasy. I go through phases with genres and authors, too.

Julie P. said...

I love this idea! I feel like I know you even better now! What a great idea! I love that you played Nancy Drew too. The tv show was on when I was young, and between that and the books -- lots of fun times!

Tif said...

I used to have a hard time with Lord of the Rings, but eventually made it through them and read more and more fantasy these days. It's still not my favorite genre and probably never will be, but it is a nice change every once in a while!! Oh, and you can never go wrong with Laura Ingalls Wilder or Roald Dahl . . . LOVE these two!!! And, finally, I love what you had to say about literary fiction slipping in . . . . very well said and very true!!

Beth F said...

I love reading about women who are independent and strong (that's you I'm talking about, Amy!). Great questions here.

Fantasy is my all-time favorite. I'm just getting into urban fantasy and finding (like Meghan) that I really love it and I can't believe that I've avoided it all these years.

Maybe it's my age, but I love LOTR and I'm not sure I understand why it's so difficult for some people to be sucked right into that world. I loved Strider years before Viggo was even out of elementary school (I'm three years older than the actor). Perhaps it's because either we didn't have the variety of fantasy in the late 1960s or I wasn't aware of much else beyond The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Regardless, I wonder if LOTR (the book) is a generational thing?

Gwendolyn B. said...

I've read some fantasy over the years; sometimes I get totally drawn in, and other times I can't quite make the leap. I LOVED Nancy Drew as a young girl, and series mysteries are still a favorite of mine - though now I go more for the brooding British detective than the spunky young girl!

Beth Kephart said...

It is always good to learn a little more about you. Great answers...

Meghan said...

I did read a lot of romance as a teen and I can't say it adversely affected my romantic expectations, at least it hasn't at this point. Somehow I knew to differentiate from real life and I learned from failed relationships that things are not really the same.

I love fantasy. It's always so interesting to read about why others don't. I have definitely read some that are too confusing, but I normally give up on those as bad world-building. A good fantasy author will get you to understand everything 1/3 through the first book. :)

I loved these questions and getting to know more about you!

wordlily said...

I don't know that I've read any urban fantasy, but I've quite liked all the traditional fantasy I've read.

Erin said...

Just stumbled onto your blog and it's fantastic -- I'll definitely be back!

I liked the same authors when I was younger. Ann M. Martin was queen, of course, for The Baby-Sitters Club, but my all-time favorite was Laura Ingalls Wilder. Brilliant.

S. Krishna said...

I love these questions! I think you should do a weekly "Ask Amy" post.

Marie Burton said...

I agree with Swapna! I love reading all about My Friend Amy!! And I am sooo jealous of your freedom of singlehood. You know when you have a headache and you just want to curl up with a good book? MY dear children instead decide to wreak havoc around the house & I have to catch flying objects. So, there's always the good and the bad of singlehood but I sure as hell miss it!!

Amee said...

I like your answer about having read romances and being single. I sometimes wonder if my reading romances has spoiled things for me. ;)

Jennie said...

Oooo.... I like surprises. :)

And I'm really, really sad that BSC is out of print. So many parents who read it want their kids too. Ah well, we now have the graphic novels!

Kristina said...

Yay! I like surprises =) By the way, I left you one!

ibeeeg said...

I enjoyed reading these questions along with your answers.

Very sly of you to put the giveaway into this post. **smile**

What is the difference between urban fantasy and traditional fantasy? I like fantasy novels ... seems to be where my reading attention is held at the moment.

Erika Lynn said...

I am not a big fantasy fan either. and surprises are great!

Vasilly said...

What a great post, Amy! Ann M. Martin used to be a favorite of mine growing up too.

Florinda said...

Also not a big fan of fantasy. I liked it better in my high school/college years, but now I don't have the patience for all of the scene-setting. Keeping up with our own world can be tiring enough :-).

And I loved your answer to TexasRed's question - I was a Nancy Drew wannabe myself!

Cheri2628 said...

I enjoyed reading your answers. You always write such interesting articles.

A surprise? I love surprises! ;-)

Kacie said...

Interesting - the question about romantic expectations has come up with me a lot. I read a lot of Christian romance as a kid, and when I got to college my literature professor called all of it "Crap-o-rama" and suggested that most Christian romance is like porn for women. It has the same addictive qualities for us as porn does for men, and while porn sets unrealistic and selfish physical expectations for me (and dehumanizes and depersonalizes the women involved), she argued that most romance also set unrealistic and selfish emotional expectations for women.

She liked to be extreme, but I still wrestle with these questions when I approach writers like Francine Rivers. I would love to hear your thoughts on thi.

Lorin said...

I love traditional fantasy and even I had a hard time with LOTR. Not so much with the funny names and new places, but with the random asides to sing an epic poem. Ugh. (This is one of the few times I prefer the movies.) I liked the Hobbit more, though.

Nymeth said...

You know, for some reason I had never thought of reading Laura Ingalls Wilder, but recently I finished The Child that Books Built by Francis Spufford and he dedicates almost a whole chapter to Little House on the Prairie. So suddenly I realized I've been missing out, just like I'd missed out on Anne of Green Gables until last year.

Anonymous said...

Amy-I choose books that way too- reading blogs, buying books and listening to friends.
And I love surprises- esp the book kind (the best).
Miriam Boots

Melody said...

My reading preference has changed over the years. I find myself reading more general (literary) fiction than the past, thanks to all my bookblogging friends!

As for fantasy, I do love reading them. They're a form of an escape for me, where I can follow the story anyway it takes me and don't have to think about the facts or even reality. I think my least favourite have to be sci-fi. I guess it sounds strange, considering I love a good fantasy story but the first just doesn't hook me the way fantasy does.

Bookfool said...

I have a terrible time with the names in fantasy books, a lot of the time. I really should try to read Tolkien, though, some time. That was really fun reading! What a great idea. Sophie Kinsella's an auto-buy for me, too. I used to be a shopaholic, but I'm reformed. :)

Krista said...

Sneaky sneaky!!! ;) I never knew there was a genre of "literary" fiction. It almost sounds like a redundant phrase! But I did really enjoy Jackina Stark's novel so if that's the definition I say bring it on!

shelburns said...

I love reading your answers to our questions. Glad to hear that you read the same books to your students; I've done that with A Dog Called Kitty, Beauty, and Old Yeller; ones I read every year.

Anonymous said...

great questions knowing more better olol


Jenny Girl said...

I also used to make believe I was Nancy Drew. My Aunt lived in some woods next to a cemetary. The possibilities were boundless. SO I always carried some things around with me when I would visit in case I had to solve a mystery like Nancy Drew. The case of the missing tombstone!
After Nancy I read all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.

Tempest52 said...

I like to read eclecticaly (is that a word?) but nothing keeps me glued to the page like a good mystery.

dreamseeker52 AT gmail DOT com

charley said...

Nancy Drew! She's good at everything.

Jackie B. said...

I like this column. Keepit going on a regular basis. I also like surprises. Of course we read your posts!

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