1. Do you remember learning to read? How old were you? I don’t remember learning to read, although I know I learned when I was in kindergarten. My father tells a story about how as far as anyone knew I didn’t know how to read, until all the sudden I came home from school one day, pulled out a book, and began reading. I don’t really remember this though.
2. What do you find most challenging to read? Philosophy and literary theory. I enjoy reading in these categories now and then, but it can be hard work (at least with certain authors). It’s a good kind of challenge, though. A bad kind of challenging read, something I’m no good at? Reading directions. I never read directions; instead I just jump in and try to figure out on my own what I’m supposed to do.
3. What are your library habits? I visit the library regularly for audiobooks, and sometimes when I’m there I’ll check out a book, although I don’t do this regularly. When I check books out, they are usually very recent fiction that’s not out in paperback, and that I’m not sure I want to buy. Right now I have the 2007 Best American Essays checked out.
4. Have your library habits changed since you were younger? I used to check books out of the library regularly, when I was a kid and didn’t have much money. When I was really young, there was a library within walking distance from home, and I visited it a lot and have fond memories of the place. Then we moved and had to drive to get to a library. Now, I can walk there once again, which is a lovely thing. I should visit more often.
5. How has blogging changed your reading life? Blogging has changed my reading life in tons of ways; I’ve written several long posts about this subject. Briefly, I now read more than one book at a time, I have a long and constantly growing TBR list, which I didn’t used to have, I now read authors I’d never heard of before blogging, and I depend on newspaper book reviews much less. Most of the recommendations I get come from bloggers.
6. What percentage of your books do you get from new book stores, second hand book stores, the library, online exchange sites, online retailers, other? This has recently changed. I used to get most of my books from new and used book stores, but now, within the last year or so, more and more of my books come from Book Mooch. In fact, most of my books these days come from Book Mooch. I also get a fair percentage from online stores.
7. How often do you read a book and not review it on your blog? What are your reasons for not blogging about a book? I almost always blog about what I read. It’s rare for me not to mention what I’m reading at the very least, and usually I will write a review, with varying degrees of thoroughness and formality. When I don’t mention something, it’s usually poetry, and usually poetry from an anthology — in other words, it’s not a separate book, but a poem here or a poem there.
8. What are your pet peeves about the way people treat books? I don’t mind so much how people treat the physical object (although when people fold paperbacks almost in half to read them, I’m not particularly pleased), but I do get bothered when people dismiss books based on stereotypes — i.e., it’s women’s fiction and so I’m not interested, or genre fiction isn’t as well-written as literary fiction, etc.
9. Do you ever read for pleasure at work? No. As a teacher, I’m required to be on campus for class, office hours, meetings (tons of meetings!), and special events; otherwise, I work at home. This means whenever I’m at work, I’m always working — there’s very little downtime.
10. When you give people books as gifts, how do you decide what to give them? I like to give books only to people I know well, people whose reading tastes I’m familiar with. Otherwise, I’d rather give something else, because I don’t want to get it wrong, and give a book that won’t get read. Buying books as gifts is great, but it can be stressful too, because buying someone a book makes a statement about what you think their tastes are. It’s possible to get it quite wrong.
Please, anyone who is interested — give this meme a try!