A to Z Bookish Survey

I saw this survey over at On Starships and Dragonwings, and thought it looked like a fun little thing to try.

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Without a doubt, that would be Mercedes Lackey. There are a couple of authors who might have bumped her out of the first place slot if you count each time I’ve reread one of their books, but then I remembered that I’ve reread most of Lackey’s at least once each, too, so I don’t think there’s much of a contest for this position.

Best Sequel Ever:

That’s a tough one! I usually don’t find that sequels have as big an impact on me as the first book in a series, when everything’s all new and fast and interesting. Courtney Schafer’s The Tainted City probably wins this prize, though, especially given the excitement I felt as the release date drew closer. And if that trend continues, I suspect that if I do the same survey a year from now, the final book of that trilogy will be in this spot, because I swear I’m checking weekly for updates as to when that book comes out.

I won’t lie, though. N K Jemisin’s The Broken Kingdoms gave this one a run for its money! That book was awesome!

Currently Reading:

I’m in the process of finishing up George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones for a book club, and yesterday I just started Kim Stanley Robinson’s Shaman.

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Tea. I doubt this is a revelation for anyone. :p

E-reader or physical book?

I like both, for different reasons. I prefer hard copies of books, because I find them easier to keep track of, and because there’s nothing quite like holding a solid book in your hands, turning the pages yourself, and smelling the paper-and-ink scent that goes along with the story you’re reading. But I also do love my Kindle, because it’s allowed me access to many ARCs and review copies, and because it’s easy to carry around an entire library without it taking up much space or weighing much.

And that Kindle was a godsend when I broke my finger and had my dominant hand immobilized and couldn’t really hold a book open and turn pages and sit comfortable at the same time. Holding the kindle in my functioning hand, using only a twitch of my thumb to turn pages, no awkward weight. It was wonderful, and it saved me sanity when I couldn’t do much then.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

This makes the assumption that any character I pick for this would have dated me. And I highly doubt that. But if you want to phrase this as, “Fictional character I totally had a crush on in high school,” then that would have to be Vanyel Ashkevron, from Mercedes Lackey’s The Last Herald-Mage trilogy. Never mind that he was a gay male and I was physically female (and came to eventually discover that I was asexual and more than a little agendered to boot), I crushed on this guy something fierce. And still somewhat wish, when I reread those novels, that someone like him could be a big feature in my life.

Some things you just don’t let go of.

And even though it’s a book-related survey, I’m going to be honest and say that I also crushed mightily on Tara, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She was sweet, king, intelligent, practical, caring, beautiful. And hey, at least my physical body matched up with the sex she prefers, she I had that going for me. :p

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance:

Robin LaFevers’s Grave Mercy. Assassin nuns are a great concept to begin with, but at the time I was going through one of my YA burnout phases, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on another one that, in my mind, stood the chance of having all the same problems that the others did which were making me feel apathetic toward the whole subgenre. But still, I gave it a try. And it was better than I thought it would be. Better than I thought it would be even if I hadn’t been going through burnout!

Hidden Gem Book:

The Steel Seraglio, by a bunch of people with the surname ‘Carey.’ I don’t know why this book didn’t get more publicity, but it deserves it. It wasn’t an overly complex story, but it was written in such a way as to lead you in circles as stories get told within stories, in an interesting setting with interesting characters, and I highly recommend that more people read this book.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:

Magic's Pawn, by Mercedes LackeyOne summer, years and years ago when I and my best friend of the time were in high school, we were at her grandparents’ cottage by the lake. We were bored, had little to do, and we both felt like reading but had no idea what to read. My friend then handed me a copy of Mercedes Lackey’s Magic’s Pawn and said, “I think you’ll like this. It has gay characters, but if you can get past that, I really think you’ll like it.”

Not sure why she warned me about the gay characters (at the time, we were borderline yaoi fangirls), but I took the book and read it. And loved it. And read the rest of the series. And cried over it. And that was my first experience with traditional fantasy. It was all downhill from there.

An equally important moment was when I first started bookblogging. I still loved reading before I started, of course, but most of the books I read were rereads of books I’d read a dozen times before. Then I had the notion that I had opinions about these books, so why not put them online? And so I did. And to avoid constantly repeating myself and re-reviewing books all the time, I was forced to branch out, to read new things, to experience all these books that may have passed me by otherwise. My horizons just exploded, and I never looked back. Even if tomorrow I decided that bookblogging was no longer worth it for me, I still wouldn’t go back to reading the way I used to, because now I’m more aware and know the sheer number of books I want to read, and so will read, and I’ll be happy for the rest of my days.

Just Finished:

The Incrementalists, by Steven Brust and Skyler White. And I’ll be blunt here, pre-review: I didn’t enjoy it. The concept behind it was interesting enough, but between the shifting first-person viewpoints (where both people are often in the same room together, discussing the same things, and it became difficult to tell just which person “I” was referring to) and the fact that the book was about 75% dialogue and may as well have been a script, I found it very difficult to read, and was mostly glad when I could say I finished it and just move on to other things.

Further details will be revealed when I write the full review.

Kind of Books You Won’t Read:

Books that are heavy on romance, or that put a major emphasis on romance. Books with religious themes that state that their chosen side is clearly right and all others are clearly wrong and try to convert the reader.  (So no, no matter how many times you pitch it to me, I will not read your Christian romance novel.) Most contemporary fiction. Chick-lit. A lot of hard sci-fi, especially militaristic stuff.

Longest Book I’ve Read:

Probably one of the Wheel of Time books, though it’s been a while since I’ve read them and I don’t remember page counts. Recently, the longest book I’ve read would probably be Game of Thrones. And I haven’t finished it yet, though I will within the week.

Major Book Hangover Because Of:

I’m not even sure what “book hangover” is, to be honest. It sounds like some feeling of malaise where the last book you read seemed good at the time but in retrospect was a really bad idea, and you promise yourself you won’t read books like it again but inevitably you do. Or a book so bad that you throw up and have a headache the next morning. So I’m going to refrain from answering this one, because I can safely say that I’ve never vomited because of a book.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

3. 2 of them are small. And 1 of them is holding movies right now, because I have nowhere else to put the movies.

Number of bookcases I need? Probably about 5 large ones. At least.

And keep in mind, that doesn’t cover the number of bookcases my roommate has or needs, either.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

You mean I have to pick just one? I’ve read almost every one of Mercedes Lackey’s books at least once. I lost count of how many times I’ve read the Little House series. There are many other books that I’ve reviewed that I’ve reread because I’m in the mood for it again at the time.

Preferred Place to Read:

In my bed, by an open window when the weather permits, propped up by 3 pillows, a mug of hot tea and a bag of gummy candy beside me. Probably there’s a cat curled up behind my knees, too; they like to join me while I’m reading.

Quote That Inspires/Gives the Feels:

“Here. He’s been unconscious since they were dragged out,” the Healer replied, mouth set in a hard line. “Look, Herald Pol, I’m not trying to cause trouble, but I don’t like some of the things we’ve uncovered, or the way those other boys are acting; it seems to me that they want desperately to hide something, and it has to do with that younger boy. It’s hard to tell, under the burns, but we think there’s a lot of bruising all over him that doesn’t look accidental, and it definitely looks as if he’s been caned.”
Pol hadn’t been around the Court as long as he had without gathering a fair understanding of how “ordinary” children sometimes acted. “You think he’s being bullied, knocked around—”
“I think he was being tortured,” the Healer interrupted, icily. “That’s what we’d call it in an adult, and I see no reason to call it by a lesser name in children.”

It’s not often I see people publicly take this stance. Bullying that children get away with “because they’re just kids” gets handwaved all the time, while the same actions from one adult to another would be grounds for a restraining order. I myself was sexually harassed repeatedly, stalked, pushed around, had my belongings stolen, had things thrown at me, and on one memorable incident, had somebody shove my head into a brick wall. All of this before I entered my teens. If this stuff happened now, I could get the perpetrators arrested. Back then, I was lucky if a teacher even talked to the students doing these things to me, even when they happened on school property (and most of them did).

So yes, this quote is not only profound but inspirational, because it highlights how brutal kids can be to each other, and how more people are taking a stand and finally saying that it’s not right.

Reading Regret:

So many books I haven’t read yet. So so many. But I think my biggest regret is that I haven’t finished reading the Wheel of Time series. I stopped partway through book 8, getting bored and finding better things to read. That was shortly after book 8 came out. I haven’t touched them since.

Maybe next year I’ll make a point of reading them all, to get it over with and to finally know what happens at the end.

Series You Started and Need to Finish:

Most of them. :p Admittedly, some of the series I’ve started and need to finish are unfinished because not all the books have been written yet. But with others (like the aforementioned Wheel of Time series), I have no excuse.

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books:

I’m going to lump The Last Herald-Mage trilogy into one option here, because I can’t read one without reading them all. Then there’s Jo Walton’s Among Others. Then it’s a tie between Lois Lowry’s The Giver and Monica Hughes’s Invitation to the Game. So yes, I cheat. I listed 6 books instead of 3. But come on, that’s a hard question to answer when you read as much as I do and have been reading for so long!

Unapologetic Fan Girl For:

Take a wild guess. (Mieneke knows!) Yes, I am an unapologetic fandrogyne for Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books. I can’t see that changing at any point in the future.

Very Excited For This Release:

Courtney Schafer‘s The Labyrinth of Flame. And by damn, if Dev and Kiran don’t hook up…

Worst Bookish Habit:

Like Anya, my worst habit is requesting and accepting more books than I have the time to read and review. I’m better with that now than I used to be, at least, and as such Mount TBR isn’t growing as quickly as it once did, but I still have far too many review copies that I need to read, many of which I got advance copies of and the finished version has already been released! I will get around to them… eventually… someday… Most of them, at least.

X Marks the Spot: Start At Top Left and Pick the 27th Book on Your Shelf:

The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.

Your Latest Book Purchase:

About a month ago I had a large purchasing spree. You can see the books I bought here.

Zzz-snatcher Book:

Again, you mean I can only pick one? Most of the books I’ve reviewed positively (4 or 5 stars) are books that could or did keep me up later than expected, stealing my sleep time because being wrapped in the story seems better than being wrapped in my duvet.

17 comments on “A to Z Bookish Survey

  1. Pingback: The A-to-Z Book Survey | Shadowhawk's Shade

  2. Awesome idea. Reading yours and Abhinav’s posts as well as the one that you linked to makes me want to join in. If it’s okay, I’ll probably have a similiar blogpost up in the next few days or so on my Writing Blog.

  3. I completely know what you mean about the kindle being good for when you have some sort of “disability”. I’m using mine all the time at the moment, because I can adjust the font size for my eyes!

    I am dying to do this survey now…!

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