1. favourite childhood book?
i loved the anne of green gables books … but then i learned of the emily of new moon books when i was older, and i love those better. (teddy!!!)
2. what are you reading right now?
madeleine l’engle’s walking on water, jonathan franzen’s the kraus project, krys lee’s drifting house, banana yoshimoto’s hardboiled and hard luck, and c.s. lewis’ surprised by joy. i have to have at least 5 books going at the same time, so i can hop around as my mood flips.
3. what books do you have on request at the library?
sad to say i do not have a library card, but, you know, this is actually a good thing because i’m terrible at keeping due dates. also, i like owning books; i’m possessive that way.
4. bad book habit?
erm, i err on the side of taking too much care of my books? i don’t fold corners or crease spines, although i do mark passages i like with a pencil. although i guess i’ve gotten less anal retentive in recent years. i always have a book with me, and i carry giant tote bags, so my books have been getting more wear, which is nice — i’ve grown to like that slightly worn look.
5. what do you currently have checked out at the library?
see number 3.
6. do you have an e-reader?
i have an ipad and her name is zöe but i basically use her only to browse flipboard and watch movie trailers.
7. do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
see number 2.
8. have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
9. least favourite book you read this year (so far)?
haruki murakami’s hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world. i couldn’t stand it and only finished it because it was for book club.
10. favourite book you’ve read this year?
meg wolitzer’s the interestings. have you read it yet? no? please do.
11. how often do you read out of your comfort zone?
i don’t know how i would define “comfort zone.” i know the style of writing i like and the kinds of stories i like, and i guess that could be a comfort zone because i don’t deliberately try to read from different genres or such. i don’t really see a reason to. i do try to be deliberate with being more balanced in the books i read, specifically by reading more women and more korean authors in general.
12. what is your reading comfort zone?
"they" call the genre "literary fiction." so "literary fiction" and the classics.
13. can you read on the bus?
i have horrible motion sickness. i can read on trains and planes, though, granted that turbulence is not a thing, but i can’t read on buses or cars — it’s hard even to be a passenger in buses and cars, so it’s a good thing i love driving.
14. favourite place to read?
at my desk, in bed, on the subway.
15. what is your policy on book lending?
i’ll lend you books, ok, but i want them back in the exact condition i’ve leant them to you.
16. do you ever dog-ear books?
no, that’s why post-its were invented.
17. do you ever write in the margins of your books?
yes. in pencil. usually in a scrawl i can’t read.
18. not even with text books?
you should’ve seen the hate i wrote in my casebooks.
19. what is your favourite language to read in?
english. because my korean isn’t fluent enough for reading literature. although that doesn’t stop be from buying korean literature in korean on a semi-regular basis. (one day soon, i’ll buy kim young-ha’s memories of a murderer.)
20. what makes you love a book?
good writing. i need a good narrative and fleshed-out characters, but it’s the writing itself that really gets me.
21. what will inspire you to recommend a book?
if it gets me in the heart and in the gut. the interestings got me in both my heart and gut. so did michael ondaatje’s the english patient. (ondaatje’s writing in the english patient also just shredded my heart; his language is so fucking spectacular and heart-breaking.)
22. favourite genre?
see number 12.
23. genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
erm. sometimes i wish i liked non-fiction more? sometimes, i wish there were more creative non-fiction that was interesting.
24. favourite biography?
ugh. i am so not a biography person. that said, i’ll read pretty much everything written about sylvia plath. (i have a shelf for sylvia plath literature alone.)
25. have you ever read a self-help book?
i have better ways to waste my time.
26. favourite cookbook?
deb perelman’s smitten kitchen cookbook. also, love her blog. hilariously, i’ve cooked from her blog several times but have yet to cook something from her cookbook. it’s too pretty to get dirty in my kitchen!
27. most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
meh do not like this question; skip.
28. favourite reading snack?
coffee (obviously) and a cheddar scone. cheddar scones are great. especially if they also have scallions and bacon. i’ve really got to start baking them myself.
29. name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
hm. strangely enough, i can actually count several examples of the reverse happening, where i thought i’d hate a book because of hype but ended up loving it instead … like ian mcewan’s atonement and jonathan franzen’s freedom. (ok i can’t say i loved freedom, but i found it a lot more compelling and thought-provoking than i expected. the corrections, though — now, that’s my franzen book.)
30. how often do you agree with critics about a book?
i very rarely read anything critical about books. when i’ve finished a book, i go searching for author interviews, though.
31. how do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
just be honest. bad writing is bad writing.
32. if you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
russian. i want to read tolstoy and dostoevsky not-in-translation, damnit!
33. most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
most intimidating book i’ve started/tried to read? proust’s in search of lost time.
34. most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
james joyce’s ulysses. i feel like part of the intimidation is pure hype, though. also i’m too lazy to pick this up.
35. favourite poet?
hands down, t.s. eliot. pfft, i make it sound like i actually read a whole lot of poetry. i don’t. but i still love t.s. eliot.
36. how many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
when i was in university, i had at least 15 books checked out at any given time, most of them scholarly works or academic texts that were too expensive for me to buy. sobs. i miss university resources.
37. how often have you returned a book to the library unread?
pretty much most of the time. but i also usually returned them after i’d made copies of relevant chapters/essays.
38. favourite fictional character?
i always hate these questions; skip.
39. favourite fictional villain?
40. books you’re most likely to bring on vacation?
books i’m most likely not to read on vacation. like proust and dostoevsky. pfft. luckily, i’ve got some of my favourites already on zöe (like kazuo ishiguro’s never let me go, david eagleman’s sum, michael ondaatje’s the english patient, sylvia plath’s unabridged journals, and john berger’s and our faces, my heart, brief as photos, tobias wolff’s old school, and charlotte brontë’s jane eyre) or there’s a bookstore to be found, so i end up with something satisfying to read.
41. the longest you’ve gone without reading.
never? i have periods of reading intensely (usually january-february and autumn), but i’m always reading at least a little all the time.
42. name a book that you could/would not finish.
i couldn’t do this before — if i started a book, i had to finish it — but now i don’t bother forcing myself to read something that doesn’t compel me. like david mitchell’s cloud atlas. i’m sorry, but, wow, i can’t get into it. and gabriel garcia marquez’s one hundred years of solitude. i might get reamed for this, but, oh man, i read about fifty pages of it and was bored to death. and i was reading it while working at a law office, so i honestly couldn’t get more bored than i already was.
43. what distracts you easily when you’re reading?
when i’m in a book, i’m in a book, aka don’t talk to me. one of my biggest peeves ever = people talking to me when i’m reading. just don’t. i guarantee you aren’t as interesting as my book.
44. favourite film adaptation of a novel?
i love joe wright’s adaptation of pride and prejudice.
45. most disappointing film adaptation?
this can go on forever, so let’s not start.
46. the most money you’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
we aren’t going there, nope.
47. how often do you skim a book before reading it?
never? what’s to be gained by this? (also, i hate spoilers.)
48. what would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
if the book holds me at arm’s length.
49. do you like to keep your books organised?
yup, by publisher then by author. it doesn’t mean my books stay organised like this, though, but that’s my system!
50. do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
keep them, duh.
51. are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
david foster wallace’s infinite jest. i don’t know why. (haha life’s funny, though — i’ve recently become good friends with this girl who’s a huge wallace fan, and i happen to be a huge franzen fan, and i’ve never read wallace, and she’s never read franzen, but we sit and talk about them quite often.)
52. name a book that made you angry.
ayn rand’s the fountainhead pissed me off the whole way through.
53. a book you didn’t expect to like but did?
i honestly walked into atonement thinking it would be whatever. instead, it ended up being the book that ended my dry spell and reignited my love for literature — that and daphne du maurier’s rebecca.
54. a book that you expected to like but didn’t?
i thought i’d like tea obreht’s the tiger’s wife a whole lot more than i actually did. love her prose, though, but the book itself was a little too unsure of itself for me.
55. favourite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
everything? i only read books i enjoy reading, so it’s all guilt-free pleasure reading for me.