My First Tag of 2010


My reading efforts and my life in general has been pretty lacklustre of late. Nothing eventful to blog about. Couple of weeks back, the snubnose was down with pneumonia. In the ensuing worry, leave from office, and so on, I have had to do some massive catch-up with work, and it is not over yet.

I have also had to slow down completely halt my reading of Bleak House. I stopped reading when the snubnose fell ill, and I have just not been motivated enough to pick it up (or even any other book) again. Strange for me! I must really be feeling the blues…

Anyway, I saw this interesting meme on Mae’s blog, and I liked the questions enough to take part myself. So, without much ado, here we go:

  1. Favorite childhood book?
    If it was early childhood, I would agree with Mae and list The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. By the time I was ten though, I was headlong in love with Robert Louis Stevenson … in particular Treasure Island and Black Arrow.
  2. What are you reading right now?
    Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  3. What books do you have on request at the library?
  4. Bad book habit?
    Spilling food/water/tea on my books. I always munch when I read.
  5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
    Bleak House by Charles Dickens, and Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. I am on a classics kick now.
  6. Do you have an e-reader?
    I have an iPad, and I do use iBooks for reading.
  7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?Strictly one book at a time.
  8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
    I pay more attention to the book, I think…I note down sections that I like. I make the effort to check up certain facts mentioned in the book to see how accurate they are. Basically, blogging has made me a more conscientious reader…or that’s what I’d like to think :).
  9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far)?
    That’s easy…Witch & Wizard by James Patterson
  10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
    The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky comes close, but I have to admit that my favorite book was The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. I love books with dogs.
  11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
    A lot. I love variety when it comes to books.
  12. What is your reading comfort zone?
    There are some authors – unfortunately most of them dead who always do it for me. My favorite authors I turn to are Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, and Victoria Holt (gothic romances). Generally, any well-written mystery with a dash of romance will do the trick for me.Of the living authors, I think Sophie Kinsella is creeping up on me.
  13. Can you read on the bus?
    Nope…not on bus, train, airplane…nothing. I tend to fall asleep when the vehicle is in motion.
  14. Favorite place to read?
  15. What is your policy on book lending?
    I have no problems with it…no problems when it is not returned either…I just go ahead and buy a new copy if it is a book I particularly like. I generally bargain hunt a lot while book shopping, so monetarily also it’s not a huge loss.
  16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
    All the time. I am not precious with books ever…my dad keeps complaining about how he knows exactly which books in his massive collection that I have read just by the number of dog-ears!
  17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
    Never…my dad would kill me if I ever did that.
  18. Not even with text books?
    OK, that I do…
  19. What is your favorite language to read in?
    English. I can read Hindi and French, but it’s really a struggle. I’d just cave in and read a really good translation. I do wish that I could read Bengali. Kal’s blog with its frequent references to Tagore’s poetry and books makes me wish that I could read them in the original language. Our Indian languages are extremely rich…something always gets lost while translating into English.
  20. What makes you love a book?
    It’s really hard for me to say. I think the plot must be interesting enough to span the length of the book. Some books lose out when they are needlessly long, while other books end rather abruptly. I think a well-plotted, and well-edited book regardless of the genre will always win with me. I’m being rather vague with this answer, but that’s how best I can explain it.
  21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
    In person, I rarely recommend books. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, and I believe that strongly. Mostly friends read my blog for recommendations. Also, in real life…very few of my friends are bookish.I do sometimes recommend books to my mom, though
  22. Favorite genre?
    Thrillers and Fantasy
  23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
    Non-fiction, philosophy
  24. Favorite biography?
    Nothing in particular comes to mind. There was a mad phase when I read a bunch of stuff on the life of Marilyn Monroe. I outgrew that pretty fast. I am not very much into biographies in general.
  25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
    Ah, no…I read strictly for pleasure, not to improve myself ;. Also, some of the more obnoxious people I know are heavily into the self-help style of reading, so I have always felt self-books are rather dangerous :). Plus, I am really not that interested in knowing who moved my cheese
  26. Favorite cookbook?
    Nah…I just filch recipes off from the internet or from my favorite cooking blogs. Not that I ever actually cook them :D. They are just saved up for the time when I retire and have all the time in the world to really cook, rather than the 20-minute slap dash fare I make now.
  27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?Inspirational? Nothing this year. Last year, I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and felt very inspired by the strength of the two women protagonists.
  28. Favorite reading snack?Chocolates
  29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
    I won’t say my reading experience was ruined. Ruined is too strong a word. I will just say that I did not enjoy The Swan Thieves as much as I expected to. I don’t think the book really lived up to the hype. Not that it’s a bad book…but just overhyped. I also think the Inkworld series by Cornelia Funke was way overhyped.
  30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
    I don’t always agree, but I like and respect the different perspectives that people bring to a book review
  31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
    If it’s a book I bought or borrowed, I don’t have a problem with negative reviews at all. I do struggle though when authors/publishers give me bad/mediocre books to review. Then I really struggle .
  32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
    There are so many. I would choose French because how awesome would it be to read Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas in French. But, I would also choose Bengali for its rich regional literature, and Tamil – also rich in local literature, and it’s my native tongue and I can’t read it. Shame on me!!!
  33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
    Mason and Dixon by Thomas Pynchon. Indecipherable and BORING. The fact that I finished it is a true tribute to my will-power and persistence.
  34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
    Nothing really. I don’t get intimidated…I start off and then get stuck.
  35. Favorite Poet?
    Edgar Allan Poe
  36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
    4 because that’s my library’s limit.
  37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
    Hardly ever. I’m persistent, remember ;).
  38. Favorite fictional character?
    Current faves are Harry Bosch – the detective from the Michael Connelly series, and Vish Puri – the detective in the Tarquin Hall books.
  39. Favorite fictional villain?
    Long John Silver from Treasure Island. Also Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair.
  40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
    A book based on the place I am going to. Or, at least as close as it gets.
  41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
    I did neglect reading during my school board exams – for about 2 years, I read nothing but textbooks. During my college years, I partied a lot and read very little. That’s the only time I can remember when books took a back seat in my life.
  42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
    War and Peace is a book I never managed to even get halfway through, forget about finishing. I hope Bleak House does not end up in this category!
  43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
    Nothing, really. I tend to get engrossed. My family members get really annoyed sometimes.
  44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
    Lord of the Rings, and Silence of the Lambs. Generally, most thrillers make good movies as well.
  45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
    The Harry Potter movies – especially the later ones seemed to miss a lot of the richness and wonder of the books.
  46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
    I’m quite thrifty when it comes to book buying. Mostly second-hand for me. I don’t think I have ever spent more than Rs.1000/- at any given time.
  47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
    I don’t skim. I just go ahead and read.
  48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
    Usually, if something much more attention-grabbing happens in real life, and I end up having to stop reading, or if it is blah, blah, blah like War and Peace.
  49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
    Yes, Organizing my book shelf is actually a comforting activity for me. Though, I always end up leaving it half-finished and starting on some book that has caught my interest there 😀
  50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
    I would keep some – the ones I loved, the author-signed ones, etc. The others I wouldn’t mind giving away.
  51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
    I am avoiding books 2 and 3 of the Stieg Larsson series and the Hunger Games trilogy. I want to take my time and read those books long after the blogosphere chatter has died down, and I am no longer as influenced by the hype.
  52. Name a book that made you angry.
    I think the sloppy writing on The Dangerous Days of Daniel X made me very angry. My book review also reflects that I think 🙂
  53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
    I expect to like most books, that’s why I read them 😀
  54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
    I know I am flogging a dead horse here, but I really expected to like Twilight and the rest of the books in the series. I find vampire fiction fun as a rule, but these books were damp squibs.
  55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
    Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, Victoria Holt

Whew! I finally finished this meme. Anybody else want to take it up? Go on, do it, and then link to me after 🙂

  • vinayvasan

    @Nishita, Awesome awesome tag. Had a great and enjoyable time doing it.
    Heres my post

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  • vinayvasan

    Wow.. This is a tag I would not mind doing and I think I will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed going through your replies… Btw, how do you link it back?

    • @Vinay…just create a link to my blog, and I will see it on my Dashboard, or just leave a comment here with a link to your blog 🙂

  • Sweet blog, I hadn’t come across previously in my searches!
    Continue the fantastic work!

  • Pingback: My First Tag of 2010 : UK Asian()

  • Mae

    I’ll have to read The Brothers Karamazov soon-ish but I’ve still got Anna Karenina lined up as my next Russian classic. Not looking all that forward to the countless Russian names!

    I think you’re the first to not praise War and Peace to the high heavens and describing it as blah blah blah! LOL!

    How are you finding the iBook on the iPad? I was quite impressed but an e-reader’s not on top of my list of things to buy.

    It’s hard to read while studying unless one is studying literature. I remember thinking my education was getting in my way of reading more widely!

  • So many people have told me that they loved Enid Byton’s work as a child, and I’d never heard of her until a few years ago! The book that was ruined from too much hype for me was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Your answers are fascinating, and they give us a nice view into your life. I hope that you can resume with Bleak House.

    • @Bellezza: Her books seem to have not been very popular in America, but she was a huge deal in UK and her ex-colonies, I think. In India, almost every child of our generation grew up with Enid Blyton. Nowadays, she is not popular as much … overtaken by the Harry Potter phenomenon, I guess.

  • The crazy thing about the Who Moved My Cheese book is that even though it is very, very short, it is still too long. I had to read it for work many years ago and thought that it could have been distilled down to two pages with no loss in substance.

    • @Thomas: I haven’t read it, but just the back of the book seems tiresome to me. I also tend to learn better making my mistakes rather than following generic advice straight out of a book.

  • Sorry for the second reply, but I totally agree about Tagore. I want to learn Bengali just to experience the original beauty of his poems. I feel the same after reading some Urdu poems translated in English. I’d love to learn the language 🙂

  • Loved reading your answers! I’ll take up this tag when I find some time, definitely 🙂

  • I’m a one book at a time person too and I didn’t like Witch and Wizard at all either.

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