Thursday, September 22, 2011

Read 'Em and Reap

Books. Remember those? As the new TV season begins, I hope you are fitting in a few minutes to read a good book, too.

I'm curious about each of your reading experiences and your opinions about books. In my quest to learn more about my readers, to encourage reluctant commenters to finally chime in (it's painless, really), and to keep my local Barnes and Noble in business, I offer the following short quiz.

You'll be glad to know there are no right or wrong answers, and you won't be evaluated on being creative or witty. (Although wit and creativity aren't discouraged either.) Simply answer the following questions, and you may win a gift certificate for B&N in a random drawing.
  1. What's the best book you've read in the past couple years?
  2. What book didn't live up to its hype?
  3. What book kept you awake at night (for any reason)?
  4. What book have you read over the years again and again?
  5. What writer (dead or alive) would you most like to have dinner and drinks with?
  6. If you were a character in a novel, what would the genre be (romance, mystery, etc.)?
  7. What's the next book on your reading list?

I will assign each comment a number and choose two winners in a random drawing, one for a $25 gift certificate and the second for a $10 certificate.

Note: If you post your comment as anonymous, you may have to click "Post Comment" a couple of times for it to publish (according to some commenters). BE SURE TO WRITE YOUR NAME (at least first name and last initial) at the bottom of your comment. If you continue to have difficulty posting, email me your answers at sherry @ (no spaces) and I will post them for you.

The deadline is midnight, Wednesday, Sept. 28. I will post the winners here on Sept. 29.

Ready? Set? Go.


  1. 1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
    2. Can't say. I rarely buy books based on hype.
    3. Hmmm.. kept me awake reading it, or kept me awake dwelling on it? All the Potter books kept me up because I hated putting them down. Reading the Exorcist gave me the lingering willies though (before I ever worked up the courage to see the movie).
    4. Several, but most often: The Stand by Stephen King and Watchers by Dean Koontz.
    5. Tina Fey, so I can begin the process of wooing her away from her husband.
    6. I'd be a vampire from an Anne Rice book. Or someone with occult powers... ESP, telekinesis, X-Ray vision...
    7. Tina Fey's "Bossypants." Just ordered it from Amazon, because I haven't been able to find it all summer.

  2. Bluz: All your answers will count, but I'm responding right away in order to clarify the questions for other readers.

    Question #2 doesn't have to be a book that received great hype: just a book that disappointed you or that you found less-than terrific. Question #3: A book that kept you awake for any reason at all--whether it was scary, disturbing, tragic, or thought-provoking (but maybe specify WHY it kept you awake).

    And my comments on your answers: LOVED The Stand. But I only read it once, and that was enough to keep me awake at night. And Bossypants was wonderful. I own it and would gladly loan it to you, but it's well worth the purchase.

  3. 1. Sworn to Silence
    2. Most of Oprah's picks
    3. Most books put me to sleep. Sworn to Silence I didn't want to put down. I was up till midnight a couple nights.
    4. I usually don't read a book twice except The Magic Tree House books I read to my class every year. I have read them for 5 years now.
    5. James Patterson I guess. I like his books.
    6. I would like to be the hero in an "on the edge of your seat" thriller.
    7. Won't know till I get to the library.

  4. BG (in the middle)/Barb: I will definitely have to check out Sworn to Silence. Enjoyed your answer to #4; you are one dedicated teacher. And I also loved your answer to #7; some of my own favorite books have been ones I've blindly picked off the library shelves. Thanks so much for chiming in!

  5. What fun!
    1. Olive Kitteridge
    2. A Gate at the Stairs
    4.To Kill A Mockingbird
    5.Alice Munro
    6.Screwball comedy (in my dreams)
    7. THe Imperfectionists

  6. 1. So many . . . Um, within the past month, The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam and Veil of Lies and Blood Oath.

    2. The Help. Sorry.

    3. Zoe Sharp's Killer Instinct.

    4. Most of them---but anything by Robert B. Parker, especially Potshot, which is like Spencer's Old Home Week.

    5. Deceased: Robert B. Parker
    Living: Dana Cameron or Val McDermid -- or both at the same time!

    6. Noir with interludes of slapstick.

    7. Pirate King by Laurie R. King

  7. What's the best book you've read in the past couple years?
    Stolen by Lucy Christopher was good
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books were great...I am not typically a mystery/suspense/drama kind of reader but these books sucked me in!

    What book didn't live up to its hype?
    Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

    What book kept you awake at night?
    Joe Hill's books (he's Stephen Kings son) Horns and The Heart Shaped Box....OMG you have to read them.

    What book have you read over the years again and again?
    Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods & I'm a Stranger here myself. LOVE Bill Bryson.

    What writer would you most like to have dinner and drinks with?
    Bill Bryson and I think Matt Damon should write a book so I can have dinner and LOTS of drinks with him. He would have to be naked of course.

    If you were a character in a novel, what would the genre be (romance, mystery, etc.)?
    Either Drama or Adventure...perhaps with some nudity and a hell of a lot of swearing.

    What's the next book on your reading list?
    The Silenced -
    Daughters of the North -

  8. Oooh I love books, so I have to participate :)

    1. What is the What, by Dave Eggers

    2. The Time Traveler's Wife. I liked it a fair bit, but I was expecting it to be some amazing/awesome read. Haven't seen the movie yet.

    3. Both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I couldn't put them down and stayed up way too late reading them every single night. Unfortunately the 3rd in the series is not out yet :(

    4. Wuthering Heights.....maybe my favorite book?? At least one of my top two or three.

    5. Dave Eggers. I feel that he would be hilarious.

    6. Ummmm...some sort of really good science fiction would be awesome. I could be an elf or a hobbit or something.

    7. Not sure, Either Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky, Tom Sawyer, or Fast Food Nation. I'm currently working on Wicked by Gregory Maguire though.

  9. Downith: Olive Kitteridge would be right there toward the top of my list, too. And "screwball comedy," huh? *Snort*

    Sarah: I'm taking special note of your picks. I figure librarians have all the inside scoop. But I must admit to liking The Help...

  10. Amanda: I'm adding Bill Bryson to my list right now. Let me know how that whole Matt Damon thing works out for you.

    Carrie: Dave Eggers is terrific. I'll be really interested in hearing what you think about Wicked. Did you see the play? Two very different animals. (And great to see you here!)

  11. Best book you've read in the past couple years? Cat’s Eye, Lit, All Over But the Shoutin’

    Didn't live up to its hype? The Book Thief (I’m pretty sure I’m the only person on earth who hated it.) Freedom. A Gate at the Stairs (I worship Lorrie Moore so this was a huge disappointment.) The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Loved the first half; he exhausted me in the second.)

    Kept you awake at night? The Heretic Queen, Nefertiti, Room

    What have you read over the years again and again? Ordinary People, A Thousand Acres, Wuthering Heights, Crossing to Safety, To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Most like to have dinner and drinks with? Truman Capote, William Styron, Margaret Atwood, Mary Karr, Dorothy Allison, Joan Didion, Winston Churchill, Elie Wiesel

    If you were a character, what would the genre be? Mystery / Thriller – I want to help hunt down the killer and get into scary scrapes.

    Next on your reading list? The Art of Fielding, Life with a Star, The Tragedy of Arthur, We The Animals, The Known World

  12. Teri: The Book Thief's been on my to-read list for a while. Maybe I shouldn't be too anxious? And Wuthering Heights and To Kill a Mockingbird have both shown up here twice already. I haven't read either since high school. Guess it's time to revisit those...

  13. You should read The Book Thief. I'm not kidding when I say I'm the only person who hated it. It's on some people's Best Book Ever lists, so it's either just me or I read it at the wrong time.

    To Kill A Mockingbird is such a different book to read from our now-adult perspective, and well worth it.

  14. No, I haven't seen the Wicked play. Not that I've had the chance to see it yet, but I always avoid seeing anything that I know is a book in case I want to read the book. I soooooo hate having the movie in my head while reading something for the first time and not being able to create the images/characters in my head on my own!

    I'm about 175 pages in now and loving it so far. My first thoughts are that it's very creepy, imaginative, and unexpectedly political.

  15. 1. Lolita. (Read not written, correct?)
    2. I have zero idea who's hyping what.
    3. The Hunger Games.
    4. Absent in the Spring, September, The Shell Seekers, Scarlet Feather, Giant's Bread. . . (I could go on and on. I'm a re-reader more than a reader, unfortunately.)
    5. Agatha Christie
    6. Erotica. I'd like my life to imitate art.
    7. The Lacuna, based on Teri's suggestion

  16. What's the best book you've read in the past couple years? The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins)
    What book didn't live up to its hype? That's a tie: Villette (Charlotte Bronte) and Moby Dick (Melville)
    What book kept you awake at night (for any reason)? The Monk (Matthew Lewis)
    What book have you read over the years again and again? Jane Eyre (Bronte) 5 times in 3 years.
    What writer (dead or alive) would you most like to have dinner and drinks with? Charles Dickens--he was a great conversationalist and entertainer.
    If you were a character in a novel, what would the genre be (romance, mystery, etc.)? GOTHIC. Yay!
    What's the next book on your reading list?
    The Moonstone (Wilkie Collins)

  17. Teri: I recently reread several of my favorite childhood/teenage books (e.g., A Wrinkle in Time and The Outsiders), wondering if they'd still hold up. Nearly all of them did.

    Carrie: I had a tough time with the book. I read it many years ago, when it first came out in hardcover. Am thinking of giving it another shot, especially since I saw the play twice and loved it...

  18. Averil: I was CERTAIN you'd written Lolita. Just under a pseudonym.

    A.G.R.: All that Bronte and no mention of Jane Austin here? I pegged your answers totally wrong... And Dickens--wow, that would fun. Did you ever see the Doctor Who episode about him?

  19. No, I haven't, but I will put in my "viewing" list...

  20. Thanks for asking these questions

    Shanda says:
    1. I would have to say the Deathly Hallows. Quite a nice surprise.
    2. Many of the Sookie Stackhouse later books in the series (True Blood roots)
    3. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Wow, nice twist based on a true story. Movie version pales in comparison
    4. A Wrinkle in Time...and The first Harry Potter with the kids
    5. Madeline L'Engle and Paul Zindel...It would be great if they were together
    6. A Mystery with a twist and I am the detective
    7. The Help

  21. Shanda: Madeline L'Engle is one of my favorite authors ever, and although I loved every book in her Time Quintet, A Wrinkle In Time remains my favorite. "There is such a thing as a tesseract," you know. I'd sure love to believe so... Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  22. What's the best book you've read in the past couple years? I'm a magazine whore so this exercise would be much easier if the theme was for the "not-so-well-read". I like Dorthea Benton Frank's books about South Carolina - Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms.

    What book didn't live up to its hype? Years ago, I could not get into The Shell Seekers which everyone was reading.

    What book kept you awake at night (for any reason)? I really liked one I read recently entitled, "Good Enough To Eat" by Stacy Ballis. Each chapter was centered around a meal - I was awake because I was f-ing starving!

    What book have you read over the years again and again? I keep renewing my magazines. Does that count? If you include children's books, I could list half of my daughter's library.

    What writer (dead or alive) would you most like to have dinner and drinks with? Erma Bombeck. I've been reading some of her books. It's so much fun. Very easy to relate to now that I am a mother and housewife. Fun to relive the era in which she wrote as well.

    If you were a character in a novel, what would the genre be (romance, mystery, etc.)? I have to say comedy. I'd be the awkward, unintentionally funny loser looking for career success and love. Ironically, it sounds like my 20's and early 30's!

    What's the next book on your reading list? I've renewed John Grogan's Memoir, Phillip Gulley's Memoir and Erma Bombeck's collection 3 times from the library. Will I get through them before they are due? Only if they come up with a cure for Adult ADHD/complicated by severe narcolepsi.

  23. 1. Little Bee, The Book Thief, Olive Kitteridge, Brooklyn, I could go on...
    2. Madame Bovary
    3. Little Bee, The Book Thief
    4. Confederacy of Dunces, Middlemarch, The Great Gatsby
    5. F. Scott Fitzgerald, David Foster Wallace, George Eliot
    6. Paranormal Romance Steampunk...something with corsets and cool outfits, but superpowers definitely.
    7. Looking For Alaska

  24. LM: My mom likes Dorthea Benton Frank too; I'll have to check her out. I may be going back to the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop in Dayton in April. If you're interested, email me for more info.

    Lyra: Have you seen Midnight in Paris? The next best thing to having dinner and drinks with Fitzgerald... And I hope someone writes you into a paranormal romance steampunk--and you get to play yourself in the movie.

  25. I did see the movie. It freaked me out because of odd tiny things that were in common between that and something I've been working on for three years. Also the idea that Woody Allen and I would be on the same wavelength. So creepy. I mean, come on, Woody Allen?

  26. 1. Recent best read - The Help was wonderfully written. I was a naive young mom of three tots in Toledo in the 60's and had no clue....

    2. Disapointment - the last 4 to 5 books in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plumb series. Move on Janet!

    3. Kept me up at night for different reasons - The Glass Castle/Jeanette Walls was too disturbing - not for me at this stage of life. The Shining/Stephen King was the last horror book years ago. I've become a 72 year old woman wimp!

    4. Too many books, so little time and I've never been a "re-reader". Rarely see movies twice also.

    5.Louisa Mae Alcott because of the era she wrote of and how her Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys were my first serious start on loving books.

    6. I would be a character in a suspense/mystery novel and movie. (like Angela Lansbury in Murder She Wrote)

    7. Bossy Pants by Tina Fey which daughter Sherry will loan me tomorrow. On library list for the Rob Lowe bio.(I read 3 or 4 biographies a year.)

    Not so anonymous - Sherry's mom

  27. Lyra: That said, I'm pretty sure this was my favorite Woody Allen movie ever. Bodes well for what you're writing.

    Mom: So did I get the re-reader gene from Dad? Come to think of it, he was definitely a movie re-watcher. I forgot how much you loved Little Women. I think we should both re-read that one.

  28. 1. Hmmm hard to choose. But one of my favorites was Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auell (sp)?
    2. Bossypants by Tina Faye....wasn't worth the price. Big disappointment for me.
    3. The Stand.
    4. Well when I was a little girl I read Black Beauty and Bambi every summer. Now I'll reread before I go see the movie so I can see what they changed and screwed up. Harry potter series, twilight saga..yes embarrassed to admit, Time Travelers Wife, The Stand...ect
    5. Stephan King, J R Ward
    6. I would be in a paranormal romance story for sure...
    7. Next book.... What ever looks god on my kindle search. Don,t have a list.

  29. Sherry that last comment was from Marion... Somehow my name didn't make it.

  30. Marion: It's so interesting to see such varying tastes, even just among the commenters here. I loved The Stand, Time Travelers Wife and Harry Potter, but I also liked Bossypants, and I didn't care for Twilight. However, I did enjoy Stephenie Meyer's book The Host. Have you read that one? I'll bet you'd like it. And the book you emailed me about--Switched by Amanda Hocking--definitely looks intriguing. Thanks for all your input!

  31. 1. I really liked the Art of Racing In the Rain by Garth Stein – even though some of the plot threw me….I still loved some of the concepts and catch phrased gleaned from it.
    2. I was not a fan of Rules of Prey by John Sandford. Just not really my genre, I guess.
    3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling – I am a slow reader…but got through that book in three days – even when working full time. It was a mixed feeling….Wanting to hurry to find out what happens, but not wanting it to end.
    4. Any of the Harry Potter books. Sometimes I just plug in and listen (Jim Dale does a FABULOUS job) ….or periodically pull them off the shelf and read. Also Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke or The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
    5. I would love to have dinner with Rainer Maria Rilke – but we would have to have Stephen Mitchell translate for us. (His is the best translated version of Letters to a Young Poet.)
    6. I would want to be in an adventure novel – with a little romance thrown in for good measure.
    7. Next on the list is Heat Rises – “by” Richard Castle – what can I say….I love the show!!
    From Lynner (as if you didn't know).

  32. Lynn: I have The Art of Racing in the Rain on my Nook, which I only use when I travel. Guess I need to schedule a trip so I have an excuse to read it sooner... I also need to give Rainer Maria Rilke another shot. And, I may break down and watch the first season of Castle--but not until this novel rewrite is done. (It will be my reward!)