I’m having a bit of a slow start this morning, so I thought I would continue this meme I came across over at RedMolly’s blog. So many books, so little time…
“Questions, Answers and Tangential Musings about Books”
Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
Trade paperbacks are far easier to carry around between classes, but I must say that I love hardbacks for my non-fiction books (they tend to survive better).
Amazon or brick and mortar?
If I couldn’t buy books used from Amazon sellers, I would have far less books. While a nice, glossy, new book might be fun, I’d much rather give the money to an independent bookstore or someone who can use it (and you can’t beat getting the majority of Gould’s essay collections for about $1.00 apiece).
Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Yikes, give me a choice here. There’s only one Borders I know of and it’s inconveniently placed, so if I ever venture into a bookstore it’s Barnes & Noble. It can actually be a lot of fun to visit (provided I don’t buy anything), and I love visiting the Baltimore, Maryland store, grabbing an armful of books, finding a seat next to a window on the 2nd floor, and read bits and pieces of books I’ll eventually buy online.
Bookmark or dog ear?
I typically only bookmark books that I know I’m not going to get back to in a while, the rest of the time I try to finish the chapter/section that I’m on so I can just pick it up later. Terry Pratchett novels, however, nearly always require a loose scrap of paper or index card given the lack of chapters.
Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
Erm, random at the moment. The apartment has far more books than I can hold, so many shelves are double-stacked with books (it’ll be like discovering them all over again!). I’ll likely do a reorganization by subject over the summer.
Keep, throw away, or sell?
Keep; I can’t really think of any books I would want to sell. Well, ok, maybe one.
Keep dust jacket or toss it?
Keep them! That’s half the fun (despite the fact they’ll likely all get ripped, torn, punctured, or otherwise abused in due time).
Read with dust jacket or remove it?
Keep it on; who knows where it will end up if I take it off?
Short story or novel?
Novel; short stories usually leave me unsatisfied (except for “A Sound of Thunder”).
Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
Erm, collection I suppose, even though I wouldn’t characterize Gould’s essays or Einstein’s letters as “short stories.”
Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
I much prefer the Discworld.
Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
When the chapter breaks, unless I’m reading to my wife and then I stop when she misses half the chapter because she’s asleep.
“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
The mad scientist in me gravitates to “It was a dark and stormy night.”
Buy or Borrow?
Almost exclusively buy; there’s just too much I want to know. Even so, having a library card helps keep money in the bank account and lets me get a taste of books I’m likely to buy at some point later.
New or used?
Used, despite the smell of cigarettes that often accompanies the books (and I’m not paying AiG for creationist books). I feel better about buying a used book (recycling it, I suppose) than buying something brand new and paying extra. The fact that I sometimes get older editions of popular books that aren’t as up to date, however, can sometimes be a problem.
Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?
The books I want most usually don’t get reviews, and I’m likely to read them anyway. That little “Add to wishlist” button on Amazon furthers my addiction, and I think I have nearly 400 books (99% of them dealing with evolution in some way or another) on my wishlist.
Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
Tidy endings are better, unless I know I’m reading a serial or a series.
Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading?
Any of the above, although I primarily read on the way to class, during breaks, and in the afternoon/evening. Usually I throw on a Simpsons disc, pick up whatever I happen to be enthralled with, and feed my brain for a few hours in the evening.
Stand-alone or series?
I like Terry Pratchett’s method for fiction; characters that all inhabit the same world criss-crossing paths and having their own storylines.
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books.
Favorite children’s book?
Without a doubt, The Saggy Baggy Elephant
Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Erm, well that depends on who we’re talking about (and it’s hard enough trying to pick a favorite book!). The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey by Christopher Beard is quite good, and we’re getting to the point where most people have forgotten Delia and Mark Owens Cry of the Kalahari.
Favorite books read last year?
Hmmm… probably Darwin’s Deampond by Goldschmidt, Going Postal by Pratchett, Interesting Times by Pratchett, Bully for Brontosaurus by Gould, and a slew of others I can’t remember right now.
Favorite books of all time?
Sheesh, that’s a tough one. I think I’ll bypass it for now merely because I didn’t start devouring books until May of last year, and I read plenty of books that angry up my blood (you’ve got to know what the other side is saying if you’re going to beat them in debate). Anything dealing with evolution, dinosaurs, public perceptions of paleontology, conservation, African wildlife, and big cats are essentially my staple books, although if I had to pick just one it would be Cry of the Kalahari.
Least favorite book you finished last year?
Icons of Evolution. It was the very first book I read in trying to understand the evolution/creationism issue, and I just barely survived the stupidity in its pages.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Born Free, Upright, and David Quammen’s Wild Thoughts from Wild Places (a wonderful collection of his essays) and I’m about 1/3 of the way through Gould’s Leonardo’s Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms.
What are you reading next?
Hopefully I’ll have enough time to read Dawkins’ The Ancestor’s Tale before it has to go back to the library on Saturday. Judging from the sheer girth of the book, I doubt it and I’ll likely buy it and read Wild Nights: Nature Returns to the City instead. I have cultivated a bit of a fascination with urban-dwelling coyotes, so I figure it’d be best to read up on them a little bit before trying to find some.
Looking back on this list, I seem really boring, hah. There are so many books that I want to read that by time I read all of them, there will be an entirely new crop out (and I’ll be, oh, about 50 by that time probably). One particular kind of book I’m looking for is a good vertebrate skeletal anatomy book, being that I feel like something of a comparative anatomist born over 100 years too late. Either way, I fully expect the apartment to become more and more crowded with books over the next year (if we stack them just right we can save on furniture), likely requiring a library of my own when I eventually make enough money to have a house.