28 January, 2015 – What Kind Of Reader Are You?

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Jane Mount © Ideal Bookshelf

What Kind Of Reader Are You?

Reading is one of the few things in life you can adapt to virtually any mood or situation. You can read to learn about other worlds, either real or imagined, and read to learn about different people and their experiences. You can read at your own pace. You can read just about anywhere and anytime. You can read alone, be part of a book club, or read to a loved one. While all readers share the love of reading, we are also very different from one another – we all have our own reading styles, likes and dislikes.

Following are a series of questions about your reading practices and tastes. For each question, make note of the answer that is most appropriate for you, and that best describes your relationship with the written word.  I hope you have fun.

1. You are most likely to keep track of where you are in a book by:
a) folding the pages
b) using a piece of paper, which may also be serving to keep your notes during the read
c) using anything on hand
d) using a bookmark and only a bookmark

2. When you don’t have a book on the go, which statement best describes you?
a) I highjack the closest plane, train or automobile to the nearest bookstore or library
b) I am never without a book, so I can’t even answer this question
c) I find myself reading anything I can get my hands on, including the back of my cereal box
d) I reread one of my old tried and true titles

3. Which of the following best describes your reading schedule?
a) I read whenever I can find a little quiet time
b) I read daily to keep informed
c) “No, supper’s not ready, but you won’t believe what happened in chapter 3.”
d) I make reading a part of my daily schedule and I have set times for reading

4. You are most likely to store your books
a) in piles, or among the dust-bunnies under your bed
b) in bookcases
c) I’m not sure, but they’re around here somewhere
d) in an alphabetically-ordered library

5. Which are you most likely to do
a) go directly to the last page of a book to find out what happens
b) give up on a book you haven’t finished because it is so bad you just can’t continue
c) snatch a book out of someone else’s hands while s/he is reading it
d) read only a few pages per sitting because you just don’t want the book to end

6. You ________________ assume the persona of a character when you read a book.
a) always
b) never
c) sometimes
d) rarely

7. When you travel,
a) your suitcase contains more books than clothes
b) you read everything you can find about your destination
c) you seek out books written by local authors
d) you make visiting bookstores and literary landmarks a part of your itinerary

8. Which of the following best describes your ‘literary lavatory’ habits?
a) in my washroom there is a special place for books and magazines
b) it’s too awkward to read in the bathroom
c) I carry reading materials with me into the bathroom
d) I never read in the washroom

9. Where are you most likely to be found with a book?
a) anywhere at home is fine, as long as I am left alone and can have a little peace and quiet
b) ideally, you’ll find me either in my study or at the library
c) I could be anywhere: on the bus, in bed, at my desk during lunch, in a waiting room, etc…
d) in my special reading place, perhaps a comfy chair or sofa

10. You ________________ attemtp to reinvent the outcome of a book.
a) always
b) never
c) sometimes
d) rarely

11. Which style of book is most appealing to you?
a) a good work of contemporary fiction
b) nonfiction, such as biographies or essay collections
c) it doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s good
d) a literary classic

12. When you finish a book, you
a) add it to the garage sale or giveaway pile
b) add it back to your library
c) give it to a friend
d) lend it to a friend

13. You ________________ make notes in your books.
a) sometimes
b) always
c) rarely
d) never

14. When you receive a book as a gift,
a) you immediately and profusely thank the person who has given it to you
b) read it first, then offer your thanks
c) people don’t give me books
d) rearrange your reading schedule to fit in your newest read

15. What do you think about book clubs?
a) “I really like these brownies and this wine, please pass me another book.”
b) I have belonged to them in the past and quite enjoyed them
c) is there a club for ‘readers’ anonymous’?
d) they don’t interest me; I think reading is a solitary activity

Michelle Fleet – Dancers Among Us © Jordan Matters

 

Now it’s time to score your results:

If the majority of your answers were A: THE ESCAPE ARTIST
While you are reading, you will often remark that you have lost track of time. Frequently, you are transported into a story and become one of the characters. For you, a good book is almost as good as a vacation because it gives you a chance to travel to other worlds, and to meet new people.

Recommended ‘A’ books:

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If the majority of your answers were B: THE DETECTIVE

Give me the facts, and only the facts! Fiction is okay for some people but, for the most part, you think that the best stories are true stories. You’re happier when you have a good biography or historical account in front of you. You read the newspaper daily, as well as magazines that contain essays on a myriad of topics. You probably approach reading the way a scientist approaches a research question. You become interested in a subject and read all you can find out about it. You are the type of person people want on their Trivial Pursuit team.

Recommended ‘B’ books:

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If the majority of your answers were C: THE INFIDEL
Books are your not-so-guilty pleasure. When you have a good book in your grasp, you will cheat on your friends, your boss, and even your partner to find our what happens next. You’ve been known to cancel appointments and outings with friends and loved ones when in the middle of a particularly intense relationship with a book. While you are reading a good book, you may or may not be cheating on it with other books; your type has been known to have several books on the go at the same time. When one book is finished, it’s not long before you are on to the next one. You’ve left a trail of broken bindings wherever you’ve been.

Recommended ‘C’ books:

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If the majority of your answers were D: THE RELIGIOUS READER
For you, books are temples. Everything about books is sacred; they are to be revered, worshipped and treasured. You probably display your books in a special place for all to see. When you’re together with friends, you almost always manage to steer the conversation around to include the latest book you are reading. You would never consider getting rid of a good book, though you would almost certainly lend a good book with the aim of converting non-readers. You have strict commandments about books: Thou shalt not fold a page. Though shalt never damage the cover of a book. Thou shalt remove the dust jacket of a hardcover book lest it tear. Thou shalt always covet a good book. You read just about every day and have a special time set aside every week to pay proper homage to a book in progress. The best lessons you have learned in life have come from books. You hope that if there is an afterlife, it includes a huge library.

Recommended ‘D’ books:

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If you counted a wide variety of answers and didn’t strongly fit one category: READER FOR ALL REASONS
Your reading habits vary according to your needs and your mood at the moment. There is not necessarily any rhyme or reason to your reading habits. Sometimes you have to read for school or work, and other times you read for pleasure. At times, you hit a string of good books and at other times you are not so lucky. In one way or another, reading is an integral part of your life. For most of us, the truth is that our personal libraries are a mixture of classics, nonfiction, contemporary fiction, and – even if we don’t like to admit it – ‘guilty pleasures’.

Recommended ‘All Reasons’ books:

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Which answer did you receive? Please let us know what type of reader you are in the comments below – it will be so interesting to find out your reading habits, and if this quiz closely mirrored your inclinations. I hope you enjoyed taking little break in your day to take this bookish quiz.

(I wish I knew to whom to give credit for this quiz? As you probably noticed, e-reading doesn’t really make a specific appearance in this quiz. I found an old book journal (from the mid-90s), and this was part of its contents. Unfortunately, there is nothing to indicate its source, else I would certainly give appropriate credit.)

 

Happy reading!

26 January 2015 — Blizzard Books

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Snowmageddon 2015! Blizzard 2015! Winter: it’s about to hit the U.S.’s northeastern coast in a big way, and people are preparing for some potentially record-breaking weather. Certain parts of New England could see up to two feet of snow. Airlines have cancelled thousands of flights. Government, schools, and businesses will likely be closed tomorrow. So what’s a person to do? With hope, you have enough supplies at home to see you through the worst of things.  I am here to help you with some bookish suggestions, to help occupy your time.

Over on Twitter, fun is being had with #BlizzardBooks. People are coming up with great reading suggestions for perfect books to cozy up with in a snow storm. Some people have serious recommendations (Snow, by Orhan Pamuk), and others are taking liberties with book titles to create a new winter twist (Of Ice and Men, with apologies to John Steinbeck).

Blizzard Books

Inspired by this hashtag amusement, I have created a list of Blizzard Books on Riffle. I love reading to the season  – meaning, when it’s winter, books that take place during the same season really appeal to me. Many of the books on my Blizzard Books list are set during the winter.  Some just feature the cold, snow, or winter-themes in their titles. But each of these books should offer readers a great opportunity to escape into fiction. I think it is a fairly diverse collection, so I hope there is something here for every reader to consider!

Here’s a sampling of some of the books included on my list of recommendations (there are 45 books noted on the full list):

Are you like me: do you like to choose your reading based on the season?  Do you get especially happy when an author can make the setting come alive and seem as important as the characters and plot?  I would love to hear your recommendations for excellent winter reads, so please share your suggestions in the comment space below this post.

If you are in the path of this incoming storm, I hope you will be safe and warm at home.

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Happy reading!

Friday News Roundup – 23 January 2015

Book News

 

  • Today is National Handwriting Day (check out the sharing on Twitter) , so write a letter to a friend, copy your favourite literature passage, and read this handwritten list of Joan Didion’s favorite books.
  • The architect who bought Ray Bradbury’s Los Angeles house demolished it earlier this month, thus unleashing a furor from Bradbury fans. “It’s really been a bummer,” the architect said, adding in his defense that the home was exceptionally bland. “I could make no connection between the extraordinary nature of the writer and the incredible un-extraordinariness of the house.” Yesterday he hatched a new plan to honor the space: a wall.
  • South Dakota Historical Society Press can’t print copies fast enough of Pioneer Girl, the annotated edition of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 1930 autobiography. The book was released in hardcover format last November, with a 15,000-copy print run; less than three months later, Pioneer Girl is in its third print run – of 45,000 copies.
  • The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao has been declared the best novel of the 21st century, so far. Junot Díaz’s mix of ‘history, comics, sci-fi, and magic realism’ tops BBC Culture poll of US critics on the best fiction since 2000. The full list:

1. Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007)
2. Edward P Jones, The Known World (2003)
3. Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (2009)
4. Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (2004)
5. Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections (2001)
6. Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000)
7. Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010)
8. Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2012)
9. Ian McEwan, Atonement (2001)
10. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006)
11. Zadie Smith, White Teeth (2000)
12. Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex (2002)

The runners-up were:

13. Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
14. WG Sebald, Austerlitz
15. Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend
16. Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
17. Cormac McCarthy, The Road
18. Zadie Smith, NW
19. Roberto Bolaño, 2666
20. Shirley Hazzard, The Great Fire

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So, I have two questions for you today:

  1. Which book would you choose as the best novel of the 21st century, so far?
  2. What are you reading this weekend?

Happy reading!

Canada Reads 2015 – 5 Books & Panelists Revealed

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Canada Reads is upon us once again – nearly!  Today the 5 books and the panelists who will champion each read were revealed.  For those who are not familiar with this program, think of Survivor, except with literature and without any eat-this-horrible-thing contests.  It’s a bit of a cultural phenomenon here in Canada – a competition featuring books! But for bookish Canadians, Canada Reads is like Christmas and the Oscars rolled into one giant ball of literary awesomeness.

The program is not without its detractors, and its controversies, however.  But, overall, the program has proven great for readers, authors, and publishers. How can any program working to promote homegrown talent and literature, and featuring engaging public debates about Canadian Literature be a bad thing? Sure it can get a bit hokey with its mood music and lighting. And by eliminating a book on the first day, one book always gets the short end of the stick.  But it’s an amazing phenomenon this program, and one that draws a huge number of listeners and viewers ever year.

For 2015, the theme is ‘one book to break down barriers’. The longlist of 15 books offered a great assortment of fiction and nonfiction (a Canada Reads first having both genres in the running), as well as a broad range of socially important subjects.

Today, January 20th, the 5 finalists were revealed!

From CBC Books website:

Let the games begin.

Canada Reads, CBC’s annual battle of the books competition, revealed this year’s roster of panellists and contending books on Q:

  • Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, will defend Ru by Kim Thúy, translated by Sheila Fischman, a story inspired by the author’s own experiences as a refugee from war-torn Vietnam.
  • Actress Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and the BeastSmallville) will defend journalist Kamal Al-Solaylee’s memoir Intolerable, which chronicles his journey as a Middle Eastern gay man finding a home in Canada while members of his family slip into hard-line interpretations of Islam.
  • Activist and social entrepreneur Craig Kielburger will defend The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King, the acclaimed writer’s critical and personal missive on what it means to be “Indian” in North America.
  • Broadcaster Elaine “Lainey” Lui (etalk reporter and co-host of The Social) will defend When Everything Feels like the Movies by Raziel Reid, an edgy work of YA fiction that explores youth, sexuality and the search for identity.
  • Singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright will defend And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier, translated by Rhonda Mullins, a haunting meditation on aging and identity.

You can learn more about this year’s contenders and panellists at the Canada Reads 2015 page.

The 2015 show will be hosted by Wab Kinew, who won last year’s competition defending The Orenda by Joseph Boyden. This year’s panellists are tasked with identifying “the one book to break barriers.”

I would love to know what you think about the 2015 edition of Canada Reads – the books, the panelists, tell me your thoughts! If you were creating a dream list of 5 books from the 15 longlisted books, which ones would you include?

Happy reading!

Blue Monday – Some Reading Suggestions

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Blue Monday. Through many media outlets, it is being reported that today is the most depressing day of the year. While this claim is often questioned, winter can be challenging for many people. Some people are vulnerable to a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. For them, the shortening days of late autumn are the beginning of a type of clinical depression that can last until spring. This condition is called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. So, whether today is the bluest day of the year or not, I thought a list of ‘nice’ books could help boost some spirits.

Literary fiction is great at showing us challenges. If you are a ‘serious’ reader, often your reading may be tough or deal with bleak subject matter. Happy endings, so expected in children’s stories, can be rare in adult literature.  But, every now and then, even serious readers want something lighter – a book with heart, a ‘nice’ read, a story that leaves you feeling hopeful.

Here is where I hope I can help! Over the years, I have often closed a book and said “Well, that was just a nice story!” Here, then, a list of books which may lighten your mood and leave you feeling good. Or, at least, better for a little while.

  • The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler – a curmudgeonly, lonely travel writer meets a peculiar dog trainer.
  • The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver – a rootless young woman ends up caring for a young child.
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – another curmudgeon, another parentless child, an awesome bookstore.
  • Delicious!, by Ruth Reichl – food, New York City, mystery letters, and the possibility of love.
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce – a contemplative walk results in a touching story.
  • The Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant – family, friendship, and the changing 20th century.
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows – a warm epistolary story about connecting and friendship.
  • Emma, by Jane Austen – imperfect, interfering Emma learns about relationships.
  • The Princess Bride, by William Goldman – true love, friendships, pirates! Fairy tales for grown-ups sometimes work wonders!
  • Straight Man, by Richard Russo – humourous look at a English professor having a bit of a mid-life crisis.
  • The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion – screwball romance about an awkward genetics professor, and the woman who is totally wrong for him.
  • Come, Thou Tortoise, by Jessica Grant – an offbeat story that features an opinionated tortoise and an IQ-challenged narrator.
  • The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert – a lush, sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge.
  • Someday, Someday, Maybe, by Lauren Graham (aka Lorelai Gilmore) – charming debut novel about a struggling young actress.
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan – an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.
  • The Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles – entertaining debut novel about an irresistible young woman with an uncommon sense of purpose.
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson – a retired Englishman pursues happiness in the face of culture and tradition.
  • Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh – memoir about depression that is touching, absurd, and very funny.
  • Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson – memoir; a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives.
  • Belonging, by Isabel Huggan – entertaining, beautifully written, laced with gentle humour and perceptive insights.
  • The Truth About Luck, by Iain Reid – told with subtlety, humour, and heart, this delightful comic memoir reflects on family connections.

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I hope you will find some (many!!) of these recommendations of interest.  I would love to hear about the ‘nice’ books you have discovered in your own reading – please share your suggestions in the comments.

 

Happy reading – I hope your day isn’t too blue!