So I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I met another teen writer / Teens Can Write, Too! member on my trip to Washington, D.C. She actually lives not too far away from me, which is a weird thought – how many other teen writers might live nearby? I’d love to meet more.
Anyway. She has a blog, too, and I found a long list of interesting bookish questions in one of her posts. People keep telling me how they like the posts where I answer questions or fill out memes, so… here are my answers! Enjoy!
1. Favorite childhood book?
Um. I am not quite sure. I think I can narrow it down to three: Matilda and The BFG by Roald Dahl and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. I read them over and over again until I had them practically memorized!
2. What are you reading right now?
Gone by Michael Grant, All Quiet on the Western Front by Ehrich Maria Remarque, and Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy!
4. Bad book habit?
When I visit the library, I check out more books than I will have time to read! I guess it’s the bookworm’s equivalent to having eyes bigger than their stomach. I always want to get ALL THE BOOKS when I know that I’ll only be able to read SOME OF THE BOOKS.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Too many books to list. Here are just a few of them: Who-ology by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright; The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order by James Dashner; American Gods by Neil Gaiman; Blood Red Horse by K.M. Grant; and Naughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman.
6. Do you have an e-reader?
Not really, no. My mom has two and she lets me borrow the older one, but I don’t use even that very often. I like technology, just not for reading – I like holding a real book in my hands!
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
For as long as I can remember, I have always read several books at once. Hey, I’m easily distracted. Besides, there are so many books and so little time!
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Yes, in two ways. First of all, I tend to read books more thoughtfully now in case I decide to review them and need to write down my observations about the story. Secondly, I find a lot of books through online recommendations – other blogs, Goodreads, et cetera – nowadays. Before I started blogging, I was limited to browsing the library for interesting reads.
9. Least favorite book you read this year so far?
I think there have been three, actually. Unfortunately. And for very different reasons each time!
I disliked Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan because I found its stream-of-consciousness style of narration extremely difficult to comprehend. I thought Alex and Brett Harris talked down to their readers way too much in Do Hard Things. I was also disappointed by Sidekicked by John David Anderson – the cover and plot summary misled me into thinking that it would be AN AMAZING BOOK
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Oh, gosh. Um. I don’t know. Probably Ash by Malinda Lo – it’s a really adorable romance and a retelling of “Cinderella” and a great LGBTQ+ story!
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Dystopian, humor, and urban fantasy. I think.
13. Can you read in the car?
Yes, and my mom says that’s why I get lost so often when driving by myself – because when I was a little kid, I was too busy reading to pay attention to the routes we took to get to various place!
14. Favorite place to read?
My room! I love to read while lying in or on my bed, wrapped up in a blanket.
15. What is your policy on book lending?
Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I loaned a book to anyone. I suppose the last time was nearly four years ago when I lent my Harry Potter collection to Dad so he could read it.
16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
NO. I’m not uncouth!
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
See my answer to number sixteen!
18. Not even with textbooks?
Nope. My mom wants to sell my old college textbooks after I’m finished with them, so I don’t write in them.
19. What is your favorite language to read in?
Well, I’m only fluent in English, so…
20. What makes you love a book?
Beautiful writing, characters I would like to befriend, and a complicated-but-not-confusing plot.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
See my answer to question number twenty.
22. Favorite genre?
Fantasy. I can’t decide between high or urban fantasy, so I’ll just say: THE ENTIRE GENRE.
23. Genre you rarely read but wish you did?
I used to read a lot of historical fiction when I was but a wee Engie. For some reason, I don’t read as much now. But I would like to.
24. Favorite biography?
I love Roald Dahl’s Boy: Tales of Childhood and have read it more times than was really necessary.
25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Probably? I’ve read books that gave advice for writers and for LGBTQ+ teens, so those probably count as self-help. (Note: I haven’t read any books for LGBTQ+ teen writers, if you were confused about that. Each book gave advice about only one of the two topics mentioned above, not both.)
26. Favorite cookbook?
My dad has a huge collection of cookbooks about all kinds of foods – he has one that’s all about flatbreads, of all things. Anyway. I like reading a lot of his books, but I especially like the ones starting with The Frugal Gourmet because the author always includes an interesting anecdote before each recipe.
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
That is a really hard question. I think it would have to be The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I know, I know, the ending is a bummer. But the book was stuffed with so many BIG IDEAS!
28. Favorite reading snack?
I don’t often eat while I read, but sometimes I have graham crackers.
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I was led to believe that Divergent by Veronica Roth was one of the best books ever. Hint: It’s not. It’s decent, but… nope. It did not live up to my very high expectations.
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
About seventy-five percent of the time, I should think. I usually agree with reviews, but sometimes my opinions are wildly different from the norm. For example, I loathed The Fault in Our Stars by John Green…
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
They are necessary at times – I’m not going to lie and say that I adored a book when I actually disliked it! And I do try to mention the positive aspects of a book even when the overall review is negative, because very few books are completely good or completely bad.
P.S. Apparently I am a tough critic? I don’t think I am – three stars is a perfect decent rating to me – but I’m just letting you know because evidently some of my readers think I can be stingy with my four- and five-star ratings.
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Spanish, because my penpal tells me about all these wonderful books – and then I can’t read them because I’m not yet quite fluent in the language! However, during this upcoming school year I will be completing my third and fourth semesters of college Spanish classes, so hopefully I will be able to read an entire Spanish book someday!
35. Favorite poet?
I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a snob, but: William Shakespeare. I love his sonnets!
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
Fairly often, because (as mentioned in question number four) I frequently check out a lot of books and then realize that I don’t have time to read all of them.
38. Favorite fictional character?
I’m quite fond of Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series. I kind of wish he were my dad. I mean, I like my actual dad, but if I had to pick someone to be my father, it would be Lupin.
39. Favorite fictional villain?
I really like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy because his story is so complicated. He’s not completely evil, honestly. I feel sorry for him.
41. The longest you’ve gone without reading?
Last year I had a severe case of the “reading blahs,” as I have now dubbed them. I didn’t read anything for two or three months!
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
I struggled to read even the first forty pages of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, so I gave up. Yes, I’m a quitter. Perhaps I’ll try again someday but for now, I have lots of other stories to read.
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Amazingly, music does not distract me – in fact, I love listening to my iPod as I read. What does distract (and irritate!) me are the people who keep asking questions about what I’m reading. I’ll happily tell you the title and author, but then let me read! And I HATE when people push up the book that I’m reading or try to grab it out of my hands so they can see it.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
I absolutely adore The Fellowship of the Ring. The cinematography is beautiful and the storytelling is excellent!
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – such a good book, such a terrible film.
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I bought hardcover copies of the last two Harry Potter books for approximately forty dollars each.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Oh god, way too often. This is another bad book habit of mine. I don’t do this with stories that I’m really looking forward to, like The Maze Runner, but I have been known to flip to the end of a book to see what happens. I really need to stop doing that.
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?
Excessive violence or gore. I just can’t handle it.
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yes! They’re organized, vaguely, by genre – historical fiction and contemporary on one shelf, nonfiction on another, children’s books on a third, et cetera. Nothing fancy, but it makes it easier to find things.
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
People… actually… give away their books after reading them?
51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
I want to read Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, but it’s so long and daunting! I mean, its fans call it “the brick” because it’s so big!
52. Name a book that made you angry.
Lise Haines’ Girl in the Arena made me mad because I thought it would be a superb, Hunger Games-ish story. And it… wasn’t.
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
I had trouble getting into Cinder by Marissa Meyer but once I reached its halfway point, I was hooked.
54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
I thought I’d like Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero, but I found it very slow going. Its sequels are much better, though.
55. Favorite guilt-free pleasure reading?
Graphic novels! Some of my favorites are American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang and an adaptation of Coraline by Neil Gaiman.
Feel free to answer these questions on your own blog!