TBIF: Thank blog it’s Friday – the last one in September

Tuesday Thingers (hosted by The Boston Bibliophile)

Today’s Question: Favorite Authors. Who do you have named in your LT account as favorite authors? Why did you choose them? How many people share your choices? Can you share a picture of one of them?

In most categories, I don’t have just one or two items that I like above all others, and it’s no different with authors. I have 14 authors “favorited” (is that really a word?) on LibraryThing: Michael Chabon, Jasper Fforde, Alice Hoffman, Nick Hornby, Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Lamott, Madeleine L’Engle, Sue Miller, Christopher Moore, Carolyn Parkhurst, Ann Patchett, Jodi Picoult, Michelle Richmond, J. K. Rowling, and Anne Tyler.

It’s probably no surprise that my most-shared favorite is J.K. Rowling, who has 1,083 LT fans, but I was pleased to discover that my second-most-popular favorite is Jasper Fforde (337). The least-common favorite author on my list is Carolyn Parkhurst, who is a favorite of only 6 LT members, counting me, but she’s only published two novels so far, so I’m hopeful her audience will grow. Six of my favorites, including Rowling, are shared with one other LT member, and between one and five favorites are shared with other members in various combinations.

I listed an author as a favorite if I’ve read and enjoyed most of his or her books in the past, and/or I plan to continue seeking them out in the future. The list will probably grow over time – Michelle Richmond is the most recent addition – and some authors won’t have new books to add to their catalogs eventually. On that note, I’m sharing a picture of someone who has been on my “favorite authors” list since I was in my early teens, the late Madeleine L’Engle.

Madeleine L'Engle

credit  Kenneth S. Lewis; copyright (1) Random House publicity photos (2) http://smartpublic.randomhouse.com/teams/

Care to share the names of a couple of favorite authors, whether or not they’re identified as such on LibraryThing? Do you share any of my favorites?

Teaser Tuesday (hosted at Should Be Reading)

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

I picked this up at an interesting shop in Laguna Beach called Art For the Soul, where it was one of the few things I could afford. It’s an collection of mini-biographies of women writers called Wild Women And Books: Bibliophiles, Bluestockings, & Prolific Pens from Aphra Ben to Zora Neale Hurston and From Anne Rice To the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Brenda Knight. It sounds fascinating, and I expect it will provide some good blog fodder once I finally get around to reading it :-).

“A bout of ghost stories told around the fire as a distraction from an unusually cold summer inspired nineteen-year-old Mary to pick up a pen.Written in one year, Frankenstein is now hailed as the first Gothic novel and a seminal work of science fiction.” (page 58, “Mary Shelley”)

Your turn…

The assignment for Weekly Geeks # 18 was to “catch up on…something,” and Dewey offered a few suggestions:

…organizing your sidebar
…updating lists of some sort (I need to deal with my giveaways list!)
…making links wherever (challenge lists, monthly reading summaries, etc.)
…your TBR pile
…your library books
…updating your blogroll
…updating your reader

I’m sure there are several book-blog-related things I need to catch up on, but I knew that if I picked more than one for this task, they probably wouldn’t get finished, and one of my quirks is that I’d rather have things undone than half-done. (I guess in some ways I’m an “all-or-nothing” kind of person. Maybe that’s why it bugs me when the “unread feeds” count in Google Reader piles up too much.)

This assignment gave me the nudge to get all of my 2008 book-review posts, and most of my 2007 stand-alone reviews (many of my earlier review posts here included multiple books in order to catch those up), linked to my book catalog on LibraryThing, which I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. (Sadly, I’m not sure my GoodReads listings are going to get the same update; I just get more regular use out of LT.) I’m going to do my best to keep that current, and to remember to update my Book Talk Master List, whenever I post a new review. Since I usually do those on Thursdays, you’d think it wouldn’t be that hard to keep up with, but apparently it is.

Well, THAT was different! – Booking Through Thursday 

What was the most unusual (for you) book you ever read? Either because the book itself was completely from out in left field somewhere, or was a genre you never read, or was the only book available on a long flight… whatever? What (not counting school textbooks, though literature read for classes counts) was furthest outside your usual comfort zone/familiar territory?
And, did you like it? Did it stretch your boundaries? Did you shut it with a shudder the instant you were done? Did it make you think? Have nightmares? Kick off a new obsession?

Good question! I’m not sure I have a good answer, unfortunately, especially if you’re asking about THE most unusual book.

One of the things I think makes a book “unusual” – not just for me, but objectively – is a creative format; an unusual layout, unconventional use of fonts, that kind of thing. Even though her books are very much within my “usual” realm, Jodi Picoult has made use of things like that; her stories are often told from multiple viewpoints, and each narrator’s chapters may be printed with a different font. She also included a short graphic novel within The Tenth Circle, although it really didn’t do much for me. Variations in typography and layout can be interesting, until they reach the point where they overwhelm the content, and it becomes more about “look at this page!” than what that page says – that’s a bit too much style over substance, and too “postmodern,” for my taste.

Since I’m not a big genre reader, “unusual” for me would actually take me into a genre – a mystery or detective series, romance, science fiction or fantasy. I actually used to read more SF and fantasy, but they lost appeal for me as I got older because trying to keep track of all the details and rules of their imagined worlds just required too much effort. A few years ago I did undertake reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it was mostly because when I’d first attempted it (about twenty years earlier), I’d stalled out one-third of the way through The Return of the King, and I thought I should read it before I saw the movie (the other two books were re-reads). To be honest, I’d rather have these stories onscreen than on the page – I found the books a bit ponderous.

Recently, I think the most unusual-for-me book I’ve read is probably The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, and I’ve never finished it; it’s still sitting on a table with a bookmark in it about two-thirds of the way in. I know a lot of people who have raved over it, and I want to like it, but it just kept losing me. I keep the bookmark there, though, just in case I ever decide to take the rest of it on.

On the other end of the “unusual-for-me” spectrum would be the Anita Shreve novels I’ve read for my book club. They’ve all annoyed me in one way or another, and I’ll do my best to avoid any more.

I have an unusual-for-me book on my nightstand right now. I bought my husband a copy of Stephen Colbert’s I Am America, and So Can You! for his last birthday; he’s already read it twice and is urging me to read it too, but I’m procrastinating.

I really don’t think of myself as an “unadventurous” reader, but answering this question is making me wonder. Maybe I just know what I like, and that happens to be broad enough for me that I prefer to stay with it rather than venture too far afield. Besides, sometimes I’ve found that when I do branch out, I find that it reinforces what I like and why I like it.

Have you read anything unusual lately?

Friday Fill-Ins #91


1. My wedding anniversary, my husband’s and sister’s birthdays, and one other thing I’m afraid to mention yet are some of the things I’m most looking forward to in October (but Halloween is NOT one of them).

2. Sometimes I am very good at getting in my own way.

3. Things change every day, whether you like it or not, and that’s why there is a saying, “never say never”! (And I think it’s good to be careful about “always,” too.)

4. When I’m down, I’m there for a little while, and then I get back up.

5. In front of a computer is where you’ll find me most often.

6. A rainy day is good for staying at home, curled up on the couch with a book!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to my Book Club’s final meeting befor it morphs into a “Book and Movie Club,” tomorrow my plans include my stepdaughter’s party for her 14th birthday, and Sunday, I want to catch up on whatever didn’t get done on Saturday!

So, what are you looking forward to this weekend?

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  1. I’m not part of LibraryThing, but I share these likes with you: Alice Hoffman, Barbara Kingsolver, Sue Miller, Christopher Moore, Jodi Picoult, J. K. Rowling, and Anne Tyler.

    🙁 I left my book in the car! No teaser Tuesday, sorry.

    Enjoy your weekend, Florinda and as always, thanks for playing 🙂

  2. Bermudaonion – I think I’ve read nearly everything of hers except for the Wonder Woman graphic novel and her newest book – I always wait for the paperbacks :-).

    Madeleine – Thanks for visiting! October will be a busy month for me, I think.

    Janet – Why am I not surprised you would like Christopher Moore :-D? Sue Miller is under-appreciated on LT – only 10 members have her as a favorite.

    No Teaser? Oh well – don't forget your book next week ;->!

  3. Sounds like you have a busy weekend. I’m working all weekend, but we are going out to dinner on Sunday. Exciting, I know.

  4. This weekend, I’m looking forward to sleeping in a bit and doing a lot of writing…and some reading. Plus mellow family time. Aaaahhh…love the weekends! Have a good one, Florinda… :^)

  5. Mike – Friday night wasn’t so exciting. I ended up staying home from my book club meeting and going to sleep at 9:30.

    Anna L – Reading and writing are both on my weekend agenda too, if I can work them in. Have a great weekend!

    Karen – Thank you so much! Back at you :-), and I will acknowledge/pass it on soon!

  6. Tanabata – Maybe it was on another post? Or maybe it was gremlins :-).

    Saturday was busy, Sunday looks nicely quiet. I’m hoping to get some reading and some blog stuff done. Hope your weekend was good!

  7. I think I have one book by Carolyn Parkhurst, but I haven’t read it yet.

    I really enjoyed reading your answer for the BTT question this week. I chickened out when it came to answering it myself. I thought on it all day and was unable to think of what to write. Maybe I’m suffering from writer’s block . . . It would make sense. I guess I could say that The Raw Shark Texts was rather unusual, but not in the sense of something I normally wouldn’t read.

    What is it you are afraid to mention that is coming up? Don’t keep us in suspense!

    Change is the only constant in life, someone important once said. Or maybe it wasn’t someone important. I really am not sure who said that. It’s true, regardless.

    I hope you had a good weekend. How did the birthday party turn out? I hope your stepdaughter had a good one! Have a great week, Florinda.

  8. Literary Feline – I actually thought about your review of The Raw Shark Texts when I was answering that question, Wendy. It certainly would meet my criteria, AND it would be unusual-for-me reading as well!

    The birthday party was OK. I think 14 may be a little old for the same kind of parties she’s had since she was little, so we may try something different next year, but she seemed to have a good time with her friends. But honestly, there is an odd element to these blended-family parties for me, especially with the relatives from Tall Paul’s ex-wife’s family there.

    I’m afraid to say something because I don’t want to jinx it. Things look OK so far, but nothing’s official yet. Hopefully we’ll know for sure in another week or so, and I’ll say more then :-).