“You’ve Got Q’s, I’ve Got A’s” – Part Two: The Sequel

Welcome back for the second edition of “You’ve got Q’s, I’ve got A’s,” in which I will visit a few more of the respondents to my blogiversary survey and address the questions they left for me. And for those of you who missed – or skipped – the survey the first time around, I’m re-printing it at the end of this post. C’mon, y’all, I really don’t enjoy groveling…but it would make me very happy to see you joining in and responding in the comments here!

** I’m glad that Mike chose to participate. If you’re a frequent visitor, you’ve probably seen him around here – he’s one of the most regular commenters  – and you should check out his take on the world at his blog Everything Under the Sun. He’s a lifelong resident of the Chicago suburbs who works a very weird schedule sometimes, and he has a wife, two kids (one of each), and a beautiful Golden Retriever named Quincy who recently celebrated his first birthday. We met as participants in the Weekend Assignments, and he wouldn’t mind seeing some discussion of Sci-Fi books here – but that means I would have to read some. Mike’s question is in reference to the accident my family had in February:

Did you get the new car yet?

Did I not mention that? Yes, we did – it’s a 2009 Honda Accord, and my husband has been driving it for a little over a month. He likes it a lot – much roomier and more comfortable than his old Civic, and it handles well too. The purchase did mean he had to acknowledge that he’s a grown-up now, though – he went for the interior amenities instead of the V-6 engine.

** Heather J’s blogging career began when she decided to document her reading during the year she entered her third decade in the blog Age 30: A Year of Books. When that year ended, she wanted to keep documenting, and so she re-named the blog Age 30+…A Lifetime of Books. She also maintains a blog for her book club, and is a fellow Lost fanatic who contributes to the LOST Book Challenge blog as an episode recapper and book reviewer. Heather and her 7-year-old son have a book club of their own, where they read books together and she posts their discussions – I love that idea! Perhaps it’s not surprising that Heather’s question is book-related:

If someone asks you for a book recommendation and you know nothing about them, what is the very first book you suggest?

Honestly, I would avoid being in that situation if at all possible. I don’t often make make off-the-cuff book suggestions to anyone, even to those I do know pretty well. I would definitely ask them a few questions about their interests and reading habits, and try to get a sense of their personality, before tossing any suggestions out there. However, there are a few books that I have liked so much that I’ve pretty much recommended them to anyone who will listen:

The Harry Potter books (although I might suggest that an adult start with Book 2, …Chamber of Secrets, and backtrack to …Sorceror’s Stone later) – they’ve earned their popularity by virtue of great story and indelible characters

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore (although I’d have to see the person as pretty open-minded) – it’s both thought-provoking and hysterically funny

Seabiscuit: An American Legend, by Laura Hillenbrand – I’m not a horse person or a big sports fan (except for baseball), but this is an absolutely riveting story

And one I’m sure I’ll be recommending a lot in the future, since I just read it within the last month or so and haven’t had too many chances to plug it yet:

The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett – just for the love of reading itself

** Tanabata blogs at In Spring It is The Dawn, where her photographs and book reviews are the main attractions. She and I first encountered each other over at Musings of a Bookish Kitty, where we’re both frequent commenters on Wendy (Literary Feline)‘s posts. She’s a traveler herself – currently living in Japan, previously residing in England, native of Canada – who particularly enjoys my posts about my family’s wanderings, and left a message for my husband:

“(T)ell Tall Paul you have to take more holidays, so you can blog about them! Think it’ll work? ;)” Consider him told!

Tanabata’s question is one that I’m sure many of us reading junkies have thought about often:

Describe your perfect home library (assuming money and space are not issues)

There’s one wall of built-in bookshelves, with free-standing shelves on a couple of other walls. There is actually enough shelf space to allow me to organize the books! I’ve sorted them alphabetically by author within the fiction and nonfiction divisions, and TBR Purgatory is not mingling with the books that I’ve read already. All of the bookshelves have glass doors, to keep the books free of dust and allow me to skim the shelves easily (so I don’t forgt what’s there). A couple of large windows provide natural light, and one of them has a comfortable, built-in window seat – a chest near the window holds some blankets and throw pillows to make that nook even cozier. Additional seating is provided by an armchair with an ottoman and a well-upholstered couch; reading lamps and small tables (to hold drinks, snacks, and extra books) are well-placed among the furnishings. It’s a welcoming room, and it’s located not too far from the center of the house, so that the readers aren’t sequestered.

Can you picture it? Can you tell that I have?

** Nicole‘s book blog, Linus’s Blanket, is a relatively recent addition to my books blogroll, and I’m enjoying getting to know her through that and Twitter. Nicole’s another former Southerner – now a New Yorker, by way of Alabama. She likes the mix of things she finds here, and she says that you may see a variation on TBIF over at her place one of these days. Nicole asked about one of my favorite topics that’s NOT books:

I am book obsessed but also food obsessed, so what it your favorite meal that you can prepare yourself.

I enjoy cooking when I’m not rushed about it, but I don’t cook nearly as much as I used to. A few years of living on my own – when I really only had to cook twice a week – and a second marriage to a man who’s often content with popcorn or cereal for dinner really cut back on my cooking habits, and an evening commute of over an hour isn’t terribly motivating either. Having said that, I do make very good homemade tomato sauce, and pasta of almost any kind always works for me. These days, my favorite meal to prepare happens to be my stepson’s favorite meal to eat, so I get a lot of gratification from it: barbecue meatloaf (made with ground turkey and chicken, onion soup mix, and barbecue sauce) with macaroni and cheese on the side, a nod to my own Southern roots.

** I met Wendi when she took over “Tuesday Thingers” from Marie at The Boston Bibliophile. Her blog is Wendi’s Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reads in Seattle – which also answers the “where are you from?” question – where she reviews more nonfiction than many of us do, and I really like the way she structures her reviews. Wendi goes a bit meta with her blogging-related question:

What do you get from blogging? What inspires you?

Comments! They inspire me! Seriously, I really enjoy the conversational aspects of blogging much more than I could have imagined, and I’ve gotten to know some great people that I doubt I ever would have encountered otherwise. I started this blog to keep track of my reading, and it’s definitely helped me a lot with that, but it’s become a lot more besides. I’m glad to have a place of my own to express myself and develop my writing – and since it’s my place, I get to write about whatever I want! Luckily, some of it seems to strike the right chord with people.

** A few of the folks who have answered my survey didn’t leave questions for me to answer, but I want to give them their shout-outs too:

Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness is a grad student from Madison, Wisconsin, a fellow Weekly Geek, and founder of the Blog Improvement Project. She’s a fan of TBIF, where I collect all of my weekly book-meme responses in one ridiculously long post.

Ali is a home-schooling mom in Oregon who blogs at Worducopia and is one of the leaders of the Weekly Geeks team. She likes the Saturday Review and posts about my family, in addition to the book-related stuff.

Michelle of Fluttering Butterflies visits from England fairly often; she’s a student and the mother of two young sons who likes the variety of content here.

So many of us read Harriet the Spy when we were kids – did you know that she has a blog now? In any case, there is a blog called Spynotes authored by Harriet – draw your own conclusions. I was introduced to this Harriet by the Green-Eyed Siren and immediately added Spynotes to my blogroll; she’s another Chicago-based blogger, and she also blogs about parenting and educating gifted children at AJ’s Clubhouse. She’s relatively new here, but says she likes it enough to keep coming back, so that’s good.

And as threatened promised, here’s the original survey once again:

1. What do we have in common? This is by no means limited to the following possibilities: Books? Kids? Dogs? Lost? Twitter? California? Tennessee? Chocolate? Coffee?
2. What DON’T we have in common? None of the above?
3. How did you find my blog? If you came by way of someone else’s link or blogroll, please feel free to give them a mention/link here!
4. What do you enjoy about this blog, if anything? Hopefully there’s something – I’d like to think you’re not being force-fed reading this (unless you’re my husband, that is…)
5. Do you comment? If so, awesome! If not, care to say why not? (Answering this survey counts as commenting, by the way.)
6. What do you wish I’d shut up about? My feelings won’t be hurt if you tell me (sniffle, sniffle) – but there’s no guarantee you’ll get your wish :-).
7. What do you wish I’d talk more about? “Everything” and “nothing” are both reasonable answers, but it might help if you were more specific than that.
8. Where are you from? You can be as specific or general as you like.
9. What one question would you like me to answer? Anything’s fair game here – but it’s possible you may get an answer that’s total B.S. Take your chances!
10. Do you have a blog? If so, plug it here!
I would be quite happy to post a third edition of this, so please participate if you haven’t already! (I may not like groveling, but I’ll do it anyway!)

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  1. If you want to think more about the perfect library — and what devoting time and energy to such a space means — you should, by all means, read Alberto Manguel’s The Library at Nights. Its collection of descriptions and images of libraries through history and around the world are wonderful (not least of which, Manguel’s own, which I covet) but it goes far beyond that. Highly recommended.

  2. Thanks for answering my question. πŸ™‚ I’m really enjoying the way you’re spotlighting each of the bloggers who commented with questions – it has been a pleasure to read.

  3. You’ve inspired me to plan a little book club with my daughter when she’s old enough. For now, I’m glad she makes reading time with mommy an active part of her day.

  4. Kathy (Bermudaonion) – I think the secret is marrying someone whose mom wasn’t much of a cook – low expectations :-). Also, the fact that he will NOT eat cooked vegetables makes meal planning a challenge. We do eat proper dinners on the nights when his kids are at our house, but when we’re on our own, it’s a lot more laid-back.

    Harriet (Spynotes) – I’ll have to look for that one. Dreaming of the perfect at-home reading area is a favorite idle pursuit of mine :-).

    Heather – Thanks for such an excellent question! I put this out there as a way to get to know my readers better, and I just thought I’d like to introduce them to each other, too :-).

    Laura (L.A. Story) – I think Heather’s the one who has inspired you πŸ™‚ – but keep your eyes open for a book review I’ll be posting in a few days on a closely-related topic!

  5. How could I not participate?

    Good luck with the new car. Sometimes the interior amenities are more important than power. Besides, there’s too much traffic by you, right? πŸ™‚

    Thanks for answering my question.

  6. Mike – You know I would have given you endless grief if you hadn’t participated :-).

    I made that same comment to Tall Paul. A V-6 is kind of a waste in freeway traffic around here. He didn’t even test-drive it. (Probably just as well – it may have weakened his resolve.)

  7. I love past a homemade sauce. But I might love popcorn more. It is my favorite meal at any time. I have even popped it and had it for breakfast.

  8. Nicole – I’ve never much cared for popcorn, oddly enough, not even at the movies. My husband can eat my share :-).

    Michelle – Well, occasionally he might have a sandwich – which he’ll make himself. We switch off meal prep on the “family dinner” nights when the kids are with us, but when they’re at their mom’s, we both fend for ourselves.

  9. I love the description of your dream library. I can just picture it!

    I wouldn’t mind cereal for breakfast, but I don’t think my husband would go for it. πŸ™‚

    You’ve definitely created a wonderful place to come and visit, Florinda.

  10. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I’m glad you could visualize the library. I could see it in my mind’s eye as I was describing it – I’m glad the translation worked :-).

    I’m glad you’re a regular visitor here, but I have to admit I was hoping you’d join in on the survey. I’m sure you would have come up with an excellent question!

  11. Your dream library sounds perfect! There really isn’t any good reading area in our house. Physically, there’s just nothing set up that’s very comfy, and acoustically, our house is a reader’s nightmare. There’s nowhere you can go, except outside, to escape the sound of the TV if it’s on.

    I love Lamb too! I may have discussed this here before, but it had me snorting and crying I was laughing so hard.

    My hubby doesn’t eat vegetables either. A couple times a year he’ll do a baby spinach salad, but that’s about it! We usually just sort of fend for ourselves at dinner time too. Sometimes we’ll share pasta or a pizza or something, but usually we’re both operating on our own schedules and whims, and cereal is a totally acceptable option!

  12. DreamybeeLamb was the first book I loaned to my husband when we were dating, and now he’s read more Christopher Moore than I have :-).

    Tall Paul eats salads pretty often, but can’t stand cooked vegetables except for corn on the cob. Tonight was actually one of his cereal-for-dinner nights; I had some leftover meatloaf. It works out pretty well.