I saw this fun book tag on Modern Witch’s Bookshelf and decided to give it a go – enjoy!
1. How many books is too many books in a series?
I think that however many books it takes to tell a complete arc for the main characters is the “right” amount. While I’m not sure there is a “proper” limit to how many books are necessary to accomplish this, I do feel it’s best to take the less complicated route. For this reason, I tend to favor trilogies because I think three books provide the perfect amount of space to set up and resolve a complete character arc. In contrast, I shy away from series that push past ten books or so as I’ve found that over-drawn series wear out their welcome with me. For instance, while I felt that seven books in the Harry Potter series was more than enough to close out its overall story, the thirteen books in the Series of Unfortunate Events became too cyclical for me to enjoy.
2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?
I can like, love, or hate them, depending on how invested I am in the story and how tight the story arc is in the book in question. For instance, Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, the fourth and next-to-last novel in the Fablehaven series, ends with a cliffhanger I actually liked because that book’s story arc had a clear beginning-middle-end structure, thus it was completed by the time it reached the cliffhanger. So in that case, I didn’t mind the ending. But when a novel pulls a cliffhanger ending without wrapping up its own story (so it’s just a cheap way to rope in readers to buy the next book), I don’t care for that as much because it’s less about suspense for the story’s sake and more about a cheap marketing ploy.
3. Hardcover or paperback?
I can go either way. Hardcovers usually have the best cover art and I like being able to use the inside flaps as page markers. Not to mention they are sturdier and less apt to suffer from broken spines than their paperback counterparts. However, hardcovers do take up more space on the bookshelf and tend to be pricey, so in some cases I might favor a paperback edition. Though I have been known to make exceptions if I think the cover art for a hardcover copy is too lovely or awesome to pass up, regardless of the price tag (within reason, of course).
4. Favorite book?
This is a tie between The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I love them both too much to try to choose between them!
5. Least favorite book?
Most books that don’t interest me I usually DNF and leave it at that. But if I had to name a book I didn’t like and that I did end up finishing (or at least skimmed my way to the end), it would be Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which I’ve reviewed here on my blog. In short, I thought the main characters were idiots; the overall tone was cold, humorless, and heartless; and the content was trashy. As far as how this book made me feel by the time I reached the end, I think my .gif here sums it up perfectly.
6. Love triangles, yes or no?
Like with cliffhangers, I can like, love, or hate love triangles. Personally, I do think this trope has been overused, especially in the YA market, and I sense writers employ it simply because it’s an easy way to generate dramatic tension. That being said, I don’t automatically hate love triangles because in some cases I think they can work. In order for a love triangle to work for me, there needs to be two elements: (1). a strong background story that moves the plot and adds tension other than the romance and (2). the love triangle is comprised of characters who are compelling in their own right and avoid becoming tropes (e.g. the girl-next-door, the bad boy, etc.). Likewise, I like to see a triangle where the apex character has a tough choice between the two love interests so it’s tough to tell who he or she might ultimately choose. This is why the love triangle works for me in The Hunger Games trilogy because there’s more to the books than the Katniss-Peeta-Gale triangle, each of these characters are unique individuals with their own personal histories and quirks, and Katniss could have easily picked either gent in the end for different reasons. So love triangles like that are fine. But love triangles like what the Twilight novels possess are a pass from me because the stories ride on little else and none of the triangle’s components are of much interest.
7. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish.
Northanger Abby by Jane Austen. I have tried to get into Jane Austen’s works but I just can’t do it. For some reason, her stories don’t hold my interest, so maybe deep down I’m just not a big Regency fiction fan. I’ve read all of her major works, including this one, and not one has appealed to me. Alas, I think I can safely say that Austen’s books just aren’t my cup of tea – but believe me, it’s not for a lack of trying to like them.
8. A book you’re currently reading.
I’ve just started The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. This is a book club selection for April and I hope it’s a good read.
10. Oldest book you’ve read?
The Aneid by Virgil – and in Latin! (That wasn’t by choice, actually!) This was required reading for the last Latin course I took in college. We didn’t get to read the whole book but we went through portions of it and had to not only translate sections for class but also read it in Latin on our own without assistance from a translation and memorize and recite the opening lines as part of our course final. I sense if I would have read it in English, I might have enjoyed it a little more; otherwise, it was a struggle to get through, especially as I wasn’t very good at Latin to begin with.
11. Newest book you’ve read?
For now, that would be Marvel’s adaptation of Timothy Zahn’s novel Thrawn penned by Jody Houser. Even though I’ve read the novel, I was thrilled to see a graphic novel version and it’s just as good. Granted, it pares the novel down to its most crucial scenes and omits the portions from Thrawn’s journal, which are helpful in adding even more color to his character (no pun intended ’cause he’s a Chiss so he’s naturally blue!), but it’s still a good fast-paced read. For now, I’m downloading the individual volumes on my Kindle, but I hope they eventually get published as a single edition. I’d definitely buy it!
12. Favorite author?
That would be J.R.R. Tolkien, hands down and no question.
13. Buying books or borrowing books?
I always buy books (unless I receive them as gifts).
14. A book you dislike that everyone seems to like?
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. In short, I hated this book because I don’t like stories that don’t present good moral takeaways. Hannah was a terrible person, there are no redeemable adult characters, and any parental figures present are either faceless or essentially non-existent. Worst of all, Hannah’s caustic attitude is devoid of any sense of forgiveness, personal responsibility, indication she learned anything from her mistakes, or good ol’ common sense. While I can see how this novel might serve as a conversation starter for teens, I couldn’t immerse myself in it and didn’t find much (if any) good to take away from it.
15. Bookmarks or dogears?
For the most part, I use bookmarks except if it’s a hardcover, then I’ll use the front or back flap. But if I find a particularly moving passage or scene, I’ll keep it indefinitely dogeared and might even underline it. My copy of The Lord of the Rings is marked in multiple places with many passages underlined because I love them so much. 🙂
16. A book you can always reread?
I have several books, most of which I try to read once a year: The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series, the Fablehaven series, the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, The Guardians of Childhood series by William Joyce, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton lee Stewart, Repo Men by Eric Garcia, and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
17. Can you read while hearing music?
Absolutely! In fact, some series I read have their own playlists (yes, I’m serious). Books with playlists include the Harry Potter series, the Fablehaven series, the Lunar Chronicles series, and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Some of the songs in these playlists, lyrically-speaking, seem to fit certain scenes, themes, or characters while others are just tunes I like to listen to while reading. I have found that music can help set a story’s mood and I often employ playlists for the books I write, too.
18. One POV or multiple POVs?
I enjoy both though it depends on how they’re used, why they’re used, and if I can keep track of them all (for multiple POVs). A single POV is easy to keep track of but sometimes can be limiting, and multiple POVs provide several angles to a story but sometimes can be tough to keep track of. Thus, I don’t really have a preference because both can serve their given story well provided they’re used to give readers the best window into the characters and their world.
19. Do you read a book in one sitting or multiple days?
If I’m engrossed in a book, if it isn’t very long, or if I just want to finish it, then I may read a book in a single day or in one sitting. But usually I read one or two books over the course of a few days. During the summer, I have more hours of daylight to read, so that’s when I devour the most books.
20. One book you read because of the cover.
Sometimes a book is as good as its cover and sometimes it’s not. One book I enjoyed that I picked up due in part to its cover was Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi. The colorful, vibrant cover is a perfect match for the delightful story inside! But a cover-based buy that I didn’t like was Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. It was over-long, dark, and nothing I haven’t seen Clare pull off before. If I could have kept the cover and tossed the book, I would have!