In case you didn’t have a chance to sign up for an interview swap or your partner fell through, please feel free to answer these questions in place of an interview!
Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
Oh, I’m almost always reading while I eat. (There was a great piece about this in The New York Times Magazine many years ago, but I’ve since lost it.) If I’m alone, there’s a book in front of me. Perhaps it’s bad for digestion, but I’m already lactose-intolerant, so what’s the worst that can happen? But perhaps my favorite reading snack is an apple—a big, conventional red apple the size of my head, to the eternal dismay of my parents, who like to buy organic fruit. Otherwise, food in general. Food in general is my reading snack.
Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
As a kid, I would regularly go on rampages through my brother’s beautiful and imported copies of Asterix with a crayon and my tiny, furious fists. (I also ate LEGOs.) I was rightfully punished, to such a degree that I cannot bring myself to write in any books. Also, most of my books come from the public library; leave it better for the next person, as my father says.
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
Bookmark; usually a four by six notecard, but I’m out at the moment, so I’m making due with a three by five.
Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
BOTH! Always both!
Hard copy or audiobooks?
Hard copy. I’m not an aural learner, so I can’t get as much meat off the bone with an audiobook as I can with the actual text in front of me. Plus, I like to write down quotes and occasionally review what I’ve read. With an audiobook, I can zone out and never recover.
Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
At any point. I’m always cramming reading into my weird schedule, so I need to be flexible.
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
I usually write it on the back of said five by six notecard to look up later, but I’ve been woefully behind lately.
What are you currently reading?
I just had to return everything on my desk to the public library, so it’s A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh. I love and adore Brideshead Revisited, but Waugh didn’t, so we’re going to see how this goes.
What is the last book you bought?
Probably a school book. But the last book I bought of my own free will was a gloriously old-school paperback of Mary Renault’s The King Must Die at a Unitarian rummage sale; the pages have antiqued green, it’s gorgeous.
Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
I can read more than one, as long as they’re in different formats; a hard copy, an audiobook, and a digital book on my computer, for instance, which is the usual balancing act.
Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
I read at any time and in any place. But I do like reading straight through twilight, curled up on a sofa and pretending its a chaise lounge. Pity I haven’t a sofa at the moment.
Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
Stand alones, because I feel like a well-written series is incredibly rare, because no one understands proper series structure anymore. (Pro-tip: it’s a series of novels, not one novel serially released. The Lord of the Rings is a single novel. You’ve been working off of a lie!)
Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
The Magician’s Book, Laura Miller. Don’t even ask; just get your hands on a copy.
How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
Fiction by author’s last name, and nonfiction by Dewey Decimal. If I go to grad school, it’ll be for library science. I need to start on those applications, by the by…