Booking Through Thursday: Sporting

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Do you read books about sports? How about AT sporting events? (Kid’s soccer practice?)

On occasion. I’m not really a sports person, but I find the culture—especially around American football—fascinating. It’s much easier to digest when I see it in context of fandom. So you get your Friday Night Lights and your Pretty Girls in Little Boxes from time to time, but it’s pretty rare.

As for reading at sports events, I don’t go to them anymore, as I won’t enjoy myself and that would be quite rude to those playing! But, as a little kid, I did have to attend a lot of my brother’s soccer games. I did not read, however; I foraged under the bleachers and determined that anything people dropped was now mine. I was actually a troll for part of my childhood. Sheesh.

Booking Through Thursday: Language

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I saw a Latin edition of “The Hobbit” last time I was at the bookstore… Do you read any foreign languages? Do you ENJOY reading in other languages?

No, I can’t. I have what I consider a right to French, as the only person in my immediate family who doesn’t speak it (and one of the few in my extended family who doesn’t), but I can only pick out a few words and get gists, not read in it by any stretch of the imagination. I get iffy about translations, though, although that’s of course the only way I can read certain texts and I heartily appreciate them: the act of translation itself is a creative one, so I’m going through one more obstacle between me and the author’s intent.

Booking Through Thursday: Springing Up

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What’s the last book that made you spring to your feet, eager to spread the word and tell everyone how much you enjoyed it?

Bitchfest, definitely. I keep coming back to it during my friends’ weekly feminist discussions (I mean, we’re feminists all the time, it’s just on Friday we workshop), and it covers so much ground and touches on so many ideas that I want tons of people to read it. Plus, analyzing our pop culture is analyzing ourselves, and it’s always a relief not to have to defend that idea. I know you only asked for one, but Team Human also definitely qualifies: if I could hand a copy to kids upon reaching adolescence, I would.

Booking Through Thursday: April Fools

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What’s the silliest (most foolish?) book you’ve ever read? Did you enjoy it?

I’ll stick with silly—I think the definition “exhibiting or indicative of a lack of common sense or sound judgment” will serve us quite well here. I know I tease The Song of the Lioness a lot, but that’s not because it’s silly in that way—that’s because it’s so utterly earnest, like all the best camp is.

In any case, if I had a nickel for every book with crippled worldbuilding or just a bizarre handle on how humans conduct themselves, I would be loaded. I have several contenders for top dog: Green, for instance, gets weird at the end, but the first third is so good that it must be eliminated from this list. But I think the absolutely silliest is Sarah Jane Stratford’s The Midnight Guardianwhich manages to take the delightfully bloodthirsty, Inglourious Basterds-esque “vampires versus Nazis” premise into silly territory by making the vampires heroic matyrs and her protagonist into someone who can do no wrong (also known as someone that’s not terribly interesting to read about). I can’t even. 

 

Booking Through Thursday: Ratings

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Movies have a rating system to help guide the consumer weed out adult/violent/inappropriate knds of films. Video games do, too. Do you think BOOKS should have a ratings system?

(Man, I’m flashing back to when I was a young teenager, without any means of personal transport, when I would check Kids-in-Mind to make absolutely sure that some movies weren’t queerbaiting me and were definitely worth my time. Bless.)

On the one hand, I see the value. Cass has been recently talking about the immense frustration of trying to discern whether or not a book is about queer characters when the copy is so cagey. (And films, as well, hence my teenage days.) A rating system—especially coupled with something like Kids-in-Mind—could be used to identify things I want (respectful representations of the queer community!) and identify things I don’t want (wanton sexual violence, for example!). In fact, there’s already an MPAA-esque system for manga published in the US, which you can see here.

But, on the other hand… well, This Film Is Not Yet Rated is available on Netflix Instant at the moment, and the MPAA is well corrupt. It really shows you how the system is used to suppress things it simply doesn’t agree with, like women enjoying sex (thus Where the Truth Lies‘ NC-17 rating). I read American Gods at the tender age of thirteen—by the MPAA’s standards, the first fifty pages would merit it an NC-17. But that was a transformative and important book for me. In Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Patton Oswalt details all the books he read as a kid that would be deemed “inappropriate” for him, but were integral for his development. If such a rating system would be implemented, where would David Levithan’s impending Two Boys Kissing fall? Would it fall out of the reach of young adults who want and may need to read it? (Put your hand down, teenage Clare.)

So no. I don’t think there should be a ratings system for books at all. Books were the only places as a kid that I felt I was being treated as an adult—as an individual capable of making her own choices. I don’t want to take that away from anyone.

Booking Through Thursday: Spring

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Happy Spring Equinox, everyone! What book are YOU choosing to celebrate with?

Since the vernal equinox was yesterday, it was Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, which I found disappointing. Still, it was the first time in a while since I could just curl up in a comfortable armchair and read, with only the end of the book to make me get up and not an appointment or anything else. That was lovely. 

I then picked up Yael Cohen’s We Killed, an oral history about women in comedy. I adore oral histories, as I’ve mentioned. I actually picked this up during my spring break, but didn’t manage to get it to it; it’s currently in a stack of books at home that my mother is going to return for me today. When I saw it at the local library here, I just couldn’t resist. I technically haven’t started yet, but it will be my reading for the day (along with Letters From Egypt while I blow-dry my hair).

Booking Through Thursday: Mood Reading

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Does your current mood affect your reading? Affect your choices? I know there are plenty of books I enjoy, but only if Im in a particular kind of mood–or books that can lift me out of a bad mood without fail. Surely I’m ot alone?

I usually pick a book to read out of a pile of library books on my desk, so yeah, mood affects that choice. I was in the mood for Between You and Me when I rented it, but a few books later, I was no longer, so back to the library it went. And there are some books I have to be in just the right headspace to truly adore—but it’s very rare that I find a book that I am just not in the right headspace to even enjoy, such as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I don’t have specific books that lift me out of a bad mood—except The Lord of the Rings, of course, and light reading it ain’t—but I do tend to have authors. I hesitate to believe in them one hundred percent, though, because I judge work by work instead of bibliography by bibliography, so I’ll pick a Michael Chabon if I’m craving it, but I don’t expect The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay again. I also don’t reread much, so there’s that.

Booking Through Thursday: Spring Forward

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Clocks change this weekend here in the US, which means one less hour to read … does anybody else begrudge that hour like I do? Wish the Powers That Be would just pick a time-frame and stick to it instead of inflicting clock-driven jet lag on an innocent public twice a year?

No, I love Daylight Savings Time. In the spring, Daylight Savings Time proves its worth, and gives me an extra hour of wonderful sunlight to frolic outside in, preferably with a book! Plus, we do get that hour back in the fall, giving us a twenty-five hour day when I really, really need it. I’ve really been noticing the early sunsets recently, and while I’ve been using it to my advantage (I love starting a movie in daylight and ending in darkness), I’ve been feeling that it’s time. And the darkness in the morning doesn’t get me down—I wake up at 7 AM regardless of anything (no, I don’t know why, I’m just happy it’s not 6 AM like it used to be), so I am well-used to dark mornings. In fact, I prefer them!

Booking Through Thursday: Current Events

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What are you reading right now? (And, is it good? Would you recommend it? How did you choose it?)

I just finished Bitchfest, which I loved, and now I’m onto Ronlyn Domingue’s The Mapmaker’s War. I’m not sure if it’s good or if I would recommend it yet—I’m only twenty pages in! I do need to step up my reading this weekend, so I’ll hopefully finish it then. Over the past few months, I’ve been getting more e-mails about receiving books for review; I’m not sure why, but I think it dates back to my review of The Song of the Vikings. I’m usually extremely cautious and decline most of them—I don’t want to waste anyone’s time and resources if I think that a book and I aren’t going to get on. In fact, most of my review copies come from NetGalley, because it’s a lot easier to select the stuff you think you might be interested in. (If only NetGalley accurately reflected the release date for books!) Plus, I have hundreds of library books to get to that I am one-hundred percent interested in. But, every once in a while, I do accept one. The Mapmaker’s War is fantasy, but it’s also written in the second person, a style I personally dislike, but the advance praise convinced me to give it a shot. Of course, the advance praise also includes a blurb from Deborah Harkness, so that could go either way.

Booking Through Thursday: Libraries

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How often do you visit a library? Do you go to borrow books? Do research? Check out the multi-media center? Hang out with the friendly and knowledgeable staff? Are you there out of love or out of need?

ALL THE TIME AND FOR EVERYTHING.

I am beyond biased towards libraries; I’ve been volunteering at the public library in my home town since high school, I’ve done an internship at my college library, and if the whole publishing thing doesn’t pan out, I plan on getting my Master’s in library science. Libraries are not only the people’s university (a phrase I love), but they’re also important community centers. I love exploring libraries in different towns because you can really get a look at the community there.

So, yeah, I’m always there, borrowing books constantly, reading magazines, doing work, using Windows, and making friends with librarians. They’re fantastic, unique spaces that are open to everyone; they’re perfect. I’m there out of need, love, and want.