A to Z Reading Challenge: My Answers

I ran across this on Not a Punk Rocker. I enjoyed reading her answers, so I thought I would participate, too. It’s not as if I am working against a deadline today. Nope, I am not shirking my professional duties to write this post. Okay, so maybe I am taking a slight break. Yes, that is it. A break.

If you’re a long-time reader of A Small Press Life (and if you are, thank you!), you’ve probably wondered what happened to our own reader questionnaire series, [R]evolving Incarnations. Never fear. It returns this Friday.

Until then, there’s this.

Oh, and I’ve decided to do it backwards. Z to A, which is how my books are organized.

ZZZ-SNATCHER BOOK (LAST BOOK THAT KEPT YOU UP WAY LATE): I am a late-night reader, so this is a pretty normal occurrence. It helps that I work from home and set my own weird hours.

YOUR LATEST BOOK PURCHASE: You can read about my most-recent book shopping extravaganza here. I don’t think I’ve bought any since then, but I cannot be totally sure. Yes, I have a problem. Oops, okay. I was wrong. I purchased a book whilst on vacation, as well as this one in early August:

The Winning of Barbara Worth

The Winning of Barbara Worth by Harold Bell Wright

I totally have a problem!


WORST BOOKISH HABITS: If I think you are boring, or am uninterested in what you are talking about, I will start reading. Why, no, I was not raised by highly literate wolves.

VERY EXCITED FOR THIS RELEASE MORE THAN THE OTHERS: Nothing fiction-wise, as there are too many existing books on my must-read list. I am really looking forward to Chris Stein’s upcoming non-fiction release, Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk, which comes out on 23 September.

UNAPOLOGETIC FANGIRL FOR: Obscure dead writers and, amongst the living, Kinky Friedman and Amy Sedaris.

THREE OF YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS: Too hard. Too hard. Here are three out of the dozens that I luuurve:

1-The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy

2-Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw

3-The Outermost House by Henry Beston

SERIES YOU STARTED AND NEED TO FINISH (ALL BOOKS ARE OUT IN SERIES): I want to get back to book three of The Merlin Series by Mary Stewart. I liked the first two, and was excited to start the third. Then we moved. It’s here somewhere, along with an errant Heinlein book I started (and lost) at the same time.




QUOTE THAT INSPIRES YOU/GIVES YOU ALL THE FEELS FROM A BOOKS YOU’VE READ: I collect quotes, so this is another near-impossible question to answer. Enjoy this fab quote about reading:

John Waters Quote

John Waters Quote

PREFERRED PLACE TO READ: In bed or in my old, comfy reading chair.

ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES: To quote Mr. Oscar Wilde: “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” I own 1,000+ books, and have read the vast majority of them 2-3 times. I’ve read some 5 or 6 times. Among my top picks: The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham, any play by Henrik Ibsen or George Bernard Shaw, and all kinds of reference books.

NUMBER OF BOOKCASES YOU OWN: Nine for my books; my husband has his own. I need to buy at least two more, as the overflow has spread throughout the entire house–except the bathrooms or kitchen. Have I mentioned that I love books?

MAJOR BOOK HANGOVER BECAUSE OF: The best cure for a book hangover is to read more books.

LONGEST BOOK YOU’VE READ: The longest novel I’ve read is probably A Glastonbury Romance by John Cowper Powys.

KINDS OF BOOKS YOU WON’T READ: Bodice-rippers, poorly-written or plotted books of any genre, and anything involving sexy-times with a dinosaur, wolf, or sea creature.

JUST FINISHED: Encyclopedia of the Exquisite by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins. I’ve also been re-reading a bunch of old Nero Wolfe books, because I’ve had a crush on Archie Goodwin for most of my life.

IMPORTANT MOMENT IN YOUR READING LIFE: Learning to read, of course! Or, rather, the exact moment that my family realized that I’d somehow learned to read even though none of them had actively taught me. I was three, and it felt awesome.

HIDDEN GEM BOOK: A Glastonbury Romance by John Cowper Powys and Excellent Women by Barbara Pym.

GLAD YOU GAVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE: Back when we were still dating, my husband talked me into reading Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert Heinlein. It’s totally not my normal cup of tea, but I loved it so much that I immediately agreed to read Glory Road. That was a great decision, too.

FICTIONAL CHARACTER YOU PROBABLY WOULD HAVE ACTUALLY DATED IN HIGH SCHOOL: None. All of my literary crushes have been on grown men.

E-READER OR PHYSICAL BOOK: I love books. I love their tactile qualities, their aromas, their heft in my hands or on my lap. However, I do own a Nook (and have the Kindle app on my laptop). E-readers definitely have their place, but I will never stop buying actual books.

DRINK OF CHOICE WHILE READING: Tea (especially Victorian Earl Grey, English or Irish Breakfast, and Lady Grey) or water. If it is past 5:00 pm and I am feeling relaxed, then I will have some Scotch. Neat.

CURRENTLY READING: A biography of Van Gogh, a few books about silent movies, The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl, and some Shaw. Always some Shaw.

BEST SEQUEL EVER: I’m not big on sequels, but I think the Hermux Tantamoq Adventures by Michael Hoeye and the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer are fantastic. The later books hold up to the originals.

AUTHOR YOU’VE READ THE MOST BOOKS FROM: Hard to say, but Anthony Trollope and George Bernard Shaw probably top the list. Oh, and Rex Stout for my Archie Goodwin fix.

I had fun! Let me know if you decide to participate, so that I can read your answers!

25 thoughts on “A to Z Reading Challenge: My Answers

  1. Love that book by duMaurier! And that new one coming up by Chris Stein sounds great, just added it to my “must get when I get money” list 🙂 Bonus points for the John Waters quote too.

    Glad you participated! 🙂


    • The Chris Stein one looks fab! It’s $40.00, but will be worth it. I just cannot bring myself to wait for two years until a used copy finally makes its way to Half Price Books.

      I love John Waters. Love. I’ve posted more than one of his quotes on ASPL, including this one earlier in the year.

      It was fun! I am glad I participated. Now, enough with the goofing off. Back to writing about Mary Flannery O’Connor.


      • Wow, there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Flannery O’Connor. 10th grade in school was all focus on southern authors (imagine that, being in the south) and she was one of the few I could enjoy 🙂

        Good luck!


      • I toured her childhood home back in June when I was in Savannah with my mom. I’m working on doing a virtual tour/essay for my blog readers. Should be up tomorrow, I hope!


        You should try reading her work as an adult. It will seem entirely different to you now!


  2. That was definitely fun:) I’ve never actually read a book twice because I have too many that I want to read for the first time. LOL I admire your list, where few books would match my list in any way. I admit I loved The Nero Wolf series with Timothy Hutton as Archie but I have never read the books. I love Timothy Hutton. 🙂 It’s fun to see what others are reading and how they feel about what they read. Great post:)


    • Oh, I definitely have too many books on my to-be-read list! But, if something speaks to my intellect or soul I will always come back to it when it feels right. Fortunately, I read very quickly. I also have at least 5 books going at any one time, so I never feel like re-reading something is a waste!

      The Nero Wolfe television show was fantastic. I love Timothy Hutton. Just so you know, he is the ultimate Archie. No one else could ever do the character justice like he did. The books are great, and read very quickly. Nero Wolfe’s New York is my favourite literary setting.

      I love learning about others’ reading preferences and habits, which is why I started [R]evolving Incarnations last year. I’m bringing it back on Friday. You are welcome to take a turn if you’d like!


  3. Ok, learning to read at three makes you a reading prodigy, maedez. I have not heard of a lot of these books so this was very interesting. Growing up in Canada, I missed out on a lot of American literature (but there are some excellent Canadian authors, Alice Munro being my favorite) but I am trying to make up for it. I am not a fan of fantasy at all; can’t bring myself to read it but some magical realism I can handle as that lives in some of us some of the time.


    • I’m pretty sure that my sole mission from babyhood on was to learn how to read. I was fascinated by books from the start.

      When I was in school, I did a lot (and I mean a lot) of non-required reading. I read everything that I could get my hands on, including scads of classic English, French, Canadian, and Russian literature. It’s not surprising that the majority of the books and writers I mentioned in my A-Z are/were not American.


  4. Reblogged this on awritersfountain and commented:
    I am trying to catch up with some Blog reading – after months off the Reader… I came across this little gem, if I hadn’t so much catching up to do today I would leave you the answers right now – feel free to reblog or leave links to a post with your answers, I think I will unwrap this again in the run up to the INKSPILL writing retreat.


  5. Yeah for Heinlein – when my kids were little they would sit next to me on the couch and we would read aloud, including “The Moon is a Harsh Mystery” and others of his. 🙂


    • Heinlein is one of my husband’s favourite writers. I’m a reluctant reader of his works, yet I always find them enjoyable.

      When I was a child, I loved story-time. It creates so many great memories, doesn’t it?


      • We read until the kids graduated from highschool, they continued to request it – we read Harry Potter, Toliken and even Wealth of Nations ( phew that was dry )

        I love reading, and think reading aloud is one of the best things ever.


  6. What a great quiz! Thanks for “The Winning of Barbara Worth”. I hadn’t heard of it before (what a surprise), so I did an online search. As I was reading about it, I thought, This would make an interesting movie. Lo and behold! The movie has Gary Cooper – as you knew all along. I was also surprised to see the book’s title is a fairly popular search term on Google. I think I’m really missing out on something!


    • It was fun!

      The Winning of Barbara Worth is a great movie, but I’ve never read the book. I was really excited when I saw this at the antique barn at our state fair. I am going to read it soon. This movie features Gary Cooper in his first real role, but it is definitely a Banky-Colman film. There are some clips on YouTube.


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