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An old-school meme, but an interesting one; more a get-to-know-your-blogger than anything else. I picked it up off the sadly now-defunct From A Sci-Fi Standpoint, dating all the way back to 2008. A nice selection of questions, for which I have a random selection of answers.

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?

Mass-market paperbacks don’t do much for me; they get that horrible spine-slant unless you’re kind to your books, which is one of many anal reasons why I don’t lend things out. Still, I think they have a unique nostalgia appeal… hence the point of the blog.

Hardbacks are what I consider bread-and-butter reading; even a book club edition is sturdy enough to survive numerous read-throughs with only the slightest of warping and spine-breaking. If possible, I’ll go with a hardback.

Trades are the middle ground, and when I’m looking for a new book (or especially a reprint), I’ll aim for a trade. Unlike hardbacks they’re affordable, and unless they’re made by some weird small-print company they’re often just as sturdy as a hardback.

Bookmark or dog-ear?

Bookmarks all the way. I dog-ear if there’s nothing I can stick in the book within arm’s reach, or if it’s like a textbook I’m not going to have in another six months.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?

Random. If it’s in a series, chronological (release order) or by number (Ace Doubles, Hard Case Crimes). Otherwise, like things are lumped with like. There’s a shelf of science fiction story compilations/anthologies, and a shelf of fantasy novels, and a shelf of James Bond, hardcovers on that bookshelf, trades over there, and several boxes and milk crates of paperbacks because I need to buy some damn shelves.

Keep, throw away or sell?

Keep; the last time I sold books, it was most of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, because I figured I’d never read them again. I probably won’t, but every now and then I start thinking “You know what I should spend the foreseeable future reading… Robert Jordan! To see if it’s as bad as I remember!” before realizing I sold most of them, and don’t relish the thought of buying them again. More often than not, if I’m selling a book, it’s because I got another copy somehow and couldn’t find someone to give it too/needed the money.

Ah well. I don’t think I’d throw even the worst book away. I have curbside recycling after all.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?

Keep them, unless they’re tattered beyond all redemption and keeping it will only destroy it further. I’ve actually sold books without dustjackets to get newer, nicer copies. Not just for the dustjackets, though; I’m not that anal.

Last book you bought?

I’d actually have to look… bought new would probably be Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep. Bought in general would be some assortment of vintage paperbacks along with Brian Aldiss’ Helliconia Winter.

Last book someone bought for you?

I got Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris as a Christmas gift. Before that, it was a tie between S.M. Stirling’s In The Courts of the Crimson King and Dexter Filkins’ Iraq war montage The Forever War.

What are some of the books on your to-buy list?

That list is only about a mile long; it varies, but most of the time I just buy whatever I’m thinking of buying. Cutting out the roleplaying games, comics, and other assorted riff-raff… my Amazon and eBay watched/saved list includes: Ray Bradbury’s October Country, Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, the third Stieg Larsson when it comes out as a trade, Roadside Picnic, Clifford Simak’s City, Bester’s Demolished Man, Alan Dean Foster’s Mad Amos, most of Age of Aces’ pulp sky ace collections, the inevitable Terry Pratchett in the Barnes & Noble bargain bin, and Lawrence Block’s Getting Off (a novel of sex and violence). Of course, that will all have to wait until I buy some damn shelves.

Collection (short stories, same author) or anthology (short stories, different author)?

Either and both. I’m not picky.

Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, or the velvety embrace of Death?

I had fond memories of the Harry Potter books; then again, the first three became big in the States when I was in 6th-7th grade, and I’m not sure if I could read them all again. (Can we say overlong last half?)

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading?

Night owl here, though if I don’t have anything better to do I’ll plow through something on weekend afternoons. Mornings are for sleeping.

The books you need to go with other books on your shelves?

I have a few holes in my collection, and most are parts of a series. I’m still missing the third book in Gene Wolfe’s Book of the Short Sun, for example, but I’d rather focus on what I do have and keeping it wide rather than focus in on buying books just so I can read a series.

Do you read anywhere and anytime you can or do you have a set reading time and/or place?

Time, again, anytime after dinner or dusk. Most often I read in/on my bed, or on the couch in the back room.

Do you have seasonal reading habits?

Is this the obligatory jumping-the-shark question? The only thing I can think of is that I read a helluva lot more during the summer when I was in college (frakkin’ duh), and get a lot more reading done when I’m visiting my folks for the holidays (not much else to do there). And more horror in the fall.

Do you read one book at a time or do you have two or more books going at once?

I grew up reading three or more books at a time; I think my record was six or eight. At this point I’d rather just focus in on a single book, finish it, and move on to something else, but often I do rotate between two. There’s got to be a difference between them, format-wise; fiction and non-fiction, novel and short-story collection.

What are your pet peeves about the way people treat books?

There is a special layer of hell for sub-human mongoloid booksellers who put those fucking permanent stickers on book covers. God forbid you make me erase some penciled-in price from the first page; no, I’d rather have a big sticker of some kind defacing my book for the next ten decades until the adhesive dries and flakes away. (That layer of hell is also shared with people who mispackage books so they get damaged in shipping—really, inserting a chunk of cardboard isn’t going to kill you.)

Name one book you surprised yourself by liking

Any fantasy author that I read and ended up liking—China Miéville, Glen Cook, George R.R. Martin. I was big into fantasy for years until I got sick of the genre; it’s like fantasy novel popularity is less because of quality writing or originality and more because it follows Stock-Standard Fantasy Tropes. At this point I’m pretty elitist about it, so reading a fantasy novel and enjoying it kind of blows my mind.

How often do you read a book and not review it on your blog? What are your reasons for not blogging about a book?

Around 75% of what I read is pure genre fiction, and up it goes. The rest of the time… well, I read a lot of nonfiction history, and I can’t see many people lining up to hear me explain in detail why you should give up your firstborn if necessary to acquire Donald Cameron Watt’s How War Came. And I skip all the literary books, since those already stand on their own merits. I have skipped a couple of new and/or noteworthy novels; unless my opinion’s different from the reviews I’ve seen I’ll just let it slide: there’s a billion other reviews about Dune and The Lord of the Rings, my opinion isn’t going to add anything there.

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