What was the last book you bought?
I don't buy books often since I use the library a lot. The last one I purchased was the final Harry Potter.
Name a book you have read MORE than once
I usually don't read books more than once, either. However, I reread the fifth Harry Potter prior to the release of the sixth book because I couldn't remember the plot.
Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
I can't really think of a book that changed my world view or anything like that.
How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews
These days, since I am no longer working in a bookstore, I rely a lot on the media and group opinion for my book selection. Many of the books on my TBR list made it there because I came across an interview with the author or saw the title on one of those must-read-before-you-die list. I also lurk on the fringes of several online communities and I try to read whatever the new hotness is so that I can be more active.
I must admit, though, that I am a sucker for an intriguing title and a stylish cover. If a book comes in more than one edition, I have been known to pick the cover that I think will make me look more intelligent or more hip.
Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?
For the past 10 years, I've given an overwhelming preference to non-fiction. However, it wasn't "readable" non-fiction like biographies. I stuck to magazines, cookbooks, and how-to manuals. It isn't that I dislike fiction. With novels, I have difficulty putting them down once I get caught up in the plot, to the point where my eldest learned how to work a microwave at age four so she could eat :-). Now that my kids are older, I think it is safe for me to read novels again.
Looking at my recent reading list, the last two books I read were non-fiction, the book I'm currently reading is non-fiction, and the next two books in line are non-fiction. I guess I haven't given myself over to novels yet!
What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
Years ago, when I was enamored of the Tom Robbins books, I would have said beautiful writing was most important. I remember reading those books and not understanding half of what he was talking about but I was in love with the way he turned a phrase.
At this moment in time, I think that a gripping plot is key. I've been away from novels for so long that I'm having trouble sticking with a book. I used to give a book a few pages to prove itself but now it practically has to grab me with the first paragraph.
Most loved/memorable character (character/book)
I don't have one. I tend to enjoy books while I'm reading them and then forget them when I move to the next one. I can name a few books that I read as a kid, but I can tell you almost nothing about the plots or characters. Occasionally, a situation I run across in life will seem familiar and I may even recall that I read something like it but that's it.
Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?
Eat This, Not That! For Kids, by David Zinczenko
The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child, by Alan E. Kazdin, Ph.D
The Case Against Homework, by Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish
A Hopeless Romantic, by Harriet Evans
What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?
I just finished reading Comfort Me with Apples by Ruth Reichl this week.
Have you ever given up on a book half way in?
Boy, have I! As I said before, I used to give a book a good while to impress me. I've been known to press on even when I'm not really enjoying the plot. However that was in the days before VCRs and internet. Now there is so much competition for my leisure time that if a book isn't engaging I have to let it go. I still feel a pang of guilt for not finishing it, though.