A Fun Questionnaire

Liebster Award

Loulou at louloureads nominated me for the Liebster Award. I certainly feel honored, so thank you Loulou. I will answer the 11 questions she posted first and then I will post 11 new questions. I am not going to tag anyone, but if you want to do it, do it. Put a link to your post in the comments and I will go and check it out.

1. If you could have a dinner party with any five celebrities who would they be and why?

I don’t think I even know 5 celebrities…so I’m going to go with 5 authors instead…except they’re all dead. So, I’m just going to tell you which 5 deceased authors I’d like to have resurrected so that I could have a dinner party with them.

  1.  Roald Dahl – because he was my childhood idol
  2. Hans Christian Andersen – because I need to know where he gets his beautiful but disturbingly dark stories from
  3. Jonathan Swift – because his Gulliver’s Travels remains the greatest satirical work I’ve ever read. Deeply intelligent satire is a rare thing.
  4. Eva Ibbotson – along with Dahl, Ibbotson was my favorite fantasy author as a child
  5. Herman Melville – Melville unfortunately died in obscurity and needs recognition for his beautiful and powerful Moby-Dick. Also, I want to learn about his friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne and about his time in Nantucket.

3. Where is your favourite place to go on holiday, and why would you recommend it to others?

I went to Arizona a few summers ago. The mountains and deserts left a great impression on me. Who knew that wood could become petrified?! If you ever go to Arizona, be sure to check out Petrified Forest National Park.

4. What do you think makes a great blogger?

A great blogger is someone who blogs consistently (unlike me) and is not afraid of doing something new in the blogosphere even if he/she initially gets 2 followers because of it. Those 2 followers have friends.

5. Starter or dessert?

I don’t know what a starter is (I’m an ignorant American), so I will go with the dessert. My favorite dessert is mint chocolate chip ice cream

6. Which book character would you like to meet in real life?

I can’t decide between Ishmael from Moby-Dick or Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables.

7. If you had to go to a fancy dress party, who would you go as?

I would go as the Spanish Inquisitor from the Monty-Python sketch (a hilarious sketch you should watch A.S.A.P.)

8. If you could time travel, would you go to the future or the past?

The past. 14th century medieval France. First I would attend a mystery play (which I suspect would be far from tame…or lady-like) and then buy bread from a bakery because for some reason I have an obsession with the concept of a medieval bakery.

9. What is your favourite board game?

Chutes and Ladders.

10. If you were on a desert island and could only ring one person to save you, who would it be?

A search and rescue team member

11. Who is your favourite animated character?

SpongeBob SquarePants

My Questions

  1.  If you could monitor a debate on any topic of your choice with any 5 historical figures of your choice, what topic and which historical figures would you choose?
  2. Favorite quote?
  3. A book you want to reread and a book you wish you could unread.
  4. What is your definition of a good blogger?
  5. What is your favorite historical time period and why?
  6. If you could do anything you wanted to improve high school literature courses in your home country, what would you do?
  7. Favorite film adaptation of a book?
  8. If you could write anything (maybe you are a writer) what type of literature would you write?
  9. Favorite and least favorite literary character
  10. What does being “well-read” mean to you?
  11. What is you ideal vacation spot?
A Fun Questionnaire

55 Questions Concerning My Book Habits

Masanobu @ All the Pretty Books recently posted her response to a questionnaire conceived by Lydia @ The Literary Lollipop. I loved the questionnaire, so I have decided to complete it myself.

1. Favourite childhood book:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. It not only got me through many sleepless nights, but it served as my introduction to Roald Dahl and his creative genius. I attribute my love for literature (especially children’s literature) to Roald Dahl.

2. What are you reading right now?

Multiple books, as usual. LAnnonce faite à Marie (The Annunciation of Mary) by Paul Claudel, La Fortune des Rougons by Emile Zola, and Trinity by Leon Uris.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
A Poet Before the Cross, translated by Wallace Fowlie (an autobiography of Paul Claudel). I couldn’t find a French version so the English version will have to do.

4. Bad book habit:
I write in the margins of all my books – even library books. I always write lightly in library books and erase my notes thoroughly before returning the books. I don’t really consider this a “bad” habit because I learned how to read carefully through the practice of making margin notes. If I bought the books I care much more about their condition than if I merely borrowed them. Still, I don’t lose sleep over cracked spines and the like. My copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory no longer has a cover or a title page. I don’t mind it one bit; in fact, it makes me smile because the battered copy is evidence of how much I enjoyed reading it.

5. What do you currently have checked out the library?
So many many books. I will include the ebooks in my list. The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (finished. review is forthcoming), Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI, LAnnonce faite à Marie  by Paul Claudela collection of novels by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Huit Clos  + Les Mouches by Jean-Paul Sartre (What can I say? Sartre’s stories are interesting even if I disagree totally with his philosophy.), La Nausée by Jean-Paul Sartre, Le poète et la Bible (The Poet and the Bible) Vol. 1 (Over 2000 pages of writings by Paul Claudel about the Bible! Not too theological though. More like autobiographical fiction inspired by the Bible.)

Clearly, I like Paul Claudel’s writings. I totally disregard the controversy surrounding his life and writings.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Yes! I love my Kindle. I can read books in the public domain for free as well as borrow books from my local library through Overdrive.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I will quote Virginia Woolf on this one. “I am reading six books at once, the only way of reading; since, as you will agree, one book is only a single unaccompanied note, and to get the full sound, one needs ten others at the same time.”

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Yes. Last year I probably read 10 books. I have already read around 40 books this year!

9. Least favourite book you read this year:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

10. Favourite book you read this year:
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (it blew my mind)

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
I read very widely (historical fiction, crime fiction, literary fiction, poems, and plays) but that does not mean that I like reading outside my comfort zone. I generally avoid romance, and that includes well-written romance novels like the ones written by Jane Austen. I am a woman who tends to avoid literature written about women because I’m afraid that there will be stuff about romance, marriage, family, etc. in the books. I find so-called domestic fiction boring, but I also know that I am missing out on some great literature. This is a silly fear I need to overcome.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Anything that is well-written. I refuse to spend hours reading a poorly-written book.

13. Can you read on the bus?
I can read anywhere. I ran into a tree once and almost poked my eye out with a branch because I was reading while walking.

14. Favourite place to read:

My bed.

15. What’s your policy on book lending?
People don’t often ask me for books. I have no problem lending books to others as long as I get them back in a reasonable amount of time.

16. Do you dogear your books?
I used to but I don’t anymore.

17. Do you write notes in the margins of your books?
Yes. I always write in the margins.

18. Do you crack the spine of your books?
I try not to, but if I do I don’t lose sleep over it.

19. What is your favourite language to read?
French. I love the texture of the French language; it is at once elegant and aggressive. I also enjoy the challenge of reading in French. Although I read something in French nearly everyday I have not read too many novels in French this year. I am clearly trying to fix that this month.

20. What makes you love a book?
I fall in love with a book if I love the themes that are explored within.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If the work blew me away, I will recommend the book to anyone and everyone.

22. Favourite genre:
Fantasy and Christian Classics

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
Victorian Romance and Sci-Fi

24. Favourite biography:
Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

25. Have you ever read a self-help book? (And was it actually helpful?)
I have read a few self-help books but I can’t list any off the top of my head. Clearly, they weren’t very memorable.

26. Favourite cookbook:
I take all my recipes from off the internet. I don’t own a cookbook.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction):
So many but here are a few. Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing and Works of Love by Soren Kierkegaard (I really need to lead a read-along of his works. I once started a blog dedicated to his writing.), and anything by Joseph Ratzinger (yes, I was one of those people who loved the last pope)

28. Favourite reading snack:
Chips, ice cream. Basically, anything unhealthy.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience:
Hype intimidates me, so I tend to avoid books that get a lot of hype. That will change when I read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I will tell you what I think about that book once I read it.

30. How often do you agree with the critics about a book?
I love reading criticism. I usually end up  having a running conversation with the critic. All of my reactions can be found in the margins.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I have no problem giving negative reviews. I am not a professional critic and my blog doesn’t have a gigantic following. I assume that if people follow my blog they do so because they value my reviews. It’s good to be honest with your reader.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
German. There are so many German (mostly theological) works I have read in translation, and the translators often write in the preface to their translations that German is best read in the original language. Evidently, it is a hard language to translate.

33. Most intimidating book you have read:
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. It was fantastic.

34. Most intimidating book you are too nervous to begin:
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. I want to read it in French, but I have a feeling that it contains romance. It is not the length of the book or the language that intimidates me, but the subject matter.

35. Favourite poet:
Paul Claudel. I also love the poetry of Roald Dahl and Lewis Carroll (why oh why do modern children’s books not contain poetry?)

36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at any given time?
More than I can read.

37. How often do you return books to the library unread?
Often.

38. Favourite fictional character:
Anne Shirley (finally, a woman), Ishmael, the Fox in The Little Prince, and Aragorn.

39. Favourite fictional villain:
Voldemort

40. Books you are most likely to bring on vacation:
Something relatively light. I probably wouldn’t take an epic poem with me on vacation.

41. The longest you have gone without reading:
I read all the time but not always for pleasure.

42. Name a book you could/would not finish:
Cinq Semaines en Ballon (5 Weeks in a Balloon) by Jules Verne. That’s one racist book.

43. What distracts you easily when you are reading?
The television.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel:
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The 1993 adaptation is one of my favorite films. I have watched it so many times that I could probably quote the whole movie.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation:
The Hobbit films. I am pretty sure Peter Jackson thinks he’s Tolkien. He’s not. Why Jackson thought it was a good idea to make three movies for a 250 page book is beyond me.

46. Most money you have ever spent in a bookstore at one time:
100 dollars

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Sometimes but usually I go into a book blindly.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?
I stop reading a book if it has unbearably objectionable material (extreme racism, explicit sex scenes, tons of profanity).

49. Do you like to keep your books organised?
I am a very messy person.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they have been read?
I usually keep them, but I have boxes of textbooks I’d love to sell.

51. Are there any books that you have been avoiding?
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, The Portrait of a Young Man as an Artist by James Joyce

52. Name a book that made you angry:
Sula by Toni Morrison. Don’t get me started on how much I loathe that book.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did:
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I absolutely loved it.

54. A book you expected to like but didn’t:
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (I definitely didn’t expect the Mormon chapters)

55. Favourite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading:
I actually feel somewhat guilty about this. I read academic books all the time, preferring monographs written by professors to creative non-fiction. I also read tons of primary sources. Research libraries are to me what gold is to a pirate or a dragon. I am what people would call a nerd, but I don’t know much about computers, Star Wars, Star Trek, Anime, or Video Games. Because I read tons of literature I am always afraid that people think I’m pretentious. My knowledge about Medieval European literature or 19th century Christian philosophy is actually quite isolating. I love blogging because I can share my love for such things with others. However, I am not nearly as well-read as some other bloggers. There is definitely a Classics community and it has been so much fun to belong to the community.  I like the challenge of reading as I like the challenge of studying science. It’s just that I’ve decided to do the latter as my career. Insects are cool!

A Fun Questionnaire

Liebster Award

I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by bookarino from Dawn of Books. I feel honored to be nominated for this award. There are some rules associated with it:

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Display the award somewhere on your blog.
  3. List 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Answer 11 questions chosen by the blogger that nominated you.
  5. Come up with 11 new questions to ask your nominees.
  6. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you think deserve the award and who have less than 1,000 followers. (You may nominate blogs that have already received the award, but you cannot renominate the blog that nominated you.)
  7. Go to their blog and inform them that they’ve been nominated.

11 Facts About Me:

  1. I am a Biology and French double major. Starting Fall 2014, I will be studying for my Masters in Entomology (Insect Toxicology) with the goal of teaching high school biology.
  2. I am bilingual. I love reading French literature and can read works in both modern and middle French.
  3. I was a competitive figure skater for most of my life.
  4. My favorite authors are Roald Dahl and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I believe that children’s books are not lower forms of literature than adult books. In fact, I believe that writing for children is more challenging and therefore more impressive than writing for adults.
  5. My favorite singers are Kate Bush and William Sheller. I also enjoy listening to classic and hard rock.
  6. In addition to reading literary classics, I study medieval French and English religious texts as a hobby. In particular, I am trying to understand the role religious orders played in the shaping of late Medieval Europe.
  7. I play in a hand bells choir.
  8. I have always wanted to be a children’s author (see above as to why).
  9. I am Catholic.
  10. I hate large crowds but love one-on-one conversations.
  11. My dream is to see moose in the wild. This is why I would like to visit Alaska or Yellowstone National Park.

11 Questions From bookarino:

1. What are you reading right now?

 I am currently reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev, and have almost finished reading Sacred Violence by Jill Claster (a historical book about the Crusades).

2. How do you choose the books that you read?Based on recommendation/review/cover/etc?

I do tend to choose a book based on its cover. Sometimes this can land me into trouble. I do also read book reviews especially when deciding on a book that has been published in the last 10-20 years. I love primary sources, so when reading a history book, I make sure to read some of the primary sources listed in the bibliography.

3. How would you describe yourself as a reader?

I am definitely an eclectic reader, but I do not generally like romance novels and am vehemently opposed to erotic fiction.

4. What is the book that you recommend to people most often?

I recommend Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry the most often. However, I recently read Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, and I loved it so much that I have been recommending this book a lot too.

5. Do you have any genres that you hate/dislike?

I do not like Jane Austen’s works because I find romance fiction boring. I hate erotic fiction.

6. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 books would you need to survive?

To survive, I would need The Bible, St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life, The Little Prince, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Robinson Crusoe (I am stranded on an island after all. What is life without a bit of humor?)

7. What was the last translated book that you read?

I am currently reading Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev in English. It was translated from Russian.

8. Do you have a specific place where you read?

I read on my bed or at the nearest coffee shop.

9. What would you be doing if you weren’t reading?

I would be listening to music (see above for my musical tastes).

10. Which book (books) has influenced you the most?

The Bible and Catholic religious writings have definitely influenced me the most. But I have also been influenced by the pseudonymous works and upbuilding discourses of Søren Kierkegaard. I am particularly thinking of Works of Love, Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, The Sickness Unto Death, and Fear and Trembling. I like thinking about my own existence but I don’t call myself an existentialist lest people think I ascribe to Jean Paul’s philosophy.

11. Do you sometimes fake that you’ve read a book that you actually haven’t?

I used to do that when I was a child. I don’t anymore.

11 Questions to Nominees:

  1. What are your favorite and least favorite literary genres?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What month-long classics book challenges would you be interested in doing this year?
  4. What do you do when you are not reading?
  5. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 5 books would you need?
  6. What sort of music do you listen to?
  7. City or country, beach or mountains?
  8. Name 5 people (dead or alive) you would like to have a round table discussion with?
  9. What is your favorite book that has been published in the past 10-20 years?
  10. If you could learn another language what language would you choose to learn?
  11. You are on vacation in a different country, what do you make sure to fit into your itinerary?
A Fun Questionnaire

A Fun Questionnaire: Who Are You?

So, I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers post fun questionnaires from time to time. So I’ve created one to learn more about my readers and their interests. You can answer the questionnaire in the comments.

Who Are You?

1. What is your favorite classic, and why do you consider it a classic?

My favorite classic is Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I consider it a classic because it contains a timeless message about love and death. Although it is a children’s books, adults can relate to the pilot and the Little Prince’s journey. This is one of the few books that I have read as a child, as a teenager, and as an adult. It is amazing how such a short and simply-written story can speak to someone in every stage of his/her life. I absolutely love this classic. I have even memorized chapters from the book. Don’t worry, I will be blogging about The Little Prince soon 🙂

2. What is your favorite classic genre?

I love children’s and coming-of-age classics the most. However, I am interested in reading more science fiction and mystery classics in the coming months.

3. Which character in a classic work can you relate to the most?

I can relate the most to Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables. I have an extremely active imagination and love to talk. Anne also loves reading classics.

4. What month-long classics book challenges (other the 50 Classics Book Challenge) would you be interested in doing this year?

I am going to be doing a picture book classics challenge in March. Stay tuned…

5. Who is your favorite classic author?

Roald Dahl. I love his children’s books as well as his adult short stories.