Blog Hop: Time-Travel Book Browsing

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: If you could travel back in time to purchase the first printing of a specific novel, what book would that be?

Seems to me there’s two ways to approach this…is this a book I’d buy to keep and cherish, or is it an investment?  If we’re looking at it as an investment, than the three that come to mind (although none are actually novels) are the Gutenberg Bible, a Shakespeare First Folio, and Action #1 comic book (the first Superman story).  I think any of those would be a very tidy investment!

Aside: I saw a First Folio once in Stratford, and just for fun I tucked one into the Phantom’s bookshelf in my Phantom trilogy, on the theory that he has a lot of money, and they may have been less sought after 140 years ago anyway.  I don’t call it a First Folio, just mention the title sitting on the shelf in one paragraph–and Hamlet, surprisingly enough, has a bit of a prominent role in the story.  /End Aside.

If we say I can buy the book but not re-sell it, then of course my brain goes towards L. M. Montgomery.  I probably wouldn’t get a first edition Anne of Green Gables (although I do have a “Thirty-Eighth Impression” 1914 copy, which I believe to be in the style of the first edition–$10, I kid you not).  I’d actually rather have a first edition of The Blue Castle, seeing as it’s my favorite.

Truth is, I’m not that enthralled with first editions, though.  I’d much rather have a signed copy of a favorite book than a first edition.  The cheapest L. M. Montgomery signed book I can find online is over $1,000 though, so…not something I’m purchasing!  At least, not right now. 🙂  But if I could time-travel to buy a book, see Montgomery and have it signed…yeah, that would definitely be what I’d do!

I’d also be rather tempted to get pre-first editions–to get a Strand magazine edition of a Sherlock Holmes story, or the original magazine installments of A Princess of Mars or The Phantom of the Opera.  I think that would be great fun!

If you could time-travel to buy a book, what would you get?  Would you sell your purchase, or would you buy something sentimental?

Blog Hop: Studious Reading

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you take notes about the book you are reading as you read?

In brief, no.  I don’t take notes of any fiction I’m reading, which is a big bulk of my reading.  The closest I come is that I will occasionally flag or underline (in a book I own, of course) a quote that strikes me, often to be written down in my quotes notebook later–but not in the midst of reading.  And even that happens…I don’t know, one book in fifty?  Or even a hundred?

I will note, when the fifth book of Valente’s Fairyland series came out, I reread the previous four with a pencil in hand, and did copious underlining (like, every page…) because they’re that brilliant.  But that’s a vanishingly rare situation.

I also read spiritual books, and for those books I do a lot more flagging or underlining.  I have a spiritual journal as well, and after I read one of my spiritual books I transcribe quotes into my journal.  But again, it’s after I read the book–I don’t stop reading to copy things out.  I tried that and didn’t like it.

Reading is relaxing for me–or it’s a quick snatch in a small space of time.  In either case, it’s not conducive to copying down notes.

Do you take notes while you read?  Or do you flag things to make notes later?

Blog Hop: Not Too Horrible Horror

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Recommend one horror novel for non-horror readers.

Well, I’m a non-horror reader, so I suppose I can recommend the very few horror novels I’ve read!  My Stephen King reading stands only at Secret Window, Secret Garden, which I read long ago after the movie came out–I remember it being pretty good, though I thought King had a cleverer ending, only the movie told theirs better.  Make of that what you will!

I’ve done a few classic horror books.  I didn’t find Stoker’s Dracula very disturbing.  A friend who read the book alone late at night disagreed though, so your experience may vary!

I think Frankenstein is considered very early sci fi, but if it can be considered horror, I did like that one very much–despite the fact that I hated Victor Frankenstein, the narrator.  One of the cleverest things I’ve seen on Facebook was a meme reading “Knowledge is knowing that Frankenstein is not the Monster.  Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein is the monster.”

Gothic is not exactly horror (ish?) but I greatly enjoy Northanger Abbey, Austen’s gothic parody.  It gets a bad rap somehow, but it’s my favorite!

And perhaps Gaston Leroux’s classic Phantom of the Opera would fall into the horror category too.  An interesting read, though more interesting through the lens of the versions that came afterwards.  I really wonder, had no one made the Lon Chaney silent Phantom, if Leroux’s book would have quietly sunk into obscurity.  But I’m glad it didn’t!

Do you have a favorite horror read to recommend for non-horror readers like me?

Blog Hop: Literary Disguise

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: If you were to dress up as a literary figure {author or character} for Halloween, who would it be?

I have dressed up as a literary figure–I was September from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland several years ago.  Probably long enough that I could bring it out for another Halloween!  I still have the orange dress in my closet (it’s not especially attractive, unfortunately), and I periodically wear the Coat of the Green Wind.

Lately I’ve been toying with the idea of dressing as Lyra, my lead character from The Storyteller and Her Sisters.  I have a blue cloak that would be period-appropriate, and it wouldn’t be too hard to find a blue medieval-ish dress.  And I’m sure I have a nice old book I could carry under one arm…

I’ve thought about other costumes, but the dilemma is to find a favorite character with a distinctive enough look to be recognizable–which is harder than you’d think.  Though no one recognized my September costume anyway!

Have you dressed as a literary figure?  Did people know who you were?

Blog Hop: Genre Choice for Halloween

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: It’s getting close to Halloween. If you HAD to read one of these two genres, which would you prefer — urban fantasy, or horror, and why?

Urban fantasy–no contest at all.  I have read the odd horror story here and there, mostly classics.  But urban fantasy is a genre I like.  It can be a little dark too, but I don’t think that’s necessarily assumed.  And I like a dark story sometimes–I just don’t like it to be twisted, which is much more of a given with horror!

Charles de Lint is a favorite urban fantasy writer, particularly his Newford stories.  He tackles a lot of very real, gritty issues with a fantasy angle, sometimes with an element of Native American spirituality.  And my friend R. A. Gates writes urban fantasy too, with an awesome Sleeping Beauty retelling (loosely!)

Which is your preference–urban fantasy or horror?  And which would you rather read for Halloween?  Because even though I like urban fantasy much better–I have to admit horror seems much more appropriate for Halloween!

Blog Hop: Concurrent Reading

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you like to finish one book before starting the next or do you read several at once?

Yes to both?  I used to have a strict one-book-at-a-time policy, and in my heart I still feel like that’s what I do…only it’s become more complicated!  I am, actually, in the middle of two books right now–but it only feels like one or possibly two.

You see, I read one book before I go to bed (at the moment, L. M. Montgomery’s Journals), one spiritual or psychological book (How to Live in Fear by Lance Hahn), one audiobook (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott), my husband and I are in the midst of reading two books out loud (The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett and The People the Fairies Forget by me), and there’s a book I’m just reading (The Improbable Sherlock Holmes).

But somehow in my head, I’m only properly reading the last one, or possibly that one and the audiobook.  And I try not to start a second book in any category (out loud reading aside) without finishing the ongoing one.

So…the answer is yes.  Sort of.

Do you read multiple books at once?  Are they all equivalent, or do you divide them up into categories?

Blog Hop: On Happiness

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Can you say this about yourself? Nothing makes me happier than sitting down with a good book.

Hmm.  This seems like the kind of pat statement that is a little true of a lot of people, and wholly true of not very many.  Sitting down with a good book makes me happy–there are times and moods when it will make me happier than anything else in that moment–but does nothing make me happier?

My husband makes me happier than a good book.  So does my family and my friends.  It makes me very happy when the opening orchestrations begin of Phantom of the Opera performed live on stage.  Writing at its best makes me happier than reading–though it also requires more energy, and at its most challenging causes me more frustration than reading.  Music is a good mood lift, and I have TV shows I like to watch when I’m stressed because they make me happy.  But it’s also true that reading brings happiness into my life, that finding a good book makes me very happy, and I’m not as happy in general if I’m not making time to read.

So I guess I’d say, there are times when nothing makes me happier than sitting down with a good book.  But there are many other things in life that have the potential to make me happier than even the best book.