10.28.2010

Thursday Book Questions: Part 7

Five questions a week. Eleven weeks. Post your answers in the comments (or on your own blog if you prefer, just link back in the comments) and I'll do the same thing.

Last week, we all solidly agreed that we pay much more attention to Amazon reviews than those by professional critics. I think we can all agree, of course, that we pay attention primarily to the Amazon reviews that appear to have been written by literate, thinking people. Still, it's interesting that the internet has made us more likely to listen to the common man than the expert. Or can the internet be blamed? If experts didn't have a vested interest in being grumpy about most of the books we like, maybe that would change. Haha.

Also from last week's answers, my best friend (that's MissPhotographerB) introduced me to a new concept. Pretzel M&Ms? I never heard of such a thing. Now I'm curious.

This week's questions:

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
(answer here)
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
(answer here)
33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
(answer here)
34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
(answer here)
35. Favorite Poet?
(answer here)

Can't wait to hear from you!

Update: I have corrected the typo. Golly, you just can't trust these online surveys... ;)

10 comments:

  1. 31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
    In person, I don't hesitate. On the internet, where things are more permanent and public and therefore more potentially damaging, I won't review a book unless I can at least give a qualified recommendation.

    32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
    Latin--or Quenya. I'm a dork. Wait--do I have to pick a modern language? That would be tougher. Spanish or French or Russian. Or possibly Mandarin.

    33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
    Off the top of my head: Les Miserables, just because it was so huge and so full of stuff that was extraneous to the story.

    34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
    Take your pick from the great classic muck-around-in-tragedies.

    35. Favorite Poet?
    Hmm. I don't know much poetry, but I think I'll have to go with George MacDonald. Although J.K. Rowling's poems make me laugh.

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  2. 31) I don't usually leave reviews being too lazy to do so & when I do leave reviews they're usually succinct. But I don't hesitate to leave critical reviews. I try not to leave mean reviews, though, except of a certain actor's portrayal of Albus Dumbledore. :) Or of butcherings of anything to do with Tolkien or Lewis.

    32) Latin or German or Sindarin, much more practical than Quenya. ;)

    33) Speaking of Tolstoy, it was War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

    34) The City of God by St. Augustine

    35) J.R.R. Tolkien, Wilfred Owen, & Edgar Allan Poe.

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  3. Although I did start The City of God, getting through about Ch. 7 before giving it up. St. Augustine was detailing every single one of the 20 thousand or so Roman gods that failed to help Rome in its hour of need.

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  4. Oooh, I missed last week in much the same way I should be missing this week. I try to read reviews by professional critics as much as possible. I read professional reviews of books I don't want to read never will read, just for enjoyment. And I usually don't give a rat's whatsit for what most reviewers on Amazon have to say. Speaking as a literary critic myself, the reviews there can be intriguing but mind-bogglingly superficial. That gets annoying after the first few seconds.

    OK, this week:

    31. If the book deserves it, I feel fine. But I'm with George--harsh, relentless, but never mean and never unkind.

    32. Whatever language the text was originally written. Thus, I do read in Latin and Greek, long to learn Hebrew, have considered learning French just to read Camus, and hope to learn Old English next year. (My first degree is in linguistics, so this isn't as surprising as it may sound.)

    33. Either: Lord of the Rings (changes my life every time)
    or Coraline, by Gaiman (after the fact)
    or Stories, by H. P. Lovecraft (gibbergibbergibber--the rats--gibber--the rats in the walls--)

    34. Night, by Elie Wiesel.

    35. Tolkien, Frost, Yeats, the Beowulf poet. Don't ask me to choose between them. I've tried. I can't.

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  5. Hey! Is there a party? Here I am!

    31. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, where "sugar" is finding good points in the book as well and/or pointing out the bad points very humorously. Roger Ebert's film reviews are models to be aspired to.

    32. One of my big regrets is that I wasn't able to take NT Greek in college. If I ever get the chance again I'll spring on it. Alternately, a working knowledge of Italian or French could improve my opera-going.

    33. Probably God and Other Minds by Alvin Plantinga. I was expecting a book of apologetics; I got several hours' worth of heavy-duty postgraduate-level mental/philosophical calisthenics. It was worth it, but whoo-ee!

    34. I might have to go with Finnegans Wake. I'm fascinated by the idea (stream-of-consciousness Irish wordplay is my favorite thing!) but nervous that all critics and readers say it's beyond inscrutable. Alternately, Lolita for exactly the opposite reason.

    35. Coleridge, unless I'm allowed to count Traherne's prose as poetry. In different moods, Jack Prelutsky.

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  6. Haha, George! Yes, Sindarin is much more practical than Quenya. I know... it's just that Quenya is so beautiful. :)

    Mr. Pond, I liked what you had to say about reviews. Actually, I wish I had thought to say last week that my preference is for reviews by people I know and trust--the Blogengamot, for instance. Maybe those count as professional, even when they're informal. I'm not sure. But that's the kind of people I listen to most.

    Eric, welcome! Glad you came. Thanks for the reminder that I need to read more Coleridge. Also, good luck with Lolita. The first fifteen pages were so revolting that I couldn't keep going. But I'm a wimp like that. :)

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  7. 31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

    Well, thankfully I have never had to give a bad review as far as books go, it's not really in my line of work.

    32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?

    Italian or Latin. By the way...WHAT on EARTH is Quenya?

    33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
    Well, the most intimidating book I've ever started to read is Dante's Inferno...but I never finished it (and by never finished, I mean barely started) so I don't think that counts. Hmmm, I guess this means I tend to stay away from intimidating books. Either that or I have read lots of them but wiped them from memory...probably the former.


    34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
    Interestingly enough, Les Miserables

    35. Favorite Poet?
    I don't really have one. Wow, this post has made me feel very pedestrian. :( That's okay, it's good incentive to broaden my horizons a bit!

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  8. Hahaha, MissPhotographerB! Quenya is one of Tolkien's Elvish languages. He left enough information on it that you can actually learn to speak it nowadays. I took one lesson over at CouncilofElrond.com and then got busy, but it was totally fun. :D

    Yeah, the Divine Comedy is pretty intimidating. I think I only got through Inferno because I wanted so badly to read Paradiso. And it still took me over a year.

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  9. For what it's worth, I'm running way late this week... I promise I'll get my answers up on my blog ASAP. :)

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  10. Phew, finally got a catch-up post up for Parts 7 and 8 of this series. Here it is:

    http://donnarosemary.blogspot.com/2010/11/thursday-book-questions-pts-7-8-catch.html

    Eric: Wow, our answers to question 32 are very similar, and I didn't read through everyone's responses here before I composed my answers. Neat!

    MissPhotographerB: Ohhh, I had forgotten about Dante's Divine Comedy! I think if given the choice, I would tackle Dante before Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, which is what I put for my answer to question 34.

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