Thinking About Books

An odd day. I realized this morning I left my jacket at one of our stores last night–we were conducting an inventory, and North Carolina has started to feel like autumn. I then drove to another of our stores before work to purchase a DVD–the Hammer Studios The Hound of the Baskervilles, starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee–except that no manager was on duty. Once I actually went to work, though, things were fine.

Over on Keith R.A. DeCandido‘s LiveJournal he answered a few questions about books and other literary pursuits. Taking a page from Keith, my answers–

Hardback or paperback? However I can get it. There are books I have both ways. Either a new edition of the book has come out (such as the various collections of Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar short stories or the Sherlock Holmes stories), or I’m “upgrading” from paperback because I’ve found the hardcover.

Highlight or underline? Neither. If I absolutely have to leave a note for myself in a book, I’ll use a post-it note.

Lewis or Tolkien? Tolkien. I have a fair bit of Lewis’s fiction, from Narnia to the Space Trilogy (even the unfinished book) to the Screwtape Letters, but I feel that Lewis just wasn’t in quite the same league as Tolkien, his world-building wasn’t as up-to-snuff.

E.B. White or A.A. Milne? A.A. Milne. Funny, just yesterday I was looking at the Complete Winnie-the-Pooh. I don’t own any E.B. White. T.H. White, yes, but E.B. White, no.

T.S. Eliot or e.e. cummings? T.S. Eliot. The Waste Land is marvelous.

Stephen King or Dean Koontz? Stephen King.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? B&N, just because it’s two blocks away from my house.

Fantasy or science fiction? Science fiction.

Horror or suspense? Suspense.

Bookmark or dogear? You’re kidding me, right? I just know where I left off. Okay, I may have to read a few pages to remember exactly where I left off the last time, but I get there in the end.

Hemingway or Faulkner? Hemingway, by a wide margin. I’ve recently read Along With Youth, a biography of Hemingway focusing on his pre-Paris days, and Hemingway in Love and War, a memoir of a fellow Red Cross ambulance driver who knew Hemingway in 1918.

Fitzgerald or Steinbeck? Fitzgerald. I’ve not read enough Steinbeck to really make a fair comparison (okay, the only Steinbeck I’ve read is his unfinished King Arthur book and Travels with Charley).

Homer or Plato? Homer.

Geoffrey Chaucer or Edmund Spenser? Chaucer.

Pen or pencil? I’m a pen guy. I do have some pencils, but I’ve not used them anytime recently. Are they even sharpened?

Looseleaf or notepad? Notepad. I have whole packs of looseleaf paper, and why? I dunno.

Alphabetize? I have no order to how my books are shelved. More like rough groupings of similar stuff.

Dustjacket: on or off? On. Unless it’s getting in my way, in which case it’s off.

Novella or epic? Isn’t the story more important than the length?

John Grisham or Scott Turow? Grisham, just because I’ve met him.

J.K. Rowling or Lemony Snicket? I’ve not read Lemony Snicket (one of my employees called it trash unfit for children, and who am I to argue), so Rowling.

John Irving or John Updike? Updike.

Fiction or non-fiction? The last year or so it’s been non-fiction. One of these days that pendulum will swing back the other way.

Historical biography or historical romance? Biography.

A few pages per sitting or finish at least a chapter? I generally try to finish two chapters, but the real determinant is when I fall asleep.

Short story or creative non-fiction essay? The short story.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”? Can I flip a coin?

Buy or borrow? Buy. If I borrow there’s a good chance I’ll forget to give it back.

Book reviews or word of mouth? Aren’t they the same thing?

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