A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

bookish in Beirut

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on February 23, 2007

My aunt, Intlxpatr, has tagged all her readers with a book meme. In general I am not a fan of tag (I can find plenty to write about on the streets of Beirut, all far more interesting posts than any about my own likes and dislikes), but … I love books. And I love my aunt :-).

Hardback or paperback? For traveling, I prefer paperback. For academic books I wish to keep forever, hardback.

Amazon or bricks and mortar? Amazon’s used book sellers, although I often find good books on Ebay and sometimes even on walmart.com. I use allbookstores.com as my trawler. And yes, in the US I am a major 1/2 Price Books patron. In fact, I stocked up on plane reads at the one in Seattle (“our” store) before I came to Beirut in January. We are all bookish in our family – even my grandmother braved the icy roads (and my driving) to come along in search of her own treasures.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? Mmmm … Amazon, again, although I do like the sales racks at both stores. Barnes & Noble carries Crane’s stationery, and when they have a sale, there are wonderful treasures to be found.

Bookmark or dog-ear? I used to dog-ear, especially books I was presenting or writing on. But usually I bookmark with whatever’s to hand, and often forget to remove the mark when done. My books are littered with airplane tickets and other detritus. (For this reason I have had to stop marking my pages with dollars and other currency notes :-)!)

Alphabetize by author, by title, or random? Hmm. Most of my books are in storage, but I used to have them filed by author, regardless of subject, with a separate section for fiction. Fiction was filed by size – my New York apartment was too small to permit anything more logical.

Keep, throw away, or sell? Fiction: I give my books away, except for a very few (10%? 20%) I keep. If a book involves me to the extent that I cry over it, I keep it. Non-fiction: I keep, even if it is bad. Bad books provide good examples, too.

Keep dust jacket or toss it? I’ve never really considered this before. I think I keep it, unless it has torn.

Read with dust jacket or remove it? Again, I haven’t thought this out consciously. Looking at the books I have here, I would say that I read with it on, and keep it on.

Short story or novel? Novel. Short stories drive me nuts.

Collection or anthology? I choose option 3: the novel. I object to short anything – too much emotional investment for too little return.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Where are the questions about Middle East authors …?

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? I try to stop at chapter breaks, because it makes returning to the book easier.

‘It was a dark and stormy night’ or ‘Once upon a time’? I prefer contemporary fiction, but if the second option is a historical monograph, I choose it.

Buy or borrow? Buy. I only borrow under duress – I worry that I will ruin the book and be ashamed to return it.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation, or browse? All three :-).

Tidy ending or cliffhanger? Is there a third option? I don’t like endings that are too tidy, but I want some resolution.

Morning, afternoon, or night-time reading? Afternoon or night-time. Mornings I am too anxious about being productive to want to read.

Standalone or series? Both.

Favorite series? Hmmm. I don’t have one, so perhaps I prefer standalones after all :-).


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