A to Z Survey, Literature Edition

In my meanderings through the Internet, I found this made-for-social-media survey. It looked fun, so let’s dive right in, flotation device be damned.

Author you’ve read the most books from: Sinclair Lewis. Fantastic all-around writer: sizzling dialogue, “no sacred cows” satire, strong narration. Attacked middle-class values with gleeful precision. I also like the guy because he’s become an underdog, a symbol of how foolish the Literary Caretakers can be. After achieving immense success in the early 20th century (especially the 1920s), Lewis has been all but erased from The Canon. I haven’t heard him mentioned in any course I’ve ever taken – but hey, why read Lewis when you can read “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” for the hundredth time in a lit class!

Fun Fact: Lewis was the first American to win the Novel Prize in Literature. His acceptance speech is a wonderfully scathing analysis of American letters at that time.

Best Sequel Ever: The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Really, is there any other answer? The Hobbit spawned the greatest epic fantasy saga of all time.

Currently Reading: Soon I will be Invincible by Austin Grossman, some writing guides, some comic books, and the county newspaper, which thinks Trump is a God-Emperor and hollers that we should ban all Muslims.

Drink of Choice While Reading: Drinking while reading? What nonsense is this? How can you concentrate on the book when you’re sipping some sort of liquid every five seconds?

E-reader or Physical Book? Sorry trees – paper all the way.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: Probably Arya Stark, though I don’t know if she’s high school age yet in George R.R. Martin’s million-book series – been a while since I’ve been in Westeros. Other guys can have the Sansa Starks, the equivalent of today’s Instagram princesses – I’ll take spunkiness.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Shooting at Loons by Margaret Maron. Picked it up mainly because the action takes place in the Crystal Coast area where I live. Maron does a good job portraying the commercial fishing lifestyle, including the clashes with tourists (or “dingbatters”) and the government.

Hidden Gem Book: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Not really a hidden gem – more like a cult classic. Put this post-modern tome on your reading list – NOW. Nothing I’ve ever read matches it for complexity and sheer “holy shit how did someone come up with this” awesomeness.

Important Moment in your Reading Life: During high school, I only read comic books and Sports Illustrated for leisure. “Real” books didn’t appeal to me, mainly because they weren’t cool, like anything else that had the barest hint of intellectualism.

Then at some point in my early twenties, I picked up The Rule of Four by Dustin Thomason and Ian Caldwell. Looking back, I know it was just a bad Da Vinci Code knock-off, but at the time (being the inexperienced reader I was) I thought it was the most incredible story ever told. It jump-started my interest in reading, and for that I’m grateful.

Just Finished: Various comic books. Noteworthy is Top 10 by the masterful Alan Moore. (A cover from the series is the featured image for this post.)

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: No erotica, romance, or young adult.

Longest Book You’ve Read: Hard to say. House of Leaves (mentioned above) is pretty thick. I’ll go with that.

Major book hangover because of: As with alcohol, I consume books in moderation, so I usually avoid hangovers.

Number of Bookcases You Own: Zero. Gasp! Yes, it’s true. I just stack ’em on the floor or in boxes. I’ve moved so much that I’ve culled any extraneous furniture from my life.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke. For hard sci-fi that still invokes wonder, it’s hard to beat this book. Fast-paced, tightly written, and with one of the most clever – and inevitable – endings of all time.

Preferred Place To Read: Lying down in bed. I don’t read very well in sitting or upright positions.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: “They were both at such an age that they stood on a cusp. They could think in one part of their minds that their whole lives stretched out before them without boundary or limit. At the same time another part guessed that youth was about over for them and what lay ahead was another country entirely, wherein the possibilities narrowed down moment by moment.” – Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.

Reading Regret: I’m a slow reader – I don’t skim. Others can dispatch a novel in a day or two while I’m still plodding along. I’d like to think my careful reading style means I absorb more of the book, but that’s probably just a lie I’m telling myself.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series): All of Frank Herbert’s Dune books. The first one is a classic that I’ve read several times, but I’ve missed the others for some reason.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books: Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

Unapologetic Fanboy For: Alan Moore. The guy has more creativity in the cuticle of his pinkie finger than the entire comic book industry combined. My frugality has prevented me from reading all of his stuff, but once I’m a successful indie author making millions of dollars, I’ll rectify that.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: I don’t know? I don’t get excited about book releases, since anything I buy or pick up from the library is going to get dropped into a mile-long reading queue.

Worst Bookish Habit: Editing a book as I read. As a writer, engaging with a work like this is immensely helpful, but sometimes I just want to relax and let the story carry me away.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: I already told you I don’t have a bookshelf!

Your latest book purchase: Dane Curse (Black Cape Case Files Book 1) by Matt Abraham. Read my review here.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): I usually read books during the daytime, not at night. In the evenings, I’m writing, polishing my Author Platform, Netflixing, watching silly YouTube videos, etc.

Anyone else want to take a shot at this, in full or in part? Respond below, or blog it, or use whatever method your heart desires.

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