Rapid Fire Book Tag

So I’ve never done a tag before, and I don’t know how often I might decide to pick up on one, but the Rapid Fire Book Tag is one that is always fun for me to look at answers to–it’s so interesting to compare your own answers to such quick and easy questions and it’s just a fun way to start a conversation–or at least a thought bubble–about books. I haven’t actually been tagged for this, but I wanted to try it anyway. Also, I’ve seen this done so many times in so many places and with such different credit given that I’m not even sure where credit is due. If you know where this tag originated, please mention the creator in the comments below so I give credit.

And now, for some bookish questions!

E-book or physical book?

Definitely physical book. I’m a tactile person. I like to turn real pages and see my progress and carry the weight of fictional lives around in my hands.

Paperback or Hardback?

This one’s a toss-up. Aesthetically, on an individual book level, I would have to say hardback. But for reading convenience, and for shelf appeal, paperback (I love the flat spines lined up together better than the curve of dust jacket spines). Also, paperbacks are generally cheaper, and I would rather buy multiple paperbacks than one beautiful hardback. It usually just comes down to whatever I can find cheaply. It’s nice to have a matching set, but it really doesn’t bother me to have every book in a series or by the same author in different formats. I like a little chaos on my bookshelves.

Online or In-store Book Shopping?

In store, preferably. Again, I’m a tactile person. But I live in an area where I don’t have a bookstore nearby, so I make sure I always stop when I’m close even just to browse the shelves–I like to look at the choices in person, and then if I’m sure I want a book, I’m fine with ordering it online if I know it’ll be cheaper that way. Either way, it doesn’t feel real until it’s in my hands.

Trilogies or Series?

Trilogies tend to have a similar sort of tension arc that can be very pleasing if it’s what I’m in the mood for, and they certainly feel less overwhelming than jumping into an ongoing series that has eight long books already published; but if the world is built well and the characters are dynamic, I want those extra books that a series offers. I like short stories, and I like long stories. As long as the page count matches the tension of its unique tale, I’ll read any length of content.

Heroes or Villains?

Both. I don’t believe either can exist without the other. If a villain isn’t crafted well, I won’t think as highly of the hero for besting him/her. On the other hand, if the hero is bland, it’s much more fun siding with the villain! Whichever way a character leans, he/she needs to be as layered as an onion, and I often find that villains better fit this requirement. A recent discovery of favorite book types is the sort in which the protagonist is the villain. Some complicated emotions stem from rooting for the bad guy.

A Book I Want Everyone to Read?

This is so hard. I used to recommend my favorites to everyone that would listen without taking into account that not everyone is a teenage girl and even if they are they don’t necessarily have the same tastes. Now I’m super aware of varied opinions and I hesitate to make flat recommendations. But I’ll try. I recently read Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and I think this short novel is an important read for almost every reader. There are graphics. The chapters are short, but the messages are huge. There’s humor and tragedy and a whole lot of lessons about adversity. It’s fun and it packs a punch. If you’re alive, you should probably read it.

Recommend an Underrated Book?

You by Caroline Kepnes. This is definitely an adult book, but it’s so unique and compelling I just can’t get enough of this series and I am waiting so impatiently for there to be another novel published. This one’s slowly been gaining popularity, I think, but I never see it mentioned as much as I would like. I think it’s so fascinating to be following the bad guy of the story and wanting him to win. Morally gray characters are great. The main character of You completely creeps me out and I would never ever in a million years want to meet him, but I also kind of really want him to get away with his crimes and find love and keep being creepy.

The Last Book I Finished?

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I liked it a lot. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what I liked at first, but I couldn’t put the book down and then suddenly it was 3 am, so I guess that’s a good sign. I’ll be posting a complete review within a week.

The Last Book I Bought?

Hmm. Well. The last books I bought were actually a Book Outlet order of seven books. I think the last one I took out of the box was The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld. I ordered my Book of the Month Club book since then, but technically that was a gift subscription so I didn’t pay for it, but I suppose I could have skipped the month and I chose to spend a month of the gift, so maybe it counts? That book was Lucky You by Erika Carter, which is an exclusive BOTM book until its official publication in mid-March.

Weirdest Thing I’ve Used as a Bookmark?

I mostly use assorted small pieces of paper, and I don’t think that’s unusual. But one time in my eighth grade “Life Skills” class I had to sew a pillow and then I had time to spare so I sewed a bookmark out of fabric scraps. I did actually use it, and I do actually still have it.

Used Books: Yes or No?

Well, I don’t have a lot of choice on this one. In college I bought a lot of used books, including novels for English classes, and as long as they were in a reasonable condition it didn’t really bother me. I’ve even gotten a couple of signed books by shopping used. Also I have book hand-me-downs that were used by friends or family members before they came to live on my shelves, and that’s fine with me too. So yeah, I guess I can get behind used books. It would be sad to waste them. But I don’t have a good store around that sells used books, and I do like to look at what sort of condition they’re in before buying, so I don’t often have the chance to pick them up.

Top Three Favorite Genres?

Literary fiction. I like really introspective looks at characters and morals and seeing something realistic spun out in an elaborate way that just feels so plausible. These books feel most real, like fiction that could step out of the book into my own world.

Thriller. These get all the emotions going, and really fast. I never know which way a thriller is going to lean (other than the threat of death is often involved. I need a break from all those death threats, so I can’t read thrillers back to back to back, but I do come back to them often); but wherever it’s going, it’s going to get there fast. These books are totally immersive for me, and I have a lot of fun guessing what’s coming.

Fantasy. Sometimes I need a complete escape, and the best way to do that is to leave the modern world entirely. Fantasy books are full of new possibilities and ideas that stretch the mind. So it’s exercise, right?

Borrow or Buy?

I want to say buy, because I love having full bookshelves of my own books to choose from, but honestly I can have a hundred unread books on my shelf and I will still check out books from the library and pester my friends into loaning me great books they’ve read lately. I can read books I own anytime, and that’s a wonderful option, but…often “anytime” gets pushed back and back while I read borrowed books.

Characters or Plot?

Characters. Don’t get me wrong, a strong plot is important, but I think if characters are written well enough I’d read their everyday lives even without any sort of linear plot. Learning about great characters is plot enough–no well-written character has a boring backstory.

Long or Short Books?

Long books. I do sometimes like being able to read a book in one sitting, or even just in a few sittings throughout a single day, but I like to be able to keep going when I like a book. Flash fiction and poetry are cool, and often very powerful because  know it takes a special kind of skill to make something that short contain a full and engaging narrative or moral, but there’s nothing quite as satisfying as sitting down with a huge, heavy book and just living inside it for a week or two. What is food? Who needs sleep? Just one more chapter…

Long or Short Chapters?

Short chapters. I can’t resist chapter ends, or chapter beginnings, so I want lots of them. It’s hard for me to quit reading between chapters. The pages practically turn themselves in a book full of short chapters. That said, I hate it when a chapter ends in the middle of the action, or a conversation, or an observation. I don’t want it to be forced–if the section isn’t really over, I’d rather read a little longer than pick up a book at the beginning of a chapter and have to go back to remember the first half of the conversation that was cut off by the chapter break.

Name the First Three Books I Think of?

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown, because I’m super anticipating it’s release later in 2017.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, because it’s been at the top of my TBR for months and I’m finally getting around to it.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas because after reading A Court of Mist and Fury I’m seriously considering starting her other series.

Books that Make Me Laugh or Cry?

Books that make me laugh. I think sad and tragic stories are important, too, and I do read them, but I rarely actually cry over them. I can keep the sobs contained on the inside. But I can’t always stop myself from laughing out loud while I’m reading, and really that’s just so much more enjoyable than crying. I don’t seek out books full of humor, but I love unexpectedly laughable situations and characters. If I’m reading along in a regular book that I don’t expect much humor from, it’s great to end up laughing out loud. Even just a chuckle. I like books to surprise me, even in emotions. Sad stories usually have so much build-up you just know the beloved character is going to die, and then it’s predictable. Laughter is spontaneous.

Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Our world, or a warped version of it. I do like high fantasy, as well, and all sorts of magical worlds, but part of the appeal of fiction for me is to see something that already exists in a different light. I mean, if I love a book set in New York, I can go there and look at the same landmarks mentioned in the story and feel more connected to the parallel world of that fiction. I can’t visit a continent that doesn’t exist. Again, I’m a tactile person. If I really love a story, I want something to hold on to it by, and I haven’t yet managed to catch a faerie.

Audiobooks: Yes or No?

No. I’m glad that they exist, but I don’t use them. I like the idea of audiobooks, and I like multi-tasking. It would be nice to be able to read and drive, which audiobooks would allow, but I just don’t connect to the words as much when someone else is reading them. I have to see them on the page and be able to go at my own pace, to pause for thought, or reread segments that strike me, etc. Also I don’t like the outside influences of voices for characters. I want to be able to build them in my head, and often a voice can get in the way of that.

Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

Yes. I won’t buy a book just because it’s beautiful, but if I’m really drawn to a cover I’ll be more likely to look into what it’s about and decide if it’s something that interests me. On the other hand, if I think a book has a really bad cover, I might still read it from the library, but I probably won’t buy it if I don’t like looking at it.

Book to Movie or Book to TV adaptations?

Book to TV. Generally I like TV shows better than movies–characters are very important to me in any story, and I love the development that a good TV show can give a character. Also, episodes are a more manageable size than movies, but all put together they go on and on and on, so the story is much longer but you don’t have to sit through it all at once. Or, you know, if you’re in a binge mood, you can. Wait, what day is this? How long have I been watching Outlander?

Series or Stand-Alones?

Depends on my mood. If I’ve been looking through my TBR and feeling overwhelmed about all the books still unread, it’s more satisfying to knock out a few stand-alones than one series (I only add the first book of a series to my TBR so I don’t feel like I have to read them all for any reason if I don’t like the beginning). But I also love to venture so far into fictional worlds that it’s hard to find my way back, and that’s much more likely in a series that goes on and on.

And that’s the end of the Rapid Fire Book Tag! Since no one specific tagged me for this one, I won’t tag anyone specific either–but like I mentioned at the beginning, I love to see other people’s answers, so if you’re inspired and want to share, consider yourself tagged! Make sure you add the link in the comments below or tag me to look at your post, because I would love to see more rapid fire responses. Tell me about your reading habits!

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

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