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Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Wonderland Burlesque's Whatcha Reading? Quiz

Wonderland Burlesque's
Whatcha Reading? Quiz

Books. I can't imagine life without them. The older I get, the more I enjoy curling up with and losing myself in a good book. Hell, it doesn't even have to be that good. I simply enjoy reading. 

Over the years, my relationship to books has changed. I used to view them as something that, simply by owning them, granted one wisdom of a sort. 

But now, I view them as living things. And temporary - in my life, out my life. The experience of reading them has become way more important than owning and collecting them.

How about you? What's on your shelves these days?

1/ Do you collect books? About how many books are currently in your home (cook books count!)?

I used to. And I stopped. Moving to L.A. meant letting go of all of that. And... I don't miss them. I liked having them. I love libraries and the printed page, but I don't need to own a library nor do I need that amount of stuff in my life. 

Now, I do one of four things with books after I've read them: I keep, but only if I adore or are part of something I am collecting, donate to a used-a-bit charity, drop off at the little libraries that dot the neighborhood (if appropriate), or give to a specific person, if I think they will enjoy it. I don't keep very many, although I do have quite a backlog of things to read.

Guesstimate? Only 150. 

And they're fairly diverse. I actually have a number of very old books... odd things that catch my attention: weird children's books, those old 3-D nature books from the 1930's, that sort of thing. Otherwise, they run the gamut of fiction and non-fiction.

2/ Do you prefer hard covers or paperbacks? Why? 

I have both, but prefer hard cover books. They feel more substantial and the print is generally larger. I rather like large print print books. I'm a very slow reader. 

Also, paperbacks get damaged easily and I avoid those really thick ones; too difficult to hold. 

3/ Do you read suspense novels? Favorite authors / titles?

Not really. I have read some. Stephen King, of course. But I find his books to be rather adolescent and in serious need of editing. Tried reading Dean Koontz, and I became nauseated - not because of the subject material, but because the way puts words on the page literally, not figuratively, made me want to throw up. I'm not sure what that is called. James Patterson quickly became a joke. Agatha Christie... I do have several of hers and I adore them. But Cornell, Brown, Follet, Roberts, et. al? Not for me. 

Daphne Du Maurier, however...

4/ Romance novels? Favorite authors / titles?

No. Bosom-heavers are not for me. 

However... I have recently gotten into reading gay pulp fiction from the golden era, 1955-1975. And I do believe they qualify as romance novels. They do have sex in them, but their stories seem to be more  about longing for a relationship. 

When I was in L.A., a woman I worked with kept insisting I read E. Lynn Harris books. I got into them, although I couldn't figure out whose reality they actually represented. Lots of downlow action. I suspect, as with all romance authors, there is a lot of wish-fulfillment involved? But sexy? Oh, yeah. They that.

5/ Modern, character-driven dramas/comedies? Favorite authors / titles?

My weakness. 

Authors: Anne Tyler, Sue Miller, Fay Weldon.

I love everything they've written. It's weird. There was a period when I was a bit obsessed with them. 

Suggested titles: The Hearts and Lives of Men - Fay Weldon, While I Was Gone - Sue Miller, Family Pictures - Sue Miller, The Clock Winder - Anne Tyler, The Ladder of Years - Anne Tyler.

There's something about capturing small moments in life... those miniscule pivots of the mind that shape our destinies. 

That said... these authors have a tendency to write exclusively about very privileged white people (although Fay loves a good underdog story) and that is something that I have little patience for these days. 

Amy Tan also does a lovely job of this.

6/ The classics? Favorite authors / titles?

Another weakness. For years, I would collect them, but never read them. 

Now, I'm reading them. I challenge myself. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf? Yes. Challenge accepted and met - just recently.

I love Dickens. Bronte, Wharton, Carroll, Albee, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Hawthorne, James... I am probably leaving someone out... but am too lazy to get up and look at my book shelves. 

I really need to branch out. I'm very Caucasian-centric. Is that because that's what we were taught in school?

7/ Biographies/Auto-Biographies? Favorite subjects / titles?

Oh, yes. Adore. 

I prefer biographies to auto-biographies. Auto-biographies frequently strike me as self-serving and terribly biased. People have a need to be liked and viewed as a good person. Also, people tend to have blind spots about themselves. 

Biographies have a better chance at giving you the whole picture. A favorite? Lee Israel's Miss Tallulah Bankhead. I want the good, the bad and the ugly. I want to know what made them tick. 

Most people are too un-self aware to write about themselves. Their egos prevent them from showing you their flaws. 

8/ A type of book not mentioned? Favorite authors / titles?

I don't read fantasy stuff or science fiction. When I was younger, yes. But no, I have no interest in Harry Potter, or classic sci-fi, now.

Non-fiction. I have a lot of non-fiction. I like books about album covers and how they were designed. Well, design, in general, I guess. And history.  Music history. And Greek and Roman mythology.  

I also collect a few cartoonists. Berkley Breathed and Bill Watterson, primarily. 

I love children's books. The big ones for young ones. Ian Falconer's Olivia is a favorite. I also read young-adult fiction... Judy Blume, is an example. Judy. Hit and miss. Her adult novels are rather terrible, her children's stuff - dreadful, but her young-adult stuff? Very likable. 

One thing that has happened during the pandemic? I take Hercules - the dog, for walks. We pass by these little libraries people have out in front of their houses. I drop stuff off, I pick something up. It has exposed me to black female writers and I have been getting into them. Toni Morrison, of course - she reads like poetry. But April Sinclair, for example, offers a different perspective, and I appreciate her honesty.  

9/ Do you own a Kindle or similar device and download books? Do you like it? 

My sister gave me one of her old ones this holiday season. I had been reluctant to embrace the technology because I love books... the paper, the smell, the weight. 

However, I accepted her offer because it was one of the ways that I could download classic gay pulp fiction. And I have been... and I love it. It's so easy. To read. Pages fly by. And, I am getting to read something that I'm currently writing about, so... that's amazing, as it feels of the moment. 

So, thumbs up. I look forward to taking it to the prairie this summer, since I hate taking books with me, as I hate risking damaging them. 

10/ Have you ever 'permanently borrowed' a book (from a friend, library, or other)?

I am on record, on this site, as a book thief, but from institutions... never individuals. 

I once lent a woman my Stephen Sondheim collection - over a dozen albums - some were, at that time, out of print, and never saw them again. It taught be about the importance of returning things others entrust you with. 

Also, I haven't stolen a book since I was in my twenties. The karma? The guilt? Not worth it. Also, I found that I tended to never actually read any book I stole. 

Ironic karma.

Live. Learn.

--- ---

Okay, that's enough about me. I'm sure I left something out, but... good enough.

Your turn. Share your answers in the comments section. I love getting to know you. 

Thanks for reading.

I Could Write A Book - Dinah Washington

 Wrapped Up In Books - Belle and Sebastian


Xersex said...

sure I love to read!

Bob said...

1/ Do you collect books? About how many books are currently in your home (cookbooks count!)?
I rarely get rid of a book I buy, unless, perhaps, it’s a paperback. So, between my books and Carlos’ books and then our books. I’d say over 300. I find it hard to part with a book I’ve read, unless I found it so awful that I know I’d never read it again, and that seldom happens.

2/ Do you prefer hard covers or paperbacks? Why?
I like hardback books because there is a sense of permanence in them.

3/ Do you read suspense novels? Favorite authors / titles?
I used to read a lot of Stephen King, in the early years, but then I found his books to be just too much; it was like he felt the book would be better if it was over 800 pages and when you’re skipping ahead in books, then you aren’t interested. Still, It and The Stand, ‘Salem’s Lot are some of my favorites. I read a lot of Anne Rice Lestat books, and even some of the Witches of Mayfair books, but, again, it got to be the same old things told with different names to me. I’ve read some Caleb Carr books, The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness; police procedurals, if you will, from the 1890s. I like the mystery of them, and the history of NYC in them.

4/ Romance novels? Favorite authors / titles?
Gay romance, perhaps, though I can’t think of any, other than those old paperbacks read under the covers with a flashlight.

5/ Modern, character-driven dramas/comedies? Favorite authors / titles?
I like books with humor, where the characters are funny and quirky. Books by the late Bob Smith, a gay comedian who wrote of his life and coming out, was quite funny. My weakness. I like David Leavitt, Stephen McCauley, Doug Guinan, Frank DeCaro, and Have You Heard by Anderson Ferrell. All of Maupin’s books.

6/ The classics? Favorite authors / titles?
I recently began putting some of the classics on the bookshelf because many of them I’d never read. I also love Mrs. Dalloway partly because of the challenge, but then there’s Rabbit by Updike, Ragtime EL Doctorow and The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood, EM Forster.

7/ Biographies/Auto-Biographies? Favorite subjects / titles?
Yes. I have read many; Me and My Shadows by Lorna Luft, about Judy; Not the Girl Next Door, about Joan Crawford; several about Bette Davis; Kate Mulgrew’s Born with Teeth; My Trip Down the Pink Carpet by Leslie Jordan; Patti LuPone. Becoming. Home Work by Julie Andrews, Call Her Miss Ross about Diana Ross, and Secrets of the Sparrow by Diana Ross. I have a couple of books about two of my favorite movies: All About All About Eve and On Sunset Blvd. which detail the origins of the films through the making of the films and their effect on film.

8/ A type of book not mentioned? Favorite authors / titles?
I read a lot of non-fiction; right now, I have Obama’s A Promised Land, Pete Buttigieg’s Trust and Chasten Buttigieg’s I Have Something To Tell You; I like In the Spirit of Crazy Horse about America’s treatment of Native People’ Parting The Waters, about the Civil Rights movement; histories of NYC; The people’s History of the United States, a largely un-whitewashed history.

9/ Do you own a Kindle or similar device and download books? Do you like it?
I do not. I had one, years ago, but I like holding a book and turning pages; I like the smell of a new book.

10/ Have you ever 'permanently borrowed' a book (from a friend, library, or other)?
I have not.

Hot guys said...

That 1st photo is... quite somethin'! 🖤🤍🖤🤍

Then again, so are some others in here! 😏

Jimmy said...

My house looks like the back room of a used book store. But, I don't read. My husband reads two or three books at a time.. When there were no flat surfaces left in the house I bought him a Kindle. My house still looks like a college dorm room. At present ,I'm surrounded by lesbian books from the Stonewall Library.

whkattk said...

I've always been a reader.
1. I do. An estimate only: probably between 150 - 200. I don't keep everything I buy and read, though.
2. Hard cover. There a sense of permanence to them.
3. I do. I have quite eclectic taste - I'll even read a film script.
4. Mmm. A few. If they come recommended.
5. - - -
6. Dickens, Tolkein, Steinbeck
7. Yep. Whoopi's is my favorite. Followed by Carl Riener.
8. Yep. Tolkien, of course. The Foundation Trilogy, 2001, 2010, 2060...
9. I do. Kindle and a Fire tablet. i prefer a printed book in my hands. Sadly, the M.D. is getting to th epoint where it's too difficult to hold a book for very long.
10. Nope. Can't say I have. I loaned some stage scripts to a friend and never saw them again. A couple years ago, I donated my collection of scripts to a local theater.

Mistress Maddie said...

Is that a young picture of my daddy husband in my head Terry Miller in the first picture???

Do you collect books? About how many books are currently in your home? Don't collect books. I have about 40 books. I only keep books that are really really good or coffeetable books. Something I will read again. Most books go to others, a book donation, or the Little Free Library in the park up the street from my place.

Do you prefer hard covers or paperbacks? Why? I prefer hardbound but doesn't really matter. But if a classic story or work I love a hardbound. A beautiful book.

To save the next questions I mostly only like Agatha Christie type mysteries and auto biographies second, followed by campy gay novel stories third, with a bit of gay naughty stories. A enjoy classic too.No romance. Give me a good bio of a drag queen and I'm in heaven. Im currently reading the bio of Holly Woodlawn.

Do you own a Kindle or similar device and download books? Do you like it? Nope...prefer the feel of a book.

Have you ever 'permanently borrowed' a book (from a friend, library, or other)? I cant say I have. And I'd feel terrible not returning a book to a library.

SickoRicko said...

I used to read science fiction quite often, but not any more. It's science mags these days.

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

That's Terry Miller in that first photo. He's the spokesperson for Tom of Finland. Yum.
Ok, here we go:
I have around one hundred books. When I moved several years ago I gave them all to the LGBTQ group at the local university and to the little tiny library in the block.
I prefer hardcovers but I have a ton of paperbacks. They've been all gifts.
I love suspense and the usual suspects: King, Patterson, Brown. And I love bodice rippers! Especially the gay ones. E.Lynn Harris is good! Huntley feeds my addiction by sending me short stories via links. BTW that silver Fox daddy reading in bed looks just like Huntley! LMAOOO
Comedy/humor I love Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris. I think that tells you I like memoirs more than biographies.
The classics? Wilde, Woolf, Brönte.
I love fantasy and sci-fi. Love them. Especially queer fantasy. I loved Harry Potter and everything YA that came after that. Hunger Games, Beautiful Creatures, the works.
I don't own a Kindle but have the app in my iPad. I read there, especially when traveling. When at home, I read from books.
I have not 'permanently borrowed' books. Ever. I don't know why. I have no scruples when it comes to other things...


anne marie in philly said...

1 - IDK, about 500?

2 - both

3 & 4 & 5 - HELL NO

6 - "catcher in the rye", "gone with the wind", a christmas carol"

7 - historical figures (eleanor roosevelt), entertainment (lena horne), heroes (mister rogers), newsmakers (edward r murrow)

8 - knitting, railroads, baseball, philly history

9 & 10 - no