Monday, 30 January 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Emily Gee

1. Your childhood favourite
Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree books and her boarding school stories, and the Biggles books by Capt W.E. Johns. I still have all my old copies – boxes of them – and reread them from time to time because I love them so much!

2. Your current favourite

Most of my favourites have been favourites for years, like The Magicians of Caprona, by Diana Wynne Jones, and Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer, and A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold, and Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie.

3. Your top five authors

Georgette Heyer (Regency and Georgian novels)
Lois McMaster Bujold (Vorkosigan series)
Jennifer Crusie
Diana Wynne Jones (Chrestomanci books)
My father, Maurice Gee

4. Book(s) you’re reading now

I’m rereading a number of Georgette Heyer’s regencies. Also have just started A Short History Of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to read

I can’t think of one. I used to read every book I started, even if I didn’t like it; now I stop reading if a book doesn’t grab me.

6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. 

7. Book you’re a champion for

Welcome To Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. I keep telling my friends to read it, but not everyone gets the humour and loves it as much as I do.

8. Book that changed your life

The Naughtiest Girl In The School, by Enid Blyton. I was given this at age 7. Until then reading had been a chore, but once I read this book I was hooked and became a voracious reader!

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time

A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold and Welcome To Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. Both are fabulous – clever and funny and just plain brilliant.

10. Book you turn to for comfort 

Anything by my favourite authors.

11. Favourite line from a book

I absolutely love the final lines of The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer:

‘Charles!’ uttered Sophy, shocked. ‘You cannot love me!’
Mr Rivenhall pulled the door to behind them, and in a very rough fashion jerked her into his arms, and kissed her. ‘I don’t: I dislike you excessively!’ 

(If you haven’t read The Grand Sophy, read it – it’s fabulous fun!)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Michela D'Orlando

1. Your childhood favourite
Fairy tales! I still complain about the fact that books for grown-ups don’t have illustrations. The ugly duckling is still my favourite classic fairy tale. Later on, to be honest there was never enough action in books for kids. I liked fights and strong heroines, but all that was available to me as a kid in elementary school were the various Pollyannas and Little Women and I didn’t like those stories at all. But at around 12 I fell in love with Homer, Virgil’s Aeneid and the epic poems of the Renaissance. My favourite reads were all about Greek mythology, legends and heroes.

2. Your current favourite
I really like the wave of gritty heroic/epic fantasy out there, so Clash of Kings by George RR Martin, Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie and The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan are among my current favourites. Aside from fantasy, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.

3. Your top five authors
I tend to have favourite books more than favourite authors and, except for the first two in the list, they change from time to time, but I’ll try:

Stephen King
Chuck Palahniuk
Joe Abercrombie
Richard Morgan

I want to add some ladies there... so many authors I haven’t read yet, or haven’t read enough and I plan to fill the gap as fast as I can!

4. Book(s) you’re reading now
I’m always reading at least four books at a time, usually more.
At the moment:

Catching Fire, Book 2 in the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, on your very welcome recommendation.

Roma Victrix by Russell Whitfield. I have a thing for warrior women, and this novel is about a female gladiator.

Legend by David Gemmell. For when I win the award...

Six Bad Things by Charlie Huston. Pulp-noire, and pulp is fun.

Last but not least, A Feast For Crows by George RR Martin.

5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to read
None since I’ve finished school a long time ago. In school, Pollyanna and Little Women for sure, and Verne’s Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. As any ten year old, I perfectly knew that the centre of the Earth couldn’t look like that. A very bad case of suspension of disbelief not working at all.

6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover
I can’t think of any. I get more lured by the story on the back cover and by the tags. I’ll admit, tag your book ‘gritty and bloody violent’ and I’m very likely to at least pick it up and check it out. I do love covers, though. There are so many beautiful ones out there, but I just like them as a form of art in itself. I buy the book only if I’m interested in the story.

7. Book you’re a champion for
If I have to pick one, that’d be the Iliad. If more than one I’ll add The Hobbit and, for more recent fiction, Fight Club.

8. Book that changed your life
Not a novel, but Nietzsche’s works that I read as a teenager. I didn’t embrace any one philosophy, but those readings really got me thinking and all that thinking set in motion some major changes in my life. As fiction goes, I’d say The Crystal Cave from Mary Stewart because it was the first epic fantasy book I read and I found it as exciting and intense as my beloved epic poems. It was about the Arthurian legend, told from Merlin’s point of view. It had swords, fights and magic and it marked the beginning of my love for fantasy books.

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time
The Hobbit

10. Book you turn to for comfort
Any novel that sets off my imagination, since escapism has always been my solace. But when I need comfort because it’s hard to write, I turn to On Writing by Stephen King.

11. Favourite line from a book
I have too many, lines stick in my head a lot!
OK, just two:

In Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, after beating a handsome guy’s face to a pulp, the narrator says: “I was in a mood to destroy something beautiful.”

And in A Clash Of Kings by George RR Martin, Jamie Lannister has one of my favourite lines ever. When told the world is a bad place because of men like him, he says: “There are no men like me. There’s only me.”

Thanks Dolly for having me, your blog rocks!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Mike Shevdon


1. Your childhood favourite
I know this isn't very politically correct, but for me the Enid Blyton Mysteries were a big part of my childhood reading. I had no connection with the characters - they were from another age - but that didn't matter. The freedoms they enjoyed and the adventures they experienced were everything. Nowadays they seem dated and culturally challenged, but at the time I devoured them. An early lesson - you can forgive much for a good story.

2. Your current favourite
Joe Abercrombie: The Blade Itself. 

I chose this book for a specific reason. I fell out of love with Fantasy. It had been a long affair and we had been through a lot together, but the relationship had become stale and repetitive and had nothing new to offer. It culminated with Robert Jordan's: Wheel of Time. Here was a Fantasy epic which had no perceivable end or even a plot. It had characters I cared about which I ceased to care about. It was the end.

Then I was on holiday in Greece and I'd read all the books I'd taken with me. I went to the hotel book exchange and swapped one of my books for one of the ones that had been left. It was The Blade Itself. I had no expectation that I would finish it, but most of the other books were in German. Two days later I had finished it and immediately got my son to read it. My love of Fantasy was alive and well, thanks to Joe.

3. Your top five authors
Neil Gaiman - Anything, but the Sandman series is an all-time favourite

Barbara Hambly - The Time of the Dark, the Rainbow Abyss, and many others

Alan Moore - Watchmen, V for Vendetta, etc.

Robert Crais - Start with The Monkey's Raincoat

Janet Evanovich - Any Stephanie Plum, beginning with One for the Money

4. Book(s) you’re reading now
Idries Shah: Darkest England - A re-read of the classic analysis of English Culture

Windows Server 2008, Administrator's Pocket Guide - Work related

Sizzling Sixteen, Janet Evanovich - Light read

Houses of Parliament, Pitkin Guide - Research

5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to read
Dickens. Seen and heard the play, watched the TV, never read the books.

6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover 
Keepers of the Kingdom, The Ancient Offices of Britain - for Mark Cator's cover photograph of the Queen's Remembrancer.

7. Book you’re a champion for
The Master and Margarita: Mikhail Bulgakov. The devil comes to Moscow during the Communist era, but no-one believes in him. What ensues is a multi-layered tapestry threaded through an urban fantasy, a critique of the soviet system, a potentially blasphemous account of the meeting between Pontius Pilate and Christ, vampires, witches and a host of other things. Every time I read it I discover something new.

8. Book that changed your life
Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere,  Adele Westbrook and Oscar Ratti

I began studying Aikido in 1982, and bought a number of books to try and enhance and explain what was being taught. This book, with Oscar Ratti's black ink illustrations of Aikido movements, brought alive for me what the techniques meant, and continued to enlighten me right through to black belt. It's a book worth reading even if you have no knowledge of martial arts. Its philosophy and depth of understanding set it apart from any other.

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time
Ursula le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

When I'd read The Hobbit and all of C S Lewis' Narnia books, I looked around for something to follow them. I bought and read everything I could find that was fantasy.  I went through Anne McCaffrey, Stephen Donaldson, and a host of other authors. I enjoyed them all, but they didn't satisfy, they only fed the hunger. I branched out into SF, finding much to like but still not finding anything to satisfy. 

Then I found A Wizard of Earthsea. Ursula le Guin wrote with such a simple transparent style, lucid and open, but with a wealth of meaning. It's still one of my all time favorite books. I bought Changing Planes recently and found myself wanting to read this book all over again.

10. Book you turn to for comfort 
Barbara Hambly is an American author and medieval historian. She has written many books, all of them good, but my favourite is a trilogy called The Time of the Dark. It's a classic fantasy tale of a couple of young Americans who get accidentally transported to another world where the society is under threat from an invasion of strange creatures from below ground. The creatures are one of the best and most convincing depictions of a non-human creature in genre fiction, and utterly convincing. You should read them for that alone.

The reason I read and re-read this book is because the story is totally immersive. I can almost feel numbing cold on the road with the refugees, almost taste the woodsmoke on the air. I can hear the chittering of the Dark as they slide silently between the trees. Wonderful writing, fabulous characters and a plot that delivers even when you know the twists and turns are coming.

11. Favourite line from a book
There are so many, but this is a particular favourite:

“She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.” ― Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Books Read 2012

As per this post, this year I am hoping to read 100 books. I started doing this challenge on the blog since July 2009, and I love it. Now that I see how enlightening it is to keep track of books I read, I can't believe I didn't do it before. So, this is where I will list the books I read this year. Feel free to share comments about any of the books here, or what you are reading. 

01. So Many Books, So Little Time - Sara Nelson - 14/01
02. Art of Forgetting (critique copy) - Joanne Hall - 21/01
03. Dead Reckoning - Charlaine Harris - 26/01
04. 1984 - George Orwell - 02/02
05. 279 Days to Overnight Success - Chris Guillebeau - 09/02
06. The World Domination Manifesto - Chris Guillebeau - 11/02
07. 18 Months, 2 Blogs, Six Figures - Corbett Barr - 12/02
08. Live Off Your Passion (lite) - Scott Dinsmore - 16/02
09. Four Hour Work Week - Tim Ferris - 18/02
10. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable - Seth Godin - 24/02

Monday, 16 January 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Kaitlyn K. Hall

1. Your childhood favouriteThe Little House on the Prairie series

2. Your current favouriteThe Wheel of Time series

3. Your top five authorsRobert Jordan, Terry Pratchett, Laurell K. Hamilton, Laurie Halse Anderson, Edgar Allen Poe

4. Book(s) you’re reading nowBetsy the Vampire Queen, A Grim Pact, From Where I Sit: Making my way with cerebral palsy

5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to readPretty much every required HS reading assignment I pretended to read, BS'd my way thru the work, then read later on on my own time and at my own pace. I pretty much did it to spite my teachers. I have issues with authority...

6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the coverI can honestly say that I don't think I've ever done that. I've bought new copies of books I've read or owned because they redid the cover art or and/or binding style, but I've never bought a book I've never read simply because I liked the cover.

7. Book you’re a champion forI get defensive about any books that go under fire. But the one I've gotten most riled up about has been The DaVinci Code. I love the book. It has amazing detail and thoughts, but IT IS A WORK OF FICTION. FICTION, people!!!

8. Book that changed your life3 of them. An Unquiet Mind, Speak, and The Book of Mormon.

9. Book you most want to read again for the first timeSpeak and An Unquiet Mind. Most definitely.

10. Book you turn to for comfortProbably my scriptures. Or Speak. Sometimes both.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Brooklyn Ann

1. Your childhood favourite
The Bunnicula books

2. Your current favourite
IT by Stephen King (I've read it 11 times so far.)

3. Your top five authors
Oooh, that's a tough one. Only five? ::sigh:: Stephen King, Eloisa James, Virginia Henley, JR Ward, and Alexandra Ripley

4. Book(s) you’re reading now

11-22-63 and a friend's fantasy novel that's freakin' awesome.

5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to read

Pretended? Besides the time a school photographer made me pose with an embarrassingly babyish book when I was 9, I've never "Pretended" to read a book. Either I keep reading or put it down. 

6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover

DESERT HEAT by Jamie De Bree, TIME OF THE TWINS by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and anything with a cat on it. 

7. Book you’re a champion for

PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follet. I think it's one of the greatest novels ever written.

8. Book that changed your life 

THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker.

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time

THE LONG WALK by Richard Bachman.

10.Book you turn to for comfort
All of Judith McNaught's regency romances. 

11. Favourite line from a book 

Okay I gotta do a serious one and a funny one: Serious: "I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice." THE COLOR PURPLE Funny: "The best part of you ran down your father's leg." IT

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Word Count Goal for 2012

I love word counts. Maybe because they look so neat and tidy on my spreadsheet, or maybe because they show visible progress on WIP. Maybe, also because they make it easier to set writing goals. 

Stories should not be driven by word count, of course. It is the story that matters, but for most of us regular folks, we need something to make us sit and write regularly and consistently enough to get that story out. For me, it's word  count goals. 

For 2012, I've decided to try an annual word count goal challenge. I'm hoping to write 250,000 words by 31st of December. 

The only condition is that this word count must be towards Book Projects. So blog posts, planning and outlining books, emails, letters, poetry - none of that counts. Just book projects. Reason for that is simple: I want to be a published author of books - so putting words towards that is what's going to achieve it. Not just words by themselves. 

I am not going to obsess over daily goals, or even monthly goals. I am going to focus on my books, and hopefully, that will get me there, because some writing periods are more intense than others. Still, 250K seems plausible. If you are interested, you can follow my progress through the word count progress bar at the right. 

What about you? How do you feel about word counts? Will you / do you have any word count goals for this year? 

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Juliet E. McKenna

Before I start, I should warn you that I find picking favourites in books pretty much impossible – in that if you ask me these same questions in a month’s time, you’re likely to get an entirely different set of answers, depending on mood, recollection, my current reading, work in progress and so on.

1. Your childhood favourite

Rosemary Sutcliffe – Warrior Scarlet

2. Your current favourite

Michael Connelly – The Fifth Witness – but only because this is the most recent by one of my favourite writers. As soon as one of the others has a new book out, chances are that’ll top the list.

3. Your top five authors

Kate Elliott, Val McDermid, Ellis Peters, Charles Stross, Kelley Armstrong, Joanne Harris, Robert Crais – oh, wait, I need to stop now, don’t I?

4. Book(s) you’re reading now

The Redeemed, M.R. Hall

5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to read

A couple of self-published efforts forced onto me which I don’t propose to identify. I skimmed first and last chapters, which proved beyond all doubt why no agent or editor had taken them.

6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover

I don’t honestly think there is one. A cover might get me to pick a book up but if the first page doesn’t grab me, it goes back on the shelf.

7. Book you’re a champion for

Farthing, Jo Walton.

8. Book that changed your life

The Horse & His Boy; the first Narnia book I read for myself, opening up vast worlds of imagination for me.

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time

The Lord of the Rings.

10. Book you turn to for comfort

Pretty much anything by Terry Pratchett (who should be on that top five list as well)

11. Favourite line from a book

'You're wizards!' she screamed. 'Bloody well wizz! ' Eskarina Smith in ‘Equal Rites’. (Since that last answer has me thinking ‘Discworld’ Ask that one again and there’ll be a different answer every time.)

Monday, 9 January 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Gareth L Powell

1. Your childhood favourite

I had many favourite books as a child. I was very fond of the Dragonfall 5 books by Brian Earnshaw, the Biggles books by Cpt WE Johns, Have Spacesuit Will Travel by Robert Heinlein, and Larry Niven's Ringworld Engineers. I also read 2000AD whenever I could, and I still have the 1979 2000AD annual on my bookshelves. However, the book I remember with most fondness is a book aimed at younger readers. The Bears Who Stayed Indoors by Susanna Gretz and Alison Sage, first published in 1971, is the story of four bears and their dog who, when forced by rain to stay indoors, play at being astronauts. As a young child (I'm thinking around 4 years old), I absolutely adored it. A quick search of Amazon shows that the book is still in print, and I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone with a little would-be astronaut in their life. 

2. Your current favourite

I have a different favourite book every week; but my all-time favourite will always be On The Road by Jack Kerouac. It's a vast, sprawling epic and a masterpiece of compelling narration, and I still rate it as my number one favourite book of all time. Every time I read it I see something new, and I'm struck again by the rhythm and poetry of the language, and the immediacy of Kerouac's descriptions. When he writes about sleeping on a hot car roof in the sticky jungle, and the soft rain of bugs falling on his skin, you're right there with him. I think Kerouac's a very misunderstood writer. People get caught up with the beatnik craziness, and they miss the sadness at the heart of the book: the unspeakable, inescapable loneliness of the American night.

3. Your top five authors

> Ernest Hemingway
> William Gibson
> M. John Harrison
> JG Ballard
> Philip K. Dick

4. Book(s) you’re reading now

I tend to read several books at once, and am currently in the midst of Cyber Circus by Kim Lakin-Smith, Gonzo by Jan Wenner and Corey Seymour, and Player One by Douglas Coupland.

5. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover 

I was fascinated by the covers to Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy. The first, Red Mars, showed spacesuited figures in a lifeless landscape of canyons and rock; the second, Green Mars, depicted an airship flying over the same terrain, except now there was snow in the valley and green shoots between the boulders; and the final cover had a coastal town, pine trees and a schooner sailing a blue inlet at the foot of a red mountain. The transformation was startling, and promised an epic tale unfolding over time - which I'm glad to say the books within delivered.

6. Book that changed your life

I think the book that most shaped my development as a writer has to be William Gibson's Burning Chrome. Until I read it, I was still immersed in the old school fiction of Niven, Clarke and Heinlein, with its unshakeable faith in a rational, technological and largely American future. Gibson showed me something else. His stories felt more immediate and real. They were gritty and dangerous, but the lowlife grifters that peopled them were more believeable than the traditional "scientist as hero" types I had been used to, and the stories were written in a hardboiled, pared-down argot that wasted not one word. It was a revelation and a masterclass all rolled into one.

7. Book you most want to read again for the first time

I loved Douglas Coupland's Generation X. I read it at university, in my early twenties, and it was like a postcard from the other side of the world saying: "Don't despair. We are here, and we understand how you feel." The three main characters shared the same aimless, post-cynical weltanschauung that I saw in the faces of my friends. It seemed to be the first book I'd ever read about *us*. I'd love to read it again for the first time, to feel that thrill of recognition; but also, now I am in my forties, I'm sure it would also have a new nostalgic element that just wasn't yet there two decades ago.

8. Book you turn to for comfort 

When I want the comfort of a familiar book, I often turn to Kerouac or Coupland. Other favourites include: "e" by Matt Beaumont, which is a hilarious book for anyone who's ever worked in a large coporation, especially in marketing and PR, as I have; Nova by Samuel Delany; The Stone Canal by Ken MacLeod; Gateway by Frederik Pohl; and Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan. As my reading time is usually limited, I tend to go for short books. I love long epic trilogies, such as the aforementioned Mars books by Kim Stanley Robinson, but its hard to justify the time to go back and spend a couple of months re-reading them when I have so many new books clamouring for my attention.

9. Favourite line from a book

Not so much a line as a passage, I would like the final speech from Olaf Stapledon's Last And First Men read at my funeral. It's a masterful summation of human ambition and frailty, a view of mankind's place in the universe, and a calm acceptance of its eventual extinction. It begins: "Great are the stars, and man is of no account to them." and finishes, "It is very good to have been man. And so we may go forward together with laughter in our hearts, and peace, thankful for the past, and for our own courage. For we shall make after all a fair conclusion to this brief music that is man."

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - José Kilbride

1. Your childhood favourite
I think The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier is probably one of my favourite childhood books, a more profoundly moving piece of children's fiction I have yet to read. Based on fact, it follows the journey of the Balicki children as they journey through war-time Europe searching for their family. Brilliant.

2. Your current favourite
This is a difficult one to answer as there are so many I really do love. I think my current one, of the moment anyway, is The Crippled God by Steven Erikson, final book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. A more fitting end to such a vast, sprawling, complex, intense, humorous and detailed series you will not find. Superb stuff. 

3. Your top five authors
I have so many to chose from, but if I have to…

Haruki Murakami
Steven Erikson
CJ Cherryh
Tanith Lee
China Mieville

All of them are intensely inventive, dark, humorous, with wonderfully realised characters and worlds. And for me they all explore the nature of humanity in ways that many others cannot quite match.

4. Book(s) you’re reading now
I always have some 40-odd books on the go at any one time. Current highlights are my re-reading of Gormenghast; plus EJ Newman’s From Dark Places, First among Sequels by Jasper Fforde, The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson, 1Q84 by Huraki Murakami, Roman Warfare by Adrian Goldsworthy and Japan Through the Looking Glass by Alan MacFarlane.

5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to read
I don’t think I have ever done this, as I would get caught out. There are books I have pretended NOT to have read, despite having done so. And no, I am not going to tell you what they are.

6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover
I buy a lot of books for their covers, particularly science-fiction and fantasy novels from the 1960s, ‘70s and early ‘80s. I have a thing for the artwork of this era, which can be inspired, awful and eyebrow raising, often all at once..

7. Book you’re a champion for
The Napoleon of Notting Hill (GK Chesterton) is one of the greatest books I have ever read, and is one I would consider a must-read by anyone and everyone. Detailing the events of a futuristic London, the elected King of England plays a grand practical joke on his nation. His humorous vision inspires a young man to believe in his idea, not realising it is a joke, and thus a cascade of events takes place. It is a book about ideas, about faith and about the corruption of both. It is a brilliant, brilliant book.

8. Book that changed your life
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein, for better and for worse. This book very much inspired my love for fantasy and science fiction (the good), which precluded reading more widely at one point (the bad). It was vast, epic and heroic, despite the odds. All despite the weird Tom Bombadil bit, which I hate. Everything else was wondrous.

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. Thoroughly absorbing, incredibly inventive and wonderfully detailed, this book humbled and astounded me both as a reader and a writer. I wish I could read it again for that continuing sense of awe and that wonderment when it was finished.

10. Book you turn to for comfort 
Mortal World by Deborah Pope is a collection of poems that are simply sublime. I love poetry, and was profoundly impacted by this collection. Mortal World explores her Pope’s relationship with the world, her partner and her children, and it is gentle, heart-breaking, traumatic and up-lifting. It taught me much about emotion, about detailing those and the world around us with the simplicity of words. It is simply a superb collection of poems.

11. Favourite line from a book
I don’t really have one, so I am going to cheat and use the quote that China Mieville wrote in my signed copy of Embassytown:

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug.” - Kipling

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Jamie Debree

1. Your childhood favourite
Hmm...that's a toss up between Trixie Belden, Sherlock Holmes and Jack London's dog/wolf stories. Loved them all. 

2. Your current favourite
Wow. These are harder than I thought they'd be! I can't choose just one. The Immortal Brotherhood series by Lisa Hendrix has be waiting rather impatiently for the next one, and that's paranormal romance (viking shifters - whew!). "Night of Wolves" (fantasy) by David Dalglish recently surprised me as really being quite fabulous (I don't read much fantasy), and this time of year my top pick for literary fiction is "Comfort and Joy", a short story by Craig Lancaster (new last year). Oh! And my favorite horror read this year was/is Cupid's Maze by Mark Souza. It's another short story, but amazing (and seriously freaky!). 

3. Your top five authors
Of all time? Restraining myself to fiction: Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Arther Conan Doyle, Grace Livingston Hill, Issac Asimov. Well, today, anyways. I mean, there are so many....

As far as modern authors go...I suppose I'd pick: James Rollins, Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child (as a team), Michelle Davidson Argyle, Samantha Hunter & Vivian Arend. 

4. Book(s) you’re reading now
"The Donzerly Light" by Ryne Douglas Pearson (seriously intriguing and kinda freaky)
"A Walk in the Snark" by Rachel Thompson (okay, but not really my thing)
"The Big Sky, By and By" by Ed Kemmick (local journalist, true stories from Montana, fascinating people)

5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to read
Half or more of the books I was assigned in college, fiction and non-fiction. Who has the time to read, study *and* work full time? I skimmed them all, and still managed to get decent grades... 

6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover
You're seriously going to make me admit this? Fine. 

When You Dare

"When You Dare" by Lori Foster is one - for the cover and the trailer. Because I adore half-naked men. Well, most men, actually, but...I should really just stop there....

To redeem myself, I also bought "Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance" by Sara Poole for the cover. I still haven't read it, but I love how it looks on my nightstand...and I do want to read it eventually - sounds really good (historical thriller).

7. Book you’re a champion for
"Society of the Mind" by Eric L. Harry. It's a hardcore cyber-thriller two inches thick, but buried in the freaky AI-based plot is a lot of deep philosophizing that will just blow you away. Or it did me, anyways.

8. Book that changed your life
Well that's a tough one. Books have been quite literally shaping my life since I could maybe we'll go with the McGuffy Readers, which are some of the first books I read for actual "school time" when I was home schooled at an early age. I still have them around somewhere, and they are veritable smorgasboards of literature, poetry and bits of wisdom, all bound up in unassuming volumes. 

Cliche as it sounds, the Bible had a profound impact on me as well...both philosophically and as far as prose and story-telling goes. 

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time
"Gone with the Wind", perhaps. Or "Call of the Wild" by Jack London. I often re-read cheap romance novels, but I'd love to experience those two again as if reading for the first time. 

Then again, it wouldn't be the same experience now, would it? Would my adult perceptions hinder that first-time enthusiasm, I wonder? 

10. Book you turn to for comfort
Hmm...I think I mostly need escape more than comfort from books. When I'm stressed or need a serious mental break, I'll mainline romance novels - preferably Harlequin Blaze, one after the other for *days* on end. I think because the core of a romance novel is hope, and the promise that everything will work out okay in the end.  

11. Favourite line from a book
"Jo never, never would learn to be proper, for when he said that as they stood upon the steps, she just put both hands into his, whispering tenderly. "Not empty now," and stooping down, kissed her Friedrich under the umbrella." - Jo March, Little Women *sigh* 

Thanks Dolly - this was fun!