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Book Meme
29. Your vacation reading habits

I love to read on vacation, especially beach vacation. I either pick specific vacation books - things I've been meaning to read that are an easier fun read, or I continue whatever it is I'm reading. My last vacation to Florida I kept reading Jonathan Strange . The vacation before that to Dominican Republic I read Bridge of Birds , which my friend recommended (and it was hysterical), on the beach, and short stories by Alice Munro in the evening before bed. I try to have a National Geographic with me to read on the plane or by the pool as well.

30. The book you read the blurb of, constructed a version of in your mind, and were promptly disappointed by once you finally got around to actually reading it

I don't really construct a version of a book on my mind. There might be blurbs that don't really match the books but I don't pick books based on blurbs that much. So I'm going to be boring here and say I can't think of any.

That's it for book meme!
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Book Meme
26. Do you read reviews of books? Before or after you read the books themselves? Why? Why not?

I do read reviews on my flist and sometimes online if I'm looking for a book as a present, but I generally don't read review. I have a big to read list as it is, books I got as recs or as presents so I tend to go for those. Once in a while I would want to see what others thought of the book after I read, so I might look something up. When I lived in London, I did like to get the Sunday Times and read some reviews there but that was a long time ago.

27. The book you’re embarrassed to admit you’ve read

None? I don't really get embarrased to talk about books I've read.

28. The one where the fanfic was better than the original (and the relevant AO3 links, pls)

Most of my fanfic consumption is TV shows. Harry Potter is the exception as it was my gateway fanfic. I was reading a lot of Snape fic, which morphed into Snape/Hermione fics, and lately my focus has been Remus/Sirius, which I like to write. But "better than the original" is a false comparison. There are many wonderful Harry Potter fics but they serve a different purpose to me. I won't compare them. There are many amazing writers out there but I like canon too.
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Book Meme
25. The only book care question that actually means anything: do you write in your books? If so, in pen or in pencil?

I only write in school books. There I usually write in pen, sometimes of different colors, and I would occasionally use a highlighter. I underline and write in margins of the articles I teach. I used to have little page post-its too, or regular post-its.

I rarely write in non-school books. Once in a blue moon I would underline something in pencil but that is really rare. I might do a highlight on Kindle but again I don't do it often.
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Book Meme
24. The book that you got into because of the movie/TV series/etc, and the relative merits of each version

The most recent example is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell by Susanne Clarke. I read the book first but I wanted to read the book and finally put it on my list (and in my Kindle) when I heard about the TV series. Many on my flist were watching it and talking about loving the book. I usually prefer to read the book first. I really enjoyed the book and then I saw the TV series. I liked the show too, but the book definitely wins for me - it was immersive. It was cool to see magic on screen and the female characters were more prominent. I was also able to really understand a crucial plot development of how Arabella was stolen by watching the TV show. But a book wins every time for me.

Another book I got into was Lord of the Rings books. I watched the first two movies and loved them (I owe all in extended version) and I did want to read the books before I saw the last movie. Bear got me the paperback of the trilogy for New Year and that September of 2003 I embarked on a three months epic read. I liked the books more, but the movies did shape how I saw the characters. To me both versions are interlinked.
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Book Meme
23. The book you expected to hate, didn’t, and then got angry about not hating

Hate is such a strong word. I don't think I ever expected to hate any book. Like why read one? And I liked reading for school, for the most part. And why would I get angry over not hating something? This question seems a little silly.

There were books I didn't expect to like and then did - a lot of book my Dad was trying to get me to read. I loved the Tomek book series as a child but he spent a while convincing me to give it a try. I didn't expect to like Shakespeare. But then I had a wonderful teacher in the 10th grade who introduced us to "Macbeth" - we read it over the whole quarter - nine weeks - and read it carefully, and he just made me love it and not afraid to tackle other Shakespeare plays. But I was never angry afterward, just grateful.
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I just made a lot (42) chicken wontons. I got toasted sesame sauce today just for the purpose. It turned out just a tad dry but great overall, especially with soy sauce. Bear was happy. And they were Tanya approved. So success.

I'm in the middle of Season 2 of the Flash right now - really enjoying that. I also watched "Hamilton's America" today - it was great to see some staging of the songs. I listened to the soundtrack so much and I read the libretto book. But I only seen just a couple of songs staged. One day when it becomes affordable I would love to go see "Hamilton" live.

I started reading Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See . It's really, really good.

Book Meme
22. The book you finished even though you hated it, and the reasons why

Mostly this happened in school. If I start hating the book that I read for fun I would give up. Although I did finish Dune despite my dislike. In high school I really didn't like Great Gatsby by I had to finish it for the AP class. But there weren't too many books that I just hated.
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Book Meme
21. The book you gave up on, and the reasons why

Young Henry of Navarre by Heinrich Mann

My Dad loved this book as a teenager so he gave it to me for my 25th birthday. I like historical fiction in general so it was a fair bet on his part. And he usually gives me interesting books. I was leaving for England to do history research four days later so I took the book with me.

I couldn't get past the first page. Catherine de Medici was just too evil right away and I couldn't stand it. If I know too much about the time period and have certain impression of the people, a book that doesn't match it just gets sour for me.

So I called my Dad and asked him to recommend another book as I just couldn't read this one and I still wanted to read something. He recommended Little Drummer Girl by John Le Carre, which I picked up in a Norwich bookstore. I absolutely loved that book. Don't regret not reading the Mann book at all.
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Book Meme
20. The coolest bookshop you’ve ever been to

It wasn't one specific bookstore - it's a street of bookstores. Charing Cross Road in London is heaven. I lived in London in 2000, when I did study abroad, and in 2005, when I did research at the National Archives, and in my free time, I loved to peruse those bookstores. From secondhand stores to Foyles (which I loved - I still remember an awesome section on women's history), to this little store where I could buy classics for a pound. Just variety and all kinds of books.
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I finally finished Luke Cage today.
Luke Cage Season 1 )

Book Meme
19. That book with a twist that felt like a blow to the chest. Tell me about it. (But warn for spoilers if necessary!)

I will be super boring here and say I can't think of one. I rarely react to books super emotionally - although I do cry a lot easier lately. So there wasn't a twist that ever sent me reeling. Maybe the end of Book 6 of Harry Potter. My favorite twist ever was in the book by Agatha Christie which was written in a first person, and that person turned out to be the killer. Very unexpected and clever.
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Book Meme
18. Do you theme your monthly/yearly/etc reading (eg Year of Reading Women)?

I don't think I ever did themes. I tend to accumulate books I want to read and I usually like variety. To go from sci-fi to non-fiction to novel to whatever pops up. However, since August I sort of ended up reading a lot of women in sci-fi and fantasy because I saw a list of women authors for sci-fi and fantasy and realized just how little I have read. So I've been trying to catch up a bit. But usually, no, no themes.
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Book Meme
17. Preferred bookshelf organisation scheme

With books, I don't particularly have one. I arrange my DVDs alphabetically, and my old tapes. My CDs are arranged by style. But books are mostly arranged by height, to look ok on the shelf. Mostly I just put them wherever they fit. I do have a separate shelves for my children's books from when I was a kid, and I might have a shelf that is more history books,I do have a comic book section and I tend to keep book series together. But I don't alphabetize anything within a section. I used to with some classics, but not very consistently. But overall I don't actually organize them. I remember where all my books are and can find them easily if I need to.
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We went to Long Island for the weekend. We drove in early yesterday morning and just got back about an hour and a half ago. It was a really fun October/Halloween type weekend. When we got in, we almost immediately drove to the local library with Bear's Mom since there was a little farm animal exhibition in the courtyard. It wasn't very large. Some goats, ducks, bunny, 2 pigs and 2 chickens. Tanya watched them but she really didn't want to pet any of them - she's been cautious lately. She does pet the cat at Bear's parents's house but not the farm ones. She did look at the ducks for a while. But mostly she just wanted to run around the grass and the nice courtyard grounds.

In the afternoon, Bear, Tanya, I, Carrie (Bear's sister) and Bear's Mom all drove out to the pumpkin patch to get some pumpkins. Tanya got very excited as she loves pumpkins. She constantly plays with our pumpkin decorations. And when she was the field full of pumpkins she got a super excited look on her face and even flailed her arms. She ran around, tried to pick many up and generally had lots of fun. We ended up picking up 6 small pumpkins and Bear's Mom got a big one. We wanted to paint them at home so got enough for everyone. We will eat them later after Halloween. Tanya also had fun picking up little gourds.

When we got home, I put an apron on her and a bandana in her hair and we let her try paints for the first time as we painted pumpkins. That was so much fun. She didn't get paint over herself that much. She learned to put the paintbrush in water and wanted to wipe the brush with a rag herself when trying different colors. She looked like a hippie painter - it was really awesome. Painting is not something I want to do at home yet - too messy - but it was great at grandma's.

Tonight Carrie got her a little witch mask at a dollar store to try one. We all pretended to be scared when Tanya put the mask on which she found hilarious. And she liked to run at the mirror to see the mask. Bear just liked putting her Darth Vader mask on so he could say, "Tanya, I am your father." So good visit. I even got some grading done and watched more Luke Cage and Flash Season 2 and read my book.

Over this weekend I ended up reading two wonderful articles from the New Yorker . The first one was about Ursula Le Guin and her life. I read two of her books (Left Hand of Darkness and Lavinia ) and I want to read more but she's not my favorite writer, although I loved Left Hand of Darkness. I feel her writing stays with you. But it is a little two philosophical for me. Still, she's amazing in many ways and it was really interesting to read about her life, her family and her writing process.

The second article was about Leonard Cohen. I read it today. Thoroughly. Not skimming anything, taking in every word. He is one of my favorite musicians. His work is poetry to me. (Incidentally, I was surprised but very pleased with Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. I think it's really cool. And this article interviews Dylan too). Many compared Cohen's songs to prayer and I tend to agree. I rarely go to concerts but I went to his in spring of 2013 and it was so wonderful. He was so impressive and wonderful live. And this article was so well written. I made me tear up at one point when I was reading the email he wrote to his dying friend. Just a gorgeous article.

Two wonderful articles:

1. One on Leonard Cohen

2. One on Ursula Le Guin


Book Meme
15. The book that you reread over and over again and get new things from every time

I don't really reread books. I guess Harry Potter comes the closest as I notice new details. Oh, and Shakespeare. If I reread a play or see one I already read, I definitely get new things out of it. I think when we reread books, new things are inevitable, especially if we read them at different ages.

16. The book that you don’t dare reread for fear it won’t be the same any more

I'm not sure. There are movies I don't want to see because I loved the book so much but I can't think of a book that I don't dare reread, mostly because I don't usually reread book very much. I guess Mary Stewart's Merlin books since I loved them so much and they were such an essential influence. I was thinking about rereading them but I am a little afraid, I guess, so they don't disappoint.
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Book Meme
14. The book that, in hindsight, really should have clued you in to the fact that you’re _________ (queer/in love/doomed to be an academic/etc)

There are two book that when I read them influenced me to study English medieval history - that was Mary Stewart Hollow Hills and Sharon Kay Penman's book that I talked about. But I already loved history - it was my favorite subject in school - so it wasn't a revelation. Maybe when I picked Schlesinger's Age of Jackson to read for AP history class. It was the thickest and most complex book on the list. Everyone else in the class chose something easier. But I read it all, although it wasn't easy at the time, and liked it. I should have known I would be into academia then. And a geek. But really, I can't think of a specific book that relates to future revelation.
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I had Folder Review this morning, which went well, I think. It was my first time working with L, one of the directors. We chatted before and we are always friendly, and I did ask for her feedback for my past assignment question. But I never really worked with her. She was perfectly nice and helpful. I've been teaching this class for a while so I'm pretty confident about grading criteria and I don't get stressed with this (which is part supervisor assessment of you), but I still want someone who will respect my experience while giving helpful suggestions. It's nice to have that done.

It was first part of midterm today, so I got to just sit there and do my work. Next week should be less stressful work wise overall.

Before we can do the closing for the apartment there is a last batch of paperwork I had to take care of. It seems neverending. The mortgage people just seem so disorganized and non coordinated. Instead of being upfront with a list of all I need, they send me requests in batches, without explaining clearly some parts. When we got out commitment for the mortgage at the end of August, I directly asked the broker if we needed to sign it to email it back to him. He said no, just to submit to the board. We did. Well, today it turns out he did need a signed copy too. So extra hassle for me to print it, find the email with Bear's signature, scan it, etc. They also don't coordinate with attorneys enough. The attorneys have our board approval but no I had to forward that too. They sent other paperwork to the attorneys. It's like that recognition agreement run around. No wonder this process is taking so long.

Anyway, my Dad took a half day from work so we could go and get me hazard insurance for the apartment. That took about an hour but went smoothly. At least that office was competent. I will be so glad once we actually get to closing.

Book Meme
13. The fictional character you want to believe you resemble and the fictional character you actually resemble

I want to resemble Elizabeth Bennett but I'm kind of a combination of Eleanor Dashwood, Anne Elliot and Hermione Granger.
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Book Meme
12. Do you have to finish one book before you start the next one, or do you read multiple books at the same time?

I usually read multiple books at the same time. There are books I read a little bit at a time while I read other books, or if a book is too long I might break it up with something else. Or I might have a book I read at home while I take something else for commute. I have no problem following the plot or remembering details reading more than one thing. I do have a primary book which I usually focus on and if it is a good book, I usually read it straight through without a break.
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The weather is suddenly very fall like, about 50F in the mornings, although it warms up by the afternoon. i had some chicken broth left over from a few days ago so I made myself a vegetable pea soup this morning. Very delicious lunch. And I made a cornish hen in a slow cooker for dinner.

I watched the first episode of the second season of 'Supergirl' today. I was surprised at how much I was actually looking forward to watching it. And it was a good episode. I liked Tyler Hoechlin as Superman. And I really enjoyed them working together. Spoilers )

Book Meme
11. The worst book hangover you’ve ever had

I'm not sure what the book hangover means, but I guess I can think of two things that have to do with binging books. When I was about 10, I spent the whole day reading Pet Sematary by Stephen King from cover to cover. I had nightmares that night. Reading a horror book straight through was probably not advisable. The other time I just kept reading a book was the 7th Harry Potter book. I got it at midnight, went home, got into bed and was going to read just a chapter or two before going to sleep and reading the next year. Yeah, that never happened. I just kept reading and reading, barely taking breaks even for food until I was done with the book at 9pm the next day. I was reading for 21 hours straight or so. My head definitely felt it from not sleeping and all the new info. It was the only time I ever stayed up all night to read a book.
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Book Meme
10. The book(s) you bought because the cover was pretty, and whether it was worth it

I don't think I ever bought a book because of the cover. When I was 15, however, I made a fateful decision in the library because of a cover. I was browsing new books shelf in the summer, and one cover of a very big, thick, giant book caught my eye. It was a hardcopy, newly released, with lots and lots of gold. It was gorgeous. This Amazon page doesn't do it justice. The book was When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman, a historical novel about the reign of King Stephen and the 20 year Civil War in England in the 12th century. First time a woman, Empress Matilda, tried to claim the English throne. I didn't know it at the time, but Penman is great at research and her historical novels are pretty accurate. They did mold my impressions of many English kings. I still buy and read all her books. I adore them. But more importantly, along with Mary Stewart's Merlin books, these books influenced me to study English medieval history, and defined a big period of my life.
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Book Meme
9. Fiction or non-fiction or both? In what ratio? Where do you draw the line between the two?

Both. I mostly read fiction but I do read non-fiction once in a while too. In particular I like biographies and history. And Oliver Sacks. This summer I read Neil Gaiman's non-fiction book. I also read and teach non-fiction for work, mostly articles.

Out of 29 books I read so far this year, three were non-fiction: Defending the City of God: A Medieval Queen, The First Crusades and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem by Sharan Newman, Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks, A View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman. And two were a mix - non-fiction blending with fiction: Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel . And I'm reading the biography of Edward III by Mark Ormrod along side my fiction books. It's a really long book, so it's taking its time but it is a good one.
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Book Meme
8. The book you read when you’re stuck in bed sick

I don't really reread books so I don't particularly have comfort books. When I was a kid, and a bit older, I did like for my Dad to read to me when I was sick my favorite Kir Bulychev story about a five year old girl named Alice, a Martian embassy and Baba Yaga. It always made me laugh.

After I gave birth, I didn't have any mental energy from lack of sleep and general infant care, so I started rereading all the Harry Potter books. That was a great choice as I never read all seven straight through before and it was really my first reread. And it was perfect for a wrapped brain.
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This morning I had a doctor's appointment - just a regular check up. Since it was one of the earliest appointments of the day, it didn't take much time. I can check on my blood test in a few days on my phone app, which is pretty cool.

Tanya is feeling much better today. Her nose is not running much anymore and her temperature is normal. We are not going outside yet, but hopefully soon. My nose is running now, of course, but it is not as terrible as it can be.

I started on the second Temeraire book yesterday and I'm continuing to slowly watch "Luke Cage," about an episode per night. Mostly I'm just trying to grade - this work is busy work week since I need to get all Paper 2 done by Thursday. And I still need to find the time to write my pinch hit story.

Book Meme

7. If you’re not a native English speaker, how much do you read in your native language versus how much you read in English? How do you feel about that? // If you’re a native English speaker, go find a book in your second/third/etc language, or in translation, to add to your to-read list

I read much more in English than in my native language. I read about 2-3 books a year in Russian, and the rest, about 30 books, in English. And I read everything else in English: on the internet, for work, life in general. I do read more children's books in Russian now, since I read to Tanya a lot, many of classics I read as a kid, especially Chukovskiy and even some Pushkin. Sometimes, I would like to read a little more in Russian but most of the books I'm into are in English anyway.

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