BTT: February 2008 Archives

BTT: Heroine

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From Booking Through Thursday:

Who is your favorite female lead character? And why? (And yes, of course, you can name more than one . . . I always have trouble narrowing down these things to one name, why should I force you to?)

That's a hard one. I read lots of science fiction, which doesn't really shine with a) female leads b) interesting, memorable protagonists in general. I'm more interested in twisty, captivating plots than deep, lifelike characters.

However, one female character stands out: Eliza from Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle trilogy. The story of the girl stolen to Barbary slavery who becomes a key manipulator in the whole European political scene, all the while suffering from various setbacks and the lack of respect women had in the 17th century where the book is set. She's smart and she's powerful, but in a very subtle and fascinating way.

Then of course there's Hermione Granger - is there a bookish nerd who doesn't love her? Mrs. Charbuque of The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque is more of an antagonist than a protagonist, but charming nevertheless. I also liked Mag from Ombria in Shadow.

Of my recent reads, Four Ways to Forgiveness has interesting female characters (but then again, that describes most of Le Guin's books).

BTT: Format

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From Booking Through Thursday:

All other things (like price and storage space) being equal, given a choice in a perfect world, would you rather have paperbacks in your library? Or hardcovers? And why?

Oh, tough one! I'd probably go for nice trade paperbacks, they combine the good looks of hardcovers with lighter weight of paperbacks. Hardcovers are more beautiful items, especially compared to boring mass market paperbacks, but when reading, paperbacks are perhaps better. Trade paperbacks and hardcovers tend to have slightly larger type and more pleasant layout, which I like.

Since the world isn't perfect, my preference is very strongly towards paperbacks. Since I bookmooch, I end up sending plenty of books in mail. Paperbacks save lot of money there. I especially like thinner books, because once a book is thicker than three centimeters, the price to send it jumps up. So, my favourite book format is thin trade paperback. (The difference between trade and mass market paperbacks is something I've learned during my BookMooch years, see Wikipedia entry on paperbacks if you don't know what I'm talking about.)

I've been looking for a nice hardcover copy of Tristram Shandy for my collections, because that's a book I'd like to own and hardcover would be more beautiful. But in general I don't mind, because I'm not a book collector. I read and pass the book on, as I don't see the point in owning tons of novels I've read once and probably won't read again (there are so many books in the world I haven't read, so why read something I already know?). BookMooch has been a real blessing for me, allowing me to replace my library with new books with a rather moderate cost.

Not that I'm not a collector, says the man with 150 or so board games.

BTT: After the Honeymoon

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From Booking Through Thursday:

Here's something for Valentine's Day.
Have you ever fallen out of love with a favorite author? Was the last book you read by the author so bad, you broke up with them and haven't read their work since? Could they ever lure you back?

I guess I'm lucky, because I haven't had this happen to me. In general, I've been able to avoid bad books with an amazing rate. I don't know how I do it, but it's been a while since I met with a really bad book. The Swarm was pretty bad, but that was a review copy and not my own pick, and I knew nothing about the author before I read the book.

I suppose the closest I get is the case of the Three Investigators. The original series was one of my biggest childhood favourites, all the boys on my class in elementary school (when I was about nine) read them, they were very popular in our small school library. I recently reread one of them, and still found it charming.

However, I then started to read the next series, Crimebusters, and that was just shocking. It was awful, they had ruined the whole thing. The characters were all different and so wrong. I don't think I finished the first book of the new series and never continued. So there I definitely fell out of love. Since they're children's books, there's no going back, either, but maybe I'll point my son to the original series once he's old enough...

BTT: But, enough about books...

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From Booking Through Thursday:

Okay, even I can't read ALL the time, so I'm guessing that you folks might voluntarily shut the covers from time to time as well... What else do you do with your leisure to pass the time? Walk the dog? Knit? Run marathons? Construct grandfather clocks? Collect eggshells?

I'm a board game fanatic. Actually, I think I obsess more about board games than books. Maybe. I've written a book about board games, so my two major hobbies actually come together a bit! I write about board game stuff in my oldest blog, Gameblog: I've been doing that since August 2002, so it's a bit of a dinosaur for a blog.

In case you know nothing about new quality board games, I seriously recommend you check some out. The latest and greatest titles I'd recommend to people new to board games are Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride and Ingenious.

If you like books, there are good board games about Lord of the Rings, The Golden Compass, A Game of Thrones, Dune and many others. Watch out, though, there are plenty of bad Lord of the Rings games around. If you're looking for a good one, there's the co-operative Lord of the Rings designed by Reiner Knizia and published by Kosmos in Germany and, I think, Fantasy Flight in the US. For two players, Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation is hard to beat.

I also play all sorts of other games, though video games have suffered recently. I spent huge amount of time with my toddler (that's more of a job, really) and try to write more books. I blog a lot, too.

BTT: February 2008: Monthly Archives

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