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    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Meme: Reading Habits

    It’s been a while since I tackled a meme. I spotted this one at James Reasoner’s Rough Edges and at The Rap Sheet.

    Do you snack while you read? If so, what is your favorite reading snack?

    No. Of course, I do make exceptions. See below.*

    Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

    I have been known to erase marks in library books, so this one’s also a no.

    How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?

    I haven’t made dog-ears in dog’s years. (I cop to doing so as a kid, but I didn’t know any better then.) I’m a bookmark man. I have a stack of them, but keep abusing the same two.

    Laying the book flat open?

    Sure, if the book’s big enough. And if it’s into that.

    Fiction, nonfiction, or both?

    I’d guess a 70/30 ratio of fiction to non-fiction. The former is mostly crime fiction or thrillers, the latter a mix of research reading and whatever piques my interest.

    Hard copy or audiobooks?

    I have listened to exactly one (1) audiobook. My commute’s not long enough. A more interesting question would be: hard copy or e-books? I still don’t own a Kindle, but I’m thinking about it.

    Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?

    I can stop anywhere, but typically I’ll read to the end of a chapter. I color inside the lines as well. What can I say? I went to Catholic school.

    If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

    If it doesn’t make sense in context, yes.

    What are you currently reading?

    Coming down the homestretch on Blood’s A Rover by James Ellroy. The last non-fiction book I read, after years of prompting by my brother – hi, Sean! – was Michael Lewis’ Moneyball.

    What is the last book you bought?

    During my recent New York trip I picked up Tower by Reed Farrel Coleman and Ken Bruen, signed by Reed at the Mysterious Bookshop launch party. I also scored a haul at the Strand including Build My Gallows High by Geoffrey Homes, later filmed as Out of the Past, and Leo C. Rosten’s Hollywood, a study of the movie business in the 1930s published in 1941.

    Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?

    Again, I can but I don’t. I’ll read a non-fiction research book at the same time as a novel, but I prefer not to.

    Do you have a favorite time/place to read?

    Every night, I lie on my living room sofa and read for at least half an hour. Reading in a coffee shop, which I did for a while this afternoon, is one of life’s great luxuries. Other settings can be quite nice, too. See below.*

    Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?


    Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?

    Lawrence Block. Donald E. Westlake. Richard Price. All these years on the West Coast, and I’m still a New York boy at heart. Speaking of the West Coast, another name I talk up frequently is Jess Walter, whose The Financial Lives of the Poets will be stepping up to the plate shortly.

    How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)

    There’s a very vague system. I can’t really describe it. I barely understand it.

    * My job requires me to meet in the evenings twice a week. Last week I decided to eat dinner beforehand, so I grabbed a Hard Case Crime book and stopped at a pub near the office. There I sat, reading a pulp novel, drinking a Harp, eating the food of my ancestors (a sausage roll), and occasionally checking in on Monday Night Football. In the midst of it, I realized how deliriously happy I was. Seldom, I thought, have I felt more like myself.

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    Wednesday, February 04, 2009

    Memes: V For Victory

    No less an authority than Dr. Johnson said it: memes are the last refuge of the overworked. This one has been making the rounds at Facebook and Mark Evanier has done it, so I figure it can’t hurt to post mine here.

    The rules are simple. 20 questions. Each answer must start with the same letter as your first name. No repeated answers. If you’re tagged by someone whose name begins with the same letter, you can’t repeat their answers, either.

    1. Your name: Vince
    2. Four letter word: Vent
    3. Boy’s name: Vance
    4. Girl’s name: Vivian
    5. Occupation: Vintner
    6. Color: Violet
    7. Something you wear: Vest
    8. A food: Vindaloo
    9. Something found in the bathroom: Vileness
    10. A place: Verona
    11. A reason for being late: Vapors (the)
    12. Something you shout: “Visigoths!”
    13. A movie title: Vanilla Sky
    14. Something you drink: Vieux Carre
    15. A musical group: Ventures (The)
    16. An animal: Vole
    17. A street name: Vine
    18. A type of car: Volkswagen
    19. A song title: Veronica, by Elvis Costello
    20. A verb: Vivisect

    No tags, but if your name also begins with V, let’s see what you’ve got.

    Miscellaneous: Links

    OK, you deserve a little more than that. Via John August comes this post on the grammar and aesthetics of comic book lettering.

    Yahtzee may have outdone himself with his review of Little Big Planet.

    Speaking of video games, more fun Flash: The Visitor, via Paul Herzberg.

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    Sunday, April 22, 2007

    Website Update: Links

    I finally got around to tweaking the Links page, tricking it out with a crime fiction section so I could add Crimespace and Graham Powell’s CrimeSpot.net. Check ‘em out.

    Movies: All I Have To Do Is Meme

    Once again, deadlines have me drawing from the meme well. I poached this one from Marty McKee’s blog, Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot.

    1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.

    Dr. Strangelove. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. The Usual Suspects.

    2. Name a movie that you’ve seen multiple times in the theater.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark. Pulp Fiction. L.A. Confidential.

    3. Name an actor who would make you more inclined to see a movie.

    Robert Mitchum. Walter Matthau. From the long list of contemporary actors, two at random: Catherine Keener and Steve Zahn. And Alec Baldwin. And Jennifer Jason Leigh. And Stanley Tucci. And ...

    4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to see a movie.

    On the rare occasions when I’m tempted to write off an actor, he or she surprises me with a terrific performance. So I’ll say any singer/rapper I’ve never heard of.

    5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.

    Quick Change. “It’s bad luck just seeing a thing like that!” “You two straphangers are interfering with Mrs. Crane’s beverage service!” “Flores! Flores para los muertos!”

    6. Name a movie musical from which you know all the lyrics to all the songs.

    The Music Man. Someday I will play Professor Harold Hill.

    7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with.


    8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.

    Local Hero. Bull Durham.

    9. Name a movie that you own.

    Zero Effect. Blowup.

    10. Name an actor who launched his/her career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.

    Greg Kinnear. The man went from talk show host to premiere interpreter of compromised American manhood.

    11. Have you ever seen a movie at a drive-in? If so, what?

    No. Not many drive-ins in New York City, and by the time I moved to Florida for high school they were all long gone. Alas.

    12. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t gotten around to yet.

    Thanks to Netflix and the still-ongoing Shame-Faced, I’ve crossed a lot of these titles off the list. But a few still remain, like The Philadelphia Story.

    13. Ever walked out of a movie?

    Yes. I left a superhero movie to remain nameless because I decided my time could be better spent buying a couch.

    14. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.

    Frequency. It’s about fathers, sons, and the New York Mets. I wasn’t the only teary guy in the theater, either.

    15. Popcorn?

    Hell, no. To quote my only television appearance, “I cannot eat the popcorn knowing what I know.”

    16. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)?

    At least once a week. We’re sixteen weeks into 2007, and so far I’ve been to the movies eighteen times.

    17. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?

    Hot Fuzz. Hilarious.

    18. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?

    Noir, baby. As dark as it gets.

    19. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?

    Walt Disney’s Dumbo. I think. If not that, another Disney cartoon.

    20. What movie do you wish you had never seen?

    Any sequel to a movie I didn’t like. Even if I enjoy the follow-up, I feel like an enabler.

    21. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?

    Not sure what ‘weirdest’ means here. So I’ll say Beyond the Sea. I know the movie is, on many levels, not very good. I also know that I love it.

    22. What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?

    The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The original Dawn of the Dead. The Blair Witch Project.

    23. What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?

    The Palm Beach Story. The Producers. The In-Laws. Slap Shot.

    Anyone else wants to take a crack at this list, be my guest.

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