1. Favorite childhood book?
Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood: His Odyssey (in the Russian translation)
2. What are you reading right now?
Moliere's The Misanthrope and Tartuffe in Richard Wilbur's translations;
Lidya Chukovskaya's Sofia Petrovna (a short novel set in the Stalinist-terror 1930's); about to start on rereading the Odyssey (as soon as I decide on the translation to use this time) and on reading Felix Gilman's Half-Made World.
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
4. Bad book habit?
Books are my bad book habit. Paper books, that is. There's about 90 unpacked boxes of them sitting on a balcony since we moved last month.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Hmm, a medley of academic books I asked my wife to check out using her university library access, because I couldn't find easily find them in ebook form. There's about a half-dozen at the moment, among them Roy Andrew Miller's Nihongo: In Defence of Japanese, The Linguistics Wars by Randy Allen Harris, a wonderful little book of Chinese poetry in translation - David Hawkes's A little primer of Tu Fu - and some others.
6. Do you have an e-reader?
Two: a Kindle and a Kindle DX. Before I bought these two, I used to have a Sony Reader, my mother-in-law uses it now.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I prefer to read one at a time. What usually happens is that I have one I'm currently reading, and two or three more where I'd stopped in the middle for one reason or another, and will return to at some point. It's more rare, though still happens sometimes, that I'm making simultaneous progress on more than one book.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Definitely H.L.Oldie's The Hero Must Be Alone. It was recommended to me by several readers of my blog when I asked for high-quality Russian fantasy. Turned out to be a trashy, depressingly mediocre wish-fulfillment ancient-Greece myth-reconstruction exercise.
I remain in doubt there actually exists good contemporary Russian fantasy (on the level with Susanna Clark or G.R.R.Martin).
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Really difficult to choose, I read many great books this year. Let's say I'll disqualify Patrick O'Brian's novels because they're rereads. Now I'm left with a difficult choice between Charles Portis's True Grit, Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire, and Gene Wolfe's Peace.
11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
I read rather widely, but there are of course genres I almost never visit - I guess they could be called outside my comfort zone. For example, romance, thrillers (not crime fiction, I like that, though partake rarely), horror/vampire/urban gothic fiction. I very rarely if ever venture into those zones.
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I think I no longer have one, but short SF stories comes closest.
13. Can you read on the bus?
I can and lately I have been.
14. Favorite place to read?
At home lying on the couch. A coffee shop is also a good place.
15. What is your policy on book lending?
Borrow anything you'd like.
16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
No. I'm sympathetic to the idea in abstract terms, but personally I could never overcome the feeling that this is sacrilege, sacrilege!
18. Not even with text books?
Not even with textbooks.
19. What is your favorite language to read in?
A toss-up between English and Russian.
20. What makes you love a book?
It makes me think, I can't get it out of my mind, the language is beautiful, and most of all, it fundamentally changes the way I think or feel about something.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
The same things that make me love it.
22. Favorite genre?
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
I wish I read more drama and more pre-1950 poetry.
24. Favorite biography?
Can't think of any at the moment. I rarely read biographies.
25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
I think Dale Carnegie's How to win friends etc., back when I was a teenager, is the only one I've finished. I tried to read a few others, but never read them to the end.
26. Favorite cookbook?
Don't have any.
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Journey to the End of Night
28. Favorite reading snack?
Don't think I have any. Before I quit coffee, I'd often sip coffee while reading.
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I seem to semi-consciously avoid novels I feel are overhyped until the hype dies down, and then I read them. So there are no striking examples of this sort I can think of.
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don't read enough reviews to understand what "the critics" as a whole think of a given book. When I compare my reaction against Amazon reviews, there're usually reviewers I'm in sharp agreement with, but that's not saying much.
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I used to be more harsh and categorical, and have grown more mellow, or perhaps just polite, in recent years; I'm still comfortable with giving a negative review, however.
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
French, Spanish, Classical Greek.
33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Not exactly nervous, but I don't know that I want to invest the time needed for Infinite Jest.
35. Favorite Poet?
In English? Probably W.H.Auden.
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
I think my zenith was 42 during the university days. Nowadays I check books out by proxy, and never more than 10 or so.
37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
38. Favorite fictional character?
39. Favorite fictional villain?
The man with the thistle-down hair.
40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
I'm bringing my Kindle loaded up with a diverse selection.
41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
5 days in recent memory. Probably as much as a month when I was a teenager.
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Just recently, a collection of SF stories by Cordwainer Smith.
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Dialogue between people I know.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Can't think of any clear favourite. The BBC Pride and Prejudice series perhaps?
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Never, but I often compulsively skip to the end of a chapter in a novel or of the current story, to see how much is left.
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
I don't think it's giving me anything, it's becoming harder to slog through, and I have strong intuition that both trends will continue.
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
I was never able to. And now I prefer ebooks, where the problem is not severe.
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I keep everything, except I try not to acquire any more paper books nowadays, so the question is becoming moot.
51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Nothing I can think of.
52. Name a book that made you angry.
Varlam Shalamov's Kolyma stories - angry at the subject matter rather than at the book.
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Rebecca West's The Fountain Overflows.
54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
The Alexandria Quartet.
55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Short hard SF stories, hardboiled American crime fiction.