How many times have you participated in CBR?
According to the blog I use for my reviews, I started back in CBRIII, which was…2011, but allowed for reviews to start in December of 2010 to give us a headstart. I had been a lurker before that (though a regular commenter on Pajiba), daunted by the 52 books required, but they allowed for half cannons for the first time that year, so I decided to give it a shot. I was so moved by the concept; by what Prisco had done for AlabamaPink, and by what the community was giving back in her memory.
I’ve done them every year since, albeit not always very successfully. I usually aim for a half cannon because I’m terrible about reviews. I attempted and reached my only full cannon in CBRV. My GoodReads shelving, in which I’ve created a shelf for each CBR, tells me I’m always successful at the reading part; I’m just a complete disappointment when it comes to actually reviewing them! Last year, for example, for CBRVII, I read 49 books. I only managed to review 6, and I did almost all of those reviews in November. This year I’ve got 6 of the 19 done already, so I’m doing much better!!
Has participating changed the way you read? If so, how?
Yes, actually. I used to be committed to finishing a book, whether I liked it or not. I don’t know if that’s a holdover from my school days or not, but I felt like if I started it, I needed to finish it. Since starting CBR, I’ve realized life is too short for bad books. For something mediocre, I’ll try to give it some time to pick up steam; every now and then, I’ll know in the first 10 pages and give it up for lost. Part of this theory also comes from the abundance of books I’ve been introduced to via the community. My “To Read” list only ever gets longer, so why waste time with books I don’t like? It took me ages to not feel bad for both the book and the author when I abandoned them, but now I will confidently kick a book to the curb if it doesn’t manage to keep my interest. That’s not to say I don’t still read some less than stellar literature, but most of what I read makes me happy these days, and isn’t that the point?
What’s the first book you recommend to new friends?
OK, this is a loaded question, because I get asked for recs all the time.
My very first response is to find out what kind of genres a person likes to read, so I can try to tailor my response to that. I recommend The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss to pretty much everybody – I cannot say enough good things about that series, even while I wither away waiting for the conclusion. My husband bought me my own set of talent pipes for Christmas and I adore them. Brandon Sanderson is another author I recommend pretty much across the board – I have a shash tattoo in honor of The Stormlight Archives, if that’s any indication.
For YA fantasy, always Sarah J Maas with The Throne of Glass series. Romance? Anything and everything Nora Roberts. Also, the entire Escape to New Zealand series by Rosalind James. Audiobook? City of Thieves by Game of Thrones showrunner David Benioff, narrated by the incredible Ron Perlman. Post apocalyptic fiction? Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. If someone’s been living under a rock and somehow hasn’t read it yet? Harry Potter. The book I re-read every year? Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip. Classic? Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, which is always crazy to me because I attempted that one three times and hated it, then suddenly on read four, it all clicked and I’ve been Austen obsessed ever since.
Can you see how long this can go on? I tend to overwhelm people when they ask for new books to read. :-)
What’s your favorite book-based movie?
Ooh, this is hard. As an actor, I try to judge them separately. I love the Harry Potter films. They’re faithful enough (mostly) while still adapting enough to work successfully in the medium. I’m a really huge fan of Austen adaptations, though, although it has to be the right one. I love Paltrow’s Emma, and Thompson’s Sense & Sensibility. The gold star goes to the BBC miniseries of Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth, though.
I also like adaptations that update and reset classics, like Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You (as I’m assuming plays count, since they do for our reviews). I mean, the golden rule still applies – the book is pretty much always better. I’m not sure I can think of a single time where I thought otherwise. Colin Firth coming out the lake in P&P makes it a closer call for that one, though…
Have you read the YA pick for the book club? Are you planning to participate?
I have not read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, though I’ve heard of it, which is more than I can say for a lot of the other nominees in the category! My bestie is hip to the YA scene, since she’s a elementary librarian and an aspiring YA writer, but I’m not nearly as in the know. As to participating, the jury is still out on that one. I’m heading to Africa on safari with National Geographic for a bit in August, then following that by an anniversary trip to Ireland (my husband and I have been together for 10 years in September). In between the two is a friend’s wedding, and I’m fight directing a couple of shows, so time is hard to come by, and I tend to go for fluff when I’ve got that time. So we’ll see! I did terribly with the last one. Read the book, had things to say, and then totally forgot to take part in the discussion. WOMP.
Baskin Robbins or Cold Stone?
I’m terrifically biased here, as I was a manager of two Cold Stone Creameries. And also their resident cake decorator. So my allegiance will always be there. I’m always down for ice cream in general, though, so don’t expect me to turn my nose up at Baskin Robbins!
Now I’m craving a Cookie Doughn’t You Want Some, and have the old songs we used to make up in my head…maybe a trip to Cold Stone is in my future