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20 Questions: Round 2

We tried this before with pretty good results, so I thought I’d give it another go.

A lot of questions pop into my head over the course of a month–many of them with a literary focus. I try to capture some of them here. Some are legitimate questions and others are mainly nonsensical ramblings.

You can read Round 1 of 20 Questions here. This time, I thought I’d participate and answer my own questions–it’s an awkward self interview–before giving you the opportunity to answer the questions in the comments. My answers are in italics.

So here we go. 101 Books Presents 20 Questions: Round 2!

  1. Will Dicaprio’s performance as Gatsby be better than Redford’s? Much better. 
  2. Narnia or Middle Earth? Middle Earth
  3. Hemingway or Joyce? Hemingway
  4. Favorite font? Verdana 
  5. What’s your ideal book length for reading? 250 pages
  6. You have to go a year without a book (all forms) or a week without food. Which one do you choose and why? Assuming my digestive system wouldn’t be scarred forever, I’d go a week without food. Tough call. 
  7. Best concert you’ve ever been to? Eddie Vedder at The Ryman in Nashville, 2010. 
  8. Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars. 
  9. Best compliment you ever received from a teacher/professor? “You know, you should think about being a writer.”
  10. What’s your one piece of writing advice? (don’t be shy!) Short sentences and short paragraphs make your copy much more readable, especially for the web.
  11. Mountain reading or beach reading? Beach reading all the way. 
  12. What’s one novel you think is awesome that everyone else thinks is bad? The literary snobs hate Stephen King, but I’ve always liked him. The Shining is outstanding.
  13. Conversely, what’s one novel you think is bad that everyone else thinks is awesome? Mrs. Dalloway, of course. 
  14. Amazon: Good or bad? Mostly good.
  15. Most famous author you’ve ever met? I honestly can’t recall meeting any novelist of significance. That’s sad. In the nonfiction world, I’ve met Dave Ramsey because, well, I work for him. So that might cheating on the question. 
  16. What percentage of books on your bookshelf have you actually read (estimate)? 60%
  17. Favorite reading beverage? Daytime: Diet Coke. Evening time: Glass of red wine. 
  18. A hypothetical: Print and digital books are no more and audio books are the only form of literature remaining. One catch: All the audio books are read by Gilbert Gottfried (who has indeed recorded an audio version of 50 Shades of Grey). Are you done with literature? Yes. Absolutely, yes. 
  19. One novel every teenager must read? To Kill A Mockingbird. 
  20. Who inspired you to become an avid reader? My mom. 

All right then. Your turn.

Answer as many or as few questions as you want to in the comments. Or, just sit back and read it all. That’s cool too.

Have fun!

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27 Comments Post a comment
  1. Brandon #

    Here we go…

    Will Dicaprio’s performance as Gatsby be better than Redford’s? I have no idea. Never seen Redford play Gatsby.
    Narnia or Middle Earth? Middle Earth … by a lot.
    Hemingway or Joyce? Hemingway
    Favorite font? Wingdings
    What’s your ideal book length for reading? 350 pages
    You have to go a year without a book (all forms) or a week without food. Which one do you choose and why? A week without food. A year without reading would mean that I’d lose my job, and then there’d be no food for a year.
    Best concert you’ve ever been to? Radiohead in Houston, 2004
    Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars.
    Best compliment you ever received from a teacher/professor? “Your aura is amazing–I could see it through the wall! You’re going to be president some day.”
    What’s your one piece of writing advice? (don’t be shy!) Be straightforward.
    Mountain reading or beach reading? Mountain reading. Sand is for chumps.
    What’s one novel you think is awesome that everyone else thinks is bad? Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion.” Yes, it’s hard to read, but once you get into it…
    Conversely, what’s one novel you think is bad that everyone else thinks is awesome? It’s not everyone else, but a ton of my friends love “Atlas Shrugged.” I hated it. Ayn Rand is not a good writer, nor is she a good philosopher.
    Amazon: Good or bad? I’ll go with good too.
    Most famous author you’ve ever met? I saw George R.R. Martin in a coffee shop once…
    What percentage of books on your bookshelf have you actually read (estimate)? 20% if I’m lucky. I have ambitious purchasing habits…
    Favorite reading beverage? Coffee and pumpkin beer. This is perhaps why fall is my favorite time of year…
    A hypothetical: Print and digital books are no more and audio books are the only form of literature remaining. One catch: All the audio books are read by Gilbert Gottfried (who has indeed recorded an audio version of 50 Shades of Grey). Are you done with literature? I am a man who needs his stories. So no, I’m not done. I’ll take my books, Gilbert Gottfried and all.
    One novel every teenager must read? The Lord of the Rings.
    Who inspired you to become an avid reader? My mom and grandma.

    Like

    October 12, 2012
    • Greg #

      I’ve actually read Atlas Shrugged a few times (as in more than once). I have to agree: she was a bad writer and a terrible philosopher. Still, I’d probably read it again. I must be a masochist.

      Like

      October 14, 2012
  2. 1. not sure about dicaprio
    2. narnia
    3. hemmingway
    4. veranda
    5. 300 pages
    6. i could go without food if the book i had was big enough to keep me occupied i think! lol
    7. never been to a concert
    8. star wars all the way
    9. best complement i had from a teacher- you are not stupid and dont let anyone tell you that you are.
    10. write what you want to and write it from the heart.
    11. mountain reading its so peaceful
    12. i loved the shining
    13. ???
    14. havent had any problems with them yet so good.
    15. ive never had the opportunity to meet an author as yet.
    16. ive read every book on my bookshelf(bookworm) at heart.
    17. daytime=coffee nightime= flavoured water
    18. most definately done with.
    19. to kill a mockingbird most definately
    20. my mum also.

    Like

    October 12, 2012
    • Read every book on your bookshelf? Impressive!

      Like

      October 15, 2012
  3. Andy G #

    I’ll just answer question 20:
    Robert, you’ve inspired me to read. Although I have been a strong reader for years, this blog has inspired me to read all of the Nebula Award winning novels. I would have never undertaken this feat if it were not for your example.

    Like

    October 12, 2012
    • Awesome! Thanks for sharing. I love writing this blog and it makes me humbled to see that it’s affecting other people along the way.

      Like

      October 15, 2012
  4. Will Dicaprio’s performance as Gatsby be better than Redford’s? no, nothing could beat Redford
    Narnia or Middle Earth? Disney World
    Hemingway or Joyce? Joyce
    Favorite font? comic sans (not really)
    What’s your ideal book length for reading? 423
    You have to go a year without a book (all forms) or a week without food. Which one do you choose and why? NEITHER
    Best concert you’ve ever been to? James Taylor
    Star Wars or Star Trek? Big Bank Theory
    Best compliment you ever received from a teacher/professor? “Read your essay to the class”
    What’s your one piece of writing advice? Lots of white space
    Mountain reading or beach reading? Couch reading
    What’s one novel you think is awesome that everyone else thinks is bad? The Merchant of Venie
    Conversely, what’s one novel you think is bad that everyone else thinks is good? The Old Man and the Sea
    Amazon: Good or bad? Mostly good.
    Most famous author you’ve ever met? Margaret Atwood
    What percentage of books on your bookshelf have you actually read (estimate)? 80%
    Favorite reading beverage? Coke or tea or hot chocolate or wine or beer —
    A hypothetical: Print and digital books are no more and audio books are the only form of literature remaining. One catch: All the audio books are read by Gilbert Gottfried (who has indeed recorded an audio version of 50 Shades of Grey). Are you done with literature? Yes. Absolutely, yes times infinity
    One novel every teenager must read? what the heck is the name of that book Holden Caulfield is in?
    Who inspired you to become an avid reader? My mom.

    Like

    October 12, 2012
    • dste #

      Holden Caulfield is in Catcher in the Rye, I believe.

      Like

      October 12, 2012
      • on thehomefrontandbeyond #

        yes, my mind went blank-thank you

        Like

        October 12, 2012
  5. I think I’ll just select a few here.

    4. Favorite font? I prefer serif fonts, so will go with Garamond. Aldine’s pretty nice, too, as is Schneidler.

    11. Mountain or beach reading? Neither. I get too distracted when reading outside. I have to be indoors.

    16. Percentage of books? I can’t seem to get beyond 30. I keep buying new ones faster than I can read them.

    18. Only audio books? No more reading for me. My mind keeps wandering when listening to audio books. I don’t retain as much.

    20. Who inspired me? Probably my grandfather, who used to sit me on his lap when I was a baby and read the comics from the newspaper to me.

    Like

    October 12, 2012
  6. 2. Middle Earth
    3. Tough question. Joyce – but only because of Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Just Awesome.
    4. Calibri
    5. 200 pages
    6. Hmmm … I like my food
    7. Yes, Eddie Vedder (Ann Arbor), but in a tie with Jeff Buckley in a café, Van Morrison at Prince Albert Hall and Jon Luc Ponte in Chene Park.
    11. Mountain reading (Kerouac’s, Dharma Bums!)
    12. Tom Robbins. He makes me laugh, and I love the cadence of his prose. (Skinny Legs and All)
    13. Gone With the Wind
    18. I like audio, but don’t know Gottfried

    Like

    October 12, 2012
  7. Beach is best 😉

    Like

    October 12, 2012
  8. Ryan #

    1. I’d guess yes.
    2. Narnia has an element of innocence that makes it more appealing.
    3. Hemingway for brevity.
    4. Wingdings
    5. 300ish- but not if it’s unnecessary fluff.
    6. Food: the fat boy in me lives on in perpetuity.
    7. Fleet foxes until the ran cut it short. However I proposed at a DMB concert.
    8. Star Wars
    9. “He doesn’t have to show is work because he makes A’s on everything” (Math Class)
    10. Not qualified to give any…
    11. Mountain reading- but if the beach were secluded I’d give that a shot
    12. Not that it’s bad, but I enjoyed Sound and the Fury.
    13. Catcher in the Rye
    14. More good than bad
    15. Shane Claiborne (not that famous)
    16. On one bookshelf (mostly novels): maybe 50%. On the other (mostly textbooks): 35%.
    17. Black coffee- especially for novels with really natural landscapes.
    18. Is that considered literature anymore?
    19. To avoid the uber-obvious: The Old Man and the Sea
    20. 11th grade English teacher/Friends who are English teachers.

    Like

    October 12, 2012
  9. dste #

    5. Ideal length for book reading? I love long books, the longer the book the better, given that it’s excellent and continues to be so all the way through.

    10. One piece of writing advice? You need to be willing to work hard. If you really want to be a writer you have to honestly figure out what works for you and what you need to improve on. Then you have to make it happen. Sounds simple, but it’s actually very hard. (Trust me, I’m currently on my 6th rewrite of a novel I’ve been working on for years.)

    16. What percentage of books on your bookshelf have you actually read (estimate)? I can do better than an estimate! I actually have an accurate listing of all the books I own, so I just counted up the ones I hadn’t read. Turns out the number I haven’t read is exactly 1/12, which makes the percentage read 91.67%.

    Like

    October 12, 2012
  10. Yes! I had almost forgotten how much fun I had answering the first set! Here goes nothing!

    4. It’s almost a tie between Courier New, Verdana, and Georgia.

    5. 200-300 pages.

    6. A week without food for sure.

    7. I’ve never been to a real concert.

    9. “Keep writing, my dear.”

    10. Show, don’t tell.

    11. Mountain reading.

    12. I agree with you on the Stephen King thing. He is by far my favourite author. I loved Cujo.

    15. I never met an author.

    16. 80% ?

    17. I don’t drink near my books.

    18. I don’t care who’s reading. If it’s not in front of me, it’s over. Too bad.

    20. Myself.

    Like

    October 12, 2012
  11. Dominick Sabalos #

    1. Will Dicaprio’s performance as Gatsby be better than Redford’s? I’ve never seen Redford’s Gatsby. But I do quite like Leo DiCaprio. So I’ll be disingenuous and say sure.

    2. Narnia or Middle Earth? Narnia

    3. Hemingway or Joyce? Joyce in a vacuum, though 9 times out of 10 Hemingway would be the one I actually sit down to read, for brevity’s sake.

    4. Favorite font? Christchurch, Spitalfields

    5. What’s your ideal book length for reading? As long as it needs to be and no longer. Or 300 pages, whichever comes first.

    6. You have to go a year without a book (all forms) or a week without food. Which one do you choose and why? Assuming I’m still allowed fluids, I’d go for the week without food every time. I’ve done four or five days before, through illness, a couple of times. So it should be eeeeasy.

    7. Best concert you’ve ever been to? Manowar in Leeds, October 2011. Seeing an anthemic and thoroughly ridiculous (if thoroughgoingly fun) band with 2000 extremely enthusiastic co-fans in a place they haven’t toured for 14 years – don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.

    8. Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars.

    9. Best compliment you ever received from a teacher/professor? When a teacher leaving the lecture theatre I was about to enter apologised for going over his time, thinking I was the next teacher, I guess.

    10. What’s your one piece of writing advice? (don’t be shy!) I’m still a fan of the hoary old “show, don’t tell”.

    11. Mountain reading or beach reading? Very much depends which mountain and where on it I am reading.

    12. What’s one novel you think is awesome that everyone else thinks is bad? There’s a Terry Pratchett book – The Dark Side of the Sun – that everyone seems to dismiss as a crappy, insubstantial, early non-Discworld thing, but which is one of my favourite books of his, and favourite books generally.

    13. Conversely, what’s one novel you think is bad that everyone else thinks is awesome? Never Let Me Go, though it had the redeeming feature of being free.

    14. Amazon: Good or bad? So, so good, you guys.

    15. Most famous author you’ve ever met?

    16. What percentage of books on your bookshelf have you actually read (estimate)? Unfortunately in current, still rather barren apartment, I only have one book on my bookshelves. And I haven’t read it.

    17. Favorite reading beverage? Irn Bru, but only in so far as it is my favourite beverage for any given situation.

    18. A hypothetical: Print and digital books are no more and audio books are the only form of literature remaining. One catch: All the audio books are read by Gilbert Gottfried (who has indeed recorded an audio version of 50 Shades of Grey). Are you done with literature? Nope. I’d give the audiobooks a try, at least. If all else fails, I could always assassinate Gilbert Gottfried and hope they pick someone more amenable.

    19. One novel every teenager must read? The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

    20. Who inspired you to become an avid reader? A combination of Matilda, from Roald Dahl’s Matilda, and a chieftain type character called Glurk in The Carpet People, who reckoned that the less primitive carpet tribes could do magic because “they can make funny little marks on paper that can REMEMBER things. That’s a kind of magic.”

    Between reading the two of them in quick succession at a young age, I ended up thinking “Damn it, he’s right. This is magic.”, and never looked back.

    Like

    October 12, 2012
  12. caallenblog #

    2.Narnia or Middle Earth? Middle Earth

    4.Favorite font? I can’t even with this question.

    5.What’s your ideal book length for reading? 400 pages

    6.You have to go a year without a book (all forms) or a week without food. Which one do you choose and why? A week without food, easily. When I go a few weeks without books, I start to go crazy. Can’t even imagine a year.
    .
    9.Best compliment you ever received from a teacher/professor? “You are the bar” (on a paper about something I was really passionate about)

    10.What’s your one piece of writing advice? If I had only one, it would be to actually write. Every day.

    11.Mountain reading or beach reading? Forest reading ; )

    12.What’s one novel you think is awesome that everyone else thinks is bad? I AGREE SO MUCH ABOUT STEPHEN KING.

    13.Conversely, what’s one novel you think is bad that everyone else thinks is awesome? The Scarlet Letter. Almost everything by Hemingway.

    16.What percentage of books on your bookshelf have you actually read (estimate)? 95%. I usually put the books I haven’t read yet elsewhere until I’ve read them, then they get shelf status.

    17.Favorite reading beverage? Morning: strong black coffee. Mid-day: decaf tea. Evening: red wine

    18.A hypothetical: Print and digital books are no more and audio books are the only form of literature remaining. One catch: All the audio books are read by Gilbert Gottfried (who has indeed recorded an audio version of 50 Shades of Grey). Are you done with literature? What hell is this? I suppose I would keep listening to books, but I’d do more writing than ‘reading’ for sure. This question makes me sad.

    20.Who inspired you to become an avid reader? I can’t remember not being into reading, so I guess no one in particular?

    Like

    October 12, 2012
  13. chameleon soul. #

    1. Highly doubt it. I thought Redford’s portrayal was top-notch. But I’m interested to know how Di Caprio will pull this off.
    2. Middle Earth by many miles. 
    3. Hemingway. Definitely.
    4. Century Gothic
    5. 400 pages.
    6. A week without food. Water and fruits are not “food,” are they?

    9. “I don’t know that many people your age who listen to the real Beatles. You’re rather cool, aren’t you?”

    11. Beach reading.
    12. The Great Gatsby. Ha.
    13. Fanny Hill. Haha, but I don’t know if “awesome” is the word.
    14. Amazon, hm. Good.
    15. Haven’t met a famous novelist, yet.
    16. 70%
    17. Can’t go wrong with hot chocolate and a good book, now, can you?

    19. To Kill A Mockingbird.
    20. No one in particular.

    Like

    October 13, 2012
  14. Greg #

    OK. let’s see:

    1. No opinion, as Gatsby is a book I simply can’t abide.
    2. Middle Earth. Narnia’s all right, but Middle Earth rules it all.
    3. Joyce. I’m just not fond of Hemingway.
    4. Palatino Linotype. It’s classic and legible.
    5. 250-300 pages.
    6. Probably a week without food. It would be difficult, but a year without reading would be impossible.
    7. The Flirtations, Indianapolis, back before Michael Callen’s death.
    8. Star Trek: Specifically Next Generation.
    9. I don’t recall ever getting one.
    10. Just write, bad or good. If it’s bad, the practice will help you get better. If it’s good, we need more of it.
    11. Mountain. It’s too bright at the beach, and there’s too many distractions.
    12. Probably Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy (the original three). Most people don’t appreciate the value of genre fiction.
    13. Anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald. To me, he’s the epitome of self-absorbed American literature.
    14. Pretty good, although I still like Barnes & Noble better.
    15. I’ve never met a famous author. I’ve actually met very few authors, famous or not.
    16. About 50%. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of the deadwood recently.
    17. Diet Pepsi. Or San Pellegrino.
    18. I’ll become a living book, as in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
    19. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Especially the boys.
    20. My local library.

    Like

    October 14, 2012
  15. I hope you don’t mind, but I turned my answers into a blog post: http://asalinguist.com/2012/10/15/a-diversion/

    I started to comment and was really getting involved with my answers. I didn’t want to leave a 1,000-word comment, so I took them over to my blog. I did give you credit, though, so don’t dock me for plagiarism 😉

    Like

    October 15, 2012
    • Great idea! I think everyone should turn this into a blog post. It’s easy content.

      Like

      October 16, 2012
  16. 1. I hope so
    2. Middle Earth
    3. Hemingway
    4. Calibri
    5. I don’t care as long as I have the time and space to read
    6. A week without food – as long as I was reading all the time, I probably wouldn’t even notice so much
    7. The whole of Reading Festival back in 2004
    8. Star Wars
    9. “I always read your blogs.”
    10. Write every day
    11. Beach reading definitely
    12. I have no idea!
    13. “Catcher in the Rye” – I hate it
    14. Can be good
    15. Not necessarily hugely famous, but I met Helen Dunmore, who is one of my favourite authors of all time
    16. 25% – I tend to keep the unread books on the shelves and the read ones get donated somewhere or put in a box for safekeeping
    17. Tea, hands down
    18. Most likely – I have never got along with audio books anyway!
    19. “Catch-22” or “The Book Thief”
    20. My whole family – we’re all bibliophiles

    Like

    October 21, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. A diversion. | As a Linguist…
  2. 20 Questions | MuffinButt
  3. A Game Of Literary Would You Rather…? | 101 Books
  4. 20 Questions: Round 3 | 101 Books

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