Because books and music make the world go ’round.
(I couldn’t find a questionnaire like this about movies; otherwise, this would have been a multimedia extravaganza! So, sorry about that.)
What book is on your night stand now?
~ I am currently reading The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey by family friend Alan Guebert.
When and where do you like to read?
~ I usually like to read either during my lunch hour at work or before bed in my room.
What was the last truly great book you read?
~ Girl, Interrupted for the umpteenth time. Susanna Kaysen is just brilliant. Everyone should read that book – they’d garner a whole new perspective of mental illness.
Are you a fiction or a nonfiction person?
~ Mainly fiction. Though I have a lot of nonfiction books, mainly about mental illness or writing how-to books.
What’s your favorite literary genre?
~ I don’t think there’s a word for the type of genre that I like. I like coming-of-age, character-driven stories with good plots that just pull you in. Perhaps they consider that literary fiction. I don’t know.
Any guilty pleasures?
~ Phantom by Susan Kay. Yeah. That’s about it. Which is odd considering I didn’t like Phantom of the Opera; no offense meant to Gaston Leroux.
What book changed your life?
~ The Language of Goldfish by Zibby O’Neal. I was ten years old when I first read it, but it pretty much set me up for life.
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
~ Hmm. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Would you consider it a cautionary tale, perhaps? No, not really. I just think a president would gain a lot of insight into how the masses really think by reading that book. Because Sarah Vowell says a lot of things normal people are too scared to say aloud, myself included.
What is your ideal reading experience?
~ Uh. I don’t really know. Just laying quietly in bed, reading a good book.
Do you prefer a book that makes you laugh or makes you cry?
Do you prefer a book that teaches you something or one that distracts you?
~ I like to learn when I read, so I prefer a book that teaches me something. I don’t think I have many distracting books. Then again, I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder.
What were your favorite books as a child?
~ Danny and the Dinosaur was a definite favorite. I also liked all those Little Golden Books, and Berenstein Bears, and those Disney books where there was narration and at the glissando sound of Tinkerbell’s wand you would turn the page.
What book do you like to read to children?
~ Oh gosh. I haven’t read to a child in a long time, not since sixth grade at least. So I don’t know. I don’t know the children’s book market nowadays. What do kids like?
Disappointing, overrated, just not good: Which book(s) did you feel as if you were supposed to like, and didn’t?
~ I was really looking forward to reading Bossypants by Tina Fey, but somehow that book just seemed very mean-spirited, and I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. I’ll keep the book, but I don’t know if I’d read it again. One book I didn’t like that I am not keeping is The Liar, The Bitch, and The Wardrobe by Allie Kingsley. I don’t know, I thought I’d like that book, owing to its ‘clever’ title, but I really didn’t like it.
If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you want to know?
~ I would love to have met Sylvia Plath, of course, just to hope some of her incredible writing influence would rub off on me. I’ve met both Sarah Vowell and Wally Lamb, but I could only screw up the courage to ask Wally Lamb anything. I asked Wally Lamb what his advice for aspiring writers would be. He said that ‘revision is the real writing,’ and to ‘find a writer’s group.’
What are your reading habits?
~ I don’t really have any. Just to keep an open mind while I’m reading, and hopefully learn something.
Do you read paper or electronic books?
~ Paper, no question. Electronic books are sort of silly, if you think about it. I mean, I’m not knocking it, because I know some people have Kindles and Nooks and swear by them. But I think electronic books are just silly. It’s just another electronic device. Plus you pay the same for an electronic book as you would for a plain paperback. Just get a paperback! They last forever if you’re careful with them. Besides, nothing beats the feel and smell of a new paperback.
Do you take notes?
~ NO! Never! I daren’t write in margins or within books, because books are sacred to me.
Have you ever written to an author?
~ Once, a long time ago, for school. We were supposed to write to an author of a book we admired. I wrote to Betty Ren Wright, the author of The Dollhouse Murders, which was a phenomenal book when I was younger. I even got a reply, though I don’t remember what it said. I don’t even think I still have it; I think I kept it, so it must be somewhere among my papers.
What book made you want to become a writer?
~ There really wasn’t one. I pretty much knew from the get-go that I wanted to be a writer, so I can’t point to one exact book that planted the seed, as it were.
Which of the books you’ve written is your favorite?
~ I’ve only really ‘written’ one book, and that’s been The Book for family and friends. So that would have to be my favorite.
What’s the best memoir you’ve ever read?
~ It’s Always Something by Gilda Radner.
What do you plan to read next?
~ The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan.
1. Do you play an/several instrument(s)? If so, what instrument(s)?
~ I play guitar, and I sing (see below). I used to play flute and piano, and can still eke out a song on either instrument.
2. Do you sing? If so, what style?
~ I sing, but I don’t have a certain style. I am a mezzo-soprano.
3. Do you beatbox?
4. Are you a DJ?
~ No. But my dad is.
5. What do you think about classical music?
~ Classical music puts me to sleep. And I mean that in a good way. When we were little, Mom always used to put on classical music to get us kids to take naps. And it worked. So, if I’m feeling particularly untired, I can put on Bach or Mozart and fall asleep within minutes.
6. What do you think about rock?
~ Rock makes the world go ’round, in many ways.
7. What do you think about pop?
~ Pop is fun.
8. What do you think about jazz?
~ I like jazz. Vince Guaraldi is one of my favorite jazz pianists.
9. What do you think about alternative?
~ I dunno. I used to love alternative, because it was angry to me. But that was back when I was younger, and now that I’m older, I don’t listen to it much. That doesn’t mean I don’t listen to it….
10. What do you think about electronic?
~ I like very few electronic artists, and sometimes electronic can get too, well, metallic-sounding. Like metal scraping against a chalkboard – it’s awful sometimes. Dot Allison is one of the only electronic artists I actually like.
11. What do you think about metal?
~ Some metal is good. Some isn’t. It’s a taste matter. I like Metallica.
12. What do you think about rap?
~ Does this question include hip-hop? I used to be of the vehement opinion that rap was not music – it was just ripping other artists off. But it’s growing on me, thanks to my knowing Johnny. Some of the lyrics, while vulgar or obscene, are quite clever. Plus, I like several female hip-hop artists, to-wit, and in no particular order: Eve, Rihanna, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, and Aaliyah.
13. Is there is a genre that I haven’t listed that you’d like to comment on?
~ Progressive. Because it’s the future of music. Always has been, given artists like Genesis and Rush and Yes and….oh, just give my dad’s radio show a listen, and you’ll see what I mean. And then I like some country music, namely Miranda Lambert and Dixie Chicks.
14. What is your favorite genre?
~ I don’t really have one. I like them all.
15. Do you prefer older or newer music?
~ I haven’t listened to the radio for about ten years now, so I am clueless as to the lastest acts that are out there. That bugs me a bit, because there could be some truly talented folks that I have no idea exist yet. But in the grand scheme of things, I prefer the older music, because it’s familiar and it can still shift in meanings. And some of those songs are simply timeless, man.
16. Who is your favorite artist/band?
~ My favorite artist is Neko Case. My favorite band is Queen. I have many more favorite artists/bands, of course, but those two are clear favorites.
17. Is there a musician in particular you admire?
~ All of the musicians/bands/singers I admire, I like. So there.
18. What is your favorite song currently?
~ All of them.
19. Is there a song you find very special to you?
~ A couple. “Take Me Home” by Phil Collins reminds me of family. Outkast’s “Hey Ya” reminds me of working at the cafe, which are okay memories. And Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You” reminds me of one person in particular; unfortunately, he’ll never know who he is.
20. What song would you most likely listen to if you are sad?
~ That depends on how sad I really am. If I’m flat out sad, then I can’t summon the energy to listen to any music. But to make me cry, sometimes I just need to listen to a song like Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” or Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You.”
21. Are you mutable when it comes to your music interests?
~ You bet!
22. What was your favorite genre a long time ago? Has it changed since?
~ A long time ago? No. My musical tastes have really not changed, even when I was little. When I was little, I disliked most of the kiddish records we were forced to listen to, because I wanted to listen to my dad’s music.
23. Can you read musical notes?
24. Do you wish you could play an instrument? If so, which one?
~ I wish I was better at piano.
25. Do you wish you could sing? If so, what style?
~ There’s not a style I wish I could sing. I just like to sing, just as I sing.
26. Is there a certain genre that annoys you?
~ Um. Dunno. Opera? Something about opera just doesn’t sit right with me, leastaways because most of the time I do not have the slightest idea what they’re singing about. I don’t really care, either, I’ve found.
27. Do you sing in the shower?
~ All the time. Bathrooms have great acoustics.
28. Do you even like music?
~ Of course I do!
29. How often do you listen to music?
~ Every day, if I can.
30. Is music very important to you?
~ Very. Music is life.
31. What is your least favorite instrument?
~ I don’t have one.
32. Who is your least favorite artist/band?
~ Teenybopper crap or boy bands. Let’s just leave it at that.
33. Do people (in general) think you have a weird/bad taste in music?
~ Weird, definitely. I used to get picked on for liking certain bands. But I’ve never been told I have bad taste in music, so that’s good.
34. Do you think the people around you have weird/bad taste?
~ Nope. I’m very open to the musical tastes of others.
35. Are you picky when it comes to liking music?
~ Not really. I like a little of everything.
36. What do you think about mainstream music today?
~ I can’t listen to it, which should be a good indication of what I think of it. I think it tends to all sound the same. Like I said, there could be some hidden gems out there that I don’t know about, which is bad of me, but for the most part, I can’t listen to it.
37. Are you in a band (school band included)?
~ I was.
38. Are you in a choir?
~ I was. Biggest waste of a class ever!
39. Have you ever written/composed/created a song before?
~ Working on it, with a poem I have.
40. Have you ever been to a/several concert(s)? If so, which concert(s)?
~ I have never been to a concert.
41. Are you listening to a song right now? If so, which song?
~ At the moment? I am listening to my Pandora stream, and it’s set to ‘shuffle.’ In the course of my filling out this questionnaire, it’s played, like, twenty songs. Yes, I am listening to music right now and they are all great songs. So there.
42. Have you ever sung karaoke before?
~ Yes! Johnny and I went to Bubbleology, which is a karaoke bar in Iowa City. We spent two hours just singing and talking. It was fantastic.
43. Have you ever been in a singing competition?
~ No, but I have been in a couple recitals.
44. Have you ever performed musically in front of an audience?
~ See 43 above.
45. What would life be like for you without music?
~ Life would be empty and dreary and not worth living without music.