Reading Habits

Suspense author and fabulous blogger Stacy Green tagged me in a “Get to Know You” game. That makes me think of The King and I, and now my brain is off on a tangent of hearing Deborah Kerr sing “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you . . .”

Never mind.

Anyway, games come with RULES: 1. You must post the rules. 2. Answer the questions and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged. 3. Tag eleven people and link to them. 4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Rather than invent new questions and tag others, I decided I really just want to answer Stacy’s questions because they focus on fiction. Since I like to talk about fiction on Deep-Fried Fridays, here’s a little about me and my reading habits:

If you could live in a fictional world, where would that be?

First choice, Narnia. I definitely want to meet Aslan . . . and ride a horse and wield a sword and talk to animals.

Next choice (and quite the opposite), a James Bond novel. I actually didn’t like the book Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, but I am convinced that I missed my calling as a Bond girl. What do you think my name should be?

Do you read in noisy or quiet places?

I prefer quiet, but I can read with background buzz. If the voices or music are too close, however, I find myself easily distracted. I definitely hate that feeling of reading a sentence four times over because other stimuli are throwing my concentration off. That said, my favorite place to read is outdoors, where the background noise is an ocean tide thundering or birds and cicadas chirping.

What was the first book you ever read?

The ones I most recall reading were the Nancy Drew and The Little House on the Prairie series. Before these, though, my favorite story as a child was Gerald McBoing-Boing by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss).

I also read Bluebeard from a fairy tale collection over and over. The story both intrigued and unnerved me.

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If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? No, not one! Asking a voracious reader that question is like saying, “Which finger do you most want to keep?” “Um, all of them!”

Okay, okay — back against the wall, tortured if I don’t decide, and not counting a standard answer like “the Bible” — I’ll pick Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd  C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (My gut is wrenching and my face is twitching. Only one book?)

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Favorite author?

I cannot pick another JUST ONE! I already did that! Here are a few authors I’ve read several books from: C.S. Lewis, Charles Martin, Rhys Bowen, Agatha Christie, Charlaine Harris (but not her Sookie Stackhouse series), Leo Tolstoy, the Bronte family (can’t I count them all together?), Rosemary Clement-Moore, Elizabeth Peters, Lois Lowry, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Is that enough? I bet I could think of more.

Do reviews influence your choice of reads?

Yes, a little. If something is widely adored or panned, I pay attention. Even then, however, I try to find out why people had such an intense reaction. A recommendation from a friend who shares my taste trumps an official book review, though.

Fiction or Non-fiction?

Like eating vegetables, I read non-fiction because it’s good for me. Like devouring chocolate, I read fiction because it’s yummy to me.

Have you ever met your favorite author?

Nope. Oddly enough, I don’t have a strong desire to meet authors or celebrities. It would be nice, but as long as they keep writing great books . . .

Audio books or Paperbacks?

Paperbacks. I’m also learning to like ebooks. I prefer, however, to do non-fiction through audio. I can listen well to an audio book while cleaning my house or walking around the neighborhood.

Classic or Modern Novels?

Classic — but not because the writing was any better before. It’s mainly because if something’s great, it’s still around fifty years from now. If something stinks, it usually falls by the wayside. That said, I read more modern novels because I have so many friends with books out and it sharpens my understanding of what I should be writing now.

Book Groups or Solitary Reading?

I have been in a Book Club for several years. However, the six of us would be friends regardless; we meet six times a year, every other month; and we read 1-2 books for each meeting. The rest of the time, I’m a solitary reader.

The book we have tapped for our next meeting is a non-fiction bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

So I said that I’m not making up eleven questions, but I will make up ONE. I’ll pose it, answer it, and then ask you to respond to it in the comments.

If you could invite three dead authors to a dinner for four, whom would you invite? I think I’d have a rip-roaring great time with Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, and Leo Tolstoy. If one of them turned down the invite, Jane Austen would be next on my list.

Thanks to Stacy Green for this great exercise. If you haven’t popped over there, check out her blog. Her Thriller Thursday posts are especially intriguing.

So who would you invite to dinner? Also feel free to answer any of the above questions about your own reading habits!


If Twain Tweeted

Welcome (back) to Amaze-ing Words Wednesday! Here at Threading the Labyrinth, I take Wednesdays to head down a hedged path of the English language and discover something to share with you.

I recently read a great post from Lydia Sharp, Back to Basics: Writing is Hard. She included an inspirational quote from Mark Twain and then said: “I think it’s safe to assume that, were he alive today, Mark Twain would have had one of the best inspirational/motivational blogs for writers ever in existence. He’d also be crazy popular on Twitter with all his quick wit and humor.”

Indeed, Lydia! And thank you for inspiring me.

I started thinking about Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and all of the inspirational and witty things he said. Some writers are able to master language in such a way that informs or entertains with only a few words. Mark Twain had pithy, humorous, and poignant down pat. So what if you logged onto Twitter, found Mr. Twain, and clicked follow?

I’m sure there’s a Twitter moniker out there actually tweeting for Twain. I didn’t check. Instead, I give you the following tweets from Mr. Twain in one post. Here are 25 favorite quotes I found from him in 140 characters or less.


  1. A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
  2. A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.
  3. Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.
  4. All generalizations are false, including this one.
  5. Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
  6. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
  7. Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
  8. Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.
  9. Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
  10. I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough.
  11. Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied.
  12. My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. (Fortunately) everybody drinks water.
  13. Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
  14. The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
  15. What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself.
  16. Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
  17. To be vested with enormous authority is a fine thing; but to have the on-looking world consent to it is finer.
  18. [A] full belly is little worth where the mind is starved.
  19. [I]n order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.
  20. It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
  21. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
  22. Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
  23. It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.
  24. It is wiser to find out than suppose.
  25. What work I have done I have done because it has been play. If it had been work I shouldn’t have done it.

I may do this again sometime. I could have kept looking for hours and found many more succinct quotations from Mark Twain’s writings and speeches.

Would you follow Mark Twain on Twitter if he was alive today? Which quote was your favorite? Do you have other quotes from Mark Twain that you love?

Sources: BrainyQuote, LitQuotes,,, AllMarkTwainQuotes