What was your favorite book during childhood?
Well, obviously that’s going to depend on when in childhood we are talking, but I think, once I graduated to real books, it would have to be my complete Sherlock Holmes collection. It was a book I bought at Sam’s Club (I think it’s still sitting on one of the shelves at my mother’s house) that was all three collections of canonical Holmes short stories as well as The Hound of the Baskervilles. There was a little series of books when I was growing up called “Moby Books.” They were little abridged versions of the great literary works of the western world with an illustration on each page and a page of text. It was actually The Hound of the Baskervilles from that series that first got me hooked on Holmes.
2. What is your favorite book now?
Oh. That one is actually more difficult. I haven’t kept up reading as much as I wish I had. I’m in the middle of reading through Les Miserables finally, but I don’t know if I can call it my favorite book since I have yet to actually read it (not counting the audiobook to which I have listened countless times). If I don’t count my audiobooks as options, it would probably still be Sherlock Holmes. That’s about the only one I go back to time and again – except now I’ve read pretty much all Conan Doyle ever wrote about the detective. I hope to be able to say Les Miserables if I have to answer this question in the future; it certainly ranks.
If I do include audiobooks, the options get much wider, but I still don’t know which to pick. I enjoyed The Hunger Games. I’ve listened to the Harry Potter series repeatedly. I would also have to include The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, both of which I’ve actually read, not just heard. Eventually, I will conquer reading The Silmarillion, but it’s another that I have tried a few times and can’t get enough momentum.
3. What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book?
It is not, in any way, shape, or form, the recent adaptation of The Hobbit. I know that’s not the question, but I am still angry about the ruinous changes that Peter Jackson made to the story, a few of which I find absolutely unforgivable.
Even though the story, itself, remains one of my favorites, I can’t say Les Misérables. None of the film adaptations have stood up, in my opinion. The version with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush had potential, but they made a few changes that I think hurt the story. Specifically, Valjean punches the Bishop of Digne while he is robbing him in the middle of the night and watches as Javert commits suicide. The recent adaptation of the musical could have been amazing if they had cast someone who could sing as Javert and left the book (meaning the libretto, in this case) alone. They made changes there that were just plain terrible.
Ok, so to answer the question, I think I would have to say the musical version of The Phantom of the Opera. I’m fond of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical (although it’s not my favorite), and I think it was a great adaptation of Leroux’s actual book. Phantom is much more layered than the simple horror story that it is often made out to be.
4. Do you prefer checking out books from the library or buying them?
I prefer audiobooks. I own several that I’ve purchased through Audible. Lately, I’ve been “checking out” audiobooks from the library on an iPhone/iPad app, so that’s been handy. When it comes to books that I actually want to have a physical copy, I prefer buying them. Two reasons for that: first, I never get around to reading them fast enough to check them out from the library, and, second, I like to have my own copy – they’re cheap enough.
5. Have you ever been let down by a book that was highly recommended to you?
My best answer to this is (sadly) most of the books I was required to read in school (and even to get my literature degree). Most of the books that are considered great just don’t hold me. Probably the top of this list would be Moby Dick or The Scarlet Letter. Both of those are supposedly the height of American Literature, and I find both of them unbearably boring. I will admit, though, that the movie adaptation of Moby Dick starring Patrick Stewart from a decade or so ago was great. Maybe I should have put that in number 3.