John DeNardo of SF Signal introduced (and possibly created) a little questionnaire for SciFi, Fantasy and Horror readers. They're interesting questions because, as common as most are, they split people in huge ways. I'm sharing them and my answers here; if you're interested, please follow suit in the Comments, or link back here on your own blogs.
1. The last sf/f/h book I read and enjoyed was:
Roger Zelazny's The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth. Incredible short story collection; "Divine Madness" has one of the most affecting endings I've ever read.
2. The last sf/f/h book I read and did not enjoy was:
Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle. The characterization and prose style just were not for me. Didn't help that I read it while insanely ill.
3. A sf/f/h book that I would recommend to new sf/f/h readers is:
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. What the hell? You're not exposed to any of the genres, so give this a shot and see if the roots of Fantasy are for you. If it is, then we can have many happy chats.
4. A sf/f/h book that I would recommend to seasoned sf/f/h readers is:
Seems even more futile than #3. A hardened reader of Hard SciFi isn't going to be excited for a YA Fantasy Magical School book, and vice versa. You really ought to get to know people before recommending books to them. I guess I'll toss out Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan, since it was formative for Fantasy and has touches of Horror, and yet is read by almost no fans of either genre today, and for absolutely no good reason. The entire Gormenghast trilogy is an incredible piece of work, so low-Fantasy you can mistake it for Historical Fiction.
5. The sf/f/h book I most want to read next is:
I just bought a bunch, and am particularly antsy to get to Jeff Smith's RASL and see what he did in an adult narrative. I'm forcing myself not to read it until I finish a couple more drafts - incentives, baby.
6. My favorite sf/f/h book series includes:
A magic ring, an old wizard, and second breakfasts.
7. I will read anything by this sf/f/h author:
Shirley Jackson. She could render a grocery list compelling.
8. The first sf/f/h book I read was:
A picture book of King Arthur's greatest hits. It begat my love of the Black Knight. Poor guy got screwed.
9. & 10. The sf/f/h book I’m most surprised that more people don’t like is: AND The sf/f/h book I’m surprised so many people do like is:
I'm not surprised that anything is popular. I'm quite aware of and comfortable with my limited ability to predict what people will enjoy. If anything, I'm surprised how many people are utterly incapable of looking beyond what they enjoy and figure others are nuts for not agreeing with them.
11. The most expensive sf/f/h book I own is:
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitley's Absolute All-Star Superman, a gift from my brother and a truly great comic, but also grossly overpriced. Some of my older books (including a Twain from 1924) might be worth more, but I've never had them evaluated.
12. The number of sf/f/h books I own and have yet to read is:
66, not including the contents of the Hugo Packet that just arrived. Thanks for the accountability, Goodreads.