Tag Archives: survey

Survey Says…

A little over a month ago, I posted a survey asking what people would like to see and not see on this here blog. The responses were interesting. In general, people seem to want more of everything and less of nothing. But here are some bits that particularly interested me:

  • A request for more color. That’s fair. I’ve had intentions for months to create a blog mascot (which is a little doodle I already draw everywhere; I just need to vectorize one so it’s easily resizable), and once I have that I’ll probably be able to move on to a color scheme. I’ve kept my site design purposely minimal because I’m kind of crap at those sorts of things, but I think it’s time to make things more interesting. Alas, I don’t have two minutes to rub together these days for such things, but hopefully once things have quieted down (this Autumn, with any luck) I’ll put in some time on a redesign.
  • Most people wanted to see more projects in progress and personal essays, with finished drawings and photography in a close second. I am the first to admit that I am absolutely terrible about scanning in stuff, largely because my study is on the second floor and the scanner is in the basement. It’s encouraging to hear that people actually want to see that stuff, though. As for the personal essays, most of that ends up on my LiveJournal but if there’s anything of more general interest (that is, stuff you don’t have to know me personally to appreciate), I’ll post it here.
  • Very few people wanted to see less of anything: one each of book-related stuff, memes, and gluebooking. Which is fine. I became a book blog completely by accident, and I read/review books frequently enough that there’s no need for additional literary posts. I will probably post some more about gluebooking, but only when I finish projects. I currently have two completed that I need to photograph and write about, and two others in progress with no end in sight.
  • People have no particular opinion on how often I post. I’m thinking, what with this insane summer I’m currently having, that I’ll switch to twice a week for a while. I hope that way to be more consistent, rather than having weeks with five days of posts and weeks with none (like, oh, last week). I’m thinking Tuesdays and Fridays. That way I’ll have more than enough content to keep up for some time to come.
  • People would like to see more new stuff in general, but the interactive stuff (interviews, tutorials, and blog hops, with giveaways and guest posts as runners up) won the day. I have absolutely no idea what I’d do a tutorial on (I don’t really know how to do anything), or whom I’d interview, but I’m certainly open to looking into it.
  • I was asked what a blog hop was. As far as I have experienced, it’s a bunch of blogs all posting on a similar theme on the same day. The person who hosts the hop has links to all the other blogs on their post, then provides that list for inclusion on all the other participating blogs. I’d like to note that all the blog hops I have seen have been giveaways, but I don’t think that’s a requirement. Here‘s a little more information.

Thanks for participating; I really appreciate it. As always, comments are welcome. This summer may be a little sparse in terms of non-book-review content, but I’m looking forward to Good Things for this Fall.

Humbly Requesting Your Assistance

On August 22, this blog will turn 8 years old. Well, technically, I started on Blogger and didn’t migrate everything over to Zoiks until 2009, but my blogging went uninterrupted, so I’m counting it as one continuous span of time. Don’t be too impressed – I’ve already hit a decade over at LiveJournal, and have been using “melydia” as my primary online handle since 1993. This all makes me something like 237 in Internet Years. (Get off my lawn!)

Despite all this, I’ve never really been part of the blogging community. I read a lot of blogs, sure, but it took me ages to bother with things like Google Friend Connect, BlogHer, or Ning communities. My site design is intentionally sparse. I don’t hold giveaways or host interviews or blog tours. Then again, I also don’t need to have a good cry if no one comments on my posts – that is, blogging has never been a purely social activity for me. It’s enough that it’s out there and being appreciated, whether or not folks are being vocal about it. (Don’t get me wrong: comments totally make my day.)

That said, if I had no interest whatsoever in what my readers thought, I would keep all this stuff to myself rather than posting it where the world can see. Once in a blue moon I look at my blog and I think, “I wonder if there’s something different I could be doing with this.” That’s where you come in. In the past I’ve invited people to comment on what they’d like to see, but I think there are probably a fair number of lurkers who don’t feel comfortable making suggestions on a blog written by someone who doesn’t know them from Adam.

Aside: the internet is funny about lopsided friendships. Take Cleolinda Jones, for example. I read her blog regularly, to the point where my sister commented that she kept forgetting I’d never met Cleolinda in person. On the flip side, I am 99% sure that Cleolinda has absolutely no idea who I am.

As I was saying, a lot of people are timid about leaving their first comment on a blog, so I decided to experiment with an alternate method of getting feedback: an anonymous poll. Fill it out, have your friends fill it out, fill it out multiple times, whatever, just please spread the word. I’m looking for a general consensus, and the more data points the better. Keep in mind that I won’t know who you are unless you tell me in the comment field.

One last thing before we get started: the fact of the matter is that I’m not going to reduce the number of book reviews. It is what it is. However, I’d like to sprinkle in a fair number of posts on other things, too. So if you’d like to help me decide what those things should be (please please please!), then click this link:

Take the Survey!

(Thank you!)

Booking Through Thursday

Just a simple survey this week.

1. Favorite childhood book?
There are so many, but probably Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary

2. What are you reading right now?
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, The Secret Scripture by Sabastian Barry, and Holes by Louis Sachar.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None at the moment, but I have Foundation by Isaac Asimov checked out for when I finish Holes.  When I start Foundation I’ll put the next book on hold.  (I don’t like browsing the shelves.)

4. Bad book habit?
Sometimes, despite my best intentions, the spine gets broken. The horror, I know.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Holes and Foundation, as mentioned above. They’re both audiobooks; that’s all I use the library for these days. I have plenty of regular books to read on my shelves at home.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Nah. I sit in front of a screen all day long already. That, and you can’t BookCross e-books.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
Several at once. I have one main book (mostly read in bed at night), one audiobook in the car, and one book in my gym bag for reading while on the stationary bike.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
I give more thought to what I thought about them and why. Sometimes I even make notes for my review before I finish the book.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
The Taking by Dean Koontz. Cripes that was terrible.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. Didn’t want it to end.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
More often than I used to, that’s for sure. It’s amazing the things that have fallen into my lap since joining BookCrossing.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Oh, I dunno. Science fiction and fantasy, I suppose.

13. Can you read on the bus?
No, I get motion sickness very easily.

14. Favorite place to read?
My recliner with a sleeping kitty on my lap. :)

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I don’t lend any book I absolutely must get back.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Not anymore. I did as a kid.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Generally no.

18. Not even with text books?
Not uness I’m correcting a mistake in the text.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English. It’s the only one I can read in!

20. What makes you love a book?
That’s far too in-depth of a question to be answered in a single survey post.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If I really really loved it and can actually articulate why.

22. Favorite genre?
Probably SF/F.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
History and historical fiction.

24. Favorite biography?
Um. I haven’t read many biographies.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Not unless you count the Inner Bitch books.

26. Favorite cookbook?
I don’t cook, but my husband says Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child is essential.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Inspirational? I guess probably The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova.

28. Favorite reading snack?
I avoid eating while reading, as I tend to pay more attention to the book and end up eating far more than I should without thinking about it.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Hard to say. I certainly wasn’t as impressed with The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini as I’d expected.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don’t know. I don’t pay much attention to critics.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
About the same as giving good/positive reviews.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Jeez, I dunno. Possibly The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

35. Favorite Poet?
Shel Silverstein.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
One or two.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
Several times, always because the book was unlistenable due to either a terribly scratched disc or a terrible narrator.

38. Favorite fictional character?
I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one, but at the moment I’m kind of in love with The Colonel from Looking For Alaska by John Green.

39. Favorite fictional villain?
That’s not any easier to narrow down. Maybe Javert in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Whatever I’m currently reading plus several paperbacks – usually at least two more than I could possibly read in the timespan I’ll be gone. I’m paranoid about running out of things to read.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Until college I almost never read for pleasure, so probably months.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
The Void by Georges Perec, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, others.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
The television.  A cat rubbing her face on my book.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
The Last Unicorn

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
There are so many. Probably Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, not because it was a particularly bad movie, but because the book was just so good that I had hoped to recapture those feelings with the film. And I didn’t.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Not counting textbooks, probably somewhere around $100, but it was mostly Christmas presents.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I don’t. I read the back and the first few paragraphs, and if it sucks me in, I read it for real. I don’t like skipping ahead, though as a kid I always read the very last word before starting a book. I have no idea why I did that.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
If I just really wasn’t enjoying it and every page was a chore. Life’s too short to read bad books.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
I don’t, really, though I often play around with my TBR spreadsheet.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I release them into the wild, of course.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s pretty much my husband’s favorite story ever but I am reluctant because The Hobbit gave me narcolepsy.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
The Death of Common Sense by Philip K. Howard.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Sigh…

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore. More recently, The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight by Gina Ochsner.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Jennifer Weiner.

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