Our own Sultan of Stats, ingres77, takes a turn.
How many times have you participated in CBR?
This will be my third year. I was a long time lurker on Pajiba, and remembered the original Cannonball with Alabama Pink. But the amount of reading I did had nose-dived after college, so I never signed up. I took a job in 2014 that allows me to listen to audiobooks, so I signed up the next year – and here we are. I’m back to physically reading books, too, by the way.
As a reader, writer, and all-around word person, I am suspicious of/impressed by your skill with numbers. How did you get into the whole stats thing? Are you one of those lucky (ahem, weird) people who can use both halves of their brain?
I don’t know that I’m particularly proficient with numbers. But I’ve always been fascinated with information, in all its varieties. I used to troll through baseball statistics, and I’ve always made databases of things I collected or was interested in. In college, for instance, I wanted to construct a database of all life, past and present, so I could get a better idea of how organisms evolved and promulgated across the globe.
It probably goes without saying that that particular venture was a little too monumental for one person toiling away in Excel in his free time. After joining CBR, it only seemed natural to start building a database of everything we’ve read. And, thankfully, MsWas gifted me with the reviews for CBR6 and 7, making the process monumentally easier.
Now I just to curb the expansion of the database (I’ve already added information about the authors, like sex, nationality, and year of birth and death, and Goodreads information, like rating, vote totals, page count, etc) and finish inputting CBR2-5. Its a process.
I want to somehow make it all available, but Google docs doesn’t seem like a great solution to me.
Has being a participant changed the way you read? If so, how?
Absolutely. I not only read more often, but I’m reading books I never would’ve glanced at before. I’d spent so long reading science and history books, that I’d almost stopped thinking of novels as a viable source for pleasure. Most of what I read that first year were history books, but I’ve drastically altered my habits since then.
And I’m reading a lot more women. There’s really no excuse to not do so.
What’s the first book you recommend to new friends?
Oh, I’m terrible at recommendations. But I try to cater them to whatever the other person likes. And I try to avoid the books that everyone has heard of. “What do you mean you haven’t read Crime and Punishment? Everyone should, at least once in their life.”
Rainbow Rowell to everyone. John Scalzi for science fiction fans. Christopher Moore, Patrick Rothfuss….my last review really knocked my shoes off, so I’ll probably be recommending Colleen Oakley’s Before I Go to a lot of people (who can handle the weighty topic).
If you were to get a book-related tattoo, what would it be? (Or if you already have one, what does it say?)
I could never get a tattoo. I’m far too flighty and indecisive. I briefly thought about being a tattoo artist when I was younger, but figured no one would want a tattoo from a blank canvas.
You get the same food question as yesknopemaybe, as I still have visions of deep-fried Twinkies dancing through my head: what’s your favorite fair/festival food?
I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I’ve never had fair food. Not even cotton candy.
My wife did talk me into eating what I think is called an “elephant ear” at a Renaissance Festival a couple years ago, but I don’t remember what it tasted like. It was some kind of doughy confection.