1. What author do you own the most books by?
Er. It appears the answer is Stephen King, with ten books. The runner up is Dostoevsky, though, with seven -- and I've read all the Dostoevsky books I own, which is not true of the King ones. (Although I've also read a number of King books that I don't own, so I guess King still probably wins.)
2. What book do you own the most copies of?
I have three copies of The Picture of Dorian Gray. I used to have three copies of Les Miserables, but I gave one to zinniazayda. :)
3. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
What, just one? Heh. Well, Sherlock Holmes is the first that comes to mind, although "in love with" might be less accurate than "completely fascinated and intrigued by." Which would also describe my sentiments toward Lord Denethor. My favorite fictional character is Claude Frollo (or, more broadly, Faust); but I am not in love with him at all. Not in the usual sense, anyway.
4. What book have you read more than any other?
I've read The Hunchback of Notre-Dame at least three times, but maybe four. I can't remember. I've also read Les Miserables three times, though the first time it was the abridged edition. ...Apparently I enjoy rereading Hugo.
5. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
The Black Stallion. I liked the sequels, too, but the first book was always my favorite.
6. What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
I haven't read any bad books this past year. I rarely bother to finish books I don't like. I guess The Golden Compass is the book I enjoyed the least, but it wasn't bad, and I do still intend to read the others in the series.
7. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
I suppose I'll have to choose War and Peace. I made plenty of exasperated comments about Tolstoy while I was reading it, but now that I've stepped back a bit, I remember it fondly and am even inclined to go back and reread passages of it. It really is one of the best books I've ever read, objectively speaking. There were just some things about it that irritated the heck out of me, so it's still not one of my favorites.
My favorite book from this past year's reading is Atlas Shrugged, surprisingly enough. I had lots of exasperated comments to make about that one, too, and I think I disagreed with Rand even more often than with Tolstoy... but for some reason I wound up really loving the book anyway.
8. If you could tell everyone reading this to read one book, what would it be?
I don't even know. People have such different taste in books, I hate to presume. I guess I'll say Les Miserables, because I think people who haven't read it have rather a different impression of it than those who have. greekhoop and I were talking about it the other day, and about the way Hugo gets pegged as a Romantic, not entirely unjustly, but not entirely justly, either. He's more of a transitional author between Romanticism and Realism, and every time I go back and reread a passage from one of his books, I'm surprised by how much I still adore him.
9. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Joyce's Ulysses, apparently, since I still haven't finished it! :/ I don't know how I can love Joyce so much and still have so much trouble actually finishing his book, especially since I love Ulysses more than anything else I've read of his. But it's difficult to get in the right mindframe to give him the attention he deserves.
10. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Oh god. Are you seriously making me choose?
I guess I have to choose the Russians, since I like so many of them. I've certainly read much more Russian literature than French. But if I have to choose between my favorite authors, Hugo and Dostoevsky... they're very different, and I love them for very different reasons, but I can't say which I prefer. (Luckily, Dostoevsky also loved Hugo, so at least I don't have to feel like I'm giving either of them offense...)
11. Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer?
Shakespeare, then Milton, then Chaucer. (Which is not the order hamsterwoman or sheiannasherra put them in!)
12. Austen or Eliot?
I haven't read anything by Austen, so Eliot by default.
13. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Probably The Odyssey, The Iliad, and The Aenead. I've started each of them multiple times, and I still intend to read them, but for some reason I have a difficult time caring what happens from one page to the next. :/
14. What is your favorite novel?
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, by Victor Hugo. Moby Dick and Dostoevsky's The Idiot are also high on the list.
Either "Hamlet" or Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing." Almost certainly "Hamlet," actually, but that just sounds so typical...
My standard answer to this question is Coleridge's "Kubla Khan." There is also "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and Larkin's "Aubade," and the Kipling poem that's on my profile page ("The Conundrum of the Workshops"), and... really too many things to list.
I rarely read essays. The only one I can recall particularly enjoying is by Guy Endore, and is not exactly an essay, but a transcription of a lecture he gave, which he then printed as the twelfth chapter of his novel "Satan's Saint," which is a kind of fictionalized biography of the Marquis de Sade. The novel itself is only mediocre, but the essay, which discusses how mankind glorifies war and vulgarizes sex, in effect praising destruction and shaming creation, is very excellent.
18. Short Story?
If Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" counts as a short story, then that. If it needs to be shorter, then possibly Gogol's "The Overcoat" or Borges' "The Immortal." I'm not so much a fan of short fiction, though, so I'm afraid I've read much less of it than I should have.
19. Non Fiction
Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, hands down. :)
20. Graphic Novel?
Neil Gaiman's Season of Mists. There are others I could list, but none that I like more than that one.
21. Science Fiction?
Lord of Light, unless you want to count that as fantasy (it's somewhere in between, technically more sci-fi, but with a very fantasy feel to it). In that case, 1984.
22. Who is your favorite writer?
Fyodor Dostoevsky. Followed by Hugo, Melville, and Wilde.
Actually, hamsterwoman chose to interpret "writer" as opposed to "author" as indicating a focus on style rather than overall composition. If I follow her example, I'll be torn between Joyce, Nabokov, and -- Nietzsche. And Melville, actually. And, um, Shakespeare and Stoppard. Oy.
Let's just stick with Dostoevsky to keep things simpler, shall we?
23. Who is the most over rated writer alive today?
I don't know much about writers who are alive today, I'm afraid. I tend to think most modern authors are overrated. The only exception I can think of is Chuck Palahniuk, who is really, really good. There are other good authors, of course, but none I've noticed who actually seem as good as they're reported to be.
24. What are you reading right now?
Nothing, actually. :/ Except my Russian Lit textbook. I left off about halfway through Dubliners a few weeks back, and intend to resume as soon as I get my brain back, though.
25. Best Memoir?
I've never read a memoir. I've read portions of Claude Francois Meneval (Napoleon's secretary)'s "Memoirs of the Courts of Europe," and enjoyed them, but have not yet gotten around to reading them straight through.
26. Best History?
I've never read a history book.
27. Best Mystery or Noir?
And I've never read any mysteries except for Sherlock Holmes. From the Holmes collection, I'd say the best is The Hound of the Baskervilles, or perhaps The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but my favorite is The Sign of the Four. Though I'm afraid its being my favorite has nothing to do with the mystery (which is stupid) and everything to do with Holmes playing violin and shooting up drugs.