Firstly, thanks to everyone who has commented, tweeted and emailed in response to my last post, I now have a clearer idea of what books to take, and 5 potential and exciting guest posts lined up for when I’m gone! If you fancy writing something and are seeing this for the first time, there’s still time to get in touch and if you’d like to contribute anything yourself, I’d be open to one or two more submissions…
ANYWAY, I saw this little bookish Q&A session on Amy’s blog yesterday and loved her answers, it seemed such a great way to gain a mini insight into the personal literary likes/loves/opinions of the person behind the blog, so I thought I’d give it a go – I’d like to include more ‘me’ posts here on Reader.Writer.Nerd. and blog hops like this are something I’m going to make a conscious effort to seek out and take part in from now on. Let’s be honest, most will probably still be about books, one way or another….at least this one is!
What are you reading right now? I’ve just started The Storyteller by Jodie Picoult, released yesterday! I had dinner with one of my best friends last week who happens to be a HUGE Picoult fangirl, and she mentioned that there was a new one coming out that I’d probably like. Although I’ve only read one other Picoult title before, The Storyteller appealed to me as it centers around the Holocaust, forgiveness, revenge and redemption; a subject that has always fascinated me since GCSE history, and one that has close ties with my own family history – my dad’s family are Jewish, and although I’m not personally religious in the slightest, I love to hear old family stories and find the heritage extremely interesting from an academic point of view. Expect a review after Tenerife!
Do you have any idea what you’ll read after you’ve finished this book? It’ll either be Pixel Juice by Jeff Noon or The Better Mousetrap by Tom Holt. I’ve been wanting to read Pixel Juice for ages now, and was actually going to start it, had I not begun The Storyteller – but I figured a collection of SF/Fantasy stories would be better material for taking on holiday next week than an expectedly dark and heartbreaking foray into Jewish history, so I’m saving it! The Better Mousetrap has been recommended to me by 3 different people this week, so I’m also really excited to begin that. It might become my plane book…
Five books you’ve always wanted to read but have never got round to? Oh, THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION. Five? If you asked me which 500 books I haven’t yet got round to, I still wouldn’t know which to pick… OK, I’m just going to scan my Goodreads and pick the first 5 from my TBR pile that jump out at me. Ready Player One by Ernest Kline, Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk, Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane, The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake (technically three, sorry) and Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis.
What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now? I’m not a huge fan of magazines; I read the news and short entertainment based stories and facts online, and I prefer to read a book or watch a film when I have free time. I do like the supplements that come with the Sunday paper, so there’s those, as well as a few back copies of Oh Comely which I buy for the illustrations, and a few supermarket recipe mags.
What’s the worst book you’ve ever read? Another tough one… but I’m going to cling on tightly to the bandwagon I joined years ago and say Twilight. I didn’t even try and read the first until last year, because the films sounded and looked absolutely dire. My sister and housemates kept saying to give it a chance though, so I very reluctantly borrowed a copy, and it was even more dire than I’d expected. I battled through the first four or five chapters then gave it back in disgust. Vapid characters, boring dialogue, ridiculous plot development, unrealistic and incredibly immature themes…completely awful in every way. I’m not sorry.
What book is really popular that you really hated? Can I just use the same answer again? If not, probably The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards. It sounded as though it’d be really moving and emotional, and everyone else seems to think it was, but I just didn’t get it. It left me cold, and more than a little bit bored. At best I found it overly sentimental and much too drawn out. I am kind of sorry this time.
What’s the one book you recommend to everybody? At the moment it’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I LOVE THIS BOOK. So much. I reviewed it here and gushed for a lot longer than is acceptable in a Q&A. It’s my favourite book of the year so far and also one of my favourite books EVER. Seriously, if you take away one book from this blog, take away this one. Please read it. Please. It won’t change your life, but it’ll change your mindset. For at least a few days.
What are your three favourite poems? maggie and milly and molly and may by e.e. cummings, All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter by J.R.R.Tolkien and even though it’s not really a poem, America by Simon & Garfunkel. I consider a lot of their songs poetry. Same goes for tracks by Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Infinitely beautiful, every single one.
Where do you usually get your books? Now I have my kindle, Amazon or NetGalley. I usually buy paperbacks from Waterstones or charity shops, and I ALWAYS get books as gifts for my birthday and Christmas.
Where do you usually read your books? Everywhere and anywhere. Seriously. My bed, my desk chair, the sofa, on the train, in waiting rooms, in the car… mostly it’s on my bed or the sofa though. I make a nest with pillows and duvets and woolly jumpers and I stay there for hours, drinking tea and forgetting to sleep/eat.
When you were little, did you have any reading habits? All of the above! In my old house when I was really little and my sister was just a toddler we had a playroom next to the lounge with interconnecting doors, and I used to open one of the doors at an angle so it made a triangle with the wall, and get all of Milly’s baby blankets and doll pillows and her night lamp, and some of my mums garden pegs and blutac, and I’d make a reading fort. It was actually the best thing ever, and sort of what I try and recreate now with my bed cocoon.
What’s the last book you stayed up half the night to read? Last night I stayed up for an extra hour or two to finish The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky; once I’d started Part 3 I just couldn’t bear to put it down until it was over. And it was so brilliant and beautiful and sad I couldn’t sleep anyway.
Have you ever ‘faked’ reading a book? Nope. I don’t see the point. If I haven’t read something or didn’t like it, I have no problem saying so, regardless of whether anyone else has or does. This brings me to one of my pet hates – classical book snobbery. It’s no big deal if you’ve read Dickens or Dostoevsky, you’re no more intelligent or admirable than someone who only reads, say, Dan Brown and Sophie Kinsella. If you genuinely enjoy the classics, fine, if you read them to boast and judge others, you’ve missed the point of reading entirely. Books are brilliant, and genres exist because everyone has their own idea of brilliant. There’s no such thing as a ‘proper book’ or ‘proper reader’, only a proper attitude. /endrant/
Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover? No, but I’ve bought a book because I’ve liked the blurb, without ever hearing of it/reading any reviews before. Covers don’t matter to me, especially since getting my kindle. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate an especially awesome one though! I love book art and will be posting more Incredible Illustrations very soon.
What was your favourite book as a child? Easy. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S.Lewis. I’d say the whole Narnia series if I could, but the question asked for one book and that’s my favourite of the seven. Obviously also Harry Potter, but Narnia came first. TVOTDT is first book I can remember that made me laugh and cry and beg for it not to end. It’s the book I read most and enjoyed just as much every time. It’s still in my Top 5 books ever, and I still read it from time to time. I have the collectors edition Narnia set so my copy has beautiful watercolour plated illustrations too, which I’d like to get copies of framed one day.
What book changed your life? I’m torn between two answers here, so I’ll give both. The Harry Potter series for (cliche as it sounds) actually BEING my childhood. Some of my best memories are to do with Harry Potter, and I have never felt that level of engagement or pure astonishment in a fictional world since. I really think I genuinely believed it was real at one point. My other answer is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery, a copy of which I received during my A-Levels as a prize for writing the best philosophical fiction essay by my tutor at the time. That day was when I finally and suddenly realised what I wanted to do for the rest of my life – write, and read – and more importantly, that I was good at both of those things and so could probably actually make that a reality. And now, 5 years later, I’m a trainee copy-editor and working towards getting an in-house position in a fiction publishing office. That book will be coming to live on my desk.
What is your favourite passage from a book? This is literally the HARDEST question about literature I have ever been asked. I don’t know. I really, honestly don’t know. I have lots. Possible even hundreds. Far too many to recall at once, let alone file in order of preference. So, if you asked me in an hour, a day, a week, I’d probably say something different, but for now, it’s this. A quote to live by, from my favourite HP character:
I think I’ll just go down and have some pudding and wait for it all to turn up… It always does in the end.
– Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
What are your top five authors? Again, this answer has the potential to change. But currently: Arnaldur Indriðason, J.K.Rowling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman.
What is your favourite Classic book? Can I have the original Grimm’s Tales? If not, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It was required reading for my A-Level, and I’m so glad. I’d have read it anyway, and probably will again, one day.
Five notable mentions: The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Machine of Death Collection by Ryan North, Stardust by Neil Gaiman and The Pianist by Władysław Szpilman.
Phew! I feel like I’ve bared my soul… it’d be great to read anyone else’s version of this, if you fancy doing it – link me in the comments!