So, I’ve made a few posts now about why I’m running this blog and what I hope to get out of it. But I realise that following a book blog isn’t much fun if you don’t know what the blogger’s tastes are. So to that end (well, that and boredom) I’m posting this book quiz as a get to know me type thing!
1. Favourite childhood book?
Oh god, so, so many. The obvious one is Harry Potter as the first one came out when I was seven and the last one when I was seventeen, so it hit me just at the right time. The Inkheart books by Cornelia Funke have really stuck with me as well, and the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix. I also got into Discworld as a kid but that probably doesn’t actually count.
2. What are you reading right now?
I’m reading The Silkworm on my Kindle – I’m almost finished, actually! One of the reasons I haven’t updated in a week or two is because I haven’t actually read much in the way of paper as I’ve been mega busy. I’m purportedly reading Castle in the Air, but in reality I’ve read about five pages. After that I’m moving on to the Northanger Abbey update by Val McDermid.
3. What books do you have on request from the library?
I never use my local library as it hardly has anything in it and I’m a bit of a book hoarder anyway, hence this blog.
4. Bad book habit?
See above – hoarding. I have around 160 unread paper books and 100 ebooks. I’m not even sorry but it’s starting to get a bit ridiculous.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Like I said, I don’t use the library because me local one is rubbish. I’ve recently moved though and there’s another one nearby that I might have a look at and see whether it’s any cop.
6. Do you have an e-reader?
Yeah, I’ve had one for a few years now, first a Kobo Touch and now a Kindle Paperwhite (the 2013 one, but with the 2014 memory upgrade). I love my Kindle, it means I can read on my lunch break without having to lug books everywhere with me. Especially as I always seem to finish my book about halfway through a break!
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?
In general, one at a time. But I can only really do that when I’m spending a lot of time at home as I try not to carry paper books on me anymore to save my poor shoulder from a heavy bag. So usually I have one on the go on my Kindle as well as a paper book.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Well, I’ve only just started! But I’m definitely actively trying to change a particular book related habit and it’s one of the reasons I’m blogging so hopefully they will! Ish.
9. Least favourite book you’ve read so far this year?
Not too many bad books this year, thankfully. I didn’t really like The Shining Girls and I also remember almost nothing about it. I did not enjoy the Gemma Doyle trilogy at all on reread. But tied for worst, I think, are Girlfriend in a Coma which was truly a dreadful, idiotic book, of epic proportions, and Apt Pupil which I just thought was gratuitously horrible.
10. Favourite book you’ve read so far this year?
God, I’ve read SO MANY good books for the first time this year. Oryx and Crake, The Golden Notebook, and Rebecca are my standout three though. For young adult, The Knife of Never Letting Go floored me and I’ll probably read it again when I recevive the sequels.
11. How often do you read outside your reading comfort zone?
I’m not sure I have a comfort zone? I read in most genres. Probably the genre that’s most hit and miss for me is modern literary fiction, as I sometimes struggle with it seeming very alien to me despite being about “real” life.
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
My original comfort zone would probably have been fantasy as a teenager but I wouldn’t say that I’ve had one for a long time.
13. Can you read in the car?
Nope. But I mostly use public transport now so it’s not been a problem for a long time.
14. Favourite place to read?
Probably on my couch, but I will read most places.
15. What is your policy on book lending?
I tend not to. I’m a little anal about my book organisation, so I would rather not have missing books. I lend to my mum and my boyfriend but that’s about it (and my boyfriend lives in the same flat as me so that doesn’t really count!)
16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Nope, never. Never ever ever.
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
In textbooks, statutes, or books from school, yeah. The only other book I’ve ever done it with is The Golden Notebook with a pencil, because it was just so interesting and there were so many links between the different parts of it!
18. Not even with textbooks?
19. What is your favourite language to read in?
I only speak one fluently enough to read in it!
20. What makes you love a book?
A combination of gripping prose and great characterisation with just a little “x-factor”.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
An understanding of what the person is looking for! There’s stuff my friends/boyfriend like that I hate and vice-versa, but choosing a book is about the other peson, not what you think.
22. Favourite genre?
Ohhh, tough. There’s something to be said for every genre, to be perfectly honest. I like contemporary, science fiction, and fantasy (of all kinds) a lot though.
23. Genre you rarely read but wish you did?
I know non-fiction isn’t a genre but I probably should read more of it. It’s a habit I got out of while doing my degree as I read loads of non-fiction law stuff during my degree and it’s hard to get back into the habit of reading science and philosophy and so on.
24. Favourite biography?
Eh. I am not crazy on biographies as a rule (which probably should have gone in somewhere further up!) I love Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Oh! Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman. That was ace.
25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Not that I’m aware of.
26. Favourite cookbook?
The Glasgow Cookbook. Tells you how to get to grips with the basic and has an amazing range at the same time.
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
The Golden Notebook wasn’t necessarily inspirational but it really made me think about the way we live and how things have progressed (or not) in the intervening years since it was written.
28. Favourite reading snack?
Chocolate and a tea or coffee.
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Game of Thrones. I mean, it was okay. But it’s not really that good, and everyone had me expecting a total departure from the usual high fantasy stuff but it felt like the same old to me despite some slight differences.
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Uh, sometimes, I guess? I’m trying to read more stuff that’s been nominated for the Booker/Pulitzer I suppose.
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
Not very? If I didn’t like something, I didn’t like it. Sometimes I’ll have good reasons why I think something is objectively a bad book, but often it’s just something that personally rubs me up the wrong way. It’s nobody’s fault but I’m not going to lie about it. I wouldn’t ever attack or denigrate an author directly, though, that’s just shady. Unless they’ve actually committed a crime or something.
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Probably Spanish or Russian, so I could read a bunch of stuff untranslated.
33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
I was a bit nervous before I started Crime and Punishment because it was my first Russian book and I’d been warned that it was hard to follow al the names.
34. Most intimidating book you’re nervous to start?
Infinite Jest, definitely. It’s just such a tome and it has this reputation. And I think I’ll feel really bad if I don’t like it.
35. Favourite poet?
I like Carol Ann Duffy, Robert Frost, William Blake, ee cummings, and I love From the Old Astronomer (to his Pupil) by Sarah Williams.
36. How many books do you generally have checked out of the library at a given time?
37. How often do you return books to the library unread?
38. Favourite fictional character?
Um. Help. I’m going to choose Jane Eyre for being a badass in adverse circumstances.
39. Favourite fictional villain?
Hoooooo. I’m going to go for Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Because he’s so mundane, at the end of the day, but he’s AWFUL.
40. Books you’re most likely to bring on vacation?
Young adult stuff, anything light and comforting that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. Maybe some Discworld to reread.
41. The longest you’ve gone without reading?
Like, a day maybe?
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish?
A Visit from the Goon Squad (miserable thirty-somethings… I just wasn’t interested); The Crimson Petal and the White (gross, pretentious, thoroughly unbelieveable, and I didn’t give a shit what happened); Walden (terminally boring); and Blackout (the “Mira Grant” book – terribly written, horribly plotted, gross, with unsympathetic characters, and the worst repetition I’ve ever come across in a novel).
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Not a lot, but maybe trying to have a proper conversation? I can chat while reading but not about anything substantial.
44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel?
I love Lord of the Rings, even though there’s some major differences between the films and the novels. I liked The Fault in our Stars a great deal too. I saw Gone Girl at the weekend too. I almost always think the book is better, but there are very few films where I thought it was terrible compared to the book. Ooh! Perhaps unpopular choices: I LOVE the adaptation of The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann. I thought it “felt” right. I also love the Keira Knightly Pride and Prejudice and thought it was a million times better than the 1995 TV series in which the acting was absolutely abysmal and there was all the sense of humour of a brick.
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
I pretty much hate all of the Harry Potter films. They completely miss the spirit of the books. The Disney Hunchback is laughably bad. I hate the change to the end of Les Miserables in the musical – I think the film did a better job overall than the “original” format of the musical as they brought it closer to the book IMO but the end still sucks. Any of the adaptations of Jane Eyre that don’t have Orson Welles in them.
OH WAIT. Worst EVER was Howl’s Moving Castle. I love Miyazaki but what the HELL book was he reading?
46. Most money you’ve ever spent in a bookstore at one time?
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Never, I usually check how many pages are in it, but that’s it.
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through it?
Being so bored that I can’t stand it. Not caring what happens or who it happens to. Objectively terrible writing. And something gross written in a certain way (SPOILER FOR THE NEWSFLESH SERIES: I’m thinking about the incest in these books that was treated like NBD even though it was just miserable and horrible to read about and George and Sean were both just awful terrible people).
49. Do you like to keep your books organised?
Yep, by read/unread, then author by alphabet, then title by alphabet, unless it’s a series.
50. Do you prefer to keep your books when done, or give them away?
I keep most things, but I try to get rid of stuff I know that I won’t read again, now, because I don’t really have any room.
51. Are there any books that you’ve been avoiding?
The last two ASoIaF books, the Ian Cameron Esslemont Malazan books.
52. Name a book that made you angry?
Atonement. Oh my god, I hated that book SO MUCH. I was so angry about the whole thing when I finished it. And the thing is, I read it so fast because I was COMPELLED BY MY ANGER TO DO SO. I kept ranting at my boyfriend about how awful it was and he was all “WHY DON’T YOU STOP?!” and I was like “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”
Let the Right One In was another where I felt like not only had I not gained anything by reading the book, but that a little part of me died inside because of it.
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
I hate to say this, but The Color Purple. I’d heard nothing but bad about that from someone whose opinion I (otherwise) respect, but it was fantastic. Same goes for
Heart of Darkness (same person).
54. A book you expected to like but didn’t?
The Lies of Locke Lamora. Everyone said it was amazing and so funny but it just tried far too hard – I gave up 100 pages in. Alice in Wonderland felt kind of the same for me – I didn’t enjoy it at all (though this was a long time ago).
Also, someone I was friends with said I would love Twilight and I read it because this was before the hype and I didn’t know anything about it at all. I’m no longer friends with that person.*
55. Favourite guilt-free guilty-pleasure reading?
Oh god, Sophie Kinsella novels and other things of that ilk. Modern adaptations/sequels/miscellaneous related to Jane Austen books. The Mortal Instruments which I can justify in no way because they’re terrible (especially towards the end of the seried) and Cassandra Clare is, at best, a hack. There’s probably other things but those are the best three I can think of!
*not for that reason, but I like to pretend it is.