- You must be honest
- You can’t not answer a question
- You have to tag at least four people
I have a book called Rachel’s Roses which I’ve had since I was the smallest small. It’s a pretty basic story, but it’s one of the first books I had and it’s got my name in the title so I’m keeping it forever.
2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next?
The last book I read was The Golden Yarn by Cornelia Funke. I’m not reading anything at the moment – I’ve been playing Pokemon Moon a lot this week and I wanted to wait until January started so that the next thing I read would count on all the 2017 reading challenges I’m trying! I have a lot of options for the next thing I read but I think I might go for Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone – I’m in the mood to kick off the New Year with a few laughs if I can!
3. What book(s) did everything like and you hated?
I tend to get pretty easily swept along in the excitement of a new book, so probably the closest I have to this is the Throne of Glass series – I really felt that the last book was not for me, and I don’t think I’ll pick up the next one. Also I guess The Raven King? I didn’t hate it, but I knew that the end would be a cheat, and I wasn’t that impressed by the way that it happened, however much I tried to be.
4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
All my non-fiction. I buy books because they look interesting and I do genuinely want to read them, but it takes me so much longer than fiction that I get bored too quickly and never finish anything.
5. Which book are you saving for “retirement”?
I’m not saving it specifically, but I almost definitely will not get round to my non-fiction before then. If I had to pick one I’m looking forward to, I think it would be Arnold van Gennep’s The Rites of Passage. It inspired large parts of my dissertation but I never read the whole book, and while it is a bit of a slog to get through I’d really love to have read the whole thing.
6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?
Definitely wait until the end. Even if I lose interest in the book, I probably won’t check the ending. I did spoil myself once for the ending of the book I was reading, and it just completely spoiled the entire experience.
7. Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?
I really love reading the acknowledgements in books! It gives you an idea of the author as a person, and the people who support them, and as a super nosy person I’m a big fan. Also, there are so many people behind the scenes, aside from the author and the publisher, and from a (somewhat biased!) professional standpoint I think it’s especially important to credit the agent, who doesn’t get any default mention in a book and normally goes unrecognised for their hard work.
8. Which book character would you switch places with?
I often think of the Terry Pratchett thing where the worst thing you can wish on a person is that they live in interesting times, and I think that’s true of pretty much all book characters! I guess I might like to switch with Meggie from Inkheart for her childhood before Inkheart actually starts! Or maybe Frost from Zoe Marriott’s FrostFire, just because I identified with her so strongly when I read her story. Then there’s the skipped-over years of Lirael‘s story, written by Garth Nix, when she is a Librarian and her closest friend is the Disreputable Dog. Basically I suppose I’d like to live the dull parts of characters’ lives!
9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?
I have very strong memories of reading The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones in the high school library, tucked away behind someone else’s chair. And of reading The Princess Bride by William Golding as a library book, and finding it years later in a bookshop and being relieved that it was real, because no-one else had heard of the book version and I was beginning to think I’d dreamt it. And of picking up Garth Nix’s Lirael by chance one day in the local Waterstones, not realising how much it would shape my life.
10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.
Well. There’s most of the Artemis Fowl series, by Eoin Colfer, which i stole semi-accidentally from my junior school. A lot of my books are unintentionally ex-school library books… There’s also my precious signed copy of Utopia for Realists, one of the last copies out and about before they shut down the self-published edition in order to be able to re-launch it in March 2017. Through my job, I was lucky enough to get a signed copy, and I honestly do treasure it. It is a privilege to see great books like this go from dreams to reality, and it what makes my job worthwhile.
11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?
I knew my self-from-another-dimension, Ellie, would love both of Becky Chambers’ books – The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit – and back in October, Becky happened to be doing a UK tour for the launch of her second book. At the London event I went to, there weren’t any copies of the first one. So I got a copy of the second signed for Ellie, and then roped in my friend who lives in Sheffield to go to the next night’s event and see if she could get a copy of the second one signed there! Thankfully, it worked, and I was able to give both to Ellie for her birthday. It was an exciting book adventure and I’m so glad that it all worked out.
12. Which book has been with you to the most places?
I carried Terry Pratchett’s Thud around with me for years. The cover is falling off, and the gold on Pratchett’s name is half rubbed away. Pages are beginning to come loose from the binding. But I really love that book, and my own, very personal copy is very special to me, even if I now have to leave it at home for its own safety.
13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?
The only reason I resented required reading was because it took time away from my personal reading! And we actually did most of our reading in class, so it wasn’t much of an imposition. The Lord of the Flies is the only compulsory text I remember off the top of my head now, and I really appreciated having read it so closely a few years later when I read Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, and was able to get loads more from it as a retelling.
14. What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?
Inscriptions. I love inscriptions, the more detail the better. And I always find it more difficult to give a book away again if it’s got a really lovely inscription inside, even if it’s nothing to do with me.
15. Used or brand new?
Mixed feelings. If I’m getting a book I know I’ll love, for example if I’ve already read it somewhere else, then I’ll get a new copy because I want to batter it myself! But if I’m not sure, or if it’s a book I’m discovering then and there, then I do lean towards used.
16. Have you ever read a Dan Brown?
Nope. Seen the movie of the Da Vinci Code though. Pros: there’s a guy whose security questions revolve around how to do tea right. Cons: they kill Paul Bettany.
17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?
In all honesty I tend to avoid movies when I haven’t liked the book. Inkheart was an interesting one, because I love both the book and the film but for very different reasons. They are two versions of the same story, but I try not to compare them directly.
18. A book that NEVER should have been published.
Hmm. Nothing specific is springing to mind. Anything that promotes hate speech, or fails to interrogate its own privilege, I’m not a super fan of.
19. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?
Never outright hungry, but there are some books that really stick out for me because of their food. Zoe Marriott’s Daughter of the Flames, and the companion novel FrostFire, have really vivid descriptions of the food as a lovely way to solidify the worldbuilding. Also Shira Glassman’s A Harvest of Ripe Figs has a lot of good food description in, and I’m sure that carries through to the rest of the series – I’ll let you know when I read them!
20. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
My alternate-dimension-self, Ellie, and me are very similar in our book tastes, so her reccomendations tend to be very spot on. For example, the Castings Trilogy by Pamela Freeman was a top-notch choice. And Romilly, who is one of my best friends, is good at finding good books too – she just gave me Ella Minnow Pea for my birthday, which I definitely must do a review for, because it’s gr9.
Aaaand, we’re done! Phew! This was genuinely a lot of fun – it threw up some book-related memories I hadn’t thought of in ages. Thanks to Bex for tagging me in this! The four people I’m tagging are: