Saturday, 21 June 2008

Filler - Space-Filler

Hello all, apologies for the absence, and apologies that this is not going to be a real post either, just a meme, since I'm all out of blogging inspiration right now.

Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback?
Ooh, what? Two types of paperback? Quelle bizarrity. Leaving aside my ignorance, I’m going to turn this question into Hardback v paperback, which is of course won by paperback. Hardbacks maybe look better in 18th century libraries, but for actual reading paperbacks are better. My wrists hurt otherwise, especially if I’m in the bath.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
(Hmm, does this mean this quiz originated in the States? Perheps.) Out of those two I’d say Borders, because they’re actually vg and I got my Swallows and Amazons mug from there. And they have armchairs dotted around the bookshop which is the way to my heart, and they didn’t kick me out when I sat there for five hours in Adelaide reading City of Flowers (it was raining outside and the museum was very small). But if we’re talking high-street bookshops, I used to like Waterstone’s the best but now they’ve put down that horrid cream carpet and it doesn’t feel as nice. Now my fave is the Heffer’s on Trinity Street in Cambridge. That’s just lovely.

Bookmark or dog-ear?
Bookmark or nothing. But when I say “bookmark” it’s usually the nearest thing to hand – film stub, train ticket, bus ticket (although only in Cambridge because of Oyster), boarding pass, etc etc

Amazon or brick and mortar?
Brick and mortar, usually, although Amazon is best for presents and for elusive stuff. It’s also excellent for cheapo second-hand stuff. But I much prefer actual real-life bookshops, because you can touch the books and have a flick through. You can’t browse in the same way on Amazon.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
Alphabetise by author, obviously. But all my books are divided into fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, English Literature (i.e. my annotated texts from school), travel, photography, history, biography, and reference. What? I used to be a librarian, sue me.

Keep, throw away, or sell?
Keep, unless it was really rubbish, then it’s off to Oxfam. Never ever ever throw away, ever – it’d feel like throwing away a living thing. Ugh.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?
I never mean to lose dust jackets but I do. I take them off and then put them down and then they get absorbed by the piles of rubbish in my house. But keep, if we’re talking about intentions here.

Read with dust jacket or remove it?
Remove. They’re annoying and they keep sliding up the book.

Short story or novel?
Novel, but only because I’ve never really read any short stories. *gasp*

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Harry Potter times a million.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
I always try and get to a chapter break, but sometimes I simply can’t keep my eyes open.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?
Neither. Both are rubbish. Although “it was a dark and stormy night” makes me think of the running Peanuts gag about Snoopy and his novel, and so is preferable for that.

Buy or borrow?
Buy. If I’m not certain about a book, I may borrow it from the library or a friend and then buy myself a copy if I like it. But book-buying is my therapy, so it’s usually buy.

New or used?
Both, but I do love second-hand books, simply for the bookshops which house them. And occasionally you get notes in them, or inscriptions.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations, or browse?
Rarely reviews, because I don’t read the papers enough. But recommendations will point me to a book which I will then browse through.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
Either as long as it works. A good cliffhanger is a tidy ending, as far as I’m concerned – but it should fit in with the themes and style of the book. Modern books can get away with it more. Happily ever after doesn’t satisfy as much as it did. Having said that, though, with the best books even a tidy ending works like a cliffhanger for me - I just don't want to leave that world.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or night-time reading?
Always. Any time. The only thing that varies is the subject matter. Heavier stuff in the morning when I’m a bit more awake, lighter stuff for the tube or for relaxing.

Stand-alone or series?
I won’t go looking for series over stand-alone, but a series is obvs longer and so a good series trumps a good book. There’s more of it!

Favorite series?
(See, I knew this was American!) Arg, too many to choose, but if you put a gun to my head I’d say Swallows and Amazons. And then I’d mutter Harry Potter and Terry Pratchett and Master and Commander and that’d be the end of me.

Favorite children's book?
How long have you got? Swallows and Amazons, probably, but also the Narnia books and Winnie the Pooh. If we’re talking younger than that: Asterix, Each Peach Pear Plum, The Jolly Postman, Brambley Hedge, Tim and Charlotte, Captain Pugwash…

Favorite YA book?
Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Very few people have heard of Rosamund Pilcher, and those who have are probably eighty and called Doris. She has written three fantastic books and many many mediocre stories and always ends up with the Barbara Taylor Bradfords and Catherine Cooksons in the romance sections of charity shops, but she doesn’t deserve that. Coming Home is one of my all-time faves.

Favorite books read last year?
Oh bloody hell. Erm… I actually cannot remember one book that I read last year. I have a horrible feeling I only re-read things. Ooh, no, I read A Spot of Bother, the new Mark “Curious Incident” Haddon, and that was utterly brill. (phew) Before you sneer at me, I read at least a few pages of approximately 300 books, thanks to my history degree. But they don’t count. I did love On Royal and Papal Power by John of Paris, but that’s a bit wanky, isn’t it? Oh, and Deathly Hallows, I spose, which I did love a lot. And Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett, which is just lovely.

Favorite books of all time?
Fuck off. Random selection, excluding those I’ve already mentioned above:

The Forsyte Saga (John Galsworthy)
Middlemarch (George Eliot)
His Dark Materials (Phillip Pullman)
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets (Eva Rice)
Georgia Nicholson Series (Louise Rennison)
I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith)
We Need To Talk About Kevin (Lionel Shriver)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
Ex Libris (Anne Fadiman)
Writing Home, and Untold Stories (Alan Bennett)
anything by Terry Pratchett
The Female Eunuch (Germaine Greer)
Friday's Child (Georgette Heyer)
The Nanny (Melissa Nathan)
Persuasion (Jane Austen)
How To Talk To A Widower (Jonathan Tropper)
Brideshead Revisited (Evelyn Waugh)

Least favorite book you finished last year?
Ooh, easy peasy. I read Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Taylor Bradford, and it was AWFUL. Fantastically awful, in fact. It was unoriginal, boring, full of flat, unattractive, stereotyped characters, and had absolutely no tension whatsoever. Which, you know, in a mystery thriller is kind of problematic. I kept waiting for the big dramatic twist which would have made it worthwhile, but it never came.

What are you reading right now?
Savage Beauty, the biography of Edna St Vincent Millay
Sense and Sensibility

What are you reading next?
Depends on my mood, although I think I will read The Color Purple, the new Kate Morton, or a Bronte next.

Favorite book to recommend to an eleven-year-old?
Well, obviously it depends on the eleven-year old. I, for example, was unique in having a negative reading curve, racing through Jane Eyre and Rebecca by the time I turned twelve and then spending five years reading nothing of substance (but lots of fun). Swallows and Amazons if I think they aren’t too cool; A Traveller in Time and Cue for Treason are good for history buffs; Louise Rennison’s Georgia books are fantastic teenage reading because they are funny and surprisingly well-written. Tamora Pierce is brill – terribly written but wonderful characters.

Favorite book to reread?
Anything by Georgette Heyer or Terry Pratchett, and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, by Eva Rice, is perfect too.

Do you ever smell books?
Yup. But it’s the touch I like best.

Do you ever read Primary source documents?
All. The. Sodding. Time. (actually they’re quite fun. You feel like an investigative journalist or a detective, and you get added superiority if you’re reading it in Latin).



Anyway, hopefully normal service will soon be resumed.

1 comment:

  1. I've read Coming Home, I believe. That's the one about Cornwall, yes, and has war in it? I've only read one of hers.

    As for short stories, you should read Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, and Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors.

    And I will take bonus points for the reading of primary sources in Latin.

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