So, the rules of this Q&A:
1. Post these rules
2. Post a photo of your favourite book cover
3. Answer the questions below
4. Tag a few people to answer them too
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. Make sure you tell the person who tagged you that you’ve taken part!
I love the whole set of these Haruki Murakami book covers. They’re very clean and sleek and very eye-catching when you’re browsing in a bookshop.
I was tagged by Louise (the book) and Claire (That In Black Ink) – thank you both! I tag Sophie (Love, Live & Learn), Allie (Forgotten Beast), Mara Eccentric Owl) and Mackenzie (whatever, gatsby). I would tag Danielle (The Oxford Comma) but I think Claire tagged her so that would be redundant. (Just as redundant as me pointing that out. Hm.) And everyone else reading this right now. (That means you.)
What are you reading right now?
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, along with a non-fiction book about the August riots and two short story collections.
Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
I might read Chocky by John Wyndham. Or I might not. Once I choose a book to read next my brain sometimes goes ‘No! That is the last thing I want to read!’
What 5 books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?
Almost every classic novel falls under this heading – despite always being a bookworm and spending years studying English, my interest for contemporary fiction has always trumped my interest for classics. But I feel like I ought to read them all. I won’t bother listing them, so here are five contemporary novels I have wanted to read for a long time.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale, If Nobody Spoke of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor and The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.
What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
None. I’ve pretty much given up reading all magazines except the ones that come with the paper. When I imagine my dream house, I must admit that I picture a huge stack of glossy mags on the coffee table. Magazines might just have to stop being so shit before this happens, though.
What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
I don’t know about the worst, but I only got through about one chapter of Beauty Story by Luke Jennings before I had to throw it at the wall and leave it there.
What book seems really popular but you actually hated?
We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Hate might be too strong a word, but I definitely did not love it as much as everybody else seemed to. So much of it seemed to me like irrelevant rambling, and it just never quite made me feel how I thought it was supposed to make me feel. The idea of it is great (well, not great, you know what I mean) and some parts were fascinating and moving, but in the end I just felt completely let down.
What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
I recommend Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell to pretty much everybody I know, and nobody has managed to read it yet. This won’t stop me.
What are your 3 favourite poems?
Poetry tends to leave me quite cold. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to admit that, as an English graduate, but most of it just passes me by.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I decided that if I was ever going to get through this so-called poem without going insane, I would have to learn to enjoy it. So I did, and thankfully avoided insanity.
Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen
I fell head over heels in love with war poetry and literature when I studied it for an A-Level module, and this one poem stuck with me. I really enjoy the half rhyme – it looks a bit stilted when you read it in your head, but try reading it out loud and you might appreciate it more. Also, ‘The pity of war, the pity war distilled.’
The Tyger by William Blake
Sentimental childhood memories.
Where do you usually get your books?
Charity shops, Amazon, Waterstones or Tesco when they’re on offer, Kindle.
Where do you usually read your books?
Absolutely anywhere. I’m that sort of rude person who has been known to sit with a group of friends and announce ‘I’m sorry but I just have to finish this chapter’ and whip a book out from my bag. I rarely take public transport anymore but it’s the perfect place to read. Mostly I read at work while it’s quiet and in bed before I go to sleep. In my dream house (let’s see how many times I can mention my hypothetical abode in a post that has nothing to do with living quarters) I would like to have some sort of reading room, or at least a specific area in which I can read.
When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
I read everything. I would read the manual for the microwave if I couldn’t find anything else.
What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
This happens more often than it should. The last one was What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn. In fact, 8 out of the 14 books I’ve read this year have had this effect on me. (Unfortunately Never Let Me Go is not keeping me up at night. I’m enjoying it, but it’s a slow burn, which is disappointing as I’ve heard other people say that they devoured it in one sitting.)
Have you ever “faked” reading a book?
I studied English – of course I faked reading books. I only skim-read Cold Mountain during my A-Levels and I got 98/100 on the exam. Because I’m just that good. I tried my best to read The Heavenly Twins by Sarah Grand but I ended up not having enough time to read that beast of a novel. (I really enjoyed the parts of it that I did read!)
Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Not for the cover alone, but obviously a snazzy cover will draw me to the book in the first place. I think this is actually one of the good things about the Kindle – I can no longer judge a book by its cover.
What was your favourite book when you were a child?
The best book series I read when I was younger was certainly not Harry Potter, it was the Whitby Witches trilogy. I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if they had become hugely famous instead. (I genuinely do.)
What book changed your life?
Maybe I’m not old enough yet, or haven’t read enough books, but I do not think a book has yet changed my life in any significant measurable way. Because I’m a bit of a drama queen I think almost every half decent book I read has blown my mind but really, no life-changing has occurred. Sorry, crap answer!
What is your favourite passage from a book?
I can’t think of an all time favourite. I’ve mentioned on the blog before that I found Cool Hand Luke surprisingly poignant and touching, so here’s my favourite passage from it.
“And I knew that it wasn’t over yet, for any of us. There was still more hope and disappointment way out there in the Free World, where the traffic still swished and roared along restless highways. There was more battle to be given and lost, rewards to be sought and forsaken, more loves to be wooed and unrequited.”
Who are your top five favourite authors?
David Mitchell, Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami. I can’t think of another two that I would call favourites.
What book has no one heard about but should read?
Ark Baby by Liz Jensen. It’s been years since I’ve read it but I remember that it was hilarious and bizarre. I don’t think I’ve met anyone else who has read it!
What 3 books are you an “evangelist” for?
The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell, the Regeneration trilogy by Pat Barker, and South Riding by Winifred Holtby.
What are your favourite books by a first-time author?
It might not be my favourite but I loved The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and thought it was seriously impressive for a debut novel.
What is your favourite classic book?
I’ve been using my Goodreads shelves as reference during this survey and it just occurred to me that there are no classics on my ‘favourites’ shelf. Unless South Riding counts? I also loved The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
5 other notable mentions?
I don’t know if this means classics, or what. But I’ll just list 5 of my favourite books.
White Oleander by Janet Fitch, The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and The Flood by David Maine.