A little book Q&A

Last night was World Book Night, which spreads the joy and love of reading.  To spread that joy a little further, the lovely Sally has created a little Q&A about books and reading which she tagged me into.  I am enjoying a quiet Tuesday night in with a mug of tea and my Kindle so I thought this would be the perfect thing to do whilst I enjoy a bit of ‘me time’.

The Rules: 
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!

Front cover of ‘Pirates Mixed Up Voyage’ – always makes me smile as I remember how much I loved how silly (and utterly brilliant) it was as a child.

I tag
my Mum, The Pampered Sparrow, Kate and anyone else who likes reading – but tweet me and let me know you’ve done it, I love getting recommendations for new things to read!

What are you reading right now?

The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins.  I saw that Kate was reading it last month and thought I’d give it a go – it is such a gripping read, I wasn’t expecting a classic novel to have so many twists and turns, it is a genuinely thrilling, brilliant detective story.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
I downloaded The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt onto my Kindle a few days ago after seeing it reviewed on the TV book club, I’m really looking forward to reading it.

What 5 books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?

Oh Comely and Olive magazine

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. Everyone raves on about it but I thought it was badly written and boring. 

What book seems really popular but you actually hated?

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.  Again, everyone raves on about it (and it won a lot of awards) but I couldn’t get past the first 50 pages (actually, I see a lot of copies at charity shops so maybe neither could anyone else).

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?

The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  Undoubtedly my favourite book so I believe everyone else should love it too; it’s just so full of mystery, intrigue and darkness, it just swallows you up.  I adore it.

What are your 3 favourite poems?

Scheherazade by Richard Siken
The Hon Sec by John Betjeman
Remember by Christina Rossetti

Where do you usually get your books?

I bought a Kindle a couple of months ago and I’ve downloaded a lot of the classics as they’re free on the Kindle store which is a great way to motivate me to read the ones I’ve had on my list for ages (ever thrifty!). If I really enjoy books I’ve borrowed or read on the Kindle I always buy a paper copy for the library I intend on having one day (I’ve already racked up three large bookshelves so I’m getting there!)

Where do you usually read your books?

I always read before bed, in the bath if I’m not reading on my Kindle or when I get the train to work.

When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
My Mum used to always read to me before bedtime as my Dad was away at sea a lot when I was very young.  When he came home he used to read with me too, usually a book by Robin Jarvis – I used to cherish those moments as I loved spending that quality time with my Daddy.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
Sister by Rosamund Lupton.  It’s one of those books where you have to keep reading to find out what happens.

Have you ever “faked” reading a book?

A few in college where I had to write assignments and I couldn’t get into the book.  I remember using Spark Notes to help with an assignment on The Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen (granted, a play, not technically a book) because I hated it so much.

Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?

No, I am far too thrifty for that! Though I must admit I am very tempted to buy some of the Penguin Classics that have had covers redesigned by tattoo artists.  Valerie Vargas is my favourite tattoo artist ever (cliché I know) and I love her Notes on a Scandal cover, though I already own the book.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
As I already mentioned (and Sally did too), I loved the Robin Jarvis books, Roald Dahl (of course) and before I could read myself I am reliably informed that I loved the Janet and Allan Ahlberg books – The Jolly Postman being a firm favourite (and probably bred my love of receiving post!)

What book changed your life?
I read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand whilst away in Thailand and it just blew my mind, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so excited by a book before.  I read it at a time when I was realising a lot of things about myself and the direction I wanted to take my life in and it just made me feel so determined and inspired.

What is your favourite passage from a book?
This was a tough one.  I love all the scenes with May in it in The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami though so I’ll go with this one;

“Here’s what I think, Mr. Wind-Up Bird,” said May Kasahara. “Everybody’s born with some different thing at the core of their existence. And that thing, whatever it is, becomes like a heat source that runs each person from the inside. I have one too, of course. Like everybody else. But sometimes it gets out of hand. It swells or shrinks inside me, and it shakes me up. What I’d really like to do is find a way to communicate that feeling to another person. But I can’t seem to do it. They just don’t get it. Of course, the problem could be that I’m not explaining it very well, but I think it’s because they’re not listening very well. They pretend to be listening, but they’re not, really. So I get worked up sometimes, and I do some crazy things.” 

What are your top five favourite authors?
Haruki Murakami
Kurt Vonnegut
Douglas Coupland
Chuck Palahniuk
Jonathan Coe

What book has no one heard about but should read?
Once In a House on Fire by Angela Ashworth

What 3 books are you an “evangelist” for?

The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

What are your favourite books by a first-time author?

After You’d Gone by Maggie O’ Farrell
To Kill a Mockingbird
 by Harper Lee
The Wilderness
by Samantha Harvey

What is your favourite classic book?
I would have to say Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, I used to love reading that as a child.

5 other notable mentions?

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
The Magus by John Fowles
The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller 

…. and, on Joseph Heller, the story goes that he was once being interviewed, and the interviewer said – “Since Catch 22 you haven’t written anything nearly as good.” and he replied “No, but then neither has anyone else.” I love that.