I was tagged to do this by the wonderful Winged Cynic of Tomes of the Unknown whose blog I absolutely love. Please take a look if you don’t already know about her, and definitely start with her About page because it’s awesome!!
So, here we go …
What is the most expensive book you own? Which is the least expensive?
Ermm … I can’t say I really know the answer to this one as I don’t buy super expensive copies of things and don’t really go in for swanky hardback copies of books anymore mostly because they’re harder to carry around. Now as long as they’re readable I’ll buy anything. If we’re talking about my most valuable book, rather than my most expensive, then I guess that’d be my childhood copy of the Hobbit that I bought at a school book fair (everything about that copy brings back memories: the smell of the pages, my name written in my awful nine-year old handwriting in the front, the tape repairing the spine). Then there are my late Nana’s collection of Georgette Heyer novels, also tied up with memories.
As for my least expensive book, (not counting gifts and freebies I’m assuming?), that’s too hard! I’ve got books I paid 20p and 50p for, but I couldn’t tell you which ones they are because I tend to buy books by the armful. *ashamed*
But if we’re talking about greed: I keep books I want to read again and books that I’ve yet to read. Currently, the to-read pile is about two thirds bigger than the to-read-again pile. Now that’s greedy.
And then, of course, there’s all the library books I have at home …
What book or books have you shamelessly devoured many times?
Well, apart from The Hobbit and Tam Lin by Pamela Dean which I have mentioned before, I reread a lot of Robin McKinley (Chalice, Beauty, Spindle’s End and Sunshine – even though it’s a vampire story! – most often), Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett (I kind of read the Discworld books on a cycle, start to finish by publication then back to the beginning and go again; sometimes I skip The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic and start in with the witches *sorrynotsorry*). And when I’ve finished digging through everything Connie Willis has written I plan to go back to the beginning and start all over again with her too.
I’m also fond of reading the dictionary. Not from start to finish or anything, I like to let it fall open sometimes and browse for words I don’t know or use. Sometimes I just like to read the etymologies. Other times I just like to read words out loud to hear how they sound.
I’m not weird.
What attributes do you find most attractive in your characters?
I love characters who are not afraid to be entirely themselves. This is what I admire most in both fictional characters and in people IRL. Granny Weatherwax doesn’t give a fig what anyone thinks of her and she is my all-time hero because of it.
I love characters who have a way with words. Vlad Taltos is proving to be one of my new favourites, Mori in Jo Walton’s Among Others is a very different example and an older favourite. For some lighter reading I recently picked up Soulless by Gail Carriger and her heroine Alexis Tarabotti has got some great lines (often punctuated with blows from her parasol – very amusing).
Essentially, I love characters who are everything I’m not: brave, funny, smart, able to deliver witty putdowns and comebacks. Those who have a strong sense of self and no concerns that they are lacking.
What books would you most like to receive as a gift?
Oh my goodness, I would love to receive all of the Fantasy Masterworks books (particularly some of those with the B-E-A-utiful new cover designs *swoon*). And everything on my tbr list. Ooooo, and that beautiful new hardback edition of Ursula Le Guin’s Tales of Earthsea, not because I don’t already have the books, but just so I can drool over Charles Vess’ illustrations and its overall loveliness.
(And if everyone could stop sharing pictures of their bookshelves, I’d be super grateful, because I want everything you all have!! *despairing sob*)
What book or books do you bring up when you want to sound like an intellectual reader?
Ermm … I don’t think I do that. Wow! I really hope I don’t do that! I mean, I’m not really an intellectual reader, so why pretend?
I did used to read things I thought I should read, but it was very boring, so I stopped. I think I’m old enough now to just embrace what I love and ignore the rest. After all, I’m not going to live forever and there are an awful lot of books out there.
What book or series have you neglected out of sheer laziness?
*deep breath in* The Princess Jellyfish manga series by Akiko Higashimura, the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson (I started The Alloy of Law but have so far failed to finish it, don’t know why), the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake (although I do genuinely intend to pick that back up again); the Invisible Library books by Genevieve Cogman, the Redwall books by Brian Jacques, , the Horatio Lyle books by Catherine Webb, the Earth’s Children books by Jean M Auel (laziness and a big dose of prudishness here – how many times do you have to write about sex before you’re really writing porn, I wonder?); the Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn, Gregory Maguire’s books, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, the Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters, Rick Riordan, Ransom Riggs, David Eddings, David Gemmell, Elmore Leonard …
You get the picture, I’m lazy. Also, as I get older I’m less tolerant of series that seem to get trotted out mechanically (thus a lot of the above are junior and young adult series/authors). And I definitely get bored easier now too.
What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?
That’s a hard one. I don’t think … oh, no, wait. Neil Gaiman. I came to Gaiman late. Strict home environment, sheltered, rural childhood, lack of friends and no internet until I was in my late teens etc etc. So when I finally read American Gods I was blown away. It was so, so great and I loved it so, so much (still do), that I hunted down all the Sandman comics and then Stardust and Neverwhere and Coraline and loved it all … and then, just as I’d discovered him (alive and fairly young, so plenty of writing still left in him) he seemed to run out of steam. The Graveyard Book left me very, very disappointed. Followed by Odd and the Frost Giants, the Interworld books with Michael Reaves, and Fortunately, the Milk. I read them all faithfully wondering all the while: What was all this kids’ stuff after the brilliance that had been American Gods?!
The Ocean at the End of the Lane and the collection Trigger Warning made me feel a bit better, but I’ve never got back to that absolute admiration I felt for Gaiman. I loved him so much I wanted to be him. Heck, he was friends with Terry Pratchett and Tori Amos, he seemed to be rewriting the rules on how to be a successful writer, everything he was involved in seemed to have an air of cool about it, who wouldn’t want to be him? And I think that’s where the hate hides – because when you admire someone so much you put them up on a pedestal they will naturally, humanly, do something you think they shouldn’t have done, or not do something you think they should have, and you’ll be disappointed. Because they’re just people too, like you, like anyone, doing what’s right for them.
So now … I am still a bit of a Gaiman fan. I love some of his stuff and it forms a big part of my frame of reference. Some stuff of his, I’m not so keen on. And that’s OK.
So, that’s me. Anyone else want to have a go at this? I’m nervous of tagging anyone because I think everyone I want to tag would politely decline … but if this is something you’d like to do I’d very much like to read your answers so please throw a link to your post in the comments.
And thank you Winged Cynic! This was a blast!