I saw imyril do this back in April and was excited to have a go … but I’ve obviously been sitting on it for quite a while. Hey, better late than never, no? Anyway, it originated with The Perpetual Page Turner back in 2013, so it’s definitely due a revival – so much fun!!
AUTHOR YOU’VE READ THE MOST BOOKS BY:
Goodreads told me a while ago that this was Terry Pratchett (before that most-read-author tool disappeared from the site). Being as he was an incredibly productive author and I have read through the Discworld books a couple of times now, I imagine this is still the case. Neil Gaiman was second place if I remember rightly – that’d be because of his comics.
BEST SEQUEL EVER:
Ummmm … *thinking* … all the ones I haven’t read yet?!
I honestly can’t think of a sequel that I was really blown away by, I’m more often a smidge disappointed by most follow-ons. Soooo, I’m going to say The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan, because Ola of Re-enchantment of the World has assured me/us that it’s better than the first Lady Trent book – go read her awesome review for A Natural History of Dragons here – and as I loved that one it’s as good as definite I’m going to adore the second.
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
With a bunch of stuff bothering me at work and this time of year being somewhat troublesome for me, I have just hit a mammoth reading slump. I tried powering through it a couple of weeks ago with a Sunday dedicated to reading, but it came to nothing – I fell asleep instead. Now I’m just playing Stardew Valley and eyeing up an as-yet-undone Where’s Wally jigsaw and chanting to myself “everything will be fine, everything will be fine” in the hope that it’ll pass.
DRINK OF CHOICE WHILE READING:
Water. I don’t drink tea or coffee (not for any meaningful reason, I just don’t like either of them. I don’t mind the odd herbal tea or a hot chocolate if the weather’s very cold, but otherwise I like my liquids to be cool, clear and flavourless).
E-READER OR PHYSICAL BOOK?
Physical book. All the way. I love the smell, the weight, the size and shape. I love cover choices (Embossed lettering? Matt? Shiny? Hardback? Paperback? Dust jacket?), I love paper and page choices (I get a real kick out of a smooth, off-white paper with deckled edges), and typeface selections satisfy a small and vital part of me; I love to find notes left by previous readers, names and messages written in the front, smiley faces and underlining, old bookmarks. I love everything that is the sensory experience of a book. I don’t have anything to say against e-readers, and my scifi-loving self does appreciate the idea of being able to carry thousands of books around in one small device, but I’m also getting old and stubborn, and I’ll go out the same way I came in, thanks.
FICTIONAL CHARACTER YOU PROBABLY WOULD HAVE DATED IN SCHOOL:
Ha! Of course, this is based on the assumption that they would date me. Which I assure you, they wouldn’t. No-one dated me in school. I was undatable. I was a non-entity. Only one boy made the attempt and he was from a different school and didn’t know me at all, and honestly, I don’t know what possessed him to ask …
But fictional character I had a crush on in school? (Through most of school, in fact). Robin Hood. First, in Roger Llancellyn Green’s book, then on the telly in Robin of Sherwood (which Ola and Piotrek recently wrote an awesome post about over at Re-enchantment of the World), and then on the big screen in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (which led to my crush – of only slightly shorter duration – on Kevin Costner).
GLAD YOU GAVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE:
Agyar by Steve Brust. I read it because of Little Red Reviewer’s post about it. I hadn’t heard of Steve Brust before I started this bloggy thing. Now I am knee deep in his Vlad Taltos books and loving every minute I spend with his writing. Which wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t read Agyar. You, my fellow bloggers, rock!
I’m taking ‘hidden gem’ to mean something I had no idea existed until I picked it up and started reading it, something I didn’t even know I was looking for. By this definition, some of my recent hidden gems are Dave Freer’s Dragon’s Ring and The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman; and less recently, Sharps by K J Parker, both Blackout/All Clear and Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson and Among Others by Jo Walton. I can’t pick just one.
Oh, oh, sudden inspiration!: I can pick one for this year though – Folk by Zoe Gilbert. Scooped up in the library by chance because of its lovely yellow cover, it blew me away.
IMPORTANT MOMENT IN YOUR READING LIFE:
One of the most important moments in my reading life was picking up The Ill-Made Mute by Cecelia Dart-Thornton in a bookstore back in 2003. I was in an awful sales job at the time and experiencing my first bout of unnamable terror/dread/despair. I’d been reading what I felt I was expected to read for the last five years (being someone who doesn’t naturally fit in, I have at times done whatever it takes to appear acceptable; at university I was even more adrift than I normally am and didn’t touch anything even vaguely SFF for fear of being seen as anything on the spectrum from ‘different’ to ‘too stupid to be here’ – what can I say now? I’m a noodle-head. It’s hard to explain). Reading The Ill-Made Mute was like being sucked back into myself. It was everything I’d been missing, everything I’d loved as a kid, everything I’d sought refuge in when I was a teenager. I devoured it, went back and bought The Lady of the Sorrows and scoffed that down too, and then I remember having to wait for The Battle of Evernight because the bookstore didn’t have it in. I’ve never re-read the trilogy, nor have I ever read any of Dart-Thornton’s other books. I’ve kept the Bitterbynde books though, for sentimental reasons and in case that dreadful desire to please people I don’t give a fig for kicks in again. Although I feel safe in saying there are a few people in my life now that would give me a good hearty slap if I started acting oddly: i.e. reading gossip magazines, wearing uncomfortable things like make-up and heels, going to parties … *shudder*.
Nightflyers by George R R Martin, back in November. Since then I’ve started and abandoned books in every room of the house, (reference aforementioned reading slump).
KINDS OF BOOKS YOU WON’T READ:
Romance. There’s got to be something more than romance going on for me to read a book. If all you’ve got to offer me is a love story then so long, and thanks for all the fish. Other than that, I’m fairly easy. I’m not a huge horror fan, but I will read some, although I’ll avoid reading it before bed. And if it’s really scary I’ll only touch the margins of the page where there’s no text, for no good reason that I can explain (I’m a seven-year-old in a forty-year-old’s body).
Oooo, also misery porn and “chick-lit”, both of which offend me for simply existing as genres.
LONGEST BOOK YOU’VE READ:
I think, at 1024 pages, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke is the longest book I’ve read. (LOTR is three books to my mind because it has three titles – #sorrynotsorry).
MAJOR BOOK HANGOVER:
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. I loved it, but what really got to me was that this was a book I never got to talk about with a friend of mine who would’ve loved it too, because she had recently passed away. That probably sounds dumb, but it broke me that I’d never be able to share it with her and led to a good deal of headachy, snotty sobbing. And that’s why I try (unsuccessfully) to avoid books that are too feely.
NUMBER OF BOOKCASES YOU OWN:
None at the moment. When we have saved the money for them, we are planning to have two large floor-to-ceiling bookcases in the living room (nothing fancy, just big). And I’m going to have to edit down my collection considerably … ARGH! … which, I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, is mostly packed up in boxes. This makes me very sad (editing) and very excited (all our books out in the open!!) at the same time.
ONE BOOK YOU’VE REREAD LOTS:
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Comfort reading at its finest.
PREFERRED PLACE TO READ:
The place I fantasize about reading in most is our living room. Whenever it’s cold out and I have to go to work I imagine pulling the sofa closer to the fire and curling up in it with a book for the day. I actually got to do this once in the winter of 2018 and it was sweet. And when the weather is finer I love to read upstairs in our nook (not big enough to be called a spare room, but it’s got a desk and a chair) where we get sunlight for most of the day. Mmmmm …
QUOTE THAT INSPIRES YOU/GIVES YOU ALL THE FEELS FROM A BOOK YOU’VE READ:
Oh-ho! You’re asking someone who collects quotes and words obsessively. I’ve narrowed it down to three I particularly like (best I could do):
“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts.”
From: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
“Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
From: A Hat Full of Sky by Sir Terry Pratchett
“… crying not in grief but in wonder that nothing is ever lost, that everything can be retrieved, that a lifetime is not linear but instant. That, inside the head, everything happens at once.”
From: Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
Every boring book I stuck with to the end because I didn’t used to allow myself to believe that sometimes a book just isn’t for me. It took me four years to read The Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears … Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
SERIES YOU STARTED AND NEED TO FINISH (ALL BOOKS ARE OUT):
I still need to read The Ace of Skulls, the last volume of Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding. But when I’ve read it, it’s over, and I don’t want it to be over just yet. Same with Julie Czerneda’s Hidden in Sight, which will finish off the first Esen trilogy – I just can’t bring myself to read it just yet. And then there’s the Lady Trent books by Marie Brennan, Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories and Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher books … and a ton of other stuff. Life is good.
THREE ALL-TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS:
This is ridiculously difficult to do because depending on my mood my answer will vary wildly. And books are just a part of a whole web of connections (both to other books, to ideas, to discussions with friends, to articles and news stories etc) in my brain (for everyone, no?) and this kind of question is kind of asking me to tear them out of that web … difficult, and painful too. But right now my answer would be: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip – came across this right when I needed it most. Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy – can’t explain why this means so much to me, but that’s love for you, right? And Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer – I may have mentioned before … *ahem* … that this is as close to perfect as a book gets for me.
UNAPOLOGETIC FANGIRL FOR:
VERY EXCITED FOR THIS RELEASE:
I’m always the last to know about what’s coming soon. I learned about Frances Hardinge’s new book Deeplight before it had been published, but only by accident. Same with Julie Czerneda’s The Gossamer Mage and Garth Nix’s Angel Mage (all the mages!!). But I was very excited about all three of those and have got two out of the three in my sticky little mitts.
WORST BOOKISH HABIT:
Taking out more books than I can read from the library (just so other people can’t take them before I’ve read them) and giving myself an extra-long loan period. I always take them back immediately if someone requests one of them, but I just like to know that they’re safe at our house for when I want to read them. With great power comes great responsibility, and man, do I abuse my library powers!
X MARKS THE SPOT – START AT THE TOP LEFT OF YOUR SHELF AND PICK THE 27TH BOOK:
We still don’t have any bookshelves, so I counted twenty-seven down one of the in-absolutely-no-order-at-all stacks of books we have in the cupboard, which meant I landed on Surface Detail by Iain M Banks. Recently picked up in a charity shop because I kind of lost track of Banks’ Culture novels and never got around to reading Matter or anything after it. I have plans to go back and start again from the beginning sometime soon.
YOUR LATEST BOOK PURCHASE:
Blackwing by Ed McDonald. Someone gave me an Amazon voucher (fools!!) and that’s how I used it.
ZZZ-SNATCHER BOOK (LAST BOOK THAT KEPT YOU UP WAY LATE):
The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker – I loved this so much I was reading it while eating (which I try not to do usually as both the book and I tend to get in a mess), during my gaming slot, and before going to bed, which is when I normally read non-fiction so as not to get my heart-rate up!