It’s absolutely chucking it down here, right now. The wind is still huffing and puffing around the house, it’s dark and grey and I need cheering up. Let’s do a book tag!
The wonderful Ola and Piotrek of Re-enchantment of the World created this tag as the partner to the Seven Deadly Sins tag that was so much fun to do last year. Their fabulous Virtues post can be found here, and my Sins post can be found here.
Which author/book/series do you wish you had never read?
I honestly thought I couldn’t answer this, but a quick look through my old notebooks reminded me that I read Harry Harrison’s Bill the Galactic Hero. And Slugs by Shaun Hutson. And Jim Giraffe by Daren King. And Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. OK, I guess I don’t really wish I’d never read these, because how do I know what I like unless I also read things I don’t like? These are the books that leave the most obvious bad taste for me though.
I also deeply regret Richard Laymon and, yes, that Catherine Cookson novel I read when I was thirteen (she was my other grandmother’s favourite author *shakes head in mystification* and I was just trying to find some common ground with her). It was awful.
I have a lot to atone for. *hangs head*
Which book/series did you find so good that you didn’t want to read it all at once and you read it in doses just to make the pleasure last longer?
This is one of the main reasons why I love to reread books. I get to enjoy everything again and linger over the bits I like most without feeling the pressure to find out what’s going to happen next.
I guess at the moment I am doing this with Saga. And Steven Brust’s Vlad books. I also do it when I reread Diana Wynne Jones. And Robin McKinley books put me in a trance. And I’ve still not read everything by Ray Bradbury yet, but he’s a delicious writer too.
Which book/series/author do you tirelessly push to others, telling them about it or even giving away spare copies bought for that reason?
This is a part of my job, so it changes depending on who I’m speaking to and where I am. Generally speaking though, I push Robert Goddard at a lot of people because he writes great thriller-ish stories that a lot of people get a kick out of (although his Wide World trilogy has been a little disappointing); I push Alastair Reynolds at anyone who knows the secret scifi handshake; and I’ve tried to push Chris Riddell’s Ottoline and Goth Girl books at poor unsuspecting children, but I don’t have any kind of gift when it comes to communicating with those who are of about elbow height, so that’s not usually very successful. I can usually convince parents, however. And finally, I push Frances Hardinge relentlessly at everyone.
Which series/author do you follow no matter what happens and how long you have to wait?
This isn’t really me. I’m so far behind reading everything by the authors I lovelovelove that I’m not even thinking about what they’re going to write next. When I first had money of my own to spend this was because I lived a long way away from anywhere, had no access to the internet and really only shopped at two local-ish second-hand bookstores. Now it’s because I have access to the internet and there’s just so much interesting stuff being published I don’t stand any chance of keeping up.
Oh … ha. Just realised the only author I ever faithfully followed, waited for and religiously put my name down for was Sir Terry Pratchett. After I’d found him, aged fifteen, I read each of his books as they came out – libraries are great for that – right up until the end.
Hmm. Now I’m sad.
Is there an author/book/series you’ve read that improved with time the most, starting out unpromising, but ultimately proving rewarding?
I really struggled with Ursula K LeGuin when I was younger. I first read A Wizard of Earthsea as a tweenager and just … didn’t get it. Read it again in my twenties and enjoyed it so much more. Read it in my thirties and loved it. The same sort of thing happened with The Dispossessed.
What tends to happen though, if something starts out unpromising, is that I drop it like a hot poker and move on to something else, with nary a look behind me.
Which fictitious character would you consider your role model in the hassle of everyday life?
I’d love to say Alanna, or Noon, or Binti, or Sulien ap Gwien, but it’s Granny Weatherwax. I mean, I don’t have a commanding air or a penetrating gaze, but I want to be as confident in my powers as she is in hers, I would love to be as terrifying as she can be, and I’m definitely not going to be a nice old lady. I practice my scowl daily. I appreciate practicality and hard work over faff and posturing. And, man, I want to be able to deliver lines like she can.
“A witch ought never be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.”
Which book/series/author do you find the most underrated?
I can’t understand why no one is making a MASSIVE fuss about Steven Brust’s books over here in the UK. What’s it like in America? Is it the same? I only started reading him last year because of Little Red Reviewer and I absolutely love his Vlad Taltos books so far. They’re the kind of books that I’m loving so much I am simultaneously squirming with glee and wriggling with shame-impatience-despair that I didn’t come across him sooner.
And Jo Walton. It’s like no one knows she exists sometimes, and yet there is a Jo Walton book for everyone, she’s that wide-ranging. I’ve yet to read one of her books and think, ahh, same old same old. She always gets me thinking too, which is the very best kind of writing.
Sometimes the world makes absolutely no sense to me.
I’m still a bit leery about tagging people (no natural bravery whatsoever – you see why I want to be Granny Weatherwax?), but fortunately I am so late to this one that lots of my favourite people have already done this tag – check them out below: