It’s a very Mondayish Monday today, so here’s a tag I saw The Irresponsible Reader do a while back here (check out his alternative title for this tag) and that The Tattooed Book Geek also had a go at here with hilarious results.
I am a lot less funny.
Inside flap/back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?
I am finding nowadays that I rely more and more on everyone’s blogs about awesome books and less and less on book jacket blurbs, but mostly summaries are about right, I think. There’s been the odd summary that’s given away something crucial, or something I felt would have been more fun to discover as I read, but for the most part I am content; (alright, let’s face it, I’m content because, by the time I actually get round to reading the book, I’ve forgotten what the blurb said and have only remembered a vague impression such as “pink” or “moody”). Saying that, Agyar by Steven Brust (which I tried, unsuccessfully, to talk about here) shouldn’t have come with any kind of summary at all because on the back of my copy it immediately mentions the thing that you’re supposed to work out for yourself. Like, the joy of the book is coming to a particular conclusion for yourself, not being told right out on the blasted jacket. Grrrr.
Anyway, I quite enjoy picking up a book and starting to read it without looking at the blurb at all, which is the kind of luxury that can be afforded with a library membership.
New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, eBook, Paperback or Hardcover?
I don’t read e-books, and audiobooks are for books that I’m interested in, but might not otherwise get round to reading (I only borrow audiobooks from the library, I don’t use a subscription service).
I like my brand-new books to be either hardback or paperback, depending on a few things. If it’s a really chunky book, I prefer a decent hardback edition and if I can only get it in paperback, I want the paperback to be a floppy paged one (if I hold it out by the spine like a tray and it doesn’t flex or flop I’m disappointed), so that the binding doesn’t get cracked. (Uncalled for librarian rant: ‘perfect binding’ – which uses glue rather than thread – is the worst thing that ever happened in book production if you ask me; sure it’s made books cheaper and easier to mass produce, but try to read a perfectly bound not-floppy-pages book while waiting for a train in the middle of winter and what you end up with is a broken spine, which really pisses me off. From a professional point of view, we discard far more paperbacks than hardbacks at work because of broken spines, sometimes after only one or two issues, which is absolutely not what we are about. Even though perfect binding is used for hardbacks too most of the time now, those larger pages and that stiffer outer spine at least gives a little more protection to the glued spine within.
Here endeth the rant).
Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books; take notes, make comments, or do you keep your books clean, clean, clean?
This is where it gets sticky – yes, I do make notes in some books. Mostly in my non-fiction reading. I do it a lot less than I used to (and when I’m making notes for a blog post I always use a notebook), but still I don’t see books as inviolate objects that can’t be communicated with in this way. And I love to find second-hand books with other people’s notes in them. This might sound a bit fetish-y, but, while I love books as doorways, I also love books as historical objects in which you can find names and dates written, bookplates (*swoon*), notes, old bookmarks etc. I like the idea that the book I’m reading has passed through other hands. That other people loved it, hated it, or were indifferent. I’m not big on socialising, I don’t like crowds, or parties, or concerts (*shudder*), but I do love people. Just from a distance.
Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?
I don’t believe it matters to me on a conscious level. I do seem to lean towards female authors more than male. Sometimes I’ll read a book, not knowing the author’s gender the whole way through, but kind of making an assumption, and be surprised when I finally find out that they are not the gender I’d ascribed to them. It’s yet to change my feelings about the book.
On the other hand, whether an author denies the rights of others (in any number of ways) matters massively when I’m deciding on a book. Because, whether I like it or not, the creator and the creation are intrinsically connected for me. Just to put a topical spin on things.
Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?
Again, this may lead to hate-mail and unfollows, but yes, I also read ahead very occasionally. Because sometimes I just NEED to know that someone survives, or that the thing I’m terrified of will go away.
Organized bookshelves or outrageous bookshelves?
Organised. Alphabetical by author for fiction. By subject for non-fiction (the Dewey Decimal System, with all its delightful little quirks, is still your friend).
What? I work in a library! I can’t help it!
Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?
Yep. Welcome to Night Vale was just such a pretty purple. I didn’t know anything about the podcast, I just really loved this cover and was in a bit of a funk when I bought it. Fortunately, that turned out just fine for me.
I also bought Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince from a charity shop because of its cover. My only excuse is those dragons, because I’m sure it wasn’t the lady clinging to the puffed-up dude in the foreground. I still haven’t read it. The cover reminded me of the books my friend and I used to hoover up as teenagers, it looks exactly like the kind of thing we’d have jumped on, so I guess I was feeling nostalgic.
Take it outside to read, or stay in?
Outside. Inside. At the bus stop. On the bus. At the railway station. On the train. In the park. In the car. In the queue. In most waiting rooms (except the dentists – I struggle just to breathe let alone read while waiting for the dentist). At parties I can’t get out of (fortunately not so many of them these days). In bed. I fit my reading in wherever I can. If we’re talking about my preference however, then at the moment it’s inside, upstairs, under a blanket in my curly-up chair.
But enough about me, what about you??