Wednesday, 19 September 2012

55 Reading Questions

I came across these questions over at Little Words and thought I'd have a go. I've linked all books mentioned to Goodreads.

1. Favourite childhood book?

The first novel I read was Five On A Treasure Island by Enid Blyton. It certainly got me into reading - even now I can remember sitting on my bed and looking at the cover for the first time - so I would say it's my favourite even though I haven't revisited it.

2. What are you reading right now?

A State Of Denmark by Derek Raymond and The Silent Cry by Kenzaburo Oe

3. What books do you have on request at the library?


4. Bad book habit?

I can't stop buying books! I have about 250 to read not including the titles my girlfriend owns that I should also be reading.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

Nothing. Even though I work at my local library on alternate Sundays (the busiest UK library in fact: The Millennium Library in Norwich) I prefer to own the books that I read.

6. Do you have an e-reader?

No. I prefer the physicality of an actual book in my hands.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

I usually read two books at once. One at home, and one when I get the opportunity at work. I do this because if I only read one book I'd forget to take it to work or I'd forget to take it home again. Two books at once make more sense.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

As I don't blog specifically about each book then no. I do also review at Goodreads, but this doesn't affect my book selection.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)?

Checking on Goodreads there's a couple of books I've given just two stars to this year. Angela Carter's The Magic Toyshop which bored me thoroughly and Iain Banks' The Business which was below par and unengaging.

10. Favourite book you've read this year?

Again, according to Goodreads, I've awarded maximum stars to The Pleasures Of The Damned by Charles Bukowski and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

I'm not sure if I have a comfort zone, but I'm unlikely to read a straightforward romance novel or a hefty fantasy trilogy

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

Anything that engages the mind as well as being a pure good read. Currently I've been reading more pulp crime than anything else.

13. Can you read on the bus?

I could if I took the bus, but I cycle to work and don't read on my bike.

14. Favourite place to read?

In bed.

15. What is your policy on book lending?

I'll lend my books to my girlfriend because I know she'll take care of them. I've lent books to friends before and haven't got them back.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?


17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?


18. Not even with text books?

I might have done that in the past, but I haven't used textbooks for a while now. Having said that, if I did need to mark a page I think I would use a coloured sticky note which can be detached without damaging the book.

19. What is your favourite language to read in?

English. Although I wish I could read French.

20. What makes you love a book?

Some kind of connection with a character that identifies me with the book.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

If I think the person I'm recommending it to will enjoy it. Sounds like a daft answer, but different books will appeal to different people. For example, I recently recommended a book to a fellow writer not because I particularly liked it but because I thought he might appreciate it (even if he might also not like it).

22. Favourite genre?

This is a tricky one to answer - I guess I prefer literary fiction - even if that fiction also happens to be SF or crime or some other genre.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?

I'm content with everything that I read.

24. Favourite biography?

I'm going to include autobiography and have My Last Breath by Luis Bunuel

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

I read Dreamweaver for Dummies if that counts, although I worked out most of what I needed to know from the programme itself.

26. Favourite cookbook?

This would be 500 Indian Recipes that I bought recently. I now make a fantastic sweet and sour balti chicken curry.

27. Most inspirational book you've read this year?

Inspirational isn't a word I think of with regards to fiction, so the above cookbook would take the prize as I can now cook Indian food easily.

28. Favourite reading snack?

I don't like eating when reading in case I mess up the pages with greasy fingers.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

I'd so heard many good things about The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart, but whilst the concept of the book was great I think it's dated over the passage of time. I'm not one for remakes of anything, but in this instance I think the book should be remade for modern readers.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

I don't read that many reviews of books, although when it comes to genre work I generally find I agree with Pete Tennant who reviews for Black Static magazine

31. How do you feel about giving bad or negative reviews?

I feel you have to be honest about what you're reviewing because the integrity of all your reviews depends on you being consistent in your approach. What I try and do is balance the review with the things which worked well with those that didn't. Or - if nothing worked - explain why it didn't work for me. It's just a personal opinion, after all.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, what language would you choose?

Oh - I see I answered this above. French.

33. Most intimidating book you ever read?

Intimidating is an odd word. I can't think of a suitable response.

34. Most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin?

Again, not sure about intimidating. For me it wouldn't be subject matter, but as I prefer shorter novels then anything over 400 pages is going to put me off even if I like the author; but I will read it eventually.

35. Favourite poet?

I've recently been introduced to the work of Charles Bukowski and have to say he's my new favourite poet. Not that I normally read any poetry, even though I assist with Fur-Lined Ghettos magazine

36. How many books do you have checked out of the library at any given time?

None - as stated above, I prefer to own the books I read.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?

Never. I'd have to get them out first.

38. Favourite fictional character?

Humbert Humbert from Lolita and Alobar from Jitterbug Perfume

39. Favourite fictional villain?

Well, you could make a case for Lolita from Lolita being the villain of the piece.

40. Books you're most likely to bring on vacation?

I choose my books at random so it could be anything. All my unread books are numbered and when I finish one my girlfriend selects a number for another without sight of the list

41. The longest I've gone without reading.

It's probably been a few weeks, although I've been reading steadily now for the past few years so can't recall when that would have been.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.

I rarely give up on a book, but did so with The History of Danish Dreams by Peter Hoeg, even though I loved Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow. And also something by Robert Graves that I can no longer remember the title of.

43. What distracts you when you're reading.

My girlfriend.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel?

I really enjoyed the film Norwegian Wood from the Haruki Murakami novel of the same name.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

The film of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveller's Wife which trashed the book and changed the ending. I'm afraid I was rather vocal in the cinema.

46. The most money I've ever spent in a bookstore at one time.

Probably around £30. Probably at the Astley Book Farm.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it.

Only the blurb and interior reviews and maybe an introduction if it's not a spoiler. Never the actual text.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?

It's very rare, but boredom. Also I stopped reading a Simone de Beauvoir novel when I realised pages were missing and others were duplicated in the edition I had.

49. Do you like to keep your books organised?

Since my girlfriend moved in with me all my books are on the shelf author alphabetical chronological.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them?

I always keep books. They establish my identity.

51. Are there any books you've been avoiding?

If I don't think I like a book I won't buy it. There might be some on my shelves I've had for a while which I might not have chosen to pick up next , but that situation is changing now I have the random selection procedure established as mentioned above. Now I have to read whatever book is chosen for me.

52. Name a book that made you angry.

I think I'd find it hard to get angry about a book. A friend got so angry at the ending of Paul Auster's Oracle Night that he threw it against the wall. Then he lent it to me and I loved it.

53. A book you didn't expect to like, but did?

The previously mentioned Time Traveller's Wife. I thought it would be a 'woman's read' but it grabbed me from start to finish.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn't?

I'm a great fan of Tom Robbins but wasn't keen on Half Asleep In Frog Pajamas. I think he phoned that one in.

55. Favourite guilt-free pleasure reading?

Pulp crime fiction - short, direct, great prose, and an easy read.

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