Friday, 22 October 2010

Meme from Simon

It's a bit of a mishmash this week and I thought I'd fill out this meme which like Simon at Stuck in a book, "I saw quite a while ago at Thomas' blog, and thought it looked fun" I thought my answers might be interesting, and you might like to do it too!

1. Favourite childhood book?

Many many books - Swallows and Amazons, the Family at One End Street, Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse, Enid Blyton...could write an endless list.

2. What are you reading right now?
Hilary Mantel's autobiography, along with Amy's Honeymoon by Julia Llwelyn. I' m also halfway through rereading Teddy Robinson, and I might get that out tonight as I'm feeling in the need of something comforting.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
The secret life of Bletchley Park and Maggie Gee's autobiography. I also have about 30 books on my "wishlist" which I'll reserve when I have some spare cash.

4. Bad book habit?
Multiple editions of the same book.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
I have 20 books ranging from non fiction through biography through cooking through chicklit and children's books. Actually, I probably have more as I have some checked out on K's card too (and vice versa).

6. Do you have an e-reader?
No, can't stand the idea.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I generally have one book on the go for the daytime and another one (usually chick lit or something light) by my bed.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
I read more! I think actually they have changed more since reading other people's blogs and finding out about other books.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far?)
Some of the books I've read for my Virago venture haven't been hugely good, often the short story collections, most recently I struggled through George Egerton's Keynotes and Discords.

10. Favourite book you’ve read this year?
Ooh, hard to say. I loved The hopkins manuscript (RC Sherriff) and Still Missing, both Persephone books which I couldn't put down.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Mainly when reading for my Virago Challenge - some of the books are long and not hugely what I would choose to read.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Definitely a good children's book.

13. Can you read on the bus?
Sadly no, but I don't tend to go on buses anyway.

14. Favourite place to read?

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I love lending people books; I used to keep quite good track of who had what, but I seem to be less good at that. Still, it means that I have extra space on my shelves.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
I used to, in pencil, in my text books but not now.

18. Not even with text books?
See above.

19. What is your favourite language to read in?
I'll echo Simon here "English. It's all I've got."

20. What makes you love a book?
Good plot, and likeable characters.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If I think that something I have enjoyed will appeal to someone else.

22. Favourite genre?
Fiction - is that a genre? Literary/contemporary/and also 20th century women's.

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

24. Favourite biography?
Ooh, that's a tough one. Am I allowed autobiography? if so, Monica Dickens - One pair of Hands and One pair of Feet.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Yep, books to help me sleep and to solve my stomach problems. Not that they worked but it's comforting to read about similar experiences!

26. Favourite cookbook?
Ooh, I have lots of favourite baking books - I love Nigella's How to be a domestic Goddess, Mary Berry's Baking Bible, but I think my current favourite is Fiona Cairn's Bake and Decorate.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Perhaps the above Bake and Decorate book which has inspired lots of fun baking like my cake with gold leaf.

28. Favourite reading snack?
Flapjack or gluten free toast. Prefer a nice toasted teacake but that's off the menu at the moment.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Henrietta's War by Joyce Dennys.

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

They so often vary that it's impossible to say.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I often can't be bothered to write about a book that I haven't enjoyed. Life's too short when there are so many great books to tell people about.

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

Maybe Latin - I did Latin at school and it is such an elegant language.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Parallel Lives by Alan Bullock (a double biography of Hitler and Stalin that's nearly 1000 pages but an absolute classic)

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Anything that's long with v small type.

35. Favourite Poet?
I don't know much about poetry but I do like John Betjeman as he writes about things that I care about.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
At the moment I have one more than the limit as the lady at the desk sensed my pain when the book of the Great British BakeOff which I'd reserved had arrived but my ticket was full. So that's 21. I also have use of my partners card and have about 10 books out on that.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
Very rarely.

38. Favourite fictional character?
Another tricky one

39. Favourite fictional villain?
Captain Flint in Swallows and Amazons, cos he isn't really a villain at all.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on holiday?
I don't tend to differentiate between holiday and non holiday, but I'm often likely to save new books or books that I'm especially looking forward to for a treat on holiday.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
March this year when I had norovirus - 48 hours and I couldn't read a thing. It was horrible. I remember just lying on the floor not able to do anything, not even get onto the sofa.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
When I was still living at home, my Dad gave me The diary of a nobody which I hated. I just didn't get the humour aged 12. I then came to it again a decade later and loved it, I laughed so much that the girl in the room next door to me must have been able to hear me. Definitely one of my favourite books now.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Receiving a text message.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel?

The channel 4 version of Brideshead Revisited

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
The recent Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. *shudders*

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I don't think more than about £20 - I tend to mostly buy in dribs and drabs from Amazon.

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

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Being bored.
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yes, alphabetically by author for fiction and in subject for the rest. Otherwise I wouldn't find them!

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I get rid of books that I haven't enjoyed/won't read again/wouldn't want to lend.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Some of my TBR has been there for a year.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
Can't think.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
The hopkins manuscript by R.C. Sherrif.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
The little stranger by Sarah Waters - I did like it, but not as much as I hoped I would.

55. Favourite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Probably anything from my bookshelf that I've previously read and enjoyed.


  1. I think this is a great meme and I have really enjoyed reading various peoples responses - I am a huge Enid Blyton fan from way back too and I am wanting to start buying them for my nieces and nephews but I am not sure if they will be able to relate to them now??

  2. Still Missing is one of my favourite reads of the year too.

    As for Young Adult, I will repeat recommendations of Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd and John Green novels (I am reading another just now and loving it). Also, I've been meaning to ask (via one of those distracting texts) if you read as a child Just As Long as We're Together and Here's to you, Rachel Robinson by Judy Blume? They are my favourite of her books and I have reread them often; they are the epitome of comfort reading for me (along with the Anne books).

  3. i loved reading this post - so much i agreed with! I can't wait to hear what you think of Hilary Mantel's autobiography - I hear she writes with great openness and lucidity about her time in psychiatric hospitals, very interesting.

  4. A great meme! I like Robin McKinerly for young fiction, it's like a big comfort blanket in book form. Have to agree about the lion, the witch and the wardrobe film, but feel that the Golden Compass was even worse!

  5. Karen - I'm still buying EB for my small cousins and they are apparently enjoying them.

    Claire - of course I've read my way through Judy Blume :) I'm not sure I'm so keen to revisit them now; they aren't so comforting as they always deal with quite gritty issues. Plus I read all of them at least 6 times!

    Jane - I'd read Hilary Mantel's autobiography beofre - and yes, the lucidity of her writing is enthralling - in fact so many people who have written about psychiatric hospitals (e.g. Janet Frame) do so very brilliantly.

    LE - I escaped the Golden Compass film - phew! I am wondering about braving the Voyage of the Dawn Treader as that is one of my favourite books. (maybe thta's a reason not to go?!)

  6. Bless your Dad for giving you Diary of a Nobody when you were twelve...he must have been desperate to share such a fabulous book with his daughter! But yes, that's not the best age for understanding that humour.

  7. I didn't mind the film version of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe but it's been so long since I last read them. They were my favourite series as a child. I bought the set for my wee nephews and tried to re-read The Magician's Nephew but it just wasn't the same:(

  8. I love this meme, it's so long! I have to agree about the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, it should have been brilliant!


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