Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?
Russian literature in general. I tried to read Dr. Zhivago years and years ago and found I couldn’t cope with the names. Ever since, I’ve shied away from all books by Russian authors. Pretty silly really.
If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?
I’d really love to have afternoon tea with Mma Ramotswe from Alexander McCall Smith’s Ladies’ Detective Agency books. John Jarndyce from Bleak House could join us (as long as he looks like Denis Lawson) and Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. Heavens, that’s a weird mix…
(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): You are told you can't die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realize it's past time to die. What book would you expect to get you a nice grave?
This is such a difficult question as I’m very loathe to brand any book, ‘the most boring novel on the planet’. But one book I just couldn’t get through no matter how hard I tried was The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper. I found his style too rambling and really heavy going. A shame – I love the movie!
Come on, we've all been there. What book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you've read, when in fact you've been nowhere near it?
I tend to be boringly honest about the books I’ve read so I can’t think of an answer to that one.
As an addition to the last question, has there been a book you really thought you had read only to realize when you read a review about it/go to "reread" it that you haven't? Which book?
Yes, I realised last year when I was doing the Halloween challenge, last year, that I hadn’t read Dracula. I honestly thought I had but it quickly became apparent I hadn’t.
You're interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who's not a big reader). What's the first book you'd recommend and why? (If you feel like you have to know the person, go ahead and personalize the VIP)
This is such a hard question as it really depends upon the person, what sort of interests they have, whether they’re male or female. I’d probably be inclined to hand over something like The Diary of Anne Frank because I think it’s a book everyone should read.
A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?
Russian. I learnt some at school and found it fascinating but was unable to continue as the course only ran for a few terms. Perhaps if I could read the language fluently I wouldn’t have such a mental block about the literature.
A mischevious fairy comes and says you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?
Another hard one. I’d be quite happy to read the book but choosing *one* would be very difficult. The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula K. Le Guin, perhaps, which I have in one volume. Grass by Sheri S. Tepper. The three ‘Harper Hall’ books by Anne McCaffrey if they were in one volume. The Vizard Mask by Diana Norman. The Complete Sherlock Holmes! Choosing one book is almost impossible.
I know the book blogging community, and all its challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What's one "bookish" thing you discovered from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art - anything)?
I’ve learnt to push the boundaries of my reading. I’ve always been a fairly eclectic reader but now I’m even more so because I’ve discovered that some authors I thought were ‘difficult’ are not if you’re willing to concentrate and spend the time. It’s been good discovering that I’m not peculiar in my book tastes after all, that there are plenty of others varying their choice of books just as I do.
The good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she's granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favorite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead - let your imagination run free.
My dream library would of course have the obligatory comfy armchairs and roaring fire. But no, I wouldn’t want first editions or leatherbound tomes. I’d just want huge numbers of well thumbed books. Plenty of travel books, beautifully illustrated children’s books, a really good sci fi and fantasy section, plenty of ghost anthologies. Oh and masses of history books and biographies, natural history etc. There would need to be room for a computer somewhere and a big jig-saw puzzle on a table in the middle of the room for people to dawdle over when they fancied. It looks like I’m going to need a fairly big room for this and it would need to look out on a lovely garden, full of flowers, or maybe a long sweeping lawn running down to a river. I've always fancied living in an old vicarage so perhaps I could have that too, to put the library in? Yes? Excellent. :-)
I'm no good at tagging people so if you would like to do this then please do.