I’m back this week with another book tag thanks to my lovely Write Reads friend Noly over at The Artsy Reader, who very kindly tagged me in The 20 Questions Book Tag.
As there’s twenty questions to get through, I’d better get going!
1. How many books are too many books in a series?
If I’m honest, I’m not a big reader of series. I prefer standalones because I don’t have to worry about keeping pace with the release of the next book, or falling behind and risking spoilers if I don’t manage to read the latest title straight away. One a series gets past 3/4 titles, I do find it a little intimidating to jump in and begin reading unless the books all work as stories in their own right (as with Agatha Christie’s Poirot or Miss Marple series, for example).
That said, my bookish buddy Fiona, who blogs over at Fi’s Biblio Files, has recently introduced me to the Chronicles of St Marys series (11 books, 15 short stories, a spin-off series, and counting!) and re-introduced me to Rivers of London (9 novels, several graphic novels, and several short story collections to date) and I am enjoying working my way through those – albeit very slowly!
2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?
It very much depends on the book. I think cliffhangers and ambiguous endings have to be very carefully implemented and controlled to be done well and to not leave the reader frustrated. When they are done well however, a good cliffhanger can leave you desperate to read more – as with The Inheritance Games, which wrapped up one story and then dangled another at the end which I just cannot wait to get to!
3. Hardback or Paperback?
There are some GORGEOUS special edition hardbacks out there – the independant bookshop edition of Emma Stonex’s wonderful The Lamplighters being my most recent favourite – so I do treat myself to those if I really want to read a book and think it will be a ‘keeper’. The introduction of £12.99 hardbacks for some fiction titles in the UK has also made them much more affordable. Paperback is probably still my preferred reading format though as it’s easier to carry around a paperback than a hardback – and easier on the wrists if the book is a chunkster!
4. Favourite book?
A VERY difficult question as it does vary from day to day. I’m going to go with J R R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings though as that’s the book I re-read most frequently. I don’t actually read a lot of high fantasy but there is something about Tolkien that just sweeps me away to my happy place every time I pick the book up.
5. Least favourite book?
I don’t really have one. I made my peace with DNF’ing books I don’t enjoy a long time ago – so if I think a boook is utter bobbins then I probably won’t finish it! There are a fair few books I’ve read that I find deeply problematic but that’s a different question and one that needs more time and space to answer than I have here!
6. Love triangles, yes or no?
Not really a trope I enjoy, no. I think it gets overused a lot and is often done in quite an insensitive way.
7. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?
I had to put Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women down for a bit – not because it isn’t brilliant (it is) but because my headspace was not in a great place and the injustice of what happens to those women, as well as the way in which their experiences resonate with the everyday sexism so many of us face on a daily basis, was making me both very sad and deeply angry. I’ll go back to it when I’m in a better space because I think it’ll be a very important book.
8. A book you’re currently reading?
I’m currenty reading K. J. Maitland’s The Drowned City for a blog tour in April – it’s a historical mystery-thriller set in England during the reign of James I. I’m also reading Emily M. Danforth’s Plain Bad Heroines for the ‘Conquer a Conker’ weekend, and am very slowly making my way through Samuel Richardson’s HUGE epistalory novel Clarissa with my university book group. Am really enjoying all three!
9. Last book you recommended to someone?
I’ve been raving about Emma Stonex’s The Lamplighters to anyone who will listen – it’s just fantastic.
10. Oldest book you’ve read?
Difficult to say as I read a lot of ancient bardic literature for my PhD, much of which is thought to come from a much older oral history. It’d probably be one of the Greek classics though – The Odyssey, The Iliad and The Aeniad are favourites, as are the tragedies of Euripedes.
11. Newest book you’ve read?
I’ve read a few that aren’t published yet for blog tours and as ARCs – so probably those! The Drowned City comes out on 01 April, and I also have some Netgalley titles that are April/May releases.
12. Favourite author?
I don’t really have one! There’s a lot of authors that I enjoy and whose work I seek out – Margaret Atwood, Sarah/Rhiannon Ward, Jess Kidd, Maggie O’Farrell, Kate Atkinson – but I wouldn’t say any one author stands out as a ‘favourite’.
13. Buying books or borrowing books?
Both! I am a big fan of my local library and think that libraries are vital – and often undervalued – parts of our local communities. I am also a big supporter of independant and high-street booksellers and try to support them as much (and as often) as I can.
14. A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?
For many and varied reasons I have issues with a few popular series -most notably Harry Potter and Twilight. Nothing against those who love them but they’re not – or at least no longer – for me.
15. Bookmarks or dog-ears?
Bookmarks every time. I’m not saying that I have never dog-earred a book but I do usually try to use a bookmark. I have some really pretty ones that I have acquired over the years so it seems a shame not to use them!
16. A book you can always reread?
The Lord of the Rings! Apart from that though, I do re-read Agatha Christie a lot – especially the Miss Marple novels and short stories – and also Jane Austen. They’re my go-to re-reads if I am suffering a reading slump or a book hangover.
17. Can you read while listening to music?
Only if it doesn’t have words. I have a playlist of classical music and game/film soundtracks that I like to listen to while I am reading – it’s all super chill so adds to the cosy ‘book fort’ vibe. I love reading on the sofa, snuggled under a blanket with a hot drink, some relaxed music, and my cat for company!
18. One POV or multiple POVs?
It really depends on the book. Some books need a single point of view to keep the narrative tension, or need an omniscinet narrator who provides a distance in perspective. Others need more than one point of view for exactly the same reasons! I think the key thing if you’re going to change perspective is that there is a reason for it – there’s nothing worse than a POV that feels as if it is there for the sake of it.
19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?
I can read a book in one sitting but I very seldom have the time to do so! Between the PhD, work, and family/life stuff, it usually takes me several days to read a book – and sometimes a few weeks!
20. Who do you tag?
I know a lot of people have already been tagged in this but I am going to add:
A big thank you again to Noly at The Artsy Reader for tagging me!
If you can, please support a local indie bookshop by ordering from them either in person or online! Some of my favourites include Booka Bookshop, The Big Green Bookshop, Sam Read Booksellers, Book-ish, Scarthin Books, and Berts Books.
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