Sunday 2 February 2014

An A-Z of Books

I spotted this book-themed tag over on Janet's blog (Words That Can Only Be Your Own) ages ago, back in November last year and thought I'd save it for the new year.
I loved reading Janet's answers; as well as recognising several habits of my own, it's also fascinating to see what everyone else is reading and has enjoyed.
So without further ado...

A-Z of Books

Author you've read the most books from?
I remember reading quite a lot of Jodi Picoult's books when I was in my 20s but the author I've probably read the most from would be Enid Blyton. I loved her work when I was a child (and still do now). I read all the usual series - The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, Malory Towers, The Twins at St Clares, The Naughtiest Girl plus lots of her short stories. I really really wanted to be a boarding school girl - all houses, lacrosse and midnight feasts!
Best sequel ever?
This is quite a difficult one to think of - when you've read several books from a series you can't often remember which was the sequel or the third or fourth one. I think I'd have to say The Resistance by Gemma Malley (the sequel to The Declaration); it's actually number 2 in a trilogy and all three books are simply fascinating to read.

Currently reading?
The March edition of Style at Home magazine, No Fixed Abode by Charlie Carroll and The Complete Guide to IVF by Kate Brian.

Drink of choice while reading?
Decaff tea, obvs.

E-reader or physical book?
A few years ago I would've said without hesitation, physical books, but I can see the benefit of an e-reader on holiday or away from home. A year ago I did treat myself to a Kobo Arc, mainly beacause my degree course did several modules as e-books and that was really handy so I didn't have to lug around massive textbooks. Since then, I have used my Kobo for reading books on holiday as well.

Fictional character you probably would've dated in high school?
Henry from The Time Travelers Wife. Wouldn't every girl?
(plus he's a librarian!)

Glad you gave this book a chance?
The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle. It was 5 or so years ago when there was a lot of fuss about this book in the news and I noticed we had it in the library so I thought I'd see what it was all about. I don't agree with a lot of the book but if you take it all with a pinch of salt, it's quite entertaining plus there's several things in there which are actually quite good advice (things like not letting the little things wind you up).

Hidden gem book?
The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes. I've read quite a few of her books and they're always enjoyable but this particular story is fab. It's set in 1946 and tells the tale of the women who married their wartime sweethearts and then had to travel halfway across the world after the war to be reunited with them.
Plus it's all based on true life stories!

Important moment in your reading life?
When the School Librarian said yes, she could use some help at lunchtimes and let me become a Student Librarian. I then spent the next 5 years working almost every weekday lunchtime in the school library and I absolutely loved it!


Kinds of books you won't read?
As someone studying to be a librarian, I suppose I can't really say 'never ever' to anything although there are several types of books which take me longer to read than others - Westerns and Science Fiction being two genres I'm not particularly keen on reading.

Longest book you've read?
I'm guessing Uni textbooks don't count? I remember The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova being about 700/800 pages long; it was a good read but did take a while to get through.

Major book hangover because of?
The Ingo series by Helen Dunmore - I just wanted to run away to West Cornwall and live by the beach!

Number of bookcases you own?
Numerous. A small shelf of coffee table books in the dining room; a bookcase of mainly fiction in the guest bedroom; a bookcase of childrens books in another bedroom; a wall of engineering, travel books and my girls annuals in my craft room plus a small shelf of crafty books and a large set of bookshelves containing all Andrew's railway, transport, lorries, steam engines and fairground books.

One book you have read multiple times?
Junk by Melvin Burgess and Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin are probably the two books I've read the most times.

Preferred place to read?
Ideally, in bed and at work on my lunch hour.
In reality, whilst on holiday and waiting for doctors appointments.

Quote that inspires you from a book you've read?
I know it's a popular quote but I really like the ending to Tim Smit's story of the Eden Project - the same words you can find at the entrance to the place in Cornwall.
Eden Project Quote

Reading regret?
That I never really got into Harry Potter when it was first published. I remember a girl raving about it when I was in sixth form back in 1999 and I did read a chapter or two but then gave up.
It was only much later (about 2004) that I started to read them all and wondered why on earth I hadn't done it sooner!

Series you started and need to finish?
Several - I started Anthony Horowitz's Power of Five series several years ago and only got to book 4, plus I really enjoy Alexander McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie, 44 Scotland Street and Corduroy Mansions series but he writes so many books, I'm constantly about 3 behind. And there's the Second World War series - Follies by Hilary Green, I think I've still got two books from that to read.

Three of your all time favourite books?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Junk by Melvin Burgess
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Unapologetic fangirl of?
Young Adult and Children's fiction - Eleanor Updale's Montmorency series is fab as is Julia Golding's Cat Royal stories. Also Grace Cavendish's Lady Grace Mysteries, Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books, Derek Landy's tales of Skulduggery Pleasant, Angie Sage's Septimus Heap stories and Sophie McKenzie's Medusa Project. Most children's stories are well worth a read - the authors have to write for a much more discerning audience than adult fiction!

Very excited for this release?
I don't actually have an answer for this one; I tend to end up reading things several months after everyone else whenever I spot them in the library. If I have to give an answer, I'm quite excited for a new textbook written by one of the lecturers on my degree course - Managing Digital Cultural Objects - which probably makes me very very sad.

Worst bookish habit?
Going to the library, taking out almost my full quota of 20 books and then not reading anything for 9 months.

X marks the spot: start at the top left of your shelves and pick the 27th book...
I've gone for our wall of books and the 27th one is one of Andrew's - an ancient tool making book called Engineers' Cutting Tools by Firth Brown Tools Ltd.

Your latest book purchase?
Interesting question. I don't tend to buy that many books; I get them from the library and if I like them enough, then I'll put them on my Christmas or Birthday list. Whenever we go to an author talk in Toppings Bookshop in Bath, I do sometimes buy the books there as I can get them signed by the author. I think the last one I bought was Wild Guide: Devon, Cornwall and South West by Daniel Start.

Zzz-snatcher (the last book you stayed up late reading?)
 I'm not sure if it was the last book but I certainly remember going to bed very late after staying up to read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

Let me know if you have a go at the A-Z of Books tag!

ps. I do have a GoodReads account if you fancy a closer look at what I've read (although I'm not very good at updating it regularly, I tend to add lots of books in one go...)


  1. Ooh this tag is excellent; I definitely want to give this a go :) I stayed up late with The Night Circus, too- couldn't bring myself to put it down! xxx

    1. I know, it was such a fab story! Look forward to reading your list! :-) xxx

  2. From one Enid Blyton-aholic to another, I LOVE this tag!
    M x Life Outside London

    1. Thanks Michelle! Enid Blyton was fab - I still have my complete set of Famous Five books and I could never understand why my parents wouldn't let me go to boarding school! :-) xx

  3. Thanks for the shout-out! I'm interested that you mention Junk a couple of times - I used to teach it to year 9s and I think I killed my love for it with over-reading.

    1. Ahh, I know I've read it quite a lot but I think if I had to teach it, I'd be the same as you and end up disliking it! :-)


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