Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Book Habits Meme...

...because it's been a while since I've done a meme, and it's either this or watch our new Prime Minister waffle about the economy on the TV.

Courtesy of The World in the Satin Bag.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack:

I don't tend to eat while reading. The eye/jaw co-ordination is too much. I'd need a ring of Multi-tasking +2 to even begin thinking about it.

What is your favorite drink while reading?

Don't tend to drink while reading either, but when I do it's normally coffee (Douwe Egberts 'Pure Gold', always black), fruit juice or water.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I've not marked a book since I studied English literature at college (screw you, Jane Austen - your shitty, yawn-tastic Mansfield Park cost me an A grade). I have no need to annotate books these days.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

I've got a soft, woven bookmark that I picked up in Rhodes several years ago. It has a depiction of the Colossus of Rhodes on the front. I would never fold the corner of the page or whatever - seeing people do that actually makes me grit my teeth... And I never place a book face-down, probably because of a childhood incident when I accidentally broke the spine on my friend's American copy of The Sword of Shannara. Afterwards, every time you opened the book, it fell open on an illustration of Paranor. I found it funny. My friend didn't.

Fiction, nonfiction, or both?

95% fiction. I do like to dip into non-fiction now and then, normally books on ancient history when I do. The last one I read was Persian Fire, an account of the Persian invasion of ancient Greece (I was slightly disappointed that Darius wasn't an eight-foot, bald androgyne like he is in 300).

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?

I always try to finish at the end of a chapter where I can. Really don't like stopping halfway through a scene, it doesn't feel right. You wouldn't stop halfway through a dump, would you?

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?

I once tore a book up and set fire to it. The book was Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. I had to study the sodding thing for GCSE English, and I absolutely hated it. Read it until my eyes bled, then once the exam was over I tore it up in a fit of youthful exuberance and took a match to it. Happy days.

Otherwise, I don't tend to chuck books about. If a book is pissing me off, it tends to get slapped down on the table accompanied by a stream of choice words, the last of which is usually "off."

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

Sometimes. It depends on the book. If I did that whilst reading a China MiƩville book, it would take me a week to read one chapter (I jest of course, don't let his dense prose put you off checking him out. His work, I mean. Though he is admittedly quite buff).

What are you currently reading?

I'm between books, waiting for City of Ruin to show up in the mail. Didn't want to get stuck into something else and then have CoR turn up halfway through.

I share my living room with a pile of books that just grows and grows. Soon it will probably achieve sentience, a book tyrant. Omg, how awesome would that be? Unless it made me read crap books.

What is the last book you bought?

I bought several in one fell swoop: A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks (his novel Birdsong is wonderful, check it out), Thirteen Years Later by Jasper Kent, On Writing by Stephen King, and Shadow Prowler by Alexey Pehov (that last one was in the 3 for 2, so I thought I might as well pick it up).

That represents quite a book-buying binge for me, I don't tend to buy that many books these days.

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?

One at a time. If you're not going to give a book your full attention, why bother reading it? The only exception to this iron-clad rule I've got are non-fiction books or short story collections. I'll dip in and out of these while reading a novel, but otherwise my focus is entirely on the one book.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?

I read when I've got the time, wherever I might be. I read books for years on crowded trains; these days I get to read at home a lot more, which I definitely prefer. But anything goes really.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?

I don't really have a preference. It's exciting to find a new series that you really enjoy, but it's equally satisfying to discover a one-off novel that works for you. Ultimately it's all about the characters and the story, not the format or medium.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?

David Gemmell, who is probably my all-time favourite author. In addition, George R. R. Martin (not just ASOIAF, but his wonderful short-story collection Dreamsongs as well) and China MiƩville.

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)

I like the way the question assumes I bother to organize my books! On my bookshelves I manage to retain some facade of order (though there's no real theme or structure) but otherwise books are just piled all over the place. I've actually got a pile in my living room that I use as a foot rest...


Alex said...

"You wouldn't stop halfway through a dump, would you?


Charming, James. ;P

I used to read a lot on trains too btw, but for some reason these days I don't seem to be able to concentrate on it like I used to. Maybe it's because I'm travelling on the tube rather than overland ones and seldom go more than ten minutes without having to get up and change lines. Did some of my best reading on trains - reckon I read most of Perdido Street Station and The Scar that way for a start!

Liat said...

like your meme and borrowed it (with link to you) for a chat room I frequent. Always interested in how other people read.