For a fun way to start the week, I thought I’d share with you the answers to a series of questions that are doing the rounds among authors at the moment. Thanks to Laurie Steed for tagging me in and sending the questions my way. Now sit, back, relax and let me share with you some of my reading secrets, including books I’ve pretended to have read but haven’t really.
So here’s the official bit:
1. Post these rules
2. Post a photo of your favourite book cover
3. Answer the questions below
4. Tag a few people to answer them too
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. Make sure you tell the person who tagged you that you’ve taken part!
Now here’s the fun bit:
What are you reading right now?
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I wasn’t sure about this book – the premise of a person who is able to start their life over and over again didn’t grab me. A quarter of the way through and I’m still not sure. I’ll report back when I’m done.
Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
Amanda Curtin’s Elemental. I purchased this at her launch a few months ago and it’s finally reached the top of the to-read pile.
What five books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?
The Outsider by Alfred Camus (I’m stealing this one from Laurie Steed’s list because it reminded me that I have always wanted to give this one a go)
The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Restoration by Rose Tremain
Anything by Henry James (Suggestions as to which is his best please?)
What magazines do you have in your bathroom/ lounge right now?
I’m just not a magazine person. I’d rather read a book.
What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
I’m not sure I can tar a book with this label as anyone who’s gone to the trouble of writing a book has some part of their soul on the line and it’s not for me to trample on.
What book seemed really popular but you didn’t like?
The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell. I couldn’t connect to the main character, and found the whole book quite depressing.
What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
Anything by Jane Austen.
Where do you usually get your books?
I love second hand book sales, like the Save the Children book sale. Otherwise, independent bookstores and the library.
When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
I was obsessed by series, such as the Enid Blyton series, the Nancy Drew series, The Bobbsey Twins etc. My mum wrote a list of all the titles in each series in an exercise book and ticked off each one as I read them. I used to take the exercise book to the library so I could make sure I didn’t check out a book I’d already read.
What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was too good to put down?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Have you ever “faked” reading a book?
I probably shouldn’t admit this but I’m on the middle of a PhD and one of the texts I’m supposed to have read for my exegesis is Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality but it just bored the pants off me so instead I read a Foucault primer, and got all the bits I needed.
Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Not just because I liked the cover but if I like the blurb as well, then a cover can certainly invite me in.
What was your favourite book when you were a child?
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.
What book changed your life?
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. It’s perfection. It showed me how powerful a book can be.
“In the evening, after the baby has gone to sleep, I kneel beside the crib and touch her face, where it is pressed against the slats, with mine. She is an open and trusting child, unprepared for and unaccustomed to the ambushes of family life, and perhaps it is just as well that I can offer her little of that life. I would like to give her more. I would like to promise her that she will grow up with a sense of her cousins and of rivers and of her great-grandmother’s teacups, would like to pledge her a picnic on a river with fried chicken and her hair uncombed, would like to give her home for her birthday, but we live differently now and I can promise her nothing like that. I give her a xylophone and a sundress from Madeira, and promise to tell her a funny story.”
-Joan Didion, On Going Home, Slouching Towards Bethlehem.
Who are your top five favourite authors?
1. Margaret Atwood
2. Joan Didion
3. Jane Austen
4. Charlotte Bronte
5. Hilary Mantel
What book has no one heard about but should read?
My books! Kidding!
N.A. Bourke’s The Bone Flute. She’s an Australian writer and her book is exquisite. Also Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
What books are you an ‘evangelist’ for?
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
Possession by AS Byatt
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
What are your favourite books by a first time author?
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell
Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
What is your favourite classic book?
Five other notable mentions?
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Of a Boy by Sonya Hartnett
The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Thanks to Laurie Steed for tagging me in this post. I’m tagging Dawn Barker, Christy Hatcher and AJ Betts. Feel free to share your lists with me in the comments too – you don’t have to have been tagged to take part. And let me know what great books I’ve missed!