Friday, 23 November 2007

Another Reading Meme

I found this meme at Stefanie’s blog, So Many Books but I’ve seen it at a number of other places. While I’m still having connectivity problems it seems a good time to use it, while I prepare myself for battle over the weekend!

Do you remember learning to read? How old were you?
I can’t remember not being able to read. I’ve loved books as long as I can remember, and I think I probably got impatient waiting for people to read to me, so I had to do it myself.

What do you find most challenging to read?
Textbooks, unless I am completely immersed in the subject. If I’ve got caught up by, or disagree strongly with the argument, it’s fine but, if I am not fully engaged with the topic, it can be a tremendous effort to stay focused.

What are your library habits?
Most of my life I’ve visited the library regularly. These days when I arrive I head for the SF/fantasy shelves and browse there; then I drift down non-fiction through gardening to the various crafts in case there are any new or interesting books, then on to the Crime section. By the time I’ve finished there I have usually picked out four or five books, which I’ll then supplement with three or four general fiction. I had a phase of reading very fluffy chick lit (the kind with pastel covers) a while ago, but now I can’t read it at all – I think it was because I was suffering quite badly from anaemia, although I didn’t realise it at the time, and I just didn’t have any energy for serious reading. A course of iron pills and my reading returned to normal!

Have your library habits changed since you were younger?
When I was growing up I lived in a very small town and the library was open most evenings. I spent a lot of time there, so that, when I later lived in a city and was out of work, the reference library was where I spent my days, reading folklore. Soon afterwards, however, and married, we moved to the country, and visiting the library is no longer a spur-of-the-moment decision. Now I go once or twice a month.

How has blogging changed your reading life?
Instead of reading whatever the library has to offer, I am much more selective, looking for titles that have been reviewed by other bloggers, and requesting books if they are not available on the shelves. I also read more attentively, and make notes. And, because I’ve joined a number of reading challenges, I plan my future reading in much more detail. In the past I’ve only noted titles of books I want to buy, or particularly enjoyed; now I am keeping a list of everything I read.

How often do you read a book and not review it on your blog? What are your reasons for not blogging about a book?
I’d rather be reading than blogging about a book that I didn’t find particularly engaging, although I originally set out to review everything. I do try to write brief comments about books I’ve enjoyed, but time often overtakes me. I’m hoping to achieve a balance somewhere along the way.

What percentage of your books do you get from new book stores, second hand books stores, the library, online exchange sites, online retailers, other?
I think I probably buy about half my books from online secondhand sites. The library supplies the next largest chunk, I guess, then most of the rest come from online retailers, though a small number come from secondhand bookshops and high street bookshops. Online exchange sites aren’t much use to me, since I re-read nearly all of my books – once I’ve bought it, it’s a permanent part of my library.

What are your pet peeves about the way people treat books?
I’ve blogged before about the thing which really upsets me: defacing library books. I think it’s unforgivable. Apart from that, I don’t really mind what people do to their own books, but I like my secondhand copies to be unmarked if possible.

Do you ever read for pleasure are work?
I’ve always read during coffee and lunchbreaks; since I started working from home for most of the month, I quite often read for 15 minutes after lunch, to give my brain time to unknot (though sometimes it has an unravelling effect).

When you give people books as gifts, how do you decide what to give them?
I generally only give books to people I know very well, and bear in mind their preferences. I think there are few things more disappointing than receiving a book you don’t really want, so I try to avoid putting people in that position.


  1. Ooh, working from home, I wish I could figure out a way to do that. Do you like it? What do you do?

  2. Fortunately, I have never had a job that didn't require me to read fiction. I think I might have gone quietly insane had it ever been otherwise!

  3. Dewey, I'm really grateful to be able to - I'm an administrator for a small association and the only employee. For 12 years I travelled every day to sit alone in an office and gradually a series of excuses meant I travelled less often. Railway delays were the biggest factor - they didn't seem amusing at the time, but they worked to my benefit in the long term.

    Ann, if I'd ever managed to have a proper career I would have tried to do something that meant I could read. Happily, the job I do now encourages it, even though it's not actually required, so I count myself lucky.

  4. I really enjoyed reading your answers to this! I think I'm going to have to borrow it one of these days.

  5. I'm with you on the textbooks. Now that I am back in school, I am reacquainting myself with how positively dull they can be.