Sunday, 6 October 2013

A-Z meme

This survey was started by Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner, but I found it through two of my absolute favourite bloggers, kindred spirits both, Susan at You Can Never Have Too Many Books and Cath at Read-Warbler. I shall returning from the Angela Thirkell Society AGM on Saturday, and there won't be much opportunity for blogging. So I'm scheduling this one to appear in my absence.

Author I've Read The Most Books From:  I think this has to be Pratchett, there seem to be 39 Discworld books (read 38) plus the three Tiffany Aching books, plus half of Good Omens (he wrote it with Neil Gaiman), plus The Amazing Maurice, plus the graphic versions… followed by Angela Thirkell (30-odd) and Georgette Heyer. Oh no, I’ve just counted, Heyer wins hands down! Ask me again in ten years time and the winner might be Carola Dunn though.

Best Sequel Ever: Ooh, this one’s tough and it’s only B! I could think of lots of contenders, but then I decided it had to be something that I’ve gone back to more than once and loved as much as ever. In which case, I think it is Cathedral Wednesday by William Mayne. Closely followed by Lawrence Durrell’s Balthazar, third in the Alexandria Quartet, which I adored because it was in that book that I finally began to work out what was going on in this long roman à fleuve.

Currently ReadingGlimpses of the Moon by Edmund Crispin and Servants by Lucy Lethbridge.

Drink of Choice While Reading: Tea, I guess – but if I could make proper lattes at home, they would win.

E-Reader or Physical Book: I love books with my all my heart and soul, but e-reader is beginning to win the argument, not only because I can take an enormous library with me everywhere I go but because I often find holding books very painful now. If I can read on my tablet and save my hands for typing/drawing/sewing/whatever, then I’ll forgo the pleasure of “real” books. 

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Dated in High School: No doubt at all, Francis Lymond of Crawford.  He would have scared me out of my wits, but oh, irresistible… Lord Titus Groan, 77th Earl of Gormenghast, would have run him a very close second, but he wasn’t as well-read.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:   So many books that I picked up in the wrong sort of mood and later discovered were wonderful. Perhaps the one I am gladdest I went back to is William Gibson’s Neuromancer. First time round I must have been reading with only a quarter of my brain working – how could I not have seen how superb it was?

Hidden Gem Book:  Diary Without Dates by Enid Bagnold, which I found on Project Gutenberg. I’m happy to say it’s not just me who admires Bagnold’s writing – Persephone Books are about to reissue her novel The Squire later this month. Look out for a review here very soon.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:  Starting my blog: as I’ve said here before, I had started to feel very isolated because I had no-one to talk books with. I didn’t have a lot of time to spend browsing in the library and I simply wasn’t finding the books I wanted to read. Once I started blogging and sharing books with other people I discovered loads of authors I had missed out on during the years of child-rearing.

Just Finished:  Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell. Well, not quite finished actually, as I have to write a summary of Chapter 7 for a group read, so I’m re-reading bits.

Kind of Books I Won't Read:  I can’t bear steamy romance, it makes me cringe. 

Longest Book I've Read: Really not at all sure – OH used to joke that I gauged the readability of a book by whether you could use it as a doorstop – but Amazon tells me that Charles Palliser’s The Quincunx has 1248 pages, so that may be it. Good  book and very useful in a gale.

Major Book Hangover Because:  The number of out-of-print books I want to read that are too difficult/expensive to find. The ones I mind most about are those that are still in copyright in the UK so can’t be found on Project Gutenberg. The upside is the number of books I despaired of that are now being reprinted by Persephone, Greyladies, Girls Gone By , to name but a few.

umber of Bookcases I own: 
 Hard to count because some are entire walls – 19 or 20, I suppose. But on most of them the books are double-stacked.  Those of you who know me on LibraryThing, my library there really only represents the books in my room.

One Book I have Read Multiple Times:  In my case it would almost be harder to name a book I haven’t read multiple times – as far as I’m concerned a good book always rewards re-reading. Which makes it hard to part with them.

Preferred Place to Read: Bed. If not in it, on it. Preferably with at least one dog.

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All the Feels From a Book You've Read: I felt very stuck on this one – I guess I’ll find something perfect as soon is this post goes live, but I just couldn’t think of anything which quite meets the requirement. What I do remember, and maybe this is as good a reason to include it as any, is a fragment of poetry which thrilled me when I first read it, means something different to me depending on my mood when I encounter it, and conjures up the most vivid of pictures – in short, just sums of the wonder and mystery of poetry. It’s from Ash Wednesday, by T.S. Eliot: “Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree in the cool of the day, having fed to satiety.”

Reading Regret:  Not having discovered Angela Thirkell earlier.

eries You Started and Need To Finish (All the books are out in the series): 
The Hilary Tamar books by Sarah Caudwell. This is one of those situations where I own all four of the books but have only read the first because I can’t bear to use them all up.

Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books:  The list goes on for ever (I’m a very loyal reader) so I’ll see if I can come up with three that I haven’t singled out before! Um… Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge. Pashazade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (first of the Arabesk Trilogy). Appleby’s End by Michael Innes.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:  Oh dear – Neil Gaiman. And Angela Thirkell.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: The third in Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles, still on listed on Amazon UK as “Untitled Rothfuss 3 of 3” – but I’ve seen it elsewhere as The Doors of Stone. Its release date is given there as August 2015. Agony. If it doesn’t come out until then I will have to re-read the first two. Well, I'll probably do that anyway.

Worst Bookish Habit:  Starting a new book before I’ve finished the last, and then not going back to the first.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the Top Left of Your Shelf and pick the 27th Book:  E.F. Benson, Lucia Rising.

our Latest Book Purchase:
   The Bookshop by Deborah Meyler – because a fellow Thirkellite recommended it on FaceBook.

ZZZ-Snatcher Book- Book That Kept You Up WAY Too Late: Any book I’m enjoying, about once a fortnight – actually more likely to be something frivolous than a serious read. The last still-going-after-2am that I can remember was City of Dragons by Robin Hobb. I usually find her books pretty hard to put down.


  1. Funny you should say 'kindred spirits' because I was only thinking the other day that if I had to pick people whose reading tastes most resemble mine, you and Susan would be at the top of the list!

    Laughed at the Carola Dunn comment... likewise!

    Very much sympathised with your answer to 'Importnat moments in my reading life'.

    I have Glimpses of the Moon on my tbr pile so will be interested to hear what that's like.

    Goodness, I've had the Francis Lymond books recced to me so many times and I never have got around to them. It's about time!

    Glad I'm not the only one with 'walls of books'.

    Must crack on with Robin Hobb...

    Excellent replies, but a bit horrified at how many of these I've not heard of, will now have to look up, and will probably end up on my 'want to get' list. LOL!

    1. Cath, I loved Glimpses of the Moon but, like all the Crispin books, it's pretty silly!

      I think I've said before, the one Robin Hobb series I didn't like was the Soldier, Son one - I don't think I was alone in that, but I just love the way all the others join up to become one huge story.

      You've got to try the Lymond books sometime :-)

  2. Thank you so much, Jodie! That is a lovely comment to make about me and Cath....and true for me, as well. Kindred spirits :-) and a real joy for my soul to have found you two. It would be better of course if I lived in England! then we could all meet and have tea and exchange books, and go to shows in the West End (because I have a feeling we'd all enjoy the same ones), and haunt Charing Cross Road bookshops plus Persephone Books. *happy sigh* we can dream about it, like Helen Hanff did, though I have more chance of getting there than she did......

    I have book one of the Carola Dunn series! lol must read it before she gets to #20 out. Darn. Just realized that Ian Rankin has over 20 in the Rebus series if we count the one with Malcolm Fox, and the one just about to come out....and there's the Stephanie Plum series which I have read all of....

    Good answer for Robin Hobb, that happens to me too. I have to get to Mad Ship!

    I laughed a little guiltily at your worst bookish habit, that's one of mine too. I have so many books with book marks left in them, just stopped reading for any number of reasons, and I always plan to go back to them.

    I'm just about to try my first William Gibson, Pattern Recognition :-)

    And your answer for Major Book Hangover is spot-on for me too. I forgot about that until I read your answer! I would have altered it to read "number of books out of print in UK and not available through Book Depository either, or Amazon. Like Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill. I did manage to find one hard to get book - The Voice Thunders by Alan Garner, so I nabbed it. Possibly finding I can get books through Book Depository will be my worst habit the next time this meme comes around in a few years!!! lol

    Please email me - what's wrong with your hands?

    1. Dying to know what you think of Gibson, Susan - if I could only read one author for the rest of my life (what a horrible thought!) he would be a very serious contender.

      I haven't read any of the Stephanie Plum books - I thought I wouldn't like them, but I've read a couple of others by Evanovich now and I'm definitely warming to the idea!

      Oh, wouldn't it be lovely to be able to get together and haunt bookshops, we'd all have such fun!

  3. I'm in the middle of writing mine and have been for a few days as there are some questions I'm finding quite difficult to answer.

    Your worst habit is mine too and the Internet & blogging have been very significant for me.

    1. Oh, I shall look forward to your answers, Margaret - it took me a few days to put together. I found it really hard to think of a series I hadn't finished because I'm such a completist.

      I'm glad to know other people share my worst habit - I always assume that others are so much more self-disciplined than me.

      I didn't say - and should have - how much pleasure sharing books with blogging friends has given me. And it's not just books - there have been so many joys and sadnesses shared too, we're lucky to have such a wonderful and widespread community.

  4. That's one great Meme! I am thinking about nicking it, but - like you - I'd find some of the questions very difficult to answer.

    1. Oh, do! I found that filling in the easy answers and then just letting the others sit in the back of my mind for a couple of days worked really well. But it's very satisfying to do, and I've really enjoyed other people's answers.

  5. Totally fascinating. Line I most empathise with - "authors I missed out on during the years of child-rearing". How I relish the opportunities now to read undisturbed. (Until adult children return to the nest, but that's a whole other story).

    1. But at least the adult returners go off and do their own thing...just have to make sure they do a share of the cooking and cleaning, and their own washing :-)

  6. There are some good questions in this meme, and I love your answers. May have to give it a go myself. You have more bookcases that me too - I only have 15 at the last count, some double-stacked! :)

    1. Annabel, if I could find space to get in another bookcase or two, I would! More built-in shelving would help, but means finding somewhere to put the stuff that needs to be moved to get at the wall - oh for a larger house!
      It would be lovely if you get round to doing the meme...