Monday, 16 May 2016

A-Z of Books

I spotted this challenge on Facebook and thought it was a marvellous idea so decided to give it a go. I'm not tagging anyone, so if you want to do it too, leave a link to yours in the comments!

AUTHOR YOU’VE READ THE MOST BOOKS BY

Either Ramsey Campbell or Stephen King.

BEST SEQUEL EVER

2010: Odyssey Two (Arthur C Clarke). Not sure if it’s a sequel or part 2 in a series, but hey.



CURRENTLY READING

Mother of Eden (Chris Beckett) and Broken Monsters (Lauren Beukes). I rarely read one book at a time.



DRINK OF CHOICE WHILE READING

Nothing, really, since I mostly read in bed!

E-READER OR PHYSICAL BOOK


A physical book is always preferable unless it’s huge and unwieldy. Much as I love to read, I can only hold up a massive hardback in bed for so long, so my Kindle is ideal for that. It’s also great for reading in the middle of the night, when I wake up and can’t go back to sleep.



FICTIONAL CHARACTER YOU WOULD HAVE DATED IN HIGH SCHOOL

I’m changing this to “fictional character you would have fallen for as a teenager”, which doesn’t make the question that much easier. Wow, I really don’t know. Hannibal Lecter?



GLAD YOU GAVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE

The Hunger Games. I wasn’t really interested in anything YA until Mark Morris recommended the series.



HIDDEN GEM BOOK

Dark Matter (Michele Paver). One of those lucky finds that became an instant favourite.



IMPORTANT MOMENT IN YOUR READING LIFE

I can’t remember what the first “grownup” novel was that I read all the way through, but it might have been Jaws (Peter Benchley). My parents never put any restrictions on what I could read, although I did rather regret certain choices at a too-young age, like The Exorcist. I’d already seen the film (on network TV, censored but no less terrifying to a 10-year-old) but nothing could have prepared me for the spider-walk scene. Nightmares and sleepless nights notwithstanding, I still wanted more horror and my mom’s Stephen King books were next.



JUST FINISHED

The Booking (Ramsey Campbell)

KIND OF BOOKS YOU WON’T READ

There’s actually quite a lot I wouldn’t read, but I definitely wouldn’t go near any chick lit or misery memoirs.



LONGEST BOOK YOU’VE READ

No idea. Maybe The Mists of Avalon




MAJOR BOOK HANGOVER

The Handmaid’s Tale. I read a lot of horror by authors who really know how to scare me, but nothing has ever disturbed me in quite the same way this book did. Especially against the backdrop of American politics today. **shudder**



NUMBER OF BOOKCASES YOU OWN

13 (And that’s just for books - add another 6 for movies!)



ONE BOOK YOU’VE READ MULTIPLE TIMES

Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov)



PREFERRED PLACE TO READ

Floating on a raft in the pool in some lush tropical resort. Barring that, in bed!

QUOTE THAT INSPIRES YOU FROM A BOOK YOU’VE READ

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly: what is essential is invisible to the eye.” (The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery)



READING REGRET

That it took me so long to read so many SF classics.

SERIES YOU STARTED AND NEED TO FINISH

Dune (the original Frank Herbert 6 - only got the last one to go) and Foundation (I read the first one and half of the second but just couldn’t engage with it).



THREE OF YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS

1. We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Shirley Jackson)



2. The Haunting of Hill House (Shirley Jackson)



3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Arthur C Clarke)



UNAPOLOGETIC FANGIRL FOR

Ramsey Campbell!



VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS RELEASE

Ramsey Campbell’s next one - The Searching Dead. I read the first 100 pages of it in draft form and can’t wait to read the rest!

WORST BOOKISH HABIT

Buying more than I will ever be able to read in my lifetime!



X MARKS THE SPOT: START ON THE TOP LEFT OF YOUR SHELF AND PICK THE 27TH BOOK

The Stars My Destination (Alfred Bester)



YOUR LATEST PURCHASE

Nameless (Grant Morrison)



ZZZZ-SNATCHER BOOK (LAST BOOK THAT KEPT YOU UP WAY TOO LATE)

West of Eden (Harry Harrison)



4 comments:

  1. Looks like I'll have to divide this into two halves, since this comment box only accepts up to a certain number of characters. First, part one:

    AUTHOR YOU’VE READ THE MOST BOOKS BY

    I'm not sure but very probably Mishima Yukio, by whom I have read:

    Thirst for Love
    Confessions of a Mask
    Sun and Steel
    Death in Midsummer
    The Sound of Waves
    Forbidden Colours
    The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
    The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
    The Sea of Fertility (which is actually four books)

    That still doesn't seem like a huge number, but I've never been much of a completist. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if there's someone whose work I have read more of without realising.

    BEST SEQUEL EVER

    Hmmm. Possibly Runaway Horses, the second book in The Sea of Fertility.

    CURRENTLY READING

    Fields of Blood (Karen Armstrong), The Qur'an, A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems (trans Arthur Waley), The Popol Vuh (summary and commentary by Lewis Spence), The Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle), and some others.

    DRINK OF CHOICE WHILE READING

    Tea.

    E-READER OR PHYSICAL BOOK

    Physical. The mere sight of typeface excites me.

    FICTIONAL CHARACTER YOU WOULD HAVE DATED IN HIGH SCHOOL

    Er... The only memory I have of being romantically intrigued by a fictional character was Dorcas in Gene Wolfe's The Shadow of the Torturer.

    GLAD YOU GAVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE

    This suggests a book you thought would be boring or bad but which turned out to be good. I suppose this must have happened to me at some point, maybe even relatively recently, but I don't remember any examples. Oh wait... Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, though I did have an inkling it would be good.

    HIDDEN GEM BOOK

    Transcendence and History (Glenn Hughes)

    I feel I should also include a piece of fiction, but I'm finding it harder and harder to locate hidden gems. Maybe, Inland, by Gerald Murnane. I don't know if that counts as hidden.

    IMPORTANT MOMENT IN YOUR READING LIFE

    There have been a few of these - a great many. I hope there are many still to come. The Sea of Fertility (mentioned above) was definitely a turning point, and my life would probably be very different if I hadn't read that at the time that I did.

    JUST FINISHED

    Recently I'm a bit dissatisfied with my reading. I gave up on High-Rise (J.G. Ballard). Apart from that I've been reading a number of Very Short Introductions from Oxford University Press - the last of these that I finished was Stars.

    KIND OF BOOKS YOU WON’T READ

    I'm becoming more and more conscious of how little time there is left in which to read things, so this is a category that can expect a lot of future growth. However, it's hard to rule out anything entirely. Basically, I suppose I don't want to read too many books that just churn out secondhand ideas.

    LONGEST BOOK YOU’VE READ

    War and Peace, I expect.

    MAJOR BOOK HANGOVER

    Hmmm. Good or bad? Maybe The Conspiracy Against the Human Race (Thomas Ligotti). There aren't actually many books that can give a real hangover. Others I've known have been by Houellebecq and Mishima, for instance.

    ReplyDelete
  2. And Part Two:

    NUMBER OF BOOKCASES YOU OWN

    There are three in my flat. I could do with more.

    ONE BOOK YOU’VE READ MULTIPLE TIMES

    The Haunter of the Dark (Grafton Omnibus), by H.P.L.

    PREFERRED PLACE TO READ

    Sitting on the floor or the sofa. Or on a train.

    QUOTE THAT INSPIRES YOU FROM A BOOK YOU’VE READ

    There are many. I'll go for this one:

    "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow."

    READING REGRET

    That I didn't become serious about reading philosophy and history earlier.

    SERIES YOU STARTED AND NEED TO FINISH

    Journey to the West (Wu Cheng'en). I started the first book of Anthony Yu's massive multi-volume translation, but got distracted for some reason. I need to get back to it some time.

    THREE OF YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS

    1. The Sea of Fertility (Mishima Yukio)


    2. Quiet Rain (Nagai Kafu)

    3. Knulp (Hermann Hesse)

    UNAPOLOGETIC FANGIRL FOR

    Nagai Kafu

    VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS RELEASE

    I don't seem to be very forward-looking at present.

    WORST BOOKISH HABIT

    Reading too many books at once, so that a log-jam occurs and I have to jettison some in order to finish others.

    X MARKS THE SPOT: START ON THE TOP LEFT OF YOUR SHELF AND PICK THE 27TH BOOK

    A Friend of Kafka (Isaac Bashevis Singer)

    YOUR LATEST PURCHASE

    With a birthday book token, the NYRB edition of Religio Medici and Urne-Buriall by Sir Thomas Browne

    ZZZZ-SNATCHER BOOK (LAST BOOK THAT KEPT YOU UP WAY TOO LATE)

    Doesn't happen much these days. I need my sleep. ... No, nothing's coming to mind, though I have the collected M.R. James at my bedside. I haven't touched it for a while, due to lack of time and to tiredness.

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  3. Great list, Quentin! Quite a lot of titles/authors I'm unfamiliar with. And nice to know I'm not the only one who binge-reads more than one book at a time! :-) What's your book quote from, btw?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello Thana.

    Thank you. I tend to enjoy personal list-articles about books. Thank you for posting yours. I'm reminded that I need to read more Shirley Jackson.

    The quote comes from The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis. Here's the speech performed by the brilliant Tom Baker (if links work in the comments):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh55SzhLkmc

    ReplyDelete