It has been absolutely ages since I have posted anything book related (not including craft books!) because I have been that busy reading uni books I haven’t had time to read anything else! A little while ago I decided that I wasn’t going to review the books that I had to read for uni on my blog for two reasons; first, I was being forced to read the books which can often affect your ability to enjoy reading the book; and secondly, I read books differently when I am reading for uni and reading for pleasure. There is a surprising amount of thoughts running through my head when I read for uni as I am constantly on alert looking for common themes of the genre or author or making mental notes of quotes that may be relevant later and I find it is much harder to get lost in a book that I am reading for uni as there are so many other things running through my brain. For these reasons, it didn’t seem fair to review university book that I am likely to have a completely different opinion on when I am reading for pleasure and I have found several books that I would like to re-read so that I can really get absorbed in them and review them fairly.
Yesterday, however, I stumbled upon this Q&A on Stephanie’s blog and it reminded me how much I miss being able to read books of my choice and really enjoy reading like I used to so I decided to answer the Q&A to remind me of some of the fantastic books that I have read, both for uni and for pleasure, and look forward to the time when I can once again pick up books that have been gathering dust on my shelves since I started my degree!
So, here goes:
What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This is a book on my uni reading list for the sci-fi module. I pretty much took the module because I literally had no other option that I wanted to take and I had been looking for an excuse toread The War of the Worlds, which was also on the reading list so I chose it as an option; I have now developed a completely unexpected love for science fiction! While some of the books that are completely science based like Neuromancer went straight over my head, I have thoroughly enjoyed the other, less intense books on the module, which has really surprised me as I never imagined I would like the genre. When I think about it, some of my favourite novels are early forms of science fiction, such as Frankenstein and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde so it shouldn’t come as a surprise but it did! I am currently 150 pages into Never Let Me Go and I am completely hooked! I wasn’t interested in the slightest when the film came out a while ago but I’m so glad this came up on the reading list because otherwise I would never know what an amazing novel I nearly missed out on! I hope the other half of the book is just as good!
Do you have any idea what you’ll read after you’ve finished this book?
Next on the reading list is Zoo City by Karen Beukes. I’m not sure what I’ll think of this one, it isn’t one that I am eager to read like The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey which I will be reading after that so we will have to wait and see. These two are from the sci-fi reading list again.
Five books you’ve always wanted to read but have never got round to?
Haha only five? Where to start!? I bought loads of books a few years ago from the BBC top 100 books to read before you die and I haven’t had chance to read many at all! I have The Catcher in the Rye on my list and How to Kill a Mockingbird but I also want to read The Secret Garden as it is James’ favourite book and I have never read it! As well as The Time Traveller’s Wife, which he recommends and after reading The War of the Worlds I am eager to read The Time Machine. Once I have finished my uni reading I really have no excuse because four of these books are already on my shelves!
What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
None surprisingly because I keep everything in my bedroom, technically because I don’t have my own bathroom/lounge. There is also a very good reason I don’t leave them there…yesterday my brother spilt a whole glass of blackcurrant juice all over Never Let Me Go…I’m never leaving my books on the coffee table unattended again!
What’s the worst book you ever read?
In the whole of my degree I think I have come across three books that I haven’t liked reading. This year I really didn’t get on with The Woman on the Edge of Time and in the first year I jarred with Robinson Crusoe but by far the worst book I have had to read on my course was Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell. Normally, I am a huge fan of Victorian realist fiction but this book was so painfully boring to read I am still amazed that I made it to the end! It certainly wasn’t a book for me unfortunately.
What book is really popular but you really hated?
I have to agree with Stephanie here, The Great Gatsby. From what I can determine, The Great Gatsby is like Marmite ..people either love it or hate it and unfortunately, I’m in the latter camp. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is that I didn’t like about it but I just couldn’t get into it at all. The Kite Runner was another book that everyone praised so highly but I just couldn’t stand it!
What’s the one book you recommend to everybody?
I think it has to be another uni book again. I had to read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold for my 60s module and I was absolutely dreading it. I cannot stand anything to do with spies or espionage but the minute I picked it up I was drawn into the complex web that John Le Carre was carefully weaving. I can’t remember the last time a book has left me with goosebumps but this one did and only last night I picked up another of his titles from the church bookstall. Considering I would never in a million years have picked up this title, I cannot believe the affect that it had on me and how eager I am to read the rest of the series now!
What are your three favourite poems?
I absolutely love ‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allan Poe and ‘The Listeners’ by Walter De La Mare – I can just sit and read these poems over and over again! For a third I would probably say anything by Spike Milligan. When I was little, my Auntie bought be a treasury of Spike Milligan’s poetry and I read it over and over again; he was such a talented poet and if I hadn’t been introduced to his work at such a young age I probably wouldn’t have developed a love for poetry like I have done.
Where do you usually get your books?
Almost all of my books come from work (you’ve got to love staff discount!) but occasionally I buy them second hand if I find something I have been looking for…I can’t resist a second hand book shop! I also buy from antique book fairs when I can afford it!
Where do you usually read your books?
Anywhere an everywhere! As all of my reading is to a deadline of lectures and seminars I will snatch a few odd pages everywhere from in bed to on the bus! Trust me, you can tell an English Literature student a mile away because they will never leave the house without a book to hand and can frequently be spotted reading at the bus stop!
When you were little, did you have any reading habits?
When I was really little (before I could even read!) my Mum would but me to bed in my cot (this shows how young I was!) with a pile of books. I would sit going through the books and Mum could always tell when I had finished with one because she would hear a thud as I dropped the book out of the cot. She always knew when I was going to sleep because she would hear several drops as I threw the remaining books out of the cot before I laid down!
What’s the last book you stayed up half the night to read?
Sadly I don’t think there has been one for a while! Hopefully I will come across one soon!
Have you ever ‘faked’ reading a book?
When I was ‘revising’ for my GSCEs/A-Levels I would sit with my revision guide open and pretend to be reading it when I had another (much more interesting) book open inside so when anyone walked in it looked like I was reading! I still got good grades so it obviously didn’t do any harm…
Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Haha thanks to the Penguin Clothbound editions I have a whole shelf of book that I bought simply for their aesthetic appeal!
What was your favourite book as a child?
I loved a book called Kitty but I can’t remember the author! I have a copy of it in a box somewhere! I also love the Animal Ark series by Lucy Daniels, particularly the Hauntings ones – I’ve always preferred ghost stories!
Which book changed your life?
I always struggle when I’m asked this question because I’m not sure I’ve come across this life-changing book yet. I really wish I had but I think the closest I have ever come is with Life of Pi, it is such a fantastic and inspiring book that I can’t help but hope that it may have made a small change within my life.
What is your favourite passage from a book?
This is another hard one but I think I would always choose Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene…because of this, it will always be my favourite Shakespeare play!
Out, damned spot! out, I say!–One: two: why,
then, ’tis time to do’t.–Hell is murky!–Fie, my
lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we
fear who knows it, when none can call our power to
account?–Yet who would have thought the old man
to have had so much blood in him.
The thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?–
What, will these hands ne’er be clean?–No more o’
that, my lord, no more o’ that: you mar all with
Who are your top five favourite authors?
Edgar Allan Poe
What is your favourite classic book?
Blimey, I have more favourites that are classic than contemporary! It would probably have to be Frankenstein though, that is probably my all time favourite book!
Five notable mentions?
Hmm 5 more…I love Kate Morton’s books and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is up there too. Rebecca is fantastic and another one that I will frequently recommend! I love Stephen King’s short story ‘1408’ and H. G. Wells’ ‘The Red Room’ too.
- Book Q+A (stephaniepomfrett.wordpress.com)
- Books Q&A (nanacathydotcom.wrdpress.com)
- The Raven (hannahackroyd.wordpress.com)
- The Listeners by Walter De La Mare (hannahackroyd.wordpress.com)
- Books Q&A (hannahackroyd.wordpress.com)
- Recent Reads Mini Roundup (hannahackroyd.wordpress.com)
- The Great Gatsby: A Review (hannahackroyd.wordpress.com)
- 30 Day Book Challenge:
Day 1: Favourite book
Day 2: Least favourite book
Day 3: Book that makes you laugh out loud
Day 4: Book that makes you cry
Day 5: Book you wish you could live in
Day 6: Favorite young adult book
Day 7: Book that you can quote/recite
Day 8: Book that scares you
Day 9: Book that makes you sick
Day 10: Book that changed your life
Day 11: Book from your favorite author
Day 12: Book that is most like your life
Day 13: Book whose main character is most like you
Day 14: Book whose main character you want to marry
Day 15: First “chapter book” you can remember reading as a child
Day 16: Longest book you’ve read
Day 17: Shortest book you’ve read
Day 18: Book you’re most embarrassed to say you like
Day 19: Book that turned you on
Day 20: Book you’ve read the most number of times
Day 21: Favorite picture book from childhood
Day 22: Book you plan to read next
Day 23: Book you tell people you’ve read, but haven’t (or haven’t actually finished)
Day 24: Book that contains your favourite scene
Day 25: Favourite book you read in school
Day 26: Favourite non-fiction book
Day 27: Favourite fiction book
Day 28: Last book you read
Day 29: Book you’re currently reading
Day 30: Favourite coffee table book