So I’m back (for now)! My reasons for now blogging include vague notions about being lazy and that’s pretty much it. But Kara, from Diary of a Teen Writer summed it up beautifully in a post she made a couple of weeks ago about being in a sort of blogging slump:
“It wasn’t really intended, more that since I finished school, I’ve felt a little . . . lost, you know? And I have all this time on my hands, and it’s weird and wonderful at the same time.”
(Thank-you for being eloquent where I wasn’t Kara).
But I thought that the best way to come back from a non-blogging period was to answer a bazillion questions about myself, a la my book habits. This set of questions is from FOREVER ago, but as per my usual style, I always get to things about 3 months too late. This questionnaire is originally from The Literary Lollipop, but I found it on Paper Fury (back when they were The Notebook Sisters – which I can’t link you to, because it automatically redirects to their new blog).
Definitely everything Enid Blyton – The Secret 7, The Famous 5, The Naughtiest Girl series, everything – and Lucy Daniels. I was OBSESSED with animals, and I think I read every single one of her books!! As I grew up a bit, Jacqueline Wilson was my go-to-author.
2. What are you reading right now?
Are you seeing me? by Darren Groth
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
I ordered The Children of Men (PD James) at my school library, but then I found it on EBay and just bought it instead. Owning definitely trumps borrowing!
4. Bad book habit:
Going for months without reading!! Or reading and having weirdly long breaks in between so I end up forgetting stuff.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Nothing from the library, but books sitting on my bookshelf in my immediate TBR pile are:
1. Spark by Rachael Craw
2. Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
3. Stasiland by Anna Funder
6. Do you have an e-reader?
Yes! I got it for my birthday last year and it’s 100% perfect for when I have a craving for a certain book.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
When I was younger I used to read a couple at a time, but nowadays one at a time is sufficient. That way I can concentrate on what’s going on.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
In terms of which books I read, my habits have definitely changed. I used to spend ages trying to find books to read and then just end up re-reading old books or finding books by the same author. I didn’t branch out very much and I think since starting a [book-related] blog, my reading has been more influenced by the blogosphere around me (because I follow many book blogs).
9. Least favourite book you read this year:
1984 George Orwell (The perils of school reading).
10. Favourite book I’ve read this year:
(I’m excluding re-reads for this)
I am an EXTREMELY indecisive person, but probably either Every Breath (Ellie Marney) or These Broken Stars (Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman). Honourable mentions include: The Maze Runner series – specifically The Scorch Trials (James Dashner), ACID (Emma Pass), City of Heavenly Fire (Cassandra Clare), Isla and the Happily Ever After (Stephanie Perkins) and Wintergirls (Laurie Halse Anderson).
11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Unfortunately very rarely. I wished I branched out more.
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Murder mysteries. Fluffy contemporaries. Selective fantasies.
13. Can you read on the bus?
Unless you want vomit all over the place??
14. Favourite place to read:
My bed + the dog
15. What’s your policy on book lending?
Fine, as long as people don’t dog-ear books.
16. Do you dogear your books?
NO!! (see answer to previous question).
17. Do you write notes in the margins of your books?
No way!! I don’t mind writing in plays (i.e. Macbeth), but ONLY for school purposes (although I don’t think I’d read many – if any – plays otherwise).
18. Do you break/crack the spine of your books?
Not intentionally, but sometimes it just happens.
19. What is your favourite language to read?
I guess English, since I can’t read much else very well.
20. What makes you love a book?
The characters! The plot can be slightly questionable/unrealistic (which makes it more fun to read anyway), but the characters are the ones who drive the novel. I don’t have a preference for male or female characters; I just need them to be relateable.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
…And I also have no idea to the answer. I mean, I recommend books to people if I liked it, but I never really think about why that is. I’ll recommend a book to someone if it’s the type of book I’ve just spent 4 hours non-stop reading or if the characters are more relateable than your real friends or if the plot is so amazing that half of you wishes you wrote it yourself, but the other half loves it the way it is. There are so many general reasons for recommending a book to someone, but nothing really that specific.
22. Favourite genre:
Murder mysteries. I’m relatively fussy about these and only read a couple of authors. Michael Robotham is definitely my favourite, followed by James Patterson’s books, especially The Women’s Murder Club series, which I am currently trying to collect from op-shops and garage sales. I also LOVE contemporaries, and they definitely make up the majority of my books.
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did):
Definitely biographies. I always have great intentions of reading these, but never get around to them. Also, potentially more fantasy and science-fiction.
24. Favourite Biography:
I don’t think I’ve read a full one of these?
25. Have you ever read a self-help book? (And, was it actually helpful?)
Nah, I’ve never read a self-help book.
26. Favourite Cookbook:
I don’t have a favourite cook book per se, because whenever I want to bake or (rarely) cook something, I go to one of three places: 1. My mom’s recipe folders which have her collection of recipes from when she was young, 2. My collection of recipes or 3. The Interwebs.
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction):
Afterworlds (Scott Westerfeld). I LOVED this book. The idea of writing from Darcy’s POV and then her character’s POV is in the category of half-jealous and half-omg-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? This book showed me where my writing could potentially take me. I know it’s fiction, but at the same time, it felt real.
28. Favourite reading snack:
I don’t often eat while I read (I know, the only time I’m not eating), but if I’m going to eat, it has to be something a) not messy and b) something I can eat while being preoccupied by a book, e.g. Malteasers, popcorn
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience:
1. It’s kind of a funny story (Ned Vizzini)
2. Miss. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
3. We Were Liars (E. Lockhart)
I was expecting great things from these books, and while I did end up liking them, I didn’t love them like I thought I would. Due to the hype, I thought these books were going to be the greatest things on Earth since sliced bread, but unfortunately they only turned out to be slightly old brown bread. (not sliced).
30. How often do you agree with the critics about about a book?
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
This questionnaire was designed for book bloggers, and since this book isn’t a book blog, it just centres around book related things, these questions aren’t as relative to me (especially the latter question). As for the first question, I read quite a few book reviews (from the blogs I follow), and am often inspired to read books based on the book reviews – whether they’re negative or positive. I read books from both types of reviews because I’m interested to see if I agree. I usually do, but there are some books that always split people down the middle, e.g. Afterworlds or We Were Liars.
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
French. Or anything really, I’m not really fussy! Since I’ve supremely untalented at any other language than English, anything would be awesome.
33. Most intimidating book I’ve read:
A Million Little Pieces (James Frey). It was super super long and some of it was quite graphic. I didn’t mind the graphic-ness, but there was a lot of repetition and it was very dense. There were times I just wanted to stop, but persevered to the end and I’m proud of this.
34. Most intimidating book I’m too nervous to begin:
I always have vague notions about reading either the Lord of the Rings series or the Game of Thrones series, but haven’t ever gotten around to read them – let alone borrowing them from the library (yet).
35. Favourite Poet:
Don’t often read poetry, but I like Shel Silverstein’s stuff.
36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at any given time?
When I was younger, I’d often have 15-20 books checked out at a time, but these days, I either don’t have any and just find a book at home, or have a couple – maybe up to 5.
37. How often do you return books to the library unread?
Very rarely. I hate leaving a book unread.
38. Favourite fictional character:
Adam from 50/50 (this is probably cheating, since this is a movie), but if it is, then Ginny or Hermione (Harry Potter). I also LOVED Anna from Anna and the French Kiss.
39. Favourite fictional villain:
I know a lot of people who have great answers to this question, but I really don’t. Because I read mostly contemporaries, there isn’t often an actual villain – it’s usually people from opposing families or sickness (ie cancer) or just something else.
40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation:
It would most likely be the book that I’d be reading then; a few ‘oldies, but goodies’ books, for familiarity and some new books, mostly likely from the library.
41. The longest I’ve gone without reading:
I can’t remember exactly, but definitely a good couple of months.
42. Name a book you could/would not finish:
Stasiland. It’s about the author going back and visiting Germany and places associated with the Stasi, and while I usually really enjoy books about subjects such as this, this novel is told like a recount and all I can think about is grade two and the way we would write then: I went to the shops. I bought an ice-cream. It was great. I mean, that’s obviously an exaggeration, but it’s how I feel.
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Music. I am a big music listener, but when I’m reading, or doing English, I have a strict no-music policy. When there’s music and sentences, there’s just too many words everywhere!
44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel:
I could go on forever for this question, but here are the first 10 that spring to mind:
1. To Kill A Mockingbird (BEAUTIFUL film)
3. The Harry Potters
4. Mockingjay: Part 1
5. The Maze Runner
6. The Invention of Hugo Cabaret (I LOVED this film and book)
7. Tomorrow When The War Began
9. If I Stay
10. The Fault in our Stars
There’s probably like 12,000 more – and ones that I like more than these even – but I can only remember so many things at once, and when my brain called for it, these are the first 10 that I thought of.
45. Most disappointing film adaptation:
I LOVE novel to film adaptation, and try to think of them as separate pieces of art, otherwise I’d go crazy trying to fill in all the details. BUT, Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper drives me INSANE with the ending of the film. The book ending was 1000x better and while I really enjoyed the film, the ending drove me nuts.
46. Most money I’ve ever spent in a bookstore at one time:
$75 recently from a (previously $100) book voucher that I’d won.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Very rarely. I sometimes skim the page I’m on to see if there’s something interesting going to happen, but otherwise I avoid it.
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?
Unrelateable/boring/no-personality characters. NOTHING is happening plot-line.
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yes (sorta). They’re meant to be in alphabetical order by surname – which they mostly are – but I’ve run out of space, so now the books just go wherever they can.
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they’ve been read?
People actually give them away?????
51. Are there any books that you’ve been avoiding?
Stasiland (Anna Funder). #schoollife. I’m terrible with school books and avoid them on principal, as opposed to what they’re about. Even before I picked this up, I was like ‘meh’ – but it turned out to be with good reason. I didn’t get very far, before I was extremely bored!
52. Name a book that made you angry:
1984 because it was SO SO bad. And because Winston did NOT STOP complaining about his terrible, terrible life and Julia was this annoying child who was just happy with things of face value and UGH, it was just infuriating!!
53. A book I didn’t expect to like but did:
Fairytales for Wilde Girls (Allyse Near) and Seraphina (Rachel Hartman). Fantasies galore. I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole fairy/dragon/elf/mermaid fantasy branch, but despite my skepticism, I enjoyed these (especially Seraphina)!
54. A book I expected to like but didn’t:
It’s kind of a funny story (Ned Vizzini). This is similar to one of my previous answers, but it’s definitely to do with the hype. I was expecting this book to be the Greatest Thing Ever, but instead it was just Good.
55. Favourite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading:
Monica McInerney novels. Harry Potter series. Pretty much anything I’ve already read.