Another book-y meme from the the Queen.
What are you reading right now?
Of Human Bondage
I just started it yesterday, while drinking tea and eating carrot cake in Fat Cat Pie. I only had about an hour to spare, and already I’m enthralled and hoping my weekend frees up enough to allow me to finish it.
I usually only read one book at a time, and I just finished listening to Beau Geste so there’s not even an audio book on the go. Loved Beau Geste. Loved it.
Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
The Worm Ouroboros when it arrives; whatever review copy I was supposed to be getting from LibraryThing. It still hasn’t turned up and I’m losing interest. The next in the Sharpe series, to which I’m completely addicted. I need a fix every couple of weeks.
What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?
None. I’ve never kept magazines or books in my bathroom, although I have often been accompanied by whatever I’m reading at the time.
What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
I don’t think I have been forced to read anything terrible, except by circumstance. I’m pretty good at saying ‘No’. Anything we read at school that I thought was terrible (Dickens’ A Christmas Carol) subsequently turned out to be good when not ruined by an English class in which 26 girls slowly (and I mean slowly) read aloud the whole thing in terrible monotones on hot, drowsy summer afternoons.
However, trapped in Miami Airport, which offers little to the discerning reader, I plucked from their cheap, plastic wire racks of dog-eared mass-market paperbacks a book by the guy who wrote Patriot Games, something with the Harrison Ford character in it. You can tell how impressed I was with the book by the fact that it is so utterly wiped from my memory that my only frame of reference is to a film of a different book but starring the same character.
My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk is also right up there on the books I have hated list. I didn’t finish it because it was so unbelievably tedious that I couldn’t get myself down a full page. I know it got great reviews and a lot of people love it, but my entire bookclub loathed it.
The Da Vinci Code by we all know who. I have no vocabulary with which to express my deep, abiding, volcanic hatred of this book. I know, I know, it’s my own fault for buying it, but a friend had recommended it and I thought it would do for a trashy afternoon read. Until I ended up throwing it across the kitchen and jumping up and down on it, babbling and screaming incoherently at its sheer, unmitigated awfulness.
What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
There is no one book that I think everyone will like, and when I recommend books I really try to think about what the other person might like. Even if what I finally suggest is not necessarily something I enjoyed. Otherwise, everyone would be reading A Dance to the Music of Time, and I’m sure they’d thank me for that. Not. I would also put everyone on a forced read of The Oresteia.
This year, I have been able to inflict reading on a friend, however, since for her 40th birthday I said that I would buy her one book per month for a year. That year is almost up, and I think most of the books have been a success. She has enjoyed being the member of a very select Book of the Month club, and I’ve enjoyed hunting out books for her.
Ok, everyone should read A Month in the Country by J L Carr.
Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?
Nope. I rarely use the library, I prefer to buy my books. I forget about the library for long stretches at a time, and then when I do go they don’t have what I want.
Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
I’m sure there are many, but in part see my answer to the last question but one. People are often put off by the length of books, I think, which isn’t something that bothers me. And I like series too – I was delighted to find out that the Forsyte Saga isn’t three volumes, it’s nine (six of which seem to be out of print).
Do you read books while you eat? While you bathe? While you watch movies or TV? While you listen to music? While you’re on the computer? While you’re having sex? While you’re driving?
While eating: Of course! What are meals, but an adjunct to reading? My husband knows that he could feed me anything while I’m reading and I’ll eat it without recognising what it is. There are many evenings on which I know I’ve eaten something, but the specifics escape me. On the other hand, there are books that cry out for a particular culinary accompaniment: vol 2 of the Forsytes (can you tell this is my current obsession?) will almost certainly be read on rainy afternoons, along with tea and toast and Marmite.
While bathing: Of course! The whole point of a bath is to be warm while reading.
While watching movies or TV: not while watching movies, because I only watch them if I’m giving them my full attention. And no longer while watching TV, since (a) I gave up and (b) we cancelled our cable and don’t have any. But prior to that, yes I would read in the same room as Mike was watching baseball.
While you listen to music: No. Because music for me is about the lyrics, so it gets in the way of the words on the page. Sometimes, with classical music. But preferably, silence.
While on the computer: No. Unless I’m reading something online…
While having sex: I imagine the distraction would ruin both activities.
While you’re driving: Audiobooks all the way. While this is nowhere near as bad as actual reading, I do sometimes finish my journey completely unaware of most of it. I’m fairly sure I was in each driving moment as it happened, but the full journey was on autopilot. I know this is bad, because I know most accidents happen within 2 miles of your home (at least in England), and I’m sure that’s because those are the most familiar roads and ‘No one ever pulls out of that side road, I don’t really have to slow down/stop.’
When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits?
Not so far as I remember. At junior school I still played outside enough, and at senior school it was ok to read. I did miss my stop and forget my violin on any number of occasions because I was buried in whatever book it was.
What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I picked it up at midnight, and of course had to start reading it immediately.