Ooh, a meme! I’m not really a meme person, but this one lets me ramble about books, which is one of my favourite things ever, and Tonile from My Cup and Chaucer was lovely enough to tag me. Really, how could I resist? Here we go…
Book Q&A Rules
1. Post these rules
2. Post a photo of your favourite book cover
3. Answer the questions below
4. Tag a few people to answer them too
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. Make sure you tell the person who tagged you that you’ve taken part!
I have many, many favourite books. Here’s the cover of just one of them:
What are you reading right now?
Right now, I’m re-reading Jessie Cole’s Darkness on the Edge of Town because I’m just about to write a review of it.
(Spoiler alert: it’s really, really good!)
Next, I’ll be reading Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road – once again to review. Yes, I read it last year, same as Darkness on the Edge of Town, but then I forgot how to write book reviews. Hence all the frantic re-reading.
(I don’t want to say it out loud, just in case acknowledging it makes it go away…but I think I’m just beginning to get the hang of this review-writing thing again. I think.)
Revolutionary Road absolutely floored me when I read it for the first time. If you’ve read it, chances are, you’ll know what I mean. I hope Yates is a little kinder to me this time.
What five books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?
Only five? There are so many…
Middlemarch – George Eliot
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
China Mieville – Embassytown, Kraken, Railsea…I adore Mieville but haven’t had the time to read anything he’s released since I started blogging
The Thousand and One Nights
Balzac. Any Balzac. I’ve only read one of his novellas, which I really enjoyed. More, please.
What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
Actually…none. I don’t read many magazines.
What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
Twilight. I read it before it was a phenomenon, because someone, somewhere said that it was “the new Harry Potter“. It’s not. It’s really, really not.
Second place, perhaps controversially, goes to Raymond E. Feist’s Magician. Books like this give fantasy a bad name.
What book seemed really popular but you didn’t like?
Oh, just this little thing called Wolf Hall. It’s kind of obscure, you’ve probably never heard of it…
Recently, I’ve been ranting about Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts to anyone who’ll listen. Could someone give this book a few more literary awards, please?
What are your three favourite poems?
Live by love/though the stars walk backward
(click through to the second page)
(See also: Plath, Hardy, Dylan Thomas, Emily Dickinson, Wilfred Owen…)
Where do you usually get your books?
Online, I’m a huge fan of Booktopia. When I feel like wandering through a bookshop, my three Sydney favourites are Gleebooks, in Glebe, Shearers in Leichhardt and Kinokuniya in the city.
Where do you usually read your books?
Trains. Buses. In stray beams of sunlight. Beneath trees. Wrapped up in a quilt my mum made me. Often with a cup of tea within reach.
When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
I read voraciously as a child. I always had at least one book with me, even when there was no chance I’d have time to read it. But it was there, just in case. I carried books like talismans.
My parents were really strict about lights out time, but I’d always find a way to switch my bedside light back on and keep reading into the night…
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. That book left me giddy with delight.
Have you ever “faked” reading a book?
Yes, but not recently. I’m an awful liar, so the truth usually catches up with me.
Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Not really. But if there’s a book I’m looking for and I have a choice between a pretty cover and an ugly cover, where I can afford it, I choose the prettier cover.
What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I read The Hobbit when I was seven or something and I was besotted with it. I was also a huge fan of Roald Dahl. Later, Louise Lawrence, Victor Kelleher, Gillian Rubenstein, Isobelle Carmody…I must have read Obernewtyn ten times. When I was thirteen or fourteen, I discovered Ursula LeGuin in my high school library. True love.
What book changed your life?
Every book I read changes my life a little bit…
What is your favourite passage from a book?
This is one of my favourite moments from Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Tess and her younger brother, Abraham, are driving a wagon together at night, looking at the stars:
“Did you say the stars were worlds, Tess?”
“All like ours?”
“I don’t know; but I think so. They sometimes seem to be like the apples on our stubbard-tree. Most of them splendid and sound – a few blighted.”
“Which do we live on–a splendid one or a blighted one?”
“A blighted one.”
“‘Tis very unlucky that we didn’t pitch on a sound one, when there were so many more of ’em!”
That’s Thomas Hardy for you, in a nutshell.
Who are your top five favourite authors?
Okay. I’ll name five. But keep in mind that I could – no, I will – change my mind about this list tomorrow/in five minutes’ time…
E M Forster
What book has no one heard about but should read?
Growth of the Soil, by Knut Hamsun. It’s about farming. Trust me, read it.
What three books are you an “evangelist” for?
I wish that were my job title – “literary evangelist”. I’m going to name three novels by Australian women writers…
Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany
Animal People by Charlotte Wood
The Man who Loved Children by Christina Stead
What are your favourite books by a first-time author?
Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar
Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (but On Beauty is my personal favourite of her novels)
William Gibson’s Neuromancer – invented cyberspace; was written on a typewriter
Also, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
What is your favourite classic book?
What is a classic, anyway? Is it what Penguin tells us is a classic by putting a black cover on it? Many of my favourite books are what Penguin would call classics. Some aren’t, but I consider them classics regardless.
Five other notable mentions?
If on a winter’s night a traveller by Italo Calvino
The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Sons and Lovers – my favourite D H Lawrence novel
and Pale Fire – my favourite Nabokov novel
(Yes, I know that’s six. Shhhh!)
Thanks to Tonile for tagging me! Make sure you visit My Cup and Chaucer and take a look at her answers. Oh, and while you’re in a clicking kind of mood, go and have a jolly good gawk at The Book Salon’s lovely new website, too – that’s where this whole Q & A thing started.
In return, I’m tagging…
Louise from Stella Orbit
Stephanie from Read in a Single Sitting
Emily from The Incredible Rambling Elimy
…and finally, I’m tagging you. If you’re reading this and feel like writing about your favourite books, don’t wait around – I want to see your answers. Off you go!