Today I bring you the Fifty Bookish Questions Book Tag, which I recently saw on Miguel Olmedo Morell’s blog. (If anyone happens to know the original creator, let me know so I can credit them for coming up with a lovely set of questions!)
1. What was the last book you read?
The last book I finished was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and, ok wow, I get why people said this was so much better than the Grisha trilogy (though I really enjoyed that actually!).
2. Was it a good one?
It’s basically a heist in a fantasy world, of course it’s good.
3. What made it good?
See above and say it with me – h-e-i-s-t.
4. Would you recommend it to other people?
5. How often do you read?
Unless I’m in a weird scatter-brained mood then pretty much every day.
6. Do you like to read?
I probably wouldn’t do it so much and so often if I didn’t like it.
7. What was the last bad book you read?
Hmmm, you know I was thinking ‘hey I don’t think a book is necessarily bad it’s just probably not for me’ and then I realised one book that actually did fit the bill – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.
8. What made you dislike it?
I’m sorry to say this but Cassandra Clare can’t write all that well, she can’t plot for toffee, and I must say I vastly prefer what the Shadowhunters TV show managed to do with these characters, and it’s rare I say that about a book-to-screen adaptation. (I begrudgingly admit I don’t have as many problems at all with her Infernal Devices trilogy, in fact I quite enjoyed it.)
9. Do you wish to be a writer?
Yes, I would but ahhh if only I could plot for toffee…
10. Has any book ever influenced you greatly?
Every book I’ve ever read will have influenced me, knowingly or (more likely) unknowingly, in some way. For example, recently I took a critical look at my writing style and noticed I use a lot of like ‘which here means ___’ constructions. I didn’t do this deliberately at all but I now realise that I totally got that from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events which I started reading when I was, what, 10/11ish? Stories like that that I experienced in childhood (e.g. Roald Dahl, JK Rowling, Enid Blyton) have probably influenced who I am as a person a lot, even if I might not immediately realise it.
11. Do you read fan fiction?
Yesss, I go through phases of forgetting it exists and then remembering and skipping off joyfully to AO3.
12. Do you write fan fiction?
I have done so in the past, yes. I was never very good at it but I always wanted to be better. I go through phases of reading a specific fandom or AU fanfic and getting the bug again but I never end up contributing anything more than avidly reading each instalment.
13. What’s your favourite book?
I have too many favourites. Quick rundown of those that managed to make my Goodreads ‘favourites’ shelf: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione Eyre’s Viper Wine, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong, Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part One and Coriolanus, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens, and Roald Dahl’s Matilda. I think I may need to revisit that shelf and reassess sometime soon – I’m sure I have new favourites that deserve pride of place there!
14. What’s your least favourite book?
There are books that I was assigned to read at university and that I just didn’t enjoy and still don’t really “get”, these include Sylvia Plath’s The Bell-Jar, Jeanette Winterson’s The World and Other Places, Janet Frame’s Faces in the Water, George Eliot’s Adam Bede, and Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room, to name but a few. But if we’re talking books I really didn’t enjoy then Michel Houellebecq’s Atomised. I checked on Goodreads to see how many stars I gave it and apparently I rated it 3 out of 5… I don’t know why. It was very… French, maybe that’s why I excused it and said ‘not for me but ok’. I think I need to reassess.
15. Do you prefer physical books or ready on a device (like a kindle)?
I prefer physical books – you don’t end up owning close to 400 books (yeah it’s a problem) by being averse to physical books. But I do have a Kindle and I like the option of making use of it and the app on my phone.
16. When did you learn to read?
When I was in nursery school I presume?
17. What is your favourite book you had to read in school?
It’s not a book but I actually really loved reading Much Ado About Nothing, which is a good thing because I think we must have studied it a good three or four times in secondary school alone. And then when I got to university I revisited it again during my Shakespeare course and I still loved it. I think Much Ado was one of my first real brushes with Shakespeare so, for that, I am ever grateful. It’s also just a damn funny play – if you haven’t read it, please give it a try!
18. What is your favourite book series?
My mind automatically said Harry Potter but I’m fairly sure most book lovers of a certain age will volunteer that rather obvious answer. (Alternate answer: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events). However, for the sake of saying something more, I’m really enjoying V.E. Schwab’s Shades of London series and I need that third book like now.
19. Who is your favourite author?
Damn near impossible to answer this question. My early modernist heart tells me to answer Shakespeare. And yes, maybe Shakespeare didn’t write all his plays, but who really has time for that old argument?
20. What is your favourite genre?
I seem to be reading a lot of (young-adult) fantasy lately so I’m going to have to say that.
21. Who is your favourite character in a book series?
This is an impossible question – how could I pick only one? I mean just from the Harry Potter series alone there is Hermione Granger, Remus Lupin, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom. From Lord of the Rings there’s Aragorn. From the Shades of Magic series there’s Alucard and Rhy.
22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?
Always – I read a lot of fantasy after all.
23.Which book do you wish had a sequel?
You know, sometimes I’m glad when a book is just that… just one book on its own, done and dusted. And, as previously mentioned throughout, I read a lot of fantasy and that is the genre that seems to insist on having huuuuge series of books because one simply isn’t enough. So I don’t think I have an answer to this, however…
24. Which book do you wish DIDN’T have a sequel?
I think we can mostly all agree that Go Set A Watchman was unnecessary and ruins To Kill A Mockingbird, right?
25. How long does it take you to read a book?
Depends on the book, surely? If it’s a standard 400-ish page novel and I’m really into it, then maybe like 3-5 days.
26. Do you like when books become movies?
Yes, I love to see what decisions the creative team make when it comes to telling a written story in a visual medium. Plus I love dissecting and discussing why such choices might have been made or what different angle they provide on the story – both my BA and MA dissertations discussed adaptations of texts for this very reason.
27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?
Honestly? I’m a big fan of Tolkien, I love the Lord of the Rings films so so very much but, compared to those, I didn’t really love The Hobbit films as much as I should have given the actors involved. I don’t know if The Hobbit was necessarily ruined by the movie but it wasn’t quite the right tone, in my opinion. Plus who the hell needed three films from a relatively short book? Oh, that’s right, the people making money out of the deal. One of my favourite actors is in those films and even so I was still a little disappointed; the book wasn’t necessarily ruined but it certainly wasn’t improved.
28. Which movie has done a book justice?
I really liked the Stardust film. I don’t know if a lot of hardcore Gaiman fans are going to rain down on me now but, yeah, I liked what they did with it. Also Prisoner of Azkaban, but I’ve discussed many a time how I adore the tone of that film.
29. Do you read newspapers?
I don’t really read physical newspapers much – I keep meaning to get a subscription or at least make buying the weekend editions a thing but I always forget. I tend to do most of my newspaper reading via the Guardian’s website because I really like how their layout looks and their political bias mostly fits with my own.
30: Do you read magazines?
I don’t really read magazines, apart from the occasional Empire magazine, but I really enjoy that when I get it.
31. Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?
Couldn’t possibly say, I don’t read enough of either of them to comment.
32. Do you read while in bed?
Yes, I get so much reading done in bed.
33. Do you read while on the toilet?
Honestly? Yeah. Don’t we all?
34. Do you read while in the car?
I tend to get a little car sick and reading exacerbates it so, no, not unless the book I’m reading is really compelling and worth feeling icky afterwards.
35. Do you read while in the bath?
I’ve tried and honestly-? It makes me feel kind of nauseous, not sure why. I’ve never been one for laying in the bath for any length of time anyway – I can’t use bubble bath because of my sensitive skin issues so a soak in the bath is definitely not my idea of relaxation.
36. Are you a fast reader?
I wouldn’t say I’m a fast reader necessarily – and certainly not compared to a lot of book bloggers and booktubers – but my family and friends that don’t really read much would disagree with that diagnosis.
37. Are you a slow reader?
38. Where is your favourite place to read?
Either in bed or in an armchair with my feet all curled up beneath me.
39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?
Depends what’s happening around me. If I’m on my own, no, if I’m in a public place, it can be tricky if there’s a lot of movement around me.
40.Do you need a room to be silent while you read?
It’s definitely preferable. Or if not silent then just quiet, some non-invasive music playing is fine. I insistently try to read whilst my parents are watching TV but I find it really off-putting and my reading speed ends up slowing dramatically.
41. Who gave you your love for reading?
My mum always encouraged my reading habits. Then these habits were reaffirmed by fictional characters that I aspired to be and that loved reading too – i.e. Matilda from Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Hermione Granger from Harry Potter.
42. What book is next on your list to read?
Apart from continuing my #readasoiaf mission with A Feast for Crows, and reading Here I Stand: Stories That Speak For Freedom for review, I’d quite like to get to Smoke, Nevernight, A Girl of Ink and Stars, Cogheart, or A Torch Against the Night.
43. When did you start to read chapter books?
I’m not sure, I presume during primary school, not sure what age though. I was always a big reader and my mum encouraged it at home so probably quite young.
44. Who is your favourite children’s book author?
Probably Roald Dahl? Or Enid Blyton.
45. Which author would you most want to interview?
I gave this answer for my homework in Year Seven when I was 11/12 years old and it hasn’t changed – I would love to interview J.R.R Tolkien… that is, presuming we can count deceased authors? If not then, at the moment, probably V.E. Schwab or Samantha Shannon? I saw them both speak at YALC this year and what they had to say about fantasy was so intriguing that I’d want the chance to sit down one-on-one and learn more from them.
46. Which author do you think you’d be friends with?
I struggle with this question – I’m inclined to repeat V.E. Schwab but her organisation and sense of confidence (or at least that’s how she comes across) is super intimidating… though sometimes it helps for me to have someone like that in my life.
47.What book have you reread the most?
I’m a big re-reader so this is hard to pin down. I’ve probably read the Harry Potter series, Pride and Prejudice, and Rebecca countless times.
48. Which books do you consider “classics”?
For me, a classic is a book that has stood the test of time, that either says something about the society it depicts or reveals something about the society at the time of its writing, that invites discussion about the themes it depicts and the story it tells. Unfortunately, however, a lot of the “classics” were decided by white, elitist men sitting in universities, who ascribed value to books they deemed noteworthy and let others fall by the wayside. There has been a lot of recuperation of previously “forgotten” or “neglected” classics, especially by minority and/or female writers, and I think that is a very good thing. I think it’s funny though that, all in all, a classic is basically a book that has stood the test of time and continues to be read and appreciate hundreds of years after its original publication – that means that in centuries to come some contemporary novels could be deemed “classics”.
49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?
We need more diverse books. I’m fully aware that my own literary tastes were moulded by a curriculum that was only just starting to consider more minority voices. As a privileged white, able-bodied, heterosexual, cis-gendered female, I haven’t really had to search to “see myself” represented in the books I read, but the same can’t be said for other readers around the world – that’s damaging and that needs to change. I know this is a cop-out answer because I’m not providing titles but that’s half of the problem – I need to be better educated too!
50. Which books should be banned from all schools?
Banning a book is the sure-fire way to make kids want to read it, it just is. It’s proven a counter-intuitive way of thinking. But for the sake of an answer then I suppose any book that just incites religious intolerance or outright hate is probably not a good book for children to be reading.
Phew, that was the Fifty Bookish Questions Book Tag and that’s all folks!
If you would like to do this tag, please please do so and link me to it below as I’d love to read your responses to the tag.