Q&A October 2018: What you readin’? Part 4 (End)

It’s the fourth and final part of the Q&A posts! These fifty-five questions were found on this blog postwhich was actually found via a second blog post! So let’s answer finish the list!


37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?

Plenty of times. I tend to hoard them until I’ve gotten round to them. If I like them enough, I’ll renew them plenty so I can make sure I have time to finish them, but if I can’t get into something, or I’ve held onto something for too long, then back it goes!

38. Favourite fictional character?

This is hard… From A Song of Ice and Fire, I always liked Sandor Clegane – his story, and interactions with Sansa Stark, were particularly interesting. I am really enjoying the characters in the Lord Oswald de Lacy series, including the titular protagonist, but also his mother and his sister, Clemence. They have a wonderful humour to their dialogue and are surprisingly complex. I also really enjoyed Marjorie Bowen’s depiction of William III in I Will Maintain – I enjoyed the combination of brattiness and nobility. It’s hard to pick particular characters though. I feel, for me, and my terrible memory, I tend to have favourite universes and experiences…? It’s no surprise I chose characters from books I just read, haha!

39. Favourite fictional villain?

Another tricky one. Some of the characters in The Secret History are almost villainous, aren’t they? So maybe I’ll cheat and say that whole clique. Also, though villain isn’t quite the right descriptor, the headmistress of Picnic at Hanging Rock, Mrs Appleyard, is a complex woman with a potentially malevolent streak – depending on how you read certain scenes in that novel. Bit unfair to call her a ‘villain’ as her antagonistic characteristics are pretty…hard to define…

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?

My Kindle. Then I have every book I need to read! If I’m not cheating, probably some good history nonfiction at the moment. Or, maybe a book of short stories – I’ve ended up with quite a few anthologies recently… I usually pack one or two travel guides as well. I’m off to Scotland this month so I’ll have to pick a book soon, anyway!

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.

At university, I spent years reading only for my course and little else for fun – I was actually averaging about four novels a week for my course for four years, so pity me there. I’ve always been a ‘bookworm’ so sometimes it might only be a couple of weeks or so without a book, but I can’t recall a time when I’m not reading lately… I do go through periods where I read more comic books and graphic novels, but I still count that as reading, of course. Novels and nonfiction, for the last few years, I’ve been pretty obsessively reading – now my studies are finished, why not?

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.

I keep stopping and starting the Gormenghast Trilogy. I keep getting it from the library, meaning to read it, and getting distracted. No clue why. I couldn’t finish a book about a famous Victorian female serial killer either – I mentioned it previously – it was just too much like reading footnotes, and less of a concise or clear narrative. I also tried to start Ulysses after my studies, to read in earnest: cannot seem to get myself into it. I have also always struggled to finish Lord of the Rings! Now, hear me out! I like the series, I think Tolkein’s world is gorgeous, and as a kid I re-read The Hobbit so many times over – but I cannot keep with the Lord of the Rings series. I don’t know why. I have tried lots of times over for many years, though my last attempt was, admittedly, about five years ago, but it’s another one I get distracted from… Which I’m kinda angry about! I have also quit a couple of books from the library when they just couldn’t catch my attention. If another book is more interesting, it’s not much of a competition…

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

People trying to talk to me. I can’t really chat and read – who can? I also have a habit of falling asleep when I’m too comfortable, even when I’m really into a book…

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel?

The recent adaptation of The Ritual was great! I enjoyed the book too, it’s a wonderfully creepy read, but the final act disappointed me. It just went in a direction I didn’t enjoy as much. The movie, however, actually went the way I thought the book was going? Which is the first time I’ve experienced that! So, there you go. Both are great, though. I can’t fault either, really. Oh! And A Scanner Darkly. The use of rotoscope animation there gives it this great trippy look and feel and depicts the subtler science fiction (and the more far-out moments) in such a creative way. Also it has a great cast! Annnnnd obligatory mention of A Clockwork Orange, of course…

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45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

The newest version of Carrie. Did not enjoy.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?

About fifty quid? Maybe? That’s usually my cut-off when I’m spending hard. Some minor self-control. 😐

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Look at cover, then blurb. An old friend of mine, years ago, told me you should skip to page 69 (snort), and if the language and text sounds interesting from a quick scan: you should try it. Seems to work. Not sure if the page number is relevant, but it does get you beyond the introductory pages which aren’t always the most accurate reflection of the rest of the book…and it’s a memorable, if funny, technique! Works for me!

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?

Sheer boredom. Usually.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

I wish I could. Once upon a time, I had order to my books. My graphic novels are very ordered, all in place together in one huge shelving unit I have. My novels? They’re…crammed into one too-small cupboard mostly. When I was younger, I had them all so carefully organised, because I had room. When I lived away from my home, I was back to neat and orderly too. Back home, alas, it’s the maelstrom in the cupboard. Oh well. I know where everything is. It’s the thought that counts.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?

I hoard books. I can’t help it. I’m like a dragon sat on top of a gleaming pile of coins. That said, I have recently been selling books I really don’t care for, or were forced to buy for a uni course. Books I like, I just kind of keep… I wish I could say I gift them, but I just keep them. I’m greedy.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

Finishing House of Leaves, despite loving it. It’s just finding time. I have to analyse that one as I go otherwise I feel I’m not really focusing on it properly. That’s just me, though. War and Peace I cannot wait to start, but it’s been waiting on me since early spring. I keep getting distracted… Because both these books are bigger too, it’s the time and effort of focusing on them. I have a lot of shorter reads in the meantime. Oh, and I’ve not read American Psycho. Love the film – add that to the good adaptations above – but man, oh, man, I don’t think I’m mentally ready to read the book yet.

52. Name a book that made you angry.

That one true crime book on the Victorian lady serial killer. YES, AGAIN. So goddamn boring. Amateurish writing – which isn’t what you want on a book about a very specifically infamous case in English criminal history – and it read like you were perusing the notes of someone’s research. Nothing to it. So bland. I don’t wanna name it because I don’t want to be that harsh on someone’s obviously well-researched book (independently published too), but by god, it was dull. I quit after thirty pages. It wasn’t even that long a book. Also, remember The Secret, that self-help book everyone bought that one time? Well, it had a sequel/spinoff (orange cover, look it up) which sounded wonderful to me when I wasn’t so well a couple of years ago: turned out the secret to being mentally fit and successful in life is to just think happy thoughts and amazing stuff just happens. Which seemed like a lot of baloney to me. And I love theoretical, inexplicable, even occult thought. But this? It had no psychological basis and seemed to just use vague self-help thoughts and mask them as a cure-all. No real answers. Not based in anything in particular. Did not like. Would not recommend. Certainly not if you’re really struggling. Came off as just sort of…patronising? There are far better self-help books out there. If it helped you, awesome! But it really rubbed me the wrong way… As for others that made me angry? Well, I tend to read books I’m interested in, or on subjects I like too, so I’ve yet to be angry at a book… Maybe my comfort zone is too wide, I don’t know. If a book’s subject pisses me off, I’m just not going to read it, anyway!

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?

I picked up Naked Lunch as a teen in a bookstore, flipped through it, and then put it back onto the shelf feeling genuinely disturbed. Fast-forward a few years later at university, and I had to read and analyse it for a course. I enjoyed it in the end! I think I’ve appreciated it more as time has gone on. University forced me out of my comfort zone in a good way, literature-wise.

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54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?

by Thomas Pynchon. I might have mentioned it before. I also didn’t enjoy Gone Girl as much as I thought I might – I know I’ve definitely mentioned that before on here. The Red and the Black too, actually. I took a long time reading it a couple of years ago. Sections I liked, but as a whole I just didn’t enjoy so much.

55. Favourite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

Graphic novels. Of all kinds. I won’t list too many, but there’s a lot of them I love and I adore comics; again, of all kinds. Also any book on astrology. Like I mentioned above, I like reading about unusual things, occult or no. Astrology is a specific subject of interest for me and has been for years, so any book on it is always a win. And any book on ufos, or aliens in general. I’m a sucker for those. And ghosts too. I will also buy any and all books on cryptids and mystical beasts, or folklore. I can’t help it! Supernatural books, man.


And that’s it for this round of Q&A. Expect me to find another list sometime in the new year but, for now, that’s all of the questions answered! Wow!

See you soon!

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