Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A-Z Of Books

I saw this blog challenge thingy on the site of the excellent horror author Thana Niveau who picked some great books. So I thought sod it, I'll give it a go too. Because it's basically just another excuse to talk about books... not that I really need excuses.

AUTHOR YOU’VE READ THE MOST BOOKS BY: A score-draw threeway between Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King and Terry Pratchett.

BEST SEQUEL EVER: The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe by Douglas Adams.

CURRENTLY READING: A Cold Season by Alison Littlewood - as you might expect, so far this is bloody brilliant. Oh and I'm also rereading The King In Yellow.

DRINK OF CHOICE WHILE READING: Currently a glass of Marston's Pedigree. 

E-READER OR PHYSICAL BOOK: I read both; in fact I'm normally reading a book on each at any given time.

FICTIONAL CHARACTER YOU WOULD HAVE DATED IN HIGH SCHOOL: Knowing my luck, Carrie White.

GLAD YOU GAVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE: Emma by Jane Austin. I guess my view of what Austin was like was coloured by half-watched TV adaptations. But she's so much more cynical and astute than her reputation for period romance might suggest.

HIDDEN GEM BOOK: Ice Age by Iain Rowan. A stunning collection of weird-creepy-shit stories.

IMPORTANT MOMENT IN YOUR READING LIFE: I've mentioned this before on here, but when my Dad handed me a copy of Salem's Lot from his bookshelves.
JUST FINISHED: The Wanderer by Timothy J. Jarvis, which was fantastic, and the The Best Horror Of The Year 6 edited by Ellen Datlow.

KIND OF BOOKS YOU WON’T READ: Anything where it's so obviously been written aiming for a film adaptation. Plus anything where the blurb is some kind of mashup such as "Like Harry Potter in Space!" or something equally repellent & cynical.

LONGEST BOOK YOU’VE READ: Not sure really. Vanity Fair? Anna Karenina? Crime & Punishment? Spot Bakes A Cake? 

MAJOR BOOK HANGOVER: The Road by Cormac McCarthy. An absolutely stunning achievement. But Christ, it makes most end of the world novels seem like Enid Blyton.

NUMBER OF BOOKCASES YOU OWN: Eight.

ONE BOOK YOU’VE READ MULTIPLE TIMES: The Waste-Land & Other Poems by T.S. Eliot. The language is so breathtakingly poweful and precise, sometimes I just reread the same lines.

PREFERRED PLACE TO READ: Somewhere with a view of the sea.

QUOTE THAT INSPIRES YOU FROM A BOOK YOU’VE READ: I'm not going to pick anything trite and inspirational, I'm just going to pick what I consider to be one of the most perfect openings to a novel ever written. It's inspirational because it's what I'm aiming for, and constantly falling short of:

“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all, I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in our family is dead.”
We Have Always Lived In The Castle, Shirley Jackson

READING REGRET: That I'll die before I read everything I want to, even if people stopped writing now. And yet, non-reading people get to live on average the same length of time. There's no justice; their years should be mine.

SERIES YOU STARTED AND NEED TO FINISH: The Culture novels by Iain M. Banks.

THREE OF YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS: Three? Three? Jesus, it was bad enough picking five for a recent interview. So here's three that I didn't include there:

  1. The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
  2. House Of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  3. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

UNAPOLOGETIC FANGIRL/BOY FOR: Ramsey Campbell. He's the guvnor.

VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS RELEASE: Too many to mention, obviously, but I'm very much looking forward to The Grieving Stones by Gary McMahon.

WORST BOOKISH HABIT: When I'm reading and someone comes to talk to me and I look like I'm listening to what they're saying, but really I'm still thinking about the book...

X MARKS THE SPOT: START ON THE TOP LEFT OF YOUR SHELF AND PICK THE 27TH BOOK: The Woman In The Dunes by Kōbō Abe.

YOUR LATEST PURCHASE: Bodies Of Water by V.H. Leslie and Oh! The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss, for my daughter because it was one of the readings at her Naming Day.

ZZZZ-SNATCHER BOOK (LAST BOOK THAT KEPT YOU UP WAY TOO LATE): Phonogram 3: The Immaterial Girl. I love these graphic novels, in which music really is magic. There's some fantastic use of pop-cultutral imagery and references in this third volume, especially when the protagonist becomes trapped in a murderous version of the video for Take On Me. And the Appendix, explaining all of the musical references is a delight, so I stayed up late reading it and looking up various music videos on the internet.

No comments: