Akylina, one half of The Literary Sisters, recently posted The Inside Out Book Tag. I tend to focus more on blogathons, but this really captured my attention and so I thought I’d give it a go. I won’t be tagging anyone, but you’re more than welcome to create your own post if it appeals to you.
1. What do you think about the blurb/summary at the back of a book?
I like them. They give the basic premise/motivations of the book and usually influence whether I will buy it. I don’t usually read the end of the blurb as they can sometimes push you too much to read it and can give strong clues as to the nature of the ending. I’d also agree with this point by Akylina.
“It really frustrates me when I find a book at the bookshop which looks appealing and instead of a short summary at the back there are comments and praises for it – how is that of any help? As if anyone would include negative reviews on the actual book.”
2. In which format do you prefer a new book? Audiobook, e-book, paperback or hardback?
As a general rule I stay away from audiobooks. My headphones are either for music or podcasts, though having worked at a library I know how crucial they are to some people. I’m not a fan of e-books. I know how practical they are, and they obviously have many advantages, but they don’t appeal to me. Hardbacks are too heavy and take up too much space on my bookshelf. The hardbacks I have are for the books I just couldn’t wait for, or else weren’t available in paperback.
3. Do you keep notes while reading? Do you like annotating your books or do you prefer keeping them clean?
My literary pet hates are people who fold pages over or fail to use a bookmark and instead damage the spine. In terms of writing in a book, not since uni. If something stands out though, I’ll make a mental note of the page. Sometimes, like with a specific scene in The Fault in our Stars, I’ll re-read a section before continuing.
4. Which is one of your favourite sentences from a book?
This very famous line is something exceptional. A less famous one, but one I’m hugely fond of, is said by Basil in Henry James’ The Bostonians.
“Nothing is more possible than that I may be poor and unheard of all my days; and in that case no one but myself will know the visions of greatness I have stifled and buried.”
5. Does it matter to you whether the author of a book is a man or a woman? What happens when you’re not certain about their gender?
Not something I’d be fussed about. It’s a shame that JK Rowling and others thought it would be an issue for publishers. For all that, it would be interesting if EL James was male.
6. Do you rush ahead when reading? Have you ever read the end of a book before actually reaching the end?
No. Just no. In the case of a book that is poor, I’ll either take a break and come back to it or else leave it completely.
7. Are your bookshelves in order or do they look bombarded?
I have music and sports books on the left and fiction following on for several shelves. I do have too many of them each, and yet not enough. As much as I am a fan of books, I am a huge fan of films and TV boxsets so my shelves do have to be carefully organised.
8. Have you ever bought a book just because of its cover?
A few times. The Girl with Glass Feet, in particular, has the most gorgeous cover and I just had to get it. It’s really disappointing when a great book has a crass / lazy / misleading cover design. Usually the name of the book is what grabs me, though. When I write something creative (poetry excluded) I always know the title of the piece, and so it’s no surprise an intriguing title really catches my attention.
9. Do you read in public or do you prefer the quiet of home?
At home is perfect. If I know I’ll be on a train, I try to stay away from fiction as it’s far too easy to get so absorbed in the story that you miss your stop. Sports biographies, or else a book I’ve already read, are better suited.