I spotted this as one of those “put a letter in my inbox and I will answer the associated question”-thingies on tumblr – I never do those because why – but hey, let’s fill it out in its entirety. It’s relevant! (And I think it originally comes from Perpetual Pageturner.)
A TO Z BOOKISH SURVEY
A. Author You’ve Read The Most Books From
That’s a tough one, actually. I first thought of Ann M. Martin or those other authors of endless series I read when I was tinier, but, actually, obviously: Terry Pratchett! I’ve read nearly all his books, which is like… 50? Somehting like that. (I haven’t read some of the early ones like Strata and Dark side of the sun or whatever, but, um, from what I’ve heard, there’s no real need to.)
B. Best Sequel Ever
Huh. Um. There are many very good candidates, and I have now wasted a lot of brainpower trying to answer what I realise is an entirely different question, because this isn’t about sequels being BETTER than their predecessors, after all. Just a really good sequel. I’ll name two: Orson Scott Card’s Speaker of the dead, which – to me – certainly shines as bright as Ender’s game. And then Peter Watts’ Echopraxia, which did not disappoint me after Blindsight, which was crazy, because I thought nothing would ever be as great as Blindsight.
C. Currently Reading
I’m in a brainfog currently – it’s an autoimmune illness kind of condition, blah blah – and… I will insist on reading things, but my brain can’t focus for long on the same thing, which causes a monstrous currently-reading pile. On my audible player, I have David Duchovny’s Holy cow and Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon. (I like them both, but they both suffer from narrators that grate a bit on my overly sensitive ears.) On Scribd, I’m reading John Crowley’s Little, Big (about which I will have a lot to say, later) and Lou W. Stanek’s Story starters (I read these writing instructionables/guides/non-fic as a kind of guilty pleasure – hoping it’ll make me actually write things). Aand on my kindle I’m reading Reif Larsen’s I am Radar, which has taken me far too much time, and Ramez Naam’s Crux, AND Frances Hardinge’s A face like glass.
And when I’m in my right mind, I keep my currently-reading down to 3 or less. Sigh.
D. Drink of Choice While Reading
I like tea and coffee both. Well, not mixed. A good black coffee or creamy cappuccino in the morning, strong lapsang souchong or minty greens or other strange caffeinated things through the day, sweet rooibos in the evening.
E. E-Reader or Physical Books
Well, both, but I’m definitely happier when I get a digital copy of a book, because physical books are unwieldy, often heavy, and rarely self-lit. Sure, they can be beautiful, or carry nostalgic value, but they’re not what I actually prefer to read. And a digital book can be acquired instantly by the power of one-click purchasing, to my joy and horror.
F. Fictional Character You Would Have Dated In High School
Ha! Ahah. When I was… 12 I started writing fanfiction without knowing what fanfiction even was. It was just that I couldn’t let go of Susan E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, and especially Dallas Winston. It was all terribly awkward, but actually kinda nice to think back on those long nights with keyboard-tapping and 90s rock ballads on insufficient speakers.
I’m sure I’ve come across better date candidates in things I’ve read since then, but Dally is just burnt into my brain. (And it would have been a ridiculously awful match, too. Blame hormones and the 90s.)
G. Glad You Gave This Book A Chance
I don’t think I would have discovered Mira Grant / Seanan McGuire if Feed didn’t get nominated for award things in a year I had decided to read all the nominated novels. I had dismissed it by looking at the cover, because I didn’t feel like I needed more zombies in my life. BOY, was I wrong. I always need Mira Grant zombies, or parasites, or mermaids, or anything else she wants to write. The Newsflesh books are spectacular, and there’s a new book set in the same universe coming out later this year! (Also, this probably made me realise I love zombie stories, as long as they do it right and are about people more than they’re about pure gore.)
H. Hidden Gem Book
Also kind of difficult to answer off the top of my head. A lot of people have thanked me for telling them about Alden Bell’s The reapers are the angels, which always surprises me, because I thought it had quite a lot of buzz when it first showed up. (It’s another zombie book! But with a very quiet, kinda poignant spin on things. I’ve heard there’s a sequel out there that does not quite compare.)
I. Important Moments of Your Reading Life
I learned to read early, like, very early. When I had to commit a small school-crime to get The neverending story out of the library, that was a pretty overwhelming experience. I was a chubby booksy kid reading about Bastian Balthazar Bux and we went to Fantasia and…. you understand.
When I moved out and into an incredibly tiny rental room in, uh, the city, at age 16, the first things I read in there were Tolstoy’s War and peace and… and…. Harry Potter books. Both of those are pretty intense memories. When spring came around, I went into parks to look at blossoming cherry trees and read a whole bunch of Milan Kundera.
J. Just Finished
Harrison squared by Daryl Gregory, it was fantastic. Jason Segel’s Nightmares! was exactly as sweet as I had imagined it would be.
K. Kinds of Books You Won’t Read
I’ve really had enough of “man has problematic thoughts and there is no plot”. I feel like that description applies to… a lot of what is considered worthwhile “respectable” fiction. I’m also terribly bored by crime/thriller-stuff. Then the enormous world of romance and erotica. It’s… not my thing. I enjoy crime and romance as mix-ins with fantasy and science fiction and so on, but it just… it can’t be the only thing going on, that will bore me. And sex scenes make me embarrassed for both myself and the characters involved. (Sounds prudeish? Maybe? I’d just rather know about the space ship or whatever!)
L. Longest Book You’ve Read
Proooobably something Neal Stephenson, right? Or, well, as I said, I read a lot of old Russian things before. I have no idea which one is technically the longest.
M. Major Book Hangover Because Of
Each of the Malazan books I’ve read, which is also why I haven’t gotten further than 3 books in the series. I love them and would like to just eat them all up, but I… my brain!
N. Number of Bookcases You Own
Uh, there’s 5 full BILLY-cases behind my back, with books piled up in double and triple depths and it’s all a terrible mess. And most of my books are left in my old room in my parents’ house. Physical books, I mean.
O. One Book That You Have Read Multiple Times
I like to go back to my first loves, so the most repeated re-reads are very probably Roald Dahl’s Matilda and The witches, and Astrid Lindgren stuff. They make me aware of how I shaped my brain and thought patterns from them (and the other books I loved in my puttybrain-years).
P. Preferred Place to Read
I read in bed, on various public transports (not buses), by café tables. In a somewhat inadequate lounge chair, in which I usually sit sideways with my legs over an armrest, because my spine doesn’t approve of normal “comfort” positions.
Q. Quote From A Book That Inspires You/Gives You Feels
I’m going to pick a tidbit from Kahneman’s Thinking, fast and slow, which is non-fiction, but gives me a LOT of feels. This might seem snobby or morose or both, but nothing makes me more terrified or thrilled than thinking about all the crazy stuff our brains do to make sense of everything, and we don’t even get to approve or edit the process.
Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: Our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.
R. Reading Regret
Ha. I was a genre-hater for years! My timeline is like… age 2-12: Weird fantasy stories are the AWESOMEST! Age 12: Ah, what’s this. It’s a (translated copy of the first part of) “fantasy” book, it says so on the cover. Written by Robert Jordan. Looks like all the things I love, gosh. — You may argue that 12 is simply too young for Wheel of time, but that’s not the point. The point was… unhelpful translation, and a failure to realise it was not fantasy I found awful, just the… the WoT-flavour of it. (Sorry, WoT-fans, I might have felt different in a different time and place.) After this, I just… boycotted everything “silly” and concentrated on classics. I’m sure it was educational or whatever. I did find my way into magical realism as represented by Marquez and Saramago and so on, which I loved. Finally people started giving me books like His dark materials and Ender’s game and I understood how utterly wrong I had been about icky genre. (I was a terrible huffy lit-snob! I was also a teenager with bad make-up.)
S. Series You Started and Need to Finish
Malazan, Malazan, Malazan, Malazan…!
T. Three Of Your All-Time Favorite Books
Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, Peter Watts’ Blindsight, uh… Stevenson’s Treasure island!
U. Unapologetic Fangirl For
Is this supposed to be something one might expect me to be apologetic for? I have no idea how to answer this. I love Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga, which a lot of people seem to assume is kinda trash because they think Baen only does that, but, ho, no.
W. Worst Bookish Habit
One of the reasons I love e-books is that, with paper books, I’m a terror. I break spines and put them face-down to hold pages and carry them loosely in my bag and let the pages get ragged edges. I don’t really care, but it means I neeever borrow books, and am pretty sick of having people comment on the “dreadful” cracked spines if/when they come into my home.
V. Very Excited For This Release More Than Any Other
(and a bunch of others, but SEVENEVES!)
X. Marks The Spot (Start On Your Bookshelf And Count to the 27th Book)
This is a near impossible task. Let’s look at the 27th book on my Goodreads ‘all’ list instead, counting from the earliest ‘date added’. It’s William Goldman’s The princess bride. I read this as an adult who had never seen the movie, then I saw the movie, and both experiences left me unimpressed. Add it to the reading regrets: I regret that the Princess Bride was not a part of my growing up.
Y. Your Latest Book Purchase
I bought Ishiguro’s The buried giant last night.
Z. ZZZ-Snatcher (last book that kept you up WAY late)
Ramez Naam’s Nexus, probably!