Tuesday 14 October 2008

Booking Through Thursday... sort of

Yes, I know it's not Thursday, but I saw this on Becca's blog earlier in the week, and thought I'd wait until I couldn't think of anything else to say... It's been a while since I did a 'Booking Through Thursday', and they're always fun. Do feel extremely free to do this little quiz yourself on your own blog or in the comments here...

I’ve seen this series of questions floating around the ‘net the last few days, and thought it looked like a good one for us!

What was the last book you bought?

I bought two yesterday, which I'll write about more soon... They are The Feminine Middlebrow Novel by Nicola Humble, and Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner.

Name a book you have read MORE than once

Oo, lots. To make it more interesting, I'll go for a book I've read four times, as it might be the only one - The Provincial Lady Goes Further.

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?

The Bible, of course, but aside from that... none spring to mind. Quite a few have changed the way I choose books and the type of books I read, but haven't had fundamental effects beyond that.

How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews

I usually, now, only read books I already own, or have been chosen by book groups I'm in, or if I know about the author already, or it's linked in some way... Actually, thinking about it, most avenues of my reading started with AA Milne - after that, they've all somehow led from one to another and spread and spread. If I ever do a book on impulse, it will be because of the 'feel' of it - its age, cover, layout.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Definitely fiction, but have been reading more non-fiction of late. I had a real hankering for some non-fiction when I finished my degree, and sometimes it's just the right thing. Usually non-fiction associated with literature, though... Deceived with Kindness by Angelica Garnett springs to mind, which I STILL owe you a review of.

What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?

Has to be beautiful writing. Plot and character are great (The Time Traveler's Wife got by on these two, for the most part) but for a novel to be truly loved by me, it has to have beautiful writing. I've re-read a little bit of Woolf today, and realised once more just how she's head and shoulders above of everyone else I've read, for this quality.

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)

Miss Hargreaves (from Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker) always comes up here... but I do love her so. Eeyore is another. If I had to choose one to come to dinner it would be Jane Bingley.

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?

Let's have a look... The Penguin Complete Saki (for my recent thoughts on Saki, see this post), What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey, and The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee (more here).

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?

Orientalism by Edward Said, which I finished a couple of days ago. For class, I hasten to add... I hope to finish Alva & Irva by Edward Carey tomorrow - as book group is tomorrow evening!

Have you ever given up on a book half way in?

A few times at university I had to stop because the essay was due in... aside from that, very rarely. Somehow I never got around to finishing The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, so perhaps I should dig it out again...


  1. Not answering your post, but I will be very interested to see what you make of Lolly Willowes, by Sylvia T-W. Do let us know, please.


  2. I certainly pick up books with nice covers, such as ones with a cute labrador, like The Art of Racing in the Rain. I hate movie tie-in covers. *sigh*

    Handmaid’s Tale was creepy, but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Maragret Atwood writes with such poised sense of time and a very crisp style. I am looking forward to reading your opinion on the book.

    This question pretty much sums up many of the past ones.

    I mostly read fiction, although once in a while a non-fiction, like history or a biography will interest me.

    My favorite genres are historical fiction, foreign literature, and classics.

    My complete answer.

    Btw love your bookshelf! :)

  3. Love the quiz and qm off to do it now!

  4. Last Book Bought: "After Dark" by Haruki Murakami.

    Books read more than once: Dozens, but the most re-read author is Colette.

    Fundamental change to life: excluding technical books, suh as the "Feynman Lectures on Physics", probably "The Second Sex" by Simone de Beauvoir.

    Chose a Book: Quite often random pick from a library shelf these days. Reviews I read a great deal and when I occasionaly buy a book it is likely to be as a result of a review.

    Fiction/Non-Fiction: not sure how to answer this! I read probably 10 times as much non-fiction, but I don't have a preference as such.
    Important aspect of a novel: It has got to make me think deeply about something, and if it does that I'll forgive the quality of the writing.

    Most Loved Character: Probably Jennie in the book by Gallico. My dinner guest would be Kinky Friedman (in his fictionalized form) if that isn't cheating!

    Nightstand - what is a nightstand? Anyway by where I sleep is Martin Gardner's "The Last Recreations" a work of non-fiction.

    Last Book Read: Kipling Short Stories which I finished on 10 October.

    Have you ever given up: many many times, although I did manage finally to complete Dr Faustus by T Mann.

    Dark Puss

  5. I will certainly be doing this quiz on my blog.

    Also, Simon, I wouldn't bother with the rest of The Mayor of Casterbridge, IMHO. My least favourite Hardy book. Read The Woodlanders or Jude or Tess instead (if you haven't already!).

  6. I think you need to do a velcro/sticky burr diagram starting with something by AA Milne in the middle and then then everything else hooking itsel from there outwards.

  7. If that's your bookshelf, I think it's very nifty looking.


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