Monday, 31 May 2010


I'm so pleased with the responses you've given so far for the picture challenge - do keep them coming in.

I'm feeling too heavy-in-the-mind for a book review today (trying to make Big Decisions, and failing to get anywhere with them) but I thought I'd have a go at a meme I saw over on Harriet Devine's blog - do have a go yourself if you'd like.

What is your favourite drink while reading?

A nice cup of tea. Earl Grey tea if it's the evening.

Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

It does rather horrify me... I make tiny pencil marks on the back of the title page, to denote pages I want to cite in a review. Biros aren't allowed anywhere NEAR my books. Although, ironically, I do quite like it when other people have written in books before I buy them.

How do you keep your place? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book open flat?

I use a selection of art postcards as bookmarks, trying to match up the painting to the feel of the book... or the colour of the book, if I'm feeling superficial.

Fiction, non-fiction or both?

Usually fiction, but my favourite reads of the last few years have all been non-fiction... but I still read about 80% fiction, I'd estimate.

Do you tend to read to the end of a chapter or can you stop anywhere?

I stop anywhere, sometimes mid-sentence if I'm suddenly sleepy!

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?

Only metaphorically... I don't remember actually ever doing it.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

Sometimes, especially if I've seen a word I don't recognise a few times in the same week. And almost invariably I immediately forget what the word means. I think my brain has reached saturation point...

What are you currently reading?

Let's see... The Sandcastle by Iris Murdoch, More Talk of Jane Austen by G.B. Stern and Sheila Kaye-Smith, The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan... actually, I think that's it. Very unusual - I'm usually reading at least six or seven.

What is the last book you bought?

That would be An Experiment with Time by J.W. Dunne.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?

Any place, any time! Not that much in bed anymore, but quite often on my bed. Actually most of my reading probably takes place on public transport.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?

Stand-alones, definitely. I do get a bit snobby over series... though I don't really know why.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?

Hahaha, more or less anybody who has ever met, seen, or heard of me will have had Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker recommended to them at some point.

How do you organise your books (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)?

In Somerset, they're arranged by author; in Oxford... well, they're grouped vaguely by things I think are similar in mood. It wouldn't make sense to anyone else, but it works for me... but I have to keep the ones in Somerset in some sort of rational order, because I expect Mum and Dad to be able to find things I want them to post to me!

Barbara's additional question: background noise or silence?

Hmm... I like music playing in the background when I read, but not chatter or television. Somewhere between the two.


  1. It's really interesting that you match the bookmark to the book. I've never thought to do that, I generally just go off the size of the bookmark and the size of book or if it's hardcover or paperback.

  2. I love your Blog, really!! Also, I love Earl Grey tea, it's thee best tea ever, especially with a good book!!
    ~Whenever you have a minute check out Quick Reads Blog:
    Bets wshes and keep on posting!!

  3. That was really interesting!! I love that you don't like to write in your books but like second hand books with writing in them... I'm exactly the same!! And Earl Grey tea, amazing, you should try Lady Grey!!

  4. Fabulous interview -- it's always so interesting to find out other people's book idiosyncrasies. I was nodding my head to almost all of them!

    And I just looked at that photo you took on the day of your pub quiz... you're right, it's eerily alike. I love that we were drawn to capture almost exactly the same vista from 6,000 miles apart! xx

  5. Simon~~

    Have just been introduced to Your blog by Diana Birchall and am reading and absorbing rivetingly~~~
    Earl Grey and English Breakfast Are my favorite caffeine teas~~right now I am off caffeine so only drink the decafs and a strong herbal Peppermint tea~~have been a vegetarian almost Half of my life~~
    I certainly welcomed Your *freindly* reminder on Janeites a week or so ago~~
    Your Book review list is wonderful~~~
    Most likely will now take primary place in organizing any more future reads for the moment~~and perhaps possibly for all of the reading I will ever wish to do for the rest of my life being now 59~~
    Mansfield Park is my Favorite of the Jane Austen Novels~so will welcome Your review when the spirit and allotted space moves aside for You to read it~~~
    I've actually read the very charming "More Talk of Jane Austen" by G.B. Stern and Sheila Kaye-Smith, as well as their first one(it came with a vintage May 28, 1944 N.Y. Herald Tribune weekly book review article about it)~~~
    Am reading Persuasion write now~along with Muriel Barbery's books~Claire Tomalin's JA Bio and Catherine Delors book~~as well as a couple metaphysical books~~~~
    I did not ever allow myself to even commence reading Jane Austen or to even read or post on blogs as I am now able to do until those ever-beloved *obligations* were somewhat completed and that blessed-time-to-read and post was finally made available to me~~~

    The Miss Hargreaves stories I will definitely get into this summer~~~

    Christy Somer

  6. My Austen radar is buzzing - I haven't heard of More Talk of Jane Austen - please post a review, Simon.

  7. I have enjoyed reading about youyouyouyou, ha ha. I like hearing about other peoples reading habits as it makes me feel a little less weird about mine.

    I adore your posts for their writing and I cant wait for the next!

  8. Ash - it does add that extra little bit to the reading experience! Either that, or I'm ill...(!)

    parisian love1 - thanks very much! I do love Earl Grey, it feels very genteel... (Your blog link didn't work, by the way?)

    Elise - So pleased I'm not the only one! Haha, I feel less mad now...

    Lisa - I know! And so many people would think reading is simple and the same for everyone...

    Christy - thanks so much for popping by! I'm loving the Jane Austen book, and enjoyed the Tomalin biography when I read it about 7 years ago. I haven't reviewed a JA novel for ages (possibly ever?!) so must do soon... and it's time to re-read Mansfield Park anyway.

    Vintage Reader - will do! Reading it slowly... if you click on the Project 24 image, it's on that page somewhere, but only a brief description.

    I'm a girl - thank you, thank you!


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