Monday, 18 May 2015

On Books And Reading

Ah, how I love a good reading tag! I found this one on Viva Tramp months and months ago, and am only just now getting round to finishing it. Rather than tag anyone specific, feel free to use the questions yourself - I'd love to read everyone's answers.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading? 
I have places plural rather than one single reading spot: the huge, squishy armchair in our bedroom; on the sofa in the book-lined front room (this one's strictly for the summer: that room is bloody freezing!); on the sofa next to the woodburning stove in the living room; propped up in bed with mounds of pillows and snuggled under the duvet.

Where do you like to read?
I really, really love reading in the pub, either alone or with a companion. One of my greatest pleasures in life is a quiet pub with a pint of Aspalls cider, a packet of Piper's cheese crisps and a good novel in front of me.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Random piece of paper usually (or - I know, I'm sorry - turning the page down), although I'm trying to be better at using proper bookmarks.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter?

It depends on the book but generally I like to stop at the end of a chapter, otherwise it's just weird. I make an exception for crime novels, which usually have a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter meaning it's all too easy to think, "Just one more chapter..." and then wake up at 5am with the lights still on and a book stuck to my cheek.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

See above! The only thing better than a good book is a good book accompanied with something to sip and something to nibble.

E-reader or real book?
My preference will always be for a physical book, however my Kindle is pretty much essential kit for travelling now. I also find that some of the bargain downloads are too good to resist, so I do occasionally use it at home too.

Music or TV while reading?

Music, yes (but quietly, and it needs to be something I know very well so as not to get distracted). TV, not a chance.

One book at a time or several at once?

Usually just one at a time, although if I'm reading non-fiction I'll often have a novel on the go at the same time, for the evenings when a heavy literary biography or a feminist theorist just seem like too much to digest.

Reading at home or everywhere?
Anywhere and everywhere. Pubs, my desk at work, buses, planes, trains and automobiles.

Reading aloud or silently in your head?

I don't even like reading aloud at school, and it's pretty much part of the job description for an English teacher, so I'm not going to do it at home too.

Fiction or non-fiction?
I absolutely love good non-fiction, but it requires a level of concentration that the trashy crime novels I devour in term-time do not. I reckon I read about 10 fiction books for every non-fiction (and my TBR pile of non-fiction bears this out: it's about 5 times the size of the fiction pile), which is not a ratio I'm happy about.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?
Very rarely do I read ahead, and only if I'm reading a particularly tense or scary bit, or a book with characters I care deeply about. I don't really do tension - in real life but especially not in books or TV & film - so if I'm feeling anxious about an outcome, I'll sometimes sneak a peek.

Break the spine or keep it like new?

Absolutely I break the spine. A book's to be read, not kept pristine like a museum exhibit.

Do you write in your books?
Not since I was a very intense and serious teenager scribbling notes in the margins of - what else? - The Catcher In The Rye.

Favourite book?
Completely impossible to narrow down! Err, a few off the top of my head... Generation X, I Capture The Castle, The Secret History, Wolf Hall, Persuasion, All Points North, The Song Of Achilles, The Handmaid's Tale, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Prep, Longbourn, anything by feminist author Laurie Penny. The answer to this is constantly in flux, with new books being added (and, occasionally, a re-read of an old favourite showing how my tastes have changed).