Is there a book on your nightstand right now?
Er Ist Wieder Da* by Timur Vermes. This is a… comedy / satire / drama / sci fi???… imagining what would happen if Hitler found himself in Berlin in 2011, and became a TV star. I was given the German version as a gift (the English translation is called Look Who’s Back*) and have been making my way through it slowly, mainly because it’s quite tricky to find a good time to read it. I normally read when I have moments of free time when I’m out and about (e.g. in queues, on public transport, and waiting for clients at the airport, so you can see why that’s a bit awkward when trying to read a book with Hitler’s face on the front!) or in bed at night, when I’m sleepy and can’t muster the concentration to read in German. I’ve read 100 pages, about a quarter of the book, and so far it’s really funny, in a “I feel guilty for laughing but can’t help it” kind of way. Netflix did a film version though, which I watched when I was visiting friends in London recently, and although it was quite different to the novel, the ending was quite bleak and has slightly put me off reading further. I will though, it’s a very interesting concept.
What was the last truly great book you read?
I’ve read six books so far this year and did really enjoy a couple of them, but I think the last truly great one I read was probably The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas* by John Boyne.
If you could meet a writer, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you want to know?
Most of all I’d like to lock George R. R. Martin in a room and not let him out until he’s finished the A Song of Ice and Fire* series😉
Joe Abercrombie* though. I think I’d like him. He did a great “ask me anything” session on Reddit, and is of the same opinion as me that authors shouldn’t over-explain things, and should leave the reader to decide for themselves if something’s a little ambiguous. So I don’t think there would be much I’d want to quiz him on.
What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
I guess that depends on who you are… If you’d just met me, you might be surprised by some of the darker books, by the likes of Stephen King, Tom Rob Smith*, Stieg Larsson* etc – purely if you’re judging a book by its cover, because I’m small and blonde and baby-faced and cheery. If you didn’t know I’m a linguist you’d be surprised by the foreign language books. I’m personally not surprised by anything that’s there😛
How do you organise your personal library?
I started writing this post a few weeks ago after reading Mimmi’s, and just the sight of this question made me immediately stand up and organise my bookshelf by colour. I’d been thinking about doing so for ages, and now every time I see it I feel weirdly satisfied. I feel I should point out that the picture above is only a small section of our collection – it’s three of seven shelves of the bedroom bookcase, we have another in the living room, we still have lots at our parents’ houses, and we have even more e- and audiobooks!
Is there a book you have always meant to read but haven’t got around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed not to have read?
I’m on a vague and relaxed mission to read various classics, but there’s nothing I’m embarrassed not to have read. I feel like I probably should have read Emma* by now though, since it’s my name and all.
Disappointing, overrated, just not good; name a book you feel you were supposed to have liked but just didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
Les Miserables* by Victor Hugo is the last one I put down, because there’s just so much endless detail about the priest at the beginning. I pick it up from time to time and skim through a few more pages, and then wonder why I’m bothering when I know the story anyway.
What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you steer clear of?
A lot of my favourites are in the young adult, fantasy and/or adventure genres, and are usually trilogies or series – His Dark Materials*, The First Law*, A Song of Ice and Fire*, Noughts and Crosses*, The Hunger Games*, etc. From time to time I also like to pick up one of those house-with-a-mysterious-past novels e.g. Kate Morton’s, and I also (so far) like anything by Stephen King. I do occasionally read but tend to steer clear of crime novels, especially those in long series, because I find them quite formulaic, and the same goes for chick lit. I’m not a big fan of non-fiction or poetry, but as well as novels I do really like short stories – Fictions* by Jorge Luis Borges and Night Shift* by Stephen King are a good place to start.
If you could choose a book the President (/Prime Minister) had to read, which would it be?
If Obama, The Amber Spyglass*.
If Cameron, Les Mis.
What do you plan to read next?
Rebecca* by Daphne du Maurier is the next classic on my list, but oops I seem to have started the audiobook of Half a King* by Joe Abercrombie instead😉 My mum has also loaned me a few books I should get started on, and I want to re-read the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman as well – they’re probably my all time favourite books and I think enough time has passed that I’ve forgotten enough, so I can really enjoy immersing myself in them again.
As I mentioned above, I came across this tag when Mimmi took part on her blog Muted Mornings, but it started out as a Youtube tag inspired by questions in a New York Times book. I’m going to tag Jo of Drifting Pages, Jenny of Sunny Sweet Pea, Sarah Rooftops, Alice of Wooden Window Sills, and YOU if you’re reading and fancy joining in🙂