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btt2Last Saturday – May 2nd – was Free Comic Book Day, so some questions around that topic:

  • Do you read graphic novels/comics? I certainly do, love them to bits. I tend to read graphic novels simply because I am never organised enough to (a) find out about something in the comic world coming up before issue 1, and (b) even if I did manage that I don’t have the necessary geeky discipline to make sure I get every issue.
  • And on that note, the only difference in my mind between comics and graphic novels is format. But that may be a bit simplistic.
  • And for the friend who has never tried graphic novels? Well that’s a difficult one because it depends on whether they are into fantasy or not, because most of my stuff is in that genre. I started with The Dark Knight Returns and that’s what I’d give them, or anything Sandman, or what I’ve just lent to my friend The Silvery Dude, 1602. There’s Maus, of course. And Watchmen. Where to stop?
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btt2So this week’s question is “How do you arrange your books on your shelves? Is it by author, by genre, or do you just put it where it falls on?”

Well when we first moved into this house over 10 years ago I started off with really good intentions, and shelved my books by genre, and within genres alphabetically by author. As I say, we’ve now been here a while and things have changed in a big way, so now I just put new books where I can find a suitable space.

We installed new bookcases last year (I talked about it here); suffice to say, the shelves don’t look like that anymore…..

btt2This week’s Booking Through Thursday is about songs, because they have words too.

The question is: What songs, either specific songs or songs in general by a specific group or writer have words that you love? Why? And do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?
This is a hard one as I listen to a lot of music and have quite a few favourite songs (about 140 that I would classify as favourites on my iPod) but the two stuck most in my head at the moment are:

“Upside Down” by Barenaked Ladies

“Fearless” by Pink Floyd

About thirty years apart but both little gems of perfection. And I have been known to sing along with each of them very loudly (and mostly out of tune).

btt2

“So … any Reading Resolutions? Say, specific books you plan to read? A plan to read more ____? Anything at all?

Name me at least ONE thing you’re looking forward to reading this year!”

I tend to shy away from resolutions as I am normally so poor at keeping them, but I have been thinking a lot about my reading recently, having hit a bit of a lull. So plans for this year:

  • Complete the challenges I’ve signed up for while being honest about the ones I’m not going to make and stepping back from those without feeling guilty (not sure that makes sense…)
  • Read more of my collection of sixteenth century history books (I love this period so much and have a huge backlog)
  • If I do nothing else I must read Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates.

Happy New Year!

This week’s question is:

I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.

Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?

Peer Pressure « Booking Through Thursday.

Well….. I’m often tempted as I don’t like to feel I’m missing something, but this usually manifests itself by buying the book in question, putting it away somewhere and not reading it until ages after everyone else. The only time I gave in was with The Da Vinci Code and I so wish I hadn’t.

Despite my love of all things vampire I haven’t tried any of the Twilight books yet…….

This week’s topic is:

Are there any particular worlds in books where you’d like to live?

Or where you certainly would NOT want to live?

What about authors? If you were a character, who would you trust to write your life?

Well……..

I’ve always been very attracted to The Culture, the society in which a number of Iain M Banks’ sci-fi books are set, especially if I could have my own drone, and travel around on a Mind called Comfortable With Ambiguity (named after the strapline of this blog) (btw if you’ve never read any of his books the Minds control starships amongst other things and have absolutely fantastic names, like No More Mr Nice Guy….)

No dystopias, no post-apocalyptic worlds where things are really harsh and difficult, nor a world invented by Stephen King, nor (again much as it fascinates me) the sixteenth century (unless I can be Queen while retaining my head)

Ooh, difficult, Terry Pratchett? Neil Gaiman? Joyce Carol Oates? Charles De Lint? Can’t decide.

What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?

I get most of my books online or in branches of one of the big chains, largely because they are both convenient and because I don’t really have a local independent bookseller where I live. So if either of my usual suppliers went out of business I guess I would just look elsewhere. What I should actually be thinking in this situation is whether it’s a sign that I should stop buying and start trying to reduce my tbr pile……..

 

It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S., so let’s keep today’s question simple–What are you reading? Anything special? Any particularly juicy summer reading?

It’s holiday weekend in the US indeed but here in the UK we have to wait until August for our next public holiday. So I’m not reading anything especially summery at the moment but I am planning to make August into a month of reading crime fiction. I’ve got a very impressive stash by some great writers and look forward to sharing my thoughts on them.

What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is?  … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?

Not terribly scientific, but for me a “real” reader is someone who does it for pleasure. That means it doesn’t matter what they’re reading, whether they’re learning something or not, if they’re enjoying the process then that’s what it’s all about.

If course, if they’re anything like me they panic if they don’t have anything to read at all, which suggests that something else might be going on entirely……..

Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

This really made me stop and think, because I’ve never been very sure that if put on the spot I’d actually be able to say who my favourite authors are or what my favourite books are. But I have decided to stop give it a go.

And actually i found that my favourite books were reasonably easy to define, so I’ll start there (in no particular order):

  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – small but perfectly formed, I first read this at school in the 1970s and come back to it often (but not often enough)
  • The Great Gatsby – for very similar reasons, and I was heavily influenced by the advertising campaign for the Robert Redford film – I was at an impressionable age, what can I say?
  • Catch-22 – this was a cult book amongst the crowd I hung around with at school, it never left the pocket of my Barathea blazer, and I used to start it again as soon as I’d finished it – haven’t read it for a while, though – lots of quotable lines, very anti-war
  • Katherine – in reading this I fell in love with John of Gaunt and it made me a lifelong Lancastrian (despite being Scottish)
  • Lord of the Rings – inevitable really, I love the epic scale, every time I read it I focus on something new
  • The Glass Bead Game – I was very impressed with Hermann Hesse when I was a student, but this is the only one I re-read regularly and I love the philosophical aspects
  • Family Happiness – my first and favourite Laurie Colwin novel (more of her anon), again a short and perfect book

The only thing these have in common is the emotional response they’ve elicited in me which has lasted long after the book has been set aside, so perhaps that’s what I look for? And having said they were in no particular order I realise that, except for the first two,  they are in the order I first read them.

As for authors, I think it is a similar thing of emotional response, and style, and having something to say, and the plots and characters they’ve created sticking with me long after the book has gone, so the list is (and this really isn’t any order):

  • Stephen King – have read almost everything he has written, starting with Carrie, and what I haven’t read is probably on the tbr pile
  • Muriel Spark – intelligent and witty
  • Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse is probably my favourite, but the non-fiction sticks out for me as well
  • Laurie Colwin – novels, short stories, cookery essays, all wonderful
  • Iain (M) Banks – for the inventiveness of both his straight and sci-fi works
  • Joyce Carol Oates – awesome in all senses of the word, and so prolific

Very brief comments but I think the thing they have in common as authors, if anything, is that they each have their own distinctive styles, instantly recognisable (in a good way). And I make no apology for having Stephen King on that list, I know it’s not “literature”, I know he can be patchy, but as a body of work it’s pretty great stuff and I like it.

And I bet if I’m asked to do this again in a year or so’s time, Charles de Lint will be on there as well.

What do you think?

Bride of the Book God

Follow brideofthebook on Twitter

Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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