For love of books . . .

This wonderfully enlightening questionnaire I found from a meme on Hyaline Prosaic and thought I’d share my own responses.  Love to hear yours.

1. Favorite childhood book?

Gosh, I had hundreds.  And still have some of my favourites stashed away in a cedar bookcase.  A Golden Treasury of Fables was terribly important and sadly I have lost it in one of the many moves of my life.  But I loved horse books of many sorts, Wind in the Willows, Chronicles of Narnia, Budge and Betty (actually my mother’s childhood books), the Anne books.  So many more.

2. What are you reading right now?

Jump by Jilly Cooper, a proof copy given by my favourite bookstore.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?

Research literature for my own writing which is fantasy and folktale and legend based.

4. Bad book habit?

Not checking library books more fully before I cart them home.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

When I go to the lending library, I borrow an eclectic mix from travel, cooking, embroidery, folktale and legend to chick lit, commercial fiction, historical fantasy, historical fiction etc.  No rhyme or reason to choice.  Often it’s a cover/blurb choice but am going to start using the Page 99 test.

6. Do you have an e-reader?

No.  But I will.  When the price reduces.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

One at a time.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?


9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)

That’s almost a bad review, so I won’t say.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?

Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book, because it influenced my own writing significantly.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

Rarely, if ever.  I am not adventurous in a literary sense.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

Historical fiction, historical fantasy, good commercial fiction like Jilly Cooper.

13. Can you read on the bus?

Never catch a bus, but I can read on a plane and a boat although never in a car.

14. Favorite place to read?

Bed, or on the window seat at the beach cottage.

15. What is your policy on book lending?

Family only.  Very strict about it.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?

I have lovely bookmarks, both metal and card.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

No, that’s disgraceful.

18. Not even with text books?

No, I use post-its.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

English. Sadly I am not multi-lingual.

20. What makes you love a book?

The manipulation of the English language.  Perfect description that sucks me in to an image that subsequently engraves itself on my mind.  Humour and wit.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

If I’ve enjoyed it without reservation, I will recommend it to my closest friends and to my family.

22. Favorite genre?

Historical fiction and historical fantasy.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)

Literary fiction, I get bored with it . . . and it depresses me.  And biography.

24. Favorite biography?

Maos’ Last Dancer by Li Cunxin which I adored.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

Yes.  Meditation books and those by Paul Wilson.

26. Favorite cookbook?

My mother’s recipe book.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?

Sei Shonagon.  A thousand years old and still inspiring.

28. Favorite reading snack?


29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

Apart from Harry Potter, I don’t recall reading a hyped book until after the hype is over.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

I don’t read book reviews.  Liking or disliking a book is utterly subjective and I don’t want to have my expectations altered by someone else’s sunjectivity.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

I try not to give reviews.  If I am unimpressed, I would rather not review at all.  I hate saying bad things about other authors, because they can just as easily say the same thing about my writing.  I prefer to learn from the editorial consultancy with whom I work, honing my writing constantly.  I do however upload to a peer review site called which is a tremendous forum for review of one’s work and for learning.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

Italian.  Maybe Gaelic.  Possibly French.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?

All my university English texts, because I HAD to read them in a set timeframe.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?

Russian literature.

35. Favorite Poet?

Yeats without doubt, followed by Tennyson and Shakespeare and my friend Michael Keane who is a superb poet.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

Between four and six.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?

Occasionally.  I am always in a rush at the lending library and don’t check them well enough.

38. Favorite fictional character?

Anne of Green Gables, Niccolo van der Poele from the House of Niccolo by Dorothy Dunnett, Francis Crawford of Lymond from the Lymond Saga by Dorothy Dunnett and Guy of Gisborne from The Sheriff’s Collector.

39. Favorite fictional villain?

Gabriel from the Lymond Saga by Dorothy Dunnett although ‘favourite’ is hardly the right term.  He is the most insidious and foul man of God I have ever come across.  A Knight of Malta.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?

All the Dorothy Dunnett’s plus some Jilly Cooper and Juliet Marillier.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.

Maybe a night.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.

That’s almost reviewing and I won’t say.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?


44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

I am not a movie-goer, except for the Harry Potters which I felt were perfectly adapted.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

Not applicable, see above.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?

My mother gives me a wonderful cash gift every birthday: $200 at one time each year goes straight to my favourite bookstore.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Every time.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?

If I didn’t like it.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

Yes, by author.  And if non-fiction, by subject.  I am a librarian by academic qualification.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?

I keep my favourites and sell the others.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

Twilight et al.  Actually anything about vampires and also crime and thrillers.

52. Name a book that made you angry.

Off the cuff, no.  But anything depressing.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?

Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?

That’s tantamount to a review so I won’t say.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

Dorothy Dunnett, Rosamunde Pilcher, Juliet Marillier, Felicity Pulman, Cecilia Dart Thornton, Fiona Mackintosh, Jilly Cooper, Fiona Walker to name a few but there a kazillion more.