Ten Bookish Questions

(From Bookloving Writer's original post, and because there's nothing quite like jumping on the bandwagon late.)


What book is on your nightstand now?


My TBR pile lives on my nightstand, so: Catherynne Valente's Six-Gun Snow White and The Boy Who Lost Fairyland; The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart; The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett; John Dies at the End by David Wong; Lev Grossman's Codex; and Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks.


What was the last truly great book you read?


This is a tricky one, but I loved and admired Helen Oyeyemi's Boy, Snow, Bird, which I read in one day in March. The twist at the end is problematic, but I just loved the novel's magic realist fairytale vice.


If you could meet any writer - dead or alive - who would it be? And what would you want to know?


The late Terry Pratchett, definitely. I don't know that I'd ask anything specific; if anything, I'd just want to thank him for the well of humanity and acceptance which is Discworld.


What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?


I've got a couple of humour books which stick out from the rest of my books - Bridget Jones (hilarious and awesome), Bill Bryson, a Shopaholic book which I occasionally like to visit as a low-effort fluff read.


How do you organise your personal library?


Alphabetically by author.


What book have you always meant to read and haven’t got around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?


I keep meaning to read some more Dickens; I love the sentimental sprawl of his fatter books, but they always seem a daunting prospect during the working week. So we'll see. Generally, I don't feel embarrassed not to have read something.


Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didnt? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?


I read the third volume of Saga on Sunday and was strangely disappointed - the first two were fantastic, and this one just seemed to tie everything up into a neat bow without leaving the messiness and the complexity that the others had.


What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?


Science fiction and fantasy, generally; anything that makes me rethink or reimagine my cultural assumptions.


I avoid high fantasy; even when it's objectively good stuff, it bores and irritates me.


If you could require the prime minister to read one book, what would it be?


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: a study in what happens when you forget the needs of the unprivileged, when you lose empathy for the shunned.


What do you plan to read next?


Catherynne Valente's Six-Gun Snow White.