what are your top three book pet hates?
1. Deckled edging. I loathe it! It makes the book feel revolting and it’s hard to find your page. Dislike!
2. Insta-love. EVERYONE hates this. Why do authors keep doing it?! It’s so annoying and really puts me off new releases with a romantic bent to them, especially when that character has their love interest walk in 3 pages into the book and you KNOW what’s going to happen. SUBTLETY, PEOPLE! PLEASE!!!
3. Really hideous covers that are either too ugly to look twice at, or are just downright embarrassing to take out in public. Like my edition of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, that has a naked woman writhing on it. Or my copy of Rebecca West’s The Meaning of Treason… Which I’m sure is an obvious public transport no-no. I actually asked for my money back when it arrived in the mail, because I had no idea that it looked like that! The picture showed an innocuous red edition and this is definitely not that!
describe your perfect reading spot
Outside, in the shade, in a comfy chair, with a nice breeze. Or snuggled up in a blanket with a hot chocolate or a cup of tea. Preferably with comfy clothes and a nearby cat.
tell us three book confessions
1. I often don’t add what I’m reading to Goodreads until I’m past halfway, because I get guilty for dropping books and it showing up on Goodreads!
2. I read a lot of tough books, so I often crave something easy, lighthearted and fun… but then I find it harder to get back into the tough stuff again! But if I don’t read easy things periodically, my brain goes into meltdown… it’s a double edged sword.
3. I can’t speak or read French, so I have such a hard time with modernist books due to the amount of French in them! Google translate is my best friend. I can read Italian quite well, but I’ve only been able to use it once!
when was the last time you cried during a book?
how many books are on your bedside table?
God knows. Both at my house and my fiancee’s, we are facing potential book avalanche. Only at mine I tend to stack them next to the bed.
what is your favourite snack to eat while you’re reading?
Kit kats and soup! Especially miso soup. Also tea.
Yesterday I tried to read a newspaper and eat a whole quarter of a watermelon (without cutting it up) and it ended reeeeeallly badly. Fun times!
name three books you would recommend to everyone
Ohhh…. that’s hard!
The Midnight Watch by David Dyer
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovich
show us a picture of your favourite bookshelf on your bookcase
This was taken a few months ago… there is no more space on it now. All double stacked!
write how much books mean to you in just three words
My whole existence.
what is your biggest reading secret?
I am a huge stress head about certain books, and will work myself up into a frenzy of terror about reading certain things if I think they’re going to be hard… then if I do read it, I scare myself into not finishing (hello, Middlemarch… I’m sorry!) or find that it’s tough, but doable, like Parade’s End. I think I just have a fear of inferiority and I’m very self deprecating in general, so that just rolls over into my reading life. My friends are always telling me to stop beating myself up over absolutely everything!