A Reader's A to Z Survey

I’ve seen this meme on several blogs recently and thought I’d have a go too. It was started by Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner, but I found it through Cath at Read Warbler and Danielle at A Work in Progress and just when I was in the middle of writing this post on Geranium Cat’s Bookshelf.

Author I’ve Read The Most Books From:
Well that’s an easy question for me – it’s Agatha Christie. And that is because she wrote so many books. I haven’t read all of them – yet.

Best Sequel Ever:
I’m not going to count crime fiction series as sequels (but if I did it would be one of Ian Rankin’s Rebus books, maybe Exit Music). I can’t decide between Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazelet books or Susan Howatch’s Starbridge books – both authors had me spellbound and it’s impossible to say which is the best.

Currently Reading: Over My Dead Body by Hazel McHaffie, Ten Little Niggers by Agatha Christie and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

Drink of Choice While Reading:
It depends on the time of day – I love a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, which is when I do most of my reading. Other times it could be a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

E-Reader or Physical Book:
Both. I prefer physical books except when the font is small and/or the book is heavy and bulky to hold. The Kindle solves that problem as I can have whatever size font I choose, highlight passages without spoiling the book and, using the search, easily find when a character first appeared and so on. But there’s nothing to beat the actual feel and smell of a book and flicking through its pages.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Dated in High School:
I’m not sure I have an answer to this as my reading in secondary school was mainly books I read for school – such as The Mayor of Casterbridge and no way would I have wanted to date him!

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this as it’s written in the present tense, but I am so glad I did as it’s one of the best books I’ve read.

Hidden Gem Book:
Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky. Although only a short book (153 pages) it is an intense story of life and death, love and burning passion. It’s about families and their relationships €“ husbands and wives, young women married to old men,  lovers, mothers, daughters and stepdaughters.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:
Another difficult question as there have been several, but the earliest one has to be going to the library as a child and finding so many books I could borrow, and the latest one is using the internet, and finding book blogs.

Just Finished:
The Shining by Stephen King.

Kind of Books I Won’t Read:
I read most genres, but I don’t like vampire books (with the exception of Dracula) or mushy romances!

Longest Book I’ve Read:
I think it must be Les Miserables by Victor Hugo which has 1200 pages (not including the appendices). Parts of it are easy reading and I read them quickly. But other parts had me yawning and dragged, when there was too much detail about battles and sieges. Les Misérables cannot compete with Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which I think is just so beautifully descriptive that I forget that I don’t like reading about battles and war.

Major Book Hangover Because:
Not being able to make decent inroads into my to-be-read piles.

Number of Bookcases I own:
Eleven bookcases most of them double stacked and still not enough – piles of books around the house too.

One Book I have Read Multiple Times:
Most of the books I owned as a child, such as What Katy Did, Little Women & from early teenage years – Pride and Prejudice.

Preferred Place to Read:
In bed, or in a comfy armchair, or outside when the weather permits.

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All the Feels From a Book You’ve Read:

Very difficult – there are so many! This one from To Kill a Mockingbird is a good one:

€˜First of all,’ he [Atticus] said, €˜if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view -‘

Reading Regret:
I wish I could remember what I’ve read – not just the detail, sometimes I’ve bought/borrowed books when I’ve already got a copy at home.

Series You Started and Need To Finish (All the books are out in the series):
Olivia Manning’s third book in her Balkan TrilogyFriends and Heroes. I read the first two books in 2007 and 2008 and have been meaning to read the last one ever since!

Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books:
Only three?  Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski. Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake, and Blood Harvest by S J Bolton. But my choice could easily be different on another day.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields, Anita Shreve (but not her latest ones), Ian Rankin, S J Bolton, Josephine Tey, Hilary Mantel – I could go on … an on …

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin, the new Rebus book, out in November on Kindle and hardback – I’ve got it on pre-order.

Worst Bookish Habit:
Reading too many books at once – I start several before I’ve finished one, and then leave them with bookmarks in, but often have to start them again. I’ve tried several times to stick to just one, but I always go back to having several on the go.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the Top Left of Your Shelf and pick the 27th Book:
I used the books my unread bookcase for this and just counted the books at the front of the top shelf (it’s double shelved) and found The Way through the Woods by Colin Dexter, an Inspector Morse book. I’ve had this book a couple of years now.

Your Latest Book Purchase:
Pastel School by Hazel Harrison, a reference book about using pastels, with demonstrations of still life, landscapes, flowers, portraits etc.

ZZZ-Snatcher Book- Book That Kept You Up WAY Too Late:
These days, or I should nights, I can’t stay up late reading – I just nod off. But back when I could, I remember reading into the small hours to finish a book about life in Calcutta, City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre. A friend had lent it to me. She said she’d read it in one day – I couldn’t manage that, even staying up way past midnight reading it.

8 thoughts on “A Reader's A to Z Survey

  1. I have the same problem remembering details of books. It must be quite common. I vividly remember my mother-in-law saying years ago, before she died, that she couldn’t remember the detail in many of the books she’d read. And I too have sometimes come home with books I already own…

    Ah yes, making inroads into the tbr pile… do any of us manage it?

    I have Little Boy Lost and really must get to it.

    Lots of recs here that I shall be looking into. Enjoying reading your answers!


  2. What a great meme, Margaret!!! And how clever to organise the questions that way. I love your answers too. I completely agree by the way about the kind of book I wouldn’t read. Vampires are not my thing… And I’m looking forward to what you think of the new Rankin when you read it.


  3. I was talking to someone on Saturday who said the great advantage of a butterfly mind was forgetting the details of books! I agreed, because I like not being able to remember what’s going to happen when I’m re-reading a book. Not quite so good when you get it back from the library, though, and remember all of it 10 pages in.

    A new Rebus is something to look forward to! Are you enjoying Gone With the Wind?


  4. I love your Reading Regret–you’d think with shelf space being at a premium I wouldn’t get duplicates of books! I agree that finding book blogs has been a key point in my reading life. Thanks for all the great recommendations!


  5. I really enjoyed your answers, Margaret. I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who has plenty of shelves and they are all double-stacked! I did this meme too last week, it was a lot of fun to do.

    I can hardly wait for the new Rebus, too. I have it bookmarked on Amazon. Rebus and Fox together is quite clever, and I love how we get to see these two different men interacting. I think Black and Blue is one of my favourites, as is The Falls, with those creepy dolls.


  6. Cath, I’m glad I’m not the only one who forgets which books I already own! Little Boy Lost is really good and it’s not long, so I hope you get round to reading it and like it as much as I do.

    Irene, thank you.

    Margot, thanks. I suspect vampire books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and we’re not the only ones to avoid them.

    Geranium Cat, yes Gone with the Wind is promising to be good, although I’m still at the beginning. And the memory thing is good when re-reading – it’s a bit like watching a TV programme and knowing that I’ve watched it but can’t remember what comes next.

    Jane, yes the internet has really opened up the world – I’d never have ‘met’ you and all the other book bloggers otherwise.

    Susan, I nearly mentioned Black and Blue and The Falls too. They’re such good books aren’t they!


  7. This is such a fun meme! I first came across it on Danielle’s blog too, and it’s been very enjoyable reading all the other bloggers’ A-Z, as well as yours. 🙂 I have the same bad habit of starting too many books and leaving bookmarks in them, forgotten!
    Very tempted to have a go at this myself, one of these days….


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