A to Z Bookish Survey

(Nicked from The Perpetual Page-Turner.)

A. Author You’ve Read The Most Books From

Alex: Terry Pratchett, undoubtedly. I think I’ve read all the adult Discworld books except RAISING STEAM, and I’ve read one or two of the YA ones also. After him, probably Diana Wynne Jones.

Veera: According to Goodreads, this is Terry Pratchett for me as well. I definitely haven’t read them all, and most of ones I have read I read in Finnish.

B. Best Sequel Ever

Alex: REPUBLIC OF THIEVES? I feel like I’m going to have to try to play down my Gentleman Bastards fixation in this survey… YEAR OF THE GRIFFIN and CASTLE IN THE AIR by Diana Wynne Jones, also.

Veera: Alex took care of the yelling about Gentlemen Bastards, so I’m just going to briefly say RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES and then deviate and say THE PRIVILEGE OF THE SWORD by Ellen Kushner. It’s an independent novel, but shares characters with SWORDSPOINT and refers back to it on occasion. So good! I also really enjoyed Gail Carriger’s CHANGELESS, the second book in the Parasol Protectorate series.

C. Currently Reading

Alex: THE FALLING WOMAN by Pat Murphy.

Veera: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen, for the fourth or fifth time, I think.

D. Drink of Choice While Reading

Alex: Don’t really have one. Depends on my mood. I keep a jug of extremely diluted juice (8 parts water, 1 part juice) on my desk lately, cause I’m bad at staying hydrated… I prefer snacks when I’m reading.

Veera: Tea. Absolutely tea.

E. E-Reader or Physical Books

Alex: Both! Ebooks are wonderfully convenient, both for travel and because they allow you to search the text for specific passages. And they’re cheap. I have a Kindle app on my phone, so I don’t even have to carry an extra gadget around with me. However, it’s more difficult for me to focus on ebooks and connect emotionally with the text, and I don’t have that problem with physical books, so I have a very slight preference for those, all other things being equal.

Veera: Although I agree on the convenience of e-books and shamelessly use them to fact-check and reference, I still prefer physical books. I like to see my progress, and I like the feel of it in my hands, and it’s such a good signal for “go away I’m reading”.

Alex: Oh yes, the “go away I’m reading” signal. Very useful. You know you can tell if a book is good by the smell? True story. Can’t do that with an ebook!

F. Fictional Character You Would Have Dated In High School

Alex: Kaladin from Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives. Except I’m really pissed off at him since I read WORDS OF RADIANCE (book 2), so I have dumped him and I’m looking for a new literary boyfriend. I am planning to window-shop for one in THORN OF EMBERLAIN. 😐

Veera: I have a long-standing love for Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series, but my fictional boyfriends are myriad. Top three is Remus, Jean Tannen from the Gentleman Bastard Sequence, and Éomer from LORD OF THE RINGS.

G. Glad You Gave This Book A Chance

Alex: FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON. Cause it’s one of those books that some people are forced to read in high school, you know? And all the books I was forced to read in high school, I hated. This one is great, though.

Veera: This is a hard one. I’m going to say WAR AND PEACE. I read it a couple of years ago and wow, it’s such a good book! It really ignited my love for Tolstoy! Don’t be intimidated by it. It’s long but really not hard or heavy!

H. Hidden Gem Book

Alex: I’m not sure what this means, but I feel instinctively THE UNSTRUNG HARP by Edward Gorey is a suitable answer.

Veera: I’m not sure I’d call it hidden exactly, but it certainly doesn’t get the attention I think it deserves – SHARP TEETH by Toby Barlow. I basically foam at the mouth just at the thought of this glorious piece of literature.

I. Important Moments of Your Reading Life

Alex: Uhhhh… I dunno, probably my parents reading Narnia to me when I was tiny?

Veera: The first thing that springs to mind is seeing The Fellowship of the Ring at the cinema. It led to reading the book and getting really started on fantasy.

J. Just Finished

Alex: Finished Barry Hughart’s THE STORY OF THE STONE yesterday!

Veera: I finished THE MARRIAGE PLOT by Jeffrey Eugenides a few days ago (review forthcoming!)

K. Kinds of Books You Won’t Read

Alex: I don’t think there’s any kind book I’ll refuse to read, but I’m generally not attracted to mystery. I probably would have major hesitations before reading horror, also, because I have an extremely vivid imagination. Last horror movie I saw was “The Skeleton Key”, back in like 2006 or something. It wasn’t even that objectively scary, but I didn’t sleep for three days. So I can’t really do horror, but I’d still consider it if one was recced to me by someone whose tastes I trust implicitly, and who knows my tastes.

Veera: I’ve been thinking about this, and I guess popular science is the only thing that holds basically zero interest to me (unless it’s sociolinguistics or some other fun of that nature). I’m also pretty sure I’ve never read an autobiography, although I’ve got a rather delicious one on my shelf that I need to get to! 

L. Longest Book You’ve Read

Alex: Probably LORD OF THE RINGS? That’s gotta be the longest, right?

Veera: WAR AND PEACE. The Finnish translation I have came in four volumes and is ca. 2,000 pages long.

M. Major Book Hangover Because Of

Alex: Scott Lynch. Lois McMaster Bujold. Barry Hughart.

Veera: Let’s not even talk about the slump THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA put me into. Of the more recent hangovers I’ve got to mention Stina Leicht’s AND BLUE SKIES FROM PAIN.

N. Number of Bookcases You Own

Alex: I have two good-sized ones in my room! Four shelves apiece (one of them actually has six shelves, but the top two are devoted to tchotchkes).

Veera: I’ve got one, and it’s sort of a weird affair with glass doors and cupboard space and stuff. It’s fairly big and fits all my books, which is really nice, because my former bookcase barely did!

O. One Book That You Have Read Multiple Times

Alex: So many. I think I’ve read GOOD OMENS more than any other book. I have the prologue mostly memorized, which is a good indication. I actually don’t usually read books straight through more than once ‘cause I have a memory like a steel trap, so many times I will just flip through and start from my favorite scenes. And then I get distracted and just keep going. XD

Veera: Rereading is good for your brain! I’ve also got lots of these – I could here nominate THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA and GOOD OMENS which must be my two most read books.

P. Preferred Place to Read

Alex: In bed! Lots of pillows to arrange into the perfect backrest, sheets and blankets for temperature control, a desk to keep my snacks and drinks on, a lamp.

Veera: This varies so much. Currently I read a lot at the dining table, but I’m starting to move over to the couch because there’s more natural light there now that spring is advancing. I also love to read on buses and trains and cars – I don’t get motion sick much – or, if I really want to make progress, in bed. Non-fiction happens best at uni library.

Q. Quote From A Book That Inspires You/Gives You Feels

Alex: All of the ones I’m thinking of are full of spoilers. Pass!

Veera: Right, okay. Which one do we go with. Alex passed, so can I give several?

  • “When the sky is falling, I take shelter under bullshit.” –THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by Scott Lynch. Basically my academic motto.
  • “Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint.” – LOVE AND FREINDSHIP [sic] by Jane Austen.
  • “Call him a Judas if you want/but he did it for reasons/much older than silver.” – SHARP TEETH by Toby Barlow. Shiver. Shiverrrrr.

R. Reading Regret

Alex: NEMESIS FROM TERRA. I regret losing the four hours I spent on that book. Sigh. What a comically terrible book that was.

Veera: I don’t really regret any reads, in the sense that now I know I don’t like it. I do regret having had to read MIDDLEMARCH in such a hurry. I cried about twice and wanted to throw it to the wall.

Alex: Actually, I also regret that REPUBLIC OF THIEVES ended. Scott has this terrible habit of ending stories instead of letting them go on forever into eternity like I want them to. TSK.

S. Series You Started and Need to Finish

Alex: Bujold’s Vorkosigan books, Barry Hughart’s The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox. And, y’know… The Gentleman Bastard Sequence. :|||| Someone get me a time machine.

Veera: Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger. Mary Balogh’s Survivors’ Club. And I still haven’t read the fourth Johannes Cabal book.

T. Three Of Your All-Time Favorite Books

Alex: THREE!??!? THREE?!?!??! No. How about ten? In no particular order:

  1. The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch
  2. THE WARRIOR’S APPRENTICE by Lois McMaster Bujold
  3. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones
  4. BRIDGE OF BIRDS by Barry Hughart
  5. GOOD OMENS by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  6. MONSTROUS REGIMENT by Terry Pratchett
  7. ON WRITING by Stephen King
  9. The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson
  10. Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

Veera: Let’s see how many we get. (How does one do this. Seriously. So many different criteria and aaaaa.) In no particular order.

  1. The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch
  2. SHARP TEETH by Toby Barlow
  3. NORTHANGER ABBEY by Jane Austen (also PERSUASION)
  4. SWORDSPOINT by Ellen Kushner
  5. WAR AND PEACE by Leo Tolstoy (as well as ANNA KARENINA)
  6. VANITY FAIR by William Makepeace Thackeray
  8. GOOD OMENS by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  9. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones

U. Unapologetic Fangirl For

Alex: Sabetha Belacoros and Jean Tannen (Gentleman Bastards Sequence), Adora Belle Dearheart (Discworld), Miles Vorkosigan (Vorkosigan series). *HEART EYES, MOTHERFUCKER*

Veera: Mmmmm Jean Tannen. Also all the Vadrans! Scott Lynch in general. Jane Austen.


W. Worst Bookish Habit

Alex:  I have a hard time appreciating a book if I don’t care about the characters. Characters are the #1 most important thing to me as a reader, and if the characters are flat, it doesn’t matter how brilliant the plot is or how lovely the prose or how elegant the structure, I cannot bring myself to feel more than, “*shrug* Eh.”

It’s like looking at a beautiful building and seeing that the architect has used Jello for a foundation. The building may beautiful, but what use is it?

I feel kinda guilty about this. :/

Veera: I buy books and then don’t read them. I fully intend to, but it takes a long long time.

Alex: Veera’s a better person than I am. >_>

V. Very Excited For This Release More Than Any Other

Alex: ThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlainThornofEmberlain

Veera: I refer you to Alex’s answer because THORN OF FUCKING EMBERLAIN!

Alex: THORN OF EMBERLAIN, THOUGH. We should liveblog it. What say you?

X. Marks The Spot (Start On Your Bookshelf And Count to the 27th Book)

Alex: I have two bookshelves in my room, so I’ll give you the 27th from each.

Bookshelf one: BLACK POWDER WAR by Naomi Novik

Bookshelf two: VIRICONIUM by M John Harrison (which happens to be one of the books I have set aside because, despite the beautiful prose, the characters were rather stiff and two-dimensional. Very narrow spectrum of emotion, in the parts I read… It seemed like no one ever joked or bantered or got annoyed or had any kind of inner life whatsoever. It’s like people in a fairytale. They don’t cry because they’re sad, they cry because the story needs them to cry.)

Veera: How does one count this… THE CITY AND THE CITY by China Mièville. Read for SFF class at uni. Wasn’t really a fan, but I can definitely appreciate what Mièville is doing in it. Fascinating from an analytical point of view, but not exactly a pleasure read for me.

Your Latest Book Purchase

Alex: Either MILES ERRANT by Lois McMaster Bujold or OBMANY LOKKI LAMORI, the Russian version of THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. Bought them on the same day, can’t remember in what order.

Veera: I haven’t bought books in so long… I got ONLY ENCHANTING, the fourth book in Balogh’s Survivors’ Club series in like December.

Z. ZZZ-Snatcher (last book that kept you up WAY late)

Alex: I stay up until 3am every night anyway, so this doesn’t really count for me. XD

Veera: AND BLUE SKIES FROM PAIN! Just so good and stuff was happening and it was getting close to 2am but I just had to know and I couldn’t put it down and I just want to wail because that book ended.

If you have any more questions for us, pop ’em in the comments!



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s