[personal profile] f4f3
I've left out comics, mostly. They deserve their own meme.


1. What fiction book are you reading now?

Flashman and the Tiger, Dune, Swann's Way, The Private Memories and Confessions of a Justified Sinner,

2. What non-fiction book are you reading now?

The Crime of our Lives, by Lawrence Block, Orwell's Essays (I'm on his essay on Dickens right now) The Invention of Nature: The  Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt (my doppleganger) and The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane

3. What were your favourite books as a child?

Jennings, and anything written by Andre Norton

4. What’s the earliest book you remember reading?

Topsy and Tim on Holiday. I read them all, but something in the plot of this one grabbed me and didn't let me go.

5. Were you given annuals at Christmas as a child?

Yup. The Valiant until about 1973, and then various Marvel annuals.

6. What do (or did) you enjoy reading to your kids?

The Hobbit was a big project with Mikey. But I still have fond memories of Jolly Tall, My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes, and Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's "The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish".

7. What was the last book you got from the library?

To quote Jack Vincennes, in the same tone of sad wonder "You know, I can't remember."

8. Have you ever found something left behind in a library book? What was it?

Naked Polaroids of the last reader's girlfriend. Or the last reader, if she was a Sven Hassel fan.

9. Can you remember the first book you ever bought?

I think it was "Second Stage Lensman" by E.E.Doc Smith, in about 1974, bought in the airport on my way to a family holiday .

10. Can you remember what it cost?

Probably around £1.

11. Have you ever bought or read a book on the basis of its cover alone?
Yes, see above. The cover was painted by Chris Foss, and showed a burning spaceship crashlanding on a futuristic landscape, while loose planets colided above in a flaming orange sky. It seriously undersold the action, btw.

12. Have you ever refused to buy or read a book on the basis of its cover alone?

I don't think so.

13. Do you have a favourite cover artist or designer?

Chris Foss has to be one, for those childhood Space Operas, but Alisdair Grey excells in book design.

14. What is the most recent graphic novel you’ve read?

The last comic I read was X-Force 115, and it was tosh.

15. E-books or dead tree books?

It's not either/or, it's both/and.

16. Do you read on the way to or from work?

Yes, though I really shouldn't because I drive there.

17. What’s the worst thing that’s happened to one of your books?

Various copies dropped in the bath, various books lost, various stolen.

18. Do you buy second hand books?

Yes, though not as much as I used to.

19. Do you keep all the books you buy?

Almost invariably. The ebook has been my saviour, as I have two houses full of books and I was working on a third.

20. Do you loan your books to friends or family?

Yes, but not often.

21. Have you ever loaned a book and not got it back?

There's a lovely line in "The Guns of Avalon" where Corwin revisits his abandoned home and finds it totally ransacked, except for his library, which is intact. "Only your friends steal your books" he remarks. So yes.

22. Spine – broken or unbroken?

I've never knowingly broken a spine.

23. Hardback, paperback or trade?

Horses for courses. Trade if I'm travelling, and hardbacks to treasure.

24. Is there a bookshop in your town?

I've never lived in a town without a bookshop.

25. Is there a second-hand bookshop in your town?
Ditto.

26. Do you remember when charity shops used to sell paperback books with the covers ripped off?

No, becuase it's an American thing - I do remember the warnings inside paperbacks, saying that if it didn't have a cover, the writer didn't get paid.

27. Have you ever queued outside a bookshop to get a newly released book as soon as the shop opens?

Not for myself.

28. Do you own any books signed by the author?

More than I realised. My favourite is the inscription to me from Lawrence Block in "A Drop Of The Hard Stuff" - 'To Michael, a day late and a dollar short.' (a story goes with it).

29. Do you own any books signed by the cover artist?
Not just the cover, the rest of the pages too. I was browsing in a Glasgow comic shop, reading a copy of "Batman and Robin" by Morrison and Quitely, when Frank came in and started signing things. It seemed rude not to ask him to sign my copy. Also, serveral volumes of Cerebus.

30. Have you ever met the author/s of your favourite books?

Some - Terry Pratchett and Iain Banks, Dave Sim and, very nearly, Lawrence Block (I was a day late). Oh, and I've met Mike Cobley, and Hal Duncan, and Bill King, but they don't count.

31. Have you ever been to a book launch event?

Many. A perk of knowing many authors.

32. In normal circumstances, how long would it take you to read a 500 page book?

Anything between one night and a year.

33. This book is 1000 pages long. How many volumes should it be published in?

6. 150 pages is the optimal size for a paperback. Or one, with illustrations.

34. Use a bookmark or fold down the corner of the page?

I used to have an unerring talent for opening a book to my page. I haven't checked it lately.

35. Do you underline or highlight passages in your books?

I've started doing it in Kindle.

36. What book are you most eagerly awaiting?

The next Harry Dresden.

37. What book really needs to be written?

Rebus and Scudder: The Drinking Years.

38. Were there any set books at school you particularly liked?

I only read books when they weren't set - when I was in first year I found a copy of 1984 in the fifth year English class, and loved it.

39. Were there any set books at school you particularly loathed?

All of them.

40. Do you always finish the books you read?

I used to, but then I started to take Groucho's advice: "The is not a book to be set aside lightly - it should be thrown with some force." Life is too short to read books you don't enjoy.

41. How many books (including e-books, textbooks and graphic novels) do you read at any one time?

Not counting comics, which get read at a sitting, about half a dozen.

42. Do you give books as presents?

I do.

43. Genre fiction, mainstream fiction or poetry?

Yes thank you.

44. Non-fiction books – arts, sciences or humanities?

Any and all.

45. Do you read in the bath?

I used to. I used to have a wrought iron bath rack with a candlestick, a wine glass holder and a book rack. I used to have a lot of things.

46. You are going on a week’s holiday. How many books do you take?

I take my Kindle and a book or two in case of take offs and landings.

47. Do you read book review blogs or columns?

Not often.

48. Have you ever reviewed a book?

Yes, in the late, lamented Territories magazine.

49. If your house was on fire and you could only save one book, what would it be?

Probably that hard back of "A Drop Of The Hard Stuff".

50. What novel would you like made into a TV drama series?

I'm looking forward to the adaption of Gaiman's "American Gods".

51. What non-fiction work would you like made into a TV documentary series?

The Silk Road by Peter Frankopan.

52. Do you still have any of your childhood books?

Only two, which were school prizes.

53. Did your parents pass on any of their own childhood books to you?

Only by recommending them. They had to burn all of their books for warmth when the English stole their sheep.

54. Do you listen to audiobooks?

No, though I do like some podcasts.

55. Do you read novelisation tie-in books for movies, TV series or games?

Only when I know the author (hello Matt, hello Bill)

56. Has seeing a film ever inspired you to read the book it was based on?

I don't think so.

57. Do you read the blurb on books?

Yes.

58. What’s the most annoying spoiler you’ve read in a blurb?

"Part three of a seven part series".

59. What are your quirky reading habits?

I will read anything. At all. Including shampoo bottles.

60. Do you have any layout or design likes and hates in a book?

Not anymore - I used to be sensitive as to font, but that's been blunted by good DTP.

61. Have you ever read a self-published book?

Tons. My friend Bill does me the honour of letting me test read his books, most of which are self published.

62. What work of fiction had the biggest impact on your life?

"Lord of Light" by Roger Zelazny. It showed me that the genre I loved was capable of anything, and I chased his voice for years.

63. What work of non-fiction had the biggest impact on your life?

Hobbes' "Leviathan", and Stan Lee's "Origins of Marvel Comics".

64. What ratio of fiction to non-fiction do you read?

About five to one.

65. Do you read biographies?

Not really - the endings are all the same.

66. What’s your favourite coffee table book?

Any of the Ultimate Sandman collections. And a book called Shades of Grey, collecting the Glasgow photographs of Oscar Mazaroli..

67. Roughly how many physical books do you own?

I refuse to speculate.

68. The last few pages of the book you are currently reading are missing. What do you do?

Leave my wife.

69. What’s next in your To Read pile?

A Rebus book, and I have a fancy to reread some Chandler.

70. How many books are in your current To Read pile?

Not many, they are all on my Kindle.

71. When shopping in a bookshop, what’s the ratio of planned purchases to impulse buys/chance finds?

About one to one.

72. When shopping online, what’s the ratio of planned purchases to impulse buys/chance finds?

I usually go on line for a particular book.

73. Are you a member of a book group or reading club?

What do you think I am, some kind of a pervert?

74. Do you read the sample chapter for another book included at the end of some novels?

Not if I know I'm going to buy it.

75. Books were much better in the old days, because…

... I was younger, then. I agree with Asimov's definition of "The Golden Age" as whatever you read between the ages of 15 and 25 (or in my case 10 and 20).

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