I was browsing the web, looking for some book tags to do (they’re always great fun and I often realise something about my reading habits I didn’t know) and came across Owlcation’s “50 Questions About Books and Reading to Ask Your Friends” and thought there was great some great questions in there.
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Therefore, I thought I would steal the question and answer them myself. As there are 50 here, I’ve not given the longest of answers as I’d be writing all night otherwise.
The questions below cover pretty much everything you can think of when it comes to reading. So if you’ve ever wondered anything about me, there is likely the answer below.
1. What’s the first book you ever remember reading?
I think it would have to be the Harry Potter series. I can remember reading or being read The Philosopher’s Stone by my dad when I was around 5 or 6 years old.
2. Did someone read to you when you were a child?
As is above, yes. I remember my parents reading to me when I was younger. I can’t remember a lot as I am adopted and so don’t remember much before I was adopted at the age of four.
3. Who’s your all-time favourite book character?
I would say that maybe Scout from We Begin At The End is my favourite book character of all time – she’s young, brave and wise beyond her years. However, there have been some other great characters such as Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird or even, recently, Connell and Marianne from Normal People (this one is more about their relationship than their individual personalities.
4. Who’s your favourite author of all time? Your favourite book by them?
Whenever anybody asks me who my favourite author is, currently I tell them Brandon Sanderson. There isn’t a book by him that I’ve read that I haven’t enjoyed. I have read quite a few of his books and have more of them to review.
5. Has a book ever changed your life?
I wouldn’t say so, no. There are a couple of books that really made me stop and think by fully immersing me in. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee was one of these books and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini was another. Both books are powerful in the messages they try to get across, causing internal emotional reactions from me.
6. What genres do you love?
Fantasy is my favourite genre – I absolutely love picking up a brilliantly realised new world with political systems and well-realised characters.
Thrillers always have me gripped. They’re often really easy to read and the better ones keep you intrigued with great characters and often a smart twist here or there.
7. Are there any genres you dislike?
I don’t know if there are any I particularly dislike but romance isn’t a genre I actively go out and pick up. I find myself cringing quite easily unless the relationship and emotions are dealt with in a really mature and realistic way. Nothing is worse than Young Adult romance books where it’s just all about the “I can’t get the person but I get the person anyway and that was so obviously going to happen”.
Though you will note, I do have some books under my romance genre which I do have a lot of respect for.
8. What author (who is still living) would you dearly love to meet?
I’m not sure there are any authors that I’d actually like to meet. I think this is in part to the fac that I don’t really like socialising with people. But also I’m not someone who really idolises others. I have favourites and I can appreciate talented writers, but I’m not sure I’d ever go out of my way to meet an author. Not even sure I’d know what a fair few of the authors I’ve read would look like.
9. Have you ever met a (famous or semi-famous) author face to face? Where?
I haven’t, no. Not that I’ve known about anyway. I know of someone who met J.K. Rowling at a local pub in Norfolk but I can’t take any claim to that.
10. Do you prefer paperbacks or ebooks? Why?
Ah, I don’t bloody know. At the moment I would say Paperback. I am on a huge thing about collecting physical paperbacks at the moment and they’re a huge part of the whole social media scene being able to show physical copies of books.
However, we all know how great eBooks are. They’re often on sale for 99p and you can pick them up literally anywhere (as long as you’ve got something with a screen in your pocket/bag).
11. Have you ever read a self-published book?
I’m not 100% sure actually. I’ve read a couple of indie-published books where I’m one of the first people to read them, but I don’t believe any of them were self-published.
12. What book or series do you hope and pray will be turned into a movie or TV show one day?
I’ve always said I’d love to see the Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee turned into a TV series. It’s a Godfather-esque series about a family involved in the trading of “Jade” which is essentially a drug that gives people superhuman abilities. However, it’s a story more about the family struggles for power, the wars with other factions and the relationships between people – the Jade takes more of a backseat. I think it would work brilliantly with a smart, tame adaptation.
13. Do you think there are any movie adaptations out there that were actually better than the original?
I think the Jurassic Park movies (or the first at least) are better than the book. The book had a lot more science in it and I don’t think anybody would argue that the first movie is an absolute work of art. Other than that, I would say the only other is maybe Lord of the Rings. Now, don’t get me wrong, the books are utterly incredible. However, bringing a book that is utter fantasy into the mainstream and creating not just one but three of not just great films but some of the best films ever made is not an easy feat.
The films boosted the Lord of the Rings trilogy from being known as arguably the birth of mainstream fantasy to a household name that you’d struggle to find anybody who didn’t know some of the plot of.
14. Has a book you like ever been turned into a movie or TV series that you hated?
I would have to say that the Percy Jackson movies were quite awful compared to the successful books. Also, the Northern Lights (or Golden Compass) books were considerably better than the movies (however the His Dark Materials TV series is quite good).
15. What’s more important to you: prose or story?
Story every single time You can write a book beautifully but if it’s boring and nothing really happens then I just simply can’t give it a good review. Equally, I’ve read some books with some less than perfect writing but with stories that were so gripping and cleverly put together.
16. What attracts you to a book? The cover? Blurb? Recommendation from others?
I’ll admit it – the cover more often than not. However, there are far too many books out there at the moment with big white or yellow writing on the front and a house in the background to not read the blurb too.
So when browsing online, front covers often draw my attention and then I’ll read the blurb. However, the increased use of social media to promote books has me often picking up books that, from the cover, I’d never even consider because the reader has said they’re a must-read.
17. Have you read any of the old classics? What did you think of them?
Yes, I’ve read quite a few. Now I don’t know how old we’re talking but I have a genre on here specifically for classics. Two of my favourites were To Kill A Mockingbird and East of Eden. Two of my favourite books of all time.
18. Has a book ever scared you or given you nightmares?
Nope. However, one book that did make me feel quite tense as I read it quite late at night was The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean. If you’ve read it, you’ll know why it’s so tense and maybe not a great book to read when you’re alone at night.
19. Are there any books that are really popular but you dislike?
I mean, there are probably quite a few. If you read through my list of book reviews, you may find some of the best-known books do not receive the highest scores. Often books receive a lot of hype and love from social media and so I go into them expecting so much that no book could ever reach that potential. Also, romance books are very popular online (as the Bookish community is predominantly women) and I am often NOT a fan of these unless they’re very maturely done.
20. Are there any books that are considered terrible but are your secret pleasure?
The most recent book I can think of where there was considerable dislike for it was Normal People by Sally Rooney. In my review, I gave it a four-star but admitted that I came out of it absolutely loving it. Also, I remember The Familiars by Stacey Halls receiving a lot of hype and me not liking this at all.
21. What’s your favourite book cover?
Not. A. Clue. I have a few books that, as I look to the bookshelf on my left, I love the front cover of The Appeal by Janice Hallett has a great design, The Familiars by Stacey Halls, The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller and The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne with so many more being beautifully done too.
22. Do you prefer old books or new ones?
I love a good classic. But also, there are constantly absolutely brilliant books coming out. The likes of The Appeal show great innovation in storytelling but I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything as utterly brilliant as East of Eden of To Kill A Mockingbird
23. What was your favourite book when you were a child?
My favourite book series as a kid was the Alex Rider series. I was hooked on reading each of them and would actively go out and buy the newest ones as soon as they launched. Also, was obsessed with Harry Potter like pretty much everybody else!
24. How many books do you read a month?
Between 3 and 7 usually – depending on if I’m picking up an epic fantasy or historical fiction or not that month.
25. Would you like more time to read books?
Of course. I recently had a week off work where only on a few days did I really have any plans and it was fantastic – I read almost three books in a week. I just sat in the sun with a book and read indecently for hours.
26. Do you like to write reviews on Amazon or Goodreads?
If I had to choose, I’d choose to write them on Amazon as these help people when it comes to the sales of their books. Goodreads I could give or take – I generally just put a star rating on there now.
27. In general, do you think books are better or worse now than they used to be?
Better. I think the love for writing and publishing books hasn’t changed for a lot of people. I think people are willing to take longer curating books and with incredible fan bases, they are given time, resources and encouragement in ways not possible years ago.
Also, on a tangible level, some companies are creating some beautiful books and redesigns of older books these days really making book-collecting more rewarding than ever.
28. Where do you usually discover new books? Physical bookstores? Online? Social media?
Online and social media. I’m one to fall for a front cover of a book but I’m more one to find new books because they’re raved about by loads of people online.
29. Have you ever joined a book club?
I haven’t, though I have considered joining my local one in my town but it falls on the same day I do sports.
30. Where do you like to read? At home on the couch? On the train? In bed?
I most like to read outside in the sunshine. Other than that – in bed.
31. What deceased author would you have liked to meet?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m not that fussed about meeting any. However considering I’m a huge fan of East of Eden, I reckon John Steinbeck would have been an interesting conversationalist.
32. Think about your favourite genre. To you, which author is the master of that genre?
J.R.R Tolkein is the godfather of fantasy. Brandon Sanderson is currently the most successful fantasy writer I believe (considering his last crowdfunding campaign anyway).
33. Do you judge a book by its cover? Would a shoddy cover put you off?
Yes, I do judge books by their covers – I’m always more likely to have a read of their blurb than any other covers – but that’s just human nature. Not too many covers put me off – however, I simply refuse to read anything with a real human being on the front – it takes away my immersion and instantly screams “cheap” to me, unfortunately.
34. Do certain tropes attract you? For example, orphans, love triangles, anti-heroes?
I mean, I kind of like the “chosen one” trope if it is done well and not in a cheesy one. And I definitely like an anti-hero – I am often the person that will vouch for a baddy as long as their reasons are just and they’re not actually doing bad things, just seen as bad because they’re rude or can’t be bothered with niceties.
35. Are there any books you haven’t been able to finish? Why not?
I couldn’t finish Dune by Frank Herbert – it was too long and, as I was listening to the audiobook most of the time, it just seemed so confusing as to what was happening quite often. A lot of the book requires you to use your imagination and really visualise things which when listening to it whilst doing something else is quite tricky.
36. What are some of your favourite quotes or scenes from a book?
I often read quotes from books and think “I’d like to remember that” but then do nothing to help myself remember it. One that stuck with me though from East of Eden was “Perhaps the less we have, the more we are required to brag.” It’s a quote that has transitioned perfectly into the world of social media where often those who look most successful often lack the most important elements to be happy.
37. Did you read books in school? Can you remember which ones?
I can but I can’t remember which at school. I do remember picking up Alex Rider when I was in Primary school – remember reading it in the reading corner and then asking to take it home.
38. Are there any books you could read over and over again and never get bored of?
I reckon I could read the Harry Potter series over and over again – with a break in between of course. There’s something about the journey from the innocent, fun, magical first book to the dark, intense and adult last book.
39. What’s the last book you read?
The last book I finished (as of writing this question) was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.
40. What’s the last book you bought? Did you buy it online or at a store? Ebook or paperback?
I recently bought a selection of books from World of Books (now WoB) actually. These books were Revelation by CJ Sansom, The Foundling by Stacey Halls, Fifty Fifty by Steven Cavanagh and The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.
41. Do you like to display your books on a bookshelf or keep them in a virtual library?
Bookshelf. But only for the past couple of years. Before this, I wasn’t bothered about having a bookshelf as I was fine to read everything on my Kindle. However, starting this blog and subsequent social media channels meant that having physical copies of books became a far better idea.
Now I’m hooked on the idea of collecting absolutely every book I have read or intend to read. One day I’ll either have to stop or will have to invest in a larger house.
42. Do you prefer flash fiction, short stories, novellas, or novels?
I prefer proper novels – I’ve read a few novellas but generally, I much prefer longer books. I’d consider any book around 300 pages quite short and then 600+ page books are more my forte.
43. What book can you recommend to me?
We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker. It’s a book I’ve let multiple friends borrow and they’ve all agreed it’s absolutely brilliant. To Kill A Mockingbird and East of Eden are also absolute must-reads but I find because We Begin At The End is newer and not a “classic” it’s easier for people to consider.
44. When did you last visit a library?
I’m not sure actually. At least ten years ago. I do use the app Libby which relies on having a library card – though I only use it to lend audiobooks.
45. Have you ever had a crush on a book character?
46. Has a book ever made you laugh out loud?
I remember laughing out loud at Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. I found M-Bot to be very funny and so whilst listening to the audiobook found myself actively smiling and chuckling whilst I was walking along.
47. Has a book ever made you cry?
Not cry, no, but A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini had me at a point where I was sitting in the garden reading a certain section and had a real wave of emotion overcome me and I had to stop for a moment to catch myself for a moment.
48. Are you generally good at guessing twists or being able to see what’s coming? Have any stories genuinely shocked you?
If I’ve been told there’s a twist coming in a week, I often spend way too much of the book actually trying to guess the twist rather than enjoying the story and then being impressed by the twist. However, I remember The Silent Patient shocking me with its twist.
49. What’s your favourite drink, snack, or beverage to have beside you while you’re reading?
I love a hot drink whilst I read – whether it’s coffee or tea. I also love a good snack to eat whilst reading – though it has to be a snack I can easily eat with one hand that doesn’t distract away from my book-holding too much.
50. What book will you read next?
I have absolutely no idea and I never do. I usually ask my social media platforms what they think I should read or I pick based on what has come up on my Libby shelf to listen to.
Phew, that’s finally over…
That actually took a lot longer than I thought it would. However, there you have it – 50 questions to ask your bookish friends to strike up a conversation.
Go through these and let me know your answers – let me know if any of these questions stumped you. Either way, message me on my social media channels once you’ve read this article!
Here’s a list of every book I mentioned above in case you want to buy them yourself:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Normal People by Sally Rooney
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
- Jade City by Fonda Lee
- Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
- Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
- The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
- The Appeal by Janice Hallett
- The Familiars by Stacey Halls
- The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
- The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
- Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
- Revelation by CJ Sansom
- The Foundling by Stacey Halls
- Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh
- Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides