There are all manner of tags and memes which go round the InterWeb and as a rule I don’t often do these. However, I saw one recently on Annabel’s blog, which she had got from Calmgrove, and Calmgrove had got it from Bookforager and who knows where it was before! I thought it was quite fun, and so before you could say Proust, I thought I’d have a go myself – so here goes!

1. Inside flap/back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

I like something which gives me a hint of what the book is about although not too much – I want to go on a voyage of discovery in a book, after all, and if the whole plot is laid out there it rather puts me off reading a book. But I *do* need to get some idea of whether the book is going to be for me, so it’s a balance really. Much as I love Persephone’s books, for example, they really don’t tell you a lot on the cover! What I do get fed up with, though, is the modern trend of covering book covers with endorsements from other authors. I prefer a sensible quote about a book, like the ones Fitzcarraldo put in the front of their books; or a couple of endorsements like the two which appeared on M. John Harrison’s recent “The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again” from Robert Macfarlane and China Mieville. That was just right; any more would have been too much.

2. New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, eBook, Paperback or Hardcover?

Never an eBook. I loathe reading on a screen; it’s not good for my eyes, I can’t take it in, I work on screens for a good part of the day anyway, and I can’t bear not being able to flick about within a book. As for hardback or paperback, I can’t really give a decisive answer to that one. What matters to me most is readability in the form of text size and handleability. Sometimes a nice, decent sized paperback that flops open easily can be just as good, if not better, than a big hardback and doesn’t have the weight issue.

An example of how mad I go with post-its when I’m loving a book… ;D

3. Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books; take notes, make comments, or do you keep your books clean, clean, clean?

Never. Absolutely never. I do not write on books ever. I don’t understand why you would do that. I mark bits with post-its and write scribbly notes on bits of paper if I need to. But never on the book itself. Shudder…

4. Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

It doesn’t matter in the slightest; I choose a book entirely because I think it will interest me, entertain me, move me, take my thinking in different directions or change me permanently (and any numbers of the books have done all these things to me over the years). It doesn’t even matter if I don’t know what the author’s gender is; I can’t see why that would be relevant. What matters to me is the book and what it’s going to say to me and the places to which it will take me.

5. Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

Only extremely rarely, and that would be in cases when I was so invested in a particular character that I couldn’t bear to wait to find out if something would be resolved. But this is very rare, and I usually hate doing that kind of thing.

An example of the kind of way my shelves often look…

6. Organized bookshelves or outrageous bookshelves?

All over the place bookshelves… I’ve got books and shelves all over the house and they’re sort of in some kind of rough order, though it is becoming harder to always track things down. I used to fairly reliably be able to find a book, but that’s not the case nowadays. I’ve shared any number of my #showusyourshelfies online, which made realise how scattered my books are. The dream is to one day have neat, orderly single stacked bookshelves all in one room and in an orderly fashion, so that I could find whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and know exactly what I own. But I suspect that may never happen…

7. Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

Often! Not just because a cover is beautiful (although in the case of e.g. the British Library Crime Classics, the vintage designs are irresistible.) Sometime a cover can strike a chord or resonate in an unexpected way. The earliest one I can recall is “The Abortion” by Richard Brautigan, because the author picture on the cover reminded me of someone I had a teenage crush on!

8. Take it outside to read, or stay in?

Usually inside. I’ve never been much of a read in the sunshine type because I have pretty sensitive eyes; and I’ve developed hay fever as I’ve got older which doesn’t help. Having said that, I do try never to leave the house (not that I do at the moment…) without a book so that if I’m stuck anywhere like the dentist’s waiting room I have something to pass the time. So although I don’t actually seek to read outside, I can probably read anywhere given half a chance! 😀

Well, that was jolly entertaining! This is a fun tag, so do pinch it and join in; because I love to read about everyone else’s reading habits too!