danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
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For a book related meme - read on.

1. What fiction book are you reading now?

I've started Seveneyes by Neil Stevenson but I'm finding myself not quite in the mood for it. I'm also dipping in to Simon Armitage's Homer's Odysses - the play of the poem.

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

I'm half way through Team of Rivals, a political biography of Abe Lincoln and I'm about to start SPQR, Mary Beard's history of Rome.

3. What were your favourite books as a child?

I like Billy Bunter and the Belgariad books at a child.

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

The earliest book I rememer reading is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  During reading time one day at primary school, a group of my classmates and I were taken, in secret, to a special locked cabinet in another room and issued with the book because we were "advanced".

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

I was. Usually Doctor Who

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

I enjoy reading anything to my children. The Captain very much prefers to have him mum read to him. So reading to him is a rare pleasure. I keep telling him that I've had training by the RSC and am an Australian government certified storyteller but he is unmoved by my pleas.

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

I can't remember. I tend not to use the library because I'm awful at remembering to take the books back on time.

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

I don't think I ever have.

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

Pawn of Prophesy by David Eddings. I bought it to read on the car journey from Adelaide to Darwin when we moved there, briefly, when I was a teenager.

10. Can you remember what it cost?

$8 Australian I think.

11. Have you ever bought or read a book on the basis of its cover alone?

Not a book, no.

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

I don't think so. I mean, I can't think of a book that I would otherwise have bought but didn't because of the cover. I didn't buy a book once because of the author's views on Scottish Independence but he didn't put them on the cover, just in a tweet.

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

The only one that comes to mind is Josh Kirby who did a lot of cover art for the Discworld series.

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

V for Vendetta

15. E-books or dead tree books?

I tend to buy fiction as an e-book. In particular science fiction or Wodeshouse, which I don't think my wife will want to read after me. For non-fiction I tend to buy those in paper form.

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

No, I walk to work and either walk home or take the bus. I think I ought to read on the bus but by the time I've checked my phone, had a look at the view, collected my thoughts there isn't time to properly start reading, so I don't.

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

My step-father once threw out a book that I'd left on the table after breakfast. He declared a "rule" that books shouldn't be left on the table during the day. He was full of these sort of pointless, arbitary and impractical rules. The man was a total dick.

18. Do you buy second hand books?

Occassionally. There are several really good second-hand book shops in Edinburgh. Some near work. Some near home. So I pop in occassionally and buy a second-hand book.

19. Do you keep all the books you buy?

I usually keep a book if I've bought it. However, the house is about full of books, so I'm going to get rid of some, either by placing them on permanent loan to my dad for his house in Orkney or donating some of the science fiction I didn't really enjoy. Oh, and mum might get some of my duplicate copies of Terry Pratchett.

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

Yes, but not often. Usually dad, who lives down the road and occassionally mum.

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

I must have done I suppose but I have no memory of it happening.

22. Spine – broken or unbroken?

I like to keep my books in reasonable shape but I am bad at it.

23. Hardback, paperback or trade?

I don't much like reading hardback books. Too bulky and heavy.

24. Is there a bookshop in your town?

My town is made of bookshops. I can count at least six new bookshops, including the radical political bookshop. I bet there are more. This does not include the Book Festival.

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

Loads, I can count a dozen.

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

No. Why would they do such a thing?

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


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

I do. Several Terry Pratchett books. Several Iain Banks and Iain M Banks. One Simon Armitage. There may be more.

29. Do you own any books signed by the cover artist?

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

I have, Terry Pratchett and Iain Banks.

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

Only my own.


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

 Between 1 and 4 weeks, depending on what sort of normal circumstances I'm experiencing (reading something else, busy at work, the Captain being marvellous)

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

If an e-book, then 1 will be sufficient. If a paperbook, then 1 will probably be okay but two would be handier.

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

I eitehr use a bookmark or I remember which page I'm on.

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

Only textbooks and only in pencil.

36. What book are you most eagerly awaiting?

The lost Culture trilogy that Iain M Banks' literary executor is about to find in the attic of flat in Leith.

37. What book really needs to be written?

The British Constitution, by the People of Britain.

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

Guy de Maaupassant

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

I struggled with Tess of the D'urbervilles by Hardy and the Confessions of a Justified Sinner by Hogg

40. Do you always finish the books you read?

Usually, I dislike not finishing them. The last book I gave up on was the Bel Dame War and before that a book that provoked me to review it negatively on Amazon and got me in to a heated debate with the author who thought I was wrong about what I liked in a book.

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

There is usually about half a dozen on the go.

42. Do you give books as presents?

I do.

43. Genre fiction, mainstream fiction or poetry?

I reject the distinction.

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

Any and all.

45. Do you read in the bath?

Not really. I think I enjoy reading in the bath. However, I don't. In fact I don't like baths. I'm thinking of proposing replacing my bath with a wetroom.

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

I take my Kindle. I'll probably buy a few books to go on it in addition to my current back catalogue.

47. Do you read book review blogs or columns?


48. Have you ever reviewed a book?

Yes. I got in to a fight with the author.

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

I wouldn't. Every book I have is replacable. Several have sentimental attachments but none so stong that I'd hesitate to take them when running from a burning building.

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

Player of Games by Iain M Banks or the Baroque Cycle by Neil Stephenson.

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

The Mighty Dead, Why Homer Matters by Ian Nicolson.

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

No, most of my personal possessions were destroyed by my ex partner.

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

They did. In the sense that they passed on books they had enjoyed to me and which I, in turn, enjoy now. Physically, see above.

54. Do you listen to audiobooks?

I do not.

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

Rarely, only Doctor Who and Red Dwarf?

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

I don't recall doing so. Perhaps 2001.

57. Do you read the blurb on books?


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

That the author was dead and there were going to be no more books in the series.

59. What are your quirky reading habits?

I don't have any. Everyone one else has quirky reading habits. My considered patterns of behaviour are well designed to maximise my reading pleasure.

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

Not that I've noticed. In books at least.

I hate reading pdf documents on the PC that are in columns.

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

I believe I have. A few books by Ankaret Wells, which I enjoyed very much and have been reminded to see if the follow ups are available to buy.

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

The Culture books by Iain M Banks changed how I thought about politics. Terry Pratchett got me through most of the difficult times in my life.

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

The Selfish Gene and the Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins, A Theory of Justice by John Rawls and Foundations of Corporate Success by John Kay.

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

About one to one.

65. Do you read biographies?

I do. My favourite is probably the biography of Thomas Cochraine.

66. What’s your favourite coffee table book?

I have a large book about Anton Gaudi.

67. Roughly how many physical books do you own?

Between my lovely wife and I we have 13 bookshelves of books.

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

I'd probably buy another copy.

69. What’s next in your To Read pile?

SPQR by Mary Beard, a non Falco book by Lindsey Davis and at some point I should read the other books about slavery that I bought a few months ago.

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


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

I tend to go to the bookshop to buy books, rather an particular book. I'm not sure if that makes the purchases impulse purchases or not.

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

See above.

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

I am not. I was for a while when in Swindon but I didn't greatly enjoy it. I do need to find some ways of being exposed to new writers though.

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

It depends on what sort of mood I'm in when I finish the book

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

Old people are forgetful and cowardly and self-indulgent.

I generally think things are better today than they were in the past. Particularly with books, I have access to all the great books writen before "today" and I have access to all of the books current today. Including the new great books and contemporary fluff - which I expect to be no more and no less fluffy than fluff of yesteryear.


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