A Bookish Meme

This has apparently been doing the rounds somewhat, although I’ve picked it up from Stephen Lang.

So here we are then. My thoughts on a lot of book related topics…

Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror?

All three. Really, honestly and truly. At a push, I’d probably edge towards Fantasy, possibly someone like the now sadly-departed David Gemmell. On the other hand, to do that would be to ignore the Sci-Fi genius that was Isaac Asimov (and he told a pretty mean detective story too). And I like Horror. Ah, what the hell, I’ll stick with my first answer. Fantasy.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?

Mass market Paperbacks. I read about three to five books a week, and I probably buy at least two or three new books every month. I just couldn’t afford to do it without them being mass market ones. Ideally, I’d like them to be on offer with at least two quid off the cover price as well…

Although I do buy hardbacks and trade paper backs on occassion — but only if they are reduced (for example I recently bought the trade paperback of Harlen Coben’s “Promise Me” because it was reduced to a fiver — less than the standard paperback would be, when that does come out).

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?

Brick and Mortar. Usually WH Smiths or Waterstones. The problem is that when I buy a book, I want to start reading it immediately. I don’t want to wait. And therefore Amazon just doesn’t do it for me in that regard. Besides which, I don’t generally know what book I’m going to buy until I’ve had a browse about…

Barnes & Noble or Borders?

As I’ve never been to a Barnes and Noble, but there is a Borders near me, it’ll have to be that.

Bookmark or Dogear?

Sadly, I don’t treat books with enough respect. Dogear it is as I don’t generally have a convenient bookmark. If I do have one (even something like a bus ticket) I’ll happily use that, however. I’d like to assure Stephen Lang however that I wouldn’t dream of doing this:

People who dogear … tear the last chapter out of a really long book they are reading to take on holiday.Stephen Lang

Alphabetize by author Alphabetize by title or random?

I’m sorry, but I really can’t be bothered to waste time categorizing and organising books when I could be reading them. Random.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?

Keep. I currently have seven overflowing large bookcases, various other piles of books (bedroom, bathroom, living room), and another four “shelves” (used to be referred to as “window ledges”) packed with books. Don’t take my books away.

Keep dustjacket or toss it?

Remove dustjacket so it doesn’t get torn and keep falling off when I’m reading the book. Put it down somewhere safe for the time being. Finish reading the book. Dust jacket nowhere to be found. Bugger. Toss it, but by default rather than deliberate policy.

Read with dustjacket or remove it?

I think I just answered that one.

Short story or novel?

I read more novels than short stories but I can’t give a definitive answer here because it depends on the mood I’m in, how long I’ve got to read and so on.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?


Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

Stop reading? Stop reading? What on earth would you want to do that for?

No. Stop reading only when finished book. Otherwise keep reading until finally fall asleep at about 3 a.m.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?

Ideally neither, something with a little less cheese. Of the two, stormy night.

Buy or Borrow?

You missed “beg” and “steal”. But the answer is buy, hence the overflowing shelving arrangements.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?

Almost exclusively browsing, although I will search out particular books or authors that have been recommended to me, and browse their books deliberately on that basis to see if I think I’m likely to like them.

Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)?

Either. Both. I’ve probably got about the same number of each, but that could be down to the fact that there tend to be more anthologies than collections published, but I really, truly and honestly don’t mind.

Golden Age SF or New Wave SF?

Neither, really. If you mean “New Wave” as the stuff from the last ten years, and “Golden Age” as stuff before 1970, then it’s probably the in-between period where you find most of the SF that I like. That’s not to say I don’t like Golden Age or New Wave, merely that I’m more at home with Larry Niven, Julian May or some of the later Asimov that I am with China Mieville or whoever.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?

Quite tidy. I don’t mind a few threads left dangling, but it kind of spoils it if you find yourself wondering “so what was that plot thread all about, then?” at the end. Not a cliffhanger. I want to know that there has been a resolution — even if that is still allowed to be slightly ambiguous.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?

Yes, all three.

Standalone or Series?

Probably series. I like authors who have written quite a few books so if I like the one I’ve read I can go and pick up some more (which reminds me, Christopher Brookmyre, if you’re reading — any chance you could publish a new book at least eveyr month?). They don’t necessarily have to have the same cast or be a continuation — Brookmyre’s crime/thriller novels are a good example where certain characters crop up again, or events from other books get mentioned, even if the next book doesn’t have the same characters as the previous one, or even a continuation of the story.

It’s really a continuation of the world view that I’m looking for rather than the cast — this was again something David Gemmell’s Drenai series excelled at. I don’t mind if the same characters crop up or if the story runs over several books, but I do like at least a continuation of the world view.

New or used?

At least two thirds of the books I’ve read I’ve read before. I don’t tend to buy used books, but I’ll happily re-read books time and again.

4 Responses to “A Bookish Meme”

  1. Stephen responds:

    Nice answers. It’s just that I have a friend who dogears, and then I caught him doing the tearing out thing. Things haven’t quite been the same between us since then.

  2. Joe Dolson responds:

    Nice answers. It’s just that I have a friend who dogears, and then I caught him doing the tearing out thing. Things haven’t quite been the same between us since then.

    It can be shocking to discover such despicable habits in a friend. I sympathize.

    I’m tempted to do this meme myself - but, honestly, my answers are almost 100% identical to yours…so what’s the point? I’ll just say “me too!”

    One difference: I stop reading when the girlfriend says “Damnit, Joe! Stop reading!” Choice, you see, doesn’t play into it.

  3. Steve Pugh responds:

    New Wave SF is typically taken to mean the 60s and 70s movement that was more focussed on psychology and sociology than ‘hard’ SF stuff like space ships. Whilst The Golden Age is usually taken to be 40s and 50s.

  4. Revish blog responds:

    A bookish meme

    Prompted by Jack and before him Stephen: Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror? Fantasy. Horror is probably my most neglected genre, I haven’t read anything that would deserve the term since I was a teenager. Maybe time to address that. Hardback…

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