So guys, we’ve been chatting about books since March and I thought maybe it was time for us to get to know each other a little better. So today I’ve put together a sort of FAQ – some of the sorts of things people always ask me when they find out about my book loving ways.
1) What is your favourite book?
‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ by Jean-Dominique Bauby. For those who don’t know, it’s a book written by the Editor in Chief of French Elle magazine after suffering a stroke which left him fully paralyzed save for the ability to flicker his left eyelid. By using an alphabet board and flickering the lid when a scribe pointed to the right letter, he wrote a whole book. Not only is this an astounding feat in itself, but the language and structure of the book is beautiful, too.
2) What is your favourite genre?
Historical fiction. Rose Tremain’s book ‘Restoration’ was the one that got me hooked. And I’m a complete sucker for anything to do with the French Revolution in particular.
3) What’s your favourite Roald Dahl book?
A good question to ask almost anyone when you’re talking about books, because I am yet to meet a person who didn’t love at least one of them. It’s an absurdly hard question to answer. I think that ‘Danny, The Champion of the World’ just about pips it for me (that father-son relationship gets me right there), but I will be re-reading the whole canon until I am dead and gone because honestly in my eyes they make up one of the most creative and wonderful bodies of work any author has produced.
n.b. The Vermicious Knids in ‘Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator’ are among the scariest of all villains I’ve ever read. If anyone sends in photos of themselves dressed as one for Halloween, I will send you a prize.
3) Do you prefer an exciting plot or character development?
I feel like this is pretty analogous with asking a heterosexual bloke if he is a “leg man” or a “breasts man”. You might get a clear answer out of them, but chances are they’re actually pretty damn keen on both. If you really pushed me, I’d probably come down in the plot camp… but only when that plot is being moved forward by great characters. Argh.
4) Why did you start a book blog?
In a word, unemployment. I was time-rich and money-poor and was spending a crazy amount of time reading – which is saying something considering I wasn’t exactly book-shy before my circumstances changed. I had a surfeit of opinions I wanted to voice about all of these books and felt bad about chewing my friends’ ears off. So I hopped on to the internet and found millions (ok… dozens) of new friends with new ears for me. That came out weirdly.
5) Which other book blogs do you follow?
Lots of very famous ones that I’m sure you’ll die of boredom if I talk about. The Millions, Bookriot and suchlike. Obviously, they’re big for a reason – they’re great. On a smaller scale, I’m a fan of bookcunt (especially her Twitter account)and Dead White Guys (again, great accompanying Twitter account).
6) Have you ever really loved a book which is widely considered to be crap?
Of course I have. People who claim to exclusively read classics and prize-winners (or only classics if you’re chatting to a real winner) are either straight-up lying and have a secret cupboard groaning at the hinges with Jackie Collinses, or must be incredibly vain about their book choices. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I love Janet Evanovich’s ‘Stephanie Plum’ series. She is a badass female bounty hunter and a relatable, Bridget Jones-ey character. What’s not to love?!
7) Flip-reverse that last one – have you ever hated a book which seems to receive nothing but praise?
The Goodreads blurb for Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch 22’ reads: “It is one of the funniest books ever written, a keystone work in American literature”. Sorry, no. I was also pretty underwhelmed by ‘1984’ – but dystopian fiction isn’t usually my bag anyway so that feels a bit unfair. I can objectively see why that one goes over so well.
8) If you could go out drinking with a fictional character, who would you take?
Extremely hard to say. Roberta Muldoon from John Irving’s ‘The World According to Garp’ would probably be lot of fun. Odysseus is obviously a top lad, too, so I’d buy him a pint.
10) Have you ever written a book, or would you like to?
When I was younger I had a set of what are best described as imaginary friends. The difference was, I wouldn’t ever actually imagine them as interacting with my own life. They weren’t grounded in my surroundings or situations and I didn’t play a part- instead I would constantly be dreaming up plots and conversations with this little cast of characters, all around one central theme and based in one specific place. They grew with me over years and years – I’m talking until I was at least 19 or 20, and became pretty complex individuals. It had always been at the back of my mind that I would write a book about my “friends”, but by the time I actually sat down to write I was completely overwhelmed at how much I wanted to say all at once. If I was ever to go through with it, I think I’d have to pull a J.K. Rowling and get some crazy-detailed notes and diagrams drawn up to help me organise it all!
So now you have a little more of an idea who’s behind all of these mouthy, know-it-all posts. Thanks for the support so far, guys! I love writing brewandbook, and it makes my day every time someone comments, favourites or subscribes to my posts. Speaking of which, I’d love to hear your answers to these questions, so go nuts in the comments! If you write your own blog, why not answer these questions over there and link it below? Sharing is caring!
Until next time! x