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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    36 Reviews
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      07.04.2010 17:08
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      The written word is powerful!

      Just for a change from reviewing specific products ...

      Question: What is your favourite genre?

      Not sure I have one favourite - my tastes range from the classics to fantasy, with plenty in between. I tend to have phases of preferring a particular genre for a while, then move on to something else.
      _______________________

      Question: Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century?

      Definitely - Austen, Dickens, Brontes, love them all though have to be in the right mood!
      ____________________

      Question: Are you interested in thrillers?

      Yes, though not my first choice. I do love Adam Hall and Duncan Kyle.
      _______________________

      Q: What about horror stories?

      Not really my thing - Kathy Reichs' 'Bones' books are about the nearest I get.

      _______________________

      Q: Do you read Science Fiction?

      Yes - I prefer fantasy though. Orson Scott Card is my all time fave, though Anne McCaffrey figures pretty heavily in my collection too.

      ______________________


      Q: How many Harry Potter books have you read?

      All of them, several times - I resisted for a while because of all the hype, but I honestly love them. What I particularly admire is the way you can read the later books and see how the earlier ones were building plots you never realised. Loose ends are tied up brilliantly!

      ________________________


      Q: Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?

      Not many. Christian testimonies yes, (e.g. Barry Woodward's "Once an Addict") - but not many others grab me, certainly not self-styled celebrities.
      ________________________


      Q: Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?

      Oh yes - still have most of them! Enid Blyton definitely, but I also really loved Elinor M. Brent-Dyer's "Chalet School" books, Anthony Buckeridge's "Jennings" books, C.S. Lewis's "Narnia" books and Richmal Crompton's "Just William" books to name a few.

      _______________________


      Q: Have you reread these books as a grown-up?

      Yes - I like to read books before my kids so we can discuss what they are reading, so when I got them started on all my old books, it was the perfect excuse! I've also enjoyed discovering all the new books for children - I love Artemis Fowl, Alex Rider, Jane Blonde, ...
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      Q: Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you?

      Loads - I think anything you read has a subtle influence on how you see the world. The Bible is the obvious one - it speaks truth into so many situations.

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      Q: Which are your favourite authors?

      Orson Scott Card, Anthony Horowitz, C.S. Lewis, Alexander McCall Smith

      ________________________


      Q: Which book would you take with you on a desert island?

      The honest answer would be the Bible, but as that's a desert island discs cop-out answer (especially as it's really 66 books anyway) I'd be more specific and say Revelation - the apostle John imprisoned on the island of Patmos would be a good person to empathise with!
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      Q: What is your attitude towards translations?

      I've read a few - Peter Hoeg springs to mind, "Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow" translated from the Danish was haunting and fascinating. The best translations are when you forget (or never realise!) that you're not reading the original.

      ________________________


      Q: Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?

      Mostly buy - mainly because I'm a huge re-reader, so books that are any good get read many times in our house! I do buy a lot second hand though - Awesome Books is a great website!
      ________________________


      Q: When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?

      I love the feel of hardbacks, but prefer paperbacks for ease of reading. You can fit more on the bookshelf too - a major benefit as our 6 ceiling-high bookcases are a bit on the full side!

      ________________________


      Q: Have you ever tried Audio Books?

      Yes - a few one-offs, but as a family we love these for long journeys. Carl Hiaasen's "Hoot" was a great one. We have a full set of Martin Jarvis reading Just William - fantastic! He adds so much to the telling. We have listened to most of Adjoa Andoh reading The Number One Ladies Detective Agency - another series that benefits amazingly from being read aloud. She makes the apprentices unforgettable! Alex Rider too is a favourite. These would never replace reading the books for me (all those I've listened to I have also read) but they do add something special if done well.

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        06.04.2010 12:20
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        * What is your favourite genre?

        - Probably fantasy, although I like to read quite a variety of genres and have recently got into thrillers and crime books.


        * Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century?
        I've tried a couple but honestly not got very far. I got about 100 pages into Hard Times then gave up and similar with Pride and Prejudice. I just can't get my head around the Victorian way of writing - by that I mean I understand it, but it just doesn't grip me and want to make me keep on reading like more modern fiction does. I did however successfully manage to get through Alice in Wonderland - again I didn't like the style of writing even though I enjoyed the plot, I think I only managed to finish it because it's short!
        I've got a whole shelf of my bookcase dedicated to classics and I will force myself to get through them one day!


        * Are you interested in thrillers?

        Yes, but I've only recently started reading them. Most genre's interest me to some degree - just read in moderation ie. mix with others.


        * What about horror stories?

        Again this is another genre I've recently got into.


        * Do you read science fiction?

        Yes, sometimes people look down upon sci-fi books as if they aren't as worthy of literary praise, but in all honesty some of them are very well written and highly imaginative.


        * How many Harry Potter books have you read?

        All of them, but to be fair I was a child when they first came out - I continued to read them as each was released, because if a book is a part of a series I like to read the whole thing. I was never one of those people who would wait in line for hours to get hold of a copy and I would only buy one if it was cheap enough. I don't think Harry Potter is the greatest childs book series ever, but the books are decent.

        * Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?

        Yes - I've tried a few and given up before the end, but there are some I've enjoyed.
        Ones I would particularly recommend are:
        My shit life so far - Frankie Boyle (very funny)
        Lucky Man/Always looking up - Michael J Fox (very interesting and well written books of his life and experiences with Parkinson's disease).


        * Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?

        Certainly!
        The Redwall series by Brian Jacques
        Books by Colin Dann (particularly Farthing Wood)
        Fell/The Sight and Firebringer by David Clement Davies
        Tooth and Claw/Skin and Bone by Stephen Moore
        Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
        All but the last one are books about animals - I rarely read any other type of book as a child.


        * Have you re-read these books as a grown-up?

        I finished re-reading Tom's Midnight Garden last Sunday :) I still have all the other books in my bookcase too, so that I can read them again should I feel like it.


        * Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you?

        Nothing that comes to mind although there have been books that stay with me for quite a while after reading them - the sort where you keep thinking about them for ages after you finished reading, because there's something particularly poignant in the message that they convey.


        Q: Which are your favourite authors?

        Bill Bryson - I haven't read all of his books, but the ones I have are very funny and written in such a way that makes you almost feel like you're there with him on his journeys. Bill is my first experience of reading travel writing and it makes me want to venture further into the genre and see what else is out there. His books make you want to keep on reading until the end - hard to put down but easy to read and generally uplifting and light hearted.
        Anne Rice - her vampire novels are a bit hard going at times, but worth carrying on with. They make such a difference from all these horridly sappy 'modern vampire' books that seem so popular at the moment. Anne Rice's vampires seem so much more realistic than any other such novel I've read, and that is their success - to make you feel like it could be real.
        Brian Jacqes - writes some brilliantly imaginative animal stories set in Redwall Abbey. His books are very different from any other type of children's animal book you will pick up. They are fantastically unique and very engaging.
        David Clement Davies - again animal stories for the younger reader (I'd say early teens) with poignant plots that are engaging and almost lead the reader from real kids books into more advanced reading.
        John Marsden - he wrote an absolutely fantastic series of books (The Tomorrow series) about the impacts of Australia being invaded and taken over by another country. The books are narrated by a girl called Ellie and follow her and her friends as they struggle to survive and win back their country. Incredibly well written and really make you think about the impacts of invasion were it to happen to one of our 'civilised' countries that seem so resistant to such a possibility, maybe we aren't as immune as we all think?
        JRR Tolkien - Lord of the Rings is amazing and Tolkien's imagination knows no bounds. His style of writing may put some readers off, but what he writes of seems so limitless that it's almost like reading a history or mythology of our own world.


        * Which book would you take with you on a desert island?
        Tough choice, it would have to be either a very long one or something I enjoy reading so much that I could keep rereading it to stop me from going insane.
        I think I'd have to go with one of the Duncton Wood books by William Horwood because they satisfy the condition of being both very long and interesting.


        * What is your attitude towards translations?
        I have no problem with them - I read the english translation of The Ring last week. One thing that does get to me though is obvious mistakes - I noticed at least 3 problems with the translation of the ring (missing words or wrong word used) and yet I'm no editor. The translation was published by Harper Collins so surely they should be able to find and rectify such issues before print? You would think that there would be enough stages of approval that a book would have to go through before print that if there were any issues at the end of it, someone like me (the average reader) would not pick up on them.

        * Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?

        I buy - I'm not sure why but I don't like borrowing books. It's not that I have something against germs - I'll happily buy second hand books, it's just that, if it's at all possible I need to own the book I'm reading.
        I only keep a handful of books after I've finished reading them though - I tend to sell the others on at carboots or swap them with other people. As such I need to make my book buying as money efficient as possible - I buy most of my books second hand from charity shops or the sale shelf of the local library. When I buy books new I tend to get them either from 'The Works' (nice and cheap) or on amazon - greater choice, lower than RRP prices and I get vouchers for them off here and on survey websites.


        * When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?

        Paperback - I like to keep my books looking as new as possible and I find that hardbacks are actually easier to damage because the dust jacket always gets ripped or bent. Plus the added bonus is that paperbacks tend to be smaller and lighter so they're easier to carry around with you.


        * Have you ever tried Audio Books?

        No, not my sort of thing. If it's a book I want to read it, not listen to it.

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        19.03.2010 19:41
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        Me and my books

        What would life be without books?

        I grew up in house so full of books it looks like a library, and I'm currently contemplating what to do with my own collection. I'm expecting to spend 2010 living in 3 different countries, so most of them will have to go. I don't see much point in holding on to that many books nowadays anyway - most can be orederd again online if I really want to re-read them.


        * What is your favourite genre?

        Difficult to say. I've found myself moving away from fiction recently and more towards politics/travel. In general, I love reading books about life in other countries. I'm going through a bit of an Afghanistan phase at the moment.

        * Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century?

        Yes, I recently re-read Wuthering Heights (did it for A-level) and have read the other usual classics of English literature. I've even read older stuff such as Don Quijote - it took me months though!

        * Are you interested in thrillers?

        My dad is, but I've never been able to get into this genre. I'm part way through an Austrian detective novel at the moment but it's a comic one so that's ok!

        * What about horror stories?

        Nope, not since I was a teenager (another Point Horror fan here!) The world is so full of horror already I don't feel the need to read about fictional horrors too.

        * Do you read science fiction?

        No.

        * How many Harry Potter books have you read?

        I got tired of them when I was on book 4. I just found them so repetitive and over-hyped. I only read 1-3 because I was ill one summer in Romania and had nothing else in English to read.

        * Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?

        Not really, but I'd like to.

        * Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?

        I was such an Enid Blyton fan as a child that I started reading literary criticism on her works when I ran out of kids' books. I also read and enjoyed the Babysitters' Club series but found it quite far-fetched - who seriously puts their babies in the care of an unknown 11-year-old? One of my favourites as a kid was a book in the form of a satirical magazine for monsters called Witches in Stitches, which had an agony aunt called Aunty Coagula. Anyone remember that?

        * Have you re-read these books as a grown-up?

        No.

        * Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you?

        Bertrand Russell's The Conquest of Happiness occasionally reminds me to focus on what's important in life.

        * Who are your favourite authors?

        Ian McEwan is my all-time favourite, I think. His books have so many different levels and strands. I also like some of Margaret Atwood's novels (e.g. The Blind Assassin) but dislike others. Kate Atkinson's Behind the Scenes at the Museum is one of the best I've ever read. I suppose what they all have in common are plot twists at the end!

        * Which book would you take with you on a desert island?

        War and Peace. Then I might actually read it.

        * What is your attitude towards translations?

        We'd be a lot worse off without them. It would be such a shame to miss out on the greats of world literature. Having said that, I prefer to read books in the original if it's a language I speak.

        * Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?

        All of the above except steal!

        * When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?

        Paperbacks, so I can carry them around with me.

        * Have you ever tried Audio Books?

        Yes, but I prefer to see the words on the page so I can re-read a sentence if necessary.

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          18.03.2010 13:44
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          Book Quiz

          *What is your favourite genre?*
          I love many different types of books, and go through phases of reading as much of one genre as I can lay my hands on, before I get bored and move onto something else. I'm currently reading the Young Bond books, and this fits right in with my regular returning to Crime fiction, and thrillers. I also like a bit of Chick lit, historical fiction and good old fashioned romance. I always have a book on the go.

          *Do you read the classics (ie the great authors of the 18th and 19th century)?*
          I've read a handful, I like the Bronte sisters, and Jane Austen, a lot of the "classics" I read were at school, we studied Thomas Hardy and various Shakespeare plays. I do enjoy them, but often find them much heavier going than anything modern.

          *Are you interested in thrillers?*
          I love thrillers, and they are probably my favourite types of book, at least 9 times out of 10.

          *What about horror stories?*
          I'd rather read a horror story than watch a horror film, but I have to really be in the mood to be scared.

          *Do you read science fiction?*
          Again, I have to be in the mood for sci-fi, although I did enjoy Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

          *How many Harry Potter books have you read?*
          All of them, many many times. I love them, and much prefer the books to the films. Although like many people I was sadly disappointed by the epilogue in the final book.

          *How many Twilight books have you read?*
          I've read all 4 of the twilight books. I devoured them pretty quickly too. I can't really get on with the Host, her other book, which makes me wonder if the twilight series was a one off for me. I'm Team Jacob baby!

          *Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?*
          I struggle with anything that is non-fictional. I've read only a handful of biographies at all, and then only when I've really struggled through them. My boyfriend on the other hand loves them, much prefers them to most other books.

          *Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?*
          I adored the Little Women books, and also the Anne of Green Gables stories when I was younger, and Roald Dahl was my favourite author. I also loved Swallows and Amazons which was my dad's favourite book when he was a child. And the Narnia books.

          *Have you re-read any of these books as a grown up?*
          Most of them, and I still love them just as much. I think children's books are often just as good, if not better than adults books.

          *Is there a book you can say has influenced you?*
          I can't think of one as such.

          *Which are your favourite authors?*
          There are so many - current favourites are Tess Gerritsen, John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell, Minette Walters, Dan Brown, Charlaine Harris.

          *Which book would you take with you on a desert island?*
          That is a mean question!!
          A big one!

          *What is your attitude towards translations?*
          I don't really have an opinion, having only ever read one book that was a translation, it was from Spanish and I can't for the life of me remember what it was called.

          *Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?*
          I love second hand books. I have no idea why, but I struggle to go past a charity shop without going in and looking. But I love books however I get them, my house is full to bursting of books.

          *When you buy books do you prefer hardcover editions or paperbacks?*
          I prefer to read paperbacks, but think hardbacks look nicer, if I have a set of books I like them to all be the same, whether hardback or paperback.

          *Have you ever tried audio books?*
          No, I haven't but I'd like too.

          *What about e-books?*
          Again, never tried but I'd like too.

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          18.03.2010 12:06
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          I love my books :)

          * What is your favourite genre?
          Like the weather, it changes constantly and usually depends on what Im writing in that moment. Right now, I've got an obsession with historical Fiction that's lasted quite a few months (which is unusual for me!). Tudor Court, Queen Victoria and Marie Antoinette-eras are by far my favorite subjects within the genre. Philippa Gregory is my favorite fiction author, and Antonia Fraiser and Evelyn Lever are my favorite 'biographical' authors of the periods.



          * Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century?
          No yet. I do feel like I am missing out though by having not really read any of them so they are on my summer reading lists. I want to keep my reading fresh by hitting the best sellers list, but as a wannabe-writer, it's important for me to study the greats that have come before these best sellers and to see what makes them so great and timeless.


          * Are you interested in thrillers?
          I'll read anything once and enjoy most genres. So yes. Though if you asked me what was the last thriller I read I would blank completely.



          * What about horror stories?
          Everyone loves a good scary story and Im no exception, just don't expect me to read them alone, in the dark and before Im going to bed!


          * Do you read science fiction?
          Sometimes. I do love the genre but when I get into one of my phases, I have tunnel vision and only head for that particular corner of the bookstore / library / website.


          * How many Harry Potter books have you read?
          All of them. All of them except the last one, at least twice. I only got into the series after watching the first film. If I know there is going to be a sequel or continuation then I just have to know what happens next, I have no patience. I was hooked from the first page I read and have been ever since. As I get older and expand my reading, I still come back to these books and each read is different, I get something new from it or notice something I have never noticed before.
          Just don't expect me to un staple the epilogue in the last book and read that ever again! That was the only let down in the entire series and it felt like such a cliché cheesy fan fiction.

          *How many Twilight books have you read?
          I admit I am a Twilight addict. Not completely fan girl crazy obsessed but I do love these books and they hold a special place on my shelf. I admit that the writing is not the best but the story line and characters are fantastic. Completely Team Edward from day one! I never really understood all the hype and after watching the first film, I had the feeling that there was something huge missing from it. Within 2 weeks, I had read the entire series. Hooked!


          * Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?
          Yes. Though not many. I have to read a lot of 'poetics' for my course which is kind of like reading a writers biography on their writing or of the writing of a particular piece and these I enjoy immensely. I learn a lot from them, a lot of do's and don'ts. The same can be said for biographies. I have read many on historical figures, e.g Marie Antoinette. After watching Sophia Copellas rendition of the teen Queen, the ending left me completely unsatisfied and mystified by the woman that was Marie Antoinette. Evelyn Levers biography on the young Dauphine is incredible and painted a wonderful picture of Marie Antoinette and all that was right and wrong inside Versailles.

          * Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?
          I love Jacqueline Wilson growing up and must have read, 'The story of Tracy Beaker' about a zillion times. I read a lot of Enid Blyton too and every Disney book you could imagine.



          * Have you re-read these books as a grown-up?
          I have picked up some Jacqueline Wilson and will admit, they are just as good now as they where when I was younger. Some tastes just do not change.

          * Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you?
          What book hasn't influenced me? Everything I read influences my writing and me. I'm trained to be influenced by what I read. I have read many books by the Disney Imaginears and ex staff members that have influenced my day-to-day life, and the likes of Mitch Albom has influenced how I look at certain situations or ideas. Cecilia Ahern makes me see the magic in everyday life. Philippa Gregory shows me a woman's strength and how the past influences the present. The list goes on and on and on!

          * Which are your favourite authors?
          Philippa Gregory, Mitch Albom, Cecilia Ahern, Jenn Ashworth, Stephenie Meyer, J.K Rowling, Stephen King, Anton Chekhov, John Updike, James Herbert, Neil LaBute, Amanda Foreman, Evelyn Lever, Robert Shearman, Danny Wallace, Chris Baty, Chuck Palahniuk, (and many more!)



          * Which book would you take with you on a desert island?
          Too tough a question! Can I take my e-reader (can hold 350 books hehe)



          * What is your attitude towards translations?
          I like that it gives us a chance to read the work if we do not know the language, but we put too much trust into the translator to give us a true translation of the piece. Some texts have been translated in so many different ways by so many different writers that the original meaning, like in a game of Chinese whispers, has been completely changed or lost.



          * Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?
          All of the above!


          * When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?
          Hardcovers look pretty on the shelf but I don't have the money - or the shelf to keep them on. I'm not too fussed about the covering really, it's the content that matters most. Though I am a sucker for a pretty book jacket.



          * Have you ever tried Audio Books?
          Nope. I'm not sure they would be as aesthetically pleasing as reading.


          *What about e-books?
          I imagined I would loose a lot of the pleasure of reading if I had to read off a screen but I can safely say the pleasure has not been lost - maybe even heightened. I love the fact that my bag is not weighed down by tombs of books and that in one little e-reader (Sony PRS 500) I can carry almost 350 books with me, dipping in and out of each and any as I please. The e-ink technology protects me from eye strain and the device is so lightweight, your wrists are pain free.

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          18.03.2010 11:00
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          Favourite Authors Quiz

          I have seen this quiz and enjoyed reading it, saying that I have no idea why it is under the Favourite Authors category when that is only a small part of the quiz, but it looks fun and I haven't done one before, so here goes.

          *What is your favourite genre?

          I don't really have one, I am happy to read across a variety of genres, saying that I am not really a fan of Sci-Fi/Fantasy style books. I also read both fiction and non-Fiction. If pushed, I'd plump for contemporary fiction.


          * Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century?

          I do. I read Dickens ('A Christmas Carol') when I was about 11 off my own back. Then I was made to read 'Hard Times' for English Literature and it almost put me off for life! In fact I didn't really enjoy reading compulsory texts and reading as a class was painful as I could read much faster than whomever else was reading. Since then I have made an effort to try and read the classics more often. I love Austen and have also read assorted Brontes, as well as a few early 20th Century classics. I started Tolstoy's War & Peace - currently the only book I've not (yet) finished.

          * Are you interested in thrillers?

          I have read some, such as Simon Kernick who writes blistering thrillers that barely allow you to pause for breath. I don't like to read too much of the same genre back to back, so tend to mix it in, but I quite like a good crime drama such as those written by Donna Leon, although I don't think they technically can be classified as thrillers.

          * What about horror stories?

          I used to read quite a bit of horror, the mainstream Dean Koontz, Shephen King variety but then got a bit bored of them. I enjoy a good Vampire book (NOT Twilight) such as 'Let the Right One In' by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I don't like my horrors to be too graphic and gory - more a psychological thriller/horror type where there is an interesting story in-between the blood and guts.


          * Do you read science fiction?

          Not really. It is one genre that doesn't appeal. Certainly if someone can recommend an accessible Sci-Fi book that is relatable without any weird fantasy creatures I'd be prepared to try it.


          * How many Harry Potter books have you read?

          All of them. I enjoyed them but they were over-long and I am sure she must have lost half her target audience along the way. I didn't want to read them initially, as I was sure they wouldn't be my kind of book but in the end curiosity got the better of me and I'm glad I did.

          * Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?

          Yes, I enjoy a good autobiography but don't seem to get round to reading them as often as I'd like. I have several at home (Dawn French, Julie Walters) that I really want to read and there are various historical figures I would like to read about. There just aren't enough hours in the day!


          * Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?

          I read Enid Blyton a lot - Famous Five, plus the St Clare's and Mallory Towers boarding school series. I also remember various circus based ones and my favourites The Magic Faraway Tree stories.

          Of course, I also had lots of Mr Men books and enjoyed The Blackberry Farm series as a much younger reader.

          * Have you re-read these books as a grown-up?

          I bought a compendium of Magic Faraway Tree books, but was disappointed. It was very dated, as Dick went out to play and Fanny had to stay behind to help mother. I didn't read beyond a few pages.


          * Is there a book that has influenced you?

          I don't recall anything in particular but I think books can influence and touch us in subtle ways that we are not always aware of.

          * Who are your favourite authors?

          As I like to read across so many genres this is hard. There have been authors that I bought time and time again, but ultimately I got tired of them or found their books a bit samey after a while. Currently I still enjoy Jane Austen (although she has not had a new book out for a while!), and will always pick out Marian Keyes or Sophie Kinsella for a reliable light read. As for other authors, whilst I have loved many books I usually have only read one book from that author, so can't really say they are a favourite unless I've read a bit more of the work. I am looking forward to reading the latest offering from Audrey Neifenegger and Victoria Hislop.

          *Which book would you take with you on a desert island?

          It would have to be Jane Austen - perhaps a compendium so I have a choice. If not it would have to be either Emma or Pride and Prejudice, as they were my favourites and I think her books stand up to re-reading more than anyone else.

          * What is your attitude towards translations?

          I am more than happy to read them. I recently finished a Swedish translation: 'Let the Right One In' as mentioned above. I also went through a phase of reading a lot of Chinese biographies and novels based around the Cultural Revolution. If they weren't translated I would never have had the chance to read first hand about life for these women, and that would be a shame. Also, one of my favourite crime novels - 'Out' by Natsuo Kirino - is translated from Japanese. Of course, some translations may lose something across the cultures, but a good translator should know how to rectify this.

          * Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?

          Of late I have bought my books, I use Amazon vouchers that I have earned from here or survey sites. Or I use second hand sites like E-bay or Green Metropolis. I out-read most of my local library years ago, and although I have moved to a slightly different area, I get frustrated that I cannot read any new books that I want to as they get taken out too quickly. I joined a book club a few years ago and tried to order some of the choices from my library to save on spending, but sometimes they took two months to arrive and the meeting had passed. I am running out of room to store my books, so my local charity shops will get some more donations soon. Saying that, I never find any books I want in charity shops....

          * When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?

          Apart from an occasional book club choice that is quite a new book, I always buy paperbacks (I assume that is what is meant by pocket books). I like my books to fit in my handbag where possible, and I'm never without one. I tend to leave hardbacks at home as they are too heavy to carry around, so I don't read them very quickly and sometimes make for a disjointed read. I am tempted by an e-reader but I think they need to come down in price first.

          * Have you ever tried Audio Books?

          Not really. I tend to get distracted when I have tried to listen to plays or dramas on the radio, so imagine audio-books will be similar. Perhaps in the car or on a personal stereo on a long journey they could work best, but it is not something I could listen to at home. I think someone reading to me could make me fall asleep - I guess it depends on the book.

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            18.03.2010 02:04
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            Get some books

            * What is your favourite genre?

            Fiction mostly, or Wrestling Autobiographies


            * Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century?

            No, I read some at school but was never a big fan of them.

            * Are you interested in thrillers?

            Some of them are good when in the mood for them.

            * What about horror stories?

            Not a big fan of them, I wouldn;t sleep for weeks.

            * Do you read science fiction?

            No, I am not a sci fi fan at all.

            * How many Harry Potter books have you read?

            None of them

            * Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?

            Yes, especially wrestling ones.

            * Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?

            I used to love reading Enid Blyton as a child.

            * Have you re-read these books as a grown-up?

            Yes and I still love them.

            * Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you?

            Uh maybe ... lol

            Q: Which are your favourite authors?

            Stephenie Meyer, Mick Foley, Enid Blyton

            * Which book would you take with you on a desert island?

            The Host, or Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

            * What is your attitude towards translations?

            If they work, great.

            * Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?

            I like to get books from Amazon, although I have borrowed quite a few from Libraries, I just never remember to take them back on time.

            * When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?

            I look more at price rather than type of book. Saying this, I do have the whole Twilight Saga in paperback, Hardback and red edged paper back.

            * Have you ever tried Audio Books?

            Yes, I just prefer having the book in my hands and reading myself, or I may just lose concentration and not listen!

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            17.03.2010 23:13
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            boooks galore

            A bit of useless information about my reading habits but your welcome to read on If you want a wind down and to learn a bit of nonesense that wont do you any harm :)

            * What is your favourite genre?

            I love fiction but my focus on genres has changed as I have grown up. When I was younger I loved autobiographies my favourites being Sharon Osbourne, Katie Price (before the whole Peter Ander fiasco) and Daniella Westbrook. So yeah I was a strange child. As i have grown up however i have found a vast love of fantasy and sci-fi books especially the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, Twilight series by Stephanie meyer and the Sookie Stackhouse chronicles by Charlaine Harris.



            * Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century?

            I try as hard as I can to read classic literature and studied the subject for a while at college. My favourites have to be Of Mice and Men, To Kill A Mockingbird, Bleak House, Oliver Twist, Tale of Two Cities, Othello, Romeo and Juliette and Merchant of Venice.

            * Are you interested in thrillers?

            I love thrillers especially the Karin Slaughter books, some of which I have even reviewed on here (sneaky link there =p) and the Dan Brown books are phenomenal.

            * What about horror stories?

            I do like Horror stories but theyre more horror/thrillers like Stephen King and the Harris hannibal series. I prefer to watch my horrors though.

            * Do you read science fiction?

            I try to read as many sci-fi books as possible as they intreague me but I don't really have any favourites.

            * How many Harry Potter books have you read?

            All of them, they are amazing stories but somewhat over rated nowadays.

            * Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?

            I love autobiographies and have read a fair few. My favourite however has to be Scar Tissue which is the story of the lead singer of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. His childhood was so touching and so was his early life in the band, it also helped me appreciate the music even more.

            * Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?

            I remeber pretty much all of the books i read as a child. The first book I ever read was The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I also read the Alice in wonderland book, Roald Dahl and went through a stage of reading Jaqueline Wilson books. My fvaourite book as a child however was Gobbelino the Witches cat and i must have read it over 100 times.

            * Have you re-read these books as a grown-up?

            So many of them, especially Alice in Wonderland, Gobbelino and some of the Brothers Grimm stories which I read to my cousins who find them hillarious even though when i was younger they were somewhat disturbing. Its amazing how much things have changed in the last 10 years.

            * Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you?

            I can say that Of Mice and Men did influence my behaviour as I changed my perceptions of people and started realising when I was treating someone badly and rectifying it.

            Q: Which are your favourite authors?

            Hmmm this is difficult;
            Terry Pratchett, A.A. Milne, Charlaine Harris, Stephanie Meyer, Roald Dahl, Belle De Jour (I admire her honesty), Karin Slaughter, Shakespeare, Dickens, Tolkein and Steinbeck.

            * Which book would you take with you on a desert island?

            Its got to be Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck because it is my favourite book of all time.

            * What is your attitude towards translations?

            I believe if you can read a text in its native language even with some slight difficulty then always try and read its original first because sometimes important messages and quotes can get lost in the translation. This is especially true with some japanese graphic novels.

            * Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?

            I tend to purchase my books from supermarkets or Waterstones but sometimes I will buy them off Play.Com

            * When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?

            I own more Paperbacks as they are cheaper but hardbacks are beautiful and every hardback book I own has pride of place on my bookshelf.

            * Have you ever tried Audio Books?

            I tried to listen to Harry Potter and the philosophers stone by i found that Stephen Fry's beautiful voice would just send me to sleep and it took twice as long to finish the book as it would have to read the book.

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              17.03.2010 22:12
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              A summary of my reading habits

              Thought I would add another Book related review since I love them so much!

              * What is your favourite genre?

              I love fiction - especially contemporary literature, classics and popular fiction (including the odd chick-lit). I also like historical fiction and thrillers for a change sometimes. I teach English and run a school book group so I also try to keep up with children's and young adult fiction too.


              * Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century?

              Yes - I love Hardy and Bronte in particular. But read quite a few, especially as I have to teach them!

              * Are you interested in thrillers?

              Yes - as a change but not my first choice, although I do like the Dan Brown type books.

              * What about horror stories?

              Not really, have read Stephen King but that is about it, not something that really appeals to me.

              * Do you read science fiction?

              Rarely, don't read this very often although I do like sci-fi films.

              * How many Harry Potter books have you read?

              All of them. Althought I enjoyed them, I do think they are over-rated and think that there are other children's literature which are better - such as Phillip Pullman.

              * Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?

              I loved Wild Swans Jung Chang and Michael J Fox's first book. I also read the odd celebrity autobiography but find them quite trashyon the whole.

              * Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?

              I read a lot as a child. I loved Roald Dahl books and I read a lot of Sweet Valley High books as well. I also liked classics such as Alice in Wonderland and the Narnia books. As a teenager I started reading adult books though - and started with Flowers in the Attic.

              * Have you re-read these books as a grown-up?

              Yes, I still enjoy reading these old favourites, I am currently reading the BFG with my Year seven class and hope they love it as much as I did!

              * Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you?

              Maybe not one in particular but I gain a lot from books, not just entertainment. I love learning about other cultures, history and human nature and relationships. I write down quotes which are memorable.

              Q: Which are your favourite authors?

              I love.... (long list!) John Irving, Margaret Atwood, Douglas Coupland, Joanne Harris, Sarah Addison Allen, Paulho Coehlo, Jostein Gaarder, Graham Greene, Jean M Auel, Phillipa Gregory, Ken Follett, Anne Tyler, Bill Bryson. I also like Sophie Kinsella and Katie Fforde for chick-lit authors and love the following YA writers: Phillip Pullman, Malorie Blackman, Michael Morpugo, Sophie McKenzie, William Nicholson, David Almond and Ally Kennan.

              * Which book would you take with you on a desert island?

              My favourite all-time book: Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy.

              * What is your attitude towards translations?

              I think generally it works although it can get a little lost in translation at times. I love Jostein gaarder though.

              * Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?

              Many Places! Websites such as RISI and Bookmooch are great, charity shops and supermarkets are good too and Amazon is a definite! However, lately (Trying to save money) I have used the library a lot as well, I can reserve any book for 50p!

              * When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?

              I don't mind. I love hardbacks and beautiful editions but paperbacks are easier to read.

              * Have you ever tried Audio Books?

              Yes but prefer reading myself. I do have an ereader though and enjoy using that when I am away.

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                17.03.2010 21:51
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                Give this review a go yourself - jump on my bandwagon!

                I've seen a few of these reviews on here and thought I'd join in!


                * What is your favourite genre?

                Fiction. Any type of fiction other than science fiction, to be honest. I like crime, thriller, romance, anything that has pages, pretty much.


                * Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century?

                No, not really. I did English at University and got enough of them then. I do still read books such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy or Little Women.


                * Are you interested in thrillers?

                I love them! The best thing about them is wanting to finish the book as quickly as possible so you can discover the mystery. It's at times like these that I wish I were one of those people who read the last page of the book before actually starting it, in case you never get to finish it!


                * What about horror stories?

                I read the occasional Stephen King or Dean Koontz book, but the genre as a whole isn't one that gets me rushing off to a bookstore when there's a new release.

                * Do you read science fiction?

                Oh no, not at all. Don't get me wrong, I have tried. I've tried many times but never really got into that sort of book. I've tried a few Terry Pratchett books and I've read The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy twice and watched the film once. I haven't enjoyed it any of the three times. It's time to give up, methinks.


                * How many Harry Potter books have you read?

                All of them. More than once. I've got the boxed set in hardback and I love them. Yes, they're books for kids but it's still a good story. It didn't make me cry though.

                * Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?

                After reading The Damned United, I read both of Brian Clough's, aIong with watching The Damned United, the book that the reporter wrote on his time with Clough and another one that I can't remember. They're all in my 'keep' pile. have read a few others, mostly ones that my sister's read and passed over, books 'written by' Jordan or Jodie Marsh. Slightly enjoyable but again, nothing I'd rush off to buy myself.

                * Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?

                I used to read all the time when I was a child! I used to get 24 books out of the library each week and read them all. I loved the Heidi books, the Three Investigators books, anything by Enid Blyton, The Railway Children, the Hardy Boys books, the Nancy Drew books, the Jennings books, the Billy Bunter books, the Just William books. What didn't I love? ;o)


                * Have you re-read these books as a grown-up?

                Yes, the ones I still have. I read the three Heidi books only the other week. I still enjoy them too. Most of my books were thrown away by my Dad because they were 'cluttering up the attic'. I was absolutely furious!


                * Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you?

                Not that I can think of, no. I read so many that they don't really get chance to influence me before I'm on to the next one.


                Q: Which are your favourite authors?

                Oh, loads. At the moment, Tess Gerritsen, Karen Rose and Andy McDermott


                * Which book would you take with you on a desert island?

                Wild Swans by Jung Chang. Although I've read it about five times, it's a long book and would keep me occupied.


                * What is your attitude towards translations?

                I've never really given it a thought. In the past, two books that I've really enjoyed have been The Stranger by Albert Camus and All Quiet On The Western Front, about WW1.


                * Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?

                I tend to get them from Tesco (two for £7) or from charity shops, or people lend them to me. I can't remember the last time I paid full price for a book. I read them too fast to pay that, although I do keep the ones I like enough to read again.


                * When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?

                Paperbacks. They're easier to read all round. Easier to fit under a plate or bowl, easier to read when I'm lying down, just easier in general


                * Have you ever tried Audio Books?

                Never. I read faster than someone reads to me. I also get a lot out of my interpretation of the words, which is lost a little when it's someone else's enunciation.

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                  16.03.2010 13:39
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                  Knowledge is power - read more.

                  A Q&A about reading
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Found this little challenge while trawling the archives a few years back on another review site and seeing as reading is one of my favourite activities thought I'd give it a go. Glad to see it has surfaced here so with a little updating I'm happy for it to see the light of day on this side of the fence.

                  I hope you enjoy it....

                  Q. What is your favourite genre?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  There is no particular genre of books that I would say is my favourite. I like to read a variety of types, interchanging between fiction and non-fiction. I can be quite snobby about books so try and read my share of 'good' books but am equally happy with popular fiction. As long as the book is well written and constructed I am happy to go with any genre.
                  There are particular authors where I have read all their work, usually when they follow a character through the books. This often happens with crime novels and I particularly enjoy Ian Rankin's Rebus stories and James Lee Burke. The best way I can answer this would be to say which sections of the bookshop I would or wouldn't visit when looking for new reads. First port of call would be general fiction, then classics and then non-fiction. I'll look at the crime section but generally for authors I've read before. Sometimes I'll look at history or science if I'm feeling in the mood to learn something new. I never visit SF, fantasy or biography sections unless I'm after a particular book. I make a point of reading different kinds of books to keep things fresh, to give you an example the last few books I've read are:

                  An Utterly Impartial History of Britain (John O'Farrell - Non-Fiction)
                  The Ancestor's Tale (Richard Dawkins - Science)
                  Oliver Twist (Dickens - Fiction)
                  Mother Teresa - Missionary Position (Christopher Hitchen - Non-Fiction)
                  Dead Famous (Ben Elton - Fiction)
                  Postcards from the Beach (Phil Tufnell - Diary based Non-Fiction)

                  Next up is another one by John O'Farrell then some Ken Follett and possibly some Jonathon Meades.

                  Q. Do you read the classics, i.e. the great authors of the 18th/ 19th centuries?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Yes. Recently I've read Oliver Twist and Moby Dick and I've just rediscovered a battered copy of Voltaire's Candide which I will be looking at again soon, all great reads regardless of their worthiness. People shouldn't be afraid of these books just because they might be on the A Level syllabus as more often than not they are very accessible stories written in very readable styles. There is a reason these books are studied and that is they have a depth of characterisation and plot that stands up to analysis. They are books you can think about and pat yourself on the back when you pick up the various themes involved. Another bonus is that often these books will be in the Classics section and can be bought for as little as a pound.

                  Q. Are you interested in thrillers?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Not really, I've read and enjoyed my share of Tom Clancy and John Grisham and they probably count as thrillers but I'm not one for experimenting in this genre. Unfortunately the thriller section is probably the one most cursed by bad writing.

                  Q. What about horror stories?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  As a teenager I was an avid reader of James Herbert and Stephen King, probably because they were banned at my repressive catholic school, but found them too formulaic and repetitive and soon grew out of them. Can't remember the last one I read.

                  Q. Do you read science fiction?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Again, not a big fan. If I'm looking for a new book I wouldn't look in this section. However, one of my favourite fiction writers (Iain Banks) also writes SF so I have read his ones. I've also read some classic SF from Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke and would like to get into Carl Sagan. I like science fiction on TV and films so I probably should try reading more.

                  Q. How many Harry Potter books have you read?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  I've read them all now, and each one more than once. I was quite snobby about these for years and made a point of not reading them but having enjoyed the films, and finding myself with a copy of the first book, thought I'd give them a crack. I'm glad I did because they really are very good; my daughter has just read the first one and loved it.
                  I don't know if they justify the hype and mania that surrounds them, I doubt any book could, but they are well written and have a broad range of well fleshed out characters and story lines. Despite working in the realms of fantasy Rowling has managed to overlap very well with the real world and tap into a dream most people would have had as children - the ability to do magic in everyday settings.

                  Q. Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  I haven't read many biographies and am not generally a fan of the type. I'm not particularly interested in celeb kiss n tell books, nor in the potted history of a twenty year old sportsman/popstar. A couple of biographies I've enjoyed are Howard Marks 'Mr Nice' and Bob Geldof's but I prefer ones that are more diary based. I can read and re-read Spike Milligan's war diaries and Simon Hughes (a journeyman cricketer) 'A Lot of Hard Yakka' was a very good read.

                  Q. Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  The first proper (ie no pictures) books I can remember reading were the Doctor Who books when I was in primary school. Like most kids in the late seventies I was a huge fan of the series and ploughed through dozens of them. Later on I remember reading the Narnia series and Tolkein's 'Lord of the Rings'. I used to read a lot but can't honestly recall many others. I don't remember there being the range of junior fiction that is available now so by the time I was in secondary school I was reading grown up books. These tended to be typical schoolboy fare and included James Herbert, Clive Cussler and the like. These would become pretty dog-eared as they were passed around the class so that everyone could have a good read of the naughty bits.
                  As I approached my O Levels my reading tastes became more sophisticated and included George Orwell and DH Lawrence (with his more literary naughty bits).

                  I suppose if there is one book (or series of books) that stand out and that I remember with affection it is 'Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy'. For a good two years I would read and re-read these and virtually every story I wrote in English lessons was irrevocably influenced by them.

                  Q. Have you re-read these books as a grown-up?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Well, I sold all the Doctor Who books several years ago having never re-read them and I haven't yet re-read the Narnia ones although I might when my kids are old enough to read them. Tolkein I've re-read a couple of times, most recently when the films were coming out and I'm sure I'll revisit them again one day. I doubt I'll be reading the James Herbert books again although some of the earlier ones were probably better than I'm giving them credit for. Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy is probably due for a dusting down now as well.

                  Q. Is there a book of which you can say it has influenced you?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  If I'm thinking of a book that has changed my life or how I go about things then I don't think there has been one. The closest is Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy when I was at school whose style I copied repeatedly in all my stories for a while.

                  More often I'll read something that challenges my thinking on something or opens my mind to things I hadn't been aware of and I find myself thinking about it for months afterwards. This most often happens with non-fiction work and two I can think of are 'The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail' and 'The Selfish Gene' which I re-read recently.

                  I read 'Holy Blood...' many years ago and while the entire pretext is a bit fanciful it did open my eyes to a lot of Dark Age and medieval history as well as the early Christian church that I found particularly interesting. I'm not a big fan of this kind of Templar based conspiracy and a lot of it keeps getting rehashed but this was my first exposure to it and having been brought up with a fairly dogmatic Catholic education still find many of the ideas fascinating. 'The Selfish Gene' is a pro-Darwinist work explaining evolution and natural selection, pretty heavy going in places it is a fascinating study of the basis of life that challenges many a concept of the meaning of life.

                  Q. Which are your favourite authors?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  There are a couple of authors where I will buy most of their work. This is usually where they write a series following a single main character, Ian Rankin's 'Rebus' series; James Lee Burke's 'Dave Robicheaux' and the Flashman papers from George MacDonald Fraser come to mind. I think Bill Bryson has the most engaging writing style I have ever come across but his work is usually 'of the moment' and I'm rarely tempted to revisit.
                  The best single piece of writing I have ever read is Ernest Hemmingway's 'The Old Man and the Sea', a stunning short story that played a big part in him winning a Nobel Prize.

                  I wouldn't say any of these are my favourite and it is hard to come up with single person to apply that epithet. It might be easier to do it by category, so here goes:

                  Non-Fiction Science - Prof Richard Dawkins
                  Non-Fiction General - Bill Bryson
                  Modern Fiction - Iain Banks
                  Classic Fiction - John Steinbeck
                  Historic Fiction - George MacDonald Fraser
                  Foreign Language Fiction - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
                  Crime Fiction - James Lee Burke

                  Having given it some thought, I can say I have a favourite author:
                  John Steinbeck.

                  Steinbeck has produced two novels that could easily stand as the best ever written; 'The Grapes of Wrath' and 'East of Eden' redefined the art of novel writing 50 years ago and are both works of breath taking scale and depth. He could also produce short stories of outstanding beauty; 'Cannery Row' and 'Of Mice and Men' stand out but there are many others.

                  Can't believe it wasn't obvious at the start, but then I don't give much thought to 'favourites'. John Steinbeck: head and shoulders above all others.

                  Q. Which book would you take with you on a desert island?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  This is easier to answer after the previous question. If I had to keep one book, forsaking all others, it would have to be Steinbeck's 'East of Eden'. This is a work of such epic scale that you could read it a dozen times and still find something new the next time.

                  Q. What is your attitude towards translations?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  Being English and therefore having zero understanding of any other language I am at the mercy of the translators. As a rule I've not had a problem with translations and it would never put me off buying a book.

                  Q. Do you buy or borrow your books?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  I tend to buy books as I enjoy seeing them around the house and will usually re-read most of the books I own at some stage. If I don't think I'm likely to read one again I will probably sell it or pass it on to friends. I use the library occasionally but my visits are few and far between. I recently joined the Book Mooch website where users exchange books so have become much more willing to pass books on.

                  Q. When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  Always go for paperbacks as I usually read while commuting and hardbacks are too bulky. The exception being if the writer is doing a signing session.

                  Q. Have you tried Audio books
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  I haven't really tried these. The problem I would see is that it's good to be able to read at your own pace, skimming a section here or re-reading a bit there which is probably a bit fiddly with an audio book. I think they're great for making books more available to a wider audience but they're not for me.

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                    15.03.2010 23:16
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                    My favourite authors

                    You can't fail to have missed the latest questionnaire doing the rounds on Dooyoo on the topic of Favourite Authors. As somebody who loves reading, I've found these to be a fascinating insight into other people's reading habits. In spite of this, my own answers to the questionnaire weren't particularly inspiring so I've decided to defy convention and just discuss my own favourite authors within the specific genres that interest me the most.

                    Chick Lit

                    Chick lit might not be the most well-respected of literary genres but for me it provides welcome light relief from day to day life without being too taxing on my over-stretched brain cells.

                    Two of the best authors in this category are undoubtedly Jane Green and Marian Keyes, both of whom have provided me with many hours of pleasurable escapism. I particularly love Keyes' series of novels about the Walsh siblings and the way in which the books and characters interlock but still manage to be successful and enjoyable as standalone novels. Sadly, I have been slightly disappointed by some of the more recent offerings by both Green and Keyes. Having read 'This Charming Man' recently, for example, I felt that a critical editor could easily have shaved a couple of hundred unnecessary pages out without spoiling the essence of the story.

                    Fortunately, chick lit is an evergrowing field and in recent years I have discovered several other authors including Sophie Kinsella and Jodi Picoult. I'm not a massive fan of the Shopaholic series, although I do find them enjoyable easy reads but I think Kinsella's standalone novels (including An Undomestic Goddess and Do You Remember Me?) are in a league of their own. Likewise, whilst I can find fault with Picoult's novels - they are more than a little formulaic in style and content - when she writes well, her novels just blow me away! The first time I read 'My Sister's Keeper' I was in tears for days and still can't bring myself to watch the film, as there is no way it could ever live up to the novel.

                    Thrillers

                    Stephen King is the well-established king of horror and thrillers and is an author whose books have had me at the edge of my seat! I've seen several King novels dramatised and they never do his work justice. 'Misery', for instance, is an amazingly compelling yet horrific novel and the film version just doesn't come close. I prefer the novels that leave everything to the imagination and still manage to scare me witless rather than graphic blood and gore horror stories. King, at his best, can achieve both.

                    Recently, I've discovered Nicci French who, bizarrely isn't a single author at all - 'Nicci French' is actually a pseudonom for a husband and wife team, Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. Surprisingly, this combination results in some fantastic thrillers - novels with so many twists and turns that I can never accurately predict exactly where the books will take me.

                    Crime/Mystery

                    I've enjoyed Agatha Christie's work since I was a teenager and can read and re-read her Poirot and Miss Marple stories many times over and still fail to work out who the murderer is! I love reaching for a Christie book when I fancy something engaging but easy to read and she hasn't failed me yet.

                    Likewise, PD James has a knack of writing compelling murder mysteries although I was surprised (and thoroughly impressed) by her ability to write an excellent science fiction novel in the form of 'The Children of Men' showing just how versatile an author she actually is.

                    Contemporary Classics/ Science Fiction

                    Whilst the works of Dickens, Bronte and the like leave me cold, there are several modern classics that are guaranteed to maintain a place in literary history. I particularly love Margaret Atwood, especially her dystopian works - 'The Handmaid's Tale' and 'Oryx and Crake.' Atwood's writing has the capacity to transport me straight to another world. Likewise, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley both deserve a mention in my list of favourite authors for '1984' and 'Brave New World' respectively. In a similar vein, John Wyndam has to be here for fantastic science fiction works including 'The Chrysalids' and 'The Midwich Cuckoos'.

                    Romance

                    Mills and Boon and the like doesn't light my fire but I have read some amazing romantic fiction by both Danielle Steele and Brenda Jagger, neither of whom are particularly critically aclaimed within the industry but manage to capture my imagination nonetheless. Their novels tend to be historical and the characters are also strong willed and independent types, fighting against the constraints of their particular period. For easy reading escapism, these are two authors that provide that for me.

                    Historical Fiction

                    Rather than grouping her with the above cateogory, I think Philippa Gregory is in a league of her own. I don't generally know much about the periods of history that her novels cover but with Gregory that lack of knowledge really doesn't matter as I become so engrossed in the characters and fantastic (but not implausible) storylines.

                    Children's Authors

                    I've always loved reading and just devoured books like they were going out of fashion as a child. Enid Blyton has got to shoulder some of the responsibility for my love of fiction - introducing me to some many other fantastic worlds and the lives of children going out having amazing adventures and suchlike. One of the great things about having children is being able to share my love of these novels with them. I've recently introduced my seven year old son to the Magic Faraway Tree and its magical characters and have thoroughly enjoyed reliving my childhood memories.

                    Another benefit of sharing books with my children is the discovery of authors that I didn't have the privilege of appreciating as a child myself. I'm not sure why I didn't read many books by Roald Dahl in my own childhood (aside from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory') but as an adult, I find myself chuckling along to such masterpieces as 'The Twits' and 'Matilda' and have discovered a whole collection of amazing characters and stories that I just wasn't aware of previously.

                    I'm not a great fan of the teen-adult crossover fiction such as Harry Potter and the Twilight series but that is simply because the subject matter generally doesn't appeal to me, not through any sense of snobbery. I think my own fairly eclectic list of favourite authors should indicate that I have no grounds to be elitist about which novels I choose to read!

                    So, there in a nutshell, is an insight into my own reading habits. Fortunately, literature continues to grow and there are so many great authors out there yet to be discovered!

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                      15.03.2010 16:31
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                      Pick up a good book!

                      Reading... I love it. I read a lot, possibly too much, but I just can't get enough of books. I've been like this most of my life, ever since I could start following books on my own. I'm more than happy to call myself a bookworm, I spend quite a bit of time every day with my nose in a book. So here's some of my thoughts and opinions on the wonderful world of books...

                      *What is your favourite genre?
                      I don't think I have one in particular. I recently did a survey that made me choose one, and I chose Literary Fiction, simply because I think it is quite broad. But I love romance, humour, adventure, fantasy, some horror/thrillers...I'll try most things really, and I never actually think about genre.

                      * Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century?
                      I have done, but I don't really go out of my way to read them. I've read Austen, various Brontes, Thomas Hardy, and loads more. One of my favourite novels should be considered a classic - Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon. It's a fantastic book about life in the Mearns around the time of the First World War.

                      * Are you interested in thrillers?
                      To a point. I don't seek them out, and I can get a bit freaked out by them, but I like some. I would class Stewart MacBride as a thriller writer and I do like his books - possibly because they're set in Aberdeen with Aberdonian characters, but they don't scare me!

                      * What about horror stories?
                      Perhaps less so than thrillers, but again I don't avoid them and don't seek them out. Horror films scare the byjesus out of me, but books don't bother me quite so much. I'm not sure why this is, could be because I don't have to watch the horror and can skim over scary paragraphs, or perhaps I just have a better perspective on horror books - I can put them down and separate myself from them better than films.

                      * Do you read science fiction?
                      Yes, but not the heavy stuff. I like accessible sci-fi, but I can't think of any I've read for a while so I can't think of an example. I suppose TV equivalents would be Dr Who and Star Trek - easy to relate to as they are set in the human world, if with time travel or in the future.

                      * How many Harry Potter books have you read?
                      All of them, numerous times. I love them. I think the world J.K. Rowling created is superb, and it drew me in right from the start. My favourite is probably the final one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Every single sentence of it is significant, and everything becomes clear. I thought it was a masterpiece of storytelling.

                      * Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?
                      Yes, I read quite a few music ones when I was younger - the Beatles, Kurt Cobain - along with a lot about Mary Queen of Scots. In recent years I've become very interested in historical royal biographies, particularly Europe in the late 19th/early 20 century. This was sparked by a visit to an exhibition about the last Tsars, and I became captivated by their sad story, and read everything I could about them. I've also read a lot about Victoria and her descendants, and I've recently moved on to the Tudors.

                      * Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?
                      I was hooked on the Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High/Sweet Valley University, and I also read a lot of the trashy Point series, particularly Point Horror - rubbish but entertaining. I learnt to read very young, and because my parents are avid readers I was soon devouring everything I could. We'd go to the library on a Friday evening, and I'd be done with my 4 books by Sunday! As a younger child I loved Enid Blyton (my favourite was Malory Towers, but I read all of them, I also really liked the Adventure series) and Roald Dahl - my dad was really annoyed when I learnt to read as it meant he didn't have to read Roald Dahl to me anymore! I was also a huge fan of Brian Jacques Redwall series, a kind of fantasy about animals - highly recommended.

                      When I was even younger and still on picture books, I loved the Katie Morag books by Mairi Hedderwick and Hairy Maclary (from Donaldsons Dairy!). They're great books, perfect for kids who aren't quite reading yet.

                      * Have you re-read these books as a grown-up?
                      Every so often when I visit my parents I'll pick one up for a look and end up rattling through it. I still rate the Redwall series very highly - good quality childrens writing. The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High are slightly on the trash side though, and good old Enid Blyton is perhaps too dated for girls these days. Roald Dahl's unique lunacy should stand the test of time though - especially as a new film of Fantastic Mr Fox is just out.

                      * Is there a book that has influenced you?
                      I'm not sure about that. When I was about 15 I think, I read Big Girls Don't Cry by Connie Briscoe for the first time, and I've always loved it's story of a woman overcoming the obstacles to become successful, but I wouldn't say it influenced me as such.

                      * Who are your favourite authors?
                      Another tough one. I love Harry Potter, but I'm not sure I'd say J.K. Rowling was one of my favourite authors - because it's only the one series and set of characters that she's written. I tend to think of an author as a "favourite" when I have read a wide range of their work. The same applies to Stephenie Meyer. One writer that I can think of is Margot Livesey. She is very famous in the USA and Canada, but despite being a Scot, she has a limited audience here. Her work is fantastic, always well thought out and it really draws you in. She's worth searching out. I also love Ian McEwen, particularly his novel Saturday - so perfectly detailed yet with no unnecessary padding.

                      * Which book would you take with you on a desert island?
                      Hmm. Bordering on impossible that one. Twilight? Sunset Song? Long Way Round/Long Way Down (Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman)? Nicholas & Alexandra (the last Tsars)? Labyrinth (Kate Mosse)? I have so many favourites, and I'm trying to think of the ones that I go back to time and time again - but there's so many of them as well! Really, I don't think I can answer that one...maybe War & Peace, it would keep me busy for a while! But I haven't read it and I might not like it.

                      * What is your attitude towards translations?
                      Mixed. As a Spanish and French speaker I prefer to read in the original language where possible, but on the whole I find translations now are very good. There are some books which lose just a little something in translation, such as Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind, but they still come through as very good. On the other side of the coin, I've read English translated into Spanish and French, and I can see more of a cultural loss there, perhaps because it is my own culture (well, English-speaking culture anyway) that is lost a little. But I have nothing against translations - they bring brilliant works to a wider audience.

                      * Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?
                      I'm a very active member of the local library, but I also swap books with my colleagues, and my parents. I also like to buy books but I try to resist as much as possible, I can't spend all my money on books and I also don't have the space for many more!

                      * When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?
                      I'm not too bothered in all honesty, but when there is a choice I usually go for paperback because it's easier to hold and read. But I do like hardbacks because I think they're prettier! Some books I want as soon as they're out, so I buy them in hardback.

                      * Have you ever tried Audio Books?
                      I think I listened to a lot as a very young child, before I could read properly. I've recently been listening to the Twilight audio book, my first one as an adult, and I like how relaxing it is, but I find I have to pay attention and not zone out or I'll end up missing a lot! I also find it slightly frustrating how slow it is - I can read a lot faster than this is being read.

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                        13.03.2010 18:07
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                        A few of my favourite authors

                        I have loved reading ever since I first figured out that those wiggly lines on paper had a meaning. I was paraded in front of neighbours and family like a performing monkey and instructed to read the paper. Having apparently 'taught myself' to read before I even knew what school was, let alone set foot inside one (I suspect this is family myth).

                        My favourite authors are a motley crew and owe nothing to 'the greats' I have studied 'literature' at degree level but would never consider picking up a book by one of the lauded authors to read simply for pleasure. I can see the merits of the language and imagery used by these authors, but their world simply does not engage me I'm afraid. I do sometimes enjoy a little bit of Chaucer and Charles Dickens though. My personal classic greats tend to be Science Fiction and fantasy tales.

                        Now to name and shame some of them; my list will include some specific books which I have loved, but not followed the author slavishly.

                        The first author I truly loved as a child was Gerald Durrell, he is still one of my heroes, I read My Family and Other Animals when I was about eleven, and then greedily read all of his other books. His view of the world, and specifically the animals with which we share it was so in sync with mine that it was as if he had lived my life for me, but far better than I could have done. His family background was about as far from mine as could be, but my family seemed to share an eccentricity and irreverent attitude which I could relate to. His engaging way of writing about the animals that were his passion filled my heart with joy.

                        A book which deeply affected me as a child was A Dog So Small by Philippa Pearce. The book is about a young boy who for various reasons cannot have his hearts desire, a dog of his own. His grandfather feeling sorry for him gives him a Mexican picture of a Chihuahua, Chiquitito. Ben so wants a dog that in his imagination Chiquitito lives as a dog so small you can only see it with your eyes closed. The story is well told and has a good ending, not necessarily the soppy ending which children's stories can have, but a 'right' ending. The reason the book touched me so much was because of my own overwhelming, aching desire for a cat (I know it is a 'bit' weird isn't it), which I felt I would never get (due to my sisters severe allergy). I spent months trying Bens methods of creating my own imaginary cat (to no avail). I did get many other little pets to fill the void though, and as I write this I have one of my moggies sitting on my lap having a damn good wash. So a happy ending for me.

                        An author that I started to read as a teenager is Isaac Asimov. My favourite books are his robot books, and his theories on their design was so thorough and based on sound scientific extrapolation that his ideas have become the (often unrecognised) basis for the portrayal of robots in many science fiction stories and films since. He 'introduced' the concept of 'the three laws of robotics' which were hard wired into the positronic brains (another of his ideas) of his creations, they are:

                        1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

                        2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

                        3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws

                        These 'laws' ameliorated humanities fear of having artificial ('frankenstinean;?) life amongst them. Allowing for a great deal of exploration of what constitutes life, and of society with what is essentially 'guilt free' slave labour. Can and should 'anything' with intelligence whether artificial or not ever be enslaved, or treated as second class (NO), does something with intelligence necessarily have feelings too?...(amongst other issues, and generally great stories). I did enjoy his other fiction books too, including the famous Foundation series.

                        E.E. Doc., Smith is another great favourite science fiction author; I particularly liked his Lenseman Series

                        Another book which I adore is Dragon's Egg by Robert L Forward. This deals with silicon based life evolving on the superheated surface of a neutron star, the inhabitants individual life span is measured in minutes of our time. The book follows the evolution of the Cheela, and their contact with our species in the short time it takes their 'planet to pass into and from our contact range. It takes us outside the dumb (in my opinion) assumption that life has to be carbon based. This is something I had been wittering about almost since I could read. Certainly since I first read (many many years ago) the presumption life cannot exist on non earth like planets, as they cannot support a carbon based life forms - this 'life can only be carbon based' opinion is now becoming outdated and.... Cough... my, and Mr. Forwards opinion seems to be more accepted than it was when the book was first published. I was so chuffed to find a book which supported and gave my gibberings credence. That book was waved under many a friends nose, with whom I had argued the toss about non carbon based life.

                        I love love love Douglas Adams, (I seem to have a thing for deceased authors). His blending of science fiction and comedy is in my opinion second to none. I do like his other fiction work, such as Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, but for me The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy a trilogy in five parts is unrivaled. Not the film, or the painfully bad T.V. series - although I did like some aspects of the series simply because it used some of the radio actors to reprise their roles visually. However Sandra Dickenson was an appalling Trillian. The books came after the radio series, and I still have the crackly tape recordings made directly from the radio at the time they were broadcast. Although I must admit I haven't listened to them in twenty years or more (they may be dust by now).

                        I can't leave out J.R.R Tolkien.. What can I say, no geek's fiction list would be complete without him. An uncle gave me a copy of The Hobbit when I was ten and promised that he would buy me the Lord of the Rings when I had finished it. I was ringing him a week later, I still have both copies and have read Lord of the Rings several times since.

                        Julian May and particularly the 'Saga of the Exiles' (series), a fantastic science fiction/fantasy, which takes in time travel, and the myths and legends which are woven into the cultures of so many societies.

                        An author which I turn to when I want a nice easy comforting read with a fairly predictable outcome is Dean Koontz. His early horror books were quite scary in a supernatural/adventure kind of way - well when I say scary, I mean that objectively they are scary, it takes a lot to actually scare me in literature... In real life I'd probably be a wuss! I'm not particularly interested in huge gory kill counts in horror. I like a good and bad adversarial approach, battling with forces outside of the norm, or good old fashioned ghostly goings on. Koontzs' books have unfortunately become increasingly schmaltzy, and although I adore dogs I really don't want the hero to always have a wonderful, exceptional, amazingly fantastic golden retriever. I still read him though, because his style of writing is easy on the eye, with good imagery, and an interesting story. Even though the characters have become increasingly the same people with different names, what I like about Koontz is that he does tie up his endings. Even if that process is often a bit saccharin and long winded. I'm not keen on the type of story that leaves you hanging; I think that the author thinks they are being provocative, and allowing you to continue debating his/her book. I suspect they have tied themselves up in a complex story line and are not entirely sure how to end it themselves.

                        I'm also enjoying Mo Hayder, and S J Bolton at the moment, they write an imaginative thriller/mystery that keeps you awake to ungodly hours trying to finish the book.

                        I do enjoy a non fiction book now and then, I'm not keen on biographies or auto-biographies, but will read excepts from them if it is about some one I greatly admire, or find very entertaining. I am quite keen to read Frankie Boyles My Shit Life So Far (sorry about the swearing but that's what it's called). The main types of non fiction books I am likely to go for are history (ancient usually) natural history, or science.

                        Most of my favourite books and authors are a bit outdated now, this is mainly because I just don't seem to have as much time to really enjoy reading as I used to. I do still read, but it seems to go in cycles where I will devour books for a few months and then not read a single one for a year! I will however read articles, magazines, and book reviews during my 'fallow' periods, sometimes constructing unfeasible lists of 'to read' books for when the bug bites again.

                        That is probably it for favourite authors. As with other products I'm a bit of a literary tart, in that I read what takes my fancy, and generally have no particular authorial fealty. I'm more of a genre fan I think, and what I want from a book is a tale that takes me away from the kind of thing that you can experience in real life. That is why kitchen sink dramas, and chick lit by and large makes me squirm. I don't want to read about the sort of c**p that I hear my neighbours gossiping about in the pub, or things that my family might be going through in reality, I want my imagination stretched. I want to experience things vicariously that I will never get to experience in my real life. I want to be challenged, excited, thrilled and sometimes lifted above the humdrum and left in awe.

                        Also published on Ciao as Greenputty

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                          12.03.2010 14:51
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                          .

                          *What is your favourite genre?
                          Fiction genre, Fantasy. Otherwise self-help books as so unbelievably sad as that is!

                          * Do you read the classics, i.e., the great authors of the 18th and 19th century?
                          So ashamed to say that I don't! I wish I did but since I left school, time to read alongside studying is very minimal. I did try reading Little Women once but trailed off. I have read Great Expectations but I cannot remember much about that at all other than Pip and a young woman influenced by a broken hearted old woman who had a dark and morbid house.

                          * Are you interested in thrillers?
                          Not even a little bit. Though Jack the Ripper is thriller am I wrong? I am a bit interested in him.


                          * What about horror stories?
                          Nope, I used to look at the front of Goosebumps books when I was a kid and wretch. I know those are teenage horror stories and cannot compare to adults but they did it for me, no way.

                          * Do you read science fiction?
                          Boring, waste of my time.

                          * How many Harry Potter books have you read?
                          All of them with much eagerness, I am sick to death of people making out they are childrens' books, J.K Rowling is the best author I have ever come across bar none, my 60 year old grandmother loves them, they are very deep and very well thought out.

                          * Have you ever read and enjoyed biographies or autobiographies?
                          The first one I ever read was Jordan's first one, I wanted to see what she had to say for herself. I do have a Bon Jovi biography tucked away somewhere and I am 3/4 of the way through Slash's book. I also fancy reading the Tommy Lee autobiography.

                          * Do you remember any of the books you read and loved as a child?
                          Yes, Hard Cash, Shacked Up and Speeding, I will read them again soon; I loved them as a kid so much. Guitar Girl was quite touching at an emotionally fragile age. As well as Mr Perfect (Oh my word!), and Celia. Obviously Harry Potter. I remember reading the Private series and books of that series are still coming out, I need to get them read as they were so damn good!

                          * Have you re-read these books as a grown-up?
                          I will do at some point, I found these books whilst spring cleaning the other week.

                          * Is there a book that has influenced you?
                          Maybe my subconscious mind took some information in and it was used to shape the person I am but I never deliberately acted like anyone in any of those books. Though Guitar Girl made me realise that anyone can become anything they want to be plus I still really want cherry red hair!

                          * Who are your favourite authors?
                          Kate Cann, Kate Bryan, Catherine Robinson, J.K Rowling.

                          * Which book would you take with you on a desert island?
                          Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Tough decision!


                          * What is your attitude towards translations?
                          The only books I have experienced translation wise (assuming that means from language to language) is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in French. My partner bought it for me this Christmas as I am studying a degree in modern foreign languages. I think translated books have to be very accurate as not to cause confusion between countries otherwise I see no problem.


                          * Do you buy your books/get them from the library/borrow them from friends/steal them?
                          I used to live at the library as a kid, which is where I read the Private series, I hated my mother and she was constantly taking me to places that I did not want to go so I said I was going to revise in the library. I worked in Sue Ryder for my work experience and I was allowed to take the odd thing home, one of which was a classic book series which included Great Expectations, Little Women etc. Most of my books now are bought from Waterstones and on Amazon for next to nothing.


                          * When you buy books, do you prefer hardcover editions or pocket books?
                          I prefer hardcover books to be honest, I get so upset if my paperbacks get marks or creases on them.

                          * Have you ever tried Audio Books?
                          No but I have considered it lately, I never have any time to read so I was thinking of putting them on my iPod Touch and listening to them in bed or on the bus, or in the car when my other half is driving us to see family in Nottinghamshire (2 hour drive!).

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                        Tell us about your favorite authors, their lives and why you like them. Reviews about their body of work should go in the Printed Book category.