One of my favourite blogs Su[shu] has tagged me for the Honest Scrap Meme: 10 things you don’t know about me.

OK, here we go:

1) I no longer spend hours reading books but tend to watch more TV and DVDs (I blame you, Supernatural and Battlestar Galactica!) The shame of it. This is one of the things I’m going to change this year!
2) I’m allergic to self-help books.
3) I once interviewed Sir Arthur C. Clarke for my dissertation research. I couldn’t use it, but I got to spend an interesting hour with the great man and his pet chihuahua.
4) I improved my Japanese considerably through reading manga and Japanese magazines and watching Japanese TV.
5) I read everything I could find about the Templars, the Holy Grail and Mary Magdalene 10 years before The Da Vinci Code was published so it didn’t surprise me at all. I preferred Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco and The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Richard Leigh, Michael Baigent, and Henry Lincoln.
6) The only film I thought was better or comparable to the book is The English Patient.
7) I’m too scared to read horror except for vampire and werewolf books (which I don’t really class as horror).
8 ) I like reading Asterix comics in the bathroom.
9) I sometimes choose books because of their cover.
10) I prefer going to bookshops and libraries alone.

I’m adding a bonus as I feel a bit of a party pooper but
♥) I don’t do chain e-mails and am pretty crap at tagging people, but for any of you who like this meme and want to try it, please consider yourselves tagged! I would love to read 10 secrets about you!

I’m happy that Su[shu] has tagged me with this meme as I was having a bit of a reader’s block throughout the holidays and spent most evenings when I should have been reading curled up in front of the telly watching Poirot and Marple. But I started off the year with Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals and what better way to kick off 2010? And I’ve also finished my first non-fiction book this year, We Danced All Night: A Social History of Britain Between the Wars by Martin Pugh, so I’m happy.

Currently I’m in the middle of Mosquito by Roma Tearne in preparation for my impending trip to Sri Lanka and the Galle Literary Festival. It’s making me ponder upon the troubled history of the country, especially with the forthcoming elections this month. But it’s a sublime read and I’m quietly impressed with Tearne’s way with words.


I love questions about reading habits because reading is a solitary pursuit and I like to know what happens behind closed doors. This is a meme I saw on The Reading Life which is just the kind of questionnaire I like.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack? Sometimes. Either chocolate or Japanese rice crackers.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? Horrible, horrible thought. I don’t mind other people writing in books, my sister often did, but I can’t physically force myself to do it.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Dog-ears…I know there are lots of people shuddering now as I confess. Recently I have started using the beautiful bookmarks that accompany the Persephone books.

Laying the book flat open? Frequently.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both? Both, although I veer more towards fiction.

Hard copy or audiobooks? Hard copy. I have a couple of audio books, but haven’t gotten round to listening to them, even though one of them is Donna Tartt’s The Secret History read by the lady herself.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point? I can stop reading at any point. I’ve been trained on the bus and tube.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? Never. I always hazard a guess. Sometimes I get it wrong.

What are you currently reading? We Danced All Night: A Social History of Britain During the Wars by Martin Pugh (non-fiction) and A Vein of Deceit by Susanna Gregory (a historical mystery).

What is the last book you bought? Ornament and Silence: Essays on Women’s Lives from Edith Wharton to Germaine Greer by Kennedy Fraser, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner and Murder in the Holy City by Simon Beaufort.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time? I normally have two or three on the go at any one time.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read? Sunday mornings in bed, the very last thing at night and on the tube/bus.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books? I like both, although I have a weakness for series.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over? Recently it’s been Jasper Fforde and Scott Lynch. If I can, I also try and sneak in Donna Tartt.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) By genre or series. Otherwise, it’s an organised mess.