#1 What book is on your nightstand now?
I don’t really have a nightstand (call that impractical living), but I keep the book I’m currently reading or am about to start on a sort of low bookshelf, where I also put my phone when I go to sleep. That book would be The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which I haven’t started yet – I am still recovering from the heartbreak that The Song of Achilles caused me (read my full review here).
#2 What was the last truly great book that you read?
Definitely The Song of Achilles (again, you can read my review here). I just finished it yesterday and it broke my heart.
#3 If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?
I’m gonna go with the most obvious answer: J. K. Rowling. Who wouldn’t want to meet her? What I would ask her is if she has ever thought about creating a Hogwarts MMORPG. Just imagine it! An online Hogwarts where everyone plays together, with quests and lessons, and you could customise your own character and get sorted into a house. Ugh. Please.
I would also love to meet Jen Campbell. She’s the author of The Bookshop Book and Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops (she’s also written a poetry collection but I haven’t read that yet). The reason I would want to meet her is that she has a lovely booktube channel that I’ve been watching for a while now, and she just seems like the kindest, most interesting person on the internet.
#4 What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
Honestly, I really don’t think there are any surprises. I read pretty much everything, except maybe for tacky romance novels, and you will definitely not find any of those on my shelves.
#5 How do you organise your personal library?
Ha! I love answering this. I don’t own that many books, as I only started buying them about two years ago, so I only need one standard bookshelf and a small one. The bigger one has five individual shelves, each reserved for a specific genre: fantasy on the top, then genre fiction (dystopian, thriller, crime, etc.), then YA novels, then children’s books, and finally non-fiction. The smaller bookshelf is relatively new and I’ve only started filling it with books. It has four squares of space – the first one is where I keep my TBR pile, and the second is reserved for adult and literary fiction, poetry collections, classics and short stories. I will probably be buying more poetry and classics though, so at some point I’ll have to find a new place for those. The last two squares are still empty.
#6 What book have you always meant to read and haven’t got round to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?
Some books that have been on my wishlist for a long time are the Mortal Instruments and the His Dark Materials series, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, and Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates. I don’t really feel embarrassed about not having read any specific books – I’m a prospective English Literature student, so I will get around to reading most of the books that are so-called “must reads” eventually.
#7 Disappointing, over-rated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
Oh, there are quite a few books I was disappointed by. Alice in Wonderland, How to be Both by Ali Smith, Weight by Jeanette Winterson, How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran, and pretty much every John Green book ever.
I don’t usually DNF books unless I absolutely hate them and they’re just too long and not worth my time. The last book I DNFed was probably Dorian by Will Self – it’s supposed to be a retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray set in the 80s, which I was really looking forward to because I love the original. But I was just not getting along with the writing and the story was weird. I didn’t get very far, not even a hundred pages in I believe, when I decided it just wasn’t for me. That was around two years ago I think.
#8 What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?
Books with beautiful covers always interest me. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I really do, and I think that’s fair: a book with a terrible cover gives me the idea that not a lot of effort was put into the book in general, and I’m usually right.
As far as genres and buzz words go, I tend to put anything on my wishlist that is high fantasy, urban fantasy or dystopian. I am drawn to books with LGBT+ elements, mental illness and Greek mythology, and books that deal with racism and sexism.
Stories I stay clear of are tacky romance novels (again, the cover usually gives it away) and self-published books. Also YA books that just feel so incredibly contemporary that it makes you turn twelve again.
#9 If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
I’m gonna go with Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill. Maybe Animal Farm by George Orwell as well, but since it’s kind of a required classic in high school, I’m pretty sure he’s already read that.
#10 What do you plan to read next?
The book on top of my TBR pile is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Other books on my TBR are The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, and the Night Watch by Sarah Waters. I have ordered a lot of books online this month, so those will be added to the pile as well. I’ve got a long, long way to go.
‘Till next time and happy reading!