I found the questions about reading habits on lovely Jessica´s Chronically Vintage, very much enjoyed her responses and wanted to answer them myself. While I don´t find as much time for reading as I´d like to right now, there was a time when I very much prefered books over people. The number of books we (as the Mr. is a fellow bookworm), own is insane and there´s always coming more. My love for literature runs in the family, I´d even go so far to say that I come from a family of book hoarders!
You now have the chance to learn everything about my relationship with books. I for my part learned that I can get really emotional about literature. Maybe it shows ;)
Do you snack while you read? If so, what is your favourite reading snack?
I rarely do. Not because I don´t like to, I just forget that there´s food around. But when I do it´s probably chocolate or cookies. Sometimes, in the warmer months, an apple will do.
What is your favourite drink while reading?
I´m a milkaholic, so basically milk is my favorite drink for everything! But as I can´t drink milk all day I often choose water or, in winter, a nice big cup of tea.
Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
For me that´s a big no-no. My parents taught little me that "you don´t draw into books!" and it stuck with me. Making light notes with a pencil was the maximum for me in school and nowadays I refuse to do any writing in books at all. I rather make notes on a separate sheet of paper. On the other hand I always find it charming when I find handwritten notes in old books. I own one in which someone made notes about the pronounciation of french names and it´s hilarious.
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
Bookmarks, definately bookmarks. Most of my books look like they were never read and I always get upset when they show any signs of use. I don´t even know why, I guess I just love the perfection of a fresh out of the press book. But again, on the other hand I love old books that show their age. When the paper has become really soft, the corners are rounded and somebody accidentally left a fingerprint. 19th century and early 20th century books have a very special paper quality that feels so nice between the fingers.
Fiction, non-fiction, or both?
Both. Many of my favorite books are fictional stories with a historic background. The combination of entertainment and learning by reading is great and I love to dive into the life of centuries gone by. One of my biggest pet peeves on the other hand is badly researched historic fiction. It´s driving me mad. The german book market (like many others, I guess) is flooded with terrible historic novels aimed at women where the hero is ALWAYS a pretty young female and there is always some sort of love issue and she always has to be all modern and liberated and it´s all ridiculously unrealistic. Don´t get me wrong, I´m all about liberated women, there have always been some, and I don´t mind if there is some romance in a story, but it´s a pain in the butt to find something beyond the clichée because historic love drama sells like sliced bread.
Once in a while I also stumble upon an interesting biography. And of course, due to my job, I also have a little selection of books about design, art and illustration that I browse for inspiration.
Are you the kind of person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
I can stop anywhere without a problem. I´d be in big trouble if I couldn´t. Have you seen how long chapters can be sometimes??
Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
Nope. I´ll just assume that the author might have had a reason and that the explanation will follow. I once wanted to
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
Sometimes I do, but mostly I hope that the context will help me out. I´m just so lazy.
What are you currently reading?
Right now I´m reading "Sanson's memoirs" by Charles-Henri Sanson, the memories of the Sanson family who, for generations, were the hangmen of Paris. History, murder, intrigues, yes!
I´m also reading Tove Janssons Moomin adventures to little M as a bedtime story. I haven´t read it before but really enjoy it. The characters are all a bit grumpy it seems, that´s a nice change!
What is the last book you bought?
That´s a tough one. I actually have no idea. I did buy a book with bedtime stories some months ago, I remember that, and I´m pretty sure I bought something for myself after that, but what? I also downloaded some free classics to my phone - Shakespeare, Dumas, Goethe - so I´ll just take that as my answer ;)
Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?
At one point, as a teenager, I decided that it would be better for me to read one book at a time. I tend to mix up characters and storylines and that´s not a good thing because I sometimes had to re-read whole chapters or even the whole book. Also, if I´m reading one book and want to read another one it just motivates me to read faster.
Do you have a favourite time/place to read?
Reading in the garden or on the balcony is my favorite. That only works during the warmer months of course, but I LOVE when the sun warms my skin while I´m reading. On the other hand I also like to cuddle myself into the sofa in winter, when all the small lights of christmas decorations and candles give a cosy feeling, a warm blanket covering my legs. Mmmh, it´s nearly that time of year again.
Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?
It really depends on the story. Sometimes a story is told in one book and it should be left at that. Other times I finish a book and am so happy that there will be more. For example the Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud had to consist of several books to show how the characters develop over the years. I´m not sure if the prequel really was necessary but it was a fun read. And then there are those books whose characters you love, about whom you want to read so much more, but there is only that one book. Those are the sad moments of reading.
Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
I hardly ever get asked to recommend a book but if somebody wants to hear my opinion I pretty much always mention "All quiet on the western front" by Erich Maria Remarque. It´s a brilliant book and still so terribly relevant. One of the few books I re-read several times. We had to read it in class when I was around 15 and it was literally the only "forced" read I enjoyed. (Since then I re-read several of the classics I had to read in school and was surprised that many of them actually aren´t as bad as they felt back then.). Other recommendations would be the above mentioned Bartimaeus Sequence or anything Raymond Chandler for a relaxed read, Dumas' "The three musketeers" just because it´s my favorite book ever, Frank McCourt's "Angela's ashes", Vikram Seth's "Two lives" as well as "Baudolino" and "The name of the rose" by Umberto Eco, both amazing historic novels.
How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author's last name, etc.)
I organize by genre. Novels and stories are also organized alphabetically by the author´s last name. It´s all rather similar to a library system and the only things as organized as my books are my vintage magazines and my CDs. I also have a special corner where I put the "what to read next"-books so I don´t have to browse through the whole collection every time I´m looking for something to read.
Do you have any book recommendations? Are you reading a book at the moment?