A Bookish A-Z

I saw this on someone’s blog (I cannot now remember where) but thought it would be a good way to get me back into the blogging routine after my little break 🙂

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From: The author of my comfort reads – Dick Francis. I’ve read every book he wrote – and he wrote 40 works of fiction. A British jump jockey turned thriller writer upon retirement, with most of his work having links – however tenuously – to the racing world. Recommended first to my father by his mother, the rest of the family then picked them up – and with both sets of grandparents owning and breeding racehorses, it’s was a familiar world for us all.

Best Sequel: The Amber Spyglass, the final in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Although written for children, these came highly recommended. What’s especially unusual is that the best book was the last one.

Currently Reading: The Burgess Boys from Elizabeth Strout. I didn’t connect with Olive Kitteridge as many other readers did, but Lucy Barton resonated strongly. I’m currently working my way through others of her back catalogue, and also recently finished her latest – and Booker shortlisted – offering.

Drink Choice While Reading: Tea – either Earl Grey with a drop of milk, or Chai, without milk. No sugar in either.

E reader or physical book: E reader. Although I love owning and holding real books, the convenience of an E reader means they’ve won out for a while now.

Fictional character you probably would have dated in high school: I was an awkward and gawky teenager, not dating anyone until I reached my twenties. I simply cannot think of anyone I could or would have dated at that age.

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War from Max Brooks. I absolutely loathe anything to do with zombies and this was the second zombie related book selected by my book group. I’d hated the previous one, only surviving it because I read a really wonderfully witty book alongside it. Yet this was an absolute gem, so could’ve also been selected for the next category.

Hidden Gem: Mr Loverman from Bernadine Evaristo which – in my mind – is decidedly superior to her later Booker winner.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life: Lost Connections from Johann Hari. This seminal work on depression was a lightbulb moment for me and encouraged me to learn how to manage my depression.

Just Finished: Block, Delete, Move On: It’s not you, it’s them from LalalaLetMeExplain. A book about dating for women in their twenties & thirties, written anonymously. I’ve recently become a dating coach for the over fifties, and it was interesting to see the parallels. It’s also very well written, and amusing.

Kind of Books I Won’t Read: Anyone peddling extreme or abhorrent views. Other than that – horror, gore and zombies.

Longest Book You’ve Read: Troubled Blood from Robert Galbraith (aka J K Rowling) at 1,088 pages.

Major Book Hangover Because Of: A Little Life from Hanya Yanagihara. A real marmite book which people either love or loathe. Despite not being a fan of misery porn (how many have categorised this book), there is no doubting it’s a challenging – if wonderful and affecting – read

Number of Cases You Own: 5 (floor to ceiling height) although not all the shelves are book filled, and so I “need” more 😉

One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times: pretty much all the works of Dick Francis, although I also re-read earlier Harry Potter books in advance of the latest volume’s release. But I haven’t touched my Harry Potter books in a while, whereas I keep on picking up my Dick Francis books.

Preferred Place to Read: a comfortable chair with good light. I used to read in bed, but that put a strain on my back and gave me a crick in the neck. I’m now too old not to pay attention to my body’s complaints 😀

Quote That Inspires You, or Gives You All the Feels, From a Book You’ve Read: Nope, sorry, nothing to offer here, because I tend not to collect quotes from books. Instead let me pick a book which has provided something to take away for many people – Eat, Pray, Love – and say that I love the bit when she’s in Bologna and attends a football match with Italian (male) friends. When their team loses, they go out to commiserate – by buying pastries. There’s lots about Italian manhood I’m not fond of, but this is simply delightful 🙂

Reading Regret: That I left it so long to read To Kill A Mockingbird (I was in my fifties). I saw the film first (and watched it many times), then feared that the book couldn’t possibly outstrip it. It didn’t, but I love them equally.

Series You Started and Need to Finish: None that I can think of. There’s many books where I’ve read one or more in a series but, if I feel the need to finish them, I just get on with it – so there’s none outstanding!

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books:

  • Midnights Children from Salman Rushdie
  • Pere Goriot from Honore de Balzac
  • Things Fall Apart from Chinua Achebe

Unapologetic Fanperson For: Sebastian Barry – I’ve enjoyed everything he’s written and his descriptive passages are simply luscious.

Very Excited For This Release (More than all the others): Nope, not anymore. When I’ve built up a level of excitement for a new book, it tends to disappoint. So I don’t allow myself to do this anymore.

Worst Bookish Habit: Buying more books than I can ever read in the years I have left!

X Marks the Spot—start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Hackney, that Rose-Red Empire from Iain Sinclair (my daughter lives in Hackney in East London).

Your Latest Book Purchase: In Kindle, it’s The Ink Black Heart the latest from Robert Galbraith. In terms of a real book, that would be Modernists & Mavericks from Martin Gayford – renowned art critic, writing about Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, David Hockney et al which I bought from our local art gallery.

Zzz-Snatcher Book (the last book that kept you up late): Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from J K Rowling. I picked it up – in hardback no less – at one minute past midnight on the day of its release, but couldn’t finish reading it as we were booked to spend the day with my parents-in-law. As soon as we got home afterwards, I sat up and read till it was finished. I kept falling asleep so the ending made absolutely no sense, until I slept some and re-read it!

As ever, do recommend something for me to add to my ever swaying To Be Read pile, or let me know your answer to any of the categories.

© Debra Carey, 2022

21 thoughts on “A Bookish A-Z

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  1. I just finished Zen Cho’s “Black Water Sister,” and loved it.

    Like you, haven’t touched “Harry Potter” in a long time, but it’s my son’s favorite comfort book. As a child and adolescent, the “Little House on the Prairie” books were my comfort books. Apparently all comfort books are problematic.

    As an adult, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan and Five Gods series are the ones I re-read.

    I do like biographies and history, but mental breaks from anxiety and catastrophizing are essential, especially these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh no LA, that’s dire, I feel your pain. Have you read Marian Keyes, Anne Tyler or Elizabeth Strout?


  3. Autumn, that books sounds right up my street. In fact, it is currently downloading onto my Kindle. Lois McMaster Bujold keeps being recommended, so I really am going to have to pick one and start.

    Completely agree with you about the escape being more and more necessary. It’s a real swine when our early reading turns out to be problematic. I read a lot of Nevil Shute when I was young, but the racism & misogyny leapt out at me as an adult.


  4. This was fun, Debs. I liked all the categories. And with your permission I’m going to borrow “A real marmite book,” which I think is a wonderful way to describe a bad book. I’ve seen references to Dick Francis all my life but have never read him. I’ll put him on my “to get to” list. I have never been able to read in bed because… I’ll fall asleep! 🙂 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like your answers and will admit that I’ve not read your three all-time favorites. As for a book recommendation, I’m reading Underground Fugue by Margot Singer and like it so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow and phew, Debs! That’s a lot of questions about books, I’ll have to give them some thoughts. I’ve been mostly reading nonfiction during the pandemic, but I just read the most recent 3 Louise Penny books, starting with the one she co-authored with Hillary Clinton, State of Terror, and then The Madness of Crowds and A World of Curiosities. If you wonder what winter in eastern Canada is like, either of the last 2 does a great job of describing it while the mystery is unfolding!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I did not know the new Cormoran Strike book was out! Yay! And thanks for the heads up. I just finished the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Vampires and witches and such, but no zombies!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marty, delighted you like the phrase “marmite book” – enjoy using it! 😀 If you like an old-style thriller, Dick Francis is your man.


  9. Ally, I have sooooo many books which could’ve made the top three list and clearly my past has influenced many of my reading choices, so not entirely surprising there’s no overlap.

    Underground Fugue looks very interesting – I’ve added it to my pile with enthusiasm, thank you 🙂


  10. Jane, there can never be too many questions or conversations about books for me! 😉

    I’d previously pondered on the one co-authored with Hillary Clinton, but the ones in Canada sounds more of a draw. I’ve added one to my list and hope to have uncovered a new (to me) author. Thank you 🙂


  11. Ooooh Mark, exciting – I didn’t know you’d written a book! Nice reviews on it, so I’ve added it to my Kindle. Thanks 🙂


  12. I know Donna, I had the same reaction despite being in the middle of reading the Booker longlist! I shall check out Deborah Harkness, thank you 🙂


  13. Absolutely love this and will do it. And some of your choices are inspiring. … I need more bookshelves!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Mary, nice to see you here. That’s always the problem with these, I’ve added a fair few books to my swaying TBR pile from this post. I hope you enjoy the ones I’ve inspired you to check out. And we *always* need more bookshelves! The best furnishings a home can have is lots & lots of bookshelves 🙂


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