Friday, 13 January 2012

A BTT reader survey - hooray!

Many of you are probably already aware that I just can't resist a survey, so I'm coming out of BTT hibernation (hey, it happens) for this little bookish interview!  I know it's a day late, but I hadn't quite finished my post yesterday and I wasn't feeling too good last night, so here goes nothin'...

1. What's your favourite time of day to read?
I think any time is good reading time for me!  As long as I'm alert and awake, and not doing anything else, I'm good to go on the book front.  Sometimes that might be in the evening after dinner, sometimes it's at work on a quiet day, sometimes it's first thing in the morning before it's time to leave...

2. Do you read during breakfast?
Definitely!  I usually make breakfast and retreat to my room with it.  Depending on how much time I have, I might read until I'm done with my final swig of coffee, or I might just keep going for a while.  It's a great way to start the day.  I don't do it every morning - if I'm particularly tired or headachy or nervous for some reason, I might watch something on my laptop or read a few blog posts instead.

3. What's your favourite breakfast food?
I don't have cereals these days because of my IBS (a bowl of milk on an empty stomach, nope!), and I'm a big fan of tea 'n' toast as a quick after-work meal - for breakfast I prefer something a little sweeter.  Most mornings I have a milk chocolate chip muffin, microwaved for a few seconds for that yummy fresh-baked feeling, with a big mug of tea or coffee.  Occasionally if I'm feeling REALLY decadent I might buy a pack of pain au chocolat instead - but mostly it's all about the muffins!  It's a running family joke!

4. How many hours a day would you say you read?
It varies from one day to the next, from week to week, from season to season.  Some days I don't read a page.  Perhaps I've been very busy at work, or I'm in the middle of a DVD box set marathon that's taking up all my spare time.  Maybe I've just been swept up online and never stopped to pick up my book.  Mostly though, I'd say I read at least an hour a day, sometimes more like five or six.  I usually read over breakfast, which is at least half an hour.  I read behind the counter at work, so the quieter the day, the more likely I am to have read for a good chunk of it.  I read in the evening, while I eat tea, or if there's nothing on telly later on.  Sometimes I read a while longer if I can't sleep, or if I wake up in the early hours of the morning for some reason.  On a day off I can read pretty much all day!

5. Do you read more or less now than you did, say, 10 years ago?
Ummm, let's see, ten years ago I was 14...  I'd have to say probably more.  When I was at school I definitely read a lot, but I also had long school days and a ton of homework to do, plus I liked to veg out and watch telly on the weekends.  Now I can read at work AND at home, and I'm a little more discriminating with my viewing, so I have more time to pick up a book.

6. Do you consider yourself a speed reader?
Sadly not!  I used to read quickly - not speed reading, but fast enough - and could read anywhere, in any kind of environment, but these days I find myself getting distracted too easily.  Often the best way for me to maintain my concentration is to read under my breath, which by definition slows me right down.

7. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Flying, definitely!  I've always had those lovely freedom-filled 'flying dreams', ever since I was a kid, and I wanted to be like Peter Pan!  I still use it as a kind of meditation exercise sometimes, imagining myself flying up, out of my body, out of my house, and away over trees and fields and water.  Very relaxing.

8. Do you carry a book with you everywhere you go?
Within reason, yes.  Anywhere I conceivably think I might read it.  So... dentist's waiting rooms - check.  On a train - check.  To work every day - check.  Out on a shopping trip around town - check.  But I don't take one grocery shopping or anything like that.

9. What KIND of book?
Any kind of book!  Anything that interests me is fair game - especially when I'm taking it to work.  I'll usually choose something smaller and lighter to carry around elsewhere, but when I go to work I take whatever I'm reading at the time.  It might be a classic, a science book, the latest bestseller, a YA novel, a biography or history book or travel memoir... well, you get the idea.  Like, right now I'm reading a book about the scientific value of E. coli and a romantic YA novel alongside each other.  Diversity is my middle name, peeps!

10. How old were you when you got your first library card?
Too young to remember.  I remember the cards though - I got a bundle of them, and they were little brown half-envelopes made of thin card, with my name on them.  Every time I wanted a book I had to give the librarian one of my cards, and she'd stow it away with the book's insert and stamp the book for me to take home.  Aaaaah, memories...

11. What's the oldest book you have in your collection? (Oldest physical copy? Longest in the collection? Oldest copyright?)
I don't know, actually.  I have a fair few classics, so old books abound in that sense.  I have books that have been on my shelves for over half my life (I recently let go of many of my children's books, it was time), so that's old books in a different sense.  And I have a couple of beautiful old books, like a gorgeous edition of Longfellow's poetry, exquisitely bound with marbled boards and gold leafing down the page edges.

Disclaimer: I do not look this casually sexy when I read in bed.
12. Do you read in bed?
Sometimes - especially if I wake up early, or if I can't sleep last thing at night.  I do quite a lot of reading ON the bed (occasionally with one of the cats), though I prefer to sit on the floor with my back to the warm radiator if it's a bit chilly in the house.  When I was next door in the flat I mostly read in the living room because it was mine, but back in the family house my little bedroom's the only place I'm unlikely to be interrupted!

13. Do you write in your books?
Not any more.  I used to make notes in university texts - mostly ones I knew I would never, ever read again outside the course.  And I'd make occasional notes in other books, and write my name and the date in front of every one.  I don't write anything in books now, unless they're a special gift for someone.  Sometimes I'll ask someone to write in a book THEY'VE given to ME too, particularly if it's something a little bit special.  But for normal standard books I don't write in them now, partially because books flow in and out of my house so regularly now we have the bookshop, and partially because if they're pristine I can put a slightly better price on them at the shop to help pay our bills!

14. If you had one piece of advice to a new reader, what would it be?
Don't jump in the deep end, or you could scare yourself off books for life.  It's a very brave idea, but tackling War and Peace is probably not your best bet right now.  Start smaller, with a gripping novel or a popular non-fiction title that suits your interests.  And if you don't know where to start, talk to your librarian or local bookseller - they'll always be happy to recommend something!


  1. Love the peek into your reading life.

  2. Hi Morphy! Thanks - I'm a sucker for a reading meme, more opportunities to talk about BOOKS! :)

  3. lol!

    loved your disclaimer!

    i look least sexiest when reading in bed!

    Here is my BTT: Interview II post!

  4. Does ANYONE look like that casually sexy while reading in bed? I don't even want to know what I look like with my Iron Man blanket, Paddington pyjamas and packet of biscuits!

    Ohh... I remember reading leaning against the radiator! When I had a flat with my friend, the living room was always freezing, so we used to pull the cushion pads off the sofa and sit on them against the radiator. Aww, I'm all nostalgic now...

  5. That's a good advice in #14. And being able to fly would be great!

  6. I think flying would be fun, though I often wonder if it's be like swimming only without the crazy motions to propel me through the water.

    The caption under your reading in bed picture cracked me up....

  7. Ha, that disclaimer seems to be the most popular thing about this post!

    Hanna - I would LOVE to see that. And reading with your back against a radiator is awesome! Any old cushion will do, y'know - in fact, I don't even bother with one!

    Flying... Hmmm. In a 'calming myself down' moment it's more of an effortless 'I'm a bird!' kind of view I've got going on, but in my dreams it often is actually swimming, only through the air. An airborn breast stroke. And if I don't swim fast enough I just keep dropping lower and lower until I'm face first on the grass! :)

  8. Love this blog - your bookshop sounds lovely! And great post,

    Jessica from Booked Up!

    :) xxx


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