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lexlingua

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The A to Z Survey

I found this survey completely by chance on Late Nights with Good Books, and fell in love with it. Here’s my take on the Perpetual Page Turner’s A to Z alphabetical survey about books.

Author you've read the most books from:
This could have been Carolyn Keene (who wrote the Nancy Drew series), except that I later found out that Keene is herself a legal fiction—a pseudonym for all the authors who keep doling out new issues of the adventures of Nancy Drew (and who never ever grows old)… Wait, my multiple-times-read author would be Enid Blyton, of course. After I started out with the Five Find-Outers' The Secret Room, her backlist became the dream come true of my ten year old self.

Best sequel ever:
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. This is one sequel that I like better than the first book Cinder of the Lunar Chronicles. This is an allegory of Red Riding Hood, who goes looking for her grandmother with the help of the big bad wolf, and gets more than she can escape from.

Currently Reading:
Wide Open by Deborah Coates, which I found completely by chance, mixing crime fiction with fantasy elements. Going really strong (with me) so far. Review will come up soon too.

Drink of choice while reading:
Hot cup of coffee.

E-reader or physical book:
When its fiction, then it’s my Kindle. For non-fiction, which I like to underline and make notes on, I prefer the physical copy.

Fictional character you probably actually would have dated in high school:
Gilbert Blythe, from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, who loved poor Anne Shirley with the red hair and the freckles because she was smart, bullied her and competed with her, matched wits and pride with her, became a doctor and married her. Gilbert was the best flawed teenage boy who ever hit page and turned into a wonderful adult too.

Glad you gave this book a chance:
The Bitterbynde Trilogy by Cecilia Dart Thornton is a little known series in blogosphere, but is a remarkable story about the rift between the fae/ elves and humans. Almost Tolkieneseque in the writing style and imagery, this book trilogy should be promoted more often. I am glad I decided to read it—completely by chance, merely because the title and the cover beckoned to me.

Hidden gem book:
Chime by Franny Billingsley. I have a rule that if I am wary about my book, I will try out its audio, so that I don’t have to devote 100% attention to the reading and can do multi-tasking. For months, Chime languished away in my TBR pile, and I decided to try out the audio. Boy, did I discover this to be one of the top 10 fantasy books I have ever read! It is a gem because it’s so brilliantly plotted and so lyrically put together, but I hate that it’s not more out there. In that respect, G and H are quite the same.

Important moment in your reading life:
I think the point I decided to read Cordelia’s Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold marked an important step for me last year. Can’t say it’s been the most important moment ever, but it does define the time for me when I found that science fiction was not so unpalatable after all. In fact, it was so much like Star Wars that I took to sci-fi like, er, . I also discovered Bujold, whose complete backlist I plan to read.

Just finished:
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier is the first book in many days that I have actually managed to finish. It’s a lamentable return to YA literature (by me), but it truly is a nice, tender book with some really novel magical elements. Marillier remains a marvel for me.

Kinds of books you won't read:
Horror. Can’t abide it, my imagination is too strong. I start imagining hands coming out of walls to strangle me!

Longest book you've read:
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. At 600+ pages, Wolf Hall is not such a big book, but it’s so rich in history and delicate minutiae, that reading it felt like a never-ending (albeit, a lovely one) journey.

Major book hangover because of:
Greywalker by Kat Richardson. I read the book at one go. This was pretty much my last frontier in fantasy fiction, because believe you me, I have read pretty much all the UF series by now. This one cast me in major downs for a series of weeks. I simply could not put up with another femme fatale heroine with strange otherworldy enemies out to use her powers for their own nefarious purposes. The book in itself is not bad, it’s got a very scientific kind of magical world building and is decidedly grim. But it was the last UF straw on the fantasy reader’s back for days thereafter.

Number of bookcases you own:
Let’s see. There’s one huge shelf in the lobby hall, my own bedroom has one, the study hall has one more, nay, three more glass cupboards full of really old Penguin and Russian books… And do Calibre E-book collections count? That would make a total of six bookcases.

One book you have read multiple times:
That used to be Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which I reportedly read 37 times by the time the sixth book came out.

Preferred place to read:
That cozy couch in my drawing room.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read:
Well, there’s no single quote that inspires me, because book quotes can’t really be read out of context to get the ‘feels’. But here’s one that explains my wild love for books:

“I have wandered in many lands, seeking the lost regions from which my birth into this world exiled me, and the company of creatures such as I myself.”
~ George Bernard Shaw, in Caesar and Cleopatra

Reading regret:
That I’m losing interest in reading SFF (gasp!). That my reading habits might be being suffering from reader’s block these days. Most of the books I have been reading, or starting to read, end up in the DNF pile. Have I become one of those jaded SFF readers? Noooo…..

Series you've started but need to finish (all books are out in the series):
Hmm, don't think there's a series which is complete and which I have started but not finished. This one's a dead end for me. Heh, heh, I like my closures.

Three of your all-time favorite books:
I am hoping that this is not a superlative list, because it’s really hard to boil down favourites to threes. For now, I can only think of To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke and The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot.

Unapologetic fangirl for:
Any book based on any kind of mythology. I see it anywhere in the blurb, and must read it! These days I have discovered speculative non-fiction about mythology too. Try out Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, or Wendy Doniger’s books or The Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna if you’re interested too.

Very excited for this release more than all the others:
Chimes at Midnight, by Seanan McGuire. This is the next book in my favourite Urban Fantasy series till date.

Worst bookish habit:
I hated sharing books as a kid, especially my Enid Blytons and Harry Potters. How dare anyone eye them? I bought them, I own them, I won’t share them. Then I discovered e-books, and my territorial instincts lessened in direct proportion to the geographical boundaries existing over email. But a new bad habit came in—the habit of piling up my TBR shelves with a madness, only to abandon them.

X marks the spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Six-Gun Snow White, by Catherynne Valente. After Valente’s Orphan Tales, this is the second time I’ve read her work, and this time it’s a novella around Snow-White. Except it’s not really the fairy tale and there’s no Prince Charming either, but it’s a twisted, eerie version filled with dark humour and cowboy stunts and totally cool. Highly recommended

Your latest book purchase:
When I was a child, I read Books, by Marilynne Robinson. It’s a collection of essays which I bought because of the title alone. The book cover helps too, though so far, it’s the classic piece of non-fiction, and I am having trouble relating to it.

Zzzzz-snatcher book. Last book that kept you up way too late:
I am not in college anymore, so can’t bunk the next day to finish a book. But the last book that made me really nocturnal was The Man Who Was Thursday, a mystery by G.K. Chesterton (my review here). This was because the book seemed really thin in my hands, and was so fast-paced and I feared so much for the wise and reckless hero that I just had to see how it ended. I was late to office the next day, especially because the ending made me a wreck.
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