Thursday, October 09, 2008

BTT: Book Meme (and more giveaways)

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What was the last book you bought?

Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Petersen

Name a book you have read MORE than once

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?

I've visited many wonderful places, learned about other cultures, history, current events, experienced the highs and lows of human relationships and behaviour via books, but I can't think of a book that has fundamentally changed the way I view life. My perspective has certainly been broadened through reading but my basic beliefs remain pretty much the same.

How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews

I do love a good cover, and if I'm browsing, it's often the cover that will catch my eye. Then I'll read the summary on the back and do the random page test. If it seems interesting then it may come home with me or be noted down for later. When we lived in England, I would do this much more often than now. All those tempting 3 for 2 sales and other discounted books. It's easier to take a risk on a book when it doesn't cost very much. Since we've been back in Japan, I'm generally buying quite a bit less but when I do, most of it is done online because it's cheaper. Of course you can still see the covers but it's not the same tactile experience of picking it up and caressing the cover. Most of the books I buy nowadays, and since I started blogging really, come from the recommendations and reviews of other bloggers with just the occasional "find" at the bookstore.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

I mostly read fiction, there's just something so wonderful about getting lost in a story. When I do occasionally read non-fiction, I have enjoyed it, for the most part. I think the key for me and non-fiction is it should be a topic I'm interested and not too technical or scientific but not condescending either. I have several non-fiction books in TBR purgatory waiting to be read as well but it's almost always the fiction that calls out to me to be read next.

What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?

Both! Although not necessarily in the same book. Sometimes all I want is something with a fast-paced, clever plot. But other times I want to take my time and admire the clever turns of phrase and the beautiful images crafted out of words.

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)

I'll always have a soft spot for Elizabeth and Darcy.

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?

Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino (which I'm actively reading), My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (which I put there a few months ago thinking I might read it but I haven't been in quite the right mood yet), and Beloved by Toni Morrison (also put there earlier this year in the hope of reading it). I think it may be time though to put them back on the shelves, at least for now.

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?

Perfume by Patrick Süskind. I finished it at the end of September.

Have you ever given up on a book half way in?

Not very often, but yes. I usually try to finish a book once I've started since I figure I've put some time and effort into it, I might as well have something to show for it. But if it's really bad and I just don't care about picking it up I will give up on it.


More giveaways:

Anna of Diary of an Eccentric is giving away 2 books: The Best Place to Be by Lesley Dormen, and Losing Kei by Suzanne Kamata. Click on the titles to read her interviews with the authors and to enter the giveaways.

At Literarily, you have a chance to win a copy of The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran. Again, click on the title to enter.


  1. I much prefer choosing a book when I can pick it up and hold it - the physical feel is important. Sometimes a cover will put me off a book just as much as a "good" cover will make me pick it up - I suppose it's all a matter of individual preferences.

  2. Tanabata, thanks for spreading the worda about my giveaway of The Heretic Queen.

    I have Beloved waiting to be read also.

  3. 3 for 2 offers are really tempting aren't they!! So many times I have bought 3 books when I only went in for 1 anyway!

  4. BooksPlease - That's so true, I've been put off some books because of bad covers too. And yes, it's so much nicer to hold the books in my hands but money talks.

    Shana - No problem. I've had Beloved waiting for a very long time. Someday I will actually read it!

    mariel- Those 3 for 2 offers were my major downfall. It's probably a good thing we moved away or my TBR piles would most likely be even more out of control!

  5. Absolutely put The Gargoyle on your is mesmerizing!

  6. I love Pride & Prejudice!

    Thanks for mentioning my giveaway!


  7. Let me know when you read MY NAME IS RED, i also have it near me we could co-read. You definitely have to be in a mood for this one.

  8. Oh I tried reading My Name is Red and just couldn't. I get the feeling Pamuk may just not be for me. I tried another of his books and couldn't get into it either. Sigh. Hopefully you'll have good luck with it!

  9. I've read Pride and Prejudice more than once too. And thank goodness I did! I didn't like it as much the first time I read it but the second reading put it right among my all-time favorites.

    I agree with your about the beautiful writing and gripping plot both being important--and sometimes not necessarily in the same book.

    I hope you have a great weekend, Nat!

  10. Janet - Mesmerizing is good! :)

    Anna - I think I may have to watch the BBC version again sometime soon. :P

    Madeleine - Sure, I'll let you know when I read it, but I have no idea when that will be. Like you said, it seems like a book that you really have to be in the right mood for. It would be good to read along with someone though, a little motivation.

    Iliana - I've only read the 1st page but it's rather intimidating. Someday I'll give it a shot and see how far I get.

    Wendy - I didn't really like it the first time I read it either. I was too young. I loved the TV version though so I'm glad I gave it another chance. And thanks. I hope you had a great weekend too!


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