June 05, 2010


I picked this questionnaire up from Norm and think its quite interesting as a revelation about my own practice whilst reading.

Do you snack while reading? > Mostly not.

What is your favourite drink while reading? > Tea or green tea and perhaps in the evening water

Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? > I do mark my books- partly because I'm often reading on trains, tubes etc and don't have a notebook available, partly because I think it allows you to see whatever the statement is in in context.

How do you keep your place? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book open flat? > A bookmark normally or else just memory.

Fiction, non-fiction or both? > I read mostly non-fiction and particularly history. I try to read more fiction all the time but am not neccessarily successful. My degree left me with an ability to plough through non-fiction in a way that I can't with fiction.

Do you tend to read to the end of a chapter or can you stop anywhere? > I do try and get to the end of chapters, partly because I normally feel chapters are or should be clauses in the argument of the book and therefore contribute to the whole. It also makes remembering where you are easier.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you? > Nope- never do that. If I get irritated I either write something about why the book is awful, talk to someone about why it is awful or just stop reading. There is no point wasting time with rubbish (incidentally I get far more upset with bad quality than with stuff I disagree with- the former is bad, the latter is interesting because it may change my mind).

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away? > No. My vocabulary is largely self taught (I still don't always pronounce some words correctly because I've seen them on the page) and I infer what things mean from context.

What are you currently reading? > The City of God against the Pagans by Augustine (is anyone else depressed that when you type City of God into Amazon you come up with the film and not this book)

What is the last book you bought? > The Devil in Holy Water or the art of slander from Louis XIV to Napoleon by Robert Darnton.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read? > Not really, I will read whenever I have the chance. Just after I've got up in the morning I tend to spend 10-20 minutes reading and going into and coming back from work. I also will read all evening and all Saturday if its possible.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones? > 'Stand-alones'? Anyway, them. (I've cheated as I agree with Norm)

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over? > Yes several. The book I reccomend the most is Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan- that's because it was the book that made me fall in love with the history of ideas. But apart from that and Gibbon's Decline and Fall, there are just too many to mention.

How do you organize your books (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)? > In an ideal world, fiction by subject and period, non-fiction by author. In the real world this is something I need a free couple of days and courage to attempt.