Ramble

My plan this year was to have one post per week on both blogs. I’ve done nothing on Chaos Castle, and I’m about seven (ish, I think) behind on Child-Led Chaos. I have two drafts that I need to finish (one on autism, one my April book wrap up) and I haven’t got the brain capacity to finish them at the moment. Then there’s the May book wrap-up due, which at least is short because I’ve not been reading much.

I’m writing this blog for me at the moment, so apologies if you’ve wandered across it and it’s boring. I’m trying to get in the habit (not doing great at that) because I do enjoy blogging and reviewing. I’m so out of touch with picture books now, which saddens me, but there are so many new things and I think I’ll focus on what I already have when I actually put things on Chaos Castle again.

There seems to be a trend of books being published, raved about, then disappearing quickly. That’s not a professional opinion, just a sense I’m getting from reading old reviews of picture books and then seeing they’re out of print already. I could be completely wrong. I’m guilty of keeping buying new books and having a far too big TBRs then culling older books I’ve not got round to, so I really need to slow down myself. I just want to read all the books.

I’ve been trying to satisfy my cravings for books by getting Kindle books when they are on sale. I also have got into the habit of choosing “no rush delivery” on Amazon orders because we have Prime and you get a £1 digital voucher so I’m effectively getting free books which don’t take up physical space. That I’ll probably never read 🙁

I’ve planned my library in my head, even though I haven’t the money to buy the bookcases that I need for it. And I have still to tidy up the garage to make this even vaguely possible. I think two of these (in a different configuration) might house all our books, but I need to work out dimensions and whether it’s physically possible.

We currently have 5 bulging bookcases, that might be slightly smaller than full-size Ikea Billy but they’re stacked full. Plus boxes and piles of books all over the house, which is why I’m trying to catalogue them all so I can work out how much bookcase space I need.

I’m slightly obsessed. And yet I’ve not done anything about it other than in my head because I’m useless. Or autistic with executive functioning issues.

Anyhow, I guess I should go and do something useful…

Updated TBR

It’s three months since I wrote a planned TBR for this year, and it appears I’m definitely not a TBR person!

Of the 31 books I planned to read, I’ve read two, despite having read 33 books since making the list.

I’ve also already culled/unhauled five of the books on the list, and will probably cull at least one more.

Most of the rest aren’t in my sights for reading in the near future either.

My current TBR plans are probably:

The Gospel of Loki (currently reading)
Moon Mourning (Kindle borrow)
The Testament of Loki (Netgalley)
Heart’s Blood
Heart Shaped Box (Netgalley)
A Sending of Dragons
Scythe
Dragon’s Heart (don’t own)
Children of Blood and Bone
Midnight (11th Skulduggery, published end of this month – will jump ahead in list when arrives)

Well, three of them are still the same! I started re-reading the Pit Dragon trilogy so will continue but I also need to get some review books read, and have added a quick read for light relief. To finish the now Pit Dragon quartet I need to buy the fourth book, and I so don’t need more books. But this series is special to me so I will.

I’m starting to get my head around getting rid of more books from my TBR piles that I’m unlikely to read in the next few years, and planning to cull as I progress with my “books wot i own” project.

I will hopefully end up with a library of just books that I love, plus Mr Chaos’ and my girls’ books of course. I’m writing this from a self centred view but MG & DG have books that I wouldn’t cull because they love them (I’m looking at you, Rainbow Fairies!) and Mr Chaos only has about three shelves of books, being less of a book person, all of which are meaningful to him.

Books Wot I Own #2

This is going to take a very long time…

Other posts in this series: bookswotiown 

I do have a habit of getting carried away with things when I get something into my head. Listing every book in this household is going to take a while. I have so far gone through the two boxes I have, plus 2/3 of one bookshelf, plus added most of this year’s gained books (I have already culled some of this year’s gained books – the book cull total rose to 230 by the end of April) and my total owned books on Goodreads is now 451.

Hmm. I’ve not really got through many at all. I’m going to estimate 3000-4000 books in total, let’s see what happens…

Scanning books with the Goodreads app is painfully slow. It might be my phone, but that’s fairly new, or the age of the books, or that I have UK editions? I don’t know, but it’s easier to search Goodreads where I have a series, add them all, and then edit the edition to the one I actually have. This might come under autistic obsession…

For my records, here is box two. The bulk of my Terry Pratchett collection, plus some Neil Gaiman, and a random Paul Gallico because it fit.

Right, I’m having a break for a few days, and a think about how stupid this plan is and whether I’m going to continue.

I really want to have this list though. Being obsessive sucks sometimes.

Books Wot I Own #1

I’d really love to have a “library” with all our books in one place. Partially because I love books and just want a nice peaceful spot surrounded by my beauties and partially because I’d like to have them all in one place instead of spread in every room in the house.

We have a large garage that we currently use as storage, mainly of junk. The roof was redone less than two years ago, and although it needs decluttering and cleaning, and probably new doors (front and back standard doors, not the garage door) and window, it could probably be converted into a library with minimal cost.

Mr Chaos wants it for a cinema room, but I think his plans will involve more expense than mine, because all I really plan to do is clean the place out and add some bookshelves.

It won’t be ideal, with books getting cold in winter but with some dehumidifiers and a heater for when actually inside in winter I don’t think it needs any actual structural changes.

Whether this will actually happen or not depends on whether I can manage to throw away clutter, and whether I can save up for bookshelves (and an offcut of carpet, and I was wondering whether I should cover the bare brick walls with something to help insulate, and whether I need to replace the doors…) but whilst dreaming about it I thought I need to know exactly how many books we do actually own.

Therefore I’ve decided to do a snapshot of the books we currently own. This will probably take me several weeks to collate in between all my other jobs, but I started yesterday with the first 65ltr box I have of books I love but don’t have shelf space for so put in a box.

I’m scanning them into Goodreads, and trying to match up the covers with the versions I actually have, but it’s not accurate in a few cases because some covers weren’t on as other editions. I also don’t have a few “mini” books that were in this box – I found four out of six mini Peter Rabbit boxes as one edition (they’re not) but not the mini Winnie the Pooh, or Joke books, or Puffin Poets, or a couple of others. Just mentioning them for completeness, but I can’t be bothered to actually add them to Goodreads or take pictures!

“Box 1” as I’ve called it has 103 items on Goodreads. You can find all of my owned books (at time of writing this, 103, but will increase as I continue my project) on my “owned books all” shelf.

This is very much a “vanity project” but it’s my current obsession so I may as well write about it!

Here are the books in picture format, screen printed from Goodreads:

Oops, just done all this and realise I forgot to add The Brightonomicon by Robert Rankin because I have an arc. I added it to Goodreads but not going to get another screenprint because I don’t care for the book much. I culled all my Robert Rankins except the Armageddon trilogy and my signed Rankins. I should cull The Brightonomicon because I DNF’d it but it is personalised for my 30th birthday so I haven’t.

Book Cull / Unhaul

For the last two years, I’ve tried to reduce the increase of books in my household. For the two or three years prior to that, I had a net gain of around 400 books per year. This is understandably not sustainable.

And I only have five years worth of data on my book buying habits, so no idea what it was like before that.

In 2016 I think I managed to cull / unhaul more books than I gained. I culled over 500 books. Yay.

In 2017 I think there was a slight net gain, but I did cull 320 books.

So far in 2018 I’ve gained 152 books. 102 physical and 50 digital.

It’s the physical books that I’m counting for net gain and culling, because they take up physical space. I did cull 200+ Kindle books last year too, because they were all free ones I got when I was being overzealous on collecting Kindle books, and I’m never likely to read them.

I currently have 373 Kindle books; plus another 6 eBooks that I need to find the files for (emailed from indie book shop); plus 51 NetGalley books; plus 20 from Humble Bundle. These 450 books take up no space at all. My husband loves them 😉

However, I have no idea how many physical books we have. Most are mine or kids books (that are mostly mine too, to be fair). There are 5 bookcases full to bursting. Plus two 65ltr books packed tightly. Plus quite a few piles of books around the house. Hmm, at an estimate maybe another 8m of books? I’m not very good at estimating though.

It’s quite a lot of space taken basically. So I need to reduce the books a library.

Okay, I need to reduce the books.

And a library.

I’d also like to know exactly how many books we have now. Because I really have no idea.

Yesterday, a whole 40 books left my house. My first cull / unhaul of the year. Woohoo!

I also have another pile of books to cull, and a box I sorted last year that I haven’t got out of the house yet (not counted in my cull, I only count them when they have physically left the building!) I mean to post some out to people, and sell some, then donate what’s left. Hopefully I’ll do some of that this week so I can get this year’s net gain down to negative.

And then the four physical books I’ve already  ordered / pre-ordered won’t count as a gain. Cough.

Words, Words, Words

Do you have favourite and least favourite words? I don’t have synesthesia so I don’t have a reason to like and dislike words, but I do anyhow, and I don’t know why.

I don’t think it’s a particularly autistic thing, but probably more common with people who think too much sometimes!

My least favourite word is plethora.

plethora
NOUN
A large or excessive amount of something.

I don’t like the sound of it, but also the ‘taste’ is wrong. It’s not a word that should be particularly offensive, but I internally shudder when I hear it!

I don’t have a problem with moist. Lots of people seem to have this as their least favourite word. It’s inoffensive to me, I don’t have much of an opinion on it!

My favourite word is perspicacious.

perspicacious
ADJECTIVE
Having a ready insight into and understanding of .

I’m not sure why my favourite and least favourite words both begin with the same letter! Perspicacious ‘tastes’ better, it’s interesting, I like the definition. I don’t have a real reason to love perspicacious, but I just do.

Yeah, I could do with writing some proper posts but I felt like writing this, so here it is.

Short, isn’t it?!

March Wrap Up

I finished 8 books in March. This may seem less than the 18 average for January and February, but they were all part of my goal total so I’ve read 23 books in three months. There might have been a couple of picture books towards the end of the month too that I need to add to my Goodreads.

Here are the eight books:

Frustratingly I am currently in a reading slump. Fly By Night took over ten days to read, and I’m only forty-something pages into my current read after five days. Sigh.

My favourite book in March was (of course) Obsidio. I utterly adore the Illuminae files trilogy and have BookTube to thank for looking them up. I’ll definitely be re-reading soon, and I even took a three month Audible trial to see if I can manage audio books when they’re a full cast recording.

My second favourite of the month was The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, another one recommended on BookTube, which is only just published in hardback but was ridiculously cheap on Kindle (under £3) so I bought because the premise sounded so good. It is so good. If it’s not already been optioned for a film I’ll be very surprised. Wonderful mix of historical murder mystery with convoluted time-repeating (main character can interact with his future/past self) body-swapping, redemptive, satisfying, philosophical, frightening, I’m not sure where I’m going with the sentence. It’s good. If I wasn’t in love with the Illuminae series, it would be a clear favourite so far this year.

I’ve reviewed The Hazel Wood as part of my last NetGalley roundup. It wasn’t really my kind of thing, although I liked the premise.

Moon Angel is the last in the currently published Samantha Moon series, which I’ve been borrowing monthly via the Kindle User’s Lending Library. They are pretty awful really but I still enjoy them, and will probably move on to the spinoff series if I can borrow them.

The Up-Side of Unrequited was another BookTuber recommendation / cheap Kindle try, and I actually really liked it. Wonderful to have a main character who is overweight but doesn’t spend the whole book trying to lose weight to get the boy. Cute and fun, and very diverse.

I read Ready Player One so I could see the film. Hopefully I’ll get to see the film. I enjoyed it. I know it’s problematic in places, but it was fun. I didn’t get all the references despite being a child and teen in the eighties but much of it was so nostalgic. I utterly hated the use of the phrase “suffers” in relation to autism, but it was a throw away single line and obviously no research behind it. I expect the film will be better.

1602 was a re-read to see if my eleven-year-old could read it, as she’s enjoying all the MCU films at the moment. It didn’t seem unsuitable, and I definitely got more out of it than on my first read now I’ve seen the films because I know very little of the Marvel universe other than via the films.

I was slumping by the time I got to Fly By Night so wasn’t at my best reading it. Frances Hardinge is a wonderful author, and I need to read everything she’s written (Fly By Night is my second of hers, The Lie Tree being the first.) The world was well imagined, Mosca was wonderful, the names were brilliant. I enjoyed it despite my mood, and will get to the sequel sooner rather than later.

I’m currently reading Children of Blood and Bone, but I think I might be putting it aside and finding something else because I need to be in a better frame of mind to get into a fantasy world so I need to look for something contemporary or alternate history or urban fantasy or near future because I think my brain is looking for something more familiar at the moment.

Women in History Statistics

I am loving the glut of books about women that are coming out for children. We may have bought quite a few. I’m planning to do a series on these books, starting with some stats because we haven’t read them all yet for a proper review.

We have the following:
A Galaxy of Her Own (61 names)
Amazing Women: 101 Women to Inspire You (100 names)
Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World / Fantastically Great Women Who Made History (27 names)
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls / Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 (207 names)
HerStory (50 names)
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History (40 names)
Little People, Big Dreams series (20 books – we own three)
Three Cheers for Women! (16 names)
Women In Science / Women In Sport (100 names)

I’ve grouped some because they are related and names won’t duplicate between them, so there are nine groups of books or series. For the Little People, Big Dreams series I searched online to find as many different books as I could. I have excluded additional lists of women at the end of books and only included the ones with full write ups. For example, Three Cheers for Women! has over 70 names in total but I’ve only included 16.

There are 430 unique women / groups named. Where individuals were named together I split them up if I could, there were about five groups I couldn’t do this for, all only mentioned once.

The “top twelve” historical women, according to this selection of books are:
Marie Curie (included 7 times)
Ada Lovelace (included 6 times)
Amelia Earhart (included 6 times)
Frida Kahlo (included 6 times)
Katherine Johnson (included 6 times)
Rosa Parks (included 6 times)
Valentina Tereshkova (included 6 times)
Anne Frank (included 5 times)
Coco Chanel (included 5 times)
Harriet Tubman (included 5 times)
Mae C Jemison (included 5 times)
Maya Angelou (included 5 times)

After these, there were 11 women included 4 times; 22 women included 3 times; and 58 women included twice.

There are five women of colour in the top twelve, although three would be moved to top 23 if I didn’t specifically have a book on Black history. There are no women from Asia or Oceania in the top twelve (and only two Asian women in the top twenty-three).

Only one of the top twelve lived and died before the twentieth century, and only four more were born before the twentieth century. Three of the top twelve are still currently living.

In future blogs I’ll compare the contents and styles of the books/series. They are all very beautiful but I’ve noticed some inaccuracies in the stories I’ve currently read, so I’ll need to spend some time if I’m going through over 600 entries!

NetGalley Reviews

It’s been nearly two years since my last batch of NetGalley reviews, and I have a habit of nabbing “read now for first 50/100/200 requests” books so have quite a few more that I’ve read (and more that I’ve not read). I’m listing them in reverse order of when I got them, and the further back we go, the more likely my reviews are going to be “er, don’t remember much…”

The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert (Penguin, 2018)

(received December 2017; read March 2018)

Seventeen year old Alice has spent her life on the road with her mother, running away from what appears to be a host of bad luck. After the death of her grandmother, the borderline between reality and fairy tale merge as characters from her grandmother’s stories appear to be hunting Alice…

The Hazel Wood has a great concept, with some very dark and disturbing tales. I do like stories where humans and faerie meet, but it’s not my top genre and overall I found The Hazel Wood merely meh. It just wasn’t my kind of book.

The Trials of Morrigan Crow, Nevermoor 1 – Jessica Townsend (Orion Children’s Books, 2017)

(received October 2017; read October 2017; bought)

Ten year old Morrigan has been blamed for all local misfortunes since her birth. As a cursed child, she’s fated to die on her eleventh birthday, but instead she gets whisked away to the magical city of Nevermoor…

If I was reviewing the NetGalley release of this, it gets zero stars. The formatting made the book almost completely unreadable. However, I just about managed to read the first few pages and decided to purchase the book on the basis of those and the synopsis. And the beautiful book cover, and being half price didn’t hurt 😉

This is the first book in a magical series and it is wonderful (or possibly Wundrous). I’ve only given four stars because I think it’s one that I’ll need to re-read to get more from, and see how the series progresses, but it’s definitely a must read for anyone who likes children’s fantasy and magical worlds. I’m looking forward to more.

Why Mummy Drinks – Gill Sims (HarperCollins, 2017)

(received September 2017; read September 2017)

I follow Peter and Jane and Mummy Too on Facebook. and generally half love / half dislike her posts, so when this came up as Read Now I grabbed it out of curiosity. And actually, it was much better than I was expecting.

Being fictionalised works for Gill Sims, and her main characters worries about middle-age, middle class problems, children, husband, not feeling like she fits in anywhere are amusingly captured. The main thing that bugs me is wondering if it really is that easy to write an app, as it seems to take her no time to throw together? I’m sure it doesn’t work like that. But I still found it a fun read. Enjoyable popcorn.

Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough (HarperCollins, 2017)

(received August 2017; read August 2017)

Why, oh why, do I always fall for synopsis that promise amazing twist endings. This one even has its own hashtag #wtfthatending.

***POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT***

This book is genre fiction. It becomes very obvious with the dreams and the doors that this is heading in a particular direction. And although I may have got a detail of the ending wrong, the general gist of it seemed pretty obvious. The title is a complete give away too. Sigh.

Understanding Autism in Adults and Ageing Adults – Theresa M Regan (IndieGo Publishing, 2017)

(received April 2017; read April 2017)

I went through an autism book phase last year and I can’t remember the details of this one. I don’t think it used much problematic language and was up to date with current research.

There is a definite need for more books about autistic adults, and this is a welcome addition to increase awareness of why there are undiagnosed adults and how this can be addressed.

As I said, I don’t remember in great detail, and it wasn’t as good as Luke Beardon’s Autism and Asperger Syndrome in adults, and I’m sure it had some problematic areas, but it’s on the good end of the autism book spectrum.

How To Stop Time – Matt Haig (Cannongate, 2017)

(received April 2017; read April 2017; bought)

I’m sure this bestselling – and soon to be converted into a Cumberbatch-headlining film – novel needs little introduction.

I find Haig’s twitter and facebook posts generally awesome. In a handful of sentences, he defends mental health and describes depression and anxiety so well. I appreciate his insight.

And I do like his work. I liked The Radleys, The Humans, the Christmas trilogy, I appreciate Reasons to Stay Alive, I will be buying Notes from a Nervous Planet as soon as it’s published. And I did really enjoy How To Stop Time. Enough to buy it in hardback, and again in special edition illustrated hardback. But it’s still not an all-time favourite. I think, for me, Haig is someone I need to read twice to be able to appraise fully, and once I’ve done that I might be able to give a better review.

Let The Dead Speak – Jane Casey (HarperCollins, 2017)

(received February 2017; read March 2017)

We are now deep into “I can’t remember this book” territory, and it will get worse.

This is a thriller / crime thing. I like them as popcorn. I probably ought to write a post on adult thrillers and why I bother to read them, but I think my opinion will come through on the several books in this post.

This is the seventh in a series, but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book. Not knowing the backstory of the characters wasn’t detrimental, although maybe it would have increased my enjoyment if I’d known the characters longer. But I did enjoy it. It was a good read. I just can’t tell it apart from any other crime thriller.

See You In The Cosmos – Jack Cheng (Puffin, 2017)

(received February 2017; read March 2017)

The eleven year old main character of See You In The Cosmos has an asperger-esque / Curious Incident Christopher feel to his personality so, although stereotypical, I thought I might warm to this story.

But it’s just lacking somehow. It’s not the heartwarming tale it seems to want to be, and a year later I can  barely remember it. I think Zoe Toft’s review on Goodreads describes See You In The Cosmos beautifully. It didn’t work for me.

Everything But The Truth – Gillian McAllister (Penguin, 2017)

(received January 2017; read January 2017)

If you liked Gone Girl, you might also enjoy Everything But The Truth.

This is not a compliment.

Two unlikable characters in a relationship and having a baby. Poor child. They’re both awful as far as I remember and I don’t know why they were together or why I was supposed to care about them staying together. I do not like books with unlikable main characters. What is the point? I disliked Gone Girl, and I disliked Everything But The Truth.

Good Me, Bad Me – Ali Land (Penguin, 2017)

(received October 2016; read in 2016)

Back into twisty thrillers that don’t work for me territory. It’s an interesting concept: a teenage girl whose mother is a serial killer, given a new lease of life being fostered into a rich family and trying to be normal.

And it’s just as predictable as you’d expect it to be, given the title and the synopsis. Quite fun in a horrific way (the mother murdered children), but ultimately just meh. Why do I keep falling for thriller synopses?!

Missing, Presumed – Susie Steiner (HarperCollins, 2016)

(received August 2016; read March 2017)

Crime thriller popcorn.

I read this back to back with Let The Dead Speak and I can’t remember them from each other. From the synopses, it seems that Let The Dead Speak is the one that I remember details from, so I’m not sure if they’re muddled up together or I just don’t remember this one at all. I think I don’t remember this one at all after flipping through some Goodreads reviews.

A Boy Made Of Blocks – Keith Stuart (Little, Brown, 2016)

(received May 2016; read in 2016; bought)

At first, I thought I was going to really dislike this book. Marriage appears to break up because of autistic child, dad can’t deal with autistic child, isn’t autism a strain for the parents etc. The beginning of the book was a hard read.

But it’s not one of those books after all. The main protagonist learns to connect with his son via Minecraft, and he grows throughout the novel realising that he is the problem, not the autistic son. It’s a delight having a novel from an “autism parent” perspective that shows that it’s the parents’ viewpoint that can cause issues, and by trying to understand what autistic people are feeling and thinking, instead of expecting them to conform, works.

Baby Doll – Hollie Overton (Century, 2016)

(received April 2016; read in 2016)

Baby Doll is more-or-less Room (Emma Donoghue) written from the mother’s perspective instead of the child’s.

And the mother has a twin sister.

Okay, so I don’t remember much of this, but I remember being bugged by the child. She has a daughter who may as well be a stuffed toy for all she ever seems to react to anything. It seemed a bit lazy, not really bothering to see anything from the child’s viewpoint. I forget most of the rest. Another popcorn read but if you only want to read one captured teen escaping after many years, then read Room.

M Is For Autism – The Students of Limpsfield Grange and Vicky Martin (Jessica Kingsley, 2015)

(received August 2015; read August 2015 & July 2017; bought)

M is for Autism is a small, very colourful book, telling the fictionalised story of a teenage girl who chooses to be called “M”, and her journey to an autism diagnosis, based on lived experiences of autistic teen girls.

M is for Autism should be pressed into the hands of every teen/tween autistic (or suspected) girl and her parents. It is wonderful. The artwork is from the students of Limpsfield Grange, a school for girls on the autism spectrum.

There is a sequel YA novel, M in the Middle, which I also thoroughly recommend.

The Quality of Silence – Rosamund Lupton (Little, Brown, 2015)

(received August 2015; read April 2017)

A mother and her deaf daughter drive across the treacherous icy roads of Northern Alaska in search of the missing husband/father who they’ve been told is dead.

There were bad guys and totally implausible bits, and I don’t remember too much now but I think it was okay.

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

I thought I’d try out a book tag this week, and I do like an unpopular opinion!

1. A Popular Book or series that you didn’t like.
Monsters of Verity duology. This seems to be raved about on BookTube, and I loved the A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy from the same author, but I couldn’t get on with this. I did finish This Savage Song but I DNF’d Our Dark Duet because life’s too short.

2. A Popular Book or series that every one else seems to hate but you love.
I’m going to go for an author, Neil Gaiman. Not that hugely popular and enormously bestselling Neil Gaiman is hated by every one else, but I’ve seen several BookTubers dislike the one book of his that they tried. No matter how hard I try, I seem to love every single one of them. I’ve been reading Gaiman since I was a teenager (first one was the Douglas Adams biography, then Good Omens because I read all Terry Pratchett’s work; so I didn’t really read him until my 20’s but still…) and in 20+ish years, almost everything I’ve read by Gaiman is on my favourites lists.

3. A Love Triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with (warn ppl for spoilers) OR an OTP that you don’t like.
This one has been stumping me. I can’t think of a love triangle I’ve read recently. Just to be awkward, I’m going for Harry Potter. Lily should have married Snape instead of James 😉

4. A popular book Genre that you hardly reach for.
Classics. I was completely put off literature at school with Jane Eyre and Silas Marner and a whole host of dullness that I had no interest in. Generally, if something is labelled a classic, I probably don’t like it. I’m not stupid, I just prefer genre fiction. I’ve read classics I’ve enjoyed, but I do go by book description and many do not interest me in the slightest so I’ll leave them be.

5. A popular or beloved character that you do not like.
This is the last question I’ve answered. I’ve been stuck on it for three days. I can think of plenty of characters that are both popular but also popularly unpopular (Edward Cullen etc) but not a generally beloved character that I really dislike (that I know of). I’ve googled lists of popular characters, and almost all of them are from classics I’ve not read so I can’t really choose them! I really am stumped on this one, and would be grateful for any suggestions!

6. A popular author that you can’t seem to get into.
David Almond. Almost all his books seem so highly lauded but I just find them generally awful. I did love Skellig. I thought A Song For Ella Grey was probably the worst book I read for years (review here). The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas was just meh. So I’ve not bothered reading any others, although I do want to re-read Skellig and then read My Name Is Mina at some point.

7. A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing. (examples “lost princess”, corrupt ruler, love triangles, etc.)
Mary Sue (male or female) in YA. Yes, the main character of a story needs to be interesting, and will probably be “more” than other characters, but there seems to be too many who are utterly perfect. They pick up fighting so fast, they’re the best hacker in existence, they are the chosen one and have these awesome abilities that they can use perfectly first time… Even the flaws that are thrown in to make them seem more interesting, aren’t. I have favourite novels with main characters who are interesting but still too Mary Sue-ish. Still love them, but I like my protagonists to be more flawed.

8. A popular series that you have no interest in reading.
Most epic fantasy that seem to consist of neverending large tomes. I like fantasy, but I could never get into the likes of Terry Brooks, David Gemmell or Stephen R. Donaldson when I was younger and more inclined to read huge tomes. So I guess I’ll go for A Song of Ice and Fire. Not that I have no interest, I really would like to read them at some point, but I can’t see it happening anytime soon.

9. The saying goes “The book is always better than the movie”, but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?
How to Train Your Dragon. I love the films and the series, and especially the first film. I’ve tried reading the first book but it just seems wrong and I couldn’t get into it at all. This may be because I saw the film first.

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