Friday, April 1, 2011

Book Tag

Saw this tag on a make up blog (!) and just had to do it. Hope this is not booooring...

Favourite childhood book?
All the Enid Blytons, especially Five Findouters and the school series. Tintin. In fact my dad made up a song which went – “Shaila Tintin devotee”.

What are you reading right now?
Nothing. Just finished Immortals of Meluha. Waiting for my next read, don’t know where it will come from.

Bad book habit?
I fold down the corner of the page to mark my place. I know. Disgusting.

Do you have an e-reader?
No. I’d rather ruin my eyes the conventional way.

Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?
One at a time. Though sometimes I keep a work related book at work.

Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
No. At the outset I made it clear that I read for pleasure only, and that I didn’t want any kind of competitive pressure.

Least favourite book you read this year (so far)?
Nothing. Generally not to enamoured of the sloppy “popular” Indian writing genre

Favourite book you’ve read this year?
Hmmm… nothing so far.

How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
I’m 34 now, so I am rather entrenched in my comfort zone. I like the books I read to be well written

What is your reading comfort zone?
I like well written books, don’t want to sound too pretentious, but slightly serious writing that makes you think. That said, I hate having to decode totally abstract writing. Love anything with a historic setting too… and biographies. Poetry a rare once in a while.

Can you read on the bus?
Never. The train yes.

Favourite place to read?
At home. Increasingly, with tea and munchies on hand, feet up on the table.

What is your policy on book lending?
I do lend to close friends. No one seems to read much these days anyway.

Do you ever dog-ear books?
yeah… Im trying to break the habit though.

Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
No. But my great grand-dad did, he underlined words too. It feels kinda nice to see it now.

Not even with text books?
Yes. They were underlined with yellow marker and had doodles of orrefors-style vases, ships and girls (the only things I can draw) all over them. While studying Caesar and Cleopatra, I got thoroughly inspired and scrawled all over it, comparing Shaw’s Caesar to Shakespeare’s.

What is your favourite language to read in?
English. I’m too slow with other languages.

What makes you love a book?
Characterization and writing style

What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If I enjoy it I will.

Favourite genre?
Hmmmm… tough one….I like most kinds of fiction. I think it is easier to say what I don’t like: Science Fiction, Self Improvement etc

Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
hmmm… this isn’t an exact answer, but I rather regret leaving the existentialists and Joyce so late… and Marquez too. An uncle whom I respect very much told me to read Joyce in my 30s… now that I am there I haven’t the slightest desire to do so!

Favourite biography/autobiography?
Hmmmm. I liked the one I read recently “The Duchess”

Have you ever read a self-help book?
I think I have but don’t really enjoy it. I like my life-lessons disguised as fiction.

Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Not this year particularly. I read a lot, and sometimes you get jaded. You may enjoy a book, but inspiration is a different story. If I look back on the past decade, I would say without hesitation that Harry Potter brought magic back into my life!

Favourite reading snack?
Something crunchy. Used to be pickle once upon a time.

Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience
Maybe Stieg Larsson – but I cant say it ruined it.

How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I do read reviews – that is how I find most books – sometimes on Then again, I find that my tastes are more lowbrow than most critics so I am easily pleased.

How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
It shouldn’t be a personal attack.

If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Hmmm. Haven’t thought about it.

Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Can’t think of any. I have done a fair bit of serious reading, so I am ready to grapple with most things.

Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
I wouldn’t see it as intimidation, but I’ve stayed away from Russian novels except for the odd Tolstoy or Doestovesky, cos there are far too many characters! And the Russian system of nomenclature can be pretty confusing!

Favourite Poet(s)?
Byron… loved all the romantic poets in my teens. Shakespeare’s sonnets. Some Whitman, Dylan Thomas and Auden. I wish I could say there was one poet other than Byron whose entire oeuvre I am familiar with, but there isn’t.

Favourite fictional character(s)?
Hmm Harry Potter, Jo March, Margaret Schlegel, Elizabeth Bennett, Scout Finch

Favourite fictional villain?

Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
I tend not to take books on vacation

The longest I’ve gone without reading
Probably when I had my son, two small babies to look after.

Name a book that you could/would not finish-
Very seldom leave a book half way. I think the last one was Orhan Pamuk’s “My Name Is Red”. Just couldn’t connect with it.

What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
TV. I’m that pedestrian 

Favourite film adaptation of a novel?
A very long engagement (starring Audrey Tatou) in French. It got the letter and the spirit of the book down.

Most disappointing film adaptation?
The Kiera Knightly P & P. Elizabeth Bennet is NOT a giggly miss. BBC’s 6 part mini series was fabulous.

The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I don’t buy too many books. But at one point, the local library survived only cos of me.

How often do you skim a book before reading it?
If it is an Agatha Christie, I am not above turning to the last page. Not otherwise though.

What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
This usually happens with non-fiction. Also I have less patience now that I am older. I can’t read those Hardies ever again!

Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yes, but I don’t own too many books.

Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
All the books I own are books I have already read and enjoyed and know for certain I will re-read. So they are treasured.

Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
I have a copy of Salman Rushie’s Shame at home. I haven’t felt the slightest need to read it.

Name a book that made you angry –
I don’t know if this counts, but we have an encyclopaedia set written in the 30s. pre-independence, British publication. The chapter on India made my blood boil. It was so pro-British and all “white man’s burden” like.

A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
The White Tiger by Arvind Adiga. Rather hack-y and playing to stereotypes, but it had its moments too.

A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
The last Jeffrey Archer collection of short stories “And thereby hangs a tale”. Archer is one of the few pulp fiction writers whose craft is decent, but his last few novels were trash. I think he redeems himself with this.

Favourite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Romance novels, preferably in a period setting. Looove.

Books I love or “the ones I can read again and again and again and…..”
All my favourites. Jane Austens, especially P & P and Persuasion, Harry Potter series, Georgette Heyer, Sherlock Holmes Tintins, Asterix comics, To kill a mockingbird… there are books I have read 6-7 times 

Books I love to hate:
Indian lite fiction – way too light. Not too fond of chick-lit, they make better movies than books. Or new-agey books which tell you to “connect with your inner self”.

Books that left me underwhelmed:
Some of the booker winners maybe.

I encourage all you bibliophiles to do this tag. If you do, let me know in the comments.


ladylavendersays said...

I'm glad you did the tag. It was open to anybody who wanted to do it.

I really liked your responses..

Rajeshwari said...

Hi Shai, I am leaving this comment just to tell you I loved and enjoyed your writing...

Shailaja said...

Thanks, I write very lazily on this blog though.