I’ve been meaning to write about some of my reading preferences for a long while, but I was struggling to turn my ideas into a coherent blog post. This week a solution presented itself when I discovered the Inside and Out Book Tag, thanks to Marina Sofia and Elisabeth van der Meer. Unfortunately, I don’t know who is the original creator of this tag. Though I don’t do tags often, my answers to the majority of the questions are just what I was interested in writing about.
- Inside flap / back of the book summaries: too much info? Or not enough?
It depends on the book. Some blurbs just give too much information away, while others fail to entice me into reading, since they don’t properly explain what the stories are about. I like a blurb that arouses my curiosity without spoilers. Some Portuguese editions, for example, have appalling “summaries”, as the only information they provide is a quote from the book and nothing else.
- New book: what form do you want it in? Be honest: audiobook, eBook, paperback or hardcover?
Paperback! It’s my favourite format by far. Very rarely do I buy hardbacks, because they are too heavy, usually more expensive, and I don’t like dust jackets. I only go for hardbacks in case I have been waiting for the release a book in a series for a couple of years, or when their covers’ design is far more appealing for some reason. I found the hardbacks of Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet eye-catching, since they only have a small dust jacket, for example. Audiobooks and eBooks are not for me, as I have a terrible listening attention span when I’m not taking notes of what is being said and I don’t like reading long-form writing on a screen.
- Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books; take notes, make comments, or do you keep your books clean, clean, clean?
I don’t tend to write in books anymore, but stopping wasn’t a conscious decision. It just happened! The last time that I did was on a poetry collection, because I decided to analyse a couple of the poems in some depth. I used to always write on books that I read for school, though. And now I still take notes either on my phone or on a notebook after a “reading session” when there’s something that I don’t want to forget to mention on my reviews.
- Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?
If I want to read a specific book, I’ll do so regardless of the author’s gender. Thus, not knowing the gender is not a problem at all. In the past, I unconsciously used to read far more books by men than by women, though, reason why I started the long-term reading project ‘100 Women Writers to Read in My Lifetime’. This year I think I’ve read more books by women than by men so far.
- Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?
Never! Or if I ever did I just can’t remember. I have stumbled upon words that I wish I hadn’t when counting the number of pages left on a chapter, but it was never intentional. I hate spoilers! Whenever there are spoilers in my reviews (and that rarely ever happens and usually only about previous books in a series), I always state that at the beginning. I don’t consider a spoiler something that happens early on in a book, though. I personally like to know what the story is about beforehand, so I always mention the initial events and incidents on my reviews, but never the main climax and resolution.
- Organised bookshelves or outrageous bookshelves?
Relatively organised, I would say. I don’t have much space to store books, so the organisation is minimal and the bookshelves are starting to overflow again. I keep read and unread books apart and group all the books by the same author together. Whenever possible, I also like to keep books from the same collection near each other. I wrote a post about the organisation of my bookshelves a while ago, but almost everything remains the same.
- Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?
Yes! I bought The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton because of the cover alone. I didn’t pay any attention to what it was about or ponder whether I was going to enjoy it or not. I just needed that gorgeous cover on my shelves. Thankfully, I ended up loving it when I finally read it.
- Take it outside to read, or stay in?
Both! I mostly read on the sofa or on my bed, but I also like to do so on gardens, the beach (although I haven’t gone to one in a long while), and on trains when there aren’t many noisy people around.
What about you? If you do this tag, please let me know!