1. Hardcover or paperback, and why? Always a paperback; my arms are too weak to hold a hardback and anyway I prefer to read without my glasses and that means holding the book at the end of my nose, which is much easier with a paperback.
2. If I were to own a book shop, I would call it… I wouldn’t own a bookshop. A librarian, me. I expect to lend books or share their contents, not charge for them – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s too late for me to change. Anyway, I would make the worst shopkeeper in the world, after being the worst restaurant-owner in the world.
3. My favourite quote from a book (mention the title) is… My mind always goes blank when people ask me questions like this. If I think of one, I’ll add it.
4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be… Dinner, not lunch, please. Again, so hard to choose one. Samuel Johnson, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Lytton Strachey, Aldous Huxley, Evelyn Waugh (on a good day), James Thurber, Nancy Mitford… They’re all dead, aren’t they? Catherine Gildiner , Stephen Fry, Ian Rankin. I have had lunch with Eric Lomax and I enjoyed it very much.
5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SAS survival guide, it would be… There’s a temptation to choose something long which I haven’t read yet, but that could misfire. There could be a good reason why I haven’t read it yet. Something multi-volume, collected letters or diaries, would be better. Frances Partridge’s Diaries would entertain but also teach me to cope better with adversity.
6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that… Can’t think of anything. Books are all the gadgets I need.
7. The smell of an old book reminds me of… Libraries. Where I’m happiest.
8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be… Maybe Chris Guthrie from Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Scots Quair quartet although I’m not sure I could live up to her high standards. In some ways, she’s more like my mother than like me.
9. The most overestimated book of all times is… Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (you don’t need a link). I’ve nothing against a good page-turner but that has to be one of the worst-written books that ever actually got published. Stereotypical characters, clichés, unnatural dialogue, inadequately researched theories, bad metaphors, don’t get me started. John Naughton used to write television reviews in the Observer and he said of some long-forgotten drama, ‘The dialogue was terrible but it didn’t matter because you couldn’t hear it for the sound of the cardboard characters being ripped from their adhesive backing.’ That just about sums up the Da Vinci Code for me.
10. I hate it when a book… just stops without a properly conceived and written ending, when the author couldn’t be bothered to think of one.
And I've tagged... Vivienne.
And I've tagged... Vivienne.