After interviewing writers and bloggers for almost a year, I decided it might be fun to interview readers, as well. I find it fascinating to hear what booklovers have to say about their books. Don’t you? Welcome, Eachan!
1. What are you reading right now?
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. It’s the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The basis for his characters/story are old black and white photographs that have been rigged to twist the images in some way, like photoshopping back in the days before anyone could buy a camera, much less a digital one. It’s a bit hard to explain but for example there’s a photo that shows a kid apparently lifting a huge boulder, so the corresponding character is a kid with super strength. It’s set around the world wars, so it’s kind of an old timey, kid super hero deal. He’s a relatively new writer and it’s a pretty good effort.
2. What did you read last?
I went back and re-read the Man-Kzin wars series. The universe was created by Larry Niven, who is a big hard science fiction writer. The books themselves consist of short stories written by both established and up and coming writers who are, as he puts it, “in his playground”. It’s mostly good storytelling with differing tones/styles but all in the same setting.
3. What book has most influenced you?
When I was in my teens I read The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman as well as Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (very cliché). I wouldn’t say they changed my lives, but some of the themes and concepts related to the human experience and human nature I’ve found true to life even to this day. The original Dune books by Frank Herbert were interesting in a similar way that spoke more collective human nature that also speaks to me.
4. How many books did you read last year?
Who knows? I kill off a book in a matter of days, so maybe 50?
5. What book would you recommend for your younger self?
Oh that’s really hard to say. I’ve been an avid reader ever since I figured out how and I don’t really have any regrets when it comes to how my tastes have evolved. Maybe I’d tell myself to avoid books that later became movies, does that count? Although the cinematic experience is sometimes great, I’ve always felt the storytelling and character development suffer in those conversions.
6. What book have you disliked?
That’s an odd one as even if I don’t particularly like a book, I usually finish it to complete the experience and see where the author is going. There’s really only one book I only managed to get only a few chapters into and that was Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. I was always wary of their writing as they opted to pursue prequels to the original Dune books rather than the sequel that was cut off after FH’s death. I tend to look down on sequels in general as it’s often a case of “write the characters before they became the hero/villain” and “match the ending to the beginning of the original books”. It’s honestly very fluffy work in my opinion and had none of the deeper themes or gravitas that underlay his father’s work. The characters were changed drastically in nature and motivation, which was ridiculous considering that they were very well established characters.
7. Do you prefer to read fiction or non-fiction? Do you prefer a genre?
I do enjoy a good history book, but I mostly read fiction. I think the vicarious experience is more complete as a fiction writer can take liberties that need to be treated carefully in non-fiction. I tend to lean towards sci-fi as I do enjoy what some people like to call speculative fiction where they fast forward existing science to create a more plausible world, then use those altered aspects to frame what should still be a human(esque) story. It’s like the difference between the Martian vs Star Wars.
8. Do you prefer fast-paced plot advancement or world building exposition?
I prefer world building over the fast read. As I tend to re-read books quite a bit, I like finding new bits or call backs/forward within a larger narrative universe. Unfortunately those quick moving plots don’t have the same fascination when I go back to them as the payoff is in the ending versus in the build up.
9. Do you prefer to read an actual book, or e-books?
I’ll read an e-book, but I prefer physical books. It just feels more soothing to me than swiping through pages. Also I have a habit of flipping back to look at previous foreshadowing and that’s a huge hassle for e-books.
10. A popular book is becoming a film. Do you read the book first, or see the movie first?
I always see the movie first. I tend to go into those movies annoyed at alterations or things that are flat out cut. There are some good adaptations, but some movies are obviously just taking the name to draw in a guaranteed audience. I Robot and World War Z are two egregious examples that pop into my head.
11. What would be the title of your life story?
Ha! I lead a decidedly mundane existence. It’ll borrow one from the bard and say Much Ado About Nothing
12. What is the ideal environment in which to read a book?
Ideally? On a beach with the breeze and the light just right. But I do a read a lot in bed.
13. Is there anything you would like to add?
Harry Potter and JK Rowling are overrated. They’re tasty bits of pop fiction, but not particularly deep or inventive. If you want your kids to experience a British author that creates interesting world, stories and characters, hand them some Roald Dahl.