I feel like I don’t get to talk about my favourite books enough so I decided to nick a few interesting literature related questions from the internet and answer them in a blog post. Enjoy.
Who or what sparked your love of literature?
I can’t remember a time where I didn’t love literature. I think it must have been when I first got the Philosopher’s Stone. I was too young to read it on my own but I vividly remember my mum reading me a chapter before bed every night.
My English teachers throughout school also implemented a deeper love of Literature within me by exposing me to books I mightn’t have read otherwise.
Do you have an ‘odd’ book habit? (page sniffing/never leaving the house with a book)
I do both of those ‘odd’ habits. It’s gotten to the extent where if I feel awkward at a social gathering, I will whip a book out of my bag and start reading.
Do you have a book that you think has changed your life? How?
More than I can name and for different reasons. The first that come to mind are Trainspotting and Fight Club, both of which have a similar philosophy and affected the formation of my own, also the works of Camus for the same reason. Then there are music textbooks by the likes of Greil Marcus, Jon Savage and Simon Price which have opened me up to more music, and helped me build the foundations of my career.
Which book have you reread most frequently?
Having been an English student, there are a lot of books that I was required to reread to the point where I could recite large chunks off by heart, not that it was a problem for me. I also reread books leisurely if I find my reading list to be quite thin. An overlap between education and leisure occurred when it came to Regeneration by Pat Barker, meaning that that is probably the book I have reread the most.
You can meet any author and ask one question. What author would you chose and what question would you ask
M. Ageyev – who are you?
Best book of this year so far?
Novel with Cocaine is by far the most interesting book I’ve read so far this year and it is my current literary obsession. As for newer books, the best I have read so far this year is Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.
Imagine you’ve started a book and don’t like it. Do you see the experience through to the bitter end, or are you able to walk away from it mid story?
I see it through to the bitter end and then think about giving it a shoddy review.
Favourite place to read?
I’d say just in a nicely lit room where music is playing. I like to combine my reading with my discovering of new music.
If you buy books, do you lend them out? Ever had a bad experience?
Not anymore. I tend not to get them returned to me for a very long time.
What fictional character do you ship yourself with?
Is it cliché to say Mr Darcy? I’ll spice it up though and say the Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies since he wins points for being a total badass.
I’m going to be greedy and say Tyler Durden too because we have the same name and people have told me I remind them of him…
When I was younger I would have said Matt Freeman from the Power of Five books, Jared from The Spiderwick Chronicles and Klaus from A Series of Unfortunate Events, but all those characters are quite a bit younger than me now.
Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark
Favourite quality/qualities in a protagonist and antagonist
I’m really into nihilism. Give me a pessimist any day. I also like emotional turmoil/conflict; I hate to see straight out good guys and bad guys, I prefer the line to be blurred so that it isn’t quite as black and white.
Favourite genre and favourite book from that genre
I would probably have to say horror, though I do love politically fuelled dystopian novels too.
From the former I‘d say maybe ‘Salem’s Lot or Pet Sematary (I’m a massive King fan) and from the latter I’d say Orwell’s 1984. In fact, I’d even go as far as to list 1984 as my favourite novel of all time.
Best/worst movie adaptation in your eyes
You can guarantee that, on the most part, if there is a King book that has been made into a film, I will adore it. The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining and Pet Sematary are some of my favourites.
I do also really love the film adaptation on 1984 and A Clockwork Orange too is brilliant.
As for worst, I don’t think I have ever seen an adaptation of Wuthering Heights that I have particularly enjoyed.
Do you prefer reading your own books, or library books?
I love library books because I feel like they tell their own separate story away from the words, and I love visiting the library in general anyway. Despite this, I do often buy my own books more so because the library doesn’t always have copies of books that I want to read. I also like to jot notes in my books as I read them, which I don’t think the librarian would appreciate!
How do you choose your next book to read?
I look at what books my idols are reading, or have noted as having influenced them. Being a fan of the Manic Street Preachers has provided me with a wealth of reading material to plough through!
Your favourite word
There isn’t a word that I find particularly pleasing, though there is no word I despise more than ‘lunch’.
Most underrated book you’ve read
Novel with Cocaine. I feel like not enough people discuss this.
What is the first book that catches your eye when you look at your bookshelf?
Andy Warhol’s A, A Novel because it’s bright yellow.
Which book from your childhood has had the most impact on you?
Harry Potter, without a doubt. It’s kind of like a gateway novel that opens you up to so much more.
When reading, what do you value most: writing style, characters, plot, world building, pacing, etc?
I like character development. I like to feel like I know the characters. I find that a story becomes hard to follow sometimes when you aren’t attached to the characters. If you are presented with a good set of characters, you are left emotionally vulnerable at the hands of the author who then has the power to make you feel however they want you to.
Which fictional character would you want as a sidekick?
My favourite characters tend to be leaders not sidekicks, though I’d probably go for Richard from The Power of Five series since he was so loyal to Matt throughout, and he’s a journalist like I hope to be!
You’re stuck on an island with a suitcase big enough to hold five books. What books are they?
George Orwell – 1984
Pat Barker – The Regeneration trilogy
Chuck Palahniuk – Fight Club
Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar
M. Ageyev – Novel with Cocaine
If you had to go out to dinner with any character who would it be and why? What would you talk about?
Randle McMurphy because I find him deeply interesting. I think I would just listen to him talk.
Is there a book you have such a hatred for that you would throw it off of the highest tower knowing that the last copy of it will be destroyed so that not another living soul can read it or would you rather keep it and give it to someone else who might actually enjoy it?
I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a book so intensely that I’ve felt the need to exert myself to such an extent. I didn’t like New Moon or The Lovely Bones. I gave the former to a charity shop and returned the latter to the library.
Do you believe books make nice decor as well as portals to another world? Or do you prefer kindles/ipads/etc.
Kindles can be useful, I’ll admit that (as demonstrated by my friend during our A-Levels) but they just don’t compare to a physical book. Also kindles take away the social aspect of going to the library or bookshop and I believe it somewhat affects the reading experience.
Do you sleep with books under your pillow?
I have done but it’s not a constant habit. I have loads under my bed though.
If you could choose one book in which you could live for one day, which book would you choose?
As bizarre as it sounds, I’d choose something like ‘Salem’s Lot despite the horror, since I love vampires, and there’s also a morbid sense of adventure in a novel like that.
Although they say “the movie is always better,” can you think of a movie that is better than the book it was based on?
The Maze Runner. I thought the film was amazing so I immediately went out and brought the books expecting to be equally as amazed, but I just wasn’t. Sorry.
What do you think about writing and highlighting in books?
I do this all the time and I see nothing wrong with it as long as you actually own the book, though I do find it really cool reading second hand books and finding little notes made by the previous owner.
Which book would you recommend to a stranger?
Dennis Skinner’s Sailing Close to the Wind: Reminiscences so that my politics are made perfectly clear.
What’s your favourite book quote (at the moment)?
‘I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.’
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath.
What book is on top of your to-read list?
My reading list is currently huge and isn’t assembled in any order but the last thing I added to it was Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth.
Which book are you currently reading, and what do you think of it?
I have a lot of books on the go at the minute, mainly music and politics based ones. My main focus at the moment though is Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock by John Harris. I think it is extremely well-crafted and the detail is great, I am thoroughly enjoying it so far.
What was your favourite book that you read in school?
Regeneration by Pat Barker – now one of my all-time favourite trilogies and author.
Library or book store? Why?
‘Libraries gave us power.’
And they’re free and you can sit reading in them without being pressured to buy anything.