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Please meet Tanya, a book lover and blogger who loves to learn and entertain herself with the impressive pile of fantasy and science books.
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In 2017 you’ve read 133 books. Awesome score. What’s your reading goal for 2018?
My reading goal for 2018 is approximately 100 books.
Your bookshelf presents nearly 1,600 read books! How much time do you spend reading?
Every minute I can squash in; usually a few hours every evening and more during the weekends.
What are you reading right now? Do you recommend it?
I’m reading 3 books at the moment.
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage – This is a light history book that started off being entertaining but is getting a bit tedious at the wine and rum chapters.
Animal Kingdom: A Natural History in 100 Objects by Jack Ashby – This book is more interesting than the history book. Each chapter briefly covers a specific animal, selected for a variety of reasons.
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire – A short, enjoyable fiction story. I’ve just started this one, but I loved the other 2 stories in this series.
I would recommend these books to different people; the non-fiction books for those who like to learn things and the fiction book for those who want a good story for entertainment.
Do you have any reading patterns or habits?
Not particularly… I do tend to carry a book/e-reader around with me even when I know there is no chance I’m going to need it. I try to read a history book followed by a science book and then a fiction book just to get through the TBR pile, but this doesn’t always work as intended. There is also usually more than one book being read at a time.
What made you start writing about books/book blogging?
I started writing very short book reviews on GoodReads, then moved to BookLikes, which ended up being a blog as well as book review site. Then I started writing longer (and hopefully better) reviews because people were actually reading them.
How did you discover you’re a book lover?
I’m not sure this can be categorised as a “discovery”. Reading and carrying around books has been something I’ve always done. It only got worse once I reached the age of 10 and discovered proper (as opposed to children’s) books, like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Everything else just followed on from there.
What are your three favorite book covers?
Choosing a favourite book cover is difficult since there are so many beautiful covers and designs. I’m going to cheat and select more than 3. My favourites would include anything involving combinations of John Hower and J.R.R. Tolkien; and then anything that Josh Kirby illustrated for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels.
The Lord of the Rings cover with Gandalf painted by John Howe.
The Hobbit cover with Smaug the Golden painted by John Howe.
I adore John Howe’s paintings, especially the illustrations he did for J.R.R Tolkien’s books.
I also rather like the Discworld cover art painted by Josh Kirby. The covers perfectly illustrate the wild ride the reader will find between the pages.
For non-fiction books, I’m rather fond of the covers for:
Your bookshelf is very well organized with many additional thematic and author shelves. How do you decide what to read next?
I’ve found that too many additional thematic and author shelves make it confusing when trying to find a book, especially when the subject matter has overlapping categories. I don’t have any particular method for deciding what to read next. I read whatever strikes my interests and/or mood at that particular time. I try to alternate between history, science and fiction, but that doesn’t always work. Sometimes a book just doesn’t appeal to me at this moment, so I will leave it and pick it up again later.
You’ve reviewed over 600 books on your blog. What’s you review drill?
Read the book, then write the review the same day (if possible) or as soon as possible. Sometimes I make notes if there is something particularly interesting or something that really bothers me about the book. Mostly the reviews are what the book is about and how I felt about it. Writing negative reviews is easier because there is something to complain about and therefore something to write about. I find writing decent 4 or 5 star reviews harder because I have to dissect the book to find out why I liked it, and that ruins the euphoric feeling of just having read something great. Dissecting books reminds me too much of high-school English class.
What are you favorite book genres, and why?
My favourite book genres would be science and fantasy: Science because you learn so many fascinating things about the world and how it works. Fantasy because of the world building and characters, which are sometimes more “real” and definitely more pleasant company than the people I interact with regularly.
Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers this year?
This is a hard question to answer because everyone has different tastes in books and interests.
My most recent favourite book is Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods by Danna Staaf. This is a beautifully written and illustrated science book about cephalopod evolution.
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf is also something I would recommend. This book is a delightful mix of biography, history, scientific discovery and how it all resulted in our current view of nature – with energizer bunny on too much caffeine, Alexander von Humbooldt, as the “tour guide”.
Who is your favorite author?
I’ve read many great authors, but J.R.R. Tolkien is still my favourite. Another favourite is Janny Wurts. This author writes the most amazing standalone novels, short stories, trilogies and epic series stuffed full of original world building and in-depth characters. She also paints many of her own cover illustrations.
A paper book or an ebook?
I prefer paper books to ebooks, especially for those science and history books that include maps, illustrations, footnotes and other little goodies that don’t show up well on ebooks. I’ve found ebooks best for fiction novels. I do own a back-lit e-reader which has been very useful for those occasions when the lighting has been bad, or the power has gone out, or carrying around tomes has been impractical, or when sneaking off during an incredibly boring in-law-family function (yes, I know. I’m an uncivilized barbarian, but there is no way I can survive mind-killing social functions without doing something more constructive such as reading or playing with the dog).
If you could meet one literary character, who would it be?
No-one actually. I’ve never given the subject too much thought…well...having a dinner party with Rincewind, Gandalf, Harry Dresden and Merlin as guests might be interesting, if somewhat hazardous to one’s health… perhaps we should invite Aragorn, King Arthur, Commander Vimes and Mouse to the party too? I suspect Vetinari and Denethor would be glowering from the corners of the room ;)
Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)
These are some of the books in my home office. The rest of still in storage waiting for the construction of a new bookshelf (one day).
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