Hello, reader! I thought it would be nice to do a quick tag, and this is one that I particularly enjoy reading. Here goes!
What’s the most beautiful cover on your shelf?
I have a bit of an obsession with Catherine the Great, and a couple of years ago when my mum bought me this book for Christmas I couldn’t stop staring at its cover. It’s just so pretty! The gold bits sparkle, the blues are some of my favourite shades, and the composition is really nice…
But yes, I’ll stop rambling now.
If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would it be?
Ooooh… this is a tough one.
I think I’m going to have to go with Dante from Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s novel, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Whilst I found Aristotle (or Ari) frustrating at times – although, admittedly, relatable – I loved Dante’s character. He was so kind and caring, and I think he would be a great addition to my friendship circle.
If you could interview any author, who would you chose?
Okay, so I’m going to allow myself a slightly nerdy choice of author: David Bellos.
I looooved his book about translation, which covers a whole host of difficulties that arise when translating, as well as detailing methods commonly used by translators and interpreters. It was part of the recommended reading for the Advanced Translation module I’m planning on taking next year in French, and this book made me really excited for it. I would really like to be able to ask David Bellos more about his opinions and experiences… maybe one day?
What’s a book that you wouldn’t want to read again?
Although I really enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale (despite the fact that I had to study it for an exam!), I just didn’t really like this one. I initially liked the concept; a self-sufficient, enclosed society where people alternate between prisoners and prison guards was interesting. But things got a bit weird, and I won’t say why because it will spoil you. It wasn’t terrible, but I don’t think I would read it again.
Can you name a confusing story?
So this was a weird book. Winner of the Man Booker Prize, it’s told from three perspectives, but its main protagonist is not one of these narrators. The basic concept is that a South Korean woman has a nightmare and decides to become a vegetarian (well, a vegan) as a result of it. Her culture is not accepting of this change, and her husband and family simply don’t understand. It sounds straight-forward enough, but trust me, this book gets weird and kind of confusing… I just don’t want to spoil you. It is enjoyable and thought-provoking, dealing with mental illness and relationship issues and vegetarianism and culture – it’s just… odd.
Favourite fictional couple?
For this one, I’m going to have to choose Karou and Akiva from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, which is strange because I don’t usually like intense romances like theirs. Perhaps its just a sign that Laini Taylor’s writing really is magical…
Two favourite villains?
President Snow and President Coin. Now, it’s arguable as to whether or not President Coin is a “villain”; but there are definitely villainous aspects to her character, and the ambiguity just adds to her complexity. And I do love complex villains.
A character you would kill or remove from a book entirely?
Delores Umbridge. I wouldn’t remove her from the book, but wow does she infuriate me!
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose?
Victoria Schwab’s world(s) in the Shades of Magic trilogy are amazingly constructed. There’s Grey London, Red London, White London and Black London, and a lucky few can travel between them. Ideally I would be able to do that in this fictional reality, but if I have to choose just one for it not to be cheating, I would have to say Red London.
What are the biggest and smallest books on your shelf?
The biggest is one that’s on many people’s shelves; City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare. I’m yet to read it though – I know, it’s shameful. I’m still only halfway through The Mortal Instruments.
The smallest is much more niche; Nedorosl’ (or ‘The Minor’), a play by an 18th century Russian writer called Fonvizin. It offers an interesting social commentary and is quite enjoyable, although I did find the language quite hard at first. There’s even an entire performance of the play on YouTube, which was extremely helpful for my comprehension and essay writing.