Saturday, 14 September 2019

Book Tag

Another week; another set of questions from Sunday Stealing.

This time its all about books – an interesting subject that I don’t usually cover that often. I guess there is always a first time.

Let’s dive in shall we?

Who is your favourite author?

That’s a tricky one because I like and have liked lots of authors. Here are a few.

Stephen King, Iain M. Banks, Dean Koontz, Dan Simmons, Robert Ludlum, James Herbert, Stephen Baxter, Peter F. Hamilton, H.G.Wells, Bill Bryson, Bryan Lumley and many more.

Generally if I really like a book I will look for others by the same author.

What was the last book you read?

The last novel I read was “Dust” by Hugh Howey, the third novel in a science-fiction trilogy set in a dystopian future.

The last non-fiction book I read was “How To Be Right … In A World Gone Wrong” by broadcaster James O’Brien. If you want to try to understand why the world is turning to shit and how to trap people into thinking about their horrific views based on spoonfed lies, this is the book for you.

What book reminds you of your school days?

“The Invisible Man” by H.G.Wells.

I hated English Literature because we were forced to read classic drivel and then write critical essays on them. For example, I was forced to read “The Mayor of Casterbridge” by Thomas Hardy, a novel written in 1886 that  was as boring as hell.

Worse, I had to suffer Shakespeare – plays written in a form of English that was routinely spoken in the pubs and palaces in 16th century England but means nothing today at all. Reading Shakespeare is like reading a book in your second language – except the plays are utter claptrap.

If you have read this blog before you will know my thoughts on Shakespeare so I won’t rant too much about him.

The one blessing for my English Literature O-Level exam was that we could select a couple of books to write essays about and I chose “The Invisible Man” – a classic novel by an amazing author.

I had such fun with that book.

What book releases are you looking forward to?

Nothing in particular. Stephen Baxter has written the official sequel to “War of the Worlds” called “The Massacre of Mankind” but that has been out for a year or two. I intend to read it soon – so I shall say that.

What movie releases are you looking forward to?

I love superhero movies and sci-fi so here are a couple due for release soon.


Godzilla versus Kong

Wonder Woman 1984

There will be other that are less sci-fi and superhero of course but I will judge them when I see the trailers.

What 3 books are you planning to read?

As mentioned above, I am planning to read “The Massacre of Mankind” by Stephen Baxter.

I also enjoyed “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari so I plan to read the follow up, “Homo Deus”.

Nothing else leaps to mind so I shall probably go for a trashy sci-fi novel after my current book.

Have you ever damaged a book?

Not only have I damaged a book – I have damaged a human being with a book.

When on holiday once, I dropped my current novel into the swimming pool. I tried to dry it out but it was ruined.

The poor human being was a passenger on an aircraft. He was sitting in the aisle seat and, as usual, I walked up and pointed to the middle seat and said “I’m there!”. As he unbuckled his seat belt to let me through, I decided to throw my 1000 page paperback science fiction space opera onto the seat. I somehow missed and hurled it straight into the poor man’s face, cutting the bridge of his nose.

Thankfully, it was only a minor cut and he accepted that “accidents happen” as he tried to stop the  bleeding. I was so apologetic and apologised so much that he ended up more angry with my apologies than being socked in the face with a heavy book.

Worse still, it was a long haul flight to Beijing so I had to sit next to him for over 12 hours.

I have rarely been so embarrassed and angry with myself.

How long does it take you to read a book?

It depends on the length of the book, how much I am enjoying it, or whether I am on holiday or not.

Books you haven’t finished?

Only one – and it was so bad that I can’t recall the author or the title. By the time I finally threw it away (yes it was THAT BAD), I didn’t give a hoot about whether the characters lived or died. The only thing I cared about was whether the author was going to write another book and inflict the same pain on other people.

Popular books you didn’t like?

As I said above, anything by Shakespeare. When people sing the praises of his plays, I immediately think of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. I don’t understand the appeal – at all!!

Is there a book you wouldn’t tell people you were reading?

Yes – any self-help books. I have read a couple out of interest and actually found them quite useful. But if you admit to reading a self-help book and you are a bloke in the UK, you will be ribbed mercilessly by your mates.

How many books do you own?

I have owned hundreds but have been accused of being a hoarder by Mrs PM. So I have given them away to charity shops – but only if they are fiction books. This is one of the reasons why I have forgotten a lot of the books I have read.

I keep all of my non-fiction books.

Now I have a Kindle, I can keep as many as I want.

Are you a fast or slow reader?

I think I am pretty quick.

Do you read better in your head or out loud?

It would annoy Mrs PM immensely if I read out loud. Therefore I read better in my head – just like everybody else.


Elephant's Child said...

Like you, if I like an author I will read more of their work. And our bookshelves are FULL.

Bev Sykes said...

I loved your answers. I share your feelings about Shakespeare, which is very bad since I am a theater critic and often have to review Shakespeare plays. I was also pleased to see you had Bill Bryson on your list. I think I have read almost all of his books and just love him. His "The Mother Tongue" was my favorite and gave me a whole new perspective on the English language.

Lori said...

My husband enjoys science fiction as well. I have read some when I was younger, but it has been a while. Loved your answers! Have a nice Sunday!

River said...

I have trouble finding time to read, which sounds odd for someone retired, but I have my computer which takes up a fair chunk of time, then there's TV movies and shows to catch up on, regular housework (haha) and the neighbours, who think nothing of popping in "just to say hello" then ask favours which means me going to their home to help with something, or their "just hello" turns into a two hour chat. When I had four small children, I'd read 3 or 4 books a week, (always fiction) now it's more like one book every three weeks :(

Stacy said...

I remember being forced to read so many, many terribly boring books in school. The year of Shakespeare in 9th grade and "The Importance of Being Ernest" in college come to mind first. I suppose what did not kill us made us better, eh?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Mine would be! I remeber years ago I moved house and had boxes full of books. Perhaps it is wise to get rid of some of them.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

I liked "Mother Tongue" too. "Notes from a Small Island" is my favourite I think.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lori,

Science fiction is great. My imagination is vast so a good sci-fi book helps to fill a huge portion of it.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I try to find time to read but I don't devour books like I used to. I am off on holiday next week so I shall be loading quite a few onto my Kindle to read.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Stacey,

I learned never to read any more Shakespeare and never to go and see actors reading his words verbatim in the 20th and 21st centuries. And my life is defintely better for it.




Kwizgiver said...

I love having over a thousand books at my fingertips on my Nook. I used to struggle with dystopian worlds but am really into them now. Sci-fi still is a struggle for me.

The Gal Herself said...

We agree on ... well ... nothing. :) That's why libraries and movie theaters offer us so many varied options, right? Enjoy your reading!

勝美 said...

I really love Shakespeare.

I attended a parochial girls' school. We had the same teacher for sixth, seventh and eighth grade. Only male teacher until I went to college.

He spent summers in Canada as an actor in their Shakespeare festival.

Our class went on several field trips to see Shakespearean plays. For which we had to prepare. The most difficult was Love’s Labor’s Lost. Pretty much a rarity nowadays due to many obscure references to contemporary persons. It took a line-by-line dissection and hours of research.

I am a natural leader and my best friend, Spewgie, is a natural teacher. I divided the girls in my class into study groups under Spew-chan’s supervision so our work wasn’t overlapping and each individual wasn’t drowning in notes and spending countless hours at the library.

I love her very much but sometimes Spew-Spew has to chill. Sometimes she demands too much.

Some of the girls complained Spewgie was worse than Sister Florine (who made geography a living hell).

I reminded them they were free to leave the study group. And increase their homework by 400%.

That quieted things down pretty quickly.

All the hard work paid off. All of us loved the play. And we received A+ for our homework for the semester.

Never forget the morning all of us girls filed into the classroom for our first day of eighth grade. Teacher sat at his desk, extremely pale as if he hadn’t been outdoors all summer. Because he hadn’t. His whole right leg was encased in a cast. During vacation, he appeared as Falstaff in The Merry Wives Of Windsor. He missed his mark and fell through a trap door. Ouchie wow wow. On a recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre stage.

The previous school year, one of our homework assignments had been to draw detailed plans of the Globe. With the traps.

Fast forward six years. Spewgie and I were very much looking forward to the première of Love’s Labor’s Lost by the repertory company. From what I understood, all the difficulty for modern theatergoers was cleared up by the actors using cellphones.

Say what? Cellphones on stage? In Shakespeare?

So sorry. I like the actresses and actors to be in Elizabethan costume.

Our first experience with Shakespeare was actors going onstage in casual street clothes and opening a trunk. While they spoke their first lines, they pulled out their “Elizabethan” costumes from the trunk and slipped their dresses over their heads. The men tied up the legs of their trousers with ribbons and put on puffy-sleeved jackets and hats.


Meanwhile, back in 2008, the Shakespeare company shut down two days before the performance.

Our season ticket money was refunded. Now we have to drive over two hours for our Shakespeare fix.

But we do touristy things along the way and if we plan carefully we can see Macbeth and Twelfth Night on successive days.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

Yes - sci fi can be a struggle (Stephen Baxter in particular can be very mind-bending). Most is easy to get into though.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi The Gal Herself,

Lots of people disagree with me on all sorts of stuff. It doesn't matter at all. Each to their own I say.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi 勝美,

Lots of people love Shakespeare. I have disagreed with many people on this subject but, like I said, if you love Shakespeare then brilliant. It's just that I don't and rather had it forced upon me as a child. I just don't see the relevance - but that is just me.

From what you say, it is a big part of your life - keep it up. I am all for people being happy even though I disagree with them.