The Inside and Out Book Tag

I saw the inside and out book tag this morning on Karen Langley’s blog (who got it in turn from another blog and so on) and thought it was great fun. It’s always interesting to read about other people’s bookish habits, so I thought I’d share mine as well. Although my blog focuses only on 19th century Russian literature, my reading and book collecting is certainly not restricted to that area. I’m a real bibliophile with a soft spot for pretty vintage and beautiful new editions. Let’s get started!

1. Inside flap/back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

Ideally they should provide a bit of tantalising information about the book and the writer, so that when browsing in a bookstore (always a pleasure), you’ll know if it’s something for you and be tempted to buy and read it. 

Some publishers, however, think that it helps to put as many positive reviews of the book as they can find on the cover, back and flap. The fact that the literary critic from The Guardian liked it does not guarantee that I will too. And who even cares that the local weekly newspaper of Tollerton thought it to be ‘atmospheric and mesmerising’? I’d much sooner take the advice of bloggers and twitterers that I know to have a similar taste in books.

2. New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, eBook, Paperback or Hardcover?

I much prefer paper books and have a preference for hardcover, especially if it is a book that I know I will keep forever and so is worthy of the investment. 

For the purpose of my blog I do have eBook versions of books like War and Peace, because it’s much easier to search for certain passages or characters. I also listen to audiobooks sometimes when I’m out walking or doing chores. They make a nice alternative to podcasts and if the narrator is good, they can be great fun to listen to.

3. Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books; take notes, make comments, or do you keep your books clean, clean, clean?

Not in fiction, I use post-its or an eBook. But in the non-fiction books that I use for my blog research I’ll happily scribble away with my pencil. On the other hand I do not fold pages, nor the whole book, and I avoid putting it down upside down to keep it open on the page where I was. I also remove the paper covers from hardcopies before reading, so that they stay nice (although part 6 of Tolstoy’s collected works has travelled a lot with me, paper cover and all, but I suppose an obviously well read book also has its’ charms 😉)

4. Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

Not at all. All I want is a good, interesting and entertaining story, and men are as good or bad as women at providing that.  

5. Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

Only when I was little!

6. Organized bookshelves or outrageous bookshelves?

Very organised. My shelves are categorised by country and genre, and placed in alphabetical order (by author, of course!). I do, however, put biographies next to the author. So Rosamund Bartlett’s Tolstoy is next to Tolstoy’s fiction. But general books about Russia(n literature) have their own shelf space. 

We are in need of a few extra meters of shelf space though, there are piles of books everywhere in our house, both of the read and to-be-read variety. That said, I have no problems with selling or donating books that I know I will not read again.

7. Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

Plenty of times! This cannot be avoided, I love books and if I find a pretty copy of a book that I already own, I’m often tempted enough to buy it. It runs in the family…

8. Take it outside to read, or stay in?

I can read anywhere. I love to relax by the lake or the sea with a book. Airplanes are never boarded without a book. But I mostly read in bed while my man is snoring next to me with his sleeping mask on because the light is still on 😄😴

That’s it! Of course I’d love to hear more about your bookish habits too. Take care and happy reading 📚

*****

Text and photos © Elisabeth van der Meer 2020