This is a marvellous tag which I borrowed from Annabel at AnnaBookBel, after she borrowed it in her turn … and maybe you will be enthused enough to do the same!
1. The last book I gave up on:
I hate giving up on books, so I pretend I’m only temporarily laying them aside and that I’ll return to them when I’m ready. That said, I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t get on with Alexander McCall Smith’s surreal Portuguese Irregular Verbs although I’m sure it must be very good. It’s on the charity shop book pile now.
2. The last book I re-read:
I was going to name The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, but see below for why not. So I shall go for Joan Aiken’s alternate history fantasy Dido and Pa. (Possibly all my related research and note-taking for additional posts may count as multiple re-readings…)
3. The last book I bought:
This is easy: Alan Moore’s graphic novel V for Vendetta. I’ve been meaning to get this, a not-so-obscure critique of Thatcher’s Britain, for some time now, but the parallels between 1980s Britain and Theresa May’s régime (I use the term deliberately) are too strong for me to ignore, and I’m in the mood for some trenchant satire: it may be the only bit of political satisfaction I may get if current events pan out to their disastrous conclusions.
4. The last book I said I read but actually didn’t:
I’ve been reading Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising with an increasing sense of unfamiliarity, so much so that I’m now doubting whether I actually read this back in the early 1970s, contrary to what I at first thought. Has my previous confidence been misplaced? I’m beginning to think so. And yet, and yet…
5. The last book I wrote in the margins of:
This was probably a school text book in the late sixties, and only because this is what every self-respecting schoolboy did. I’m a self-respecting reader now so such acts are tantamount to sacrilege. (See the post ‘The Inconstant Lover’ for more on this crime. )
6. The last book I had signed:
I can’t remember if it was Katy Mahood’s Entanglement or Jasper Fforde’s Early Riser: both authors had appeared at Crickhowell’s fourth literary festival and I had the books at hand to be signed. Katy Mahood was an ex-student of mine (when I taught music in Bristol) so it was a real delight to catch up with her and hear how her debut novel was written. Jasper Fforde is a local author of comic fantasy with a global following and, having heard him before and attended his creative writing workshop at CrickLitFest in 2015, I knew I was in for a treat. I have reviews of both books planned for early 2019—after I’ve finished them.
7. The last book I lost:
The choice for this is probably the same as No 10 below, so I refer you to that.
8. The last book I had to replace:
Strictly speaking I wasn’t obliged to replace Rosemary Sutcliff’s Swords at Sunset, but as Dale at Earth Balm Creative had kindly offered me a hardback copy it would be remiss of me not to replace it, wouldn’t it? Not to say ungrateful. And reprehensible. But if you press me, I’d probably have to say Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game which, at some time during a house move I inexplicably discarded, and only recently bought anew.
9. The last book I argued over:
‘Argued’ is a strong word. It implies cross words, heated debate. As I don’t do these I’ll go with ‘demurred’. Henry James’s novels are not to everybody’s tastes, but those who’ve read his novels critique him for a number of reasons — inconclusive conclusions, long-windedness, displeasing protagonists and so on. I’d be prepared to half-heartedly suggest that these aren’t weaknesses but positive attributes, but as I’m not totally sure I disagree with any of these criticisms you can see my dilemma. The nearest times I’ve got to disputation with bloggers are (1) a mild disagreement with the author over how much detail is too much in Steve Silberman’s otherwise excellent NeuroTribes, and (2) an indignant fan who objected to my downplaying of one of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s YA novels.
10. The last book I couldn’t find:
Graham Anderson’s study Fairytale in the Ancient World has escaped my bookshelf searches for a while now — I fear that I may have inadvertently lent it out to persons unknown or forgotten, and despite enquiring from a couple of likely friends my quest has proved fruitless. As a new copy starts in the high twenties (pounds sterling) I’m a bit gutted.
Hope you enjoyed this post-Christmas bit of fun! I’d be interested in your choices, either in the comments or (even better) in a post of your own.