February 27, 2009

What kind of book would you be? and other questions

Filed under: Q&A — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 12:32 pm

I have more questions about the kind of books I like, these ones come from Sarah B. If you have questions of your own please contact me!

If you were a book, what kind of book would you be?

I’d like to be the book that Harry talks about at the end of ‘The Tricksters’ by Margaret Mahy. I’d also happily be most books by Mahy: ‘The Changeover’ would be just fine by me, as would ‘The Haunting’.

I am a book already: ‘Specially Sarah’ by Mary Hoffman.

What was your favorite book when you were little?

I liked ‘Phoebe and the Hot Water Bottles’ by Linda Dawson and Terry Furchgott.

What book(s) can you read over and over?

I have to read all my books over and over because I am a lightning fast reader and I can’t afford enough books to read each one once. That said, there are some books I’m more likely to read when I just want to relax with a friendly book. They include: ‘Archer’s Goon’ by Diana Wynne Jones, ‘A Deepness in the Sky’ by Vernor Vinge, ‘The Diamond Age’ by Neal Stephenson, the ‘Wild Magic’ quartet by Tamora Pierce, the early Draegera books by Steven Brust, and the childrens books of Noel Streatfeild and L. M. Montgomery.

Do you buy/read books if you know nothing about the book or its author beforehand?

Yes, I do. Cover, blurb text and author info page all come with the book so it’s not exactly knowing nothing when the book is right there. I have read some awful tosh this way, of course, but also found some brilliant fiction. Awful tosh includes the books of Gor (not suitable for younger readers) and brilliant finds include Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock.

I am currently a judge for the Arthur C. Clarke award and some of the contenders are by authors I haven’t heard of but plainly should have done judging by the standard of their writing. It’s exciting to discover how many authors there are that I haven’t explored yet.

Have you ever bought/read a book just because you liked the cover art? If yes, do you think this is a good method for buying books?

I belong to a Facebook group called ‘Actually, I do judge books by their covers’. I don’t think I’d buy a book on cover art *alone* without even attempting to look inside but I do have a strong response to covers.

I get turned off by derivative covers that are plainly trying to say that one book is like another. So Josh Kirby style covers for books that are a bit like Terry Pratchett novels annoy me – and probably annoy Kirby even more! I am drawn to covers that look like antiquated books such as the relatively recent Piratica series by Tanith Lee. I don’t like books where the cover artist has clearly not read the book and the character looks nothing like my vision of them. My Emily of New Moon books are a series with photo realistic covers of a girl who looks nothing like the Emily in the books.

I think I bought ‘Callaghan’s Crazy Crosstime Bar’ because of its cover – and was not disappointed.

What book(s) do you find yourself always recommending to people?

‘A Deepness in the Sky’ and ‘The Diamond Age’ (both mentioned above). I am always shocked when any fantasy/magic fan hasn’t read ‘The Changeover’ by Margaret Mahy. Joan D. Vinge’s ‘The Snow Queen’ I’ve recced a fair few times. I have some good recs from the Clarke award reading but I’m not allowed to say what they are yet!


  1. Ah, yes. I should really get my own copy of ‘The Snow Queen’, since your entirely unreasonable insistance that I give yours back!

    Comment by SarahB — February 27, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

  2. Shocking, isn’t it? I insist on return of books after I’ve recommmended them. :)

    And yes, you should get Snow Queen, and Summer Queen, and Tangled Up in Blue.

    Comment by Rhiannon Lassiter — February 27, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

  3. probably annoy Kirby even more

    They might have done at one time; but I don’t suppose they do any more, as he died several years ago…

    Comment by Mo — February 27, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

  4. Oh, I did know that (about Kirby dying) but I had forgotten. Thanks for the information.

    Comment by Rhiannon Lassiter — February 27, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

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