The Inside and Out Book Tag

I got this tag from Calmgrove, who got it from Bookforager who got it from someone else. (I wonder what its ‘R-number’ is? 😀 )

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

Unless I’m in a bookshop browsing, I try not to read blurbs in too much detail. In a bookshop, I will at least skim them to see if I want to read a book I’ve not encountered via other means. I do, however, use them as an aide memoire when writing my reviews!

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

I hate e-books. I spend hours in front of a screen, I don’t want to read for enjoyment on one too. I don’t have a long enough commute for audiobooks, and can’t concentrate on them in the house.

I love hardbacks. I buy quite a lot. I love the way (most) stay open, the lovely covers, the white space around the type, the end papers. I love paperbacks too, but they can be awkward to hold without creasing the spine (one of my biggest bête noires).

Paul Auster signed this for me – with the tabs in – he was impressed!

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?

NOOOO! I use sticky tabs, copiously. I may write on the tab to remind myself why I’m marking a particular page/passage. I generally line them up with the lines I’m marking. When writing my reviews I remove them as I go through the book.

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?

This is something I’ve struggled with over the years. I have not yet managed to read more books by women than men in a particular year. I never set out to choose what I read by gender (other than a couple of books for #WIT month (Women in Translation each year)). I can’t satisfactorily explain why either, in brief, without resorting to sweeping generalisations. I have discussed it on the blog before – see here.

This year, with Paul Auster Reading Week which I hosted back in February, and aiming to read all five books in the Patrick Melrose series by Edward St Aubyn, I can see my list being male-dominated.

I will always check an author’s gender if I’m not sure, especially those tricky individuals that lurk behind initials and don’t have an author photo in their books. However, there are plenty of women with male forenames or pen-names – Lionel Shriver et al, and plenty of men who have either/or names but often get mixed up – Ali Shaw comes to mind, he’s a lovely bloke.

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

Only if it’s going to be a DNF book – then I’ll read the ending. Otherwise, apart from checking how many pages I still have to read sometimes, I don’t do this.

The paperback bookcases. I hasten to add, if I weren’t lying on the bed to take the photo, it’d be shoes off!

6. Organized bookshelves or outrageous bookshelves?

Both! I have my hardback showcase, my biographies bookcase, my reference library, my run of paperback shelves (left) and the bedside TBR shelves which are ordered or at least single stacked. The paperbacks are authors A-Z, Fiction followed by NF, hardbacks A-Z or by series, biographies A-Z by subject, reference books sorted by subject (and/or size), the bedside shelves partly by TBR publication dates. The rest of my huge TBR is random, some double-stacking, piles here and there – but I can usually locate books in them easily.

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

The Bedtime Book by Jessie Willcox Smith

Of course! There are some covers that are just too beautiful and/or striking not to buy.

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

Too many distractions outside, whether they be critters, traffic noise, people, smells, grass tickling, all nature noises, plus guilt at not mowing the lawn often enough. Being the hay-fevery type, (and this year has been particularly bad for itchy eyes) I hide inside to read.

I mostly read in bed. If not bed, somewhere comfortable with few visual distractions. Sometimes the radio will be on in the background, usually there will be tea to hand.

Feel free to continue this tag’s path around the blogosphere.

15 thoughts on “The Inside and Out Book Tag

  1. Laura says:

    Interesting tag! I don’t select books by gender either, but consistently read about 2/3 women to 1/3 men. I think it must be self-fulfilling – as I read more women I find more favourite authors that are women etc.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      That was a good question! I’ve given up worrying about it though – going with whatever feels right to read at the time.

  2. Calmgrove says:

    I’m soooo impressed with your systematic shelving—despite a year or so as a library assistant I’ve never yet quite managed alphabetical or genre shelving for my own storage, and Dewey would have had a fainting fit at my non-fiction and reference! I’m guessing you have an efficient cataloguing system going too, no? 🙂

    I think I more or less level pegged female vs male authors last year after a concerted effort to even things up, and this year women writers have effortlessly leapt into the lead, and I have to say I’m enjoying what’s been on offer.

    Without stereotyping either category I’ve relished the sensibilities in women’s writing, and anyway my favourite authors have long been women — Diana Wynne Jones, Edith Nesbit, Joan Aiken and Ursula Le Guin — so that’s not surprising.

    • Calmgrove says:

      By the way, you’ve passed the test (the not-scribbling-in-books was a killer answer) and I shan’t be unfollowing you, you’ll be glad to know, for any crimes against printed matter! 🙂

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Thanks for spotting that tag. This was fun. Parts of my library are very organised, the rest not. Originally, it was all catalogued onto LIbrarything too, but I’ve got a bit lax at adding new acquisitions in.

  3. Rebecca Foster says:

    You and I have similarly fastidious habits when it comes to books. My e-readers are useful tools for multitasking (to read while eating or on an exercise machine) or long-distance travel, but I don’t love them like I do my paper books. Like Laura, I find myself reading 2/3 women even though I’ve never consciously set out to read more by women; this might be because I mostly avoid genre fiction, or because in nonfiction I’m drawn more to women’s stories, or simply because of what I hear about because of who I follow on Twitter, etc. We had some nice months of reading out in the summerhouse or at a table in the garden in spring and early summer, but heat, hayfever, neighbours’ construction noise and mosquitoes have mostly made it impossible of late.

  4. Liz Dexter says:

    I don’t read by gender although I do look for non-binary or transgender authors to bring some balance. I am a sticky note person too and do the same, popping them out as I write my review!

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