Today as part of BBAW, I’m interviewing Alice from Of Books. I’ve known Alice on Twitter for a while and we often discuss books, but it’s been great getting to know what makes her tick in a bibliographical sense!
How do you choose a book to read?
I’m not sure my whims can be catagorised. Sometimes I want to devote a day to reading so I’ll choose something big and enveloping, but if I’ve not got long to read I’ll choose something smaller. As for content, it dependent on my mood, sometimes I’m so indecisive I’ll start about four and not finish any.
If I’m buying something new, I generally go by the blurb and/or if someone has recommended it to me.
What’s the best book you ever judged by its cover- and what drew you to it?
What an interesting question, I’d never thought about it that way. I’m terribly judgmental of covers, I didn’t read My Brilliant Friend for ages because I thought the cover was terrible. I can’t imagine a world in which I’ve not read the Neapolitan series, so thank goodness I got over that! I can’t think of the last time I read a book based on the cover, I wish I could because there have probably been many.
Of the books you’ve read for your ’30 Before 30′, which was your favourite/least favourite and why?
Favourite: I Capture the Castle by Dodi Smith, it’s a little saccharine/rose tinted but I love it. I think it will always be one of my favourites, you’ll see it featured in my next BBAW post.
Least Favourite: The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fiztgerald. I love her shorter novels (Offshore or The Bookshop) and it was a shame that this one didn’t click with me. I’m not very good with literature set in Russia, I couldn’t tell you why.
Which book have you found reflects your life more than any other?
I don’t generally find books that reflect my life, but I do discover characters that reflect my personality – or how I was when younger. Catherine inTender by Belinda McKeon, Elena in My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, Fanny in Mansfield Park, Anne in Persuasion, Cassandra in I Capture the Castle – I’ve felt what all these young women have felt. They are the type of characters that begin to talk to you when you’re not reading, because you understand their feelings and motivations. I wish I could be more Lizzie Bennett, but alas, it’s just not meant to be. If I had to pick just one of those books, it would be My Brilliant Friend, it’s the closest you could get.
What’s been your biggest reading regret or disappointment?
I don’t think I have one, at least not one that comes to mind. I’m often disappointed when I don’t enjoy a good book, but more at myself than anything else. It’s a shame I can’t have the same experience as those who have loved them.
What’s been your most exciting discovery as a reader?
Parade’s End by Food Maddox Ford, I’m not sure I have ever felt as I have felt reading that series. I read it back in 2013 and I’m still thinking about it. In general, however, the most exciting discovery as a reader is how much my world has grown, externally and internally, from reading.
What one book do you think everyone should read?
I feel like I should probably chose something by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or Caitlin Moran, but the first book that comes to mind is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. It was the first book I read that really made me think about the way I saw the world and how I made decisions about it. It’s one of the most important books I have ever read. Without The Reader I’m not sure I would have made the move to people like Adichie or Moran.
I’ve never read I Capture The Castle… I think I’ll make a library reservation! Leave me your own book recommendations in the comments or on Twitter.
Follow Alice here.
Find out more about BBAW here.