Sunday, 28 March 2010

On The Return of a Wanderer

Every year, for one week in March, the heartbreakingly pretty city of Bologna hosts the International Children's Book Fair. As fun as it was, I must say I think that the cuthroat world of children's publishing would drain the energy out of anyone; enormous children's book characters roam the aisles, spies from other publishers steal samples and ideas, books leap from shelves into people's handbags - one has to be constantly on one's guard to fend off these villains. I think I met the task head on, and had a bloody good time, despite being manhandled by a man dressed as a giant ginger baby:

Who is this madman?

One of the reasons I like my job is that it gives me an opportunity to talk to people from all over the world. Furthermore, I now know that my banter is appreciated by my foreign friends and have been invited to Finland. Get on.

The food was of course amazing, as was the city, but i shan't bore you with any more photographs. Instead, in honour of the Book Fair and because I'm feeling lazy, I'm going to complete the book-themed questions below instead:

Hardback or paperback?

Paperback, probably. I have nothing against hardbacks, but I like the noise when a paperback's spine breaks, which you don't really get with hardbacks.

Waterstones, Borders or Amazon?

Borders has folded in the UK, and Amazon scares me with its uncanny ability to make me spend more money than I can spare (although I do use it for the wishlist) so I'm going to say Waterstones. Although my favourite is Foyles in St Pancras station, because it's posh and often full of fashionable Parisians.

Bookmark or dog-ear?

Dog-ear, I have no time for all this bookmarking stuff, and as you'll gather I quite like the look of a bashed up book.

A-Z by author, or A-Z by title, or random?

No order whatsoever, although I do like to keep books with the same colour spines separate.

Keep, throw away, or sell?

Keep it. Keep it forever and never let it get away.

Short story or novel?

Novel - I don't mind the odd short story but prefer something I can sink my teeth into, like a dog with a big fat steak.

Buy or borrow?

I like to underline bits in books that I like (see: Lines I Like) so never really borrow books either...

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?

It depends - I think a cliffhanger is sometimes better than trying to tie off hundreds of loose ends in a few paragraphs right at the end, which can sound a bit rushed.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading?

I only really read when I'm commuting, so in the mornings and early evenings. If I'm really into a book, I'll read at night as well.

Favourite series?

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. Couldn't put them down.

Favourite children’s book?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis.

Favourite YA book?

Erm...Twilight, ashamed as I am to admit it.

Favourite book no one has heard of?

Ariosto's Orlando Furioso - it is actually quite famous but I think most people who have heard of it have studied it. It's fantastic, a medieval romp with dragons and wizards and damsels in distress (and damsels in armour killing dragons - I'm no chauvinist!).

Favourite books read last year?

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie blew my tiny little mind.

Favourite book to re-read?

I don't often re-read books. I know it's a waste, but I never enjoy a books as much as I did the first time.

Do you ever smell books?

Yes, always. When I was at university, I studied Magic in the Middle Ages - the books from the occult section in the library smelt like no others I've ever smelt. Because they were old and never opened, not because they were enchanted or anything...

What are you reading right now?

Amnesia Clinic by James Scudamore, I'm just getting into it.

What are you reading next?

I'm unsure, I have many titles to choose from and what I choose will depend on my mood the day I finish this one.

That's me over and out. I do hope you can forgive my laziness, and that everyone had a ruddy good weekend.



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