Reader Interview Number Two.
Hi and welcome to the Library of Erana, a place of words and of their magic. Words are power, they are knowledge and they are freedom. Readers play an important role in the life of books and words, for without readers books would sit unread, unloved and unknown. What makes a good book, or for that matter a bad one? Why do people read and how do they find their books?
Welcome to Marcia Turner.
Where are you from? Bristol in the UK.
On average how many books do you read in a month? An average would be four, but I tend to read in blocks of time I have allocated. I can get through ten or so on a fortnights holiday or three during a weekend, and then I may not read anything but excerpts for a month or so.
Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? Books provide information, ideas, escapism and so much more. If you want a whirlwind romance, to explore a new country, time travel or just a good laugh, and you can’t do it physically, pick up a good book and you’re off in minutes!
What genres do you prefer and why? I read every genre, but not much sci-fi unless it’s something recommended. I am naturally drawn to thriller/mysteries & courtroom dramas, but I always ensure to have a mixture when going into ‘read’ mode. If I start with a thriller I will then move onto a historical novel, and then chic lit, before I revert to thrillers or mysteries. I would say fifty per cent of I read will be thrillers or mysteries. This is probably due to the challenge of trying to catch every clue and second guess the outcome.
Do you have a favourite book or author, why do you think you like this book/author so much? Impossible question, but a few from the list would be: John Grisham for the tension he creates within his novels, Agatha Christie for the characters and plots, and Wilbur Smith for taking me to a different land in another time.
What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? Definitely e-books when lying on a beach, sitting on a train/tube, or packing for holidays because an e-reader is so much easier to manage. Books are also in your hand within seconds when you decide you want to buy. I haven’t tried audiobooks yet. I’m worried that if I don’t like the narrator’s voice I won’t enjoy the story as much. However, if you take away the amount of room they take up, the dusting, and the weight (remember packing for holiday), then there is nothing like running your finger along the bookshelf waiting for something to jump out at you, or finding a favourite you want to read again.
How do you usually find the books you read? For example: recommendations from friends, promotion on social networks, your local library, following authors you already know? All of the above except the library. I haven’t been in a library since my children were young and I was introducing them to choice without being stuck in the isle of a busy shop. Our local library had a great children’s area.
When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look? What makes you turn away? It would be a combination of title and covers, but the title more so I think. That’s what makes me pick up a book and turn to the blurb. I would turn away from anything that looks like it might include violence for the sake of it, or contain graphic violence. I think we live in a violent world and there are details that can be left to the imagination, I personally don’t need the gory detail when it doesn’t enhance the story.
Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence the choice? I do read reviews, but they don’t always influence whether or not I purchase. It depends on the book in most cases, and I like to make my own mind up, but at the same time I am interested in what others thought. I always review what I read.
What is the most important aspect in a book for you? Plot? Characterisation? Well written etc? That does depend on the genre. If it’s a mystery, it doesn’t matter how fabulous the characters are if the plot is predictable and flat. I love a good plot, especially when a twist smacks me in the face, and I didn’t see it coming. A coming of age book on the other hand may have a lesser plot, but it must have great characters. I have to care about them and either curse, encourage or cry with them. If I don’t get this involved with the characters then the plot is paramount.
What aspects turn you off from a book? Are there things you avoid?As mentioned above, overcooked violence, modern ‘celebrity’ biographies, and anything I believe to be cashing in on a tragedy.
Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? Without question, which is a great shame.
- The 42 Traits of The Perfect Reader by Jeff O’Neal (bluesyemre.com)