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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 Matthew Jacobs

Where are you from? Minnesota, USA

Please tell us a little about yourself. 32, Male, 2 yr AAS degree, primarily audio book listener or normal reading so I can multitask

On average how many books do you read in a month? ½ a book paper, 4-6 audio books

Where is your favourite place to read? Read in bed, listen while driving

What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid? Prefer: fantasy and magical realism. Because of the interesting situations and creative rules the authors put on the fantastic elements. I enjoy a creative set of guidelines the characters must face to use their magic that allows for interesting and honestly dangerous situations.

Avoid: Horror and Romance. Because both focus too close on 1 or 2 things and miss opportunities for wider ideas and interactions.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? New thoughts, creative ideas, and new ways of looking at problems.

Do you have a favourite book or author, why do you think you like this book/author so much? I really enjoy Orson Scott Card, he has several series that I have or am enjoying. Including the Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow sagas, The Tales of Alvin Maker, and others. His characters maintain a very realistic balance of personalities. They feel like consistent people who have different moods. Some writers, when a character’s mood changes, don’t feel like the same character, but Card’s always do.

I also don’t know anyone who claims to like fantasy who doesn’t at least appreciate Tolkien. I enjoy his full word choices and deep descriptions. Along the same lines, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson are both very enjoyable reads.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? I greatly prefer audiobooks as they allow me to enjoy more books because I can listen and enjoy the stories while completing other tasks that would be impossible to read during. Also, I have always enjoyed a good story telling and this is just a more portable form. Finally, because many fantasy novels use very uncommon names for people or places I don’t lose track of the story by trying to guess how the author meant the name to be said – I can hear it from a good reader.

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? Following authors is usually a good way, but for new stuff I read interviews with authors I like and see who they note in their own reading pile. There is also the website SUVUDU that each year does an imaginary cage match between characters where you get short introductions to them and sometimes bits from the authors.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? Take a second look: Interesting hook, or set or rules.           Turn away: Too much focus on one thing

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence the choice? Yes

Do you “judge a book by its cover?” What else can you do at a bookstore when your browsing for a new title?

What do you think is the most important aspect of a book for you? Plot, world-building, strong characters etc.? What turns you off? Plot is important, but if I don’t care about the characters (love or hate), then it won’t hold my interest.

Does the behaviour of an author affect your choice to read one of their books?Not unless they have made it clear they are using the books to push an agenda.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews on sites such as Goodreads? They have every right to freely make any comment they like, but readers are free to choose to or not to read the book based on it.

If you had to pick three favourite books to take to a desert island what would they be?

Can I have 3 series?

1 Lord of the Rings

2 The Tales of Alvin Maker

3 The Wheel of Time

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline?  Yes, as are almost every other kind of store.