1. I read Harry Potter before it was cool. That is, I read The Philosopher’s Stone it all by myself when I was (I think) five, and loved it so much I begged my parents to let me have a Harry Potter themed 6th (I think) birthday party. But this was before the film came out, and no-one else we knew had heard of it yet, so they convinced me to make it a witches and wizards party instead, so as not to confuse people.
2. The following year I was unwilling to give up on Harry Potter-related parties, and had a “Witches’ and Wizards’ Familiars Party” – where we all just dressed up as animals.
3. In my bedroom at home, I have three bookcases. The two standing next to each other are for fiction, and I recently reorganised them to be (mostly) rainbow patterned, and the third is separate, and is for non-fiction books and bits and pieces which wouldn't really fit anywhere else. But this one is the bookcase which houses my mythology and folklore book collection, so even though it isn't as visually nice, I still like it a lot.
4. I probably read more science-fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction than any other genre, but this isn't because I actively avoid the others – I like to think I have pretty wide reading tastes.
5. That being said, I’ve realised I don’t really like classics. I think it’s the style of writing that gets me, the story and characters could be great, but if it’s written in that “olden days” style I usually just can’t get on board with them.
6. My favourite classic though is 1984 by George Orwell (yes I know it could be considered more of a modern classic than a classic classic but I still think it counts). I read it because it was a famous dystopian novel and I was studying the genre at school, and I went in with very low expectations. Then I was amazed by how much I liked it, and it’s now one of my all-time favourite books.
7. My favourite place to read is my bed. I'm pretty much always horizontal when I'm reading.
8. When I first got Goodreads in January 2015, I went on a crazy mission to try and add every single book I’d ever read, and then try and remember back to when I first read them, and organise my shelves into some kind of chronological order. I think I’ve done pretty well at it, but every now and then I’ll remember another book and have to quickly add it.
9. Both very very good books and very very bad ones can give me a reading slump. Cases in point: a truly terribly and disappointing book from last year was Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway. It took me about a month to get through it, because I was really not enjoying it, and when I finally gave up and skimmed the last 200 pages, it put me off reading for a full month and half. On the other end of the scale was when I read The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North last June, and loved it so much it took me weeks to pick up something else.
10. While reading, I need to have silence. I can’t read while listening to music or anything like that, I just find it too distracting.
11. The oldest thing I’ve ever read was Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, originally published in 1592.
12. My most owned authors are: JK Rowling (9 books), Philip Pullman (8), Philip Reeves (also 8), and George RR Martin (7).
13. The part of a book which always always makes me cry, is the bit in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Sirius is killed. It’s not the scene where he actually dies that gets me, it’s the entire chapter after, when Harry is so heartbroken and angry and he’s just screaming at Dumbledore, but Dumbledore is so calm and just takes it because he understands how Harry is feeling. That whole scene between the two of them always makes me cry.
14. When I was little I read a lot of Jacqueline Wilson books, and an early favourite was Sleepovers. I used to trace out the drawings onto tracing paper, with each of the main characters getting their own sheet, and I’d add little captions under each picture just to add come context. Thing was, I didn’t have any tracing paper, so used grease-proof baking paper from the kitchen instead.
15. The longest book I’ve ever read is the English translation of the Grimm brothers' Complete Fairy Tales, which was a whopping 1074 pages, just pipping to the post A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin, which only has 14 pages less.
16. I much prefer reading paperbacks to hardbacks – they’re less ridiculously heavy so I can carry them around more, they’re smaller, so I can fit more of them on my shelves, and they’re a lot cheaper, so I can buy more of them! Because I like paperbacks more than hardbacks, the ratio of them on my bookshelves is about 80:20.
17. In 2014 I had a massive reading slump, only getting through about 7 books in the entire year. I’m pretty sure this is because I got an iPhone for Christmas in 2013, and my usual reading time at breakfast was replaced by me just going on my phone.
18. I’m a pretty quick reader, and always have been. When Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out, I read it within 18 hours (starting as soon as I woke up and found it left on my bedside table, and finishing just before I went to sleep that night).
19. I really don’t care than much about breaking the spines of books. I’ve never really understood it when people are obsessed about keeping their books in amazing pristine condition. I’m not completely careless with my books, I treat them pretty well, but I love that when you look at my bookshelves you can instantly see the books I’ve read over and over, just because of how cracked the spine is.
20. When rating books I use the Goodreads star system. It goes like this:
⭐ I didn’t liked it
⭐⭐ It was ok
⭐⭐⭐ I liked it
⭐⭐⭐⭐ I really liked it
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I LOVED it
I don’t like using half stars because it gives me too many options, and I prefer to keep things simple.
21. If I don’t like a book, I will not feel guilty at all about giving it one star. It doesn’t matter to me how many other people liked it, or even if it’s critically acclaimed and has won loads of awards; if I didn’t like it, that’s that, and it gets the rating I give it.
22. Both my brother and sister are also pretty big readers. My mum reads a bit, but my dad is the odd one out in this respect; he hardly ever reads fiction, usually only when we’re on holiday (for instance last summer him, my mum, me, and my sister all read The Martian by Andy Weir within the two weeks we were away).
23. When reading series, I am very cautious about actually buying the books. I will buy the first one, read it, and then decide if I want to get the second – and so on. I would never buy an entire series without being sure I actually liked all the books.
24. I am not very good at reading multiple books at once. I find it confusing, and will probably forget what’s happening in all of them. I prefer to immerse myself completely in one story before moving on to the next.
25. I don’t have a single favourite book of all time, but my favourites shelf on Goodreads contains the following 14 books: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North, 1984 by George Orwell, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Order of the Phoenix, and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling, Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel, It’s a Magical World by Bill Watterson, and Beauty by Robin McKinley.