The Hell Butterfly


A-Z Bookish Survey

Okay, so I just created this blog the other day and am ready to get and do, but I don’t have anything particularly interesting to hate on or praise. So, instead, I’ve decided to answer a survey created by The Perpetual Page Turner that I found on the blog of The Little Engine that Couldn’t – True, I stole your idea. Also true, it was a good idea.

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Anthony Horowitz. I read (and for the most part loved) the Alex Rider series and have also read his Power of Five series (excepting the final book as I found out exactly five minutes ago that its existence had escaped my notice. I can finally complete the series. This makes me happy.)

Best sequel ever:

Point Blanc by Anthony Horowitz. This is the second book in the Alex Rider series and, in my opinion, it’s the best. Stormbreaker instantly drew me in so my expectations were high for the next book – it didn’t let me down. Though I haven’t read it in quite some time I remember the feeling I had when I first read it. Without giving anything away, the characters Horowitz creates for the second book are incredibly well-formed and the storyline itself – in particular the final chapter – is utterly captivating. Quite the page turner for fans of adventure/suspense/mystery. There’s hints of all of it.

Currently reading:

For university (I am many a book behind on my reading so this list is more of a ‘should be reading’ list): Frankenstein, A Christmas Carol and The Country Wife.

For pleasure: Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim. Having seen the outstanding film version with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbet in the main roles, I was straight on Amazon buying the book. I hope it’s as good as the film made it out to be – I will let you know when I’ve finished.

Drink of choice while reading:

Honestly, I don’t tend to drink and read. If it’s a good book, I won’t have time for such trivial matters as thirst. If it’s a bad book, I’ve generally put it down before I even need one.

E-Reader or physical book:

Easy one for me – physical book. I love to be able to turn the pages of a book with my own hand (and smell it, and hug it, and have a slow motion montage with it). There’s just something about holding a book that has always appealed to me. I love a good story, but having it physically present in my hands adds to the charm. Also, I’m a technophobe. I use the internet for what I need it for and that’s it. Can’t be dealing with this touchscreen nonsense. Paper is numero uno in my book (pun not intended).

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:

This is a tough one for me. This question suggests I would have stood a chance with someone and even ended up dating them (shock horror!) – this just doesn’t happen to me. In the event the question means who would I have liked to have dated, then I can answer thusly: CalVin from China Mieville’s Embassytown. For anyone who hasn’t read it, CalVin are actually two people. Clones, if you will. It is because they are clones that I have answered as CalVin (they are basically the same person. And anyway, hey, twins!). If I were to pick of one them however I would say Vin – he always seemed softer than Cal.

Glad you gave this book a chance:

Oliver Twist. Now, I am slightly ashamed to admit I had never read Dickens before I was applying for university. It was only when my tutor suggested I read more ‘classic novels’ that I thought to turn to him. Oliver Twist is insanely good. I was sceptical at first, but yes, I’m glad I gave it a chance.

Hidden gem book:

Embassytown by China Mieville. I have not sufficient words to describe how phenomenal a read this is. I did an essay for university on this book and it is the only First I achieved in the entire year. For fans of science fiction this is a good place to turn. Also, for fans of Gulliver’s Travels this may interest you. The entire concept is complete genius – from the Ariekene alien race, to the ideas of basic language, Mieville has gone beyond mere science fiction and created a masterpiece that will, if you are like me, captivate you until the final word and leave you thinking over it long after you have closed the book.

Important moment in your reading life:

The first time I read Wilbur Smith’s When The Lion Feeds. Before then I had only read what could be considered as ‘children’s literature’ This was the first ‘mature’ book I ever read and it completely change my outlook on the things I read.

Just finished:

Matthew Lewis’ The Monk and John Cleland’s Fanny Hill. Both were for university. Both were mildly traumatising.

Kinds of books you won’t read:

Crime/detective novels. The ones where you follow DCI Bloggs around as he pieces together evidence to figure out which of the novel’s shady characters bludgeoned the single twenty-something female to death. No that I’m stereotyping (*cough* Iain Rankin *cough*)

Longest book you’ve read:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was pretty lengthy. Aside from that Stephanie Meyer’s The Host or Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher. The latter was made longer by the fact it was read in three installments with a month’s reprise in between each. It gave me nightmares …

Major book hangover because of:

The Secret  History by Donna Tartt. I couldn’t read for a week.

Number of bookcases you own:

It’s more of a bookbox. Including my university books as well as my own, I would hazard a guess at around 100 books. How many of those I would actually shortlist for my bookshelf (for when I have a flat of my own) however would probably only be around 30.

“It is better to now one book intimately than one hundred books superficially” – Julian Morrow from The Secret History

One book that you have read several times:

I could write any number of titles here, but we shall go for Point Blanc.

Preferred place to read:

Wherever is comfortable. If a book is good enough I can read it pretty much anywhere. Somewhere quiet with non-fluorescent lighting generally helps.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

From The Secret History

“And if beauty is terror”, said Julian, “then what is desire? We think we have many desires, but in fact we have only one. What is it?”

“To live”, said Camilla.

“To live forever”, said Bunny, chin cupped in palm.

The teakettle began to whistle.

From Mysterious Skin

I looked down at the floor’s mess: two spoons, a pearly bead of his come, and cereal nuggets in all colours, as if a kaleidoscope had shattered.

Reading Regret:

That I’ve stopped reading for fun now that I have set texts to read for university. I don’t tend to read most of the uni texts but because I should, I tell myself I can’t read anything else until I’ve read those. When really I should just read because, well, there are some good freakin’ book out there.

Series you’ve started and need to finish:

I thought, I will admit, that I had read all of them, but I’d have to say the Alex Rider series. I’ll confess, for an Anthony Horowitz fan I’m rather slow on the uptake when new books of his come out. I’ve read the first six in the series and was convinced that was it – apparently there are another two. That’s something for my Christmas list!

Three of your all-time favourite books:

1. Wilbur Smith – When The Lion Feeds
2. Donna Tartt – The Secret History
3. Anthony Horowitz- Point Blanc

(P.s. As it said ‘book’ I slightly altered my answer – Shakespeare’s Hamlet was crying out to me to go on the list. Sorry Hamlet – it’s not to be).

Unapologetic fangirl for:

Wow. I could put so much here. Shakespeare’s a Babe. Adore his work. But then again, if you’re not a fangirl for Ol’ Shakey I have to wonder what garbage you have been reading (Please note this is not a direct attack on those who like other books. But you should like Shakespeare. Dislike is not an option).

If I had to specify my fangirling for one book, it has to be Embassytown. As one of the only people out of the hundred-odd that read it on my course that liked it, I have quite the job to do to big it up. But I did my essay on it and got all mushy over the structuralist view of the way words work and the way we understand language itself (On a serious note if anyone reads it and is as entranced by it as me, check out Ferdinand de Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics. He has some fascinating theories).

Very excited for this release more than others:

Well I was excited for the final installment of the Power of Five series … Then I learned that it had already been released. I still haven’t read it yet though so excitement is still present.

Worst bookish habit:

Forgetting about the good books I’ve already read in place of new ones that sound like they might be good.

X marks the spot: start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

The Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole. This is a university book. It’s also the first ever Gothic novel in history.

Your latest book purchase:

Scott Heim – Mysterious Skin

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

This is a tough one because, with my current sleeping pattern, I’m always up way late. But the last one I remember specifically, I’m not afraid to say, was Breaking Dawn of the Twilight Saga. What can I say? Before the crappy films came out, it was an interesting read. So sue me.


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