The A to Z Bookish Survey Tag

I found this on the Spines & Covers website, who have credited the tag to  Perpetual Page Turner. I am constantly looking for fun things to put on my own blog, so I am shamelessly adopting and attuning it to my own answers.

When searching for this kind of article, I find it’s common practice to only do these when you are tagged by someone else. Well…. I’m sorry, I’m not one to wait around to be thrown a bone. I would have made a nightmarish debutante in a Victorian London ballroom, don’t I know it. I come from a really small town where daring to be different and stepping a foot out of line gets you quite the nippy cold war, so I know what I’m getting myself into if I ever do stumble upon that time machine. But anyway, when I want to do something, I do it. So spread joy too, because I had a blast!


Author you’ve read the most books from

Let me think. JK Rowling would be 7. I’ve read everything by Sarah J Maas, which is also 7, but of whom I’ve read every scrap she’s ever written and will buy it as soon as it comes out. But I’ve read 12 books by Brandon Sanderson, making him the definite winner of this round. I am a huge fan of Sanderson, especially his newest serie The Way of Kings, which will become about 12 books long in and of itself.

Best sequel ever

A Court of Mist and Fury. I did not even have to think about this one, it is such a fantastic book. I loved Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses as it is a fairytale retelling, but has this whole other layer to it which is even more awesome. And then she went and released ACOMAF, which really lifted my idea of awesome to a whole new level. That second, all-her-own layer I was talking about? ACOMAF turns everything on its head, moves its characters in  the opposite direction and puts them at cross-purposes. It is THE. BEST. SEQUEL. EVER. I am always going on about how the second book almost inadvertedly is slightly less good than the first, but this is my top exception. It’s… wel, awesome.

515NClT-cEL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Also, in the literary novel genre, my favourite is The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. It counts as a sequel to The Tea Rose because it continues the story of the first as side characters, while it focuses on Fiona’s brother and his epic romance with one of the first female doctors in late 19th century London. I read this book first, maybe that is why I’ve always loved it more than The Tea Rose. I return to it again and again. Just talking about it makes me want to read it again.

Currently reading

truthwitch-uk-coverI am reading Truthwitch at the moment. I ordered it together with Earth Girl by Janet Edwards, which I’ve already read and reviewed, and The Emperor’s Blade by Brian Staveley, which I’ve been eying for some time.  Truthwitch  is by Susan Dennard, and I’ve never read anything by the author before. I’ve only just started, so I can’t tell you anything about it yet. But because I loved Earth Girl so much, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of books 2 and 3, which I ordered immediately after putting Earth Girl down. I have to read this one fast, or I will put it down to give priority to Jane Edwards.

Drink of choice while reading

Definitely tea. I do like coffee, and when I am reading while travelling, I always jump into a Starbucks to get a vanilla latte, but my preferred choice is tea. Either just regular black tea, or cherry tea. I accidentally discovered this when, at my previous job, we only had assorted teas of different flavours and no regular black tea, and I suddenly discovered one unsuspecting day that I would actually murder for cherry tea.

E-reader or phsyical book

Physical book. I have nothing against e-readers, or how people choose to read – only that they read and enjoy themselves. My brother swears by it. But I find I can’t get into the story as well as when I’m holding a physical book. I need to leaf through the pages, crack the spine. And yes, I fold the pages to make dog ears. I buy really cheap mass market paperbacks so I can buy more books, and although I am more careful with a pretty hardcover (or other people’s books), I found I changed my mind on one key aspect. I want to be able to see physically how much I have enjoyed a book. I want to have lived inside a book, and I miss that connection when I have to keep everything prim and pristine. Sorry people. I’m one of the monsters.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school

Hmm. Thinking back on the boy (yes, singular, I was particularly stubborn) I liked in high school, he was one of the popular ones. A bit quiet, but pretty and undoubtedly part of the in-crowd. So excuse me while I go rifle through my books to find a character to describe him to you.
… And I’m back. He would be Alec Lightwood from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments. Or Grayson Spencer from Kerstin Gier’s Silber trilogy. But I would also easily have fallen for Will Herondale in The Infernal Devices (also by Cassandra Clare). Do you pick out the trend of me falling for guys I couldn’t have even if I lived in their storyworld? Yup, that’s (still) me.

Glad you gave this book a chance


Again, that’s going to be a few. Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. He was discovered by my brother, who attended a reading. He described it to me as The Three Musketeers in a fantasy setting and I really did not think I would like it overly much. But he has taken so many of my suggestions, of course I took his. It is exactly that, and I LOVED it. I loved the second too, and the third. All of them. Another one I am glad I picked up despite being wary, is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I found this book to be so good, it blew me away. It was a bit weird, and I didn’t know where it was going, and then that ending. I was utterly shocked to later find out that Orson Scott Card is so controversial (and quite despicable) in his personal views, and I cannot rhyme it with the subtle beauty with which he tackles race and hate questions in Ender’s Game. And I am really glad that after a few times picking it up and not taking it with me, I did get Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon from the library. It solidified my love for fantasy, and gave me the courage to try interesting looking books that aren’t mainstream.

Hidden gem book


That would be Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. I talked about this book before, it snuck up on me, how beautiful this became to me. It is my true hidden gem book, years after reading it I still find myself affected by its questions on country and identity and how it feels to have them forcefully taken away against your will. How you would get revenge and freedom and how muddled they become when you take into account the actual people that are the faace of your enemy, and your own feelings about them. I recommend this book to absolutely everyone.

Important moment in your reading life

Well. There have been quite a few  books that changed or influenced the course of my reading habits. But there is one that is not related to a specific book. It’s when I became honest about what I love. I have always been a big reader, and in just about any genre. I like some non-fiction, some heavy handed literature, some classics, some chicklit, some horror, some mainstream literature. But my true love lies with fantasy, scifi and YA.
I have a degree in Literary Sciences, and it has taken me a long time to accept that what I love, is not what they prefer to hear about. I’m sorry, I like popular fiction. I love popular fiction. There is no reason why these genres shouldn’t be just as valid as the more difficult literature. We don’t have to hide anywhere. It still strikes me – how many current event questions are being addressed and answered in YA and fantasy/scifi. Far more directly than in most forms of literature, and it angers me how few literary scientists are willing to see that and take it seriously enough to find merit in them.
One day I decided I just don’t care what other people think. I read what I love. I have no trouble reading something I would not normally pick up or like when it’s for a class assignment and I’m learning something about it. But in my own home, when I’m asked to call upon my own interests, I am not pretending any longer. I have recently gone back to finish my Masters, and my first presentation was on how Cinder by Marissa Meyer uses the fairytale tropes in re-imagined ways. The class loved it. *rant over*

Just finished

Earth Girl
by Jane Edwards! I loved this book so much. I am so anticipating the second and third books, which will be arriving soon. I think I might have found myself a new favourite author.

Kind of books you won’t read

I am not going to be popular. I hate literature written by Dutch (my own country) authors. I’m so sorry, people. I love big descriptions. I love immersing myself into a storyworld, details painted in screaming colour and big emotions. I cannot abide books about the narrowness of life, people who think everything is just okay. Who accept but not like their personal relationships. Who accept things have worked out worse than what they imagined when they were younger, and decide not to do anything about it. That’s Dutch literature for you.
Of course, that is not all Dutch literature. But there is a tendency to be terse and sparse with words that makes me mad. I do love Paaz by Myrthe van der Meer because it is very realistic and it really grabbed me because of personal experience. I love the Dutch classic Joop ter Heul by Cissy van Marxveldt, which I reread every so often.

Longest book you’ve read

I am going for the interpretation of longest book witihin one binding, not a series. It’s The Stand by Stephen King in mass market paperback, 1439 pages. Brandon Sanderson’s books come close, and Under the Dome by King as well, but I checked. This one is definitely the longest book I’ve read from start to finish.

Major book hangover because of:

Usually when I finish a book of one of my favourite authors. Brandon Sanderson, Sarah J Maas. Last time I had a serious case of book hangover was when I was reading Scott Lynch’s series The Gentleman Bastards. I had the first book, The Lies of Locke Lamora since forever, and never read it (OMG, I should have used this one for the book I’m glad I gave a chance. Well, retroactively putting it in). When I finally did, I loved it to pieces. I raced through all three books and when I started reading the third book, suddenly a horrid realisation dawned on me. What if this was not a trilogy? I very carefully read the last sentence and it ended on an open question. I just about screamed into my pillow, because I was under the impression to have a finished story that evening, and I found out I had to wait a whole year for a fourth book. It completely drowned out my excitement about getting more books. And then Scott Lynch had personal problems and had to postpone another full year. It’s coming out in September now, so all is forgiven, but I had the most major book hangover and it took me forever to get past it.

Number of bookcases you own

Sore spot. I moved from my studio apartment to a furnished Belgian student accomodation, then to my mom’s for a while, then to another studio apartment. So I had to shed bookcases at various points and am only now trying to build it back up again. So what I actually have is this: I have one rectangular bookcase with 8 squares, that works as a room divider (hiding my bed) and I have books placed on both sides. So it’s actually 16 squares. I have a shelf running along the length of one side of the room, on which I have managed to stack (in an ugly, ran-out-of-space stack) my English classics. I got another low bookcase that runs the length of the short wall, where I put my YA. It’s about 7 squares and I can (and have) put books on top. Then I have a stack of books along a wall next to my bathroom where a bookcase will come when I get money on payday. I have small stacks on a night table, and I have room to put another 4 square bookcase on top of the room divider to create an additional 8 squares using both sides. Again, on payday. And when I feel like going to Ikea, which is not in the vacinity and I have to drag the flatpacks up three flights of stairs. On the plus side, I have books literally EVERYWHERE.

One book you have read multiple times


You are kidding me, right? I barely own a book I have not read multiple times. All right, I’ll go for the one I think I’ve read the MOST times. I think it’s going to be a three-way tie between Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (of which I own at least five copies), The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly and Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. That last one is a mass market paperback and I have read it so many times, the first few chapters have come loose completely, as has the front cover. Yes, I could buy another copy. I should. But I kinda like this old shabby one and I can’t throw it out when I get the new one, so I usually don’t bother and just read carefully.

Preferred place to read


I used to read a lot on public transport, but now I own a car and can’t anymore. It’s not so much the reading while on the train that’s enjoyable, as it’s the popping into a nearby Starbucks and stealing an extra hour there before or after the train ride home. But I do have to admit I am less able to read during the week because of this. I can’t read in bed because of too many oops-less-than-three-hours-sleep on work days. But then I bought this veeeery nice rocking chair cheaply, and it has become my utmost favourite place to read.

Quote that inspires you

I heard this one on an episode of Criminal Minds, and it fits my sympathies so well – both as a reader and a literary scientist. It is often credited in a different form to Neil Gaiman, but he actually paraphrased a quote from G.K. Chesterton.

“Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.”

Reading regret

Well, I know what my high school class mentor would say. He taught Dutch literature, and was my teacher for four years. He would say my reading regret should be never getting around to Max Havelaar by Multatuli. I do own the book. I also know I am never going to read it. Maybe when I’m really old.
My actual reading regret is that I couldn’t get through The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. This comes from my literature studies-point of view. It has done so much for our understanding of the psychology of a hero character, breaking through fairytale tropes and doing something completely new, creating fantasy in the process and tying it into real world events. I also regret not getting around to so many classics I should have already tackled, but didn’t because of time restraints. FaustLes Miserables, anything Charles Dickens, still some of Jane Austen’s books. Those things you have on your to-read list but then you get distracted by other, newer books.

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out)

The Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson. Read both Steelheart and Firefight, but I haven’t gotten around to Calamity and I really should. I love those books. I dont have very many of these, because when I start a series I usually read all of them or I must have disliked the first book enough not to want to continue. Oh, I also need to read The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh, but it took me forever to get to The Wrath and the Dawn too, so I’m sure I’ll get there eventually as well.

Three of your all time favourite books


Mean. Just plain mean. I did a photo for the #JulywithCJ instagram challenge on some of my favourite authors and it became this huge stack. I am going to go for some different books than the ones I already mentioned. It’s always going to be a skewed thing, a book tag, because you think of other options when you already posted it or you mix it up to avoid repeat answers. So: Wild Swans by Jung Chang. I have reread this multiple times too, it gives such a great overview of China history while being deeply personal. Joop ter Heul by Cissy van Marxveldt, a trilogy of books about a Dutch girl from her high school onwards. It’s very funny, and I have loved it ever since I borrowed this book from my mom (I looked it up, I was shocked to find it’s from 1918. I thought it was from the ’30’s). And for the third one I’m picking The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel. It was the first book written for adults I ever read, I was about 16. It influenced me so much, I was obsessed by it.

Unapologetic fangirl for:

Anything Sarah J Maas, both the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses. I am geeking out over these books and I just handed in a recommendation for the Dutch publisher (in my official bookseller function) that they can use to launch the release of the second book. Also for Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It is one of my absolute favourites and blew my mind while reading it. I recommend it to everyone, I will even tackle perfect strangers on the street to talk about this book and I have never once gone wrong with it. Even with people who don’t read often.
But I must admit, perhaps because I am a bookseller, I am enthousiastic and unapologetic with every book I think is a good fit for the person I’m recommending it to. I can recommend you a book I only know by hearsay when I think you’re going to love it, and I am an awful gloater when it turns out I’m right.

Very excited for this release more than all the others

The fifth book in Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series. The fourth book in Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series. I’ve been waiting for those for a very long year and finally it’s almost there. Wake me up when summer is over (I never thought I’d ever say that). Also, when Patrick Rothfuss finally decides to come out of his FIVE YEAR SLUMP and finish that final book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, I will be ecstatic. But I have no reason to think it will come anytime soon in the next ten years, and I’m being generous.

Worst bookish habit

I need to have uninterrupted reading time these days. I can’t start a book or get myself immersed in it if I have less than half an hour to read. It’s a thing I get into sometimes, when I really love a book I get extremely cranky when I have to quit again too soon. So I won’t touch it until I have that sacred reading time. My colleagues at work all know that I hate being disturbed during my lunch break because I’m reading and they profusely apologise beforehand when they do come in to ask me something. They even warned they electrician who had to come into the break room to check something that it’s best to just be quiet and not engage me in any kind of polite conversation. I’m quite rude while I read.

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

Trylle, by Amanda Hocking (the trilogy in one bind). I liked this book, it had been staring at me for some time even though I was a bit conflicted about the synopsis. But I have learned to trust my instincts when I keep returning to a book. It just has to be read to get it out of my system, and I usually like it a lot. It’s a solid 3,5 stars out of 5. Not the best I ever read, but a very entertaining read that was a bit different from what I’m used to reading in YA fantasy. So all in all I’m glad I have this one on my shelf.

Your latest book purchase


Mentioned it often already. Earth Star and Earth Flight, the second and third books in the series starting with Earth Girl on Janet Edwards that I am currently geeking out about. I can’t waaaaait.

ZZZ-snatcher book (book that kept you up way late)

1-6A Court of Mist and Fury. I loved that book so much, even more than I loved the first. I’m quite sure I’ve mentioned this even within this post about a gazillion times. Sarah J Maas just writes phenomenally, and every single book is better than the last. I started reading this when I was staying over at my mom’s for the weekend (I may be 31, when I get there, I behave exactly like any 18 yo student. I lie on the couch, hog the tv, get to eat all my favourite food and stay for a couple days before returning to normal life). I began at about 7 in the evening, opted to skip the movie to continue reading, and when my mom went to bed at 11, I knew I was not putting this book down until I finished it. I did not care a lick when that would be. It turned out to be 4.30 in the morning. They I laid awake for an hour because I couldn’t shut off my brain. And three hours of fitful sleep later I had to get up to go buy books at the Libris summer book fair for the store. I swear I was on zombie mode the entire day.



Thanks for sticking with me through the entire alphabet! I hoped you enjoyed this, and leave a comment if there is anythng you still want to ask me.

3 thoughts on “The A to Z Bookish Survey Tag

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