Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A to Z Blogger Book Survey

Prompted by an excellent book list related post on Legatus's blog [clicky], which in turn was prompted by interesting posts at the The Laughing Ferret [clicky] and the Too Much Free Time [clicky] blogs, and as a life long book lover, I felt inspired to put finger to keyboard to document my favourites... don't hold back..  have a go yourselves....
  • Author you've read the most books from: 
Difficult this one as I'm one of those kinds of people who once they've found a good book, immediately try to source all the others by the same author..

Bernard Cornwell has written over 50 books (somewhat surprisingly, I had no idea it was so many!), and I've read every one  (even Stonehenge ). Unlike most people though, I came to Cornwell via the thrillers he wrote rather, than his historical fiction...  though I did of course move on to Sharpe...  if you've not tried them, I recommend the thrillers...  very good...
Picture courtesy Amazon - in all cases,
by the way, in the following I've tried to find the cover of the book version I own..
But the answer for me, after much thought, is Enid Blyton..As a child I was a voracious reader, so I read all the Famous Five (21 books), Secret Seven  (15 books), the Adventure series  (8 books), the Five Find-Outers (15 books), St Clares (for shame!- 9 books), Mallory Towers (6 books)  etcetcetc. Did anyone know that in her life time she wrote 762 books!

  • Best sequel ever:
Lord of the Rings....  the Hobbit was good, but as a sequel Lord of the Rings takes some beating... I wonder if it actually counts as a "sequel"??
  • Currently reading: 
Recommended by Tim Gow of Megablitz fame - unputdownable - highly recommended..  PS. Also huge... it's taking some time...!
  • Drink of choice whilst reading:
Real ale - preferably a golden, hoppy, IPA style..  I am particularly enamoured at the moment of Fullers "Wild River" brewed with the new style American hops..

  • E-reader or physical book:
Both - each have their strength and their weaknesses...  E reader (I have a Kindle) for when I'm travelling or need quick access to a novel (usually the next book in a series!), hard copy for reference books ie. basically anything with illustrations or maps as they just don't translate to Kindle...  I was one of those "oh I could never own a  Kindle" type of people until I bought one for the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer one Christmas and was completely won over...
  • Fictional character you would probably have dated in high school: 
The young Steve the Wargamer was a callow spotty youth with poor skin, a retiring manner, and attending an all boys school - it was unlikely that anyone would have dated  (yuck) "gone out" with him...  but he would have secretly been enamoured of Emily (in David Copperfield) before turning his attentions over to Cathy (in Wuthering Heights.. but  only because she looked like Kate Bush.. )

  • Glad you gave this book a chance: 
Crime fiction is not a favourite but I tried this on the suggestion of the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer and was very pleased I did...  Peter James writes some very good, nasty criminals...  recommended...
  • Hidden book gem: 
A couple of books really...  I'll start with this one though.. those of you who've followed the blog for some time will know that I also have a penchant for yachts, and this is without a doubt one of the best yacht racing based thrillers I've read....

I found this one in a charity shop somewhere, I'd never heard of the author, was purely attracted by the cover so picked it up - glad I did! Very much recommended if you're into late Roman period military novels...

  • Important moment in your book life: 
Discovering Ronald Welch [clicky] (and Don Featherstone) at my local library as a 12 year old set me off on a wargaming hobby that has lasted over 40 years to date..

...while Arthur Ransome, discovered at exactly the time, did the same in an entirely different direction...!

  • Just finished: 

Biography of Captain Eric Melrose "Winkle" Brown a British Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm pilot and later test pilot who has flown more types of aircraft than anyone else in history (487 different aircraft types) he also holds the world record for aircraft carrier landings (2,407!) - a fascinating read but in the end little more than a (very) long list of planes... 6/10 (more if you're interested in air combat/wargaming)
  • Kind of book you won't read: 
Chicklit, romcoms, Mills and Boon, self help books, medical journals, Economics text books (which accounts for the 2.2), biographies/autobiographies, (usually) anything that qualifies for Booker/Orange Literature prize...  an endless list showing nothing but my narrow mindedness...
  • Longest book you've read:
 That's easy - I read "War and Peace" this year [clicky]!
  • Major book hangover because of disappointing endings: 
Simply couldn't finish it, it was so bad...  and that after virtually devoured the first two Chronicles...
  • Number of bookcases you own: 
Four, plus a share in one the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer uses...
  • One book you've read multiple times: 
Impossible to answer - I re-read books all the time...  Sam Llewellyn, the Desmond Lowden book, the Cornwell thrillers, and at one period (teenage - lot of time on my hands) I read Lord of the Rings every year for about 5 or 6 years...books for me are like good friends, why wouldn't you want to re-visit them??
  • Preferred place to read: 
In the garage, sat in my big old, wooden, garden arm chair... radio on, light, beer, cigar... it doesn't get any better - but it's a bit cold in the winter...
  • Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read: 
Can't think of one...
  • Reading regret: 
Spending so much time trying to like the "Wheel of Time" books - sorry, I know other people love them, I found them over long and formulaic...

  • Series you started and need to finish: 
I am driven so I tend to finish all series I start - I guess it might be nice to finish off Game of Thrones but I'm in no rush.. too much other stuff to read...
  • Three of your all-time favourite books: 
Lord of the Rings...   'natch... but I don't think I could come up with another two as there are simply so many..
  • Unapologetic fanboy for: 
Ransome, Welch, Featherstone...  apologetic fanboy for Scarrow, Cornwell  (they can be a little formulaic at times)
  • Very excited for this release: 
There's a new Scarrow out (which I have on the reading pile), a new Cornwell out (ditto) and a new Iggulden out (not got it yet) good times....

...but not half as exciting as the news that Sam Llewellyn [clicky] has a new book in preparation....

Last book, but a new one is on the way!
  • Worst bookish habit: 
Reviewing them on my blog...   ...but I suppose bending over the corner of the page to mark my place
  • X marks the spot - Start at the top left of your bookshelf and pick the 27th book: 

  • Your latest book purchase: 
  • Zzz snatcher book (the last book that kept you up waaay too late):


  1. Nice to see someone else read a lot of Enid Blyton!

    1. David - I (and you by the sound of it!) are of that generation... I loved them but have to say while my girls were totally enamoured of Mallory Towers and St Claire's they weren't so keen on the Five and Seven books...

  2. I knew that yours would be an excellent post. I love your book reviews and have bought several (and a Kindle) as a result! This post will have me seeking out Wild River however!

    1. Legatus - an excellent post deserved my attempt at a go...! I hope you enjoy the "Wild River" be interested in your thoughts,,, I'm currently buying it in Tes & Co's

    2. Excellent! Off to Brooklands then!

  3. Haha. Good to see I'm not the only bloke who read Malory Towers books ;-) I suspect there are secret meetings like the AA going on all the time.

    1. Millsy - my name is Steve the Wargamer and it has been 2 weeks since I last checked in on the Twins from St Clare's... :o)

    2. ROFLAMO! I laughed so hard tea nearly came out of my nose ;-)

  4. Ronald Welch! Bingo! I borrowed Sun of York from the library as a kid, loved it, and recently tried to track it down, but without being sure I had the title right or the name of the author. Many thanks for solving a mystery that has bugged me for about three years!


    1. Aaron - my pleasure... all his books are out of print unfortunately, but "Sun of York" and "Knight Crusader" are both fairly available.... followed by "Tank Commander" and "Escape from France" which comes up every now and again... everything else comes up on eBay but appears to be made of gold dust! I would love to read "Mohawk Valley" and "For the King" again but they go for silly money....