This Or That Book Tag, For #BookLoversDay

I feel like a phrase that should have an apostrophe in it might not be the best hashtag to represent a day for book lovers, but I suppose loving books doesn’t necessarily equate to being a grammar nut. Perhaps it’s only me who cares.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s start with the tag. I found this on Carmen’s Reading Corner, which I only recently discovered. I’m not going to tag anyone because I don’t know who’d like to do it, but if you’d like to, feel free to tag yourself and answer the questions. If you do, send me a link to your post so I can read it! I love reading other people’s answers to stuff like this.

Reading on the couch or in bed?

I’m fairly sure that I’m going to end up breaking the whole point of a ‘this or that’ tag fairly quickly, because I will read almost anywhere. I read in bed and on the couch, although in the bath might be my favourite reading location (except the whole wet-pages problem, ugh).

It’s probably fair to say that I read on the couch more often, when I have a couch, which at the moment I don’t because I’m renovating so I just have camping chairs in my living room instead. But I’m currently spending a lot of time sitting on them reading. However, reading in bed is also a lot of fun. OMG I CAN’T DECIDE I WAS NOT CUT OUT FOR THIS TAG AT ALL.

Male main character or female main character?

I really want to say I don’t care, but in all honesty I probably do gravitate towards female main characters. There are a couple of exceptions – The Humans by Matt Haig and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion spring to mind – but on the whole I’ll take a Lisbeth Salander over a Jack Reacher any day. Although I do love me some John Rebus. Especially when I’m having breakfast in bed with him.

Sweet or salty snacks while reading?

I’m not a big snacker while I read. Not a big snacker in general, in fact. Sometimes I’ll read while I’m eating a meal, but usually reading and food are separate. What I do enjoy doing,  however, is filling a teapot (I make my own herbal teas) and snuggling under the covers in bed / curling up in a pile of blankets on the sofa to read.

First or third person POV?

POV = point of view, for anyone who doesn’t know.

I can take either, actually. In the book I’m currently writing, I’m experimenting with alternating between POVs for three characters: one in the first person, one sort of in the second (she’s writing letters), and one in the third. I’m not sure if this will work, but we shall see.

In books I read, I really don’t think I have a preference.

Books that make you laugh or books that make you cry?

Ideally, gimme a book that can do both. Something that walks the line between moving and hilarious. A Jenny Lawson, an Ali Brosh, a Matt Haig.

If forced to choose, I’d go with sad books rather than funny books, but that’s mainly because I’m very fussy about comedy. I don’t find a lot of things funny.

Also, it’s probably worth noting that I don’t think I’ve ever chosen a book on this basis. When I’m deciding whether to read a book, I try to work out whether it’ll draw me in to the story, regardless of its genre or likelihood to make me chuckle or sob.

Reading at night or in the morning?

I am barely capable of functioning in the mornings, so if I read then I often find the book goes straight through my head and drops out the other side. I do most of my reading in the late afternoon and then at night. It’s my after work treat, and then I go to the gym for a bit, and then when I come back I braid my hair and make some chamomile tea and get into bed and finish the book.

Books + bed = a match made in heaven.

Actually, I’ve just realised there are exceptions to my ‘not in the mornings’ rule. I’ll read a book in the mornings at the weekends, when the day is stretching gradually in front of me and I don’t need to get up to do anything. So maybe it’s not so much that I can’t process things in the mornings, and more that I don’t want to read when I know I have to get up and start work soon. I am liable to forget everything around me, get lost in a book and then suddenly discover that two hours have passed, which isn’t exactly conducive to an efficient start to the working day.

Libraries or bookstores?

Ohhhhh bookstores. No, libraries. No, bookstores. No, libraries.


I love both, for different reasons.

Libraries (and, more to the point, librarians) helped save my life as a child and teenager, so they will always hold a very very special place in my heart. Nowadays I don’t spend a lot of time in my local library, though – I drop in to pick up and return books, but now my home library is enough of a sanctuary that I don’t feel I need an extra one outside as well.

I do spend a reasonable amount of time in bookstores though. My favourites are the ones that are stacked full of old books, and which therefore smell absolutely amazing. I mean, I can wander around a Waterstones for hours with the best of them, but it’s never going to be the same as hunkering down between the stacks of a library filled with very old tomes.

My favourite bookshop used to be Gloucester Road Books in London, before it changed hands a couple of times. There’s still a bookshop on the site, and it’s now a pretty cool one that sells books in several languages, which is fun – but it’s not the same as when it was stacked to the brim with second-hand books, with a huge philosophy section and lots of dusty little corners to hide in. I’m currently looking for a new favourite London bookshop (preferably West London, because as we all know, that is the best London).

These days I tend to prefer just having the books in my house, though. I order a lot of them on Amazon, but also visit antiquarian book fairs and bookstores and libraries, and end up with books stacked all around the house on many of the available surfaces, because in my mind that’s the way a house should look. A house of mine, anyway.

Black book covers or white book covers?

Black, because they’re more likely to be crime fiction, which is one of my favourite genres. I wouldn’t discount a book solely on the basis of its cover, though. Isn’t there a famous saying about that…? 😉

Character-driven or plot-driven stories?

I find this to be quite a strange question. I mean, really a book needs both. The plot needs to be interesting enough to keep you going, but if the characters aren’t well put together then the story idea can be amazing and yet the book can still be a tedious read.

Also, for me it depends on my mood and the genre. There are series that I buy based purely on the character they’re about – Lisbeth Salander, John Rebus, Kinsey Millhone, Don Tillman, all the people in Karen Rose’s novels – but there are also books I buy based on the plot sounding intriguing. But yeah, both are important strands.

So, that’s me. If you decide to do this tag as well, don’t forget to leave your links in the comments below so I can check them out!

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