Do you snack while reading? > I can’t say I do.
What is your favourite drink while reading? > A good cup of tea will always do the trick, particularly if I’m reading in the evening. In the day – and particularly if I’m out and about and on a break – then a coffee is my preferred drink.
Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? > The idea of writing in books per se doesn’t horrify me. I tend to underline passages, though, or fold down corners so that – when I look back over a book when I’ve finished it – I can find the passages / lines that made most impact. For a while I used to use those little post-it note markers to do the same job with less permanent damage, but kept forgetting to put them in my bag so eventually gave up on them.
How do you keep your place? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book open flat? > Any variety of unofficial bookmark normally does the trick, typically train tickets, postcards or shreds of paper.
Fiction, non-fiction or both? > When I was younger it was overwhelmingly fiction. But now the vast majority of my reading material is non-fiction, mainly politics or some form of history.
Do you tend to read to the end of a chapter or can you stop anywhere? > I used to read until the end of a chapter, but since having a little baby boy, I’ll read until I get to where I get to!
Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you? > No – I’m not that demonstrative. I may tut or put the book down on my lap.
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away? > Without wishing to sound too poncey, I don’t come across too many unfamiliar words. If I do, the context generally means I can work them out. Otherwise, I may look them up later.
What are you currently reading? > I’m still trying to finish Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I’ve just finished On Roads by Joe Moran and so am going to start A View from the Foothills by Chris Mullin and The Revolt of the Pendulum by Clive James.
What is the last book you bought? > My birthday has just passed so I’ve bought loads recently. The two purchases I’m looking forward to the most are Britain Since 1918: The Strange Career Of British Democracy and The Presidents
Do you have a favourite time/place to read? > Late at night, lying on the sofa.
Do you prefer series books or stand-alones? > If this relates to fiction (see answer above) then I don’t really know. Stand-alones, I guess.
Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over? > I find recommending books/authors a hazardous business, so I can’t say I do.
How do you organize your books (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)? > I used to think there was only one answer to this: alphabetically. But as my book collection has grown, the first main organisation involved a split by fiction / non-fiction. Fiction is now arranged alphabetically, with some size-based adjustments for aesthetic reasons. My non-fiction books are arranged by subject area, then by sub-topic area, then occasionally alphabetically (with some size-based adjustments as well).