1) What author do you own the most books by?
it's either Paul Theroux or John le Carre
2) What book do you own the most copies of?
Theroux – I have an American and British edition of many of his books because I went through a phase of collecting first editions. I don't know why.
3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Any of John le Carre's English Men would do because they're basically the same man and they're probably le Carre so I'm probably in love with him.
5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
A Perfect Spy- John le Carre or Mockingbird
6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
It would have been something involving boarding schools and hockey sticks and gels who were jolly.
7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?'
'Gone With the Windsors' Laurie Graham – I didn't finish it. Unlike Johnny, who believes in giving everyone the benefit of the doubt long beyond that which is strictly necessary and will read right to end of the grimmest books, I take no prisoners and chuck them overboard if they don't do it for me.
8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
I really liked Alastair Campbell's 'All in the Mind' but I think that's more to do with the subject matter and that I like Campbell – I wouldn't hold it up as a great work of literature. (sorry A.) The book that I was most surprised by was 'Lark Rise to Candleford' having imagined that it was all costume drama and boredom but it's not. It's an excellent piece of social history – about a part of English village life that has disappeared. It's also set very near to where I lived in Oxfordshire so there was some nostagia – despite me not being quite old enough to remember the effects of the Enclosures.
9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
A Perfect Spy – John le Carre. But please don't read it because you'll hate me and then spend the rest of your lives avoiding me and wondering why you'd ever thought that I was worth knowing in the first place.
10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
Yarb or someone who spends their life juggling with words, scattering them over our feet and enriching our lives by doing so.
11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
None, thanks. They invariably get fucked up in the process. This was Uragodtome's answer and I'll leave it right there.
12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Statistics without Maths for Psychologists (this book is yet another example of lies in print)
13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I have had an interesting dream involving having an affair with Alastair Campbell which pleased me greatly despite him shouting continually that 'you can't fucking tell anyone – okay?'
14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
I don't know but I have read some dirty detective fiction that was really poor.
15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
I think probably Midnight's Children by Rushdie – or maybe I mean overrated and boring.
16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
None of them seemed particularly obscure – I did however go to see Waiting for Godot in French because I had a crush on someone and that was beyond obscure.
17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Russians – but I've not read a lot from the French.
18) Roth or Updike?
19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
I've not read Eggers and only read half of 'Me Talk Pretty One Day' so I'd prefer not to, thanks.
20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
This isn't a fair question – but if I had to have one then it would be Shakespeare, but I have a very soft spot for Milton The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
21) Austen or Eliot?
I quite like Austen and I blame the Costume Drama Brigade for her poor reputation. It took me a long time to get round to Mill on the Floss and I'm forever glad that I did because I had taken against it for no good reason. I think I'll go with Austen.
22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I have been made to feel that not liking Captain Corelli and his fucking mandolin was a crime against literature but what are my real gaps? I've not read any Joyce or Tolkien.
23) What is your favoruite novel?
Today it's Picture Palace by Paul Theroux but it's not a constant.
Death of a Salesman.
The Wreck – Don Patterson
Leaving Dundee – Douglas Dunn
To Autumn – Keats
Truman Capote on Elizabeth Taylor .
27) Short story?
something by Truman Capote I think
28) Work of nonfiction?
Melvyn Bragg on Richard Burton
29) Who is your favourite writer?
Theroux, le Carre, Fowles, Barbara Vine, Primo Levi
30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
I feel it's unfair to single out Martin Amis but I shall.