1. What author do you own the most books by?
A quick inspection of my bookshelves has revealed it to be Bernard Cornwell (9), closely followed by Sue Townsend (8) and J.R.R. Tolkien (7). It's all those trilogies, of course.
2. What book do you own the most copies of?
I usually buy no more than 1 copy of a book, and will only buy a second if the first has been lost or damaged. However, once when I wasn't paying attention, I did unintentionally buy a copy of a book I already owned: it had been republished under a different title (Valerio Massimo Manfredi, The Talisman of Troy/Heroes). Other than that, I own 3 copies of the Bible: 1 Catholic, and 2 Protestant.
3. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Mark Darcy? Sebastian Flyte? Probably a composite figure, incorporating these two but with the addition of a bit of King David, Athos, Mr. Darcy, Boromir and several of the many Arthurs, Merlins and Knights of the Round Table making up the whole.
4. What book have you read more than any other?
I don't often re-read books, except for certain of my favourites: Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian, Robert Graves's I, Claudius and Claudius the God, Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Robert M. Pirsig's Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Joseph Heller's God Knows. I'm not sure which one of these I have read the most, though.
5. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
I think that must have been The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas père, both for the story and the beautiful illustrations in the edition Mum allowed me to take from her bookcase. It's still there in her guestroom, and I can never resist taking a little peek when I visit.
6. What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
Diana L. Paxton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ravens of Avalon.
7. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
That's difficult to say. Of the books I read in 2009, I enjoyed T.C. Boyle's The Women, a biographical novel of Frank Lloyd Wright, told through his relationships with the four women he was romantically involved with in his life, most, I think. This year however, there are several contenders, of which the one I've just finished, Louis de Bernières's The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman is one.
8. If you could tell everyone reading this to read one book, what would it be?
That would depend on their individual taste; although I don't think I can go far wrong recommending Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. From The Big Bang To Black Holes.
9. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Probably Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter. I plodded through it on my cousin's recommendation some 30 years ago, but I couldn't tell you what it was about now, except that ants feature in it.
10. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
The French. The Russians are far too dour for me.
11. Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer?
12. Austen or Eliot?
I prefer Austen.
13. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
So many books, so little time...I still haven't got around to reading the Harry Potter-series yet, and since I've only seen 2 of the films so far, I'm woefully ignorant on that score.
14. What is your favorite novel?
Shakespeare, Henry V
Relativity, by D.H. Lawrence. He's managed to put into words exactly how I feel about relativity, quantum and string theories that I like to learn about, but can never quite get my head round.
I like relativity and quantum theories
because I don't understand them
and they make me feel as if space shifted about
like a swan that
refusing to sit still and be measured;
and as if the atom were an impulsive thing
always changing its mind.
I can't think of one.
18. Short Story?
Any by Roald Dahl, for instance the ones in Kiss Kiss.
I have so many non-fiction books, and I love them all. But if there's one I would try to save from a house fire before any of the others, I suppose it would be my monograph on Claude-Nicolas Ledoux by Anthony Vidler, because it is just the most beautiful edition with full folio-size plates showing the architect's plans and elevations of his built and unbuilt projects.
20. Graphic Novel?
I've never yet read a graphic novel.
21. Science Fiction?
I was going to write that I don't read science fiction, but then I remembered Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.
22. Who is your favorite writer?
I quite like Umberto Eco, but there are several others whose latest books I will always be tempted to check out as well, e.g. Isabel Allende, John Irving, Louis de Bernières or Bernard Cornwell. And, in the field of history and (comparitive) religion, Karen Armstrong.
23. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Another difficult question! I'm inclined to say Dan Brown, but I've not read any of his books and don't intend to, ever. And while I don't care for Stephen King or John Grisham, I can see that they are masters at their craft.
24. What are you reading right now?
Shakespeare (at least in part), Edward III
25. Best Memoir?
I can't think of any I've read apart from Gaius Julius Caesar's Commentarii de bello gallico...
26. Best History?
After more than two centuries in print, Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is still a fantastic read.
27. Best Mystery or Noir?
Not my genre. I couldn't say.