Book quiz! Yayyy!

I'm not sure I've ever done something like this before, but everyone else is doing it so I'm going to join in! Yayy!

1. What is your favourite fictional food or drink?

Is this just food that appears in books? If it's actual food that doesn't exist, then I would have to go with something from Charlie and the Chocolate factory... I realise that chocolate exists already, but a chocolate waterfall/river would be amazing. (As long as it's not the stuff that is used in chocolate fountains that has a ton of oil mixed into it!)
If it's just food that appears in books then maybe lemon cakes from a song of ice and fire, because they sound delicious. Actually most food in those books sounds delicious. Mmmmmm.

2. How long did it take you to finish your last book?

The last book I finished was Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang and it took me about 2 and 1/2 days. My husband has been off gallivanting around America this week, so I've had a lot of time to read.

3. How many times do you stare at your books or bookshelves each day?

I don't really stare at my books or bookshelves? Some of my bookshelves are right next to my futon (I live in Japan, sleeping on a futon is the norm here!) though, so I definitely look at them before I sleep and when I wake up. The section that is right next to my head is mostly my husband's textbooks from university, so not too exciting.

4. How many Goodreads friends and books do you have?

I only have 12 friends on Goodreads, hehe. How sad. I have 94 books, but I don't keep any kind of to be read list on there, so that's just books that I've finished since I joined or books that I'm currently reading. If anybody reading this wants to add me, feel free!! You can find me here.

5. Do you ever quote books in public?

Maybe? More than half of my friends over here don't speak English though, so would have no idea what I'm talking about if I did, and I'm not sure that I would be able to quote many things in Japanese. I'm sure I do when talking to fellow English people though.

6. Do you ever re-read books?

Yes, but all of the books that I would re-read are in England! When I was younger I would re-read stuff ALL of the time though. I am going to re-read all of the Harry Potter books at some point soon though, as my husband has finished reading them in English so there's no danger of me catching up to him and annoying him! Hehe.

7. Do you judge a book by its cover?

Yes. Especially now if I'm thinking about buying a book to actually have at home instead of reading it digitally, I refuse to buy it unless I like the cover. (This is why I have still not read Maddaddam - I want to own a physical copy of it, but I HATE the cover art of the version being sold over here.)

8. Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr?

Twitter (although I don't tweet much) AND instagram (because pretty pictures!). I "read" a few Tumblrs, and if I was younger I'm sure I would have loved it, but I don't really want to make my own.

9. Which genres take you the longest to read?

Classics (if that is a genre) because I feel like I HAVE to read them, even if I've chosen to myself, so I end up feeling reluctant about actually doing it. Also, non-fiction books (because they get pushed to the side when I get really into whatever fiction book I'm reading!) and any books that are a collection of short pieces - essays, columns, stories etc. I put them down and then forget to pick them back up. I've been reading a collection of Charlie Brooker columns for about 6 months now, haha.

10. Who are your favourite BookTubers (or Book Bloggers)?

I tried watching book stuff on youtube, but I didn't really get into it at all. My favourite book bloggers are anybody whose blog I have commented on! (I don't want to list people in case I miss anybody, although I doubt that anybody really cares whether they're on my favourites list or not, hehe)

11. How often do you pre-order books?

I'm not sure I've ever pre-ordered a book.

12. Are you a shopaholic?

No. In general, I actually talk myself out of buying stuff way more often than I let myself buy things. I'm much more likely to want something, consider it for about 6 months and then end up not buying it.
I'm assuming this question is supposed to be about book shopping though. It takes me a lot to buy actual paper books, but I buy cheap digital books too often. I'm currently trying not to buy anything else until I've worked through the 20 or so unread books I have on my kindle. I'm not sure it's going to work though.

13. How many times have you re-read your favourite book?

I don't have a favourite book, but books that I would list as my favourites are all ones that I loved as a child/teenager and have re-read many times since then.

14. Do you own a lot of books?

Not compared to most people who write book blogs! I have a fair few digital books now, but I really don't have a huge amount of paper books, because we have no space for them.

15. Do you take pictures of your books before you read them?

No, but if I get really excited about a book I've just bought then I might take a picture. Seeing as most of the books I read are digital anyway, I'm not sure that anybody would really want to see a lot of pictures of my e-reader, hehe.

16. Do you read every day?

Yes. Most days I will read at least a page or so of whatever book I'm reading (I can't remember the last day that I didn't do that), and when I don't do that I still read lots of articles or whatever online. Also I have to read at work (to be able to translate something, you have to read it first! Who would have thought?!)

17. How do you choose a new book?

To buy - I have a mental list of books that I want to read and when I see one of them on sale somewhere I will probably buy it. Otherwise, if something fits the mood that I'm in while book shopping I will probably buy it (and then not be in the right mood to read it for months, hehe).

18. Do you always have a book with you?


19. What are your biggest distractions from reading?

The internet in general. I have realised recently that I am a much happier person if I actually try to do something that I have chosen to do in the evenings after work rather than just do random stuff, so I try to either choose to read something or choose to watch something, and once I've done that I tend not to get too distracted.

20. What is your favourite place to buy books?

My favourite place would be an actual bookshop. In Japan, the bookshops that have a decent selection of English books are few and far between, but I really like the big Kinokuniya in Shinjuku (the one connected to Takashimaya), and the big Maruzen in Oazo near Tokyo station. In England I like going to charity shops as well.

In reality, I buy most of my books on amazon. I would probably not do this if I was in England, but as I don't have access to a library with a good selection of English books (although judging by the English sections I have seen in libraries here, I could probably read ALL of the Agatha Christie books ever published), it's a choice between not reading because I can't afford to, or reading and buying things on amazon. Obviously, reading wins.


The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Warning - this review (and this book!) are probably not for the squeamish!

I have always been fascinated by medicine (I wonder if it's inevitable when you have a parent in the medical profession who leaves medical journals lying around the house all of the time? Must ask my sister!), and have wanted to read this book for a long time, but let's be honest, reading a fairly large book about cancer isn't exactly the most appealing prospect!

What finally got me to actually buy and read this is some translation that came in to my company which was to do with some new treatments for cancer that are in development. While struggling with the translation (medical stuff is hard when you have no kind of medical background!), I realised that I barely knew anything about cancer, and that maybe this would be a good thing to read to help me to learn.. and I was right!

The Emperor of all Maladies is a really fascinating look at the history of cancer, from the first time that it was recorded, to what the causes were once believed to be, early treatments, up to the modern day (or close - it was published in 2010).

It goes without saying that cancer is a really hideous disease, but some of the methods that used to be used to treat it are similarly hideous. There is a lot of talk in the book about radical mastectomies, which is horrific surgery that involved cutting away large swathes of muscle around the breasts, and cutting things out of the neck as well - basically cutting as much as was humanly possible without killing the patient, leaving many women horrifically disfigured, without actually curing the cancer in many cases.

Although at times the book was quite depressing - unsurprisingly, considering the subject matter - it did really make me appreciate how far medicine has come, as a lot of cancers that would have almost certainly been fatal before can now be cured, or at least sent into remission for long periods, and although it is probably unlikely that anything will ever completely cure cancer, I don't think it is too preposterous that one day cancer will be mostly treatable. I really hope that is the case!

I think that anybody who is interested in this kind of thing and isn't too squeamish would enjoy this book, but I suspect that a lot of the book may hit a little too close to home for anybody who knows anybody currently being treated for cancer, or anybody who is being treated themselves...

Other things of note:

  • The book also talks a fair bit about AIDS, which I found really interesting after reading Tell the Wolves I'm Home.
  • While reading about some of the more disgusting/horrifying descriptions of early treatments on the train, I kept on making involuntary weird faces which caused people around me to look at me strangely, hehe. 


I am officially the worst book blogger.

So apparently I haven't posted anything here since June... oops?


To be fair... no wait, I don't really have an excuse. Hmm.

I actually have some posts that I wrote back in June which I haven't posted properly yet, so hopefully I'll be posting those this week (unless I reread them and remember some reason why I hadn't posted them, hehe), and then I'll try and do some catch up reviews for stuff that I've read in the meantime. I think I am going to have to give up on actually trying to review everything that I read though (um, if anybody actually realised that that is what I was trying to do! Hehe). Maybe just posts about the things that I really want to talk about, and other random posts, and then a monthly/bimonthly round-up of what I've read?

Anyway.. I will try to be better! At least I have actually still been reading!