Reading Habits

Looking back, I don’t think I have ever done a meme on this blog; and seeing how it’s been six years by now, that’s obviously an untenable state of things. Here you go then, my first (and maybe last, but maybe not) ever meme (snatched from The Speculative Scotsman):

1. What was the last sf/f/h book you finished reading?
The Infinity Box, a story collection from 1975 by Kate Wilhelm which I’ll be doing a guest post on for Joachim Boaz’ blog Science Fiction And Other Suspect Ruminations which should be published some time in April. All I ever read by Kate Wilhelm before (and that a long time ago)was her most well-known book Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, but I suspect that this may change as this collection turned out to be excellent.

2. What was the last sf/f/h book you did not finish reading and why?
I finish almost everything I start reading, so I had to think long and hard about this one. What I finally came up with was this title – volume 2587 (!) in the Perry Rhodan series which I used to read as a kid (it was and I still think is pretty much required reading if you’re German and start getting an interest in Science Fiction) and every couple of years check out again; not finishing this marked the end of my most recent attempt.

3. What was the last sf/f/h book you read that you liked but most people didn’t?
Not sure about “most people” but judging from reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, there are quite a few people who disliked Adam Nevill’s House of Small Shadows, which I thought was brilliant.

4. What was the last sf/f/h book you read that most people liked but you didn’t?
It does not happen very often that I do not like a book at all; the last one that comes to mind that I really intensely disliked was Peter Hamilton’s The Evolutionary Void – and indeed, in retrospect the whole of the Void trilogy. While I certainly was not the only one to think the novels were no good, the majority of readers seems to have enjoyed it.

5. How long do your single-sitting reading sessions usually last?
There really is no “usually” for me here, it depends on which day of the week it is, even to some degree on the season, then of course on the book, I’m more likely to gulp down something easy and fluffy in one gulp than something that demands focus and concentration. So the answer here would have to by “anything from one to six hours.”

6. What are you currently reading?
Several books actually, some very much long-term projects, like the first volume of Steven Moore’s massive The Novel: An Alternative History or Peter Handke’s Das Gewicht der Welt, a book that simply has to be ingested in small sips over time. The two I’m likely to finish next are Joan D. Vinge’s Psion (fun read) and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ In Evil Hour (his first novel, where the Faulkner influence is even more pronounced than usual).

7. Do you like it so far?
Yes. Hopefully there’ll be posts on all of them at some stage.

8. How long ago did you buy the book you are currently reading (or the last book you read)?
The one I bought longest ago is Psion which I got in May 2009; the most recent is Das Gewicht der Welt which I bought in October 2014.

9. What was the last physical sf/f/h book you bought?
That would be Forsaken by Kelley Armstrong, an Otherworld novel released by Subterranean Press.

10. What is the sf/f/h sub-genre you like the most and why?
Hmmm… that’s a hard one. After giving it some thought, I think the books I like most are those that do not fall into any clear sub-genre, and for precisely that reason. Eddison’s Zimviamvian Trilogy, Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren, John Crowley’s Little, Big, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, M. John Harrison’s The Kefahuchi Tract trilogy… you can probably see the pattern there (or the lack of one).
Oh, and I have a soft spot for Science Fiction Romances, but that is  more of a guilty pleasure…

11. What is the sf/f/h sub-genre you dislike the most and why?
And that one I find even harder to answer. In fact, I think will give this question a pass, as there isn’t any sub-genre I’d dislike per se, just individual bad novels in all of them.

12. What is your favorite electronic reading device?
My Kindle Paperwhite (first generation). I haven’t used anything else since I got it (well, except the occasional paper book, that is). I might need to get a new one soon, though, and still vacillating between second generation Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage.

13. What was the last sf/f/h eBook you bought?
Mercenary instinct, by Ruby Lionsdrake – and yes, that’s a Science Fiction Romance.

14. Do you read books exclusively in one format (physical/electronic)?
No. I’ve come to prefer e-books, however, and these days read physical books only if I already own it in that form, if I can’t get it as an e-book or if it is an exceptionally beautiful edition.

15. Do you read ebooks exclusively on a single device, ie. an eBook reader, a smartphone or a tablet?
Yes, see #12. I do own a smartphone and a tablet, but can imagine using those to read books only in emergencies (like the battery on my Kindle Paperwhite running out).




  1. Ah, insights into Heloise’s reading habits… 😉 Thanks for this – some more titles have cropped up that have been added to my “I really should one day…” list – although I’m also happy to see the usual suspects, like “Little, Big”. Which I really *will* read soon 🙂

  2. I’ve been meaning to re-read Little, Big for like a year now, and am sure I’m going to do that very soon, too… 😛 But at least I’m not the only one who is behind on re-reading favourite books (*cough* Fire From Heaven….).

  3. Bah. By the time I get round to reading that I might as well have read it when I first said I was going to; it’ll be time for a re-re-read in any case! Really must read that. Maybe when I’ve battled Waltari into submission and dealt with a couple of other must-read-nows… 🙂

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