Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A bit more about me

1) Where do you buy your books ?
On the Internet. Sad but true. I can't remember the last time I bought a book in a brick-and-mortar bookshop. Quite simply because I already know precisely what I want (down to the precise edition that I want) I am obsessed with lists and spend hours on the Internet making sure I have the best edition, looking up authors and titles, forthcoming titles as well, and I keep lists of books to buy on my computer so I just need to copy and paste in The Book Depository search engine. I have a limited budget, as I'm a student and I'm not yet working (I tried to do something part-time but I didn't have the energy to study and college comes first so I dropped the job) and The Book Depository has the most affordable prices of the Internet. I buy my Persephone books directly from Persephone as they're cheaper due to the discount when you buy 3 books, and come with a free bookmark. Money is the key, I go wherever it's cheapest. I used to go to the library a lot but as I live in Paris we don't have that many libraries that carry books in English (and 90% of what I read is in English) and it takes me too much time to go to 6 different libraries to have 6 different books and then go again to bring them back.

2) Do you buy second-hand ?
I don't. I know lots of people find it suprising so I'm going to explain : I like to be the first person to meet a book. The smell of second-hand books is not always the best and as I read everywhere including in my bed I need new books that don't carry germs. I sometimes give in and buy second-hand but the last time I did that I couldn't read the book as I was disgusted by it and ended up tossing it, so I guess I'll stick to new books. I just buy less.

3) Where do you buy your DVDs/CDs ?
Now I know lots of people still buy books in bookshops and that's totally fine, but I don't think as many people still insist on buying DVDs/CDs in shops. Perhaps I'm wrong, it's just a feeling, after all. I buy my British DVDs on Play and my American DVDs on DVDPacific. Once again, the only criteria I take into account is the price. I buy most if not all of my CDs on CDPacific. I say most because I've just bought five Loreena McKennitt CDs directly from her website. Best prices.

Alexis Bledel & Lauren Graham, Gilmore Girls 5x05 We Got Us a Pippi Virgin

4) Where do you find recommendations for books/DVDs ?
My lists are so huge I can't even remember when I entered this vicious circle. My family doesn't read at all - when I bought my shelves everybody smiled, said nothing but smiled. Sounds ludicrous that I should have close to 200 books when I've never seen my mother open a book in all my life. My friends don't read much, except for school. The Internet has proven to be an excellent source of recommendations. I read blogs and forums, try to get as much information as I can about an author before adding his or her book to my list, then I read an excerpt on Amazon. If I loved the book, the vicious circle begins : has the author written any other book (if so, proceed to buy them all, which takes an awful lot of time), I go back to the websites I visited to know more about the author and check recommendations, I go to LibraryThing and try to find a group that corresponds to that and usually there's a thread somewhere about books that one should read after this author. Then another circle begins. I suppose it's the same for everybody, really. I also rely on school very much : I discovered Toni Morrison, Angela Carter and Virginia Woolf at school, all three are amazing writers and I'll forever be grateful to my teachers for these discoveries. Movie adaptations of books are usually a pretty good opportunity for me to read the original source material : The Hours by Michael Cunningham, for example (but really the examples are so numerous) is one of my very favourite books which I discovered through the just as breathtaking movie. I discovered Atonement by Ian McEwan, a true gem, because I perused (on the Internet) a list of the most awarded novels of the last ten years.
It's different when it comes to DVDs and CDs : I absolutely need to have watched or listened to those before buying any of them. Some I just trust at some point because I've heard enough (I haven't listened to every single song Billie Holiday has recorded but I have a compilation I've listened to so many times I feel the need to buy complete recordings and will do so just after the December holidays when my postal office goes back to normal) : this is the case for my favourite singers and composers (Billie Holiday, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Madeleine Peyroux, The Andrews Sisters, Mississippi John Hurt, Muddy Waters, Son House, Amalia Rodrigues, Loreena McKennitt, Sarah McLachlan, Thomas Newman, Claude Debussy, Frédéric Chopin, Joan Baez, early Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel) but for every new artist I need to listen to complete albums, I don't buy blindly.
Same goes for DVDs : I watch what I want to discover on the Internet first (streaming) if it doesn't have any release date for France (and the ones I want to see often don't) and then buy if I like it. For some directors I don't need to watch before buying (I'd buy anything directed by Ernst Lubitsch or Frank Borzage). More recently, I've really liked Pedro Almodovar's, Sofia Coppola's and Joe Wright's and Quentin Tarantino's work. I don't buy movies just to discover them, it'd be hurting my bank account too much. Those I truly want to own are already costing me so much. Plus it disturbs me to find things I don't like in my libraries.
Now that I'm at it and to make this more complete, my favourite actors and actresses are Gael Garcia Bernal, Myrna Loy, Lauren Graham, Tom Hollander, Toby Stephens, Margaret Sullavan, Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Anna Maxwell Martin, Carey Mulligan, Keeley Hawes, Felicity Jones and Amber Tamblyn.
Angels in America is the miniseries that has had the biggest impact on me, it's amazing and you don't know what I would give to see the play. The BBC produces quality TV from time to time : I think North and South (2005), Bleak House (2005), Cambridge Spies and Cranford are outstanding. As for movies made for TV, I absolutely loved Northanger Abbey (2007), A Room With a View (2007) and Persuasion (2007).
My favourite TV shows are Gilmore Girls, closely followed by The West Wing. Then come Once and Again, Dead Like Me, American Dreams and My So-Called Life. These shows rule my life and I constantly make references to them.
You can find my list of favourite authors on my LibraryThing profile.