Book Tag: do I have that book?

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is asking about our summer TBR, but I talked about my 20 Books of Summer a couple of weeks ago so I think it’s time for a tag challenge!

The Do I Have That Book challenge was first set by Keeping Tabs, and I soon discovered it’s deceptive! This is a tag that looks quite straightforward, so I decided I’d double up and use it to give some love to books on my shelf that rarely get featured here. Before I knew it, I was having to search every last shelf to try and answer some of the prompts anyway… so, do I have that book?

1. Do you have a book with deckled edges?

An old book shot corner on, showing its deckled (rough cut) edges

Yes! But here’s the thing: I thought I had several. In my head, this one was easy: it was Taltos by Anne Rice – yes, I’m hanging on to them, even though my last reread of The Witching Hour had my eyes rolling so hard I gave myself a headache. But when I picked it up, no deckling.

Cue me searching high and low, convinced I had some – and I was right, eventually, although I’ve strayed outside of genre for once to deliver it. This book has deckled edges because it’s so damn old – a 1930s copy of Liza of Lambeth by W Somerset Maugham that I adopted because I was living in Lambeth when it needed a new home. If Victorian slum fiction is your thing, you may enjoy it more than I did.

2. Do you have a book with 3 or more people on the cover?

Easy, I thought, then realised how many covers focus on 1 or 2 these days! Fantasy cover art trends, folks: they have changed. However, I have a stack of books from my teens that figure heroic trios (phew) and Geoff Taylor went through a phase of painting bigger groups seen from a distance as they make camp or ride along cliff tops, so this turned out to be a brilliant excuse to dive into nostalgia…

Book on a table: Collector's Edition of the Dragonlance Chronicles featuring Tanis, Goldmoon and SturmSomeone mentioned a reread later this year? I might not be able to resist… I still get feels looking at Dragonlance artwork, apparently.

3. Do you have a book based on another fictional story?

Hell yes – I don’t have a lot of retellings and I can’t resist some fairy tales and folklore, but I’m going with a less obvious choice for me. Sarah Maria Griffin claimed her place as One To Watch (seriously: keep an eye on her) with her tribute to Frankenstein (never my favourite classic, but unarguably important to my favourite genre!) last year. Spare and Found Parts is unusual in setting (post-apocalyptic Ireland) and tone (lyrical, and unexpectedly hopeful) and well worth your time.

Book on a table: Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin

4. Do you have a book with a title 10 letters long?

Well here’s a question I never expected to have to answer, and a trickier one than it sounds! But any excuse to comb through the shelves, right? I ended up with more options than I initially expected when I started (epic fantasy: titles as long as the books themselves). And I realised when I came to drop the pics into this post that I can’t actually count, so then I had to do it again. Oops?

Book on a shelf: Half A Crown by Jo Walton

5. Do you have a book with a title that starts and ends with the same letter?

So, it turns out that the answer is ‘yes, but not very many’ and that there’s a really small set of letters that are likely to fit the bill (T and S, mostly, which makes sense when you think about it). I’m diving back into the late 90s with Nymphomation, the prequel to Jeff Noon’s psychedelic classic Vurt, all love and sex and lotteries and advertising in a world growing more divided. Oh, hmm. Yes, I’m going to have to reread this, aren’t I?

Book on a table: first edition hardback of Nymphomation by Jeff Noon

6. Do you have a Mass Market Paperback book?

…this seemed like such a weird prompt that I started wondering how many booktubers / book bloggers exclusively own hardback ARCs, but then I remembered there’s a distinction between paperback and Mass Market Paperback in the US. I used to buy a lot of US editions from the American Discount Bookstore growing up as I was paying a premium for English language imports (although I still generally prefer UK cover art), but here’s a classic I picked up on a recent trip to Portland (POWELL’S HOME OF MY HEART WHEN CAN I GO BACK).

Book on a table: Dreamships by Melissa Scott

7. Do you have a book written by an author using a pen name?

Sure, I thought, lots! But most of those are just authors using initials, which felt like a bit of a dodge – and the rest are on my Kindle, which I didn’t have to hand for the first half of this impromptu photo shoot. SantaThing came to the rescue!

Book: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North stood on its end on the floor

8. Do you have a book with a character’s name in the title?

It’s amazing how many prompts could have been answered with Ender’s Game, but Orson Scott Card can do one, so once again I ducked it and found a far, far better option. Over the last few years I’ve been slowly filling in gaps in my series or reading, often by tripping over amazing hardbacks in secondhand stores. Somehow, I had all the Earthsea books except Tehanu – so I got this gorgeous edition to complete my non-matching set (it already didn’t match, so it didn’t make me twitch).

Book on a table: Tehanu (hard cover) by Ursula le Guin

9. Do you have a book with 2 maps in it?

Well hooray for David Eddings (and his uncredited wife). The Belgariad is a glory of maps – a world map up front and a detail map as the intrepid heroes travel to specific countries – so this well-loved stack of books is enough maps to print an atlas (yes, those spines are creased. But not as creased as they should be given the number of times I reread these books in my teens).

Stack of books on a table: the Belgariad by David Eddings

10. Do you have a book that was turned into a TV show?

I have a book that was turned into a TV show before I was even born. Which is just as well, because otherwise I have a lot of books that are about to be TV shows but aren’t yet (although I guess I could have gone with The Elfstones of Shannara. Still, best not to rant). So here is one of my all-time faves that I somehow never talk about and definitely need to reread: The Weathermonger is set in a Britain that has abandoned technology as witchcraft but regained and embraced weather magic – and our weatherworkers have left a disgruntled France dealing with our rain. Yes, hilariously, our neighbours want to fix us because they’re sick of our weather; but the adventure is the thing.

Book: The Weathermonger by Peter Dickinson

11. Do you have a book written by someone who is originally famous for something else? (celebrity/athlete/politician/tv personality…)

…you know, I don’t think I do, even if I stray outside genre.

So HERE WE GO: I don’t have that book.

12. Do you have a book with a clock on the cover?

Does a pocket watch count? I think it counts. Especially given it’s such a gorgeous cover (I do like me some clockwork and a cut-out – yes, the watch face is inside the cover, not on it, so you can open the watch. Besides, BONUS OCTOPUS! I’m so easily pleased).

Book on a table: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

13. Do you have a poetry book?

I don’t really do poetry – while I studied it at school, I’ve never read it for pleasure – but I do have a few volumes laid away. And I do have some favourites that I return to from time to time: it’s hard not to love T S Eliot.

Book on a table: Old Possums Book of Practical Cats by T S Eliot

14. Do you have a book with an award stamp on it?

I’m not 100% clear on whether an award ‘stamp’ is more official than just a strap line saying HEY LOOK WHAT I WON, but I’m assuming not (I have nothing that looks like a graphical award stamp, but several paperbacks cheerfully announcing their awards glory). I talk about Ellen Kushner’s Riverside works regularly, but Thomas the Rhymer is my pick today.

Book on a table: Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner (Fantasy Masterworks edition)

15. Do you have a book written by an author with the same initials as you?

I do, but I’m not sharing it as I don’t use my meatspace name here on the blog.

16. Do you have a book of short stories?

I regularly buy exciting collections of short stories and then they sit on my shelf making me feel guilty as it takes me forever to actually read them. Cue Exhibits A and B. And C. D is just out of shot. E is on a shelf across the room. Fairly sure F and maybe G are on my Kindle…

Books on a table: Do Not Go Quietly from Apex, This Dreaming Isle from Unsung Stories, and Kingdom of Elfin by Sylvia Townsend Warner

17. Do you have a book that is between 500-510 pages long?

HOW SPECIFIC IS THIS PROMPT? It’s almost like it was designed to make us sit down and thumb through our books one by one. Yes, this one got out of hand, but it was a very pleasant morning… because I didn’t feel that acknowledgements and end papers should ‘count’, so Goodreads wasn’t as helpful as I expected.

Book on a table: Sheepfarmers Daughter by Elizabeth Moon

18. Do you have a book that was turned into a movie?

Ahem, there’s a really obvious answer involving hobbits, but as I’m working hard this week to avoid books that crop up regularly here at There’s Always Room For One More (have to live up to the name from time to time!) I’m straying into art-house instead. Michel Faber’s debut novel left me wide-eyed and screaming; so did the film, although not necessarily for the right reasons. Ye gods, that soundtrack hurt my ears.

Book on a table: Under the Skin by Michel Faber

19. Do you have a graphic novel?

I used to have a copy of The Hedge Knight, and it has disappeared. If I loaned it to you, please can you send it home? Graphic novels aren’t usually my thing – but I will always fly the flag for The Order of the Stick. Who knew that stick figures could have so many dimensions? I love that the back-story prequels are in black and white (and have punning names), and I really must try to lay hands on the latest books to find out how my favourite party are getting on…

The Order of the Stick - Start of Darkness, On the Origin of PCs and Dungeon Crawlin Fools

20. Do you have a book written by 2 or more authors?

I’m going all out here – why stop at 2? Back at the dawn of the 90s, three classic SFF authors came together to write an epic fantasy of triplet princesses trying to regain their throne. I don’t honestly remember it – modern reviews suggest it’s painfully formulaic – but it stands out on my shelf for being a story about three women written by three women.

Book on a table: Black Trillium by Julian May, Andre Norton and Marion Zimmer Bradley

…well that was considerably more work than I anticipated, and an awful lot of fun. So, do you have that book?