Bookish Prompts is my version of a fun interview with fellow book obsessed people on the internet. Today’s episode of Bookish Prompts is with fellow booktuber/bookstagrammer Ben better known as Overly Average Ben on his bookish platforms. I came across Ben recently on his and Grace’s Discord A Court Of Ben And Grace. They were very welcoming and amazing. Ben’s channel has a wide variety of great content. There are reviews, reading booktuber favorites(an awesome playlist available), and skits that are super entertaining and funny. Ben reads Fantasy and Lit-fic. Make sure to follow and check out his bookish content.
Here is my Q & A with him. Hope you enjoy!!
Let’s get into the questions –
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your bookish habits.
Hello everyone, I’m Ben from OverlyAverageBen on Youtube where I ramble nonsensically about fantasy, literary fiction and whatever I have to read for my university course at the time.
2. What’s your reading ritual like?
I’m not one for rituals per say, I’ll read whenever and wherever I can. The biggest ritual or rule I try to live by is reading 50 pages a day. That way, no matter what, I feel like I’ve achieved something and am progressing.
3. How has your reading journey been like?
My reading journey is a strange one, but also one I think a lot of others share. When I was a child, my father read to me before sleep, anything from Roald Dahl to Dr Seuss to Enid Blyton. Then as I got older, my brother started handing down books and the key series that was given to me was ‘The Mistborn Trilogy‘ by Brandon Sanderson. I was enraptured by the worldbuilding, the transparent prose that felt more familiar to me at that age, the characters and the MAGIC! Allomancy converted me whole-heartedly to the world of fantasy. Following that, with the success of the TV adaption, I began reading ‘A Song of Ice and Fire‘ and I fell headfirst into the grimdark land of Westeros. I remember being called for my dinner as I was reaching the climax of the Red Wedding and having to tell my mum I couldn’t put the book down! Then I stopped reading. After a couple of bad years experience at school studying English, I just stopped reading and writing cold turkey until Covid came around along with ‘Stormlight Archive‘ and I haven’t stopped since.
4. Your ideal reading place?
In bed. Enough said. There’s no better place.
5. What does your dream personal library look like?
My own personal dream library is a mess. I like my books to be organised and orderly but to aesthetically look messy. Like a good 2nd hand book store! But, I’m very aware that that is not my partner’s dream library so instead, I will have a pristine library which will feel just as wonderful.
6. 5 books you wish you could read for the first time again?
Usually I’m not one for wishing to read something again for the first time because I love deep-diving on re-reads. Nevertheless, there are some that I can think of! ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle‘ by Haruki Murakami came early in my reading journey and took my breath away. Now with more experience, I wish I could read it again for the first time. ‘Game of Thrones‘ by George R.R. Martin without a doubt because I remember some parts of my original read but have forgotten the nitty-gritty details. ‘The First Law Trilogy‘ by Joe Abercrombie would be the same. ‘Ayoade on Top‘ by Richard Ayoade and ‘The Way of Kings‘ by Brandon Sanderson.
7. Books you would love to say no to?
Now I’m not sure whether the answers should be books that I have read that I wish I hadn’t or books I haven’t read and have no interest in, so I’m going to do a couple of both. ‘Peter and Wendy‘ by J.M. Barrie is a book I did not enjoy at all! I also did not enjoy ‘Heart of Darkness‘ by Joseph Conrad. Then for a book I haven’t read that I automatically say no to is ‘The Name of the Wind‘ by Patrick Rothfuss; at least, not until the third book comes out!
8. Books that changed your mindset or life drastically.
‘Assassin’s Apprentice‘ was the book that I first buddy read with my partner and Hobb has been a constant throughout our relationship now so that is a definite. A reused answer with ‘The Final Empire‘ by Brandon Sanderson. ‘The English Patient‘ by Michael Ondaatje and the conversations surrounding that book at university gave me a lot of confidence in my perspective and ability to discuss literature.
9. Bookish worlds you would love to live in?
Oof, they’re all a little scary or dangerous a lot of the time so, I’ll go with ‘Discworld‘ by Terry Pratchett because Ankh Morpork is basically just a cheaper London so I can deal with the people there. ‘Middle-Earth‘ in peace-time would be pretty wonderful as well!
10. If you could start a new reading or bookish tradition, what would it be?
To read a wide range of ethnicities. This year I have tried to expand my reading and include more translated fictions from different areas but it is something I have to keep working at!
11. You are preparing a book bouquet for your family member, partner and friend. Which books would you add to each bouquet and why?
Well this is wonderful because I constantly recommend them all books that they don’t read. For my family member, I have been recommending my brother ‘The Greenbone Saga‘ by Fonda Lee to no avail. For my partner, it has to be ‘The Tawny Man Trilogy‘ by Robin Hobb as that is next on our reading list. For my friend, I have recommended my housemate so many books but I would recommend them ‘All Systems Red‘ by Martha Wells because they’re also an anxious mess.
12. If you had the chance to go on a boys night out with a few characters who would you choose and what would your itinerary be?
If there’s less of a ‘lad’s lad’ lad out there, I’d love to meet them so my boys night out is going to be much like I have in real life. I’m going out with the classic hobbit quartet and drinking to my heart’s content.
13. A standalone, series, and author you can’t stop recommending.
I adore Ted Chiang‘s writing so my standalone would be the short story collection ‘Exhalation‘. My series would be the ‘Realm of the Elderlings‘ by Robin Hobb but more specifically ‘The Liveship Trader’s Trilogy‘. Author? uhh, Jane Austen or Toni Morrison, everything I’ve read by them has been brilliant.
14. Favorite characters you would want in your inner circle and why?
Vimes from Discworld because I know we’re both going to be growing together and becoming better people. Gandalf for obvious reasons and Mina Harker from ‘Dracula‘ because she’s a caring badass!
15. If you could live as a bookish character for a day, who would it be and why?
Tom Bombadil. He just sings, walks, drinks, laughs and ignores the ever-declining state of affairs that surrounds his existence. Could there be a better life?
16. Genre you cannot live without.
17. Bookish pet peeves.
Changing a cover design part way through a series! Or ruining said lovely artwork with a permanent sticker!
18. Tropes you would kill to read and tropes you would avoid at any cost.
Prologue that sets up a countdown or shows the end of the book. Please stop! The other without a doubt is someone who is hundreds of years old but looks 17 so they can have a relationship with a 17 year old. Um, no thank you! I demand you stop this one!
19. Quotes that live rent free in your head.
Ash fell from the sky.– The Final Empire
Szeth-son-son-Vallano, Truthless of Shinovar, wore white on the day he was to kill a king.– The Way of Kings
Once you’ve got a task to do, it’s better to do it than live with the fear of it.– The Blade Itself
See a pin and pick it up, and, all day long, you’ll have a pin.– Going Postal
Soldiers are issued armour for their flesh and bones, but they must fashion their own for their souls. Piece by piece.– Memories of Ice
20. Most shocking book and an unforgettable book that you have read.
Any play by Sarah Kane was certainly wild and shocking. The most unforgettable would probably be ‘Words of Radiance‘ by Brandon Sanderson.
21. Favorite and unforgettable bookish memory.
During the first Covid lockdown, I was sat in my room working from home and I had just decided to pick up a book for the first time in years. There is one particular scene and one particular line (I didn’t include it earlier due to spoilers) that made me burst into tears at how masterfully the story was constructed and the pay off to such a long set up.
22. Any strange bookish habits?
I don’t know. I probably do a bunch of stuff that I don’t even realise is strange to others.
23. It’s book confession time…
I don’t actually read any of the books I say I have, I just cliff notes them… only joking!… or am I?
24. Your ‘The Book Bucket List’.
Too much. Everything. I can’t wait to get some more Fitzcarraldo books under my belt!
25. Recommend 5 books that you could never get tired of recommending.
Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
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