What book are you reading at the moment?

  | James Innes

What book are you reading at the moment?

Alternative and related questions:

What was the last film you saw?
What's your favourite book?

The meaning behind the question:

This is obviously quite a personal question and the interviewer will be aiming to learn a number of different things from the question.  For a start, they'll be interested to see if you do in fact read.  More than that, they'll be interested in seeing what you read and what you have to say about it.  It's not quite a psychological question but it's not far from it.  What you read will inevitably tell them a bit about your personality.

Your answer:

It's generally important to be seen to be a reader.  You may love reading.  You may hate it!  Either way, you need to have an example ready – and not just a made up one!  You will actually need to read a book in order to be able to effectively answer this question.

Beyond that, there is no 'right' answer to this question.  You obviously need to choose your example reasonably carefully.  If you're applying to work for a French company then telling them you're currently reading '1000 Years of Annoying the French' by Stephen Clarke is probably going to come across badly!  Likewise, it's hard to see any circumstances in which they'll be impressed by your reading Barbara Cartland...  But that doesn't mean you have to tell them you're currently ploughing through Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' nor that you spend your bedtimes engaged with the latest cutting-edge management tomes.  I'm just asking that you choose carefully.

Don't, of course, just tell the interviewer the title of the book.  Go on to tell them a bit about it – at the very least just to prove that you're not making it up!  In any case, if you don't tell them a bit about it then they'll be sure to ask.  You should also be prepared for the possibility that they may have read the same book themselves, in which case you can definitely expect a longer chat about it.


I'm currently reading 'Disturbing the Peace' by Richard Yates.  I saw the film 'Revolutionary Road' and went on to read the book and I enjoyed it so much that I'm now moving on to work my way through Richard Yates's other titles.  'Disturbing the Peace' is not one of his best-known works but I find its semi-autobiographical nature particularly fascinating.  You can tell that he has first-hand knowledge of what he's writing about.  It's not exactly a happy book, by any means.  But it's very compelling and gives a lot of insight into Richard Yates and the troubled life he led.

Word of warning:

The interviewer may specifically ask for either a fiction or a non-fiction book so it's best to have examples ready for both cases.

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