The Sunshine Blogger Award

It’s always lovely to be nominated for a blogger award! Huge thanks to the wonderful Bethany who blogs over at Portable Magic – I really enjoyed answering her questions and I hope you enjoy getting to know me a bit better!

How does it work?

· Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.

· Answer the 11 questions prompted by the person who nominated you.

· Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

· List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

1 – What is your favourite book from your childhood?

The first question and already it’s a hard one to answer!! There are a few that stand out in my mind for different reasons, but I think I’d have to go with Woof! by Allan Ahlberg. If you don’t know it, it’s about a boy who spontaneously turns into a dog at the most unfortunate moments and I read it to death – I still have my battered copy, which is just about holding up!

2. Paperback, hardback or e-book?

I do like a hardback every now and then, but 99% of the time I’ll go for the paperback. I’m fully aware that there will be outrage at my next comment, but I really like the creases in the spine that make the book look loved by the time I’ve finished!

3. Favourite publisher?

I think I’d have to go with Persephone; I love the stylish, minimalist cover design but more than that, I’m a massive fan of their mission to bring forgotten female voices to a modern readership.

4. In your opinion, what makes a good book review?

When I’m writing reviews, I tend to stick to books I’ve felt reasonably positive about – my blog is primarily about recommending and encouraging (hopefully) other people to try the books I’ve loved. Having said that, I do actually find negative reviews just as interesting to read – it’s just not something I find easy to write myself.

5. List your 3 favourite books. Now choose which you would burn if it was the only source of fuel on a desert island.

Now if I was feeling devious, I’d list two of my favourite books and then list a third that I haven’t enjoyed as my one to burn!! However, I’m going to play by the rules so here goes. It’s incredibly hard to pick just three all-time favourites but after much consideration they would be: The Secret History by Donna Tartt, A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. As for which one I’d burn for fuel, it has to be A Suitable Boy – at 1474 pages it would keep the fire going for at least 4 times as long as the other 2!!

6. When writing, do you think good writing is inherent within a person, or do you think it is something which can be practiced and improved?

I think writing can definitely be improved! I’m still in awe of some other bloggers whose writing talent beats mine hands down, and I’m pretty sure that’s something you’re born with to some extent, but I like to think it’s possible to get better for sure.

7. What is your go-to comfort read?

I almost never read a book twice, even ones I’ve really loved, so for this answer I’m going to have to go with a comfort series rather than a single book. Susanna Gregory’s Matthew Bartholomew historical crime mysteries are my perfect comfort read – escapist, easy to read and with characters that you get to know so well over the course of what amounts to over 20 books so far that they feel almost like your friends.

8. Which book cover would you re-design if you were given the chance, and what would it look like?

This is a really interesting question! I started thinking about books whose cover had put me off picking them up but which had turned out to be brilliant on the inside, and I’ve decided to go for Austerlitz by W G Sebald. I bought it (slightly grudgingly I fully admit) on a recommendation while not letting on that I’d avoided it for years because the cover looked so awful! It turned out to be one of the most powerful books I’ve read in recent years, so what kind of cover would reflect that? The things is, once you’ve read it the poignancy behind the cover photo makes perfect sense, but in order to draw uninitiated readers in, I’d go for something elegantly architectural, possibly a photograph or illustration of the railway stations that form a key element of the story.

9. Do you like to share your favourite books with the people around you or keep quiet and savour it?

No deliberation needed here: I’m a sharer without a doubt! I kind of have to be working in a bookshop, but even outside of work I’m always telling friends and family about my latest favourite reads. I DO NOT share my actual books though – ever since my beautiful (now out of print) edition of The Hobbit came back to me with half the cover ripped off (with no apology I might add) I’ve kept my precious books safely in my own bookcases….

10. Do you eat snacks whilst reading or do you have a strict no snacks policy around those precious pages?

I hadn’t ever considered this but on reflection I realised I don’t tend to mix eating and reading. Snacking for me is something that happens in front of the TV or movie and usually involves unrestrained access to a biscuit tin, but I think once I’m reading I’m usually so absorbed I can’t even think about food.

11. What book was has been your biggest disappointment in your life?

Sadly I think it has to be The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I adored her first two novels (The Secret History, as I mentioned earlier, has the honour of being classed as one of my all-time faves) and I’d waited YEARS for her third. Honestly, it wasn’t just ok, it was awful. Overlong, tedious and not a single character I cared about, it was the biggest bookish disappointment I’ve ever had. Took me a while to get over, I have to say.

Now here are my 11 questions for the people I tag…..

  1. To lend your books or not to lend – where do you stand?
  2. Which book or author ignited your love of reading?
  3. How do you organise your bookshelves?
  4. If you had to choose one book you think everyone should read, what would it be and why?
  5. Is there any genre of book that you absolutely refuse to read?
  6. Which book has turned out to be the biggest surprise compared to what you expected it to be?
  7. Do you think physical books will ever become obsolete in the digital era?
  8. What do you enjoy most about book blogging?
  9. What’s your favourite book cover of all time?
  10. If you were only allowed to read one more book EVER which one would it be?
  11. If you could choose one author to write a novel about your life who would you pick?

Thank you again to Bethany – I had a load of fun writing this! Pop over to my book twitter @GirlReading1 to see who I’ve tagged for the next round of Sunshine Blogger Awards xx