The Liebster Award

liebster-award-1

The Creative Counsellor very kindly nominated me for this award. It’s the first time I’ve been nominated and I’m chuffed to bits. Thanks!

Here are the rules:

  • Each nominee must have under 200 followers
  • Thank and link to the nominated blog
  • Answer their 10 questions and propose 10 new ones for your nominees
  • Nominate 10 blogs and tell them that they have been nominated
  • Write a post containing the questions
  • Include these rules in the post

And these are my answers to the questions posed:

1. What made you want to start blogging?

It was a spontaneous decision. I’d been reading Daniel Deronda and was desperate to discuss it with someone but sadly not one of my friends, relatives or colleagues seemed to have read it! I turned to Goodreads which, in turn, led me to some great book blogs. I realised that blogging might be a fun way of connecting with other readers with the same interests.

2. What was your favourite book as a child?

I’ve talked before about some of my favourite childhood books. I’m not sure I could whittle it down to just one but I think Cruel Kings And Mean Queens deserves a special mention. I work in the heritage sector and am surrounded by history (and books!) every day. I like to think that if it hadn’t been for Terry Deary’s book then I’d never have looked for other books about history and I’d never have been set on this path! So yeah… thanks Terry.

3. If you could recommend only one book for me to read, what would it be?

As a lifelong Dickens fan I recommend Dickens to everyone. I know he’s not always everyone’s cup of tea but when he’s at his best he’s brilliant. I love Great Expectations and it’s fairly short so I think it’s a good one to start with. But if you want something you can really sink your teeth into then you can’t beat a bit of Bleak House!

4. What and where is your favourite book store and why?

I buy many of my books from the Oxfam second hand bookshop just round the corner from where I work. It’s teeny tiny but always busy and the stock is usually pretty good. I often pop in on my lunch break and I can usually find something I fancy. The staff also play a pretty eclectic mix of music (loudly) which I always enjoy: today it was the ‘War of the Worlds’ soundtrack, on Friday it was Jacques Brel. I’m sure I once heard them play something that sounded a lot like Mongolian throat singing.

5. What hobbies do you have other than reading?

Very few, I am really quite a boring sort of a person. I like museums, walking, baking (although I’m not good at it), old churches (although I’m not religious), Scrabble, Ikea, seeing my family, Dr Who, birds, curry, sewing, Miss Marple, wine, Shakespeare, complaining about the weather, QI, cups of tea, chocolate, Christmas, Billie Holliday, castles, old black and white films, pizza, holidays…. oh loads of things. I’m not sure if any of these really count as hobbies though.

I should point out that this is not a list of my favourite things in order. If that were the case I would obviously not place ‘seeing my family’ in between ‘Ikea’ and ‘Dr Who’!

6. If you could have one magical/mythical animal as a pet, what would it be?

Good question. I’m quite attached to our local legend of Black Shuck but I’m not sure he would make a good pet (although probably an excellent guard dog) and I don’t know that he’s been seen in these parts recently.

7. How do you decide if you want to read a book or not?

There are certain genres that I tend to avoid – mainly romance and horror – but anything else is fair game. If I’m really stuck for something to read I’ll turn to a classic.

8. You inherited a bookstore (Congratulations!) but you have to change the name. What do you call it?

When I was reading Cold Comfort Farm a few weeks ago I came across a character called Agony Beetle and I immediately wished I’d used that name for this blog. ‘The Agony Beetle’ has a good ring to it; it’d be a great name for a bookshop too.

9. What was your least favourite book to read in school and why?

That’s easy. As You Like It. It was my set Shakespeare text for A’ Level English and I hated every last second of it. I mean, really, what is the point of it all? It’s just silly. After this I seemed to forget that there were Shakespeare plays I’d studied and enjoyed and I became absolutely convinced that they were all like this. It wasn’t until four years later that I actually watched a live performance of a Shakespeare play (The Tempest at the Globe, in case you were wondering) and realised what a genius the man was.

Incidentally, I saw an open air performance of As You Like It last summer and it was no better than I remembered which, in a weird way, made me feel vindicated!

10. If you could visit Hogwarts (the fictional version) or Narnia, but not both, which would you choose and why?

Oh, this is hard! As much as I like the Narnia idea it’d have to be Hogwarts. I’m not ashamed of being 32 years old and still liking a bit of Potter and there’s something about all those secret passages, invisible doors, moving staircases and dungeons that appeal to my inner child!

And here are my ten questions for the nominees:

  1. What do you think are the best and worst things about blogging?
  2. On an average day where and when do you read?
  3. Do you ever borrow books from a library or do you prefer bookshops?
  4. Which fictional place would you most like to visit?
  5. Are there any real literary locations you’d like to visit? (The birthplace of your favourite author or the setting of a particular novel, for example). 
  6. You’re going on a long, long journey but you only have room for the collective works of one author in your bag (don’t ask me why!). Who will it be?
  7. How do you treat your books? For example, do you flex the spine? Do you fold the corners down to mark your page? (This will settle a years old argument between my friend and I. She’s much kinder to her books than I am).
  8. What are your favourite literary TV/film adaptations?
  9. Do you prefer to read the book or watch the adaptation first?
  10. Of all the books you own, which has your favourite cover?

And I nominate these bloggers:

Good luck!

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