A Book Lover’s Tag


Diana Peach from Myths of the Mirror tagged all her followers (of which I am one!) in this exciting tag all about books! I don’t usually participate in tags (mostly because I am lazy and like to generate content the minute my fingers touch the keyboard with no prior thinking, planning or organising), but I could not pass this one up.

If you would like to take part, feel free to accept this tag!



1. Do you have a specific place for reading?

I would usually say my go-to place is my bed, now that I don’t live at my family home anymore, where I would have to hunt all over the house for a quiet spot to read. My bed is comfortable and allows for any reading position, be in lying down, upside down or sitting up. I usually take a book with me wherever I go, two if I can squeeze them into my handbag, just ‘in case’.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Both! During my childhood years I was a serial dog-earer but since becoming an adult recently I discovered that dog-earing was a treacherous habit and must be nipped in the bud immediately. So I use old receipts and train tickets… anything I can find in my handbag, really!

3. Do you eat or drink whilst reading?

I do, it’s antisocial I’m told, but I do. My whole family does, which is why some of our more loved books are a little sticky.

4. Music or TV whilst reading.

Neither, I can’t really focus with personal background noise, although I don’t mind it if I am in a public space – it’s psychological, somehow. If it isn’t my music it doesn’t bother me.

5. One book at a time or several?

Oh, several. I am very motivated by mood. I take two books with me when I go out, one serious, heavy one and one lighthearted or ‘much-read’ one in case I can’t mentally handle the more serious one. An example of this contrast would be Vanity Fair and What Katy Did – one is severely depressing while the other is more up-beat and hopeful.

6. Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I love to read at home, although I have enjoyed many a book on the bus or train during my countless long commutes. Nothing, however, beats reading at home by the soft, warm light of a bedside lamp, whilst being wrapped snugly in a comfortable blanket. Nothing.

7. Read out loud or silently?

Silently! Reading out loud would slow me down! Having said that, my husband who is dyslexic and despises reading, does read out loud, and I feel for the poor fellow because it does make for clunky reading. Sometimes I read for him, but it gets tiring for sure! It takes a great deal of patience to read aloud to someone. I also find that the act of reading aloud distracts me from the content that I am reading! I don’t take it in, and have to read it again to absorb it.

8. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

I have a terrible habit of being impatient whilst reading and reading ahead – I never skip pages, of course, that would be an absolute disgrace. Sometimes I spoil books on myself by reading the end. I always tell myself off about it but still carry on doing it, my curiosity is too strong. Sometimes I do it while telling myself that I won’t read far enough to actually ruin anything but it is a poor self-convincing tool, because what else can I expect from reading ahead!? It is a rude habit and must be stopped immediately – I need somebody to slap me on the wrist every time I do!

9. Break the spine or keep it like new.

Well, I like to keep my books as pristine as possible, lined up in my bookshelf in height order (I did this so well as a child, but now my husband does it for me because he thinks I am too messy – it is very surreal), so I like to keep the spine like new but when you read a book so many times, the spine is bound to break at some point. I am wonderful at mending and patching broken spines and ripped covers – I had to do it so much as a child, coming from a big family of book lovers and book-rippers. When I was smaller, I liked to think of myself as Mo from Inkheart, mending books and fixing spines.

10. Do you write in books?

Yes, sometimes. I don’t like to tarnish another work with my ‘lowly’ opinions, but I love reading comments other people leave in books! I always thought that it took a very confident, self assured and intellectual kind of personality to write in a book. My father, a collector of books, writes little notes in them. I revere my father; I think he is vastly intelligent and wonderfully talented; his work is on par with none I have ever seen before, and his meticulous skill is one which I can only dream of achieving, so maybe that is why I am loathe to think I have thoughts worthy enough to grace the pages of a printed book!

11. What books are you reading now? 

Currently I am reading The Handmaid’s Tale for the first time, a book which I discovered whilst listening to Jenni Murray’s ‘A History of Britain in 21 Women’. I don’t have much time for reading anymore, unfortunately, so it is taking me quite a while to get through it, usually on my lunch break. It has ensnared my curiosity, that’s for sure! I am also reading  Perfume Island by fellow blogger Curtis Bausse – I am halfway through it and thoroughly enjoying it. Curtis has a writing style which is reminiscent, to me, of that of William Golding – he has the marvellous ability to use few words to create crisp images and emotion even though the reader has never experienced these feelings themselves.

12. What is your childhood favourite book?

I really can’t choose, there were so many, and all dependant on my mood at the time! I will go by the most read book in my childhood.. or three books.. it was the Anne of Green Gables series, book 1 through to 3. I can still recite entire passages from Anne’s life, and her experiences and thoughts influenced much of my hopes, dreams, aspirations, language, preferences and thoughts even today. What sticks with me the most is her enchanting combination of the beauty in nature with a magical fairyland. She made it all so real – a tree wasn’t a tree but the home of a beautiful dryad, a lake wasn’t a lake but a bowl of glittering diamonds – and Paul Irving’s famous thought, ‘Do you know what I think about the new moon, teacher? I think it is a little golden boat full of dreams. And I think the violets are little snips of the sky that fell down when the angels cut out holes for the stars to shine through. And the buttercups are made out of old sunshine; and I think the sweet peas will be butterflies when they go to heaven.’

Living in the desert like I did, I was starving for this kind of beauty. How can words create images of lands so real, yet so intangible? It’s a stunning phenomenon.

13. What is your all-time favorite book?

I really, really cannot say. I love so many. So, so many. They are like my precious children, and to favour one over the other is to maim a heart or slight a soul. High up on the list are the Anne series, Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings, all books by the wonderful James Herriot, Alcott, the What Katy Dids, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre et cetera. Don’t well-loved books make you feel like you have been given a literary hug?


What’s your favourite book? And why do you love it?

Aphra Behn and Books Galore

Aphra Behn is proving to be very difficult to get into. I am running around tidying up and dusting this little attic room that is our home until the end of the month because there is a viewing here today, and listening to Mindy Kaling’s ‘Why Not Me?’ which I am thoroughly enjoying, by the way.

It is hilarious and interesting and I feel like Mindy is like an older sister giving me sensible advice for the current times, which is something Aphra Behn cannot do.

Can Aphra Behn tell me that confidence is the result of hard work? Can Aphra Behn tell me that it is ok to hate my fat? Can Aphra Behn give me some glamorous Hollywood ‘look-great’ secrets, and give me little snippets of her love life while she is at it?

Well I don’t know, since I have not read Aphra Behn yet.

The introduction tells me she has a very high opinion of her own writing, and it seems rather less dramatic and detailed than Shakespeare, which is a good thing, considering that although old Shakey (as Will from Goodnight Mister Tom whispered happily to himself –he certainly enjoyed Shakespeare) is still critically acclaimed more than four hundred years after his death, I find his sonnets and plays ‘tragically’ boring and cannot get into them at all.

Does this make me a literary fraud?

If it makes you feel any better, I love Coolidge and Montgomery (that’s Lucy Maud) and Alcott and all the Bronte’s and Austen and Dickens and Mitchell (that’s Margaret) and Stevenson and Shelley (Mary, not Percy) and even Hawthorne and Wilde and Elliot and my goodness Thackeray! And loads more, of course. I have a penchant for old novels, especially old romance novels, and their language does not faze me in the slightest. In fact it is the reason that I love them so! I detest the frank crudeness of modern day romance, the illicit sex scenes, the ridiculous Hollywood ‘glitches’ etc etc but I understand why people relish them.


To me Austen’s romance novels are perfect because they combine beautiful language, eloquent speeches and respectful romance. I want to be courted, I want to go for long walks with Mr Darcy, I don’t want some guy to come along and woo me with a ridiculous pick-up line reeking of sexual innuendo.

On one of our first dates, my husband put my hand through his arm on an icy wintry evening and we walked down the road towards my house. We lingered outside for the longest time, talking about everything, and then he looked at me and said, “I don’t want to stop talking to you just yet, let’s go around the block one more time”

We ended up walking for another hour, and I don’t remember what we talked about but I remember feeling gloriously full of giddy delight because of how gentlemanly he was.

He didn’t kiss me either. He smiled at me with his heart-dropping dimples and that was it. Then he sent me a text before I went to bed telling me he thought my smile was the most beautiful thing about my face.

It’s cheesy I know but this is what I love about romance. Mr Darcy professing his love for Elizabeth, and writing her a beautiful letter full of respect and gallantry. Mr Bhaer (YES, I WANTED LAURIE FOR JO TOO, BUT MR BHAER WON ME OVER BY HIS SHEER CHIVALRY AND GENTLEMANLINESS) wooing Jo, the way Ned Worthington could not focus on his work, aaand my personal favourite; Anne and Gilbert’s beautiful, blossoming, almost soap-opera like romance filled with wondrous magic, flowery language and Anne’s own fantastic mind. Aaaagh! I cannot say how many times I have read Anne and its sequels. Emily and her sequels. Pat and hers. Countless more! Lucy Maud Montgomery was the echoing voice of my childhood years. I based my dream home on Green Gables (still do), am constantly looking for a Violet Vale, and see every birch tree as a beautiful, slender lady to be hugged and loved. I felt like a little Anne, chattering non stop, getting excited about the little weed I found outside our rented flat in the dusty desert that is Dubai. Every summer when we returned to England and went to forests and walked through the countryside and went berry picking I imagined I was on Prince Edward Island and my goodness, was that a dryad peeking mischievously around a tree? Secretly, I dreamed of a bookish Gilbert Blythe who would whisk me away to Lover’s Lane and and and… I LOVE Lucy Maud Montgomery. She made me see the joy in the bleak desert, the light in the dark sky, the kindness in the world. Whenever I felt sad my mind would create happiness in the form of stories, I would create characters based on Anne and Katy and they would do lovely things and bake delicious cakes and live in the countryside.

They always lived in the countryside.

And now I do, and it really finally feels like all my dreams have come true except I am moving to the city again soon and trying to spend all my time outside in the fields and relishing the cold wind and lashing rain because out in the countryside, somehow, it is magical and glorious.

But Shakespeare… don’t get angry, but  when people tell me they love Shakespeare I am judgy because they sound a little pretentious to me.

Juuuust a little.

I KNOW. I am an awful human being.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can see why people would enjoy it. Hell, when I am working on it, deeply analysing each line, I love it! The words, the flow, the excellent combination of wit and skill in language, what’s not to love? And how it all translated onto the stage, how every detail matters, sitting, standing, facing this way or that… it’s incredible!

That being said, however, I just do not see myself sitting down after a long day of hard work and opening a Shakespeare play. Anne of Green Gables, yes, but not Shakespeare.

Well, I guess it is time to stop procrastinating about Behn and actually get into Behn. Who knows, I might just love her the same way I love Lucy Maud Montgomery and her flowery Anne.