Sunshine Blogger Award

Aww! Thanks a million to the lovely Jo of the lovely Jo’s Book Blog for my Sunshine Blogger Award nomination http://josbookblog.co.uk/2016/02/02/sunshine-blogger-award/ . Jo’s blog has been responsible for more than one addition to my TBR, so head over there with care…(No, but seriously, you should head over there, though.)

Here’s how the award works:

  • Thank the person that nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions they set for you
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers (and let them know they were nominated!)
  • Set 11 questions for them to answer

Here are my responses to Jo’s 11 questions:

    1. What is your favourite book? – Just one? Impossible! Gah…..OK. I change my mind on this a lot, but in the end, I always go back to Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. I first read it at 18, and it really opened my eyes to the possibilities of language. It also fed my life-long obsession with interest in India, which is a bonus!
    2. Do you judge a book by its cover? – Guilty… honestly, I do this more than I should. Although not as much as I judge a book by its title. I have a real prejudice against rubbish titles – by which I mean, fragments of sentences, nonsense phrases, anything with an exclamation mark…although to be honest I’m sitting here thinking up exceptions to all of those rules, so I’m actually going to plead maddening inconsistency on this one.
    3. If you’re not enjoying a book, do you stick with it or move onto something new? – If something hasn’t grabbed me by page 50, I’ll normally put it down and move on to something else. I am such a mood reader, though, a lot of the time I’ll come back to it later and like it. I’m not bad at picking the right books for my mood (years of practice), or at being honest with myself when I’m not in the mood for reading, so DNFs are rarer these days than they used to be.
    4. How big is your TBR pile?  (Be honest!) – Oh, gosh, hundreds. Finally taking to my Kindle (on my third attempt to try to get along with it) hasn’t helped, as now the usual three dimensions aren’t even a limiting factor. If I had to guess, I’d say…500 or so books? Of which maybe 350 are ‘real’, 150 virtual. I’m planning to move house later in the year, so something drastic and traumatic is going to have to happen sometime soon.
    5. What’s the next book you’re planning to read? – Depending on which I’m in the mood for post-Rebecca, either Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes, or The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore.
    6. Physical, e-books or a combination of the two? – Combination. Towards the end of last year, I was travelling a lot, and so for the first time I switched to reading more Kindle than physical books. It’s a bit of a vicious circle as now my most recent TBR is almost entirely on my Kindle, but I do still get a bit anxious if I don’t have a physical book with me (what if my Kindle, iPad and phone all break and I am left with nothing to read? This is a real concern.)
    7. 2016 publication that you’re most looking forward to – There were some great books published at the end of January, but the next release I’m looking forward to is The Sunlight Pilgrims, by Jenni Fagan. I’ve never read anything of hers before, but here is the blurb: “Set in a Scottish caravan park during a freak winter – it is snowing in Jerusalem, the Thames is overflowing, and an iceberg separated from the Fjords in Norway is expected to arrive off the coast of Scotland – The Sunlight Pilgrims tells the story of a small Scottish community living through what people have begun to think is the end of times. Bodies are found frozen in the street with their eyes open, midst economic collapse, schooling and health care are run primarily on a voluntary basis. Dylan, a refugee from panic-stricken London who is grieving for his mother and his grandmother, arrives in the caravan park in the middle of the night – to begin his life anew. Under the lights of the aurora borealis, he is drawn to his neighbour Constance, a woman who is known for having two lovers, her eleven-year old daughter Stella, who is struggling to navigate changes in her own life, and elderly Barnacle, so crippled that he walks facing the earth. But as the temperature drops, daily life carries on: people get out of bed, they make a cup of tea, they fall in love, they complicate.” Sounds like just my thing.
    8. Most disappointing book by a favourite author – I’m not sure whether he counts as a favourite author any more (yes, it was that disappointing), but I really didn’t get along with The Children Act by Ian McEwen. I found the main characters to be upper-middle-class in the worst way; insufferably smug and incapable of personal growth.
    9. What do you like to do when you’re not reading? – Travel is the other big drain on my resources. I’m a great fan of anywhere with history or beauty, so long weekends in Europe and fortnights in the American West have been the order of the day in recent years. New Zealand, central America and Iran are also firmly on the bucket list, as are return visits to India, China and Sri Lanka. I’m also a bit of a wine buff (which sounds so much better than just ‘drinker’) and love the theatre – in the past couple of months I’ve seen Guys and Dolls, which is one of my favourite musicals, as well as being lucky enough to score a ticket to Sir Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench in A Winter’s Tale. Pursuing any of these hobbies with any of my favourite people are guaranteed to make me smile.
    10. Favourite film / TV adaptation of a novel – Is it too early to call it for Andrew Davies’ adaptation of War and Peace? (For more details on my fangirl obsession, see pretty much any other post on this blog over the past month or so…) Honourable mentions to the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice (not original, but still the best), and Bridget Jones’s Diary – one of the only films I know that actually improves on the book, in my opinion.
    11. Which comes first – see the film or read the book – 99 times out of 100, read the book. Occasionally I’ll make a decision not to read the book, and then I’ll just watch the film (last time that happened was Gone Girl, I think). But I have issues with reading a book when someone else’s ideas of the characters are already in my head.

Fab questions – some of the opinions above I didn’t even realise I had!

My nominee list was tough to whittle down (and I’m sure some of you have been nominated already, so sorry if I’m double-tagging you!), but I nominate:

  • thepocobookreader
  • bitsnbooks
  • Marcel’s Book Reviews
  • Melissa (Melissa M Lindsay)
  • Word by Word
  • African Book Addict!
  • Ryan’s Book Reviews
  • Sarah Says Read
  • heavenali
  • A Little Blog of Books
  • The Air of Ideas

And my questions are:

  1. Who’s your favourite author? (A Top 3 is acceptable, if it’s too hard to choose!)
  2. What was your best read of 2015?
  3. Any reading goals for 2016? If so, what and why?
  4. Which book do you remember best from your childhood, and why?
  5. What’s your favourite literary genre?
  6. …And your least favourite?
  7. Where do you get most of your book recommendations from?
  8. And which book do you recommend most often (or most strongly!) to other people?
  9. What is your current read, and what made you choose it?
  10. What’s your favourite fictional location?
  11. What’s your favourite thing about book blogging?
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