This is a fun new blog tag created by the one and only Book Forager, and you can see the original post on her blog – also give her a follow, you will never be disappointed! She is one of my favourite bloggers, and is lovely to talk books with…
So, without further ado, here are the questions that will hopefully shed some light on me as the person behind the blog (or rather, one of the people – hi Gemma!)
What’s that in your bag? (Also, what kind of bag do you carry? No bag? What’ve you got in your pockets?)
My bag is mainly used for work, and it’s usual components include my water bottle (black stainless steel), lip balm in a container shaped like a macaroon, home keys and work keys, my bus ticket, my wallet made of cork (great Christmas gift from the husband), lunch if I am extra prepared, and always a book and/or my iPad that has my ebooks on it, depending what I’m reading. Those are the main things but there are always smaller objects floating around in there; probably a pen, some coins, a chocolate wrapper, my inhaler, some painkillers…
Sometimes, if I only need a few things, like if I’m just going to get a coffee or a few essentials at the corner shop, I’ll use a tote bag, but otherwise my little cosmic backpacks serves me very well. I do sometimes wish I had something that let me compartmentalise a bit more because things to get a bit lost sometimes.
A fun fact about this bag is that it has endured a lot of what I call ‘soupcidents’ and after the fourth one I finally stopped trying to transport soup to work.
(Also do you keep a notebook, and if yes, can I see it? What do you keep in it?)
Indeed I do! I don’t actually write in it, though. I have a little notebook (the one with the elephants in the photo) in which I keep important phone numbers in case my phone ever dies and I’m in a tough spot. Usefully, the only numbers I know off by heart are my own and the shopping centre I work in, so I’d at least get through to security! I do have notebooks lying around everywhere at home, though, so I should most definitely start carrying one around, but if I’m ever struck by inspiration for something I tend to use the notes on my phone (ah, the modern age…).
What’s the one book you recommend remorselessly to anyone who’ll listen?
This is a tough question, and I don’t think I have an answer… the closest I’d say it probably The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, because I’ll shove it at anyone who likes fantasy, and will pounce on anyone who even glances at it on the shelf when I’m at work. Another current one would probably be Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club because I think anyone can enjoy it, whether they regularly read crime books or not. Other than that I do love a good catered recommendation, so let me know what you’re into and I’ll try and find a book for you, as the good bookseller that I am!
Tell me a funny story about yourself (extra marks if it involves books)
*queue my mind going blank*
Okay, I’m afraid I can’t think of much so I’ll just share a relative amusing story from when I was very young: When I was very small people thought I could read before I actually learnt to because I would memorise all the words and when to turn the page.
Oh wait, I did think of one that makes me laugh: just over two years ago I picked up Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky in the library, because I had to wait around for something and it looked interesting. However, I was not big into sci-fi at all, and the only reason I first started reading the book was because I was convinced I had read a book by the author before. But I scoured the internet for ages and couldn’t find the Tchaikovsky book I had supposedly read, until a few months ago when I moved house and unpacked some of my older stored books and found the one I was thinking of: The Infinity Concerto by Greg Bear. Who knows where I associated Greg Bear with Adrian Tchaikovsky, but it introduced me to one of my current favourite authors and got me into sci-fi so all’s well that ends well!
Do you have any favourite words?
I love all words equally, as my children. Just kidding, of course I have favourites! Sometimes during my spare time I go through the dictionary and I write down the ones I really like. I haven’t done it in a long time so I think I’m still on the letter ‘C’ but it’s good fun. Some words I love that I can think of off the top of my head:
Ethereal, aesthetic, phosphorescent, linger, melancholy (samesies Mayri), alchemist, castle, abyss, blooming, Fae, mysterious.
There are so many! I also speak a second language, Italian, and that has so many beautiful words too! I won’t list any but just so you know: you haven’t experienced true poetry until you hear Italian poetry out loud.
Tell me about a favourite book from your childhood
A little conventionally, I grew up reading both The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia over and over again as a child. I particularly remember one day, and it must have either been a Saturday or the school holidays, because I was home, when I decided to try and read the entirety of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in one sitting, since I’d read it before. I almost succeeded, which is quite good for being about 8. Other than those, I loved the Geronimo Stilton series – I think you can find it in the UK and elsewhere but to my knowledge it is an originally Italian thing. But they were stories about a mouse called Geronimo Stilton who was a reporter and always found himself caught up in some mystery or other. I was obsessed!
Do you like the smell of books?
I do! Especially second hand books that you can tell have lived a life of their own! But today at work I opened up a stack of books still wrapped in paper and that new smell was quite special too! I don’t think I’m as obsessed with the smell as some fellow readers (or rather, I don’t notice it as much as others seem to), but I do enjoy it!
What’s the weirdest book you’ve ever read? (And would you recommend it?)
Hmm… the first thing that comes to mind is Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, and I would definitely recommend that! It’s weird in a wonderful way, and it’s virtually impossible to find a way to describe it without either giving nothing away or giving everything away.
Sooo … how do you feel about dragons?
I am dragon-mad! If something says it has dragons in it, then I will watch/read/consume it. I remember finding out about the band Imagine Dragons and then being disappointed that there’s nothing really in their music that reflects such a cool name… But yes, I’ve always loved them, and I do claim that I’ve seen one. I know it’s the silly imaginings of a young child, but my family used to go to this island off the coast of Tuscany in the summer (it’s called Elba, famously where Napoleon was exiled the first time, unsuccessfully, as it turns out) and the house we stayed in was on a street with no lamps, so if I lay out in the garden at night I could see so many stars. And one night, doing just that, the stars were blotted out for a few seconds by quite a big shape flying over, and it looked fairly high up. It was probably a big bird or a bat, but that was the moment I truly fell in love with dragons.
I’m also writing a story about dragons, and maybe one day people will get to read it.
What are you looking forward to right now?
Mainly my upcoming trip to Scotland. I was hoping to go back to Italy this year to see family and let my husband see where I grew up, but sadly with pandemic stuff it’s still not great and for him to get a visa is a little more complex than we anticipated, so we thought we’d stay a bit more local. We’ve been once before, and loved it, so I’m sure it’ll be just what I need!
In book terms, I’m hugely anticipating the release of RJ Barker’s The Bone Ship’s Wake which comes out at the end of the month, and every time I see a post about it I vibrate slightly.
That is all from me! I won’t tag anyone specific, but if you see this and want to do it, definitely go for it, and share your post with me! And, obviously, link back to the lovely creator of the tag, Book Forager.