BEDM Day 18: A-Z of Books

My friend Rachel did the A-Z of books tag a few days ago and I couldn’t resist doing a post of my own.

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From

I’m standing in front of my bookshelves. They are full, in some places,two books deep, but I know already which author’s name pops up more often than any other: Jasper Fforde. I have every single one of his books, and I have read most of them twice.

I’ve always been a language geek, and alternative universes are my weakness. My fondness for a well-crafted pun is well documented. His Thursday Next series were so intelligent, combining literary allusions with adventure and fun. They reminded me of a more grown up version of Piers Anthony’s pun-heavy Xanth series which I loved as a kid.


Best Sequel Ever

Sandra Gulland’s Josephine novels are hands-down my favourite trilogy. I do most of my binge-reading on long distance flights, and “The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B” was one I bought in the airport in Toronto. When I got off the plane in Edinburgh, I made my taxi stop via Waterstones so I could buy “Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe”, and “The Last Great Dance on Earth”.

I’ve always been intrigued by the often overlooked women in history, the ones most people just think of as a wife or a daughter. When I was a kid I wanted to read about the Romanov Grand Duchesses, Rasputin’s daughter Maria, Kassandra of Troy (I blame Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Firebrand” for that one), and the Empress Josephine. Their stories were the ones that interested me. Sandra Gulland is just brilliant, and her Josephine series is one of the best historical novels I’ve ever read.


Currently Reading

I just started “The Hormone Factory” by Saskia Goldschmidt and I have also been rereading Brigid Pasulka’s “A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True”, which is on my long, long list of favourite books that I go back to every now an again.
Drink of Choice While Reading

Tea. Tea is always my drink of choice.


E-Reader or Physical Book

There’s something about a physical book that you just can’t recreate – I don’t care how many books I could fit on an eReader, I just love the feeling of turning pages and the feeling of paper. My parents bought me a Kindle years go and I don’t think I have ever used it.

Then I lost the charger. And the Kindle. So that went well…


Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School

The one that comes to mind is Jonathan from “Children of the River” by Linda Crew. Or Gilbert Blythe from LM Montgomery’s “Anne” books. I had a HUGE crush on him.
Glad You Gave this Book a Chance

Harry Potter. I refused to read the series for years after “The Philosopher’s Stone” came out, but a wee girl I was babysitting kept talking about the series so much I thought I’d give it a try. I didn’t think I’d like them. I thought they were for kids. If I had to choose between Harry Potter or His Dark Materials (for YA and magic), Philip Pullman would win every time. But HP really sucked me in.


Hidden Gem Book

Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time”. My parents bought this for me on our first trip to London when I was little, and it is still one of the best YA fantasy novels I’ve ever read. Seriously, buy this for your kids. Read it yourself. It’s awesome!

I also love LM Montgomery and everything she has ever written, but some of my favourites (other than “Anne of Green Gables” of course) were her “Story Girl” series, which the show “Road to Avonlea” was based on. Loosely.


Important Moment in Your Reading Life

When I was 3 years old my mum used to try to read to me. Now my mum is awesome at many things, but she struggles with English. I remember we had a full set of Penguin illustrated books for kids, and how I used to love the story of the Gigantic Turnip. You know the one where the whole family helps to pull this huge turnip out of the ground. It was the first book I ever taught myself to read to my mum.


Just Finished

Embarassingly, I’ve had almost no time to read this year. The last two memorable books I finished were “The Hourglass Factory” by Lucy Ribchester and “Bride of New France” by Suzanne Desrochers. I was reading them simultaneously as I am a greedy reader and usually, one book isn;t enough for me. Both with female protagonists and non-traditional life choices for their time.


Kind of Books You Won’t Read

Mills & Boon style cheesy romance. I hate it. They make me cringe – from the damsel in distress to the ubiquitous heaving bosoms. Just nope.


Longest Book You’ve Read

I find it hard to remember whether a book is long or not, but I seem to remember Edward Rutherford’s “New York” was a pretty chunky number. I’ve read quite a few of his novels, but that one I particularly enjoyed. So many stories. So many generations. I think it took a week to finish.
Major Book Hangover

I read Amy Tan’s “The Kitchen God’s Wife” and cried so hard. Then I phoned my mum to tell her I love her. I bought and read “Joy Luck Club” the next day. My mum was starting to wonder why the hell I was phoning her so much.


Number of Bookcases You Own

There are 2 big bookcases in my sitting room, and another smaller one that opens up to lead to the “secret cupboard” in the hallway. Then there are the boxes and box of books stored in my attic. Also the five full sized bookshelves at my mum and dad’s in Toronto. I have a helluva lot of books.

One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times

“Girl” by Blake Nelson and “The Confessions of Max Tivoli” by Andrew Sean Greer. I have read both of these so many times it’s pointless to count.

“Girl” got me through high school. I was pretty much Andrea Marr. I wore weird clothes and listened to bands no one in school had heard of. That book reads like the diary of a teenaged girl and I could identify with every thought. “Max Tivoli” is the fantastical story of a man who ages backwards. I still resent that people assume I am talking about Benjamin Button (either the book or the film) when I mention it. Totally different stories. Don’t say that shit to me.
Preferred Place to Read

On a plane. In the bath. In cafes.


Quote that Inspires You/Gives You all the Feels from a Book You’ve Read

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then” An oldie but a classic, from Alice in Wonderland.


Reading Regret

A friend convinced me to read “The DaVinci Code”. That’s a couple days of my life I am not getting back. It was fucking atrocious. I hate Dan Brown.
Series You Started and Need to Finish

Not technically a series, but I really need to read the rest of Gregory Maguire’s alternative fairytales.


Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books

“Skin” (short stories) by Roald Dahl, “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman, and Xinran’s “The Good Women of China”.


Unapologetic Fangirl For

Roald Dahl, both his works for kids and for adults. We read “Boy” in English class at school and it’s still one of my favourite autobiographies. His short stories are DARK.

I am a HUGE fan of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” and also Lemony Snickett’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. They fuelled my love for YA fiction and I have given copies to so many friends because they are a serious must-read. Oh and how could I forget, “Anne of Green Gables”!


Very Excited for this Release more than All Others

I rarely read books when they come out, I’m usually the last on the bandwagon with most things. I am also an incredibly impatient person, so I just hate waiting for the next instalment of a series. I was pretty chuffed when I found out that Sandra Gulland’s “The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B” was the first in a trilogy though. Also I’ve heard that Blake Nelson’s “Girl” has a sequel and I’d love to get my hands on a copy.

Worst Bookish Habit

I read in the bath. I sometimes get my books in a terrible state.


X Marks the Spot: Start on the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book

“A Life of Colette” by Judith Thurman. My books are arranged on the shelves by colour of spine.


Your Latest Purchase

If you combine my shopaholic tendencies with my love of books…well, I’ll just leave this photo here.

Zzzzz-Snatcher Book (Last Book that Kept You up Way too late 

“Wicked” by Gregory Maguire, which I think I finished reading at 6am one morning. I’m terrible for telling myself I’ll stop after just one more chapter. I’ve actually read it so many times before, but as I’ve been to see the musical a couple times in the last year I thought I would refresh my memory on the actual original.


So there you have it, my life in books. By the time #BEDM is over y’all will have a thorough insight into almost everything about me!

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