If I were a book character…

I have recently seen two things going around Twitter: a thread in which female authors describe themselves the way a male author would, and a counter-thread in which female authors describe themselves the way a woman writer would… so I guess describe themselves the way they would if they were a book character. In that second thread, I spotted this tweet:

She was quiet; not for lack of things to say but for lack of knowing how to say them. She thought too much about everything and it often left her unsure. It was hard for her to express herself because she had been hurt too many times before and didn’t want to be hurt again.

See the original here. I responded to it with “Uhh… are you me?!” – very articulate, I know 😉 Not being an author, I didn’t want to contribute to the Twitter thread, but I thought I would have a go at describing myself as though I were a book character here.

Her hair, once somewhere between chestnut and copper, had faded to a dull brown, the hint of red visible only in the right light. Her eyes appeared blue or grey at different times. In social situations, she was generally quiet. Too many friendships that had turned out not to be had made her wary of strangers, and she had learned she would be thought weird whether she opened her mouth or not. Best not to let the things she had to say out; they usually came out wrong anyway. Better to leave no impression at all than risk being hated. She didn’t mind, really. Most of her favourite people lived on the Internet anyway.

Well, clearly I’m not cut out for Twitter… I could never have fit all that into a tweet 😂.

How would you describe yourself if you were a character in a book?

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One lovely blog award

I’m so sorry my blog seems to be a giant tag-fest recently, but people keep nominating me for things and, honestly, I’ve been feeling uninspired so it’s nice to have ready-made posts. Today’s is the “One lovely blog award” and I was nominated by Chomeuse with a Chou. She’s a fellow Brit abroad (in her case France) and she has such a wonderful writing style. Please go and check out her blog. I was also nominated by Irish Procrastinator. She is Irish (no, really?), very funny and an excellent poet. Again, you really must check out her blog. Thank you both so much for the nomination – I am genuinely touched that somebody considers me “lovely”!

lovely blog

There are rules, of course.

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award;
  • Share seven things about yourself;
  • Nominate 7 other bloggers and inform them.

I have done similar posts before and I don’t think I will be able to dredge up seven entirely new facts, so apologies to long-term readers who’ve probably seen some of these before.

  1. This one is in my About Me section, but I’m using it here anyway. I have three siblings – a sister and two half brothers. My brothers are not related to each other. At my sister’s hen do (which I couldn’t attend), people were asked to take a quiz about her, and one of the questions was how many siblings does she have. Not a single person got it right – including my youngest brother’s mum! Oh, and I’m the eldest, by the way. My sister is actually the middle child twice.
  2. The first “adult” book I was ever allowed to read was The Clocks by Agatha Christie, when I was around 10. I can remember reading it in bed one morning before anyone else was awake and going downstairs to get the big dictionary so I could look up the word “illegitimate”.
  3. In my entire life, the place I lived the longest in one stretch was Karlsruhe, Germany – from September 2006 until I moved to Switzerland at the end of April 2015.
  4. Following on from the above… I always find the question “where are you from” really hard to answer. I lived in the place I was born twice, but even while I lived there it never really felt like “home”. It was just where army families get put when the army has nowhere else for them to go. Northumberland feels like home more than anywhere else, and that’s usually what I tell people, but if I have to specify a town it gets awkward again. I moved in with my dad aged 13 (he was out of the army by that time) and went to high school in the town he still lives in, but I hated it there and couldn’t wait to get away, so I certainly don’t consider that home! My parents are both from Morpeth, where my remaining grandparents still live, and that’s been the most constant place in my life. We went there for at least one holiday every year. It’s probably the place I am most likely to think of as “home”, but I’ve never actually lived there in my life.
  5. I’m obsessed with names… how people choose names for their children, how naming trends have changed through the years, which names are popular in which parts of the world. Jan gets so sick of me talking about people and their names!
  6. I lived in Austria for 10 months and have now been in Switzerland for close to three years but I have never tried skiing. Every year we say we will, then every year we don’t.
  7. When I was about 7 or 8, I wanted my name to be Abigail. I have no idea where I even got the name from – as far as I’m aware I had never met an Abigail at that stage in my life. To be honest, I would probably have chosen any name of my own at that point though. Beverly Hills 90210 came out the year I turned 7 and I got so sick of people at school chanting “90210” at me. Or alternatively saying “hey Beverley, are you a cop?”. Obviously they thought they were being sooo creative. *eyeroll*. So it’s kind of ironic that these days when German speakers don’t understand my name the first time I will actually say “Beverley as in Beverly Hills”.

Hmm, some of those were kind of long. Hopefully not too boring though?

I’m not actually going to tag anyone this time because I’ve been throwing tags around like confetti recently and I think I’ve already tagged everyone who might accept at least once. Sorry about that. I promise my next post will not be a tag or award!

Sunshine blogger award… again

I know I did this fairly recently, but I was nominated a second time by Confessions of an Irish Procrastinator WEEKS ago and I feel bad that I haven’t answered her questions yet.

sunshine blogger

The rules, in case you forgot already:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for a blog post and links back to their blog.
Thank you! I am truly honoured that you think my blog is worthy of this award.

2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
See below

3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
Hmm

4. Display the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog.

Here are my answers:

  1. What’s your favourite animal and why?
    I like lots of animals. I’m going to be really unimaginative and say a dog though. They’re just so loving and seem to truly like their owners no matter what. Nobody is ever as happy to see you as a dog!
  2. If you had to be a character in any book who would you be?
    Oooh, that’s a good question… but also a difficult one. I think I would like to be Susan Sto Helit (aka Susan Death) from the Discworld books. She is, quite simply, awesome! Plus I would get to meet Death.
  3. What habit would you like to kick?
    Leaving things lying around. I need to make sure everything has a place and then put things in that place, even if it means taking a detour into another room.
  4. What would you like to achieve before the year is out?
    The main thing I want to achieve isn’t for the blog, so I’ll give another boring answer. I’d like to lose 2-3 kg.
  5. If you could live in any known fictional land (for example Wonderland or Narnia) where would you live?
    Aah, I want to say Discworld but that seems like cheating after picking a Discworld character for question one! Okay, Narnia. After the White Witch is defeated, obviously.
  6. What uplifting thought or quote you do you live your life by?
    Try to live by would be more accurate! “Be so happy that when others look at you they become happy too!”. I don’t know if that’s actually a quote or who said it, but I bought a postcard with it on and stuck it inside my front door so every time I leave the flat I see it and try to act on it.
  7. Share one thing that makes you really happy.
    This is going to sound really weird, but the River Rhine in Basel. Even on a cold, grey, rainy, miserable day, walking across the Rhine never fails to make me feel happy and… hopeful, I guess? No matter what’s happening, at that moment I feel like eventually everything will turn out okay in the end. I don’t remember a place in Karlsruhe ever having that effect and it makes me really glad we decided to move here. See, I told you it was weird!

    12_Rhine
    The Rhine by night
  8. Share something you’re proud of.
    My Master’s dissertation. I wrote it about the translation of children’s literature and got 70% for it. (I actually got a higher mark for my Bachelor’s dissertation but I feel like a Master’s dissertation is more of an achievement so…)
  9. Do you have any unusual party tricks?
    Hmm… no. Not that I can think of.
  10. Who’s your favourite band?
    Finally an easy one. Green Day
  11. If you could fly or be invisible which would you choose?
    I think fly… assuming I could fly really fast over long distances it would be a useful skill for getting to England in a hurry if necessary.

I’m actually going to cheat and not nominate anybody because I’ve already done it once recently and can’t think of anyone else, but I will give you 11 questions and if anyone feels like answering them please feel free to say I nominated you for the award!

  1. What is your most treasured possession and why?
  2. What would be your dream job?
  3. What was the last film you watched?
  4. What was your favourite subject in school?
  5. What’s your favourite thing about yourself?
  6. Have you ever been told you resemble someone famous? Who was it?
  7. Do you snore?
  8. If you could learn to transform into an animal (but only one) which animal would you choose?
  9. What’s your favourite cartoon?
  10. What was your favourite film as a child?
  11. If there was a film about your life, what would it be called?

Feel free to pick one or more questions and answer them in the comments if you don’t want to do the whole thing 🙂

How long will you take to finish your to-read list?

I found this fun little tool at http://www.readitforward.com. Fill in the form with how many books you currently have on your to-read list, the number of books you read last year and your age, and it will tell you how long you will need to read all those books. Obviously it doesn’t take into account that I can read some books in half an hour while others take months, but I decided to give it a go anyway.

unread books
Unread books… although I’ve actually read a few from these selves and added new ones since this photo was taken

I didn’t want to go and physically count all the unread books on my shelves, so I took the ones I’ve marked as “want to read” on Good Reads (1395 for the record) then added 25 to account for the fact that not all the ones I own are actually marked as to-read on Good Reads – which is probably an underestimate, but oh well. Here’s my result, assuming I never add another book to my list 😉

Reading all 1420 books will take:

13 years and 7 months

You will finish your TBR pile on:

October 31, 2031

And you will be:

48

I may have a slight problem. (“Hi, my name is Beverley and I’m a bookaholic”)

How long will it take you to finish all the books you currently want to read? Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s going to need literally years

The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt

Well hello there! Today I am once again doing a tag post that I was never even tagged in. In fact, I literally found it by googling something along the lines of bookish tags. Is that cheating? I don’t care… I thought it looked fun so I’m doing it. I have no idea who created this game originally so I can’t link to them. I believe it started on YouTube, which I suppose makes more sense as a “scavenger hunt” since you get to watch them actually look for the books. None of that here though, so you’ll just have to make do with photos.

Anyway… the goal of this challenge is to find books on your shelves based on specific prompts. I can’t explain better than that, so I’ll just get started. Apologies for the quality of my photos – it has been trying to snow for the past few days and my bookcases are quite far from the window anyway so I had to switch on the light.

Find an author’s name or title with the letter Z in it

Thanks to my former boss, I have a whole bunch of books by Sebastian Fitzek, but I decided to go with this one:

1 Author with Z

A thriller set on a cruise ship. The blurb says: “On average, 23 people per year disappear without a trace from cruise ships. Never before has someone come back… until now.” I love Sebastain Fitzek’s writing and this was a great thriller, but I was unable to relate to any of the characters and actually couldn’t have cared less if the main person had died! I gave it 4 stars though. It’s been translated under the title Passenger 23 if you’re interested in reading it.

Find a classic

This one was easy to find since all my classics live together. I chose this one because it has a pretty cover.

2 classic

I haven’t actually read it so no idea whether it’s any good. My grandma likes Thomas Hardy though.

Find a book with a key on the cover

A lot of people had trouble with this category, but luckily I had been sorting out my to-read books recently and I remembered seeing a key one of those books.

3 key on cover

Like I said, it’s on my to-read shelf so I can’t say if I recommend. It sounds good…

Find something on your bookshelf that’s not a book

I have a few non-book items on my bookshelf, but I chose to go with this:

4 non-book

Meet Arthur! I bought him at Cardiff Castle and he’s clearly a Welsh dragon. The name is a play on King Arthur (Arthur the dragon =  Arthur Pendragon. Yes, I thought I was being clever…)

Find the oldest book on your shelf

I think it’s probably this one.

5 oldest book

I took a photo of the inside cover since the outside is just plain red. Jan’s sister got me this from a second-hand bookshop and it has no date in, but on the spine it says it’s by “Dean Swift”. If he was still a Dean at the time it was printed I assume it’s a pretty old edition?

Find a book with a girl on the cover

This book has two girls on the cover. Do I get extra points for that? 😉

6 girl on cover

Again, I haven’t read this book yet so I can’t tell you whether it’s any good.

Find a book that has an animal in/on it

Some versions said in and some said on, so I went with a book that both has an animal on the cover and features an animal in the story.

7 animal on cover

Again, I have not read it (those books were the easiest to find because the recent sorting meant I knew exactly where they were), but how stunning is that cover?

Find a book with a male protagonist

I have a few, but this was the first one my eyes landed on:

8 male protagonist

The protagonist is a boy named Will. I read this one last year and I really enjoyed it.

Find a book with only words on it

This one was difficult and I spent ages hunting!

9 only words

The words are kind of stylised and have thorns on, but I think it still counts?
I had actually forgotten I had this book! I read it years ago – before I joined Goodreads. I’m fairly sure I enjoyed it but I think I may have to read it again now I’ve rediscovered it.

Find a book with illustrations in it

This one has illustrations and is also a really cute story:

10 book with illustrations

Find a book with gold lettering

Another one from my to-read shelf.

11 gold lettering

Find a diary (true or fictional)

As soon as I saw the word diary I knew which book I was going to grab for this one:

12 diary

I got this one from a second-hand book stall at an indoor market (I’ve since learned the stall has closed… noooo!) when I was about 14 and it’s one of my all time favourite books. I wrote about it here.

Find a book written by someone with a common name (like Smith)

I didn’t want to literally go with Smith (although I could have) sooo…

13 common name

I feel like everyone knows a Dan(iel) – if you don’t please don’t shatter my illusions 😉 – and Brown is a pretty common surname.
My grandma gave this to Jan years ago. I have read it but I remember almost nothing about it!

Find a book that has a close up of something on it

14 close up

It’s a close up of a baby dragon hatching. YAY! I’ve read this one. It’s an adorable children’s book.

Find the book on your shelf that takes place in the earliest time period

This takes place in the Stone Age – I don’t think you can get a much earlier setting than that? Certainly not on my shelves!

15 earliest setting

Find a hardcover book without a jacket

This had a dust jacket at one point, but I’ve had it since I was little and I have no idea what happened to it!

16 hardcover no dust jacket

Again, I took a photo of the inside because the naked cover is literally just blue 😉
I really don’t think I need to tell you anything about this book? It’s a classic!

Find a teal/turquoise coloured book

17 turquoise book

I think this is turquoise? The photo looks closer to green, but in person it looks turquoise to me. You’ll just have to take my word for it!

Find a book with stars on it

18 stars on cover

I read this one recently, and wrote about it in my very long Show Us Your Books post.

Find a non YA book

I know it may seem like I read a lot of YA, but actually the majority of my books are for adults so this was really easy. I chose Stephen King because you cannot get much further from YA!

19 non-YA

Again, I have not read this one yet, so don’t ask me what it’s about!

And that’s everything. This was great fun to do! If anyone else decides to do it please let me know (it’s easiest if you have a lot of books!).

Sunshine Blogger Award

Wow, a blog award… I’m pretty sure it’s been literally years since I last did one of these! I was nominated by the lovely Chomeuse with a Chou – if you don’t know her blog definitely go and read it. She’s an amazing writer!

sunshine blogger

The Sunshine Blogger award is given by bloggers to bloggers who inspire positivity and creativity in the blogging community. As always, there are rules.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you in your blog post and link back to the blog.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! (Link up there ^)

2. Answer 11 questions that the Blogger asked you.
See below.

3. Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the awards and write them 11 questions.
Also below.

4. List the rules and display the Sunshine blogger award logo in your post on your blog.
Done and done 🙂

  1. Why did you start your blog?
    Short answer: to clear my mind of all my random thoughts (see tagline). Slightly longer answer: My first blog was an MSN space (later MSN Live Space) that came with my e-mail address. I started using it out of curiosity, having no real idea what it was. Later, I used it to blog during my time in Austria, as a way to keep friends in the loop about what was happening over there. I started this blog shortly after I moved back to Germany. I was bored, basically friendless and my boyfriend was busy writing his Diplom (German version a Master’s) thesis, so I started a new blog to keep myself occupied and get my thoughts out of my brain.
  2. What are your favourite things to do (when you aren’t blogging, of course)?
    Read, obviously. If you’ve read even one post on this blog you’ll probably know that 😉 Other than that cross stitch, travel and eat.
  3. If you could only visit one place, where would you go?
    Japan – assuming this means visit one place on holiday and not if you choose anywhere other than “home” you never get to go and see your family ever again 😉
  4. Do you have a favourite post from your blog?
    Ooh, umm.. difficult one. I enjoyed writing this one: https://confuzzledom.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/the-best-or-worst-of-denglish/
  5. What is your favourite book? (If it is far too difficult to choose, who is your favourite author?)
    Do you really think favourite author is any easier than favourite book? Both faaar too difficult! If forced to choose I would say Terry Pratchett (with massive apologies to Stephen King, Joanne Harris, Michael Bond and Agatha Christie!). Book is literally impossible.
  6. What are your goals for your blog?
    I don’t have any really. Just to keep going with it for as long as it makes me happy.
  7. Which three possessions would you grab in the event of fire?
    Nick (my stuffed mouse who I’ve had since I was born – you can see him at the end of this post, although these days he no longer lives in the bed due to a hole that I’m afraid might grow), my passport, and the only photo of my step-mum I own.
  8. Do you live in the town or country where you were born?
    If you’ve read even one word of my blog you should know the answer to that 😉 No, no I don’t.
  9. Do you have any unusual phobias?
    I don’t like ironing because I’m afraid of burning either myself or the clothes. SO pretty much I have a phobia of the iron (as opposed to iron the metal). Is that unusual enough?
  10. Do you speak another language?
    German. Plus the tiniest bit of Spanish.
  11. If you could chat to any person in history (real or literary) who would you choose?
    If we’re talking famous people, Beatrix Potter. Otherwise my Ukrainian great grandmother.

Here are my questions:

  1. What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2018?
  2. If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be? (In this imaginary scenario you have the perfect conditions to keep it happy and healthy and there is no danger of being eaten)
  3. What food could you happily eat every day?
  4. What is your favourite thing about the place you live?
  5. Where were you born?
  6. Are you eating or drinking anything right now?
  7. What is one talent you wish you had?
  8. Do you have a favourite board game?
  9. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
  10. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  11. If you won a large sum of money, what’s the first thing you would do?

Now to nominate people. Feel free to not do it and please don’t hate me 😉

Kristen from See You in a Porridge

Shazza from Sunshine and Celandines

Audrey from Life as Louise

Dubliner in Deutschland

Elaine from I Used to Be Indecisive

Beth from Ami in Schwabenland

Heather from Heather goes Deutsch

Jessica from Ever the Crafter

Steven from Sunshine. Whimsy. Tacos.

Lyndsay from Our Girl in Zurich (who is currently away on an adventure in South America, but will hopefully answer my questions on her return after Easter)

Sorry, that’s only ten. Everyone else I can think of us has been nominated already or doesn’t really read my blog. If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed this little insight into me!

The Guilty Reader Book Tag

bookshelf

Hello everyone! So, I wasn’t even tagged for this – I just randomly found it on the Internet. I thought it looked fun though, so I just decided to do it anyway. The original came from YouTube (or Booktube as the cool people apparently call YouTube channels that talk about books). I wanted to link it, but as soon as I opened YouTube it totally froze my Internet browser so you’ll just have to look it up for yourselves. The channel is called A Dash of Ash.

Anyway, the idea of this tag seems to be to answer questions about habits that some people I suppose would consider “bad”, hence the guilty thing.
Here goes:

Have you ever re-gifted a book you’ve been given?

Only if giving them away to charity shops counts? I don’t think I’ve ever literally wrapped a book up as a gift that was originally given to me as a gift and passed it on to someone else. I maaay have carefully read a book I was planning on giving to someone before actually wrapping it though 😉

Have you ever said you’ve read a book when you haven’t?

Nope. Even in school I was a little swot and genuinely read all our assigned books 😉 I even read all of Faserland for my German culture class at university and I hated that book! Luckily it’s relatively short.

Have you ever  borrowed a book and not returned it?

Umm, I accidentally kept a book I borrowed from the school I was at before I moved to live with my dad. I had already moved when I realised I still had it. I also still have a Linwood Barclay book on my shelf that technically belongs to my mother. Ahem.

Have you ever read a series out of order?

I do this all the time with crime/thriller series! With those kinds of books it’s usually the current case that’s important anyway so you can get away with it. Only occasionally are the gaps in the detective’s back story an issue. Oh, and going back to my childhood I definitely read The Babysitter’s Club out of order! I only actually owned a few and for the rest had to rely on whichever ones the local library happened to have, but it was okay because they always explain everything at the start of the book ;-). The same thing happened with the Chalet School books actually – the first one I read originally belonged to one of my aunts and it definitely wasn’t the first one. But again it wasn’t sooo important. On odd occasions a Chalet School book continued a story from the previous book, but mostly they were fairly self-contained. I still haven’t read all the books in the series because they’re mostly out of print and I’ve never managed to find the missing ones in second hand shops.

Chalet school books

Have you ever spoiled a book for someone?

I don’t think so? I might have told Jan how a book ends, but it’s not really spoiling when he’s never going to read that book anyway! I would never do it for one he might actually be interested in.

Have you ever dog-eared a book?

I did when I was younger – a lot of my childhood books have folded over corners. Apparently bookmarks were not a thing in my world? I would never treat a book that badly now though! However, I do use random things to mark my page… receipts, envelopes, other books. You wouldn’t think I actually own about 30 bookmarks!

Have you ever told someone you don’t own a book when you do?

No. Not on purpose anyway. I suppose it’s possible that I haven’t remembered I own a book when somebody asked. Not that many people ask about books I own.

Interestingly the answers to this seem to be divided into people thinking you would deny owning a book because you’re ashamed of it and those who say they’ve denied having a book to get out of lending it to someone.

Have you ever told someone you haven’t read a book when you have?

No. If I’ve read a book I have no problem admitting to it – even if that book were 50 Shades of Grey (which I genuinely have not read by the way. And I have no interest in it either).

Have you ever skipped a chapter or a section of a book?

No. I may have skim read some of the books we were assigned in school, but I never skipped whole sections. Not in fiction books anyway – I probably skipped whole sections of text books back in the day.

Have you ever bad mouthed a book you actually liked?

No. Why would I do that? If I like a book I don’t care who knows that I liked it… even if nobody else on the planet seems to enjoy it. Conversely, I ave no problem telling people I don’t like popular books (I’m looking at you Wuthering Heights and The Catcher in the Rye!). What’s the point in pretending?

Since I wasn’t actually tagged for this I’m not sure whether it’s fair for me to tag other people, but if you feel like doing it please let me know so I can come and have a nose at your answers. Or if you’ve already done it post a link in the comments. Alternatively, you can just answer one or two questions in the comments if you prefer.