The Bookish Olympics

So many of my posts recently have been tags of link-ups. Sorry about that! But I saw this tag on Kristen‘s blog and I just couldn’t resist! Kristen got the tag from another Kristen, which somehow amused me, but the whole thing started on It Starts At Midnight (where it was just called The Olympic Book Tag, but I had to steal Kristen’s title along with the tag because it was just perfection!)

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I didn’t actually watch a single bit of the Olympics (except a tiny bit of a report on the BBC the day after Mo Farah fell because I wanted to see how bad the fall actually was). In fact, while I’m in confession mode, the only Olympics I’ve ever really watched was London 2012 mainly because it was my Olympics, sort of. Such a hypocrite! Books, on the other hand, I can do any day of the week!

1

In the Woods by Tana French. I actually didn’t even give this book a top rating because I was so mad that the mystery of what happened to the boys in the woods was never actually solved! Stupid blurb giving me the wrong impression of the book! But the writing sucked me in from the first sentence and I really, really enjoyed this book. Still want to know what happened in the woods though!

2

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence. I was originally going to use this book for the friendship category (you’ll see later), but it turned out I haven’t really read any road trip books, other than An Abundance of Katherines and that was boring! This one isn’t exactly a road trip book, but it does feature a road trip of sorts. Well, a drive anyway. To Switzerland. It’s the closest I’ve got to a road trip, okay? And it’s a weird but amazing book.

3

I couldn’t think of any good love triangles (can a love triangle be “good”?) so I looked up love triangle on Goodreads and for most of the ones I had read I kept thinking “Wait, where was the love triangle in that?”. Either my memory is really bad or other people have different definitions of love triangles! Anyway, I think I’m going to go with Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Whether the love triangle is good or not, it’s a classic!

5

Possession by A.S. Byatt. I mean, I got the basic story, but I felt like I was missing something and/or not intelligent enough to get the deeper meaning behind this book. Meh.

6

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. Actually, it’s set in several summers. I’ve read this book twice and loved it both times, even though Caitlin is horrible and the book is heartbreaking!

7

I wanted to say all the Harry Potter books for this (loads of bloodshed there!) but that felt like a cop put sooo… The Dragonlance Chronicles by Magaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Actually this is three books but since they’ve been repackaged with the three volumes in one book it counts πŸ˜‰ These books may not be the best written, but I devoured them (along with many of the spin offs) when I was around 13-14 and I still love them. They’re based on Dungeons and Dragons, which I’ve never played, and aren’t always realistic, but who cares? And since these three books are pretty much entirely about a war between the forces of good and evil you can bet there’s plenty of fighting (including on dragonback!) and bloodshed.

8

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. This is the same one Kristen picked but I totally agree! I read books with twists fairly regularly but this is one of the few where I had no idea what was going to happen. The main big twist was so unexpected!

9

I have to confess that a lot of books make me cry (included the previously mentioned Summer Sisters), but one that had me sobbing most of the way through was P.S., I Love You by Cecelia Ahern. Yes, it’s chick lit, but it’s good chick lit (in my opinion). The film ruined it so don’t bother watching that!

10

The Catcher in the Rye? Haha, joke, that one wasn’t slow to start… I’m still waiting for the story to actually start. Hmm, the only one I can think of right now is The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I had to stop for a while because it didn’t seem to be going anywhere, then towards the middle it picked up and the ending was weird (and depressing). It wasn’t a bad book but 100 pages less would have been fine… preferably taken off the beginning!

11

I’m going waaay back now to nursery school age! Each, Peach, Pear, Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. I adored that book and can’t wait to share it with my children. (Later I spent my pocket money on Babysitters Club and Point Horror books. I still have them all at my dad’s. Good times!).

12

I’ve read many books that feature animals, but I thought I’d take the equestrian part literally and go with The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. The ending was kind of weird and ridiculous, which is why my rating was only 4 stars, but for me it was all about the horse anyway. If you can’t stand the idea of animals being hurt this book is not for you! I cried so hard at that part (told you I’m pathetic!).

13

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. To this day I’m not sure why I even bothered to finish it, except that I was stubborn and it was a gift from my grandma so I felt like I had to! I was given it at around 15 and it took me 5 years and three attempts to get more than half way through. I was so, so, so bored by the whole thing! Yes, I know it’s a classic. I don’t care – I hated this book!

14

Beaches by Iris Rainer Dart. It’s both similar to the film and really different. The Hilary character is called Bertie (Roberta) in the book and at times I just wanted to shake her! CeeCee is even more self-centred, if that’s possible, but somehow I liked this book (and their friendship) anyway. Also, in the book Bertie/Hilary has cancer, not whatever it was in the film. Not perfect writing by any means but I like it.

15

Apparently I don’t read any books that feature sport?! Umm… somebody starts taking swimming lessons in Butterfly Summer by Anne-Marie Conway. Maybe that counts? This is a cute book with some truly stunning descriptions of a butterfly garden. The mystery is easy to guess, but I’m much older than the intended audience (which I’d guess to be around age 11) so that’s a little unfair. It’s a quick, cute read anyway.

I’m not going to tag anybody, but if you decide to do this please let me know so I can read your answers (and add to my already insanely long to-read list!)

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award…. times 2!

I was first nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award way back in 2013… you can read my answers here. Then Lolo, aka California Globetrotter nominated me again back at the beginning of August. I’ve been meaning to answer her questions ever since, but spectacularly failed to find time for it. Now that Becster has also nominated me, I thought it was about time I actually did the tag! Apologies in advance… this will be a long one as I’m answering ten questions from each of those bloggers. Feel free to skip this post and wait for a shorter one.

SisterhoodFirst of all, thank you to both bloggers. As always, I am honoured that you thought of me (even even though answering questions is haaaard /end whine). I will start with Lolo’s questions since she tagged me first. Hers are all travel related, which is nice.

  1. When did you realise you were a travel addict?
    I think it was probably when I was a child. I have a memory of going to visit my grandparents. We were living in Northern Ireland at the time, which puts me at between 5 and 7 years old. We travelled by ferry and I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever and hoping I would get to go on many more ferries in my life. Even though we were “only” going to stay with my grandparents, I’m pretty sure that was the moment I caught the travel bug.
  2. Where will you never, ever travel to again?
    Hmm, I don’t think there is anywhere really. I’m not really that keen on Paris, but things keep coming up there (brother wanting to celebrate his 21st birthday there, it being the closest Night Vale live show to us…) so I’ll never say never!
  3. What was the most thrill-inducing activity you have ever done while travelling?
    I can’t actually think of anything. Sorry guys, I guess I’m boring! Hmm, maybe tobogganing down the road in Madeira counts?
  4. Have you ever had a terrible travel companion to the point you couldn’t wait for the trip to be over?
    I actually haven’t! Some of our companions in Ireland kind of annoyed me at times, but I successfully ignored them and made sure I fit in everything I wanted to do, so I still had an amazing trip.
  5. Where is one place you keep going back and visiting over an over again?
    I’m goingΒ  to say Northumberland doesn’t count since I mostly go there to visit family! Bizarrely, I think the place I’ve been most often is Paris with 4 trips! Most of those just happened that way though (see above), so it’s not like I just loooove Paris so much I have to keep going there. I mean, I like Paris but there are places I like a lot better! One place I would visit over and over again is Austria, but various parts of the country rather than one specific place (although I have been to Vienna twice).

    Marktgasse in Feldkirch, Austria
    Marktgasse in Feldkirch, Austria
  6. What advice could you give to newbie travel bloggers?
    Well, I’m not actually a travel blogger so I’m not sure any advice I give would be any good. I’ll just give some advice that isn’t specific to travel blogging… just be yourself! Find your own voice and don’t try to imitate big bloggers in the hope of achieving their level of popularity quickly. I will never have a “big” blog, but I will also never get tired of blogging because I’m actually doing it in a way I enjoy and not trying to do the “right” thing to achieve success.
  7. Is there something you always have to do in every city you visit?
    Try the local food! I always like to get away from the touristy areas and walk down random side streets to hopefully find out where the locals choose to eat. This often means a lot of pointing and gesticulating, but the experience is much more authentic than in a restaurant where the menu consists of pictures of the dishes πŸ˜‰
  8. Where was the first place you visited overseas?
    Rhodes, Greece aged 11. I loved it!
  9. If you could live in any country right now, where would you live?
    Can I be boring and say the one I’m in? I haven’t even been living in Switzerland for 6 months yet so I still have so much to explore!
  10. If you could go back in time, which time period would you love to travel the world in?
    As a woman, I actually quite enjoy the fact that I get to travel the world now! While there obviously are places where it’s not really safe/desirable to be a woman travelling (especially alone!), for the most part things are pretty good these days. However, I do think it could have been interesting to travel the world when Captain Cook was on his voyages of discovery. Interesting but not very comfortable… so maybe I’ll stick with my own time after all πŸ˜‰

Thank you Lolo for those interesting questions! And now on to Becster’s…

  1. What’s your favourite film/movie
    Oooh, so many good ones! I don’t think I can pick just one, so I’m going with two… A League of Their Own and Clue (if you haven’t see the latter, please go and find it right now. It’s seriously one of the funniest films ever!!)
  2. If you could visit anywhere for a day, where would you go?
    One day is such a short time, and there are so many places I want to visit. But I think this time I’m going to choose Iceland. I’m desperate to see the Northern Lights!
  3. Are you a cat or dog person?
    Dog, definitely. I don’t have anything against cats, but in a pet I want a someone who is always pleased to see me. Also, the idea of cleaning out cat litter trays makes me feel ill. I’d much rather pick up dog poo somewhere outside my house!

    Not my dog, sadly...
    Not my dog, sadly…
  4. Do you watch any soaps?
    No. I watched Hollyoaks for a while as a teenager, but I don’t really watch much TV at all these days.
  5. Favourite snack to binge on?
    Chocolate! And Switzerland is a dangerous place for chocolate lovers…
  6. Most hated chore to have to do?
    Ironing! 100%. I’m actually scared of burning myself on the iron (because I’m a weirdo) so all ironing at my place is done by Jan. Of the chores I actually do, I hate washing dishes the most. I love the fact that we now have a dishwasher!
  7. Do you eat your fruit and veggies?
    I try to πŸ™‚ Vegetables I’m actually quite good with, but fruit seems to go bad too quickly for me.
  8. 50 Shades of Gray – yay or nay?
    I’ve never actually read it, but from what I’ve heard, apart from the storyline being awful I’d end up throwing it across the room a few pages in because the writing itself is so terrible!
  9. What do you normally eat for breakfast?
    I don’t always eat breakfast (if you’re reading… sorry mam!), but when I do it’s usually toast. Lately I’ve been enjoying it with Ovomaltine spread.
  10. Tea or coffee?
    Definitely tea! I do drink coffee, but not often, and at home I almost always drink tea.

    It's always a good time for a cuppa!
    It’s always a good time for a cuppa!

And that’s the end of that! I’m supposed to nominate ten other people now, but the only people I can think of are ones I’ve nominated for similar awards a dozen times, so here are my six nominations. That’s almost ten, right? πŸ˜‰

Kezzie
Courtney from Welcome to Germerica
Beth from Ami in Schwabenland
Zoe from Where’s Zoe now?
Briony from Fear of the Reaper
Charlotte

And now I have to try and think of interesting questions to ask you (this part is also hard!).

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. What is the best food you’ve ever tried while travelling?
  3. If you could have a second home where would it be and why?
  4. If you were a ghost, which place would you haunt?
  5. Have you ever planned a trip just because a book/film was set there?
  6. What is your favourite item in your home?
  7. What is your favourite pancake topping/filling (depending on how you make your pancakes :-))
  8. Which song title best represents your life right now?
  9. Which of your blog posts has the most views?
  10. What is a book you’ve been meaning to read for a while but keep putting off?

To my nominees: I apologise if you’ve done this before or just hate tags! You don’t actually have to do it….
To everyone else: the people I’ve nominated have a fab blogs and you should really check them out. Also, sorry if I’ve bored you πŸ˜‰