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Compounding my feelings of being a terrible blogger, I came back on WordPress a week or so ago and discovered this comment that I must have seen at some point, but completely forgot about.

Hi there, I enjoy reading your blog and would like to nominate you for a Liebster award. You can find the details here: http://spiralspun.com/2015/02/04/liebster-award/
(I completely understand if you don‚Äôt want to take part and I will not feel offended in any way if you choose not to) ūüôā

From the lovely Kim at Spiral Spun. ¬†Sorry Kim, I know you said you won’t be offended, but I didn’t even mean not to answer your questions! ¬†I’m just super forgetful. ¬†I won’t pass the award on now as I think that moment has long since gone, but the least I can do is answer the questions you set:

  1. What do you do to cheer yourself up?¬†I’d been having a rough time up til last month – I’ve been struggling with anxiety. ¬†At the worst points, the best thing I could do was every time I had a pernicious, negative thought, to try and concentrate on one related positive thought. ¬†It works a little just to get my mind out of a bad space. ¬†Otherwise, listening to upbeat music like Taylor Swift really has a strong positive influence over my mood.
  2. Which book would you like to have written?¬†That’s a hard one. ¬†From the things I’ve read semi-recently, perhaps¬†The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.
  3. Which character from a book would you most like to be?¬†I’ve never identified with a fictional character the way I identified with Ruby Oliver, but I think I might be aging out of that, somewhat. ¬†I’m not sure what adult character I would say.
  4. Name something unusual about yourself. 
  5. What is your favourite thing about blogging? Definitely connecting with other like-minded readers, even thought I’ve been severely rubbish about it recently. But yeah, I love chatting with people on here! I don’t have a whole lot of bookish conversation that runs the gamut of the things I like in “real life” so I do enjoy the variety of conversation you can get in the blogging world.
  6. What did you want to be when you grew up?¬†I went through several phases of both wanting to be a teacher and an author. ¬†I think I’d still want to be a teacher if the job was better, but my parents both put me off (they were both teachers). ¬†I still harbour ambitions of writing something, someday.
  7. Name 3 people you would most like to have dinner with? ohhh, I’m struggling! ¬†I’m always scared to meet famous people in case either a. I don’t like them, or b. they don’t like me! ¬†Probably JK Rowling, Jenny Lawson, and Donna Tartt – I think that would be interesting!
  8. What is your favourite quote? 
    “When the stars threw down their spears¬†
    And water’d heaven with their tears:¬†
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?” (There are others, this was the first one that popped into my head!)
  9. What would you like to learn to do? I would love to properly learn another language (either more Spanish or German) and I would love to learn to run my own business.
  10. What scares you?¬†What¬†doesn’t¬†scare me?! Nah, seriously – I’m extremely claustrophobic and I’m very, very afraid of wasps. ¬†I also get very specific social anxieties – I’m not socially anxious¬†as a rule but I get anxious about, for example, having to spend a lot of time with more than one new person, even if I’m not really required to speak or do anything more than be pleasant. ¬†I’m working on it though!
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Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____

4023e-toptentuesday

As always, thanks to The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who… are Actually the Author¬†

I’ve read a lot of books recently where the author takes a jaunt into the narrative and decides to become a character. ¬†It’s worked for me to varying degrees, though I must admit it’s not always my favourite trope. ¬†Still, here are some books where the author takes to the page. Also, an admission – I struggled to get to ten of these, and I enlisted the help of my boyfriend. ¬†Somehow the venn diagram of our tastes and moderately poor memories managed to form this list:

  1. East of Eden РSteinbeck inserts himself into the whole novel in the role of narrator, though this is not initially clear.  His actual page time is very limited Рbut as the story progresses it becomes clear that his role is pivotal in recording the tale of his ancestors and their neighbours.
  2. The New York Trilogy¬†– well, really only¬†City of Glass, though he’s mentioned in the other two books. ¬†If you like somewhat post-modern weirdness, in the vein of Borges or Calvino (though not as good as either IMO) with a noirish twist, then Auster is your man. ¬†The way the role of the author and the protagonist is played with in this first novella is particularly interesting.
  3. Breakfast of Champions¬†– I feel like only Kurt Vonnegut Jr could have an author avatar character in Kilgore Trout and still go on to have his “real” self appear in the book. ¬†In order to apologise to Kilgore Trout. ¬†I loved everything about this book, strangeness and all.
  4. A Tale for the Time Being – let it be known that I didn’t even manage to work out that the character Ruth was the author until after the second of her sections of this ¬†book. ¬†Sometime I am not so smart. ¬†I feel like, if anything, Ruth Ozeki inserts a little too much of her own life into this book, but it’s an¬†interesting examination of the role of the reader, the role of the writer, and the role of character, and how these three things can interact.
  5. The Dark Tower – it’s Stephen King, there’s a van, none of his characters like him… what more can one say?
  6. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – or Hunter S. Thompson Makes Really Good Life Decisions.
  7. The Divine Comedy Рsomewhat obviously.
  8. Eric – but he was having some trouble with the animals.
  9. Labyrinths¬†– several of the stories in here have a Borges author character. ¬†I like Borges a lot, but please don’t ask me what the hell was going on, because I’m damned if I know.
  10. The Princess Bride – of course, Morgenstern himself wouldn’t stoop to insert himself as a character into his book, but the person responsible for bringing his work to light took, I hear, some liberties about inserting a not-altogether-accurate version of himself into the narrative… tsk, tsk!

Can you think of any other explicit author inserts?

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The TBR Tag

The lovely Stefani at Caught Read Handed invited her followers to take part in this tag, and I, being a sucker for a meme, decided to do so!¬† Here’s a wee bit more info about my TBR pile.

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

Mostly Goodreads/LibraryThing.¬† I have five (I know) TBR shelves: owned unread paper books, owned unread Kindle books, unowned shortlist, unowned longlist, and unowned maybe list. I obsessively categorise things, it’s in my nature.

2. Is your TBR mostly print or eBook?

I have c. 140 ebooks and 160 paper books in my owned TBR at the moment, so slightly weighted in favour of paper ūüôā

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I have a few different ways.¬† I’ll often make lists at the start of the month of books I plan to get through.¬† I don’t stick to these rigidly, they’re usually just to give me an idea of what/how much I want to read.¬†¬† If I can’t decide what to put on this list, I’ll use a random number generator to pick off my Goodreads shelves.¬† Otherwise, I’ll pick by mood.¬† In particular, I pick my ebooks by mood as I’ll often finish one “on the go” as it were.

4. A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest.

There are a couple (Dreams Underfoot, Big Fish) that have been there since my 21st birthday (so over three years!)

5. A book you recently added to your TBR.

I bought The Moomins and the Great Flood on Kindle Monthly Deal.¬† The last paper book I bought was Emma by Alexander McCall Smith but I’ve since read it.¬† I can’t remember what the last paper book I bought before that was – maybe Pawns of Prophecy.
6. A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover.

There’s a saying about that, you know…
7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading.

Um, none?¬† It wouldn’t be on my TBR if I didn’t want to read it.¬† Oh, that said, The Lies of Locke Lamora is still on it.¬† I promised my boyfriend I would read it, to see if I hate it as much as he did.¬† Problem is, I read the first 100 pages and I really hated it.¬† I might finish it.¬† But I somehow doubt it! (In case you’re wondering why, the Whedon-y dialogue and immense stupidity just did not agree with me)

8. An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

Again, I don’t know that there’s much… ooh, Lair of Dreams actually! I can’t wait for it. And Pride and Prejudice a la Curtis Sittenfeld.
9. A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you.

Among books I own?  Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and probably several classics too.

10. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

Probably the same one, tbh. Oh, and Code Name Verity.

11. A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read.

Ahhhh, so many!¬† All of the ones on my TBR Challenge list, for instance.¬† Also, the rest of the Chaos Walking trilogy but I’m trying to cut down some of the individual books I have first.
12. How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

Okay:

Physical TBR: 160
Kindle TBR: 142 (however, I *think* there are some duplicates in there)
TBR Shortlist: 92
TBR Longlist: 509 (!)
TBR Maybe: 191
Help.
I’m not going to tag anyone either – it’s a free for all!¬† Anyone that wants to do it should feel free.