A while ago Abby Norman, who wrote the utterly fantastic book Ask Me About My Uterus and runs the excellent podcast Let Me Google That, posted a series of questions on Medium which she asks herself every year. Surprisingly, none of them are about her uterus.

Since I’m an ex-MySpace-kid and I love a good online survey, I thought I’d answer them this year, since there are thirty of them and I’m thirty. Did I mention I’m thirty? I MADE IT PAST TWENTY WITHOUT DYING, Y’ALL. (more…)

I feel like a phrase that should have an apostrophe in it might not be the best hashtag to represent a day for book lovers, but I suppose loving books doesn’t necessarily equate to being a grammar nut. Perhaps it’s only me who cares.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s start with the tag. I found this on Carmen’s Reading Corner, which I only recently discovered. I’m not going to tag anyone because I don’t know who’d like to do it, but if you’d like to, feel free to tag yourself and answer the questions. If you do, send me a link to your post so I can read it! I love reading other people’s answers to stuff like this.


A woman's hands holding a book

1:What is your favorite book? Just one?! Bastard. I refuse to follow your rules. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, because it was my teenage bible. Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco, because he’s an amazing writer and I swear he’s read every book in the world. Twice. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, because it’s funny and moving and wonderful. And The Humans by Matt Haig, because it describes how I see the world.

2:What was the last book you read? The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

3:What is the worst book you’ve ever read? Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.

4:Top 7 book characters. Stargirl from Stargirl, Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Kinsey Millhone from Sue Grafton’s alphabet series, John Rebus from Ian Rankin’s books, Don Tillman from The Rosie Project, Catherine Cordell from The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen, Dumbledore from Harry Potter.

5:What is your favorite genre? Crime fiction.

6:Book you cried the hardest reading? I read The Love Verb by Jane Green at a point that was very poignant, so it broke me a bit. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes was also pretty heart-rending.

7:Book you laughed the hardest reading? The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, because Don Tillman sums up my world view so very perfectly.

8:Which book character(s) do you most relate to? See above! Don Tillmann, Andrew Martin from The Humans, Lisbeth Salander from TGWTDT, Stargirl.

9:Favorite author(s)? Umberto Eco, Hermann Hesse. I also can’t resist new releases from Ian Rankin, Karen Rose, Tess Gerritsen, and Jane Green.

10:Do you judge books by their covers? Yes.

11:What is your favorite quote from a book? Again, fuck you with your ‘just one’.

“Anonymity in the world of men is better than fame in heaven, for what’s heaven? What’s earth? All in the mind.” – On The Road, Jack Kerouac

“…he was a night prowler. The morning was a bad time of day for him. He feared it and it never brought him any good. On no morning of his life has he ever been in good spirits nor done any good before midday, nor devised any pleasure for himself or others. By degrees during the afternoon he warmed and became alive, and only towards evening, on his good days, was he productive, active and, sometimes, aglow with joy… There was never a man with a deeper and more passionate craving for independence than he. In his youth when he was poor and had difficulty in earning his bread, he preferred to go hungry and in torn clothes only to preserve a tiny bit of independence.” – Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

“I now saw that I had, strangely, taken both Bardia’s explanation and the Fox’s (each while it lasted) for certain truth. Yet one must be false. And I could not find out which, for each was well rooted in its own soil… But I could not find out whether the doctrines of Glome or the wisdom of Greece were right. I was the child of Glome and the pupil of the Fox; I saw that for years my life had been lived in two halves, never fitted together.” – Til We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis

“”So much focus on the egg – it is life, it is food, it is answer to a hundred riddles – but look at its shell. The secrets are writ on its walls. Secrets lie in the entrails of things, in the dregs.” – Tithe, Holly Black

12:Which book do you recommend to friends and family most? The Rosie Project. Anything by Eco.

13:Which book is so special to you that you don’t share it with others? Stargirl.

14:Do you have any signed books? Yes, one signed by Tess Gerritsen (The Silent Girl), which my friend gave me, and a copy of The Rosie Project that’s been double-signed by Graeme Simsion.

15:Have you met any authors? Graeme Simsion.

16:Buy books new, used, or go to the library? All of the above! Most often, I buy them used, though.

17:Where is your favorite place to read? I’ve been known to read pretty much everywhere, but there’s nothing quite like my favourite two places: in a bubbly bath surrounded by candles, or finishing a book in bed late at night by lamplight.

18:Prefer books set in the past or the future? Future.

19:What 5 elements would your ideal book have? A strong protagonist who does what they think is right despite putting themselves in jeopardy; a lack of romance/sex; a touch of humour; a really strong friendship; a realistic ending.

20:Do you ever hope to publish your own book? Yes.

21:Prefer stand alone or series? Don’t mind.

22:Do you mark/highlight/dog ear your books or keep them in perfect condition? I used to be a perfectionist about this, but I have been known to turn down a page corner when there’s something I really want to be able to return to.

23:Hardbacks or paperbacks? Paperbacks, they’re easier to transport and they’re less heavy to hold up in the bath.

24:Do you watch any booktubers? No.

25:Have you read The Hunger Games? Yes

26:Do you like twist endings? Yes

27:Do you reread books? Only the most special ones.

28:E-readers or physical copies of books? Physical copies. I just can’t bring myself to try ebooks.

29:A book that makes you feel comforted? The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. It was one of my favourite books as a child and reading it feels like hot chocolate and fireplaces.

30:Would you rather read any ending that makes you feel happy or sad? I tend to like endings that are realistic, and often that doesn’t mean things working out perfectly.

31:Favorite villain in a book? The surgeon from The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen.

32:Do you like to write reviews when you finish a book? Yes, if it’s good.

33:Do you experience “book hangovers”? Oh hell yes.

34:Favorite book cover(s)? Stargirl.

photo credit: the bbp via photopin cc

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10 facts about your house

(1) The previous occupant had an obsession with wallpaper and I haven’t yet gotten around to redecorating, so everything is still covered in fairly random-looking bits of wallpaper, including the doors.
(2) This is not the first time I have lived in this house.
(3) The bathroom has no ventilation system other than opening the window. The shower is in front of the window. This means that if you’re having a shower, you have a choice between being able to breathe, and people not seeing you naked.
(4) Right now I’m trying to move to a different house.
(5) I have three sheds, but one of them has been locked the entire time I’ve lived here and I don’t have a key. I have no idea what’s inside.
(6) A spider (or possibly several spiders) recently gave birth to a load of other spiders somewhere in my house, and now I’m living among a colony of them. This is not fun.
(7) I used to have a woodlouse infestation but luckily they seem to have moved on.
(8) There are birds living in my roof.
(9) My downstairs neighbour complained to the environmental health people, saying that I made too much noise. When asked to clarify, she had to explain that she just doesn’t like living below someone else and that all I do is make “normal living noise”. They told her to shut up or move.
(10) I have a nice garden with several fruit trees.

9 facts about your family

(1) One of my grandmothers is probably half-Aboriginal Australian.
(2) One of my grandmothers met my grandfather when she was travelling through France with a troupe of Gypsies. He was very rich. They fell in love and ran away to England when his family wouldn’t let them be together.
(3) When my grandparents got married, she was 19 and he was 53.
(4) My grandfather moved to England and bought half of a town here, then gambled all his money away until he ended up living in a bedsit.
(5) My other grandfather is an obsessive hoarder. He has kept pretty much everything he’s bought since he moved into his house 53 years ago. This includes things like margarine tubs, which take up so much space in his kitchen that you can’t open the door properly.
(6) I have 43 cousins.
(7) My family is very multilingual and it’s quite normal at family functions for people to switch from one language into another in the middle of a sentence.
(8) My mother’s hobbies include prentending to be a frog, looking at pictures of stairs and sitting in swarms of bees.
(9) My daughter has auditioned for the X Factor.

8 facts about your body

(1) I’ve been dyeing my hair for so long that I’m not sure whether the roots are actually grey or if they just look that way.
(2) I have back-to-front hipbones.
(3) My feet turn in when I walk (because of the back-to-front hipbones).
(4) My body seems to be intolerant to most things. Recent developments include alcohol and eye make-up.
(5) When I was at my thinnest I had a 21-inch waist.
(6) When I was at my fattest I had a 44-inch waist.
(7) My eyes change colour depending on my mood.
(8) My immune system does not function correctly.

7 facts about your childhood

(1) When I was four years old, our roof fell in during a storm. My mother had to hoover bits of ceiling up from the carpet. It is the first time I remember feeling like my life was a bit upside-down.
(2) I would occasionally decide on a new nickname and refuse to answer to anything else. These usually had some kind of animal theme.
(3) Neither of my parents had an actual job throughout the whole of my childhood.
(4) I was on the county swimming team and our school netball team, which also competed at county level. I’m not sure where this sporty side of me went.
(5) I was never afraid of the dark, or of monsters.
(6) When I was 7 I wrote a feature for the local newspaper.
(7) My best friend lived upstairs from me. I had a set of walkie-talkies which we used to talk to each other at night.

6 facts about your home town

(1) I have moved house almost as many times as the number of years I’ve been alive, so I’ve never really had a hometown.
(2) The town I was born has a very nice clock tower where I have slept on a number of occasions.
(3) The place where I spent a significant portion of my childhood had a number of local tragedies, including a school shooting and someone who murdered people whilst dressed as a film character.
(4) I became obsessed with the history of the place I lived in when I was twelve, and spent a summer finding out as much local history as I could. I never told anyone or did anything with the knowledge.
(5) The place where I lived as a teenager has a ton of really cool shops, and window-shopping was one of my favourite hobbies when I lived there.
(6) A significant number of the places I’ve lived in have been near the ocean.

5 facts about your best friend

(1) We went to the same gig years ago but we didn’t know each other at the time.
(2) We were really similar as teenagers and I wish we’d known each other then.
(3) He’s a photographer.
(4) I used to be his boss.
(5) He’s fucking awesome.

4 facts about your parents

(1) When my mother was 35, she had a massive argument with my grandmother because she was convinced she was still 25, and when my grandmother told her that wasn’t true she got really angry with her.
(2) My dad passed on to me his taste in music and his obsession with F1 and fast driving in general.
(3) Before they were married, they were driving home from a gig one night when my dad lost control of the car and rammed it into a shop. They drove home and thought they’d gotten away with it until the police turned up the next day. Apparently they’d damaged the foundations of the shop and the entire road had to be closed off. The police knew who’d done it because their number plate had fallen off outside the shop and neither of them had thought to check.
(4) My mother has nine siblings.

3 facts about your personality

(1) I’m pretty patient but I get irritated when people just expect things not to bother me. I am aware that this is a bit paradoxical.
(2) I don’t really like spending time with people, but for some reason when I’m with them I seem to give the impression that I do, so people who don’t know me well assume that I’m really sociable and invite me to loads of things that I then have to spend ages trying to get out of.
(3) I enjoy reason, logic, science and solitude.

2 facts about your favorite things

(1) My cat is quite sensitive and hates it when anything changes.
(2) An ocean is a body of saline water that composes much of a planet’s hydrosphere.

1 fact about the person you like

(1) We discovered we liked each other when a brief introductory conversation accidentally turned into a six-hour long conversation about philosophy.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc