A little while ago I sent messages to some of my favourite bloggers, asking if they were willing to answer a few questions relating to blogging and reading. The four bloggers who very kindly agreed to take part in the project are Ritu, Calensariel, Curtis, and Yvonne – make sure to check out their blogs! I am really grateful to them all for their help with this post 🙂 Now, without further ado, the questions…
What is your favourite book (or books) and why?
Persuasion by Jane Austen. I love Austen’s work (and really most of the books I’ve read from that time period, like Jane Eyre, Remains of the Day, Howard’s End…) because it gives me time to “soak it up.” I don’t have to hurry through it. I think my life has been so busy for most of my kids’ growing up years that it’s a relief to just stroll through the pages of this genre of books. The book definitely resonates with me because of the theme of letting others (family in particular — as Lady Russell was Anne’s mother’s best friend) make your life decisions for you. That is an an all too common occurrence in my life. I very much identify with Anne Eliot, the heroine of the novel. And I think I’m still waiting for that time when I come into my own like she did.
As a young adult, I was totally obsessed with Virginia Andrews and though I read the Flowers in the Attic series a couple of times, I read My Sweet Audrina many times. It was so twisted, yet I had to read it again and again!
The book I return to most regularly with a guaranteed sense of wonder is Eliot’s Four Quartets. Not a novel, so perhaps it doesn’t count? But among the novels I’ve read there have been so many that have made an impact at different points of my life that I couldn’t single out a favourite (if I provided a list, it would be too long…). I’ll rarely read a book twice, but I can dip into Four Quartets, read just a few lines and my thirst is slaked for months.
Like most avid readers, my passion for books started in childhood. I remember the joys of library trips to choose three books to last a week. Our small bookcase at home had a shelf of dad’s precious leather bound books set in WW2. Imagine my pride when he deemed me old enough to read ‘Reach for the Skies’, the true story of heroic wartime pilot Douglas Bader. That collection of amazing books triggered my interest in stories set in war zones and based on fact.
For the past sixteen years’ I’ve enjoyed a home on the Greek island of Crete, and of course this influenced my reading. I’ve focused on the Cretan struggle for independence from Turks, and the huge part Crete played in WW2. An enduring favourite is the autobiographical ‘Ill met by Moonlight’ by W Stanley Moss, an account of the daring abduction of a German general. The mission was reliant on support from Cretans who suffered dreadful reprisals.
Another book that will always have a place on my bookshelf is ‘Birds Without Wings’ by Louis de Bernieres. It features some characters drawn from his earlier novel ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’. In ‘Birds Without Wings’ he chronicles the lives of families torn apart by war and religious intolerance, with forced movement of people. Christians expelled from Turkey moved to Greece while Muslims expelled from Greece went to Turkey. How sad that these themes are still topical today.
What books have you recently enjoyed?
Right now I’m beta reading the fifth book in a series by Christina Ochs. The series is called The Desolate Empire. This book is The Fall of the Titan due out in May if I’m not mistaken. The series is historical fiction based on the 30 Years’ War in Europe (1618-1648). In book five the aristocracy that were children in book one have grown and are coming into their own (just as they did in real life), and I’m finding I have a lot of emotional investment in these young characters. It’s like I watched them grow up. Christina, a friend of mine, has done an amazing job with her research. I can highly recommend these books to anyone who likes that period of history.
I have been reading many books by independent authors recently, and have found some gems. Geoff Le Pard is a great author with both short stories and novels, and Hugh Roberts wrote a great short stories collection called Glimpses. I loved to read Shelley Wilson’s The Guardians trilogy which is YA fantasy fiction and was shocked at how much I enjoyed it! And I also read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and the two following books. Another great trilogy!
Last week I finished Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I’m still not sure exactly why, but Murakami’s writing has a unique effect – it’s like a bird building a nest around you, twig by tiny twig until you’re surrounded, completely immersed in his world.
What do you enjoy most about blogging?
I thoroughly enjoy blogging for the simple reason that I’ve gotten to know so many people from around the world. Reading their blogs has brought their cultures alive for me and taken some of the arrogance out of my attitude! That sounds like a very condemning thing to say. I have never been one that felt I was better than others, but that idea of JUST DIFFERENT has really been brought home to me. I’ve learned so much. The vision of my world has grown by leaps and bound. And I have to say I am totally blown away by the talented writers I’ve found on Word Press. Most of them don’t even know how good they are. The blogosphere is a very unique world and I’m so glad I got up the courage to be a part of it. It really has helped me learn to be more who I feel I really am because I don’t have to wear dozens of (role) hats on the blog. I can just be me.
I started blogging as a total trial. Wasn’t sure where it would take me. I went through the whole stats obsession, checking views, likes and follower numbers every time I reached for my phone! Then I realised I couldn’t follow everyone, or read every post, and couldn’t expect that from my followers either. Slowly, I broke it down, and didn’t obsess over it all. I started to have more fun, making extremely close friendships over the interweb, and then last year I was able to meet many fellow bloggers at the Annual Bloggers Bash in London, where my blog was also voted second best overall blog! To be nominated was a surprise , and to come second to an absolute powerhouse of a blogger, SuzieSpeaks, (Who is absolutely wonderful to boot!) was an honour! For me, blogging has given me a creative outlet, it has pushed me to publish my own poetry book and to get in touch with many like-minded people form allover the world!
It has to be exchanging with other people – such as you [aww, thank you Curtis!] I also like the satisfaction of a blog post when I feel I’ve got it right, even if it’s ephemeral. It’s a form of writing where there’s a little less pressure, but it requires careful composition all the same.
I love the way blogging enables you to ‘meet’ like minded people, and finding ways to support each other. That said, I also enjoy discovering bloggers with hobbies, lives and experiences I’d not imagined.
Although I set up my blog https://kritsayvonne.com to support my first novel, Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa, I soon realised it was an excellent way of sharing information about Greece, Crete, and, in particular, my village of Kritsa. As well as making lovely blogging pals around the world I’ve been lucky to meet several Crete based bloggers who are now personal friends. Summarised in three words, blogging opens doors.
I would like to say thank you once again to these magnificent bloggers, I always enjoy reading all of their blogs and they are all really lovely people to boot; so if you haven’t already, take a look at their sites and give them a follow!