Fun for Monday: A to Z for Book Bloggers

I saw imyril do this back in April and was excited to have a go … but I’ve obviously been sitting on it for quite a while. Hey, better late than never, no? Anyway, it originated with The Perpetual Page Turner back in 2013, so it’s definitely due a revival – so much fun!!



Goodreads told me a while ago that this was Terry Pratchett (before that most-read-author tool disappeared from the site). Being as he was an incredibly productive author and I have read through the Discworld books a couple of times now, I imagine this is still the case. Neil Gaiman was second place if I remember rightly – that’d be because of his comics.



Ummmm … *thinking* … all the ones I haven’t read yet?!

I honestly can’t think of a sequel that I was really blown away by, I’m more often a smidge disappointed by most follow-ons. Soooo, I’m going to say The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan, because Ola of Re-enchantment of the World has assured me/us that it’s better than the first Lady Trent book – go read her awesome review for A Natural History of Dragons here – and as I loved that one it’s as good as definite I’m going to adore the second.



Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

With a bunch of stuff bothering me at work and this time of year being somewhat troublesome for me, I have just hit a mammoth reading slump. I tried powering through it a couple of weeks ago with a Sunday dedicated to reading, but it came to nothing – I fell asleep instead. Now I’m just playing Stardew Valley and eyeing up an as-yet-undone Where’s Wally jigsaw and chanting to myself “everything will be fine, everything will be fine” in the hope that it’ll pass.



Water. I don’t drink tea or coffee (not for any meaningful reason, I just don’t like either of them. I don’t mind the odd herbal tea or a hot chocolate if the weather’s very cold, but otherwise I like my liquids to be cool, clear and flavourless).



Physical book. All the way. I love the smell, the weight, the size and shape. I love cover choices (Embossed lettering? Matt? Shiny? Hardback? Paperback? Dust jacket?), I love paper and page choices (I get a real kick out of a smooth, off-white paper with deckled edges), and typeface selections satisfy a small and vital part of me; I love to find notes left by previous readers, names and messages written in the front, smiley faces and underlining, old bookmarks. I love everything that is the sensory experience of a book. I don’t have anything to say against e-readers, and my scifi-loving self does appreciate the idea of being able to carry thousands of books around in one small device, but I’m also getting old and stubborn, and I’ll go out the same way I came in, thanks.



Ha! Of course, this is based on the assumption that they would date me. Which I assure you, they wouldn’t. No-one dated me in school. I was undatable. I was a non-entity. Only one boy made the attempt and he was from a different school and didn’t know me at all, and honestly, I don’t know what possessed him to ask …

But fictional character I had a crush on in school? (Through most of school, in fact). Robin Hood. First, in Roger Llancellyn Green’s book, then on the telly in Robin of Sherwood (which Ola and Piotrek recently wrote an awesome post about over at Re-enchantment of the World), and then on the big screen in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (which led to my crush – of only slightly shorter duration – on Kevin Costner).



Agyar by Steve Brust. I read it because of Little Red Reviewer’s post about it. I hadn’t heard of Steve Brust before I started this bloggy thing. Now I am knee deep in his Vlad Taltos books and loving every minute I spend with his writing. Which wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t read Agyar. You, my fellow bloggers, rock!



I’m taking ‘hidden gem’ to mean something I had no idea existed until I picked it up and started reading it, something I didn’t even know I was looking for. By this definition, some of my recent hidden gems are Dave Freer’s Dragon’s Ring and The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman; and less recently, Sharps by K J Parker, both Blackout/All Clear and Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson and Among Others by Jo Walton. I can’t pick just one.

Oh, oh, sudden inspiration!: I can pick one for this year though – Folk by Zoe Gilbert. Scooped up in the library by chance because of its lovely yellow cover, it blew me away.



One of the most important moments in my reading life was picking up The Ill-Made Mute by Cecelia Dart-Thornton in a bookstore back in 2003. I was in an awful sales job at the time and experiencing my first bout of unnamable terror/dread/despair. I’d been reading what I felt I was expected to read for the last five years (being someone who doesn’t naturally fit in, I have at times done whatever it takes to appear acceptable; at university I was even more adrift than I normally am and didn’t touch anything even vaguely SFF for fear of being seen as anything on the spectrum from ‘different’ to ‘too stupid to be here’ – what can I say now? I’m a noodle-head. It’s hard to explain). Reading The Ill-Made Mute was like being sucked back into myself. It was everything I’d been missing, everything I’d loved as a kid, everything I’d sought refuge in when I was a teenager. I devoured it, went back and bought The Lady of the Sorrows and scoffed that down too, and then I remember having to wait for The Battle of Evernight because the bookstore didn’t have it in. I’ve never re-read the trilogy, nor have I ever read any of Dart-Thornton’s other books. I’ve kept the Bitterbynde books though, for sentimental reasons and in case that dreadful desire to please people I don’t give a fig for kicks in again. Although I feel safe in saying there are a few people in my life now that would give me a good hearty slap if I started acting oddly: i.e. reading gossip magazines, wearing uncomfortable things like make-up and heels, going to parties … *shudder*.



Nightflyers by George R R Martin, back in November. Since then I’ve started and abandoned books in every room of the house, (reference aforementioned reading slump).



Romance. There’s got to be something more than romance going on for me to read a book. If all you’ve got to offer me is a love story then so long, and thanks for all the fish. Other than that, I’m fairly easy. I’m not a huge horror fan, but I will read some, although I’ll avoid reading it before bed. And if it’s really scary I’ll only touch the margins of the page where there’s no text, for no good reason that I can explain (I’m a seven-year-old in a forty-year-old’s body).

Oooo, also “misery porn” which offends me with its very existence.



I think, at 1024 pages, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke is the longest book I’ve read. (LOTR is three books to my mind because it has three titles – #sorrynotsorry).



War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. I loved it, but what really got to me was that this was a book I never got to talk about with a friend of mine who would’ve loved it too, because she had recently passed away. That probably sounds dumb, but it broke me that I’d never be able to share it with her and led to a good deal of headachy, snotty sobbing. And that’s why I try (unsuccessfully) to avoid books that are too feely.



None at the moment. When we have saved the money for them, we are planning to have two large floor-to-ceiling bookcases in the living room (nothing fancy, just big). And I’m going to have to edit down my collection considerably … ARGH! … which, I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, is mostly packed up in boxes. This makes me very sad (editing) and very excited (all our books out in the open!!) at the same time.



Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Comfort reading at its finest.



The place I fantasize about reading in most is our living room. Whenever it’s cold out and I have to go to work I imagine pulling the sofa closer to the fire and curling up in it with a book for the day. I actually got to do this once in the winter of 2018 and it was sweet. And when the weather is finer I love to read upstairs in our nook (not big enough to be called a spare room, but it’s got a desk and a chair) where we get sunlight for most of the day. Mmmmm …



Oh-ho! You’re asking someone who collects quotes and words obsessively. I’ve narrowed it down to three I particularly like (best I could do):

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts.”

From: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss


“Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

From: A Hat Full of Sky by Sir Terry Pratchett


“… crying not in grief but in wonder that nothing is ever lost, that everything can be retrieved, that a lifetime is not linear but instant. That, inside the head, everything happens at once.”

From: Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively



Every boring book I stuck with to the end because I didn’t used to allow myself to believe that sometimes a book just isn’t for me. It took me four years to read The Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears … Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.



I still need to read The Ace of Skulls, the last volume of Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding. But when I’ve read it, it’s over, and I don’t want it to be over just yet. Same with Julie Czerneda’s Hidden in Sight, which will finish off the first Esen trilogy – I just can’t bring myself to read it just yet. And then there’s the Lady Trent books by Marie Brennan, Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories and Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher books … and a ton of other stuff. Life is good.



This is ridiculously difficult to do because depending on my mood my answer will vary wildly. And books are just a part of a whole web of connections (both to other books, to ideas, to discussions with friends, to articles and news stories etc) in my brain (for everyone, no?) and this kind of question is kind of asking me to tear them out of that web … difficult, and painful too. But right now my answer would be: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip – came across this right when I needed it most. Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy – can’t explain why this means so much to me, but that’s love for you, right? And Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer – I may have mentioned before … *ahem* … that this is as close to perfect as a book gets for me.



Star Trek.



I’m always the last to know about what’s coming soon. I learned about Frances Hardinge’s new book Deeplight before it had been published, but only by accident. Same with Julie Czerneda’s The Gossamer Mage and Garth Nix’s Angel Mage (all the mages!!). But I was very excited about all three of those and have got two out of the three in my sticky little mitts.



Taking out more books than I can read from the library (just so other people can’t take them before I’ve read them) and giving myself an extra-long loan period. I always take them back immediately if someone requests one of them, but I just like to know that they’re safe at our house for when I want to read them. With great power comes great responsibility, and man, do I abuse my library powers!



We still don’t have any bookshelves, so I counted twenty-seven down one of the in-absolutely-no-order-at-all stacks of books we have in the cupboard, which meant I landed on Surface Detail by Iain M Banks. Recently picked up in a charity shop because I kind of lost track of Banks’ Culture novels and never got around to reading Matter or anything after it. I have plans to go back and start again from the beginning sometime soon.



Blackwing by Ed McDonald. Someone gave me an Amazon voucher (fools!!) and that’s how I used it.



The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker – I loved this so much I was reading it while eating (which I try not to do usually as both the book and I tend to get in a mess), during my gaming slot, and before going to bed, which is when I normally read non-fiction so as not to get my heart-rate up!




  1. I really loved this post 🙂 It was funny and touching and felt really personal. I love what we can learn about each other through our love of books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. 🙂
      Yeah, I’m always fascinated by what we learn about each other just through a shared love of reading. It’s a really nice community, isn’t it?


  2. Discworld is so vast, if you like it enough to read the entire series, for most people Sir Terry becomes automatic number one author 😉 After the recent re-read, it’s the same for me, definitely.

    A pity you’re stuck in a not-reading mode, maybe some short stories, or sth audio? Or switch the genre, that often works for me 🙂

    Very nice tag, allows to say a lot about one’s reading habits and history 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love big long tags like this. There is just so much cool information that people tell about themselves in them. My problem is then remembering who said what and not getting my online friends mixed up with each other! There have been so many times that I just haven’t said something on a post because I couldn’t remember if what I was going to talk about related to that blogger or if I was mixing it up with another. I have to admit though, it is a great problem to have 🙂

    Sorry to hear you’re still dealing with the slump. My only advice is to not be concerned about it. With my reduction in reading I’m just realizing how hobby’ish reading and blogging really are and all hobbies have their highs and lows…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was fun to do. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
      I can totally relate to getting online people mixed up – I am often convinced that it was one particular person who got me interested in something and trawl their blog for hours trying to find that post … that they didn’t actually write at all. Doh! 🙂

      And thank you for the kind words. I am trying not to be overly worried about it and just do other fun stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So happy you are enjoying Brust’s books! His books have become my comfort read. And Stardew Valley? Best game ever!

    I was rereading some of my old blog posts, and I came across a Stardew Valley blog post I had written I don’t even know when. At the time, I was in one helluva reading slump. Just like you, I’d abandoned books in every room of the house, I just wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t know it when I wrote that Stardew valley post, but interacting with those characters (Shane, especially) helped me love stories again. I found myself making up stories about the Stardew Valley characters, and wondering what their pasts were like, wondering what their futures would be like. And it got me out of my reading slump.

    long story short? Play Stardew Valley, it is THE BEST.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha! Thank you!! 😀
      Oh man, yeah, Shane’s storyline … kills me every time. ❤ Stardew Valley really IS the best. When in doubt, farm like you've never farmed before! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry to hear you’re in a reading slump, but I know how hard it is this time of the year to really sit down and give your full attention to a book. It’s so hectic, and my schedule is getting slammed this week too. I swear, if it weren’t for audiobooks I wouldn’t get any books finished.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you. ❤ Everyone is so nice! I'm aware that a reading slump isn't the worst that could befall anyone – ha ha!
      I have actually started listening to an audiobook murder mystery, which is making a nice change. 🙂


  6. I feel you!! My 4-6 week slump is just over and I’m enjoying my books again. Hope you get out of it soon!

    If not – Stardew Valley is a good alternative haha! Soo addictive though, I had to stop playing it a couple of months ago cause I didn’t do anything else!! I only picked it up cause I’m waiting for the next ‘Story of Seasons’ for the Switch and needed something similar. Turns out it’s just as much fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uh-oh! I hadn’t heard of Story of Seasons but just looked it up and it looks soooo coooool! May have to play that too … 😀
      Thanks for the support – I’m sure the slump is just a seasonal thing, so I’ll be able to relax in a few days. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the shout-out! 😀
    I do hope your reading slump will be over soon, they are generally meh. Love that long, detailed tag and your answers (though I do admit I feel somewhat intimidated when I think of picking it up! ;)) Good luck with Brennan! Hope she’ll help you get out of the slump 🙂


  8. I love this tag and will definitely take part so thanks for this.
    Deeplight – currently reading and really enjoying. It’s incredibly well done in every way, solid world building, excellent writing, the plot is intriguing and the characters are flawed but you can connect with them. It’s described as 20,000 Leagues meets Frankenstein which I can see but for me it also has a LotR’s vibe in certain ways – don’t be put off by that comment though if you’re not a Tolkien fan. It just has certain elements that I can’t really explain because of spoilers.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh, I am so excited to read Deeplight. I have it ready for when this stoooopid reading slump passes, so am very glad to hear your enjoying it. And am intrigued by the LotRs mention (not something to put me off). 😀
      So glad you’re going to do this tag – I look forward to reading your responses.


  9. ROBIN OF SHERWOOD! Oh my, such sighing and swooning and happiness (not that it was a happy show, but I was always happy to watch it).

    …and hooray, I was just given a copy of Folk for Christmas, and now I’m even more excited to read it!

    I’m glad you had fun with this tag – I thoroughly enjoyed reading your answers. It’s been great getting to know you better this year – here’s wishing you all the very best for 2020 😀


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