BBAW Day 1: Introduce Yourself!

I will concede that I’m not being particularly consistent at uploading here. I have three reviews and a post about the London Bookshop Crawl saved in draft form, but they are all in dire need of editing, and at the moment it feels like a choice between reading and blogging in my limited free time—and, let’s be honest, reading is always going to win out in that equation.

Having said that, I am on holiday this week—by which I mean I am holed up in a Sussex cottage with two family members, eight novels, two drafts of my transfer thesis, and lots of coffee. This is exactly what I’ll need, and though I’ll still be working intermittently, I should have a bit of time to devote to Book Bloggers’ Appreciation Week (hosted by The Estella Society). My favourite thing about blog events is always getting to know more people who love reading, so this is perfect timing.

Today, the question is this: Introduce yourself by telling us about five books that represent you as a person or your interests/lifestyle.

(This was tricky. I’m not at all sure that it’s a definitive list, but it’s a good start).

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

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I have an awful lot to thank Swallows and Amazons for. I think that my love of the outdoors, of camping and fires and adventure and long walks among trees started here—and, more, the tendencies to turn difficulties into stories in my head, and then think my way out of them. The characters in these books make adventure out of everything, and setbacks are just incorporated into whatever narrative they’ve thought themselves into. That way they become exciting challenges rather than insurmountable obstacles. Also, I am pretty sure this book is why I want to live in a houseboat so much.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

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I love this book. I really, really love this book. I’m never going to review it in full here, precisely because it had such a deeply personal impact on me as I was reading. It means so much to me that I don’t know how to discuss it thoughtfully or coherently. I read it last year when I was feeling pretty lonely and low. It reassured me of the goodness of God, the presence of God, in the midst of a few bleak days. Somehow it felt like the book came alongside me and gave me an arm to lean on, just to get me through that period. I think I am more robust as a person, and especially in terms of my faith, as a result of reading this.

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler

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A review of this is coming, but for me, this book has a lot to say about being intentional in the way I live, especially about being alone well. A friend once gave me the lovely compliment that I am “great at being single”—lovely, but not always justified. My experience with Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant was simultaneously about being independent and plugging the gaps in my skillset (many of which are culinary), while reminding me not to be so independent that I am distant in friendships (lots of very close friendships in these pages). This is probably universal and not just applicable to single people, but because of the nature of the book, it seems particularly well-suited for people who are in that position.

Horrible Science: Deadly Diseases by Nick Arnold

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After I read this book as a small child, I decided that I wanted to be Alexander Fleming when I grew up. I spent a lot of time pottering about our flat and pretending to discover penicillin, and then feeding it to my soft toys to cure them of their scarlet fever (I was also reading Little Women around this time). I became fascinated by the subject of vaccination after reading about Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur in this same book. These days, I am completing a PhD in health sciences and looking forward to a career as a researcher. I can 100% trace my interest in medical research to the day I opened this book. Thanks, Nick Arnold!

A Room with a View by E M Forster

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This book is not one of my favourites—the romance, which seemed to be the main storyline, didn’t really leave much of an impression on me at all. However, it did convey a real love of travel, something I identify with very strongly! Conveniently, I read it while I was actually in Italy (albeit in Rome and not Florence), and there was something pretty magical about reading these descriptions of ornate architecture and tiny twisty streets while sitting in the middle of it. I really do love to travel, and I feel like this book does a great job of conveying what it feels like to go abroad for the first time.

Can’t wait to see what everyone else has picked! Happy Book Bloggers Appreciation Week, everyone 🙂

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17 thoughts on “BBAW Day 1: Introduce Yourself!

  1. I love what you say about Gilead. I’ve been dipping in and out of it for some time now–it’s my favorite go-to-read before I sleep. (Incidentally, I knew I had to read it after I read a couple of interviews with Marilynne Robinson. One of my favorite things she says in one of her interviews: Cultures cherish artists because they are people who can say, Look at that. And it’s not Versailles. It’s a brick wall with a ray of sunlight falling on it.)

    And funny you mention Swallows and Amazons–I’d never heard of it till a couple of weeks back when I found it in this book called Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer; and here it is, being mentioned again!

    Oh, and I’m happily married but you’ve totally made me want to check out Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant now!

    • Okay I just looked up Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer, and it looks incredible and I may have to buy it. And Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant is definitely written for people in all stages of life (some of my favourite entries were by busy mums savouring a rare evening to themselves)–I recommend it highly! Thanks for your comment. (And that is a lovely quote by Marilynne Robinson).

  2. Such an interesting and diverse list! I love the fact you can trace your career back to a book you read when you were a child, and I really could imagine a little girl wandering around discovering penicillin. Hope you enjoy the rest of BBAW, and enjoy your weekend off (and all the reading that should entail!)

  3. May I say I’ve never heard of being alone in the kitchen with an eggplant, but in my house I’d definitely be alone with it. My husband does not like them at all. LOL

  4. When I was going to school and writing papers and such I had to let my blog fall by the wayside. And my recreational reading was very light! So I get what you’re saying. Gilead is a beautiful book. I feel like I should reread it.

    • My blog has always been very intermittent–I think it’s important for bloggers to remember that we (mostly) started for pleasure, not as part of a career, and if there’s no time, there’s no time! Gilead really is beautiful. I’m sure it’s one I will come back to again and again.

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