3.8.12

Blogs You Must Read

A few weeks ago, the lovely Ali at 12 Books, 12 Months nominated me for a 'Versatile Blogger' award, passing on the baton that she'd received from two blogs a while back. And I'm thrilled! I love this big-up-the-community aspect of blogging - thanks Ali!

The rules of receiving it are that you then have to pass it on to 15 other blogs that you read and love, and then reveal 7 fascinating facts about yourself. The blogs first:

  1. 12 Books, 12 Months, and not just because she nominated me - having actually managed to get through the writing of 12 books in 12 months, Ali also features interesting industry Q&As, guest posts (including mine!) and articles about her own writing work, which are great.
  2. Martini and a Pen, run by the lovely and talented Tom Andrews, who posts his own mad-cap fiction in the run-up to the publication of his first novel, which I am beside myself with excitement about. He was also one of the first ever commentors on my blog, way back when.
  3. Tiny Library, which is a more recent addition to my reading routine, features fab reviews and community features, like the Vikram Seth readathon that I am excited to be participating in over the next few months.
  4. Literary Musings is another great book blog, and a recent discovery of mine. Brenna reviews a great and interesting variety of books, and I love that these often have an American Lit focus, as I know little about US lit and enjoy learning more.
  5. The Lost Beat is a fabulous poetry blog, run by Tom Andrews (from Martini and a Pen, above) and Natasha Gdansk: reading just a few posts is a great invigorator for getting on with your own stuff as it is So. Damn. Inspiring. A lot of the poetry is tres funny too.
  6. Alas, Book Lush has been sleeping for a good few months now whilst the lovely Nicole does other things, but it's still a fave site of mine for the great book reviews and articles, and for learning some things about baseball too (!)
  7. A very popular site, Reading Matters, is the perfect email subscription for keeping me up-to-date with newly published fiction - particularly British, Irish and Australian - without me having to actually search it all out for myself :)
  8. Changing tack for a second, Bear and Bug is a great craft blog run by Anna who I used to work with that posts interesting and beautiful things. She also custom-made me a cuddly toy monster for my godson which he LOVES, so it's a win all round.
  9. Back to book blogs again, A Room of One's Own, run by Jillian, was the original home on 'The Classics Club' (see my list above). She writes really, really well about how books have shaped her life so far, helping her deal with some rather big issues along the way.
  10. Kirsty Logan's site and work are totally inspiring (and intimidating): she is so talented that it turns me rather green :)
  11. Chasing Bawa, which recently turned three (congratulations!), is a great blog which features fiction from across the world, written by Sakura, who sure as hell knows her stuff. We've also done one or two work things together in real life, so I know also that she's a lovely person to boot.
  12. Another fab blogger/lovely person is Simon at Stuck in a Book, who rarely writes about books I've actually read - his tastes centre around middle-brow pre-WWII fiction, I think - so it's great for colouring in my black spots and pointing me to things I really should read.
  13. I know they won't notice that I've nominated them, but I adore The Hairpin and feel weirdly like every contributor to it could be my friend. Some great, great writing.
  14. Same for McSweeney's, if you're not familiar with it...
  15. And I'd like to leave this fifteenth space free for all the great blogs I'll find in the next few days, weeks, months...one thing I love about the book blogging community is that new people are arriving all the time.

 So, to the seven things about me:
  1. Like Ali, my accent also changes at will, so much so that I sometimes have to watch it. I think it comes from years of language learning and generally moving around.
  2. Ali was sad to discover that her first gig wasn't The Deftones; I'm proud to reveal that mine was to see 3T (remember them? Jacko's nephews) at Plymouth Pavilions, supported by Shola Ama. My friend and I went with our mums. Good times.
  3. As you all know, I have a cat called Tolstoy. If I were to get a dog, I'd get a red King Charles Spaniel and call it Joan, in tribute.
  4. The only times I really realise how small I am (155cm) are in the mirrors at Pilates next to all the taller people, and when I have to stand on tip-toes to order at bars. Otherwise it never occurs to me. Naturally, I get ID'd ALL THE TIME.
  5. When I studied in Japan, I did a several-month-long stint of hair modelling for a local salon. Photos of yourself in crazy Japanese wigs in regional, Japanese-language hair magazines = best souvenirs ever.
  6. I'm a pretty good cook. My favourite things to make are Greek salad, Scandinavian beetroot and ginger soup and pasta of all types. Tomorrow night I'm making a three course Thai feast for some friends.
  7. And my final thing...having worked in the arts/theatre for a few years now, I've met a good number of famous literary, thespy and general celebrity-esque people. The majority are disappointing in some way, so it's with pleasure that I reveal that the nicest celeb I've met is Deborah Moggach, who has written many things, including the 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel', which was recently made into a film. She was so nice and friendly that she wanted to talk at length about my writing - where I was with things, how I find it, what my writing is about etc. - and waved away any suggestion of talking about her own. 
 
So, who would you nominate? And what secrets would you tell?
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