About this time last year I jumped on birdienl‘s bandwagon and answered a series of questions on my favourite films. This year she has been at it again with a very enlightening series of posts on books, and again I am inspired to follow suit. This time I have done it all in one go.

I have hidden my self-indulgent reading reflections behind a cut.

I’m not as good a reader as I used to be and no where near as exploratory as I’d like to be. This meme has been a very helpful way to reflect on my reading habits, and it’s inspired me to try and change a little!

01. A fictional character you identify with and why
Hands down: Anne Elliot. Ten years ago she was a character I wanted to be like. After all this time I think she has had way too much influence over my character for someone who is a figment of our collective imaginations.

02. Your earliest memory of reading or being read to
I remember my mum reading me picture books: Brown Bear, Brown Bear and One Bear All Alone. Bears must have been really in at the time. I also remember sitting in bed with my mum in the evenings when I was a little older, she would read me our big hard cover editions of Peter Pan and The Secret Garden.

03. Your favourite book aged 9 ½, or 13 ¾, whichever you remember best.
I can’t exactly remember what I enjoyed reading in year 4 but at 13 and three quarters I was starting to really get into Jostein Gaarder’s books. I would have read Sophie’s World and The Solitaire Mystery by then.

04. The book that’s been on your shelves the longest.
It’s a three way tie. My memory wasn’t fully developed when I first got these books so I’m not sure which came first. They are still on my shelf.


Grandmother Lucy was and still is a great favourite. My Grandma’s name is Lucy and the book seemed to describe exactly the kind of adventures we would have together when I went to visit her. I seriously thought that someone had written a book about me and I was the anonymous little girl in the book. Maybe if I was doing this quiz when I was five I would have made this my answer to question 1.

Grandmother Lucy goes on a Picnic:
The anonymous girl and me reading my book

05. A book you acquired in some interesting memorable way
My first bible was given to me by my friend Ken when I was in year 9 or year 10. He was almost outraged that I didn’t own my own so he went and bought me one, a thin NIV bible. I still have it 🙂

06. A book with a story for you, that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)
An Equal Music by Virkam Seth (one of the bleaker books I have read – I felt so low after it!). My mum read it just before we went on our family holiday to Europe and everywhere we went reminded her of something from the story so I read it when we got home, at her insistence. It opened up a whole new dimension of classical music to me (especially chamber music) and gave me my first taste of Bach. The “soundtrack” to the book is one of my favourite albums.

07. What fictional character are you (secretly) in love with
Captain Wentworth. Not so secret.

08. The last book you acquired, and how (begged, bought, borrowed?)
Wives and Daughters, borrowed from Amelia.

09. Your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next.
I have just finished reading Wives and Daughters (excellent!). The read before that was my first ever missionary biography called Not Less Than Everything, which is about female missionaries in China, lent to me by Fi. It was awesome. Next up I think I will read a book by the Christian author Jerry Bridges, which our friend Jason gave us.

10. What author do you own the most books by and why?
If I wasn’t married it would be Jostein Gaarder, but Matt totally ruined that. Now I own 17 books by Tolkien, none of which I have read. Think that’s a lot? I also own 37 books by the British theologian N T Wright – and those are just the ones I can locate on our double layered book shelves. Oh dear.

11. Do you own multiple copies of any book? What are they? Why do you have multiple copies?
There are a stack of bibles – literally, I think if I piled them up on top of each other they would nearly come up to my waist. We like having a range of translations – we even have some in Greek and Chinese! Those are much harder to read 😛

12. Book borrowing – do you use the library? Do you prefer to try before you buy? What about lending your books to friends? Are you a good borrower, do you remember to return books?
Campsie library is my favourite. I wish I got there more often.

13. Do you reread a lot? Why (not)? Name a book you have reread many times.
Bible excluded? I read Persuasion every autumn.

14. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
I don’t know if “best” is the right adjective, but I read Madame Bovary recently and it has stuck with me in a disturbing way. I feel much more pessimistic about how human character develops. But I guess that means it was well written, right?

15. Do you recommend books to other people? If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?
With my mum and mother-in-law I have enough trouble keeping up with what has been recommended to me, let alone telling other people what books to read!

16. Adaptation: What book would you most like to see made into a film? Do you like to read the book first or see the film? Any books you have read after seeing the film version?
Surprise me, hollywood.

17. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
The Hobbit. It was too boring to finish. Mum told me to persevere through the start of the book because it was slow moving. I got halfway through and asked her when it was going to get interesting. When she saw how far in I was, she suggested I move on to something else!

18. Your favourite book series & your favourite book out of that series
Douglas Adams’ Hitchiker’s Guide. Classic, classic. I think my favourite is the first.

19. Your favourite picture, junior fiction and Young Adult books
Picture: My Place by Nadia Wheatley
Junior Fiction: the whole Five go on a Hike by Enid Blyton (my favourite one of all!)
Young Adult: I hate to admit it – The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

20. Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
I have no answer for this one

21. A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Wives and Daughters. I expected way more death, but it wasn’t too bad on that front!

22. Your “comfort” book
Anything by Jane Austen

23. Favourite book cover including a picture!
The Arrival by Shaun Tan


24. Favourite fictional relationship (romantic, friendship, familial)
It’s repetitive but I’m just being honest – Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth.

25. Most annoying character ever
Everyone in Wuthering Heights.

26. Most quotable novel or 5 of your favourite quotes from any books.
I feel that between Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Persuasion I could have an appropriate quote for every imaginable situation.

27. Any five books from your “to be read” stack. What makes you select a book for your “to be read” stack?
The Colony by Grace Karskens
Jesus and the victory of God by NT Wright
Home by Marilynne Robinson
Shaping a Future by Peter Kaldor and other NCLS people

There are only four. I have started reading all of them and I think I will need persistence to make it to the end of them all!

28. Some firsts:
First book you remember loving/being obsessed with.

The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton

First book that made you cry.
I had a “scary joke book” when I was young full of jokes about witches, vampires and skeletons. I remember putting two and two together while I was reading it one night before bed and realising that the skeletons were actually dead people. It was the first time I realised that we were going to die. I remeber getting very upset. It’s my first book related crying memory.

First book you gave to someone else as a gift.
I remember my mum getting me to write birthday messages in the front of people’s books but I don’t remember what they were.

29. Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
There was too much death in North and South. No spoilers, but the last one was pretty depressing, just because it was the peak of a mountain of death.

30. The End: do you prefer everything tied up or to be able to ‘make up your own mind’? What is the worst ending to a book you have read? And the best? (careful, spoiler tags!)
Tied up please! Wives and Daughters had NO ending – can you believe it!?


12 thoughts on “Books

  1. etimodnar

    I had a lot of thoughts while reading through.
    Thought 1: NT Wright? James is all up on NT Wright’s theology and from what I’ve gathered he’s a mixed bunch of good and bad. What’s your take? And why so many of them?

    Thought 2: I love Shaun Tan sooooooo much! I have The Arrival and love showing it to my class. It makes me cry at the end.

    Thought 3: Your comment on Wuthering Heights made me chortle. I didn’t get it. It wasn’t the most ah-mazing romance evah, it was two people tearing each other and everyone else apart.

    I thought I had more thoughts than that. But I guess that’ll do 🙂

    1. Anonymous

      Ugh, Matt beat me to it.
      We have so many of his books because Matt is a pretty hardcore NT Wright nerd.

      I have read a couple of books and some of his commentaries and they have all been very very well written, well argued and thoguht provoking. I read his resurrection tome a few years ago and I think it has been the most helpful and grounding book I ever read. It helped me to think much more deeply, I appreciate what God has done so much more and I feel like my faith is unshakeable now! Thanks NT Wright!

      I haven’t read much that directly explores some of his more “controversial” thoughts yet – although as you can see it’s on my “to read” list!

      By the way I love that you show The Arrival to your class. It’s definitely not one for reading out loud. Do you actually say anything while you are turning the pages or do you just let the pictures do the work?

  2. ringsandcoffee

    I watched North and South with friends who had already read the book. By the 4th episode I was like, I bet _______ dies too, and they were just silent. 5 minutes later…I loved the book though.

    So happy you loved W&D. I was shocked by the lack of ending as well.

    Oh yeah, I also thought The Hobbit was boring, and this was after I read LOTR. I never read the last 3 pages.

  3. birdienl

    So, you must be quite a clever teenager, when you were reading Jostein Gaarder books when you were 13. Or maybe I’m misjudging them, I’ve never actually opened one, only heard about it.

    I really love that picture of the anonymous girl and your picture. You even look alike!

    I’ve never read Madame Bovary, but I did watch an adaptation and it also left me quite disturbed. I don’t think I dare read it yet…

  4. Anonymous

    Hehe! There is a difference between reading and understanding 😛 I know at least half of Sophie’s World went over my head when I first read it!

  5. Anonymous

    Wives and Daughters

    Hi Alison, Looks like I have you hooked on Elizabeth Gaskell as well. Such a brilliant writer. It is such a pity that she suddenly died before she could completely finish writing Wives and Daughters. – Sandra.

    1. Alison Post author

      Re: Wives and Daughters

      I am eternally in your debt!! 😀

      I also finally got around to watching the mini-series. Nothing like a missing end-of-the-story to get me to do that. I will bring them back when we next see you!


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