My dear friends,
Welcome to the third instalment of this new segment on my blog, where I (metaphorically) sit down with some amazing bloggers and we chat about blogging, life, and – most importantly – books!
Today’s guest is Brittany from Book Ramblings!
N: Thank you so much for agreeing to do this fun talk with me, Brittany, and welcome to The Artsy Reader! Would you tell us a bit about your own blog Book Ramblings – when did you start it, and most importantly, why?
B: I set up my blog last June in an attempt to start reading for fun again. I used to read loads in college but really struggled to find the balance in my first two years studying English at University. I knew I wanted to work in the publishing industry after graduating but how could I when I wasn’t keeping myself updated with recent releases? Since writing on my blog, I’ve been able to work on that balance between required read and reading for fun. I write reviews and informal discussions about books all these books I’ve read. I know you studied English at University as well – did you ever find that balance of reading outside of your course?
N: That’s nice – we both share our studies as well as our wish for a job in the publishing industry! During my course I was constantly readingreadingreading. I picked up a classic, put it down and the next minute I picked up a book ‘just for fun.’ That’s when the idea for starting a blog was born – I was looking for an outlet for all the ideas and to review the books I was reading – and to talk about them with like-minded people (like you!). Ironically, after my graduation, and when I picked up work, I started to read way less, even though I had more time… But that was when I finally started my blog then. Weird? Yes, I know. Lol.
N: One thing we all share is our passion for books. What genres do you like to read the most? I wonder if we like the same books. My favourite genres are definitely children’s literature of all kinds (from picture books, to story books, to MG), YA and adult novels that contain historical elements, romance or fantasy. Is that something that resonates with you, too?
B: Outside of my course I love to read something completely different. I tend to seek out YA fantasy and contemporaries, so we definitely have that fantasy element in common! I have to be in a certain mood to add a bit of historical elements into my reading purely because I read that for my University course so often. I did actually do a week of reading children’s books and loved it! Easy reading and not too much of a time commitment. For a good laugh, I’d recommend To Wee or Not To Wee, where children retell Shakespeare plays. Any recs from you, in children’s books and fantasy?
N: Oh, my god, that book sounds AMAZING! Will add it to my basket right away, thank you for the rec! Hmm, let me see… I always love to recommend Ban This Book by Alan Gratz. It’s a wonderful children’s story about the importance of books for children – and the importance of them to pick their reads themselves.
B: Favourite classic you’ve read and would recommend?
N: I always recommend Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, because it’s definitely my favourite classic. However, I just had to think of Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne. I think especially now, it could be the perfect escapist read, as we venture – well, as the title says – deep, deep down underground, and find…ah, I’m not gonna spoiler it!
N: Something I always wonder about bookish people like myself: Do you carry along a book wherever you go? If so, which one do you currently have in your bag?
B: Normally I do yeah. Right now it’s a bit boring because it’s a book for my degree: Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah. What about you?
N: I do, too, normally, but at the moment – thanks to a scary virus – I don’t have a physical book or ebook reader with me because I want less things to be outside my house when I leave it. Instead, I have a few ebooks on my phone to survive, should I need a book!
B: Sometimes I keep a book on me that I really want to read because I’ve set myself a goal. For example, in December, I carried around the Spanish edition of Harry Potter because I’ve always wanted to read a full book in a second language. I managed to read 5 chapters, and while I still have this aim to finish the book, I have pressed pause for now while I work on my dissertation. Do you set yourself any reading goals?
N: Oh wow, that’s so cool! I’m not sure if that counts, but since I started to co-host the #Hypeathonreadathon with Ellie from ReadtoRamble, we set ourselves the goal to each month read some super hyped and famous books that we didn’t get to so far. We don’t always manage each month as well as the other, but we try, and I like it this way. I don’t want my recreational reading to become a pressure. Something else I’m always wondering: Do you like fan merch or bookish decor? If so, what do you own, and what are you looking forward to get?
B: This isn’t something I tend to buy for myself but instead get bought it a lot for birthdays and Christmas. My parents love to buy me Harry Potter merch; I have so many glasses, cards, tshirts, and my most recent favourite: Hermione’s pop figure from my sister. I really want to start collecting pop figures in all the books and films I like, from Harry Potter to friends and most especially the new Lara-Jean figure that’s just been released! I live in a student accommodation now so don’t have the best way to display my books but the long-term goal is to have multiple bookcases to showcase my books and merch. Another thing I have my eye on is these prints from Britishbookart.
B: What’s your book set up look like? Do you have a bookcase where all your books are or are they dotted around your house?
N: Hah, funny that you ask, because I just added to my shelves! I have some open ones now that are standing in the room (as opposed to at a wall), so I can put books in from two sides now, which has helped a lot. However, the occasional stack (or three) around the house cannot be helped, I’m afraid… My stacks were seriously getting out of hand!
Are there any books you really look forward to reading in 2020?
B: So many! I’m seeing a lot on my twitter from people with arcs of House of Earth and Blood so that’s getting me excited. And I’m also excited to read my arc of In Five Years by Rebecca Searle this month.
What about you? If you could recommend I add one book to my ‘highly anticipated 2020 releases’ what would it be and what case would you make for it?
N: To be perfectly honest with you, I would have to look one up now. Ironically, I don’t know about any new releases anymore… 🙈 One day in the past few years my TBR overpowered me and I lost track of the sheer amount of books I want to read, and I just stopped looking at new releases.
I cannot ever answer this question, but wonder if you can: What’s your favourite book EVER?
B: Oh my goodness this is so hard! I recently filled out a job application that asked for my top 5 books and I even struggled with that! I find that because there was such a big gap between me reading (I didn’t read for fun for over two years), I often pick books I’ve read over the last year because I can’t remember everything about earlier books, and I fear they may not be a favourite if I reread them. So over the last year, my top six (because I need an extra) were: Scythe, A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Moonrise, The Flatshare, Empire of Storms and I’ll Give You The Sun.
How many could you narrow yours down to?
N: This is hard indeed! Hm, let me see… As I said, Alice in Wonderland is one of my all-time favourites. I also really love the depth of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. The ACOTAR series is definitely one of my favourites, too. Depending on what awesome books I read the list gets added too!
B: Do you have a book that has been in your top favourites for ages? Like mine are all within the last year but I know some people loved books as teenagers and still consider them favourites?
N: Well, I still consider the Twilight Saga as one of my favourites. I guess you can argue about the writing, but these books were so important to me during my teenage years, and I think they will hold a special position in my bookish ranking forever!
N: Now I’d like to do a quick “This or That” type of game with you! I think they’re so fun and tell you a lot about a person. Ready?
Hardcover or paperback?
B: Ooh… in my head hardback but with my bank account paperback. And I like my bookshelves to look neat so now I’ve started to buy everything paperback I need to continue. I have bought a few hardbacks though because it was the only edition out there or the cover was nicer! How about you?
N: I used to LOVE hardcovers – they were like the holy grail of books for me during my teenage years. But now… as you said – the bank account disagrees (lol), but I also find it easier to hold paperbacks while reading!
Physical or ebook?
B: Physical book all the way! Although when rereading books, I love to try out the audiobook. Do you listen to audiobooks and if so what makes you pick up the audiobook instead of reading it?
N: I only recently got into audiobooks and still find it hard to get used to them to be honest. Like, I cannot understand how people listen to them while doing something else. I really have to concentrate hard and shut out everything else so that I don’t miss anything. I wonder will that change…?
Real bookmark or random scrap of paper?
B: Admittedly, for me it’s normally a random scrap of paper.
Series or standalones?
N: Hmm, both I think! Sometimes I find a nice and quick standalone nice. But other times I don’t want to let go of characters and their worlds and find more books the better!
A bit of reading every day or everything or nothing?
B: I try to read something every day but when it comes for reading for fun I tend to be an everything or nothing kind of gal because that’s just how my time works.
Neat bookshelves or random stacks of books everywhere?
B: Neat bookshelves!
Night or morning reader?
N: Definitely night-time. I’m such a night-owl, it’s not even funny. Most of the time I can’t even help it – this insomnia is so hard to get rid off! Also, work usually comes in the way of morning reading lol.
Keeping a physical (or digital) copy of every book you read or unhauling every now and then?
B: Keeping a physical copy – they’re like my very beautiful trophies! I do unhaul books I’ve read for University that I don’t want to keep though.
N: I’m exactly the same, you get such a feeling of accomplishment when you have them on display, right? Haha.
And that’s it! Many thanks for your appearance on The Artsy Reader, Brittany! It was lovely to have you here!
Thanks everyone for reading!