Independent Bookshop Week 2016 Book questions

In the run up to Independent Bookshop Week, inspired by the Booksellers Association, vloggers are taking part in an IBW Tag answering questions about books. I'm a luddite so I have no idea what half of that sentence means, but I do know how to watch vlogs and answer questions.

Here's the vlog that started the trend:

And here are my answers to the questions.

1. What book(s) are currently in your bag?

There are two. The first is Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, which was recommended to me by Barnett's of Wadhurst (come back later in the week to read about it). This is a book I'd probably never have picked up by myself, but I'm so glad it was recommended to me. After two thirds of the book just one day has passed in the story so I'm not confident enough to yet tell you what it's about but I've become immersed in its world and am struggling to put the book down to return to everyday life.

The second is The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent. I've heard this dismissed as a lighthearted read but, having delved into its themes of loneliness and relationships, it's a book I want to encourage everyone to read. Again, I'm yet to write about the bookshop I bought this from, but Scarthin Books will be appearing here soon.

2. What’s the last great book you read?

I recently re-read What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge, which I bought at G Heywood Hill. It's not a great big life-changing book, but as I was reading what was one of my childhood favourites I realised how much of an impact this story has had on making me the person I've become. For me, that makes it a great book.

3. What book have you gifted the most?

This is an easy one. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, bought when I was a teenager. It's my all-time favourite book and my go-to gift for everyone. Sadly very few recipients have ever looked beyond the front cover, but the ones who do have been surprised and enjoyed it.

I can never find the right words to describe this book, so I'm not going to try, but in 1921 it made Edith Wharton the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. That's got to mean something. Right?

4. What’s your favourite independent bookshop?

No comment! I love them all.

5. What’s been your favourite book recommended by a bookseller (or fellow Booktuber)?

This one's really stumped me, because most of my books are recommended by a bookseller and it's very rare for me to be disappointed.

6. What’s your favourite bookshop memory?

For this question I'm going to answer with my favourite bookshop memory that has so far been featured on this blog, which is the story of how one of my best friends bought The Flight From The Enchanter by Iris Murdoch and met her husband.

7. What do bookshops mean to you? What do you love about them?

They mean more than I can find the words to say. I've previously explained how bookshops helped me to make friends, but that was when I was younger.

Today bookshops have helped to make me a better, more confident – and more well-travelled – version of myself. The evidence can be seen not only in every entry of this blog, but also in how much more bright and fun my life has become since I began my bookshopping adventure.

8. What are the books that made you? Which books have most affected or influenced you?

I've already mentioned What Katy Did, but that was more of an incidental influence. Instead I'd say the three main books that made me are The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett; Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransom; and The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. You'll have to read them yourselves to find out in what way.

9. What book do you recommend readers gift for Father’s Day?

Am I allowed to say The Age of Innocence again? No? Okay, in which case I'll go for The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. It's an intelligent page-turner that I'm sure my Dad will love.

10. What book is currently at the top of your TBR pile?

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer, picked up at DRAKE – The Bookshop, it looks fun.

To mimic the YouTube tagging, I'd really like to see answers from A life in books, Clothes in books and Kara from Books are my bag.

Of course, I'd also like to hear from the rest of you – what do you think, do you agree or disagree? I'd love to see your comments below or even your own blogs/vlogs to answer the questions.


  1. Loved reading this, quite apart from your tagging me and enjoying doing my own version. Your three books that made me are all great favourites of mine, particularly What Katy Did, which I wrote about recently, so glad to find another fan. I do actually like House of Mirth better than Age of Innocence, but we can agree to differ!

    1. I love House of Mirth too, but am not sure I could read that one again without finding myself completely broken because of how moving it is.

      I'm so glad you took part in this too.


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