Today it is my absolute pleasure to welcome the lovely Anne Williams of Being Anne to Jen Med’s to help me spread a little more #booklove. We’ll be taking a look at all Anne’s bookish confessions, just as soon as we’ve learned a little more about Anne.
When I first set up this blog, I really agonised over what to call it. I wanted it to be more than “just a book blog”, but I still need to work on that one. Maybe one day – but then again maybe not. I’m enjoying myself too much with the books.
My name is Anne (as you’ve probably guessed…) and I live in the beautiful market town of Wetherby in West Yorkshire. I haven’t always lived here though – I’m originally from a village near Bangor in North Wales, and still regularly visit family there. I worked as a civil servant (DWP) for more years than I care to remember, in my later years working in project and change management, and in marketing and communications.
But I’m now 61 years of age, and able to spend my time doing all the things I most enjoy: I was lucky enough to be able to take early retirement in March 2014.
My first passion has always been reading – I now enjoy spending much of my time doing just that, writing about books here on Being Anne, and discussing them with blogging and reading friends. I really enjoy doing a monthly book review slot on local community radio, Tempo FM in Wetherby, and also run the local U3A Book Group. I travel regularly to book related events – and am lucky to be invited to some of the best launches and parties!
You can follow Anne on her blog, and via Social Media
Favourite book from childhood
In common with most other people, I really loved Enid Blyton. I was always a bit put off by the Famous Five though, because my namesake Anne was such a wimp – George was so much more fun. My favourite was The Adventurous Four. I see it’s now called The Adventurous Four Shipwrecked! (why, oh why?) and twins Jill and Mary have been renamed Pippa and Zoe…
The first book you fell in love with
I moved on from children’s books pretty quickly really, and read anything I could lay my hands on. It’s a very long time ago, so I can’t really remember my first love – but I suspect it was probably something my mum wouldn’t have entirely approved of. I think it might have been Valley Of The Dolls by Jacqueline Susann – I see it was published when I was 11…!
Biggest book crush
The book character you’re totally in love with
Maybe I should probably mention Heathcliff or Mr Darcy, but it has to be Adam Hamilton-Shaw from Sheryl Browne’s The Rest Of My Life. He has absolutely no sense of right or wrong where women are concerned, but I loved his hidden depths and sad back-story. And he’s absolutely gorgeous… certainly left me with a smile on my face…
Weirdest book crush
Prince, the black labrador in Matt Haig’s The Last Family in England. This book is still one of my all-time favourites, while Prince does all he can to help and protect his family while adhering to the Labrador Pact. I’ve never been able to look at a labrador since without wondering what they’re thinking… (If I hadn’t chosen Prince, it would have had to be Adam in Flowers for the Dead by Barbara Copperthwaite – and that would have been really weird!)
Hardest break up
The book you didn’t want to end
I think that has to be Sealskin by Su Bristow. It’s not a particularly big book, but it took me an absolute age to read – it’s so beautifully written, every word carefully chosen, and I just wanted to savour every moment. I was bereft when I finished…
The one that got away
The book in your TBR or wish list that you regret not having started yet.
Heavens, there are so many! But I think I must mention The Wacky Man by Lyn G Farrell. I’ve met Lyn several times and was totally fascinated (and very moved) to hear her talking about the harrowing background, but I think it’s a book I need to pick the right time to tackle. One day…
Guilty Reading pleasure
Every so often, I do enjoy reading young adult books – just for the enjoyment, and I rarely review any on the blog. Favourites? I really enjoyed The Hunger Games (not me at all really!), but do have a particular soft spot for Michael Morpurgo and Sally Gardner. And I’m sure anyone would love the wonderful books by the late Siobhan Dowd as much as I do.
Love one, love them all
Favourite series or genre
I’m going to pick out a publisher, but even that’s a difficult choice! I think – because some of the others get more exposure – that I’ll go for Honno Welsh Women’s Press. They have an unerring eye for the most wonderful books and authors (Carol Lovekin, Thorne Moore, Juliet Greenwood, Judith Barrow… and so many others I’ve loved), handle them with care, and I’ve never read a book they’ve published that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed.
Your latest squeeze
Favourite read of the last 12 months
It’s been an exceptional year for books, and it’s going to be so difficult to identify a list of books of the year, let alone spotlight just one. But I will single out Not Thomas by Sara Gethin, published by Honno. I really don’t usually like reading about the ugliness of this world – I prefer my books to be an escape – but this book was simply stunning. A world of cruelty and neglect written in the voice of a five year old child, seeing it all through his eyes and from his unique perspective – a book I’d unreservedly recommend to everyone.
Blind date for a friend
If you were to set a friend up with a blind date (book) which one would it be?
So many friends read crime and thrillers, and I’d like to introduce them to one I really enjoyed – Hostile Witness by Nell Peters. It takes a really special book to get me sprinting down the platform on arrival at Kings Cross to find a seat so I could read the last few pages. The body count has to be seen to be believed, but it’s also seriously funny – such a difficult balance to achieve. It’s a taut and tension-filled psychological thriller, but with a quite wonderful fresh and light approach of a kind I’ve honestly never seen before.
Greatest love of all
Favourite book of all time.
This is such a difficult question! Just so I’m not here all night, I’m going to plump for my favourite romantic novel of the last few years – Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey. We all read for different reasons, but one of the things I love is the way you can live inside a book for as long as you’re reading it, entirely leaving the real world behind – and when this book ended, I cried my eyes out because everything about it had been so thoroughly perfect.
Thanks Anne. Some absolutely brilliant choices in there. I don’t know if I ever read the advernturous four when I was younger. I was all Famous Five and Secret Seven. Strange as I hate odd numbers now 😀
I agree with you about Sealskin. Absolutely beautiful book. So unlike anything I’d normally read but I am so glad that I read it. And I really must move Flowers For the Dead up my tbr. Noever had you pegged as a Hunger Games junkie though…
What do you think folks? Agree with Anne’s choices? Do you have an other recommendations to add to Anne’s already huge TBR pile?
Make sure to join me on Friday when author Ann Girdharry shares all of her #booklove.
Have a fabulous day all