The Liebster Award (It’s Great to be Tagged)

what a good idea

This is a super idea and I am grateful to you, Litlove aka Victoria aka Tales from the Reading Room for nominating me. I enjoy following your blog and now replying to the questions you’ve posed. Here we go then.

1) What do you think of literary prizes? Good or bad?

Over the years Mr Carmichael has given me many gifts, notable for both goodness (citrine and gold earrings) and badness (Tuscany From the Air, a coffee table book that needs more than coffee to resuscitate it) but the most thoughtful present I have yet received from my hubby was hardback editions of the 2000 Booker shortlist the day it was announced. This was neither a high day nor a holiday. He just wanted to get them for me because for a moment he had seen into my soul (at least that’s what I choose to think). How can I argue with literary prizes after such a millennial meteor shower of kindness?

2) If you could write any sort of book what would you write?

Hmmmmm. I have two thoughts. First off I would like to return to and finish the YA novel I drafted a handful of years ago. It’s gobbling dust in the bottom left hand drawer of my desk and needs much revision but I think the story’s still good. Being a ‘completer achiever’ (that’s what the psychometric tests say anyway) I need to do this to attain nirvana and obtain a peaceful soul.

Secondly, I have thoughts for a memoir with a twist.

3) Describe your ideal home library/study

safe landing, 2007 (mrscarmichael)

I grew up in a house where books piled themselves upon books crammed onto shelves, into cupboards and along hallways. I have trained myself not need them like that. This training is a work in progress and, to date, I have hundreds of the blighters on shelves, in cupboards and in the attic. Oh and magazines too. So by way of contrast, I would like my working area to be tidy, clear and white. I would like crispness in decoration to instill the same in mind.

I want a white one (Vitra)

I would like my desk to be able to see daylight. I want a painting or print by Eileen Cooper on the wall. Her subjects are quirky and busy and make me smile. I want a fancy pants chair like this that describes comfort, style and a serious intent to write. I want good light and a view.

4) Name two authors whose work will last the test of time and explain why

My first choice is Vikrim Seth. If asked, I usually say the A Suitable Boy is my favourite novel. I would like to read a page or two of it for the rest of my life. In this book he manages to convey both the scope and the minutiae of life in equal measure and with equal vibrancy. There is a lyrical balance to his writing. An Equal Music, so different yet so good.

William Boyd is my second nomination. I have loved so many of his novels. Armadillo, Any Human Heart, Brazzaville Beach and Ordinary Thunderstorms count among my favourites. He is a master storyteller and in the end isn’t that one of the most important things an enduring read should have, a great story? I think so.

5) Which books do you hope to get for Christmas?

Dear Santa, If I am really good, clean the house and cook my family yummy meals that they all like every day could I please have Julius Shulman’s, Modernism Rediscovered. I will try and be good between now and the 25th December. I understand that this is an expensive request, more coffee table than coffee table book, but it’s what I want and I do think, when everything’s considered, that I’m worth it.

here it is, Santa (mrscarmichael)

6) What’s the last book you did not finish and why?

I wrote this before I read more of your blogroll, Victoria but am going to plough on regardless.

My book group met last night. We had two set texts for the previous month. Sexing The Cherry by Jeanette Winterson and The Lighthouse (Booker shortlisted) by Alison Moore. The latter was hotly tipped to win. She didn’t. The former I couldn’t finish. I think I got to page twenty twice. It’s just not my bag. I don’t like fantasy. Maybe, having read your review I will try again because I have been wrong before. As a child I could never get beyond page two of The Hundred and One Dalmatians (Dodie Smith) fearing for the puppies’ lives but this, I think, is different.

The Lighthouse, on the other hand…………………..

7) Would you accept twenty books that were absolutely perfect for you and a dependably brilliant read, if they were also the last twenty books you could ever acquire?

No. My definition of perfection has been known to change. Mr Carmichael is a case in point.

Now for my seven questions:

1) Is there a book you would never want to be parted from? Why?

2) Which six authors, living or dead, will you invite to join your new reading group?

3) Book or Kindle? Would anything change this decision?

4) If you could study full time or study full time again what would you choose to learn about?

5) Who would you write a biography of? What’s so special about them?

6) You’ve been asked to write an article for Condé Nast’s Traveller magazine on your favourite holiday destination. What is your opening sentence?

7) If you had to paint every wall in your house one colour what would it be? Why? I do not allow you white or magnolia.

And I tag……….

the dancing professordiannegraySweet ThingYour Monthly Periodicalkrisbrakegrouchywomanexceedingspeed

and anyone else who would like to join in too. I’m excited to read you replies.


19 thoughts on “The Liebster Award (It’s Great to be Tagged)

  1. Neat!! I look forward to thinking around these things tonight. For now, I’m excited for the recommendations – I don’t know Seth, for instance, but have added ‘A Suitable Boy’ to my wish list. As for Jeanette Winterson, I devoured all her books when I was younger, haven’t tried to read them since – except for her contribution to the Canongate Myth Series, ‘Weight,’ which is quite different from her usual fare, and (to my mind at least) beautiful and moving.

  2. Oh I loved, loved, loved your answers! It’s okay, you can not like Jeanette Winterson and we will still be friends! Seriously, you don’t teach students for years and remain touchy about books you like. 🙂 I completely agree about William Boyd, who I adore, but have never read Vikram Seth, hmmmm, plotting now. Your study sounds fabulous, and I am also a completer finisher (which is good news for Mr Litlove who is a do-three-quarters-of-it-walk-away sort of guy). And your last answer made me snort with laughter.

    1. Thanks for your lovely reply. Remember it’s my fantasy office. I tend on work on one end of the dining table in reality. A Suitable Boy is a very long read so get into the mood before opening.
      That is the question that gave me the most angst but I’m pleased with my decision. Boyd just keeps coming up with new ideas. Have you seen the 4 part TV making of Any Human Heart with Jim Broadbent? Channel 4 (UK) did the author proud.
      I have also loved reading your other respondees. Here’s hoping I get a few replies too.

  3. How lovely to visit your blog, and first be met with your tagline which I love! Which I’m constantly working to learn! The only book I’ve read by Vikram Seth is The Golden Gate which is a novel written in sonnets. It’s quite lovely, and I should read An Equal Music along with A Suitable Boy. Such a fun sense of humour you have, and how lucky to have the hardcover novels from your husband. Mine plays it safe with jewels and perfume, for which I’ll not complain.

    1. I wouldn’t complain either! It was just so out of the blue which made it even nicer. Thanks re the tagline. That comes from years of trying, utterly unsuccessfully, to change Mr Carmichael. But I do say it to myself often and fail much more regularly. I think I shall follow you and my new correspondent in Paris for more tips on books and to make this Liebster award of real value.
      Let’s speak soon.

  4. I’ve only read An Equal Music and that was several years ago, but I remember really enjoying it. I love the world of musicians and classical music so I was delighted to find a novel that focused entirely on that. I remember thinking that Seth spoke really well about music, that he actually seemed to know what he was talking about – something I appreciate all the more as my brother is a professional pianist…

    Your last answer also made me laugh, as did your white-or-magnolia ban 🙂

    1. Well, there’s sitar playing in ASB to continue the musical theme.

      Yes the walls. Ideally I would like a really modern house with white walls but we can’t all have what we want, can we? In my present house I seem to have acquired every colour in an earthy palate but would have to think hard to stick to one and weather to be sensible or mad.

      Mr Carmichael is a constant source of inspiration and his lack of perfection is an often visited refrain in my blogs.

      Thanks for reading it.

  5. Thank you for your kind words and interest in our site!! I am not entirely sure how these awards work, but I really enjoyed reading your answers and will happily answer your riveting questions! :o)

    1) Is there a book you would never want to be parted from? Why?
    — I have a book called the Cheese Primer, and let me tell you, it has become one of my favorite books in the world. I mean, it’s not emotionally provocative, and has no plotline, but it’s a WHOLE BOOK ABOUT CHEESE.
    2) Which six authors, living or dead, will you invite to join your new reading group?
    — William Shakespeare (I pray he’d wear his tights and breeches), Franz Kafka (what a broody hunk), Louisa May Alcott (a truly fascinating female character), Helen Gurley Brown (uh, no explanation needed!), Ken Kesey (I’m WAY ready to get on the bus!), Tom Robbins (the man of my dreams)
    3) Book or Kindle? Would anything change this decision?
    — Book, but mostly because nobody has kindly gifted me a Kindle yet, and I don’t see myself purchasing one!
    4) If you could study full time or study full time again what would you choose to learn about?
    — I would immerse myself in studying Islamic language and culture. The brief taste I got in a college medieval Islam class really sparked my interest, and I’d love further structured learning on the topic.
    5) Who would you write a biography of? What’s so special about them?
    I am pretty fascinated by Aleister Crowley, but that might just be the simple allure of magic and orgies.
    6) You’ve been asked to write an article for Condé Nast’s Traveller magazine on your favourite holiday destination. What is your opening sentence?
    — “If you somehow managed to scrape together the cash and time off for a vacation this year, congratulations!”
    7) If you had to paint every wall in your house one colour what would it be? Why? I do not allow you white or magnolia.
    — It’s a toss-up between a mellow olive, and a rich, dark purple.

    Hope this is right– thanks again!

    1. Brilliant answers! I love the mellow olive….

      Hi you, thanks for taking the time……….

      The idea with this is that you do it as a blog post, copying the award symbol, tagging me as your tagger and then tagging 7 further and writing 7 new questions. some just post the same questions again which is great too.

      you’ll be surprised where your hits come from. this Liebster has been going for a while.

      Can you copy and past this into your blog…..saying how ‘silly’ or whatever it is?

      But I think you’ll enjoy the replies you get.

      I love your blog title. That’s what drew me in the first place.
      looking forward to speaking again

  6. You had fun answers. I wouldn’t be able to take the 20 “perfect” books either. There is something to be said for the imperfect book too. I creates the shadow so the perfect ones seems that much better.

    1. I love your image of the shadows. That is so right too. I don’t know how many books I have loved for 3/4 of the read and then the author just cannot finish with the same finesse. Some books I am happy to read for the language and imagery, others for their page turning plots alone. there are few I can read over and over and some I do I think very differently about. Believe it or not I wanted to be Becky Sharp in days gone by.

  7. Congratulations! I loved your comments – fantastic and funny (particularly question 7). 😀

    I read Sexing the Cherry years ago because it was the big thing at the time and when I’d finished it I couldn’t figure out why (though I suspect it had something to do with the name).

    Thank you so much for the tag. I’ll be checking out the others now 😉

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