I've also seen loads of people doing the book tag for IBW and I always want to do book tags and never do sooooo... here we go! I'm going to do the tag and then in a few days I'll also post about our little bookshop crawl and my haul from that!
The tag was created by Will at Vintage Books and because I do not (yet) vlog, I got the questions from Jim of YaYeahYeah.
What book(s) are currently in your bag?
I haven't unpacked my bag from the bookshop crawl yet so technically all the books, but the ones I'm actually reading are Negroland by Margo Jefferson, an autobiography about what it's was like to grow up as part of upper class black society in 20th century America, and Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pilcher which I know very little about except that lots of people loved it. I'm two pages in and it seems good so far!
What's the last great book you read?
I had to check my spreadsheet for this and am kiiiind of cheating but only because I literally just finished Bitch Planet Volume 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro and haven't quite figured out how I feel about it yet. I'm pretty sure I loved it but I'm still working it out in my head so it didn't feel fair to put it, after which the answer has to be I Will Find You by Joanna Connors, which I reviewed here and which was just so powerful and such an incredible reminder of what it means to be human.
What book have you gifted the most?
Hands down The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I've given this book to pretty much everyone I know and if you haven't read it and I haven't given you a copy let me know, because I will. The circus itself is the most beautiful place I have ever encountered, fictional or real, and the story is beautiful and magical and haunting and just my heart.
What's your favourite independent bookshop?
This is a three way tie: one representative from Kent and two from London. Firstly my absolutely favourite local indie is Oxford Street Books in Whitstable. It's a second hand bookshop and an absolute treasure trove. The guy who owns it is lovely and doesn't mind my kids running around the shop like the crazy people they are. He knows his stock inside out and the vast majority of the paperbacks are 95p. He also has a fantastic and reasonably priced selection of Folio editions and has been known to give the kids a free book when I'm buying loads. Pretty much my spiritual home, I adore it.
Heading towards London it's a tie between ever - awesome Foyles, which I love for its eclecticness (a word, definitely) and Persephone which is fantastic because the covers are all the same and they don't have blurbs and you really have nothing at all to go on besides how you feel about the excerpt in the front cover or how pretty the endpapers are, or just that the book is in a corner which feels particularly appealing to you that day... I got myself a copy of their catalogue when we were there on Saturday and I've been going through starring the stuff I want...
What's been your favourite book recommended by a bookseller (or a fellow Booktuber/book blogger?)
She is technically a bookseller as well as a blogger and friend, but my most recent favourite in this capacity would have to be The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers which was recommended to me (read: shoved into my hand) by Katie on the London Bookshop Crawl.
I do read stuff on other people's recommendation all the time though. At a glance through my book spreadsheet, recently this has included: Bitch Planet, I Will Find You, The Raven Cycle, Radio Silence and Saga. Some good stuff there!
What's your favourite indie bookshop memory?
I think I cite this one a lot, but as a kid we visited the now-defunct-but-replaced-with-an-ever-so-slightly-less-awesome-but-still-great-bookshop The Lion and the Unicorn in Richmond at the beginning of every summer holiday and were allowed to choose two brand new books each. I want to stress that as the eldest of seven kids in a family with a not huge income new books were a rare and glorious treat until I earned my own money, so I literally looked forward to this trip for the entire school year. We spent a good hour or two picking things up and putting them back and generally admiring the possibilities and I remember that shop as a magical, never to be forgotten cave of wonders.
What do bookshops mean to you? What do you love about them?
I honestly don't even know how to answer this question. Bookshops are my happy place, my safe space, my realm of discovery and exploration. They're where I go to find out about new things, to rediscover old friends, and make new ones. In recent years particularly they've become a physical space in which to form friendships with real-world people - the books providing a buffer against the extreme social awkwardness and anxiety which overcome me whenever I have to talk to people I don't know. Bookshops are possibility. They're pretty much the best thing.
What are the books that made you? Which books have most affected or influenced you?
Unless you have about a week to sit here and listen to me talking I don't think we have time for this!
Very briefly, without elongated reasoning:
Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Charlotte Sometimes, The Chalet School, The Treasure Seekers, Ballet Shoes, Apple Bough, The Growing Summer, Harry Potter, The Silver Sword, Treasures of the Snow, The Babysitters Club Series, Neverwhere, The Night Circus, To Kill a Mockingbird, Our Tragic Universe, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Wild and everything by Rainbow Rowell.
What book do you recommend readers gift for Fathers Day?
OK so because I'm doing this late Fathers Day is already done but in case you're late, any of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. He's stood me and my dad in good stead for a lot of years now.
What book is currently at the top of your TBR pile?
I have no real TBR at the moment - the things I most want to read I'm already reading! I do very much want to get to Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor soon though.
If you haven't done this tag and want to then I tag you to do it! Particularly want to know answers from Katie, Laura, Hanna, Ellie, Charlotte and all my Ninja Book Swap friends!
All titles go to Wordery and are affiliate so I'll receive a small commision. They're independent though, so totally in the spirit of this post! Plus they have free worldwide postage and are generally excellent.