Recently I got nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award – not once, not twice, but three times by wonderful people. The first time was a month or maybe it bit longer ago by Alex from PA Reads, they write great reviews and other posts. Then I was nominated by Becky from A Couple of B’s – among other things we share a love for books about fake bands. And a couple of days ago I was nominated by Ashmita from The Fictional Journal. All of them write great posts so be sure to check them out.
I will do things slightly differently, since I have so many questions to answer! I do apologize to everyone who nominated me for mixing all the questions and changing the order of questions, but now everything is sorted into three categories about either books, blogging or myself.
What is The Sunshine Blogger Award?
The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.
How does it work?
- Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
- Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
- Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
- List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
The Fictional Journal: When did you first start reading and what was your first book?
O, this is a great question. I started reading in first grade at school, but before that there was of course picture books. I am pretty sure some of my first books must have been Miffy – it’s also Dutch and my mother loves these books.
My first contact with books however, was several seconds after I was born, and the nurses asked what I was to be called, and apparently my name was shared with the main character of a book series for teens from the early 80s (my parents had no clue). But that must have been my first contact with books.
PA Reads: What is your favorite genre to read? Least favorite?
This is such a difficult question. In general I love everything which is a little bit odd and quirky and I wrote an entire post discussing how my genres change over the year, which you can read here.
PA Reads: What are your top 3 favorite books this year?
A couple of B’s: What is your favorite book of 2020?
Well, I just took a look through my 2020 reading and it will be a difficult task to put these lists together at the end of the year – because I have had so many great reads, all of them very different. But for now I will go with:
3. Circe – Madeline Miller (Review) I read this in the beginning of the Lockdown so I am pretty sure I would have enjoyed it even more under normal circumstances.
2. The House in the Cerulean Sea – T.J. Klune (Review) It wasn’t perfect, but it was such a feel good book, that it was perfect to read this year.
1. Invisible Women – Caroline Criado Perez (I will post my review tonight) For someone who, like me, is into science and feminism backed with data, this is an absolute essential read. I think it is very important because it doesn’t so much point out the obvious sexism, but rather the subconscious sexism that people often don’t even realize is there.
A couple of B’s: What is your favorite book of all time?
The Fictional Journal: Recommend your favorite book to me.
I have a lot of respect for people who can answer this question on the top of their heads. I can’t. It is dependent on so many factors for me, not in the least the person I am talking to and what their preferences are.
As such I don’t really feel I have one all time favorite, however, I do plan to do some posts in the near future giving some recommendations across genres I read a lot – and these could all be considered favorites of mine.
The Fictional Journal: Is there any book that you absolutely hate, but still have on your shelf?
Unpopular opinion time: The Fault in Our Stars. I am terrible in getting rid of books and this was a birthday present some years ago so I would feel even worse about removing it, but I really didn’t like the book. It was so pretentious and I couldn’t stand the characters – especially the guy. Never read anything else by John Green. But it was a bit difficult since it was the favorite book of several of my good friends (who all have read this at least six times).
A couple of B’s: What book on your TBR are you most excited about?
So many books, to be honest. My mind wanders a lot lately, and I am hovering from one book to the other. One I am particularly excited about though is the ARC I just received for Cixin Liu’s new collection. I recently reviewed his Remembrance of Earth’s Past series (review for the first book), and while I still have another unread book by him, I was so happy I got an ARC for this one.
PA Reads: Where is your favorite place to read?
This I just discussed yesterday in the latest Favorite Friday post, which you can find here. But a short re-cap, basically anywhere as long as it’s comfortable.
PA Reads: Do you have a favorite classic?
Another difficult one, and one I am still trying to solve. I recently had the Little Black Classics project (Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3) where I tried a lot of new-to-me classics and I am still continuing to search for me. I feel heavily under-read in this department, and am always looking for recommendations (of any type, but specifically also classics) so please let me know what is your favorite classic.
The Fictional Journal: In general, do you think books are better or worse now than they used to be?
I don’t think that is easy to compare. The problem with the books from the olden age is that there has been a lot of selection and only some of the books have made it to the modern days, while with the books from now you still get to see everything.
I remember clearly the first time when I realized that books actually got out of print (nowadays probably less because of the ebooks), but I hadn’t realized prior to that day, that if I wanted to have a book I should hurry because loads of them would no longer be available some five years later.
A couple of B’s: Who is your favorite author?
As with the favorite books, this is something that doesn’t have an easy answer. It also changes over time. One thing I would certainly like to mention here is how disappointed I was with the decision of GoodReads to remove the Most Read Authors-page from the stats. That was something I actually used a lot. Now, I will be building my own excel version of it, but it hardly is the same.
Special shout-out maybe to Thea Beckman – definitely my favorite author growing up. She was a Dutch writer of children’s/teen’s (historical) fiction books, and also awoke my interest into the Dystopian genre with her utopian/dystopian trilogy about the post-apocalyptic community on Greenland. She is most famous for her novel from the 70s about a boy traveling back in time and witnessing the so-called Children’s Crusade.
That last one has also been translated into English (I don’t know how well it was done, but the Dutch book at least is well worth a read) : Crusade in Jeans.
The Fictional Journal: Can you tell me an interesting back story as to why you read a book?
Once I was sitting down in a book store – I was very tired, we had walked at least 20km that day – and to give myself something to do while I sat there I picked up a random book from the table. I read the first couple of sentences and was so hooked immediately that I bought it (I am usually not that much of an impulse buyer if I haven’t at least put it on some list before or have read some reviews – this was before the mobile internet so I couldn’t even check it when I was there!).
It remains a very special, if a little bit odd and slightly too postmodern read.
PA Reads: What is your favorite book to movie (or tv) adaptation?
I was particularly taken in with BBC’s recent adaptation of War & Peace. I was sure I wasn’t going to read the book after reading Anna Karenina, but I liked the show so much that I read the entire War & Peace earlier this year and I really, really liked it.
So I think it is a great adaptation and it made me want to read the book.
The Fictional Journal: If you ever write a book – what would be the genre and the title?
Very interesting question. I have of course played with some ideas, but so far I think I am more of a reader than a writer. The little ideas I have will be staying in my mind for now, but it would be the kind of thing I would like to read myself – hopefully.
PA Reads: What is one book you think everyone should read and why?
So difficult – but like the other questions, I don’t really have an answer to it. I think everyone should be reading whatever pleases them and makes them happy.
The Fictional Journal: Has a book ever made you ugly cry?
This made me think for a while. I don’t cry that often when I read a book or watch a movie, but one series that was unexpectedly emotional for me was the Chaos Walking Trilogy. In it some characters die and it really touched me, not even so much their dying as the pain of betrayal they felt with it. If you’re looking for something to read that is different from the usual, why not try Chaos Walking. Patrick Ness is great at writing touching stories (A Monster Calls) as well as getting of the beaten track (The Rest of Us Just Live Here).
The Fictional Journal: If you owned a bookshop, what would you call it?
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have always dreamed/thought: if I win the lottery I will open a book store. It would be an English book store, because that is still lacking where I live and I would like to get books from small publishers, because these are impossible to find here without having to order them. So, while I have loads of ideas, I don’t have a name yet.
The Fictional Journal: Which three books encompass who you are?
I don’t feel like I can really answer this one. For me these would really be life-changing books, that gave ginormous insights or something similar. I read for pleasure and I wouldn’t know which books to put here, to be honest.
PA Reads: What do you blog about?
Books, books, and other bookish things. Maybe some other things, like movies or theater pop up from time to time, these are stories as well, but mainly books.
A Couple of B’s: When did you start blogging?
This actually was a long time ago. I started on some Dutch bookish forums, to discuss books with other book lovers and to not spam my family and friends with all my bookish talk all the time. From here I gradually started on GoodReads first, but with very little interaction with others. I think it was about 2013 when I encountered BookLikes, which at that time was a growing book community which centered around a feed – and here I made my blogging home for some years. However, the last couple of years the site was slowly crumbling down and I also didn’t have a lot of time. So, I knew I would have to find a new blogging home, but only really transitioned this summer, now that I had some time because of COVID-19.
The Fictional Journal: What is your favorite thing about this community?
What I like best is that we are all book lovers here. The community is very supportive and it is so easy to interact with people, because there is always a topic we can all fall back on: books. I just love that a lot.
A Couple of B’s: What do you enjoy most about blogging?
I like talking about the things I am passionate about a lot. Books are some among these things and I really like that I can share it all with you. And I am still surprised there are people out there who enjoy reading my ramblings 😉
A Couple of B’s: What do you like least about blogging?
I maybe wouldn’t call it ‘liking least’ but a problem that I have encountered is that there are so many blogs I want to follow and keep up with, that I have to spend each day after work some considerable time catching up with all of them, when sometimes I would just like to sit down in the evenings and read a book.
The Fictional Journal: What’s your favorite post you have written so far? (link it below)
It feels a little strange to think that way about one’ own posts, but one thing I really enjoyed making was the posts on the Little Black Classics Project, which I have also mentioned above, but you can find them here: Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3. In it I discuss how I got a series of 127 books, I do some statistics on those books looking for what makes a book a classic and I give an overview review. You might notice the individual reviews for all the books are still popping up everyone more at 5 AM GMT.
A Couple of B’s: What is one piece of advice you can give to new bloggers?
This will not be very original, but I think it is very important: write things you like to write. Make a schedule that fits in with your life. And most of all, have fun! If you don’t do these things, blogging will start to feel like a chore, and just admit it, we have more than enough of those in our lives already.
PA Reads: Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I don’t know if it is ‘fun’ enough but my name, Marjolein, is unpronounceable for anyone who is not originally Dutch speaking. I like to ask barista’s at Starbucks to write my name down nevertheless and photograph the results.
Here are some of the examples I have collected over the years. Only one is correctly written and that happens to be the one drink I ordered in The Netherlands 😉 The rest are either French, German or English attempts.
PA Reads: What do you do when you’re not reading?
I am probably working on my PhD research. After my studies I embarked on a PhD project which aims to better understand rare mutations which cause the devastating Cystic Fibrosis disease, as well as to make better cell models to study it. I am really passionate about it, and could talk about it for days if prompted.
But when I am not working or reading, I like to watch movies or go to the theater. I also like to go on walks and I take some Zumba classes.
A couple of B’s: What television show is your favorite?
As I think will be clear by now, I am not so great at naming favorites. However, I like my series as I like my books, a bit quirky. I was really disappointed they cancelled Dirk Gently after two seasons because they were breaking all the genre walls. I also like a lot of the European series on Netflix, like La Casa de Papel from Spain and Dark from Germany. With the COVID-19 and my very short attention span, I have also really enjoyed just watching series that don’t require much thinking (which I usually don’t really like).
A couple of B’s: Are you excited for football season? If so, what team do you pull for?
I am assuming this is about American Football? I am sorry, I wouldn’t know the first thing about it. Being from Continental Europe, that isn’t really a thing here. We have soccer, and even that I don’t follow so much. However, the local team was promoted to the highest class in Belgium this year due to some COVID-19 chaos and law suits, so I guess “Go OHL”! The national team I of course support The Netherlands instead.
PA Reads: Have you picked up any interesting hobbies in quarantine?
I don’t know if it is a hobby as such, but I got really into houseplants during the quarantine. I have got a few now, most recently I bought a polkadot plant yesterday – and I am currently nurturing the first of my monstera cuttings. If you would be interested, I could give a larger update on my ‘urban jungle’.
PA Reads: Do you have any pets? If not, do you want any?
I don’t have one of my own, but at my parents we have two rabbits and a house-cat. They are all very cute but I have a connection with the cat specifically. It is so cute, especially when it is fast asleep 😉
A couple of B’s: If stranded on a desert island, what one person would you want with you and why?
You mean, if you are all of sudden completely isolated, cannot leave and have no living person around you? That sounds a lot like when we had real lockdown here. I didn’t speak to people in real life for weeks, if you don’t count the cashiers in the store. I was so happy I could at least speak with people via the screens, or it would have been horrible.
Remember; no pressure at all to do the tag if you don’t feel like, but I would be looking forward to reading your answers. And if anyone else wants to answers these questions, please feel free to do so.
In no particular order:
- Eustea Reads
- The Geeky Jock
- Books for the Beach
- The Geekish Brunette
- Solace in Reading
- Fraser’s Fun House
- The Pine-Scented Chronicles
- Toastie Books
- Tessa Talks Books
- Mel to the Any
- Midnight Book Blog
- How did you get into reading?
- Is there a book you regret reading?
- Which book release are you currently most excited for?
- Where do you like to discuss books?
- How are your shelves organized?
- How do you treat a reading slump?
- Do you aspire to write a book someday?
- What kind of posts do you like to write the most?
- How do you keep a healthy life/study-work/blog balance?
- Has there been something good to come out of being stuck at home for months on end? (for example a new hobby or skill)
- If you could travel back five years to give your younger self some advice, what would you say?
This has been a massive post so thank you if you made it all to the end! How about you? Do you have favorite books/classics? Do people have problems writing your name? – Please let me know in the comments!