Winter Solstice & the Sunshine Blogger Award

So today is shortest day with the Winter Solstice (and Longest Night!) happening tonight in the Northern Hemisphere. This marks the return of the Light as the Sun from tomorrow morning onwards will shine a little longer each day and daylight hours will start to lengthen. It’s something that becomes apparent more obviously out here to us as we live in a village with no street lights!

So I wanted to post today something reasonably related and I’m feeling rather special as I’ve been nominated twice for the Sunshine Blogger award once by Nen & Jen (which I had the answers drafted then poorlies got in the way!!) and then by Emma from Never Judge a Book By It’s Cover and it’s feels thoroughly marvellous!! Thank you so much and sorry that I saved it this long!!

Sunshine Blogger award.

So 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.

Questions from Emma at Never Judge a a Book By It’s Cover are…

1. If you could meet your favourite character, what would you say to them?

One of my favourite characters ever would probably be Granny Weatherwax created by the amazing Terry Pratchett so no doubt it would be something along the lines of ‘show me your ways!’

2. Do you judge a book by it’s cover?

Eeeeeeep to a degree.

Picture and highly illustrated early reader books absolutely because illustration is a whole part of the experience including nuance and non-verbal communication so it could be the loveliest book in the world but if I don’t like the illustrations it’s going to struggle.

With Early Chapter and up, sometimes if a new book pops up on my timeline a great illustrator and designer will pique my interest, same with an unknown book in a bookshop. In fact I’ve admitted recently to a few purchases that wouldn’t have occurred if their cover hadn’t smacked me in the face with gorgeousness.

That interest will be followed up with a look at the blurb so I’m not saying I read things based on the cover alone, but I may have read things I may not have noticed if not for a pretty cover which is bad but I suspect human nature.

3. What was your last 5 star book?

The Wild Magic Trilogy: The Little Grey Girl by Celine Kiernan which is utterly amazing exploring through a middle grade lens on how communities and society copes after a seismic change; how to grieve, heal, honour and move on without salting sounds or being petty, nor disenfranchising victims either. Very powerful stuff!

4. Hyped books, yay or nay?

This is another eep 🙈. BUT it depends on the kind of hype; if you mean a MG possibly new or upcoming being gasped over in my small bookish community then yup hook, line and sinker, because I trust the taste of my MG blogger and author friends.

YA hype however is another kettle of fish, both creatively and socially. I tend to avoid highly hyped YA books now and just read what I want or am interested by.

5. What bookish world would you visit and why?

I have been to many worlds and some I’ve wished were real and some I’ve hoped they never come to be. Hmmn I think I would love to visit Nevermoor for various reasons!

6. If you went to Hogwarts, what would be your favourite lesson?

Honestly? I’d probably absolutely be like Hermione and require a Time Turner as I’d want to take allllll the classes. I like to think I’d enjoy Herbology and Potions.

7. Has there been a book that has surprised you this year?

Good or bad? I was surprised considering the hype from both book and film that I just couldn’t love Mortal Engines- I fell asleep reading it and head butted the book several times.

Otherwise I’m strangely a positive soul with books, I don’t tend to underestimate them and when I get tingles about books I’m glad when I’m proved right!

8. Can you name your top 3 books of 2019 so far?

Oh that is SO DIFFICULT!!! I can barely do a favourite of each month!!

9. Write your current read in emojis?

Title-🌑❄️💫 content- 🌳 👑 🧚🏻‍♀️ 🏫 💫

10. What is one book you would recommend to everyone?

Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell. I’ve been at best gently teased and at worst scorned at for reading children’s books as being unintelligent, taking the easy way out, not challenging myself or burying my head in the sand. This book is so clever to focus on the wonderful things about children’s books and why MG is my favourite.

Closely followed by pretty much anything by Terry Pratchett.

11. Favourite reading season, Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn?

Statistically I read more in late summer-autumn, so I guess then? Plus it’s my birthday and comfortably warm but not too hot and it’s almost crisp and leaves changing but still green and the scent of ripening fruit and woodsmoke in the air.

Questions from Nen & Jen

1. What was the last book you strongly disliked?

Mortal engines. I get it, but I just didn’t like it, so much I was determined to finish it just so I could say yes I read it to the end and still don’t like it but I totally understand and respect why people love it.

2. How does your star rating system work for your reviews (if you use one)?

I don’t use a star system on the blog and dislike using one on websites but I understand why it works for others. For me, rating can be emotional and is related to the book rather than its age group, intended audience etc- reviews that rate a book low simply because it’s for children or an early chapter book and therefore soft or ‘immature’ and not very complex annoys me.

Of course I can think well this isn’t for me it’s very young and a more cynical person may consider it saccharine but I know at the same time Littlefae and her peers would be squealing with joy over it. This means I tend to think about books in a different way and yes an early chapter can be just as deserving of top scores as a complex older book IF the writing is good, the emotions are captured and it’s enjoyable.

3. What are your favorite pizza toppings?

I’m happy if a takeaway pizza has olives, mushrooms and sweetcorn on it but I especially love cheese. My favourite pizza to order in a restaurant though is a Fiorentina which is tomato base, spinach, cheese, olives and a runny egg baked on the pizza as it cooks.

4. Would you rather read a great plot with mediocre characters, or a boring plot with amazing characters?

I think I can tolerate a boring plot with amazing characters rather than the other way round because for me if you cannot connect to the characters you’ve failed as they are a lens by which we experience and interpret the plot.

Besides some of the most interesting television has taken great characters and put them in boring situations- The Office (UK), The Royle Family and such because even if they are sitting watching telly and chatting or bored witless through a training seminar it’s the investment in characters nuances and experiences in the situation that entertains. Of course a completely dire plot can destroy everything but boring I can tolerate if the real story is about the characters & their reactions to it.

5. How many books are you currently reading, and which one is your favorite so far

I only read one book at a time.

6. What was the last book review you posted?

The Star outside My Window, and it was very beautiful but very hard at the same time.

7. Do you prefer MG, YA, NA, or adult books?

MG, hands down.

8. Is there a popular author you’re NOT interested in reading anything by? (Elaborate if you’re comfortable doing so!)

People who know me well will know there is a single and a wider group (but interconnected) answer to this question and it’s better if I say little on the subject matter or this will turn into a soapbox not a blog!!

9. What marginalized rep would you most strongly like to see more of in books?

I’d like to see more children who have neurodiversity, disabilities and genetic differences to other children but without it being an issues or ‘Poor darlings’ empathy book. I want to see more books where a child has a medical condition, a disability or a genetic condition and is the hero of the story rather than it being a well intended but potentially patronising book about how different they are and how we should be nice to them because of that rather than be friends with them because of who they are. This is a reason I am actually screaming with anticipation to read A Kind of Spark by Elle MacNicoll (Knights Of-June 2020) an own voices book about an autistic girl who campaigns for a memorial to the witches prosecuted in Scotland.

Also more lesbian mums in picture books to MG please, let young female readers know that if they like girls they can still have families and be good parents instead of being cast as ‘alternative’ big sisters or fun aunties.

10. Do you listen to music while reading?


11. Do you prefer book twitter or bookstagram?

I’m an old fogey so twitter, I don’t think I’m aesthetically pleasing enough for Instagram!!

My questions inspired by both sets and a few more.

  1. Do you judge a book by it’s cover?
  2. What marginalized rep would you most strongly like to see more of in books?
  3. Which trope can you not live without and which trope needs to get in the sea?
  4. Would you rather read a great plot with mediocre characters, or a boring plot with amazing characters?
  5. Contemporary, Historical, Dystopian or Fantasy you can only read one setting for a year what would you pick?
  6. Which actor (or literary character) would play you in a film of your life and why?
  7. Which writer/author would you want to adapt the screenplay of your life story?
  8. Inspired by the old movie The Day After Tomorrow, An apocalyptic event has occurred and you are taking shelter in a vast public library. If you don’t burn books you will die, what will you burn whilst waiting for rescue and what would you fight to the death to preserve for the future of mankind?
  9. Gilmore Girls- Team Dean, Jess, Logan or otherwise?
  10. Which book/series do you think would make the best screen adaptation?
  11. What book would you recommend to me to read most of all?

Ok I’m opening the floor to everyone and anyone who wants to have a go on this one as I’d love to see different opinions and genres- if you like the look of my questions consider yourself nominated!!

But I would especially love to see Amy (GoldenBooksGirl) Rachel (BellisDoesBooks) Mary (BookCraic) Veronica (vsviewsfromthebookshelf) as we regularly discuss books on our blogs together, I love to see you all give it a go from a MG perspective!

I hope this brings a little sunshine into your lives today!!


13 thoughts on “Winter Solstice & the Sunshine Blogger Award

  1. I really enjoyed reading this and thank you for saying you’d like to read my answers – I will be doing it (though it may be midsummer by the time I do!!)
    So much here I agree on, especially Why You Should Read Children’s Books, star ratings, lesbian mums and twitter… Granny W and Nevermoor are excellent choices for those questions too!
    I’m intrigued by your answer to 2.8 though – is this the same author/group of I’d be saying too?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you only need to think of one of the MG -and now PB and EC-shelves at work to know exactly the suspiciously prolific bestselling author I’m talking about & the group he belongs to. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Good because there’s been a bit more love for him showing up on my twitter timeline and I was worried I was alone! I still look forward to your answers and to be fair Nen and Jen had to wait from September 😬

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Way too good for her, even if he was a bit grumpy at times he was never like the others and deserved way more than the exit they gave him to enable Rory to have her downfall.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lily, thank you for the tag, I will endeavour to answer your questions – although probably next week as I’m hosting Christmas, and still rather a lot of prep to get through!
    I loved reading your answers, totally agree on the Katherine Rundell essay and think I might be of the same mind about a particular group of heavily marketed authors.
    I have loved reading your blog this year; you put so much care and thought into your reviews, they are a joy to read. I feel pretty embarrassed about mine in comparison, and I have rather neglected my blogging since I started my course in September. It’s pretty ironic that in trying to gain a professional librarian qualification I have severely curtailed my reading for pleasure time!
    Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas with your family and I hope that 2020 is healthy and happy for you all. 😊🎄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The questions are there whenever you fancy, no rush and no pressure 💜
      You’ve made me all overcome but your blog is fantastic too and you are investing in your future which is nothing to be embarrassed about having a knock on effect, books are there in time and I’m listening- you are an inspiration going for your dreams!!
      Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year 💜

      Liked by 1 person

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