This week is all about our Top 10 Favourite Books We Read In School.
This week is all about our Top 10 With X Setting – I chose Australia.
To be fair, I could have filled this entire list solely with Tim Winton novels. And maybe I will, someday, in another Top Ten Tuesday.
This week is all about our Top 10 Books We’d Buy Right Now (If We Had An Unlimited Gift Card).
2.) The complete Penguin Drop Caps Collection
3.) Terry Pratchett’s complete Discworld collections
Ok, those were the collections I’d really want to buy. The rest of this list is pretty much what I’ve saved as To Buy on my Amazon list.
4.) High-Rise by JG Ballard
5.) The Night Manager by John le Carré
6.) An Open Swimmer by Tim Winton
(and pretty much everything else by Tim Winton!)
7.) The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman
(and again, everything else by Neil Gaiman)
8.) The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
9.) The Paper Magician trilogy by Charlie N. Holmberg
10.) Once a Crooked Man by David McCallum
(Yes, that’s “Ducky” from NCIS!)
This week is all about our Top 10 Things Books Made Me Want To Do Or Learn.
Unfortunately, I live way too far away from any sort of beach. I came close to learning how to surf in New Zealand, but all that amounted to was bodyboarding. Maybe next time I’m in Australia or California or anywhere else known for its surf, I’ll give it a try. Probably need to work on my fitness and balance beforehand, though.
2.) The Maori language
Living in New Zealand, I actually picked up a few words in Te Reo Maori, but I’d love to speak it fluently. I think it’s a beautiful and rich language, and the Maori culture has intrigued me since before I moved to New Zealand. I might have to look into Maori friends willing to give me lessons via Skype.
3.) Become a journalist
I did end up studying journalism and becoming a freelance journalist, although I did stick to local news. I have the utmost respect for any colleagues who work in conflict zones around the world and who put their lives on the line to report the news. On assignment in South Africa I reported from the site of fatal train crashes (19 dead on my first day at work) and my colleagues and I once got caught in a street shooting on our way back to the office (none of us 2 reporters and 1 photographer were hurt, miraculously, but two taxi drivers from different gangs killed each other) – let’s just say gutsy journalists run towards the gunshots… and I’ll never do that again without a bullet-proof vest just for the sake of an exclusive first-on-scene report.
4.) Travel Writing
Any book by Bill Bryson, really, makes me want to hit the road and pay attention and write about the things I see and the people I encounter. I have a degree in Travel Journalism, and have published my fair share of travel features, but a proper travelogue is still missing from my list.
5.) Sleight-of-hand tricks
I’ve always loved magic, and as a kid I had various magic sets for simple tricks. I still have a few basic tricks up my sleeve (yes, that pun was deliberate) but I want to learn more. If nothing else I think they’re neat party tricks to have.
I was never any good at biology, chemistry or physics, but Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist and I find her work fascinating. I’d like to think I’ve read so many books (by Kathy Reichs and others) on forensics that I could do an autopsy if I had to, but her anthropological insights are interesting too.
7.) Travel the Panamericana
The PanAmerican Highway has always been a sort of dream in my family. When my mum was a teenager, she wanted to travel the South American part. She never got around to it. Then I thought, I’d do it. I only travelled on a bit of it – the house I was staying at in Quito was actually on the Panamericana – but I’d love to do the whole trip one day, by any means necessary, from camper vans to motorcycles.
8.) Run an independent bookstore
I’ve always loved indie bookstores, and I’d love to own one some day. Maybe throw in a little secret society of hard-core readers and font aficionados for good measure. The older I get, the more I’d love to be surrounded by books and the charms of a friendly, local, neighbourhood bookshop.
Ok, in my defence, I was 15 o 16 years old. Buffy was still all the rage and one of my teachers was Wiccan, so yes, my interest was definitely piqued. And that teacher used her Classical Studies classes on ancient divination methods to teach us how to use a pendulum and read tarot cards. I continue to be fascinated by Wicca, attended a few Beltane Fires (more a cultural phenomenon – Walpurgisnacht – here than religious or ritual) and continue to own a box filled with rune stones, a pendulum and tarot cards).
10.) Work as a Cowgirl / Jillaroo
My dad gave me all his Fury books when I was about 10, to show me that books about horses don’t have to be romances or girlie. And to be honest, I always liked Fury more than the likes of Black Beauty. They focus on hard work, friendships, care for the animals, and wonderful landscapes. I’ve always wanted to try what being a cowgirl is like. In Australia I got my chance, and I worked on a bush farm as a jillaroo for two weeks, mustering cattle and sheep on horseback. Best job I’ve ever had. Hard yakka, but worth it for the view from the verandah alone.
This week is all about our Top 10 Facts.
1.) I own around 500 books altogether.
Although that number includes textbooks, travel guides and dictionaries, most of my books are novels. I inherited most of my gran’s books (or rather, saved her books as she can’t read anymore and doesn’t want them to get pulped), and some of my parents’ childhood favourites are on my shelves as well.
2.) I’m multilingual.
I’m a native German speaker and thanks to a bilingual upbringing, consider myself a native English speaker as well. I can read and speak French reasonably well (although I need to practise more with my French bestie), and know rudimentary Spanish (but enough to survive a 7-week work placement on the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador). Because I am so interested in languages, I have also completed introductory classes in Dutch, Afrikaans, Maori, Swedish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, British Sign Language, Ewe, Twi, Czech and Swahili. In most of those I only remember a few words, but I do my best to brush up on small talk before trips and learn a few words in local languages, as this can be a very effective ice breaker.
3.) Most of my favourite TV shows are British.
I love British quirkiness, humour and drama. My favourite shows include Sherlock, Doctor Who, Life on Mars, League of Gentlemen, Black Books, Hardware, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I’m into detective stories, always have been, and some non-British favourites include The X-Files and The Mentalist. Well, and Gilmore Girls. I’m not into American sitcoms, though, with the exception of How I Met Your Mother. I cannot stand German acting – way too wooden.
4.) Fanfiction is my Guilty Pleasure.
Well, the story isn’t over until you’ve run out of fanfiction. I not only read but also write fanfiction. Most of it is just for me, but I did publish a novel-length Sherlock fiction called The Bravery of the Soldier about John Watson’s military past. I came in the Top 10% of the Inkitt Fanfiction Competition. I’m quite particular about the fandoms I read and write for, though. At the moment, that’s Sherlock, Doctor Who, The Mentalist and Life on Mars. I stay well away from the smut, though. I’m more of a “whump-your-darlings”- kind of girl. Have you tried to apply the same methods and tricks as Sherlock Holmes or Patrick Jane? I’m fairly confident I could do their jobs by now if they were real – reading and writing fanfic has given me valuable lessons regarding the human psyche and I even picked up one or two sleight of hand tricks. Thinking like an already established character is harder than it sounds. I do write original stuff as well, especially as part of NaNoWriMo, but fanfiction is good practice! And despite having already read 49 novels this year, I’d put money on the fact that I’ve read more in fanfiction than traditionally published formats.
5.) I’m a planner girl.
Being organised comes with being German, and last year I really got into Midori Traveler’s Notebooks. I now own 3 standard size notebooks (2 original Midori in Brown and Camel, and a Raydori in London Red), as well as two Field Notes sized ones (a River Song’s Diary, and a henna one). Field Notes is my preferred size, and I always carry notebooks with me. Mainly a calendar, book lists, my blog schedule, fitness planner, story ideas and a blank catch-all. I actually sell standard sized inserts in my Etsy shop LifeInNotes.
6.) I used to have a hedgehog as a pet.
My sister rescued a hedgehog several years ago from being run over on the street outside our house. So she took him to our l.arge, enclosed garden, nursed him back to health and let him roam. When I took over her flat, I also took over the care of the hedgehog (i.e. feeding, and removing ticks). Unfortunately, we had a very warm December in 2014 (one day it snowed, the next we had 20°C) and he came out of hibernation and eventually died from exposure when the temperatures dropped again. His name was Cactus.
7.) I love learning.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that your school report says nothing about your intellect. Since leaving Grammar School, I have completed a B.A. (Hons), I’m about to finish an M.A., and I’ve taken dozens of online courses through Coursera, FutureLearn, and other MOOC providers, including getting a Diploma of Social Media Marketing, and Certificates in Global Health & Humanitarianism, Literature & Mental Health, Superheroes in Popular Culture, Holiday Rep, and Theatre & Globalisation, among many others. In the last 2 years I’ve completed around 35 courses, which I treat as extracurriculars. A lot of them were geared towards my interests of journalism, cross-cultural communication, literature, film-making, theatre, and languages, and an Introduction to Australian Literature course actually gave me the spark I needed to find a new passion and a thesis topic which my professor is urging me to expand into a doctoral thesis once I’ve handed in my MA thesis later this summer.
8.) I have been to 34 countries and counting
I have lived for more than 6 months in Germany (born & raised), the UK (6 years), and New Zealand (exchange year). I have studied in Germany (Primary Grundschule Yorckstrasse & Grammar School Gymnasium Schwertstrasse), New Zealand (Waitakere College – 6th & 7th Form), the UK (University of Central Lancashire – B.A.), and the USA (University of Nevada, Reno – Summer Session). And technically France, as my grad school Horizons University is French but I study for my M.A. by distance learning. I have worked or done work experience in Germany, the UK, Ghana, South Africa, Australia, and Ecuador (Galápagos Islands). I’ve travelled overland from South Africa to Kenya (Cape Town to Nairobi), into the Australian Outback from Adelaide to Alice Springs, and across the northern United States & Canada from L.A. to NYC. I’m a backpacker through and through, and love camping, Overlanding, and road trips. I’m not an all-inclusive holiday type of girl, and neither do I sit by the beach or pool. I’d rather travel around and meet the people and see the country.
9.) I love it when people genuinely smile
You can tell immediately whether a smile is real. It lights up their entire face, their eyes sparkle and wrinkle and it’s infectious. Proper, sunshiny smiles are hard to come by, I think. So here’s to the optimists, and goofballs, and charmers who can brighten your entire day. Couple that with a wicked sense of humour, creativity, appreciation for the Arts, intelligence, sense of adventure, and the ability to rock casual outfits as well as a three-piece suit, and I can’t be held responsible for my actions.
10.) Some of my favourite quotes are from literature & pop culture.
They include J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Not all those who wander are lost“, and Doctor Who’s “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.” I could probably cite literature, theatre plays and TV shows all day. I love it when a book or a show can make you pause to let a quote sink in, because someone somewhere and somehow found the right words to express what you feel or that resonate with you so profoundly that they affect how you see the world and yourself in it.