Stephanie blogs at The Bookish Badger, she has a love of tea and books and is an all around lovely person.
Is there a particular women in history that you would like to read a novel about that you’ve not already encountered?
I think I’d quite like to read a novel about the exploits of Dorothy Parker; she was such a character and a huge literary presence in the first half of the 20th century. I really enjoyed Naomi Wood’s novel ‘Mrs Hemingway’, so I think something similar for Dorothy Parker would be brilliant.
Have you found that your friends and family have affected your reading? What new books have they bought to your life that you didn’t think you would read?
The person who has had the greatest effect on my reading has definitely been my grandma. She’s a writer and a historian and she’s introduced me to lots of authors – particularly female authors. We don’t always like the same authors (for example, she’s mad about Virginia Woolf, I’m not), but I’m grateful to her for widening my reading – because of Grandma, I have a love of history and politics and we share a love of the Brontes. She’s also always encouraged my own writing and research.
Have you accomplished anything in life because of a book and how it inspired you?
To Kill A Mockingbird inspired me to teach, so that’s the main thing I think. But books in general have inspired me to get through the darkest days. When I suffered from a bout of depression in uni, it was Jackie Collins who got me through it! I firmly believe that every book has its time and place.
You recently read The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins, did you find it difficult to balance your enjoyment of the novel and your feminism?
This is a really interesting question – I’m not sure I was even massively aware of this when I was reading it, but I do remember that I preferred the fiery Marian. I do find some elements of classic English literature frustrating, but I try and think about it in context. (I guess I am a typical English teacher that way – we’re told to teach context all the time!) I do sometimes find that a contextual frustration can lead to interesting reading around the subject, though.
I have periods where I find blogging a real struggle, how do you maintain your passion for writing?
I also find it difficult sometimes – juggling work, a three year old and life in general means that blogging can often get put on the back-burner. I do find it easier to write about books I really love, but one of my resolutions in 2016 is to improve my book blogging style – I just haven’t decided how yet!
If you could recommend me one book, what would it be and why?
Ah, what a question! The book I recommend to anyone is The Book Thief – it’s not a surprising choice, I think, but it was definitely a book that stayed with me for a long time. Everything about it is just so fantastic and it perfectly captures the emotions that reading can bring. Plus, it was a brilliant idea to make Death a narrator.