Thursday, November 29, 2012

{misc.} a liebster award

As I wrote last Thursday, I was lucky enough to be tagged for the 7x7 link award by Danielle (A Work in Progress) and for The Liebster Award by Helen (A Gallimaufry). Last week I answered the 7x7 link's tricky questions. Today is the the turn of The Liebster Award: "The Liebster Award is given to web-logs with fewer than 200 followers. You answer the seven questions posed by the person who gave you the award, and then devise a further seven which you give to seven people to whom you in turn award the Liebster."

It's a nice idea, isn't it, and a chance to get to know one's fellow bloggers a little better?

Source: via skiourophile 

Helen has set me these seven questions:

1. Describe your ideal home library/study: I live in a messy Victorian house with a messy family of messy book lovers. A bit like this:

I often dream of living in an empty white box. Like this:

(OK, it has a few books in it.) Or this?

In an ideal world, I would have a room for all my books together: a proper library room. The shelves would stretch to the ceiling. There would be aisles and aisles and aisles. No book would suffer the indignity of being stored in a box in the shed. And, like Helen at A Gallimaufry, I would want a ladder in this room to z-o-o-m along the shelves.


(Or maybe not.)  

To go with my library, I would require a dedicated room for reading and thinking: a comfortable chair with a colourful crochet cushion; excellent lighting, natural and artificial; wooden boards; white walls; a sprinkling of my favourite art works; a bar cart (gilt [oh the guilt!] with wheels); window boxes of white geraniums in our hot summer, pink cyclamen in autumn/winter, and yellow and white narcissi in spring. At frequent intervals I will be brought cups of Earl Grey tea and, I think, shortbread. Perhaps the occasional tarte au citron. A ginger cat will slumber peacefully on the floor (I'd rotate the ginger cats each day).

2. With which literary character would you spend a week’s holiday in the location of your choice? Oooooh... 
Paris with Zazie
The Austrian Tyrol with Jo
Capri with Axel [disqualified as he's real?]? 
Prince Edward Island with Anne
Melbourne with Phryne
Sydney with Rowly
Greece with Hermes
Rome with Daisy (and plenty of quinine)? 
London with Miss Pettigrew
New York with the girls of The Group & The Best of Everything?

(N.Y. might require more comfortable shoes)

3. Name two new authors whose work you think will last the test of time, and explain your choices. No, sorry, pass. I almost always read authors who have already stood the test of time. Or else I read books where it isn't important to me that they don't stand the test of time.

4. If you could live in a novel, which one would it be and why? One would have to choose carefully. I like having hot water and decent plumbing and reliable refrigeration and the right to vote and own property. I would prefer not to have to fend off vampires or zombies or Hounds of the Baskervilles. I like cities. Ideally I'd live in a really good hotel. The climate shouldn't be too hot. I'm going to need some help here....! 

At Bertram's Hotel? (But I might get murdered.) 
At Hotel du Lac? (But I might die of boredom.) 
Grand Hotel? (But an impoverished aristocrat might steal my baubles.)


5. Is there a literature from a particular time and place (medieval Chinese, nineteenth-century Russian for instance) which is a favourite of yours? The ancient (classical) world, which I studied at university, and on which I still do a bit of work.

6. What book have you read in the last year or so which you feel so evangelical about you would press it on everyone you meet? Joanna and Ulysses, by May Sarton. It is a beautiful little book about escape, renewal, Greece, and the importance of having a dream. And it has a donkey in it!

7. If you had to memorise a novel or book of poetry to preserve it à la Fahrenheit 451, which would it be and why? Memorise?! Well that removes my desert island book from the list: the Oxford English Dictionary with all of the volumes shrunk into two and a big magnifying glass.

How about Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (though I feel really bad about abandoning Shakespeare to the flames): an incredibly powerful and timeless story about fate and personal responsibility. I suspect we'll need to remind ourselves about personal responsibility should we find ourselves in a book-burning era.

Oedipus. He had cat problems:

Gustave Moreau 'Oedipus and the Sphinx' (1864). 

Now I should pass the Liebster Award on to seven other people, but everyone seems to have done it now on the blogs I read. If you'd like to answer the questions, please do, and let me know how you go! Thank you Helen for tagging me - I really enjoyed doing this.


  1. I love your ideal library and your choice of Oedipus for a post-apocalyptic world. I don't know whether I would stay at Bertram's Hotel, because of the whole murder thing, but I would definitely risk having breakfast there.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth - I really want to re-read the OT now. It never loses its impact. Re Bertram's: surely afternoon tea would be quite safe? ;-)

  2. I can't tell you how much I love posts like this, especially with bloggers I don't know quite as well. I always love the things I find in common and smile at the photos. And yes, the dictionary -- excellent choice! Bravo!

    1. Thanks Jeanie - I really should have put in a picture of my cats, as I know gingers have a special place in your heart.

  3. That was an excellent post, Vicki. I'm sure Rowly would love to host you in Sydney for a week.... I'll mention it to him ;)



    1. Thank you Sulari - a week in Woollahra would be just my cup of tea (but no long ocean voyages!).

  4. I love this, Vicki! (And knowing your name, which I don't think I did before.) I especially love your answers about the hotels - protect your precious baubles! I'd definitely die of boredom in Hotel du Lac. Reading it almost did it for me.

    1. Thanks Simon - I recently 'came out' as a real person! I loved Hotel du Lac, but I can count on one hand those who join me in this. One could escape the hotel and go down to the creamy Swiss cake shop occasionally, perhaps?

  5. Hello Vicki - I'm so sorry it's taken me more than a month to come and read your lovely post. I was so overwhelmed with work and wintry illnesses I just gave up reading blogs for a bit.

    I really enjoyed this and am putting 'Joanna and Ulysses' on my list of books to read, you make it sound fabulous. Also, if you would like a ginger cat for your library, I have a Very Naughty Tomcat who may be looking for a new home shortly if he doesn't shape up (and stop devouring crows in the bathroom).

    Happy new year! I'm looking forward to reading what you have to write in 2013!

  6. Hello Vicki! Sorry I have only just come to comment after more than a month - December just disappeared in a mountain of work and wintry illnesses.

    I love that first photograph, and the green teacup. If you would like a ginger tomcat to start your collection off, I have one right here who may be looking for a new home very soon if he doesn't shape up (yes Mister Puss, eater of crows in bathrooms, I'm looking at you).

    I haven't yet read Hotel du Lac. I really should. Perhaps if we all lived there it wouldn't be dull? I would be wary of holidaying with Jo in the Tyrol - wouldn't you be bound to have a dangerous escapade during which she would rescue you but afterwards fall into a life-threatening condition? Far too stressful. :)

    Happy new year! I'm looking forward to reading your 2013 posts!

    1. Thank you for suggesting me, Helen! I thoroughly enjoyed putting it together. I hope you're feeling better and ready to face an intensive year of wonderful reading! (And I do suspect that Jo would have me in fast-flowing rapids or under an avalanche within seconds, followed by something like TB but more morally redemptive!) Have a fabulous 2013!


{READ IN 2014}

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  • 52. The Catherine-Wheel - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 51. The Alington Inheritance - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 50. The Key - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 49. The Watersplash - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 48. Miss Silver Comes to Stay - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 47. The Ivory Dagger - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 46. Miss Silver Intervenes - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 45. Pilgrim's Rest - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 44. The Traveller Returns - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 43. The Case is Closed - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 42. Vanishing Point - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 41. The Chinese Shawl - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 40. Through the Wall - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 39. Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 38. The Runaways [Linnets & Valerians] - Elizabeth Goudge [Kindle]
  • 37. The Blinded Man [Misterioso]- Arne Dahl [Kindle]
  • 36. Cloak of Darkness - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 35. The Hidden Target - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 34. Sprig Muslin - Georgette Heyer [re-read; Kindle]
  • 33. The Corinthian - Georgette Heyer [re-read; Kindle]
  • 32. The Talisman Ring - Georgette Heyer [re-read; Kindle]
  • 31. The Unknown Ajax - Georgette Heyer [re-read; Kindle]
  • 30. The Quiet Gentleman - Georgette Heyer [re-read; Kindle]
  • 29. Unnatural Death - Dorothy L. Sayers [re-read; Kindle]
  • 28. Want to Play - P. J. Tracy [re-read; Kindle]
  • 27. The ABC Murders - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
  • 26. Out of the Past - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 25. The Listening Eye - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; Kindle]
  • 24. Brewster's Millions - George Barr McCutcheon [Kindle]
  • 23. A Fair Barbarian - Frances Hodgson Burnett [Kindle]
  • 22. Gimlet: King of the Commandos - Capt. W. E. Johns [re-read]
  • 21. Out of Circulation - Miranda James [Kindle]
  • 20. Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter [Kindle]
  • 19. The Blank Wall - Elisabeth Sanxay Holding [Kindle]
  • 18. Dumps: A Plain Girl - L. T. Meade [Kindle]
  • 17. The Inconvenient Duchess - Christine Merrill [Kindle]
  • 16. Biggles Takes it Rough - Capt. W.E. Johns
  • 15. Pnin - Vladimir Nabokov [Kindle]
  • 14. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick [Kindle]
  • 13. Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell [Kindle]
  • 12. The Case of William Smith - Patricia Wentworth [Kindle; re-read]
  • 11. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm - Kate Douglas Wiggin [Kindle]
  • 10. A Sweet Girl Graduate - L.T. Meade [Kindle]
  • 9. A College Girl - Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey [Kindle]
  • 8. The Woman Who Did - Grant Allen [Kindle]
  • 7. The Golden Child - Penelope Fitzgerald [Kindle]
  • 6. Her Father's Name - Florence Marryat [Kindle]
  • 5. They Do It With Mirrors - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
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  • 3. Cards on the Table - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
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  • 1. Fer-de-Lance - Rex Stout [Kindle]

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  • 136. Taken at the Flood - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
  • 135. Never Go Back - Lee Child [Kindle]
  • 134. When William Came - Saki [Kindle]
  • 133. N or M - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
  • 132. The Chronicles of Clovis - Saki [Kindle]
  • 131. Come Out of the Kitchen! - Alice Duer Miller [Kindle]
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  • 129. The Thirteen Problems - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
  • 128. I Am Pilgrim - Terry Hayes [Kindle]
  • 127. Passenger to Frankfurt - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
  • 126. The Body in the Library - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
  • 125. Appointment with Death - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
  • 124. Lord Edgware Dies - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
  • 123. Murder in Mesopotamia - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
  • 122. Sarah, Plain and Tall - Patricia MacLachlan
  • 121. Death in the Clouds - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
  • 120. Destination Unknown - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
  • 119. They Came to Baghdad - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
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  • 116. Murder at the Vicarage - Agatha Christie [re-read; Kindle]
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  • 114. Touchstone - Laurie R. King [Kindle]
  • 113. Fiona on the 14th Floor - Mabel Esther Allan
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  • 111. Pollyanna Grows Up - Eleanor H. Porter [Kindle]
  • 110. Pollyanna - Eleanor H. Porter [re-read; Kindle]
  • 109. The Female Detective - Andrew Forrester [Kindle]
  • 108. Hit Man - Lawrence Block [Kindle]
  • 107. The Fortune of Christina M'Nab - Sarah Macnaughtan {REVIEW}
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  • 101. Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein [Kindle]