the reviewer
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Nina & her reading

Where shall I start…? Oh, ok, the third person stuff then, as de rigueur

Aspiring author, avid reader and blogger. Scathing reviewer. Beta and editor. Learning photographer. Professional background in political science and higher education. Previously, Modern Literature and Linguistics (Anglo-American Studies).. Other interests include history, democratic theory, sustainability, the environment and green politics; creative writing; music, especially classical and jazz; and art, especially painting and illustration, and photography.

And now for the rest of it: I’ve been reading since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and my Great Uncle and Aunt decided that it might be a good idea to teach me, just so they could keep me out of mischief. They no sooner thought of it then the deed was done, as apparently I was quite keen on my letters, and too curious to let anything interfere with the acquisition of my new, much-too-useful and therefore highly coveted skill. Whether books were able to keep me out of mischief, however, is a controversial subject to this day, as I remember how my armful of itinerant library reads never quite lasted long enough to fully immunise the family (and the poor farm animals) against my little misdeeds.

Back in the city, my mother used pretty much the same expedient to try to keep me occupied, though to her absolute chagrin I showed absolutely no interest in the Hellenic classics, showing instead a remarkable preference for reads more attuned to my seven years of age — as for instance the story of Sooty the Little Mongrel, which I replaced on her hand instead of The Aeneid retold for children she had obtained from the bookshop owner, and thus for some reason causing her to blush intensely and drag me out of the bookstore. Which I didn’t get anyway, neither Sooty the Little Mongrel nor any other such tales, in case they’d poison my young and allegedly impressionable mind.

Having read most of the books in my mother’s library (even the top shelf, supposedly out of reach and forbidden ones) by about the same time I was old enough to develop an acute interest in boys, I admittedly started reading less and less until that little trickle had dried too. It wasn’t until I’d learned all about boys that I apparently started reading again — and apparently quite voraciously. A couple of years later I had started my first literature and languages degree, and was finally able to discover all I hadn’t been reading for all those years.

I stopped reading for pleasure again when I returned to university for my second degree, and then again during the postgraduate years, when all time was not enough to read all the academic textbooks and journal articles my study required. It wouldn’t have been pleasant but for the fact that I was absolutely passionate and completely engrossed in my subject area.

Nowadays I once again read mostly for pleasure. My reading tastes are quite eclectic, but with a marked preference for literary fiction; literary non-fiction (memoir, autobiography, biography, creative non-fiction, travel); and historical fiction. I also have a no longer so secret addiction to sci-fi and fantasy. Occasionally straying into thrillers / suspense / noir. I love poetry, and I still read quite a lot of reference and academic textbooks relating to my former professional interest areas. Cooking and preserving is another passion of mine, and so I tend to read — and collect! — quite a few cookery, preserving and brewing books.

I review — though not as scathingly as I like to think or tell myself I do — mostly on Amazon, GoodReads and NetGalley, and here on my blog — where I also write about books and other things I read, about authors, about the process of writing, and occasionally about the daily humdrum, memories, family, and places.

So, what do you think? I'd love to know. Shall we start a conversation?

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