The Friday Key Chain is a feature on our blog where we introduce you to some of our most active twitter followers. We love people who want to get involved and we figured that this would be a great way for everyone to get to know each other a bit better!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Emma and I’m 26 years old. I’ve been a book blogger at Book Monkey for several years now and love nothing more than chatting away to other like-minded book lovers! I’ve also been in bookselling for the last five years and now have the great pleasure of working for Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath! I enjoy reading all types of books; from fantasy, sci-fi, and YA to literary fiction.
What is your favourite book shop?
My favourite bookshop, as cheesy as this may sound, just has to be where I work: Mr B’s in Bath. After spending many years visiting Bath purely for the joy of going there, I managed to get myself a job there last April! I come from Cheltenham; a town with no independent bookshops whatsoever, so I can’t tell you what a joy it is to not only be working in the one I have loved visiting all this time, and to be part of such a wonderful environment where I get to talk books all day!
What is your favourite book published by Hot Key books?
Well that has to be my favourite book of 2013: HEAP HOUSE by Edward Carey! I can hardly find the words to express just how much I loved this book! It is such a quirky, imaginative and beautifully gothic tale with a great cast of weird little characters, all brought to life through Carey’s gorgeous illustrations! What more could you ask for? I am already far too excited for the next book in the series!
What is your favourite childhood book?
That’s a tough one! One of the earliest books I remember reading that wasn’t Roald Dahl, was THE IRON MAN by Ted Hughes and I recall reading it over and over and over again, and just being absolutely captivated. It seems I knew I loved sci-fi and other-worldly fiction even at such a young age! As for a slightly older childhood book, that would have to be Philip Pullman’s NORTHERN LIGHTS trilogy. I can’t remember being so immersed in another world, or in awe of such an incredible imagination, the way I was when reading these three books. I read them when going through a bit of a bad patch in my life, and I will always cherish them for the pure escapism they gave me.
Tell us about your favourite bookmark.
Another tough one – I have so many bookmarks and half of them are still inside books and long forgotten. I have all kinds of different types; from a lovely aboriginal design brought back from Australia by a friend, to cross-stitched tiger I made myself, to a beautiful gold leaf with a black ribbon. I have to admit I used to be adamant in always using a proper bookmark, and yet now I find myself using bits of scrap paper or receipts!
What is one of your bad reading habits?
I would say it used to be not being able to put a book down when I’m not enjoying it, I always felt I had to finish the book no matter what. However, after five years of bookselling and book blogging I have definitely taught myself how to give up! Now I feel like my bad reading habit is buying far too many books than I could ever possibly read! There’s a bit of a running joke at work that you’ll often find me saying ‘I have that at home on my bookshelf, but I haven’t read it yet!’. All I need is a gap year for reading!
If you could swap lives with any book character, who would you choose and why?
That’s easy, it has to be Lyra Belacqua from Philip Pullman’s NORTHERN LIGHTS trilogy. What I would give to be a part of her world; from having my very own daemon, to meeting armoured polar bears and delving into parallel worlds.
What type of book would you like to read more of in the future?
Well my reading resolution for 2014 is to read more non-fiction. It’s something I never ever read, and there seems to be so many new great releases out there at the moment that I thought now is definitely the time! From Judith Mackrell’s FLAPPERS, and Bill Bryson’s 1927 to Chris Hadfield’s AN ASTRONAUT’S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH, this is one new year’s resolution I will make happen!
How do you organise your bookshelves?
I have four big bookcases in total, and they’re mostly organised by genre. I have all my literary fiction in one bookcase, all my sci-fi/fantasy in another, and all my classic and YA literature in another, all organised by paperback and hardback I should say! Then I have a an even bigger bookcase for all new releases and proofs! Then I have a couple of big stacks next to my bookcase of things I can’t even begin to try and fit on the shelves! I don’t like organising them too much as I do love the feeling of just getting lost in my bookcases without knowing where everything is exactly!
What is one book you would like to recommend to everyone you meet?
That’s really tough. I know a part of me is saying THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak as it’s the first book to ever make me cry and will always hold a special spot in my heart. But when it comes to being a bookseller, I will often think ‘who hasn’t read THE BOOK THIEF by now?’ So I’m going to go for John Green’s THE FAULT IN OUR STARS which just completely blew me away back in 2012 and I still can’t get those characters out of my head! I’ve never read a book where by page 40 I had laughed out loud, and cried twice! I’m usually pretty hard to crack when it comes to books; I cry much more easily at films for some reason! But I’d also recommend DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor who is one of my absolute favourite new fantasy writers, oh and then I’d recommend MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs…. I don’t think I’m very good at this one book recommendation thing.