Okay, so this post has taken me AGES to write, not because it in itself is difficult, but because this subject is rife with 'OH MY GOD WHAT IF I FORGET SOMEONE OR OFFEND SOMEONE?!' angst. Something akin to writing an Oscar speech but forgetting to thank your mum... So, I'll add a disclaimer right here and right now. I read plenty of people's blogs. I comment, and I sometimes subscribe via email so I get these things right to my inbox to read, and I love you all. BUT. I can't mention everyone here, so I'm not even going to try.
These, then, are the blogging friends I read devotedly. I've met three of them, book shopped with two of them, and it's only a matter of time before the final two get dragged up north to visit at last. These five lovely ladies all share my eclectic taste in books, so I take away a load of book recommendations from their blogs and feel quite safe taking their advice on books I'm a bit unsure about. Not only that, but we also Tweet, we email, we chatter, we send each other stuff, we text... All of these things a blogging BFF doth make!
Hanna (Booking in Heels)
Aaaaah, Miss Hanna. I think she was actually a blog stalker of mine before she started her own, rather more stylish blog, and we officially 'met' when I sent her presents for the bookish RAK project. We ACTUALLY met when she visited the shop last year, and even though her hair wasn't bright pink any more I knew it was her because I could hear her heels coming from all the way down the road. We've also been book shopping here, and met up in Leeds for an EPIC book binge with Charlotte. Basically, if Hanna likes or dislikes a book, I listen. If I have a book on my wishlist, her review can determine whether or not it stays there. If I have a book on Mount TBR, I refuse to read her review properly until I'm done, because if she hates it I'll be biased before I even open the front page.
Defining characteristics: Rapunzel hair; a collection of shoes that I couldn't even stand up in, let alone walk around town for three hours; a no-holds-barred reviewing style; a firm belief that reading can... well, not cure many ills, but certainly make them more bearable
'Hanna books' include: The Pirates! series by Gideon Defoe; We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee; The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender; 11.22.63 by Stephen King
In short: This woman is a straight-talking bookish goddess in 6" stilettos.
Charlotte (Lit Addicted Brit)
Gawd, where did we meet? Were we friends on LT first? I feel like we were! Charlotte, heeeeelp! I think we may ALSO have bonded via RAK - I gravitated towards UK bloggers when I was choosing gift recipients, and made some great friends along the way. Anyway, she wrote a wonderful post called On Why You Should Always Read What You Want which really hit home for me, and that was when I became a bona fide blog stalker. I pay devoted attention to her thoughts on all kinds of books (so I know whether to read them!) and tend to buy certain lit-fic books based almost solely on her reviews. When we finally met up in Leeds last month we bonded in about two minutes flat and had THE BEST TIME book shopping with Hanna for the next... six hours? Wow.
Defining characteristics: So relaxed and easy to chat to; very tolerant of my fancy phone/Starbucks ordering-related neuroses; an excellent source of recommendations for literary fiction; a champion of reading what you want, in your own time, and loving every page
'Charlotte books' include: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller; The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood; Swimming Home by Deborah Levy; The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
In short: A devious bookish enabler with a wardrobe that I WANT NOW.
Laura (Devouring Texts)
Laura is my blog wife. I can't even remember how this happened, but she is. We both looked amazing, by the way... We have very similar taste in books, except she actually reads the more highbrow ones whereas I just look at them on my bookcase. We also have a kind of spooky thing where we can practically read each other's minds - like for Bex's birthday where she sent a Steinbeck book that I almost sent too, and we both bought her books by Nora Ephron WITHOUT DUPLICATING. We both love Nora, obviously. I always read Laura's reviews, because like Caitlin Moran's TV columns, I know they'll still be insightful and make me smile even if I've never heard of the book she's talking about! We bonded over a conversation about the hotness of cartoon characters, and although we've never met, we've never looked back... :)
Defining characteristics: Hilarious writing style; strong opinions on big issues; love of red velvet and rainbow-coloured cake pins on Pinterest; devoted use of Alexander Skarsgard/Ryan Gosling/Joseph Gordon-Levitt GIFs in all possible blog posting scenarios
'Laura books' include: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins; How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran; Arcadia by Lauren Groff; anything by Stephen King
In short: In sickness and in health, etc etc...
Bex (An Armchair By The Sea)
Was this another RAK meeting? I know Bex sent me a book - did I send you one, chuck? I CANNOT REMEMBER THESE THINGS! *consults blog* Ahhh yes, I sent her some Fitzgeraldy goodness for my first ever RAK! But we already knew each other, apparently. My, how time flies (and memory dies)... So, Bex is just generally awesome really. Her blog is more like a window into her life, especially now she has baby Benji and does lots of lovely crafty things alongside all that reading! I still haven't met her (*hic*) but I'm trying to make up for this by obsessively stalking her library book posts, awwwwing over her cute handmade nursery things and Tweeting about our shared love for Eddie Izzard. :)
Defining characteristics: Comes with bonus beautiful baby boy; the only one of us to truly stick to her book buying ban; poster of delicious library-enabled book pile photos; inspiring interest in self-sufficiency
'Bex books' include: Wild by Cheryl Strayed; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver; The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen, anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald
In short: A serene Earth Mother, only with better bookshelves.
Katie (Katie's Book Blog)
A fellow bookseller! An Isle of Wight book queen, Katie is more than familiar with the horrors of the summer season in a tourist spot, so we do much sympathetic Tweet-consolation at this time of year. Although she reads more graphic novels and sci-fi/fantasy than I do our tastes definitely broadly overlap, especially in literary fiction and non-fiction - as evidenced by the fact that when she came a-visiting recently with her awesome friend Judi, half the books she bought from the shop were previously mine! It was so nice to share war stories in person, and they brought CAKE, and came back the next DAY, and we chatted for AGES, and it was just lovely really. She also sent me a book the other week, and it smells like the beach and it's perfect. I like stalking Katie's 'Currently' box, and thoroughly approve of her penchant for toffee ice cream. And trees. And cats, obviously.
Defining characteristics: Bookseller with less of a Bernard complex than me (at least in public - congratulations for that, by the way!); knits ALL THE THINGS; Gaiman fangirl; slipped over in the Chatsworth Cascade ensuring I'll never walk in it ever... :P
'Katie books' include: Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart; The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst; The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen; anything by Neil Gaiman
In short: Understands my pain AND provides cake therapy. What's not to love?
This has been such a hard post to write - hope you five like it and that I did you all justice!