Todays Bookish Blogger is a dear friend and inspiring woman Amie of Finding Our Feet. Amie is an absolute powerhouse if you ask me. She’s a working mama who handles the nursery run and London commute with a wry smile and a strong coffee. As well as writing about life as a young parent Amie heads up the #ParentsAtWork series, the Bloggers for Refugees initiative and is the Britmums Parents Under 30 editor. I told you she was impressive!
What kinds of books are your favourite? Trashy? Mystery? Classics?
I think it’s easier to answer what type of books I don’t like… I’m not a big fantasy fan – I much prefer books that are based on reality, or are at least within the realms of possibility. I also don’t like supernatural stuff – ghosts for example. But vampires are fine.
I enjoy stories about people basically, something with a human element. So (back to the Vampire trail of thought) as a teen reading Twilight, it was the personalities, the troubles, the human element of the story that hooked me in, so the fact they’re vampires!
What is the last book you read?
2016 for me has actually been the year of non-fiction. At the moment, I’m finally reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. (‘Finally’ because my boss when my career was just starting out in 2012 – I was just 23 years old – told me I should read it!) And before that I read Helen Russell’s The Year of Living Danishly, and before that, Ann-Marie Slaughter’s Unfinished Business.
If you could make it compulsory for everyone to read one book what would it be and why?
Unfinished Business by Ann-Marie Slaughter. It’s a truly insightful critique of the modern working world and the problems not only women but many men face as well. We can’t have it all. Fact. So what do we do about?
Slaughter looks at what needs to change, both within the workplace and people’s attitudes in order for us to be able to move forward successfully together. It concerns everyone – though its focus is on people who care for someone else as well as hold down a job, whether they be a parent, guardian, looking after an elderly relative or a sibling with special needs. We all have dependents or moments in our careers when we need to take our foot off the gas for some reason or other.
It's arrived!!! I'm very excited (can you tell?) about Anne-Marie Slaughter's new book, #UnfinishedBusiness. She wrote an article in 2012 after leaving Congress to spend more time with her husband and son saying, 'women can't have it all'. After a few years of research and some angry letters from parents around the country, she's revamped that statement to 'parents can't have it all' and written a book on the issue. Unfinished Business takes a long hard look at gender equality (both at work and at home), the discrimination, the problems in our paths in the workplace and what really needs to change. It's the ultimate #ParentsAtWork piece. I get chills just reading the blurb on the back. Cannot wait to get started on the train home today. #workingmum #workingdad #annemarieslaughter #newbook #whatimreading #parenthood #workingparent #workingmom
Do you prefer to have a physical copy of a book or do you like using a kindle etc too?
I’m definitely a physical book lover. Partly because I have to wear glasses for reading on a screen for longer than ten minutes at a time, partly because I like that sense of achievement having all the books I’ve read on shelves around the house! (And now I have Little Miss, I like to think that if she grows up with books around her, a love of reading, literature and learning will rub off on her! So far, it seems to be working!)
What’s the first book you can remember not being able to put down?
Tracey Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson. I was 10. I was actually dyslexic (or had a type of dyslexia, but I won’t bore you with the details) but we didn’t know it at the time. Although I had always adored stories and would beg my mum to read just a few more pages before bed every night, I’d never actually read a book on my own, let alone not wanted to put it down. Jacqueline Wilson just unlocked something for me (thank god!).
Is the book always better than the movie?
No. I actually studied Literature to Film adaptations for a Semester at University back in the day and it was really, really interesting seeing the process directors have to go through and how a script writer might take the ‘essence’ of a story but adapt it to fit a new medium of film. You wouldn’t expect a Symphony Orchestra and Guns & Roses to play the same song the same way, would you? So why do we expect a book and a film to behave the same?
Once you accept they’re different, your expectations shift and you can appreciate the differences for what they are. Water for Elephants is a beautiful example of how film adaptations can be done brilliantly without being an exact replica. They made some quite significant changes to the story – completely re-writing two brothers who ran the circus into a single character, but Christoph Waltz’s portrayal was so perfect, it didn’t matter. He (and the writers) completely pulled it off and created something brilliant in its own right. The essence of the original was there, the beauty, the emotion – it completely did the book justice.
That being said, let’s not talk about The Hobbit. That was just an atrocity and an insult to literature.
What were your favourite stories growing up?
Growing up in the States, my mom took it upon herself to introduce me to the British classics. So I grew up with The Worst Witch, the Milly Molly Mandy and What Katy Did series as bedtime stories. While my dad (though also British) would read me the American classics before bed like Little House on the Prairie.
When I was 11, we were back in the UK and the Harry Potter craze hit. By the end of chapter one of book three, I had to ask mom to stop reading them as the voices she put on were too scary! I’ve still never read any more of the Harry Potter books to this day! (Though my mates at school and Uni dragged me to all the movies.)
Do your kids like reading with you or is it a struggle to get them away from the TV?
Little Miss is three in March (2017) and we’ve read her a bedtime story every night almost without fail since she was about six weeks old. The Other Half and I met at Uni, both doing literature degrees, so it’s hardly surprising! Her God Mother was on that degree with us as well, my mom is book obsessed (and a teacher) and her Uncle is a complete bookworm too. So basically, Little Miss doesn’t get much say in the matter! Luckily, she’s already a complete book fiend as it is.
She does love the TV and the iPad, but most of the apps we have are linked to books in some way – The Peter Rabbit app and Spot Goes to the Farm (both by Penguin) are her favourites. And Little Miss actually does choose books over the TV on occasion, begging us to read just one more story, which makes me very proud!
Her love of reading has actually spurred me on to write a Little Bookworm feature on my blog, and we regularly feature our favourite children’s book of the moment on our Instagram profile (@findingourfeet).
If you don’t love Amie half as much as I do after reading that then you need to read it again! Seriously she’s a fantastic person with a fresh perspective on life and a hilarious mother who she loves to tell stories about. To find out more about Amie head over to her blog Finding our Feet or check out her social accounts – Facebook // Instagram // Twitter