Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Getting To Know... Linda Hill

Today is my last Getting To Know... of 2016 and I am extremely delighted to be welcoming book blogger Linda Hill of Linda's Book Bag to Life Of A Nerdish Mum

You have an absolutely wonderful (and busy) blog, Linda's Book Bag, what inspired you to set this up?

Thanks for your kind words about the blog! I set up Linda's Book Bag because I wanted to share my love of books. I'd been a reviewer on the reader panel for https://www.lovereading.co.uk/ so I was already sharing reviews there and years ago I used to review teenage fiction for Hodder to see if it would be suitable for inclusion as class readers for KS3. Both these things made me feel it would be good to have my own blog where I could write about the books I'd enjoyed. Since then, it's grown and I also have guest posts, extracts, interviews and giveaways, especially to support those independently published authors who don't have a huge budget behind them for publicity.

On average how many books do you read in a year? Do you set yourself an annual goal?

Normally I would read between 150 and 200 books a year, but life has been tricky of late and I have hardly had any time for reading. I set myself a challenge on Goodreads to read 125 books this year and at the moment I'm on 106 but I have several reviews that I haven't added there yet as they are for blog tours coming up.

Do you have a favourite place to curl up and read?

Ideally it would be in the sun in the garden or on a beach, but anywhere will do. I really like long haul flights as I can get into a book and just read for the duration, so I suppose you could say a plane seat is a favourite place to read too - even in cattle class!

Do you have a particular way of organising your bookshelves or are books just placed where they fit?

You know, I used to be the most organised person in the universe, but now I'm so overwhelmed by books that they are everywhere. I have three book cases in the sitting room and one on the landing, 300 books under the spare bed, a huge set of shelves in my study (about a third of which is represented in the photo) and then a few (cough) awaiting a place on the side in my study too. That's after taking over 2000 between my husband and me to the Sue Ryder charity bookshop in Spalding over the last three years as we were supposed to be clearing out!

When you're not reading what would we find you doing?

First and foremost I'll be drinking tea. I'm addicted to it. After that I'll be outside. I love to garden and have an allotment. I spent 30 years moaning that our garden is too small so my husband organised an allotment for my birthday to shut me up and I'll often be seen there amongst my leeks and beetroot. We go for lots of walks and love to travel too. We've been all over the world from Antarctica to Zambia and have booked Lapland for our next trip followed by Uganda, where we will be trekking in the hope of seeing gorillas in the wild as wildlife is a huge passion too.

You were an English teacher, is that where your love of reading came from, or have you always been a big reader?

No, definitely not. I was a late reader. My sight is really poor and as I have an older sister who used to read with me, as my parents were so poor they were always working, no-one realised and it wasn't until I got glasses at the age of 8 that I really began to read. It was a miracle that those smudges had a shape and were letters that formed magical words. After that there was no stopping me and I read as much as I could as often as I could.

When you were a teacher, did you have a favourite book to teach as part of the curriculum?

Gosh, that's a tricky question. I always enjoyed teaching Macbeth as it's so dramatic and accessible. I loved reading Of Mice and Men with my students, although every time I taught it I still cried at the end and I think some of them thought I was mad. However, not a book, but a poem sticks in my mind most - Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen. I had a top set of absolutely wonderful 15 and 16 year olds. We had been studying the war poets and it just happened that I was teaching them over the two minutes' silence at 11AM on one 11th November. I'd shown them the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth (the episode when they go over the top and are slaughtered) and then we read and discussed the poem. We finished, by chance, exactly as the bell rang for the silence and at the end all of us were in tears. It was so moving I've never forgotten it.

Bookmark, random bit of paper or dog ear?

I nearly passed out when I saw 'dog ear - NO! NEVER! Though I have to admit, I have scores of wonderful bookmarks but more often than not it's whatever I have to hand - nail file, pen, specs, post-it, passport.

Do you have a favourite author?

Every time I read a book that touches my soul the writer becomes a favourite author. And since I began blogging there have been so many that it's impossible to say. From the classics it has to be Thomas Hardy.

Will we see a book by you in the future? If yes, what genre can we look forward to?
I have actually got my name on around 18 books as author and editor but they are all non-fiction resource books for teachers and students so I don't feel they count! I began NaNoWriMo in 2015 and have completed 26,000 words of a novel which could loosely be called women's fiction. I didn't finish it then as my husband was diagnosed with cancer on 6th November and that took all my time and attention. Since then 2016 has been so fraught waiting for my husband to get the all clear in February and again in September after more surgery and then the near death of my Dad from sepsis and the actual death at full term birth of our great niece Emma that, I didn't have the emotional energy for writing. I was going to complete it this November in NaNoWriMo, but when November arrived I'd spent 3-6 hours a day for the previous three and a half months visiting my Dad in hospital after he had a terrible stroke in July and supporting my Mum. Dad died on 9th November and the funeral was 25th with all the arrangements that causes so perhaps I'll do my own DeWriMo instead!

Thank you so much to Linda for taking the time to join me and answer my questions and for sharing with me so much.

To connect with Linda

Twitter - @Lindahill50Hill


  1. Thanks so much for having me on your lovely blog. Have a happy Christmas and a happy and healthy 2017 x

  2. So lovely to learn more about lovely Linda! Fx