Reader’s Nook: QA with Cherrie

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

There is something about Cherrie 🙂 And you can read it in her bio:

I live in the centre of Amsterdam, with my husband, a 9-year-old daughter, a cat, and about 600 books. I work in IT, but my real passion is travelling (a passion I share with the family) and books. If I’m not travelling, sailing our own boat, or busy making plans for upcoming trips, I will be sitting somewhere reading. I have always been a reader, and I read for the same reason I travel; they satisfy my curiosity about the universe, while at the same time let me escape into other places and be in other people’s skins.  When in need of some excitement, I enjoy a bit of adrenaline rush doing rock climbing, bungee jumping, sky diving, go on a tree top zip line, or hang upside down doing some aerial yoga. I just love the sensory feeling of being higher than the grounds, which is probably a compensation of me being short.

If I won the lottery, I would spend the money to sail around the world, build a library (or two) somewhere in the world that needs it, and buy designer chairs for my house.

I write about my travels in my travel blog: https://deliciouslydoingnothing.wordpress.com


  1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books

This is a hard question for me, but in no particular order:

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt

The Road – Cormac McCarthy

The Hunger Angel – Herta Müller

Battle Royale – Koushun Takami

Hideous Kinky – Esther Freud

The Reader – Bernhard Schlink

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters – Matt Ridley

  1. A book that you have re-read the most

The Shrinking of Treehorn, by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Edward Gorey. I picked it up from a library when I was 3, not even yet able to read. We never returned that book to the library (I’m such a criminal!), and I love to the book so much, rereading many times after I could read, even into adulthood when I’m able to get more from the story and the underlying dark humour. This book was also the reason Edward Gorey became my favourite illustrator and later on led me to discover his other, more grown up works.

  1. Favourite authors and why

The thing is, I don’t have a favourite author because for me, limiting my reading to favourite authors is like travelling to the same place over and over while there are many other destinations to go to. I tend not to seek out a book from the same author even if I loved their books (with the exception to series). But if I have to choose a favourite author, it will be Frank McCourt. I can’t help getting drawn into his words, his genuine personality that shone through all his books, and the Irish charm that makes me want to invite him over for tea.

  1. Genre you dislike

Romance, because I find it mostly boring and formulaic. Self-help and inspirational books, because, well, I don’t like being told what to do.

  1. Character crush

I thought long and hard about this question, but the truth is, I never had a character crush. Perhaps because the best books I’ve read tend to have flawed characters, which make for great storytelling, but not so much as a crush.

That being said, I wouldn’t say no to a date with Mark Watney from The Martian. An intelligent, cool headed and resourceful man is always sexy.

  1. Character you strongly identify with

Emily the Strange. I could really relate to this brooding introverted girl with poker face and her anarchic tendencies. In fact, I had the exact same hairstyle as a kid.

  1. One character you want to bring to the real world

Pippi Longstocking. It would be interesting to find out what kind of adult she grew up to be (even though I always imagine Lisbeth Salander as a grown up and darker version of Pippi).

  1. What is your ideal reading space/environment

I can read pretty much anywhere, from a noisy public transport to a secluded beach, but nowhere is as comfortable as my own bed.

  1. Must-have books in a collection

When I was 8 or 9, my grandmother gave me this huge Random House College Dictionary, and I thought it was the best book ever. Not only it contained word definitions, but it also includes illustrations, diagrams, the full periodic table under ‘element’, a language tree of Indo-European languages, and several different alphabets from around the world. In the pre-internet days, it became my go-to resource for a lot of things. Today, whenever my kid asked me the meaning of some words, I told her to look it up in the dictionary even though she could also Google them. There is something about searching for a word in a physical dictionary and along the way found some other beautiful or weird words that you haven’t known to exist before, and there is always something to discover. Mine is an old one now, and you wouldn’t be able to find more modern words in it, but I think every household should have at least one very good quality physical dictionary on the shelf.

  1. Earliest memory of books and reading

My parents took me to the library as a toddler, and I always loved the library and I would pick books I found interesting for them to read for me at home. And that was how I came to my answer for question no.2

  1. Weirdest book or reading experience

I love reading weird and random books! From Alice in Wonderland, a book narrated by a bowl (The Collector Collector – Tibor Fischer), the story of the invention of currywurst (The Invention of Curried Sausage – Uwe Timm), the history of the screwdrivers (One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw – Witold Rybczynski), a hyper-detailed narration of a game of Go (The Master of Go – Yasunari Kawabata), to a book containing 99 identical stories told in various writing styles (Exercises in Style – Raymond Queneau). The weirdest of all was probably The Curious Sofa by Edward Gorey. It was supposedly written as a satire to The Story of O, in the truly wicked and bizarre Gorey way.

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