76. Exploring Bookshelves with Sheree

Exploring Bookshelves  is a new series that I’ve been meaning to start for a few months now. As the name suggests, I’ll be going through book shelves of people from different places. I know it can get boring reading the same voice over and over again, and you may get bored with me, so in order to bring more flavor to my blog, I’m poking around in bookshelves of people whom I’ve never met. I hope you enjoy 🙂

My first guest on the blog is a bookstagrammer all the way from Australia (Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oye, Oye, Oye!) Sorry Sheree, had to do it 😛

Here’s a little about her:

Sheree is a book blogger/reviewer at Keeping Up With The Penguins, and is currently working her way through a list of 109 classic and contemporary books that she “should” have read already. Her reading list includes a bit of everything: from Victorian classics to vampire novels, modern memoirs to military satire, prize-winners and best-sellers, and more…

When she’s not blogging, you can find her on Instagram @keepingupwiththepenguinsonline or actively searching around secondhand bookstores of Sydney, looking for her next great read.

So Sheree, what made you start reading and stick to it? 

I’ve always been a bookworm. My mother learned quickly not to send me to my room as a childhood punishment, as I would relish the opportunity to read for hours. Yet, a couple of years ago, I realized I’d fallen into a rut of simply re-reading my favourites again and again. I wasn’t keeping up with new book releases, and nodding along blankly during conversations about classics, without ever actually picking them up and reading for myself.

So, I decided to make a list of books I “should” have read already, and read them all—without a single re-read or deviation until I was done. This project has been completely invigorating and life-changing. I’m reading more than I ever have in my life and constantly (pleasantly!) surprised by books I would never have thought to pick up before starting Keeping Up With The Penguins.

For me, it’s all about the thrill of the chase: finding a rare book in a secondhand store, finding a story from a perspective I’d never considered before, and finding an author that articulates beautiful truths.

Alrighty, now for the rapid fire round where you can say as much as you want, ready? Let’s go.

  1. One Book you turn to in times of need.
    I’ve thumbed through my copy of The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum by Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh, so many times the pages are falling out: when it comes to etiquette, I often need a little guidance 😉

2. One Book you can’t help but re-read.
George Orwell’s 1984 – I’ve re-read it more than perhaps any other (and always the copy my father gave me as a teenager, which has followed me around the world). It tells me something new and different every single time I open it, and I’m stunned by its continued relevance and poignance.

3. One Book everyone should read.
A book from a perspective that is very different from their own. This is unique for everyone, of course: for me, a recent example would be The Alchemist (written by a very spiritual South American man, where I am a very cynical Australian woman). I think in any situation, if you have to choose a book, you should choose the one written by an author who looks nothing like you – it’ll give you the best chance of learning something new!

4. One Book that no one should read.
This question is really tough for me, because I can almost never bring myself to dissuade someone from reading a book (even those that I really hate!). I’m just happy that people read at all! If I *had* to say, there are two that I feel have very few redeeming qualities at all: The Golden Bowl by Henry James, and American Sniper by Chris Kyle.

5. One Cult-Classic Book you never read.
Twilight! And pretty much every other YA series from the past 10-15 years…

6. One Book that changed your life.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I’m not sure I even enjoyed reading it, necessarily, but it came at a very turbulent time in my life and it’s just an ever-giving tree: I think back to it almost every day.

7. One Book Series everyone should have.
A house isn’t a home without the complete set of Harry Potter. 😉

I hope you enjoyed Sheree’s answers as much as I had fun asking them. She’s been really kind about this series despite the many delays from my end, and I couldn’t have been more happier than to start with her. Stay tuned for many more posts and guests I’m sure you’ll love.

-Sarah

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