Afternoon Tea With Mrs Bloggs and #bookblogger Jackie Law @followthehens ☕️

I’m really pleased to welcome book blogger Jackie Law to today’s Afternoon Tea.


Jackie Law lives in rural Wiltshire, England, where she spends more time than she should reading books and writing reviews for her blog, Never Imitate. She is particularly fond of the small independent presses and was named a Literary Hero by Influx in 2016. She was on the judge’s panel for the Guardian Not the Booker Prize in 2017 and on the reader panel that helped judge The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses in 2018. As well as writing for her own blog she is a regular contributor on Bookmunch. When she attends book events people often recognise her Twitter handle @followthehens

Tea or coffee?

Coffee please, made strong with just a dash of milk. 


Carrot cake with that light coloured topping – yum! 

Do you prefer digital or physical books?

Physical books  I don’t read ebooks. I can see the benefits of digital but to get lost in a story I need to be turning real pages.   

Favourite place to read?

At home curled up on a comfy chair. I always carry a book with me but can’t fully relax when around other people.

Please could we see a book Shelfie photo of your bookshelf?

Wow. Very Impressive!

Outstanding book of the year so far?

I’m writing this in January so I’m going to include books read since I published my Books of 2018 last month. This allows me to mention The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas by Daniel James which is an incredible story and deserves wide attention. I’ll also slip in a poetry book that blew me away – Vertigo & Ghost by Fiona Benson. Even if you don’t read much poetry I’d recommend that collection. 

Your favourite book?

Favourites depend on personal circumstances at the time of reading as they need to resonate. For example, Damage by Josephine Hart was just what I neededwhen I was in my twenties (quote: “Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.”). Ditto, A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. In my thirties I discovered Iain Banks and devoured The Wasp Factory. More recently I’ve been telling everyone to read We That Are Young by Preti Taneja. When I’m not allowed to cheat (as I have just done) and rattle off a list I go for Winnie The Pooh. It has stood the test of time, multiple rereads, and I still adore it.

What are you reading now?

Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession

How large is your TBR pile?

Around 150 books – about a year of reading for me. As I keep adding more titles it never seems to shrink despite my best efforts.

One surprising fact that isn’t generally known about you?

I rescue abandoned teddy bears, particularly those traditionally made. If I spot one in a charity shop window chances are I will bring it home.  

What is your greatest achievement?

Getting away from Belfast, the place where I was born and raised. I read Milkman by Anna Burns last year and, whilst I enjoyed the humour, it reminded me of why the place stifled me. I could never have become the person I needed to be had I stayed there. Certain family members berate me for leaving, especially now that my elderly parents require care that I am not around to help with. Achievements come at a cost.

Favourite book to screen adaptation?

The Remains of the Day by Kazui Ishiguro. 

What made you decide to become a book blogger?

I didn’t really. I started my blog in 2013 as a space to write as therapy and to connect with the outside world. Around eighteen months later my book reviews were taking it over – only then did I discover that book blogging was a thing. It was another year or so before I felt I had settled into a style of reviewing that I was comfortable with.

Thank you Jackie. That was really interesting and I’ve added the books you recommend to my future TBR. I love the thought of the old teddies you are rescuing too!

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