Happy Monday! I hope that everyone has had a lovely weekend (and a lovely Mother’s Day too.) It’s time for another set of answers to my All About Books questions. Isn’t it just the best way to start the week – thinking about books!

All About Books with Odd Socks and Lollipops - colourful books stacked on grey background

This week we have Kathleen Jowitt who blogs over at kathleenjowitt.com she blogs, mostly about books – writing her own and reading other people’s. I am going to hand you over to her now…

All About Books Week 6 - Kathleen Jowitt - profile photo

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Jowitt

Which book(s) are you currently reading?
As usual, I have several on the go. In my handbag, The Virago Book of Women Travellers (an interesting pot-pourri, and there are several authors whose travel books I’d now pick up if I came across them). On my e-reader, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Jules Verne). By my bed, The Comfortable Courtesan (L. A. Hall) and Balletomania (Arnold Haskell).

What was the last book you read? And what did you think of it?
I’ve just finished Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones. I was enthusing about The Prisoner of Zenda elsewhere on the internet, and I happened to say that Ruritania ‘feels no less real than anywhere else the Victorians wrote about, and there are moments when I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see Strelsau on the departure board of a European railway station. I was never particularly interested in portal fantasy, but fictional countries that you could just take a train to, or walk over the border into, those are something that’s never left me’ – upon which a friend recommended that I investigate the Alpennia series. Daughter of Mystery is the first, and I really enjoyed it. Not only does it combine the promised Ruritanian setting with a same-sex romance, it has a really interesting take on religious practice and how that works in a fantasy setting.

What book is next on your “to be read” list?
The Mystic Marriage, which is the next in the Alpennia series.

What is your favourite genre to read?
It depends very much on my mood. I read across a wide range of genres, but if I need some comfort reading I default to something on the [crime – thriller – adventure] spectrum. I like intrigue, and a whole society on the page, and politics, and tangled plots, and maybe a bit of swashbuckling, too. I still read a lot of children’s books, too. Whatever I read, it has to combine an interesting plot with a competent style.

What genre do you tend to avoid?
I’m not keen on much of what is sold as ‘literary fiction’ these days – stories about boring men and their boring, usually self-inflicted, personal crises.

I know this one is a tricky one, but what is your favourite book or series of books?
It’s always a tricky question! I usually say The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. There’s so much in it! Intrigue, revenge, romance, art, opera, elopements, murder…

Who is your favourite author? Or authors if you simply can’t choose one (It is a bit of a mean question)
If pushed, I’d have to say Dorothy L. Sayers. Her writing is so rich and her characters are (mostly) very nuanced and human.

All About Books - Week 6 - D Sayer Books

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Jowitt

What is your favourite book from your childhood?
I’ve been fond of The Prisoner of Zenda ever since my father read it to me. I talked about my love for the Ruritanian genre further up the page, and this is the book that began it for me.

If you could visit the world of any book, where would you go? Who would you spend time with? And what would you do?
Most of the books that I really enjoy take place in worlds where I wouldn’t necessarily want to live. But if it’s only a visit and I’m guaranteed safe passage back again without anybody trying to marry or kill me, then I probably would say Ruritania. I’d explore Strelsau and the castle at Zenda, I’d take a train all the way through the country, and I’d try to avoid getting caught up in any political machinations.

If you could bring any character from any book to life for a day, who would it be? And what would you do?
Again, most of my favourite characters are a bit scary – Nancy Blackett from the Swallows and Amazons stories, the witches from Discworld. I’d quite like to call up Dickson McCunn from John Buchan’s books and get him to knock some sense into the government, or get Lady Bexbury, The Comfortable Courtesan as was, to advise on all my problems. But perhaps I’d just ask for Harriet Vane and then borrow all the mystery books she wrote.

For any Harry Potter Fans, which house do you think you would be sorted in to? (This seems like a kind of random question but I am strangely curious about which house people would be in)
I’m probably a Ravenclaw!

All About Books - Week 6 - Books

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Jowitt

Thank you so much Kathleen for answering my questions. And another Ravenclaw – lovely! There are so many new-to-me books I need to check out after reading Kathleen’s answers! That’s one of the things I love about All About Books.


If you want to know more about Kathleen you can visit her blog or catch her over on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

And, finally, if you would like to take part in my All About Books feature then please send me an email: jenni@oddsocksandlollipops.co.uk and I will send over the questions and information to you. And if you would like to catch up with other weeks you can see them all here.