Challenge accepted, @PenguinUKBooks!  We gladly accept your Christmas Instagram Challenge and encourage Plenty of readers to do the same, just don’t forget to share your answers with us because we’re always looking to add to our TBR pile.

From Beth-Anne

1.     Favourite first line: “Early in the spring of 1750 in the village of Juffure, four days upriver from the coast of The Gambia, West Africa, a manchild was born to Omoro and Binta Kinte.” – Roots by Alex Haley

2.     Well-thumbed: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montegomery 

3.     For a dark winter’s night: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

4.     Last read: Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef  by Gabrielle Hamilton

5.     Judged by the cover: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin 

6.     From page to screen: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

7.     Set where I live: Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright (it’s a bit of a stretch . . .)

8.     Favourite festive quote: “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!” The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. 

9.     Childhood favourite: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson 

10. Currently reading: I am waiting until Boxing Day to start on my next selection.  I plan on luxuriating in my reading time.  Uninterrupted (a girl can only wish).

11. Most loved Penguin Classic:  A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway  

12. Character I’m most like: Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables

13. Couldn’t stop laughing: The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer 

14.  It’s a mystery: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

15. Non-fiction necessity: 1,000 Places To See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz

16. Next on the TBR pile: The Illegal by Lawrence Hill 

17. Gorgeous spine: The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson by David P. Silcox

18. Most recent purchase: The Secret Path by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire

19. Clothbound classics: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare 

20. Cried at the end: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller (but really, I cry so often at the end of books)

21. Festive shelfie: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

22. Re-read every year: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 

23. A present for someone else: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw

24. Christmas-y classic: Little Women By Louisa May Alcott

25. Under the tree: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (hint, hint)

26. Can’t stop talking aboutA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty  Smith

27. Something spooky: An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It by Al Gore

28. Completely underrated: Far To Go by Alison Pick

29. All time favourite: I can’t choose.  It’s like asking me which child I love most.  Ridiculous question.

30. A 2016 must-read: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi 

31. December wrap up: Uninterrupted hours to read my abundant TBR pile.


From Nathalie

1.     Favourite first line: “Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book”, thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

2.     Well-thumbed: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

3.     For a dark winter’s night: any country house murder mystery

4.     Last read: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

5.     Judged by the cover: Uncommon Ground: A Word-Lover’s Guide to the British Landscape by Dominick Tyler

6.     From page to screen: Pride and Prejudice, the BBC mini-series.

7.     Set where I live: In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje

8.     Favourite festive quote: “It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season–like all the other seasons–is a good time to tell not only stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them….” from The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket

9.     Childhood favourite: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (I used to listen to it on an LP record; the book is scratchy and came complete with the sounds of horses and a soundtrack)

10. Currently reading: Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre

11. Most loved Penguin Classic: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

12. Character I’m most like: pass

13. Couldn’t stop laughing: The Lusty Man by Terry Griggs

14.  It’s a mystery: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and then by Val McDermid, both excellen

15. Non-fiction necessity: Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman

16. Next on the TBR pile: Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley.  The protagonist is Gertie Reese Foy!  I’ve never met a fictional Foy!

17. Gorgeous spine: the Folio editions of the Fairy Books by Andrew Lang

18. Most recent purchase: Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

19. Clothbound classics: I treasure my Folio editions

20. Cried at the end: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

21. Festive shelfie: my books are not feeling photogenic today

22. Re-read every year: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and all of our Christmas advent books.

23. A present for someone else: Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey by Margriet Ruurs and Nizar Ali Badr

24. Christmas-y classic: I love the Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley

25. Under the tree: I have about 500 books on the wishlist. 

26. Can’t stop talking about: The Perfect Scent by Chandler Burr

27. Something spooky: anything by Neil Gaiman, but The Graveyard Book especially

28. Completely underrated: The Lusty Man by Terry Griggs

29. All time favourite: impossible

30. A 2016 must-read: The Trespasser by Tana French

31. December wrap up: If recent trends continue, I will not get dressed or leave the house between December 26th and 30th.  I will drink vast quantities of coffee and tea and eat chocolate and read and read and read.


From Carol

1.     Favourite first line: “’Barabbas came to us by sea,’ the child Clara wrote in her delicate calligraphy.” – from The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

2.     Well-thumbed: Before She Met Me by Julian Barnes

3.     For a dark winter’s night: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

4.     Last read: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

5.     Judged by the cover: Beloved by Toni Morrison

6.     From page to screen: Harry Potter. Otherwise, I try to avoid page to screen.

7.     Set where I live: Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

8.     Favourite festive quote:  “Santa Claus… brought toys to the children because they were little and helpless, and because he loved them. He knew that the best of children were sometimes naughty, and that the naughty ones were often good. It is the way with children, the world over, and he would not have changed their natures had he possessed the power to do so.”  – from The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

9.     Childhood favourite: Watership Down by Richard Adams

10. Currently reading: The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

11. Most loved Penguin Classic:  Middlemarch by George Eliot

12. Character I’m most like: Molly Weasley?

13. Couldn’t stop laughing: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

14.  It’s a mystery: Dan Brown’s books (I don’t read much mystery!)

15. Non-fiction necessity: The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

16. Next on the TBR pile: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

17. Gorgeous spine: The Life of Pi by Yann Martel (I like the tiger image?)

18. Most recent purchase: 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up by Julia Eccleshare

19. Clothbound classics: Hm. I have a lovely copy of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

20. Cried at the end: Quite a few, as I recall.

21. Festive shelfie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Seems festive anyway, with the chocolate rivers and all that.

22. Re-read every year: Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

23. A present for someone else: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

24. Christmas-y classic: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

25. Under the tree: There are a million books I want to read. Try me.

26. Can’t stop talking about: The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

27. Something spooky: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

28. Completely underrated: The Silence in the Garden by William Trevor

29. All time favourite: The one I’ve just put down after reading it at just the right time. Gratefully, this has happened often. 

30. A 2016 must-read:  I’m not caught up on 2016…

31. December wrap up: There’s so much out there – I just have to read more. Maybe I’ll start with some good comedy. We could really use some laughs come 2017. 

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