About me and my love of books

For as long as I’ve been able to read, books have been just about the most important thing in my life (after my family and friends, of course!) When I was tiny, I apparently memorised the books read to me and told them back to people as if I was reading them myself.

When I was old enough to start getting pocket money, it was always spent on books – usually an Enid Blyton, and then as I got older, the Narnia stories and later The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Much of my early teens saw me involved with Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes and then as I hit puberty and beyond I shared my attentions between Ed McBain 87th Precinct novels and the Beat writers. Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs are some of my favourite writers. I discovered the wonderful Hunter S. Thompson at the same time. Poetry crept into my life too, in the form of Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson and e e cummings. I still have many of the original copies I read back then which are treasured possessions.

My reading really took off in my early twenties when I came across Virginia Woolf, Colette, Cocteau, De Beavoir, Sartre, Calvino, Virago Modern classics and basically became the truly voracious reader I am now. My personal library, despite my best efforts, is scarily huge and the names of my favourite writers too numerous to mention – but I have shared, and will continue to share, many of them on the blog.

So here on the Ramblings you’ll find me writing about the books I’ve read and loved, sharing the occasional reading challenge I undertake and sometimes a little autobiographical bookish memory might creep in; when you’ve been reading as long as I have, you have many books which are attached to significant events in your life! There are posts about what’s on my current reading table pile, and I veer into discussion of documentaries at times as I love a good non-fiction TV programme (BBC4 is my favourite channel). I still have a day job, and so this is very much a spare time hobby for me, but one which I love and to which I give many of my free hours. I’m always happy to chat with other readers, so please do leave a comment on any posts which interest you!

Review policy

I write about books which appeal to me and which I hope I’ll like; life is too short to spend on reading you aren’t enjoying. I’m happy to consider books for review but they would have to be the kind of thing I like: for example translated fiction, Golden Age crime and quirky non-fiction are more likely to be in my line than chick-lit or modern, violent thrillers! If you want to contact me, you can email me on kaggsysbookishramblings (at) gmail (dot) com.

56 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. alex daw (@luvviealex)
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 21:52:55

    Lovely ! I too remember spending my 45 cents pocket money on Enid Blyton paperbacks 🙂


  2. David Hyde
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:15:06

    Hi Kaggsy;

    I am just in the process of finishing an epub form of Ivy Low’s “The Questing Beast” . I had an old copy from my mother and scanned it. It’s my first expt.with the epub form and I have used a text editor to do all the coding.

    Are you interested in seeing it when finished – I do not think it is public domain material because Ivy has not been dead for 70 years. I chose this book because copies of it seem to be almost non-existent.

    Ivy’s mother, Alice Baker, was my mother’s aunt and godmother.



  3. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:33:09

    Thanks so much for the offer David – I’ve emailed you about this!


  4. Peter S
    Dec 13, 2012 @ 15:27:44

    Hello Kaggsy,
    I’d like to forward along a blogging award to you. The Liebster Award. It’s kind of fun to answer the questions, but it’s very time consuming, so don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you don’t decide to play along.



    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Dec 13, 2012 @ 16:12:51

      Thank you! I have actually done another Liebster Award but as your questions are completely different I will try and answer them too!!


      • Peter S
        Dec 14, 2012 @ 02:30:44

        oops! Sorry about that! I didn’t notice if you had received one before.

  5. 1WriteWay
    Aug 26, 2013 @ 01:16:39

    What an interesting, delightful blog you have 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading more of it.


    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Aug 26, 2013 @ 11:01:30

      Thank you!


  6. litbeetle
    Oct 07, 2013 @ 16:56:05

    Hey, thanks for following my blog! Makes me really happy to meet such an avid reader and an Italo Calvino fan to boot! I look forward to reading more of your posts 🙂


    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Oct 08, 2013 @ 08:09:26

      Thanks! I *love* Calvino’s books – he’s been one of my favourite authors since the early 1980s, and I can never get enough of his work. I’m craving the recently released Letters collection at the moment!


      • litbeetle
        Oct 08, 2013 @ 16:01:54

        I got a copy of those letters in advance from Princeton U Press! I highly suggest buying the book. And my favorite used book store all of sudden was fully stocked of Calvino’s novels, so this year I’ve been going to town. My favorite will always be “If on a Winter’s Night,” though.

      • kaggsysbookishramblings
        Oct 08, 2013 @ 16:06:07

        Lucky you! Yes, I certainly will get a copy – straight onto the wishlist, I think!

        I think I agree with you about favourites – “If on a Winter’s Night” was my first Calvino and I think I will always love it most.

      • litbeetle
        Oct 08, 2013 @ 16:12:29

        Yay! He seems to be gaining a new following in the US, so I’m excited to see if more people join our fandom. I look forward to seeing what you think of the letters!

      • kaggsysbookishramblings
        Oct 08, 2013 @ 16:21:28

        I’ll no doubt be doing a lengthy review…..!

  7. jacquiwine
    May 08, 2014 @ 15:52:39

    I’ve recently discovered your blog through Stu at Winston’sdad’s, It looks as if you read a fair bit of fiction in translation, so I’ll sure I’ll be visiting your site again.


    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      May 08, 2014 @ 15:57:48

      I am indeed a huge fan of translated fiction old and new!


      • Dark Puss
        May 30, 2014 @ 12:20:59

        So indeed am I!

      • kaggsysbookishramblings
        May 30, 2014 @ 12:22:19

        I seem to be reading even more of it than usual lately, too!

  8. DebraB
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 14:59:25

    It’s nice to find another voracious reader! I remember when I was about 5, I looked longingly at some empty bookshelves we had at home. I couldn’t wait until I would be able to fill them with books. (Now I have so many I literally have no place to put any more.)


    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 15:23:42

      I know the feeling – my bookshelves are sagging under the weight of unread volumes at the moment….. :s


  9. Tina Brooker
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 18:42:41

    I know it is none of my business but where did you find the Elizabeth Cambridge books and how much did you pay?I am keen to know more as i cannot locate any at a fair price.Feel free to ignore this cheeky email.


    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Jul 14, 2014 @ 20:31:38

      I don’t think I actually own any Elizabeth Cambridge books – maybe you mean Elizabeth Taylor? If so, you could try Awesome Books!


  10. Tina Brooker
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 09:38:51

    Sorry i thought it was you commenting to Simon about the odd ending of SUSAN AND JOANNA by Cambridge.Must have been another .A book i will never get to read…..


    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Jul 15, 2014 @ 09:55:39

      Alas, not me!


  11. leavesandpages
    Jul 22, 2014 @ 15:24:27

    Hi Kaggsy – I don’t usually play the awards game, but in this case it felt appropriate. I’ve nominated you for the

    Very Inspiring Blogger Award


    Thank you for your ongoing inspiration!


  12. Thom Hickey
    Sep 21, 2014 @ 07:44:40

    Delighted to have found your fascinating blog. Lots of reading in store for me here! Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (plugged in now).


    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Sep 21, 2014 @ 11:12:56

      Thank you!


  13. Irene
    Nov 17, 2014 @ 10:16:33

    Hi Kaggsy,

    My name is Irene as the publicity assistant of a digital publishing house. Is there any way I can contact you privately to discuss a review request?

    Best wishes,



    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Nov 17, 2014 @ 10:27:19

      Hi, you can contact me on kaggsysbookishramblings (at) gmail.com.


  14. colorpencil2014
    Nov 25, 2014 @ 11:22:13

    Hi Kaggsy, what a fabulous blog you have and I love your style of writing! books play a very important part in my life too and I even have a lot of books from my youth still. I grew up next to a library and worked in libraries as well. Thanks for visiting my blog and bringing yours to my attention and I look forward to follow you!


    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Nov 25, 2014 @ 11:35:57

      Hi, and thanks for your very kind words. When I was growing up I always wanted to work in a library – not quite sure what went wrong there, but I still love books, they’re one of the most important things in my life!


  15. EnglishLitGeek
    Sep 29, 2016 @ 13:22:15

    Hi Kaggsy, great blog! I would love it if you joined me for my Bookish Time Travel Tag. I’ve added you to the list, but no obligation. I look forward to reading more of your blog. more details on my site, if you are up for the challenge. best, EnglishLitGeek


    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Sep 29, 2016 @ 14:03:43

      I don’t usually get tagged, or indeed take part in such things (!) but this one does sound tempting – may well take you up on it! 🙂


      • EnglishLitGeek
        Sep 29, 2016 @ 14:04:39

        no pressure! I just love to see book lists and book ideas. love your blog!

      • kaggsysbookishramblings
        Sep 29, 2016 @ 14:04:52

        Thank you! 🙂

  16. Jennifer Dee
    Oct 02, 2016 @ 10:49:16

    I too have always been a voracious reader from an early age. I am in the process of moving from my flat to one down the corridor, which has a gorgeous view of Newquay harbour. I have so far packed 20 boxes of books and can still see the odd book lying around. I’m definitely making this my last move.


  17. Weezelle
    Oct 10, 2016 @ 23:18:22

    I’ve just stumbled across your blog, and in particular the 1947 Club – which I love. I wish I’d seen it earlier. I’ll aim to take part in your next club.


  18. The Books That Built the Blogger with Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings! | 746 Books
    Feb 13, 2017 @ 09:01:44

  19. Molly George
    Jul 06, 2017 @ 03:18:58

    Hi there, I am new to the blogging thing but I’ve just started my own book blog (to encourage me to be the same voracious reader I once was) and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the book blog community.. your reviews are great, I hope to be able to read as much as you some day. For now it’s one small step at a time over at ravingsofareader.blogspot.com


  20. 1977 Club: Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath – Book Jotter
    Apr 22, 2018 @ 00:42:50

  21. jamescraigvickers
    Jul 21, 2018 @ 04:09:40

    I write to you from Toronto, Canada. I recently discovered your blog and am enjoying your writing very much. I particularly liked your review of The Aviator.


  22. Stephen Twist
    Jan 01, 2021 @ 10:49:09

    Reading your comment about HV Morton on Lisa Hill’s travel blog, I wondered if you might be interested in our HVM Facebook group? We would love you to join us there https://www.facebook.com/groups/HVMorton


    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Jan 01, 2021 @ 13:38:28

      Oh how lovely – thank you for the invite, and if I was a Facebook user I would definitely join in. If I do take up that platform I will definitely check out the group! 😀


  23. whisperinggums
    Apr 11, 2023 @ 00:49:06

    I don’t think I’ve ever replied to this but I’ll add my voice. My trajectory is similar to yours but I veered in slightly different directions. I started with Enid Blyton – who of us from those times didn’t? A successful Xmas was one with lots of books. And Noël Streatfield. But I didn’t turn head off into fantasy so no Lewis or Tolkien for me. It was more Nevil Shute and then onto Jane Austen for me. Poets were more eclectic, like TS Eliot, Oodgeroo Noonuccal. By the 80s it was Aussie woman that became my focus alongside all those women published by Virago.


    • kaggsysbookishramblings
      Apr 11, 2023 @ 12:46:23

      Oh, how interesting! So many of us began with Enid, didn’t we. And after my sideline of fantasy, I headed to women writers in the 80s too. Viragos were always such an inspiration!


      • whisperinggums
        Apr 11, 2023 @ 14:05:15

        Yes, I think particularly those of us born before the huge boom in kids’ lit that I think started more in the 70s?

      • kaggsysbookishramblings
        Apr 11, 2023 @ 16:26:56

        I think so – late 70s/early 80s maybe? I started reading adult books quite early in my teens.

      • whisperinggums
        Apr 11, 2023 @ 23:58:00

        I would say around then. They were slowly coming out in the 60s I think but weren’t voluminous in number as they are now. I may not have got into adult novels quite as early as I did if YA fiction was prevalent. It probably wasn’t a bad thing! But for some to keep reading it needs to be more relevant to their own lives and experience I think and YA is great for that.

      • kaggsysbookishramblings
        Apr 12, 2023 @ 16:37:13

        Yes, we’re all different readers. I found it quite natural to start reading adult books in my early teens, and the mixture of Agatha Christie and my mum’s Victoria Holts did the trick!!

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