Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Reading with Betty Bridget

Introduce yourself (Be as vague or as specific as you like.)
Hi, I’m Bridget. I’m a lifelong reader and work as a youth services librarian. I was born and raised in East Tennessee, but now I live and work in Western North Carolina.
Betty Bridget aced the "Shushing With My Eyes" test.

When did you start reading Betty Neels?
I first read Betty in high school. My local library had some of the gold three-in-one omnibus Harlequin Treasuries and I remember only liking the ones Betty wrote. I started collecting Betty books in college via eBay lots.

What is your favorite book(s) and why?
Do I have to pick? I really like almost all of them for various reasons, but the ones I reread often are Dearest Mary Jane, Cassandra by Chance, Henrietta’s Own Castle, Damsel in Green, and Tabitha in Moonlight. I could go on but by then I’d have listed all the books Betty ever wrote.

Least favorite and why?
I don’t recall specific titles, but any where there are particularly nasty Veronicas or children.
Veronica had popped in
for a spot of tea...

What appeals to you about Betty Neels novels and why do you find yourself attached to them?
The details—the food, the clothes, the pets, the quiet lives the heroines lead. Plus I’ve always enjoyed anything British since I was in middle school and high school and watched British comedies on PBS on Saturday night. Betty’s books are comfortable. When I don’t have the mental capacity to start anything new, I pick up a Betty.

What is your favorite genre(s) to read?
I enjoy cozy mysteries, literary fiction, historical mysteries, and inspirational historical fiction. To be honest, I’ll try anything once although I don’t really care for horror, science fiction, or high fantasy.

Do you have a favorite book in any of these genres?
     Children's/Picture book: As a children’s librarian who is responsible for ordering new books this is an impossible question to answer. Some of my favorite classic picture books are The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, and Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins. More recent favorites include the Bruce books by Ryan T. Higgins and the Mr. Panda books by Steve Antony.
     Classics: For adults or kids? I read a lot of classic books in college as an English Lit major. Favorites include The Sketch Book and other stories by Washington Irving, The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith, and most of Shakespeare. My favorite children’s classics are The Borrowers series by Mary Norton, The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder... 
Betty Keira loved the 'Little House' books
and found the series so educational.

      Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster, The Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren , and almost anything written by Louisa May Alcott or L. M. Montgomery.
     Mystery: My favorite historical mystery authors are Tasha Alexander, Anna Lee Huber, Laurie R. King, Deanna Raybourn, Charles Todd, and Lauren Willig. My favorite cozy mystery authors are Susan Wittig Albert (Beatrix Potter), Laura Childs, Joanne Fluke, ,and Jenn McKinlay.
     Sci-fi/Fantasy: I don’t really do science fiction, but one of my favorite fantasy series is The Enchanted Forest Chronicle by Patricia C. Wrede.
     Biography/Autobiography: Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear
     Non-fiction: anything by Bill Bryson—he’s hilarious.
     YA: It’s easier to mention a few favorite authors—Joan Bauer, Jessica Day George, Frank Beddor, A. G. Howard, Maggie Stiefvater, Y. S. Lee, Nancy Springer,  and Kenneth Oppel.
     What are the five books you would take if you were stranded on a deserted island?
     A book by Betty Neels, a book by Diana Palmer, Anne of Green Gables, Emily Dickinson’s Complete Poems, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Where do you do most of your reading?
In my apartment either in bed or on the couch.
What books are in your to-be-read pile?
Belleweather by Susanna Kearsley, The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton, Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield, Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb, The Taster by V. S. Alexander

Do you listen to books? Any favorites on Audible?
Yes, but I only listen to bboks I’ve already read because I don’t want to run the risk of disliking the book just because I don’t care for the narrator. I haven’t tried Audible yet. I have favorite narrators: Jennifer Ikeda, Kate Reading, and Caroline Lee.

Do you have any memories of being read to or reading with others?
Mom read to my siblings and me at bedtime when we were kids. My brother is four years younger than me and two years younger than my sister is. Mom was still reading to him as my sister and I got older, but we would go to his room and listen to mom read to him long after we were too old for bedtime stories. My cousin read The Fairy Rebel by Lynne Reid Banks to me when I was eight. It’s still one my favorite books. My 4th grade teacher Mrs. Sewell read us My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George in the afternoons. Again, it’s still one of my favorite books.

What book was the first one to ignite your interest in reading?
I’ve always been a reader. I don’t remember learning to read, but my 2nd grade I was reading chapter books. Little Women has been a favorite since I received an abridged copy when I turned nine. By 5th grade, I was reading the original version along with Anne of Green Gables.
Some come to reading early.
Some come late.
What's a book you find yourself constantly recommending?
I actually make most of my recommendations to kids, their parents, or their grandparents. It goes with the job. My favorites to recommend are The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall and The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley. I’m always recommending Betty to my friends, but no takers yet.

Anything else?
Thank you, Betty Kiera, for this opportunity to talk about one of my favorite things!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Reading with Betty Pam

I’m 52 years old. I’m currently a paralegal, after having been through a couple of previous careers. I am married to Professor Arthur Shropshire. We have two Pledges of Affection, Stephen and Jonathan, ages 32 and 25. Stephen has a daughter, Irelyn, age 8 and the LIGHT OF MY LIFE! and a son, Mase, age 6. Pledge #2 has two sons, Oakley who is 2 and Stetson who is almost 1. 
Add caption

The Professor and I share our home with 3 dogs, 6 cats and 6 outdoor cats. We have been caring for a colony of feral cats for several years. Some of the younger cats had always lived around the house, so last fall, after several disappeared within a week, we built a catio for them to keep them safe from critters and vehicles on the highway. We are serious about our animals! 

I feel like I share the same story with so many romance readers. I loved prowling through my grandmother’s house (now that I’m a grandmother, I know that all grandkids do this), and I found a box of books in her closet. I was probably about 9 and already was an avid reader. The box contained Harlequins and Harlequin Presents. I sneaked one home and read it; returned it to the box with no one the wiser. Eventually, I read the entire box in that way. At least one of them was a Betty Neels - The Magic of Living - and I began looking for her books at every library sale, book store, etc. 
I think nearly all the Bettys know my favorite Betty book is The Promise of Happiness, aka Becky and the Hot Hot Baron. I wrote an impassioned argument in favor of it during the 2017 Best of the Betties Tournament. It’s a quintessential Cinderella story: this desperate and destitute young woman, running away to save her pets from the evil step-brother; and then a knight (well, a Baron) in shining Rolls riding to her rescue; and then watching the cold, haughty Baron fall in love with this mousy girl - it’s just classic.
We like classic.
My least favorite Betty? Oh, boy. There are only 3 of Betty’s books that I actively dislike. I’ve raved enough about Sir Paul in The Right Kind of Girl, but other than THAT LINE, it’s really a charming book. I think my least favorite is one that we never seem to talk about - Paradise for Two. Prudence is ill-tempered and constantly snips at Haso; Haso is an arrogant jerk most of the time; the aunts are spoiled, selfish and thoughtless. The ending is nice, but very abrupt and just not enough to redeem the earliest unpleasantness for me, although there is one line that is a gem. Prudence and Christabel (the Veronica) are taking verbal shots at each other and Haso murmurs “something that sounds like ‘Fifteen all.’” 
I love many aspects of Betty’s books, but I think the main thing boils down to the fact that I’m old fashioned, and I’ve finally reached an age where I feel like I’ve earned the right to own it. Betty’s world is one of good manners and decorum; one where virtue and honesty and honor and modesty are celebrated and rewarded. 
I don’t really have a favorite genre; I’ll read just about anything except horror. Here are a few(!) of my favorite books: 
● Children's/Picture book: Anything by Beatrix Potter; the Winnie the Pooh stories. Charlotte’s Web - I have a vivid memory of lying on the sofa and sobbing when Charlotte is saying goodbye to Wilbur; I must have been about 7 or 8. 
● Classics: A Tale of Two Cities - actually, just about anything by Dickens. I have a love for 19th century literature; those Victorians knew how to use the English language. Persuasion is my favorite JA novel. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a fabulous coming of age story and quintessentially American, I think. To Kill A Mockingbird - obvious, I know. Watership Down – I was shocked at how much I loved it. 
● Mystery: Both of Anne Perry’s Victorian series. I adore the Lord Peter Wimsey stories, especially the ones with Harriet Vane. Anything by Agatha Christie - I really love the Golden Age authors - Josephine Tey, S.S. Van Dine, Rex Stout, Earle Stanley Gardner (I see myself as Della - lol!). The Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman is about a widow of a Certain Age who is feeling a bit lost and contemplates stepping off a roof, feeling that no one would miss her. Instead, she drives to CIA headquarters and through a comedy of errors, becomes a spy, traveling the world, meeting new and *interesting* people and perhaps even a new love-of-her-life.
We love Second Chance romance, too.
● Sci-fi/Fantasy: This is a fairly new genre to me, with the exception of Tolkien, that I only began exploring a few years ago. Fahrenheit 451. Swan Song by Robert McCammon; the Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. I recently found the Murderbot series by Martha Wells about an AI; most of them are longish novellas with some short stories thrown in, and I have devoured all of them. 
● Biography/Autobiography: the Diary of Anne Frank, the Night trilogy by Elie Wiesel - very dark but so REAL, The Story of My Life by Helen Keller; Helen Keller’s Teacher by Margaret Davidson; Hiroshima Diary by Dr. Michihiko Hachiya. You may notice most of these are WW2 related. 
● Non-fiction: C.S. Lewis’s books on Christianity (I’m rereading Mere Christianity right now); The “Time-Traveler’s Guide” books by Ian Mortimer; anything on WW2. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson, who is, IMO, America’s best gift to Britain. 
● YA: The Witch of Blackbird Pond - I loved that book so hard. Any of Madeleine L’Engle’s books; I’ve read all of Louisa May Alcott’s books umpteen times. 
● Other: I’ve been a huge Ken Follett fan since I read “Key to Rebecca” in high school, and Pillars of the Earth may be my favorite all-time novel. I’m not-so-secretly addicted to spy stories. P.G. Wodehouse is a favorite by lots of Bettys, including me (and thanks to Betty Melissa Hudak for sending me several titles). My favorite book so far this year is, hands down, The Dean’s Watch by Elizabeth Goudge. 
● Poetry speaks to my soul. A few of my favorites include Shakespeare’s sonnets, Emily Dickinson, Robert Herrick, Rupert Brooke and of course, Betty’s favorite John Donne. I was thrilled to see his effigy at St. Paul’s! 
My five Desert Island books would be The Bible, the Oxford Book of English Verse, The Pickwick Papers (it’s very long and very entertaining!), The Count of Monte Cristo (ditto), and a Betty. 
In winter, I do most of my reading in my library. In summer, I read outside a lot on the patio. 
My TBR pile. Bwahahaha. I own between 2000 to 3000 books, at least half of which I’ve not yet read. Nevertheless my “immediate” TBR includes the rest of the Thrush Green series which I’m rereading through; Donne: A Reformed Soul by John Stubbs; A Natural History of the Hedgerow by John Wright; Lark Rise to Candleford; and The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir.
Betty Pam's TBR pile was getting out of control.
I cannot do audiobooks because I fall asleep or get distracted by my own thoughts. I don’t really have memories of being read to, except later on at school. I know my mom read to me from the time I was born, but I soon learned to read and insisted on reading to myself. My mom says I started reading at age 3 but I have no memories of not knowing how to read. 
Second grade was a big year for me, book-wise. I remember a book called Sabotage, an adventure/spy story that I have looked for for years. My school library also had a lot of the woodland stories by Thornton Burgess and I read them all several times. I remember I got a little trophy because I read 256 books that year, and come to think of it, I suppose I’ve consistently read about 200 books every year since then. That’s a lot of books (about 8,800). 
I hate recommending books, especially for people I don’t know well, however, the ones that I recommend the most, and with the most positive feedback are: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; The Mrs. Pollifax series; and The Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross (it’s about a Southern Lady (capital “L” on purpose) who has just been widowed and is introduced, by her husband’s mistress, to her husband’s love child. What happens next is equally hilarious and touching.)
Thanks for letting us rock out to your jams today, Betty Pam!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Reading with Betty Suse

Well, hello there.

My name is …… well it depends who you are and when in my life you met me!  I have answered to: Susan,
Sue, Susie, SueSue and Betty Suse, with a few cheeky variations during my early adulthood. My current
preference is Suse, but as my father always said “You can call me anything you like, as long as you don’t call
me late for my dinner.”
The Betties were desperately seeking Susan.
I began reading Mills and Boon – I’m British, can you tell? – when I “borrowed” my mum’s when I was about
14. I progressed to visiting the local library and borrowing 10 Mills and Boon books at a time, mainly in
secret, I didn’t want my friends to find out that I actually read anything, never mind the fact that they were

I can’t remember my first Betty Neels, in fact I don’t think it actually registered due to the volume of books I
got through. I just knew that anytime I picked up a Betty Book I knew it was her about 2 pages in.

They just seemed from another era – and believe me, I started reading them in the late 80s, and that is now
considered to be another era, according to the kids I teach! They harked back to “better days”, days with
characters who weren’t stripping their clothes off and getting married because “they had to”. I personally
have nothing against those books, but falling into a Neels book felt like a cushioning from the real world- if
romance books can be considered the real world.
Betty Keira, too, liked to relax.
Yes, the heroines are, in the majority, almost pure innocents, and the heroes are just too good to be true. The
fact that on more than one occasion the heroine called her true love by his surname or title until the very last
page amused me. I must have a healthy dose of cynicism because the books are, and to be honest I suspect
always were, too good to be true. Today they write about billionaires, industrial and financial tycoons and
princes of fictional lands, at least Betty rooted her heroes firmly in real life, albeit a privileged, hard working
real life that she had some knowledge of.

I know that Mills and Boon brought out their anthology of Betty Neels before I turned 30, and monthly I
would buy the two that were published- this took quite some time.

During this time I can remember visiting Amsterdam, and whilst not knowing where exactly I got my
references from, I would spot places, signs and buildings and just know them- the Begijnhof was a particular
case where I was on Spui and spotted the sign. I almost ran down the passageway, knowing there was a
hidden treasure to find. It was just as peaceful as Betty described.

My favourite book is Esmeralda. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the fact she doesn’t recognise
his feelings; he does anything, including trying to reignite the feelings of the man she was absorbed in, to
make her happy. But I also enjoy the marriage of convenience stories, including The Little Dragon and The
Secret Pool (boo hiss from many!)
Betty Keira appreciates any Little Dragon boosterism.
My favourite books in the suggested genres are:
The children's/picture books I recommend are:  Friend or Foe by Michael Morpurgo or any Harry Potter.
Michael Morpurgo’s Friend or Foe is a little known book about two evacuated boys being rescued by a German airman whose plane had crashed, and how they helped him and began to realise that people who fight wars are still human. It questions the idea of who is your enemy?.
As for HP – I prefer The Order of the Phoenix, mainly due to the fact that I read it in 36 hours as I knew that on the Monday morning at least one of the children in my class would tell me which character died at the end. I was right- a child ran in screaming “It was Serious Black, it was Serious Black”. When asked if they’d enjoyed the book the response was “No, I got my brother to look at the back of his and find out who died so I could tell you”!
Just as an extra I love “When I grow up” by Tim Minchin. Basically the lyrics of the song from “Matilda”- but they are very perceptive and make children think about the realities of growing up.
See the source image
My favourite classic is Pride and Prejudice.
I was 12 years old when I fell in love with the David Rintoul/ Elizabeth Garvie BBC production. It was on at 6pm every Sunday. Unfortunately, the final episode was on the “Sunday School Sermons” day, when I had to go to chapel at 6pm. SO……. I missed the last instalment. I was beside myself and my mum promised to buy me the book. She took a bus to the local town the next day, after work and purchased a Penguin paperback copy, which, as a 12 year old, I read in 3 days. Only then was I happy! I have loved it ever since.
See the source image
The future is so much cooler without scheduled television.
I have since watched the tv version I missed and loved it, I still have it on video, but no video player! I was very upset when they made the Colin Firth/ Jennifer Ehle version, but it grew on me (to say the least).
My favourite mystery is, basically, any Agatha Christie
I love Murder on the Orient Express.
See the source image
The Sci-fi/Fantasy books that have stuck with me are The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
Hitch Hikers was the book of my teenage years, funny, weird and always put me to sleep when I was unable to – but amusing and hilarious! I was once on a cruise round the Norwegian fjords and when asked why I had come, by a fellow passenger as we took photos of Geiranger fjord I replied “To see if Slartibartfast really did leave his signature in the fjords”. The poor guy looked confused, but the bloke a few metres away started to laugh and leaned forward to wink at me over the rail.
See the source image   See the source image
Good Omens, well, what can I say? A demon and an angel try to stop Armageddon. I love it. Buy it for god-children, friends, colleagues and have even been known to stop and walk back to people sitting on benches reading it to have discussions about it’s awesomeness! Plus, Amazon/BBC have just made it into a series with David Tennant as the demon and Michael Sheen as the angel. Bring on the summer.
See the source image
I enjoy biographies and autobiographies of musicians, royalty and historical figures. But, to be honest, it’s not my favourite genre.
When reading non-fiction I like travel books and anything by Bill Bryson- Neither Here Nor There and The Lost Continent are still my favourites, early and fresher.
  • See the source imageSee the source image
The book I would take if I was stranded on a deserted island apart from the books above are:

Winnie the Pooh- it’s not just for children.

Most of my reading is done in bed, my Betty books are now on my ipad and I love to feel relaxed when reading. I can of course cope with sun loungers by the pool on holiday and a reclining armchair!

The books in my to-be-read pile include a biography of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and American Gods by
Neil Gaiman.

I find Neil Gaiman to be so wonderful and wanted to link to this wonderful story 
about Impostor Syndrome he shared on his blog.
I don’t listen to audible books any more as they stopped putting CD players in cars and I’m awful at
downloading stuff. Plus, my commute is ten minutes and I like the time to listen to music. I enjoyed thrillers
when I did listen, because they kept me alert.

My memories of being read to include a 1971 reel to reel tape recording of my dad and I reading an alphabet
book, where I can be heard reading “U is for underwella”.  It’s amusing to listen to 47 years later.

Pride and Prejudice ignited my adult reading, as you can see above. However, I enjoy a lot of comedy/
compilations of newspaper columns by a variety of writers- nothing too serious mainly a cynical/ amusing
take on the news/ issues of the day.

But, Betty is my go to stress reliever. I’ve read them all, quite a few times. Just to immerse yourself in
BettyWorld is to put the day right. Happy Reading fellow Betties.
Betty Keira does not withhold her winks when the occasion warrants it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Reading with Betty Lauri

Introduce yourself-
I am almost 61 years old, I currently work as a NP in a Urology practice, however that may change soon.  Before that I worked as a NP for Reproductive Endocrinologist who specialized in Infertility. Before that I was a Labor & Delivery nurse on a High Risk OB unit for 13 years and before that I was in the Air Force for 14 years as a military linguist (Russian).
Betty Keira has some Russian questions when you get a second.

I am married for 38 years, have 2 sons, one in the USAF and one going to Army BCT the end of this month.  The one in the AF is married to a lovely Japanese woman and they have a son who will be 8 in July.  I miss seeing them but now I get to go to England every year to visit.  

When did you start reading Betty Neels-
I don't know, I read Harlequins in High School but don't remember any specific Betty books.  I may have picked some up at the BX when we were in Japan.  I know I got some when we moved back to Indiana at 1/2 price books, that was in 1991.

What is your favorite book(s) and why?-
Fate is Remarkable, because I love the story and the hero & heroine. That he went to the ends of the earth to find her.
Hugo van Elven was not going to let a little thing
like an impassable mountain stand in his way.

Least favorite and why?-
The one with the alcholic sister, because of her and her brother. I did love the descriptions of Norway though.  

What appeals to you about Betty Neels novels and why do you find yourself attached to them?- I
 like them because they remind me of a gentler pace of life and that there are happy ever afters. I also love her descriptions of settings, clothes and foods.  She makes things come alive.  I got my interest in the Netherlands and parts of England from her books.

What is your favorite genre(s) to read?- 
Fiction, I will read anything. I have very eclectic reading tastes. I love Jan Karon's Mitford Series. I have all the books and I go back to them often. I like books with Asian characters, WWII stories, spy novels, etc.

Do you have a favorite book in any of these genres?
  • Children's/Picture book- Ferdinand, Angus series, Goodnight Moon, Mike Mulligan's Steamshovel, Blueberries for Sal, Make Way for Ducklings, Frog and Toad series.  The old fashioned books.

Betty Keira approves.
  • Classics- Steinbeck
  • Mystery- Alexander McCall Smith and The Number One Ladies Detective Agency series.  These remind me of an African Betty story.  There is a delightful Veronical that reappears a lot.
  • Sci-fi/Fantasy- Not into this however I did read the Dune series and C.S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet group when I was dating my now husband.
  • Biography/Autobiography- Billy Graham's Autobiography
  • Non-fiction- Mostly travel books
  • YA- I read the Hunger Games and a series that had a group called Abnegation and other groups, heck maybe they were part of the Hunger Games. Didn't make a big impression on me.
What are the five books you would you take if you stranded on a desert island? - 
Bible, A Betty book, Jan Karon's Bedside Companion, one of the books with Father Tim's favorite sayings and a huge Rick Steves travel book on Europe.
Where do you do most of your reading?-
Bed or the downstairs sofa.

What books are in your to-be-read pile?- 
Empress Dowager CiXi, the latest Alexander McCall Book

Do you listen to books? No, I tried listening to The Book Thief and could not get into it. I thought the characters would be different voices and not just one person reading the book.

Do you have any memories of being read to or reading with others?-
Not of being read to but reading to my boys and grandson.

What book was the first one to ignite your interest in reading? 
Dont rememenber but probably the Dick and Jane books in school. And I had a wonderful first grade teacher who really ignited the interest, parents who let me read anything the libray had. I read Leon Uris and Michener in High School.

What's a book you find yourself constantly recommending?
None really because the people that I work with now don't care about reading. But at my prior job the MD and I shared an interest in the Alexander McCall books.
Betty Keira doesn't understand people who don't care about reading.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Reading with Betty Sutapa

Reading Habits of a Betty

Image result for the road goes ever on and on

  1. Introduce yourself (Be as vague or as specific as you like).
Hello everyone! Betty Sutapa here! I am a mom, wife, and homemaker. I grew up in India and received
my B.A. from Delhi University. I was a high school teacher in India for five and a half years. Thereafter, I
moved to the U.S. as a graduate student, received my M.A. in Economics, and taught undergraduate and
associate degree students in the U.S. for nearly six and a half years. I have loved being a teacher. My
students in both countries were simply awesome! I am still in touch with many of them on Facebook.
Betty Sutapa was the kind of teacher you wouldn't forget.
I got married to my Professor, and after my daughter was born, decided to stay home to raise her. I felt
blessed that I was able to make this choice. Once we decided to settle down in the U.S., we moved to
Middle Georgia with my husband’s job. We have lived here for almost nineteen years! I love small towns
and we have enjoyed raising our daughter here, among wonderful friends. She is now a junior in college
(speaks three languages, reads everything under the sun, is a really gifted writer, and is a huge Jane Austen

I have managed to nurture the passion for reading through all the busy years of my life. I was thrilled to
discover all you wonderful and smart Bettys on TUJD. It’s been such a joy to discuss so many interesting
topics every day! Thank you, Betty Keira, for giving us this opportunity to introduce ourselves on TUJD
and share our reading habits with kindred spirits. I love to travel, have tea with my friends, bargain shop
like a true Araminta, cook, and decorate my home. I am also a germaphobe and a neat freak. (The
Professor’s favorite mode of addressing me: “YOU’RE CRAZY!!!)
Working Theory:
Betty Sutapa is Ferris Bueller.
  1. When did you start reading Betty Neels?
My first TGB book was Cobweb Morning (high school, grade forgotten). I really liked it, but I was reading
so many genres at that time, that I did not read her entire work in quick succession. I read a lot of Mills
and Boon too, but it was a mix of authors. A few were bought from local bookshops, but the rest were
mostly borrowed from our school library. It should come as no surprise that I resumed my journey with
Betty after joining TUJD. Most of my books were bought after that date. So far, I have collected 109 Betty
books on Kindle and in paperback. I have not read all of them yet.

  1. What is your favorite book (s) and why?  
Tough question. The Promise of Happiness and A Gentle Awakening run very close. Strong heroines who
win against the heaviest odds, gentle giant heroes (when not in a towering rage) who love family and
children, rich descriptions of England and Holland, tons of yummy food, lovely FFRs, jugs of lemonade
(the decline and fall of Wanda the Witch), and delightful HEAs - classic Betty recipes for coziness make
these books my favorites. I also like A Girl to Love, Damsel in Green, and Only by Chance. Same reasons.

  1. Least favorite and why?
So far, Sun and Candlelight is my least favorite. I find the cruel behavior of the children very disturbing.
And their nanny is very scary too! I did not care much for All Else Confusion either -heroine too doormatty
and hero too pompous. He comes across as a, “I did you a favor by marrying you,” kind of guy. Not my
cup of cozy tea, I am afraid.
Coziness will always play in BettyLand

  1. What appeals to you about Betty Neels novels and why do you find yourself
attached to them?
They are books for lazy weekends. Or for bedtime reading in a quiet house. They are daydreamy books
you enjoy with hot tea. There’s dignity, chivalry, kindness, and love in Betty’s novels which soothe and
delight us. They show privileged and ordinary people’s lives in juxtaposition. And yet, the rich hero and
the often-poor heroine, share similar values in what really matters for lasting happiness. It’s not the
woman coming from the hero’s world who wins his love. It’s the woman from a very different world that
he decides to spend his life with. How fabulous that good folks end up happy in the end! (The Nigels,
Veronicas, and horrible family members just fade away from the scene…yay!!!). Add to this vivid travel
diaries, clothes shopping, the comforts of home and family, FFRs, and the often humorous and accurate
descriptions of the lives of doctors and nurses-what a perfect recipe for a delightful, clean book! No one
does it quite like Betty Neels.

  1. What is your favorite genre (s) to read?
Classics, mystery, historical romance, and humorous fiction are my favorites. I like poetry and short stories

  1. Do you have a favorite book (s) in any of these genres?
  • Children’s/Picture Book – Asterix, Tintin, Winnie the Pooh, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and 1,001 Arabian

  • Classics – All of Jane Austen, The Mill on the Floss, Far from the Madding Crowd, Jane Eyre, Little
Women, Gone with the Wind, and most of Shakespeare  

  • Mystery – All of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dystopian – All of Ayn Rand, and Brave New World
(I am also a huge Star Trek and Star Wars fan)

  • Biography/Autobiography – The Diary of Anne Frank, The Footsteps of Anne Frank
  • Non-Fiction – Travel books (love Rick Steves’ Europe on PBS)
  • YA – Anne of Green Gables, The Hunger Games Trilogy, and The Giver
  • Poetry – W. de la Mare, W. Wordsworth, R. Frost, R. W. Emerson, Rumi, and R. Tagore
  • Short Stories – Guy de Maupassant, Anton Chekov, and F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Other – The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran), The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho), The Thorn Birds
(Colleen McCullough), all of Victoria Holt, Georgette Heyer, P.G. Wodehouse, and Leon Uris

  1. What are the five books you would take if you were stranded on a deserted
  1. P.G. Wodehouse boxed set – (when the airline restricts luggage, I get devious…hope Betty Keira
won’t mind )
I love Book-Babies too.

  1. Emma – Jane Austen
  2. The Promise of Happiness/A Gentle Awakening – Betty Neels
  3. Exodus – Leon Uris
  4. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho/The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran

  1. Where do you do most of your reading?
At the breakfast bar, with a cup of cardamom tea and tea biscuits. Also, at night in bed.  Strangely,
reading on flights and in cars gives me a headache. I watch light movies instead, when available.

  1. What books are in your TBR pile? (Too many to list, but here’s some of them)
Middlemarch – George Eliot, The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton, My Cousin Rachel – Daphne du
Maurier, The Good Earth – Pearl S. Buck, And Quiet Flows the Don – Mikhail Sholokhov, and A Thousand
Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini. Also, anything by John Grisham, and maybe other modern authors
recommended by the Bettys here.  

  1. Do you listen to books? Any favorites on Audible?
I read reviews about them often, but have not tried any yet. Not sure whether I would like them.

  1. Do you have any memories of being read to or reading with others?
My family had a great tradition of reading to children and storytelling by elders in my childhood.
My mom would read to us a lot, and to a lesser extent, my dad. But the most spectacular of them all
was a favorite uncle who had also been a freedom fighter under the British colonization. He was a big
fan of Jim Corbett’s stories. Summer vacations found us all (cousins etc.) in our grandparents’ home,
sitting on the floor in a semi-circle, mesmerized by his narration of how the great hunter, Jim Corbett,
had delivered men and livestock in remote Indian villages from ferocious tigers.
Tigers! I know I would be mesmerized.
I have such fond memories of those family story times! It was also the stage of my life when I began to
read the works of famous Indian authors in Bengali and Hindi.

  1. What book was the first one to ignite your interest in reading?
As far back as I can remember, first Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and then the journey with Enid Blyton. Her first
book that I read was The Mystery of the Tally-Ho Cottage. I never looked back. I had finished 90% of her
work by 5th or 6th grade, and moved on to Nancy Drew, and the Classics. After that, I just read whatever
caught my fancy, and I do the same even to this day.

  1. What’s a book (s) you find yourself constantly recommending?
The Razor’s Edge (W. Somerset Maugham), The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho), Trinity, Exodus (Leon Uris),
Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen), and The Mill on the Floss (George Eliot).

“So often, in the past as well, a visit to a bookshop has cheered me up and reminded me that there
are good things in the world.” Vincent van Gogh