2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.
3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.
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So, here are my five fabulous blogs:
The majestic LibertyLondonGirl, Queen of bloggers, who knows about everything from fashion to books to architecture, and is currently delighting us with despatches from her intrepid travels through the wilds of California.
The enchanting So Lovely, who sends out charming and sometimes faintly whimsical posts from sunny Los Angeles, and can actually make her own hot cross buns.
The outrageously funny Belgian Waffle, who makes me laugh so hard it startles my dogs. I don't know how she does it, day after day, with the funniness. She should get a government grant, in these Troubled Times.
Also exceptionally funny - the clever and eclectic Lucy Fishwife, who knows that literature and strong cocktails go together like carriages and horses (although how many people do you see riding around in a carriage, nowadays, apart from the Queen?).
And the incomparable Cassandra Castle, who never fails to make me smile and does lovely and often surprising things with words. It was because of her that I started this blog, and she was the first to welcome me to the blogosphere and make me realise that it was not the terrifying place I had feared.
I know it's only supposed to be five, but I can't go without also bigging up the fabulous La Beet, whose enquiring mind never fails to stimulate.
These are not the only blogs I adore - go to the blog roll of honour for the others that I love and follow - but they were the first ones I discovered when I started all this. The writers are not only startlingly good, but they were unbelievably kind and supportive to a new girl, and they hold a special place in my heart.
Now for my five addictions:
My dogs. Can't help it. I'm not going to go into it now, because I think very soon it will be time to give the glorious creatures an entire post of their very own. With pictures. I'm warning you.
Books, obviously. When I was a little girl I would read so hard that I did not used to notice the light was failing. 'You'll ruin your eyes,' everyone said. I am the only one of my brothers and sisters who has to wear strong corrective spectacles, so this was clearly true. But it was worth it. Highest obsessive rating: Mrs Woolf, Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Mrs Parker, TS Eliot, Jane Austen, and Nancy Mitford. I also love Helen Simpson, Lorrie Moore, Terence Blacker, Cynthia Heimel, Brian Greene, Justin Cartwright and Martin Amis. I think Midnight's Children deserved every inch of its Booker of Bookers and get very grumpy when people get cheap laughs on Radio Four by saying that Salman Rushdie is unreadable (politicians especially do this, as if it is a badge of honour when it's just stupid and wrong).
American politics and MSNBC. My absolute secret vice is an excessively geekish fascination with the American politicial system. Whenever I have a free moment I race to my computer and watch Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. I even know arcane House and Senate rules; I can explain the intricacies of the filibuster or the reconciliation process, should you ask, which I recommend you do not. During the Obama campaign, I stayed up all night every Tuesday that there was a primary on, to get the results. When he won, I cried actual tears of joy, and I love him still. This addiction also gets fed by medicinal doses of The West Wing.
The Big Life Questions. There is absolutely no excuse for this. Most people would think it pretentious and pointless. But I really want to know why we are here, what we all think we are doing, and what is the answer to the Universal Why. I want to understand the brain, unravel the nature nurture debate, map the development of language, and know where all the taxis go the moment it starts to rain. I want someone to tell me exactly what it is about women that is so scary that for thousands of years we were not allowed to vote or have opinions or enjoy sex.
Radio Four. I adore and worship it, even when it is going through a slightly dull patch, which it is at the moment. Melvyn Bragg and In Our Time is worth the licence fee alone. It makes me feel both interested and safe, which is a charming combination.
And since I allowed myself six favourite blogs, I am going to permit one more addiction, which is writing, naturally. I love everything about it, even when I find it so hard that it makes my eyes ache. I love the nature of words and what they can do. I love punctuation, especially the semi-colon, my favourite punctuation mark. I love the rules of grammar, and sometimes breaking them. I even love the tap tap tap of my fingers on my computer keyboard. I love the fact I can touch type, and still feel bizarrely proud of it after twenty five years. I love being able to say, when asked what I do: I'm a writer.