The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell – What I Learned from a Remarkable Bird
The title and the cover are what drew me to this book as I discovered it while pulling holds at the library. Written in 2015, about an event that happened in 1975, I really enjoyed this story.
While away for the weekend in Uruguay, twenty-three-year-old Tom Michell rescues a penguin covered in oil from an ocean spill. Michell cleans him up and tries to return him to sea. The penguin refuses to return and follows Michell. We learn how Michell smuggled the penguin, now named Juan Salvador, back to Argentina with him, where he is assistant master at a boarding school.
Heartwarming story of Juan Salvador’s life on the campus, to include the lives he touched along the way.
Today we travel to Menstrie, a small village in Clackmannanshire, Scotland to chat with Louise Cannon of Bookmarks and Stages about how the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, discovering authors and books, being shortlisted as Citizen of the Year, resilience, a bucket list, visiting museums, and exploring places come together as part of Louise’s past and current life.
A dedication from Louise who just recently lost her gran:
Dedicated to my wonderful, fun and strong gran – June Hoffman who died aged 90. On April 25, 2020, my wonderful gran died of Covid 19 in her care home. Gran worked for the NHS before retirement as a secretary to a Consultant. My blog will still go on as best as I can manage. My support to readers and authors and publishers is still there.
Why did you choose to be a book blogger or how did you come to be a book blogger? How long have you been bookblogging?
My blog is called Bookmarks and Stages. I became a blogger after meeting up with Scottish crime author – Wendy H. Jones at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland, for what started off as an innocent coffee. I was then asked if I blogged/reviewed/tweeted by her and Kelly Lacy from Love Books blog tours. I didn’t do any of these things.
I returned home and a fortnight later, the idea mulled around my mind and so did some research and taught myself how to blog. My first blogs were at Bloody Scotland in Stirling, since I had tickets and then at Morecambe and Vice, since I was meeting Hugh Fraser there. I have done many book reviews since then and also was invited to return to Morecambe and Vice in 2019 to review it and Bloody Scotland now have me on their files. I have been blogging for just over a year and a half. My blog is called Bookmarks and Stages because I love books, festivals and theatre and love reviewing all of those.
Are you accepting requests at the moment? How do you prefer to be contacted?
I am accepting requests and there is a Contact button on my Bookmarks and Stages blog.
What information do you want to receive with the request?
The info I like is a bit about yourself and blurb and any photos you would like to appear on my blog. If there is a specific date you would like a review to be published on my blog, that is useful, but not necessary. These things can be talked about via email, after initial contact has been made.
What types of book blog posts do you offer? Reviews, interviews, book spotlight, guest posts, etc.
I offer reviews and interviews. I have not done spotlight or guest post, but I am absolutely open to them both.
What is your preferred book format to read? If digital, what digital file do you prefer?
I prefer print copy. I won’t necessarily say no to PDF or Kindle, if there is no other option, it just isn’t my first choice, especially if print is an option.
Do you only participate in official blog tours or do you accept requests from authors? Do you accept request from indie authors, or indie publishers?
I accept requests from Indie publishers and authors. I also accept request from larger, mainstream publishers and authors and I also participate in blog tours. I like to be inclusive to all.
What is your preferred genre? Do you read nonfiction, memoirs, or any style of poetry? What genres do you NOT read?
I read all genres of books and both fiction and non-fiction and occasionally poetry. I prefer not to review the more hardcore horror.
Do you write a review if you did not like the book? Do you use a star rating system for reviews you write?
I use a star rating – 1 to 5. 1 being poor and 5 being excellent.
Once contacted, when can the author or blog tour operator expect to hear from you?
On the whole, I respond either on the same day or the day after. I like to respond as quickly as I can, so not to have people waiting too long.
What is your favorite aspect of bookblogging?
Favourite aspect of blogging is hard. I love blogging so much, from having contact with the author, publisher, and/or blog tour operator to the reading of the book to the writing of the review/blog post, to the publishing and sharing of the review/blog post. I also love discovering authors and books I have not read before or considered before and being pleasantly surprised by them.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Journeys in the Wild by Gavin Thurston. The award winning cameraman who films for David Attenborough.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through reading and book blogging?
The most surprising thing I have discovered about blogging is that I may be alright at doing it and people actually seem to want and like to read my blogs. For all those people, I am forever grateful and thankful.
What is the craziest or most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
The most crazy thing, is that I come from a small village and am just being me and yet met so many lovely authors/actors and for where I come from, that’s not considered as all that average. Yes, that and that I was shortlisted for Citizen of the Year for volunteer work I do and have done. I’ve done nearly 19 years volunteer work so far. Always feeling grateful for all of that.
At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?
At this stage of my life, my young self would tell my mature self, I would say that bullying will reduce and life will become interesting. I would say that life challenges always present themselves, but resilience and determination will often kick in. I would also say that the bucket list was worth creating in your teenage years and sometimes good things will happen and some of the bucket list will be ticked off and other things may be at some point.
What do you do when not reading or writing book blog posts?
When I am not reading or writing a blog post, I work in the day job and do some voluntary work. I also like being in cafes and restaurants with friends. I love walking, visiting museums and art galleries. I also love going to the theatre, food and book festivals and gigs. I like exploring places. I also enjoy cooking.
It was wonderful to have you be a part of MTA, Louise. I am so very sorry that you lost your gran. Sending you much love as your family works through this loss. All the best to you .. – Camilla
Another novel by Phaedra Patrick, author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. I actually liked this one even more than the first novel. Perhaps due to the gemstones and their meanings that are woven throughout the story. I enjoyed learning about the characters as they travel this heartwarming, yet, at times, uncomfortable journey. And, loved the wee bit of mystery thrown in also!
I interviewed Phaedra Patrick on this website in June 2019. You’ll want to check that out too! –Camilla