I am a voracious reader, writer, and all round pseudo-cultural nit-wit. I am part student, part super librarian. I’ve no special qualifications as a reviewer, but I’m excited by literature and by ideas, and I’m developing my own writing all the time. I spend a lot of my life around books and I especially love discussing opinions with others, and arguing various viewpoints. With that in mind I hope my blog creates an atmosphere that inspires debate, and that readers will interact, disagree, and generally have a chat with me through comments, etc.
I’ve always been a very energetic person and as a kid I spent as much time running around outside as I could. Consequently, I came to reading later in life than some, and I feel like I’m still catching up – enjoying many of the classics for the first time. I read mainly fiction, and I lean towards the literature end of the scale. Complexity has always appealed to me, and I’m drawn to novels about big ideas, and those that approach subjects from an interesting angle. However, to help keep the blog fresh I will make an extra effort to pick up and review new, mainstream fiction as well as titles with a smaller audience. Beyond fiction I enjoy reading about art, psychology, economics, photography, sports, films, and a range of other topics that will pop up now and then.
I’ve always taken a scatter-gun approach to my reading in the past, picking up whatever catches my fancy and reading around particular topics as and when they interest me. One of the joys/pitfalls of being around books all day is that you are constantly inspired to pick up new books, and jump from one read to the next easily.
In addition to being an avid reader I also started collecting books a few years ago (when my income could first support my ‘habit’). I am thrilled to have some beautiful nineteenth century books, some with the most gorgeous illustrations, and more recently I have begun collecting modern first editions, gathering together some of my favourite books to cherish and maintain. I have other small collections, and I’m quite sure I will collect for as long as I have money in my wallet.
As mentioned above, I don’t feel especially qualified to pronounce on a novel’s literary worth, but rather I can offer my opinion and open the floor to debate and criticism.
I don’t read in a particularly methodical way, I just pick up whatever takes my fancy. For everything I read I will write a blog post and these will come in one of two forms:
Reviews For every book I read I will write a short review (500-1000 words) and will give a brief overview of the works plot and themes, and the quality of the writing, as well as considering the success of the book overall. At the end of every review I’ll leave my personal comments. I try to base my opinion of a book on my own enjoyment of it and how well it lives up to my expectations. Therefore, I might be equally positive about both War and Peace and Paris Hilton’s autobiography, but that would be based on my relative expectations and my reading experience - it wouldn’t suggest I rate each as equally impressive feats of literature.
Analyses In addition to reviewing all books that I read I will occasionally write longer posts discussing books in more detail, and perhaps responding to existing criticism. Although I absolutely love taking the time to dissect a book these posts will be scarcer due to the time commitment it takes to put them together. Equally, they shouldn’t be thought of as comprehensive, they deal with the key points I have drawn from the book, others might find different points worthy of discussion. I should also point out that analyses assume the reader has already read the book, so spoilers may be included.
In both cases it would be great to hear your responses as readers, whether it be your own impressions of the book, or a response to some of the points I have made about a novel or my interpretation of it.
Since starting the blog I've also expanded my scope, and now post interviews with authors and members of the literary world. Taking on the role of an interviewer is entirely new to me, but it's an exciting way to connect with authors, and an opportunity for them to share some insights about their own work and the business, which hopefully readers will find interesting.
As well as interviews, I've also started putting together fun literary puzzles for when a little light distraction is required. These are developing all the time, but I've started with word searches, anagrams, quotes to guess, and a few other things as well – I hope you all enjoy them!
Back to the core purpose of the blog – reading! There is no particular rhyme or reason to the way I select books to read or review, I simply dart around the literary spectrum as the mood takes me. However, if you want to suggest a title I might enjoy, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on a relevant post. If you'd like to submit your own book for review, please see my review policy.