Armchair BEA – Introduction

abeaThat’s right, it’s the most exciting time of the year! Book Expo America (BEA). But for the poor sods like me who can’t make it to New York, we have Armchair BEA – all the bookish goodness of BEA without having to get out of pajamas!

On to Introductions! In the answers to just 5 questions I get to share all sorts of vital information with you (and I’m probably not going to stick to the questions). Continue reading

Armchair BEA Wednesday – Expanding Blogging Horizons


Designed by Nina of Nina Reads

I’ve been at this blogging thing for more than a year now, and I am at a fairly comfortable place. Does that mean I’m ready to sit back and relax? Heck no! I really do want to take my blog to the next level. I’m not concerned with making it bigger, I only want to make it better. Here’s some of what I plan to do, and what I dream about. Continue reading

Armchair BEA Tuesday – Author Interaction

In this changing world of book marketing and the rise of social media I think author interaction is so important to the selling of books. Not all authors┬árealize this (yet), but for those who do it can make an important difference. Let’s take a look at some of my author interactions and consider the effect they’ve had.

peter-james Continue reading

Armchair BEA Introduction


Designed by Amber at Shelf Notes

It is with emotions that I’m joining Armchair BEA this year. I was hoping to make it in person to the BEA in New York to meet up with some great blogger friends, but immigration hassles in the UK put the halt on that idea. So instead, I am back for me second year of Armchair BEA. I had a blast last year and met so many great bloggers, and this year looks to be just as exciting. So without further ado, the answers to the introduction questions!! Continue reading

Armchair BEA – Literary Fiction

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a book snob. Sometimes I admit this with embarrassment and sometimes with pride. The truth is I only read literary fiction and the rest is crap. Now that’s not entirely true, sometimes I stray a little and sometimes a book that is literary fiction hits the mainstream (think Life of Pi by Yann Martel).

jetpackSo what is literary fiction? Well, you know it when you see it. The writing is often of a high quality, characters are well developed and in most cases plot is not of primary importance. That’s not to say that there isn’t a plot, just that it may not be that action packed.

The best way to hone in on literary fiction and what it is is to look at the short or long lists for some of the major book prizes. Among my favorites are the Man Booker, Giller, Orange (now the Women’s Prize for Fiction) and Whitbread/ Costa Book Award. Another good place to look is the New York Times List of Notable Books.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget my blog. It is jam packed full of literary fiction.

Armchair BEA: Blog Development

Armchair BEA 2A collection of my random thoughts:

Blog development is something I’ve been wrestling with since I started blogging six months ago. I don’t just want followers, I want good followers, followers who care and comment. I know this is going to take time and dedication. I know I have a few followers who faithfully read my recommendations and appreciate what I have to say. They make it worthwhile.

In some ways as a reviewer of literary fiction I feel alone in the blogosphere. So many book blogs are almost fan sites dedicated to YA, fantasy and dystopian novels. As a result, it has taken me time to find like minded bloggers, who are dedicated to literary fiction. (It must be even more lonely if you are focusing exclusively on non fiction!).

Initially, I found Goodreads to be a great way of connecting with other readers. However, since it has been bought by Amazon I have abandoned it. Others I knew stepped back from it at first as well, but now they are drifting back (I think). Does anyone else have philosophic issues with Amazon mining their insights to sell books? I am thinking about switching over to BookVibe or LibraryThing. Does anyone have experience with either one?

As far as advice to offer, here is what I have:

  1. Social Media. It is crucial that you use it. Twitter, Facebook and even GoodReads (grrr) are no brainers. So far I have had problems figuring out how Pintrest can work for me, but that’s just me.
  2. Writing for the screen is different than writing for print. Keep things short and concise. People tend to skim more than read with a deeper and more critical eye. For this reason I like to keep my reviews down to 500 words.
  3. Clutter. A well organized blog is easier to read and will hold attention longer.
  4. Comment. Giving thoughtful comments on other people’s blogs will bring them over to your blog. If you genuinely share and interest, then you will like each others’ blogs.

A Brief Hiatus for Armchair BEA

Armchair BEA 2

Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots

I have always longed to go to Book Expo America (BEA) in New York, but alas, it does not seem to be in the cards for me. Instead, this year I am participating in Armchair BEA – not quite like being there, but a close second. As a result, it is unlikely that I will posting reviews this week. Instead I am dedicating my time and space to exploring the world of Armchair BEA.


1. Please tell us about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? How did you get into blogging?

My blog is fairly new – about 6 months old. I used to work in a bookstore and I miss talking about books all day long. I thought starting a book blog would fill that gap a little and keep me in touch with the world of book.

2. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you’ve read so far in 2013?

Right now I’m reading The Dark by Claire Mulligan. My favorite book of 2013 so far is The Dinner by Hermann Koch. For the most part I read literary fiction and some non fiction.

3. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

I bought my first sewing machine last week. It’s purple.

4. Name your favorite blog(s) and why they are your favorite.

Literary Hoarders. We have fairly similar tastes in books and they feel like real people to me, friends even.

5. Where in the world are you blogging from?

I’m in Scotland, but I’m from Canada. I sometimes kind of pretend that I’m still there while I’m blogging.