Monday, 26 May 2014

Armchair BEA: Introductions and Literature

To distract from the fact that I've not yet managed to review Geek Girl or Second Chance or finish reading Peter Duck, I'm going to be participating, at least sporadically, in Armchair BEA this week. This is the online event for those of us who can't get to BEA in New York. I participated last year and it was lots of fun so here's hoping this year will be the same! 

Today is introduction day, so here are a few questions and answers to let you get to know me a little better!

  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from? 
Hi! I'm Bex, I've been blogging for about 3.5 years now (eek), since relocating to a different part of the country over 100 miles from my family and all my friends with my then - fiance. We're now married with a 19 month old and another on the way any day now and still living on the coast of Kent, England, while all of my family are still in London. Blogging's really been my support and escape since moving and although I don't get to blog as much as I'd like since having kids, I love the fact that this is still my space to ramble about the books I've loved and connect with other literary minded people. 

     4. What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year? 

I can't choose one favourite book of last year so it will have to be a three way tie between Wild:A Journey from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. My favourite book of this year is probably Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, which was a reread so kind of extra exciting because it was still as good as I remember. 

      7. Spread the love by naming your favorite blogs/bloggers (doesn’t necessarily have to be book blogs/bloggers).

Ooh this is always a fun question! There are a fair few blogs that I really love, mostly run by bloggers who have become friends and whose opinions on books are my first port of call. These include Laura of Devouring Texts, Hanna of Booking in Heels, Ellie of Book Addicted Blonde, Charlotte of Lit Addicted Brit, another Ellie of Lit Nerd  and Katie of Katie Who Can Read. There are many other lovely bloggers out there, and other blogs I read every post from include Estella's Revenge, Book Riot, Nylon Admiral, Etudesque, Reading Rambo, Sophisticated Dorkiness and Tiny Library

      8. Share your favorite book or reading related quote.

I have a fair few, but in light of the recent controversy with Michael Gove and To Kill a Mockingbird, this one is probably my favourite this week: 
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."

      10. What book would you love to see as a movie? 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. There's been talk about it for a while, but nothing concrete yet and I just love it. It would be an amazing film if done properly. 

The second topic of the day is literature. They've left it pretty open to us to interpret what we want to talk about here, and I love that. I studied literature for my entire academic career until five years ago, and I still don't know what the difference is between 'literature' and 'books'. I'm starting to think there might not be one... For me, what keeps a book on my shelves once I've read it and makes me recommend it to others left right and centre is that it makes me think more deeply about myself and the world around me, or that I fell in love with the characters, or that the storyline blew my mind, or that the writing was incredibly beautiful, or that it just gave my brain cells a workout! There are a lot of things. I think that literature should be widely defined because the more widely we read, the more we learn and the more empathy for others we gain. Literature is a brilliant way to learn to connect with the world around us, to imagine unimaginable situations, and to relate to unrelatable people. Examples of books which have stayed on my shelves for years and are recommended to everyone who asks me what they should read are:

- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (made me think about myself, social justice and the world at large)
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (fell in love with the characters, especially Jo and Marmee)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling (the story line was incredible. The first time I read it I couldn't believe how she'd linked up tiny things you barely remembered from the first book and made them into major plot points in the seventh)
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (beautiful, beautiful writing)
- Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas (brain workout)

These are just the first books I thought of for each category. There are lots more! Now I'm off to catch up with some other first day posts :-) 


  1. Awww, thanks for the shout-out! I LOVE YOU TOO OBVIOUSLY.

    I'm definitely going to have to pick up my copy of Wild soon, and not just because I noticed there's a movie on the way. I need some girl-empowering soul-searching travel-lit in my life, I think! Also I realised I've done that thing again where I buy a book in beautiful hardback and still haven't read it when the equally beautiful paperback comes out. YES I'M LOOKING AT YOU OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE. *sighs*

    That's one of my favourite Mockingbird quotes, good choice. I want The Secret History to be made into a movie, and it WAS in the works, but never materialised. DAMN YOU, MOVIE SHENANIGANS. I really need to finish my reread of the Harry Potter series, and watch all the movies, especially given the whole 'going to Leavesden in June' thing. I'm honestly quite scared to finish it though, because book #7 crushed me and I've never watch films #7 and #8 for the same reason. I suck. :(

    I'm not doing ABEA because I'm too lazy at the moment - not going to lie, I'm just preferring reading to blogging about it; like I said, I suck - but I'll enjoy stalking you all week again! :)

  2. I'll need to check out the blogs you mention that I'm not familiar with. It's always nice to see shout-outs, although I was lazy and skipped that question! I loved The Night Circus, but I don't really want to see a movie of it, because they'll never capture it right! ;)

    1. If I was doing ABEA I'd have skipped that one too. I get so paranoid that I might accidentally miss someone out, and then I feel all bad about not having space to include EVERYONE, and... that way lies blogger madness. :(

  3. I have had my eye on The Night Circus, but haven't yet read it. Loved Little Women as a girl...and reread it a couple of years ago, and still loved it.

    Enjoy connecting this week...and here's MY ARMCHAIR BEA POST

    1. Oh, in re: your Rainbow Rowell mention, I haven't read Eleanor and Park, but have Fangirl on my Kindle, and recently read Landline. Also read her book Attachments last year.

  4. "I still don't know what the difference is between 'literature' and 'books'. I'm starting to think there might not be one... "

    I absolutely agree! I said something similar to a friend of mine about to get her degree in literature and she gave me a bit of a withering look, but I think people make too big a deal out of differences that are fairly arbitrary.

    I recommend To Kill A Mockingbird and Harry Potter to everyone too. Hope you enjoy Armchair BEA!

    My Armchair BEA Day 1 Post.

  5. I love to see the blogs bloggers read. Those are all new to me blogs

  6. Hi Bex, Nice to meet you! I agree with your point about distinguishing books from literature. I was an English major in college. Even though I read a lot of classics throughout my education, I think that any book that makes you think and you can have a discussion about is literature.

  7. I'm reading The Night Circus right now and so far I'm really loving it. I've heard a lot of other people rave about it too.

    Ashley (Closed the Cover)

  8. Oooooooh I'd adore to see Night Circus as a movie! That's a fantastic choice!

  9. Hello, from across the pond!
    I really love To Kill A Mockingbird as well. Sad I only read it a few years ago for the first time, but better late than never, right?!
    Great to meet you!