Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Sunday Salon - June Sum up Part One...

I’ve got various reasons why I’ve not posted much this month, but if I’m honest, I think I’m just feeling slightly overwhelmed. Lately, I’ve been requesting lots of titles, and accepting lots more books for review, and I’ve also discovered Netgalley. All this has conspired to make me feel like I’ve lost a lot of the freedom to read what I want, rather than what I feel I should read. It’s a bit silly, as all of the books which have come into my house for review purposes, whether they’re ones I’ve requested or been asked to review, have done so because I’ve been very excited to read them, but there are also so many books I already own that I want to read, that I’m finding it difficult to prioritise the books I have to review. And the more I don’t read them, the more guilty I feel, and then I avoid them more, which leads to yet more guilt. It’s a very viscious circle.
The discovery of the genius of Netgalley this month was amazing fun, but also re-introduced the problems I have previously anticipated with ebooks. In the past I’ve got up on my high-horse about losing the magic of the traditional book format, and above all, the inability to smell ebooks, but I overlooked the critical problem, which is my terrible eyesight. While I adore the concept of Netgalley – quick, free access to lots of advance copies of awesome books, which I can store in no space at all – I actually find it really difficult to read books on my PC screen. After about 20 minutes my eyes start to hurt, and a few minutes after that, I start to develop big headaches. Because I’m stubborn, I’ll probably persist with the format, but I’m not sure how successful I’ll be! Also this month I’ve been chronicling, here and on twitter, my ongoing internet woes, which still aren’t over. My home internet is still being horribly temperamental and patchy, so I’m just hoping that it will allow me to do all the things that I need to do in the next few months!
Which brings me to the fun stuff!! Over July and August I have some wicked stuff coming up here on the blog, and I’m very excited. The schedule is currently as follows:
July 20th – An Armchair by the Sea will be featured on Scene of the Blog! This is a brilliant feature over at Kittling: Books, spotlighting a different blogger each week, and looking at the different places that are important in their everyday blogging lives.
August 1st – 8th UK and EU Blog Hop. Lots of blogs are participating in this, just head over to the website to check out the complete list. I’ll be giving away at least one (possibly more) great book during the week, so make sure you check it out!
August 6th – I am part of a blog tour for Pam Allyn’s Your Child’s Writing Life: How to Inpsire Confidence, Creativity and Skill at Every Age. Although I don’t currently have children, I’m looking forward to reading this, as I do feel really strongly about the amount of children I’ve met who just aren’t interested in books, stories, or reading at all.
August 7th – Guest review of Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades as part of Georgette Heyer Gems at Stiletto Storytime. This will be a re-read for me, as I was a huge Heyer fan in my early adolescence, so I’m excited to see if I still feel the same about this book!
Also at some point during August I will be partaking in The Classics Circuit John Steinbeck Tour, for which I will (hopefully) be reading East of Eden.
So yes, lots of things, lots of deadlines, lots of excitement! To balance this, I’ve decided that much as I’d love to commit to having two monthly features on the blog (The Fairytale Feature, and my new Beyond the Graphics graphic novel\film adaptation feature), I don’t think that realistically I can commit to religiously posting both of them every month. AS you will see, we are now in July and I’ve not posted the June Fairytale Feature, or the first Graphics feature. I have read the books and done the research and even started writing both, but they’ve not made it up yet. Because of this, I’ve decided that both these features will now be ‘as the mood takes me’. I will post them as regularly as I am inspired to, as I think that will make me feel less pressured!
Yeesh that’s a lot of stuff! I will hopefully be back to regular reviews this week, provided the weather’s not too nice! Here's my roundup for June, and I've decided to introduce three 'awards' for each month, more for me to recap what I've read and how I felt than anything else!
Books read in June –
1.    A Game of Thrones – George R.R Martin
2.    A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
3.    Bright Young Things – Scarlett Thomas
4.    Case Histories – Kate Atkinson
5.    Coming Up for Air – Patti Callahan Henry
6.    Ghost World – Daniel Clowes
7.    In Your Face – Scarlett Thomas
8.    The Fry Chronicles – Stephen Fry
9.    The Summer We Read Gatsby – Danielle Ganek
10. When You Reach Me – Rebecca Stead
Most Enjoyed Book: -
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson!

Most Anticipated Book: -
IN YOUR FACE by Scarlett Thomas (which was also great!)

Most Unexpected Book: -
When You Reach Me – Rebecca Stead

And finally, happy 4th of July to all the Americans!


  1. Good morning, good morning! :D

    I understand how too many review books could be overwhelming. I love choosing what to read next, so being forced into a decision seems kind of oppressive. On the other hand, I received my very first review book last week and I'm DYING to read it! Ah well, I'm sure the novely will wear off (although I hope it never does!).

    I can't imagine reading books on a computer screen, it would drive me crazy. I have a Kindle, but even then I prefer 'proper' books. Even now I'm squinting at your blog post trying to read the screen!

    I haven't forgotten about the UK Book Blogger Army! I got my laptop and internet access back yesterday and once I've finished stroking it lovingly, I'll start having a look. I do feel rather like the Project Queen though - there's so much I want to get done!

    What's Game of Thrones like? We started selling it at work (in a GAME shop, no less) so I've flicked through it a few times, but it just looks like too much work to be honest!

    Oh dear, I wrote an essay again, didn't I?

  2. Well, you made me giggle at work, therefore it's a very acceptable essay! It's more that I keep saying yes to stuff that's in ebook format and as I DONT have a Kindle, i 'm stuck reading off the PC and ow :-( review copies are amazing, though. I've only been getting publishers send me stuff I ask them for for a couple of months and I still do a happy dance everytime a book arrives :-) its just that i'm too nice, so I say yes to lots of self-published authors requests and end up with a biiiiiig pile of stuff!

    Game of Thrones was actually wicked. I didn't really expect it to be,as the last big epic fantasy series I started was Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time and bleh... :-/ but i'm a huge big fan of David Gemmell and Game of Thrones was really similar to his style... Have you seen the tv series?

    Yeah i've not forgotten about the Army either, just been crazily busy (as I can imagine u have with the move an all!) but summer is beckoning, so i'm sure we'll be able to find time!

    And I seem to be unable to respond to your essays without writing essays of my own!