Book Reviews

Armchair BEA begins: introduction

BEAArmchair BEA 2013 opens today. A week long extravaganza for anyone who has an interest in books and reading. Last year I had absolutely no idea what those letters BEA represented (Book Expo America) And what was all that about an armchair?. I’m a little more clued up this year and ready to give the daily questions my best shot.

Day 1 is about introductions via the following questions

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I’m Karen, a relative newcomer to blogging since I started this only about 15 months ago. It began when I had an idea that I would read all the Booker Prize winning novels in an attempt to discover what makes a novel a prize winner. As I wrote in my first post I think the trigger was a debate I heard on radio as I drove to work.

Where in the world are you blogging from?


My home is in Wales, a part of the UK which is unknown in many parts of the world and ends up being considered the same as England. Its a mistake which is guaranteed to get the hackles rising since we

Welsh are fiercely proud of our independence particularly on days when our national rugby team is playing against England.

This photo is taken of the coastline about a 10 minute walk from my home.

What are you currently reading?

I’m just finishing The Sea by John Banville, the novel that won him the Man Booker prize in 2005. It’s the first time I’ve read anything by him.  I’m entranced by his lyrical style and wonderful ability to evoke an atmosphere of regret and longing for the past of childhood.

As a complete contrast I’m also reading Petals of Blood by the Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. It was the novel that got him imprisoned for more than a year. He was released after a campaign by Amnesty International who considered him a prisoner of conscience. He’s tipped as a strong contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

Although I love reading and discovering what other people are reading, I also enjoy more craft based activities, especially making my own jewellery.

What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?

I’d love to see the Paris depicted in Alice Steinbach’s Without Reservations. It was the first destination of her year spent travelling in Europe. I’ve visited Paris a few times but reading her experience brings a new dimension. I too want to stand in the centre of the chapel of Sainte Chapelle

… beneath the chapel’s soaring, vaulted ceiling, surrounded by towering walls of glowing stained glass, it seemed that light and glass had conspired to form a new element; one composed of ice lit from within by fire.

What is your favourite part about the book blogging community?

No surprise here because its the favourite part of so many book blogger’s experience — ‘meeting’ people from different parts of the world and discovering something of their lives through our common love of literature.



What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

14 thoughts on “Armchair BEA begins: introduction

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  • Hi Tanya, I’m waving to you from down here in Wales. right now I think I have enough on my reading plate with just the Booker and the world literature list. I know there are many other lists out there though – quite a number of people are reading the Orange prize list. I’ve seen some reading the Time 100 list. So plenty to choose from. Keep in touch – I couldn’t find your blog name but would love to see it

  • What a great idea for a blog. Do you only do Booker Prize winners or do you look at other prizes and Awards as well? It is also nice to meet someone else blogging from the UK. I’m a Canadian living in Scotland. Not so far away.


  • Sigh, I am a bit jealous of your location. But I suppose I should be grateful for mine. Every place has its beauties. Nice to meet you.

    • you didn’t say where your location is otherwise I might be jealous too…ephrielle

  • I don’t really have time for Armchair BEA this week, but I’m doing it anyway! I’ve often thought about reading all the Man Booker winners, but haven’t come close to starting the project. Congratulations to you for doing it and welcome to Armchair BEA!

    • i don’t have time either but likewise am giving it a go even if my posts will be sometimes late Laurie. The Booker challenge is a good way of getting to read authors that could be new to you. thanks for stopping by

  • Karen, can you only do this today or is it open for a while longer? I think I want to participate!

    • its running all week Melinda – come and join in the party

  • It’s certainly challenging – just finding books for each country that are in English and reasonable cost. But it’s fun too because I’m discovering authors I wd never have encountered otherwise.

  • so how is it going in your reading challenge? that’s quite a goal, I love it!

  • Love your blog. Do you walk along that coastline often? I used to love to walk near the sea when I lived in Maine. I’m near Virginia’s mountains now.

    • Not as often as I wd like to Babara. I love the way the light of different seasons and weather plays on the cliff face..Maine looks so beautiful. I visited one part many years ago and I’ve tried to get there for a longer holiday several times but it seems you have to pick the right time of the year or its too cold. And I like warmth.


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