This, the third in my series about, well, Blogs that I follow, features book review blogs — given that Calmgrove is mostly about reviewing books. Here is where I list those WordPress sites that mostly discuss books and things bookish. I follow some blogs that review books occasionally, but I shall pop them all in another post just to make these jottings manageable. (And perhaps also — whisper it — to drag this series out a bit.)
As before, these appear in no particular order and therefore no ranking of any kind is implied.
• Despite calling her website breathesbooks.com Nikki @ The Bibliophibian distinguishes her blog as Reviews from a bibliophile drowning in books. If she’s drowning she’s doing a good job of keeping her head above water! Her rate of consumption is astounding and her review rate beyond comprehension. She’s honest — sometimes brutally so! — in her responses to a whole range of titles, across genres and including much non-fiction.
• L H Johnson writes two wonderfully enthusiastic and approachably erudite blogs. Did you ever stop to think and forget to start again? reviews and talks eloquently about children’s literature, graphic novels & bookish things, while the more academic Big boots and adventures focuses on literary space and place as they apply to children’s fiction.
• Jakes Hayes’ tygertale describes itself as a blog about brilliant children’s books but in the opinion of its many loyal followers (me included!) it is itself quite brilliant. It features reviews, interviews and loads of excellent full colour illustrations from classics of all periods.
• Ramblings of a geeky bibliophile is how Marisa describes ghostgrrrl. As a bookseller and buyer at bookstore in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she has a wide interest in and knowledge of Young Adult/Middle Grade, SF and fantasy, poetry, light fiction and comics — as her posts reflect. (She also writes mini-zines!)
• Lori Hess writes the excellent blog The Emerald City Book Review. A reader’s journey covers children’s literature, classic and contemporary literary fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, mysteries, some romance, a smidgeon of science fiction, humour, biographies, nonfiction and more, as well as promoting or generously supporting online themes that encourage focused reading. I always look forward to posts from this omnivore bibliophile.
• Relevant Obscurity is Laurie Welch’s lively blog on books. While Inspired by the Classics: A Reader’s Journal tells us it focuses on US and British titles of the 19th and early 20th century — especially their social, political and cultural context — she is planning to widen that approach to include a wider range of fiction, non-fiction and discussion.
• Confessions of a Book Buying Addict is the subtitle of Cathy Brown’s 746books blog, the number referring to the total of unread books she’d acquired over the years and her current attempts to reduce that number. (Sounds a familiar habit for many of us readers, doesn’t it?) She is also “passionate about Irish Literature” and hosts the annual Reading Ireland Month in March, introducing a number of Irish authors and books I really ought to get acquainted with.
• Bormgans treasures anonymity and so nothing in the blog Weighing a pig doesn’t fatten it gives away much about them, least of all its URL (schicksalgemeinschaft merely translates as ‘fate/destiny community’). However, the by-line — science fiction & fantasy reviews, mainly — describes what it’s about; and even if you’re only marginally into these genres and their authors, as I am, there’s much informed and informative discussion to be had.
• Novelist Kate Vane‘s website tells us it’s “a mix of reviews and features on writing, publishing and all things bookish,” and so it proves to be. Along with insightful critiques of crime and literary fiction (and some non-fiction) she offers tips on writing and publishing founded on her experience of authoring three novels.
• Out of Shelves describes itself as “a chronicle of Erin’s reading journey” discussing “contemporary fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, and the occasional memoir/biography or collection of essays”. According to Goodreads, Anglophile Erin’s and my tastes are 85% similar for the books we both rated and that comes out strongly in her reviews. Good to know someone shares one’s refined judgements!
• All that the author of Philippa Somerville is prepared to divulge about herself is that she is “constantly in search of the perfect cup of tea,” which is fair enough. Whether this is her real name or chosen after a Dorothy Dunnett character we don’t know; all we need to know is that she mostly (if not exclusively) reviews fiction by female authors from J K Rowling to Jane Austen, and discusses issues from Victorian literature to life choices, and from poetry to personality.
• “Aging woman reads, steeps tea, feeds cats and is ridiculous” is also all the clues you get with Slouching Towards Senescence and its author. The blog’s name, Gubbinal, is a reference to a short poem by Wallace Stevens:
“That strange flower, the sun, | Is just what you say. | Have it your way. || The world is ugly, | And the people are sad. || That tuft of jungle feathers, | That animal eye, | Is just what you say. || That savage of fire, | That seed, | Have it your way. || The world is ugly, | And the people are sad.”
Intrigued? I was. Along with reviews of poetry, classics and short stories, mostly unfamiliar to me, there are other intriguing pieces. Expect the unexpected.
• Last updated six months ago my good books (largely fantasy fiction) is another book blog which reveals little about its author except in what they have to say about books, and chooses not to respond to comments. The fun with these blogs is to slowly work back through the archives but not to expect interaction.
• The first fun-derful surprise with Gert Loveday’s Fun with Books is that Gert is actually two funny individuals. The second is that the promised book reviews, poetry and all kinds of literary fun is often even more fun than you might think. Expect interaction.
• Sara’s (majoring in literature) declares she is (unsurprisingly) “a literature major with a passion for books and reading and a little too much spare time on my hands.” Though many literary classics are discussed here there are also entertaining posts on film adaptations and YA fantasy literature.
• Inspired by a quote from a Victorian writer (“She had read novels while other people perused the Sunday papers”) Helen’s She Reads Novels blog shows her love of 19th-century classics and of immersing herself in long historical fiction novels, but her ambit is broad, from ChickLit to YA novels.
Dorris the Loris focuses on the four Fs — food and fashion (about which I’m less drawn to) and fantasy fiction (which is what drew me in) — and is the most recent blog I’ve followed, with an intriguing archive of posts for me to rummage in over the next little while.
Is that the end of my list of book reviewers? Actually no — I’ve left a few long term bloggers-who-review off this post for a couple of reasons. Some I started following for their reviews but they’ve either branched out or haven’t posted for a while; or a combination of these two.
I shall be featuring these, along with a few miscellaneous blogs that don’t quite fit conveniently into my categories so far, in the next post or two. So if you were eagerly looking forward to additional fame and publicity but were disappointed, don’t be — disappointed, that is; additional fame and publicity are still on the table!