Armchair BEA: Day 4 – Beyond the Borders

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It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going!

Reading fiction is all about being transported to different worlds, and as a Fantasy fan there are unlimited possibilities, but sometimes the most visceral of books are those set in the real world, ones that take you to a different country and immerse you in a whole other culture.

As I was thinking about this topic, I realised that don’t read those kinds of books enough. A few that immediately sprang to mind though, were Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (Japan), Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo (The Caribbean), and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan).

However, I imagine that the majority of people taking part in Armchair BEA are American and so I would like to share a few of my favourite books set in the UK and Ireland.

Mystery Man by Colin Batman: I’ve just finished the fourth book in this series and they really capture the humor and demeanor of Northern Ireland.

A superbly gripping and blackly funny mystery by the king of the comic crime caper. He’s the Man With No Name and the owner of No Alibis, a mystery bookshop in Belfast. But when a detective agency next door goes bust, the agency’s clients start calling into his shop asking him to solve their cases. It’s not as if there’s any danger involved. It’s an easy way to sell books…

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters: Waters actually managed to make war-time London sound beautiful in some parts of this book.

Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit partying, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch tells the story of four Londoners—three women and a young man with a past—whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in tragedy, stunning surprise and exquisite turns, only to change irreversibly in the shadow of a grand historical event.

Tristan and Iseult: This is one of my favourite Celtic stories.

Tristan defeats Ireland’s greatest warrior and gains the friendship of his uncle, the King of Cornwall, who entrusts him with a very special mission: to sail the seas in search of a queen.

Armchair BEA: Day 2 – Author Interactions

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Armchair BEA is a celebration of Book Expo America, and a conference for book bloggers who can’t attend the actual event.

Today is all about Author Interactions. This is the official prompt for this post: Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online. This is your opportunity to talk about your favorite author readings that you have attended. Or, you can feature your favorite author fan moment (i.e., an author sent you a tweet or commented on your blog). Maybe you even want to share how your interactions have changed since becoming a blogger or share your own tips that you have learned along the way when interacting with authors as a blogger.

My View on Author Interactions
Blogging is all about interacting. And one of my favourite things about book blogging is being able to interact with, and promote great authors.

I have attended some events where I have met, or listened to authors speak, but my main experience of interacting with authors is online, through being contacted via this blog.

I love being approached by independent authors, no matter how busy I am, or how many outstanding review requests I have, I feel honored that they have 1. Found my silly little blog in the first place 2. Want me to read their book 3. Trust me to write an honest review and 4. Understand if I have to turn down any requests.

On the odd occasion I have had to turn down review requests, the authors have been completely understanding. What I try to do in these circumstances is offer to do a promo post instead as it takes up less time and that way we can still help each other out, because that’s what it is. When you’re so bogged down with blog work, real work and real life I think it’s very easy to forget that without books to feature, you wouldn’t have a very good book blog.

I am also always astounded when authors offer to do guests posts for my blog too. I have had some really great ones in the past including posts from B.I Woolet and Jennifer Gilby Roberts on their inspiration behind their respective titles.

If you’re not a blogger, I think one of the best ways to engage in some author action (as I like to call it) is Twitter. I’m not the kind of person to tweet the famouses really, but some popular authors seem to be really great at interacting with their fans on Twitter.

The ones I’ve noticed recently are Maureen Johnson, author of In the Name of the Star, Patrick Ness (The Chaos Walking Trilogy; The Crane Wife) Phillip Pullman (His Dark Materials) and Matt Haig (The Humans), you should check them out.

I will leave you with this….

Dianne is one of my BFFs. We share an INTENSE love (LOL) for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We are also big fans of Patrick Ness and his YA books. So imagine my delight when this notification popped up on my phone:

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If you’re taking part in this year’s Armchair BEA feel free to leave a link to your post so I can take a look, and if you’re not, you can still tell me about your view and/or experiences of author interactions in the comments if you so wish 🙂