Tag: ArmchairBEA 2014

ArmchairBEA 2014: Wrap Up

Posted May 31, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 2 Comments

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 The Book Expo of America ends today, which means this is the end for Armchair BEA.I hope everyone had a fun time and have filled your twitter and RSS feed with new blogs to follow (I really miss Google Reader). As always, I went into Armchair BEA with an opportunity to find more male book bloggers and while I found some, I’m still a little sad at how many there are out there. I have neglected some of my book reviews this week and I’m hoping none of my readers are too upset with this fact; I’ve got plenty of good ones coming up next month. Please be sure to check out my other ArmchairBEA posts, thanks for great event.

Other ArmchairBEA 2014 posts

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Button by Sarah of Puss Reboots


ArmchairBEA 2014: Topic of Choice & Middle Grade/Young Adult

Posted May 30, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 35 Comments

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 Armchair BEA is starting to come to an end; it has been a fun experience and I hope you enjoyed visiting all the blogs. Today’s topic is Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, plus a free choice. I’m not actually sure what to say about Young Adult fiction, it seems like a popular choice and I think the book blogging community have a strong handle on this genre. I’m old and cranky, so I would say there are too many blogs about young adult fiction. However Middle Grade literature doesn’t seem to get the same amount of attention. I am trying to read more children’s classics, I think my blog only has Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and now The Secret Garden on it. I know it is a genre I should put a little more focus on, so I’m hoping people will leave me recommendations in the comments below.

For the free topic, I had to think about what to talk about, the concept of ‘honest’ reviews. As a book blogger we are often sent books in exchange for an honest review but I very rarely see negative reviews. As book bloggers, are we giving honest reviews if we only share the books we like? I know we tend to abandon books that were not working but do we talk about these books on our blogs as well? I’m not accusing people of anything here; I just want the book blogging community to think about the topic. I enjoy negative reviews, I think they are fun to read and write but I still think we need to be constructive and non-aggressive about them.

If there is nothing else, consider this; your book blog is a reflection of your taste in books. How can people truly understand what your tastes are really like if they don’t know why a book doesn’t work for you. I’m hoping to get plenty of response from people telling me they do write negative reviews. I hope we all do, we can’t love every book and we sometimes need to discuss why we don’t like a book. If you don’t write negative reviews, try it, it can be fun. If you still don’t like to write them, let me know why.

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Button by Sarah of Puss Reboots


ArmchairBEA 2014: Giveaways & Beyond the Borders

Posted May 29, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 43 Comments

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Day four and I hope everyone is having a lot of fun with Armchair BEA; today’s topics are Beyond the Borders and Giveaways. I’m excited to talk about going beyond the borders. I think we all need to step out of our comfort zone and experience books from different genres, countries and cultures. Literature opens new worlds from the comfort of our bed (or wherever you like to read). I’m a big believer of trying out translated fiction and books from different countries, but I will admit that sometimes I’m not doing this as often as I like. We can experience different lives and situations thanks to literature, we learn about other cultures and hopefully what mistakes not to make. The power of literature is amazing and I’m so glad I discovered reading.

However for the giveaway I thought I would do something slightly different. I’m going to give away a book that is not just powerful and moving but also one that will take people out of their comfort zones. This is not only a translated piece from another country (Germany), but it is also one that was written in the 18th century. This book influenced the Romantic Movement; it is a highly emotional love triangle that is also semi-autobiographical. If you hadn’t guessed it by now, I’m talking about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s classic novella The Sorrows of Young Werther. If you are interested, check out my review here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Button by Sarah of Puss Reboots


ArmchairBEA 2014: Expanding Blogging Horizons & Novellas/Short Stories

Posted May 28, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 24 Comments

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 We are back for day three and today’s topic is Expanding Blogging Horizons and Novellas/Short Stories. So, let’s kick off with Expanding Blogging Horizons. This is a topic I think a lot about; what will I be doing in the future? I would like to think that my blog will still be going but I’m always looking for ways to evolve and improve. I want to be seen as a book critic and to do that, I need to work towards improving myself; see my book blogging manifesto for information about how I plan to do this.

I also need to think about how blogging is changing and what I can do to continue to make my own blog interesting and exciting. I’m not sure if I’m ever going to be involved in a podcast, but I love the idea. I think a good podcast needs two or more people that interact well (I’m too introverted) and has differing opinions (I have that). There is also vlogging or the terrible name ‘book tube’, I’m not bubbly or interesting enough to ever consider that option, but I hope to see more vloggers out there that do something other than YA.

I’m not sure what the future holds, but I like to think there will always be a place for book bloggers; I would love to see more male book bloggers and some diversity. I tend to worry when everyone is reading the same books, almost makes me not want to read that book. I understand new books are always appealing and we all get excited when we receive a book in the mail that looks great. I guess I worry about all the books that get missed. Life is short and we all have too many books to read, better get back to it.

As for novellas and short stories, I’m trying to make an effort to read more short story collections but I’m often not too sure how to review them. If all the stories are a little different then writing a very general view can be difficult.  Novellas are easier and I love novellas, there are so many great ones out there that come to mind.

Great novella examples

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Button by Sarah of Puss Reboots


ArmchairBEA 2014: Author Interaction & More Than Just Words

Posted May 27, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 29 Comments

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Day two here at Armchair BEA and we are talking author interaction & more than just words. Where I live we tend not to get many authors up, but when we do, I often try and catch their readings, book signings or talks. It can be difficult when they are authors that you’ve never read or have no interest in reading; I want to be supportive of the authors that do come to this city but I also don’t want to be stuck buying books I don’t plan to read.

I’ve had some great experiences with authors, from hanging out with them at a cocktail party (Trudi Canavan, Rachel Caine and Felicia Day), to having great conversations them on Twitter (I still get excited when Megan Abbott replies to a tweet or Gary Shteyngart favourites a tweet) to awkward book signings (I’m thinking about the time Nick Earls signed a book ‘My apologises for not being Russian and long dead’). Some authors know how to interact to the public and I have to respect them.

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However there is the other side of the pendulum, the authors that should just get off social networking or take a leaf from J.D. Salinger’s book and avoid all people. Authors need to remember and accept the fact that not all readers are going to enjoy their books. I write negative reviews and I do try to be constructive when I do so but authors can get so defensive and venomous towards negative feedback that they should stop reading their reviews. I’m not just talking about personal experience, I’m talking about comments you see on Twitter or the bullying on Goodreads. I do understand this can be an issue for reviewers as well but I tend to think if you can’t handle negative feedback (this goes for reviewers too) then stay away from the internet.  I’ll end my rant there.

Moving on to the topic of more than just words, where I want to discuss a few things. Firstly audiobooks (as long as they are unabridged) counts as reading. Just because you are getting a book read to you doesn’t mean you are not experiencing it. Sure an audiobook is a completely different experience but I think it does not matter that the listener has not read the book. Our brains are wonderful and complex things, I think to read the book aloud in my head and an audio book is similar but someone else reading it. I still process it in similar ways and retention levels tend to be the same (for me anyway). I listen to a lot of audiobooks; mainly become I work on a computer all day with headphones in. Sometimes music is good, but I find audiobooks (especially when it comes to non-fiction and hard novels) can be a great way to experience a book while working.

Now there is the concept of graphic novels, I’ve seen people really take them on board and others avoid them at all cost. For those who do avoid graphic novels I’d love to know why. I worry people get the wrong idea about graphic novels and think they are all about superheroes with powers, but there are some great ones out there. If you want some recommendations check out my post where I suggest five different graphic novels to try that don’t feature super heroes.

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Button by Sarah of Puss Reboots


ArmchairBEA 2014: Introduction and Literature

Posted May 26, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 30 Comments

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This is my third year participating in the Armchair BEA event. While I am not an American I do like the opportunity to join with book bloggers around the world and talk about our favourite subject, books. I am sure most people know already but just in case; BEA is the Book Expo of America, held in New York, where people in the book industry of America get to be enticed with new books from publishers. There is an event now known as BookCon where book lovers can experience the same enticement, however they won’t get any diversity. Putting aside the problems with BookCon, I’m pleased to join all the fun with Armchair BEA. This is a virtual conference for the book bloggers that can’t make it to BEA. Over the next few days I will be joining in with this event and their daily blog post topic suggestions.

For the past two years I’ve been enjoying this event, it is a great way to meet new bloggers and show off your own book blog. As this is the first day of Armchair BEA I probably should move on to the topics for the day. Today we are introducing ourselves and talking about my favourite topic…literature. As a way of introduction Armchair BEA has provided ten questions and asks everyone to pick their favourite five and answer them.

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?

My name is Michael, I hail from North Queensland in Australia and I only became a reader in 2009. I started blogging not long after that over at Knowledge Lost as a way to sort my thoughts and explain what I had learnt along the way. I know I need to spend more time on that blog and I’m hoping to get back into it now that I’m forcing myself to write every day. I started Literary Exploration as a way to document my book journey and soon discovered I’m very passionate about books and book blogging. There is one thing I hate about book blogging but for the most part I really enjoy the whole experience.

Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — so we can connect more online.

Literary Exploration is documentation of my bookish journey as I explore literature in all its forms.

You can normally find me on twitter: @knowledgelost or my blog @litexploration as well as Facebook, Instagram, sometimes Tumblr and Pinterest. I’m also very active on Goodreads (also check out the Literary Exploration Book Club), Literally and Booklikes.

What was your favourite book read last year? What’s your favourite book so far this year?

Highlights of 2013 include;

For more books check out my best of 2013 post

Highlights of 2014 (so far) include;

What is your favourite blogging resource?

One of the best investments I’ve made for my blog is the Ultimate Book Blogging Plugin. This one plugin has saved me a lot of time and makes my life so much easier. I can collect a lot of relevant information thanks to this plugin and it automatically updates my review index. It has a lot of cool features and I highly recommend it to all book bloggers. Of course you’ll all have to move to a self-hosted WordPress platform but that is a good idea anyway.

Spread the love by naming your favourite book blogs:

I’m always happy to recommend some great book blogs; here are some that I’m always happy to see updates from;

Time now to look at that all important topic of Literature: I’m a bit of a pretentious reader, so I’m always interested in reading books that are considered high literature. I’ve even set myself a life goal of reading the entire 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List, I might even try to review them all too. I find myself drawn to literary more as I become a better reader; there is something about the prose and structure that stands out. As a literary explorer I try not to entrench myself in just one genre, but luckily there is plenty of great literary genre novels out there. I don’t have to sacrifice quality in order to read genre fiction.

However there are so many classics out there that I still have to read and I feel bad for not having read books like Middlemarch, The Brothers Karamazov, The Woman in White, The House of Mirth and so on. I want to catch up on all these great novels and I think classics are an essential part of the reading journey. I recommend every reader try to read more classics and to help you along, I suggest joining something like The Classics Club is a great way to challenge yourself to more classics. I want to take to the conversation to the comments but I’d like to ask some questions of the readers to help the conversation along;

  • What is your favourite literary novel (in any genre)?
  • Which classic would you like to read but are dreading?
  • What genre do you spend most of you time reading?
  • What genres tend to scare you?
  • Finally, are there classics that just seem too hard and why?

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Button by Sarah of Puss Reboots