Tag: By Blood We Live

ArmchairBEA 2014: Introduction and Literature

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


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

By Blood We Live by Glen Duncan

Posted March 26, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Horror, Literary Fiction / 4 Comments

By Blood We Live by Glen DuncanTitle: By Blood We Live (Goodreads)
Author: Glen Duncan
Series: Bloodlines #3
Published: Knopf Doubleday, 2014
Pages: 368
Genres: Horror, Literary Fiction
My Copy: Hardcover

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

It’s a sad day for me; Glen Duncan’s Bloodlines trilogy has finally come to an end. This series has been a favourite of mine and I have been desperate to get my hands on By Blood We Live. If you don’t know, this trilogy started off as a bit of a joke for Glen Duncan. One New Year’s Eve party he jokingly claimed that he would write a page-turner with werewolves, and “none of my usual philosophical angst or moral inquiry.” Having recently been dumped from a publisher (he had no best sellers and had won no awards) the move towards literary genre fiction was a recipe for success for Duncan.

In the early planning stages, Glen Duncan had planned to write a “clever narrative with a memorable antihero at its feral, furry heart”. Being disappointed by the recent wave of popular paranormal novels (Twilight, etc) Duncan drew from the horror novels he loved (Frankenstein and Dracula) as well as his favourite werewolf movie (An American Werewolf in London); the end result was The Last Werewolf. It was Duncan’s take on the werewolf novel; remaining true to the mythology, unlike other paranormal novel The Last Werewolf was gritty, violent and over sexed. Jake Marlowe is the last werewolf alive, with the pending extinction of his new race, will he give up? The novel was nothing like other horror novels I read, this was dark and literary.

Then came Talulla Rising, which continued the story, this time from the point of view of Talulla Demetriou; a strong female protagonist that both kick-assed and was full of inner torment (my catnip). Where The Last Werewolf looked at life and loneliness, Talulla Rising forced more on love and family. It has been a two year wait but finally By Blood We Live was finally released to conclude this fantastic trilogy.

In By Blood We Live we follow both Remshi, 20,000-year-old vampire that has been haunted by Talulla in his dreams. Having half the novel from a vampires perspective is an interesting change for fans of the series. This novel focuses on survival and humanity, which are both common elements in a paranormal novel but a nice way to tie this trilogy together. Talulla is been pursued by a Vatican-based Militi Christian group of monster hunters who have taking the place of the now defunct WOCOP (World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena).  Remshi tries to uncover why Talulla haunts him as well as trying to stop the recklessness of a newly turned vampire.

While I wasn’t disappointed by By Blood We Live, I felt like this book wasn’t as great as its predecessors. It did conclude the trilogy and there were some great moments within the novel, I just felt like it had less to say than the first two. The literary wasn’t as prominent, almost like Glen Duncan is moving into the realm of best-selling author. While he does deserve the success, I would hate to see Duncan throw away any sign of the literary in his future novels. Rest assured that the dark and gritty feel to this series is still there. Something I must have looked in the first two novels was the amount of literary and pop culture references have been made; I know they were always in this series but I noticed them so much more in this novel.

I loved this series and I plan to reread them sometime in the near future; I know I’ll need to return to these witty and dark novels. I also have to try some of his other books, I know he said he wasn’t going to add his “usual philosophical angst or moral inquiry”, but I’m so glad he did, it really works for him. I hope Glen Duncan continues on his literary genre fiction journey and I’m eagerly awaiting what he does next. Has anyone else read this series? Or does anyone want to try to predict what genres his next book will cover?