The Book Base is back!

I’m going to start posting on The Book Base again, but it’s going to be a little bit different to how it was before.

The focus of the site is going to change. Rather than covering a range of different genres, I’m going to hone in on my current obsession – fantasy fiction.

Stayed tuned for lots of content related to fantasy novels, including interviews with some great fantasy authors, fantasy book reviews, fantasy fiction news and much more.

I’m really excited to be working on the site again after a five year break, and I hope that you’ll enjoy the new direction.

Book Blogger Q&A: Me

I’ve decided to put myself in the spotlight and answer the questions I’ve been asking other bloggers in my Book Blogger Q&A series. Hopefully this should give you a bit of insight into my reading habits and my favourite books and authors.

Here are my responses:

How long have you been a blogger?

I’ve had numerous blogs over the years. Most only lasted a few weeks, some a few months, but none of them were up to much. The Book Base is my first book blog and it’s the first of my blogs I’m actually genuinely excited by. The first posts on this site were made in late 2010, but at that point I wasn’t really sure what I wanted the blog to be about, so, in my mind, The Book Base began properly in April 2011.

Approximately, how many books do you read every year?

The number of books I read every year varies massively. During my three years at university, I probably averaged 100 books a year, but I don’t think I’ve hit these heights since. Since the birth of my son, Zack, in November 2009, my reading rate has dropped significantly. This year I think I’ll be lucky to get through fifty books (unless you count children’s picture books  – I’ve read hundreds of those!)

What were your favourite books as a child?

When I was very little I loved the Mr Men books and the Blackberry Farm series. At primary school I really enjoyed stories about Robin Hood and King Arthur. I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when I was about nine or ten, and after that I got completely obsessed by the Dragonlance books by Tracey Hickman and Margaret Weis, and Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just finished re-reading A Storm of Swords, which is the third book from George R. R. Martin’s incredible A Song of Ice and Fire series. I’m currently reading Playing Days by Benjamin Markovitz – a novel about basketball.

If you had to pick one, what’s the best book you’ve read in the last twelve months?

I’m going to cheat with this question and pick two, one fiction and one non-fiction.

Although it was first published in 2009, the book I read in the last twelve months which I most enjoyed was Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer. It’s a fantastic book which is both thought-provoking and gripping.

I also really liked Stewart Lee’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate. This book is incredibly funny and gives a glimpse into the craft and skill required to write and perform a stand-up comedy routine.

Who are you three favourite authors?

My response to this question probably won’t be the same a year from now, and it certianly wasn’t the same a year ago, but at the moment my three favourite authors are, in no particular order: Kem Nunn, Arturo Perez-Reverte and George R. R. Martin.

Which book has had the greatest impact on your life?

I remember finishing Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree and being completely blown away by it. I didn’t know that a novel could be so powerful and could occupy your thoughts for so long after you’ve finished reading it. Reading Hunter S. Thompson’s first collection of letters, The Proud Highway, made me want to become a better writer.

Which books are you most eagerly anticipating?

This is an easy question for me. A Dance With Dragons, book five of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is finally finished. After years and years of waiting, I will finally be able to get my hands on it in July. I can’t wait.

If you had to invite some book characters round for dinner, who would you choose and why?

I would invite the following guests:

  • Lucas Corso, the dealer of antique books from The Dumas Club by Arturo Perez-Reverte. I used to sell collectible books online, so I’d love to quiz Lucas Corso about his best book finds.
  • Tyrion Lannister from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin because he is incredibly witty and appears to enjoy his food and drink.
  • Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. With him around, the dinner party could go anywhere and become anything!
  • Howard Roark from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. He’d probably hate every minute of the dinner party, but I’d like to know his opinions about the other guests.

I really struggled with this question, and I’ve gained a lot of respect for the other book bloggers who have answered it in the past. Most did a much better job than I did!

What advice would you give to new book bloggers?

I myself am a new book blogger, so I don’t feel it’s my place (yet) to offer any advice. When I think I’ve gained enough experience, I will probably post about some of the things that have worked for me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my responses. It was a really interesting exercise for me, as it gave me an opportunity to see things from the other side, from the point of view of the interviewee. I didn’t realise how tough some of these questions actually are! I might need to do a bit of tinkering with them in the future.

The Book Base Reloaded

When I started The Book Base I was intending to include a mixture of book reviews, interviews and other book-related articles and features. At the moment though, the blog’s content is mostly made up of interviews. My Book Blogger Q&A series is going really well, but I don’t want this to be all that my blog contains, or the only thing The Book Base is known for.

I don’t feel like my readers know me very well because I don’t think that The Book Base is a true expression of my own personality. In fact, the more Q&As I post, the more I can feel my own voice becoming lost or drowned out. I don’t want to stop interviewing bloggers as I really love finding out about their reading habits and favourite books, but I am going to take some steps to re-establish my own identity on The Book Base.

After giving this some thought, I’ve come up with the following plan of action:

  1. The next book blogger I interview for my Q&A series will be me! I’m going to put myself in the spotlight and respond to my own questions. Hopefully this will allow you to find out a bit more about my reading tastes and background. (Update: Check out my Q&A responses here)
  2. I’m going to work out a posting schedule to ensure that the content on The Book Base becomes more varied. I particularly want to include more book reviews. I’ll post about the schedule in more detail once I’ve got it completely sorted.
  3. I’m going to take part in some reading challenges to force me to make more time for my reading.

Hopefully these steps will begin to restore some balance to my blog. I’m not totally unhappy about what’s gone before, so I’m not thinking of this as a fresh start, but rather an opportunity to make some changes and adjustments before it’s too late.

If you’ve got any thoughts or suggestions, I’d be really glad to hear them.