Thursday, August 13, 2015

Featured Blogger: Arabella of The Genteel Arsenal

Today please welcome Arabella, who blogs at The Genteel Arsenal.

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What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?


The blog title came about because I liked the Dr Who quote about libraries being the greatest arsenal you could ever have and another quote from Terry Pratchett about bookshops being like genteel blackholes that know how to read. I think of libraries as being genteel arsenals, that arm readers against all the challenges life can throw at them.

How long have you been blogging?

Since 2009, maybe earlier, I have changed platforms since starting and I am no longer really sure when I started, it may have been 2008.

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

It is unique because it is my opinion and my reaction to what I read. I guess it is also a bit eclectic, my interests are really broad ranging and sometimes I blog about books related to work. I am just really curious, so read a lot, any genre or any topic.

What genres do you write about most, and why?

Mostly contemporary literary fiction, with some classics and non fiction. The non fiction is mainly history or natural history but it could be anything really. When I am working in young adult libraries I read and review YA and kids literature but YA becomes sporadic when not employed in those environments. I also read the occasional steampunk and crime but my taste in crime tends towards the quirky, authors like Christopher Fowler or Ben Aaronovitch.

Every blogger feels pressure at some point. What's something you feel pressured to do or not do on your blog? How do you deal with it?

I feel some pressure to respond to comments but I do try and make a point of finding time to respond and to visit other blogs and leave comments although sometimes I just like to visit blogs and not feel I have to comment.

What's one book you think everyone should read?

That's hard but for girls I think Jane Eyre is a must read.

Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

Definitely yes, only in books you own, although I rarely do it myself I do sometimes underline and occasionally make a personal observation. I really love some of my second hand editions where previous owners have made their own observations and responses, for me they add to the character and appeal of the book. I also feel that it is wrong to fetishize books and get all precious over keeping them pristine. While I feel it is right to value and look after books I also feel there is nothing wrong with showing your love by interacting with the text and wear and tear that goes with reading a text over and over again. A paperback can be replaced, it is not a medieval manuscript.

What's your favorite place to read or blog?

In my library at home or sitting in a cosy coffee shop.

Is Amazon.com the evil empire? Discuss.

Yes I suspect Amazon is the evil empire for a number of reasons, just one big one is the monopoly they seem to have built with buying up other retailers and the fact that their pricing has damaged the smaller bricks and mortar independents, some of whom provide amazing service and product knowledge that will be really missed if it disappears. I personally make a point of supporting good independents but that is not to say that I don't buy online, I do but I tend to support smaller online providers.

What have you learned from other bloggers or your readers?

I have learnt not to be afraid of being myself and saying what I think.

Do you judge a book by its cover, or its lover?

Both, I guess. But don't you just hate it when you buy a book for the cover and what is between the covers actually disappoints?

To DNF or not to DNF?

In theory I believe life is too short for bad books, in reality I find it very hard to give up on a book.

What's one book that intimidates you?

James Joyce Ulysses and I feel bad for never being brave enough to start it. 

If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

Northern England, Haworth and the Yorkshire moors of the Bronte sisters. I have visited once before but would go again if opportunity arose. I would also love to visit Whitby, made famous as the landing place of Dracula.

What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

Rarely does a movie do justice to a book but I think Emma Thompson's adaptation of Sense and Sensibility was just brilliant.

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)

Not surprisingly this was the result:
The Eclectic Reader

You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors. 


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Thank you for joining us today, Arabella! 
Remember to check out Arabella's blog, The Genteel Arsenal
and leave a comment or question.

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