A little literary vacation…

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Hello you lovely lot.

I thought it’d only be polite to drop by to say hello and apologise, first of all, for my dwindling posts over the past few months. Needless to say things have been rather hectic over at the Rock-Seed household (not least due to the little poppet attached) and, although my reading and internet lurking has survived, actually thinking about what I read and putting it into some kind of coherent review has dwindled to zero and I have to say, I’m kind of enjoying it!

This blog has been going for quite some time and I am so grateful to you bookish folk for sticking around so long. Although Literary Relish is far from dead, it’s time I took a much needed break with a temporary 2016 hiatus. It’d be just lovely to spend some time getting on top of my TBR and playing with the puppy. Pressure off.

I will of course, be duly lurking around everyone else’s blogs and podcasts (how would I figure out what to read next otherwise?!) but am taking a break from my own garble for now. A little refresher. Although I always appreciate review requests, that’ll also mean a break from these just for a little while.

So for now, peeps, it’s goodbye from me (and goodbye from Milton!) I will see you all very soon on some other part of the tinterweb. Keep reading!

BT Bobbins !!

I’m sure you’ve all been there …. The most perfect idea for a blog post … Half a handcrafted review completed and then SNATCHED in the blink of an eye as your stupid Internet connection  fails. 

The bf and I have been out of action wifi-wise for over a week and, due to the frustrating lack of customer service at BT (RUBBISH, avoid them like the p l a g u e) threatens to be out well into next week ! So, for now bookworms I’ll say a short cheerio. Using this temporary hiatus to get some much needed reading done AND have a think about my pending review of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. A tricky one to say the least ! 

Xxxx much love from the Relish iPhone, courtesy of some scarce 3G action xxx

To eBook or not to eBook

ebook
Javier Candeira

However you might feel about the rise and rise of the eReader, a phenomenon we’ve only experienced over the past couple of years, there is surely something thrilling about witnessing such a potentially seismic shift in our lifestyle, technology and the way we read and live our lives.

Not everyone feels so positive about it of course, I for one have, until recently, sat firmly in the camp of the non believers, staunchly refusing to accept any of the potential benefits and basically internally turning my nose up at anybody who tried to convince me otherwise. For me, eBooks were a soulless way of exploring the literary world, one that could prove devastatingly destructive to an already fragile world, with the death of the independent book shop an unsurprising fact of modern commercial life and even the downfall of our best-loved chain stores threatening, and even in some cases, becoming a reality (see: Borders Group).

But was this assumption true? From the start there were always benefits to having such a device. If you travel, you could take your much-loved library along with you with ease (apart from one bonkers book lover I know all to well…), if you’re physically incapacitated in any way they are lightweight and easy to use and, if you’re simply just stuck for something to read, the literary world is at your fingertips should you be lucky enough to have an internet connection. We all knew the drill. But was this convenience worth forgoing our paperbacks and potentially selling our soul to the A-monster?

The truth is, despite all this paranoia, the electronic ‘takeover’ simply hasn’t **touch wood** been the total obliteration we all imagined with horror. Although selling more overall than physical books, following a dramatic rise to lofty heights, US eBook sales have actually leveled out since 2012. Here in the UK, although eBook sales rose significantly last year, print books still came out on top, holding three-quarters of the market. Although Tim Waterstone’s recent comments may seem decidedly overconfident, perhaps this traditionally ‘stiff-upper lip’ attitude is what the industry needs to maintain the balance.

This is all, of course, a tired debate and one I’m sure you’re all too sick of hearing, but one reason why I’ve held off for so long on putting my twopenneth in is that, in my sheer militancy, it simply wasn’t relevant to me six months ago. Now, having been bequeathed an eReader (come on, I could still never bring myself to actually BUY one), I find an increasing number of publishers who, logically, prefer to email ARCs over rather than footing the bill of a print copy and also, let’s face it, my relationship will not stand another backpacking trip across the Himalaya with ten books in tow… It seems I’ve also managed to get over my general aversion enough to simply sink into whatever eBook I might be reading, rather than be blindsided by the soulless format and lack of delectable cover and smell.

It all feels rather positive really. In the world of iPads and 3D printers, the digitalisation of books was always going to be a logical step sideways. Rather than fighting against this alteration in the increasingly fast-paced, fast-fingered way in which we live our lives, traditional bookshops seem to be wisely embracing change, with chain stores like Waterstones very wisely placing an eReader stand amongst its piles of paperbacks. I’ve also noticed how notably prettier newly published paperbacks seem to be these days, capitalising on the major advantage they have over their modern cousins; i.e. the look and feel of the thing, a factor that makes book shopping such a joy (rather than scrolling down a list of titles). Can the two live side by side? I’d certainly like to think so. In fact, there is train of thought that suggests that these devices could actually encourage none-readers to pick up the original model. Wishful thinking? I certainly hope not.

All the same, I couldn’t quite resist adding this sarky advert, courtesy of Ikea ;):

Gathering my thoughts…

October has been an absolutely bonkers month that seems to have flashed by in a blink of an eye. Work-related parties, bookish events, holidays and yet more pub-centric socialising, this month has been fun but hardly conducive to the literary cause and it means that I desperately need to sit back and take stock of what (in the words of The Readers) I have read, what I’m reading at the moment, and what I’m going to read very shortly. *Deep breath* here goes…

Read

As you can see from the rapidly growing stack on my windowsill, the number of books I have read but not yet got around to reviewing/making notes on is a little worrying. That said, I find it far more concerning that, since our Scottish holiday at the beginning of August I have only managed to read six books! Six! Even though it feels like about sixty. Although I love to blame my slow reading on having a time-consuming day job, plenty of people seem to be reading hundreds of books a year whilst leading perfectly normal lives! I know it’s all about quality, not quantity but I still can’t help feeling envious…

Vofamazement

Fighting against my hardback-aversion, I am currently reading the very heavy yet reasonably enthralling slice of historical fiction by Amy Tan; The Valley of Amazement, which will be released at the beginning of November. It’s difficult to hold any reader’s attention for nigh-on 600 pages but Tan has definitely given it a good go. I’m still hooked!

TBR

My TBR, on the other hand, is reaching troubling levels, not helped by my reading at snail’s pace. Apart from the usual crammed bookshelves, I have a raft of tantalising new books to get through – happily helped along by Grandma Relish whose birthday money was only ever heading directly into the coffers of Waterstones Deansgate. So. Which books are on my mind?

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – You really can’t go wrong with a bit of ol’ Carlos. Like most people I’ve been very excited about his most recent novel, the third in his ‘cemetery of books’ quartet. When I saw it in the window of a Spanish bookshop I decided to challenge myself by reading in the original language. Whether that was a silly idea remains to be seen…

Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé by Joanne Harris – Although Harris’ books can be a little predictable, they are undeniably lovely and feel-good. I can’t wait to read this one.

Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood – Since the book group read the second of the Berlin novels; Mr Norris Changes Trains last year I’ve had a real crush on Christopher Isherwood and his superb writing. A Single Man was shatteringly good and it was about time I read the first of the Berlin duo.

Florence & Giles by John Harding – A story for book-lovers, this novel sounds so chilling and dark and has had so many excellent reviews it’s about time I read it. Or at least added it to Mount TBR…

Grimms Tales by Philip Pullman – Ever since reading His Dark Materials trilogy, Pullman has been a go-to author in my mind for everything fantastical. The thought of him re-working the Grimms Fairy Tales fills me with excitement.

Bookgrpread

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – I have just a week to get stuck into Gaiman’s new novel, the Manchester Book Club read of choice for October. I’m really excited as it’ll be my first Gaiman novel, as was, incidentally, the lovely lady in Waterstones I bought this from. (Waiting on her special copy from London apparently!)

Gallic books

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Yelena

In other bits and bobs, after receiving the tantalising Monsieur Le Commandant (Romain Slocombe) the other week, Gallic Books have very kindly sent me a couple more novels to pour over; The People in the Photo (Hélène Gestern) and The Foundling Boy (Michel Déon). I couldn’t be more excited. Although I really should be reading more literature in the original language, I am very excited by their mission to translate French language books that may have otherwise been overlooked across the water. I adored their 2009 edition of The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

Other booklettes on my horizon include the autobiography of Manchester man Tom Kilcourse and Legend Press‘ Letters from Yelena by Guy Mankowski, a book which, from what I’ve read so far, is both well-written and an intriguing premise (the tragic life of a prima ballerina). I just can’t get into it. I will do soon though. I promise.

Mount TBR here we come!  What’s on your reading horizon?