Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Armchair BEA Day 2: Blogger Development and Genre Fiction

It's time for more Armchair BEA!  Today's topics are Blogger Development and Genre Fiction.

Blogger Development

This topic provides participants with the opportunity to discuss how they have or are developing as a blogger. 

I've been blogging for about 2.5 years now, and I've always kind of done my own thing blogging-wise.  I've tried out various weekly memes, but my participation is pretty inconsistent.  I don't partner with other bloggers, although I quite like the idea of it.  This past year I have become more heavily involved with organized virtual book tours and reviewing ARCs, although I'm going to try and cut back on this in future as my own TBR pile is being sadly neglected because of it.   One of the most exciting developments for me recently has been the redesign of my blog.   I'm so happy with how it turned out and think the design of my blog is now a good reflection of my personality. 

Looking to the future, one of the things I would most like to work on is to consistently post not just book reviews, but posts designed to generate discussions on a book-related topic.  I started posting a weekly Book Chat feature a few months back, but life has gotten in the way of my good intentions and I've neglected this feature recently.  I plan to get it going again very soon as I love talking about any and all things bookish!  If anyone has any ideas for discussion topics feel free to share them with me :-)

Genre Fiction

This is a great topic for yours truly.   My favourite genres are historical fiction and fantasy, with the bulk of the reading I do each year falling into these two categories (I've read 38 books so far this year and all but a couple have been works of historical fiction).  

Historical Fiction:  My love of historical fiction stems from my love of history.   For this reason I
prefer my historical fiction to be as historically accurate as possible and contain rich detail that creates a strong sense of both time and place.   I love nothing more than to lose myself in the past through a great work of historical fiction. 

My favourite works of historical fiction include:

- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel;
- Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel;
- The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman;
- When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman;
- The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick;
- I Am The Chosen King by Helen Hollick;
- Katherine by Anya Seton; and
- Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. 

Pillars of the Earth was the novel that got me hooked on historical fiction way back when I was a teenager, and I think it is a great place to start for readers new to the genre.

Fantasy:  I've been reading historical fiction since I was a teenager, but my love for the fantasy genre is a more recent development.   I started reading the Harry Potter series in my mid-20s, but it wasn't until I began reading George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series that I truly became hooked on this genre.   I love picking up novels set in worlds completely different from the one we inhabit, especially worlds where magic is real.  

If you're interested in trying out some great fantasy reads, but are unsure where to start, here are my favourite fantasy series:

- A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin (first book Game of Thrones);
- Green Rider by Kristen Britain (first book Green Rider);
- Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb (first book Assassin's Apprentice);
- The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan (first book Theft of Swords);
- The Study Series by Maria V. Snyder (first book Poison Study); and
- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone).

What about you?  Do you read fantasy or historical fiction?  Do you have any recommendations for me? 
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