Bookblogger guilt

bookshelves
One of the many tsundoku in my house

Look at this photo and tell me what you see.

Well, yes, books. Obviously there are books. Lots of books.

But I look at this and see something else.

Guilt.

As a book blogger I’m hugely fortunate enough to be sent books to review from publishers. And I’m grateful for every single one of them, believe me. But some days I feel a creeping sense of guilt about those books.

Each one is a microcosm of an author’s hard work, months (if not years) of hard effort, rejections upon rejections until the joy of getting a book deal. Then there’s the work of the editors, proofreaders, cover designers, publishers and PR folk who send these books out into the wild.

Then they land on my shelf. Sometimes they’ve been preceded with an email asking if I’d like to take a look at the book. Sometimes they turn up unannounced, in large brown padded envelopes addressed to “Dave Espresso Coco”, with a press release tucked in the the pages. Occasionally they turn up with little tchotchkes, gift wrapped in fancy string or ribbon, with chocolate or, in a couple of instances, little miniatures of booze (I like those ones!)

But there are also the other books on those shelves. Books that I’ve bought myself, bought despite knowing exactly how big my TBR pile is, books that I’ve thought sound too fabulous to resist, or by authors whose earlier books I’ve read and loved, but now their books sit nestled amongst the others, vying for my attention at the point where I finish a book and sit back to ponder what’s next?

What will catch my eye? Will it be the book that I agreed to read three months ago for the blog tour that’s due next week (*cough* two days’ time)? Will it be the book that turned up yesterday that just looks *so* good? Will it be one of the many, many bought books? Or one which sounded so interesting from the PR’s excited email that I just couldn’t resist saying yes to?

I look at these shelves every time I go up and down the stairs. I look at the set of shelves next to this one, which is similarly stacked high with books. Or the pile of books on the dining room table that arrived this week.

And that’s not counting the virtual pile of books on my kindle, or the NetGalley copies which, despite my self-imposed NetGalley ban in an effort to get my read/reviewed ratio up, seem to be breeding.

So many books. So little time.

So much guilt.

I’ve started to say no to some of the blog tours – reading to order and to deadline was starting to add unnecessary stress, especially after hitting a couple of books which didn’t really do it for me. I should probably start saying no to more of the ‘Dear blogger, would you be interested in [AWESOME BOOK]?’

And I will get to these books, eventually.

Honest.

Anyone else suffer from blogger’s guilt?

Tracer – Rob Boffard

Tracer - Rob Boffard

Our planet is in ruins. Three hundred miles above its scarred surface orbits Outer Earth: a space station with a million souls on board. They are all that remain of the human race.

Darnell is the head of the station’s biotech lab. He’s also a man with dark secrets. And he has ambitions for Outer Earth that no one will see coming.

Prakesh is a scientist, and he has no idea what his boss Darnell is capable of. He’ll have to move fast if he doesn’t want to end up dead.

And then there’s Riley. She’s a tracer – a courier. For her, speed is everything. But with her latest cargo, she’s taken on more than she bargained for.

A chilling conspiracy connects them all.

The countdown has begun for Outer Earth – and for mankind.

Tracer is a *huge* amount of fun, a thrill ride of action-packed sci-fi that you don’t see too often. It’s set on a massive space station containing the remnants of the human race, a million souls crammed into an 18-mile long metal ring. It’s tense and claustrophobic, overcrowded and dirty out there in space, and you feel every bit of it.

The action comes thick and fast and frantic. Right from the start you’re along for the ride with Riley and the rest of the Devil Dancers, a crew of tracers – free-runner couriers who transport cargo around Outer Earth. Rob has a deft ability to put you slap-bang front and centre of the action as the crew move around the station and you get a real feel of tension as the story unfolds, with the viewpoint shifting from Riley to Darnell, Prakesh and the others.

I loved the characters and the setting. Riley is a fantastic kick-ass free-running heroine. Parkour in space – what’s not to like? Darnell is suitably evil as our bad guy and there are plans within plans within plans…

Tracer is due to be published by Orbit Books on 16th July 2015.

I highly recommend picking it up.

[Edit] Met up with Rob on his signing tour when he came to Leeds. He brought the sunshine with him, which was nice.

He also assures me that the follow-up to Tracer will be turned all the way up to 11…Rob Boffard

book review: World War Z

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie WarWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pretty good, though the style of the story, told as interviews of survivors of the zombie war meant that there wasn’t a lot of tension. You knew that the war was over, and that these people had survived to tell the tale. That said, it was really interesting to see so many distinct character voices come out, and the stories they told were often fairly gruesome. Not usually a fan of horror stories, or zombie stuff, but quite enjoyed this.

View all my reviews

Never judge a book

(originally seen on  http://cheezburger.com/7426380800)
(originally seen on http://cheezburger.com/7426380800)

It’s interesting how we so often judge books by their covers, isn’t it? I know I do when I’m browsing in a bookstore. Interesting cover, pick it up, check out the blurb. Sounds interesting, buy it.

Speaking of covers, I highly recommend checking out this article: Coverflip: author Maureen Johnson turns tables on gendered book covers. It started with this tweet:

Maureen threw out a challenge –

1. Take a well-known book. (It’s up to you to define well-known.)
2. Imagine that book was written by an author of the OPPOSITE GENDER. Or a genderqueer author. Imagine all the things you think of when you think GIRL book or BOY book or GENDERLESS book (do they EXIST?). And I’m not saying that these categorizations are RIGHT—but make no mistake, they’re there.
3. Now, COVERFLIP! Make the new cover and put it online. Tweet or Tumbl it with the tag #coverflip.

The Huffington Post picked up on some of the entries. Go have a look and see, the results are absolutely fascinating.

I’m completely certain that I’ve missed out on a great number of excellent books this way, so it’s nice to have the backup of recommendations from friends, either in person or on a site like Goodreads. I’ve also been fortunate to get a variety of books from various lovely publishers via the magic of Twitter. See a book competition, enter it – I could fuel my To Read pile from Twitter-sourced books alone!

Which leads me back to the brilliant photo above – what books might you be missing out on purely down to them having a cover which doesn’t catch your eye?

Also, with the advent of the Kindle, we’ve lost (or are starting to lose) that link between book and cover – no longer can you sit on the train and peer at what your fellow commuters are reading, and I’m sure we’d be surprised at some!

Have you read any great books despite the cover?