Bex from An Armchair by the Sea – Blogger in the Spotlight @NinjaBookSwap




I’m pleased to welcome Bex to the blog today telling us a bit about herself and her favourite books. Thanks for agreeing to be part of my Blogger in the Spotlight feature. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?

Hello, I’m Bex! I live in Kent and have two boys under five. I’m a part time retailer and full-time book ninja. I blog at An Armchair by the Sea about my ridiculous collection of books, and organise Ninja Book Swap, the London Bookshop Crawl and Ninja Book Box. I have a massive passion for all things literary and one of the biggest joys of my life is that my kids won’t let us pass a bookshop or library without going in! I also have a very long suffering husband who helps out with all the practical aspects of my crazy projects and is occasionally heard to say things like ‘please can we just move the massive piles of books from the stairs?!’. I also love knitting, Netflix, baking and am a fairly new allotment holder! 

What books/authors did you enjoy as a child?

My favourites as a younger child were probably Noel Streatfeild, Enid Blyton and the Chalet School series. I read them voraciously and they were my go-to authors at library sales! I also loved (and still love) the Anne of Green Gables series and Little Women and all of its sequels. Oh, and when I was a little older I was completely addicted to The Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin. The best Christmas present I ever got was when my sister had bought all the library’s discarded BSC books for 10p each and gave me a giant stack of 20 books. I was in absolute heaven!

What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I love that it gives me the opportunity to get all my thoughts out of my head and (somewhat) coherently organised – blogging often helps me to work out what I actually thought about a book. It’s also a really great way to remember what I’ve read, since my memory is awful! And of course it’s a fantastic way to meet and interact with new people and find people to talk about books with!

Tell me about your blog – sell yourself!

My blog is pretty eclectic. I read literally all genres (with the exception of horror) and intersperse book chat with more personal posts, craft stuff, and features on independent publishers. I also love read-alongs! This year I’ve been cohosting a read-along of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and next year I’m organising a Discworld reading event. I also finally read Middlemarch this year because I hosted a read-along of it. At the moment it’s not as active as I’d like it to be, purely because I’m in the middle of launching the first Ninja Book Box and organising the Autumn Ninja Book Swap, so everything’s a bit hectic, but I’ve got lots of content in my head – it’s just the reality of getting it online that gets in the way!

What’s your favourite book you’ve reviewed in the past year? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose.

Ooooohhhh it’ll have to be top three I think! I actually didn’t review it because I couldn’t put my love into coherent words, but The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers was absolutely incredible. Science fiction isn’t a genre I usually read a lot of but this book. This book is so good. Rosemary Harper takes a new job on a slightly falling apart space ship manned by a very diverse crew, and they take on a job that isn’t quite what it seems to be. It’s just really fantastic and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I also just finished Men We Reaped which is Jessmyn Ward’s memoir of growing up in a black neighbourhood in the South of the USA. She lost five young men in her life over a four year period and it’s a really affecting look at how society sets people up for failure according to their race. I couldn’t put it down. Finally I love and adore Laura Bates’ Girl Up. Such an essential book for all young women (and anybody else who wants to understand anything about being a woman, really). I wish it had been written when I was a teenager.

What are you reading just now? (October 2016)

I’m currently doing lots of secret reading for inclusion in future Ninja Book Boxes, which is really fun but also a reason why my blog’s been quiet! When I need to take my work brain off I’m relaxing with a lot of children’s books – catching up with my re-read of the Swallows and Amazons books (I’m reading Pigeon Post at the moment) and On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which is this month’s read-along book, and reading North Child by Edith Patou and Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce for the kid lit book group I’m in – playing catch up with that, as you can probably see! 

If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?

Probably Little Women. I’ve talked about my enduring love for that book so much on my blog that people are probably sick of hearing about it, but I find it so calming and motivating. I’ve read it so many times and picked up on different things each time so I think that would have to be my choice.

Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?

I’d really love to see The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern made into a film, but I’d be scared they’d ruin it I think! I’m really terrible at dream casting! I might cast Abigail Breslin as Poppet, but besides that I have very vague ideas…

How can people follow your blog or connect with you on social media?

You can follow my blog An Armchair by the Sea on Bloglovin or by email, and you can find me on social media:

Twitter – @NinjaBookSwap

Instagram – @armchairbythesea/@NinjaBookBox

And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

This might be purely due to redhead identification, but I always wanted to be Anne from the Anne of Green Gables series, and since I read it I’d quite like to be Poppet from The Night Circus, because who doesn’t want to be a little bit magical and live in a totally incredible magic circus with loads of tasty things to eat?!

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