About: Info & Stuff

Formerly named Gaskella, this blog was rechristened as Annabel’s House of Books in December 2012.

My Latin Motto: Noli domo egredi, nisi librum habes – Never leave home without a book. (My attempts at schoolgirl Latin were honed to perfection with the help of Dr Ridd, a classics teacher at Abingdon School, now retired.)

Contact Me: annabookbel@gmail.com

A Bit About Me: That’s me up above, aged around 3.  Like the rest of my family, I’ve read and loved books all my life, and I have grown-up into a compulsive book-acquirer.

A child of the ’60s and ’70s, I hail from the Surrey/Croydon borders and studied Materials Science at Imperial College, London. Then I worked as a proper scientist in the chemical industry for years, before my biological clock went ping at 39. I took several years off work after having my daughter, and now work part-time as a lab technician in an Oxfordshire prep school.

I’m a staunch supporter of literary events in Abingdon, and have hosted five literary quiz nights for charity in the town.  In April 2014, together with three other blogging friends, Victoria, Harriet and Simon, we launched Shiny New Books, an online quarterly book recommendation magazine featuring a host of varied book reviews written by some of the best bookbloggers around, plus features and exclusive author articles. I am ‘Fiction Editor’ of Shiny New Books and am enjoying this new venture immensely.

What I Read: Anything and everything really. I try not to be snobby about ‘literature’, so I read from the latest bestsellers to classic novels equally, although I do err on the side of what I call ‘Contemporary Fiction’.
I read widely from genres too – SF, Westerns, Crime, Spec fiction plus a bit of historical, and fantasy, even an occasional romance. I want to learn to appreciate poetry better, and should read more non-fiction.
I love children’s classics, ancient and modern, and I am a big promoter of the best of YA fiction as represented by authors like Philip Reeves, Patrick Ness and Marcus Sedgwick which are just as good for adults.  I’ve had enough of black covers and high-school vampires though!

My blogging guidelines:
Review Copies:
– Dear Publishers, I do love receiving books but I can’t make any promises to read or review any unsolicited books sent.  Those I agree to take a copy of, I will make every attempt to read and review as soon as I can, but again no promises.  I read a very wide range of books, so please do feel free to contact me before sending.
– I’m still not in love with e-books yet, so prefer to read hard copies. Thank you.
– Sorry, I do not review self-published books.

Credentials: I stopped studying English language after O-Level (GCSE), and didn’t take an exam in English literature at all – my school believed that the then over-analysis of language in set texts turned too many off reading. If I’d not taken sciences at A-Level, I would have continued with English – and always liked the idea of being a journalist.
Although I’ve always written reports and articles for newsletters etc, since starting my blog I have found that taking the time to think about what I’m reading has improved my self-taught critical faculties; I try to explain why I like, or don’t like what I read – I hope you agree.
– Like everyone else in the blogosphere I download covers etc, and occasionally other images – if you object to their use – do let me know and they’ll be removed pronto. I will credit images used where appropriate.
– I am affiliated to Amazon and the Book Depository, and will earn commission on sales made if you click through – in six year’s blogging I’ve received £50 – so it’s not a real moneymaker, just a nice bonus!

(10/10) – Truly exceptional with no niggles. A keeper, one to re-read.
(9/10) – Also exceptional, a keeper too, but maybe a minor niggle stops it getting top marks.
(8/10) A super read – well-written; not necessarily a book I’d want to keep or re-read but one I’d definitely recommend to others.
(7/10) An enjoyable read, but not special for me. Generally recommended.
(6.5/10) Better than average – a good read but some reservations.
(6/10) Average, a fair read. OK but maybe derivative or bitty.
(5/10) or less. Below average. A book I really didn’t engage with, badly written, one I had major reservations about.


9 thoughts on “About: Info & Stuff

  1. We used to live up your way, many years ago. Carterton, to be exact, when my other half was in the RAF. It’s a lovely part of the country and we were sorry to leave. We settled in Swindon for a few years, because of work committments and now live in Somerset, about 6 miles from Longleat.
    We still miss those days out in the Cotswolds and envy you lots.

  2. Am a huge John Wilson orchestra fan; have worked in Oxfordshire prep-schools too; adore poetry; have just set up ‘Book Groups off the Sofa’ Literary tours for visitors to Cambridge [I am also an official tourist guide there.] http://www.tourcambridge.co.uk What a wondeful site you have here. Could we Link?
    All good wishes,
    ange brown

  3. My mum stumbed across you selling books out side your house the other day, and ended up buying a bunch of books for me- and getting your card so I could look up your blog.
    Its really good- and its nice to know I’m not the only Abingdonian blogger!

  4. What a lovely ‘about’ post. It’s very informative without being all self-promoting and pushy! So pleased to have found your blog!

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