Get to Know Me: The Person Behind The Blog

Hello everyone!

I’ve been blogging for over three years now and am very fortunate to have made many blogging friends in that time.

When I first created A Little Haze Book Blog I was very passionate about taking part in a wide variety of weekly bookish memes and writing discussion posts.

However, in the last 18 months or so, my health has dramatically declined and I unfortunately had to make the decision to streamline my blog content. So now my whole blog is simply dedicated to reviewing the books I read.

Also, due to my ill health, I’ve not been able to keep up with my online book friends and fellow book bloggers as my energy levels simply won’t allow it. Case in point, I’m not long home from hospital due to a severe infection which included a protracted stay in the I.C.U.

However, even with my being unable to interact with my fellow bloggers as much as I would like, I have somehow (and rather bafflingly) steadily gained followers. So I thought it might be nice to properly introduce myself to those who are new to A Little Haze Book Blog, and to reintroduce myself to everyone else.

For those that don’t know, my name is Éimhear (she/her) and I’m from Ireland.

My Name

The name Éimhear is an older Irish spelling of the modern Irish name Eimear. It is also sometimes spelled as Eimhear, or you may be familiar with its anglicised variant Emer which is more widely used outside of Ireland.

All four variants of the name are pronounced the same: “ee-mer”. Or perhaps it’s easier to remember that the name rhymes with the word “dreamer”.

There is also a Scottish Gaelic variation: Eimhir

However, historically the name Éimhear would have been pronounced with a sharp “A” sound followed by a “V” sound: “aa-ver”. Although that pronunciation has mostly been lost to the annals of time. 

The Origins of My Blog Name

My long term illnesses and disabilities are what provided the inspiration for my blog’s name, A Little Haze Book Blog. 

I have been chronically unwell since childhood. My life is all about the day to day management of my illnesses, the persistent fatigue, and the unending pain. I live with medications, medical aids, frequent trips to hospital, and I require assistance for simple tasks. But I also live with humour, with passions, with interests, and with hopes and dreams.

However, the really severe pain days can be so intense that it makes me lose awareness of everything else around me. All of my senses become clouded over, and it can be incredibly isolating. 

Over the years I termed this distressing sensation as living surrounded by a dense haze. And thusly the A Little Haze moniker was formed. 

In short, A Little Haze refers to the fog that it feels my life is shrouded in due to the effects of being constantly sick, and choosing this name for my book blog is a way for me to take some agency over the chronic illnesses that frustratingly control every other aspect of my being.

About My Blog

Here at A Little Haze Book Blog I chat about all the different types of books I read.

I read books from all sorts of genres; adult fiction, YA fiction, literary fiction, contemporary, classics, fantasy, science fiction, memoirs, science non-fiction, award winners… It’s probably easier to list the genres I do not read! Those would be horror, erotica, and crime thrillers.

Books have been my constant companion since the earliest days of my childhood. I simply can’t remember a time when I wasn’t passionate about reading. As a little girl I would read a book before I went to sleep almost every night; I was very guilty of reading past my bedtime! 

Since 2015 I have written a review for almost every single book I’ve read; my reading average typically lies in the region of 75 – 100 books a year so that’s a whole lotta book reviews! I find it incredibly enjoyable to put all my thoughts about a book into a review as I believe it’s made me a more perceptive reader; I endeavour to fully engage with the material I’m reading rather than reading it in a passive manner. However, when I’m excessively fatigued, or am experiencing an intense flare of my chronic illness, then I tend to choose a light read that requires minimal effort on my part; those days my brain really just needs to get checked at the door! But, in any case, it really is just supremely comforting to read something that’s fluffier than candy floss when life gets too *full-on*.

I feel that the act of writing reviews, and thusly thinking more analytically about what I’m reading, has meant that my favourite genre has become quite the fluid concept!

  • When I was a teenager I exclusively read the classics. Or if a book featured on one of those 100-books-to-read-before-you-die lists then I tried to get my hands on it in my local library.
  • For a number of years thereafter I thought I was purely a romantic drama type of girl.
  • Then I got really interested in literary fiction and novels that were shortlisted for the most prestigious (and snooty!) awards.
  • I jumped from there to books laden with magical realism or a paranormal element.
  • Romantic comedies then became my reading drug of choice.
  • Quickly succeeded by science themed books, both fiction and non fiction.
  • I followed that up by reading many books that focused on contemporary life and the impacts of our highly pressurised modern society on the psyche of whatever character I was reading about.
  • And these days it seems I’m in an early 20th century female writers kind of vibe.

Suffice to say, I’m a mood reader, meaning that I don’t have a list of books that I want to read in a given time period. Instead I choose a book to read according to how I’m feeling at any given time. Plus I find that mixing up genres rather than reading books from the same category is the best way to keep a dreaded book slump away! 

Reading is typically quite the insular hobby but since I started discussing books online with other readers it’s been joyous. This is because I’ve made some wonderful friends with whom I can discuss all of the books I’ve read, be they five star favourites or one star nightmares.

To me, my blog is a happy extension of my favourite hobby, and I’m so glad that you stopped by to spend a little time with me as we share our love of all things bookish. Basically I am here to talk about all things book related with absolutely everyone!

If you navigate to the page entitled Book Reviews A to Z you will find a complete list of all my book reviews ordered alphabetically by author’s surname.

My Bookish Preferences

I love open endingsantiheroes and books that rip my heart to shreds! Can’t beat a good book cry right???

I abhor spoilers; I like to know very little about a book before I read it!! Blurbs that reveal half the plot are my absolute bugbear. For example you should NEVER read the blurb to the hardback of “The Binding” by Bridget Collins because it absolutely destroys the most unique plot point of the book! I’m still annoyed about how that affected my reading experience of that book. 

If I have to choose between character or plot I choose character driven novels every time. Stories with great twists and turns are all well and good, but if the characters don’t appear authentic or believable in an emotional sense then I feel let down. To me character driven novels are wonderful because those are the ones that allow for true emotional connection to be made between reader and character irrespective of whether those emotions are positive or negative. Although, ideally I like my books to have a good story too; a compelling page turner with amazing characters is the hope I have for every novel before I begin reading.

I have been a voracious reader all my life. Nancy Drew was my childhood hero and if I’m honest, she still kinda is!! I loved her countless adventures and practically inhaled those books as a little girl. Other childhood favourites included books written by Judith Kerr, Hans Christian Andersen, Enid Blyton, Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery, June Considine, and Judy Blume. And when I was about twelve years old I dedicated myself to reading the entire Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal. I did this by borrowing as many of the books as I could from my local library, and also by swapping the few books I owned with school friends and classmates in exchange for whatever copies they had. The Sweet Valley High series was like catnip to us in those days so all pocket money was put towards purchasing those books!

Greek mythology is my jam! Some of the first books I borrowed from the local library as a little girl were based on Greek myths and the passion hasn’t left me all these years later. I have really been enjoying the recent literary trend of Greek Retellings particularly novels by Madeline Miller, Natalie Haynes, and Colm Tóibín. But to me, the original ancient classics are still the best with Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Homer’s The Odyssey being among my all time favourites.

Books about dogs are my absolute weakness; never met a dog I didn’t like! But I really don’t like when dogs die in books… it’s just too much sadness. Dogs are so pure and good; we truly don’t deserve them. 

My favourite books to read tend to be the English classics; Jane Austen, the Brontës, Dickens are all my favourites. I am also a big fan of reading modern classics because I’m forever fascinated by the fuss these books have made over the years. I will never understand how some novels garner nothing but the greatest of praise; I’m looking at you On the Road and The Great Gatsby!! And conversely, how some novels are entirely divisive; The Catcher in the Rye is seemingly loathed by more people than by the number who love it! I’m a lover for the record. 

Pretty much the same goes for award winners. Seeing if I agree with the critics is always a fun time because more often than not I end up disagreeing. Case in point I will never understand how Margaret Atwood (jointly) won the Booker Prize for The Testaments. It’s just not very good in comparison to The Handmaid’s Tale!

I also love reading forgotten female writers particularly those from the 19th and 20th centuries. Authors like Dorothy Whipple and Elizabeth Taylor (not the actor) should be as widely familiar to readers as Salinger and Kerouac in my opinion.

In addition I believe wholeheartedly that no one is ever too old to read YA! Contemporary Young Adult books in particular are some of the most thought provoking reads with how they shine a light on minorities and how they challenge society to be more inclusive.

Some of My Favourite Authors

Douglas Adams, Jane Austen, Sara Baume

Charlotte Brontë, Candice Carty-Williams, Becky Chambers

Silvia Moreno-Garcia, John Green, Kazuo Ishiguro

Lindsey Kelk, Nina LaCour, Madeline Miller

Okechukwu Nzelu, Max Porter, J.D. Salinger

Colm Tóibín, Dorothy Whipple, Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My Top Thirty Favourite Books 

  1. The Catcher in the Rye’ written by J.D. Salinger
  2. Jane Eyre’ written by Charlotte Brontë
  3. Emma’ written by Jane Austen
  4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ written by Douglas Adams
  5. Pride and Prejudice’ written by Jane Austen
  6. The Fault in Our Stars’ written by John Green
  7. The Shadow of the Wind’ written by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  8. A Notable Woman’ written by Jean Lucey Pratt
  9. ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’ written by Judith Kerr
  10. A Psalm for the Wild-Built’ written by Becky Chambers
  11. Here Again Now’ written by Okechukwu Nzelu
  12. Someone at a Distance’ written by Dorothy Whipple
  13. ‘The Little Mermaid’ written by Hans Christian Andersen
  14. A Line Made by Walking’ written by Sara Baume
  15. ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ written by Charles Dickens
  16. Grief is the Thing with Feathers’ written by Max Porter
  17. ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ written by Diane Setterfield
  18. Mexican Gothic’ written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  19. The Odyssey’ written by Homer; translated by Emily Wilson
  20. Circe’ written by Madeline Miller
  21. Chemistry’ written by Weike Wang
  22. Half of a Yellow Sun’ written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  23. Never Let Me Go’ written by Kazuo Ishiguro
  24. ‘Beautiful Ruins’ written by Jess Walter
  25. ‘A Constellation of Vital Phenomena’ written by Anthony Marra
  26. Say Her Name’ written by Francisco Goldman
  27. Metamorphoses’ written by Ovid, translated by David Raeburn
  28. Wuthering Heights’ written by Emily Brontë
  29. Mansfield Park’ written by Jane Austen
  30. In the Night Wood’ written by Dale Bailey

Note: This list is subject to change according to my mood!

My Top Ten(ish) Most Hated Books

  1. “Angela’s Ashes” written by Frank McCourt
  2. On the Road” written by Jack Kerouac
  3. “The Alchemist” written by Paulo Coelho
  4. Oh My God What a Complete Aisling” written by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
  5. “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” written by Karen Joy Fowler
  6. Austenland” written by Shannon Hale
  7. “The Spinning Heart” written by Donal Ryan
  8. The Book Thief” written by Markus Zusak
  9. The Night Circus” written by Erin Morgenstern
  10. “The World According to Garp” written by John Irving
  11. The Lonely Hearts Hotel” written by Heather O’Neill
  12. “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” written by Lewis Carroll
  13. “The Great Gatsby” written by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Note: This list is also subject to change according to my whims.

However, “Angela’s Ashes” has claimed pole position for well over twenty years so it’s looking increasingly doubtful that anything will supersede it. Words cannot begin to convey how much I disliked that book!

11 thoughts on “Get to Know Me: The Person Behind The Blog

  1. I really liked reading through this! Well, not that you’ve been in the trenches at the hospital… but that you had the resources to share this! 🙂

    how funny that I am totally on the same page as you in terms of genre(s), but a few books on your favorites list I either disliked (never let me go – though this was also in high school when I was both chronically burnt out from masking and pre-narcolepsy diagnosis…) or have yet to finish (jane Eyre – also tried to read in high school, and as an audiobook, but thinking I may need a physical book for that one!). But then I liked the book thief enough to write an article/blog about its impact and I remember loving the world and characters of The Night Circus. However, I agree with We are all completely beside ourselves- I started that and just could not finish or get into it!

    Like

    1. Hi Lizzy 👋🏻 Isn’t it amazing how we can share so many things in common (genres) and yet have completely different reactions to others 😊 That’s why book discussion is so much fun isn’t it. Seeing where we agree and where our opinions diverge. If I may ask what was it about The Book Thief that moved you so much? I’m fascinated to hear a different take on it. For me personally it was the Death character that I didn’t like and ruined the read for me. The whole omniscient narrator vibe always rubs me up the wrong way 🙈 It meant that I was constantly thinking about the structure of the narrative rather than engaging with the book’s core content. But I know that me not liking The Book Thief is an incredibly unpopular opinion so I’m very much in the minority.
      Thanks for popping by today Lizzy. Love hearing your thought. Hope you’re keeping well 😊💚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! To all the points you made! I think a lot of it’s impact was the timing of when I read it, just around the 2016 US presidential election –> https://liminallizzy.com/2016/12/24/what-good-are-words/
        So, to me, the pattern-matching of how people can allow such things to happen whether in the 1930s/40s or 2010s, actually i think gave me some compassion and curiosity – thinking about what people have to do to themselves to *not* acknowledge others suffering.

        I think I saw (or maybe this connection is new..) Death as echoing that pattern; a narrator who believes they are stuck (or their purpose is “set”), have all the information and that change was not possible or should not happen.
        Thanks for asking! 😊

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  2. Hi Éimhear!! 😊 It was so fun reading this! I am in total agreement about going into books knowing next to nothing; I find that makes my reading experience so much better! I laughed at the Lonely Hearts Hotel being on your hated books list 😂 I completely agree with you, not my cup of tea either!

    I hope you’re keeping well! 💞

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    1. Hey Meghan 👋🏻 Oh gosh I LOATHED The Lonely Hearts Hotel. That book has absolutely nothing to recommend in it 😅😅😅 And yay, glad we share that view on trying to be as in the dark as possible about a book’s plot before embarking on the read. I’ve heard there are some people out there who actually read the very last page before they start a book!! MAKE IT MAKE SENSE! And god help anyone who spoils a book for me. I do not forgive that particular indiscretion very easily at all lol! 😂😂😂
      Things have been rather dramatic on the health front but I’m still alive and kicking despite a recent serious acute infection so I’ll take that as a win! 😆😆😆 Hope all is well with you my friend. Thanks for popping by today 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can understand your hatred from page one it was like woah and it just got progressively worse 😕
        I’ve heard that people do that and I can’t for the life of me see what the point of that is? Wouldn’t that just make you really confused and then it would ruin the reading experience because then you’re trying to fit the ending into everything your reading… that would be me 😂
        I don’t mind being spoiled if it’s a book I know I’m not going to read because then I don’t care, but one I do want to read I’m not a happy camper about that!!

        Oh no, I hope the infection is going away and that you’re feeling better! I’m well, a few scares in the last couple weeks, nothing to do with me but the people in my life, but things are looking up so I’m hoping for a calm rest of the month!
        Always! I miss talking to you! 💞

        Like

  3. I loved this post, it was so nice getting to know you more Éimhear ❤️ I loved hearing what books have meant to you and your journey with favourites. (also thank you for liking open endings because I love them too and I don’t think they get the most love)!
    I am so glad you love the classic Greek myths/plays, I am hoping to read some of them soon.
    Interesting that the book thief is on your hated list. I originally loved the book but then I watched the movie and really didn’t like it, so it has made me question every thought I ever had for the book. 😅
    Sending lots of best wishes 🥰

    Like

    1. Thank you so much Sophie!

      It was actually really fun to pause for a while and really focus on what it is I love about some books, and dislike about others, and then create my list lists accordingly. I actually surprised myself with some of my choices as there are some books that I don’t like and talk about A LOT, because they are popular/well known books. For example the ableism in Everything Everything drives me batty, yet I could still find merit to the plot so it didn’t make the top ten list!

      My dislike for The Book Thief is quite the unpopular opinion though. It’s the narrator. I just wanted to slap Death! 😂 As a character he had this omniscient vibe and … yeah, I really don’t like omniscient narrators. When I read books that feature them I get so frustrated because to me an omniscient narrator just sounds so smug. And smugness is a very unappealing trait in my eyes.

      I do hope you get a chance to read some of the ancient classics too. Translators are key when it comes to deciding which versions to pick up. Some of the older translations (20th century) can feel needlessly wordy and are translated in this faux old style English. I much prefer more recent translations as they are far more accessible and I believe really allow the original stories to shine.

      Thanks so much for popping by my blog today. Hope you’re keeping well and reading lots of awesome books 💖😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🥰🥰

        Yay, I am glad you enjoyed creating your lists and it actually inspired me to consider what I would include for my best (and worst) books as well 💗

        Death does have an all-knowing tone for sure, so that makes a lot of sense. It was actually the narrator in the movie I didn’t like either so that has given me more food for thought.

        Thank you so much for your advice with translations, I think I would click better with accessible writing especially as a beginner too.

        Thank you sooo much 🥰 hope you are discovering lots of great books too!

        Like

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