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.
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 endings, antiheroes 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
- ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ written by J.D. Salinger
- ‘Jane Eyre’ written by Charlotte Brontë
- ‘Emma’ written by Jane Austen
- ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ written by Douglas Adams
- ‘Pride and Prejudice’ written by Jane Austen
- ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ written by John Green
- ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ written by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- ‘A Notable Woman’ written by Jean Lucey Pratt
- ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’ written by Judith Kerr
- ‘A Psalm for the Wild-Built’ written by Becky Chambers
- ‘Here Again Now’ written by Okechukwu Nzelu
- ‘Someone at a Distance’ written by Dorothy Whipple
- ‘The Little Mermaid’ written by Hans Christian Andersen
- ‘A Line Made by Walking’ written by Sara Baume
- ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ written by Charles Dickens
- ‘Grief is the Thing with Feathers’ written by Max Porter
- ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ written by Diane Setterfield
- ‘Mexican Gothic’ written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- ‘The Odyssey’ written by Homer; translated by Emily Wilson
- ‘Circe’ written by Madeline Miller
- ‘Chemistry’ written by Weike Wang
- ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- ‘Never Let Me Go’ written by Kazuo Ishiguro
- ‘Beautiful Ruins’ written by Jess Walter
- ‘A Constellation of Vital Phenomena’ written by Anthony Marra
- ‘Say Her Name’ written by Francisco Goldman
- ‘Metamorphoses’ written by Ovid, translated by David Raeburn
- ‘Wuthering Heights’ written by Emily Brontë
- ‘Mansfield Park’ written by Jane Austen
- ‘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
- “Angela’s Ashes” written by Frank McCourt
- “On the Road” written by Jack Kerouac
- “The Alchemist” written by Paulo Coelho
- “Oh My God What a Complete Aisling” written by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
- “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” written by Karen Joy Fowler
- “Austenland” written by Shannon Hale
- “The Spinning Heart” written by Donal Ryan
- “The Book Thief” written by Markus Zusak
- “The Night Circus” written by Erin Morgenstern
- “The World According to Garp” written by John Irving
- “The Lonely Hearts Hotel” written by Heather O’Neill
- “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” written by Lewis Carroll
- “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!