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Welcome one and all to my little corner of the Internet. First off, let me say that I’m not a blogger and RobAroundBooks isn’t a blog. Instead, I prefer to call myself a ‘literary evangelist’ and describe RobAroundBooks as a place of literary worship, because I think this best describes who I am and what I stand for in the wonderful world of books.
If I sound like some kind of religious zealot then to some extent I guess I am, but not in a weird, extremist kind of way. When it comes to Christianity et al I may be completely atheist, but I DO see reading as a religion unto itself, and a most Glorious one at that.
RobAroundBooks as a place of literary worship
So, being a literary evangelist absolutely makes RobAroundBooks my place of worship of course, and it’s from this ‘virtual pulpit’ that I use my passion and enthusiasm for reading to preach the glory of the written word to those who are yet to embrace it. To those who have already discovered the wonder of books I join forces, so that we can further spread the good word.
Now, rest easy if you think I’m all about cramming a message of literary love down the throats of ‘non believers’ in an aggressive way. I’m more your friendly zealot; a ‘believer’ who operates with kindness, respect, consideration and honesty. I always evangelise about books with much passion and energy but it’s always in a congenial way.
Also, be assured that there is no ulterior motive behind RobAroundBooks. This website exists solely for the promotion of reading and nothing else. In other words, I’ll never try to sell you anything. RobAroundBooks is and always will remain an ad and affiliate link-free portal. When I talk about specific books I always provide links but these links lead directly to a publisher’s product page, which in my opinion is the right and proper thing to do.
The focus of RobAroundBooks
It’s impossible to read everything as we all fine well know, and in spreading my own message of book love I tend to focus on a limited number of genres and forms, all of which, I feel, are severely under-represented online and in print. Here’s a rundown:
- Translated fiction – Given that it offers an opportunity to travel the world at will without having to physically go anywhere, it’s surprising that so few readers take any real interest in translated fiction. Not so at RobAroundBooks where the literary form is put on a pedestal offering an insight into the sights, sounds and culture that can be enjoyed by the more cosmopolitan reader.
- Short fiction – If I had to pick a favourite literary form then short fiction would undoubtedly be the one. I love its scope, its variety, and I love that it can consumed in a single effortless ‘bite’. Short fiction is revered here at RobAroundBooks, in all of its forms. From the memorable shorts of the classic authors to the genius snappy creations of the modern story tellers, all are represented on RobAroundBooks, and very much loved.
- Essays – Nothing strikes more fear in the heart of some, than the word ‘essay’. But of course there’s more to the essay than its formal and scholarly side, and I gain no greater delight in seeking out and sharing with others some of the remarkable essayists who have well and truly taken the academic out of essay. Michel de Montaigne is a bit of a hero around these parts, and so are those who have followed in his footsteps, taking the form to a new and much more exciting level.
- Literary nonfiction – It may be one of the hardest forms to define in words but literary nonfiction stands as one of the most engaging. I celebrate it passionately here at RobAroundBooks because if nothing else I get the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the remarkable individuals who take everyday journalism into the most creative of spaces, giving the reader the most intense and most memorable of reading experiences.
- General fiction – You may think that adding a general fiction section to RobAroundBooks makes me as general as any other literary website out there, but here I still tend to focus on the more under-represented works. Debut novels are a firm favourite under general fiction at RobAroundBooks, as are the works of a number of select classic authors.
Other features of RobAroundBooks
A portal that celebrates the written word as though it were a religion would be nowhere near approaching Divine if it didn’t include other stimuli to try and enhance the sense of gloriousness. To meet this end there are a number of additional features on RobAroundBooks which I consider to be more or less unique. Here’s a selection of them, in no particular order of importance:
- Cover Love – As the worshiper supplicates himself at the feet of an idol, so the Cover Love feature celebrates the book in its most glorious of forms. Here, expect unadulterated outpourings to come forth in reverence for the physical book, and the beautifully-minded creatives who design them.
- Bookshelf of the Week – I’ve always considered bookshelves to be the walls of the temple in which we worship. There is nothing more soul-nurturing to the bibliophile than being surrounded by physical books, and this feature celebrates the shrine-like structures that empower us, and reveal to the outside world something of the inner souls (at least with regards to personal libraries).
- (Almost) Daily Bookshot – Truly a picture tells a thousand words and my (Almost) Daily Bookshot feature – which used to be a Daily Bookshot Feature until I started missing out too many days – charts my life and interaction with books in a more visual way.
- Behind the Pen – Like most bibliophiles, I have long held a fascination for the demi-gods who bestow the gift of words upon us. Through interviews Behind the Pen attempts to get inside the mind of the writer, and to learn more about their craft and the motivations behind their literary creations.
- Book News/Book Bites – I consider news to be an essential part of any website, and through full length reports and Bites Bites – which offer condensed snippets of news – I aim to enlighten and inform.
- Rob Reports – Reading is primarily a solitary activity of course, but around reading exists an entire universe of literary eventing, that feeds the mind and nurtures the soul. Whenever possible I try to get out to these bookish events, and when I do I like to bring a piece of them back to RobAroundBooks with me, in the hope that it will inspire and motivate others.
So, there we have it, a brief overview of what this place is all about, and what I stand for. In bringing this website to life and maintaining it, I hope that I’ve created something of a sanctuary for book lovers around the world.
So, I welcome you to RobAroundBooks as a hungry pilgrim, stopping for rest and refreshment on your way to whatever literary destination it is that you’re headed for. I hope that you enjoy your stay, and that you make RobAroundBooks a regular rest stop in your own journey through books. May we become close friends and confidants, and when your heart is aflame with a love for literature – if it isn’t already – may we both share in the mutual passion that drives and energises us daily. Praise be to the printed word!