Book Bloggers Abroad (4) – UK

Book Bloggers AbroadWelcome to the weekly guest post in the Book Bloggers Abroad series. Every week a book blogger from a different country will be featured who will talk about what it’s like to be a book blogger where he or she lives.

London, UK

Our guest blogger for today is Jane from the UK. Her book blog is called For Books ‘ Sake. She reads and reviews a variety of fiction and non-fiction, and not the standard books that so many bloggers read. So, go and have a look and discover some new books!

I live in a terraced house in Ladywell, a suburb of South-East London in the UK. The borough it’s part of, Lewisham, is the worst in England for unemployment, and because it also has high crime rates, its reputation gets around. When I tell other Londoners whereabouts in the city I live, they always grimace sympathetically and express concerned surprise that I’ve never yet been mugged, raped or murdered.

Jane at Home

Jane at Home

But where I live is nowhere near as bad as it’s made out, and I’ve been here for three years without incident (I’m originally from Manchester, in Northern England). And like a lot of run-down areas on the outskirts of cities, the cheap rents have actually attracted a thriving creative community. For example, the formerly disused courtyard at the back of my local pub has been taken over by artists who have adapted it into a gallery.  Their most recent exhibition was about what happens to unwanted books, and they filled the space with thousands of antique and discarded books, then built sculptures and other art from them.

Books in Limbo at Tank Gallery at the Ladywell Tavern

Books in Limbo at TankGallery at the Ladywell Tavern

Unlike a lot of Londoners, I’m lucky in that the house I rent has a gorgeous (if overgrown) garden and even an apple tree to sit under, and when the weather’s sunny, that’s my favourite place to read. But if British weather can be relied upon for anything, it’s grey skies and rain, so unless we’re having a rare warm summer, I settle for staying indoors. As long as there’s a blanket and bottle of red wine within easy reach, I’m laidback about the other details!


Snow in the Garden

Up until six months ago, I had a full-time day job, and had to squash reading, writing, blogging and all my other freelance bits and bobs in around it. But last December, I decided it was time to try my hand at freelancing full-time. I edit the books blog For Books’ Sake, deputy-edit the food and interiors blog Domestic Sluttery, and freelance here and there too.

A lifetime of bibliophilia and buying books from thrift shops and jumble sales, along with the review copies I now receive for For Books’ Sake has left me with more books than I’ll probably ever be able to read. Both bookcase space and money is tight, so I try to stop myself from buying too many new books. I do love noseying around independent bookshops, though, and I often end up losing entire hours in the secondhand shops on Charing Cross Road. You never know what you might find!

The national author I’d like to recommend to your readers is Dodie Smith, the author behind the children’s classic The Hundred and One Dalmatians. I love her debut novel, I Capture The Castle, about a young girl and her family who live in a decaying English castle during the 1930s, and I re-read it whenever I have chance. It has one my favourite first lines ever: “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” And although it might lose me any literary cool cred, I have a huge soft spot for the Harry Potter series too. Crime noir queen Cathi Unsworth is one of my favourite current authors, and her most recent novel Bad Penny Blues provides a fascinating insight into what London was like during the swinging sixties!

Click on the world for a Google Maps picture!

Thanks, Jane for letting us have a look at your life as a reader and blogger. I also liked I Captured the Castle a lot and love that first sentence!

Don’t forget to take a look at Jane’s blog. If you have any questions or comments for Jane, just leave them in the comments section.

Next week Novroz from Indonesia will be visiting us for the fifth Book Bloggers Abroad guest post. Don’t miss it!

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

19 Responses to Book Bloggers Abroad (4) – UK

  1. Mystica says:

    I have tried so hard to get I capture the castle and just could not. Will have to keep looking.

    • Jane says:

      Thanks for putting my post up, Judith! Really pleased to be a part of the Book Bloggers Abroad series.

      Mystica, that’s a shame – it’s a great book so it’ll be worth the wait when you do eventually track it down!

  2. Tea says:

    This is wonderful. Reading about other bloggers from different places is exciting. I’m sure to learn so much new info. I like the photos too. I also like to hear what others are reading across the globe. Looking forward to reading about Indonesia.

    • leeswammes says:

      Thanks, Tea. I love this guest post series a lot myself! If you click on my word cloud (right-hand side of blog) on Book Bloggers Abroad, you can find back the other posts too.

  3. Carin B. says:

    Hmmm…I don’t think you’d lose literary cool cred for liking Harry Potter. It is a brilliant series and I can’t count the number of people I’ve seen blogging and also all my friends tend to re-read the series a lot.

    I really want to read I Capture the Castle. I loved the movie!

    I think it’s really cool that they turned the courtyard into a gallery. I loved your post!

    • Jane says:

      Thanks Carin, I love Harry Potter but I know a lot of people are a bit snobby about it! That doesn’t put me off though – I’m stubborn!

      I’ve never seen the film of I Capture the Castle, but I’ve heard lots of good things about it so may have to add it to my wishlist!

  4. Nikki-ann says:

    Oh, another UK blogger… thanks 🙂 I’ll make a visit to Jane’s blog!

  5. rikkiscraps says:

    Great post, Jane. I didn’t know Lewisham had such a bad reputation. I always thought that Liverpool is unmatched but it seems your city comes close (my husband is a Scouser, he’ll be glad to hear that).
    I capture the castle is on my TBR list. The cover alone is so pretty and I have only heard good things about it. Thanks for reminding me of it.

    • Jane says:

      Thanks for the comment, rikkiscraps, I was actually born in Liverpool so I understand that your husband must be sick of accusations about its reputation!

      • rikkiscraps says:

        You were born in Liverpool and then you moved to Manchester? OMG, that must have been pretty bad…:-).

  6. chasing bawa says:

    I’ve been meaning to read I Capture the Castle for years! And I love Harry Potter too. Trawling the secondhand bookshops on Charing Cross Road on a lazy weekend is one of my favourite pastimes. Lovely post.

  7. Pingback: Friday Blog Hop « Leeswammes's Blog

  8. Novroz says:

    That is a lovely garden Jane. I totally agree with you, secondhand bookstore is a great place to find books.

    I didn’t know that Harry Potter is something to be asshamed of, I love it, well till the 5th series tho…even my number one author, Stephen King, thinks that JK is one the best female writer nowadays

    • Jane says:

      Thanks for the comment! The garden is overgrown and looks like a jungle at the moment, but at least it looked picturesque in winter!

  9. gnoegnoe says:

    So nice to meet you Jane! Of course you haven’t been telling us the complete truth… who would believe you can have a GARDEN in London? 😀 But still, we readers don’t always mind whether it’s fiction or nonfiction 😉

    Okay, so I’m jealous — can you tell? 😉

    • Jane says:

      Thanks for commenting, the overgrown jungle garden is a lovely thing to have in London, but we do pay for it by being miles away from the city centre!

  10. Pingback: Love for For Books’ Sake « Jane Claire Bradley

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