Monday 22 October 2012

Third Blogoversary (with Bumper Book Giveaway to Celebrate)

The Book Zone (For Boys) is three years old today, and just saying that comes as something as a relief to me. In the past few months I have come very, very close to announcing the end of The Book Zone as it started to feel like a chore. At one point I thought I had found someone to help me out with review writing, but sadly I got let down. Things then slowed down considerably back in July due to work pressures, but I fully expected to use a sizeable portion of the school summer holidays to catch up on the back log of reading and reviews. When that time came I just could not find the motivation to blog, or even to read many of the books on what had become a stupidly tall To Be Read pile. Instead, I devoted my summer to catching up on some of the many adult books that I had bought but never found the time to read. I also made the conscious decision that come the start of the new school year I would be easing off on the blogging, dropping from 20ish posts per month, down to a more sustainable 10ish. I feel that now is the right moment to apologise to all those publishers that sent me books which I have not yet read or reviewed - I will try to get around to them as quickly as I can.

The news that my very good friends Liz and Mark de Jager are bringing their brilliant My Favourite Books blog to an end, as well as rumours that another high profile blogger is also thinking of throwing in the towel, quickly brought back my buried thoughts about quitting. But then I think back to my reasons for starting the blog in the first place - to "raise awareness of the vast wealth of 'boy-friendly' books that have been published since Harry Potter burst onto the scene", and then I am wracked with guilt and feel that I am letting people down if I stop. And so, at least for the immediate future, The Book Zone will continue, with slightly less output per month, and probably significantly shorter reviews as opposed to my usual rambling essays.

With all that doom and gloom out of the way I want to concentrate on a few highs of the year. The greatest of these is also the most recent: the writing god that is Anthony Horowitz taking part in a Q&A for The Book Zone. Another great moment was when I met Michael Grant earlier in the year at the Electric Monkey launch event. I had only just finished Bzrk and it was great to be able to tell him just how much Bzrk messed with my mind (in a good way). I have also taken great enjoyment from the number of amazing books that have continued to come through my letterbox, many of them from début authors. Some of these books will make it on to my Best of 2012 list when I publish it in December, and one of these débuts may even be my 2012 Book of the Year. There is still a couple of months to go but at the moment there are two or three books in the running for this 'award'.

As ever, my huge thanks go to the authors and publishers that have made this past year so enjoyable again by keeping me supplied with books and taking the time to answer my interview questions, as well as to the other bloggers out there who have been a constant source of inspiration and guidance. I want to mention Liz and Mark again, as well as Sarah who also writes for My Favourite Books, as their blog as been my 'benchmark' ever since I started writing The Book Zone and if anyone ever asks me advice on blogging I always send them there first - My Favourite Books will be sorely missed. My thanks also go to the readers of this blog, whether you are boys, girls, parents, teachers, librarians, book lovers, or a combination of the above - thanks you for reading and I hope you will stay around for as long as I do.

As a special birthday celebration I have a fantastic prize up for grabs. I have been sorting through my books and seem to have a number of double copies, and so one lucky reader of The Book Zone could win the following:

Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill
Summertime of the Dead by Gregory Hughes
All three books in Sarah Silverwood's Nowhere Chronicles
The Enemy by Charlie Higson
Brothers to the Death by Darren Shan
The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne

and possibly a few more.

To be in with a chance of winning all of these books just fill in the form below by the competition deadline of 8pm GMT Monday 29th October 2011. Due to the cost of postage this competition is open to UK residents only.

Contest open to UK residents only.
I will be held responsible for items lost in the mail.
I hold the right to end a contest before its original deadline without any prior notice.
I hold the right to disqualify any entry as I see fit.

I will contact winning entrants for their postal address following the close of the competition. Winners have 48 hours to reply. Failure to do so in this time will result in another winner being randomly selected.


  1. Happy Blogoversary! Also, thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you haven't closed the blog although I do wonder how you manage to find the time to do all the amazing content that you do. I only do one a week!

  2. Happy Blogoversary, and long may you continue :) Your blog is a source of inspiration, so pleased you're staying. Looking forward to reading your Top List for 2012 later this year :))

  3. Congrats Hun. Please don't stop blogging *hugs* you are my go to guy for all things gore ;D

  4. Happy Blogday! I'm a relatively new reader of your blog, but I and my 9 year old, love reading your reviews and trying out some recommendations. Keep it up!!