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About

I startedThe Book and Biscuit in July 2010 to help me share my love of all things bookish with like-minded people. Now two years in, The Book and Biscuit is a scrapbook of a life improved by reading. I firmly believe that there is a book for all occasions, and that the experience can be enhanced with the addition of a biscuit and a nice cup of tea.

Though I wouldn’t describe myself as a book snob, I do have a few rules for reading. Feel free to break them though, it’s all about experimentation.

1. No celebrity biographies- they rot the soul
2. You wouldn’t live on a diet of porridge, so don’t consume only Jane Austen
3. Rehome read books- don’t leave them lonely on the shelf
4. Keep a book in your bag and read whenever you get a chance
5. Be warned- some characters will stay with you for life, some scenes will make you cry in public
6. If you’re a late night reader, book lights save relationships
7. Read the books that appeal to you, not the accepted literary cannon
8. When you read a great book, don’t keep it to yourself
9. Understand that it’s okay to hate the director and actors who ruined your favourite book
10. Try everything once- only then can you slate Chris Ryan with complete authority.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A man is known by the books he reads”. Amongst other things, anyway. What does that say about me? Well, I read everywhere I go. I always have a book tucked in my bag just waiting to break free. Sometimes people think I’m easily distracted, I’m not, I’m just concentrating on the people in the book I was reading earlier.

My tastes are eclectic, though they mainly focus on fiction and poetry. I read less non-fiction because in my day job I work as an editor on a great academic series so spend a lot of time reading non-fiction manuscripts. That said, I do stray into non-fiction for fun occasionally and I often enjoy it.

I am open-minded, I will read almost anything once and don’t let literary snobbery get in my way. I find it exciting when I read a book that others have lambasted, and feel let down when I read a classic which leaves me feeling cold.

When I start a book, I finish it, even if I don’t enjoy it at first because I am convinced it will get better. Sometimes I’m disappointed. The only book I’ve ever given up on never to return to was James Joyce’s Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man. I might yet finish it one day, though in all honesty, probably not.

I hope you enjoy browsing and look forward to seeing more of you at The Book and Biscuit.

The Bookworm
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My Reading Room

I will gratefully accept any books, bookish paraphernalia or thoughtful gifts (always worth a try), and I will attempt to review any books or products which are relevant to the ethos of my blog. Please contact me here for details of my postal address

About Me

I am 26 and I live in Oxfordshire, UK. After studying for an undergraduate degree in English and Welsh, I trained as an English teacher and taught English to 11-18 year olds for two years before joining an academic publishing company where I am currently assistant editor . In my spare time, which is, when I’m not working, reading or writing about reading, I do some freelance writing, travel and eat lovely foods.

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42 Comments Post a comment
  1. I absolutely love the premise of your blog. What’s better than to lose yourself in a book and go on a journey along with the words? It can be almost magical sometimes 🙂

    Ah, and Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man – I had to read that for my AP English class in high school, and even now, its complexity still sounds out. It was definitely a different kind of read, that’s for sure!

    February 22, 2011
  2. Donna #

    What? you’ve never thrown a book across he room in disgust? I usually manage to trudge through books, even some of the worst, but there have been a couple that got splayed across the wall in the garage where my exercise bike is. I have book shelves in there too. One of them I still have thinking if I can just make it through that first chapter it will get better but the second one I made sure didn’t have anything linking me to it and donated it. It was a dooser. I just can’t throw away a book. Crazy people need to read too. Anyway, thanks for stopping by my page. I really like your blog idea (and I’m drooling over that cookie in your header picture).

    March 8, 2011
  3. Do you read physical books or have you switched to the kindle or ipad yet? I still think I like regular books but maybe I’ll switch one of these days. Love your blog. I’m not a huge reader but I have found a few golden nuggets lately.

    April 2, 2011
    • Hello, thanks for stopping by. No I read the dead tree physical books for a variety of reasons.

      First, I will never get a kindle because of Amazon’s obvious desire to sell at a loss in order to put other booksellers out of business.

      Second, I don’t believe that an ereader is more environmentally friendly than a book. In a laptop your average hard drive starts to die of old age after about three years; similarly smart phones aren’t really designed to stand the test of time. Therefore an educated guess tells you that you would need to get a new tablet every few years. Paper is a renewable, recyclable and biodegradable material, plastic and metals have the disadvantage of not being derived from renewable resources. Being hailed as paper free seems to be their big environmental selling point but I don’t think that people are necessarily taking the long view on this. Plus, whereas you would buy a book and pass it on to friends, family or charity shop, Digital Rights Management encryption etc prevents the passing on of ebooks, so they are non transferrable. Thus having environmental and financial impact- they can only be reused by one person and of course everyone in the family will have to have an ereader like they have to have a mobile phone.

      Third, if print sales are overtaken by ebook sales, then bookshops will die. Libraries will become digital. Two important hubs in the community gone.

      Fourth, I watched someone trying to find a page in their text book on an ereader for about half an hour on the train the other day. They wouldn’t have had the same problem with a book and looked like an idiot.

      Which brings me to my fifth reason. Look at all the high end accessories that have recently come out to disguise the ugliness of e readers. Smythson covers etc just show that they are a novelty gadget and the covers are accessories. Non books have become a fashion product and I suspect they will be more about look-at-me, look-at-me than reading.

      Ahhhhh. Rant over, for now.

      April 2, 2011
      • Ha ha good to know! Yeah I like the tree kind too. It’s crazy we’ve had a few book stores closing in the states and it reminds me of what happened to the music industry a few years ago.

        April 5, 2011
      • I like your arguments for paper books. I agree with you on most points, but I do think that eReaders have an important place in the literary world. I have a Kindle but buy and read paper books more than I do electronic books. The only book that I can say I was glad I read on my Kindle was Atlas Shrugged–because it’s heavy and expensive. (The cheapest and lightest weight copies have the tiniest font.) I don’t travel much, but if I did, I would probably buy books for my Kindle to save space. I think that if having an electronic device helps people read more–for whatever reason–then it is good for society. If I thought eReaders could take over paper books, I wouldn’t support them, but I think people love the physicality of books too much to let them go.

        May 16, 2011
      • I’m a reader who loves real books but my wife and I cannot bare to let old books go so we’ve ended up with a massive collection of books 5000+ at the last count and have found that since getting a kindle I’m not only reading more of a greater variety of books because I’m buying based on recomendations but also because they are so portable especially with the ability to continue reading where I left off on my phone if I don’t have it with me.

        I still read real books in bed though, and see the kindle as just another tool.

        December 12, 2011
  4. I read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man three times! Not because I enjoyed it but because I couldn’t understand the damn thing, and I was taking an Intro to the Study of Literature course.

    And thumbs down to ebooks. Nothing compares to the feeling I get when holding a real book in my hands, or when I walk into a bookstore.

    April 2, 2011
    • We should put the world to rights 🙂 with tea and cake, obviously.

      April 2, 2011
  5. I don’t like the thought of ereaders either, because it’s just so much nicer to have a book in my hand (although I do like that it’s available to get books for free on my phone, it has come in handy on occasion when I don’t have a regular book with me!) Your #9 is perfect – I won’t even watch most movies made of books I really love. I just spend the whole movie saying “that wasn’t in the book!”

    April 3, 2011
  6. I love your first rule. Hardly any celebrity auto-biographies are written by the celebrities themselves anyways, they’re almost always ghost written. It’s annoying that they get so much publicity for books they have very little to do with.

    April 4, 2011
  7. K #

    This blog is a gem. I enjoyed the posts on the Alice in Wonderland shop and potential favorite books. Wuthering Heights is a must!

    April 14, 2011
  8. I just stumbled upon your blog and was fascinated by its title (as it’s very similar to that of my blog, which is called ‘Tea, Cakes and Books’). It’s always delightful to find kindred spirits who share a love for reading (and snacking!) and a dislike for e-readers. I am going to follow your blog and read what you have to say about books.

    I hope you find my blog of some interest too!

    Prashansa

    April 22, 2011
    • Hello Pransha, it does sound like we are kindred spirits. Thanks for following. I love your banner. I think you may be my most far flung visitor to date 🙂

      April 22, 2011
  9. Love your blog and thank you for commenting on mine. I would love to link to yours from mine for my readers to go to your blog. Would that be ok?

    April 22, 2011
    • Hello, thanks for stopping by. Yes that would be great! It’s a very kind offer. Thanks 🙂

      April 22, 2011
  10. johyongil #

    Hey, you responded on one of my posts and i think it worth while visiting your site every once in a while. I do enjoy a good read and reader and find others’ thoughts equally interesting. I very much agree with your rules for reading as they are rigid, yet flexible. I especially like rule #2; these days I find myself just wandering around looking for a new book that will pique my interest but usually end up going back to my go-to books P&P or Of Human Bondage. Most often P&P. I have no idea why. But I do (have an idea).

    Oh and rule #9.

    May 1, 2011
  11. thanks for commenting on my post since now I have one more good blog about books to ponder and check 🙂

    more power!

    May 7, 2011
  12. This is a lovely, lovely blog Siobhan. I’ve loved reading through all your old posts. It has kept me entertained all evening!

    May 14, 2011
  13. As a fellow reader who also studied English as an undergraduate (and is now going into teaching), #7 on your list truly resonates with me. Sure, there are writers among the canon whom I adore…but if I want to kick back with a cold beer and trashy beach novel, then I’ll be damned if anyone is gonna stop me! =)

    May 23, 2011
    • Hey Emily, thanks for the comment. Enjoy teaching, best of luck! I had a great two years doing it 🙂

      May 23, 2011
  14. Hey, I’m putting links on my blog to blogs that I like/read/follow and yours is one of those 🙂 Let me know if you don’t want me to have the link, but hopefully it will increase traffic to both our blogs which is always good.

    July 29, 2011
  15. Hello, thank you very much for that! You’re the first blogger I’ve seen who has heard of Flavia de Luce- I like how your blog avoids the obvious!

    July 29, 2011
    • Thanks Siobhan! 🙂 I like to read the more odd obscure stuff so my blog often has some very different books on there – hopefully i’ve made a few people think about finding the Flavia books 🙂

      August 6, 2011
  16. I love your rules!

    August 6, 2011
  17. hodders #

    Celebrity biographies – I understand what you are saying, and I broadly agree. Two that buck the trend however: “It’s Not What You Think” by [the DJ] Chris Evans. And “Hello: The Autobiography” by Leslie Phillips.
    And maybe even “Frank Skinner” by himself and “A Stupid Boy” by Jimmy Perry.

    August 13, 2011
  18. Jessica's Musings #

    Great blog! I love your rules. I always try to finish a book, but there have been some I just couldn’t continue on with. With each new chapter I said, “I’m sure it will get better,” but it didn’t. But it has to be really bad for me not to finish, even if I end up skimming over most of it to get the gist.

    December 10, 2011
  19. I hateeeeeeeeee Portrait. I had to read it twice in undergrad and then again in my doctoral program. I hated it all 3 times. Gah! Joyce kills me.

    I love your blog! It is a wonderful tribute to reading. 🙂

    January 27, 2012
  20. Your blog is incredible! Your list is impeccable. Oh how I can relate my friend!

    February 3, 2012
  21. I enjoyed reading your information about E-readers versus print. You made informed points that need to be reiterated–especially in dispelling the notion that Kindles are “greener.” I’ve always loved holding a print book, myself. I only got a Kindle when I sprained my wrist reading Dan Brown novels while lying down.

    Aside from that, what I have suddenly come to realize (mostly from reviews of my debut novel where the reviewers totally didn’t get it), is that some books simply cannot be read on Kindles or other E-readers. They are too complex to be skimmed over, scanned for only the next action step. Moreover, re’ the reviewer who criticized my book for being “too long”…duh: aren’t most commercial novels in the 300-page ballpark? For these reasons, I will not be publishing my “complex” books on e-readers. If a reader chooses to read those books, they will have to give me at least the courtesy of turning the page manually.

    On the other hand, I cheerfully will publish my little light-hearted novellas as Ebooks, and I promise not to have more than two characters in them for those readers who are easily confused. I might even provide Cliffs notes!

    February 4, 2012
    • Too long? Oh dear, I have a few 700-1000 pagers planned in the next few weeks! I think it probably says more about the attention span of that reader!

      From a publishing perspective, it makes sense to publish eBooks as well as print, just make sure that you aren’t limited to the format that you can print- yur publisher should take care of this. Some people do read full length novels on an eReader, so makes sense to keep your royalties up in this area. Different e-readers need different formatting though so if time isnt spent getting this right across all formats they can be unreadable.

      February 4, 2012
  22. hello i can see you like the fallen series. i would say that you should really try reading a book called “Hush Hush” by Becca Fitzpatrick! its a pretty good book to me. its all about a young girl and this fallen angel. well the girl lives a normal life with a mom but no dad cause he was killed. the young girl about the same age as me, 17. her name is Nora. well in her life she has her bio class and she ends up getting stuck being partner the new kid named Patch. she dislike this kid. through out the book, strange things happen to Nora and she sometimes thinks its Patch who following her. when you read more you find out something you really didn’t think was going to come. i didn’t see it coming the same way with the Fallen book. its a good book. try reading it. its romantic and horror which i like a lot. thank you! 🙂

    April 23, 2012
    • Hi Shannon, thanks for the recommendation- it reminds me a bit of Twilight with the Biology class! I will add it to my reading list 🙂

      April 23, 2012
  23. mamasamess #

    This rule of yours, “Be warned- some characters will stay with you for life, some scenes will make you cry in public”…..almost made me start to cry just thinking about all of them over they years. 🙂

    August 31, 2012
  24. Yes, the book light is an essential for a happy marriage!

    September 13, 2012
  25. I love your rules. I am looking forward to reading your blog.

    October 3, 2012
  26. LOVE the new theme and banner Siobhan!

    October 29, 2012
  27. Liking the new design, very nice & cheery! x

    December 29, 2012
    • Thanks! It’s an ongoing process. I am hoping to get some techy help from Jon.

      December 29, 2012

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