#ArmchairBEA 2016: An Introduction


What is the name you prefer to use? I go by Rory, there really isn’t a way to turn that into a nickname thankfully.

How long have you been a book blogger? I’ve been blogging, mostly consistently, since 2012, which seems insane now that I look at it.

Have you participated in ABEA before? I have not. I usually have a lot of life stuff going on this time of year and I thought this year would be a little slower, but life said “Ha!” and made it busier than usual.

What is your favorite genre and why? It varies based on my mood, but I am a sucker for gothic fiction (both modern and classic) and good, gritty literature. Grit-lit is fairly new as a named genre, if you can call it that, but I am hopelessly devoted.

How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason? Or not at all? My shelves are loosely organized by genre, though I do break out some authors (i.e. my Stephen King and John Sandford collections are pretty massive and are grouped together). Within the loose organization, they are organized as to how they best aesthetically please me. Fancy, I know. I’ve always wanted to try by color, but it seems too much of an undertaking, especially if I don’t like the results. I like things to look pretty!

LibraryUpstairs LibraryWhat book are you most excited for on your TBR? What are you most intimidated by? I am most excited for The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock. He hasn’t published anything since The Devil All the Time – one of my favorites – and I’ve been impatiently waiting for his next once since I closed the back cover in 2012.

What is the most interesting thing that you have learned through your reading this year so far? I learned about how truly fascinating (and large!) an albatross is while reading The Thing With Feathers by Noah Strycker.


Diversity in books is a tough topic, because often mainstream publishing isn’t diverse at all. Considering the current political climate oin the United States, it can be hard to be optimistic (when a leading presidential candidate is legitimately comparable to Voldemort, it’s frankly quite scary). But I think we need to continue to be aware of voices that are underrepresented (there are too many to name) and continue to talk about good books we read, books that break stereotypes and break negative representations. Poverty, cultural differences, unique, real world voices and settings are all very real, worthwhile topics to explore in literature (this is not to say there isn’t a place for fantasy, because there absolutely is). And there are authors doing just this, but we need to make sure people know about it, and that’s where the book blogging community can help.

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  • Lory@Emerald City Book Review

    When I say my name a lot of people seem to hear it as “Rory.” I doubt you’ve ever had the opposite problem…

    I love your built-in bookcases around a fireplace. That’s what I’ll have in my dream house.

    Happy ABEA!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Rory is so uncommon that I almost always automatically spell it when giving it to people. If I don’t, I get Marie, Lory, and Cory as the most common mistakes.

      • Lory@Emerald City Book Review

        My sympathies – I know it’s a pain to have an uncommon name. I get Cory too, and being called Larry was especially embarrassing when I was in school. 🙂

  • Carolyn O

    Okay, can I just saw how awesome your house looks? I wish I had your eye for design. (And BEA catches me by surprise every year . . . maybe next year I’ll try to go?)

    • Rory O’Connor

      I know I won’t go next year, but I’m hoping the year after… We should plan 2018.

      • Carolyn O

        Yes please!

  • Rachel Rooney

    Is grit lit like a rougher Southern gothic? I’ve never heard the term before.

    • Rory O’Connor

      That’s a good way to think of it. I’ve seen various definition, but none that are great.

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay’s Library

    I loooove your bookshelves and decor! I was especially ogling that library card catalog thing you have. Swoon!

    • Rory O’Connor

      It took months of craigslist hunting to find that thing. Most people want WAY too much money.

  • Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves)

    Love the glass doors on your bookshelves…and the built-in bench! My dream is to have one of those in the house we’ll hopefully eventually buy! Also spied your Tom Wolfe section – like that 🙂

    • Rory O’Connor

      I built that bench. Sometimes I surprise even myself. 😉

  • Kate

    Your catalogue drawers look tops.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Thanks. I store my unopened alcohol in there. It works surprisingly well.

  • Naomi

    Your bookshelves are gorgeous!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Thank you!

  • Kathy

    What beautiful shelves and so pinterest-worthy. My shelves are so disorganized and in need of an overhaul. I see inspiration, here!

    • Rory O’Connor

      I cleaned up before I took the photo, so there’s that. Mine tend to be on the messy side too. 🙂

  • Kailana

    I love your bookcases! Mine are all mismatched because I need a new one and they have discontinued the old ones… My goal for the future is to replace them all and make them match!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Mine were, and it’s been my goal to slowly replace them. I am getting there, it’s a great feeling when they look pretty.

  • Catherine

    You were missed at BEA, Rory! It would have been nice to finally meet.

    Your house is beautiful and I love your bookcases! I’m still using college makeshift shelves but am hoping to get a real bookcase AND unpack all my books before the end of this year. We’ll see…

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