New Shiny and News

Our Christmas Edition of Shiny New Books is live today! Do go on over and decide what you want to unwrap under the tree this year…

snb xmas

The BookBuzz section is rather a special one for me, as it’s my last. It’s been an amazing three years in which I’ve had the chance to interview some lovely writers and experience a slice of the joy that other reviewers have had for years, receiving free books through the post! And it’s been a real delight to work with Annabel, Harriet and Simon. We’ve been such a great team and I will miss our group chats terribly. But it’s time for a big old revamp, something that has to happen regularly on the fickle internet if sites want to keep up their audience and stay tempting. Annabel and Harriet will make an announcement in the New Year about the New Look Shiny, while Simon and I are bowing out as editors. Though we will keep a hand in as Editors At Large, a title I’m enjoying immensely as it makes us sound wild and dangerous, which is not something that happens to me every day.

Undoubtedly my decision has been motivated to a great extent by the fate of my eyes. I went to see an eye specialist back in September and finally understood what was happening. I have recurrent marginal keratitis, and when I looked it up on the internet, the advice was to go to the vets – it’s more common in dogs than humans, apparently. Honestly, you’d think one of these days I’d suffer from something nice and noble. Basically, the rims of my corneas keep getting inflamed and this has been caused by two perfectly ordinary conditions – dry eyes and blepharitis – that have grown out of control. It’s not serious, thankfully, although my corneas have taken a fair bit of scarring, but it is extremely tenacious. I’m on four months of anti-inflammatories, and may require more.

It would have been nice if an optician, on one of my four visits to them over the course of this year, had mentioned either dry eyes or blepharitis. It might not have got so bad.

Anyhow, I think they are gradually improving, although it is slow. In a normal day now I can read for up to an hour, look at the computer for about 90 mins and watch an hour or so of telly without annoying them too much. But it’s been the kiss of death to blogging. I am still not comfortable with posting and then not visiting you all, and sometimes not managing to answer comments. It feels all wrong somehow. And I’m not reading enough books to make a decent show of reviewing. It is so funny how things happen. After a year of not reading, I wonder if I will ever go back to the lovely long hours I used to spend at it. I have listened to a LOT of audio books, and Mr Litlove has been very good about reading out loud to me. There are two things you should know about this: 1) he really enjoys it and 2) he is dyslexic. So it can be an intriguing and hallucinatory experience, listening to the myriad ways language can shift and change under his gaze. For instance, we are currently reading a book about the occasion when the painting, The Scream by Edvard Munch, was stolen from a Norwegian art gallery. ‘And the next chapter,’ says Mr Litlove, ‘is called: “Munich”.’ Then he pauses. ‘Oh, hang on a minute. The next chapter is called: “Munch”.’ Honestly, it’s delightful and an oddly creative experience, but I wonder how much of a book changes when he reads it to me.

You’ll all be glad to know that he is doing well, and making lots of furniture. He started a new upholstery class this autumn, a much better one than the first, which is full of lovely ladies and he is the only man. He loves it, and they love him. And nowadays he comes out with things like: ‘Please can we go and visit the haberdashery above the bike shop in Ely?’ Which is not a sentence I ever thought would pass my husband’s lips. Life is full of surprises.

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28 thoughts on “New Shiny and News

  1. I’m glad to hear that you finally have a diagnosis, Victoria. So often a relief when something has a name and a strategy can be worked out to deal with it although Mr Litlove’s reading sounds well worth continuing. Sorry to hear that you will be bowing out of Shiny but it’ll be interesting to see what Annabel and Harriet do next.

    • At least I know what to call it! Having to describe it as ‘this weird thing where my eyes get bloodshot every time I use them on a page or a screen’ was not the most lucid of conversational gambits! 🙂 And yes, I can’t wait to see what Annabel and Harriet do – I have no doubt it will be fantastic.

  2. I’m feeling all emotional about it, Victoria!

    So glad to hear that there might be light at the end of the tunnel (and what a wonderful trooper Mr L is) – you’ve been through so much over the past few years that you’ve definitely earned a restful and kind 2017.

    • Oh me too!! It’s that ‘end of an era’ thing, isn’t it? *sob* And yes, the past few years have been unreasonably full of awkward things happening! I am more than ready to embrace mundane banality with all my heart. 🙂

  3. So sorry you’re going, but I can fully understand why – your poor eyes! And thank goodness for Mr. Litlove’s patience – you always make me chuckle with your stories about him! I hope we will still see you here, even if only occasionally! x

    • I hope very much to be able to post more regularly, I miss you! – just not sure when. Every week I think: this is the one when the anti-inflammatories will win the battle! And.. not quite yet. But I really do HAVE to share what Mr Litlove does sometimes. It demands a wider audience. 🙂 xx

    • It’s going to be so odd when the next edition comes out and I don’t feel… possessive and proud and all those things I’ve been feeling! I’ll miss you all, too. But at least the virtual world means we are all together still. As for Mr. L. oh yes, he’s going nowhere! 🙂

  4. Oh your poor eyes! I hope now you know what the problem is that they get better soon. At least you have Mr Litlove and audiobooks! So glad to hear the Mr. is doing well too. Take care and big hugs!

    • Oh I do so hope that happens! It’s taking forever, but looking back, I must have had these problems for over a year. I suppose that’s why it’s taking so long. But I do feel I have good help now. Mr L is doing very well and sends his warmest regards! And I send big hugs back to you! xox

  5. Just sending you my love xx The Darkest Cat

    PS no need to spend your precious reading time on a response – save it for a more interesting and insightful comment 🙂

    • If it was anything else, I could work around it. But eyes! It’s been such a pain. Still, I am so glad you like the sound of Mr L’s reading. It is really quite fascinating. 🙂

  6. I can’t wait to hear more about Mr Litlove’s adventures – so I hope those anti-inflammatories do their job well – I’m glad you know what the cause is now.

    I will miss you at Shiny, but will never miss you as a wonderful friend. Thank you.

    • Oh Annabel *sob*! Thanks to the virtual world we will never be far apart. Didn’t we just have the best time with Shiny? I do hope I’ll be posting more soon. Mr Litlove keeps doing funny things, that’s for sure! 🙂

  7. Sad to see you go as editor, you’ve given me some amazing books to review, but the changes sound very intriguing!

    So sorry to hear about your poor eyes, I get mild blepharitis and that is awful enough without having it worse and scratching up my corneas.

    • Oh a fellow sufferer! Thank you for the solidarity – it’s stupid but if I’m ever out on the streets, I keep looking at people’s eyes now and everyone seems to have perfect eye health. I wish you didn’t have it, but it’s comforting not to feel alone! And whatever happens to Shiny going forward, do keep contributing. I’ve loved your reviews and I think you just keep getting better.

  8. I am so sorry about your eyes but so glad that you’ve finally got a diagnosis. And what a wonderful surprise to find yourself being read to by your husband. If Munch becomes Munich think what adventures await you! And I’m sorry to hear you’re leaving Shiny but I know it will leave time for your eyes to heal and time for yourself, much needed I’m sure. Happy Christmas x

    • After CFS I so rarely believe I’ll ever get an answer that I often fail to look for one… It was a relief to know at last what was actually happening. And you are so right, being read to by Mr Litlove is an amazing adventure! I get sort of two books for one, I’ m sure. 🙂 It’s also a relief not to feel like I’m letting the other eds down by not pulling my weight – I really hate that, and they are such darlings, they have never complained. May you have a wonderful festive season too, dear Angela, with all your loved ones around you. xx

  9. Aw, so sad to hear that y’all are bowing out of Shiny, and I hope you are both on to wonderful new adventures. I admit that I said “OF COURSE” out loud when I read that you’ve got a condition that requires veterinarian intervention. I mean, OF COURSE. Can you imagine a world in which you had a regular ailment that was diagnosed easily and solved easily? Sheesh. I hope you’re doing better, friend. ❤

    • Lol! Your comment made me laugh so much, dear Jenny. OF COURSE! It does all make perfect sense. I will miss Shiny so much and miss your outstanding YA features in BookBuzz. But hopefully the eyedrops are working and I’ll get back to blogging next year. That would be nice. Do hope this finds you fit and well and cheerful and looking forward to a festive break with your family. Hugs!

  10. I’m so sorry about your eyes! At least you are given the proper treatment, and you hopefully don’t need to visit a vet. Audiobooks have expanded so much recently that these few months will fly by I hope! Take good care of yourself!!

    • I don’t know what I would have done without audio books. I’ve got so used to listening to them now that I’m more accustomed to them than actual reading! I haven’t yet tried Serial, though, which I believe you loved? I really must give it a go. Hope you are getting set for Christmas and that your boys are properly excited! xx

  11. Litlove,

    I’m so sorry to learn that you’re leaving SNB, and that your eye ailment persists. Certainly you deserve a break, yes, a respite from this mad (X4) world (so this is responding to your last post too). No matter, Christmas greetings to you and yours, and all best wishes for the coming New Year! 🙂

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