Hello, I’m Victoria Best and thank you for visiting my blog.

When I first began it, in April 2006, I was a lecturer in French literature at Cambridge University on extended sick leave for chronic fatigue syndrome. In October 2009 I returned to work, but part-time, to start up study support for the students in the arts and humanities at my college. I’m still doing that job now.

But blogging led me astray and gave me a very different voice to the academic one I had been using. I loved it, and found it a lot of fun. So when I’m not helping students, I’m writing. It’s not easy to crossover into the commercial market but I am enjoying myself a great deal, and feel pretty confident that if I publish nothing in my lifetime, I’ll be a huge hit when I’m dead (Mr. Litlove has big plans).

Review policy: I am happy to review works of literary fiction and non-fiction. But I am afraid I don’t possess the means to read ebooks and do not review self-published works.

ETA: It took me about six years finally to put an About page together, and a couple of weeks after doing so, I was made redundant by my college. If I try to write the whole thing again, it may take another six years. So I’ll just add this note saying I’m now writing full-time, which is just wonderful.

You can contact me on litlove1@yahoo.co.uk

24 thoughts on “About

  1. As a newcomer to Mumsnet, I have only just found your website. I haven’t had chance to read much so far but I will look forward to revisiting these pages. The website is put together so beautifully and the content looks fascinating. It’s brilliant to discover a site like this and a welcome alternative to blogs on cupcakes and the school run. Er, sorry, am I allowed to say that last bit? This is Mumsnet after all…!

  2. Welcome Mrs Doyle! I’m so happy that you’ve found the site. I’m also new to mumsnet and feel a bit bad that I haven’t been more sociable there yet. Your comment put a big smile on my face and then it made me laugh a lot! 🙂

  3. Thank you, litlove, for your kind reply. I’m also very glad to have discovered your wonderful site and It’s good to meet another newcomer to mumsnet. It seems that you have quite a lot going on, so I’m amazed and full of admiration that you find time to run a site like this. I think that counts a long way to being sociable on mumsnet if I may say so, and ‘Tales from the Reading Room’ provides a nice, civilised little corner for book lovers to retreat to, especially for the slightly more reclusive amongst us. (By ‘slightly more reclusive’, I am in no way referring to myself, you understand, ahem…) I have passed on details of the site to a friend of mine who participates in a reading group as I think she’d also really enjoy visiting here. Thank you again for your lovely welcome and please excuse me if my visits are erratic but we are in the midst of trying to sell our house in Wales and buy another in Manchester, so we hope to be on the move shortly. (Chaos will then ensue for many months after as we attempt to renovate a house whilst also settling our two young sons into a new area!)

  4. Yup, that’s me. I left the French department, oh, a mere five years ago now. It takes Cambridge a great deal longer to adjust to change – I expect to be on my college’s email list forever…

  5. Hello, Ms. Best. I have had the wonderful pleasure of just discovering your blog through Freshly Pressed – so only over the weekend. I echo the comments above regarding your website’s (or your) tone and purpose. Somehow, and I believe this is a reflection of you and how you approach literature, you have struck some sort of wonderful balance of literature discussion and a strong sense of what I can only describe as “self” or “personhood” within your writing.

    I say this and yet I don’t mean your writing is casual – the way so much blog writing is. I mean it is personable, understandable to those NOT in the literary world, and yet there is a – shall I call it professional tone to it. As in, you really know what you’re talking about. Maybe I feel this because the books you review seem to be books I can’t wait to read.

    I’m not expressing myself very well here. I read with excitement your idea of a book club of sorts and can’t wait to get started on the first.
    Thank you for your work here, Victoria.

    • I think you just made my week with that comment, RLB! Thank you so very much! And I’m delighted if you’re able to read along with the creative non-fiction – hurray!

    • Ha, well, funny you should say that. Last year I wrote most of a novel. I had about 12,000 words to go when I suddenly lost all the energy and interest in it. So for the moment, it’s been put to one side. I think of myself as a far, far better writer of non-fiction than fiction, although it’s hard to judge these things. It was fun not having to look stuff up! But for the moment, the plans I have for this year are all non-fiction based. I’ll probably have to finish the novel eventually as my husband is on the war path; he says unfinished works ruin his plans for posthumous publication, so he’ll get that last chapter out of me one way or another. 🙂

  6. 12,000 words to go is great. I’m working on a novel at the rate of 500 words/day. So at that rate you could be done in 24 days – less than a month – ta da! (What word length were you aiming at?)

  7. tickled pink that you got to The Writing Life at last.

    you have a splendid voice.


    btw, we found you in this new edition of Persephone Biannually in case you’re curious.

    warmest wishes, teamgloria x

  8. I just discovered your blog via Novel Readings, and I hope to stop by now and then. If I understand correctly, you were a casualty of academia downsizing. Kicking and screaming so that my university knows my anger, I am now joining you in the same boat. My blog posting of 2/20/14 somewhat explains.

    • Good for you for kicking and screaming! I made it all far too easy for them. I’ll come over and say hi – we renegades from academe definitely have to stick together.

  9. Though it was 2 days late., I wish you many more happy returns of reading days. I am from India and I follow your blog nearly a year. I wonder about your reading capabilities. I respect your views. I am also starting a blog in my Tamil language regarding Tamil novels, poems etc, and I got inspiration from you.
    Once again I wish you Happy Birthday


  10. Hi litlove, I found your blog about a month ago, and I wanted to say how much I’m enjoying it! It’s such a treat to read your reviews. I’m just trying to set something similar up myself, and yours is a genuine inspiration. So thank you!

  11. Hi Victoria. I’ve just found your blog too, via a recommendation to follow on Twitter. You cover an impressive and interesting range of authors and topics. I look forward to visiting again. I’m semi-retired now, just teach part-time, so can sympathise with your pleasure in finally having more time to read – and write.

  12. Hello! Hello! I just wanted to reach out and let you know that your blog name was recommended to me by a complete stranger when on a flight a few months ago when we were discussing my blog and our mutual love of books. It looks like the recommendation is well deserved!

  13. I really like the content of your bloh and find it very helpful, thank you for sharing! Hope your health condition is stable now and wish you to always find the energy and motivation to do everything you desire and continue spreading the love for literature!



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