Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Physical Comfort of Books

While I love both, a physical book in my hand gives me a much more comforting feeling than my Kindle.  With a physical book, I can feel its heft in my hands, feel and hear the crisp paper as I turn the page, I can gaze at them lovingly as they sit patiently on my shelves waiting their turn. I love the smell of books and bookstores (there is a reason there is a perfume just for book lovers out there!) 

I like the warm, fuzzy feeling I get knowing there are books literally all over the house. They are on shelves.  They are in boxes in the basement.  They are on coffee tables. There's one waiting for me to read in my next bubble bath (I do love me some bubble baths!)  I like to look at all the pretty covers and run my hands along the spines.  I like finding really old books- their spines cracked with wear, their pages yellowing and brittle, touching and reading a book that someone who lived a hundred years ago also touched and read.

I'm not just a reader, I am a book aficionado, I am a book collector, I am a book hoarder, if you want to get down to it.  I love all of the e-books on my Kindle.  I like that I have so many books I can easily carry around with me and can switch off books I am reading while on the go and not have the equivalent weight of bricks in my purse from books.  I like that it saves trees.  But there is just something about holding a physical book in my hands that will never get old to me. 

What about you?  Do you love the physicality of books?  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Featuring: MaryAnn and Gabby from Chapter By Chapter

Today we want to welcome MaryAnn and Gabby, a mother-daughter team, who blog at Chapter by Chapter.

How long have you been blogging?
We have been blogging for almost 3 years. We started September of 2011.

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?
We are a mother and daughter blogging duo. Sometimes, you will find a dual review of the same book where we both provide our own thoughts about the title. Depending on the book that is being reviewed, you will get the thoughts of either a teen or an adult.

What's your earliest memory of reading?
MaryAnn: My earliest memory was back in elementary school (I want to say Grade 3). I was reading a book (I can't remember what it was) under my desk while the teacher was talking up front by the chalkboard. She busted me, came to my desk, grabbed my book and threw it against the chalkboard and I had to put my head down for the rest of the class. I've run into people that were in my class that day, and they STILL remember that happening. 

Gabby: My earliest memory was when I was in Grade 4 and my mom's box set of Twilight was so intriguing. I decided to read the series and read them in a matter of days. That's what actually got me hooked on reading!

What's your favorite place to read?
MaryAnn: In my bad surrounded by pillows and my blanket.

Gabby: My bed because it's really know...warm.

Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...
MaryAnn: hella full...

Gabby: FULL!

My TBR pile is...
MaryAnn: Ever growing...

Gabby: Big...

To DNF or not to DNF?
MaryAnn: Def. DNF. Why suffer through something that you can't finish...

Gabby: To DNF because sometimes you just can't do it!

If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?
MaryAnn: BEA because I seriously need to experience it!

Gabby: BEA because it sounds awesome!

How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?
MaryAnn: I play the piano

Gabby: I write

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at
MaryAnn: The All-Rounder

Gabby: The Exacting Eclectic Reader

Thank you for joining us today, ladies! Remember to check out MaryAnn and Gabby's blog, Chapter by Chapter, and leave a comment or question for them!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blogging Rules-Schmules with Tamara of Traveling with T

Hey ya’ll! I’m Tamara and I blog at Traveling With T (mainly about books, but other things creep on the page from time to time!) I’m so excited to be hanging out at Book Bloggers International today! Enough about me, though, and let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the post- Onward to Blogging Rules-Smchules!

Blogging Rules-Schmules
In my real life, I’m a bit of rule follower. I try not to speed down the Interstate (note: I try not to- but sometimes that Camry feels the need for speed!), I wait 30 minutes after I eat before I get in the pool, I rarely jay-walk. So, I’m not afraid of rules. I actually like rules. However, when it comes to blogging, I have been all about breaking the rules.

Let me elaborate further: When I started Traveling With T, I didn’t have this big soul-searching thought about “What do I want from my blog?” I knew what I wanted: I wanted a piece of the internet, a place where I could talk about the things that interested me. I had a vision of some sorts, but nothing concrete. That is rule 1 I broke.  In the beginning, I had an idea of running 2 blogs- one Traveling With T- that would have a hodge-podge of topics- book signings, local events, a bit of travel, etc. The other, a yet to be named blog, was going to be strictly books. But, the more I began blogging, the more I realized that I didn’t want to run 2 blogs- I wanted to talk about books at Traveling With T. So, I do. Majority of Traveling With T is about books. Other things creep on there for my discussion, but if I had to break a ratio down- I’d say Traveling With T is 95% books.

My main area where I break rules with my blog is post count per day. At first, I was a terrible blogger. I didn’t have a schedule. I wasn’t motivated. I was about to quit with the blogging when some things started changing- I felt inspired. I wanted to blog, I began seeking out content, interacting with folks and having a good time. I was still such a blogging newbie, though. I didn’t realize I could schedule my posts (seriously, happy dances happened when I figured out that gem!) I was SEO-what? I could link- link the heck out of stuff, but all that bloggy talk was like Charlie Brown’s teacher “wah-wah-wah” to me. Then, last summer, things began to change. I had found some bloggy folks I liked and was learning a bit of the behind the scenes to blogging. I was getting more views, people were sharing my posts. And this when I began to realize, breaking bloggy rules was working for me. I was marching to a beat of my own drum. I was having fun, I was learning new things and incorporating them into my bloggy routine- but I was not worrying about the rules-schmules of blogging.

I’ve taken some heat from not following the rules. I’ve had people not like it.  I’ve also had people love it- to like the variety in my posts. When I started breaking the rules, I found that was when I was most excited about blogging. At some point, in the time you blog, you are going to have decide things that work for you. Because blogging, at times, can be a solitary hobby (or job if you are making money from this.) This is when you have to go with your gut.

Today, I’m still a rule breaker (not a rebel with a cause rule breaker, more just a blogging cheerleader type person who still thinks that bottom line- blogging should be fun. If not, why bother?) Some days, there are 2 posts in the same day (there have been known to be 3). I don’t do it all the time, every day- but I do a couple of times a week. I also post daily (or at least 6 days a week). I find that, for me, having something up on the blog everyday makes me feel more productive and it gives my readers something to check out. 
I read all the advice- the tips on how to make your blog a success. The whole: Do this. Post at this time. Use these keywords. Work the heck outta social media. No, wait; take a break from social media. No, no, use social media- but only on days that end in a drink with a blogger wanting to pull their hair out. (Ok, seriously, I may jest about the last thing- but really- sometimes, after I read all these things- that is how I feel.)

My advice to you as you blog- find out what works for you. Blogging 1x a day may be your sweet spot. 2-3 times a week might work. Just remember- it’s your blog. Do what works for you and don’t be afraid to chart your own course. Just think of yourself as the Christopher Columbus of the blogging world or maybe the blogging world as the final frontier and you are Captain John Luke Picard. Go forth, bloggers, go forth! Or, in other words- #keepcalmandblogon. 

Thanks, Tamara, for sharing with us today!   Be sure to visit Tamara's Blog and to leave a comment or question!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Poetry Has a Genre For You by Serena of Savvy Verse and Wit

Today we welcome Serena of Savvy Verse and Wit.  Serena runs the National Poetry Month Blog Tour and today she is here to share with you how even if you don't think poetry is for you, it is.

Poetry Has a Genre for You

Readers are a finicky bunch.  We have authors who we love, genres that we read and recommend, but we also have those secret pleasures – whether that’s the mainstream crime novel or romance.  More often than not, poetry is considered too difficult to read or understand.  However, as with every genre of writing, poetry has its more mainstream writers and those who are more literary.

National Poetry Month, which some critics say focuses too heavily on mainstream and accessible poetry, strives to bring more people to poetry.  To that end, there are events across the United States and beyond, and the Academy of American Poets offers a number of resources to help people celebrate poetry.  Check out their 30 ways to celebrate.  Charles Bernstein recently wrote a piece on National Poetry Month as a mere advertising campaign to further publicize its own sponsors like The New York Times, among other things. 

While this may be true on some level, it is also disheartening that a poet would seek to strike down a cause that promotes his own art.  Perhaps he does not feel represented or is upset that the sponsors of the program do not review poetry collections as they used to or even talk about readings.  But National Poetry Month should not be about the poet or his own poems, but about spreading the word about poetry – new and old – to readers who fear verse or think verse too hard or academic.

Getting back to the point, poetry is as multi-faceted as prose.  There are poems that have classic language – take Shakespeare as just one example – and there are poems that are confessional, reminiscent of memoir, like those of Sylvia Plath.  Poems can be about science, science fiction, and fantasy like Jeannine Hall Gailey, Bernadette Geyer, and Tracy K. Smith, as well as murder, war, love, and more.  There are poets who focus on nature, like Mary Oliver and Ted Kooser, or the poets who have poured their hearts and souls into the lines they create to release the demons created by battle, like Kevin Bowen, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Brian Turner.  Even math can be poetic if you read Edward Nudelman.

The National Poetry Month blog tour, started in 2010, became another way for me to share poetry with others in the blogosphere and to have everyone participate.  I wanted bloggers to find poetry that meant something to them, and share their discoveries with one another.  Through this process, my hope is that poetry gains a wider audience and that readers who didn’t think poetry was for them find a genre of poetry that they do enjoy.  If you haven’t stopped by the tour stops yet, there is still time to do so.  And we’re collecting links from everyone who posts about poetry or poets in April, even if you’re not officially on the blog tour.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Featuring: Chris of WildmooBooks

Today please welcome Chris, who blogs at WildmooBooks!

What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

I have an affinity for cows and years ago my mom (or was it my sister?) gave me a cow print sweater. (I swear it was in fashion at the time!) I was often moo'd at by students and friends when I wore it and that morphed into calling me Moo. Then one day while driving a bit too fast (behavior I do not condone) the words "wild" and "moo" came together and there you have it. WildmooBooks seemed to fit as a blog name and I thought it sounded fun. It's also a reminder not to take myself too seriously (I'm a recovering book snob). Over the years I've thought about changing my blog's name to something more literary sounding (snob creepage), but so far have not come up with anything that makes me as happy as WildmooBooks.

How long have you been blogging?
I started in January 2010. In the fall of 2009 I stepped down as a manager at Borders to pursue my interest in massage therapy. Although I continued to work at Borders part-time until the company went belly-up, I missed the daily engagement with readers and books. I also missed writing about books--for much of my time with Borders I held positions where I wrote newsletters, press releases, event signage, etc. Through Goodreads I noticed more "regular readers" starting book blogs. "I can do that!" I thought, and so here I am.

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?
I still feel so new at this so I'm not sure. I enjoy attending author and other literary events and then write about them. That's probably a hold-over from my Borders days when I had to write event recaps for the home office. I think its a nice way to get word out about authors even if I don't read their books.

What's your earliest memory of reading?
Spending hours pouring over The Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary. I have a strong visual and sense memory of sitting against the couch on the living room floor doing my best to read the words that explained each letter and trying to remember the letters in order. When I got tired doing that, I'd make up stories about what was going on in each picture. I think I was probably 3-4. It was before I started pre-school. I still have that book!

What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?
DRACULA, hands-down. I wasn't a big reader as a little kid. While I read books that people gave me and didn't dislike reading, I was just too busy playing outside. After dinner my parents usually read and I'd often join them. I'd spread out on the floor with the book about golden hamsters that I repeatedly checked out of the library or the latest issue of Cricket magazine that my parents subscribed to for me and feel quite content. Then I'd hear the delicious sound of a baseball smacking the well-oiled web of a glove or a skateboarder zoom by and I'd be out the door (I was a tomboy).

Then one day in middle school Mr. Fruits (real name), our English teacher, gave us time to look through the latest Scholastic catalog. My desk was directly in front of his, so I complied. It may have been the first time I actually looked through a book catalog. I turned the page and saw DRACULA. I almost jumped up and shouted out in my excitement, but instead restrained myself and thought, “NO WAY! They made a book out of Dracula?!” I grew up watching Creature Features and Sesame Street. Bela Legosi and The Count where my favorites.

That evening my parents where thrilled when I asked if I could get the book. They were younger then than I am now and I imagine their eyes filled with tears and they did a thumbs up behind my back.

I remember long summer days spent reading DRACULA in the hammock in the backyard. It seems like it took the whole summer to read the book and maybe it did. The language was a little tough for me to get into, but I kept going because the story was similar enough to all the vampire movies I'd seen up until that point, but different enough to keep me wondering what was going to happen next. The book was so much richer than the movies!

I've re-read DRACULA at least a dozen times since then. It is the book that turned me into a self-selective reader. After Bram Stoker's DRACULA I went on to Stephen King's Salem's Lot, The Stand, and a host of now forgotten “trash” novels. I believe it was reading these novels for pleasure that helped me enjoy the novels we were reading in school, classics like Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth and John Steinbeck's The Pearl, much more than my non-reading or not-yet reading for pleasure peers.

Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?
I'm all for writing in books, but I don't do it as much as I used to. If it's a book that I think I'll read again, I don't want my prior reading to influence the new reading. I'm one of those who never buys used books that have been underlined. Still, sometimes I do underline and I tend to do it more with non-fiction than fiction. Most of the time I use those little sticky flags to mark a passage and will later (the same day or the next while things are still fresh) go back to the passage and see if it's something I want to write a note about. I use a sheet of printer or loose-leaf paper, tri-folded, as a bookmark and upon which I take notes. When I finish the book I read through the notes I've jotted down and then write a few paragraphs about what I thought of the book. This has given me a pretty nice reading journal and I can go back and skim the notes, read my concluding thoughts, and have a much better refresher of the book than if I'd just underlined certain passages. That said, it has been interesting to re-read a book that I have underlined and in which I've written marginalia—sometimes it's blatantly clear how much I've changed since that first reading and other times I'm still “on the same page.”

Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?
Sticky flag notes and a piece of paper to take notes on (see above). Also, a cat or dog. Although we're currently catless (we had four at one time, but they've all gone to kitty heaven), I love it when a cat lounges on me while I read. My dog Lola reminds me when it's time for a break. Rather than being annoyed, I've since learned that taking regular breaks actually increases my reading endurance!

Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...
...currently a mess! We moved into our new house three months ago and although my books are on shelves, they are in no order. I have two bookcases in my office and we have shelves in the den. Fiction is mixed in with nonfiction, Edith Wharton is next to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Willa Cather is in two different rooms...its scary. It used to be that the first thing I did upon moving into a new place was unpack and organize my books into categories and alpha by author. Times have changed. Maybe I'll get them organized by this summer.

To DNF or not to DNF?
DNF. I used to feel compelled to finish every book I started, but those days are long gone. When I got out of graduate school I vowed to never again read a book I didn't want to read. That said, I will finish a book that I'm not thrilled about if there's a reason to, like a classic I want to read or a book that I know I am learning from even if the experience isn't all that pleasant.

How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?
I enjoy gardening, hiking, canoeing/kayaking, cross-country skiing, and snow shoeing. I also like to draw mandalas and cartoons.

What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

I love movie adaptations, even "bad" ones. I find the translation of a story from one artistic form to another fascinating. Why was that changed? Did doing it this way make a "better" story? What is left out? What is included? Why?

One of my favorite "faithful" adaptations is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink starring Kate Winslet, David Kross, and Ralph Fiennes. I appreciated how closely the novel was followed, and the way the time period(s) and characters were brought to life is visually subtle, yet stunning. The story is one of the strongest pleas for literacy that I've read/seen.

A favorite "unfaithful" adaptation is Slumdog Millionaire, which is based on the novel Q&A by Vikas Swarup. It didn't bother me that the movie took so many liberties with the novel's story because the movie was so visually stunning and the storyline compelling.

What are 3 of your must-read blogs?
My Porch
Tif Talks Books
The Classics Club Blog

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at
That was interesting. Turns out I'm an All-Rounder.

Thanks so much for this opportunity to talk about myself and take a bit of a walk down memory lane.

Thank YOU for joining us today, Chris! Loved getting to know you better!

Remember to check out Chris' blog, WildmooBooks, and leave a comment or question for Chris below!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fall Down the Rabbit Hole of Book Tube

We are very excited to have Andi back on the blog today to talk about the awesomeness that is....

BookTube. You may have heard about it, and you may have been really confused. It's simply a pet name for the book community on YouTube! When I first stumbled upon BookTube, I was absolutely amazed at the vast amount of video bloggers who love to read. It was like a whole other world opened up! A portal to a magical land kind of like the blogging community but, like, IN PERSON!  Faces, and accents, and jump cuts, oh my!

In similar fashion to the book blogging community, there are scads of video bloggers...BookTubers, if you will...who vlog about YA books. There's also a healthy contingent of those blogging about a wider variety including contemporary and literary fiction, classics, non-fiction, science fiction, graphic novels and plenty of other kinds of reading.

Most people just stumbling upon BookTube note that the content creators are a young crowd, on the whole. While that's true, the number of BookTubers in their 30s and beyond is certainly growing. In short, if you ever thought about vlogging, don't be afraid. The bookish community at YouTube is comparably warm and welcoming to the bunch of folks who live here in the blogosphere.

BookTube is also really fun for the fact that people's personalities really shine through in their vlogs. Some are soft-spoken and measured. Others are twangy and off-the-cuff (that would be me). And there's a variety in the way that people create their videos. Some use high-quality digital cameras, while some of us rely on our iPhones (also me).

What can you expect when you start ruffling through BookTube videos?

  • Monthly wrap-up videos
  • TBRs
  • Book hauls! Because who doesn't love new books?
  • TAG videos! These are similar to "surveys" or memes in the blogosphere. Lots of fun!
  • Reviews
  • General frivolity and book talk
  • Lots of comments on videos!
If you're interested in learning more about BookTube, but you're not sure where to start, you can peruse my BookTuber playlist! This is a list of videos I love from BookTubers who flip my switch. This also includes fellow blogger and prolific BookTuber, Brooke from The Blog of Litwits. She was my gateway to BookTube, and I could not be happier!

Thank you so much, Andi, for hashing out all the details of Book Tube!  Vlogs are so much fun and it is great to have this as part of the Book Blogging Community!

Please do leave a comment if you have any questions or thoughts on Book Tube!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Featuring Marie of The Boston Bibliophile

Please welcome Marie, who blogs at The Boston Bibliophile!  I'm so excited she is visiting today!

What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?
I picked Boston Bibliophile because it describes where I live- Boston, a city I love- and who I am- an inveterate book lover! 

How long have you been blogging?
I've been blogging since 2007 or about 7 years in August.

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?
I think what makes my blog unique is my own voice and point of view. I have a strong personality and strong opinions and I'm not afraid to share both. I think readers come to me first because there's a book I reviewed they want to read about, and stay because they like my style. I blog the way I live- pulling no punches!

What genres do you write about most, and why?
I mostly write about literary fiction and works in translation, because that's what I most enjoy reading and read the most. I have occasional forays into crime fiction and nonfiction too.

What's your earliest memory of reading?
My mother saw me reading to a group of nursery school children when I was 3. I don't remember that but I love the story.

What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?
The first book I read over and over was Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans. I'm a redhead so I loved a book about a mischievous redhaired girl. I've probably read Jane Eyre the most times, and Jane is like an adult version of Madeline without the red hair.

Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

What's your favorite place to read?
My favorite place to read is the coffee shop near where I work. It's quiet (when I go) and they serve great lattes. I can't read at home; I fall asleep!

Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?
Just that cup of something hot and caffeinated.

Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...

My TBR pile is...

What's a book that's changed your life?
Possession, by AS Byatt, introduced me to modern literary fiction. I wouldn't be the reader I am without it.

One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?
I love the book Gestures by HS Bhabra. I think no one else has ever read it!

To DNF or not to DNF?
Definitely DNF. I don't do it often but when it's called for, it's called for.

What's one book that intimidates you?
The Bible intimidates me.

If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?
I love to sew at home and exercise at the gym. I have an Etsy store called Pandora's Craft Room and I sell bookmarks and other things there.

What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?
I loved the most recent adaptation of Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. I didn't anyone could be a better Rochester than Timothy Dalton but Fassbender gave him a run for his money.

What are 3 of your must-read blogs?
You've Gotta Read This!
Diary of an Eccentric
Care's Online Bookclub

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at
The Eclectic Reader

You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors.

Thank you for joining us today, Marie!

Remember to check out Marie's blog, The Boston Bibliophile, and leave a comment or question below!