Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Featuring: Madeleine of Books, With Occasional Food

Today we welcome Madeleine of Books, With Occasional Food!

If my math is to be trusted (and it rarely is), I’ve gone through at least a half-dozen versions of this post. No tale has a single beginning, not even in a vaguely autobiographical sense, and my trouble is deciding what beginning best serves my book-blogging story: Is it the day I finally decided to give my strewn-everywhere book reviews a home, or is it when the slow death of newspapers heralded the end of my journalism career and effectively forced me to find work that didn't call for writing on a decidedly regular basis, relegating the only thing I want to do for a living to a mere hobby? Or does it go even farther into the past than that, when I declared a creative-writing major in college or when my high-school self had a moment of clarity brought on by a mercifully brief foray into writing NewsRadio fan-fiction that left me taking every writing-based elective I could cram into a stiflingly uninspired curriculum? Or am I looking at the wrong half of the story entirely when I should be focusing on the bibliophilia I've been sporting since I learned how to read nearly three decades ago? But whatever the starting point is, the outcome is the same: Being a writer with neither the patience for fiction nor the willingness to economize my language for the sake of poetry left me with nonfiction, which eventually led me to reviewing books, which finally led to the inception of my mostly review-centric blog, Books, With Occasional Food (in the interest of completely candid disclosure, I tacked on the food element because I am whatever the unholy mixture of a Foodie and a Gutter Palate is; also, because I wanted the rhyming whimsy of “eating” and “reading” deployed in my blog’s URL).

The Internet is littered with blogs that I've begun with a great deal of enthusiasm only to abandon with a shrug and nary a second thought sometimes not even weeks later. So when I finally decided to give book blogging a chance less than a year ago, I was skeptical of my own follow-through, wondering if that latest endeavor would turn into just another example of what happens when a knack for self-sabotage undermines seemingly invincible ambition. And when I perhaps a bit too overzealously tore through a good chunk of the reviews I had written on Goodreads, posting more than 50 of them in the first month of my nascent book-blogger ambitions, I realized that maybe such an uncommon display of unflagging enthusiasm for one project meant that I had finally found my home in the blogosphere.

BWOF began as a casual repository for my Goodreads reviews in the face of Amazon's still-much-grumbled-about purchase of the site and has since turned into an epiphany: For being a lifelong bookworm and a longtime writer, I'm a little embarrassed that it took me so long to figure out that reviewing books perfectly combines two passions of mine that have only changed in their growing intensity for as long as I’ve been me. Embracing this pursuit has already yielded armfuls of benefits: I now write reviews for both The Chicago Center for Literature & Photography and TNBBC's The Next Best Book Blog, I've "met" people I would have never had the pleasure of considering friends had I not fallen into this wonderfully supportive community of book bloggers, and I'm learning something new about the web's literary realms every day as I slowly venture beyond the safe familiarity of slinging creative-writing exercises masquerading as reviews.

I can thank one of my fellow TNBBC guest reviewers, Melanie Page of Grab the Lapels, for coaxing me into new bloggish territory: Earlier this month, I participated in a blog tour she had organized, which was something I’d never done before. While my contribution was, in fact, a book review, following the tour's week long journey as it traversed some blogs I knew and others that were completely new to me offered not only a more intimate look at a book from all its angles but also was a fantastic introduction to what can happen when a band of bloggers join together in a common effort to drum up interest in a new book. When Melanie asked me to be a stop on another blog tour she’s spearheading next month, I jumped at the chance—as if only a month prior I hadn’t been hemming and hawing and wondering if I really wanted to open my blog up to, like, an actual purpose beyond being a storehouse of reposted reviews.

My blog turns one in June. I’m still a little amazed that I’ve been keeping up with it for this long, but the most pleasant surprise is how generously an almost self-congratulatory pursuit has rewarded me. My vestigial English-major suspicion of contemporary books has been deftly bested by the small-press marvels I wouldn’t have touched before I discovered happier reading through review blogs, my paralyzing introversion that is so awkward it extends to digital interactions has let up quite nicely with every delightful fellow book blogger I get to know, and there is always a kindred bookworm just a few clicks or taps away every time I need to gush about an incredible read or mourn the beloved writers we have lost. I always knew that books were the key to happiness but I never knew how right I was until I found all the ways the joy of reading cozies up to the thrill of sharing that joy with others.

Thank you for joining us today, Madeleine, and we are so glad you joined the book blogging community!

Be sure to visit Madeleine at her blog, Books, With Occasional Food, and leaver her a comment or question below!

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 comfy...you 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 http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)
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 http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)
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 http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)
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!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Featuring Rachel of Bookishly Witty

Today please welcome Rachel, 
who blogs at Bookishly Witty.


Like many book bloggers, I've been reading since before I can remember. But when I was 12 or 13, I suddenly decided that it was time to Read the Great Works of Literature. And embark on that quest I did. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was my first classic, and it opened up a beautiful, wonderful world.

Fast forward to college, where I believed that the straightest path to becoming a professional reader and writer was to become an English professor (cue grad school, cue Ph.D, cue disillusionment). But I realized quickly enough that the world of acadmic writing wasn't what I was looking for. But what to do with all my bookish thoughts?

And then my husband and I had twins and I basically kissed reading goodbye for a year (reading, which was like oxygen to me). There was no time to do anything but take care of the babies and try to get some sleep.

Just as things started settling into a manageable routine, I heard about Book Riot through a friend and started reading their posts. It was a revelation to me, because here were people talking about books in a humorous, casual way, and having lots of fun doing it. I figured, why not pitch an idea I'd had about some humorous "lessons" we could glean from great works of literature. Soon I became a regular contributor (and it's been more fun than I can explain), and that made me kick my reading back up into high gear.

I started "Bookishly Witty," my book blog devoted to reviews, recommendations, and literary humor, soon after and set a schedule for myself. I would post something every Monday and Wednesday (at least), plus maintain a Facebook page connected to the blog. The many fantastic bookish people whom I met through Book Riot, Twitter, and book-related FB pages have kept me going in my quest to carve out my own little bookish niche in the blogosphere.

Each week, I offer a "Random Recommendation" and three "Books to Look For," both of which allow me to talk about my favorite books and writers and keep up with the latest releases and news. I also write about books "From My TBR Shelf" and reviews of newer works. I had my head stuck in the 19th century for so long, but now I'm wading into the sea of contemporary literture and loving it. Sharing my love of reading with other book-lovers and being hilariously irreverent along the way has been so rewarding. My hope is that my blog will give readers useful recommendations for their own reading and inspire them to go write about the books they love. The bookternet, my friends, is a wonderful thing.


Thank you for joining us today, Rachel! 
Remember to check out Rachel's blog, Bookishly Witty
and leave a comment or question.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book Bloggers Recommend Perfect Springtime Reads

We often hear about great fall reads, great beach reads for the summer, and the best books to
Kathleen Hoevet Photography
read while cozied up under blankets in the winter.  What I wanted to know was, what about books that are perfect reads for springtime??  You know, those books you want to read to dust off the winter blues; the book you would pick to read on a park bench with the blossoming trees around you.  What books are wonderful reads this time of year?  

Look no further.  Bloggers are to the rescue!  Check out what the following bloggers recommend and visit the links to visit their blogs!  Be sure to leave a comment for them below, too, and show them some love! :)

Harvee of Book Dilettante recommends:

For a light read: 

1. While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax (women's fiction)
The novel is about three women and a concierge in an upscale apartment building in Atlanta, Georgia, modern time, who meet each other as part of the concierge's weekly Sunday event - Watching  the TV series, Downton Abbey, while having drinks and elaborate hors d'oeuvres in the building club room. These four all have their problems, however. How they all help each other cope with their problems and upcoming crises is the crux of the novel. The glue that holds their relationships together is their weekly get-togethers to watch Downton Abbey, from the first series onward.

For a thriller/mystery read:

1. The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley (family drama/thriller)
Young Tyler has a rare disease that makes him super sensitive to sunlight and even light from halogen bulbs.  Tyler can only come out of his house after the sun goes down. Unknown to his very protective mother, Eve, he goes out at night with his camera and takes pictures of people in their homes.

Tyler finds out the secrets of some of his neighbors, but the most damaging secret of all, that of his own mother Eve, he doesn't know about. Her secret will bring the neighbors into conflict with each other and eat at the heart of this mother who only wants to protect her invalid son.

At least four people are at risk of losing their lives because they stole or held on to a copy of a manuscript titled The Accident, an expose of crimes committed by a powerful media mogul. The Accident is written by an anonymous writer who wants the book published; the CIA and the mogul, the subject of the book, do not. Suspenseful, well written and plotted, The Accident has engaging characters as well as riveting and dramatic action. The ending has a few more twists and turns and surprises than I was prepared for, but they did add a lot to the story's complex plot and interest. 

Adam of The Roofbeam Reader recommends:

The book that comes to mind, at least this year, is Chocolat (1999) by Joanne Harris. It is set in a small French provincial town, and the story revolves around a newcomer, Vianne Rocher, and her young daughter Anouk.  They open a chocolate shop just as Lent approaches – tempting everyone in the most delightful way!  It’s part magical-realism, part romance, and filled to the brim with passion and love.  It’s a perfect springtime read!

April of The Steadfast Reader gushes:

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon.  I can't stop talking about that book. :)

Graedon does magical things with words. This book is both beautiful and terrifying all at once. I can hardly believe that this is a debut novel. For a very serious bibliophile and someone with a casual interest in linguistics I found this book to be nearly flawless. The writing is lyrical and the vocabulary used throughout was challenging.

For lovers of print books, journals, and all things analogue, this book is for you. You will feel vindicated. For people think that our technology is outpacing our morality and corporations are exploiting this, this book is for you. For those that feel our privacy has been sacrificed at the altar of convenience and that the world is a bit too connected these days, this book is for you.

J.C. of The Biblio Blogazine says:

I really love this book and I always recommended it when I worked in the bookstore. It's different and it may have triggers for some people, but it's worth the read. http://thebibliobrat.net/2010/06/rev-littlegiant/

For those wanting a fun, fantasy read other than say Neil Gaiman, I recommend any by A. Lee Martinez. Gil's All Night Fright Diner and this one: http://thebibliobrat.net/2011/04/rev-monster-a-novel/

Lisa of TLC Book Tours says:

When Rebecca asked me for a book recommendation for spring; something that can blow out the heaviness of winter, I thought about that for about three seconds before landing on a book that I've been telling everyone about recently. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is like The Fault in Our Stars, minus the cancer. Two kids who, for different reasons, don't fit in with the crowd find common ground through comics and music, and discover that they really, truly like each other. And I really, truly liked them.  Eleanor & Park is tender but also has real emotional depth and just the right mix of first love and desperation. It made me remember what it was like to be an awkward teenager, feeling all the 'feels' as my own teens would say. The dialogue is believable and the characters so likable. As a bonus there are a ton of 80's music references. What's not to love? 

Much love and thanks to you all for your recommendations.  

Leave a Comment Below! You can:
~Add YOUR recommendation for a great springtime read!
~Give the above bloggers some love for sharing their recs! 
~Which book recommended are you most excited to try out?
~Any other thoughts you have!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Featuring Gina of Dickensblog

Today please welcome Gina, 
who blogs at Dickensblog.


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

I wanted a name that immediately told people who and what the blog was about.

How long have you been blogging?

I've had this blog for over five years now.

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

I believe it's the only blog out there that focuses exclusively on Charles Dickens and his works.

What genres do you write about most, and why?

Classics, for obvious reasons. :-)

What's your earliest memory of reading?

I was about three, reading some book about Karen Kay's kitten!

What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?

The Bible (New King James version).

Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

I used to. Not any more. I dog-ear corners, though!

What's your favorite place to read?

Pretty much anywhere!

Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?

Just a bookmark.

Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...


My TBR pile is...


What's a book that's changed your life?

The Man Born to Be King by Dorothy L. Sayers.

What's one book that you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

I sometimes feel like the only person in the world who doesn't care for the writings of Anne LaMott.

What's one book that intimidates you?

Moby Dick.

How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

Play piano, garden, swing dance.

What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

My favorite is the Little Dorrit miniseries from 2008. It wasn't flawless, but it was really, really good!

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)

I'm an All-Rounder.


Thank you for joining us today, Gina! 
Remember to check out Gina's blog, Dickensblog
and leave a comment or question.