Thursday, May 28, 2015

Giveaway: $25 Giftcard for Gone Reading!

Armchair BEA

Today, as part of Armchair BEA giveaways, we're offering a lottery for one $25 egiftcard to Gone Reading!

What is Gone Reading, you may ask? It's an online retailer selling anything and everything bookish, from journals to bookshelves, bookish posters and prints, action figures and puppets, tattoos, magnets, book-shaped plates, you name it.

But what makes Gone Reading even more awesome is that the company donates 100% of its profits after taxes to literacy charities that work around the world, like Read Global and Ethiopia Reads. You get awesome bookish stuff and kids get to read more--it's a win-win!

To enter the giveaway, fill out the Google Form below. This giveaway will run from Friday, May 29th, to Friday, June 5th. I will contact the winner via email so be sure to enter an address where you can be reached. Good luck!

And just to whet your appetite, here are some of my favorite items from Gone Reading's catalog:

book-shaped saucer and mug
Book-shaped saucer and mug.

floating book shelf
Floating book shelf.

jane austen cards
Jane Austen playing cards.

take me to your reader
Take me to your reader t-shirt.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Armchair BEA: Intros

Day 1: Introductions and Library Love!

Hi, I'm Becca.  I'm from NC and I've been blogging for six years.  I am an eclectic reader.  I read just about anything, though literary fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction are my favorites.  I am always reading multiple books at a time, usually in several genres. Here's what I'm reading right now. I love diversity in literature and I'm always on the lookout for good reads that take place in countries and cultures all around the globe, as well as diversity in human experiences such as religions, sexual orientations, and age.

Here is a pic of my currently very un-organized bookshelf!

Not in the picture: books stacked on the floor, nightstand, and all around the bookshelf!


Tell us a bit about yourself: How long have you been blogging? Where are you from? How did you get into
Hi! I'm Caro and while I am from Colombia originally I know live in Montreal, Canada. I've been blogging consistently about book for almost 4 years now at my personal blog A Girl that likes Books and I joined BBI this year!
What's your fave genre? Hmm, that's a tuff one. I read a lot of SciFi/Fantasy but I think my favorite would be a good thriller.
What are you reading right now (TBD): As I am writing this I am reading a galley of a YA novel called Thorn and I like it so far. By the time this post will be up I should be listening to The Emperor of All Maladies and making my way through Black Milk: On Writing, Motherhood, and the Harem Within.
What is your theme song?
It changes often, but one song that never fails to lift my spirits up and hence it would be a great contender to be my theme song would be: I will survive.


Tell us a bit about yourself: How long have you been blogging? Where are you from? How did you get into blogging?
I am Tif from Tif Talks Books!  I have been blogging for more than 8 years from a multitude of locations thanks to frequent moves.  I currently reside in the great state of Montana.  I am one of the original creators of both Book Bloggers International as well as one of the original founders of Armchair BEA.  This is actually my first year that I will be participating in the event without running a large portion behind the scenes because I moved into a mentor only role!

What's your fave genre?
I love to read just about everything, but I do tend to gravitate towards fantasy, paranormal, and general literary fiction.

What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd and listening to Patient Zero by Jonathan Marberry on audio.  I also am in the middle of The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan with my kids.

What is your theme song?
This one is a hard one, but I'm going to go with one of my favorites here -- Where Is The Love by The Black-Eyed Peas.  I love to share the bookish love as well as love in general!


Hi there, I'm Tasha, sometimes known as heidenkind, and I've been blogging since 2006. I began blogging on Xanga, which doesn't exist anymore (I don't think?). It was mainly a personal blog, with some book/movie/art reviews thrown in. I started Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books in 2008 because I wanted to write more about books and get more involved in the book blogging community.

Today, I co-manage Book Bloggers International with the three amazing women above; manage a cocktail blog, a restaurant blog, and TBFB. I'm also a contributor to Book Riot, a reviewer for Bookspan, and a blogger for Quirk Books. I live in Colorado and have three scotties.

-My theme song is "Coming Up" by Paul McCartney. I think it matches my hopeful outlook on life.

-Last night I started Hearts of Fire by LH Cosway and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.

-My favorite genre... That's a weirdly difficult question for me. Years ago, I'd have responded immediately with "Romance novels!" but I'm not as obsessed with them as I used to be. I also like mysteries, fantasy, and spy thrillers as long as they're not misogynist and/or boring, but I wouldn't call any of them my favorites. I suppose you could say I'm in between genres at the moment.

-Annnd I just did a book purge and reorganized my shelves a few days ago. Here's a pic of one:


Have a great BEA, book bloggers!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Featured Blogger: Bryn from Gleaningful

Today please welcome Bryn, who blogs at Gleaningful.

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

To glean means to learn, discover, or find out, usually little by little or slowly. Gleaningful is my made-up word for something that is worth gleaning from, which in my blog's case are books :)

How long have you been blogging?

Since February 2015!

What genres do you write about most, and why?

Classics. Because I just LOVE them! But I also like to read newer fiction. Memoirs are great too.

What's your favorite place to read or blog?

I read anywhere and everywhere, even in the car! But I blog best in between a window and a cup of coffee:)

Book shelfie time! Take a "shelfie" of your bookshelves and share it with us.
A photo posted by Gleaningful (@brynhottman) on

What's one book that intimidates you?

One? There are many and they all happen to be written by Charles Dickens. His writing is so dense for me. I want to get into them but it's so hard!!

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

hmm...If it weren't so dangerous today I'd like to visit the Congo. Or any Central African country. The setting for The Poisonwood Bible, Heart of Darkness, and Things Fall Apart (Nigeria) to name a few.

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

Running, being outside, watching TEDTalks, I love exploring new coffee shops in my city, cooking, and eating fancy chocolate.

What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

I like a lot of the older book to movie adaptations, such as To Kill A Mockingbird, East of Eden, and Little Women. Oh and The Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth. My least favorite is Harry Potter because they leave way too much out. There should be a TV series adaptation of Harry Potter with more details!

What are 3 favorite posts or reviews you've read by other book bloggers?

Why I wish men would read Little Women. (& why I appreciate those who have). at The Pursuit of Happiness
Can You Keep Raising the Bar for Books? at The Socratic Salon
Post-Reading Persuasion at Bookswept

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at

The Exacting Reader

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

Monday, May 25, 2015

Getting to Know Canadians Through Literature by Chris

Today please welcome Chris , who blogs at Chrisbookarama.

Alice Munro.jpg

Who Do You Think You Are? asks the title of Alice Munro’s collection of short stories. Who am I? I’m Chris, a Canadian book blogger, one of many across this country. I don’t think I could represent or speak for all Canadian book bloggers. Canada is a vast nation. It’s the second largest country in the world. Its shores touch three oceans. There are places in Canada I have never been and probably never will.

I live on a tiny island on the east coast of this country. It isn’t close to the metropolises of Toronto or Vancouver. In fact, the nearest large(r) city is a 5 hour drive from my home and I would still be in my home province of Nova Scotia. 24 hours traveling west in a car and I would still be in Canada. Another 24? Yep, still Canada. Yet, Canada’s population is 38th in the world, having just slightly larger population than Morocco. That’s a lot of space with few people living in it.

Canadian identity is an eternal hot topic in this country. What is our national identity? Who are we? What are we? We live so close to one of the most influential countries is the world. The US media, at least, has its own ideas about what we are. They’ve created an identity for us that I don’t recognize: the Canadian Tuxedo, Canadian bacon, and “eh” is every second word of our vocabulary.

First Lady of CanLit, Margaret Atwood had her own thoughts on our identity in the 1960s. “We knew perfectly well we had one, we just didn't know what it was. We weren't even insulted that 'they' knew nothing about us; after all, we knew nothing about ourselves.” At that time, there were only a handful of Canadian writers published in Canada. CanLit wasn’t a Thing yet.

Today there is more CanLit than you can shake a stick at. Just check out the Canadian Book Challenge hosted by book blogger John Mutford. If Canadian literature has only been with us for 50 years or so, I’d say we’re catching up to the rest of the world just fine! Canadian authors have built it from the ground up. There is every kind of story told in CanLit today. Stories about immigration, of being First Nations, of living in a small town, living in a city, growing up, being a woman, being a man, on and on, all while living in this country. Exploring the Canadian identity through our literature is a great way to get to know us. Probably a better idea than watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother.

I’ll give you a few recommendations to get you started.

Republic of Nothing by Lesley Choyce. A coming of age story with elements of the political and supernatural. In it a boy becomes a man. He gets his heart broken and learns that even if he knows where he belongs not everyone feels the same. It’s a bit of a tall tale too.

Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. This is the story of two wealthy sisters who have a secret. One of them took it to her grave at the end of WWII. The other is recalling the events of her sister’s death 50 years later. It’s also a story of another planet... but is it?

Essex County by Jeff Lemire. A graphic novel revolving around three characters living in Essex county: an orphaned boy, an elderly hockey player and a travelling nurse. All three stories are connected though it isn't obvious at first. All characters have heavy burdens. And there is much hockey.

Hark! A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton. A collection of the best from her web comics. Although you’ll find Hipster French Revolutionaries and Sexy Tudors, there are also some obscure and not-so-obscure Canadian historical references.

Motorcycles and Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor. The harried Chief of Otter Lake has a lot on her plate, until she meets a handsome stranger on a motorcycle. He might be fun, but what are his intentions? Fun, funny, and a bit romantic.

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

Friday, May 22, 2015

Canada's Literary Regions with Caro

Map of Canada
"Political map of Canada" by E Pluribus Anthony, transferred to Wikimedia Commons by Kaveh (log), optimized by Andrew pmk. - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Common
Hi everyone, this is Caro from BBI and A Girl that Likes Books.  Well, I don't know about you, but it has certainly been a fun month here at Book Bloggers International. One of the reasons I was so excited by this month's subject, is that even though it has been 6 years since I first moved to Canada, there is a lot of things to learn from people in other regions. And it's precisely the topic of the different regions in Canada that got me to write this post. 

Talking to other bloggers, I realized that a lot of terminology that I've become used to, might not be that obvious, so here I am trying to explain the different regions. Please keep in mind that I am doing this based on my own knowledge (with the help of our friend, Internet) and that some parts might be off. Please feel free to point out things I missed out or that I got wrong. Just be polite doing so ;).

Canada is divided in 13 provinces and territories: British Columbia (BC), Alberta (AB), Saskatchewan (SK), Manitoba (MB), Ontario (ON), Quebec (QC), New Brunswick (NB), Prince Edward Island (PEI), Nova Scotia (NS), Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Yukon (YT), the Northwest Territories (NT) and Nunavut (NU). Now, I won't talk about the political (senate related) divisions, because honestly I don't know how influential these divisions are into a literary level, but I would rather start with the 6 region model, since it comprises one of the terms that made me write this post.

On the 6 region model, BC becomes Pacific Canada; AB, SK and MB are called the Prairies; ON and QC remain the same; while PEI, NS and NL are put together as Atlantic Canada and finally YT, NT and NU are grouped as Northern Canada. As you can see, this division has a lot to do with geography and more importantly to the main landscape of each region. In the case of The Prairies, it refers to the great amount of grasslands in the area. Inevitably this type of division has a big influence on the literature coming out or being placed on each area. Recently I read As for me and My House by Sinclair Ross and while I didn't love the book completely, I gather it's another great example of the type of landscape you can find on SK, and hence the Prairies. If you are looking for contrast, I would suggest Runaway by Alice Munro, since these short stories are placed on both ON and BC and it might give you another view of these different areas.  

Then we have language division. As you might know, Canada has influences from both France and England. Documents from the government are issued in both English (59.3% of the population consider themselves Anglophone) and French (22.7% Francophone). Allophones, or non official language speakers (such as yours truly) comprise 17.6% of the population. You can imagine how language influences literary productions. Most of the Canadian authors that are known outside (or even inside Canada) are anglophone and I have to admit, that even though I live in Montréal, the only Québecois author I've read is Michel Rabagliati author of the fantastic series of graphic novels with Paul as the main character. I know other authors, such as Michel Tremblay, but I haven't read any of his books. His books are written in "joual" which is Québécois sociolect (jargon or dialect, of which you can find up to 9 different French-Canadian ones) and it's still hard for me to read it. 

But coming back to the differences in literature in English and French here in Canada; QC is a francophone province with 80% of the population being native Francophones and 95% being able to speak it as 1st or 2nd language. NB is a bilingual province and has the Acadian dialect. It is important to know that you can find Francophones all over the country, but only these 2 provinces recognize French as their official language. 

Canada has a very high immigration rate (20,6% of population being consider an immigrant in 2011), and hence a very varied population. From Statistics Canada site:
"Of the immigrants who had a single mother tongue, close to one-quarter (23.8%) reported English as their mother tongue and 3.4% reported French. Among those whose mother tongue was other than Canada's two official languages, Chinese languages were most common, followed by Tagalog, a language of the Philippines, Spanish and Punjabi"
So it is no wonder that the literary production is also influenced by so many cultures converging here. Proof of that are the two last books that I've read with the Hello Hemlock book club (which by the way, if you are looking forward to expanding your CanLit horizons, go ahead and join) Moving forward sideways like a crab by Shani Mootoo and Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz. I haven't finished the latter, but it's building up to be at least a 4/5 for me. 

There you have it, the big Literary Regions or divisions that I can differentiate so far. Once again, I am sure there are things I am missing, so please, share with us!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Featured Blogger: Darren From Bart's Bookshelf.

Today please welcome Darren, who blogs at Bart's Bookshelf.

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

I picked up the nickname Bart many years ago, and I liked the alliteration of Bart's Bookshelf.

How long have you been blogging?

I can't quite believe it, but since 2008!

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

Well , I'm not sure about unique, but certainly male book-bloggers are in the minority, how different that makes my voice? I don't know...

What genres do you write about most, and why?

Well, it's not a genre, but certainly young adult books make up a large percentage of my reading, but as an actual genre, I'd probably say some form of fantasy or any of its sub-genres.

Every blogger feels pressure at some point. What's something you feel pressured to do or not do on your blog? How do you deal with it?

Honestly, can't say I've ever felt that much pressure, I've always kept the rule that blogging should be fun, and when its not, I step away.

That said, the last couple of years have seen a couple of blogging/reading slumps that have been hard work to get going again.

What's one book you think everyone should read?

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?


What's your favorite place to read or blog?

Absolute favourite place? Tucked away in a quiet corner of a hotel bar, in some foreign clime for an hour or two before bed. :) As that unfortunately does't happen very often... Most of my reading is done on the bus.

Do you judge a book by its cover, or its lover?

Bit of both, blogging has brought some fantastic books into my life, but I am also easily seduced by a great cover!

One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

I just couldn't get into The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

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

Diagon Alley!

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

I really enjoy trying different craft and real ales, it's definitely quality over quantity these days!

Music is also an important part of my life and I love going to see bands play live, when I can. I also seem to have developed an addiction to vinyl LPs again.

What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

Least favourite, probably The Golden Compass. Favourite: The Lord of the Rings.

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at

The All-Rounder

Your responses showed you fitting equally into all four reading personalities:

Involved Reader: You don't just love to read books, you love to read about books. For you, half the fun of reading is the thrill of the chase - discovering new books and authors, and discussing your finds with others.
Exacting Reader: You love books but you rarely have as much time to read as you'd like - so you're very particular about the books you choose.
Serial Reader: Once you discover a favorite writer you tend to stick with him/her through thick and thin.
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, Darren ! Remember to check out 's blog, Bart's Bookshelf, and leave a comment or question.