BBAW Day 2: Interview Swap


Happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week! I have so much fun doing this every year, though this year I’m scaling back and just doing a couple of the daily topics so that I don’t die of typing fatigue.

This topic was a definite do from the time it was announced — I love Interview Swap Day because I get to make a new friend and maybe so do you! You can also learn potentially interesting things by popping over to my interviewee’s post and seeing what questions she asked of me!

Now, please allow me to introduce Sandy, from You’ve GOTTA Read This!

SandyBrief biography: I’m a stay-at-home mom with two teenagers, and not only spend my time chauffeuring them to all of their events, but cooking, cleaning the house, doing yard work, golfing, running, and volunteering at the kids’ school. And partaking of a fine wine now and again. I’ve been blogging for four years, and read all genres.

1. I note that you read a good mix of audiobooks and “regular” books… how do you decide which format to read in? Audio books were a great discovery for me, since I almost never sit down during the day. It allows multi-tasking! In almost all instances, if a book is longer than normal (generally anything over 400 pages), I will get it on audio because I just don’t have the time to read the print version. I also have some narrators that I adore, and will only listen to those books on audio. I get some audios sent to me by publishers for review, and obviously those make it on to my iPod as well.

2. I also note that you have a movie feature every week. Are your movie-watching and book-reading tastes similar, or do you find yourself watching different things than you would read? That is an interesting question! I’ve never thought about that. I do read all kinds of books, and usually have the best luck with ones that are very different…books that stand out from the norm. I tend to be slightly intimidated by dense historical fiction, and my “brain candy” or comfort reads are murder mysteries. This would totally apply to my movie tastes as well. I stay away from period movies, but will basically watch anything that is unpredictable and well-acted. But a good horror flick? Love it. I think I’ve rubbed off on my daughter. She has watched every horror movie known to man (even the B movies)!

3. Where do you get the books you read? For audios, I get review copies, and the rest come from our library in Orlando. It is such a phenomenal library, and get just about everything possible in the audio format. For print books, I do occasionally participate in a bookstore binge (ha!) but many come from publishers, my blogger friends, or the library. I think I have enough books right this moment to last me until I die. And let’s not even talk about my Kindle! E-books are perfect for the closet hoarder!

4. What one book, if it were just you and that book on a desert island, would convince you to try to swim home instead of reading it? Haha! I love that question. Well I did read the first Fifty Shades of Grey for my book club. So my first response would be the next two books in the series. Lord that book was awful. The things I do for my book club! Coming a close second would probably be some huge doorstop of a book about the Tudors. Like Wolf Hall or something. Those books are very intimidating to me.

5. What is your favorite post that you have written? Oh, I think by far my favorite was one I wrote in conjunction with Jenners (Life With Books) to review “Middlesex”. I can’t take credit for all of it…Jenners is a comedic genius. But it was SO MUCH FUN to write with her. Here is the link: http://sandynawrot.blogspot.com/2010/09/jenners-and-sandy-cook-up-great.html

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BBAW — Readers


Today’s topic:

“Book bloggers blog because we love reading. Has book blogging changed the way you read? Have you discovered books you never would have apart from book blogging? How has book blogging affected your book acquisition habits? Have you made new connections with other readers because of book blogging? Choose any one of these topics and share your thoughts today!”

Blogging has definitely changed the way that I read. Most of the books I read before blogging are remembered in my mind as “That was good” or “That was bad” or maybe I remember one scene and that’s it. But you can’t get by on a blog saying, “Book. Good. Next.” That would be the most boring thing ever.

So now I pay a lot more attention to why I think a book is good or bad. Is it the writing? The characters? The plot? If there’s one scene that sticks out at me, how does it relate to the rest of the book? Is this book something I do or would understand better after reading another book?

And even though I’ve read more than three hundred books in the last three years, I can remember them well enough to recommend them to people now! Or if the book was that middling that I don’t remember it, I have a place to turn to to jog my memory, and these posts usually do the trick.

BBAW — Blogger Interviews


The interviews are always my favorite part of BBAW, because I get to have a new BBBFF (book blogging best friend forever, obvs)! And I am really quite enamored with mine this year. Andrea, The Little Red Reviewer, writes about books that I would probably never give the time of day if I met them in the library, but after reading her take a few have ended up on my “to be borrowed” list! She’s sneaky like that.

Here’s what she has to say about herself, and if you go check out her blog you can maybe find out some interesting things about me!

1) Your blog is “mostly science fiction and fantasy.” What is it that draws you to those genres more than others?
I was raised on Science fiction. When I was a kid my Dad and I had a standing date to see every Star Trek movie in the theaters together. my first crush was on Han Solo. I read Dune in high school, and the rest is history. Only in the last few years have I gotten into fantasy. What draws me to those genres? I love Scifi that happens in the future. I love how different authors play the “what if” game. I love that in scifi and fantasy anything is possible. Scifi and fantasy are safe places to experiment with anything safe, and anything dangerous. it’s the ultimate escapism!

2) What does a book of any genre need to have for you to be interested in it?
hmmm. . . swear words? as much as I love my favorite four letter words, compelling characters and snarky humor is a big plus in any book.

3) Where do you get the books that you read?
Most of them are purchased used or come from the library. I’ve been buying a lot of stuff new lately, and it’s killing my bank account! I do have a few contacts at a few publishers, so occasionally I beg for an advanced reading copy. Sometimes they even send it!

4) Which book, if it were just you and that book on a desert island, would you rather pitch into the ocean than read?
this is actually a really hard question!! I’m looking at my bookshelves, looking for a book I don’t like, and even my old college textbooks I don’t want to pitch into the ocean! I’m sure there’s a really dry and boring history book around someplace. . . .

5) What is your favorite post that you have written?
not really scifi or fantasy, I really liked the review I wrote of Catherynne Valente’s “Deathless”. She specializes in fairy tale/mythology retellings, and Deathless is sort of something like that. It’s an incredible book written by an incredible woman. And i was kinda snarky on the title of the post, which is always fun. (http://littleredreviewer.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/does-your-husband-kno/)
Can I cheat and tell my 2nd favorite post too? It’s my super spoilery guesses on where Patrick Rothfuss is going next with his Kingkiller Chronicles series starring Kvothe, who is also sort of deathless. (wow, I think I just realized i’ve got a weakness for handsome men who refuse to die?) Rothfuss is another incredible writer whose debut novel “The Name of the Wind” single handedly turned me into a fantasy fan. (http://littleredreviewer.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/kingkiller-chronicles-predictions-what-a-woman-wants/)

BBAW — Community


My third Book Blogger Appreciation Week (or BBAW, for shorts)! This year’s theme is community, and so the first topic:

“While the awards are a fun part of BBAW, they can never accurately represent the depth and breadth of diversity in the book blogging community. Today you are encouraged to highlight a couple of bloggers that have made book blogging a unique experience for you. They can be your mentors, a blogger that encouraged you to try a different kind of book, opened your eyes to a new issue, made you laugh when you needed it, or left the first comment you ever got on your blog. Stay positive and give back to the people who make the community work for you!”

I follow what I consider to be a LOT of book blogs, so it really is the whole community of bloggers that have introduced me to new books, kept me up to date on the scandals of the bookish community, and made me giggle a little on the inside or the outside.

And of course, I love all of the people who comment on my posts, even you non-bloggers! Every time I get an e-mail about a new comment, I’m like, “Ooooh shiny!” and off I go to read it.

But since this is Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I’m going to give a tip of the hat to a couple wonderful book bloggers who leave me some of the wonderful comments that make me so happy in my heart.

Stephanie at Reviews by Lola
Stephanie is from my home state of Ohio, which makes her awesome right off the bat! She also shares with me a foolproof method of spending time with the hubbers — sharing a couch while one reads and the other plays video games! I’ll let you figure out who does what, there. 🙂 I love Stephanie’s blog because I am always sure to find books I have absolutely never heard of before but am suddenly very interested in.

Steph, one half of Steph and Tony Investigate!
I love the name of Steph’s blog! I get this picture of Sherlock Holmes in his apocryphal deerstalker cap wielding a magnifying glass while he reads an incredibly varied assortment of books. I never know what I’m going to see when this blog pops up in my Google Reader. Steph hates epilogues, but doesn’t have a favorite element, so we can’t quite be best friends yet!

Cari, who is a Walking Identity Crisis
Okay, I’m cheating here a bit because Cari’s not really a book blogger, but hey, here’s a book review she did! It totally counts! Cari writes about writing and librarianing and bassooning and a myriad of other things, and even when I have no idea what she’s talking about I learn something from her posts.

And, for a bonus, I also tip my hat to Mary, Amy, Laura, and Deborah, who are my sunshine on cloudy days and are also fantastic readers and recommenders, even if they don’t blog!

BBAW — Forgotten Treasure


Today’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week topic is…

Thursday—Forgotten Treasure
Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction. This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!

I don’t know how many times I have answered questions like this with the exact same book, but I think it’s a lot, and still I haven’t heard much about it in the blogging world! I think it’s because it’s such an odd book — I have also answered many questions on what makes me love a novel with answers like plot and character, but this book isn’t really about either. It’s about the writing, which is brilliant and wonderful and immensely quotable.

The book is called The Manual of Detection, and it’s a sort of homage to those gritty noir detective stories, one that doesn’t take itself terribly seriously. The author throws in all of the classic noir tropes, but adds to them a bit of whimsical fantasy, in which the main villian once stole the entire day of November twelfth, with everyone waking up on Wednesday wondering where the heck Tuesday went. If you like the Thursday Next series, the attitude of this book is rather like that and I think you will find it amusing. But it’s really the writing that I love — click that link above for one of my favorite passages from the whole thing, which is a small treatise on how “the world is unkind to the shoeless and frolicsome.”

Oooh, and this book would be perfect for the RIP Challenge. Perhaps I will go read it again!

BBAW — Unexpected Treasure


Today’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week Topic is…

Wednesday—Unexpected Treasure
We invite you to share with us a book or genre you tried due to the influence of another blogger. What made you cave in to try something new and what was the experience like?

A good question! I have been far more open to trying new things since joining the book blogging community, as I get a chance to a) hear about more books in general and b) hear people whose opinions I trust talk about books they love that I’ve never heard of.

Most recently, I read Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters, without ever actually reading a review of the book. But I kept reading reviews of other books in which people would compare them to Fingersmith — always with Fingersmith coming out the winner, if only by a hair. So I was like, “Well. I had better go read Fingersmith.” And I did and I absolutely loved it and I totally have Waters’ The Little Stranger sitting on my shelf ready for the RIP Challenge.

And I just went to check out my ratings of other books to see if there was ever a blogger-recommended book that I just hated, and there is not! My Google Reader is filled with trusted reviewers, apparently… perhaps I should try a few more of those books that everyone’s reading.

BBAW — New Treasure


This is my favorite part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week… the interview swap! Today I am introducing you to Robin, of My Two Blessings. She was kind enough to answer some questions for me about her hectic life, and I talked with her about library science and my undying love of Jasper Fforde, which you can read over at her site! Without further ado…

1) I note that your blog started off with much less talk about books… when and why did you decide to add more books to your posts and/or life?
I’ve always been a reader, but when I started my blog didn’t know anything about book bloggers. It was home school bloggers that influenced me to start blogging. I have to give the credit to Katrina from Callapidder’s Days for getting me started blogging about books. Up until that point I never even thought of blogging about what I was reading. I heard through some home school bloggers about the Fall Reading Challenge 2007 and decided to join in. Through the challenge, I discovered the beautiful world of book bloggers.

2. In your most recent posts, I see a couple of books I’ve read and enjoyed, but mostly books I have never even heard of. How do you hear about the books you read?
I’ve discovered quite a few books through the book and author blogs. Mental Multivitamin was a big influence and got me started thinking outside my book box and trying authors I normally wouldn’t have read. And it just sort of snowballed from there. Then, I started following some of my favorite authors who post on group blogs such as Murderati and started checking out some of the other authors books. I have a lot of my favorites that I read such as J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts, Stuart Woods, Ted Dekker, Charles De Lint, Patricia Briggs, no matter what they write.

3. What genres draw you in?
I’m a pretty eclectic reader but the main genres that pull me in are thrillers and suspense, paranormal, fantasy and science fiction and romance.

4. What components of a book (dialogue, writing style, font face, whatever) are important regardless of genre?
The writing style is important to me. I prefer 3rd person point of view but am branching out a bit and discovered there are a few writer who do 1st person point of view really well. The writing really has to pull me in from the very beginning. I’m a very visual person so if I can’t visualize the story, I lose interest.

5. Are your son and husband readers, too? Do they share your tastes (or your tastes as a kid) in books?
My husband loves to read, except he only reads non fiction and loves war and spy stories. I usually pick him up a couple books whenever I’m at the bookstore. I’m working on my son. He has a room full of books but seems to gravitate to graphic novels and is into bionicles right now. He finally expressed an interest in Harry Potter, so we are reading the first novel together.

6. How easy is it for you to find time to read as a homeschooling parent and student yourself?
Schedules! We’ve got a good routine down for lessons and my studies. After all there are 16 hours in the day when I’m not sleeping. It’s easy to find time to read when you love it. I read while eating breakfast, during lunch, and in the evening when James has gone to bed. I don’t watch much tv so that isn’t an issue.

7. In fact, how easy is it for you to find time to eat and sleep?
LOL! I need my sleep. If I don’t get my 8 hours a night, I’m a very grumpy mom.

8. What is your favorite activity to do outside of reading?
Writing!

9. What is the one book you would least like to be stuck with on a desert island?
The least? Hmmm! Does Captain Underpants counts as a book?

10. What is your favorite post that you have written?
Yikes, that’s a hard question, since I’ve written over 900 in the past 3 years. I think it would have to be a personal one – How our Life Together Began. Every time I read or think about it, it reminds me of how blessed our lives have been. Still gives me goose bumps to this day.