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bbaw: goals and wrap-up. September 17, 2009

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bbawcelebratebooks

Welcome to the fifth (and last) day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

Today’s prompt: Write in 50 words or less…what do you like best about your blog right now and where would you like your blog to be a year from now?

I like that I’m consistent about posting. I like that I’m getting out at least two to three posts on the worst weeks and five posts on the best weeks. I really like that I’ve remained true to myself in my reviews.

A year from now, I’d like to have better consistency in posting. I’d like to have my own feature/series. And I really want to take the time to show y’all some of the librarian aspects of sharing and reviewing books.

It’s been a great week, and I have so enjoyed all the BBAW has brought me. Thanks to everyone who stopped by throughout the week and yay for book bloggers!

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bbaw: found books. September 17, 2009

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Welcome to the fourth day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

Today, we’re supposed to talk about books that we didn’t know about until a blogger called our attention to them.

This is the easiest and the hardest day for me. The easiest because I know exactly what books to choose and to talk about. Hardest because I can’t remember who directed me to the books. So, I’ve just made a kind of picture tribute. Below, you’ll find some the books I didn’t know (and have read and have loved) that I found on a book blog first. [You can ignore the awful graphics. I only have Paint on this computer…that makes things difficult.]

becauseofbookbloggers

Would I have found these books otherwise? Probably. I am, after all, a librarian. I’d read it months down the line in a review magazine. Or browsing another library’s catalog.

Instead…I got to be the cool teen librarian, pitching the books to the teens before they had even heard of them. Before a lot of them were even out.

Thanks, all.

bbaw: reading meme September 15, 2009

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Welcome to the third day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

Today, we were prompted to complete a reading meme! From the website: “We encourage you to be creative with this! Please choose one or two questions to answer or try to answer all the questions in five words or less.”

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

Diet Coke – my blogging fuel.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

Useful, but not my taste.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?

I remember the page number.

Laying the book flat open?

Read balanced in one hand.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Both, more fiction though.

Hard copy or audiobooks?

Hard copy. No CD Player.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

Any point.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

Nope, use context.

What are you currently reading?

“Rampant” by Diana Peterfreund.

What is the last book you bought?

Five. See “IMM #13.”

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

One at a time.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

Anytime, anyplace.

[Okay, I’m going to answer the last three in longer answers. Because I can.]

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

I tend to get into moods where I want a series or a stand-alone. I’m frustrated right now that fantasy (my favorite genre) is making everything into series/leaving stand-alones open for a series. Not everything can be capitalized (::cough “Twilight” cough::), and some books are not meant to be a series. Of course, I sometimes do want more.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

Lately, it’s been “The Hunger Games.” I told my teen book club tonight that we’d be reading it as a club when it came out in paperback (does anyone have a paperback release date?), no need to vote on it — it was my pick. They looked at me and said, “It must be the best book ever written.” (I never force them to read books, I prefer to let them have the decision making in club. So, it’s a rarity that I take control like that. And I showed them my mockingjay pin. They loved it.)

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

Right now, by however I can fit more books in a shelf. One day, I’ll be able to separate them into YA sections and adult sections, and then alphabetically. Additionally, I want a separate series bookcase! I’ve given a lot of thought about this, can you tell?

And that’s it! Go check out everyone else’s memes!

bbaw: interview swap September 15, 2009

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Welcome to the second day of Book Blogger Appreciate Week!

This morning’s topic is our interview swaps. I was really nervous when I signed up to do an interview. In fact, I debated about doing it for a few days before actually signing up. I actually fretted that I’d get a blogger who was anti-YA and hated my blog from the beginning. (Okay, a bit dramatic, I know — but this is my first BBAW and I didn’t realize how awesome the event was!)

I was delighted when I got matched up with my partner, Ali from Worducopia!

A bit about Ali (in her own words!)

My name is Alison but online I go by Ali. I live in Portland, Oregon, with my husband and two sons who are 9 and 12. I spend a lot of time with my family; since my kids are homeschooled they’re with me almost all the time. Before I was a mom I was a school social worker. When I’m not blogging or reading I sing in a choir, love to go hiking and camping, and I’m working on the last revision of a YA novel.

I participated in BBAW last year as a brand new blogger–I’d been blogging for just a few months at that point. It was a great way to get to know some other book bloggers better. It was so great that I actually intended to be involved behind the scenes this year, but when I found out it would be scheduled for the week I was returning from a long vacation, I realized I wouldn’t be of much use during that crucial prep time.

And now, on to the questions!

How do you and your family choose books to read? Do you visit bookstores/libraries together?

We do plenty of dropping in together and browsing the shelves. I don’t buy a lot of books, but I definitely buy more for my kids than myself.

My 12-year-old son has his own route through the library but my 9-year-old likes company so we often find books together. I also place holds on their library cards for them, if I find out about a book I think they’ll like. And occasionally I’ll get a total winner as a review book. One review copy of a book in The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan got us caught up in the entire series, and right now we’re reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner out loud, and we’re all completely riveted.

What were the books from your childhood that stuck with you?

The Little House on the Prairie series, Heidi, Escape to Witch Mountain, Harriet the Spy. As a teen: The Outsiders, The Catcher in the Rye, Roots, and the 14 Dick Francis mysteries I read in 10 days while my family stayed in an Italian villa in Tuscany. I had found the books in the basement and wasn’t convinced they existed anywhere else in the real world. I still have a soft spot for Francis’s various main characters.

What books do you think will matter to your children?
I’ve thought long and hard about this and I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have an answer. What I think and hope will stick with them, more than any particular book, is their love of reading and the memory of reading as a fun thing we did together as a family.

How did you get started blogging?
I started a blog when my oldest son was three, because I wanted to start journaling again–I had pretty much stopped writing when he was born. That blog still exists, though it’s often neglected by me and not widely read by people who don’t already know me. A couple of years ago, I started writing reviews on Library Thing and found that I really enjoyed keeping track of my reading that way. Through the discussion groups there, book bloggers like Bermuda Onion and Lenore inspired me to start my own book blog.

Tell me more about C.O.R.A. Diversity Roll Call.

Diversity Roll Call is so much fun, I love doing it. It’s a regular meme (usually every 2 weeks) that I co-host with Susan, of Color Online, which gives bloggers a chance to find or write about books written by nonwhite authors, or that deal with diversity in some other way. Everything from sci-fi/fantasy to the Bloomsbury cover fiasco.

But, let me back up. I started a reading challenge (Diversity Rocks) in January, to help me focus on reading non-white authors this year. Through that I met a lot of wonderful readers and bloggers who hadn’t been on my radar at all. One of them was Susan, of Color Online, and after we’d gotten to know each other a bit, she asked if I’d be willing to co-host a meme with her. She’s passionate about getting the spotlight on books by authors of color, which often get overshadowed by the slicker promotional campaigns and bookstore placement. Working with her and getting to know the participants in the Roll Call has been one of the highlights of blogging for me.

Do you have a favorite subject/post that you’ve blogged about?

I especially love the ones my kids have helped me write, because they’re like little time capsules for me. One of my favorites is our discussion of Graham Salisbury’s Night of the Howling Dogs.

Where do you want to be (blogging-wise) in five years? Do you think blogging is a life-long habit?
I think I’ll still be blogging in 5 years, but right now I spend more time on blogging than I’d like. I love it, but I don’t love the guilt when I feel like I’m “behind,” and it sometimes takes too much time away from my fiction writing and from my family. So, in 5 years I predict I’ll be accepting even fewer review copies and reading more library books. I’ll write fewer full reviews and post more mini-reviews. But I’ll still be plugging away.

What’s the one (or 2-3) YA books that you think everyone should read?
The one I’m writing, of course!

Other than that, the one that comes to mind that left me thinking “everyone should read this!” was The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

Where is your favorite place to read?
In bed.

How much time do you read every week?
I have no idea–I snatch my reading minutes at a time, sometimes. Probably an hour or two hours per day.

Easiest genre for you to read?
YA. It’s so full of life and tends to pull me in quickly.

Hardest genre for you to read?
Well, there are quite a few genres I just don’t read–horror would probably be the hardest for me to get through. I’m too chicken to try, though.

Are you a re-reader?
Almost never. I don’t even preview books I plan to read aloud with my kids, because I won’t want to read it a second time–although I did reread Harry Potter, and a few books I remember from my childhood, with my kids.

What happens to your books once you finish reading them?
I pass them on to friends, or return them to the library, or resell them at my local Powell’s. I’m not a book collector, by any stretch. I’m trying to get into BookCrossing, but I don’t seem to be very good at it. I just came home from a resort cabin I’ve stayed in for 5 years, where people leave books on the bathroom shelves, and once again I forgot to bring a single finished book with me!

Thanks, Ali, for such a great interview and for answering all my questions (I had a lot, I think!). It’s been so great meeting you this BBAW.

[Edited to add: Ali’s interview with me can be found here on Worducopia!]

bbaw: blog spotlight. September 14, 2009

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Hello all! It’s Book Blogger Appreciate Week and I’ll be celebrating books all week long on “Read What You Know.”

From the website of BBAW: “Monday September 14. The shortlists for the awards will be announced next Monday, September 7th. The first day of BBAW, Monday September 14th, we encourage you to write a post thanking and spotlighting your favorite blogs that didn’t make the shortlists.”

As a newbie blogger, I’m still diving into the book blogging world and I still boggle at the amount of blogs that I keep finding. Here’s some of the newest blogs I’ve discovered:

Anna & Jenny at Book Nerds. Two sisters, blogging about books. Most posts are Anna’s, but Jenny has her fair share too. What drew me to their blog was that they were sisters. My sister is the most important person in my life, but she doesn’t read like I do. Sisters reviewing books together immediately intrigued me. I love their reviews and the clean-cut style of their blog.

Mandy at Edge of Seventeen. Mandy works at a bookshop and we originally “met” online when I found her weekly “Ask a Bookseller” post. I love her reviews and her taste in books. She just posted an awesome page-by-page review of “The Hunger Games” which I loved reading! I think it might be one of my favorite reviews of all-time, just getting to see someone’s immediate reaction to the book.

Lauren at I Was a Teenage Book Geek. As a book blogger from across the pond, Lauren is also perptually stuck at the reading age of sixteen, much like me. I don’t remember how I stumbled across her blog, but it quickly became one of my favorites and I looked forward to updates! Lauren was also the first person to pass on a blog award to me, which really made my day.

And a newly discovered blog just this weekend: April at Good Books & Good Wine. I spent a ton of time this weekend going over her blog. I love the mix of young adult and adult reviews (because yes, I do read adult books too) and I love that April’s got a touch of snark in her posts. Looking forward to reading her posts.

My goodness, I want to just keep talking about all of the fabulous bloggers that I’ve met. I truly read every single blog on my blogroll (and even more — I just looked at my feed reader and realized I need to update the blogroll!) and want you all to know that you inspire me to keep blogging. Some of you shortlisted, some of you didn’t, all of you matter to me.

Check back tomorrow for another BBAW post!

book blogger appreciation week. August 3, 2009

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I’ve signed up to participate in Book Blogger Appreciation Week, although I’m not sure what to expect. Especially since I’m such a new blogger. But at least I’ll participate and get a year under my belt. So, they’re asked us to do a little meme, which is as follows:

1) What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?

The highlight for me is the main reason that I got involved in book reviewing/blogging — it’s the community. Just simply being able to virtually hang out with people who care about YA books like I do is such an amazing gift. It sounds really corny, but sometimes I think being a book lover can be really lonely, particularly if you don’t have someone to share it with. Additionally, I know the reviews that I’m doing are connecting people to books and as a librarian, that is my life’s passion. So book blogging just came naturally.

2) What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?

Well, I started blogging because a couple of my non-blogger friends said that they needed a good YA review blog. I did some investigating and found Kristi at The Story Siren and passed on the link to my friends. That was my intro to the blogging world. One “In My Mailbox” post later, I had half a dozen blogs on my RSS feeder. From there, I decided to jump in after my friend Sarah at Awesome Storytime told me about the 48 Hour Book Challenge.

3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?

What’s the one thing I should make sure to do to have a positive experience? (And also, how much time did you spend on BBAW?) Okay, so two questions. But an easy one and a hard one.