Christmas Eve may be a week away, but book bloggers are still hard at work! What posts have you enjoyed this week? A couple of my favorites:
Happy Birthday, Jane! Blog tour and giveaways
Posted on My Jane Austen Book Club
You all know that Jane Austen would have been 235 on Thursday, right? Even if you didn't re-read your dog-eared copy of P&P to honor the date, you can still get in on the festivities.
My Jane Austen Book Club has posted a birthday note to Ms. Austen herself, along with information about a blog tour and giveaway. The contest is open until December 22, so enter now! I'm sure you'll all swoon over the prize offerings—and perhaps get to know some other Austen-obsessed readers, too.
Book Review: *Freedom* by Jonathan Franzen
Posted on She Is Too Fond of Books
If you listened to last week's podcast about Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, you know that BookPage editors loved the novel so much that we're still talking about it weeks after turning the last page.
Freedom has been thrown around with a lot of hyperbolic statements these past few months ("Great American Novel," "masterpiece"), but if you don't understand what the big deal is—this post is for you. Not everyone loved Freedom. Just read Dawn's post on She Is Too Fond of Books . . . she describes the experience of reading the novel as "swimming underwater" (not in a good way), and she couldn't even finish the book.
It's an exciting time of year to read book blogs, what with all the end of year "best-of" lists, roundups and blog tours.
What book blogs have you read this week? Do you stick to a select few blogs in your RSS feed? Have you stumbled upon anything new and noteworthy?
On Reading and Thinking
Posted by Trish on Hey Lady!
In the wake of #whyiread trending on Twitter, you might enjoy reading Hey Lady!'s discussion "on reading and thinking," inspired by Lev Grossman's article about Jonathan Franzen published in Time. Here's Trish's choice quote on why she reads: "I read to understand people and human nature and, ultimately, myself."
Ain't that the truth. (I posted a similar quote on Wednesday myself—from Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife.)
Why do you read? What does reading bring to your life?
2010 Winter Blog Blast Tour Schedule
Posted by Colleen Mondor on Chasing Ray
The link above will take you to a master schedule of the Winter Blog Blast Tour (WWBT), a week-long event in which children's/YA authors participate in interviews all around the blogosphere. Several of BookPage's Top Children's Books of 2010 authors are featured—Kathi Appelt (author of Keeper), Jennifer Donnelly (author of Revolution) and Paolo Bacigalupi (author of Ship Breaker).
A Year in Reading 2010
Posted by C. Max Magee on The Millions
The Millions has asked some of the year's biggest authors—from debut novelist Tom Rachman to old favorites (who have gotten a ton of recent acclaim) Emma Donoghue and Lionel Shriver—what they've read in 2010. I think you'll be surprised by some of the answers.
What book blogs have you been reading this week?
Famous inboxes from the literary world
Posted on Famous Inboxes
Ever imagined what your favorite characters' email inboxes would look like? I certainly hadn't, but little did I know . . . they'd be hilarious! I love the inboxes for Elizabeth Bennett and Severus Snape (favorite email in Snape's inbox: "Google alert—Lily Potter"). If you're looking for a laugh this Friday afternoon, give this blog a browse.
Posted on Tumblr
I came across this lovely Tumblr page on Entomology of a BookWorm, one of my favorite book blogs. Here's the description for Booklover: "Sharing and spreading her book love with delicate pictures, amazing shelves, memorable libraries and intense quotes." Click over to the blog, and I guarantee you won't be able to stop scrolling through those gorgeous pictures of bookshelves.
What's in a Name 4: Information and Sign-Up
Posted by Beth Fish Reads
Many of you enjoy participating in reading challenges, so I thought you'd appreciate this link. Beth Fish Reads is hosting this fourth-annual challenge for which you read books based on their titles. There are seven categories, such as "a book with jewelry or a gem in the title" (like, Girl With a Pearl Earring) and "a book with a size in the title" (like, Little Bee). The challenge begins on January 1, so sign up now and start brainstorming a book list!
What posts on book blogs have you enjoyed this week? A few bookmark-worthy links...
Monday contest: Win a copy of ‘Unbroken’
Posted by Trisha on The Book Case
Okay, okay. Maybe this falls in the category of "tooting your own horn." But really, what I want to do is toot your horn, because I have so enjoyed reading the comments on this week's Monday Contest. Every week, we try to ask a question that will inspire a good bit of variety in the contest entries. This week's question was inspired by Laura Hillenbrand's remarkable talent for taking her readers back in time: "If you could go back in time to observe any historical event, what would it be?" The responses include wanting to see Babe Ruth hit a homer, walk the deck of the Titanic, observe Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, watch the signing of the Declaration of Independence and countless other experiences.
What a great reminder of all the journeys we can go on through nonfiction historical accounts and historical fiction! (Also, don't forget that it's not too late to enter the contest and win Unbroken.)
A fond Farewell to Davis-Kidd
Posted by Paige on Examiner.com
From BookPage Editor Lynn's blog post last Friday to novelist Adam Ross's recent piece in the Nashville Scene, I have read many odes and tributes to the beloved Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Nashville, which will shut its doors before Christmas. This post on Examiner.com includes a comprehensive roundup of authors mourning the loss of the beloved bookstore, from Tasha Alexander to Susan Gregg Gilmore (and more).
Books-turned-movies: An OOM chat about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Posted by Morgan on Scholastic's On Our Minds blog
Who better to turn to for a chat on analyzing how the Harry Potter movies stack up to the books than Scholastic (J.K. Rowling's U.S. publisher)?
The bloggers have different opinions on what makes a great adaptation and how they experience the Harry Potter movies. But here's one comment I can get behind: "Helena Bonham Carter is the ultimate Bellatrix Lestrange!"
What blogs have you been reading this week? My picks for the week are on topics from romance novels to Harry Potter . . .
New Books, Good Dialogue
Posted by Sarah Wendell on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
I don't read a ton of romance novels (although I do enjoy the genre from time to time)—but I always get a kick out of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, the hilarious blog devoted to reviews of romance novels. Once of my favorite recent posts is about good dialogue—"when characters both talk like real people, and talk like REALLY SMART people, AND (I know, it’s a lot to ask) talk like really smart real people who are trying not to reveal too much." For more on what constitutes smart, snappy dialogue—and some examples of the best kind of dialogue in new romance novels—check out this post.
Five Writing Tips From Reading J.K. Rowling's HARRY POTTER
Posted by Nathan Bransford (author and former literary agent)
Writers and publishing folks flock to Nathan Bransford's blog for tips on query letters, industry news and commentary on the book biz. Those sorts of posts are all well and good . . . but this week I was really excited because it was Harry Potter Week! This post on what writers can learn from reading J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series gave me a serious trip down memory lane—and also helped me appreciate some aspects of Rowling's writing that I didn't notice when I was devouring her books as a middle schooler. For example: "You can accomplish amazing things with a third person limited perspective . . . This very constrained perspective is a big part of what makes the story great. We really feel close to Harry and his struggle, as the rest of the world of HARRY POTTER is literally on the outside." (On that note, we've officially entered the one-week countdown until the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I!)
10 Essential Books from the Last 25 Years
Posted by Ian Tuttle on Flavorwire
As we all prepare for the onslaught of "Best of 2010" lists (don't get me wrong—I love 'em—but they can certainly overwhelm a TBR list), check out this other kind of list . . . of "books that have found a place in Generation X’s (and for that matter, Y’s and W’s, too) common culture; books that people know about, relate to, and converge around, all from the last 25 years." It's always nice to be reminded of titles you meant to read but haven't—like Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (in my case). What other books do you think belong in this "contemporary canon"?
What bookish posts have you enjoyed this week? Anyone discover a new blog?
Online "Best of 2010" Book Lists
Posted by David Gutowski on Largehearted Boy
It's November, so you know what that means—time for "Best of 2010" lists. I won't give away any details about BookPage's lists just yet (except to say . . . stay tuned)—but I will direct you to Largehearted Boy, where you can find a continually updated list of Best of 2010 lists from major magazines, independent bloggers are more.
Tough Love: Four YA Novels That Aren’t Afraid of the Truth (The Bare Necessities—A.S. King)
Guest post by A.S. King on The Book Lady's Blog
I've been interested in A.S. King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz ever since reviewer Heather Seggel wrote in BookPage, "Ignore this book at your peril; it’s a keeper." So, I was excited to see King's guest post on Rebecca Joines Schinsky's (aka "The Book Lady's") blog. Her post is part of Rebecca's Bare Necessities series, "in which authors and book industry professionals share annotated reading lists of books they love."
King shares a list of her "four favorite must-read YA books that don’t shy away from hard issues." I know there are a lot of YA fans reading The Book Case, so you won't want to miss this post.
Psst.... A while back, Rebecca wrote a guest post for us on how to start a book blog. Worth a read if you missed it in May!
Good Blog: Oddly Specific
Posted by Jennifer Crusie
You already know that Jennifer Crusie is the author of popular and very clever women's fiction—most recently Maybe This Time, released in September. But did you know she also keeps an entertaining and regularly updated blog? Yesterday, she highlighted the hilarious (and knew to me) Oddly Specific blog. Intrigued? You'll have to follow the link to see what it's about. (Okay, this one's not that book-related, but we all need something funny on Friday, right?)
It's been another great week of reading blogs—especially because of all the spooky and kooky holiday posts. (I've already mentioned a couple this morning.)
A few of my favorite posts from the week:
Leading up to the 31st, Jenn of Jenn's Bookshelves has been hosting a wonderful (and freaky!) series called Halloween Fright Fest. Two of my favorite posts are linked above, on what makes a book fit into the horror vs. thriller genre.
Horror forces us to realize and confront our fears. In many cases, as I’ve stated repeatedly, horror forces us to examine social issues that are often ignored or frowned upon. Notice I didn’t state that said writing must contain vampires, ghosts, werewolves, or anything supernatural?
A thriller is a story where a basically innocent person endures increasingly terrible events until they can’t take it anymore, and in a fit of fight-or-flight syndrome, they choose to run. (By the way, the post on thrillers was a guest post from Carrie of The Books I Read.)
October's Compendium of Literary Links
Posted by Greg on The New Dork Review of Books
I highlighted The New Dork Review of Books a couple months ago in "Best of the Blogs" and have enjoyed perusing this smart and funny blog ever since. Today (because we all love roundups!), I want to direct you to a "compendium of literary links"—a "few really good, really long articles" about books and reading. The separation of art and artist. Nicole Krauss. Philip Roth. It's good stuff!
What blog posts have you enjoyed this week?
Because everyone loves a good blog series (like this one!), I thought you would enjoy hearing about a couple of recurring posts I enjoy following.
Wondrous Words Wednesday
Posted by Julie on Booking Mama
This series is hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion, although I originally came across it on Booking Mama. Every Wednesday, bloggers share new words they have discovered in their reading. For example, in reading Jackson Taylor's The Blue Orchard, Julie learned "mansard" and "accoucheur." (Don't know what they mean? You'll have to follow the link to find out.)
I love this idea because it encourages active reading. . . I am certainly guilty of skimming over a word I've never seen before and figuring out the basic meaning through context clues—but Wondrous Words Wednesday gives me a great reason to read with a pencil in hand.
Harrowing Historicals in October!
Posted by Allie on Hist-Fic Chick
This post introduces the Harrowing Historicals series hosted by Allie of Hist-Fic Chick and Nicole of Linus’s Blanket. Here's a description of the project:
Each day of the month at witching hour (12 midnight, EST), Nicole and I will feature a different historical fiction (and a few fun non-fiction!) read that has a Halloween tie-in. Because let’s face it – history is fraught with some scary stuff! Join us for chats on the history of vampires, Queens who died in gruesome ways, what it’s like to consult psychic mediums for historical fiction research, and scary personages like Elizabeth Bathory and Jack the Ripper. It’s going to be an exciting month filled with all things spooky history!
And of course for Halloween, there has to be some treats! Leaving a comment throughout the event on any Harrowing Historical post (here or on Linus’s Blanket) will enter you for a chance to win one of several awesome Harrowing Historical prize packs.
What blog posts about books did you enjoy this week? What blog series do you follow?
What blog posts about books have you found interesting this week? A few of my favorites include . . .
Lost, Unpublished Dr. Seuss Manuscript Surfaces
Posted on Booktryst by Stephen J. Gertz
This post gives a fascinating look at a newly discovered, unpublished manuscript by Dr. Seuss. From the blog: "This is an eye-popping find, a Seuss book in its earliest stage, a rough Seuss draft, an abandoned project not only never before seen on the market but never before seen or heard of, period."
If you love Dr. Seuss (who doesn't?), you must look at the handwritten and drawn pages!
Two Translators on Nobel Prize Winner Mario Vargas Llosa
Posted by Ryan Chapman on FSG's Work in Progress
For an excellent introduction to Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, read this Q&A with translators Edith Grossman and Natasha Wimmer. Here's an excerpt, on Grossman's book recommendations:
I can make some recommendations, but you have to remember that [Vargas Llosa] is not only is prolific but also is something of a chameleon: I mean that his themes and subject matter can vary from book to book. Having said that, I think Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter might be a good place to begin—it’s charming, funny, and very smart. Conversation in the Cathedral, also an earlier book, is darker and much more overtly political than Aunt Julia. A more recent book is The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto, which I find deeply amusing and absolutely serious at the same time. Finally, for a stunning view of dictators and dictatorships, there is Feast of the Goat. I think this may be one of his best.
I became familiar with Emily St. John Mandel when BookPage interviewed her about her latest novel, The Singer's Gun. In this post, St. John Mandel is writing about books by other authors—specifically, books with "unlikable" characters.
Now I have to get my hands on Marcy Dermansky’s Bad Marie!
J.K. Rowling does a high profile interview, authors write about Banned Books Week and more—it's been a big week for book blogs. A couple of my favorite posts are below. What blogs have you been reading?
Leaky Live Coverage: J. K. Rowling Interview on Oprah Winfrey Show
Posted on The Leaky Cauldron
Years before I read book blogs or blogged about books myself, I read The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet, two of the biggest Harry Potter fansites and blogs. Although I don't obsess over Harry Potter quite as much as I did in middle school and high school (which reminds me: I need to re-read Deathly Hallows before November . . .), I got pretty darn excited when I heard J.K. Rowling did an interview with Oprah.
The Leaky Cauldron has been updating their site throughout the day with snippets from the conversation. Here's an excerpt—in which Rowling comments on dealing with the press:
At the time I felt a need to deny how great the pressure was becaue that was my way of coping. It happended so fast for me, and it shouldn't have happened. It was a childrens book, a childrens book which I was repeatedly told wasn't very commercial. Because I had been turned down a lot. It was like being a Beatle. But there were four Beatles, so they could turn to each other and say "My god, This is crazy!" I couldn't turn to anyone.
And yes, Rowling said there could be more Harry Potter books. (Although I'm not holding my breath.)
This guy thinks SPEAK is pornography
Posted on author Laurie Halse Anderson's blog
Laurie Halse Henderson is the best-selling author of teen books (we've reviewed many of her books in BookPage). Two of her books, Speak and Chains, have been National Book Award finalists. Speak also has the distinction (ha) of being a challenged book. Wesley Scroggins, an associate professor of management at Missouri State University, wrote an opinion piece in the News-Leader of Springfield, MO, "in which he characterized SPEAK as filthy and immoral. Then he called it 'soft pornography' because of two rape scenes."
Anderson has turned Scroggins' action into an opportunity to speak out against banned books, telling readers what they can do if books are challenged in their communities. Today Anderson shared the big news that her publisher (Penguin) took out a full page ad in the New York Times to stand up for Speak. I have to say—it's pretty cool.