Tag Archives: Blogging

Happy 10 Years to Me!

I just realized that I started this book blog 10 years ago! 10. Wow. I even found my inaugural post:

blog post

Oh, I had such lofty goals. 100 books in one year. I think I only accomplished that once in the lifetime of this site. I did get really close in 2008 though. 90 books. Not too shabby.

This blog has been such a wonderful outlet for me to ramble on about the books in my life, joining reading challenges and realizing just how large the reading community really is. It makes my little librarian heart swell with joy.

Its interesting scanning through my old posts, seeing the evolution of my reading tastes from year to year. I definitely am not monogamous with any single genre. I started with the classics, delved into sci-fi and fantasy, discovered teen lit, (Oh Gossip Girl…I still love you and your TV show counterpart). I’m trying to figure out just when exactly this turned into an ALL THINGS FRENCH blog. I think 2011 after I came back from Paris.

I’m not the best at updating this blog, but to have lasted a good, albeit somewhat spotty, 10 years. Maybe its time I give it some love and try to keep up with my updates again.

I discovered a love for audiobooks in 2015 and its been such a game-changer for me. I’m able to keep up with more stories and stay entertained on my commutes around town. I’ve even gotten my 5 year old hooked on audiobooks. We’re listening to the Mouse and the Motorcycle right now. Its such a joy to share the classics of my childhood with him in this way. I’m not sure he could sit still at home with me reading such a lengthy book without pictures. But in the car, he’s totally entranced by the tale.

Well, what is a blog post without lists? Lets see how well I can sum my last 10 years with this blog with some of my favorite discoveries.

Favorite Series: 

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1) Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore

*I’m not really a series fan. I get about 3 books in, and then move on.

Countries Most Frequently Read About: 

Paris, England, US

*In that order…

Go to Authors: 

  • Agatha Christie
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Cecila Ahern
  • AJ Jacobs
  • William Alexander

Favorite Fiction Novels: 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry, #1) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell The Namesake The President's Hat

Guilty Pleasure Genres: 

Self-Help books. I probably shouldn’t admit this to the wide world of the Internet, but I love self-help books. I love their optimism, their encouraging voices, their checklists, charts and lists of To-do’s that I never, ever do. There is something special about these helping hands on the bookshelves.

Real Housewives Style Literature. A good guilty pleasure should be something fun, frivolous and just plain extraordinary. I would classify The Last Mrs. Parrish, Gossip Girl, and even The Swans of 5th Avenue in this category. I don’t watch The Real Housewives of any city. But I still appreciate a retreat into the completely ridiculous every now and then.

Social Science. I love studies. I love lives. I love studies about the lives of people. I love social science because I’m constantly trying to figure out how our world works and why people do the things they do. Things that I can relate to, things that I absolutely cannot understand.

Favorite Memoirs:

Paris Was Ours The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way

*you’d think this would be a lengthier list with all the dozens of Paris travel memoirs that I’ve read. But none really stand out as original or super insightful.

Favorite Nonfiction: 

Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present

How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food

 

 

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Linked-In 8/24/2012

Adieu mon amis! Have a fantastic weekend. Here are some fun links to carry you into the non-working frame of mind. At some point I will have a book review posted. I’m reading The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende right now and I am adoring her. Shame on all of high school and college English Lit professors who never mandated reading one of books for class. I would love to parse through the motifs, visuals and characterizations that make up such a rich story.

29 Puppies That Love Reading

Who’s Behind the Answers on TV’s Jeopardy? – Every researcher’s dream job…where do I apply?

“Basically, the writers spend their days creating categories, and the researchers spend their days fact-checking those categories. For every fact in every clue, the writer supplies at least one source, and the researcher makes sure that there are at least two sources for each fact by the time the clue is ready.”

Hooked on Houses: Lorelei’s House & the Gilmore Mansion! Yay! Track how the houses change over the 7 seasons of the show, as well as other behind the scenes tidbits about the cast and set designs. Now I want to rewatch all the special features disc for each season…

– The 2012 Bulwer-Lytton Award winners have been named! Congratulations to Cathy Bryant of Manchester, England for a dreadfully creepy and terrible opening line!

As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting. — Cathy Bryant, Manchester, England

 

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Today is Day 2 of the 4th annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I remember when the first one began in 2008, only 9 months after I first started blogging. Now look at it. Its grown up into a highly anticipated aspect of the blogging community. I’m proud to have seen many of the blogs nominated grow and change over time. Many of the bloggers rightfully deserve these awards for all the time and effort they have put not only into their own blogs, but into the community as a whole.

Current Winners

Paris in July

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In addition to the Agatha Christie Summer Celebration that I want to take part in, I am also signed up for the 2nd Annual Paris in July, hosted by Thyme for Tea and Book Bath.

Paris in July 2010Given my penchant for reading books set in France or Paris, this should be a piece of cake, or rather a piece of eclair, a roll of croissant, etc.

I spent 6 days of my honeymoon in Paris this April. I spent a grand total of 9 days in France when you include the weekend stay in Arles in Provance. I am desperate to get back, and Paris in July is a wonderful way for me to relive my days in Europe.

I even have plans to attend the 24th Annual French Festival in Santa Barbara this year. Paris in July is a month long blog-love for all things French and Parisian. It will run from July 1st to July 31st this year and the rules are fairly simple:

There will be no rules or targets in terms of how much you need to do or complete in order to be a part of Paris in July – just blog about anything French and you can join in. Some ideas for the month might include:
– Reading a French book – fiction or non-fiction
– Watching a French movie
– Listening to French music
– Cooking French food
– Experiencing French art, architecture or travel (lucky Tamara!)
– Or anything else French inspired you can think of…

I hope you will sign up with me for this fun event!!

You Found Me How?

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I think the fad for these search engine recaps has pretty much passed, but I’ll try to revive it. I’m looking through my WordPress collection of search terms used to direct people to my blog, and I couldn’t help but chuckle at most of them. The funniest thing, is that the #1 & #2 searches bringing people to my site, are my Rory Gilmore Reading List & Diary of A Wimpy Kid reviews respectively. #3 would probably be reviews of Al Capone Does My Shirts.

These, though, are some of the funnier search terms used in the past week. Although most of these require some sort of color commentary, I can’t really think of anything clever to say. I leave you to come up with your own quips!

In no particular order:

  • a report on the massacre and its aftermath by seymour m. hersh
  • emily lorelai richard
  • why no oranges clean program
  • novel of the world
  • leslie scalapino, dahlia’s iris, p. 104
  • adult storyline
  • a tree grows in brooklyn food
  • movies that show kids eating junk food
  • bite me sf
  • magazines like geek
  • information of jane austen’s life (15 pages)
  • world easy email address name
  • dismas hardy corned beef hash and eggs recipe
  • fiction book about soccer mom on painkillers
  • awakening desire, passion, impulsive action, love, all the subjects that had, until then, been hidden
  • thenobelworld.com
  • novel by shirley something

Chapter 1 Conclusion

How quickly a year just slips through our fingers. It will be 2009 in 2 days, and I can’t believe how much having this blog has changed my life. I know that sounds really corny. Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be a cheese-fest remembrance of my year as a blogger.

I have a LiveJournal account which I use to keep tabs with friends and update on my personal life. I started this blog with no initial purpose. If you look through my first 10 or so posts, its all chaotic with my reviews, anemic attempt at learning French and random mish-mash of knitting posts. It wasn’t until I narrowed my focus to just reviewing books that my blog really took off, and now here I am 11 months later (I started The Novel World at the end of January). I’m going to be hosting my first reading challenge in 2009, I receive books for review pretty frequently in the mail, I read ARCs for my library system, I’ve befriended many other bloggers in the tubes of the Internet, and have learned a lot about myself through all the books I’ve read this past year. I jumped around a lot with genres, and authors. Some books I plowed through, some I took my time with. Each book felt like a little romance, a little date with a mix of adventure. Some were more adventurous than others. Some were cheap duds.

I’m 6 books shy of reading my 100 books in a year goal. But hey, I came in pretty damn close, so I call it a win-win for me!

Here is wishing you all a Happy New Year’s! 2009 will be a year of surprises, new goals and aspirations and a brand new load of books to be read and reviewed and given away!

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The reader becomes a writer…of sorts

At what point does an avid reader decide to take up the art of writing?   Good writers aren’t always the best readers. Good readers aren’t always the best writers. But at some point, don’t you get fed up with reading so many frustrating books, with a disappointing characters or endings that just aren’t doing what you want them to do?

I’ve been a little bit burned out from reading so much this past year. I’ve read more books this past year than I did the previous 3 years combined. My head is swimming with so many different concepts, characters and plotlines, that the only way to clear up my mind is to start writing some stories of my own. Naturally, writing is a real challenge, but I wonder if its really something that you can fine-tune with creative writing classes, or if good writing just needs good editing and good reviews? Since I still have limited access to the Internet, I’ve been spending more time writing than reading. Its very therapeutic, and if anything, helps me appreciate the books I read, now that I can understand just how difficult the writing process is. I don’t think I’ll complain so much about the amount of time it takes an author to finish a novel (although 5 + years is still excessive). There is a lot to be said for the amount of detail spent over each word. Particularly in short stories where motifs and symbolism has to be consistant from page one.

I’ve also been busy with work lately. I taught my first computer class at the library yesterday. I taught Intro to Blogging. It was great being able to share my experience with blogging with curious students. I hope they all have successful blogs and get the same joy and feeling of accomplishment that I do whenever I hit the “publish” button. Story times are going great as well. I love it when the same kids come each week, and I can see them open up a little bit more, feel a little bit more independent.

Weekly Geek

I’ve recently joined in on the Weekly Geek challenges hosted by The Hidden Side of A Leaf who also hosted this past Saturday’s 24 hour Read-A-Thon which I wasn’t able to participate in. Based on Devourer of Books Blog it sounds like the marathon was pretty fun and active. Each hour prizes were awarded for minor challenges in addition to all the reading.

Weekly Geek sounds like a fun way to organize my blog. As each week a new theme is announced I can plan my weekly reading or updating around.

This week’s theme is challenges.

The Rules:

1. If you participate in any challenges, get organized! Update your lists, post about any you haven’t mentioned, add links of reviews to your lists if you do that, go to the challenge blog if there is one and post there, etc.

2. If you don’t participate in any challenges, then join one! There’s a good selection of possibilities over on my right hand sidebar (scroll down) where I list those I participate in. There’s also A Novel Challenge, a blog that keeps track of all sorts of reading challenges.

3. Towards the end of the week, write a wrap-up post about getting your challenges organized OR if you’re joining your first challenge, post about that any time during the week. Once you have your post up, come back and sign Mr Linky with the link to the specific post, not just to your blog.

So, as stipulated in the Weekly Geek rules, I will have my first Weekly Geek wrap-up posted on Saturday.

New features

Since this blog is in its toddler stages of development, I am still trying to figure out exactly what purpose I want this blog to serve. I don’t want to be just another book-review feed, so I’ve developed two new pages to help round-out this literary blog of mine.

There is the Bay Area Literary Events page that will be updated daily with upcoming literary events, festivals, readings, etc., going on in the greater Bay Area of California. I’m going to try my best to attend as many of these events as I can pending work schedules and other obligations.

There is also a smaller feature of cool/unique used bookstores that I come across in my travels. Hopefully this will encourage me to travel more!

Who Let the Blogs Out – Review

A blogger reading a book about blogging. Unfortunately, I wish I had read another book. Who Let the Blogs Out, by Biz Stone, current Senior Specialist on Blogging for Google, has good intentions but it still needs some work.

His audience is the group of people who have yet to start their own blog. His writing is very simplistic, filled with inside jokes (though only funny and understandable to himself) and run-on sentences and more Google advertising than the Google homepage. Biz speaks in hyperboles all through his work, and although he means well to encourage people to start their own blog, not everyone will be granted a book deal “willy-nilly” and he neglects to mention that for a blog to really take off and become successful, some skill is actually involved. The techno speak regarding HTML is kept to a minimum, only one chapter. That was the chapter I actually enjoyed and was able to learn from. He offered some good suggestions in terms of advertising the blog and taking it to the next level, although other that Google’s Adsense, I still don’t know how else to make money advertising on my blog. I would have appreciated a few more options, regardless of whether or not Google is best to use.

He spends most of his time talking about Blogger (acquired by Google in 2003), and I was disappointed that there was no mention of WordPress, but I think WordPress didn’t develop until after this book was written. He spends a lot of time talking about specific cases of blogs becoming successful, Instapundit.com for example, but he also discusses how blogs can be used at work, at school and at home. I liked the connection and ideas with using blogs at school, as a great way to promote group activity as well and improving reading comprehension and writing skills.

This is a good introduction book to blogging, but only if you’ve never blogged in your life. It offers an insider’s view, he did help start-up Xanga afterall, but if you already have a blog and know what you’re doing, this book is not for you.

Find this book at your local library

A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs

Who Let the Blogs Out
By: Biz Stone
St. Martin’s Press, 2004
ISBN: 0312330006
244 pages.