Showing posts from May, 2011

Armchair BEA: Imprints, TV Networks and Movie Studios

When I first started book blogging, I admit, I didn't pay too much attention to who published books. From my days as an independent bookseller, I was more aware of which vendor it came from because then I knew what days  they delivered. There some go-to genre publishers I was familiar with (TOR), but mostly, I just didn't pay attention.

Looking back, I'm struck by how odd that now seems. I was aware of movie distribution. In the late 1990's and early 2000's, I would see every Miramax movie. I paid attention to the kinds of movies they made, and I liked most of them. I didn't need to know the plot, the stars, or the director. If it was Miramax, I'd be there opening weekend. Now I'm more loyal to directors and screenwriters, but it's interesting to look back.

I'm a loyal tv network viewer too. I'll try out most of the new shows on HBO, TNT, USA and AMC. They consistently air quality, scripted drama. I may not keep watching, but the network…

book review: Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

The backstory: It's time for a confession, folks. I worked as a bookseller at an independent bookstore in college, and sometimes I cheerfully recommended books I haven't read. One of my go to novels for those who liked historical fiction (which I rarely read then except for Sarah Waters, whose debut Tipping the Velvet had rocked my socks off), was Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. In my defense, I had read other novels, but the book buyers at this store wanted new things; they wanted hardbacks. Clearly a tinge of guilt is still there, so I decided it was finally time to read this novel I recommended to so many that year.

My thoughts: When I first sat down with Daughter of Fortune, I intended to read for only fifteen minutes. I  immensely dislike being between two books, and I wanted just enough to give me a taste of what was to come. An hour later, I was sad to put the book down. Sometimes there are books, and in this case, the character of Eliza, who dig in and fascinate …

Armchair BEA: It's Interview Time!

When this year's interview swaps were announced, I was thrilled to see I get to interview Lyndsey (you may know here as teadevotee), who blogs at Amused, Bemused and Confused. Lyndsey and I have quite similar taste in books, and I'm really enjoying getting to know her this year, as we're both serving as voting members for the Indie Lit Awards Fiction category (formerly known as Literary Fiction.)

Let's start with the basics. Why did you start blogging about books?
I was blogging randomly about any old blather for about a year before I decided I needed more of a focus. I went with books because my reviews used to get quite a lot of interest--and because there is nothing I like more than reading:-)

You've been blogging for two years now. What has surprised you the most about blogging?
I was hugely and pleasantly surprised to discover the whole community. I love the way that blogging opens up a whole world of connections to people with the same tastes and sense of humou…

Armchair BEA: Upcoming Titles

Armchair BEA: Titles I'm Clamoring For
If I were at BEA this week, I'd have my eye on a few titles. Last year, I thought I was conscientious and only took books I intended to read. I didn't read most of them. I've also clarified my reading goals much better this year. I rarely dabble in children's, young adult or popular fiction. If I were going this year, I'd keep the list to no more than ten. I also learned last year to pay attention to the titles picked for BEA Editor's Buzz (many of which I've included below) because some of my favorite reads were featured there last year.

1. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Tom Perrotta might be my favorite author (it's so hard to choose!), and I already featured his upcoming novel on Waiting on Wednesday, but I'm still eagerly awaiting it (and hoping a copy just might find its way into my hands before it's published in August.)

2. The Art of Fielding by Chard Harbach
I love a debut novel, and this one has e…

Hello, Armchair BEA 2011!

Happy Armchair BEA 2011!
Last year, I was able to spend the week in New York City attending Book Expo America and the first ever Book Blogger Convention. This year, I'm thrilled to participate in Armchair BEA, a celebration for book bloggers who can't make it to New York this year.

Why am I staying home? Because this time next week, I'll be loading the U-Haul and hitting the road to move to Iowa. Instead of rubbing elbows with bloggers, publishers, and authors this week, I'll be elbow deep in packing boxes and busy saying goodbye to the wonderful friends I've made in Albany, a city I've come to truly love. Yes, Armchair BEA will be a lovely distraction from this emotional week and remind me of all the wonderful bookish people who will still be there next week.

Who am I? I'm an academic librarian in the midst of moving from the northeast back to my beloved Midwest. I love to read, and I'm mostly into literary fiction, literature prize lists and mysteries. …

book review: Faith by Jennifer Haigh

The backstory: In my pre-blogging days, I read Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh and really enjoyed it. I didn't track my reading in my early post-college days, but it's one of those novels I remember specific scenes from, so I was eager to read Haigh's latest novel, Faith.

My thoughts: Faith puts a very human face on the issue of priest abuse. We hear about Art, who is accused of abusing a young boy, through his sister Sheila. It's an interesting narrative device to hear Art's story through someone else, but I appreciated it. It's a powerful narrative device and questions the very nature of story and how the storyteller shapes the audience's perceptions and knowledge. I also appreciated sharing the journey with Sheila. She shared my desire to know what happened. At some point, however, my desire as a reader shifted and the why became so much more important than the what.

The verdict: I adored Faith, and it's a tribute to Haigh's writing and scope of char…

Sunday Salon: Putting the nomad back in nomadreader

Things picked up a bit this week, but it's been mighty quiet around here lately, hasn't it? I've been traveling, job-interviewing, and (honestly) watching a lot of tv. Stress (and pending underemployment) left me without much of an attention span to read. Even Sweet Valley Confidential. Lately, I seem to only be able to finish 5-star books that almost force me to not put them down. But friends, things are looking up. I already spilled the beans on Twitter, but I got a job. A full-time, tenure-track, kick-ass librarian job at a fantastic university.

Yes, that means Mr. Nomadreader and I are moving again. (And yes, we did just move across town six weeks ago.) They don't call us nomads for no reason, after all. Just as soon as I (almost) finished unpacking, it's time to start again. By the end of May, we'll be back in Des Moines:

Ah, Des Moines. It's one of my favorite cities. It's vibrant, young, fun and has an amazing food scene. With the joy of returnin…

book review: The Rebellion of Jane Clarke by Sally Gunning

The backstory: Many people recommended Bound, one of Sally Gunning's previous novels to me, but I never got around to reading it because I seem to favor newly released books. When the chance to read Gunning's latest novel appeared, however, I eagerly said, yes please!

The basics: Jane Clarke is an intrepid young woman in 1769 in Satucket (Cape Cod), Massachusetts. Her rebellion begins when she decides not to marry the man her father wants her to. Her father sends her to Boston to take care of her aunt, and Jane finds herself in the midst of a political battle.

My thoughts: This book could just as easily be called The Rebellions of Jane Clarke or The Rebellious Jane Clarke because there are indeed several rebellions depending on one's perspective. To a modern reader, however, the title suits because her rebellion exists in the context of her world. Jane is an interesting character. She lives a rather isolated life, in both Satucket and Boston. The first fifty pages were a bit…

book review: First Husband by Laura Dave

The backstory: Laura Dave is one of my favorite authors. I loved both of her first two novels, London is the Best City in America (my review)--also one of my favorite titles ever--and The Divorce Party (my review). I'm been eagerly awaiting her latest novel, The First Husband.

The basics: Instead of a plot summary, here are the opening lines: "It feels important to start with the truth about how I got here. When everything gets messy and brutal and complicated, the truth is the first thing to go, isn't it? People try to shade it or spin it or fix it. As though fixing the facts will make the situation less messy and brutal and complicated. Not more. But there's no fixing this: the truth is that I brought it on myself. All of it."

My thoughts: It's safe to say I will read anything Laura Dave writes. I don't need to know what it's about or anything else besides who wrote it. When I sat down and started reading The First Husband, I was pleasantly surprised …