Archive for Book Blogosphere

Sunday Browse in the Book Blogosphere


Good morning! I’ve had some lovely time in the sun on my balcony, puttering with plants in pots, and now I’m going to browse through the book blogs in my neighbourhood. I may try to be a bit quicker than usual, though, because it’s going to be a busy day. For one thing, I read The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff yesterday, and need to write a review. Among many other bits of writing. So! Let’s have a quick gander…

And I have a newcomer today: Stacy from Stacy’s Bookblog. She just got back from a trip to New York (and came back with books, surprise surprise). Meanwhile, she’s reviewing several of Jeffrey Deaver’s books about paraplegic Lincoln Rhymes. I’ve never heard of these books before, and the premise seems really interesting.

Stacy does mention that the fifth book seems more like a “politically correct history lesson,” and that would have been my own worry about this sort of series. I imagine an author has to walk a fine line when dealing with a topic like this. But feminist writers have always had the same problem — in fact, anyone writing about a major social topic like this would face this issue.

At Puss Reboots, Sarah continues her review of the chapters of James Joyce’s Ulysses. She also had a guest review of Can You Spell Revolution? And reviewed a baseball story, “Stratosphere,” from the April/May edition of the Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. Very eclectic and interesting week!

Meanwhile, over at Minds Alive on the Shelves, a review I’ve eagerly been awaiting! Lisa recently finished Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and loved it. I wasn’t sure about the book when I heard about it, but reading Lisa’s comments about it while she was reading it made me eager to read it myself. Now she’s reading Fool by Christopher Moore, and her comments and those of other friends are making me want to read that too.

Melanie at The Indextrious Reader is doing what several book bloggers are doing this week: catching up on reviews. It’s not so much that she’s being conscientious (though she is), but this is the project this week of the Weekly Geeks. Given that I have about three I want to review too, and probably more, I’d do this as well if I just had time. Melanie also mentions something I missed when I wrote about Yann Martel finally hearing from PM Stephen Harper’s office: Martel’s essays are going to be collected into a book that will be released this autumn by Vintage Canada. Yay!

At Dark Novels, Carrie is dealing with some interesting health questions, and also explains how she came to enjoy the “dark” stories so much. And her background is more similar to mine than I realized. (I’m an ex-fundie.) This really adds another whole layer to things.

Joanne at The Book Zombie is going to participate in a short story summer reading program dreamed up by Harper Perennial, and mentioned  at The Savvy Reader blog: “Summer is Short, Read a Story.”

Then there’s another newcomer to my blogroll: Harvee at Book Bird Dog. He’s reviewing a ton of books that have me interested in the mystery and thriller genre. Illegal, by Paul Levine is a book I read about when I first started getting the newsletters from publishers in this genre, and I’ve looked for it in my local library. Alas that it wasn’t at my branch! But soon…

Kathy at Bermudaonion’s Weblog is engaging in several giveaways, partly because June 12 (Friday) was her one-year anniversary of creating the blog. Congratulations, Kathy! And she mentions that author Mary Kay Andrews will be on Blog Talk Radio this coming Tuesday.

At Alpha Heroes, Nicola is also doing the “catch up on reviews.” In her case, she uses the Thursday Thirteen meme to do mini-reviews in the style of Chris at the Stumbling Over Chaos blog.

And at another new blog on the blogroll, A Book A Week, Kiirsten has spent much of the week raving about Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel. Her Tuesday Teaser was about that book, and her most recent post is a very long and extensive (and happy) review. She also highly recommends another book blog, Books & other thoughts, for its variety, organization, and insight. Another blog I’m going to start watching, I think.

And that’s our tour for the week. Have a good upcoming week, enjoying our wealth of books!

Strolling through the Book Blogs


Good day! It’s another nice Sunday morning — I look out the window and there’s sun bathing the herbs and other plants on my balcony, and in the distance, the surface of Lake Ontario positively shimmers. I tell you — it’s a great thing, after a solid week of grey skies and rain.

And it’s a lovely opportunity to stroll through the streets of the book blogging neighbourhood, and see what everyone else has been up to lately.

I’m very entertained by Nicola’s doings at Alpha Heroes this week. She received an award that…well…engenders mixed feelings, shall we say. (Go peek!) And she’s giving away copies of Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Cary. (I think I’d read it just because of the dramatic cover.)

At Bermudaonion’s Weblog, Kathy has had a very busy week, giving away a copy of The Turnaround by George Pelecanos, reviewing The Telltale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe s well as a couple of other books, participating in a blog tour, and — what makes me most envious — going to Book Expo America. Waaaah! I want to go to something like that! I hope she had a great time.

Joanne at The Book Zombie, as always, has a veritable feast for her readers this week. As well as reviewing a book I now very much want to read – Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Lauren Lipton, Joanne is participating in something called Music Mundays (I’m sure the misspelling is intentional), hosted by Chris at the Stuff as Dreams are Made On blog, during which you post links to your favourite music. Hm… Tomorrow is Monday…hm…

At Books and Movies, CarrieK found herself musing about a recent post by Avis at She Reads and Reads, asking book bloggers whether they post negative reviews, or just don’t bother reviewing books they didn’t like. (I responded to that one myself, since I’ve done at least two quite negative reviews, though not yet on this blog.) Carrie tends mainly not to finish books she isn’t liking (life is too short, after all!), and she’s posted a list of her “did not finish” books so far this year. (I’ve got one of those too.)

Carrie S, at Dark Novels, is in the midst of reviewing the books of the Southern Vampire series by Charliane Harris. But even more exciting, to me, is the fact that she’s going to be heading back as a full-time student in August, leading hopefully to a Master’s degree in English. Isn’t that wonderful?? (So many things this morning to make me envious!)

Over at The Indextrious Reader, Melanie has been recovering from illness, and mentions several “comfort books” she has read while being under the weather. Among them are a couple of books by Alexander McCall Smith (I must start reading him soon!), and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, by Eva Rice. Melanie also congratulates Alice Munro for winning this year’s International Man Booker Prize. (Yes, yes yes! This was something I had started a post about, but got so swamped with work that I couldn’t post.) And finally, Melanie mentions a book I think I really must try to find and read — a fantasy novel that combines tarot and labyrinth symbolism with alternate history and world-building — The Labyrinth Gate, by Alis Rasmussen (who also writes under the name Kate Elliott). It looks like it’s out of print, which makes me cry. But I may be able to find it somewhere in Toronto.

Lisa at Minds Alive on the Shelves has caught up with a lot of things, after travelling for her job (and before her next trip). Among other things, she has finally posted her review of The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato. Lisa has been raving about this book for weeks, mainly for the history in the story. Her next review is going to be Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – which I anticipate with glee, since I know she enjoyed it so much. I may read it myself, after I read her review!

Meanwhile, at The Printed Page, Marcia is having to take a bit of a break because of sore hands and wrists. She’ll still post her Mailbox Monday, Cover Attraction, and By the Chapter ponderings, but needs to scale back for a while otherwise.

Over at Puss Reboots, Sarah is a book-reviewing juggernaut as always, but one thing she’s doing particularly intrigues me. She’s reading through James Joyce’s Ulysses, and each week posts her review of the latest chapter. This week she discusses some of the themes of “Oxen in the Sun,” and relates them to a couple of television programs — Bones, and The Family Guy, particularly the episodes about Stewie Griffin (my favourite character) trying to prevent any further births in the family. The whole post is fascinating; go and check it out!

And finally, Weekly Geeks are “going into the confessional” this week. That is, they’re describing their “guilty pleasures” whether those are trash TV, trashy novels, junk food, etc. (Mine is chocolate.)

So there you have it. That’s what some of our bookish neighbours have been doing this week.

Browsing through the Book Blogs

A nice cup of tea as we browse

A nice cup of tea as we browse

It’s Sunday again, and that means another leisurely browse through the Book Blogosphere. Let’s sit back, put our feet up, and have a look, shall we? I may have to be a bit quicker than usual today, though, but we’ll see how it goes.

Nicola at Alpha Heroes has an interesting discussion about bookmarks, which is what last week’s Weekly Geeks topic was. (Melanie at The Indextrious Reader also discusses this.) I confess that I mainly keep decorative bookmarks as art objects, while my own bookmark of choice is a paper clip. Yes, I can feel you cringing from here.

Meanwhile, also be sure to check out Nicola’s post from last week where she muses over the idea that popular fiction is rooted in the ancient heroic epics. I would agree with this, very strongly. I once did quite a bit of research on the writing of soap operas, and was impressed with a) the high education of the writers; and b) the fact that they consciously and deliberately took many plots straight out of places like Shakespeare and other great literature. Those were often the stories that really gripped the audience.

Over at Bermudaonion’s Blog, Kathy continues to read prolifically (puts me to shame, I tell ya!), and has some great reviews from the past week. I’m especially interested in The Turnaround by George Pelecanos, that deals with the survivors of a violent “incident” re-encountering each other after 30 years and trying to make amends. But after reading Kathy’s review, I also want to read Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away, by June Cross. It’s about the mixed-race child of a white actress, who wouldn’t acknowledge the child in public and gave her to a black couple to raise. My TBR list is swelling as we speak!

Joanne at The Book Zombie has several reviews that are as detailed and rich as always, but I’m most interested in the most recent one, about graphic novels. Very much my cup of tea.

At Books and Movies, Carrie has been very busy the past week as well, but one particular post, about her favourite non-fiction history books, really caught my eye. As people may know who’ve read my opinions for a while, I’m very keen on history (at least from certain parts of the world), and love both fiction and non-fiction books working from a historical premise. There goes the TBR list again.

Hava at Nonfiction Book Review is on an astronomy binge this week. Another of my great favourite topics! She’s reviewed one book that’s all about the end of the universe, and another with some amazing photos from the Solar System. Now she’s asking for other ideas for books to read. Got any? Leave her a comment.

I’m also welcoming a new blog to my Book blogroll today: Puss Reboots. This week, Sarah reviews several things, including a reprint of the novella, “The Brave Little Toaster.” And she works on this week’s Weekly Geeks assignment, which is to take a “tour” of your hometown, i.e. talk about the writers or famous literary places connected to the town where you were born.

Hm. Calgary. Lots of interesting stuff there. If I weren’t so busy…!

And at Worthwhile Books, Hopeinbrazil reviews The Warden, by Anthony Trollope. And also mentions a new biographical novel about the Bronte family, The Taste of Sorrow, by Jude Morgan. I think in many ways, the Bronte family’s biographies are as interesting and intriguing as any stories they wrote, so this sounds like it would be a great book

And that’s it, for this week! I hope you check out some of these wonderful book blogs. I don’t want to be the only one expanding my TBR pile.

Happy reading!

Fun book blog: Flashlight Worthy

Don’t you just love the name of this book blog? Flashlight Worthy (or FLW) has all sorts of associations as a title: huddled under the covers when you’re supposed to be asleep, using a flashlight to keep reading under there so your parents don’t know. I’m not sure how often that still happens these days, but I still love the imagery.

The blog is pretty much just lists of books related to various topics. For example, The Best Books for Poetic Seduction. Those are mostly — but not all! — poetry. Or It’s All About Culture, listing a few books that seem to capture the feel cultures from China to the Congo to Italy to Afghanistan to Ireland to…

The blog is posted by a couple of people named Peter Steinberg and Eric Mueller, with contributions and ideas from all sorts of other people. The categories are eclectic and fun, most as expected as Fiction, Children’s Books, or Gay & Lesbian, with others a bit more surprising, like Oprah or Rest in Peace. And all they contain is lists, with a very brief description of each book, and an opportunity to buy them through FLW’s Amazon links so they’ll get the small referral credit.

The lists seem to be compiled according to whatever strikes the fancy at a given time. For example, in the Miscellaneous category you’ve got “Books Related to Einstein and his General Theory of Relativity.” And it doesn’t just contain books describing the theory itself — it contains a book like the light sci-fi mystery novel, Time and Again, by Jack Finney.

As Peter Steinberg says at the beginning of that list:

One of the great things about running Flashlight Worthy is how much different material you’re exposed to… and how it all ties together — One night you’re flipping through a book of short stories called The General Theory of Love and the next you’re looking for ways to make a book list out of the 93rd anniversary of Einstein publishing his General Theory of Relativity. (You know, E=MC2.)

That’s how eclectic and fun these lists are. I’m very glad I discovered this blog. I may start making some “related lists” of my own, and I’ll certainly keep checking back to Flashlight Worthy to see what they come up with next.

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