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The move to our self-hosted site is complete!  You’ll find the post you’re looking for at

www.sheIsTooFondOfBooks.com

Thanks for your patience!

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… to a self-hosted domain.  My blog will look essentially the same once the change is complete, but I may be “unavailable” for a few days.  Think of it like I’m busy unpacking and hanging pictures in my new place, and I’ll get back with you as soon as I can!

Right now your shortcuts or links point to www.sheIsTooFondOfBooks.wordpress.com (even though you might not type wordpress into the address bar).  After the move you’ll find me at simply www.sheIsTooFondOfBooks.com.

I’m hoping the process will be fairly painless (crossing fingers!), and that I can get my links straightened out in short order.  Soon I’ll be back posting and commenting … pop over anytime, I’ll roll out the Welcome Mat, and no housewarming gift is expected 🙂

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The entries in this contest were so fun to read!  Here’s a sampling of the answers to “Home is ….”

  • wherever you’re happiest
  • where my kids are
  • where my fiance is
  • where you can always feel like you and where memories are made
  • full of cats
  • where my family is

There are 44 other submissions, find them here.   And if you haven’t yet had a chance to, check out author Kathleen McCleary’s guest post.

 

I used random.org to choose the winner…

Here are your random numbers:

48	

Timestamp: 2008-09-20 13:32:00 UTC

melanie!  Her answer was “Home is where my husband and I are, together.”  Congratulations, Melanie!  Please use the “contact me” tab to send me your mailing address and I’ll get your package in the mail.

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Each day this week, Amy has asked us to write about a specific topic; I’ve been in bed since Tuesday afternoon (one of those crazy New England sinus infections stemming from weather in the 80s one day and the 60s the next.  TMI, I know, sorry about that … It beats “the dog ate my homework” for an excuse of why I’ve been MIA this week!).  This is today’s assigment from My Friend Amy: today take whatever direction you want. Share some of the new blogs you’ve discovered, things you’ve learned, what you got out of the week, or what you plan to do on your blogcation (I have one coming up…:)

The blogs, oh my!  I had 120 blogs in my Reader last weekend, I’ve added about another 40 since the week began.  What a great group of people – sharing ideas, book recommendations (of course!), interesting conversations about world events and how they affect us, author sites, even blogs that focus on genres I’m “not into” got added!  Thru the daily postings I was introduced to other readers and writers with similar general interests, but diverse enough to not be the “same old, same old.”

I loved the interviews that Amy arranged!  I haven’t worked my way through all of them yet, but I so enjoy reading them.  I always like to read/listen to author interviews, and hey, bloggers are just as interesting!  It’s fun to find out the back story as to why/how they started, challenges they’ve overcome, fun they’ve had, and the niche they cover.

The giveaways have been spectacular!  My TBR pile is so tall that I entered a limited few, but, boy were there a lot of books and other goodies to be had.  Amy made great connections with publishers, publicists, authors and other bloggers who spread the word and arranged many giveaways of their own.  What a generous group!

The awardswere well-deserved!  Many of these blogs were new to me, so they were dutifully added to my “must read” list as well.  The categories ran the spectrum and covered every nook and cranny of the book blogging world!  I think everyone who was nominated was worthy – maybe we need a “BBAW Nominee” button as well as the “winner” button, so the runners-up can show that off, too.

Since I’ve been under the weather this week I have been posting only minimally (and still have “homework” to catch up on, the “thank you” assignment and blogging tips will come over the weekend).  On Monday I had a review and giveaway of Kathleen McCleary’s House & Home (enter by midnight tonight!).  Tuesday was my interview with Amy and a wonderful guest post by Kathleen McCleary.  If you haven’t read Kathleen’s post, please take a minute to click over – she talks about the inspirations for one of the settings in her novel, combining IRL bookstores and her creative talents to form the Hole in the Wall Bookstore; it’s neat to read about the writer’s process.

Many thanks to Amy for being the creative force behind this eventful week, and to all the others who stepped up to lend such a huge helping hand!  From where I sit (and lay, and nap this week!), it’s been a phenomenal success.  I have a lot of reading and writing to catch up on over the weekend … Amy, enjoy your well-deserved blogcation!

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This week’s Spotlight on Bookstores is written by Heather, a wife, mom, and avid reader.  She reviews a wide variety of books at her blog Age 30 – A Year of Books and also posts with her kiddo about their Mom & Son Book Club. In addition to running a fabulous in-real-life book club, Heather is a contributor to the Reading Group Guides blog.

“Heather Johnson: Ambassador of Books, Book Club Madam, and Blogger Gal”

I had never heard of Indie Book Stores until I started my blog.  Come to find out, Indie is just a cool way of saying “independent” … as in, not part of a huge chain store.  Aha!  How lovely.  So I did a search for Indie bookstores in my area and guess what?  There ain’t many.  Yes, there are some in Baltimore, but I don’t go into the city unless I have to (I’m just not a city girl).  Other than the city, my only choice was a town about 30 miles away

I checked out the website for Constellation Books; I signed up for their newsletter.  Every week I get a brief update on events at the bookstore and every week I say I’m going to take a ride up there to check it out.  It seems that there is always some little event going on, with cookies, tea or wine being served.  Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

One evening in July, my plans were suddenly cancelled.  I remembered that Constellation Books was having Irish Music that night so I grabbed kiddo (he’s 6) and we hopped in the car for a 45 minute ride to the store.

Let me say right now that the store is lovely.  It’s in an old house so there are different rooms to check out.  Kiddo immediately plopped into the beanbag chair in the Children’s Books Room; he could reach from his spot to snag books from the bottom shelf without getting up.  I wandered through the rooms munching on the complimentary 7-layer Italian cookies and hot apple cider (my FAVORITE things!)  All the time we were serenaded by a one-man-band playing Folk and Irish Music. 

After browsing and snacking for a while, I checked on kiddo.  He was still rooted to the same spot.  Eventually he got up and walked around, but only to request some of his favorite Irish songs and sit up next to the musician. 

After a while we had to make decision on what books we were going to buy.  Kiddo’s decision was easy – he wanted one of the first books he’d taken off the shelf.  Together we picked out two books for his cousins; my sister had her 2nd baby the night before, so we were getting a baby book and a big brother book.  Then it was my turn, and of course I’m not easy.  I was trying to decide between non-fiction, my first venture into Steampunk (that caused some raised eyebrows.  Even the musician said “It’s not every day you hear someone ask for that!”), or a book from my TBR list.  In the end, store owner Lauretta led me to a book that didn’t fit in ANY of those categories and I chose that one.  Of course.

I left the store with my new customer loyalty card already 1/2 way full (a full card gets you $10 off), a happy kiddo, a happy self, and a strong desire to magically move this store closer to my house.

If you’re ever in the greater Baltimore area, stop by and say “hi” to Lauretta at Constellation Books.  Snuggle in to the big white couch in the Fiction Room, browse the Bargain Shelf, and munch on some goodies.  You’ll enjoy her store, I guarantee it!

(Note from Dawn:  nothing says “great book shopping experience” better than cookies, cider, a happy child, a helpful bookseller, and a bag full of books – Constellation Books sounds like a great place to visit, again and again!  Readers, is there a special bookstore you’d like to see featured in the Spotlight on Bookstores series?  Contact me, using the tab above!)

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Next week is Book Blogger Appreciation Week … there are guests posts, giveaways, interviews, awards galore, etc.!

What’s in it for the person who reads book blogs (doesn’t have one of his/her own) … PLENTY!  Where would book bloggers be without the loyal readers who contribute so much to our blogs with feedback, comments, questions?!?  This week is to honor YOU as well.

Accordingly, the Literate Housewife has put together an amazing contest just for book blog readers.  All you have to do is submit a short (200 words or less) essay completing the sentence: “I read book blogs because …”  The top ten answers will be submitted to Joshua Henkin, the author of Matrimony.  Readers of my blog know how much Joshua loves readers and book groups (details of my current giveaway are here) … he’ll be selecting the First, Second and Third place entries – the winners will get grab bags of books!!

Read the details of the contest at the Literate Housewife’s post – remember to email your entry to the address she provides, don’t leave it in the Comments section.

Thanks, readers!

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Today’s question from the Boston Bibliophile: Awards. Do you follow any particular book awards? Do you ever choose books based on awards? What award-winning books do you have? (Off the top of your head only- no need to look this up- it would take all day!) What’s your favorite award-winning book?

I follow many of the book awards, but in the same way I follow the Academy Awards for movies; that is, I note that the book has been awarded Thus-and-Such Award, and if I choose to read it, I have a benchmark (“what were they thinking??!” or “yes, I can see why it won!”).  Case in point for recent movies (we use netflix; four kids, no time to go out!): No Country for Old Men – huh?  I kept waiting for the end to wrap it up; I was left hanging and disappointed.  Juno – loved it!  It was on the short list, but didn’t win … why not?  are these things rigged?!?

I have “common knowledge” as a display column in the Your Library section of LT, so I can see at a glance if a book I’ve entered is on any award list.  Just looking at my A titles, we have Anne Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist, Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and Virginia Hamilton’s Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave.  It’s straight-forward to change the way your library displays, if you’d like to do this.  Just click the pencil icon on the “styles” tab and select “CK: awards and honors” from the drop-down menu in one of the blank columns.

Browsing at a bookstore I might be drawn to a book with a gold seal on the cover, indicating some type of award and deserving further investigation.  Ultimately I’ll choose to purchase/read the book based on an excerpt or a conversation with another reader (or bookseller), not simply because of an award logo.  With books for kids I’m more apt to trust the judgement of the award(er).

(Shameless self-promotion):  Marie’s question last week revolved around the LibraryThing Authors in our LT libraries.  I was surprised to see how few I had, and created the LT Author Challenge to encourage myself and others to increase our numbers.  Each new LT Author book read/reviewed/posted will count as an entry into a drawing for a $20 gift card for (what else?!) books.  Details are here.

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Dear Diary …

 

Each Monday the New York Times runs a column called “Metropolitan Diary”, comprised of reader-submitted vignettes about life in New York.  These short pieces are usually humorous, and often include mention of tourists, cab rides and people-watching in Central Park.

This Monday, August 25, two items caught my eye, as they mention bookstores and libraries.  I quote them here for your enjoyment:

Dear Diary,

The other day I was looking for crime novels by two Brooklyn writers and thought I’d check out the used-book store in Brooklyn Heights.  A approached the bookseller behind the counter and asked, “Where are mysteries?”

He smiled beatifically and replied, “All around us.”

(submitted by Harry Kaplan)

Dear Diary,

A Monday afternoon in the crowded Children’s Room of the Brooklyn Public Library.

One girl, 5 or 6 years old, has presumably lost her playmate.  She marches purposefully along the center aisle, peering down all the rows.

Finally she begins to holler, frowning with impatience:

“Stella! STELLA!”

Marlon Brando would be proud.

(submitted by Jessica Max Stein)

Do you have any real-life bookish anecdotes to share?

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There’s still time to join us in planning “the week ahead”, and to enter to win a Page-A-Day Book Lover’s Calendar.  I picked up the calendar from our local bookstore, so I’m ready to send it out to the winner at the end of September.  Find the details here.

A snapshot of what may, or may not, happen in my life this week:

Monday 8/25/08 – To the Post Office to mail The Gargoyle to cheesygiraffe, the winner of the giveaway.  I’m sending my second (personal) copy to Kimberly at Fit at Forty Plus; Kimberly is unable to run (her passion) while she recovers from outpatient surgery, and really, really, really wants to read this book.  She has agreed to write a guest review for my blog and to mail back the book so I can read it … a win-win situation!

Tuesday 8/26/08 –If it’s Tuesday, it must be time for Tuesday Thingers … I wonder what the Boston Bibliophile has in store for us this week!?

Wednesday 8/27/08 – Whether you call it mid-week, hump day, or just plain ol’ Wednesday, in Boston it’s “Prince Spaghetti Day!” (Does anyone else remember those ads?!).  Wednesday means it’s time for an SOB – Spotlight on Bookstores.  Today Lori from Lori’s Reading Corner offers a guest post about the New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton.

Thursday 8/28/08 – The Upsilamba book group, my friends in Connecticut, are meeting tonight to discuss Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank.  I was hoping to arrange a “field trip” down to see them, but it doesn’t look like it will work out.  The library has a copy that I requested, so I’ll try to read the book before Thursday, and maybe call in to chat about the book and catch up with those that weren’t in Boston for our “girls’ night out” last Friday.

Friday 8/29/08 – On Friday I’ll post my review of Ellen Meister’s The Smart One.  I’m doing this review as part of an author tour for Blog Stop Book Tours, the first time I’ve worked with this group.  Click on the link to see a list of other blogs that have reviewed The Smart One as part of this tour.  Along with the review I have a surprise for one lucky reader, to be announced with the review!

The Weekend – Best wishes to all for a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend.  Enjoy this unofficial last weekend of summer!

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Who remembers the WABAC Machine?  This was from Peabody’s Improbable History, a show-within-a show during the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons of the 1960s (disclaimer:  I watched the re-runs!).  Peabody would set the WABAC machine to a date in the past, and give unsuspecting viewers a history lesson!  For a blast from the past, read the Wikipedia article on the subject.

A few weeks ago I bought the July/August 2008 issue of Bookmarks magazine, which had an extensive article on Time Travel in a cover-grabbing article called “Great Science Fiction”.  Science fiction, moi?  Apparently, oui, as several books on my bookcase involve the subject of time-travel.

In the past few months I’ve reviewed Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, a fun novel about a present-day Los Angelean who wakes up in Regency-period England, and Miss Alcott’s E-Mail (here), a clever biography of Louisa May Alcott.

Other time-travel books on Bookmarks’ list include:

  • Time and Again by Jack Finney (I’ve read this one, too!)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  • “A Sound of Thunder” a short story by Ray Bradbury
  • Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

What other time travel books have you read?  Are there other suggestions for a non-science-fiction reader like me?  I enjoyed the three that I’ve read because they focus on the result of the time-travel, not the technical process of getting there …

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