Win A Trip to the Texas Book Festival

Posted in Event at 9:42 pm by Amber

I just read about this earlier today on Helen Ginger’s blog.  The Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas is giving away a trip for two to the festival which is from October 30th to November 3rd this year.  (This grand prize includes airfare and accommodations.)  Second prize is a Fort Worth Arts and Culture Tour (this also includes airfare and accommodations.) and the third prize is a gift basket from Barnes and Noble.  If I weren’t returning from a vacation around the time of the festival I’d enter.  There isn’t much time left to enter, so hurry!

I’ve wanted to visit Austin for a long time and just haven’t seemed to find the right time to go.  The Texas Book Festival has too many authors to count that will be there.  Some of the names I recognized were Ann Cummins (author of The Red Ant House), Kathleen Kent (author of The Heretic’s Daughter), Andre Dubus III (author of The House of Sand and Fog), David Ebershoff (author of The 19th Wife), Ann Packer (author of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier) and Francine Prose (author of Blue Angel).

Have you ever been to a book festival?  The closest I’ve ever been is what I see on C-SPAN.

ALA Read and Author Series Posters

Posted in Event at 8:29 am by Amber

While looking at the ALA site for Banned Book Week I came across the current Celebrity READ posters in their shop.  It reminded me that during high school I had the David Bowie poster hanging on my wall.  I don’t recall how I got it.  It seems like it should have been a prize for the summer reading club but I was too old for the club then.  There used to be an age limit on the reading club though I don’t think they actually said there was – what teenager wants a happy meal coupon for reading books?  Now our library has multiple summer reading clubs for kids, teens and adults. 

Curious about who has been on the posters I found a site called I Love Libraries.  It has a page that lists all of the celebrities that have done posters over the years.  I learned that we can recommend celebrities and characters for the posters.  All you have to do is send an e-mail to graphicsmarketing@ala.org with “READ Poster Suggestion” in the subject line.   Bet you can’t guess who I picked for my nomination.  Fone Bone from the Jeff Smith Bone series.

While looking around I found out there is an author series of posters too where authors recommend some of their favorite books.  I’d be interested in knowing if some of them would change their lists.


Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

Posted in Review at 1:08 pm by Amber

Faceless Killers introduces the Swedish detective, Kurt Wallander, to US readers.  (There are approximately a dozen books featuring Wallander but not all have been translated into English.)  One cold evening, an elderly farm couple is attacked.  The husband is killed and the wife is found barely alive.  She’s able to offer clues to solve the crime before she passes away from her injuries.  The clues point to non-Swedish suspects which can turn the case into a political situation if not handled with tact.  While trying to thoroughly follow the leads Wallander receives threatening phone calls, discovers a source leak in the department and more blood is shed. 

Kurt Wallander is a middle-aged man alienated from his daughter, recently divorced from his wife, distant from his sister and too preoccupied with work to deal with his aging father.  Each of the relatives make an appearance and not always at convenient times.  Add an attractive prosecutor to the mix and Wallander’s work is no longer the refuge it once was.

Mankell packs a lot into this novel.  In less adept hands this could be a mess.  The police procedural information and work environment are easy to follow.  Mankell provides enough details to keep the reader informed and engaged without giving a course or lecture on the topic.  The writing is also superb.  When Wallander is out on surveillance your own joints ache as though you were the one asked to move in the freezing cold weather. 

Wallander is not a super detective; he’s a man who is trying to do the best he can in his present situation.  He’s aware of his imperfections and tries to figure out what he can change so he can have a happier life.  Faceless Killers is one of the best books I’ve read this year.


Celebrate Banned Book Week

Posted in Event at 12:53 pm by Amber

This year Banned Book Week is Saturday, September 27th through Saturday, October 4th.  How are you going to celebrate?  Several cities in the US have events planned.  I’ll pick one of the books on the challenged list and read it.


The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction – Oct/Nov 2008 Issue

Posted in Review at 3:51 pm by Amber

Gordon Van Gelder, Publisher/Editor, of the magazine offered over a dozen copies of the October/November 2008 issue to bloggers.  I was one of the lucky ones.  I’ve heard of the magazine for years and read some of the contents but never actually read an entire issue until now. 

This is one of those magazines meant to be read when large chunks of reading time is available.  There are certainly some short stories and poems available but the work is best enjoyed after the experience has settled.  The editors do a nice job of accepting items of various length and putting it all together in a way that isn’t exhausting to the reader.  For example, the issue begins with Albert E. Cowdrey’s short story “Inside Story” which is followed by Charles de Lint’s book reviews.  Some readers would have problems shifting from Cowdrey’s post-Katrina New Orleans to Tim Sullivan’s asteroid geological trip turned disaster tale if they were placed together.

There is a lot to like about this particular issue.

  • “Inside Story” by Albert E. Cowdrey – Post-Katrina New Orleans is in need of all the residents it can keep.  For some reason, residents of the FEMA trailers keep disappearing.  Detectives Fournet and Tobin are going to look into the matter.
  • “Days of Wonder” by Geoff Ryman – The featured society in this story migrates according to the seasons and amount of food available.  As often happens, a clash between a dreamer and the others brings about change.
  • “The Visionaries” by Robert Reed – How is it that a poorly written novella can garner the main character professional pay rates for the rest of his writing life?  What makes the main character so special?  Could a conspiracy be underway?
  • “Private Eye” by Terry Bisson – This tale has a noir feel featuring a private eye and an internet worker bee.  While their professions could be far off in the future, the interplay between these New Yorkers is unquestionably present day.
  • “December 22, 2012” by Sophie M. White – White’s poem is less than a hundred words long but that doesn’t diminish the laugh it brings at the end.

These are just some of the highlights.  Each piece holds it’s own.  I found some new books to add to my TBR pile through the book reviews.  The film reviews let me know about another horror movie I won’t be seeing.  (I’m a bit squeamish with horror movies I’m sorry to report.)  This issue should be available at your local newsstand or bookstore until the end of October.  It’s also available on Fictionwise in electronic format, or you can purchase it online at their web site.


Book Blogging Survey Answers

Posted in Event at 5:11 am by Amber

Amy from My Friend Amy sent all of the official blog participants these survey questions.  I thought I’d answer them and share them with you.

1) What is the craziest place you’ve ever read?

I suppose the craziest place would be wherever I can take my PDA with me.  The last year or so I’ve read ebooks on my Palm.  It’s especially nice when I’m working on a book review for a publication.  Though nothing can replace the feel and weight of a book in my hands, they don’t always fit well into my purse.

2) How many books are in your TBR pile?

At last count LibrayThing had me at 137 books.  They are scattered throughout the house.  I have two bookshelves by our fireplace with TBR books and three boxes in the basement.  There is a box of books unaccounted for that I haven’t been able to locate so there may be more than 136.

3) How many hours a week do you spend on reading? Read the rest of this entry »

Winner of My Second Book Giveaway for Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Posted in Event, Giveaway at 12:08 am by Amber

Congratulations to Laura K for winning an ebook copy of The Duchess by Rhonda Lee.  Rhonda should be emailing you the ebook soon.

Thank you to Rhonda for providing the ebook for the giveaway!


Reminder – Second Book Blogger Appreciation Week Giveaway

Posted in Event at 3:28 pm by Amber

The giveaway for the erotica ebook The Duchess by Rhonda Lee is still open.

This week I’ll have some wrap-up posts about Book Blogger Appreciation Week and some reviews.


Book Blogger Appreciation Week Award Winners!

Posted in Event at 11:58 pm by Amber

In case you weren’t able to travel all over the internet this week, here is a list of the winners:

Best Meme/Carnival/Event – My Friend Amy (Book Blogger Appreciation Week)
Best Commenter/Commentator – Musings of a Bookish Kitty and Rip My Bodice
Best Design – Bookgasm
Best Book Club Blog – Reading Group Guides
Most Humorous Blog – Rip My Bodice
Best Publishing/Industry Blog – Galley Cat
Best Name for a Blog – Bookgasm
Best Challenge Host – The Hidden Side of a Leaf
Best Community Builder – My Friend Amy
Best Author Blog – Neil Gaiman
Best Book Published in 2008 – The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Best Book Community Site – Good Reads
Most Chatty – Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?
Most Concise – Bookgasm
Most Extravagant Giveaways – Maw Books
Best General Book Blog – Bookgasm
Best Romance Blog – Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Best Kidlit Blog – Well Read Child and Jen Robinson’s Book Page
Best Fantasy/Sci-fi/Horror/Spec-fic Blog – Fantasy Book Critic
Best History/Historical Blog – Medieval Bookworm
Best Literary Fiction Blog – Caribousmom
Best Cookbook Blog – Books and Cooks
Best YA Lit Blog – Bookshelves of Doom
Best Thrillers/Mystery/Suspense Blog – Bookgasm
Best Non-fiction Blog – A Striped Armchair
Most Eclectic Taste – Bookgasm
Best Christian/Inspirational Blog – Free Spirit Blogs
Most Altruistic Blog – Maw Books

I haven’t visited all of the winner sites yet to offer my congratulations.  I suppose that’s one of the things I’ll be doing this weekend.  Congratulations to all of the winners!

Thank You to Amy of My Friend Amy

Posted in Event at 8:00 pm by Amber

This summer, after book blogging was patronized in the mainstream media, Amy from My Friend Amy made a suggestion that we celebrate book blogging.  From that idea, Book Blogger Appreciation Week was born.  Many of us have participated in interviews, contests, giveaways, and the awards process.  Really, this never would have happened were it not for the dream, perseverance, planning, hard work and dedication of Amy.  This has been a wonderful week and as members of the Book Blogging community, in one voice we want to thank Amy for all that she has done.

When I heard about Book Blogger Appreciation Week I had no idea it would be this big.  Or this wonderful.  Or this thought provoking.

Trish from Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? created this beautiful button for Amy, the Queen of Book Bloggers.  Jennifer from The Literate Housewife Review coordinated the book blogger thank you to Amy.  These two deserve a big hand of applause as well.

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