Day Three—Unexpected Treasure

We invite you to share with us a book or genre you tried due to the influence of another blogger. What made you cave in to try something new and what was the experience like?

Before I started blogging or even after a year of blogging I read thrillers, romance, memoirs, literary fiction, horror, and a few other genre’s. But there was one genre that I was not very aware of.

Young Adult.

The only Young Adult books I had read were the Twilight Series and I didn’t even know that YA was such a vast genre. But soon I discovered blogs that reviewed YA books and a whole new world opened up. I have always been attracted to book covers and I think the YA genre has some of the most attractive covers. Then I won a couple of YA books, I got a few requests for reviews and I was hooked.

Now YA is one of the genres I love. I keep reading reasons for why people read YA. One of the reasons I kept coming across is that Bloggers read YA books because they are quick reads and since people don’t have much time or that they are pressured to post reviews. Yes, it’s true that YA books are quick reads but is that the only reason we read? A few bloggers might have that reason but not all bloggers read YA just because they are quick reads. That would be undermining the genre. We as book bloggers read above average and quick reads can be why we read certain books. But we need more than that. Reading is more than having a huge “books read” count.

What I love most about books is their ability to transport us to different places and YA does that effectively. Besides YA has some of the best fantasies.

So thank you to all the bloggers who blog about YA books. I’m not talking about blogs that blog only about YA, I’m talking about blogs that review other genre’s too. So thank you for introducing me to such a wonderful genre.

BBAW appreciation week Interview swap

For me the most exciting and fun part of BBAW is Blogger Interview Swap. Not only do we get to know more about one particular blogger but we also get to answer some fun questions.

I have known Alyce’s blog for some time now, I have added a few books to my wish list because of her recommendations. Although I do have her blog in my Reader and do read it regularly, I wish I commented more. I’m sure most of you know her blog but those who don’t, please do check it out. You’ll be hooked.

Also, don’t forget to check out my interview on her blog.

Please tell us something about yourself Alyce
I am a stay-at-home mom of two boys, ages nine and six.  I play the flute in a community band, and teach flute lessons to a couple of girls who live on my street.  Although I started reading at a young age, I didn’t develop a passion for reading until a book reading competition in the fourth grade.  From that point on I was hooked on reading and I even started hanging around with different kids at school – those who liked to hang out in the library and read in their spare time.  Although I participated in both swimming and track in high school I am hardly athletic.  I was pretty much the worst performer on each team, but loved the camaraderie and the exercise. My favorite form of exercise as an adult is hiking.  I love that I get to see nature while stretching my legs.

I went to college at the University of Oregon and graduated with a degree in Linguistics.  Then I worked at a couple of publishing companies before I decided to be a stay-at-home mom.  Now my husband works for Oregon State University – the arch-rivals of our Alma Mater, and we root against our former school at all of the sporting events. My husband even dyed his hair orange (one of the colors of OSU) for the football season this year.

How is Oregon for book lovers? Does it have enough bookstores, libraries, author signings, second hand, bookstores, book clubs?
Oregon is a great place for book lovers, especially if you live anywhere near Portland, the home of Powell’s Bookstore.  I have lived in three different communities in Oregon over the course of my life, each with decent access to books.  The town where I am currently is the smallest I have ever lived in, with a population of about 7,000.  We only have one used book store and the library, and it’s a half hour drive to a book store that stocks new copies.  Thankfully our library has an excellent (and free) inter-library loan system with 17 other libraries from small communities in the surrounding area.

I wish that I could get up to more of the book signings at Powell’s in Portland.  They seem to have something going on almost every day.  Unfortunately I’ve only been to one author even there because it is an almost two hour drive from where I live, and the signings are all on weeknights.

Too bad about no book signings near by, but yay for libraries. Please tell us about something most of want to know – Time Management. How do you manage your time? Blogging takes a lot of time right? Considering you have 2 kids, how do you manage to do it all?
The biggest asset I have for time management in blogging is a wonderful (and busy) husband.  When I started blogging my husband was traveling a lot for his work – he was gone about one week a month. That’s not to say that his being gone was an asset, but rather an impetus to blog.  I had all of my evenings free during those times, and I was going crazy with boredom.  Blogging filled that time nicely and then quickly started taking over all of the rest of my time as well.  It was a struggle in that first year – not to become obsessed with blogging to the exclusion of other things, like cleaning my house or watching TV with my husband.  He was very understanding in the first year as I worked on finding a good balance.

We have worked out a pretty good system now where I blog while the kids are at school and when my husband travels for business.  In the evenings I hang out with my husband, watching our favorite shows on TV, or streaming shows off of Netflix.  The wonderful thing is that when my husband brings a project home to work on in the evenings, I now have plenty of blog-related activities to keep me busy.

Cleaning the house, well that’s another matter.  I have to admit that I’d rather blog than clean any day, and sometimes the house needs an emergency cleaning session if we’re going to have company over.  I think what makes the whole blogging process fun for me is that I thrive on staying busy.  I like the feeling of juggling a lot of activities at once.

In the summer time I read a lot of young adult titles because I just don’t have the time or concentration for much else.  I have to seize any opportunity to read or blog when I can (which sometimes means putting a movie on for the kids because “Mom is going to write for a little while”).

That’s a pretty good system you have there. Blogging helps me a lot when my husband is away too. And now my favorite question. Does your family and friends know about your blog?
My family and friends know about my blog, but as far as I know most of them don’t read it.  I only have one pre-blogging friend who reads and comments regularly on my blog. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that not a lot of my friends or relatives are obsessed with reading the same way I am.  I have made some real life friends as a result of blogging though.  I found out that there was a book blogger who lives about a half hour from me and I’m in her book club now.

I noticed you read quite a lot of memoirs which happens to be one of my favorite genres. If you had to recommend one or two memoirs, which ones would you recommend?
One of the best memoirs I have read recently is “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch” by Alison Arngrim.  It is a fantastic account of her days as Nellie on Little House on the Prairie, and includes a lot of fascinating tales from her personal life as well.

One of my favorite memoirs that I read in pre-blogging days is “Madame Secretary” by Madeleine Albright.  She has lead such an amazing life, and is a great role model for women of all ages.  I loved that she didn’t become involved in politics until after she had already raised her children and was middle-aged. It just reinforced the idea that you’re never too old to achieve great things.

If there was one author you could be best friends with, who would that be? Imagine being able to talk/ meet her/ him on a regular basis, imagine having a sneak peek into the future books along with the editor, imagine having him/ her ask you for advice regarding the upcoming novel? You know what I mean.
When I was a teenager I would have said Anne McCaffrey (and part of me still wants to answer that way). She is one of my favorite authors of all time.  I would love to get to know her because her dragon books and sci-fi novels have been a huge part of my reading experience.  However, she hasn’t been writing anything new lately (at least not as a solo author), so I wouldn’t be able to have those chatty conversations about upcoming releases.  I would love it if she came out with some new dragon books, but it seems she has passed the torch to her son.

As an adult I would have to say Sheri S. Tepper, has been one of my favorite authors since college.  She writes a lot of books that are hard for me to categorize.  They usually take place in modern day, but involve elements of fantasy and science fiction.  They usually have some form of story in which the society is manipulated or changed in strange ways (sometimes almost dystopian), and sometimes have a feminist slant.

I also have a few Rapid fire Questions for you since I love asking them.
Your favorite color? Green, any kind of green that falls on the spectrum on the yellow side.  I don’t like blue-greens.

Your favorite movie? It’s so tough to list just one, so I’ll list a few:  Forget Paris, The Quiet Man, Meet the Robinsons, Anne of Avonlea, The Godfather, the Harry Potter movies.
Your favorite singer? John Mayer and ABBA
Your favorite TV show? Doctor Who, The Gilmore Girls, West Wing, The Big Bang Theory
What do you prefer wearing? Dresses or Jeans – Jeans
Winter or Summer? Summer
River or Ocean? Ocean, but only to play on the beach – I’m too chicken to swim in it.

Thank you Alyce for answering all my questions at the last moment. I enjoyed swapping interviews with you.

Mailbox Monday and BBAW

As we all know BBAW has already started and unfortunately I did not really get time to get excited enough. I have been busy managing bookings for my parents visit in December, looking for a job, completing the final PR (permanent resident) formalities, looking for an apartment and a few other things. I have managed to somewhat read and comment on some of my favorite blogs. I did do the things required for BBAW though, sign up and Interview swap and all that. But I feel kind of exhausted.

We did go to Pulau Ubin Island for the long weekend which was a good change but was not really relaxing since we cycled around the Island the entire day.

I opened my google reader today and realized that today was the first day for BBAW. Although I did want to post as required for all the given topics, today’s topic had to take a backseat. It’s difficult to list one blog when I have around 100 blogs I love.

But now that the bookings are done and the hunt for the new apartment is streamlined a bit, I think I can relax and enjoy BBAW. I’m excited for tomorrow’s Interview swap although I wish I had taken more time to set the questions.

And since I’m posting today I thought why not take part in Monday Mailbox as well. Somehow I always forget to post Mailbox Mondays.

I got 2 books. One is YA, the other is non-fiction

Heart With Joy by Steve Cushman
In Heart With Joy, fifteen-year-old Julian Hale’s life is turned upside down when his mother suddenly moves from North Carolina to Venice, Florida under the pretense of running her parents’ motel and finishing the novel she has been working on for years.  While Julian has always been closer to his mother and wants to go with her, she tells him he has to stay with his father until the end of the school year.
Six weeks after his mother leaves, Julian’s father decides to run a marathon.  This surprises Julian because he has never seen his father exercise, but once he agrees to help him train the two develop the sort of close relationship they’ve never had before.  Also, with the help of an elderly neighbor, Julian learns that the most important thing in life is to follow your heart.  And Julian’s heart leads him to a passion for cooking and a young cashier at the local grocery store.  By the end of the novel, Julian is forced to choose between staying with his father and going to live with his mother.
Heart With Joy is an uplifting coming of age novel about cooking and bird watching, about writing and pottery, and about falling in love and the sacrifices we all make.  But ultimately, it’s about the importance of following your heart and trusting that it will take you where you need to go.

Beyond the Comfort Zone by James M Turner
How does one make the journey from the glitzy world of Showbiz to the dark and dangerous world of International Child Trafficking?
As one of the UK’s premier session musicians James M Turner led a life most only dream about, playing Saxophone with some of the UK’s best selling Artists and traveling the globe performing to legions of adoring fans. So, as he stood on stage at Wembley Stadium, raised his Sax and 70,000 people screamed into the night air, he could have been forgiven for thinking that his life would always be this way.
A few short years later however he would find himself deep in The Golden Triangle, fighting for his sanity and survival as he attempts to infiltrate and capture those engaged in the tearful trade of Human Trafficking.
‘Beyond The Comfort Zone’ is the story of one man’s extraordinary journey, from the stages and T.V. Studios of the world to the Jungles of South East Asia.

I’m looking forward to reading both these books.

Thanks for Introducing Me to This Book! (s)

BBAW

Sorry, just cannot list one.

I have bought or at least enquired about a lot of books I’ve seen on blogs. Most of them are not available here or available at high prices. But the ones I have managed to read have been fantastic. If I haven’t liked them, I have at least never regretted reading any book suggested or seen on a book blog I trust.

To list a couple of books I read recently.
The Handmaid’s tale
Carrie by Stephen King.

I would never ever have read another Stephen King if not for the 4R’s Challenge and for the suggestion of Jennifer and Sandy. I loved the book and now I’m really looking forward to reading more by Stephen King.

Jane Eyre is one more book that I already had in my TBR but would probably would never had read it. I picked it up because of the many great review I had read and I could experience the pleasure that is Jane Eyre.

I have bought many books too but haven’t got the chance to read it yet. I don’t remember the exact sources but I bought Persepolis, Un Lun Dun (Nymeth had reviewed King Rat by the same author), Phantoms of the brain (from Eva’s review), Banana Yoshimoto’s couple of books (I was probably influenced by Melody’s review of Kitchen), Ghosts of Eden (which I would have bought if I had not won it from Jackie’s blog). I have a lot of books on my wish list because of Eva’s blog too.

Also, I can never ever thank Jessica enough for Lisa Kleypas. She had a contest long back and the winner could choose one of the books she had mentioned. She had also linked to her review. I picked Seduce me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas based on her review and I loved it. Now I buy any book that I spot by her in the bookstore. I own 6 so far 🙂

I can go on and on, I want to list every blog because of which I have added something in my TBR or Wish list, but honestly I don’t have time today, too busy at work. I had to do this, so I’ve done it as quickly as possible. I’ll link the blogs as and when I get the time, I promise. Possibly beautify it too 🙂 Later.

BBAW: Reading meme!!!

BBAW

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
Not usually, I like to concentrate on reading completely, unless it’s for read-a-thon 🙂
Here is one of the snacks I made for the last one, yum. I’m soooo excited that it’s coming up in October again.

Watermelon and Bhel-an Indian snack

Watermelon and Bhel-an Indian snack

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I usually don’t mark, but I’m not that particular about it either.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
Bookmarks. If one isn’t handy I dog-ear.

Laying the book flat open?
No way.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
Both.

Hard copy or audiobooks?
No audiobooks for me, thank you.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
I have to read to the end of chapters or at least a break in the chapter.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
No, unless it hinders my understanding to the sentence. Usually I just go with the meaning in context.

What are you currently reading?
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Edit: I was going to start reading this but now I’m reading Between me and the River which looks good so far.

What is the last book you bought?
Oh, I bought a LOT of books. Here’s the post and take a look at the pic below 🙂

yay!!!

yay!!!

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
Strictly one book at a time.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
I cannot afford to have a favorite time to read. Night time is the only time I get to read. Favorite place to read would be my computer chair with my feet kicked up on the table or my bed or my armchair in the living room if the Telivision isn’t on.

ArmChair

ArmChair

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
Usually stand alone.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
Lisa Kleypas and Nora Roberts for romance readers, Michelle Moran for entertaining and television style Historical fiction, Mary Higgins Clark for mysteries, Sidney Sheldon for people who don’t read much, Jodi Picoult for overtly emotional books and if you want something to think about. I can go on and on but I’ll stop.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
I don’t have enough space to organize, currently it’s read-unread. But when I have enough space I might organize them by Genres and then club the books by same author together.

I enjoyed this topic, let me know if you’ve done it too.

BBAW Interview: Jennifer from Literate Housewife

BBAW

Hello Everybody…

Please welcome Jennifer from Literate Housewife to my blog today as part of BBAW. Jennifer’s blog was one of the first book blogs I discovered and subscribed to. I’m sure you all already know her but if you don’t please go visit her blog and say “Hello”. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Please tell us a little about yourself Jennifer
I am a 30-something wife and mother of two.  By day I am a Senior Business Systems Analyst.  By lunch break and evening, I am the Literate Housewife.

Did you read when you were a kid? Which is your favorite book from your childhood?
I read a lot when I was a kid. It was my favorite thing to do. I have very vivid memories of first grade. Mrs. Stone had an apple tree. You got your apple on the tree by memorizing sight words like in, on, an, etc. I was the very last student to get my apple up on the tree and the next day she took it down. I was sad that I barely got to see my apple, but it made me want to be at the front of the reading pack from then on – and I was.

Which is your favorite book from Childhood?
My favorite book from childhood is Little Women. It’s a novel I can still read and love today and not just because of the fond memories. It’s such a beautiful book.

Which is your favorite classic?
Tough question! I would have to say The Great Gatsby. It was the first adult classic I remember reading and it really got me interested in exploring more than just a novel’s story.

How do you manage your time with all the blogging and reading and family?
I don’t. LOL! I struggle with this all of the time. There is so much that I want to do with my blog that I just don’t ever get around to because I actually want to spend time with my family or I simply want to read. It’s so hard to find the right balance. It’s one of my goals for next year to be more balanced – especially with my family. I’m hoping that it won’t be too long before I can read books like Little House and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my girls so that some of my reading time will be family time as well.

Do your family and friends know about your blog?
Yes. I have spread the word. I haven’t had any trouble sharing about it because there isn’t anything I have to say about books or reading that I would censor around anyone. My mom has taken me to task for my use of language (always *#! out, but she doesn’t care), but I figure at least she’s read bits and pieces of it. Friends are more likely to visit than family and I’ve been able to connect with some friends from high school through my blog after finding each other again on Facebook.

What are your hobbies other than reading?
Before I had children, I loved to cross-stitch. I loved making the huge beautiful pieces by Mirabilia. It used to take me 3 months or so to complete one of those projects. It would take me 3 years now, so I’ve lost my interest. I have a feeling that will come back once the girls are older. I also like to stamp. It’s a great creative outlet for me to make bookmarks and other things using my stamps and paper. I don’t do it as often as I would like, but I’m always happy when I do. My Bookmark It club forces me in a good way to spend some time with it every month.

Knowing your love for historical novels, which time period are you most interested in?
Initially, I was most interested in the American Civil War. Gone With the Wind made sure of that. Most recently, Tudor England has caught my fancy. Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl really awakened a love for Henry VIII and his people for almost two years now. I’m branching out a little, but there’s something about the Tudor era that has captured my imagination.

I’ve always loved rapid fire questions. So here are a few.
What is your favorite color? Green
What is your favorite season? Fall
Who is your favorite author?Just one? Ack! Margaret Mitchell.
Who is you favorite actor? Anthony Hopkins

Finally, when and why did you start book blogging?
I started blogging in January of 2007. My New Year’s Resolution was to read 52 books that year and I created a blog just to keep myself honest. It’s has grown and expanded since then, but it really was a turning point in my life. I was so depressed after my youngest was born and I needed to do something that was just about me – not my family or my job. I’ve really started to feel much more like myself since then.

And here is Jennifer with her beautiful kids 🙂

Mommy&HerGirls

Thank you so much Jennifer for such great answers. Being your BBAW Interview partner was a lot of fun.

Updates!!!

Moi

The past 10 days were a blur. My sis and my brother-in-law had come visiting for 10 days and I absolutely did not get time to blog. As there is a major swine flu scare in the city (with a few people dead), we couldn’t go out much for the first 5 days, but for the rest of the days we did visit a few places outside the city. People everywhere were wearing masks in the city. We removed ours as soon as we drove out of the city. But the moment we reached our destination (a beautiful temple situated on a hill top) we saw many people who were wearing masks. That’s enough for hysteria to set in.

It would have been really funny if it weren’t so scary.
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On another note, I feel like kicking myself. I forgot to nominate for BBAW. I know. I had actually made a list of the blogs I wanted to nominate but with my sis visiting and all I totally forgot. I remembered on 16th August which would be a 15th in the US. But the nominations were already closed 😦

I just hope my favorite blogs have been nominated by someone else.

A Book Blogger Appreciation Week Meme!

Those who don’t know about Book Blogger Appreciation Week, please come out of your rock 🙂

Thank you so much Amy for organizing such a wonderful event.

This is the meme from the BBAW blog.
1) What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?
finding like minded people. I always itched to talk about books but very few people around me read. So the highlight would be discovering so many bloggers who not only talk about books but are also interested in what I have to say. For me that’s sooo cool.

2)What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?
Ohhh…everybody. Whenever I ask a question, I definitely get a reply from somebody. I have got so many questions answered that way. But one name that stands out is Nymeth’s. She is such a sweet and lovely girl. She has answered so many of my questions, one was regarding discworld, one was something do with Ursula Le Guin’s series and just yesterday she told me why The Handmaid’s tale is considered Science Fiction.

But honestly, everyone is so helpful, generous and nice around here.

3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?
None I think. Although I didn’t participate last year, I did watch everything from the sidelines. This year I want to experience it 🙂