Thursday, September 30, 2010

RIP Reads #12, 13 & 14: Scary is the New Fun

Right at the beginning of September, I went and grabbed a few Halloween books from the library before all of the good ones were taken.  We ended up with a good bunch, starting with The Haunted Ghoul Bus, written by Lisa Trumbauer and illustrated by Jannie Ho.

A young boy, dressed up for Halloween, is waiting outside for the school bus.  He's not really paying attention and ends up jumping on the Ghoul Bus instead!  At first he's terrified by the mummy driver and the monster children--werewolves, vampires, skeletons, witches and more--but then he notices that they are having fun just like he and his friends do on the way to school.  Eventually he joins in the fun and ends up dancing and telling stories to his new spooky friends.  He's only disappointed when the driver won't let him off at the Ghoul School!  He gets taken back to his own school where he tells his friends of his amazing adventure.

This is a really cute book with wonderful illustrations.  The characters are cute with just a touch of the gruesome (as you can see by the worms crawling out between the mummy's bandages on the cover!).  The pages are thick and have raised images that are glossy on a matte background which makes this book seem just a little bit more special.  I was also surprised by the length of this one.  At twenty-four pages it certainly seemed a bit longer than your average picture book but was well worth the extra time!

 Our next choice was the very cute A Very Brave Witch by Allison McGhee and illustrated by Harry Bliss.  A young witch tells the story of how her community is terrified of humans and all of the unnatural things they do.  They don't wear pointy hats, they are afraid to fly and they aren't green!  Eeew!  But the witch girl is still curious about humans and she heads out on Halloween night to find some.  Not only does she find that humans aren't scary but that they aren't half bad as friends either.

This is a fun story about judging others for yourself and not believing everything you've been told.  It's a great social lesson told in a non-standard way -- as a Halloween tale!  The illustrations are very engaging and there are some jokes for the adults in there too -- like a copy of Munch's The Scream on the witches' wall and a display of "human politician masks" featuring Nixon and Carter.  Too silly!

Finally, we turned to the current favorite around the house, Spongebob Squarepants, and endured The Big Halloween Scare.  This story is taken directly from an episode of the show so Z was quite excited.

Spongebob is almost ready to head out on Halloween but he doesn't have a costume.  He wants to be really scary and Patrick suggests he wear a ghost costume.  Spongebob puts on a sheet and some wooden clogs, goes out and soon finds that his costume isn't quite as terrifying as he had hoped it would be.  Eventually he unwittingly scares everyone in a really gross way.

As you can probably guess, there isn't really a point to this book.  It's just a bit of fun for a holiday that has no real point any more either!

For next week, we are planning to share a special book -- one of my childhood favorites that I was able to buy for Z this year.  He absolutely loves it already!

Sharing the scary,
K and Z

Support our site and buy The Haunted Ghoul BusA Very Brave Witch, and The Big Halloween Scare on Amazon or find them at your local library.  We borrowed our copies from the library.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

RIP Read #11: New Release: Stories

Quick review today -- I'm swamped and falling behind in blog and life tasks!

Oh, how I wanted to love this collection of Stories, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio.  But of the 27 stories, I skipped ten of them after reading anywhere from the first page to the first half of the story.  Of the remaining 17, I thought one deserved a 5/5 rating and four deserved a 4/5.  That's only five stories that I really enjoyed and would want to read again.

The highlights were a story by Gaiman called The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, Samantha's Diary by Diana Wynne Jones and stories by three new to me authors -- Carolyn Parkhurst, Tim Powers and Kurt Andersen.  In the honorable mention category, Joanne Harris and Kat Howard's stories were strong threes.

There's plenty in this volume if you're looking for RIP short stories.  You can read about vampires, serial killers, evil twins, murder and more.  I found the overall collection to be a bit depressing and not extremely original.  In fact, there was one story that I could have sworn that I had read before but I think it was just extremely similar to one of the recent flash fiction pieces I read.  However, there will definitely be readers that look for something different in a short story than I do that will probably find much more to enjoy in this book than I did.  Please don't avoid it solely on the fact that I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to!

Keeping it short for the shorts,

Support our site and buy Stories: All-New Tales on Amazon or find it at your local library.  We borrowed a copy from the library.

Monday, September 27, 2010

RIP Read #10 and RIP Film #2: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

I'm finding it impossible to think of any other way to write this post than as a big fat rant.  I'm sure any of you that have read the book and seen the film will agree.  Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief, first book in the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series, is smart and fun and a great read.  The film is complete crap.

If you aren't familiar with the series, Percy Jackson is a boy who has had trouble all his life with a learning disorder, a loser of a stepfather and just general problems of not fitting in.  One day, when a teacher turns on him and reveals herself to be a monster, Percy's life is changed forever.  He begins a quest to find his true nature and to reestablish peace between gods that he thought never existed.  This is a great series for introducing kids to Greek mythology and for showing them how their weaknesses may actually be strengths.  There are a wide variety of strong characters and some smart action.  I enjoyed the way the story unfolded and I'm sure I will be continuing with this series and even picking up Riordan's new Egyptian mythology series as well.

The writers of the screenplay for the Percy Jackson film apparently didn't enjoy the book as much as I did, though, because they decided to change almost every single thing in it.  A wonderful scene when Percy fights the dastardly teacher with the help of an unlikely weapon?  Gone.  A rival at the camp he attends that inadvertently gives him the clue to his heritage?  Not in this film.  A god whose actions were the basis for the entire book?  Not there either.  Almost every character was changed in the film and not a single one for the better.  Percy was more of an ass and his friends, instead of being unique individuals, became boring and stereotypical.  Almost every scene in the book was changed or deleted and the kids used their swords instead of their brains.  For anyone who thought that the minor changes to the Harry Potter films were inexcusable, you wouldn't be able to stomach this for even the first few minutes.  If I hadn't been planning to post about this film, I would have turned it off then as well.

Verdict: Grab this book if you're at all interested in the premise.  You might be pleasantly surprised at how engaging it is.  And, for the love of Zeus, avoid the movie.  I don't think I would have even liked it much if I hadn't read the book.

(And if you're wondering, I'm counting this as an RIP read due to an awesome trip to the underworld, a good deal of peril and a few encounters with some truly frightening creatures.)

Petitioning for a "very loosely-based on" label,

Support our site and buy The Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book One: Lightning Thief Deluxe Edition on Amazon or find it at your local library.  We borrowed our copy from the library but will probably buy the set for Z's shelves.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Starred Saturdays: week of September 19

Today is one of those days that I wish I was in the southern hemisphere.  Then I would be looking forward to spring instead of dreading autumn.  It's already colder and wetter here and I have a feeling we're in for a long winter.  On the upside, I stocked up today on hot cocoa mix.  I like to make the best of things.

(Side note: This week might be slim on posts.  It's my best friend's wedding next Saturday and I have a lot to do to get ready!)

And the award for coolest weather event ever goes to ... Volcano Tornados!

The marine biologist part of me really wants to eat at this underwater restaurant.  The claustrophobic part is already feeling panicky and has cancelled our reservation. found what they believe are the 20 worst children's book covers.  I'm not sure it's just the covers that are bad. (And I got the link from EW's Shelf Life.  I don't really spend much time on sites with ads for fake wrestling and Maxim's best bikini ladies.  Just ignore that part.)

I dare you not to spend forever looking at The NYT's Interactive Literary Map of Manhattan.  It's got markers and quotes where fictional events happened in Manhattan.

Do you know about Tilt-Shift -- using trick photography to change the viewers perception?  Well, if you want to weep tears of joy, check out this Tilt-Shift Van Gogh collection made by an art student. (via Flavorwire)  Here's my favorite (well, one of them anyway -- this Starry Night also blows my mind) --

Oh, what the hey -- here are some more tilt-shift photos.  Remember, these are all real scenes not models.

Better work avoidance through web browsing,

Friday, September 24, 2010

RIP Read #9: The Little Stranger

It turns out that I couldn't wait any longer to pick up my next Sarah Waters book after a rather good experience with Fingersmith.  Now, I'm even a bigger fan of Waters after reading The Little Stranger.  It was a perfect study of post-war England with a touch of unexplained darkness.

If you're one of the few who hasn't heard of this story yet, it's about the Ayres family--mother, daughter and son--who are coping with the deterioration of their home, Hundreds Hall, war injuries (both physical and mental) and a possible malicious presence in their home.  Told by the local physician, Dr. Faraday, this is a story of love, obligation and change.

I don't think I can praise this book enough.  When I was about a third of the way through it, I sat back at one point and thought "this is exactly the book that I want to read" and not just because it was a wonderful RIP read.  It was simply a perfect picture of the changing times in the years after World War II -- both for the nobility and for women.  I'm still looking forward to Affinity but, for now, this is my favorite Sarah Waters novel.

Watching it all fall down,

Support our site and buy The Little Stranger on Amazon or find it at your local library.  We bought our own copy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

RIP Reads #6, 7 & 8: Scaring the Kids Again!

Have I ever told you that Z loves to be scared?  He asks me to hide around the corner and then pop out at him and say "boo".  It's a little strange but it so happens that I like scaring people so we're a good match!  Anyway, sometimes I think that Z likes Halloween even more than Christmas.  We went to B&N the other day and he got really excited about the big central display of spooky books.  He said something like "I love books about monsters!  I love books about bats!  I love books about hiccups!"  Um, yeah.

Welcome to Monster Town is a kitschy and fun picture book by Ryan Heshka.  It has the most brilliant colors and is a cute little romp through a night in the life of Monster Town.  The pictures have a lot of pop culture references for adults -- "Lugosi Elected" on the front page of the Monster Town Gazette, letters spilled by the mail carrier that are addressed to P. Lorre, B. Rathbone and L. Chaney -- but they don't detract at all from the simpler pleasures of this book.

Z and I were just a little disappointed that this one was written for quite a young age group.  It has one simple descriptive sentence per page -- although the vocabulary level makes this a "read-it-to-me" sort of book.  Still, it's fun and a great choice for the season.  Z's favorite resident of Monster Town was the "giant gorilla" (King Kong) that builds skyscrapers.  Mine was definitely the giant squid that runs the diner -- even though everything he cooks seems to be green or inky blue!  Still, I can't resist the temptations of a midnight brunch.

How cute is Diego in his bat costume?  Whenever Z is in a reading slump, he tends to turn to books based on his favorite television characters.  Even though he hasn't watched Diego in months, he still loves a good adventure with this old friend.  In Bats to the Rescue!,  Diego and his sister are setting up trick-or-treating booths for their party.  The llamas that are bringing the treats get stuck behind a broken bridge and, of course, Diego goes off to find a way to help with Freddie the fruit bat.  As you can expect, they use Freddie's special skills to help the llamas.

One thing I'm always careful about with Z is not to label any foods or animals as "yucky" or "scary".  I want him to form his own opinions and be open-minded about things that are new and different.  I love books like this that make bats, especially harmless ones like fruit bats, something to celebrate instead of something to fear.  Even if your child doesn't watch much television, the Diego books are a great way to explore the unique skills of animals.

And finally we get to the hiccups.  I know you've been thinking "Does Z really love books about hiccups?"  Well, yes, he does!  He thinks hiccups are hilarious.  We've already spent some good reading time with The Hiccupotamus (by Aaron Zenz) and now we're getting seasonal with Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by S.D. Schindler.

This book had me laughing at the cover illustration of a skeleton attempting to hold his non-existent nose.  Z loved the constant "hic, hic, hic" on each page.  The first half of the book shows how the hiccups are an inconvenience for Skeleton.  Then, as Skeleton tries to get rid of his hiccups with the help of his friend Ghost, we see many of the wives' tales about how to get rid of hiccups and why they might not be effective for a skeleton.  "Press your fingers over your eyeballs" doesn't work so well when you have empty sockets!  And Ghost's attempt to scare Skeleton just doesn't work.  This is a silly but fun book that will appeal to a wide age range of kids.

We grabbed a few seasonal books from the library as well so we'll have more fun stories for you next week!

Boo! (hic, hic, hic)
K and Z

Support our site and buy Welcome to Monster TownBats to the Rescue! and Skeleton Hiccups on Amazon or find them at your local library.  We bought our own copies of these books.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

RIP Read #5: New Release: The Wave

When I first picked up The Wave by Susan Casey, I didn't anticipate it being an RIP read.  But the feelings of peril and adventure that I felt while reading of storm-tossed ships and death-defying surfers made this a perfectly scary read!  My paranoia has been renewed about the inevitable giant Pacific Northwest quake and I'm reconsidering thoughts of moving back to Hawaii.

Part science lesson in wave mechanics and weather, part eulogy for ships lost at sea and part travel log of big wave surfers that are looking for elusive hundred-foot giants, this was one of the fastest non-fictions reads I've ever picked up.  The bulk of the narrative follows the surfers with brief forays into the other aspects of this topic.  This makes for a book that should hold interest for anyone who loves and/or fears the ocean.  The book certainly restored my respect for the seas and built my respect of these men and women, scientists and surfers alike, who attempt to master the strongest forces on earth.

You can listen to an interview with Susan Casey and Laird Hamilton (or read a transcript and an excerpt from the book) on NPR here.

Relocating my dreams of an oceanside home,

Support our site and buy The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean on Amazon or find it at your local library.  We received a galley for review.

Monday, September 20, 2010

RIP Read/Listen #4: The Graveyard Book

To shake up my RIP reads this year, I borrowed the audiobook version of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, narrated by the author, from the library.  Everyone seems to rave about it and, even though I rarely listen to audiobooks (really just Harry Potter stories on road trips), I decided to give it a try.  I loved the book when I read it last year so I thought it would be something nice to put on while I blogged and surfed the web.  Well, things didn't go quite as planned.

I adore Neil Gaiman's voice and some of his voices in this reading are quite entertaining.  His Miss Lupescu is the best and Scarlett's little Scottish accent is quite cute!  However, I just couldn't keep my mind on the story.  I caught bits and pieces but had to keep reminding myself to really listen.  I was doing a bit better by the last disc or two but still wasn't quite following along.  I'm normally a pretty good multi-tasker but I think that books are something that require my whole attention, whether they're written or spoken.

I still played the entire story and it has whet my appetite to revisit my copy of the book.  Sadly, though, I think it will be a while before I try an audiobook again.  I need a commute or something!

Finding that Neil Gaiman demands my full attention,

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Starred Saturdays: week of September 12

This has been a crazy busy week here in the book blogging community!  I hope that everyone who participated had a good time.  And if you didn't see this cool tribute to book bloggers from Selene Castrovilla, I hope you will take a minute to read it.  I sure had fun but I'm also ready to get back to my books!

It's fall and that means that I'm thinking about baking.  I made snickerdoodles and cinnamon raisin scones this week and I'm eying these recipes next -- Fried Apple Cakes from Joy the Baker and Pecan Pie Muffins from Tasty Kitchen.  I love fall flavors!

You have to see typewriter art to believe it.  Keira Rathbone is amazingly talented and patient!

I also love the artwork of Graham Carter.  I don't know why giant cartoony insects and quaint little people make me happy.  They just do.  And this one looks exactly like Z and me.  I wonder if Graham would make us a blog header. (via Flavorwire)

Flavorwire also posted this hilarious expose of clich├ęd author photos.

And, for your viewing pleasure, here is the exact shade of green that my envy is colored that Dave Brosha got to take this picture of the Northern Lights ... those same ones that were supposed to be visible here in Seattle but were not ... even though I spent half the night outside waiting ... grumble, grumble ...

Don't miss the other winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards.  They're absolutely breathtaking.

Back to my RIP reads,

Friday, September 17, 2010

BBAW Giveaway Winners

Thanks for celebrating Book Blogs with us this week!  We drew three names and each person ended up getting their first choice of books.  I love when that happens!

Word Lily won the tote and notebook and chose The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

Acrisalves of Rascunhos (an international entry!) won The Shadow of the Wind.

E.J. Stevens, author of From the Shadows, lucked out and got her first choice as well -- Rebecca.

Thank you again to all who entered in the contest and we hope you stay around for the blogging!
K and W

BBAW: Future Treasures

What a fantastic Book Blogger Appreciation week this has been!  I've added some blogs to my reader and books to my TBR lists, spent some quality time chatting with book blogging friends on Twitter and even won a couple of books!  I hope that you all have had a great week as well and have found some new treasures.  We're supposed to talk today about our goals for the coming year but I'm not good with those so let me just give you a quick rundown of what to expect over the next few months.

The rest of September and October are going to be mostly occupied with RIP Challenge reads.  I still have plenty left on my shelves and am always willing to help you out with recommendations if you need them.

I'm almost sure I will be participating in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon in October (my first time)!  The timing just seems right for me to jump in this year.

I'm also going to be continuing through my "book behind the classic movie" reads.  I've loved the experience so far.

I feel like I need to shake things up a bit so I'm working on some ideas.  You can expect some guest posts and other fun features soon!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by this week.  It's been fun!  I'll be ending my giveaway later today and choosing some winners so go enter if you haven't yet.

Ending with a smile and a sigh,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

BBAW: Forgotten Treasure

Today, the BBAW topic is Forgotten Treasure --
Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction.  This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!
What an opportunity!  What book do I think you should read as soon as humanly possible?  Hmm ... I have no idea!  Honestly, I really don't like recommending books to people I don't know well.  Is there really a book out there that everyone should read?  One that everyone would enjoy?  I think it's highly unlikely.  So, let me pass on a few of my favorites that seem to get overlooked but please don't come back to me and tell me that you didn't, in fact, love one of them.  It will just make me sad.  (Just kidding ... kind of ...)

A bunch of people are reading Bleak House right now and I'm so glad!  It's a wonderful book.  And Great Expectations is always mentioned as a favorite by Dickens readers.  But have you read David Copperfield?  It's one I re-read every few years and I love it.  It has the best and worst of Dickens' characters and a hero you can really sympathize with.

Everyone who reads my blog knows I'm one of the biggest Jasper Fforde evangelists around.  The Eyre Affair is one that has a million tiny references and I hope to catch them all some day.  The Nursery Crimes books are funny and smart and gritty.  But did you miss Fforde's new release early this year -- Shades of Grey?  It was different and awesome and paid off for those who stuck with it.

Finally, I feel we're never too old for children's books and I can't get enough of these classic but lesser-known tales of magic and wonder -- The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories and The Children of Green Knowe.

Hoping I've been helpful,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BBAW: Unexpected Treasure

Today's BBAW discussion topic is 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?
This is a tough question because I read such a variety of books and I'm open to quite a bit as well.  But for this one I'm going to have to give credit to Jenners of Find Your Next Book Here and her Chance Challenge, both last year's version and this year's.  You can take a look at my posts that I've just linked to see all of the different books that I've chosen to "take a chance" on.  I've tried new genres and new authors and even new ways of posting reviews.

Sometimes we use challenges to keep us on track with reading we were already planning on doing.  Other times, we join a challenge that stretches our comfort zone and encourages us to try something new.  Both are worthwhile but I've definitely gained far more from the latter.  Thanks, Jenners!

Veering off the path most traveled,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BBAW: New Treasure - Interview: Erica of The Olive Reader

One of my favorite features of BBAW is the Interview Swap, especially when it's done well.  I was assigned to interview Erica of The Olive Reader, the blog for the Harper Perennial imprint at Harper Collins (the olive refers to the imprint's logo).  Erica is a marketing manager and blogger extraordinaire.  I hope that you caught Erica's stint on That's How I Blog! on September 8th because it was a great chance to get to know her.  I've asked her some bookish questions -- though she still managed to answer Chipotle to one of them!  Enjoy!

Of the last ten books you've read, which one did you like best?

This is a tough question because I’ve had a really good run lately—especially good for me considering a bunch of them were books I’ll be promoting this winter! So I’m going to have to give a multi-part answer. For being unlike anything else I’ve read and yet hitting on lots of things I love (haunted houses plus family stories), Blake Butler’s There Is No Year (out this April). For bringing me to tears multiple times, both from the actual story as well as the beauty of the writing, Tana French’s Faithful Place (out now). For sheer solid, I-liked-everything-about-this-book-ness, Jessica Anya Blau’s Drinking Closer to Home (out in January.)

Which author(s) are you the biggest evangelist for (besides job-related ones ... unless you really love them regardless)?

I do really love some of them! I try not to play favorites, at least not in any public forums, but there are definitely some I force on all my friends. And there are some, like Bryan Charles (Hold Onto Me Tightly As If I Knew the Way, an amazing coming of age story) that are Harper Perennial authors but who I evangelized for way before it was my job. (There’s a reason why my signed copy of that book calls me Bryan’s #1 fan.) But in terms of non-work-related authors, I’ve forced Tana French and In the Woods onto more people than I can count. And I will preach the gospel of Kathleen Finneran’s The Tender Land (a memoir of a woman whose younger brother committed suicide) till the day I die. Seriously, please email me if you’re reading this and want to know more about any of those three books.

Which book from your shelves would you be most likely to pull out and re-read on a rainy day?

I never re-read! Well, almost never. I re-read a few books recently when I had read them many months before and then did blog talk radio interviews with the authors. But otherwise, I have such an endless to-be-read pile that it feels like too much of a luxury. Even when I’ve re-read a book, it’s usually been a classic or something from my childhood/young adulthood. So I’d have to say if I were going to re-read, it would be a Christopher Pike novel. I will re-read all of them, someday.

Do you still own any books from when you were a kid?  If you do, tell us about them.  If you don't, why not?

See above re: Christopher Pike! I have almost all his books. I grew up in a small apartment in Brooklyn, so keeping all my childhood books wasn’t really feasible. As a kid, I kept bags of them in my grandmother’s basement. When she died when I was in college, we had to clear it out and my mom limited me to one bag’s worth or so. So out went my massive sweet valley high, baby-sitters club, and other collections. I kept all the Christopher Pike and a few other favorites, and I’ve actually got to get out to my mom’s house sometime soon to go through what’s left, so we’ll see what other surprises I’ll find!

If you were limited to only reading short stories or chunksters (600+ pages) for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Short stories all the way! Ideally I’d be limited to books of around 250-300 pages, but I’d much rather read shorter works than longer. I love that feeling of finishing something in one or two sittings, and that’s just never going to happen with a huge book. And I’m always suspicious—did it REALLY have to be that big—even before I open one.

What is one cover-art element that makes you most likely to pick up a book at a shop

Either something really graphic and eye-catching or a straight-on face shot of a girl. Really I’ll pick up almost anything that looks cool or that I’ve vaguely heard of, because I’m a cover copy junkie (I used to write it for a living) and I love reading it. I don’t often pick up books where the cover features only part of a woman’s body and not her face. It’s my own little pet peeve. I know many people don’t like to have the cover tell them too much about what the character looks like, but I’m the opposite.

Do you have a good local library?  Do you use it regularly?

My closest library is currently under renovation. I’m not too far from the main Brooklyn Public Library branch, which is a beautiful place to visit and explore, but I have to admit I don’t go much. I get a lot of books at work, and a lot of books through just being in publishing (knowing people at other houses, etc), and a lot of books from swapping with people, so when I really want a book and I can’t get it in any of those ways it’s really a huge treat for me to go to the bookstore and buy it brand-new.

Which author would you choose to write a fictional account of your life (realistic or not)?

Oh this is a tough one! I’m torn between Simon Van Booy, who would describe my life so beautifully that it would make even me appreciate it more, and Lionel Shriver, who would be tough on me (or the character of me).

Which is your favorite book-based film (any genre)?

I’m not a huge fan of book-based films. If I’ve read the book already, the movie rarely lives up to my expectations. If I haven’t, then when I do read the book I can’t stop thinking about the movie. So for that reason, I’m going to go with Twilight. Neither the book nor the movie are favorites of mine, but I was able to enjoy them both on their own merits.

What is another love in your life besides books?

Cats! Chipotle! Running! My boyfriend! TV! At various times I’ve had blogs centered on three out of five of those things. In all seriousness, while I wholeheartedly love all those things, I’d say my other main “love” is writing.

I've had a great time getting to know Erica and I hope that you head right over to The Olive Reader to check out some of Erica's witty and fun posts.  She even gives away books now and then so there's really nothing to lose!  She's also on Twitter as @harperperennial.

Pleased to make your acquaintance,

In a random act of unnecessary disclosure, I will tell you that Harper Collins is under the same parent company as the company where my husband works but I'm doubting the BBAW folks knew that so, well, whatever!

Monday, September 13, 2010

BBAW Giveaway

We want to celebrate Book Blogger Appreciation Week by giving you the chance to win some cool stuff!  Our giveaway is open internationally.  We have some great stuff ... take a look!

First is a brown Powell's reusable tote (flat-bottomed) and a medium-sized spiral-bound lined notebook (also brown) with orchids.

Then we have three of our favorite books --
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (gently used)
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (new)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (gently used)

Instructions for entry are as follows --
Please mark if you are interested in the tote and notebook and then select your first, second and third choices of book.  The first name drawn for the tote will also receive their first choice of book, the second name drawn will receive their first or second choice and the third name drawn will receive the remaining book (if they are interested in it).
Winners will be chosen from entries received by 6pm Pacific on Friday September 17th.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck,
K and Z

BBAW: First Treasure

Welcome to Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2010!  I hope that everyone is ready for a week full of blog reading and celebrating.  My posts will be brief but don't think that I'm not incredibly excited about this event.  I just want to leave you time to visit as many sites as possible!  And please leave a comment if it's your first time here.  I would love to follow it back to your site or just to know you stopped by!

I'm going to start here with the first writing exercise and following this later today will be my giveaway post.
We invite you to share with us about a great new book blog you’ve discovered since BBAW last year!  If you are new to BBAW or book blogging, share with us the very first book blog you discovered.  Tell us why this blog rocks your socks off and why you keep going back for more.
Well, this is an easy one and a tough one.  There is one blog that comes immediately to mind and then there are a bunch more that immediately follow it and I would love to share them all with you.  But I'm going to mention the one blog that you absolutely need to check out if you haven't already and that's Jenny's Books.  Jenny has a wicked sense of humor and a wonderful blogging voice.  She also reads a wide variety of books and was the host of the ridiculously awesome Diana Wynne Jones Week last month.  I hope that you go say hi to Jenny today and tell her that Kristen sent you!

Beginning the celebration,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Starred Saturdays: week of September 5

Saturday again?  Well, first I will apologize for not responding to comments and visiting blogs as much this week.  My laptop was already tethered to the wall due to a dead battery and then this week the monitor went black while I was using it!  So, I have it going through a monitor for a few weeks until I can afford a new one.  But, of course, it's in another room from where we usually hang out and so it's an effort to keep up with things.  I can read posts and email on my iPhone but it's tough to respond to everything I want to.  I hope I don't miss anything important!

A ship in a bottle?  So 1800s.  Nowadays it's silhouettes in toilet paper rolls. (via Flavorwire)

Google Scribe is apparently not the most reliable source for completing famous movie quotes.  It sure is funny though!

I think someone should start a challenge to read novels written by actors.  On second thought ...

I kind of go bananas over things like this post of food idiom origins. (via The Millions)

And, I'm finishing up a book on rogue waves and surfing and so you get a picture from Teahupo'o, Tahiti, home of some awesome (awesomely scary) waves.  Check out more here.  I can't even look at these waves without peeing my pants!

Sitting all by my lonesome,