Booking Through Thursday: Flapper? Or not a flapper?

Suggested by Prairie Progressive:

Do you read the inside flaps that describe a book before or while reading it?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

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I guess this is meme week.  Can you tell I’m procrastinating about writing reviews??

Yes, I’m a flapper.  I read the flap.  Maybe not EVERY time, but if I’m browsing in a bookstore and don’t really know what I want, I read flaps to help me decide if it’s a book I want to buy. Usually when I get a book in the mail I’ve already agreed to read it, so in that case I don’t read the flaps.  Except when I do.

I’m sure you’re all really happy you read this post, aren’t you?   Such insight!  So provocative!

I’ve lost my internet connection 3 TIMES while trying to publish this post.  Is that the universe’s way of telling me to get off my a$$ and write a review???  Hmmmm…

Are you a flapper?  Are you a procrastinator too??

Blog Neglect and Reviews

"Watch me, Mom!"

"Watch me, Mom!"

Due to the lure of summer and the demands of work and children, I’ve been neglecting my blog.  I’m down from 3-5 posts per week to 1-2.  It’s not that I have less to say, only that I have less time to say it.  

But I have been reading!  I read during the kids’ pre-lifeguard classes at the high school. I read while watching their back handsprings and round-offs during tumbling.  I read on the front steps of the library as the girls return their books and look for new ones.  I read at the roller rink while they skate.  I read in the food court at the mall as they and their friends spend an hour at Claire’s poring over $2 earrings and purple and green nail polish, or visiting the puppies at the pet store.  I read while sitting at the pool as they perfect their dives and their butterfly stroke.  “Watch me, Mom!”  “Time me, Mom!”  “On a scale of 1-10, how good was my dive?”  My To-Be-Reviewed stack is piling up.

Speaking of reviews.. I have a few questions for my fellow bloggers.

How long, on average, does it take you to write a review?

Do you read other reviews before or after you write yours?

Do you write your review immediately upon finishing a book, or do you wait a while and let it sink in a bit?

Do you pick up a new book to start the minute you finish one?

Inquiring minds want to know!!

Hope everyone is having a great summer!  Thanks to all of you who still come by and comment even though there’s not much going on around here lately!

Read Me

imagesAre you a skimmer or a reader? 

I’m guilty.  Sometimes I don’t read an entire review or blog post (gasp!) 

If a post is very long, I’ll skim.  If it’s a review for a book I’m currently reading, I’ll skim and comment that I’m reading it now and was just looking to see if the reviewer liked it.  If it’s a new-to-me book, or one I’ve noticed people talking about, I’ll read enough to see if the book sounds interesting.  Generally if it’s a review of a book I have read, I’ll read the review completely to see if I agree with the reviewer. 

I like chatty blog posts from bloggers I regularly read.  Any post that sparks debate or conversation is a good post for me!  Discussion = good!  But if it’s too long, I might lose interest. What does this say about my attention span??  

As a blog reader, I prefer shorter posts, bullet points, short paragraphs.  And with that in mind, I’m attempting to keep my own posts short as well, so that you’ll read them. 

SO I’d like to know:

Do you read most blog posts in their entirety?  Or, like me, do you skim?

Do you as a blogger make it easy for people to skim? 

Is skimming ok with you?  

To Rate, or Not to Rate

I’m hoping you can help me out.  I’m trying to decide whether or not to implement a rating system for my book reviews.  Sometimes I think it would be useful and helpful, then other times I worry that my opinion of a book could be heavily influenced by my mood at the time I’m reading it.  Also, I’m afraid I’d give everything a 4.

So I have a few questions for my fellow book bloggers..

Do you rate your books?

If so, do you use a 1-5 scale, or a 1-10 scale, or something else?  

What are the pros/cons to whatever scale you use?

Do you have trouble deciding what rating to give a book?  Do you have MORE trouble depending on how you got the book (purchased, borrowed, recommended by a friend, sent by an author or publisher, blog tour, etc)?

Do you ever want to go back and change your rating, after you’ve had more time to think on it?

Do you find yourself frequently giving half points (or stars, or caterpillars, or whatever you give out!)?

Ok, now a question for the readers-

Do you find it helpful when a reviewer or blogger uses a rating system?  Is that important to you?

An Embarrassment of Riches

I have been terrible about acknowledging blog awards in the past.  I love to get them, and I’m always very flattered and grateful, but I don’t always follow through and post about them or hand them out to others.  (I really stink at updating my blog roll too, but that’s a subject for another day.  Let’s work on one bad habit at a time, shall we?)

So it is with much love, humility, and gratitude that I accept and pass along these beautiful blog awards!

award_lets_be_friendsFrom Lisa at Books and Cooks, and from Karen at Planet Books:

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.

I’d like to thank Lisa and Karen for the Friends award, and pass it on to my oldest blogging friends, the ones I’ve known from day one (and in one case- even before that!):

Stephanie from Stephanie’s Written Word

Trish from Hey, Lady!

Care from Care’s Online Book Club

Jill from Fizzy Thoughts

Patti from Displaced Beach Bums

And I’d like to give this back to the friends who gave it to me, Karen and Lisa!

you-dont-say-postFrom Sheri at A Novel Menagerie:  We give and get awards for having a great blog and being a good friend.  What I want to award is to those people whose comments have meant THE WORLD to me.  It takes time to visit a blog and leave a comment.  I wanted to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to each and every one of you who has left a comment for me on A Novel Menagerie.  Also, I wanted to recognize some special bloggers whose comments have made such an impact on me.  The “You Don’t Say?” Award is awarded to these special bloggers in hopes that they will pass the award along to 5-10 of their best commentors! 

Thanks, Sheri!  I love this new award.  Comments are so important to me and really vital to our community.  Some bloggers who always give good comments are:

Nat at Book, Line, and Sinker

Ti from Book Chatter and Other Stuff

Char from Bloody Hell!  It’s a Book Barrage!

Les from Lesley’s Book Nook

Ladytink_534 from The Movieholic and Bibliophile Blog

Jeanne at Dog Ear Diary

loveblog

 

From Drey of Drey’s Library:  The I Love Your Blog Award.  I am so honored!  Thanks, Drey!  I love your blog, too!  

 

This is a hard one to narrow down.  There are just so many. But I think I’m supposed to limit it to five, so here goes:

 

Sher from A Novel Menagerie

Alyce from At Home with Books

Jennifer from Literate Housewife

Raych at Books I Done Read

Wendy from Caribousmom

awardFrom Seaside Book Worm:  “This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award.”

These bloggers go out of their way to build relationships in our book blogging community, and they are:

Trish from Hey, Lady!

Hannah from WordLily

Ana (Nymeth) from Things Mean a Lot

Jill from Fizzy Thoughts

Natasha from Maw Books

Sheri from A Novel Menagerie

Amy from My Friend Amy

Jennifer from Literate Housewife

fabulousblogaward2

 

 

From Alyce at At Home With Books:   I think the rules said that I’m supposed to pass this to five others, or maybe it said 5 to 10.. I can’t remember!   Well here are a few blogs that are fabulous, that I love and read regularly.  Let’s not worry about the numbers..

 

 

Dar from Peeking Between the Pages

Alea from Pop Culture Junkie

Anna from Diary of an Eccentric

Wendy from Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Heather at Book Addiction

Dawn at She is Too Fond of Books

Bethany at B & B ex libris

And I also want to give a shout out to my neighbor’s daughter, Cara- a new blogger and a new reader at BOTB.  Cara and her husband Reese have 3 kids, and their sons are my daughters’ favorite playmates when they come to visit their Nana next door.  Reese is battling cancer and Cara’s blogging about their journey at Better Hands Now.  If you’d like to encourage them, stop by and tell her Lisa sent you.. they can use all the prayers and good wishes they can get!

Thanks so much to all my wonderful readers and friends.  Your comments, emails, and friendship mean the world to me.  Thank you!!

Added to the TBR

New books added to the TBR this week: 

 

9781401340933midplace_lThe Middle Place:  Stephanie’s review is so personal, because the subject matter hit home for her.  Another mother/daughter book I need to read.


booksTallgrass:  Any review that starts out “Wowie zowie, this novel is great!” gets my attention.  And when Char uses a fancy word like bildungsroman, I sit up and take notice.  

 

droodcover-7_smDrood was everywhere this week!  I didn’t get to all the reviews, but this one was great.  Amy got a special treat when she asked the author to sign her copy.  Check out the picture in her post- so cool!

 

 

What did you add to your TBR pile this week?

First 100K Celebration Winner Announced!

Ok, the first winner from my 100K Celebration extravaganza is for the Hachette‘s Favorites- a box of 7 new titles including The Little Giant of Aberdeen County (reviewed HERE), One Perfect Day (reviewed HERE), The Bishop’s Daughter (reviewed HERE), Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly, The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent, Run for Your Life by James Patterson and The Makedown by Gitty Daneshvari!

So without further ado (adoo? adeaux?  adu?) here we go!!  (reaching into the hat with all the names–  who’s it gonna be??  Oooo I can barely contain my excitement!)  Ok!  Ok!  We have a winner and it is:

Janel from Janel’s Jumble!

Janel has a cool blog, so go say hi!  Congrats to Janel (you scored some great titles, girlfriend!) and thank you to everyone who entered the contest and helped me celebrate.

<——————  All the other contests and giveaways are still open, so check my left sidebar for links!  I’ll be announcing winners every day this week!

Guest Post and Giveaway: Sheri from A Novel Menagerie says, “Yeah, I’d Praise Book Clubs!”

My book club met on Sunday and we had the great pleasure to welcome a new member, Sheri from A Novel Menagerie!  She and I met through our children last summer, who by sheer coincidence were not only in the same unit at Girl Scout camp, but in the same cabin 2 years in a row.  The chances of that are so slim- one year they went in August, the next year June, one year they were in a sampler unit, the next year a horse unit- all with hundreds of other kids.  It almost seemed that fate was pushing us together.

At first Sheri was kind of stunned that we hit it off, because she says she “never gets along with other women”.   We bonded over our children (we each have two wild preteen girls- hers are twins, mine are “Irish twins”), we both have one brother named Bill (who, by yet another coincidence, attends our church), complicated relationships with our sisters, experience with insomnia (hers, and my husbands), our OCD tendencies, and of course, BOOKS!   I showed her my blog and told her about the book blogging community.  Sheri asked a million questions.  I sent her on her way with a few extra books I had hanging around.  She went home and started her amazing new blog, A Novel Menagerie, that very day.  If you haven’t seen it, you must go check it out.  She hosts memes, challenges, contests, and reads about 5 books a week (and I’m not even exaggerating!)  She also started an online business called BookCharming.com and makes these adorable floss book marks.  She has so much drive and energy and honestly, I don’t know how she does it all!

So when she asked me about my book club, I sadly told her that it was “full”.  We had what seemed the right amount of people (12) and the club had agreed that we wouldn’t be inviting any more.  But then, in January, someone dropped out.  I mentioned it to Sheri and before the words were out of my mouth, she was saying YES!  So here she is, with impressions of her first book club meeting.  Welcome, Sheri!

Yeah, I’d Praise Book Clubs!

My constant whining about not being in a book club was more than Lisa could bear.  Month after month, the nagging became like nails scratching on a chalkboard.  She had no choice.  Find a spot for me or listen to 11 more months of “poor me.”  I think she chose wisely…yes, she is indeed a smart girl!

So, after finagling me into the book club, I immediately purchased every book on our reading list.  I was bound and determined to know each book inside and out, be ready for any question, and be worthy of the book club.  The books arrived:

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Sarah’s Key

The Invisible Wall

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Our first meeting:  Oscar Wao.  Now, this book is a Pulitzer Prize winner.  Of course, then it must be good.  And, it was.  But, the book was somewhat of a grueling read.  It was not an easy book to get through.  As I spewed out of my mouth in the book club meeting:  

It’s like childbirth; you are not really enjoying it when you’re going through it.  But, once it’s over with you’re glad you did it.  

That’s it.  They’re giving me das boot.  No.  Wait.  Ellen agreed.  Whew!  Let me go back in time to explain.  

So, like a little Nervous Nelly, I walked down the street with Lisa to the book club meeting.  They aren’t going to like me.  I won’t fit in.  I didn’t read the Reader’s Guide questions thoroughly enough.  I wasn’t even sure how I completely felt about the book.  I walk into Ellen’s home.  Immaculate.  Oh, I am such a sub-standard mother.  Ellen would never even sit on my couches.  I’m going to have to host my meeting at Lisa’s house.  There were a few people to meet and… (can you hear the angels singing?) WINE!  I thank God Jesus was into wine!  It’s a goodie that God makes sure is around for me!  Everything looked great.  There was food, wine, the immaculate house.  I was making conversation with whoever would talk with me.  Let’s see if I can remember all of their names (whoever I forget, please forgive me):

bc-bluebirdEllen

Diane

Elaine

Sara

Lisa

Sheri (that’s me)

Orchid

Maggie

Valerie

Tammy

So, Lisa thankfully sat by me during dinner and helped me to remember who’s who, names, etc.  The meeting soon started and Orchid (and her amazingly cool hair) led the meeting.  She read aloud.  But, she read a passage that was written in partial Spanish.  When she said the passage aloud, she said it entirely in English.  <Enter my big mouth> 

bc-sunset“Do you speak Spanish?  I mean, I can read it, but not speak it.  And, well…” (God, Sheri shut up!)

Yes, she did.  And, my inappropriate outburst led into a discussion about the foreign language in the book.  (Thank God!)  The conversation continued and it seemed like we all had something to say. 

My SELF observations:

1. I am the only dumbass who didn’t know that the splotch on the cover was the face of Oscar with a wing coming out of the back of his head.

2. I am the only idiot who thought that Oscar shouldn’t have quit on Yunior when Yunior was trying to help him lose weight.  

3. I’m the only deranged person who didn’t feel sorry for Oscar.  

4. I talk too much.

5. I don’t know enough.

6. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks my thoughts are “spot-on.”  No, that’s not a maybe.  It’s a for sure!

9780312370848My GROUP observations:

1. They were lovely women who really enjoyed this opportunity to get together and discuss their love for books. 

2. These were some INTELLIGENT chicks!

3. There is a common, invisible thread that ties them together.  They appreciate this book club and each other.

4. If I bribe them with my AWESOME Key Lime Martinis, they may let me come back again.  I hope so because I’m almost done with Sarah’s Key.

5. Lisa is my friend!

If I could only talk to intelligent women about the books I read ALL DAY LONG.  It would be like Heaven.  I wonder if I should try to find a job in the book industry.  I’m turning into a one-dimensional person… BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS.  Maybe I need to be in 4 book clubs… one for every Sunday.  Yes, that might cure my itch!

Thank you to Lisa for letting me smuggle my way into the group and share my neurosis with her readers.  

Sheri is donating 2 beautiful BookCharming.com Book Marks to my 100K celebration.  The first one is the Bluebird design, and the 2nd one is Sunset.  Gorgeous, right?  She’s so flippin’ talented!  This chick has skills!!  I’m going to throw in our book club’s next selection, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay to go along with the beautiful book marks.  Leave a comment by Friday, February 20th for a chance to win.

To read Sheri’s review of Sarah’s Key, click HERE.  I had to skim it because I haven’t read the book yet.  Hope I finish it before next month’s meeting!!

Matrimony Giveaway

cover150x229Matrimony by Josh Henkin is a much read, reviewed, and revered book around the blogosphere. Josh is a great guy and an author that really understands and appreciates the time and effort we book bloggers put into our blogs and our reviews. He is so supportive of bloggers and has done a great job of marketing his book online. He is generous with his time, offering author chats (by phone and in person) to book clubs all over the country. He loooooves getting feedback on his book and sitting in on discussions!

Josh wrote a wonderful guest post for me last year about book clubs that really struck a nerve, judging from the dozens of comments and incoming links to that post. Josh encourages reading groups to think outside the box and choose titles that are a little different. He noticed that book clubs were making selections from the same 10 or 12 titles and missing out on some really interesting stuff by sticking to the tried and true. Josh, I want to thank you for that guest post, and for always providing a link to this blog whenever you refer to it.. whether that is with Shelf Awareness, Book Club Girl, Reading Group Guides, or various other interviews you’ve done. I really appreciate that! For more on Josh’s thoughts on book clubs, check out this article titled Author, Your Group is Calling, from The Philadelphia Enquirer.

So.. Matrimony. Have you read it? It’s about 2 couples: Julian and Mia, and Carter and Pilar. It’s about love and life and birth and death and everything in between. It was a 2007 New York Times Notable Book. A Book Sense Highlight Pick of the Year. A Borders Original Voices Selection. It’s quite the celebrated book!

Josh is offering an inscribed, paperback copy of his book to one lucky commenter! Just leave a comment by Thursday, February 19th. And since we’re just a couple days away from Valentine’s Day, I’d like you to finish this sentence: “Love is … “

100K Celebration Madness Continues with Another Giveaway!

Today is Day 2 of my giant 100K Celebration, which will be going on for a week here at Books on the Brain! I am having so much fun celebrating and am so glad to share my excitement with you. It’s like I’m throwing a party (everyone’s invited), but instead of receiving gifts, I’m giving them – which to me is always way more fun!

Today Kim Weiss and the wonderful people at HCI Books – “The Life Issues Publisher” – have generously offered 7 amazing books to my readers. HCI is a great publisher of non-fiction whose motto is “Changing Lives One Book at a Time”. There’s a little something for everybody! Leave a comment on this post by Tuesday, February 17th, and let me know which book you’d be interested in winning. Here are the titles up for grabs:

3821The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel

Your Essential Resource to Organic and Natural Skin Care, Hair Care, Makeup, and Fragrances

With her friendly, thorough, and helpful advice; fabulous beauty recipes; product recommendations and ratings; Toxic Ingredients List; and a complete appendix of online resources, Julie Gabriel gives you all the information you need to go green without going broke and become a more natural, healthy, and beautiful you.

3667Staging Your Comeback by Christopher Hopkins

A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45

Known as The Makeover Guy ® from his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and other national television programs, Christopher Hopkins believes that as they age, women become more beautiful but often feel less attractive. He’s out to change that. For more than twenty years he’s encouraged women who often feel like they’ have taken a backseat to everything and everyone else to come out of the shadows and take center stage.

3827Richard Bandler’s Guide to Trance-Formation by Richard Bandler

More than thirty years ago, Richard Bandler set out to discover how some therapists effected startling change with their clients, while others argued about theories while their patients waited in vain for help. Now widely regarded as the world’s greatest hypnotist and one of the most brilliant minds in the field of personal change, Richard Bandler created patterns that became the bedrock of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), arguably one of the most profoundly effective approaches for self-improvement. In Richard Bandler’s Guide to Trance-formation, he returns to his roots: hypnotic phenomena, trancework, and altered states to provide a highly compelling and effective prescription for quick and lasting personal change.

3811 The Vigorous Mind by Ingrid E. Cummings

Cross-train Your Brain to Break Through Mental, Emotional, and Professional Boundaries

In The Vigorous Mind, professional ‘Renaissance woman’ Ingrid Cummings offers a social criticism and inspiring self-improvement program that details the antidote to mental undernourishment, unfulfilling careers, untapped talents, and unexplained boredom. Through the techniques and insights in The Vigorous Mind, you will build a more complex, interconnected brain and replace indifference with cognitive reengagement, a sense of optimistic gratification, and a full-to-the-brim life lived without regret.

3812You Lost Him at Hello by Jess McCann

A Saleswoman’s Secrets to Closing the Deal with Any Guy You Want

**JESS WILL BE ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA THIS FRIDAY, FEB. 13th!

Whether you’ve found yourself waiting for him to call or given up everything for a relationship that went nowhere, getting a guy to commit can be like getting him to walk over a bed of hot coals. Jess McCann’s tactics work because they make you strong, confident, and irresistible to every man you meet. Whether you’re looking for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now, You Lost Him at Hello will help you find him and keep him–while having more fun and fulfilled relationships than ever before.

3848 Zig-zagging by Tom Wilson

Loving Madly, Losing Badly – How Ziggy Saved My Life

Ziggy cartoonist Tom Wilson didn’t see it coming: after losing his beloved young wife to breast cancer, it’s up to him to raise two children alone and keep the laughs coming in his cartoons worldwide—even as his own personal orbit is falling apart. In this mesmerizing and nostalgic account of a beloved artist’s life, Tom Wilson details his compelling journey from growing up in the shadow of his father’s genius to inheriting an iconic cartoon when his father falls ill, all while struggling to overcome a crippling depression.

Leave a comment on this post by Tuesday, February 17th, and let me know which HCI book you’d be interested in winning. This contest is open to residents of US and Canada only (my apologies to my overseas readers!)

Come back each day this week for more great giveaways!

We’re partying all week long!