LA Times Festival of Books and Bloggers!


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Natasha, Amy, Tracy, Ti, Jill, Trish, Lisa

Natasha, Amy, Tracy, Ti, Jill, Trish, Lisa

This weekend I attended a super-fun two day event, the LA Times Festival of Books. That would have been exciting enough for a book geek like me, but what made it super-fun (as opposed to just regular fun) was getting to meet some of my blogger friends in real life.  What a treat!

The plan was to meet in front of the UCLA book store.  As I wandered up to the steps in front, I immediately recognized Jill from Fizzy Thoughts and Ti from Book Chatter from the pictures on their blogs. Hugs all around.  Then pretty soon Amy from My Friend Amy wandered over after passing by and glancing at us suspiciously two or three times, then Tracy from Shelf Life walked over with a big smile, and pretty soon we were all laughing and talking.  Jill and I went to get coffee (she was so nice and gave me a book I’ve been wanting to read- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson- who I would see on a panel later in the day).  When we got back, we saw that Trish from Hey, Lady! (also my partner in TLC Book Tours) and Natasha from Maw Books had arrived.  I spilled my coffee while hugging Natasha (I was mortified and so glad it spilled on me rather than on her cute white jacket!). Trish was telling the story of why she was a little late, complete with colorful adjectives and funny anecdotes and facial expressions and hand gestures.  For those of you who might have been wondering- yes, Trish really is THAT cute and excitable and funny in person!   It was interesting to see how much everyone’s personalities really shine through on their blogs.

Jill and Florinda

Jill and Florinda

The first panel of the day for most of us was the Social Networking and New Media panel.  The very organized Ti had made a spreadsheet for us showing which bloggers were attending which panels.  We knew that Wendy from Musings of a Bookish Kitty and Florinda from 3R’s blog were supposed to be there, but we couldn’t find Florinda and we didn’t know what Wendy looked like.  We were in a big lecture hall and I was standing up looking around and joking that we should call out “Literary Feline!  Where are you?” when I felt a tap on my arm from the woman seated next to me.  “I’m Wendy” she said in this tiny kitten-y voice.  She’d been right beside us the whole time!  We found Florinda just a couple minutes later (she was easy to spot from her picture on her blog, and because we knew she was short height-challenged) and were able to all sit together.

tweet, tweet

tweet, tweet

That panel was a good one, with Otis Chandler (founder of Goodreads.com), Wil Wheaton (author, blogger, twitter-er, and actor from Star Trek: TNG), and Sara Wolf (dance critic-she was out of place).  Otis said he had a theory that reading was “broken” and that in starting Goodreads he had hoped to make reading more of a social experience and provide a place where people could talk to each other about books.  He said we’ve all experienced social pressure to watch tv (like when everyone is talking about who got kicked off American Idol, and if you don’t watch you feel out of it).  He wanted to try to make that true with books, and gave examples like “All the cool kids are reading Twilight”.  

Wendy and Anjin

Wendy and Anjin

The following question was posed to the panel: “What does social media (Twitter) do to readers attention spans?”  Will answered by saying he blames the dumbing down of society on TV, not technology.  Something Will said really resonated with me as a member of the blogging community- “You don’t have to be in the same room with someone anymore to share an experience.” He was referring to internet communities and conversations that go on in places like Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.  I think our group could all agree with that!  Another question came up about placing limits on and policing social media- having rules- filtering out spam.  Will and Otis discussed that, saying with social media, users “own” it, they make the rules and define how it will be.  Marketers want to tell us what to do on social media i.e. “Here’s how you can profit if you use it my way”, which is precisely why they fail and are seen as spammers. People will use Facebook and Twitter in a way that’s fun for them and ignore the rest.  Meanwhile, the third panelist didn’t seem to have much of a grasp on what Twitter actually is, and was busy talking about the “constellations” in her dance community on Facebook, and how constellating is so great.  Constellating???  Ok….  

Lunch

Lunch

After a quick lunch together, we went our separate ways to the various panels.  Trish, Natasha, Amy and I attended Problem Child, which was a panel with Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak, Winter Girls), Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole-graphic novel), Jacquelyn Woodfin (Hush, Locomotion, Peace Locomotion) and Suzanne Phillips (Burn).  Laurie Halse Anderson said she “feels so lucky to be able to wake up, listen to the voices in her head, and write down what they say.”  The moderator said that one thing their books had in common was that they all have a really strong, immediate narrative voice.  One comment I jotted down from this panel was that most YA-middle grade novels have a “problem child” because they need a central conflict to make the book interesting, but the characters in these books go way beyond the norm.  We’re talking about eating disorders and cutting, mental illness, kids with real issues. This was a great panel but I had to leave early in order to get to my next panel on time, because there was no way I was going to miss seeing Lisa See!

Lisa meets Lisa

Lisa meets Lisa

Several of us went to Fiction: Window on the World with Lisa See (Shanghai Girls, Snow Flower, Peony in Love), Jonathon Rabb (Rosa, Shadow and Light), Vanina Marsot (Foreign Tongue), and Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)  and her translator.  

I’m a huge Lisa See fan.  She talked about Shanghai Girls, set in both Shanghai and Los Angeles, and said it asks the question “How do we define home?  Is it where you grew up, or in the place that you make?”  An excellent question for a midwestern transplant like me.  She spoke about China City in LA from 1937 until the mid-50s, how it was built to look like a real Chinese city with a mini-Great Wall of China surrounding it, but how much of it was created from Hollywood props and sets.  

Lisa meets Vanina

Lisa meets Vanina

I’m also a new fan of Vanina Marsot, having just finished her book Foreign Tongue a week ago (review coming soon!). I was completely enthralled by it!  Vanina said she wanted to show the non-Disneyland version of Paris, a real city where real people live, not vacation-land. Her protagonist Anna, living in Paris with dual French/American citizenship, is translating a book from French to English.  It’s an examination of both cultures, how things are expressed in both languages, and how some things don’t translate well.  She shared an expression that French mothers use with their children that translates literally into “Stop your cinema”.  Those of us with little drama queens immediately knew what she meant!

Muriel Barbery brought along a translator and was utterly charming.  Jill and Tracy had both read The Elegance of  the Hedgehog and were really excited to see her.  Tracy mentioned later that she had a “girl crush” on her, and I can totally relate.  She was elegant in that effortless French way, hair pulled straight back into a sleek chignon, minimal makeup and jewelry, yet still looked stunning.  She spoke in French and while I couldn’t understand a word, her smile and laugh and sweet tone spoke volumes.  I wanted to buy her book and get it signed but they’d sold out. I did, however, get to say hello at the signing.  She’s adorable.

img_2747I gushed and babbled all over Lisa See!  She signed my beat up ARC of Shanghai Girls (coming out in May) and said that she remembered me from our book club conversation last fall.  Then I gushed and babbled some more all over Vanina Marsot.  She was surprised that I’d already read her book.  I told her the publisher had sent it to me, and that I was a blogger.  She said, “Oh, do you know Jennifer?”  I said, “From Literate Housewife?”  She nodded, and said, “Yes, isn’t she wonderful?”  I, of course, agreed with her (Hi, Jen!) and told her I’d enjoyed her interview on Jen’s blog and loved the pictures. Whatever else I said is a blur.  Did I mention I gushed and babbled?

Amy, Tracy, and I blew off our 4th panel of the day in favor of walking around in the beautiful sunshine, picking up some freebies (mostly bookmarks), and talking. Amy did some shopping and bought gifts for her mom and sister (that’s her with Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark).  

Trish and me

Trish and me

We all met back at the UCLA bookstore, where Trish was once again a teensy bit late, but with good reason, and was oh so excited to tell everybody about the panel she’d attended (she is so darn cute.  I just love her!)  

Then we headed over to Jerry’s Deli in Westwood for dinner.  This is getting really lengthy, so let’s just say a good time was had by all.  Here are a couple pictures from our evening together.  Around the table, starting on the left, we have Trish, Ti, me, Amy, Florinda, Wendy’s husband Anjin, Wendy, Natasha and Jill.  In the last picture, taken outside, we have (left to right) Jill, Natasha, Ti, Florinda, me-Lisa, Wendy, Trish, Amy.  

I went back to the Festival on Sunday for Day 2, but just attended one panel (a middle grade fiction one) with my daughter and did a little shopping.  I picked up some books for my kids and stopped at the Vroman’s booth for The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer (he was on a panel Saturday that I didn’t see, but other bloggers loved!) and The Elegance of the Hedgehog (I was so glad they had it!)  I’ll tell you about my kids’ “adventures in book signing” in another post.

Thanks to all my wonderful new friends for making this a really special weekend for me.  It was a thrill and a pleasure to meet you all and I hope we can do it again next year!

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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

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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

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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!!

Holy Sh*t! 100,000 Hits! And a Hachette Favorites Giveaway!

images-11It appears that I will hit a big milestone today or tomorrow. Never in a zillion years did I think this little blog of mine would reach 100,00 hits, but here it is! Unbelievable. Woo Hoo, Partay!

51ipo1fobxl_sl160_pisitb-sticker-arrow-dptopright12-18_sh30_ou01_aa115_The wildly generous Miriam at Hachette Book Group is sponsoring a Hachette Favorites Giveaway to help me celebrate! Leave a comment on this post by Monday, February 16th for a chance to win a big box of new fiction from Hachette, including The Little Giant of Aberdeen County 31bhf6sljl_sl160_aa115_(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, a little background on this blog. I started Books on the Brain at the end of September 2007 with virtually no idea about blogging, the book blogging community, html code, Google Reader, ARCs, memes, book tours, etc. No clue. None.

Laura Fitzgerald, author of Veil of Roses (who, incidentally, has a new book out and will be guest posting later this month!), had just talked to my real life book club by speaker phone. She was terrific, and when I emailed to thank her, she wrote back that I should check out her guest post at Stephanie’s blog, The Written Word. I loved the post, but was entranced by the blog. I’d never seen anything like it! I emailed Stephanie to compliment her on it and ask questions (many, many questions). She was so patient with me and so friendly. A day or two later I started Books on the Brain with this silly post, not realizing at the time how much it would change my life.

So let me throw out some stats: in about 16 months I’ve had 99,866 total views (as of this minute), 337 posts, 4,126 comments, 33 categories, and 927 tags. I don’t want to even think about the number of hours I’ve spent blogging. Or reading the blogs of others. Let’s just say it’s been substantial!

But the MOST wonderful thing about blogging, the thing that I just can’t get over, is this wonderful community. The people are so nice, so helpful, so intelligent, caring and kind. I’ve made amazing friends here and I’m so glad I found you. You’ve greatly enriched my life. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, emails, Christmas cards, and surprises (Care, you’re so cool!). Book bloggers are the greatest! Your comments and posts have made me laugh, informed me, enlightened me, given me much to think about, and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!

Help me celebrate by leaving a comment to enter the contest.  The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only (no PO Boxes).  I’ll be celebrating all week with special guests and giveaways, so stay tuned!

Bloghopping Challenge

As I was trying to catch up on some favorite blogs, I ran into this post at Presenting Lenore, about a Bloghopping Challenge.  The idea is to visit 10 blogs you’ve never visited before and leave comments on posts that interest you.  This is a carryover from BBAW (one of the many things I never had time for, because there are only so many hours in a day, and I have kids and a house and work and responsibilities- oh, and books to read- lots ‘o books).  Click here for the full list of instructions. 

I don’t have time to do 10 today, so this will be a “Part 1” post.  I have been visiting tons of blogs lately that are new to me for my recruiting efforts to find tour hosts for TLC.  I’m coordinating a tour for Abigail Carter, author of The Alchemy of Loss, and checking out all different types of blogs. 

First, I’d like to talk about Abby’s blog, The Alchemy of Loss.  Abby lost her husband Arron in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001.  Abby writes in such a clear, straightforward manner.  I really enjoy her posts, because they give me a lot to think about, and I love the fact that she’s discovered all of us “blog people”.  Her latest post, titled The Quick Rip, has her wondering about death, and which type is worse: “The quick “no goodbye” death, or the slow decline of one’s body? Is it like Band Aids? The quick rip, preferable to the slow pull?”  Read more here.  

Have you seen People Reading?  The author posts pictures of people reading all around San Francisco and then asks them a question about what they’re reading.  Garbage men, business women, soccer moms, college students, homeless people; everyone in the whole city seems to be reading!  It gives a unique portrait of the city and gives me hope that there really are tons of readers out there.  This blog really appeals to the voyeur in me, and since I’ve just purchased a brand new camera, it’s given me some ideas! 

Another really cool blog is Sassymonkey Reads (where she claims reading is better in bed- I’d agree).  She recently moved her blog and this is the new location.  She’s got tons of great reviews, and she’s also a contributing editor at BlogHer.  

Ok, blogging time has run out for me, and I only got through 3 blogs!  I’m coordinating the Scholastic Book Fair next month for my daughters’ school and I’ve got about a zillion copies to make and details to take care of.  Ah, the life of a chronic volunteer.  The important thing is for me to get it all done today so that tonight I can do something I’ve been waiting to do for 4 months- veg out in front of the tv and find out what’s going on with my friends at Dunder Mifflin on the 1 hour season premiere of my favorite show, The Office!  I heart Jim and Pam.  (“Kiss her, kiss her good.”)

To be continued…  

Book Blogger Appreciation Week, Day One

Whew!  I’m getting this post in right under the wire!  Today (Monday) is the first day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week.  In an awesome display of organization and enthusiasm, My Friend Amy has put together this week of gratitude for all of us hardworking book bloggers.  Here is our assignment for Day One:

The gloom and doom news tries to tell us that reading is dead, we say look at our addiction. We transform reading books from solitary activities to shared conversations through our blogs. We carve out extra time to share book club tips, interview authors, and learn about the technical aspects of blogging. Our blogs are like a part-time job and the only payment is the pleasure we get when someone takes us up on a recommendation.

To get us started…write a post thanking or highlighting the book blogs you love to read!

This is so difficult for me, as I follow so many wonderful blogs, so I’m highlighting just a handful of blogs that weren’t listed in the voting for BBAW (many of my favorites were, but somehow these got robbed!!).  They are:

Jill at Fizzy Thoughts:  I love Jill, aka Softdrink.  She’s my twin, except way cooler and more laid back.  She writes straight-shooting book reviews, but she also loves to travel (check out her incredible flickr photos!), and her surfer dude significant other, Hamburger, occasionally gets a mention.

Julie at Booking Mama:  Ah, Julie.  I remember waaaay back in early 2008 when she was a little newbie blogger asking for my advice and thinking I was all wise (Ha!  I’d only been blogging a couple of months myself!)  Julie has created an amazing blog chock full of reviews, guest posts, author interviews, and more.  This girl is a reading machine, cranking out several reviews a week.  She doesn’t share much about her personal life but my guess is that she ignores her family in favor of reading!!  (And really, who doesn’t??) She’s always so nice and constantly giving stuff away.  And her blog is Pepto Bismol pink, but I don’t hold that against her!

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Written Word:  Stephanie is the reason I started blogging.  She’s incredibly kind and generous with her words and experiences, always helping others.  She writes fabulous book reviews, but that’s not why I love her blog.  I love reading about her family (she and her husband have two gorgeous girls, adopted from China), I love seeing her scrapbook pages (many of them have been published in magazines), and now I have an even more compelling reason to read her blog.  She lost her mom this summer to cancer, then two weeks later was diagnosed with breast cancer herself.  She is being so honest and courageous, inspiring others (myself included) to go get checked out.  I think she is so brave.

Dawn at She Is Too Fond of Books:  and it has addled her brain!  Dawn is doing some really fun stuff with her blog.  One new feature I really like is called SOBs- Spotlight on Bookstores, where bloggers tell about special bookstores they love.  She’s got guest posts, she’s got giveaways, she’s got book reviews-  She’s got it all!  And she’s also just a very cool person, someone I’d love to know IRL.

Who are your favorite, must-read bloggers who somehow didn’t make the final cut for BBAW?  

Introducing…

Sheri from A Novel Menagerie!

Sheri’s a single mom of twin girls (they have some furry friends too in their menagerie), a brand new book blogger just starting out, and she’s also a real life friend who got inspired to blog by my enthusiasm for it, so I wanted to send her some love from Books on the Brain..

Her latest review is for Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert. Sheri pulled the discussion questions from Mostert’s website and answered them herself, which I thought was a great idea. Check it out HERE

Hi, Sheri (waving like a lunatic and blowing kisses)! The blog looks great! Keep up the good work!

UPDATE: Sheri has a contest going on for a $25. gift card to Barnes and Noble! Go see!

Guest Post: In Praise of Book Clubs, Vol. 6

Heather, from Age 30 – A Year of Books, talks about her Storie delle Sorelle book club in this 6th volume of In Praise of Book Clubs.

When I started my book club back in May of 2005, I had a grand plan in mind: I would gather a group of friends on a bi-weekly basis and together we would delve into the most intriguing books we could find. Everyone would love every book and raise lots of meaningful points during the discussions. 

Well, as we all know, reality does not ever follow our grand plans. In reality, I have a dedicated group of friends who regularly attend meetings. We call ourselves Storie delle Sorelle, Italian for Stories of the Sisters. Rather than bi-weekly (was I crazy?!) we meet about once a month. Everyone does not love every book, but get this…that makes the meetings even better! 

Our most controversial book was What Our Mother’s Didn’t Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman by Danielle Crittenden. The point of the book is that the feminist movement actually hurt women in a variety of ways. Boy, did this cause some discussion! Some of the ladies completely agreed with the author’s points while others thought she was loony. One discussion centered on the age-old debate of the working mom vs. the stay-at-home mom — what a touchy subject! Our meeting was intense and needed very little direction from me as the leader. 

One good tip — if your club plans to discuss a “heavy” book, have your meeting in a fun environment. We discussed this book at our annual pool party — it’s hard to get too tense while wearing a bathing suit and drinking lemonade! 

One of our best meetings was for Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. In what seemed like a miracle for our club, everyone really loved this book. For our meeting we dressed in Japanese garb and had Asian food. We even had a special guest bring family heirlooms from WWII occupied Japan and an antique samurai sword. Because we all loved the book, our discussion was rather brief. When it seemed there was no more to say, I brought up the controversy and lawsuits that followed the novel’s publication … then we had a great deal to discuss. That new knowledge made us re-examine the novel with a more critical eye. 

Another great discussion came from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. This book is one of my all-time favorites, but with more than 800 pages it was a stretch for my group. To accommodate busy schedules and slower readers we decided to split the book into two meetings. Not everyone liked this book, but everyone got something out of it. Some said they appreciated the strong female characters. One member said reading about the rival kingdoms of King Arthur’s day helped her understand the rivalry and wars between the small kingdoms in the Old Testament. A few were just proud that they had completed such a long and intense book. 

My book club is nothing like what I imagined in my grand plan … in reality it’s a wonderfully eclectic, sometimes stressful but always enjoyable band of “sisters.” Our taste in books varies wildly — as does our reading speed — and we try to accommodate everyone. We found what works for us and our excellent meetings are the evidence. It’s not what I would have imagined, but reality can be better than fiction!

originally published at readinggroupguides.com on March 25th

Blogger Bio:  Heather Johnson and her husband, Chris, will celebrate their 10 year wedding anniversary this year.  They live near Baltimore, Maryland with their one fantastic son, James (age 6) and their big dog, Jasmine (age 9).  Heather founded the Storie delle Sorelle book club in 2005 and started blogging about it – and her other reading adventures – just last year.

***Would you like to share about your book club here at Books on the Brain?  If so, leave a comment and I will get in touch with you about a guest post!

For previous volumes of In Praise of Book Clubs, click HERE

For more info on starting your own book club, click HERE

For fun ways to make your book club better, click HERE

For a chance to win a copy of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin, click HERE by May 15th.  Josh would be happy to do an author chat with your book club!

For a chance to win a copy of The Next Thing On My List by Jill Smolinski, click HERE by May 15. You can contact Jill at her website about setting up an author chat.