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Armchair BEA: Getting to Know You

Two posts in one day!  That’s a first for me.  But I wanted to participate in Armchair BEA so I’m making a little extra effort here.  Armchair BEA is for book bloggers who didn’t make it to Book Expo America and the Book Bloggers Convention in New York this week.  It’s sort of a virtual convention, with interviews, blogging tips, and daily post ideas.  Check out the website today for an interview with Lindsey Rudnickas from NetGalley on how you can access galleys for review (I just picked up three books from NetGalley but I’m still new to the whole thing).

Today’s prompt is to introduce yourself, so here’s a little bit about me.

Please tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m a curly-headed 40 year old (soon to be 41, ack!) writing from the Washington, DC area.  I’ve been blissfully married for 11 years with two sometimes-adorable cats and no kids. I started this blog two years ago because 1) I really needed to write and work was killing any creative blood I had in me; and 2) books are what I love and what I know.

What are you currently reading?  Favorite books in 2012?

I’m currently reading Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.  Some favorites so far this year have been The Count of Monte Cristo, Room, and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

Where do you see your blog in five years?

I have no idea what I’ll be doing five years from now… but I feel like I don’t want to keep doing the same thing, so I hope either my blog will become more creative and personal over the next five years, or I’ll find myself doing other kinds of writing.

What is your favorite post?

I like the occasional post about something personal, like this one.  I also enjoy writing reviews for authors that have contacted me personally, like this one – it’s a bigger responsibility to write a good, fair review and a bigger chance to  have an impact.

What literary location would you most like to visit?

This one’s a freebie; I’ve answered this before.

What is your favorite part about the blogging community?  What would you like to see change?

I love feeling like I’m part of a community!  I’ve found so many great book recommendations, and new ways of thinking and writing about books, since I’ve been blogging.  And a lot of times I feel like I get to know people better through their blogs than in real life.

One thing I don’t understand is why some bloggers are so critical of other bloggers – with all the different ways to blog (and read and write), why should we talk about whose style is the right one?  Or I guess what I really mean is, what do we gain by discussing the “right” way to review books except to make others feel insecure?  When I started blogging I had to learn not to take discussions like this personally.  I’m all for saying “here’s how I like to review a book” but that’s just me.

Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging?  How? 

My tastes haven’t changed, but I’m a more thoughtful reader, and other blogs push me to read things that are more challenging or outside my comfort level.  For example, last year there was a blog hop where the question was, “what books do you want to read before you die?” and I was stunned by how many people, including myself, said War and Peace.  It really inspired me to stop using W&P as a symbolic reference and actually read the damn book.

16 thoughts on “Armchair BEA: Getting to Know You

  1. I wonder if the review criticisms (as it criticism of reviews, not of books) comes from insecurities in book blogs position in the traditional reviewing world, so there’s this desire to come up with a specific structure to follow if you want to write the “right” kind of review. Though I agree it’s silly to worry about that and there are SO MANY blogs out there. Just write what you like.

    • It’s probably because I’m insecure myself that this bothers me — but also because I blog for fun and assume most other people do as well! I would love love love to be a “real” book reviewer some day, but I don’t expect to get there.

  2. I had a Kindle for months with only a couple of books on it and then I discovered NetGalley! I have read such good reviews for Code Name Verity. I am one of those people that wanted to read War and Peace. I am half way through and need to get back to it!

  3. So, have you started War and Peace? I’m not sure it’s a book I need to read before I die. But… there’s Gone with the Wind! 🙂

    • I finished it this year! Sadly, I never did write a real review. I meant to, there were so many parts of the book I highlighted. Gone with the Wind also a must-read!

  4. I enjoyed your post today. Thanks for reminding me that it’s BEA time; my work is so busy right now that I’d forgotten about it entirely!

  5. I enjoyed reading your Armchair BEA introduction. I love D.C.. My husband was stationed at the Pentagon for 2 1/2 years, and although I didn’t move with him, I visited as often as I could. You have a lovely blog, and I will become a follower. I’d love you to visit my blog at http://www.readingroom-readmore.com/ and follow me. I think we have similar reading tastes, and I don’t know why I haven’t read The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes yet.

    • Kathy, thank you for the nice comment! I’ll definitely visit your blog. There are a lot of cool things about living in the DC area, although definitely some downsides too (traffic, expense, weather). Hope you enjoy Armchair BEA.

  6. NetGalley is the best! I love being able to request digital galleys through them 🙂
    I really loved Code Name Verity and I read the Count of Monte Cristo 2 years ago and it was just amazing! I really disliked how they translated this wonderful novel into a movie though, all the changes were so annoying!

    • Daisy, I’ve actually never seen a movie version of Monte Cristo, but I tend to assume movie versions of great books are going to be bad (I’m a pessimist and hate seeing great books ruined). I look forward to writing about Code Name Verity, I’m not sure yet what I think. Enjoy Armchair BEA!

  7. I’ve read Anna Karenina, which I loved, and I have good ol’ W&P sitting on the shelf waiting for me. I’ve actually started it a few times but, for one reason or another, always let it go. It was the same thing for me and Pride and Prejudice. And what do you know, when I finally got into P&P, I loved it! Looking forward to the day when W&P clicks for me.

    I hope you decide to post a review of Code Name Verity. I have it on my list and have heard many good things, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

    Are you a true crime fan? I’m currently editing a book about a notorious master thief who terrorized the D.C. area in the late ’70s. Fascinating stuff!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Happy BEA to you!

    • I’m glad you loved Pride and Prejudice! You really have to have a lot of time for War and Peace, and the characters get pretty confusing. I don’t read much true crime although In Cold Blood is one of my favorite books. Sounds interesting! I would love to edit books for a living. Thanks for visiting!

  8. I really want to read Code Name Verity. I feel like everyone has their hands on a copy but me!
    I hope you are enjoying Armchair BEA. I meant to participate, but we just moved and it seemed like too much work whilst still unpacking and adjusting to life in a new town…maybe next year.

    • I hope the move went well! Moving is exhausting, and I haven’t changed cities in years — my last move was two blocks over and that was a ton of work! Hope you’re enjoying your new area.

  9. I slogged through War and Peace years ago – not sure it was worth it personally
    Thanks for stopping by Book’d Out earlier
    Happy Armchair BEA!

    Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

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