Book Review: Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto

Book Review: Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren LetoJUDGING A BOOK BY ITS LOVER
by Lauren Leto

Essays
Harper Perennial; Oct. 2, 2012
Paperback; 269 pages
Source: Book Riot Quarterly Box

Have you ever needed to pretend that you’ve read an author whom you haven’t gotten around to yet? Are you curious about the rules for bookstore hookups? Do you wonder what your favorite author says about you? Are you aware of what your child will grow up to be if you read him/her The Giver? Do you just love reading intelligent, funny writing about books by a person who is clearly passionate about them? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Judging a Book by Its Lover is for you.

This relatively slim volume contains essays about the many facets of being a bookworm — including Leto’s proposal to change the term to bookcat. Some pieces are personal essays about her own life as a reader, from her no-shame enjoyment of The DaVinci Code to her childhood spelling bee flub to trying to obtain a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on its release date while teaching in Japan. Other essays are bookish rules and how-to’s. I’ll share a few examples: Continue reading

Book Review: The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

Book Review: The Word Exchange by Alena GraedonTHE WORD EXCHANGE
by Alena Graedon

Fiction
Doubleday; April 8, 2014
Hardcover; 384 pages
Source: Received from publisher for review

Set about a decade in the future, The Word Exchange portrays a world in which paper books and newspapers are a thing of the past, libraries and bookstores have shuttered their doors, and most people rely on handheld Memes for everything from communicating with friends to ordering food in restaurants to looking up hard-to-place words in conversation.

Our story opens shortly before the launch of the third edition of the North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL), which will be the last edition to be published in print. Ana works for the Dictionary under the direction of her father Doug, its Editor in Chief. The third edition has been his life’s work, and its publication will be the triumph of his career. However, one night Doug vanishes from the NADEL office, leaving a single written clue for Ana to find: the word “Alice,” a code word they had agreed to use if either of them were in trouble. Continue reading

Five Awesome April Releases

april releases 2.jpgHappy April my lovelies! This is my second monthly Five Upcoming Releases post, and I have some really great books to share with you! I’ve only read two of them, but if they’re anything to go by, April is going to be an incredible month for books. Here are my picks! Continue reading

Upcoming: Buffalo Small Press Book Fair

Hello lovelies! I’m not sure how many readers live within driving distance of my city, Buffalo, NY, but I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you about an amazing event that’s coming up this weekend, April 5-6! It’s called the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair, and it is one of my favorite annual events in Buffalo.

Each year, booksellers, authors, zinesters, bookmakers, small presses, artists, and poets come together for two days of workshops, readings, and exhibitions at the beautiful Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. It’s a really incredible show; I’ve gone the past two years, and I’m always blown away by the sheer variety of wares for sale: tiny hand-stitched notebooks, bookish jewelry, art prints, quirky zines, all sorts of books from small publishers from around the region, you name it. If it’s bookish, you can find it there. It’s a total literary smorgasbord. Continue reading

Book Review: Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

Book Review: Frog Music by Emma DonoghueFROG MUSIC
by Emma Donoghue

Fiction, Historical
Little, Brown; April 1, 2014
Hardcover; 416 pages
Source: Received from publisher for review

It’s the summer of 1876, and boomtown San Francisco is sweltering under a heatwave. Blanche, a French circus-performer-turned-burlesque-dancer living with her fancy man, befriends a mysterious woman named Jenny, who wears men’s clothing and catches frogs for a living.

When the novel opens, Blanche and Jenny are languishing at a railroad saloon in a border town, and suddenly Jenny is fatally shot through the window. Although she has only known Jenny for a month, Blanche is determined to bring her friend to justice. Certain she knows who the killer she is, she embarks back to San Francisco to find proof. Along the way, Blanche realizes just how little she actually knows about this strange woman. Continue reading

March Reads

march reads avI don’t know about you lovelies, but I am so ready for March to be over. It’s been such a dreary, freezing month, and I’m desperately hoping April will bring some warmer weather. I woke up to five inches of snow yesterday, and I am DONE with the cold. I’m desperate for the weather to become nice enough to wear flats and dresses, or even to leave my apartment without a coat!

Although the weather has been bringing me down, I’ve had some interesting things going on. I started doing some volunteer work for a non-profit that organizes writing programs for schools and literary events for the greater community. I’m finally putting my PR studies to some use, helping them out with articles and press releases. It’s not a lot, but I’m thrilled to be getting involved. Continue reading

Literary Links: March 22 – 28

Happy Saturday, readerkins! Start off the weekend right with five literary links from the last week.

1. Amy Poehler will serve as honorary chairwoman for World Book Night 2014! Her cool points are off the charts, and this makes me love her even more.

2. Alice Munro was honored with a commemorative Canadian coin to celebrate her being the first Canadian to win the Nobel in literature. Although it’s a silver five dollar coin, this limited edition coin is being sold for $69.99. I don’t entirely get the concept of special “coins” that cost exponentially more than they are worth, but it’s cool that Munro is being honored.

3. Reed Exhibitions announced BookCon, a show within a show that will take place on the last day of BEA. Replacing Power Reader Day, BookCon will appeal to a younger, non-trade demographic. This will be my first year attending BEA, so I can’t compare BookCon to Power Readers Day, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out — especially since Amy Poehler will be speaking!

4. Verso Books announced that they are now selling ebook/paper book bundles on their website. I’m so excited that someone is finally doing this! Bundles are the future, and it will be interesting to see how Verso handles it.

5. A judge announced two new rulings in the Apple ebook price-fixing case. She granted class action status and rejected two of Apple’s expert witnesses for trial. I don’t have too many thoughts on this, but it’s a nice update — and it will certainly be nice for customers to receive damages if (when) Apple loses.

Book Review: The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt

Book Review: The Blazing World by Siri HustvedtTHE BLAZING WORLD
by Siri Hustvedt

Fiction
Simon & Schuster; March 11, 2014
Hardcover; 368 pages
Source: Received from publisher for review

After years of struggling in the New York art world, seeing her work dismissed or ignored, Harriet “Harry” Burden is full of rage. She is tired of being sidelined, viewed not as an artist in her own right, but merely as the wife of her famous art-dealing husband. In middle age, she decides to create her most ambitious work yet — a work that will reveal both her own genius and the prejudices of the art world.

For her grand experiment, “Maskings,” Harriet exhibits work under three male pseudonyms: Anton Tish, a young fledgling artist; Phineas Q. Eldridge, a gay, black performance artist; and Rune, a critical darling of the artist intellectual set. Each of these shows are successful, reinforcing Harry’s conviction that her work has been ignored because of her gender. After years on the perimeter, she looks forward to her grand unveiling — the day that she will claim the work as hers and finally receive recognition for her talent. Continue reading

Spring Bloggiesta Goals!

BloggiestaHappy Bloggiesta everyone! From yesterday through Sunday bloggers all over the world are taking part in a blogging fiesta. (I’m a bit late to the party) We’re catching up on posts, doing blog maintenance, and participating in blog-improvement challenges.

I’ve been a major slacker on some aspects of my blog, so I’m glad it’s time for the blogging marathon! It’s a great event to make me do the little things I never feel like doing, and I hope to learn some fantastic blogging tips along the way.

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Battling the Blogging Blues

blogging blues.jpgThe last few months have been a bit odd for me, reading-wise. Even though my page count hasn’t dropped off, I have felt like I’m in a reading slump. Don’t get me wrong, I have read some books that I’ve really loved, but I’ve also struggled through a few books that I couldn’t quite get into. Objectively, I can tell that these are very good books, and yet… reading them feels like a chore.

Despite my reading resolution at the beginning of the year, review copies have taken over nearly half of my reading, and it’s kind of bringing me down. I have so many books on my shelf that I want to read, backlist titles and classics I want to buy, and new releases that I didn’t review but that I’ve heard great things about… and I don’t have time to read them. My reading is scheduled through May, and I miss the serendipity of browsing in a bookstore, buying a book, and reading it immediately.

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