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Catching Up: One Sentence Reviews

I’ve had four books sitting on my desk, waiting to be reviewed, for what seems like forever. I don’t want to move them off my desk until I’ve told you what I thought of them, but in the grand scheme of things, writing these reviews is a low low priority. I was inspired by Lu over at Regular Rumination and her Great Review Catch-Up of 2011. So here’s some very short reviews of the four books that have been begging to be reviewed. I’ll try to keep it to one sentence, but I’m not sure I can do that.

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson – Full disclosure: I did a blog tour for the hardcover and have put together a blog tour for the paperback. Even so, I really liked the book. The suspense ratcheted up quite nicely, and while I was able to guess the ending, I devoured it pretty quickly. The author does a great job of keeping the reader wondering who, exactly, is the crazy person in the book.

The All of It by Jeannette Haien – I picked up this book because Ann Patchett loves it and I love Ann Patchett. I want to be besties with Ann Patchett. A book club I’m in chose to read it, and it was okay, I thought there were a few things that the author did particularly well, but for me, it was a forgettable book. Patchett obviously disagrees with me, but I hope that she won’t hold that against me when we do eventually become besties.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen – A decent novel, but not one I’ll be pressing into anyone’s hands.

Very Bad Men by Harry Dolan – One of the best books I read in 2011. FABULOUS. Made me go out and buy his first book. A really well written literary mystery. I was wondering why Amy Einhorn (she was the one who published The Help) was publishing a mystery, and now I get it. Love love love.


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The Book Blogger Convention

Michelle and I are pleased to announce the acquisition of the Book Blogger Convention by Reed Exhibitions (the folks who run Book Expo America (BEA))!

As many know, I have been organizing and running the Book Blogger Convention together with Michelle (and with the help of other bloggers) for two years now. It has been a labor of love, something that we created because it was something that WE wanted and thought other bloggers might enjoy as well. The support has been tremendous, and the responses after both years was thoughtful, insightful, and spurred us to new ideas.

Michelle ran the Book Blogger Convention this past year by herself. It was tough, but we were looking forward to planning the 2012 convention with the idea that I would be present. It quickly became apparent that with my having a new baby (and wanting more bebes) and Michelle dealing with some health issues, that planning another convention wouldn’t be feasible. We approached Reed about the possibility of purchasing the Book Blogger Convention. After quite a few discussions, it seemed like the best idea to have Reed run the Book Blogger Convention and Michelle and I would bow out.

We are confident in the direction that Reed will take the Book Blogger Convention, and we feel they will be able to do things with it that we were unable to do, either because we didn’t have the resources or we didn’t have the time.

Our hope is that the book blogging community embraces this new direction, and we look forward to seeing you in June at the Book Blogger Convention and Book Expo America!

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Ever since I’ve been blogging (and from looking at my archives, I’ve been blogging since 2007 (which, wow)), the question has come up: But do book blogs even SELL books? Does anyone take that recommendation to a store and BUY a book? Book bloggers and have been pounding their fist on the table insisting, YES! Books are being bought based on OUR recommendations. Unfortunately, all of the proof has been anecdotal.

Until now.

I was reading the latest issue of Shelf Awareness (a newsletter primarily for bookstores/booksellers) when I stumbled across a survey of consumer purchasing behavior. Obviously this survey was done specifically for bookstores — information such as whether more men or women bought books, their socioeconomic standing, etc. One of the questions asked was readers’ principle ways of finding out about new titles. Personal recommendations account for 49.2%, bookstore staff recommendations account for 30.8%, and if you continue reading, it turns out that 12.1% of readers polled find out about new titles from blogs.


That’s huge. That’s a big enough chunk of the pie to have to have a piece of the pie showing blogs as a possibility. I don’t think any blogger claimed that they had more influence than, say, a bookseller at a local bookstore, but we do, in fact, have influence.

Obviously I didn’t need proof before now since I already knew this from experience, but it’s kinda nice to have it.

You can see the whole survey here, and the Shelf Awareness article here.

And just in case you can’t get the words too legit, too legit to quit hey hey…

24 comments » |Posted under

Mind Numbing

I’m loving being a mom. I love it so much that I can’t wait to get pregnant again, and have felt this way since Ethan was…one month old? Something like that. Probably earlier than that since I was telling Dave I would do it again just hours after Ethan was born.

I’ve become some hybrid of a stay-at-home-mom slash work-at-home-mom. When Ethan was four months old, I realized I needed a day or two a week where I could sit down sans baby and work. My mother-in-law was kind enough to help out here and there, but she frequently travels down to San Diego to see her other grandkids and her stepmom, she travels, and she has far flung friends that she occasionally visits. Instead of being frustrated or bitter when she’d let me know she’d be gone for a period of time, I decided to put Ethan in day care twice a week. That way I didn’t have to count on her to watch Ethan so I could get work done, and when she is able to watch him, I’m nothing but grateful for the bonus work time.

On the three days a week that it’s just me and Ethan, we’re busy. We always have something to do during the day, and usually have two to three activities planned. Here’s a rundown of a typical week:

Monday – Playgroup with other (mostly) stay-at-home moms in the morning, frequently have lunch with a friend, home in the afternoon.

Tuesday – Storytime at the library at 10:15, frequently have lunch with a friend, and starting in March we’ll be doing a music class at 1pm. Generally will leave the house at 9am or earlier so I can drive around waiting for Ethan to fall asleep.

Wednesday – Ethan in day care.

Thursday – Mommy & Me class at 11am, though I usually leave the house around 9am to either run errands or drive around waiting for Ethan to fall asleep. Have lunch with some of the women in the Mommy & Me group, get home around 2pm.

Friday – Ethan in day care.

Saturday/Sunday – Family time. Dave usually watches Ethan so I can work.

I don’t have a lot of down time, and the downtime I DO have is packed with lunch appointments/play dates/activities. I realized without consciously thinking about it that entertaining a baby? Is mind numbing. MIND NUMBING. Let’s play with this toy! No? Not this one? How about this one? Want to nurse? Is your diaper wet? Are you tired? Why won’t you go down for a nap? Let’s get all your toys and strew them around the living room floor! And when you’re bored with everything else, here’s some knives for you to play with.

I’m sure entertaining a baby is interesting to someone, but it holds no interest for me. Don’t get me wrong — I absolutely love hanging out with Ethan. He’s my sidekick. We do almost everything together. I take him to committee meetings, I take him to book club meetings, I take him with me pretty much wherever I go. But trying to specifically entertain him with toys for any longer than 5 minutes? No thanks.

I’m sure at some point I’ll write a post about how I hate crafts. More on that when Ethan’s old enough to do crafts. I’ll be saying, Crafts are messy. Let’s go outside and get dirty instead.

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Sequel to The Passage to be published in September 2012

I fell in love with The Passage by Justin Cronin within the first 30 pages. By the end of the over 700 pages, I was telling everyone about it and pressing it in to anyone’s hands I could. I’ve got the hardcover, paperback, and a couple of advance copies. I won’t loan out the hardcover (just in case someone doesn’t treat it with the right reverence) but I’ve loaned out the paperback and my advance copies.

The Pass