Showing posts with label armchair bea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label armchair bea. Show all posts

27 May 2014

Armchair BEA: More Than Just Words

Today's Prompt:
There are so many mediums that feature more than just words and enhance a story in a multitude of ways. Examples may include graphic novels and comics, audiobooks, or even multimedia novels. On this day, we will be talking about those books and formats that move beyond just the words and use other ways to experience a story. Which books stand out to you in these different formats? 

Typically my reading format is old school, straight-up books. I gave audiobooks a try three or four times, but I've never finished a book in that format. I always pick up the print version because audio is SO AMAZINGLY SLOW. My only truly positive experience was listening the the first third of Lolita as Jeremy Irons' voice rocks. I don't have any experience with multimedia novels, but......

Graphic novels are wonderful. I could write this big, long explanation of the validity, sophistication, import, and impact of graphic novels; however, I think I will stick with 'graphic novels are wonderful.' The Fables series by Bill Willingham should be proof enough for everyone of the awesomeness that is the graphic novel. The plot-line entertains, the relationships interconnect, the personalities are complex, the artwork is intricate, and the world is believable. Neil Gaiman's Sandman series also ranks as a favorite GN series.

While the above two series focus on fantasy elements, graphic novels more rooted in reality are also delightful. In fiction, The Eternal Smile and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang are hilarious and thought-provoking. And for non-fiction Persepolis and Maus are maddening, melancholy, and moving. And I could go on and on.

Alongside graphic novels are books such as The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick who defined this book as "not exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things". The book is a combination of prose, large chunks of it, and images, more of the full page illustration variety than the typical graphic novel frame set up.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on works that move beyond the text-only format. What do you like? What should I try?

29 May 2011

Sunday Salon: Not Enough Time in the Armchair

This past week I have been participating in the Armchair BEA as I am one of the unlucky who were not able to attend BEA/BBC in NYC. I was really smarting from not being able to attend, but the Armchair version certainly helped alleviate some of that pain. I met a ridiculous amount of new bloggers, read some really great blogging advice, and in general, had fun roaming the book-blogosphere.

First, a few new-to-me blogs I would like to introduce you to:

I know I added a few more to my Google Reader, but now I can't remember who's who and what's what, especially since I just un-"Followed" everyone and just subscribed through RSS. Er....yeah, if you notice you have one less follower today that may be why....

I also want to announce the winners of my two Armchair BEA giveaways. First, the lucky winner who will be receiving Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin is:

And the winner of Nyx in the House of Night is:

Congratulations to both of you. As soon as I get my butt in gear, I will ship those books out to you.

As for my own reading, holy sucktastic my blogging friends. I have been remiss. I finished two books last week: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Before I Fall. Have I reviewed said books? Absolutely not. Have I started a new read? Not a chance. I'm seriously slacking in the reading and reviewing department. Some real life stress - to be mentioned in the near future - has made me all ADD.

Hopefully your reading is going a bit better! So how was your week?

27 May 2011

Armchair BEA: Blogging Tips and Tricks

Today's topic for the Armchair BEA is Blogging about Blogging. Originally I tried brainstorming a list of blogging rules, a sort of shoulds and shouldn'ts list; but once I got going I realized that I wasn't offering anything new (and that I am not exactly an expert since I am a small-time blogger).  Really what interests me is the concept of balancing your online presence with your real life, so I switched topics...

First and foremost, I should make it clear that I am not an expert on this balance, nor do I think there are hard and fast rules which apply to everyone. We all have different lives, different commitments, different outside interests, and different expectations from our blog. We are all busy, some maybe more than others, but everyone (I sincerely hope) has a life outside of blogging.

There are obvious methods to ensure consistent and quality posting: setting aside specified time every day/week for the purpose of blogging, scheduling posts in advance to account for sudden obligations, etc. But no matter how we prepare, many times real life gets in the way of blogging (as it should). [On a side note, I am diminishing the importance of blogging by distinguishing it from "real life". I mean real as in not-virtual.]

So what is the point of all this you may ask (and rightly so as I am something of a tangential, roundabout chatterer)? Honestly, it is to give all of you permission to put yourself first, to sacrifice posting every day for playing outside with the kids, or cooking a special dinner, or just sitting down and watching the boob tube.

I see so many posts (and have written a few) apologizing for inconsistent posting or not commenting/responding to comments, and while I appreciate the sentiment, I always feel like we place this unnecessary stress on ourselves to be full-time workers, full-time wives, full-time parents, full-time readers, full-time networkers, and full-time bloggers. And it's just too much. I am a very firm believer that unless blogging is a job which supports you financially, you should not stress.

If the commitment to posting every day gets you jittery, or you miss a day or two, don't fret. Many (if not most) of us actually appreciate blogs which don't post every single day.

If you are in a reading slump and don't have reviews scheduled, feel free to post something personal: a thought of the day, a picture, a quote, a video, whatever. A bit of unique content keeps your readers interested.

If you don't have time to respond to every comment left on your blog, no worries. Plop up a big thank you post to all of your commenters!

And finally, if you don't have time to write a unique comment on all of the blogs you read, simply write He-ey or 'sup! Last year at BEA I said I was going to start doing this as I am a horrible lurker on so many blogs due to a serious lack of time. Just a quick note to let someone know you are there, and you are reading hir posts, even if you don't have time to be intelligent or clever.

The main point to all of this is JUST HAVE FUN! Blog for you, not for anyone else; it's the only way to keep from burning out!

For more (and probably more effective) blogging tips and tricks, be sure to check out the other posts linked up at the Armchair BEA website!

25 May 2011

Meet Ashley from Book Labyrinth

Today is Work the Network Day for us Armchair BEA participants, meaning it's interview day. I was lucky enough to get assigned a really great interviewee: Ashley. While searching for a job as a librarian, Ashley blogs over at Book Labyrinth, a review site with a YA focus. Her writing is intelligent and entertaining, and if you have not checked out her blog yet, you really should.

Let's deal with back story first. What inspired you to love reading?

I would definitely have to credit my parents with that because they're both huge fans of reading. My parents read to me before I was even born, so I think that's probably why I've always been such a lover of stories, whether they be in books, TV, or movies. My Mom especially always made sure that I had books in my life, whether by owning them or getting them from the library. I find it hard to describe exactly why I love reading, but I know I can trace my love of it back to when I was little, and possibly to before I was even born.

And how did this love of reading transition into blogging?

I always find it hard to pin down this answer to just one thing, but in the end I think it comes down to the blogging community. I wanted to be a part of that discussion on a more personal level beyond just commenting on reviews. I had been writing reviews on Goodreads for more half a year and considering writing a book blog for several months before I finally created one. The connection with fellow book lovers and the idea of promoting a love of reading is what really inspired me.

Okay, now on to more specifics. What character in a book you have read do you think is most like you?

Honestly, I have no clue. I've always identified with Hermione's bookishness, but we're not actually all that similar as people. I tend to identify with characters that are the 'good girls', as boring as that sounds. Characters who mirror my own faults always intrigue me, but most of my favourite characters tend to be strong and courageous -- the qualities that I wish I held.

Who are some of these "strong and courageous" characters you admire?

My favourite characters tend to be strong both physically and emotionally, but it's the emotionally strong and brave that I'm interested in. Tris from Divergent is a character that I read about recently who I thought was amazing. A whole main part of the book is reconciling the fact that sometimes being brave isn't about dominating others... in fact sometimes the bravest you can be is to put others first. Katniss (Hunger Games) is another character who is brave through her selflessness. Rose from the Vampire Academy books is kick ass tough, but she also isn't afraid of being caring and a bit emotionally vulnerable. Frankie Landau-Banks (The Disreputable History of...) is another amazing character who comes to mind. She's incredibly clever, and she's strong because she believes in gender equality and wants to be seen as a strong and independent person.

You actually have a feature called Future Reads in which you highlight upcoming YA releases, but I would like to know: what books are you most excited to read this year?

Two of them (Veronica Roth's Divergent and Sarah Dessen's What Happened to Goodbye) have already been released. Ones that are still upcoming include The Death Cure by James Dashner, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead.

We have to hit the hot topic. We just have to. So what are your thoughts on e-readers?

On eReaders themselves, I love them. There are pluses and minuses to everything, I think, but for the most part I am totally pro-eReader. I have a Kobo and I love how light it is, how easy it is to carry around 100+ books at one time, and the convenience of getting a book at any time, either by purchasing or by downloading it from the library. eReaders are great for reading eGalley books, and I think they've hugely boosted the self-publishing industry. All that being said, I think the sales model for eBooks is greatly flawed, especially when it comes to the publishers selling to libraries. I find the prices way too high for most eBooks, and I love collecting books themselves, so I mostly buy hardcopies of the books I love. But when it comes down to it? Whether eReading or "regular" reading you're still experiencing the same great stories.

I realize that books are not just blogging, especially for you! So for a completely different type of bookish question: As a librarian, what one improvement or addition would you make to the library system if you had complete control and unlimited resources?
It's tough to generalize because each specific library system has different needs. I think what's most important for libraries is to be a true part of the community they're in and through community development see what the community wants and needs. That being said, if I could improve one thing about libraries it would be helping them with PR. So many people don't even realize all the services their local library has to offer them, and I think that's why libraries are always facing budget cuts... people think that libraries are antiquated places that are just about books, but they're not (even though the books are an awesome part of them). Maybe if people realized what libraries had to offer they wouldn't be so quick to judge them. With unlimited resources every library could either create or improve their webpage and create promotional campaigns. With more interest and support because of this then libraries could keep improving their collections, programming, and technology.

And for a totally non-bookish question (although I am convinced that books and tv go together): Like me, you are an avid television watcher. What are some of your favorite shows? And why do you like them?

I am definitely an avid television watcher. I watch so many shows, it's insane. Thank goodness for my PVR! I have a really hard time picking my top favourites, but I actually wrote a post about some of them in March. The ones I featured there were Being EricaFriday Night LightsMad MenMerlin, and Veronica Mars. I think what they all (roughly) have in common is that they're all very smart shows. They're smart and funny and they don't talk down to viewers. Friday Night Lights is probably my top favourite show ever. I watch so many other shows, though... The Vampire Diaries, Modern Family, and The Good Wife are some other current favourites.

I totally just started watching Friday Night Lights! Sixty-three episodes available on Netflix Instant Play = Heaven! Okay, I shall stop pestering you with questions now (I emailed her like three times with more questions). I am so glad I got to meet you - and your blog - through Armchair BEA!

Other places you can find Ashley include Twitter and GoodReads.

Be sure to check out the other interviews going on over at Armchair BEA!


My interview is over at Mission to Read!

24 May 2011

Armchair BEA: Giveaway Number Two!

Day two of the Armchair BEA is dedicated to giveaways! My first giveaway, posted below is for Tom Franklin's Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, a wonderfully atmospheric mystery. My second giveaway is for an ARC of:

Nyx in the House of Night edited by P.C. Cast. The House of Night series is "a mix of mythology, religion, folklore" and vampires. The essays in this collection focus on the "real-world influences behind the House of Night's unique mythology". One of my favorite parts of reading fantasy novels is discovering the stories and legends that inspired the fiction, so this collection is right up my alley and I can't wait to read it! Since I have two copies, one lucky winner gets to read it too!

23 May 2011

Armchair BEA: Welcome to eclectic / eccentric

This year I am participating in the Armchair BEA! I was rather devastated by not going to BEA this year as I had a blast last year, but I must say that the opportunity to take part in the Armchair version has been healing my hurt. :) Today is introductions day, so...

About eclectic / eccentric
eclectic / eccentric is a blog which primarily features book reviews written by someone who sees value in both Hamlet and Harry Potter. Classic lit, graphic novels, SFF, YAL, plays, films, it's all here. Books reviewed on the blog are from my personal collection (which is embarrassingly large), the library, and from authors and publishing houses.

eclectic / eccentric came about because I love stories and sharing those stories with others. My job feeds my passion as I am lucky enough to be a college professor teaching composition, literature, and film courses.  For more about me and information on how to contact me, visit the About page.

If you are interested in seeing what books I've written on in the past, I have two possibilities for searching.  You can find reviews by author or by title.

If you like what you see, you might consider subscribing to eclectic / eccentric by clicking on the appropriate drop down menu on the far right side-bar.  You can also follow through Blogger by clicking on the Follow button in the right-hand sidebar.

Other Places You'll Find Me

My Armchair BEA Plans

Today is not a good day. Today I have jury duty. Keep your fingers crossed that all I have to do is sit there and read. Even the thought of being called to serve on a jury gets me all jittery!

Tuesday is Giveaway Day, so be sure to stop back by.....................

On Wednesday, we will be posting interviews of other participants. I was lucky enough to be assigned Ashley from Book Labyrinth and had a great time pestering her with questions.

Thursday is all about Nurturing Relationships with bloggers, publishing companies, authors, bookstores, etc. We will also be having a Twitter party

Finally, on Friday, we will be posting about blogging: tips and tricks, ins and outs, ups and downs.

Thanks for stopping by eclectic / eccentric, and I look forward to getting to know you!