Tag Archives: reading

Top 10 Reasons I Love Being a Book Blogger

02.18.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

1.  The act of reading itself.

While the daily routine of my life has a number of things I must consider and complete, reading is and has been a constant source of comfort and solace. To escape into a fictional world through language and one’s imagination through the act of reading is an empowering privilege.

The Little Book Club: My children reading. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The Little Book Club: My children reading. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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2.  The opportunity to share and showcase my personal thoughts and responses to what I read—and perhaps influence the reading community.

The genesis of my blogging began with a collection of journal entries I had originally written and kept for myself. Now, more than 535 posts later, my reviews have a home and an audience for those most interested in literature.

3. To actively advocate the gift of literacy.

The joy and freedom I have enjoyed in my own reading is something I am very passionate about sharing with others. Literacy is not only a gift and a privilege, but what I believe to be an essential stepping stone in education and living a richer and fuller life.

4.  The ability to self-publish.

As a creative writer, I’ve always been pleased to see my work in print. To be able to self-publish is another avenue in which I can enjoy sharing my work with others—even if it takes the form of personal interest stories and book reviews.

5. To have autonomy over my own blog and writing space online.

To create and own a small space online dedicated to the act of reading, writing, and communicating with a community who loves books is not only enjoyable, but empowering.

6. The opportunity to chat with, interview, or meet authors about their work.

To connect with those who are responsible for the work that I love is an absolute privilege.

7. To be a part of the larger reading and writing community.

There is comfort and camaraderie in meeting others who share my love of reading, writing, and book blogging especially since reading is such an introverted act.

8. To be an active part of the publishing community in marketing great books.

 To be associated with publishing houses that help create and share literature with the world is also a privilege and gives me a greater sense of community.

9. The privilege of receiving free galleys, ARCs, or books on a periodical basis.

As a book lover, who doesn’t love receiving free books from time to time in exchange for honest reviews?

10. Taking pride in nurturing a growing, personal book collection.

So far, I have 12 large bookcases and a number of books scattered around my house in happy piles. Book blogging not only motivates me to read more, but to add more books to my ever-growing, personal collection.

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Are you a book blogger? If so, what do you love most about it?

If not, have you ever considered being a book blogger or blogging about something else entirely?

If you have a blog or are thinking about starting one, what is it about?

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15-Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 2

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15-Day Book Blogger Challenge:

Day 2

My Bedtime Reading Ritual

09.12.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

15-Day-Challenge

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My bedtime reading ritual consists of:

1. Putting the children to bed.

2. Taking a warm shower.

3. Changing into cozy pyjamas and furry slippers.

4. Making myself a cup of tea.

5. Choosing a book to read.

6. Turning on my reading lamp.

7. Setting my tea down on my tiled coaster.

8. Sitting with my feet curled under me on the sofa bed in my reading room.

9. Opening my book.

10. Periodically sipping away at my tea while reading.

11. Depending on how good the book is or how tired I am will dictate how late I actually stay up to read.

12. If I don’t finish the book that night, I do my very best to finish a chapter so I can continue reading, beginning a new chapter the next day.

13. I check on the children sleeping.

14. I may or may not sneak in a few more pages to read.

15. I turn off my reading lamp and sneak into bed to sleep.

16. I look forward to waking up to a fresh cup of coffee and the next chance I can open up a book to read!

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To see the rest of the 15-Day Book Blogger Daily Challenges, you can visit here.

What’s your bedtime reading ritual?

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Book Review and Author Interview: The Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

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Book Review and Author Interview:

The Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

05.21.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

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Category: Fiction

Author: Abigail Tartellin

Format: Advanced Reading Copy, Trade Paperback, 348 pages

Publisher: Atria Books

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0580-4

Pub Date: May 21, 2013

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Summary from publisher:

The Walker family is good at keeping secrets from the world. They are even better at keeping them from each other.

Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he’s the perfect son, the perfect friend, and the perfect crush for the girls in his school. He’s even really nice to his little brother. Karen, Max’s mother, is a highly successful criminal lawyer, determined to maintain the façade of effortless excellence she has constructed through the years. Now that the boys are getting older, now that she won’t have as much control, she worries that the façade might soon begin to crumble. Adding to the tension, her husband, Steve, has chosen this moment to stand for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.

The Walkers are hiding something, you see. Max is special. Max is different. Max is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won’t his parents talk about it? What else are they hiding from Max about his condition and from each other? The deeper Max goes, the more questions emerge about where it all leaves him and what his future holds, especially now that he’s starting to fall head over heels for someone for the first time in his life. Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Will anyone ever want him – desire him – once they know? And the biggest one of all, the question he has to look inside himself to answer: Who is Max Walker, really?

Written by twenty-five-year-old rising star Abigail Tarttelin, Golden Boy is a novel you’ll read in one sitting but will never forget; at  once a riveting tale of a family in crisis, a fascinating exploration of identity and a coming-of-age story like no other.

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Book Review by Zara from The Bibliotaphe Closet:

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin is a wonderfully sensitive novel that addresses the complicated issue of gender and speaks to the unique experience of what it means to be a young person who grows up with the burden of a secret identity—that he is a hermaphrodite or an individual who is intersex.

The convincing narrative is told in first-person by each character in the story:

Karen, a career-oriented lawyer whose self-conscious attitude especially toward outward appearances and the paranoia of what others may or may not think, compel her to be instinctively unhappy and controlling.

Steven, a moral and understanding father, yet busy lawyer whose active ambition tears him away from the knowledge and experience of his children’s emotional turmoil.

Max, an attractive, intelligent, athletic, obedient, and favoured all-star both amongst his peers and his family, is the center of the story’s narrative and the Golden Boy in which the book is named.

Daniel, Max’s highly intelligent, younger brother is an inquisitive, creative, but often overlooked little boy whose avid love for robots and video games affords him an escape from his mother’s critical eye.

Sylvie, a quirky and independent-thinking, social outcast befriends Max in a special way that essentially shows him a window to acceptance and love.

Hunter, Max’s childhood friend not only knows Max’s secret, but abuses it, which catapults and endangers their relationship to a complex level.

And Archie, a doctor who inherits the knowledge of Max’s crisis who learns to be an active advocate on his behalf and possibly others like him.

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The plot is as disturbing as it is moving where the internal landscape of its main character, Max, is both turbulent and empowering.

The book itself is about more than gender and what it means to be intersex, but also about the family dynamic, the complexity of relationship and identity, what it means to be authentic, and ultimately what it means to have and abuse power.

And yet even with the complexity of its subject, the book itself is easily readable and can both be read by the young adult (YA) audience as well as the adult one.

The tensions in the book as well as Max’s secret is primarily sourced from his mother whose high expectations not only stifle him, but emotionally neglect his younger brother.

And while what seems like the absence of Max’s father to a busy and demanding career, it is actually his father who is his most mature advocate regarding his intersexuality, next to Archie, Max’s doctor.

And the innocence of Daniel, Max’s younger, yet precocious brother is refreshing. While they are indeed close siblings, the weight of Max’s secret about his intersexuality is one which causes awkwardness and divide.

The story, while a tumultuous tale of growing up, is also a great testament to the self-discovery of sex, the complexity of gender, and the power of awareness and acceptance, as well as inclusivity.

It makes for an eye-opener to those who are unfamiliar with intersexuality and a reaffirmation and encouragement for those who experience its ambiguity.

Overall, The Golden Boy is an enjoyable narrative about a fascinating and rarely known subject.

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Characters:  3.5 stars

Pacing: 3.5 stars

Cover Design: 3 stars

Plot: 4 stars

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Zara’s Rating

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A special thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada on behalf of Atria Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an unpaid, honest review.

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Interview with Author:

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

  1. The subject of gender is a complicated one. What made you decide to write a book about the intersex experience?

I was thinking more than ever about how living as one gender or another defines us, and I began to believe that the differences between us are less biological and more to do with how we are treated by each other, and what treatment we accept. Having seen XXY in 2009, an Argentinian film featuring an intersex protagonist, I began to wonder how someone who was brought up as a male might feel to suddenly find their body insisting on their womanhood, and if approaching questions about gender from this perspective could highlight how gender makes a huge difference in our experience of the world, particularly in terms of our physical vulnerability and social expectations of how we should behave. In researching intersexuality, I came to understand that conditions that weren’t life threatening were being treated as such. I was particularly perturbed by statistics and stories about the loss of fertility and sensation experienced by individuals following operations on intersex children, and the parallel between this and the way women today disregard their own comfort to perform painful rituals to maintain their beauty and acceptability in society.

  1. What do you think is most challenging personally and socially for an individual who is intersex?

Society’s preconceptions and constructions surrounding gender force intersex individuals to make choices for the benefit of acceptance and not their physical health. In the case of Golden Boy, Max feels so much pressure from so many people to conform to these standards, but these standards are arbitrary and Max is a healthy individual. I do think standards are changing, and on blogs like Tumblr, there are certain courageous young people choosing or inventing their own gender labels, or deciding not to label themselves at all.

  1. How can people help in better supporting an individual who is intersex to ease those challenges?

Finding an online community like Tumblr where people can explore how to be, while remaining as anonymous as they like, could be really helpful in the case of intersex individuals. I think meeting people of any  ‘non-binary’ gender identity would help to realise that they are plenty of ‘different’ people in the world, and at the same time aiming to break down stereotypical gender roles within your community and household, so that there weren’t these strange, arbitrary lines drawn between us, would be beneficial to intersex people as well as women, men and LGBTQIA people in general.

  1. Do you think gender is more influenced by genetics, or an individual’s environment, or both?

I do strongly believe in genetic determinism, which is to say that the genes of an individual, along with environmental factors, determine the physical and behavioural development of an individual. I think more of our behaviour than we know can be attributed to our instinctive need to contribute to the evolution of our species, whether that behaviour be our urge to create art, or argue, or fall in love with a member of the same gender. When it comes to gender, aspects of our genetics, particularly our sex chromosomes, are significant factors in our development, but ‘gender’ itself is a human invention, a word we use to define the difficult to define, the in flux, the strange and unknowable. Like ‘gay’, ‘straight’ or ‘bi’, ‘woman’, ‘man’ and ‘intersex’ are finite terms human beings use to describe things that are not truly finite.

  1. The character, Max, in your book wasn’t told the details of his intersex genetic makeup, nor was his intersex spoken about or addressed by his family, and this seemed to be a crucial mistake in raising him since he had to deal with many unanswered questions about his gender growing up. How does a parent of a child who is intersex raise him/her in a healthy environment without imposing gender upon his/her child until which point the child may identify him/herself as a boy, girl, both, or neither?

To be honest, I think parents of children of all genders – intersex, female, male etc. – should attempt to bring them up neutrally with regards to gender. This is such a hard thing to do, particularly when there are many outside influences on children, and I applaud any parent who is making that really courageous and fairly self-sacrificial attempt. I think it’s important to read up on the subject to make yourself aware of how, for instance, toys are marketed in a gender-specific way, or girls are expected to be less rambunctious than male children, and how meek or fearful behaviour in a boy is often punished, but accepted in a girl. I’m currently reading Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind the Sex Differences by Cordelia Fine.

delusions of gender

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  1. You included statistics on intersex in your book. What is the ratio of individuals in the UK/Canada who identify themselves as men? As women?

I am not personally aware of a study that demonstrates the ratio of individuals who identify as male or female in Canada or the States. But if you find one, I’d love to be!

  1. Can babies who are conceived by individuals who are intersex, come to full-term and survive?

Not in every circumstance, but sometimes yes. For years intersex individuals were widely regarded as infertile by the medical community but, although certain conditions like CAH require immediate treatment to save the life of the baby, it is now known that intersex individuals can be fertile and thought that infertility in the past might have often been due to operations on the genitals at birth.

  1. Is it more likely for an individual who is intersex to have a baby who is also intersex?

Not that I’m aware. The rate of certain conditions is higher in some populations than others, but certainly not every intersex condition is passed down from a parent. As I understand it from my research, it is more likely for an intersex baby to be born to a female-male parental partnership, and for a female or male baby to be born from an intersex parent, than the alternative.

  1. Of all the characters in your book, who is your favourite one? Your least favourite one? Which character in your book was your favourite one to write?

Max is my favourite, but I’m very fond of Sylvie too. They are both heroes in my book. The Daniel/Max scenes were probably the most fun to write, but Max was certainly the most interesting character to be inside. I don’t hate anybody in the book, I try to present all characters – even the ‘bad guys’ – ambiguously.

  1. Of all the characters you have created, who do you believe is most like you?

There are aspects of me in every character in Golden Boy, but I’m probably most like Max and Sylvie. A little less bold than Sylvie, and a little more insistent than Max.

  1. What first inspired you to become a writer?

Everything inspires me to write. Writing is a compulsion for me and I can’t stop!

  1. Who are your favourite authors? Which authors do you think have greatly influenced your work?

When I was sixteen or seventeen, my English teacher gave me a copy of The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan, and I realised that I could write about anything, literally anything. Until then I had just read the classics, and although I love them, they didn’t show me that contemporary culture was an acceptable topic for a novel. I don’t have specific favourite authors, but one of my favourite books is The Good Women of China by Xinran.

cement garden

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good women of china

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  1. What are your top three favourite books?

I couldn’t choose three! I think the point of books is to read hundreds. Three of my favourites are The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson, The Women’s Room by Marilyn French and Just Kids by Patti Smith.

rum diary

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the womens room

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just kids

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  1. What book are you reading right now?

Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani. It’s phenomenal, and because we share the same US and UK editors, I know Sahar and she is SO lovely, so for both these reasons, I recommend people read her book.

children of the jacaranda tree

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  1. What does your working schedule look like? What is your writing process like?

Right now it’s crazy, because we are in the run up to publication and at the London Book Fair so I am getting my website up, meeting my publishers, doing reading events – which I love! When I am writing, I switch that world off. When I am beginning a novel, the writing comes in dribs and drabs. When I reach 21,000 words (my tipping point), I run away from society and write for five to six hours non-stop every day to get the first draft done. Usually this takes about a month.

  1. What are you working on right now? If you’re working on a second novel, can you tell us a little bit about it?

My second novel has to be in to my publishers in a year. I have a few ideas but I haven’t begun to write them yet! I am looking forward to touring the US and Canada and making notes about the different places I go to. I think that might get me inspired!

  1. What are some techniques you use to combat writer’s block?

I think you just have to ease up on yourself and not be mean to yourself! I can push myself too hard, where the best writing comes instinctively. The best thing to do is to get out into the world and live your life – that’s the really inspiring stuff.

  1. What do you like to snack on when you read or write?

Sometimes to keep myself going I get jelly babies. It doesn’t help, but my Mum always gets them when she needs a bit of a sugar rush and I’ve picked up the habit just because it reminds me of her! I tend to neglect food when I’m writing because I get too distracted by it’s yumminess, but I always think a big, hearty meal after a good writing session is needed, because it does take a lot of energy! I like a nice beef burger and fries!

jelly-baby

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  1. What kind of music do you enjoy listening to when you’re working on a novel?

Usually nothing, but I do like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and if maps was playing over and over in the background, I think I could write. I listen to The National a lot but that makes me get up and dance too often.

Yeah, for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!
Yeah, for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!

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  1. Which is your favourite genre to read? To write?

To read: literary fiction, whatever that means. I like a book to be lusciously written, with beautiful prose and words I don’t know. I like to get to know a character and learn something meaningful about life. I don’t really read thrillers that often, unless they are the quiet, intense, character led kind. I think I’m still finding my voice in terms of writing. I enjoy writing in the first person, and I hope my use of language will continue to develop.

  1. What’s your favourite saying or quote?

“Worry is like a rocking chair, gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”

That’s from Van Wilder, Party Liaison.

  1. You’re house is on fire! What three things would you take with you before escaping the smoke and the flames?

Laptop, humans (includes one teddy bear), hard drive.

  1. If you could have dinner with three people at the same time, who would they be and why?

My Mum, my Dad and my brother. It would be hilarious.

  1. If you could describe yourself in only three words, what words would you use?

Cheerful, hopeful and interested.

  1. What do you enjoy most about creative writing?

A lack of boundaries.

  1. What’s the best advice you can give someone who’s an aspiring writer?

Don’t throw everything else away. Live your life out in the world too, because a writer’s words are only as good as their inspiration.

Thanks, Abigail, for taking the time to share a little bit about yourself and your thoughts on your new novel, The Golden Boy! It was certainly a pleasure to read the book and to get to know you through this interview. Congratulations on your publication and the best of success for your next project! – Zara

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About the Author:

abigail tarttelin

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Abigail Tarttelin is a writer, actress, and the book editor for Phoenix magazine in the UK. She lives in London.

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Links:

Abigail Tarttelin’s Official Website

Follow Abigail on Twitter

Like Abigail on Facebook

Follow Abigail on Tumblr

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And for those of you in the GTA, Abigail Tarttelin’s going to be in town

on MAY 26, 2013!

Hope to see you there!

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Have you picked up your copy of The Golden Boy yet?

What new thing did you learn about Abigail Tarttelin from her interview that you found the most intriguing?

Hope to see you at the Glad Day Bookshop on May 26 for The Golden Boy event!

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The Three “R’s” of This Bibliotaphe

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The Three “R’s” of This Bibliotaphe

05.17.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

I’ve been extremely busy as of late and rightly so. It seems, too, it’s primarily because I’ve been engulfed in what occurred to me as my personal “three R’s,” things that I’m not only currently working on now, but favourite things I love and feel compelled to do.

While the environment has its own set of “three R’s” found in Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle—I have my own set of “three R’s,” which has consumed me to the point of being unable to post for my book blog on a daily basis!

The Three R’s of This Bibliotaphe

1. Renovate one of the rooms in my house into a Reading Room.

There are enough “R’s” in that one sentence to exhaust and exhilarate me. Since my two young children are always spending time together, playing and making a mess, I decided to move my daughter into my son’s room. Now, they share a space, toys, books, television, and a bunk bed—which leaves me with an entire room to work with and allocate as my reading sanctuary.

Many times I have repeatedly said, “Quiet please, Mommy’s just trying to read a bit.”

Now, I  no longer have to say that. I can go into my Reading Room with a hot cup of coffee or tea, shut the door, put my feet up, and turn a page without interruption.

My husband likes my room so much, I’ve caught him sneaking in there to browse through my books trying to decide which one to read next. My son likes going into the room to read comics while I’m not there.  My daughter knows that when that door is shut and Mommy is inside, she has to stay with Daddy for at least a half-an-hour before knocking on the door to ask for me.

Ah…the bliss of a reading room all to myself! But, I’m not that greedy! Because I love encouraging literacy in my family, I encourage everyone to use the room along with me. With exception to one rule: The Reading Room is reserved for reading.

My children can run around and play in the backyard. My husband can watch baseball in the living room. My son can play video games in the office. But the Reading Room is reserved for reading. (Or writing.) Period.

It’s still a work in progress, but here’s what my Reading Room looks like so far:

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I have a reading chair in the corner by the window, am on the lookout for a nice rug, and have yet to hang up a painting on another wall. I have a few pillows I still need to launder and books to finish reading so that I can add them to the room’s new bookshelf. Aside from that, this bibliotaphe’s Reading Room is almost done!

2. Reading.

My reading lists continue to grow, as do my book piles. Rather than talk about books all day, I really need to catch up on my reading. I hope the implementation of my new Reading Room helps. (I really wish I could stop time to afford myself the time to simply do nothing, but read, read, and read.)

Here’s a new pile of books that await me:

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3. Writing Reviews.

It seems my commitment to write thoughtful reviews has left me more thoughtful (as in pensive), rather than productive. It’s taking me a lot longer to get through books and reviews lately. The bustle and busyness and unexpected, unfortunate events, which have taken place in my life in the last three months have really backlogged my reading and writing. But, I am writing… Look for my review on Mount Pleasant by Don Gillmor soon!

reading room8

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That’s it. My three R’s: Renovate, Read, Review.

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Do you have a Reading Room or a special place where you enjoy reading?

How do decide which book to read or review next?

How do you keep on top of all your reading?

What do you plan on reading for the long weekend?

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Meet M.L. Stedman!: April 2nd at Indigo, Bay & Bloor

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Meet M.L. Stedman!

April 2nd at Indigo, Bay & Bloor

04.01.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

I’m pleased to announce an exciting event happening tomorrow!

You and your bookish friends can meet M.L. Stedman who’ll be doing a talk and reading from her debut novel, The Light Between Oceans on April 2nd at Indigo’s Bay and Bloor location.

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Summary from the publisher:

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

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Be sure to check back at The Bibliotaphe Closet for an upcoming review of M.L. Stedman’s debut novel, The Light Between Oceans!

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Have you yet had the pleasure of reading M.L. Stedman’s debut novel?

Will you be attending M.L. Stedman’s reading tomorrow at Indigo’s Bay and Bloor location in Toronto tomorrow?

Like the character, Isabel, in the book, what lengths would you go in “having a baby” after the trauma of two miscarriages?

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My Family Reads Monday

my family reads monday

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My Family Reads Monday

03.04.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

My family continues to enjoy its quiet time to read. While we haven’t visited the public library in a little while, we have kept our family tradition of visiting our local book store. And so here is my family’s reading picks of the week:

Esly’s Pick

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My husband recently landed a lucrative position at York University and is now privileged to read on his way to work during his morning and evening commute. While he’s often complained he hasn’t had enough time to read, his new job now affords him that opportunity. Esly’s pick of the week is:

A Prayer for Owen for Owen Meany by John Irving

a prayer for owen meany

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Michael’s Pick

michael reading

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Michael continues to enjoy grade three and actively participates in the Reading at Home Program (R.A.H.) initiated by his school where he’s  committed to reading a a book or chapter a day while his progress is monitored by both parent(s) and teacher. The wonderful news is that since he’s started participating in this program three years ago, he’s had a perfect reading record—and a positive and excited attitude towards reading!

Michael’s pick of the week is:

The Star Wars Trilogy: Return of the Jedi

star wars trilogy - return of the jedi

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Mercedes’ Pick

mercedes princess

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Mercedes is only three-years-old and while she doesn’t yet know how to read, she loves to imagine herself doing so. She loves choosing her books and putting them into my lap so that we can enjoy some quiet reading time together. If I’m not reading a story to her, she’s making up a story from her own imagination as she turns each page in a book. Mercedes’ pick for this week is:

Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book

dr seuss abc

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Zara’s Pick

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My To-Be-Read (and Reviewed) Pile continues to explode off my shelves, so it’s important that I continue to press on. I just recently finished reading The Dinner by Herman Koch and am now enjoying a memoir called:

Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man by Brian McGrory

buddy

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What kind of bookish activities do you and your family enjoy together? Are you all active readers?

Have you ever thought of creating a book club for your family?

What books are your family enjoying this week?

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Top 20 Bookish Memories

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Top 20 Bookish Memories

02.06.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

1. Winning my very first short story prize.

first prize ribbon

When I was seven-years-old, I wrote a three-page short story about a boy who was accidentally locked in the basement. I submitted it to my teacher as a writing assignment for English and was surprised to be asked to read it aloud in front of my class and then received a First Place prize for it. It was a wonderful affirmation of my joy in writing and reading and my first experience in reading in front of an “audience,” even if they were only a group of my seven-year-old peers.

2. Getting accepted into the Creative Writing Program at York University.

vanier residence
I lived at the Vanier Residence for my first two years of study at York University in the Creative Writing Program. Photo from: http://www.yorku.ca

The best Creative Writing Program in the country is known to be the program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The next best program is the Creative Writing Program at York University. Since I received a York University Entrance Scholarship and was living in the GTA at the time, attending York University in Toronto made a lot of sense. It was a relief and privilege to finally receive my acceptance letter to the Creative Writing Program at York after I submitted my writing portfolio—an achievement that gave me a great sense of pride and fulfilment.

3. Seeing my work in print when published for the first time.

(c) "The Worm" by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
(c) “The Worm” by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

It’s quite an experience to see your work, which began as a simple idea, become a draft and then again into perhaps a number of drafts after many revisions, finally come off press and in print. When if first happened to me, I was filled with pride and disbelief.

4. Seeing my son learn how to read for the first time.

My son, Michael---the Book Worm (like Mommy).
My son, Michael—the Book Worm (like Mommy). (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

I remember the first time the meaning of words in print were finally revealed to me and the feeling I had when I finally understood what it meant to be able to read. When I witnessed my son read his first words off the page out loud, I was extremely proud to see him pass such an important milestone and nostalgic of my own memories of reading as a child. The picture above is a picture of Michael already eight-years-old and able to read chapter books!

5. Meeting Barbara Gowdy in person, having a conversation with her, and a glass of red wine.

Barbara Gowdy
Barbara Gowdy

One of my professors for the Prose Fiction Workshop course I took as part of my studies in the Creative Writing Program at York was published poet and author, Christopher Dewdney, who also happened to be the long-term partner of author, Barbara Gowdy. Barbara Gowdy also just happens to be one of my favourite authors! Because of her connection with my professor, I was able to meet her personally during her reading of her new book at that time, White Bone, with a special introduction from Christopher Dewdney. She gave me writing advice while we both sipped red wine. It’s one of my all-time favourite bookish memories.

6. Being asked to join Random House of Canada’s Blogging Team.

Random House logo at front reception. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Random House logo at front reception. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

When I was asked to officially join the Blogging Team for the prestigious and largest publishing company in Canada, Random House of Canada, I was absolutely thrilled. They have always published an excellent quality of literary fiction, which is my preferred genre, and their books have published many of my own favourite Canadian authors such as Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, M.G. Vassanji, etc. Reviewing books for Random House of Canada continues to give me great joy and privilege!

7. Becoming an editorial assistant for the literary journal, Existere.

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***

When I was accepted as an editorial assistant for the literary journal, Existere, I was extremely excited to be able to work alongside peers of the same creative interests. My experience there taught me to sharpen my critical and editorial eye and have a first-hand peek at the publishing world. Not to mention, I was able to make great friends who also happened to passionate about reading and creative writing.

8. Reading my poetry for a Poetry Night reading at the Grad Lounge.

The Grad Lounge Bill. I was first up that night! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The Grad Lounge Bill. I was first up that night! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

Writers tend to be introverts. Who else could tolerate hours of writing in solitude? So, when I was slotted to read one of my poems for Poetry Night at the Grad Lounge, it was not only an honour, it was a nerve-wrecking experience. I’m naturally a shy and introverted person, but to be able to share my work with others in this type of venue meant getting up and reading my work out loud…in front of an audience…live! While I was perhaps self-conscious of that fact, I read through my poem with ease (since it was of course, so familiar), and was elated to receive a good response from the audience. When I left the stage, the bartender actually complimented me on my work, “That was a really good poem, good job!” While it made me blush, it helped to reaffirm my motivation to continue writing.

9. Attending my very first Canadian Book Expo.

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When I worked as an editorial assistant for a small publishing house, UCPH, a few of us were granted the opportunity to attend the Canadian Book Expo event in Toronto. It’s an event that hosts Canadian publishers an opportunity to showcase their publications and their authors by providing members of the publishing and book world with free copies of books, ARCs, galleys, and book signings. For a book lover like myself amongst the many hundreds of people who attended that particular weekend, The Book Expo was a forum to be able to completely immerse myself in book mania. Both my husband (who was a book buyer at the time) and I attended, which made it even more meaningful.

10. Attending the Random House Blog Fest and meeting Erica Ehm and authors Ami McKay, Erin Morgenstern, and Paula Mclain all in one day.

Authors: Paula Mclain, Erin Morgenstern, Ami McKay at Random House Blog Fest, Feb. 2012. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Authors: Paula Mclain, Erin Morgenstern, Ami McKay at Random House Blog Fest, Feb. 2012. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

Me and Erica Ehm. Random House Blog Fest, Feb. 2012. (c) Photo Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Me and Erica Ehm. Random House Blog Fest, Feb. 2012. (c) Photo Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

As a book addict and potential author worshipper, to be able to attend an elite event such as The Random House Blog Fest in February 2012 meant that I was privileged enough to meet not one favourite author, but three! I was not only able to meet them, but I was able to chat, take photos, and receive personally signed books! What more could a bibliotaphe ask for? Not to mention, I was surprised to also meet Erica Ehm, the former V-Jay of Muchmusic, who I had watched religiously as a teenager!

11. Receiving a personal tweet from Margaret Atwood.

Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood

***

As most of my readers know, Margaret Atwood is not only a Canadian literary icon, but one of my favourite authors. I had written a review on her book, Cat’s Eye, and published on my blog as well as shared it online on Twitter. Margaret Atwood actually read my review and tweeted me personally in response!

12. Receiving my very first book for review from a publisher—and it was signed!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. My signed copy! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. My signed copy! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

The first book I received for review was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I not only thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel, I was so happy to have coveted a copy that was personally signed by the author. Imagine my surprise, when I was able to meet her later in person at the Random House Blog Fest later that year!

13. Receiving news that other publishers would like me to review a book(s) for them on a regular basis.

Slowly, but surely, other publishers came through in deciding to put me on their book blogging distribution list. It certainly is flattering to be asked to review books for more than one publisher on a regular basis. It’s also a great opportunity and privilege to work with creative people in the industry who, though don’t pay me monetarily for my reviews, pay me in kind with free books and collegial, working relationships.

A special thanks goes out to the Trisha at House of Anansi, Corey at Goose Lane Editions, Emily at Constable & Robinson, and Anneliese at Simon & Schuster!

14. Creating my book blog, The Bibliotaphe Closet

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When I created my book blog, The Bibliotaphe Closet, for the very first time, the achievement of learning how to publish a posting in itself was rewarding. Prior to The Bibliotaphe Closet, I was completely unfamiliar with the blogosphere and the working of WordPress. It was wonderful to create a forum to advocate literacy, share my thoughts about books I’ve read, and to be a part of an online reading community—all with my personal branding!

While many of those who don’t blog merely consider blogging as a “nice, little (and perhaps useless) hobby,” book bloggers themselves know the amount of time and effort it takes to create — and maintain a book blog.

I am happy to see The Bibliotaphe Closet survive and pass its first year bloggoversary. The Bibliotaphe Closet is now a-year-and-two-months old!

15. Receiving a personal tweet or blog comment from Eugenia Kim, Benjamin Wood, and Scott Fotheringham in response to my reviews of their books.

I had written a review of Eugenia Kim’s novel, The Calligrapher’s Daughter. It was an absolute pleasure to discover she had read my review and left a comment to thank me personally for my work. She was the first author who contacted me in response to a review I had written and it made me realize that, yes, authors do indeed read the reviews book bloggers write and appreciate the thought and work put into them.

Since then, I have received personal tweets and comments from authors like Benjamin Wood for his novel, The Bellwether Revivals, and Scott Fotheringham for his novel, The Rest Is Silence.

***

@zaraalexis So pleased you connected so strongly with the book, Zara. Thanks for the thoughtful review.

— Benjamin Wood (@bwoodauthor) March 22, 2012

Hey! Thanks @zaraalexis for the review in your blog. Glad you liked it.

— Scott Fotheringham (@SFotheringham) May 1, 2012

***

16. Winning and receiving a personally signed copy of Haruki Murakami’s limited edition novel, 1Q84, by winning the Haruki Murakami Writing Contest.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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My signed copy of 1Q84. Limited edition. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My signed copy of 1Q84. Limited edition. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

It’s one thing to receive a free book from winning a giveaway contest; it’s quite another thing to win a free book that happens to also be signed in a limited edition because you’ve won a writing contest! One of the most treasured books in my entire book collection is Haruki Murakami’s signed novel, 1Q84 because of how I received it and, of course, the opportunity I have to own it personally, and the pleasure I have to read it someday.

17. Chatting with Esi Edugyan, author of Half-Blood Blues, online.

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan.
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan.

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esi edugyan
Esi Edugyan. From: http://www.esiedugyan.com/images/author.jpg

The novel Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2012. It took Esi Edugyan eight years to write her debut novel and the time was well spent since its debut not only put her on the longlist and shortlist of the $50,000 Giller Prize, but actually won her the Big Kahuna!

To chat with her live online was a pleasure. Here’s a portion of that conversation I had with Esi Edugyan through the CBC Book Club Chat event on January 27, 2012:

As an award-winning writer and a friend in the craft, what’s the best advice you can give to aspiring writers out there (okay, by this, I mean: me)?

by you 3:41 PM

My advice to aspiring writers is first, to read everything, and secondly, to keep going. When the rejections are pouring in, keep going. If you’re advised to stop, keep going.
by Esi Edugyan 3:42 PM
 ***

18. Buying my very first book from my school Book Fair.

My original copy of "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White that I bought as a child from my school Book Fair. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My original copy of “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White that I bought as a child from my school Book Fair. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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My first inscribed signature at eight-years-old. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My first inscribed signature at eight-years-old. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

I didn’t get allowance as a child so I had no means of buying myself a copy of any book at my school Book Fair. I did, however, convince my mom and dad to give me money so that I could place an order through Scholastic Inc. I remember wanting only one book at that time: Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White.

When the book arrived at school and my name was called so I could pick it up from the library’s Book Fair, I was so happy. When I received it, I simply stared at it in awe. My very first purchased book! I remember inscribing my name inside the front cover just to make it official. While it’s a little tattered, I still own the original copy I bought as a child.

19. Listening to Gordon Korman read in my school auditorium when I was eight-years-old.

gordon korman book cvr

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Aside from reading books by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, I also read a lot of books written by Gordon Korman when I was a kid. When I heard the news that my school was hosting a special reading by him in the school auditorium, I was starstruck. I couldn’t believe the person who had written all the books that I spent all my time reading at that time would be in my school gymnasium! Though I didn’t have a camera to capture this moment, this bookish memory has stayed with me for a very long time—it would have to—I was only eight.

20. The times I have cried in response to being deeply moved while reading a wonderful book.

There is nothing more wonderful than being deeply moved by a story you’ve read. While I’ve enjoyed reading many different kinds of novels, there are those that I remember that have simply moved me to tears, or rage, or both! And those are the best books and bookish memories one can have—how books and their stories make such an emotional impact on one’s life.

***

Thanks to the Broke and the Bookish blog for providing and hosting this weekly meme!

How many wonderful bookish memories can you recall?

Which books have you read that moved you to tears? Or rage? Or both?

***

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Review Copy Clean-Up 3.0 Sign-Ups

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Review Copy Clean-Up 3.0

Sign-Up

01.31.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

review copy cleanup 3 - feb 2013

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What is the Review Copy Clean-Up?

The Review Copy Clean-Up is a month-long event in which we book bloggers have the opportunity to challenge themselves to read as many review books as they possibly can. If you’re an avid book lover and blogger like myself, I’m almost 90% sure, you, too, have accepted too many review requests that are simply sitting on your TBR pile collecting dust because you’re collecting much faster than you are reading! Am I right? This is where a great event like Review Copy Clean-Up comes in.

Guidelines:

  • Review Copy Cleanup 3.0 runs from 1 to 28 February
  • It starts and ends at midnight in your local timezone to avoid confusion
  • To sign up, just fill in the linky below. Link to your sign up post directly, please! The linky is the same for both of the hosts’ blog, so you only have to sign up once.
  • The linky will close on the 15th, so make you sign up before then.
  • When you post your sign up post on your blog, either include the challenge button with your post or link it back to this article so that people know where to sign up. Thanks! (:
  • Every book you received for review counts towards the challenge, both e-books and hard copies (even audio books for review if you have those), including all genres and lengths.
  • Feel free to use the #RCCleanup hashtag on Twitter for your RCC related tweets or join the Twitter party at http://tweetchat.com/room/RCCleanup and meet lots of awesome bloggers.
  • At the end of every week the hosts will post their personal updates, and include a linky for you to add yours!
  • To sign-up, click on the banner above!

***

A special thanks to the hosts Vicky @ Books, Biscuits and Tea and Celine @ Nyx Book Reviews!

Good luck and have fun!

***

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Top 10 Settings I’d Like to See More of (or at All) in Books

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Top 10 Settings I’d Like to See More of (or at All) in Books

01.22.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

1. Any city, town, or village in the Philippines other than Manila.

Very few fiction novels take place in the Philippines and the ones that do, usually set themselves in the capital city of Manila. My parents were born in the Philippines. It’s what I and many other immigrant Filipinos consider to be their cultural home. While many Asian books take place in China or Japan, the beauty, culture, and setting of the Philippines is often overlooked.

2. Extremely isolated places or places with extreme terrain or climate.

I would love to read more books that take place in remote areas that may have extreme terrain or climate, which would hinder a large population from inhabiting it—for example, the Arctic.

3. Authentic portrayal of insular, religious sects.

I had recently read I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits, which is now one of my favourite books, and is about the Hasidic religious sect. If I had not had the privilege of reading this book, I wouldn’t have not only known of its existence, but also of its spiritual and religious lifestyle. I believe the only way people can truly move in the direction of inclusivity and understanding, is to have access to these kinds of authentic stories.

4. Authentic portrayal of least known cultures or communities.

I would love to read more about the Aboriginal community or the historical, tribal people of the Philippines like the Ati or the Aeta.

5. Underrated cities, towns, and rural areas.

A lot of books take place in popular, metropolitan, and well-known cities like Toronto, New York, Tokyo, or Paris. I’d like to believe that the fictional world, like the real world, is much larger in scope and culture than those larger, popular cities. It would be refreshing to read stories from places that give us a personal, intimate, and new perspective on other people and ourselves that we didn’t necessarily know before.

6. Private, secret, or least-known agencies or institutions.

While mystery and suspense are not my preferred genres of choice, I’d love to read more about the workings of private, secret, or least-known agencies or institutions, aside from the theatrical, Hollywood versions. What is it like to live in a modern-day nunnery? How does the Vatican truly look like and function? What kind of new technologies exist for the use of covert operatives for such agencies as the CIA? What are the secret societies (imagined or real) that exist and why and how do they function?

7. Imaginary utopias.

While the utopian novel is nothing like the realism of the world we live in today, it’s an imaginative and progressive way in which readers can aspire to work towards self-improvement and societal justice. 

8. New galaxies and planetary worlds in space.

I haven’t read as much sci-fi as I would like, but of what I have read in the past, there seems to be plenty of dialogue about the planet Mars. Perhaps writers and readers could move beyond that particular planet and the Milky Way to help create new and imaginary settings for other planetary worlds and galaxies that do indeed exist.

9. New fantasy for the supernatural and paranormal.

Though it may seem like a cliché, the large amount of literature about vampires, werewolves, fae, zombies, witches, and wizards, etc., are ever popular with the YA audience—and with good reason—they are creatures that entice our imagination because they are beyond who we are. I would love to see more elaborate and new settings (as well as creatures) of the supernatural and paranormal.

10. The Mind and the Dream World.

A fascinating subject is that of the mind, the subconscious, and dreams. It would be wonderful to read fiction that provides an internal landscape of the mind and the dream world.

***

Thanks to the Broke and the Bookish blog for providing and hosting this weekly meme!

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Of the list that I provided, which setting is your favourite?

What type of settings would you like to see more of in your reading?

What settings do you think have already been over-used and over-done?

***

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You Know You’re a Book Blogger When…

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You Know You’re a Book Blogger When…

01.15.2013

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

I saw a wonderful little post by Ezmirelda at the Parafantasy blog that outlined a few things that are sure signs you’re a book blogger! It made me smile and I enjoyed it so much, I decided to write my own version of “You Know You’re a Book Blogger When…” and of course, at her suggestion, “… let me know or make a post of your own and link in the comments!”

So, after you read my post, why not head over to the Parafantasy blog and give Ezmirelada some comment love and book blogging love? (I’ve also included a link to her post of my posting so she knows that I’m writing my own list as per her inspiring originality. No plagiarism here and all credit goes to Ezmirelda for coming up with this idea first!)

***

You know you’re a book blogger when:

1. You don’t just read a book—you review it. And then post it on your blog.

2. Your number one resolution of the New Year is most likely a book pledge—of which, you’ve decided to read a ridiculously high amount of books with the common minimum of at least 50 titles per year.

3. You know which genres you enjoy reading the most—and pretty much head in that general section at the book store first.

4. You equate authors to superstars. You secretly worship your favourite ones. But refrain from squealing, screaming, gushing, or fainting, and do your best to appear calm and collected when meeting them because let’s face it—you don’t want to look dumb (because the authors you love, are certainly not!).

5. You recognize the logos of publishers and publishing houses from afar. You know what they look like. You can name the key animals or pictorial images off-hand. For example, Random House is a house; Doubleday is an anchor; Penguin is a penguin; McClelland & Stewart is a man with a raised bow and arrow riding in a carriage led by a steed. You get it…

6. You most likely wear eyeglasses or contact lenses because you started reading between the ages of 5-6. (Under the covers at night with a flashlight!)

7. You not only remember fictional characters in the books you read, but feel an emotional attachment to them. For some of you, you actually miss them when the book ends.

8. A crush on a fictional character is not beyond you. Nor is a crush on an author. But, you just don’t tell your husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, or your partner about it!

9. You call your book collection a library…because it really is. The only difference is, your personal rules in lending them out to friends and family are more strict than the library’s will ever be. That is, if you DO lend them out in the first place.

10. You have a database of your books. In alphabetical order, by genre, author, publisher, or whether you own it, read it, or not—and you responsibly UPDATE it on a consistent basis!

11. You’re most likely a leader or an active member in the Goodreads community online.

12. You have accounts on almost every social media platform there is that exists. And your profile will consistently be about reading or include a passion about books.

13. Admit it, you’re addicted to Twitter. And most of your followers online are just as bookish as you are.

14. You’re sincerely baffled when you meet someone who admits they don’t really read or like books. You’re sincerely confused about this. You really don’t understand how this could be. You’re suspended first in disbelief, confusion, denial, curiosity, sadness, sorrow, anger, disbelief again…and finally pity…and then disbelief—again!

15. You review books for a number of publishers. And you’re grateful to do so.

16. You feel a deep kinship and appreciation for the marketing liaison(s) you work with at the publishing house(s) you review books for. You hold them in high regard. And any correspondence from them is like a direct letter from Santa Claus!

17. You look forward to checking your mailbox when you get home everyday—not for everyday mail like bills or advertising—but for book packages!

18. Your local courier/delivery person from UPS, Purolator, etc. know you by face and name.

19. You know what the word meme means online.

20. You know what the acronyms ARC and SWAG stand for. 

21. You know what a TBR List is…and well, yours is L-O-N-G…

22. You love bookmarks almost as much as you love books—and you collect them, too. You’ll even enter contests to win them! Or host a contest to (begrudgingly) give them away.

23. The Book Depository is your go-to online book store because of its free shipping, low prices, and the number of times you host international giveaways on your blog.

24. You pray to the gods of the Rafflecopter—and then you curse them when you don’t win.

25. You participate in blog tours, blog hops, blog events, and book marathons, whereas other people don’t even know what those things are.

26. You not only know when a book event is happening, you actually attend them on a regular basis or are specially invited by their hosts.

27. You have a blogging calendar. And you like to keep it filled. And if you’re an experienced blogger, you may even schedule posts in advance!

28. You not only created the name of your blog, you also created a personalized widget, also known as a button. And though you won’t admit it to anyone, it’s your badge of honour!

29. You’re so hardcore, you even have a business card for yourself and your blog. And you will pass it around to anyone, anywhere, any chance you get.

30. You truly love each and every one of your readers and followers of your blog. You’re genuinely excited when you receive notice that a new reader has followed you.

31. Your personal bloggoversary is just as important as your birthday. And yes, you remember it every year.

32.  You understand the true value of an autographed copy of a book. And you’ll stand in line for hours to make sure you get one.

33. Your computer is one of your treasured items. And if it’s mobile like a laptop or a tablet, you take it wherever you go.

34. You spend a ludicrous amount of time online—writing, editing your posts, or revamping/re-designing your blog.

35. Most of your email content found in your inbox is 90% from other book bloggers and it takes you a day to go through your emails to clean up your box.

36. You feel a personal kinship with other book bloggers. If you’re lucky, some of them are your best friends.

37. You understand on an intricate level that only other book bloggers truly empathize with you about your book blogging experience—because no one else can.

38. You’re part of a book blogging network or support group. (Yes, they do exist!)

39. You carry around your camera or tech device just in case you run into a perfect opportunity to take a photo(s) that can accompany the context of an upcoming post.

40. You actually book your vacation to coincide with The Book Expo America (BEA)  Bloggers Conventionbecause it is to you as the Star Trek Convention is to trekkies.

41. A book store is like a little piece of heaven on earth—and you stay there far longer than you’re supposed to—even if you’re not buying any books.

42. You love new books, new releases, the crisp, clean covers, and its bindings. And it makes you cringe when someone gives any book, dog ears! How horrendous! It breaks your heart to even witness a wrinkle!

43. Or you love old, musty books, their yellow pages, and old editions. They make you feel connected to the importance of the past. And like the Velveteen Rabbit, you feel the more worn a book is, the more it’s beloved.

44. You read potentially 3-4 books at a time.

45. You actually read books over again…and over again…if you love them.

46. You do have book reading biases like preferences for: print, hardcopy, trade paperback, mass paperback, e-books on an e-reader, or audio books. And you’ll defend your preference to the death.

47. You own duplicate copies of the same title—because you sometimes forget which books you own when you’re at the book store and you end up buying double or sometimes triple copies! (Or you just love the book and enjoy adding different editions to your collection.)

48. When it comes to books, you believe in love at first sight, because whether you admit it or not, sometimes you just love a book simply for its gorgeous cover!

49. You know what an imprint is.

50. You know what a galley is.

51. You can decipher ISBN’s and know what they really mean.

52. You receive unsolicited book review requests from publishers and authors. And you’re always flattered someone out there cares about your reading opinions.

53. Your family and friends think that your blog is simply a hobby. You and other book bloggers know otherwise.

54. You feel guilty when you miss writing a post.

55. You get stressed out when you have so many things on the go that they might actually interfere with your book blogging.

56. You stay up way past your bedtime in order to finish a chapter or an entire book. 

57. You have a book budget—and you always break it.

58. When you introduce yourself to other book bloggers, you not only introduce your name, but the name of your blog as well, as in “Hi, I’m Zara…from The Bibliotaphe Closet…”

 59. You secretly dream of working in a:

  • book store
  • library
  • publishing house

just to be around books and the industry.

60. You’re proud to call yourself a book nerd. You’re even prouder when someone else calls you one!

61. You’re running out of space in your house to store your books—because quite frankly, they’re everywhere!

62. If you won the lottery, you’d build a library for your home, build a library for the public, and create a literacy foundation.

63. You love it when you discover bookish items on Etsy.

64. You love to see other people reading. Especially children.

65. A new book in your possession is like owning a new $100 bill.

66. You have a personal, favourite reading spot…along with accessories!

67. You’re most likely a coffee drinker. A heavy coffee drinker.

68. You either read with a cup of coffee or cup of tea.

69. You HATE it when someone interrupts you when you’re reading. When it happens, he or she must be prepared for the evil eye. A very dark, evil eye.

70. You only enjoy public transit so you can read on your  way to work.

71. You think about and can’t wait until the next time you‘ll be free so you can open up your book and read.

72. You hate it when people irresponsibly tell you about book spoilers before you’ve finished reading the book.

73. You think reading and people who read are sexy.

74. Admit it. You are drawn to Starbucks—even if it’s too pricey for your budget.

75. If your partner loves books, you love him or her even more.

76. If you’re single and deciding whether or not to accept a date, your deciding factor will be whether or not your potential date is literate.

77. If you could work and be paid to read books all day, damn it, you’d do it.

78. You do have to ground yourself from time to time to guard yourself from becoming a literary book snob.

79. Those who are not book bloggers don’t really understand what all the fuss is about.

80. Your book blog is your baby.

81. You’re an obsessed creature. Ob–sessed.

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Do you know any other ways you can tell that someone is a book blogger? You’re more than welcome to leave your ideas in the comments section below.

Happy reading and book blogging to all my fellow book enthusiasts!

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