White rabbiting my way through 2017

I am so behind on everything, especially blogging. I don’t want to write yet another post about all my blogging guilt, because it is what it is at this point. My previous schedule was getting hard to stick to even before last November, and a combination of happy personal events and horrifying political events have made reading and writing here more difficult.

My current intent is to try to have two posts a week up here, but–happy news alert!–I’m getting married in November, so we’ll see how long that intent holds up under the strain of wedding preparations. (Probably most of you have heard that news one way or another in a different venue, but anyway, yes! Here’s a photo.)

July has been a very quiet reading month for me, largely because my mom and fiance’ were both in town, but also because I’ve been in a bit of a slump. Last night I sat down and did some dedicated reading and it was pretty great!

Anyway, hopefully more here soon!



Easing back in

I spent the weekend in Boston at a friend’s bachlorette party, driving there from Ohio with another friend, which meant posting was a bit sparse around here last week and yesterday. And now, of course, it’s the first week of Great Lent, which means lots of church and–at least for me–an attempt to dial back in certain areas and increase my level of quiet time. Big trips are always funny: a space of time out of the usual. I did some knitting and not much else. And Boston is not my own place, although it’s full of people I know–I got to see my sister and meet a longtime internet friend, as well as the friend I came to see.

At any rate, now I’m easing back into being home and at work and also adjusting to a somewhat abrupt transition from Exciting Trips! to Church! Things may be a bit quiet around here for the rest of the week, but I’ll see you all soon.


At Midwinter

I’ll be back with a post tomorrow.

blogkeeping bookish posts life

Where I am

Reading-wise, mostly, though life stuff has an effect on that.

Just finished Caroline Stevermer’s Serpent’s Egg last night. It’s her debut, which I hadn’t read before, and it’s one of those books I find hard to review because I can’t quite figure out what it is I like about it. The characters, for sure–the plot is a bit meandering–but why do I like these particular characters? They are all trying to do the right thing, maybe? That’s often very appealing for me. Plus, there’s political intrigue, which I like in fantasy and historical fiction and that’s about it. At the same time, it’s certainly a debut, lacking some of the assurance of Stevermer’s later books. And there are too many characters, or rather, the book is not long enough to make us care about all the characters (it’s a slight little thing). I am not sure what to do with Chrysafer. That being said, I did certainly enjoy it, and the Elizabeth-inspired setting was lovely.

And now I’m planning on reading Leah Cypress’s Death Sworn. I loved her first two books, so I’m hoping this one lives up to expectations.

I have too many books checked out and I want to read them all, which makes me want to read none and then I get a little stressed out. Hashtag: bookworm problems.

Plus, at the moment my room is a disaster, for a specific reason, which is that I’ll be moving into my own apartment in mid-May and am consequently sorting through all my stuff and trying to acquire more. (The basics like, you know, a table and maybe a chair or two.) So blogging may be taking a backseat for a month or two, while all that is going on. Hopefully not too much, or for too long, but we’ll see.


Popping in

Not having done Round 1 of the Cybils before, I wasn’t sure before I started how it would affect my reading and especially posting habits. The answer is that it does. A lot. I’m reading almost exclusively books for 1) the Cybils 2) the PrintzBlog. And I will certainly be reviewing some of them soon, at least short reviews. But I’m not sure exactly when, and with my schedule for the rest of the month being the way it is (as in, causing me to laugh-cry on a daily basis), I suspect my regular posting schedule will be no more. In short, it’ll probably be feast or famine around here.

EDIT: Also, a reminder that you have until October 15th to get your nominations for the Cybils in! Go and do it! Make me read more!


2013 Armchair BEA: Wrap-up

A quick post, because I’ve been staring at the computer screen for too long already.

This was my second year participating in Armchair BEA. The first year, I didn’t post very much, and I don’t think I really interacted with other people’s blogs at all. This year I tried to visit at least 5 other blog posts for every topic I linked to, and comment on at least one or two. My goal here was to make sure I interacted without overwhelming myself and burning out. I think I succeeded there. I also got some fun comments here–thank you to everyone who came by! I’ve already found a couple of new blogs to follow.

I also found talking about the different genres and topics very fun and inspiring. I’ve been wanting to come up with a list of favorite books in different categories, and now I feel like that’s very doable and even fun. I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump recently, but at the moment I feel very energized.

My only feedback is that lumping YA into children’s books was a bit challenging–I love both and they’re such huge categories that I felt like it wasn’t possible to do both justice. Given that YA is such a huge field at the moment, it would make more sense to me to give it its own day or topic. The blogger development topic and the keeping it real topic also seemed like they were practically synonymous–I saw several people who didn’t bother to do the keeping it real topic at all.

But overall, I definitely thought this was a worthwhile experience, and I had a lot of fun meeting new people! I wish I had been able to make it to one of the Twitter parties, but none of them lined up with my (really weird) schedule.


2013 Armchair BEA: ethics


After taking yesterday off from Armchair BEA, I’m back and ready to go! Also, excited to talk about non-fiction, because I’ve recently started reading a lot more.

But first, ethics. I suppose to me, the basic ethics of blogging seem fairly straightforward. Tell me your biases. Tell me if you’re related to an author, or best friends. If you’re part of a promotional tour or package, tell me that too. Don’t use someone else’s words without attribution. Be honest. Don’t steal. Be kind (which is not the same thing as being “nice”). I suspect this is partly a personality thing: while I’m comfortable with ambiguity, there’s a certain baseline of rules that are just non-negotiable.

Now, as far as copyright and book covers and disclosure of ARCs go–that’s a thorny mess. I’ve read that using book covers is fair use and therefore fine. I personally like to add where I got the book, whether it’s personal library, public library, Inter-library loan, or a free copy. This is just because I think it helps add a sense of how easy it is to get the book.

But partly I think that everyone is still scrambling to catch up with this new world of book blogging–yes, STILL. For instance, one of the more fascinating things I saw coming out of Actual BEA yesterday was a tweet from Kelly Jensen (@catagator): “BEST THING I’VE LEARNED TODAY: no need to do an FTC disclaimer on critical reviews! Only ENDORSEMENTS.” I’m not clear yet on what this means, but it seems to indicate that negative (“critical” which is NOT the same thing, but that’s a different post) reviews don’t need an FTC disclaimer, whereas positive ones (“endorsements”) do. This might make sense from the FTC point of view; it really bothers me. Regardless, the point is that one statement by one person at a big conference could potentially have wide ripples throughout the blogging community.

It’s also true that probably a lot of blogs technically are not following all of the official rules correctly. What seems perfectly normal and harmless could potentially be problematic. And I’ve read a couple of posts that advocate being super careful, which is probably good advice. I’m not one to stick a lot of gifs*, or even photos, in my posts, which makes it a bit easier.

I’m not sure exactly what my conclusion is, if any. Try not to do some thing wrong/hurtful/illegal, and if you do, own your mistake and apologize. No excuses, no “I have no idea how this happened!”. I know it’s hard, and so tempting to try to erase your own bad judgment. But don’t do it. Apologize sincerely. Blogging often brings out our ego, either in an I’m-so-awesome way, or a I’m-so-terrible way. Push that to the side and write as the best person you can be, and I think you’ll be okay.



2013 Armchair BEA: Blogger Development

I meant to combine both topics for today, but then I got wordy. Two posts it is!

I’ll be honest here–I feel like, as far as this topic is concerned, I have almost no idea what I’m doing! I am terrible at marketing, even when I really believe in something, or when it’s something I’m proud of. But considering I’ve been blogging for seven years now, it seems like I should be a little better at this. I love some of the cool features that other blogs have, but I have had a lot of trouble coming up with any for myself.

Recently I have started a few things, though:
– Participating in Top Ten Tuesdays. I find the topics really helpful in kickstarting my brain when I just don’t know what to write about, and that way I have at least one post per week.

– Also, posting more frequently. Even if I’m not putting up a full review every day, I can talk about what I’m reading.

Picture Book Monday: I read a lot of picture books and early readers for my job, and I wanted a way to talk about them. I try to do about one a month. (Which reminds me!)

– I also do several book displays for my job and I’ve started talking about those occasionally. I’m working on a crazypants display for Summer Reading, so look for a post on that coming up shortly!

– Since pretty much the beginning of the blog, I’ve written a post about the books I read each month. Most of them should be here, although I think I’ve missed tagging a few.

– I’ve also started talking about the new releases that I’m excited about each month. I don’t have a specific tag for this one, but it’s fun!

I’ve also been working on developing my favorite authors page, and I hope to eventually translate that into a bit of reader’s advisory–ie, if you really like Megan Whalen Turner, you should try this author! Overall, I think that my blog is developing partly as I’m learning more about librarianship. For instance, I’m trying to mention who else might like a particular book–Hunger Games fans, or LM Montgomery fans–even if I myself didn’t necessarily like it.

I do comment on blogs occasionally, and I interact a lot with authors and fellow bloggers on Twitter. (Oh, Twitter, I ❤ you, never leave me!) I could probably do better about this, and about reaching out to the wider community. I don't quite know how people go about doing partnerships and readalongs and so on, but right now I'm (mostly) okay with that.

Really, overall I'm quite proud of the work I've put into this blog, although I'm sure there are things I could or should do differently*. Mostly, I think I'm learning to just be myself–enthusiastic, nerdy, sometimes slightly awkward, overly fond of semi-colons. And at the same time, I'm learning to challenge myself to try new things and share what I love. I don't know if I'm there yet, but I think I'm getting there.

* I really am open to suggestions!