Saturday, May 30, 2015

Armchair BEA Day 4 - The Constant Heartbreak that is Book to Movie Adaptations...

Book to Movie Adaptions
What books do you want to be made into a movie or television show? What are some of your favorites? We'll explore more about this topic, especially what works and what doesn't.  Are there any upcoming shows or movies that you're excited for? What are your recommendations?

I'm going to tell you a sad story.

So I read this book "Serena" and I loved it. I made my friends and family members read it and they loved it. I was feeling triumphant.

Then I heard they were making a movie based on the book and I was feeling nervous.

But then I heard the JLaw and Bradley Cooper were the leads and I was feeling thrilled!

But then I heard about the amount of reshoots they were needing to do....and then I heard nothing. I was feeling scared.

And then articles like this started coming out....

Serena is the cinematic equivalent of watching a car battery dying

Doomed from the beginning

It gets released on Netflix on June 9th and I will be watching it as soon as that beloved red envelope shows up in the mail. I'm holding out hope, because the critics are not always right, and I love the book so much.

We shall see!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Armchair BEA Day 3 - Blogging Talk...

Blogging Q&A
Blogging 101. All kinds of tips and tricks to get you started or keep you going. Talk about ARCs, reviewing in general, web design, etc.  What blogging platform do you use? How do you network? What are some of your favorite web designs?  Or maybe you want to talk about your own blogging journey, and how you got to where you are now. Either way, we want you to share your knowledge with the rest of the community!


I am no expert on anything blogging, there are people who have been doing it for much longer than me. However I thought that this topic was fun and a good opportunity to chat on such things. I'm really looking forward to seeing what other people have to say too!

1. I've really tried to incorporate posts that aren't reviews once a week onto the blog. It takes some more brainstorming, but I think the variety is good. Also it gives me more flexibility if I'm in a reading slump or just don't have time to get a book read and reviewed in time. I think it's gone well so far! They seem to be some of my more popular posts.

2. I love Netgalley, because goodness knows that free books are some of the best kind. However, it also gives me this anxiety knowing that I have a archive date deadline and a percentage to keep up! Whenever I get approved for a title I try and read it right away so I don't forget about it...

3.If you're a book blogger and you're not on the twitter I highly recommend you join in. It's weird in the beginning, I agree. But just start following all of your favorite bloggers and chime in occasionally and before you know it you'll get the hang of it. It's a great way to meet people and get all the good gossip :)

4. I am not tech savvy and am actually pretty proud of myself that the blog doesn't look like something I created in MS Paint. Thank goodness for pre made templates on Blogger.

5. I seem to have a problem keeping my fonts consistent. I do not know why that is but it is annoying to me (and I'm sure to readers) so I will do my best to pay attention to that more!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Armchair BEA Day 2 - Talking Social Media, kinda. I might have hijacked this topic a little...

Social Media: How do you use social media to expand your blogging/writing horizons?  Social Media is all about networking and connections, and utilizing today's technology to the fullest.  Make sure you mention your own social media pages. Do you have another blog, maybe a Tumblr? Have a Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook? Or maybe there's an underrated social media program that you like.

Before we start here's my social media info:


(Instagram is technically just my personal account but lots of bookish stuff pops up there too!)

So it probably doesn't count as social media, but I want to talk about Goodreads.

I don't think I'd be half as organized in my reading life or running this blog.

I think my favorite thing is making your own shelves. I have shelves for big books ("450 pages +") , books that are perfect to read on vacation ("vacation reads") and books that I can't get my hands on through my library ("books I want to read but the library doesn't have"). I'm super creative with the names right?

One thing that irritates me (and I know Jen from Relentless Reader talked about this too) is that there isn't a way to show that you read a book. Like if I read a book in 2012 and reread it again this year there isn't really a way to show that. Unless I made a special shelf for rereads. Which I might, because I do like making my own shelves! :) Anyone have any hints for Jen and I?

At first I was going to copy and paste all of my reviews on to goodreads but then I got super lazy and was like "naaaaaaah." Maybe someday but not now.

I was scared when Amazon bought it, but in the way that I use it, it hasn't seem to make a ton of difference...except for the lame ads embedded in the feed. That's stupid. (Though I did read one of the books it recommended once and it was awesome so whatever. It was helpful once.)

I love the giveaways! I used to win them all the time and now I hardly win any. But it's a great way to keep pulse on books that you might not hear about otherwise and add them to the TBR!

Are you on Goodreads? Want to be my friend? Have any tips to share? Any great features I'm not using?

To finish, here's an interesting graph that goodreads made (Click on picture for link to larger image:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Armchair BEA Day One! - Introductions

All! It's BEA this week! Those of us who aren't at actual BEA are participating in Armchair BEA! An (almost) week of discussion posts. It's a fun time, and I've been looking forward to it for awhile and it starts today! Hooray!

Each day I'll share the discussion question and my response. Can't wait to read everyone else's responses too!

An Armchair BEA standard. We provide a list of ten questions beforehand, and ask that you pick FIVE. Hopefully you'll be making more friends and meeting new people, so introduce yourself and get to know others. Tell us all about yourself!


Share your favorite blog post on your blog
I guess it would be this one where I talk about a form letter for authors and publishers who want bloggers to review their book. I think it's good hearted, almost helpful, snark.

What is your favorite genre and why?
I wouldn't really call it a favorite but I read a lot of nonfiction. Sometimes I look at my library hauls and my goodreads shelves and I'm like "uhoh , got to mix in some fiction, getting a little nonfic heavy!"

What book are you reading right now? Remember how I just said I read a lot of nonfiction? I'm in the middle of a very interesting (but sad) book called "Firestorm: Allies Air Power and the Destruction of Dresden". It's all about why the Allies decided to bomb Dresden to pieces, and why it's still kind of scandalous, much examined decision. There are more fun, less serious books in my future, I promise!

What is the top book in your TBR pile? 

I guess it would be Outlander! I've been saving it for a few months to read on a really long upcoming airplane ride. (T-8 days, Ah!)

What book are you most looking forward to reading this summer?
I've got a lot of really great sounding books waiting on my Kindle right now: Uprooted, For the Love, Rain: A Natural History and The Book of Speculation

Monday, May 25, 2015

Language and Translation

Translated books are kind of a hot topic these days, especially if you're trying to diversify your reading list!

Many people have signed up for The Introverted Reader's 2015 Books in Translation Reading Challenge. The challenge goes all  year, and all you have to do is read books that have been translated from their original language into a language that you feel comfortable reading.  Wondering what some popular options are?

- Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series (originally Swedish)

- Anything by Kafka (Kafka is Czech but he wrote in German. Thanks Rachel!)

-Various works by Chekov (Russian)

-"The Never Ending Story" (German) - (I didn't even know that that was a book, let alone that it was in German originally!)

- Fairytales by Hans Christian Anderson (Danish)

- "100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Spanish)

I'm not directly apart of this challenge but right now I find myself reading a book that was originally in Japanese! It's Silence   by Shusako Endo. (There's punctuation and things over the letters that I don't know how to insert, but just feel free to follow the link!) It's really interesting, and the translation (and the writing) is really good because it has a nice even flow to it. However, the story itself is pretty heavy and there's a lot of sad parts! It takes place in Japan in the 17th century. Japan was very much an island to itself, trying to keep it's isolated ways. However, there were some Catholic missionaries that were allowed in, they were usually Portugese. (I'm not sure why this is necessarily. Maybe because they could hitch rides all around the world on merchant vessels?). After a time, some of the warlords and rulers decided that this Christian influence is not something that should be apart of Japan. Not only were people not allowed to practice, but Christians were hunted down and eliminated. There was usually torture involved, some of it the most creative and awful that I have heard in a long time. I know, sounds terrible. But the faith of the priests and their followers is inspiring, but none of them are made out to be these perfect people. Ordinary people in extraordinarily awful circumstances. Not a place that any of us want to find ourselves in.

Also, a super dramatic but simple cover. You know how I like those!

Translations are a good thing. It helps to make our world smaller (in a good way!) and brings together people that might not have had contact normally. You know who does that for a living? Smartling. They translate digital content into all kinds of languages so that way the most content can reach the most people! Because as funny as those "engrish" signs can be sometimes, you don't actually want that for your business, Smartling to the rescue!

Friday, May 22, 2015

My 5 favorite books I've read this year (so far!)

In no particular order...

Dead Wake
I've already gushed about this book in a blogpost. And I feel like everyone who has read it has only good things to say about it.I thought it was compelling and I'm already tap tap tapping my watch waiting for Larson to put out his next book.

When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped us Win WWII
I adored this book, it made me weepy from almost the get go and I stayed that way throughout. The author is a lady, so I wrote up a review and put it back for All Lady July. I am all kinds of excited to share it with you.

Last Night in Montreal
I reviewed this one too! After Station Eleven I need some more ESJM in my life and I was so happy to have found this, her first book. If you are intrigued by the hype around S11 but don't dig the dystopian thing; this is where you need to be.


Berlin: A Portrait of a City Through the Centuries
I nearly walked past this one at the library, but then I just couldn't do it; and it came home with me. I'm so glad that I picked it up! I'm reviewing this one later, but obviously since it made this list you know I loved it!


Called: My Journey to C.S. Lewis's House and Back Again
I just finished reading this one a day or two ago! A man (with a very interesting/sad childhood and backstory) greatest dream is to study theology at Oxford. He makes it happen, but not without lots of sacrifices and doubt. He struggles with what he feels called to do. And I even learned a few things about CS Lewis I didn't know! Also the cover is beautiful and the author is really nice.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review: "Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia" by David Greene

Try not to be shocked, I found another book about Russia to review. My weird obsession continues.
Our author is David Greene. Apparently he works for NPR? Hosting something called Morning Edition? What I'm trying to say is I wasn't familiar with his work previous to this book. Greene had done some work in Russia periodically, but then came back with his wife Rose to work for NPR there permanently (bureau chief or head correspondent or something). He and his trusted translator Sergei decide to journey across Siberia on the famed Trans-Siberian railroad.

Here's a couple of things that I thought were interesting:

-Russia is a huge country, that spans several time zones. However, all the train schedules are shown on Moscow time. So you could literally be closer to Paris than Moscow and you still have a  train schedule in Moscow time. Is this confusing? Oh yes.

- Did you know gulag is really an acronym? (I thought it was just Russian for prison or camp or freaking worst nightmare or some such thing). It loosely translates into English as "main department of labor camps". Apparently "Western historians have used the term more broadly than Russians have." So it's not always a place for political dissidents, it could just be more of a regular prison with regular criminals.

- Life expectancy rates are really low for men in Russia compared to other similarly developed countries. It's only 60 years! Some contributing factors? "60% of men smoke...each citizen on average, consumes 4 gallons of pure alcohol a year". This will put you in an early grave. It just will.

-Up until 2013 beer was considered a food, not alcohol in Russia. (I thought that THAT was deserving of it's own bullet point!)

One of the things that I thought was most interesting was the attitudes for the government. People seemed to crave stability. In times of dictatorship or communist rule, things were definitely scary; but people had government issued homes and jobs and that offered stability. When Russia dips it's toes into democracy, there's less stability, more people fall through the cracks and face hardships that they hadn't before. (This is a problem more with the rural poor than the urban elite. That is a big old gap.)

I really enjoyed this book. I felt like it was a really good look at the two real separate groups in Russia (the above mentioned rural poor and urban elite) and what makes Russians Russian and what makes them tick! 3.5 out of 5 stars!