Friday, June 8, 2012

What I Learned from Armchair BEA

I am not a "book blogger."

I read for me, I write for me. 

I don't care about giveaways.

I don't have the patience or discipline to write posts on subjects I'm not interested in.

I would like to have the patience and discipline to write more often.

I enjoy meeting people online.

I enjoy adding books to my TBR list, even though it may be years before I read them.

I'm not a book blogger, but I love writing about books and libraries.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Best of 2012

I've read books in 2012, but reviewed very few of them here, which means that I will be able to surprise you all with my favorite picks, yes? The trouble for me is finding books that were actually also published in 2012, since I tend to explore backlist books quite often (especially as I am years behind on my TBR pile). Nevertheless, here are my choices:


Young Adult
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth
A Montana girls loses her parents and believes it's because she's kissed another girl. Danforth takes the time to spin out the narrative into something substantive. Longer review here.

Speculative Fiction
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
When Myfanwy Thomas wakes up surrounded by bodies, she remembers nothing of her past life. She has only a series of letters from her past self to guide her through a treacherous secret agency and the use of her own mysterious powers.

Lesbian Romance
Roller Coaster by Karin Kallmaker
A solid lesbian romance by my favorite author in the genre. Longer review here.

As for most expected-to-be-coveted books of the year, I am very much looking forward to the publication this month of Diana Peterfreund's For Darkness Shows the Stars, as well as Lois McMaster Bujold's latest Vorkosigan saga book, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, for which I must impatiently wait until November!

For those interested in forthcoming books, check out this Kirkus Reviews post on the Top 10 Most Coveted Speculative Fiction Titles at BEA.

ETA: I don't know how I could have forgotten how excited I am about The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks, which is due out in September. I burned through the first book in the series and have been waiting for this one ever since I read the last page. Suvudu published an interview with Weeks that just served to whet my appetite.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Armchair BEA Interview

It's June, and I'm scheduled to go to the ALA conference later this month. New York City is so close . . . yet so far. Yet another year that I will be unable to go to BEA, when I will have to live vicariously through others and remember the year I went and then ran off to the airport, leaving my poor co-worker with several tote bags worth of swag . . .

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I am a reference librarian at a public library in Massachusetts. I've been blogging for more than five years, but I didn't get serious about writing reviews until about three years ago. I find that blogging allows me an opportunity to write critically, and sometimes about difficult topics, which otherwise I would not seek out. I've fallen a bit behind here lately in terms of reviewing (although I have certainly been reading); most of my recent reviews are posted over at the Lesbrary. My favorite genres are science fiction, fantasy, and romance (especially lesbian romance), but I have been known to dabble in mystery and have a soft spot for Victorian novels. I am responsible for ordering all the adult paperbacks and graphic novels at my library, so I am very interested in all that's new and popular.

2. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?

I'm currently reading Naomi Novik's Crucible of Gold, the seventh book in the Temeraire series. My favorite book so far this year was definitely Paladin of Souls, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Such a fantastic book featuring a conflicted adult female protagonist.

3. What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?

I like to analyze romance novel titles for trends. See my Meditation on 2010 Romance Novel Titles, especially if you like bar charts. I'm working on a new one for later this month.

4. Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?

I love romance novels, and generally I write positive reviews. But sometimes what I love even more is poking fun at books. When I read certain books, I get the best of both worlds, as when I reviewed The Master's Mistress.

5. Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

I started blogging more frequently when I started working full-time as a librarian. I wanted to make sure that I was reading more outside my comfort zone so I could be better at reader's advisory, and (somewhat to my surprise) I ended up liking a lot of the things I was reading--urban fiction, nonfiction, and even some literary fiction.

I look forward to watching the action from my cozy, cat-draped chair! I can usually be found on Twitter @helgagrace if you would like to chat!

Image courtesy of By Resonance african furniture (, via Wikimedia Commons