Tag Archives: reading

Midnight In The Garden: A Road Trip

Did I mention my little road trip to Daytona Beach, Disney World, and Savannah?  Well, it’s happening right now!  I left last Thursday and drove from NJ to FL in one day.  Treated my younger cousin (freshie at a college in Daytona) to a whirlwind Disney weekend.

Tonight finds me in one if my favorite American cities: Savannah, GA.  ‘The Book’, as it’s locally known, gave me my first introduction .  My mom and I made our first trip down in 2001 and this marks my fourth trip.

‘Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil’ may have inspired my inital visit, but this unique and charming city keeps drawing me back.

Has a book (or movie) ever inspired you to travel?

P.S. Hyatt hotel, are you serious with your $10 wi-fi charge?  Will you charge for AIR next?

P.P.S.  I totally circumvented the ludicrous fee by typing this post on my iPhone…so suck an egg, Hyatt!



I said I wanted to READ…not BLEED.

Open Letter to the creator of PVC Book Covers/Dust Jackets:

Dear Inventor:

I’m writing on behalf of my injured fingers, three of which sustained grave wounds this weekend as I attempted to read a book with one of those new-fangled plastic-paper covers.  Don’t feign ignorance, you know what I’m talking about!  PVC plastic has no business masquerading as paper, especially when it comes to covers of paperback books.  I thought PVC had something to do with pipes!

I understand that libraries are just trying to preserve their books, but I ask you, at what cost?!  Would they prefer a blood-stained copy of Julie and Julia to a slightly creased copy?  I almost took a scissor to my book to round the edges of doom but was afraid a heavy fine would be levied against me.

I have a $50 deductible at the ER and don’t relish the doctor telling me I need three stitches* in my finger all because of a book.  Isn’t reading supposed to be a safe and relatively inexpensive hobby?

Best (though bloody) wishes,

Natalie

Book, Line, and Sinker

*A bit of hyperbole is being employed here.  I didn’t really need stitches but they added a bit of flair to my story!  Sorry for any confusion.

New Kids on the ‘Blog’: Promoting New Book Blogs

When I first started my life blog back in 2007, I was posting for almost an entire month before someone left a comment.  My daily stats were in the low single digits and I was discouraged.

I learned, trial by fire, how integral connecting with readers through my writing, tagging posts, and commenting meaningfully on other blogs was to helping grow my blog.  I eventually developed friendships and my stats and comments grew.  Blogging became more fun because of my friends, their feedback, and a sense of community.

When I decided to launch Book, Line, and Sinker in early 2009, I contacted a wonderful book blogger who I’d gotten to know through my life blog.  I asked her for some advice and she went above and beyond, writing an entire post promoting my new venture.  

With her introduction, my neophyte book blog’s stats spiked and I found myself warmly welcomed into the book blogging community.  That introduction made all the difference between my book blog languishing for months without an audience and my book blog finding a niche in such a great community.  While I do think that it’s marginally easier to break into book blogging than life blogging*, starting a new blog can be daunting no matter what your niche. 

Recently, this same blogger tweeted about a new book blog and asked that we pay a visit to welcome the new blogger.  All of these things, and BBAW, got me thinking about building community and engaging new (or under exposed) book bloggers who might not have the encouragement (through comments, chats, tweets, and emails) that others in the community enjoy. 

I’m not sure how (or if) promoting new book bloggers is a viable idea.  While developing Book, Line, and Sinker’s new layout and design, I’m toying with a widget for New Book Blog Promotion.  Here are other things I’m considering:

  • Have other book bloggers submit new book blog links to me via email and then host the links in my sidebar for a week
  • A monthly or bi-monthly post on my site with links promoting new book blogs 
  • A blogroll on my site devoted to new blogs 
  • Other bloggers hosting links or adding new blogs to their blogrolls 

As the book blogging community continues to grow, I’d love to give back by offering new bloggers  encouragement and exposure.  If you’d like to be a part of this, please let me know.  Have any ideas or suggestions?  Drop me a comment or email! 

*In my experience, book bloggers are, by nature, avid readers and are more willing to read posts and comment on them. 

BBAW Interview: Proust Questionnaire starring Amy from Amy Reads Good Books

Questionairre Logo

 

 

 

“Since July 1993, the back page of Vanity Fair has been devoted Proust Questionnaire, in which a noteworthy person answers a series of personal questions.  The questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust (1871-1922), the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.” —Vanity Fair magazine

To spice up our BBAW interview swap, Amy and I decided to use Vanity Fair’s format.  Amy’s interview is below and you can read all about me at Amy Reads Good Books.  Enjoy!

Amy from Amy Reads Good Books

Amy from Amy Reads Good Books by Gina (Nat's sister-in-law)

Meet Amy of Amy Reads Good Books.  She’s an English professor at a small college in Ohio and enjoys memoirs, women’s fiction, and books about food and travel.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I can get just a wee bit obsessed about learning something new

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to sing well

What do you most value in your friends?

Ready smiles and ready comfort

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A cozy dinner with people I love, candles, and a nice wine

Which living person do you most admire?

My mom

Where would you like to live?

In the woods, near a nice hiking trail, with a cozy studio for reading and writing

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Procrastination

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Grief, experienced alone

Who are your favorite writers?

Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery, Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Nick Carraway

Who is your favorite heroine of fiction?

Emma Woodhouse

Who are your favorite poets?

Elizabeth Bishop, Louise Gluck, Wallace Stevens, Sylvia Plath

How would you like to die?

Unaware

What is your motto?

Okay, I confess that I don’t have one.  After a little googling, however, I was charmed by this one: Amor tussisque non celantur–Love, and a cough, are not concealed. (Ovid)

Thanks to the organizers of BBAW for putting together such a wonderful opportunity for book bloggers to meet and greet.  Amy and I hope you liked our spin on the book blogger interview swap.

For more information on Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire, or to review the complete list of questions and answer them yourself, visit Vanity Fair.  If you’re a fan of Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire, look for the coffee table collection, coming in October.

Books and Beyond: What else or where else do you review?

One of my favorite aspects of book blogging is writing book reviews.  Maybe it speaks to my background as an educator–constantly evaluating and analyzing.  Whatever it is, I love to write reviews and with the advent of the internet have gone beyond reviewing solely books.  In addition to posting my  reviews here, I also submit them to Amazon.com.

Last year I joined Trip Advisor (nat-n-ant) and have since published a few reviews of the hundreds of places we’ve traveled to during our annual summer road trips.  Though Trip Advisor has been recently criticized for review integrity, I love the site and have found many wonderful places to visit and restaurants to try that I might have otherwise missed.  I have notes on so many great places (pictures, too!) and fully intend to post more reviews when I have some free time.   

I also write short book reviews and recommendations for my local library.  Brevity is the key to those mini-reviews–written on an index card–something that can be elusive to a chatterbox such as myself!  I love suggesting great books to other people and recently got some great feedback from a teen volunteer who read Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty at my recommendation.  She told me that she loved the book and read the remaining books in the series to find out what happened to the characters.

At restaurants, I always fill out comment cards complimenting on the good and noting the not-so-good.  When given constructively, feedback is a valuable tool for any company that deals with the public.

So, how about you?  Are you a reviewer of books or other things on sites beyond your blog?  Do you write for Yelp! or some of the others that offer public opinion?

The Agony and The Ecstasy: Summer Reading

18 years ago this week found a desperate, 17-year-old me scrambling to secure a VHS copy of The Elephant Man from my local library because school was starting and I had yet to read the required (and dreaded) Summer Reading assignment*!  Now friends, believe me when I tell you that cribbing on a test was waaay harder before the advent of the internet; Sparknotes and Pink Monkey were the stuff of the procrastinating student’s (read: my) dreams.  Instead, I was shelling out $4.95 at Walden Books for a book version of Cliff Notes.  (The irony that I read a Cliff Notes book to avoid reading the actual novel is not lost on me.)

Almost two decades later I’ve crossed over to the dark side, creating and correcting Summer Reading tests instead of sweating through them, attempting to fool my teacher into believing I read the books with vague references to conflicts, plot structure, and theme in my essays. 

The (only) great thing about my checkered academic history is that I know ALL the tricks because I’ve pulled them.  I assign my students two books for Summer Reading–one classic and one contemporary.  I know that most of them use Sparknotes and the like for the classic…but not for the contemporary one! 

As I was grading Summer Reading quizzes (given the first day of school!) last year, I came across these gems.  The candor!  The wit!  I love my job.  Let’s have a look at a few of my favorites from 2008.  What will 2009 bring?  One can only imagine!

sparknote

"I didn't read this book because I thought that Sparknotes had every book. So, I was planning on reading it last night but Sparknotes didn't have it. 😦 "

C’mon!  Does it get any better than that?   Well, maybe…

 note2

And this, in a nutshell, is why I love my job and adore Summer Reading–if only for the fodder they both provide my blog. 

So, were you a concientious student who always did his/her Summer Reading or were you a hellion like me–waiting until the last possible second to do your school work?!?  Does Summer Reading serve a purpose?  Did your school district spare you (or your kids) from the pain that is Summer Reading?  Inquiring minds want to know.

*The Collector by John Fowles was the other book I was required to read.  When I finally got around to reading the novel (a few months into the school year) it became one of my favorite books! 

For the control freak in you: Choose Your Own Adventure books

In the mid-80s, my school librarian introduced me to the control freak’s dream series: Choose Your Own Adventure books.  I’ll be honest, it was a slice of Nirvana for me, a control freak from a tender age. 

Here I was, an essentially powerless kid, yet I could control the destiny of book characters.  I may have had to go to bed at 7:30 because my mom said so, but I could control the outcome of a book?!  Can I get an amen for my new God Complex?    

adventure

Admittedly, this series was a bit dated by the time I showed up on the scene–originally published in the late 1970s while I didn’t come upon it until 1985 or so.  To my chagrin, many of the plots seemed geared toward a more masculine readership, but a few years later I discovered Choose Your Own Adventure-style books with boy-crazy story lines…just my speed.

I’m guilty of rewriting my character’s destiny (many times over) by flipping ahead, turning back and weighing the outcomes of my options before making an ultimate decision.  I was a kid AND a control freak…what can I tell you?

Were you a fan of the CYOA series?  To tell me about it, turn ahead to page COMMENTS.  If you don’t want to tell me, turn back to another blog.