Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Meghan Review: Found in Translation by: Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche

I had no idea how large a role translation plays in everyday life until I read this little non-fiction account about  the ways in which language transforms the world. Packed with fascinating human interest stories, funny anecdotes, and a huge number of facts, Found in Translation offers a look inside the secret world of translators.

One of the things I appreciated most about Found in Translation was that it was easily accessible to the reader, regardless of their language background. I believe a gifted translator would enjoy this book just as much as me, an English-only speaker. The book is divided up into broad sections of areas where translation is important, from "Saving Lives and Protecting Rights in Translation" to "Entertaining Fans and Playing to the Crowd in Translation."

Though I had some familiarity with how translation was used for political negotiations between countries, I was intrigued by the many roles translators play in people's more personal lives. The love and romance angle was especially interesting---the anecdote about a translator working for a long-distance dating service by translating for new couples over the phone made me laugh out loud! (I garnered some strange looks in the Columbus airport, but it was totally worth it!). 

My only critique of the book overall was that at times, the pacing could be slow. Each individual section was well-organized, but there was little connection between those sections, and that made it a little hard to get through.  

Recommended to: lovers of language, your relative from overseas, the college student you know that is going abroad next semester, anyone who needs a vacation

Release Date: October 2nd, 2012  Pages: 288 Format: Paperback  
Source: Publisher Publisher: Perigee Trade  Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Meghan. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @meghanc303

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Meghan Review: Married Love by Tessa Hadley

I've just recently gotten into the world of short stories after years and years of being a novel devotee. Although I still love novels for a plethora of reasons, I feel like the short story is such a diverse and compelling form---and as a college student, I am always grateful to have something I can read quickly! (Reading a short story between classes is a lot easier to accomplish than trying to finish a 400 page tome!)

Married Love by Tessa Hadley is an excellent collection of the short story form. Each story is well-written and narratively strong with unique characters. One of the things that appealed to me most about the book as a whole was Hadley's prose. She excels at being specific, without sacrificing any detail or artistry. This kind of conciseness is something that I struggle with as a writer, so it always impresses me when an author executes it with the kind of style Hadley employs. 

My favorite story in the collection was the final one, "Post Production." It follow the life of Lynne after Albert Arno, her famous filmmaker husband, dies suddenly and unexpectedly. As the studio works to finish his last movie without him, Lynne tries to define exactly who Albert was and what he meant in her life--and uncovers  new definitions of herself, as well. The closing line of the story is bittersweet and powerful and it knocked around in my head for days afterwards: 
"Meanwhile she gave herself over to the ordinary dirty traffic, the laboring stop-start of her bus journey, the smells of wet wool and hair and trainers, and the motley collection of passengers  mostly not talking to one another, only into their mobiles." 
A quick and yet powerful read, Married Love is a great way to finish out your 2012 reading list.

Recommended to: anyone who likes the J.K. Rowling's writing style or Chekov's short stories, tea drinkers, people who don't mind rainy days, anyone with a bus or subway commute that would rather read

Release Date: November 20th 2012  Pages: 240 Format: Paperback  
Also By This Author: The London Train SourceTLC Book Tours  
Publisher: Harper Perennial  Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Meghan. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @meghanc303

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Looking for an Associate Book Reviewer!


I really love what Meghan brings to In The Next Room, and considering PhD life is just getting crazier, I'm putting out another request for a second associate reviewer for the blog.

Unlike last time, it is okay if you already have a blog of your own. That said, you have to be willing to commit to two reviews a month and they cannot be cross-posted– though I will link to your blog on the review :)

I'm pretty open to the types of books being featured on In The Next Room, but erotica or anything really heavy in that regard is not going to be the best fit. I also don't usually feature self-published books. Still, this is something that can be discussed if you're interested in the position.

What I can offer...
  • A great audience for your reviews, as In The Next Room currently has over 1,400 subscribers. It's a fantastic way to get your name out there! You will be fully credited by name on your reviews. I can also link to your social networking site of choice or your own book blog.
  • Once we have developed a relationship, you will probably be able to get books (or e-books) for review. I won't guarantee this, but I do have contacts that are going mainly unused as I have been very selective in accepting books for review these days, while I continue to receive daily requests. This is especially true if you are Canadian, though I also have some American contacts. If you're located elsewhere, it would only be e-books unless you want to develop your own publishing relationships :)
  • There is also the possibility of interviewing or working with authors on blog tours.
  • As somebody who has been running a book blog for over two years, I have a lot of experience that I can offer. I can also answer any questions you may have about blogging. It would be a great learning experience and introduction to the book blogging world. 
You will not be compensated for your reviews.

I am willing to take on more than one associate reviewer if those interested are a good fit! I may be flexible on some of these guidelines, so don't hesitate to contact me :) You can reach me at 

Thanks so much everyone!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Meghan Review: These Things Happen by Richard Kramer

It's been a long time since a young adult novel has made me laugh as much or touched me quite as deeply as These Things Happen by Richard Kramer. Part of this book's charm comes from its unique set-up. Wesley, a fifteen-year-old, moves from his mother's and stepfather's house to spend a semester living with his father and his father's partner, George, in order to grow closer with his father. This kind of entangled, modern, nuclear family is exactly what I think needs to be explored more in literature, for both its humorous potential and its emotional value. It's important that young adult readers and adult readers alike see all different forms of family units in the books they read to increase acceptance and understanding for people whose lives may be a little different than their own.

Easily my favorite character in These Things Happen was flamboyant and hilarious George. Rather than falling prey to the tendency to stereotype gay men, Kramer works to emphasize George's individuality through his relationship with Wesley. For me, it was this relationship that was really the heart of the book. Kramer asks how we work to define relationships in our lives that aren't already defined for us---what is the role of the not-quite-stepfather partner in a young man's life?---while exploring how relationships that are already defined (father, mother) can fail us. George, who loves fine food and good theater, exposes Wesley to a whole world he hadn't seen before, and Wesley in turns offers George an unexpected chance to mentor someone younger.

The major turning point of this novel occurs after Wesley finds himself in the middle of a sudden act of violence. I can't say much more without going into spoilers, but this act of violence forces every character to reexamine themselves and their attitudes and assumptions. This situation forced me, as a reader, to challenge my own assumptions, and these thoughts stuck with me long after the book was over---which I think is the mark of a truly great book!

Because this book is told from various first-person perspective viewpoints, readers are given the chance to understand each character's thought process and motivations in a personal and powerful way. Every character has a unique voice, but all are surprisingly poetic. I found myself rooting for all the characters in different ways, and for the family as a whole throughout.

Recommended to: fans of Modern Family, Manhattan lovers, anyone who wants to understand mixed/LGBTQ families better, people looking for a heartfelt laugh on a winter's night

Release Date: November 7th 2012  Pages: 272  Format: Hardcover
SourceTLC Book Tours  Publisher: Unbridled Books  Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Meghan. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @meghanc303

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Author Interview with Caragh M. O'Brien (#2)

How would you describe Promised in ten words or less?

Let me first say thanks, Zoë, for having me by to answer a few questions. It was just about a year ago that you interviewed me for Prized, and it’s nice to be chatting with you again.

≤10 words about Promised: Gaia returns home to fight, suffer, love, and lead.

You recently released a short story, Ruled, that takes place between Prized and Promised, told in Leon's perspective, much like Tortured was between Birthmarked and Prized. What made you decide to tell some of the Birthmarked story in Leon's voice and how was it different from writing Gaia?

The stories posed a unique challenge. They were supposed to deliver something about the Birthmarked world without containing spoilers for the subsequent novels, and also I wanted them to matter. Setting the stories between the novels and jumping to Leon’s head made sense, especially since I’d heard from readers by then that Leon was a favorite character. Writing from his perspective was more difficult than writing from Gaia’s mainly because I didn’t know him as well, but also because he’s a very guarded, private character. It was interesting for me to play around with conveying how he felt when he rarely expressed it openly. I liked that. I especially liked in “Ruled” how he felt something, couldn’t express it, then Gaia figured him out anyway, and he knew she knew. Incomplete communication was an element of their relationship that I always found satisfying to explore.

Now that the final book in the Birthmarked Trilogy, Promised has been published, do you think the story is complete? Or can readers hold out hope that another Birthmarked short story may be published in the future?

The narrative truly ends with the last chapter of Promised, and I gave considerable thought to what conclusion would resonate best for the series. That said, I do find that certain characters keep knocking, as it were, and there are some poignant possibilities that tug at me especially. I don’t think I’d have enough to turn into a novel, though, and a short story would feel too flimsy. So that’s it. Thanks for asking, but the project is finished. We just have to imagine what comes next.

How was writing Promised easier or harder than the previous books in the trilogy?

Promised was easier in that I had so much more to work from already, and I’d been thinking about its problems in the back of my mind for a long time before I started writing, so I didn’t agonize as much over the first draft as I did with, say, Prized. It was harder in that I had essentially two casts of characters to combine, one from each of the preceding books, and it was difficult to let some favorite characters shift to the background. Worst of all was letting some truly awful things happen to characters I care about. That still bugs me.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Sure. Be sure you’re writing to fascinate yourself.

Are there any authors that have especially inspired you? This could be during your journey writing the Birthmarked Trilogy, or as a writer in general.

I’m inspired all the time, usually by whatever I’m reading at the moment. David Levithan’s Every Day sucked me in a few weeks ago and I’m still pondering it. I like books that take risks, like his does, and I like when it’s clear that the writer is having a ball writing. Kate Burak’s Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things is also delightful and strange and intense. It feels very personal, somehow.

After having spent years immersed in the dystopian societies of Birthmarked, do you see yourself continuing in the genre in the future?

I enjoy writing about the future, which puts me squarely in sci fi, and I’m definitely sticking with YA.

The question I have to that the Birthmarked Trilogy is finished, can you share anything about what you have planned next?

I have not figured out a coherent way to talk about what I’m writing next, but I have started another futuristic, YA project, and I’m working with the same editor and team at Roaring Brook. I’m so happy to be on board there.

Thank you so much, Zoë, for having me by. I love that your questions are so thoughtfully focused on the books. You always make me think, and that makes me happy!

Caragh M. O'Brien is the author of the dystopia Birthmarked trilogy that includes  BIRTHMARKED and PRIZED and PROMISED. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ms. O'Brien was educated at Williams College and earned her MA from Johns Hopkins University. She has resigned from teaching high school English in order to write full-time.

Thanks so much to Caragh for stopping by In The Next Room again! To learn more about her dystopia trilogy, stop by her website. To read the In The Next Review of Birthmarked click here, for Tortured click here, for Prized click here, and for Promised click here. To read last year's interview with Caragh, click here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Note: This review contains no spoilers of It's Not Summer Without You, but may contain spoilers of the first book in the series, The Summer I Turned Pretty, a review of which can be found here.

I really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, even though the narrator, Belly, tended to get on my nerves Han's beautiful writing made it all worthwhile. So I was definitely planning to pick up the sequel, It's Not Summer Without You to find out how the drama between Belly and brothers Conrad and Jeremiah.
However, unlike The Summer I Turned Pretty, there is pretty much nothing appealing about Conrad in this book, which makes it frustrating to see Belly continue to be devoted to him for the reasons the reader can't quite comprehend. He may have been her first love, but he's a complete jerk this time round. My heart just broke for Jeremiah who was basically being strung along by Belly, in a way that made me think of Belly's boyfriend Cameron from the last book. Adding to this are the short chapters told from Jeremiah's viewpoint that just made me sympathize with him more. So it was a complicated emotion– even though I wanted Belly to choose him, I felt like he deserved better than her.

In It's Not Summer Without You, Susannah has died and Belly is actually spending the summer at home, but of course she can't stay away from Cousins for good. The feelings of summer that Han captured so perfectly in book one are back, her vivid descriptive moments and that sensation that is summer nights and kisses. When the book begins, Conrad has gone missing and Belly and Jeremiah head to track him down. And even though Belly annoys me at times, she definitely has started to grow up and it is clear that she is mourning Susannah deeply. By the end of the book I was really conflicted over Belly's decision, and especially the afterwords left my stomach in knots going into book 3, which was definitely not what I expected. But more on that in my next Summer review. 

Release Date: April 27th 2010  Pages: 288  Source: Borrowed  
Also By This Author: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1); Burn For Burn (Burn For Burn #1)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster  Buy It: Book Depository

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend

Sometimes a premise just catches my eye and I absolutely have to pick up the book; My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend was one of those cases. It's about a very pretty girl, Lexi, who goes face-first through a windshield and has to learn to adapt to life afterwards. Combining that story with a sister element– Lexi's gorgeous while her older sister Ruthie is the quirky smart one– makes for an intriguing basis to an incredibly readable book.

Lexi is definitely not the kind of main character that a reader instantly connects with. She's had a really horrible experience, but that doesn't mean she's suddenly a profound person. She's still obsessed with herself in a way that makes her unlikable. In fact, she reminded me a bit of one of my favourite novels, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Like the main character in that book, Lexi undergoes a transformation that is more than physical.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Lexi and Ruthie. Honestly, while I couldn't relate to Lexi and her (formerly) perfect life, I could definitely relate to Ruthie and her quirky personality, but also the way that Lexi completely underestimated her and completely pigeon-holed her. It certainly didn't help my feelings towards Lexi. 

However, what Friend does really well is show Lexi's journey. It's undeniable that this is a life changing event, and having to pick up the pieces afterwards made for an interesting and exciting story. There was also an element of mystery to the story and wanting to know how Lexi ended up in the car accident, which I think contributed to how page-turning the story was. Although I'd never read anything by Natasha Friend before, I found her style very easy and enjoyable. There weren't any big surprises or shocking revelations in My Life in Black and White, but it was relaxing and fun to read and I'd definitely be willing to pick up a novel her in the future– and considering I have her 2010 novel, For Keeps, on my shelves, I think I probably will. 

Release Date: June 28th 2012  Pages: 294  Format: E-book 
Source: Borrowed Publisher: Penguin Buy It: Book Depository

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giveaway: Evil Eye by Jeff Szpirglas

Today I have the opportunity to give away a copy of author Jeff Szpirglas' recently released middle grade novel. It sounds like a funny and gross story, and even though it's aimed at boys it's definitely one I'll be reading myself soon.

Here's a small summary:
Jake knew that a field trip to the cemetery would lead to bad things. Bad things like an angry class bully. Bad things like a mysterious tombstone. Bad things like a scratched eyeball. Most scratched eyeballs heal up in no time. They don't pop out of their sockets or float in the air or help you cheat on your math test. And they almost never go off in search of revenge. Now Jake's eyeball has a mind of its own, and it's up to Jake to find out what it's after and why. Whatever it is, it's something ancient. Something evil. 
Click here to read Jeff's guest post on the inspiration behind Evil Eye

This giveaway is for one paperback copy of Evil Eye and is open to the US and Canada. It ends December 2nd at midnight EST.

Enter here to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and thanks for stopping by In The Next Room!  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Author Guest Post: Jeff Szpirglas

Evil Eye Origins

Evil Eye is the novel I’ve wanted to write since I was 12, and never thought would ever see the light of day. It’s about a boy whose eyeball becomes possessed, takes on the ability to pop out of its socket, and float off and do nasty things. Making it worse, our hero can see it all happen – both from the eye in his head, and the disembodied one up to no good. I admit the plot gets pretty weird after that.

The genesis of Evil Eye dates back to my university days, when I rabidly consumed as many movies as possible. We’re talking upwards of at least one movie a day, sometimes three. I was a sponge, soaking in everything from Jean Cocteau to Akira Kurosawa and beyond. But it was the films of David Cronenberg and Brian De Palma that I connected to in an almost visceral way. De Palma in particular developed a style that was often ridiculed because of the way he aped Hitchcock. Despite wearing his influences on his sleeve, De Palma’s horror films from this period (Sisters, Phantom of the Paradise, Dressed To Kill) have a gleeful mania, cutting sense of humor, and artful compositions.

Evil Eye is the movie in my head that little Jeff yearned to see, answering that age-old question: what if your eye could pop out of your head, levitate through the air, and stare back at you? I envisioned a De Palmaesque split screen sequence in which a hero fought his own disembodied eyeball with a tennis racket. Movie audiences would see both images at once, just like Jake, the story’s hero.

Back in school, some people were trying to write the next great American novel; but this sort of lurid schlock truly fed my soul. I’ve always gravitated towards movies and stories that married gutsy comedy with legitimate scares – movies like Re-Animator, Creepshow, and An American Werewolf In London. Both horror and comedy rely on timing and payoff to give their audiences something unexpected. Each genre has its bag of tricks and distinct rhythms. I admire storytellers who try to pull the rug from under their audiences, substituting shocks for laughs, and vice-versa. Horror movie plots are often cyclical, reminding us that evil recurs over and over again. But that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at our fears and failures (mortal and all) along the way.

There’s a sub-genre of horror in which disembodied body parts come to life: The Hand, The Crawling Eye, They Saved Hitler’s Brain, Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors – I’m not saying these are cinematic classics, but I wanted to take the genre to its ultimate limits, much in the same way that composer Jim Steinman wanted to take motorcycle crash songs to their apex in Bat out of Hell. Some of my favorite parts of Evil Eye involve our hero Jake on his bike, chasing his own runaway eye, trying to process both images in his brain and stay balanced on his bike.

The ultimate goal for Evil Eye? Scare kids hard, and scare them silly. I looked to R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps, and wanted to take that kind of E.C. Comics-style horror to the edge. I wanted to make the monsters real and scary, but still keep the laughs and fill the plot with weird twists and turns.

Chances are, if you’re into the sort of genre fiction in which vampiric adolescents stare lovingly into each other’s otherworldly eyes, you’ll hate my novel. But if you have a zeal for bodysnatching monsters who take over bits and pieces of their human hosts, graveyards hidden within graveyards, and blood-curdling schemes of global domination, then I think you’ll dig this book. Not that I’m biased.

Jeff Szpirglas has had a varied career. He's shoveled manure, worked in a steelyard (he hails from Hamilton, after all), and even frolicked in the offices at CTV Television and Chirp, chickaDEE, and OWL magazines, where he was the kids' page editor. His manure-shoveling days long behind him, Jeff currently teaches children by day and writes books/fights supervillains by night. Visit his Facebook to learn more about his writing.

Thanks so much to Jeff for stopping by In The Next Room! Evil Eye sounds like a charming and scary novel perfect for middle grade readers.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Shine by Lauren Myracle is definitely one of the most powerful books I've read in 2012, if not ever, but somehow it's been waiting to be reviewed for nearly four months. I guess somewhere in there I started a PhD– but that's no excuse. This is an incredibly novel that deserves to be shared, and I'm happy I'm finally going to do that.

In Shine, sixteen-year-old Cat's former best friend Patrick is the victim of a horrible hate crime. As he's left fighting for his life, it seems the small town police in Black Creek aren't doing much to find the person responsible, because Patrick was gay.  Cat sets out to find his attacker herself, but she has her own trauma from years ago that still haunts her. Cat and Patrick's stories are intertwined in an incredibly dark novel about intolerance and secrets.

It is definitely the mystery of Shine that first pulled me in, I desperately wanted to know who Patrick's attacker(s) were. But I was kept reading by the power and strength of Myracle's writing. This is the first book I've read by her, but it definitely won't be the last. Myracle tackles real and serious issues with thoughtfulness and realism. Black Creek comes alive, and so do the people living there. They are complicated and damaged, and they don't always realize the consequences of their actions. But the reader does, and that's what makes it so painful to read.

Last year, Shine was accidentally nominated for a National Book Award, and then un-nominated (read Myracle's thoughts here). There was a lot of outrage at the time about how much Shine deserved to be on that list. Granted, I haven't read the other books on the list, but I absolutely believe Shine should have made the list. It's a novel with an important and powerful message, but instead of being preachy, it's truly about the characters. There are probably some minor faults, in particular a small romantic subplot that didn't feel necessary and often seemed awkward in the context of an otherwise profound story.

However, ultimately, Lauren Myracle has written a strong and beautiful novel that is dark and truthful with its characters and messages. Nearly four months after I read it, Shine stays with me, and I expect it will for a long time to come. Not only is this a book I highly recommend, I think it's an incredibly important addition to high school libraries and it certainly belongs on all their shelves. If you haven't picked it up, you are missing out.

Release Date: May 1st 2011  Pages: 350  Format: Hardcover 
Source: Publisher  Publisher: Abrams Buy It: Book Depository

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meghan Review: The Round House by Louise Erdrich

In the hauntingly lyrical The Round House, Louise Erdrich weaves an intricate story about the social and legal ramifications when a horrific rape is perpetrated on a Native American reservation. Told through the eyes of thirteen year old narrator Joe, the son of the raped woman Geraldine, Erdrich explores the effects of the rape upon the young boy, his family, and the entire community of the reservation.

One of Erdrich’s greatest strengths is her superb ability to create believable and multi-layered characters with complex motivations. Joe astounded me with his realness; it felt like he was breathing right there on the page! Because he is the lens through which the reader explores this world, the strength of his voice (simultaneously innocent and knowledgeable) makes the novel stand strong. His love and loyalty for his mother Geraldine is mirrored in his close relationship with his father. After her rape, Geraldine spirals into an almost catatonic depression, and Joe and his father struggle to maintain the fabric of their family unit. The poignant love between father and son and their difficulties in running a household without Geraldine are illustrated in the details, such as the slowly blackening rotten casserole in the back of their fridge or their fragile efforts at dinner conversation. Joe’s hunger for justice and his search for clues that will lead him to his mother’s rapist are melded with a vivid description of reservation life. By giving the reader a vivid and gorgeous natural setting accompanied by great supporting characters, Erdrich emphasizes the complexities of the relationships on the reservation.

Though this is a fictional story, The Round House deals with real legal problems still surrounding tribal and state jurisdictions over Native American land. Each piece of land on the reservation has a different jurisdiction, so when a crime (especially something as complicated and emotionally charged as a rape) occurs, law officials aren’t sure how to try the crime locally, or if they are even able to do so if it falls under federal territory. Joe’s story is the story of so many children of Native American mothers who have suffered terrible abuse or assault, often at the hands of non-Native men. By making this problem specific and grounded it in the experience of one boy’s coming-of-age, Erdrich has created a novel that is socially powerful, emotionally moving, and a masterpiece of literature.

Recommended to: people who love a good bildungsroman (think To Kill a Mockingbird, but more gritty), anyone curious about legality/judicial issues on Native American land, fans of crime thrillers with unlikely detectives, lovers of familial epics focused around a young narrator (The Secret Life of Bees-esque)

Release Date: October 2nd 2012  Pages: 336  Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours  Publisher: Harper Collins  Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Meghan. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @meghanc303

Monday, November 12, 2012

Author Guest Post: Tatjana Soli

The Second First Novel

Readers can be forgiven for believing that books are published easily, that authors take a grand view of the world around them, choose a subject — mix and bake — and two years later a beautiful new book appears. The reality, like life, is always much messier and more complicated.

I’d devoted a good six years off-and-on to writing my first novel, The Lotus Eaters, about a photojournalist in Vietnam. The book had been roundly rejected, and my agent told me none too gently (he’s of the tough-love school) that I needed to move on and write something new. I was in mourning. The first lines in The Forgetting Tree are Octavio’s, but to a much lesser extent my own feelings of loss at the time were mirrored in his.
But he also was in mourning for the missing boy. Did they not see?
What I did during this difficult period in my life is the same thing I do almost every day when home — take long walks in the regional park where I live. When I first moved to this area in Southern California, one could walk through orange, avocado, and eucalyptus groves and rarely run into another person. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful except that over the years it began to change. A eucalyptus grove on top of a hill where we used to picnic is now a gated, luxury development where we can no longer walk. The flat, sandy bed where my puppy loved to run is now paved road. One of the most painful sights that I can remember was driving past bulldozers tearing out orange trees. This scene found its way into the book:
Each tree was an individual, with a personality, and this treatment seemed a desecration of nature. When the trees were dead… bulldozers came and tore their roots from the earth, piling them into big heap from where they were trucked away to be shredded for compost.
One of my favorite writers, J.M. Coetzee, writes, “To imagine the unimaginable” is the writer’s duty. Novels grow from complex root systems. I don’t know what the turning point was, but during those walks in the groves the story of the Baumsarg ranch, and the struggle of its owner, Claire, against the dark forces that confronted her began to form in my mind. Hers was a family torn apart by tragedy and time. The crown jewel, though, was Minna, who appeared to me like the Indian god Shiva, both creator and destroyer, concealer and revealer, ultimately unknowable. At this stage these were all simply pieces that would take months to put together into a story, but they captured my imagination.
The tree had not resurrected — rather, its life was simply hidden to the eye, beating deep in the soil, trembling within the roots hairs, in sap, wood, and bark.
So I wrote my “second” first novel not with the idea of an audience, or the idea of it being published, but because the story burned inside me, and the writing of it was the thing that fulfilled me as a writer. As I finished a first draft of this book about Claire and her search for redemption, I got the surprise call of my life that my first novel had sold. Was I ecstatic? Of course. But I had already proved to myself that even during the most fallow times, story could appear mysteriously. What made one a writer ultimately was the daily laying of those words on the page.

Tatjana Soli is a novelist and short story writer. Her bestselling debut novel, THE LOTUS EATERS, winner of the James Tait Black Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book, and finalist for the LA Times Book Award, among other honors. Visit her website, to learn more about her two novels.

Thanks so much to Tatjana for stopping by In The Next Room again!  A review of her debut novel, The Lotus Eaters, can be found on In The Next Room here. Her guest post on Writing Near History can be found here. A review of her second novel, The Forgetting Tree, can be found on In The Next Room here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Meghan Review: And Now We Shall Do Manly Things by Craig J. Heimbuch

And Now We Shall Do Manly Things by Craig J. Heimbuch is a funny, quirky, and often extremely touching memoir of one man’s attempt to “discover his manhood through the great (and not-so-great) American hunt.” Heimbuch, as both author and narrator, imbibes his story with hilarious childhood anecdotes and reflections on his youth in the Midwest. He excels at creating character in just a few sentences, and he makes every person—whether it is his dear old dad or the man selling coffee at the gas station—unique and believable.

One of Heimbuch’s largest strengths is this ability to poke fun at humanity, without ever actually demeaning the people involved. His writing is a commentary on the whole human race, the hunting tradition, and his own nature, which makes it so much more funny and relatable. One of my favorite parts of the memoir was when Heimbuch discussed his affinity for the situationally appropriate “gear,” and reflects on his ill-fated attempt to introduce nylon parachute pants as a fashion statement back in school.

Much like Bill Bryson in style, Heimbuch managed to keep me (an ignorant non-hunter through and through!) engaged throughout the memoir. Though appropriately peppered with hunting jargon and terms I still don’t quite know if I grasp, the memoir maintained its firm perspective of another ignorant inductee to the hunting world, which really helped me from getting lost. Heimbuch also excels at sweeping reflections of the nature all around him. My current home is the Midwest, so I was especially able to appreciate his characterization of the landscape and his attention to place and environment.

Recommended to: the hunting enthusiast, the lover/sibling/friend/parent of the hunting enthusiast, Bill Bryson fans, and anyone who used to imagine being Daniel Boone when they were kids.

Release Date: October 30th 2012  Pages: 336  Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours  Publisher: Harper Collins  Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Meghan. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @meghanc303

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Imagining Canada edited by William Morassutti

Some of the things in life I really love include: reading, Canada, and photography. So obviously I was incredibly excited to pick up Imagining Canada, a beautiful and glossy hardcover book that features a century of photographs preserved by The New York Times. The collection was edited by William Morassutti and is divided into nine sections, each featuring an essay by a different person along with matching photos that represent a different aspect of Canadian history. The authors included are National Chief Shawn Atleo, MP Justin Trudeau, historians Charlotte Gray, Peter C. Newman and Tim Cook, sports columnist Stephen Brunt, authors Ian Brown and Lisa Moore, and journalist John Fraser.

One of my favourite sections was Peter C. Newman's, "An Industrious Nation", that is all about the industry that has made Canada what it is today. Not only is it beautifully written, but I found myself especially enamoured with the photos: Newfoundland fisherman and Nova Scotian coal miners, Albertan tar sands and Quebec paper mills. These are the most precious resources of our country, captured here in a way that may never be possible again because of how we have treated them. The photo of the fisherman was taken in 1968, the peak of cod fishing when fishers caught more than eight hundred thousand tons of cod– an industry that collapsed in the 1990s because of overfishing. But the people in these images don't know that yet, which gives a bitter-sweetness to the photographs. In another photo, the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway is being laid. It's a beautiful image and the only unfortunate part is that it appears on the title page, tinted red and overlaid with text.

Imagining Canada isn't the kind of book that only focuses on the happy parts of Canadian history. In "First Nations", Shawn Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, calls out the photos for how poorly they represent Native culture– using it as a gimmick for tourists, and stereotyping. In one photo, a miner lies on top of ancient art with a hammer; it is referred to as "crude rock carvings." Atleo encourages the reader to look beyond the images so that we can "be enriched by the incredibly history and enduring legacy of the indigenous world view." His thoughtful text really puts the photos in perspective.

By far the most disappointing section of the book is "A Tough and Beautiful Game" with text by Stephen Brunt, about hockey in Canada. Except not really. It's actually all about the New York Rangers, with only a small nod to the fact that the game originated in Canada. True, some of the hockey players who appear in the accompanying images are Canadian, but that seems to be more of a fluke than an intent. Obviously Canadian hockey teams have players from around the world, but it would still be more Canadian to read about their successes than an American team.

While the photos themselves are from a New York newspaper, it seems unlikely that a major Canadian NHL success wouldn't be featured at some points in history. It actually made me wonder if Brunt, who selected the images and wrote the text, was American but a quick internet search reveals he's a Canadian sports journalist from Ontario. So why no love for his home country? The writing and images are great, but it's not what I was hoping for when I'm picking up a book called Imagining Canada. Emphasize on the Canada. That said, I did find out some incredibly history about the Sutter family, who were from Viking, Alberta and had six (out of seven) brothers playing simultaneously in the NHL during the 1980s. What an amazing Canadian story.

Imagining Canada is an incredible and important collection of photographs. Not only are these amazing images that capture a huge part of Canadian history, but they also offer a glimpse of this beautiful country as seen through the eyes of outsiders. Justin Trudeau, in "The Body Politic", a section dedicated to political photos, points out that there are none of women. But he also writes that this "says more, perhaps, about the choices of The New York Times and its photographers than anything else."

I think that is such an important message to take away from Imagining Canada. We make our own history and we do not need anyone else, not even The New York Times with their beautiful collection of photographs, to validate it and tell us what is important or true about our country. Ultimately, Imagining Canada is a wonderful keepsake, not only for its images, but for its message as well.

Release Date: October 30th 2012  Pages: 240  Format: Hardcover 
Source: Publisher  Publisher: Random House Canada Buy It: Book Depository

Monday, October 29, 2012

Giveaway: Rebel Heart by Moira Young

I absolutely adored Moira Young's debut dystopian novel, Blood Red Road, when I read it last year (you can read my review here). To quote myself, I said:
"The story of Blood Red Road by Moira Young is as blazing and intense as the desert heat. Its characters are passionate, unique and human, and although the language takes some getting used to, it's an effort you'll be glad you made."
It's a statement I still stand by. So of course I was insanely excited about the upcoming release of the sequel, Rebel Heart. Even though Blood Red Road is one of those awesome trilogies where the first book tells a complete story, there is so much I'm dying to know about Saba's story... and Jack!

For my giveaway, I'm able to offer TWO Dust Lands prize packs including a custom t-shirt and a copy of Rebel Heart. This giveaway is open to the US only.

A small summary of the novel, it contains spoilers if you haven't read Blood Red Road yet (what are you waiting for?!):
"It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road, a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion."
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway ends November 9th at midnight!

Click here to visit the Dust Lands website. And don't forget to enter the Rebel Heart giveaway hosted by SimonTEEN for your chance to win the first two books in the DUST LANDS trilogy by Moira Young. The giveaway ends on October 31. Enter here!
Good luck and thanks so much for stopping by In The Next Room!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway: Monstrous Beauty Audiobook (US Only)

One of my favourite books this year is the spooky and exciting mermaid story, Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. You can read my review of the book here.

For my giveaway, I'm able to offer one copy of the Monstrous Beauty audiobook. I love audiobooks, they're a great way to bring a story to live, and fantastic for multitasking– especially things like cleaning where a distraction is definitely needed! This giveaway is open to the US only. If you're a Canadian looking for a spooky prize, click here for my Canadian spooktacular giveaway.

A small summary of the novel:
"Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse?"
Here's a clip from the audiobook to give you an idea of the fantastic narration the book has.

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form:
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This giveaway ends October 31st at midnight!

Thanks so much for stopping by In The Next Room! I hope you have an awesome Halloween. Click here to return to the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop homepage and enter to win hundreds of other bookish prizes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Canadian Giveaway: Awards Prize Pack!

The only thing more awesome about being able to give away books, is being able to give away good books– amazing books– and I have a definite batch of those to giveaway today! There will be ONE Canadian winner and they will get THREE amazing award-nominated Canadian titles published by Thomas Allen & Son.

The books up for grabs are:
  • Whirl Away by Russell Wangersky– made the short list for Giller Prize.
  • Siege 13 by Tamas Dobozy– nominated for Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Award and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. One of the stories in the collection also won the 2011 O. Henry Prize for Fiction.
  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan– incredibly, a SIGNED COPY is up for grabs. This book was one of my favourites last year, you can read the review on In The Next Room here. And I wasn't the only one that loved it. It was nominated and won a huge list of prizes, including winning the Giller, and being short-listed for Man Booker. Way to make Canada proud!

This contest ends November 5th at midnight. To enter use the Rafflecopter giveaway form:
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember, this is for Canadian residents only. Good luck and thanks for visiting In The Next Room!  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Flock by Wendy Delsol

Note: This review contains no spoilers of Flock, but may contain spoilers of the first book in the series, Stork, a review of which can be found here and the second book, Frost, a review of which can be found here.
Flock (Stork #3) by Wendy Delsol

Release Date: September 11th 2012
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Candlewick
Also by this AuthorStork (Stork #1); Frost (Stork #2)
Buy It: Book Depository


I spend a lot of time complaining about how everything is a series, but sometimes I read a book with such an awesome main character that I find myself desperately grateful that the book is a series. And so it was with Stork by Wendy Delsol, the first book in a trilogy featuring the sarcastic and caring fashionista Katla. Last year the second book, Frost, came out and now it is finally time for the third and final book in the series, Flock. The result is that I went into reading Flock with mixed emotions; I didn't want this story to end, but I definitely wanted to spend more time with Katla and find out how things turned out especially after she left behind an angry ice queen wanting revenge, and a promise to give up her baby sister to the mer queen.

When Flock begins Katla is starting her senior year of high school, and all she wants is a normal year, no supernatural adventures involved. But when she shows up, two of her Icelandic friends from last year's trip are on exchange, and one of them is a mer messenger sent to make sure she fulfills her end of the deal she made. And that means handing over her infant sister Leira, the last thing Katla intends to let happen.

As I have in the previous two books, I loved Katla's zest and passion and strength as a main character. I also loved her sense of humour. Flock did a great job of tying together loose ends from the first two books, and wrapping things up for each character. I really felt like each character had their own ending, including lots of minor ones like Jaelle and Katla's dad. But I did feel like it took a very confusing and muddled road to get there.

Honestly, there was so much new myth in Flock that I found myself really lost over what was happening at times, there were spirit journeys to foreign realms and sometimes I couldn't even get to the end of a page without having to reread it and try to figure out what was going on. It really made me miss the simplicity of Stork. However, unlike Frost I at least felt like the climax and subsequent events had the chance to unfold fully and weren't rushed.

Like always, Delsol's writing was clever and fun to read, and I thought things ended in a believable way. I loved the contemporary components of Flock, but I wanted more clarity from some of the supernatural events which occasionally became muddled as I was reading. Still, I really enjoyed the Stork trilogy, and I'm certainly going to pick up whatever Delsol writes next and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend these books.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Art of the Epigraph compiled and edited by Rosemary Ahern

The Art of the Epigraph: How Great Books Begin is a collection of those tiny quotes that appear at the beginning of a book, compiled and edited by Rosemary Ahern. In that sense, it is far more like a book of quotations than anything that really delves into the meaning or history of epigraphs, beyond a very short introduction. Based on its title, 'the art', I thought that it would be more than just a collection of epigraphs that the reader could easily discover by flipping open books at the library (or even just through Google). I was actually really excited to pick up Ahern's book, because I am definitely the kind of person that reads every epigraph. I love them. But I didn't love The Art of the Epigraph.

Every few epigraphs does have a paragraph of background information written by Ahern, but what I wanted was more about the books they were featured in, instead of the authors that are being quoted in the first place. Even in the cases when the author who used the epigraph had some information included, the epigraph writer was ignored. What I would have loved would have been to know a little about both so that you could picture the epigraph in context, even if you hadn't read the book. Ahern comes close to this is with The Merchant of Venice quote in Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper in which she explains why Twain didn't include Shakespeare's name (he thought that Francis Bacon did). There are only a few times Ahern actually draws the connection, asides from when the epigraph was made up by the author for various reasons.

The times when Ahern does explain the connection thrilled me. One example is the Francois Villon epigraph at the beginning of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood– as both Villon and the subjects of Capote's novel were murderers awaiting execution. Another is how Upanishads, the core of Indian philosophy, inspired Charles Johnson as well as other authors, leading him to use a quote from Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad as a epigraph to his novel Middle Passage. Finally, Tolstoy's biblical quote for Anna Karenina,  "Vengeance is mine, I will repay.", is especially interesting because it is described in his own words, "it express[es] the idea that evil committed by man results in all bitter things that come from God and not from men, as Anna Karenina also experienced it..."

The need for a connection between the epigraph and the text is especially true of the non-classics, as Ahern uses quite a few epigraphs from books published in 2010-2012, and those are less recognizable than the classics the art of the epigraph contains (unless it is a really famous book– but a decent number of, both the recent and the older ones, were not ones I had heard of).  Some of the most interesting bits were facts, not epigraphs, like I didn't know that Moby Dick contained nearly 80 epigraphs... seems a bit ridiculous, but I guess it's proportional to the length of the novel!

Unfortunately, the movies quoted in The Art of the Epigraph aren't referenced properly, it's just a title, when I'd think the screenplay writer deserves some credit. I found it off-putting that Ahern didn't include them.

That said, where the book succeeded was when it made me think back to those novels I had read, and that first moment of opening it and reading the epigraph. One of the most charming ones I remembered from growing up was the J.R.R. Tolkien quote, "Not all who wander are lost." at the beginning of Anne Brashares' The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. My mom had also written the quote at the beginning of a travel journal once, and it made me smile to see it again. 

The Art of the Epigraph was such an instantly appealing idea to me, so interesting in concept but unfortunately the lack of depth meant that Ahern's book was nearly always disappointing, except as a collection of intriguing quotations.

Release Date: October 30th 2012  Pages: 256  Format: E-galley 
Source: NetGalley/Publisher  Publisher: Simon and Schuster Buy It: Book Depository

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meghan Review: Love, in Theory by E.J. Levy

Love, in Theory by E.J. Levy is a gorgeous collection of short stories examining the nature of love, need, desire, and connection in human experience. Levy’s prose is compelling and poetic, succeeding in embodying each character with complexity and uniqueness. This is an especially impressive accomplishment because Levy dives deeply into all types of love—affairs, new romances, decades of marriage, gay and lesbian relationships, family feuds—with the same meticulous attention to detail and voice. It’s this kind of fluidity that makes it easy to understand why this collection is a winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.

My favorite story within the collection was the final one, “Theory of Dramatic Action.” This piece tells the story of a graduate film student redefining love and boundaries after a life spent fearing commitment and pain. All of the film details within the text (things like rising character arcs and film angles) added to the mood, and certainly taught me a lot I’d never even considered about movie-making. Another element of this story that stood out to me was the use of second person point-of-view. It made the story very immediate and visceral, and allowed it to be read almost like a script itself, correlating with the sections labeled “Act 1” and “Act 2” within it, and sticking with the larger thread of film.

In addition to its film details, “Theory of Dramatic Action” problematized faithfulness and sexual orientation in a way I’d never imagined before, touching on elements like sadomasochism and affairs with authority figures. This entanglement of love and lust and fear is all described best in the text itself: “You wonder, idly, if the appeal of the love triangle can be traced back to the Trinity or if it is more archaic, more biological than that, if it has been there from the start, from the moment we entered the world: a mother, a father, a child.” Throughout the collection, Levy raises questions such as this—where did love come from? When did this need begin? And is what we theorize as love really love at all?

Recommended to: lovers, fighters, and people coming out of bad break-ups or diving into new romances, teenagers who doodle hearts in the margins.

Release Date: September 15th 2012  Pages: 224  Format: E-book
Source: TLC Book Tours  Publisher: University of Georgia Press  Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Meghan. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @meghanc303

Introducing: Meghan, Associate Book Reviewer

Two weeks ago, I put out a request for an associate book reviewer on In The Next Room. I wasn't sure if I'd find anyone, because I really wanted the right match for the site and for me. Luckily, I heard from Meghan! Her background, personality, and quality of writing all let me know she was perfect for In The Next Room. You can expect to see her reviews about once a week, and they'll be clearly identified. I'm so excited to welcome Meghan to In The Next Room. Here's a little introduction directly from her :)

My name is Meghan and I’m a 20 year old college student studying Creative Writing, Theatre, and Art History. My dream is to be a book reviewer—and for me, dreams really do come true here In the Next Room! I am so excited to become a reviewer for the site!

I read mainly fiction, though I do appreciate a good memoir or essay collection. I love poetry, short stories, YA fiction of all flavors, plays, mysteries, historical fiction, GLBTQ, fantasy, sci-fi, true crime, and independently published works. (Particularly those from authors in Ohio or Colorado—my two homes!)

I devour books like most people eat chocolate chip cookies: frequently, quickly, and with great joy.

The best books I’ve read so far in 2012:

1. Enchantments by: Kathryn Harrison

2. Rules of Civility by: Amor Towles

3. John Dies at the End by: David Wong

4. My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales edited by: Kate Bernheimer

5. The Catch Trap by: Marion Zimmer Bradley

You can find me here on Goodreads or here at my Twitter account, @meghanc303

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Canadian Giveaway: Spooktacular Titles

I love Halloween! Now I'm potentially a bit biased, because it also happens to be my birthday, but I think there is no better holiday. And fortunately, Thomas Allen & Son agrees, because they've partnered up with me to give away three awesome dark and creepy books for the upcoming holiday.

This giveaway is only open to individuals with a Canadian mailing address. It ends on October 30th at midnight– just in time for Halloween. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Now, for the prizes. Three different books, three different winners. They are:
The continuation in the supernatural and horror series from award-winning editor John Skipp, Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane, is a fantastic anthology with stories from Neil Gaiman, Brett Easton Ellis, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Bloch, and much more!
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey: Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé.
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler: Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

To enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have an awesome Halloween everyone! Good luck and thanks for entering.  

Readathon Updates October 2012

I officially need to pay more attention to when these Readathons happen. Cause I love them, I had a great time participating last April, and last October. Now, a year later, it's time for my third readathon. The lucky bit is that having moved across the country, I was actually awake in time to find out there was a readathon exactly 2 minutes after it started (9:02 AM) so I turned on an audiobook and got started! I'm hopefully going to the movies tonight (Taken 2) with my boyfriend, and I definitely won't be staying up the full 24 hours, but with the start of my PhD I've already been reading these days, so Readathon's timing feels like fate– and how can I say no to that?

Update #1 (9:06 AM-9:38 AM): 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

The beautiful Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia, Canada. 

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Honestly, I have not planned what I'm reading at all! So it's hard to say... I have a lot of bulky reads at the moment, which can be sorta defeating during a readathon, so I plan to transfer between books a bunch and also listen to audio. 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Again, I haven't planned this out. And I'm getting my treat tonight at the movies (probably a Snickers bar, I've wanted one for awhile). I will probably make kale chips though. Yum. 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I'm a nearly 24-year-old and I participated in my first Readathon exactly a year ago. You can read about it here (and also see a photo of my hamster who sadly passed away). I'm starting my PhD studying molecular evolution in plants. I'm kinda, definitely, a nerd.  

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I would have said that I'd plan this one better, and actually know about it in advance, but it's clearly too late for that!
  • I’ve read 33 pages and finished 0 books
  • I’ve read for 32 minutes
Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton (Audio book: 0-32 minutes, 33 pages)

Also, maybe my method of switching books a bunch won't be the best, it'll be sad to see that 'finished' number still at zero at the end of the day. Makes me really wish I'd visited the library or something first! I guess I'll have to see what I have lying around. Having the majority of my books in storage sucks :(

Update #2 (9:55 AM-11:12 AM): 
  • I’ve read 76 pages and finished 0 books
  • I’ve read for 1 hour 49 minutes
Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton (Audio book: 32 minutes - 1 hour 44 minutes, 43 pages)

Realized I was getting dizzy because I had gotten so distracted by Readathon I hadn't eaten breakfast yet. So I'm going to do that now. I might pick up a print book afterwards, but I'm really enjoying this audio. The only thing is my page count is going to be absurdly low if I keep reading this way– Afterwards is about 12 hours and 40 minutes long! I also stopped by a few blogs to do a little "cheering" on intro posts, which was fun. I'll definitely stop by more later.

Update #3 (11:21 AM-12:38 AM):
  • I’ve read 121 pages and finished 0 books
  • I’ve read for 3 hours 6 minutes
The Art of the Epigraph: How Great Books Begin by Rosemary Ahern (P. 66-111)

So I had breakfast and puttered around a little. I also transferred over to a print (well, e-galley) book so I could get my page count up a bit, though puttering sorta counter-balanced that. Ahern's book is also great because the pages aren't 100% full of text. But again, I need to stop getting distracted, even if it's just by a bit of visiting other people's updates and commenting, and actually focus on my own if I want to get a decent amount of reading done. On the bright side, I should be able to finish Ahern's book today, so even that would be something.

Also, I totally won a prize on the Hour 4 post! Which makes me extra-motivated to continue, since I've been awarded for my pathetic progress so far.

Update #4 (1:00 PM- 1:40 PM):
  • I’ve read 168 pages and finished 0 books
  • I’ve read for 3 hours 46 minutes
The Art of the Epigraph: How Great Books Begin by Rosemary Ahern (P. 111-158)

Read for a bit, but also checked out some blogs and now I'm off to get a shower. I'll probably not update until I manage to Ahern's book finished at least, which is a hundred more pages.

Update #5 (2:12 PM-3:19 PM):
  • I’ve read 211 pages and finished 0 books
  • I’ve read for 4 hours 53 minutes
The Art of the Epigraph: How Great Books Begin by Rosemary Ahern (P. 158-201)

Guess I lied about the update! After reading this for a bit I got distracted when my boyfriend wanted to watch a movie, though we only ended up watching the first 30 minutes of Snow White and the Huntsman. And I made kale chips, which weren't the great this time... should have made them yesterday when the kale was fresher.

Update #6 (3:56 PM- 4:57 PM):
  • I’ve read 282 pages and finished 1 book
  • I’ve read for 5 hours 54 minutes
The Art of the Epigraph: How Great Books Begin by Rosemary Ahern (P. 201-256)
Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton (Audio book: 1 hour 44 minutes - 2 hours 11 minutes, 16 pages)

I FINALLY FINISHED A BOOK! Now delving back into the audio for a bit I think, though I have some more household chores to do also. It does feel nice to have at least one done, I'd be really surprised if I finished anything else, but at least this readathon was not a total flop.

Update #7 (9:52 PM- 12:15 AM):
  • I’ve read 445 pages and finished 1 book
  • I’ve read for 8 hours 17 minutes
The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald (P.1-124)
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke (P.78-92)
Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton (Audio book: 2 hours 11 minutes - 2 hours 52 minutes, 25 pages)

So my boyfriend and I went to see Taken 2, which was great, if you loved Taken (we did), though not as good as the original in my opinion. If you didn't love Taken, then it's definitely not worth your time. And now it's pretty late but I tried to get some more reading in after we got home...

Also, I finally had my Snickers bar at the movie, and it was king-sized! And delicious. The Anti-Prom is awesome and I wish I'd started it earlier in the day cause I'm going to have to go to sleep now I think. If I get up early enough tomorrow I can have another hour of readathon though, so hopefully I'll manage that. If not, well, this has been a disappointing performance but I still had a lot of fun. Good luck to everyone that's continuing on the rest of the way!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Giveaway: The Forgetting Tree by Tatjana Soli

I absolutely had to take advantage of the opportunity to give away a copy of The Forgetting Tree by Tatjana Soli, as it is an incredibly beautiful and complex novel. You can read my full review of it here.

This giveaway is open to Canadian and American mailing addresses only. Giveaway ends October 15th at midnight. Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter! Good luck everyone and I highly recommend picking up this amazing novel!

a Rafflecopter giveaway