The Sunday Salon: UCF Book Festival [4.8.12]

Last weekend, Ben and I headed on over to Orlando for the University of Central Florida’s annual Book Festival for a day of books, authors, and bloggers. This is the festival’s third year and I’ve been there from the beginning.

We started with the Writing Place: New Fiction from the South panel. Southern authors Nicole Louise Reid, Joshilyn Jackson, and Karen White.

I haven’t read any of their books but Joshilyn Jackson has been on my TBR list for awhile. I picked up A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty for her to sign.

But after listening to her talk and discovering that she narrates her own audiobooks, I’m tempted to listen to this one instead.

Next we went to the Contemporary Voices: Literary Fiction for the 21st Century panel with Lauren Groff, Darlin’ Neal, and Michael Griffith. Again, I haven’t read any of their books before but the day is also about discovering new authors.

The last panel Ben and I went to was called Embracing Imperfections through Young Adult Literature with Ellen Hopkins, Jessica Martinez, Ty Roth.

Most people were there for Ellen Hopkins but I was glad to see Jessica Martinez since her debut, Virtuosity, got such great reviews. I had Ms. Hopkins sign her latest book.

After the Festival, we went to dinner with a bunch of local bloggers (and we failed to get a picture!). Jenny from Take Me Away, Sandy from You’ve Gotta Read This, Heather from Book Addiction, Heather from Raging Bibliomania, and Anita from A Woman, A Wife, A Mom (who I was so excited to meet for the first time!) were all there despite the lack of photographic proof.

The UCF Book Festival isn’t anything huge like some of these events I see other bloggers go through, but I always enjoy myself and I have hopes that it’s only going to keep growing.

I Heart Book Bloggers [BBAW]

BBAWThere is no way I can create an exhaustive list of everyone who makes this whole book blogging thing brighter. We are a supportive group and we don’t shy away from proclaiming our admiration on any given day. You all already know I love you, right?

But one of the great things about book blogging is that there are always new players. They might be new to blogging or they might just be new to me. I am finding new bloggers all the time. It often starts with a random conversation on twitter about a book or a song or tv show and then the next thing I know, I am talking to this person every day, reading their blog, and picking up books they recommend.

So my take on today’s BBAW topic is to highlight a few bloggers who are new to me since last September.

  • Jen from Makeshift Bookmark (@makeshiftjen): Jen started her blog last fall but you would think she’s been around forever. She makes me laugh, understands my Michigan football obsession, and gives me AMAZING YA recommendations (like Shade/Shine).
  • Jamie from The Perpetual Pageturner (@pageturnerjamie) and The Broke and the Bookish (@brokeandbookish): I am pretty sure we first bonded over music the night I was drunkenly playing Apples to Apples while home for Christmas. See, that’s how memorable Jamie is.
  • Ginger from GReads (@greadsbooks): While we have been at least acquaintances for some time, it wasn’t until recently that I realized Ginger and I have similar taste in almost everything and should be BFFs. So now we are.
  • Sandy from You’ve Gotta Read This (@youvegottaread): I met Sandy in person at the UCF Book Festival in April. Now hers is one of the first blogs I read when I actually sit down and read blogs. Plus she is an awesome commenter.
  • Heather from Raging Bibliomania (@zibilee): Like Sandy, I met Heather at the UCF Book Festival. She is the Best. Commenter. Ever.

You should all know these ladies. If you don’t, you’re welcome. They are all awesome and have been a positive addition to my book blogging experience.

[Note: It's Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I will be participating in a few of the daily topics this week.]

The Sunday Salon: UCF Book Festival

Yesterday, Ben and I headed over to Orlando for the UCF Book Festival. Last year got there, saw Billy Collins, and went home. This year, we decided to experience more of the festival by attending some of the author panels (the festival also got a a lot bigger in its second year and drew some really good authors).

Blood and Poison Across the Centuries: True Tales of Crime and Science
Holly Tucker; Douglas Starr; Deborah Blum

This panel was SO interesting. I really just wanted to see Holly Tucker because I’d heard such great things about Blood Work, but now I want to read all three of their books.

Family Secrets
Lori Roy; Susan Hubbard; Eleanor Brown

This panel didn’t end up being much about Family Secrets but I LOVE Eleanor Brown and she is even better in person than she is on Twitter. After the panel, I was able to meet her and have her sign my copy of The Weird Sisters (which you all should read because it is amazing).

In case you can’t tell, Eleanor Brown signed my book “To Books! To Shakespeare! To Twitter!” which is pretty much the best inscription ever. You all should definitely follower her on twitter (@eleanorwrites). Because she’s awesome. I also got my copy of Blood Work signed and purchased a copy of Bent Road by Lori Roy after her panel.

After the festival, we met up with a few other Florida bloggers for dinner and had a blast. Book bloggers are just so easy to get along with.

(clockwise from bottom left)
Jason (Jenny’s husband), Jenny @ Take Me Away, Sandy @ You’ve Gotta Read This, Liz @ Cleverly Inked
Heather at Book Addiction, Heather at Raging Bibliomania, Me, Ben

As bloggers in Florida, I think we often feel a little more isolated than some other parts of the country so it was really nice to hang out with everyone and I hope we do it again soon.

All in all, a VERY good, bookish day.

Readathon Update: Halfway for You, Finish for Me

Hour: Start of hour 13
Current Book: Just finished Our Town
Mood: Tired

Books Read: 3
Pages Read: 629
Reading speed: 52.4 pages per hour
Mini-Challenges Completed: 1

  • Where in the World are you Reading

And I think this is where I sign off, folks. I am tempted to read a little while longer but I am afraid that will result in me staying up TOO late to read finish another book. And I have to get up at 5am tomorrow and run a 5k. So I am going to watch some television now.

Good luck to everyone in the second half!

Readathon Update: 10 Hours In

Hour: Start of hour 11
Current Book: Our Town by Thornton Wilder
Mood: Hungry (dinner’s cooking)

Books Read: 2
Pages Read: 528
Reading speed: 52.8 pages per hour
Mini-Challenges Completed: 1 (apparently I am ignoring the mini-challenges)

  • Where in the World are you Reading

I finished Betsy and Joe, which was a wonderful readathon read even if it took me all afternoon. Ben and I are reading Out Town together now. After that, I think I’ll settle in with If I Stay until my bedtime (no 24 hours for me).

Readathon Update: 5 Hours In

Hour: Start of hour 6
Current Book: Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace
Mood: Happy

Books Read: 1
Pages Read: 261
Reading speed: 52.2 pages per hour
Mini-Challenges Completed: 1

  • Where in the World are you Reading

I feel pretty good about today. I had to run out and pick up my packet for my race tomorrow so I lost some reading time there, but I finished Purple Daze and am happily back in Deep Valley with Betsy and Joe.

How’s everyone else doing?

Ready to Readathon?

Good morning, Sunshines!

Ben and I are up bright and early and ready to read. I will need to quit early tonight (I have a very early 5k tomorrow) but I’ll be around until then reading and cheering.

Throughout the day, I will update you with this information:

Hour:
Current Book:
Mood:

Books Read:
Pages Read:
Reading speed:
Mini-Challenges Completed:

I am starting off the morning with Purple Daze by Sherry Shahan. Happy reading, everyone!

My Readathon Pile

It’s Readathon time again! Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon is this Saturday at 8am EST. Who’ s in?

And today is my obligatory post showing you my Readathon Pile. Ta da!

  1. Purple Daze by Sherry Shahan: I thought a novel in verse would be a good way to ease into the day and get a book finished early on (always good for motivation).
  2. Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen
  3. Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace: Still slowly making my way through Betsy-Tacy and loving every minute of it.
  4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  5. Our Town by Thornton Wilder: Ben and I are going to read this together at some point during the day. It’s or favorite way to read plays.

I don’t expect to read all of these. It’s just the pile from which I will choose my books. I’m doing Readathon Lite again. I have a race Sunday morning that I need to be up VERY early for so I will be quitting early. I also need to run out and pick up my race packet at some point on Saturday. But I will still be around for the fun most of the day.

What are you looking forward to reading on Saturday?

The Sunday Salon 1.23.2011

Good morning, everyone!

I’ve had a busy little weekend of productivity. I am participating in Bloggiesta and it forced me to finally finish fixing the formatting on all of my old posts AND create a alphabetical-by-title books read/review directory. So now you can read my posts all thy way back to February 2007 without any wierdness getting in the way (but I don’t necessarily recommend it – I wanted to delete about half of the posts). And, which I definitely recommend, you can browse my books by title now HERE. Someday, I will have the alphabetical-by-author directory up but that’s going to have to be done by hand. Next Bloggiesta perhaps?

I also grew frustrated by the variations of white walls, white trim, light carpet that apartment living has forced on me and picked up a last minute painting project. I decided to paint the entertainment-center-turned-china cabinet that we have in our dining area. We got it for free and it was a very light pinkish color which neither of us really liked. Well now it’s GREEN! We’re a bit obsessed with green – there is a little bit of it in every room. It just needs one final coat today and I will have a new china cabinet. Now I have the painting  bug (I enjoy painting more than normal people) and I am trying to think up more projects (this will almost certainly include the middle section of this piece that we keep in the guest room).

PaintingBefore

PaintingAfter

I am going to keep painting and Bloggiesta-ing today and maybe even get a little reading in. Have you accomplished anything this weekend?

Bloggiesta!

Buenos días! For the first time, Bloggiesta (a blogging marathon for book bloggers hosted by Natasha at Maw Books) has fallen on a weekend that I have NO other plans. So I will be happily participating just as soon as I get through this pesky work day. I don’t have a lot of projects on my list but they will take some time. Here is what I hope to accomplish:

  • Catch up on reviews. I have about 6 or 7 to write I think.
  • Finish my review database. I’ve been slowly linking old reviews for a LONG time now and I’d love to be done with it.
  • Fix old posts. The formatting on my old posts is off even after being here at this version of the blog for over a year. It’s a bit sad.
  • Get a new series going where I talk about books I read before I was blogging regularly. This has been in the works for awhile and I just need to finally do it.

I am sure that I will find some other things to do as I browse the mini-challenges. I’ll just update this post as I go instead of spamming your feed reader with new posts so check back if you’re curious how I’m doing. I’m looking forward to chatting with everyone this weekend as we are all super productive. Buena suerte!

Update (Day 2 6:30 pm)

So far I have:

  • Linked all of my reviews.
  • Fixed the formatting on all of my posts.
  • Created a book/review list by title.
  • Entered all of my new books into the catalog and shelved them.
  • Watched Downton Abbey Episode 2, one episode of Buffy, one episode of Angel, and four episodes of Glee.
  • I also decided to paint my china cabinet this weekend and that’s taking up a significant amount of my time. I’ve primed and put one coat on so far.