Archive for the 'Blogosphere' Category

An Award for Me! The Premio Dardos Award

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Many, many thanks to Emily Bryan of Emily Bryan Romance for selecting me for an award! I hosted Emily on her 50 Day Book Tour for Vexing the Viscount and she was an absolute delight! Many of my regular readers chatted with her throughout the day about historical fiction and romance novels and it was really a fun, fun day.
According to Emily, “This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.” I like to think that I share with my readers a little of what I think is really important in the world, so I am especially thrilled about this. Thanks, Emily!
The rules to follow are:1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.2) Pass the award to up to 15 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment.
This will give me a chance to recognize some great blogs…I will be posting them soon!
Here are some of the bloggers I think do an exceptionally good job:

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Founder of Banned Books Week, Judith F. Krug, 1940-2009

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Somehow, I missed this news when it originally came out. I certainly didn’t recognize the name, and this is definitely a name that more people should recognize.

Judith F. Krug died earlier this month of stomach cancer. According to articles in the New York Times and Wikipedia, she led campaigns by libraries to fight the banning of books, and later fought efforts to limit children’s access to the internet. She even fought to guarantee access to books that she herself found offensive. The NYT article talks about The Blue Book of the ultraconservative John Birch Society. She said:

“Library service in this country should be based on the concept of intellectual
freedom, of providing all pertinent information so a reader can make decisions
for himself.”

In 1982, she helped to found Banned Books Week – something I celebrate every year – bringing attention to all sorts of books that the narrow-minded have attempted to ban.

I admit that I was not familiar with Ms. Krug until I read the article in the NYT and I am sorry about that. This is a woman I would have liked to know – I certainly respect her policy positions and I am grateful that there are people like her who are willing to fight for free access to information.


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Rubber Side Down Follow-Up

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Recently, I reviewed Rubber Side Down: The Biker Poetry Anthology. I recently a lovely email follow-up from Marc Goldfinger – author of one of my favorite poems in the book, “The State Trooper & the Biker Get Tested.” I mentioned that Marc is a substance abuse counselor and he told me a little about his work.

Marc has written a book called Essays On Major Mental Illness with A Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorder or What Came First: The Chicken or The White Horse. The book is available through an organization called Give Us Your Poor – a group that is working to end homelessness in America.

The book is a little outside my areas of expertise, but Marc is obviously dedicated to this cause and brings a lot of life experience to this issue. You can get more information on the book at their website.


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Yay! I’m a winner!

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

I want to send a big THANK YOU out to Nancy Johnston at Read Street. It’s a great book blog with all kinds of book news – I stop in regularly and I found out today that I won a book! I am really looking forward to reading Christopher Moore’s Fool and I am thrilled to be a winner.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Starting today, I will be writing a weekly book review column for a great website called When Falls the Coliseum. I am really thrilled about the opportunity to write with this talented group of people. I will still be posting regularly here, but I hope you’ll all stop in and wish me good luck at my new digs! My first post – an expanded version of my review of The Strain – went up this morning, so stop by and check it out!


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Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin!

Thursday, February 12th, 2009


Happy Birthday, Mr. Darwin!

This is certainly a good place to remember the birthday of a man who wrote one of the most influential books in history – certainly one of the books that has caused the most controversy.

I had hoped to be a part of Blog for Darwin, but it’s just been impossible to get much done on the road this week. Instead, I will encourage you to check out the links at Blog for Darwin and celebrate one of the great thinkers of our time.

On a more personal note, I have never truly understood the problem that some people have with evolution. My father, a devout Catholic, explained it to me this way when I was a child: God created man, but we don’t know anything about his creation process. Perhaps everything began with God stirring his finger in the intergalactic soup that formed the galaxies and eventually our Earth. Perhaps his creation process included protozoa and amphibians and dinosaurs and men, the way that a loaf of bread requires mixing and kneading and rising and baking. Just because we have begun to discern some of the steps does not make the process any less miraculous. It’s not like you or I could do it.

There are some great links out there to read today, and I may be adding some here as the day goes on. I’ve already suggested Blog for Darwin, and check out my pal Phyl’s posts over at Bookishgal – a little about Darwin and more about On the Origin of Species.

An online pal of mine decided that Darwin Day was a great time to restart her blog. Stop and see my mathy friend Mojave over at Non-Standard Deviations to get her take on the day.

So, Happy Birthday, Mr Darwin! You’re an inspiration to free-thinkers everywhere.


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Secret Santa Update!

Friday, December 19th, 2008

My Secret Santa gift arrived yesterday, so a special thanks goes out to Melissa at Here in the Bonny Glenn.
She sent a bit of coffee, some tasty almond twist cookies and a beautiful and unusual candle holder. A lovely gift.
Thank you so much!

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The Blog Tour Continues: Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe

Monday, November 24th, 2008

I am really pleased today to be hosting a special post from Jennie Shortridge, author of Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe. This is another book I finished during my travels and I am looking forward to posting my review later this week. (I really enjoyed it.) This has been a really fun blog tour, and I hope you are checking the reviews and interviews on other blogs as well. (You can find out more about the blog tour here.) In the meantime, a little something from Jennie…

The Biology of Marriage

Little did I know when I wrote Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe that by re-imagining the age-old story of the runaway wife, I might tap the zeitgeist of that elusive fifty percent: the American married. And not just the female contingent. As I write this, nearly half of the customer reviews for the book on Amazon are from men.

For the past few months promoting this book, I’ve traveled the American West doing readings, phoned in to book club meetings across the country, and participated in numerous blog events out in cyberspace. Through all of that, I’ve been fascinated to discover that we’re all asking the same questions about the state of long-term marriage and the lack of passion that can plague it—or worse, sound the alarm or death knell of something we once thought sacred and forever.

The following Q&A is presented with these caveats: I am no expert in marriage or psychology, and I hold no degrees nor am I a licensed anything. However, my husband and I have been together for nineteen years. I have been both the dumper and the dumpee in other relationships. I read voraciously about the biology of love, the science of romance and dating and mating. And like Paul Simon says in a song of the same title, “Maybe I think too much.”

An imaginary conversation, then, performed in two parts by me:

JS1: Where the heck did all that love and romance go and will it ever come back?

JS2: How clever of you to ask that question, JS! By understanding the biological underpinnings of human love and romance, we can gain clarity and achieve a better comfort level around the inevitable changes in our marriages.

When first we fall in love, chemicals flow through our brains that make us feel euphoric, aroused, and attractive, and like the only one on earth who has ever felt this way with another person. It’s the same chemical that drives addiction. It’s the same chemical that is released when we eat chocolate. Why? So we will fulfill our biological imperative and mate with another human. That’s it. From the body’s perspective, it’s not about finding our soul mate, but about replacing ourselves on earth so our species will survive.

Once we have fulfilled that obligation, or enough time has passed to do that—say a year to a year-and-a-half—the passion chemical is replaced by a bonding chemical that encourages us to stay together long enough to raise the offspring to physical viability—say seven years old (the dreaded seven-year itch). And yes, it applies even if we don’t have children.

At that point, the partnership is no longer required, biologically speaking, and things can get dicey. That’s when we must become our most human selves and not act and react from an unthinking and solely biological place. That’s when it gets more difficult to be romantic and kind with our partners, but we have to if we want to build life-long love and respect (and fingers crossed, passion) inside our relationships.

(For more details from a real expert, read Why We Love by anthropologist Helen Fisher.)

JS1: Must we simply forego passion when it evaporates from our marriage?

JS2: There’s a reason why they say marriage takes work. It’s not the bills or the kids or the countless other obligations that are the hard work. It’s staying passionate and in love and respectful through all of those things that is the challenge. Staying conscious of the state of your relationship, staying awake a little longer at night to canoodle, rubbing your partner’s back when you should really be answering a work email or when you’d really rather watch mindless TV. Watch your partner’s eyes instead when he/she tells you about his/her day. Try to see what’s happening behind the words. Offer a hug that lasts more than two seconds. Squeeze a little harder on bad days. It’s the small kindnesses, and the reciprocation of them, that help two people stay in love.

JS1: Is it wrong to fantasize about running away? Okay, about doing the horizontal tango with someone who is not necessarily your spouse?

JS2: I hope not. I figure that anything happening between your own two ears is your business only. I’ve talked with a lot of women now about this topic, and trust me when I say you’re not the only one with a rich fantasy life.

_________________________________________________

Jennie Shortridge lives in Seattle and is the author of three novels from NAL: Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe, Eating Heaven, and Riding with the Queen. Her next book will be published in November 2009.


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Update

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

I’m sorry that there hasn’t been much new to read here in a while. I’m battling The Cold of the Century, dealing with consultants and emissaries from The Corporate Office and trying to get ready for a 2-week business trip to Europe, so I am behind in my reading and my reviewing. In the next few weeks, you can look for reviews of The Bible Illuminated (a follow-up to my sneak peek), a cookbook called Kosher by Design Lightens Up, Coraline by Neil Gaiman – I finished this one ages ago and have been meaning to post my review. I will also be on the blog tour for Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe, which I have nearly finished and am really enjoying. I hate it when real life intrudes on my reading and blogging!

Banned Books Quiz

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

I’ve been on the road this week (business travel is one of the more exhausting things I know – it should be an Olympic event!), so posts have been short. Still, I wanted to get in one last quick post for Banned Books Week. So here it is: a quiz that appeared earlier this week in The Guardian. Find out how much you know about banned books!
I got a 9 out of 12 – in the interests of full disclosure, I’ll let you know which ones I missed.
How did you do?

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