Today is my blogiversary...do we still acknowledge those?
Well I am. Nine years is not quite ten, but it's still interesting. Also, wow I feel really old!
When I first started blogging, my blogging friends were mostly from the message boards and blogs of under appreciated Christian musicians. I still know a few of those people! The first blogging event I ever participated in was the 40 Day Fast where 40 bloggers each took a turn fasting and writing about a social justice issue. Oh yeah back in those days social justice meant feeding the poor and freeing the enslaved to me, I had no idea there was a whole other understanding of it employed by tumblr!
When I discovered book blogging, via shelfari and LibraryThing, I was so happy. I loved the book blogging community almost immediately and I had so much fun with the book specific events like the readathon! Oh man I had so much fun with my first readathon! And eventually that all led to me being my typically sentimental self and making Book Blogger Appreciation Week.
The first couple of BBAWs are probably some of my best blogging memories. It was so much fun and I know that I owe meeting so many bloggers to BBAW. Back then it felt like there was a core group of us who did so much work on all the various blogging events and it was just fun. So yeah I did that for five years and it was fun but like all good things had to come to an end!
I also helped found the INSPYs something I passed on last year as well.
I feel like BBAW and the INSPYs were my biggest contributions to the blogging world? But I had a lot of failed projects as well, Buy Books for the Holidays, various challenges and readalongs, Film Club (lol), etc. And I helped with some stuff like the small press spotlight, the book blogger's gift exchange, the Book Blog Social Club, a book blogger's twitter chat, Armchair BEA, etc. I even collaborated on a podcast--The Underground Literary Society--for awhile. (loads of fun, tons of work)
Looking at that list it's really no wonder I burned out!
I do sort of miss collaborating with other bloggers but the last few things I've done have pretty much flopped. I never realized how much I took shared interest and enthusiasm for granted, aw. Plus, we're all just so busy nowadays. I have a few ideas for features I've had for years now and still want to do but can't quite seem to get off the ground!
Anyway, my blog has changed a lot. I do still love reading and sharing about books, but I guess I also talk about other things now, too! I have no idea who the big bloggers are nowadays, I just love reading the blogs I've always loved.
The one thing I do know is that I don't think I'm going anywhere even if I'm not around ALL THE TIME anymore. For those of you who have been here for so many years, thanks for being my friend! For anyone new....thanks for making time in your life to read my blog and I hope to get to know you! I'm attaching a little reader survey....I'd love if you fill it out! If you're reading in a feed reader you may have to click through to see it.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Today is my blogiversary...do we still acknowledge those?
Posted by Amy at 8:47 PM
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I know there is much love for Sarah Addison Allen's previous books, but unfortunately I never got a chance to read them. So when this landed in front of me in December and I wanted a good comfort read, I dove right in.
I loved this book! I thought it was really beautiful and sweet and hopeful. Which well may be words that turn you off, but eh, what can I say? These are the things this book was to me.
This book is about Kate who lost her husband and has struggled to really go on living. She's heavily dependent on her mother in law for taking care of her daughter and finally one day she realizes she does want to live! Her daughter finds a postcard that was lost from an old relative and the two of them skip town to rediscover a place where Kate spent one magical summer when she was growing up.
Kate gets reacquainted with her family and we meet a cast of fun and interesting characters. There's a touch of magical realism, a little bit of romance, and a huge helping of hope.
One of the things that really resonated with me was the particular kind of grief Kate has. She's not only grieving her husband, but also the relationship they had. At one point, she realizes she'd been the more invested party in a relationship for so long and she had begun to resent it. I think it's a hard line to walk in romantic fiction--you don't want to write off the other relationship as "not good enough" or not the right one or somehow ~less than in order to validate the new one, but since it centered so heavily on Kate, I didn't mind and I think it was pulled off well. And that line totally pinged me because I think it's an inevitable consequence of feeling more invested and there's really nothing you can do about it. You can't make someone love you more, but at the same time you're going to start to have feelings about it. And so Kate was waking up to that realization and dealing not only with the loss of her husband, but her complicated feelings about their relationship and acknowledging the reality that it would never be different. Aw, I feel so sad just writing about it!
But that is hardly the biggest part of the book at all, it's just a part that spoke to me a lot. There are other characters coming to terms with their lives! I really enjoyed this read!
I received an ARC from the publisher.
Monday, March 3, 2014
*Ever since Orphan Black's first season ended I was lulled into forgetting that I love Alison Hendrix and Alison and Felix's friendship to itty bitty pieces. Looooove. Well, Orphan Black (or BBC America? who exactly?) has been releasing little teasers daily and today's was Alison and Felix and I've watched it like a million times, lol. READ NO FURTHER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED!! I love beyond words that Alison tells Felix, I love beyond words that he says to her "not really, you know, just like hardly" about killing Aynsley, omggggggg. It's so perf in every way. They are adorable. Lol, I ship their friendship more than almost any romantic ship I've ever shipped, tbh! Anyway, I have my little fears about the sophmore slump, but fingers crossed because....
*The Americans is in top form. Seriously, I forgot spring TV was the thing, it's so rich and delightful and satisfying and varied. The Americans in particular set up a new storyline with the return and I like it. I feel like the stakes are higher than before and I have a feeling I'll be pausing a lot to catch my breath this season!
*Even though I watched a ton of TV this weekend to catch up on all I missed in February, I'm still a bit behind on The Fosters because my DVR didn't record one of the episodes, but aw I just. How is this show so achingly sweet? I sobbed my eyes out during the episode "Padre" when Stef's dad died and Callie remembered her mother's death and decided she needed a family more than a boyfriend, THE SHOW GOT IT RIGHT WOOOO. And also ♥. I loved every beat. I loved how Stef had that...dream in the beginning where things were normal and right with her father, the deepest longing of her heart like dreams so often reveal. I feel the religious stuff, which I disliked the handling of in the first half of the season, was more sensitively and realistically addressed. I like that even with the revelation of how much her father was struggling to accept her and questioning his own beliefs, Stef remained tough her outer shell in place BECAUSE OF COURSE. And aw Callie, I just....how can you not love and feel so much for these characters?
And in the next episode, Callie's breadcrumbs present to Jude???? So sweet and perfect and full of so much hope with they both deserve! The only thing I dislike is how one note they continue to make Talya! Whyyyy show.
*I enjoyed The Walking Dead but wow I really better hope my Grimes clan is around for the long term because I just don't enjoy episodes without them nearly as much. Even so, the show did a GREAT job with Beth just fab. They really milked having these two personalities together with no idea what else there is left and gave us all kinds of great character work that you can really believe happening. I always enjoy when the show explicitly acknowledges that Daryl's life is better post-zombie...I mean it's kind of a weird reality. But I feel like this season is engaging those ideas more...yes the world is hell but there are all these people who were on the margins before who actually have it better. Like, Michonne having more power (I loved how Danai said on The Talking Dead that the men in her life were threatened because she became more powerful and they became less powerful) and Daryl becoming a decent guy with friends who helps people out. This is the first real grief I think Daryl is feeling over the loss of healthy relationships which is how Beth is able to almost guide him...she'd done it before.
*I didn't watch the Oscars and I watched only one thing nominated...Cutie and the Boxer. This documentary is currently on Netflix and I really recommend it! It's about a Japanese artist and his wife and their art. Lol, it's kind of hard to explain, but I found myself oddly touched by it and it made me think a lot about life narratives and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. But also it was a little bit like watching modern starving artists! (even if they are quite elderly!) Has anyone else watched it? I'd love to discuss or hear your thoughts!
*Random, but my favorite 2014 book is still May's We Were Liars. I find myself thinking about it quite a lot! Who's read it? I can't wait until it's out so we can talk about it openly!! What books are you guys looking forward to coming out the rest of the year?
Posted by Amy at 9:58 PM
Friday, February 28, 2014
About the Book: September 1911 - On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Then, while caring for a fevered immigrant whose own loss mirrors hers, she becomes intrigued by a name embroidered onto the scarf he carries…and finds herself caught in a dilemma that compels her to confront the truth about the assumptions she’s made. Will what she learns devastate her or free her?
September 2011 - On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, widow Taryn Michaels has convinced herself that she is living fully, working in a charming specialty fabric store and raising her daughter alone. Then a long-lost photograph appears in a national magazine, and she is forced to relive the terrible day her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Towers…the same day a stranger reached out and saved her. Will a chance reconnection and a century-old scarf open Taryn’s eyes to the larger forces at work in her life?
The publisher is providing one copy of the book to a lucky winner in the United States. To enter, just fill out this form below by March 7, 2014. Winner will be notified via email.
Posted by Amy at 12:00 AM
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
First of all, yay for that cover! I like it much better than the temporary one on my ARC!
The Headmaster's Wife is an interesting novel with interesting structure. The first part of the book is a story told through eyes of the headmaster "after something has happened" It feels like a typical story in many ways but hints begin to emerge, even through his foggy narration, that not everything is as it seems.
The second part of the novel is the story of the headmaster's wife...and yet. Even this is incomplete and it isn't until a third POV is added at the end of the book that we finally get a complete picture of what has happened.
It's a very engaging book, with some really beautiful writing, and it's also just really sad. Like deeply sad. :(
I think it's a book about how grief can shatter the mind and heart and even play a game with you where relive the moments where you were your lesser self that led to your present pain over and over. That's a horrible sentence, but I don't know how else to put it!
This is a great book, a quick and thoughtful read, but I can't really say too much more about it for fear of spoiling it.
I received an ARC from the publisher! (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's Press)
Monday, February 24, 2014
I haven't written any posts about the first episodes of the back half of the season, but I've really liked them? I think the show is finding a new rhythm and I like it. I do think the show continues to struggle with the introduction of new characters and this continues to trouble me a little bit because of the necessity of killing people off, lol. But alas!
I think part of why these episodes have worked has been because of how successfully they split the group into interesting subsections. Of course my favorite is Rick and Michonne and Carl and the Michonne and Carl stuff has just been top notch, like SO GOOD. This is probably one of my favorite scenes, I just love how Michonne's journey has been about choosing to open her heart up to love again despite loss. And while yes that's hard to do in a zombie filled world, there's a clear parallel to real life...that it's hard to open up again after you've been brutally hurt. And Carl is just so sweet, ugh, SO SWEET. It's still safe with me. I mean really such a perfect and right response. I love how they are functioning like a family unit even if there's no romance (yet!) I just love them all together so much and individually--I guess I'm incoherent about it! It's been a surprising sweet spot in the show filling me with so many feelings!
I finally got attached to Tyreese a little bit, too, after watching him bumble around with the three little girls (including baby Judith!!) aw. Kudos to the person on tumblr who spotted him running away with her in the mid-season finale! Right on! Lizzie is clearly a psychopath and therefore one of the most interesting characters at the moment. I LOVE that Carol and Tyreese are now together...I'm hoping for maximum drama and fallout from this tbh.
Props to the writers for foreshadowing Daryl and Beth's time together in the season premiere. It's an interesting combination. I'm not sure how I feel about Beth's voiceovers/diary reading. I thought it was very effective during the open of episode ten, but it seems like they are continuing with it and it feels a bit of a cheat. Beth is by far one of the more underdeveloped characters and so using this method to give us insight into her ~feelings, I just. I don't know.
I feel like I should have more feelings about Maggie and Glenn looking for each other, but I don't. I do love Sasha, though! She's so fierce. PLEASE DON'T KILL HER OFF SHOW.
Fingers crossed they do better with developing the three new characters they've just given us.
One of the things I love about the show and that I feel it does well (perhaps Gimple in particular) is to give us hints of all the stories that we'll never see. Like the bedroom Michonne found or the zombie Rick and Carl found with the note about having the courage to do what he couldn't. There are all these hints and reminders of a painful world with many more people. I love it.
I also watched the Carrie remake with my girl Chloe Moretz. I never really watched the original all the way through or read the book, but this movie got pretty good reviews? Or at least reviews raising interesting ideas. It was okay, but the actual biggest thing I came away with is that Ansel Elgort is going to be a PERFECT Gus in TFIOS! He's really super charming in that Gus sort of way!! The one other thing that kind of slayed me was that they played "Dust to Dust" by The Civil Wars as the slow dance Carrie and um Ansel dance to. It's about two lonely people finding each other ;__;
Amazon Prime put up some pilots for voting. I fell asleep during Bosch and The After is...weird. I was bummed because it's a Chris Carter pilot, but it was too ambitious and the pilot gave no sense of what the show would be about. It sort of details a catastrophic world ending and then after a bunch of drama, we maybe see an alien at the end? Also, do these shows have to be full of language and gratuitous nudity? I know I sound like a grumpy old lady, but really now.
And...that's all I got! I'm still behind on The Fosters (don't spoil me!!) but am I wrong in thinking Maia Mitchell is an exceptional talent? Feel free to tell me I'm blinded by love for the character or her charm!
Also problematically I cannot seem to commit to a book and I'm reading like ten at once.
Posted by Amy at 10:05 PM
Friday, February 21, 2014
I feel like it's been forever since I checked in so....hello!!
I've had a busy couple of weeks...my brother's family came to visit which was fun because I got to meet my nephew for the first time! He's very cute and smiley and sweet and aw. Plus, normal life stuff. And also, I've been watching a lot of the Olympics which...
I enjoyed for the most part and then I got so angry about the results in the ladies figure skating competition you guys, SO ANGRY. I've spent a lot of time this year catching up on the sport and it's really kind of ironic because ladies figure skating was the discipline I was least interested in as I haven't developed much attachment to any of the skaters (well a little bit to Yulia which :(((( she gave away her Olympic performances to the Team Event a la McKayla Maroney) and one of the US ladies which didn't make the team but none of the real contenders. I think I have come away a Polina Edmunds fan though, it was so cute how she was answering questions about her homework tbh ♥ but ANYWAY
The judges just weren't subtle enough. Their scores SCREAMED that they wanted to ENSURE Adelina got the gold, they were not marks that were actually about her skate. And I don't know, I mean I forgive a lot of stuff that I think is wrong (i.e. reputation holding so much weight, etc) but this felt like a giant FU to anyone who cares about the sport tbh. Like TRY to mask your cheating sheesh. Also, the fact that the ISU is just so corrupt, doesn't punish cheating judges and allows them to continue to work, anonymized judging in order to protect anyone who does...I just. I just can't, lol. I spent like the whole of the last two days seething about this which is A) ridiculous and B) not helping anything. Ugh, I don't know. I had planned on keeping up with the sport from here on out, but we'll see if I've cooled down by World's at the end of March. I don't want to get attached to skaters only to have my heart broken because they are skating in an unfair highly political system. I mean sports come with enough heartbreak of their own without all that!!! Oh and if anyone of you say to me, "it's figure skating" well...not good enough!!
Okay rant over :) I've also really enjoyed the action sports like snowboarding and freeski!!! (no judging controversies there!! also judged sports!!! Also I have no clue how they are judged!!) It's amazing to me that people can do that stuff, tbh. I don't even want to talk about hockey. (Go Sweden!) I haven't caught much else but wow our poor speedskating team!
I needed a break from the Olympics and sports so I watched the CW's new show Starcrossed, lol. It was...I don't know kind of interesting? I feel like it actually is kind of interesting but then too heavy on the similarities with racial issues. (like the scene when the aliens show up on the bus etc.) I don't know how people feel about this. I don't mind the forbidden love yet, because it's...well kind of interesting. I may watch it again!
I'm behind on every other show, but will hopefully catch up soon.
What's exciting is that The Americans and Hannibal and Bates Motel all come back soon! Also, The Returned is getting added to Netflix next week!
Enough about me, how are all of you?? Did you watch any of the Olympics?
Posted by Amy at 10:08 PM