Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekly Geeks #12

I'm going to combine WG this week with the giveaway that I've been talking about here all weekend. Or, I should say, the beginning of the giveaway since I've been allowed 5 copies to giveaway and have decided to make it an all week event. I'm going to feature the book in some manner each day Monday through Friday and there will be a winner chosen from among the commenters to each post.. Which means essentially Tuesday through Saturday since, like today, I often begin working on a post so late in the evening that I frequently don't click publish until the wee hours of the next morning.

Anyway. After this post each day's winner will be chosen in some random manner from the pool of commenters expressing interest. But the first winner will be chosen differently. Read on. The explanation will follow the presentation of this week's WG assignment.

From Dewey:

1. In your blog, list any books you’ve read but haven’t reviewed yet. If you’re all caught up on reviews, maybe you could try this with whatever book(s) you finish this week.

2. Ask your readers to ask you questions about any of the books they want. In your comments, not in their blogs. Most likely, people who will ask you questions will be people who have read one of the books or know something about it because they want to read it.

3. Later, take whichever questions you like from your comments and use them in a post about each book. I’ll probably turn mine into a sort of interview-review. Link to each blogger next to that blogger’s question(s).

4. Visit other Weekly Geeks and ask them some questions!

****ETA: I don’t want to tell people what to ask, but I’m seeing a lot of “What did you think of ______?” and “What is ______ about?” questions. And I just want to suggest that bloggers might appreciate something more specific to answer.

Oh boy. This is something I so need to kick start my butt. I have a TBR pile rivaled in size only by my TBR pile. That is my To Be Reviewed pile is at least a young adult version of my To Be Read pile. For example I've got a folder on my computer with 120 Book Reviews in various stages of completion. A dozen or so were complete and posted either here or at Joyread. Another dozen were complete and waiting for HTML pages. Several dozen contain little more than the author, title, publisher info.

But I'm not going to draw from that list for this assignment. I stopped working with those book reviews and stopped beginning new ones in the word processor over two years ago. I stopped studying HTML and thus stopped making pages for Joyread and Joywrite in 2005 the year my Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I stopped working on formal book reviews in late 2006 after the announcement our libraries were slated to close their doors in April for lack of funding. I must have checked out over 300 books between December and April, but other than a handful of novels I wasn't reading to finish books. I was reading to cram my head with as many facts and as much ambiance related to my various writing projects--the professions, diseases and stomping grounds of the dozens of characters in my stories in progress; the supporting facts for the thesis of the many essays in progress; how to for fiction and poetry writing; anything Shakespeare and DVDs by the dozen. But I stopped taking notes.

By the time the libraries opened back up in October 2007 I was so focused on writing my own fiction again, I'd practically stopped reading entirely.

I've recently been trying to shift the balance back to reading, especially fiction. And to taking notes and reviewing books. A writer needs to read. A fiction writer needs to read fiction. A poet needs to read poetry. I recently tried to create a post to collect the links to book reviews I've posted here but I could find only a handful of the ones I had firm memories of reviewing on Joystory. Then one day last week, while musing about a book I was still reading and another I had just finished in the last paragraphs of a post, I realized that must have been what happened to the 'book reviews' I remembered posting. They weren't formal enough to merit their own post so I didn't title the post with the title of the book and most of them were posted long before Blogger provided labels.

So. I'm sure that was way too much information.

The books I'm going to list here I finished in the last several weeks. Or am about to finish. Most are novels. All but a couple are library books and most of those I will have to send for again before I can do a proper review. The giveaway book is among them. :)

  1. A New Earth by Ekhart Tolle
  2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  3. Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan
  4. Swordquest by Nancy Yi Fan
  5. The Piano Lesson: A Play by August Wilson
  6. Messi@h by Andrei Codrescu
  7. The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra
  8. The Morning After by Lisa Jackson
  9. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
  10. Green Angel by Alice Hoffman
  11. Foretelling by Alice Hoffman
  12. ? (the giveaway) Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard
    Joanne of Book Zombie gave the correct answer so the first copy of the book is hers.
  13. The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler (which I need to finish this week as another patron is waiting their turn so it may be weeks or months before I get another turn)
  14. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kid (which I'm about to finish)
  15. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (which I'm about to start)
That's right I'm still not naming it because the winner for today will be the first one to leave a comment with the correct title and author. The clues are contained in three of my previous posts:

Heads Up
Monday Poetry Train #55
Thursday Thirteen #92 you can ignore the windy intro. The book is in the list of 13.

If no one guesses correctly by the time I'm ready to click publish on tomorrow night's post (sometime between 9PM and the wee hours) I will select a winner by some random method from the pool of commenters expressing an interest. Then I will be requesting the winner to provide a mailing address via: joystory AT gmail DOT com.

That mailing address must be either United States or Canada and cannot be a PO Box. I know of several this is likely to affect but there could be a fudge. If you have any family or friends with a qualifying address you could provide that. Either to gift them with the book or to ask them to ship it to you if you are willing to pay those costs.

Don't forget to indicate in your comment if you are interested in winning the book as there will be a drawing instead if no one guesses correctly in time and only those expressing an interest will be included.

Don't forget to also leave me some questions about one or more of the books in the above list. Including the mystery book if you figure it out or arrive here after I've updated this post with the answer and the announcement of the winner soon after I post tomorrow night. Which I imagine will be one or two hours either side of midnight. If there has not been a winner before I begin working on the post, I will check comments one last time before clicking publish and thus closing the contest so as long as this post is riding the top of the page you still have time.

Some of this weeks WG participants:

gautami tripathy
Joanne of Book Zombie the winner of the book.
Alessandra from Out of the Blue
Care of Care's Online Bookclub
Kim of Page After Page

I will try to remember to return and add more after I start visiting more WG.

7 tell me a story:

Bibliolatrist 7/22/2008 4:01 AM  

My first set of questions is about THE HISTORIAN. What did you think about all the history Kostova inserted into the tale? Did you find it too much, too little, just enough? Did it take away from the story, or would the story be worse without it? I found it to be on the long side, and wanted it to be pared down quite a bit. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

My second set of questions is about A NEW EARTH. I've only heard about this book because of all of Oprah's attention. Is it fiction, or nonfiction? What is the single greatest lesson you took away from it, and would you recommend that others read it? In other words, did it live up to the Oprah hype?

Bybee 7/22/2008 5:14 AM  

I'm not in North America, but that's OK. I'm just here to have fun and ask questions:

Is this the first play you've read by August Wilson? Is this part of a series? Is it a period peace? How do you feel about reading plays as opposed to reading novels?

Alessandra 7/22/2008 12:34 PM  

I don't live in North AMerica either, but I'm going to ask some questions anyway, if that's okay.

I'm curious about The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman. Which was your favourite character, and why? How does the portraya of the Amamzons in this book compare to their mythological image?

Book Zombie 7/22/2008 9:03 PM  

Is the mystery book Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard?

I have questions about 2 books for you:

The Historian - While reading this did you feel motivated to search out the truth of what was fact and what was fiction? This was a giant tome of a book, did you find it hard to get through or was it fairly quick paced?

A New Earth - Did this book have any effect on the way you live your life? Would you recommend this book to your friends/co-workers/family members?

tinylittlelibrarian 7/22/2008 11:28 PM  

This is semi-related to Book Zombie's question. I tried to read The Historian last year and just could not get into it at all and actually (rare for me) didn't finish it. Yet I know many people loved, loved it. Where did you fall on that continuum?

Care 7/24/2008 4:16 AM  

re: The People of the Book. After reading on amazon what this is about - I wondered HOW LONG but unde 400 pages is good for me. Do you feel the length was appropriate? not too long, got everything in that was needed? etc. Thx, Care

Kim 7/24/2008 11:12 PM  

Thanks for visiting my blog. I have answered your questions!

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