Sunday Salon: Bookkeeping, Bookmarking…and Nagging!

The Sunday

ENCORE! The Re-Run Section (if you haven’t read ’em before, they’re New to You!)

In case you missed the big announcement on Tuesday, here’s a quick encore:

I am co-hosting a Read-Along of Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow with Heather J. from Age 30+…A Lifetime of Books and Rebecca of The Book Lady’s Blog. It’s a re-read for us, but we’d love for both first-timers and other re-readers to join us! To help get you hooked, Rebecca is giving away a copy of the book to one lucky reader – you have until this Tuesday (2/23) to enter!

The Sparrow was one of my “Books of the Decade,” and here’s what I said about it then:

“(Its) blend of religious/philosophical themes with fantasy/science fiction elements isn’t entirely new, but Russell does something special with it, crafting a compelling, emotionally resonant narrative. I haven’t come across enough people who have read this – but among those who have, I haven’t found anyone who wasn’t wowed by it.”

To join us, just leave a comment on the announcement post (even if you don’t have a blog) and pick up a copy of the book. We’ll have a discussion session hosted by Heather on March 16, and a wrap-up led by Rebecca on March 30, which is also the day participants will post their reviews. For more about the book and the Read-Along, please check out the announcement post. I hope you’ll join us!


Last week, I was offered an advance copy of an upcoming novel by an author I’ve reviewed before. I accepted, giving the publicist my usual disclaimer that it would probably be at least a couple of months before I would get to the book; it didn’t seem to be a problem. (I should mention that my previous review was based on my personal copy of the author’s book – the promised review copy, from the same publicist, was delayed without explanation, and I had already planned to buy the novel anyway, so I did.)

Three days later, a follow-up e-mail asked me to commit to a review date within a one-week period less than a month from now, to coincide with the publication date; I wrote back saying that I couldn’t do that, and would understand if they didn’t want to send the ARC after all. My response was partly selfish – I have no blog tours or committed reviews next month, and I’d like to keep it that way – but it was also a contrary-minded reaction to the abrupt change of the rules. If they’d told me about the date commitment the first time around, I’d have declined up front because of the lack of lead time – end of story.

As it happens, they said they’d still send me a review copy of the book – just not an “advance,” since it will come after the on-sale date – and they mentioned checking back with me about the review schedule after it comes. That’s a little bit too hands-on for my taste.

Has this kind of thing happened to you, and what did you do in response?

(I don’t really want to call the publicist out by name here, but I know of at least one other book blogger who had the same experience with them – if you’d like to know the publicist and book in question, e-mail me for the details.)


This is (probably) the last time I’ll ask for your votes for a Book Bloggers Room of (Y)Our Own at BlogHer’10! Even if you won’t be there as a book blogger (because everyone is going to BEA and Book Blogger Con instead), you can still offer your support. You must be a member of (sign up is quick and FREE) and logged into the site to cast your vote by clicking the “I would attend this session” link.

Voting for ROYO submissions ends next Sunday, February 28. Just follow the link below for details and voting – and if you HAVE voted for the session already, thank you (again)!

Book Bloggers: Reading and Writing All About It | BlogHer

BOOKKEEPING: The Reading Status Report

Reviews posted since last report:
ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes, Year 2, by Susan Helene Gottfried

Next reviews scheduled
The Wives of Henry Oades: A Novel, by Johanna Moran (TLC Book Tours, Tuesday 2/23)
Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress: Tales of Growing Up Groovy and Clueless, by Susan Jane Gilman (Wednesday 2/24)

New to my LibraryThing “To Read” Collection:
The last binge before Lent, I swear! (Although it was on a Sunday, and Sundays don’t count as part of the 40 days…)
For me:
The Polysyllabic Spree, by Nick Hornby (completing the set of books compiled from his essays for The Believer)
An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, by Barbara Brown Taylor (I bought this, and forgot that I’d requested a review copy through Shelf Awareness last week – if that comes through, look for a giveaway at some point!)

For me, moved over from the Wishlist:

BOOKMARKS: Reading-related Reading

Gimmicks, publishers, copyrights, and teen authors

When the book blogger knows better than the bookseller

Some notes on taking notes

Two favorites together: Lenore interviews Jasper Fforde as part of her “Dystopian February”

Define “dance,” and get the chance to win an autographed copy of House of Dance from its author, Beth Kephart

Question of the Week: How much of what we read – or what we look down on others for reading – is really “crap”? Next question: Chris wants to know about your bad grammar habits. Here’s what I ‘fessed up to:

I’ve been guilty of a LOT of punctuation abuse. I am too fond of ellipses…and then there’s the semicolon; I’ve begun using that more instead of dashes – because I’m the queen of the run-on, compound sentence (in which I’ll sometimes use parenthetical phrases too).

DID YOU KNOW? That’s How I Blog!, the Blog Talk Radio book-blogger talk show hosted by Nicole of Linus’s Blanket, has its own blog now. Check it out for show reminders and recaps!

Have a great reading week!

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  1. I've had experiences with some very hands on publicists and prefer a more laid back approach too. I've gone back to listing the books I have to review, on my blog, so that everyone can see there is a lineup! Good that they are still sending you the book, and the final version too!

  2. I'll usually decline when the publicist has too many rules and deadlines,as I so many review books as it is. If they still want to send me the the book, it's fine with me as long as they understand where I am coming from.

  3. I haven't had the exact same thing happen, but something similar did. At the beginning of December I was asked to review a book that month. I said there was no way, but I could review it in January or February. As soon as I got the book, the publicist wanted to know what date I would post my review.

    I find that I know more than booksellers most of the time these days, and I don't mean that in a braggy way.

  4. I stay away from rules and deadlines as well. I have way too much going on to get involved in too many restraints. I plan to not do any more blog tours after April. I think that I mention books in so many other ways- on BTR, on Twitter, to my friends- that just because you don't see a review doesn't mean that my thoughts aren't being shared.

    Thanks for mentioning the new blog! I just thought to post it about it in my own Sunday salon post. You probably beat me to the punch.

  5. I think I know the publicist and book you're referring to because she emailed me with the request too. Fortunately for me, she asked me in the initial email if I would be able to post a review in the specific week she wanted me to. I said no, I had other commitments that week, and she offered to send me a copy after the publishing date which I was more than happy to accept. But I'd be beyond annoyed if I didn't have any such commitment in the initial email, and then it was sprung on me later! I only like to commit to a review date when I have at least a month in advance from the time I receive the book in the mail. Otherwise I don't know for sure that I'll be able to get to it in time!

  6. Book Dilettante – I'd depress myself if I posted an "official" list of my to-be-reviewed books, but it might not be a bad idea from an accountability standpoint. (Shudder.)

    Diane – That's usually what I do too. They just weren't upfront about the "rules" with this book.

    Kathy (Bermudaonion) – Booksellers should be connecting more with book bloggers. It's a natural alliance…and you're right, sometimes we ARE better informed!

    Nicole – You're definitely doing a lot to publicize books, especially with THIB! I don't do many tours any more myself, but the stack of non-tour review books is still bigger than I'd like it to be.

    Heather – I usually tell publicists up front about my backlog and leave it up to them to decide whether it's a problem. The fact that it originally didn't seem to be, and THEN she came back with the conditions, was what irked me. If they still send me a post-publication copy of the book, that would be great, but I still won't promise how soon I'll get to it!