Sunday Salon 3/21: So much for the Book-Buying Ban!

The Sunday 
Salon.com

Reading Progress and Plans:

I’m finishing Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow this weekend for the Read-along, and I posted my responses to our interim discussion of the book earlier this week – thanks to Heather for coordinating it and collecting everyone’s posts! We’re scheduled to post reviews and wrap it up on March 30, so it’s still not too late to join us in reading (or re-reading) this amazing novel; I’d be very surprised if it didn’t pull you in quickly!

Once I finish The Sparrow, I’ll be reading Nothing but Ghosts by Beth Kephart so I can post my tandem review of that and her prior novel, Undercover – with luck, that one will go quickly, although savoring Beth’s writing may slow me down a bit.

Two books I received as ARCs from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program have just come out this month, so I’d like to get to In the Land of Believers: An Outsider’s Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church by Gina Welch and The Irresistible Henry House: A Novel by Lisa Grunwald as soon as possible.

Then I’ve got back-to-back-to-back tours in April and May: Get Lucky by Katherine Center, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O’Connor McNees, and The Danish Girl: A Novel, by David Ebershoff. Since my family is planning a two-week vacation trip during June, I’m planning to take a break from blog tours from late May through early July; no matter how tempting something sounds, I think it’s best if I keep my reading commitment-free at that point.

In other news, I have broken my book-buying ban! I was in Barnes and Noble shopping for a gift, and of course I had to have a look around. I bought two books – one from my wishlist and one that would have been if I’d thought of putting it there – but restrained myself from going any further. I lasted four weeks, though, and that’s better than I’ve managed in other years! Easter is only two weeks away now, and I’m going to try to stick it out till then and not further indulge – the Wishlist will just have to grow a little more in the meantime!

Speaking of the Wishlist, here are the newest additions:
The Lotus Eaters, by Tatjana Soli
Everything Changes, by Jonathan Tropper

I’m not going to announce which books I broke the ban for until after Easter ☺, but I’ll tell you about a few others I got this week…I was the Grand Prize winner in A Novel Menagerie‘s Susan Jane Gilman Giveaway! I received three of her books: Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World as a SmartMouth Goddess, Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, and Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress. I’ve already read, reviewed (and loved) Hypocrite…, so I’ll be looking for another home for this brand-new copy – possibly one of the entrants in my Blogiversary Giveaway!

Speaking of the Blogiversary Giveaway, have you entered yet? Entries are open till this Friday, March 27!


Aarti asks the most provocative questions in her Sunday Salon posts. Last week’s query, on the topic of blog tours, was: “Do you give in to the hype?” My response in the comments there was:

I was offered a copy of the book for the Garth Stein tour, but turned it down – there was very little notice, and there was a condition that the review MUST be posted within a one-week period. I declined because couldn’t meet the timeframe, but I also agree with you about the saturation. On tours like that, where multiple reviews are being posted every day, I’ll read a few if the book interests me, and then that’s it. More and more reviews just make me tired of seeing the book.

I agree with (the commenters who) mentioned that the publicists and publishers don’t really get book bloggers. Many of us subscribe to a LOT of blogs – I know I do. I understand that they want to get word about a book out to the widest possible audience, but they don’t realize that the audience has a lot of overlap – that’s why, to me, the “blog blast” approach to reviewing is not particularly effective. People just start to feel beaten over the head.

I’m not sure about The Hunger Games; as far as I know, Catching Fire didn’t tour, but there were ARCs at BEA last year. I’ve heard there won’t be ARCs or tours for Mockingjay – and it won’t matter. There is genuine, organic interest in reading that book ASAP.

(BTW, they sent me a copy of Raven Stole the Moon anyway, and I will read and review it, since I liked The Art of Racing in the Rain – but I’ll do it when I get around to it.)

What’s your take on blog-tour saturation – do you think it helps or hurts a book? Do you put as much trust in the recommendations that come from that type of buzz-building?


BOOKMARKS: Reading-related Reading

I’m not much for audiobooks, since I tend to process information better when I see it than when I hear it, but Eva makes some good arguments in their favor. Also: In a guest post on Devourer of Books, an author who has made the jump to a traditional publisher makes a case for self-publishing fiction

How would your latest review score at Book Review Bingo? (I think this is like golf – you really don’t want a high score.) Another review-related question: How do you make your reviews different when the books you’re reading all seem the same?

How would you define your literary identity?

I’m pretty sure of which one I am – are you a book-keeper or a book-purger?

Which should come first, the book or the movie – and is the answer always the same?

Looking for books in The City? Dawn is spinning off her popular “Spotlight on Bookstores” feature to a directory of New York City bookstores, which may be of interest to bookish types heading to NYC this year! (I won’t be there for BEA/Book Blogger Con, as y’all know, but my family will be visiting for a week in June and I’ll be back there for BlogHer’10 in August – I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on Dawn’s list!)

For those who are WAY into Harry Potter: the Hogwarts Reading Challenge, in which participants earn points for their Houses…so you start out with a quiz to see which House you’ll belong to. I’m not joining the challenge, but I decided to be Sorted anyway. My result was pretty much what I expected:

Get Sorted By The Hogwarts Sorting Hat!
(Oh well, I always had a feeling I wasn’t Ravenclaw material…)

Have a great reading week – unless you’d rather be outside enjoying the arrival of Spring!

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