Sept. 13-17 is Book Blogger Appreciation Week

During Book Blogger Appreciation Week, there will be fun events, introductions to bloggers you may have heard of or may be new to you, giveaways, and other activities.  There also are awards for Best YA, Kidlit, Eclectic, etc.

For information about the event, please visit the blog.  For information about the awards and nomination process, go here.

To register for BBAW, go this form.

As part of BBAW, bloggers are asked to nominate their blogs in a niche category.  I’m going to nominate my blog in Best Poetry, Best Writing, and Best Author Interviews categories.

In accordance with those nominations, I must list 5 posts (3 of which must be reviews) for the judges and voters to check out.

Here’s are the posts for the Best Poetry category, though I would like to mention that my blog is home to the Virtual Poetry Circle every Saturday in which a new poem is posted and discussed weekly.

  1. Song of Napalm by Bruce Weigl (review)
  2. Full Moon Boat by Fred Marchant (review)
  3. Poetry Speaks Who I Am by Elise Paschen (review)
  4. Welcome to National Poetry Month
  5. Reviewing Poetry

Here are the 5 posts for the Best Writing category:

  1. Watermark by Vanitha Sankaran (review)
  2. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (review)
  3. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (review)
  4. Tim O’Brien Gets to the Emotional Core at Politics & Prose
  5. 2010 Split This Rock Poetry Festival WrapUp

Here are the 5 posts for Best Author Interviews:

  1. Interview with Frank Delaney
  2. Interview with Pam Jenoff
  3. Interview with Lisa See
  4. Interview with Abigail Reynolds
  5. Interview with George Bishop, Jr.

I hope everyone participates in BBAW.  It is always a fun time.

Some BBAW 2009 Winners

I wanted to let everyone know that I am alive and well, though not commenting on blogs this week. I’m visiting with my parents for the week, but hope to see some of you at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

Also, I used Randomizer.org to select winners for Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

Here are the winners for the autographed posters from Sourcebooks of Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse.

1. Anna of Diary of an Eccentric
2. Windy Cindi
3. Lindsay Frost

Winner of Never Let Me Go:

1. Rebekah C.

Winner of FU, Penguin:

1. Sandy of You’ve Gotta Read This!!!

Winner of A Disobedient Girl:

1. Dorte

Please double-check my interview with Sandra Dallas–part 1 and part 2. I posted them this week even while having fun. I should have some photos of my travels this week too. See some of you at the bookfest.

BBAW 2009 Wrap Up & Givaway Links

While BBAW is officially over, there are giveaways that are still going on.

Have you checked all of them out yet? Well, you should because today is the last day for most of them. You might have to do some work, though. But not too much work.

I’ll start off with the official BBAW Giveaway links and end with the BBAW-related giveaways I still have going on here and at War Through the Generations.

From the BBAW site:

1. Book Cover Scavenger Hunt (International)
2. We Use Book Bloggers Too by Jory Strong (International)
3. Speculative Fiction Scavenger Hunt (International)
4. Book Bloggers and Chocolate (U.S. only)
5. Caption Contest (U.S. only)
6. Name That Book Club (U.S. only)
7. Glue and $25 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
8. Short Story Bundle (U.S. only)
9. Non-Fiction Scavenger Hunt (International)
10. Graphic Novels Scavenger Hunt (International)
11. Crime Fiction Bundle (U.K. and Ireland Only)
12. Nalini Singh Appreciates Book Bloggers (International)
13. $50 Powell’s Gift Card (International)
14. Large Giveaway (International bundles, US Only bundles, UK/Ireland Bundles)
15. Historical Fiction Giveaway (U.S. only)
16. Signed Box of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Bad Moon Rising (U.S. and Canada)
17. Reader/Writing Books (U.S. only)
18. Lost Symbol Bundle (North America Only)
19. What Book Am I? (International)
20. Romance Is in the Air (International)
21. Favorite Picture Books (International)
22. Guess the Landmark (International)
23. Thank You from Cynthia Eden (International)
24. Share Your Blogging Memories (International)
25. Kyle Semmel and The Writer’s Center (D.C. area only & International portion)
26. Mahbod Seraji Thanks Book Bloggers (International)

From War Through the Generations for BBAW: (International; Sept. 20)

1. Autographed copy of Annie’s Ghosts (Those participants having read 5 books)
2. Copy of Libby Cone’s War on the Margins for New Participants signing up during BBAW week through Sept. 20

From Savvy Verse & Wit for BBAW:

1. Mahbod Seraji and Rooftops of Tehran (International; Sept. 20)
2. Prize Pack of books (International; Sept. 27)
3. Open Letter to Book Bloggers from Sourcebooks’ Paul Samuelson (U.S./Canada; Sept. 20)

50 Words About Savvy Verse & Wit

The last task for Book Blogger Appreciation Week is to talk about our blogs in 50 words or less in terms of what we like and what our goals are for the next 12 months. Well, we all know how long winded I am, but I’ll give it a shot to be brief.

Reviews = Satisfactory
Interviews = Need more
Guest Posts = Need more interactivity
Giveaways = Great
Changes = clean up sidebars, speed up downloading, increase page views and subscribers

How did I do? Only 29 words. Not bad. What about you?


Ready for the end of BBAW Giveaway??

All you have to do is tell me who said this quote:

“Once the people begin to reason, all is lost”

And for a bonus:

“A pessimist is a person who has had to listen to too many optimists.”

These are all books from my shelves and have been gently used or came from library sales or other places:

1. copy of Seduce Me by Robyn DeHart

2. copy of Queen of the Oddballs by Hillary Carlip

3. copy of For Better, For Worse by Carole Matthews

4. copy of Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine’s Guide to Life and Love by Patrice Hannon

5. copy of The Blue Zone by Andrew Gross

This prize pack of books will go to one winner anywhere in the world.

Deadline Sept. 27, 2009, 11:59 PM EST

BBAW 2009 Mahbod Seraji, Rooftops of Tehran Giveaway

Everyone knows I’ve been raving about Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji (click on the link for my review). I even had the pleasure of interviewing Mahbod Seraji as well.

There’s been some exciting news about this debut novel. From Broward Community College to the Villanova One Book Program, the book is making its way into students hands across America. Rooftops was selected as Indie Fall and Winter 2009-2010 Book Group favorites, Santa Cruz’s Community selection for October, and a September pick for LiteraryMatters.

Rooftops also is being published in nine different languages, and most recently selected for translation into Italian.

Of course, you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with you, except that another fantastic author is making readers everywhere happy.

Well, Mahbod Seraji has decided to join the Book Blogger Appreciation Week celebration and offer copies to 3 lucky readers of Savvy Verse & Wit.

To Enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post.

2. If you purchase any of the books, using my Amazon affiliate links this week (Sept. 15-19), that’s 5 extra entries (just send me an order #/invoice).

3. Tweet, blog, Facebook, or spread the word about the giveaway for additional entries, just leave me a comment about it.

Deadline to enter is Sept. 20, 2009, at 11:59PM EST.

Double your chances and Check out the BBAW Sponsored Giveaway for this book too.

It’s Time for a TBR Confession

Sept. Stack

OK, it’s confession time. I have a towering stack of books I had to read this month, but due to BBAW and other commitments (not to mention the library books I was reading), I am not going to get to many of these books. This was just part of my September stack. As you can see, I didn’t do very well.

Since we are making confessions today, how about I show you all the books I have not read. These are not all ARCs or books from authors. Many of these are books passed to me from my mother, books I bought, and books I’ve had forever. Not to mention books I received from all the wonderful book blogger giveaways out there.

Shelves Overflow

I know, many of you have gasped. It’s OK. I do it to every time I look at this corner of my living room. Just imagine how many more books I would have if I got all the ones on my to-read list on Good Reads?!

What does your TBR pile look like?

An Open Letter to Bloggers from Paul Samuelson

Dear Bloggers,

Pardon the group email, but I just heard some fantastic news and since it is Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I wanted to share. I am happy to report that Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse, by debut middle grade novelist Kaleb Nation, has debuted on the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association bestsellers list in the #10 spot for Children’s Interest!

For those of you unfamiliar with the list, this indie group is one of the largest in the country, and includes stores such as BookPeople & Blue Willow (TX), Tattered Cover (CO), Changing Hands(AZ) and King’s English (UT), among many others. These are some of the biggest and best indies in the country.

What does this have to do with your blog?

Because the focus of publicity efforts for this title have been primarily online—it is YOU we have to thank for this phenomenal success. For a 20 year old first time author to debut on this list, before he has even begun his cross-country tour, can only mean that word-of-mouth generated by all of you in the book blogging community (and masters of the twitterverse) has had a significant impact on the sales of this book—a direct contradiction to the controversial interview on the All About Romance blog which stirred up so much controversy four months ago.

But I didn’t even review Bran Hambric?!

It doesn’t matter! As part of the larger book blogging community you are an integral part of an ever-growing online literary conversation that exists to discusses books based on merit and for the love of reading. It is through your work that debut novelists can now get discovered and shared throughout the world—and our thanks goes out to you for making this possible.

As you all know, there are many types of book bloggers—teen fan blogs, vlogs, kidlitosphere blogs, homeschool blogs, mommy blogs and the established book blogs we all know and love—and it has been remarkable to bear witness to how so many different types of readers have all come together to discuss and review Bran Hambric in an ever-growing online reading community.

A sincere “thank you” from Sourcebooks for helping us bring a little bit of magic, fantasy and adventure into the lives of readers everywhere.

We’d like to show our appreciation by offering autographed posters of Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse (cover art by Brandon Dorman!) to any blogger to use as a giveaway (plus one for you to keep, if you’d like!). Feel free to pass this letter to other bloggers who might be interested in either the giveaway or the words of appreciation! As always, contact me if you’d like a poster!


Paul Samuelson

Sourcebooks, Publicity


Paul and Sourcebooks are offering 5 copies of the autographed poster to readers of Savvy Verse & Wit in honor of BBAW. U.S./Canada only.

To Enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post.

2. If you purchase any of the books, using my Amazon affiliate links this week (Sept. 15-19), that’s 5 extra entries (just send me an order #/invoice).

3. Tweet, blog, Facebook, or spread the word about the giveaway for additional entries, just leave me a comment about it.

Deadline to enter is Sept. 20, 2009, at 11:59PM EST.

EReader + EBooks = Environmental Preservation

If you’ve been reading Savvy Verse & Wit right along, then you know I’m passionate about saving the environment. I’ve offered tips in the past about how to take part in the movement, and I’ve reviewed books about doing your part or how others have done their part.

While I love the smell and feel of books in my hand, lets face it, trees are used to make those books. Are there books made from recycled paper? Sure. But only 0.23 percent of publishers are committed to increasing the number of books made on recycled paper, according to Eco-Libris. Moreover, only about 5 percent to 10 percent of paper used by book publishers is recycled.

(I snagged the above logo from Goodworks Blog.)

Meanwhile, the Book Industry Environmental Council announced that it was committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the publishing industry by 20 percent or to a 2006 baseline by the year 2020, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.

This process is going to take a long, long, long time, and even then it may be too late. As avid readers, it is our job to make demand meet the need. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we need to increase the use of recycled products. We all can make small changes.

For those of us with the means, we can do something more than buy only books made from recycled paper. We can purchase convenient and useful eReaders, like the Amazon Kindle, the Sony eReader, or the upcoming IREX eReader.

Some features I would like in an eReader are:

  • the ability to download books wirelessly and without connecting to a computer;
  • is easy-to-use interface and functions;
  • won’t hurt the eyes;
  • something that is compatible with other documents, like pdfs and newspapers;
  • allows you to make notations or mark sections for future reference;
  • is compatible with MAC and PC;
  • is energy-efficient;
  • has a large enough screen so people who wear glasses don’t have to squint;
  • is compact to fit in a bag, purse, or carry-on luggage;
  • has significant built-in and expandable memory;
  • is light to carry;
  • can operate in a variety of languages;
  • and wouldn’t it be great if it came in different colors?! Or had some great styling accessories?!

IREX Technologies has offered to give one book blogger participating in Book Blogger Appreciation Week an eReader, click on the link for details.

Book bloggers are some of the most avid readers, and while we are encouraging others to get in on the joy of reading, wouldn’t it be great if we also stepped up and did our part for the environment too?

I, for one, would love an eReader even if it was simply for travel purposes. I take flights to visit my parents at least once a year, and I know that I would use an eReader more often than not. Imagine all the trees I could be saving, let alone all the trees the bloggers I know, who review books, could be saving too.

The only troublesome part has been the cost of these devices, particularly for me. While I hope that I win the IREX eReader, I know that whoever wins it will put it to good use. I just hope I opened some of your eyes to the damage we unwittingly cause to the environment by buying books that do not use recycled paper. If you would like to offset your book purchases, please check out Eco-Libris’ plant a tree program to offset those purchases.

Book Bloggers Influencing Book Bloggers

Today’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week task is to talk about books I’ve read that I read solely because other book bloggers recommended them.

I actually try to mention when I read books because bloggers recommend them, but I figured I would highlight some of my reviews for books that were highly recommended by other book bloggers.

1. Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas
2. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

While I am making a concerted effort to remember who recommends books that I end up reading, I have been incredibly terrible about it. I promise to do better in the future.

BBAW Reading Meme

Welcome to my attempt at the Book Blogger Appreciation Week Reading Meme.

Feel free to share your links to the meme or your own thoughts on the questions.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

I sometimes snack on Cheetos or goldfish crackers, but mostly I have a tall, cold glass of green tea, water, or ice coffee. There is that occasional glass of root beer near me, but that doesn’t last too long, and who wants to get up to get a refill every 15 minutes. 🙂

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I do not write in books anymore. I did for college courses and to prepare for exams. I have no reason to mark passages these days with ink when I can use my multicolored post-it flags.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

I have bookmarks, receipts, pieces of notebook paper, and other random bits stuck in books, but mostly its bookmarks. I have dog-eared books in the past, but usually its a library book when I don’t have a bookmark or piece of paper handy. This rarely happens.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

I read just about anything, so long as it hold my interest. I really enjoy fiction and poetry most, however.

Hard copy or audiobooks?

I adore hard copies of books, but audiobooks often make the morning commutes fly by and gets my husband interested in characters and plots without him realizing it.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

I tend to finish a chapter before putting a book down, but if I’m commuting on a bus and have to get off at my stop, I may not have a choice.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

I tend to mark unfamiliar words with those post-it flags and refer to them later, but most often I can use context clues and other hints in the text to garner a rough meaning. Isn’t that what reading comprehension is about?!

What are you currently reading?

Currently, you can find out what I’m reading in my sidebar through the Good Reads widget. I’m writing this ahead of time, so I could be reading something completely different by the time this posts. But in case you are wondering, I am reading A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman and More of Me Disappears by John Amen.

What is the last book you bought?

OK, first check out this Mailbox Monday post for my library sale finds. However, I’m still waiting for Barnes & Noble to ship me the two books I ordered with my birthday gift card: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson and Vampire Haiku by Ryan Mecum.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

I generally have three or four books going at a time, but some will end up taking precedence at one time or another depending on my mood or time constraints. If I have a short amount of time or a hard time focusing, I generally will read some short stories or poems.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

I read mostly while commuting. Listening to audiobooks in the car as hubby drives us to work, reading a book on the subway and bus on the ride home, and reading books in the recliner or lying on the couch at home in the afternoons following work.

Generally, I love spending Sundays with a good book away from the Internet.

One place I don’t like reading is in bed; it makes me too sleepy.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

I don’t have a preference. I like series books as long as they are all well-written; I have a hard time starting a series and watching the quality decline. It makes me sad. Sometimes I want some stand-alone books to become series books.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

I really love recommending Tim O’Brien and Anita Shreve, but there are so many authors I’ve found myself recommending. I really like Suzanne Collins‘ writing, Michelle Moran, and many others. I even have a list of poets I will recommend over and over–Arlene Ang, Ted Kooser, Billy Collins, Kay Ryan, Yusef Komunyakaa, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and more.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

My shelves are far from organized. I don’t have enough shelf space to be organized. Many of my books have no shelves at all and are in piles throughout the apartment. This is a sad state of affairs, but hopefully someday, the bookcase fairy will show up and remedy my problem.

Interview With Emily Wilson of books, the universe, and everything

Last year, my favorite part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week was the interview swap, in which I get to check out a new-to-me blogger and ask them some questions so we can all get to know him or her better.

I signed up to participate again this year, and was given Emily Wilson of books, the universe, and everything. Check out her blog to see what she asked me.

1. What’s the story behind the creation of your blog–books, the universe, and everything?

I started my blog almost four years ago, a few months after moving to New York City.

I’ve been an avid reader and book lover my entire life, but it wasn’t until I moved to NYC that I became book obsessed: a bibliophile. I think that was caused by a combination of several things: all the wonderful bookstores in the city, all the fantastic book events in and around the city, and also finally having the time to read more (I had just graduated college and thus had no more homework to clog up nights and weekends).

When I wanted to start a blog, books were the natural core focus – I needed a place to talk as much as I wanted about my passion.

2. What kinds of books do you blog
about, what parts of the universe are you discussing, and how much of everything makes it onto the blog?

I have pretty broad tastes in books – I definitely wouldn’t say I like everything, but I like a good variety: contemporary fiction, classics, biographies, food writing, cookbooks, fantasy, graphic novels, kid’s literature, kid’s picture books, non-fiction, poetry.

I mainly only blog about the books I buy and read, but occasionally I’ll post about a book that looks good or has something unusual or interesting about it. Sometimes it’s their covers – I love book cover design.

As for the Universe and Everything, I’d have to admit that I don’t discuss those as much as I used to. I like to post photos from travels or NYC related adventures, and I like to post photos and recipes from some of the things I bake. If I had to sum up my blog in three topics, those would be it: books, traveling, and baking.

3. I noticed some photography on your site and that you have a flickr page. What kind of camera do you use? And what would be your dream camera?

My camera is a Canon Powershot SD1000, which I bought mainly because it was super small. I wanted to have a camera I could always keep in my purse, so that I’m always prepared to take a photo.

For my next camera, I’d like to get a better camera. Even the newer models of Powershots take better photos, since they have image stabilization. I’m very much an amateur in every way, but I enjoy taking photos and am always trying to get better.

4. Of the books you’ve read in 2009, which books would you recommend to a friend or stranger and why?

For a stranger, I’d have to select books that I think would have a very wide appeal, so I think I’d go with:

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
Thank You, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet

Here’s a list of some of my favorite books read this year that I’ve been recommending to my friends consistently: (not including the books above, which I’ve also been recommending)

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenburg
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

5. Have you always been a reader? And what book do you think started you on this bibliophile journey?

I’ve been a reader my entire life. Both of my parents read to me when I was young, and during my entire childhood they helped keep me surrounded by all the books I could ever want, mainly through frequent trips to several area libraries, and they also bought me quite a few. I had all the Babysitter’s Club books. 🙂 There’s not a time in my life that I can remember not having a deep love for reading and books.

One specific book that had a huge impact on my love of books was Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It was the first classic adult novel that I picked up on my own and decided to read for me, not for a class. I fell in love with it and it grew my passion for reading in general into a passion for good literature and authors. Not to mention it was the start of my love for everything Vonnegut. 🙂

6. In the book blogging community what are some of your favorite memes or weekly activities? What do you like best about them and what do you like least?

I’m not very good at keeping up with memes or weekly activities myself, but I do enjoy reading them on other people’s blogs. I like Booking Through Thursday, and really should try to participate more. I also like Library Loot.

7. Tell us one wacky aspect of your personality or about any obsessions you might have other than books.

One of my other obsessions is baking. I’ve been baking a lot this year and love to experiment to find the best recipes for my favorite treats.

I like to share photos and recipes of some of the best things I’ve made on my blog.

8. Write a six word memoir for yourself.

“Can’t go anywhere without a book.”

Did you enjoy this interview? Interested in winning Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro? Here’s what you have to do to enter:

1. Let me know what you liked about the interview.
2. If you purchase any of the books, using my Amazon affiliate links this week (Sept. 15-19), that’s 5 extra entries (just send me an order #/invoice).
3. Tweet, blog, Facebook, or spread the word about the giveaway for additional entries, just leave me a comment about it.

Deadline to enter is Sept. 19, 2009, at 11:59 PM EST

FU, Penguin by Matthew Gasteier

FU, Penguin by Matthew Gasteier is not a book for those without a quirky sense of humor. FU, Penguin is a spinoff of the blog, which has about 900,000 unique visitors per day, and the brainchild of Watertown, Mass., resident Matthew Gasteier who views the attempts of animals to look cute as antithetical to their nature.

Chock full of photos of cute fuzzy animals in adorable poses accompanied by sarcasm, ridicule, and disdain, Gasteier has created what some would call a pop culture phenomenon. Some readers will chuckle at the accompanying essays, while others may shake their heads.

In some cases, readers could find that the photos stand on their own as ridiculous without the essays. Gasteier’s harsh language choices for the captions could put some readers off, but the captions are some of the funniest bits in this book. If calling moose the “biggest dorks ever” or stating “Is it me, or are baby animals really being dicks lately” are your thing, FU Penguin is for you. Gasteier has started the conversation, but the question is how will you finish it?

In honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I’m offering one lucky reader anywhere in the world my gently used copy of this book, which I received from Random House. This giveaway is international.

1. Leave a comment on this post about why you want to read this or tell me if you’ve ever been to Gasteier’s Website prior to this review.
2. If you purchase any of the books, using my Amazon affiliate links this week (Sept. 15-19), that’s 5 extra entries (just send me an order #/invoice).
3. Tweet, blog, Facebook, etc. this post and get an extra entry, just come back and leave a comment.

Deadline for entries is Sept. 19, 2009, at 11:59 PM.

As an aside, all BBAW 2009 posts are easily accessible on my navigation bar. So never fear, all the BBAW 2009 contests will be at your fingertips!