The End of an Era: Weekly Geeks 2011-03

Weekly Geeks, the brainchild of Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf, is over.

I had taken more than a year off from the meme, but had recently begun to participate again.  I had enjoyed the recent memes about what books I’d recommend about my state and my genre prejudices and suggested Weekly Geeks topics.

I was saddened to learn that this meme was closing, but without Dewey’s dedication, I think the meme had waned in popularity.  I also think that the book blogging world had expanded so much so that it got lost in the meme world and was unable to break through the other niches that have emerged as a result.

In a final goodbye to Weekly Geeks, which I would love to revive on my own, we’re asked to post about a favorite memory of Dewey (but honestly, I’ve done that already) or do a post of one of the previous topics covered.  I’m going to do one better.  I’m going to do a few short weekly geeks exercises:

The Readers Bill of Rights was posted on Aug. 25, and I’ve chosen to write about #6. The right to escapism.  This right is important to me because life can just get in the way sometimes, make you feel overwhelmed (like it has for me lately), and just run you ragged.  Books can take you to far off places, slip you into fantastical lives, lives that are easier or more adventurous, and they can make you feel better by providing hope.

Cover of the edition I read as a kid several times!

Back to School was posted on Aug. 6, and I’ve chosen to talk about this question, “Do you remember what books you checked out at the school library?”  Yes, I do.  I was in middle school, and we often spent time in the library for English or Reading class, and incidentally, that’s where all those Scholastic Book Fairs were.  Anyway, I discovered this entire 2 shelves full of Nancy Drew books by the librarian’s office.  I would reach into those shelves and grab the next two in the series whenever I got the chance.  Those books started my love of the mystery novel and my love for strong female characters.  Nancy was never afraid of anything, not even adults or the dark.  She was my hero back then, and she was so smart.  My favorite was The Kachina Doll Mystery.

Literary Prizes was posted on July 16, and I don’t follow literary prizes or purposely read books on them.  But I did want to talk about this question: “Do you keep a running tally of the books you’ve read for a particular prize? Share a link to your tracking page.”  I’ve kept track of the Pulitzer Poetry Prize winners, and I’ve probably only read 1-2 of those books and by accident.  I also check out the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction from time to time, and the only time I made a conscious decision to read a book from the list was when it was won by Cormac McCarthy for The Road.

I hope that even if you haven’t participated before, that you’ll check out the Weekly Geeks Archives and try on one of the memes.  Let’s make this a goodbye that makes Dewey’s lingering spirit smile.

Here are some other fantastic goodbye posts.

Weekly Geeks 2011-02

I’m not sure how many weeks it has been since my last Weekly Geeks posting, but I thought this week’s topic was interesting.

“What book/novel would you suggest for someone like me, someone interested in learning about your state, city and/or country? What book do you think is perfect for presenting the history and culture of your place of residence in the most perfect and interesting way?”

I haven’t lived in Maryland that long compared to all the time I spent growing up in Massachusetts, but I think I can offer up at least one book that represents some of Maryland’s history and culture during a tumultuous time in our nation’s history.

I’d recommend Jarrettsville by Cornelia Nixon, which takes place just after the U.S. Civil War ends and the south has lost.  Remember Maryland is south of the Mason-Dixon line, which served as a demarcation between the North and South and thus the ideological differences about the legality of slavery.  Jarrettsville is just below that line in Maryland and is a perfect setting for a novel, especially since some of its residents held similar beliefs to their northern brethren that slavery was wrong.  I reviewed this book as part of the War Through the Generations U.S. Civil War reading challenge this year and really enjoyed it, especialy after learning that the story was based upon the life of Nixon’s distant relative, Martha Jane Cairnes.

What’s compelling about this story is that Nixon takes a tragic and personal event and weaves a story that illustrates the continued tensions between the North and South even after the end of the Civil War and the power of love to change someone’s long-held and deeply rooted perceptions about the world.  However, it also demonstrates how insecurity can breed deception and suspicion and tear apart love and family.  Slavery was not just a political issue or a business issue, but a family issue that even led to some men fighting one another on the battlefield and in the home.

What book would you recommend about your state?

Weekly Geeks 2011-01

I have been MIA where Weekly Geeks is concerned, a meme started by Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf .  I used to this every week when Dewey was alive, and her passing left me shell-shocked for a long time.  I love the questions and activities this meme often comes up with, though many weeks I’ve run out of time to do them.

So here I am, back in business, so to speak, and hopeful that I can continue this meme each week.

This weeks activity; you can choose to do one or both:

Option 1: Write a post (or leave a comment) with suggestions for future weekly geek topics! Share as many ideas as you’d like! Be as creative as you want. Or if you can’t think of any “new” topics of your own, consider listing your top five topics from the past, from our archives.

Option 2: Write a post about your genre prejudices or your genre allergies. (I tend to be allergic to westerns, for example.) Are there genres that you haven’t read that you avoid at all costs? Are there genres that you don’t take seriously? Would you be willing to try something new? (Or someone new!) Consider asking for recommendations and challenge yourself to get outside your comfort zone a bit. Alternatively, you may want to write a post about one of your favorite genres and recommend titles to newbies. Which books would you recommend to those readers who are new to that genre?

Ok, I decided to both of these activities, so under option #1, here are my five topic ideas for upcoming Weekly Geeks’ posts.

1.  Feature one poem that you’ve loved or a poem you’ve written.

2.  Video yourself reciting a poem and post it or find a YouTube video of a poem being read and post that.

3.  Profile a favorite writer or poet and include a little about their education, writing, and lifestyle.

4.  Write up a post about a poetic form and why you enjoy reading it or writing it.

5.  Share a nursery rhyme you remember or one you have a hard time remembering and explain why you remember it or why you have trouble remembering it.

For option 2:

I’ve already talked about poetry books I would recommend for newbies, so this time around, I’m going to talk about my genre prejudices.

I do not like to read westerns or romance generally because they often are very formulaic and predictable.  It’s very rare when you find one that isn’t.  I’m looking for fresh characters, not caricatures of real people.  Cowboys, I’m sure, were more than just macho and bent on saving the lady in distress, and women in romance novels could be more than damsels looking to be saved.  I also don’t like self-help books or nonfiction that is written more like a textbook.  In terms of memoir, they have to be stories that are more than woe-is-me, and look at how hardship changed me, etc., etc.

How about you join the bandwagon and talk about your genre prejudices or what you’d like to see covered in the next Weekly Geeks.

Weekly Geeks 2009-05

This week’s Weekly Geeks is about judging a book by its cover.

Here are the rules:

Pick a book–any book, really–and search out multiple book cover images for that book. They could span a decade or two (or more)…Or they could span several countries. Which cover is your favorite? Which one is your least favorite? Which one best ‘captures’ what the book is about?

For this week’s challenge, I chose The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux:

None of these covers match the copy I have, but these are the only ones I could find. I really love the one with the wax seal which captures the letters the opera ghost writes to the opera house managers. I like the old world feel of this cover.

The final cover is the one most like the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, but I’m not sure it captures the novel that well. I don’t really have a least favorite book cover among these.

What do you think?

***Don’t forget to enter my Clearing the Shelves giveaway***

Weekly Geeks 2009-03

I haven’t done a Weekly Geeks since Dewey’s passing, but in this new year, I’ve decided to rejoin the weekly meme with a subject close to my heart, the classics.

We were asked to choose two or more questions from the list and these are the ones I chose:

1. How do you feel about classic literature? Are you intimidated by it? Love it? Not sure because you never actually tried it? Don’t get why anyone reads anything else? Which classics, if any, have you truly loved? Which would you recommend for someone who has very little experience reading older books? Go all out, sell us on it!

I have loved classic literature since I first picked up Shakespeare’s Hamlet and King Lear in 7th or 8th grade, shortly after I was reading Pride & Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. I think that sums up my favorite classics. For someone who has little experience with the classics should probably start with Great Expectations by Charles Dickens or A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens because those are classics that are easy to read and get into with their wacky characters. I would love for others to fall in love with Jane Austen as well, probably start with Pride & Prejudice or Sense & Sensibility.

2. Let’s say you’re vacationing with your dear cousin Myrtle, and she forgot to bring a book. The two of you venture into the hip independent bookstore around the corner, where she primly announces that she only reads classic literature. If you don’t find her a book, she’ll never let you get any reading done! What contemporary book/s with classic appeal would you pull off the shelf for her?

Myrtle, Myrtle what are we going to do with you? I think you need to spread your wings and check out Cold Rock River by J.L. Miles and Testimony by Anita Shreve. Not to mention, Breathing Out the Ghost by Kirk Curnutt and Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips.

3. A challenge, should you choose to accept it: Read at least one chapter of a classic novel, preferably by an author you’re not familiar with. Did you know you can find lots of classics in the public domain on the web? Check out The Popular Classic Book Corner and The Complete Classic Literature Library, for example. Write a mini-review based on this chapter: What are your first impressions? Would you read further?

For this mini challenge, I chose to read Chapter 1 of The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbit, who is an author I have never read before.

I was initially intrigued by the first mention of Guy Fawkes, but there are several paragraphs where the fireworks and their validity are discussed. This conversation turned me off from the beginning. I didn’t get far into this chapter, and think I should have selected another author. I had no idea who the kids were in the chapter, knew very little about what they looked like and how they related to one another.

However, this doesn’t temper my thoughts on trying other chapter of E. Nesbit’s works.

Weekly Geeks #27–My Dear Dewey–A Tribute

I wanted to share with you some great posts on the Hidden Side of a Leaf, which was Dewey’s blog. This is the way I will pay tribute to our good blogger buddy, Dewey.

One of the most recent posts that I loved on her site was about the Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. Despite the rash of bad luck one evening, Dewey took the disappointing events in stride with her husband, spent the evening in a local hotel, and ended up reading half a book in Borders, which forced her to buy the book even though she usually used the library or Bookmooch. This one post sums up Dewey’s love of reading, her love of books, and her dedication to the written word. I also found this post to be the most inspiring in terms of how she tried to view most things in life. She took the good with the bad and focused on the positive aspects of the situation. . . no matter what.

Another of my favorite posts was How NOT to Host a Carnival; she had a great sense of humor.

While I may have only known her through email, book reviews, and her blog, I will never forget her love of reading, her love of building community, and her positivity. She built a book community through the Bookworms Carnival, 24-hour read-a-thon, and Weekly Geeks.

She had a loving husband and family. He made her snack plates during read-a-thon and he kept us all informed when she was hospitalized after her “trip” into the woods and when the ultimate sad news came. He should be commended for his thoughtfulness as well, even then he needs us to show him support.

Not only should we show support for Dewey’s family, but I think she would want us to continue her projects. One of her projects is still underway with the help of Literary Escapism and I hope you will all take the time to vote on the Top 10 Books of 2008.

Get over there and VOTE!

My Dearest Dewey!

I have very few words to express the emptiness I feel after reading the sad news of Dewey’s passing last Tuesday, Nov. 25. Dewey, the creator and host of The Hidden Side of a Leaf, Weekly Geeks, Bookworms Carnival, and many other fun blog-related challenges and carnivals, has passed away.

Her family experiences a different sort of loss that I do, and I would love to extend my condolences to them in their time of loss.

She brought a significant ray of light into the blogging community, with many of us hanging on her every typed word and her views on the books she read. She was full of energy and we will all miss her greatly. I for one will be looking for her posts for sometime to come as the news really sinks in, but I guess that shows how much I will miss her presence here. . .in the community she loved. . .and helped get me hooked on.

I hope that we as a community can offer our support for her family and keep her Weekly Geeks and Bookworm Carnival traditions going even though she will not be here.

Weekly Geeks #26–Blog Hopping

What was this week’s Weekly Geeks assignment? You guessed it, get out there on the Internet and blog hop among those bloggers you have not visited.

Here’s the guidelines:

1. Using the WeeklyGeeks category here in my blog, find 5 Weekly Geeks you don’t know. The easiest way is probably to look at the Mr Linkies in my weekly Saturday posts.

2. Visit each of your 5 new blogpals and snoop around their blogs to find at least one thing you have in common.

3. In your blog, write a post, linking to your 5 new blogpals, about what you have in common with them.

4. Come back and sign Mr Linky.

5. As you run across other Weekly Geek posts (or deliberately seek them out) if you see anyone mentioned who has something in common with you, pay them a visit.

So which 5 bloggers did I visit and what did I find in common with them?

1. Worducopia and I share a love of Christopher Moore it seems. I was reading a Weekly Geeks post about the author for challenge about our favorite authors, check it out here. I love how the post highlighted his goofiness.

2. Lous_Pages reads and reviews vampire books, which I adore for the most part, but I also noticed in the favorite books widget for Good Reads, Lous Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald is listed, which is a book that I enjoyed greatly.

3. Belle of the Books and I appear to have the same thoughts on the Twilight movie; it wasn’t our favorite, but it didn’t totally disappoint.

4. Words ‘n Wags is another NaNoWriMo participant this year, though I have failed miserably this year in nearing the 50K word count. This blog isn’t all about writing and reading, however. I love the little posts about her dogs. Can I just say that I love my dog and I love people who love dogs or love their dogs as much as I love mine. 🙂 In this case, maybe the love of dogs plays a role in the title of the blog?!

5. Sophisticated Dorkiness drew my attention because 1. I’m a self-proclaimed dork, 2. the title is perfect and I love it. Check out the little drawing based upon a piece of literature. The story it is based upon is one of my favorites.

As an aside, I received my “Secret Santa” gift today in the mail for the Book Bloggers Gift Exchange, but I will not open it. I try to keep my cool and open these gifts on the actual holiday.

Weekly Geeks #25–Book Buying Tips for the Holidays

Ok, these virtual book tours are kicking my butt, so I’m a bit behind on Weekly Geeks and number of other holiday posts I had planned.

Weekly Geeks #25:

1. Think about the books that you and people in your life love. It’s best to use more obscure books, because we’ve all heard plenty about the more popular ones.

2. Come up with categories, based on relationship, personality, or whatever else you like. I think this is easier to do once you have your books in mind; you can then just assign categories to those books.

3. Post your own gift giving guide! Add short blurbs about the books, just enough so that your readers can determine if it’d be a good gift for people on their list. Don’t forget to come back and sign Mr Linky.

4. Visit other Weekly Geeks, and if you like their guides, maybe add links to the bottom of your own.

I had planned on doing this on time, but tours got in the way, so here’s a short list, which I hope will also help those pledging to buy books for the holidays.

For the consummate Vampire fan:

Vampires and Vampirism: Legends from Around the World by Dudley Wright

This book takes a look at the legends of vampirism and vampires and can be used as a guide for those just getting started in the genre because of the Twilight phenomenon or simply because they are interested in learning more.

2. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

This is the second book in the Vampire Chronicles series, but it’s focus on Lestat, rather than the saga that everyone has seen in the Interview with a Vampire movie starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, provides the reader with an in-depth examination of Lestat’s motivations and evolution as a vampire. I loved this book.

Check out Jackie’s Fantasy and Vampire list.

For the Poets and Writers on your list:

1. The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser

This book provides poets who are just starting out with some tricks of the trade in repairing or fixing their poems, molding them into the best pieces they can be.

2. The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley

This is my favorite all-time writer’s block breaker, particularly for writers who are working on certain projects and need little nudge in the right direction. I have gotten more than I bargained for when I purchased this book. It’s kept me writing even at times when the muse was silent.

Audio Books for those who Don’t Read! (DID I just Write that?):

1. Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore

2. Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

3. Rose Red by Stephen King

4. A Soldier’s Promise by Daniel Hendrix

5. Beach House by James Patterson

6. Honeymoon by James Patterson

7. You’ve Been Warned by James Patterson

My Favorites from my 2008 Reviews: (Click on titles for my reviews)

1. Testimony by Anita Shreve

2. Cold Rock River by J.L. Miles

3. Off the Menu by Christine Son

4. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson

5. The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

6. Black Flies by Shannon Burke

7. Hip Hop Speaks to Children edited by Nikki Giovanni

8. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

9. Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel by Phyllis Zimbler Miller

10. The Lost Diary of Don Juan by Douglas Abrams


Don’t forget my contest for the writing guide Grit for the Oyster. You have two chances to enter: the review and the guest post

Deadline is December 1, Midnight EST.

Weekly Geeks #24–Favorite Author

This week’s Weekly Geeks challenge to share fun facts about our favorite authors. Here’s the details of the challenge:

1. Choose a writer you like.

2. Using resources such as Wikipedia, the author’s website, whatever you can find, make a list of interesting facts about the author.

3. Post your fun facts list in your blog, maybe with a photo of the writer, a collage of his or her books, whatever you want.

4. Come sign the Mr Linky below with the url to your fun facts post.

5. As you run into (or deliberately seek out) other Weekly Geeks’ lists, add links to your post for authors you like or authors you think your readers are interested in.

So who did I choose? Do you need to ask? Here she is: Anita Shreve

Here’s some interesting facts about her:

1. She was born in Dedham, Mass., so if you’ve ever wondered why many of her novels are set in New England, there’s one big reason.

2. She received the O. Henry Prize for a short story in 1976

3. She taught high school English, creative writing at Amherst College, and worked as a journalist in Nairobi and Kenya.

4. She has adored Eugene O’Neill’s work and Ethan Frome.

5. In 1998 she won the PEN/L. L. Winship Award and the New England Book Award, just before Oprah’s Book Club picked up her novel, The Pilot’s Wife.

Check out her books here.

Which author did you pick for this week’s challenge?


As an aside, I wanted to share with you want my BBAW winner had to say about her first issue of Poetry magazine:

I just wanted to let you know that I received my first copy of Poetry magazine (and I have already read it cover to cover). Again, thank you so much, it was a perfect prize and one that I will continue to enjoy.

Isn’t that just wonderful? Now you know that it isn’t just me who enjoys that magazine…don’t you think you should subscribe? Here’s the link for their holiday special–Buy one gift subscription and get a second one free! Perfect gift for the holidays!

Weekly Geeks: Favorite Books Published in 2008

This Week’s challenge is to list our favorite books that we have read and were published in 2008.

Here they are: (links to my reviews are included)

1. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson ( You knew this would be on this list)
2. The Lost Diary of Don Juan by Douglas Carlton Abrams
3. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
4. Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel by Phyllis Zimbler Miller

I’m sure this list will expand, but up until this point these are the ones I’ve read that were published this year.

Weekly Geeks #16

Weekly Geeks #16 challenge was to interview a fellow Weekly Geek about the book s/he just finished reading, and I was paired up with Mel from The Indextrious Reader.

Here’s my Interview with Mel about Flower Children by Maxine Swann:

1. Flower Children by Maxine Swann seems to take a unique look at the impact the 70s and free love has on children who were coming of age at that time, did you find the perspective true to life?

Despite growing up in the 70’s, I was very far from having hippie parents! But I found that the characterizations seemed realistic and the action flowed from those characterizations very naturally. So, yes, I believed the narrative voice, especially when the children were younger; as the two girls became adolescents in the final story, I wasn’t as taken by them.

2. How would you describe the narrative?

The story unfolds in discrete chapters, which switch back and forth from first person (the voice of second daughter Maeve) and third person. I wasn’t actually sure I really liked that approach, maybe all one or the other would have flowed better. It might also have been interesting to see the family through the first person eyes of each of the children.

3. Some reviews on Amazon have characterized the novel as a string of short stories, did you find this to be the case?

Absolutely. The chapters, although following one another in chronological progression, were definitely separate stories which could stand alone. And therefore I did find some stronger than others — as I mentioned, the story with the two girls as adolescents didn’t have quite the same dreamy, reminiscent tone as the others.

4. Do you often read novels set in the 1970s or that time period?

Actually, not really. I don’t search for them, anyway, and I’d guess that my faint surprise at reading about the 70’s in this one means it’s not a regular occurrence.

5. Who would you recommend read this book to and why? Or would you not recommend the book, and why?

I think that children of the 70’s would find a lot of familiar touches, even if you didn’t grow up in the country with hippie, divorced parents from extremely eccentric families… Really, probably anyone with an interest in American fiction or domestic fiction from a bit of a different viewpoint would like this. It is full of free love and pot though, so if that bothers you, perhaps it’s not the book of choice.

6. What were your favorite parts or elements of the novel?

I enjoyed the voice of Maeve, and the dreamy feeling in the first couple of stories especially. It captured that random childhood freedom which I certainly had, to wander alone or with friends most of the day without having to be fearful or worried about strangers. In the first story, the author describes the two young sisters laying flat and still in a field long enough for a buzzard to show interest, and then suddenly sitting up thinking it was about to dive at them. This image repeats itself in the final story when the sisters return to their home as adults, and it really works.

7. Were the characters believable or well-rounded?

The two girls were pretty clear, but aside from the big sister views of the two younger brothers you don’t find out much about the boys. I would have liked a little more background and spirit to the mother; she was a bit vague for me. Their father, on the other hand, was quite a character, with each story filling out his profile a little more. When the kids go with him to their grandparents’ in one story, you find out where he gets all his eccentricities from — his whole family is made up of oddballs. Overall, they were all drawn clearly enough to feel like real individuals who I wanted to keep reading about.

5. You mentioned that you are not caught up on reviews, do you find that your reading and reviewing obligations are overwhelming at times or do you like the challenge of catching up?

Every once in a while I feel overwhelmed, but all this reading and blogging is supposed to be fun, so I don’t stress out too much. I don’t feel obliged to review everything I read, or blog every day.

Some other random questions for Mel and their answers:

1. I wonder how you came up with the title of your blog and if there is any significance to the title.

I made up the word “Indextrious” as a blend of index and industrious, because I’m a librarian who likes cataloguing and indexing and picky things like that!

2. On Book Blogs, you belong to the Travel the World group, is there a particular reason you were drawn to that book group and how has your experience with the group been?

I’ve just joined so have no stories to share yet. I’m interested because I like reading international fiction and seeing things from other viewpoints.

3. Taking on a lot of reading challenges seems time consuming, how do you find the time to work through all those challenges at the same time?

Um…I rarely finish challenges! I just do them for fun and for community.

Mel’s Interview with Me about Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel by Phyllis Zimbler Miller

  • This book sounds like it has an interesting structure. Did it tell the story from 4 first-person viewpoints, or a third person overview?

There are 4 POVs in the novel from each of the female characters. It was great to hear the inner thoughts of each character in their respective chapters, and I don’t think a third person narrative would have capture what the women were thinking and feeling as well as the current structure.

  • Were the characters recognizable as distinct individuals? Which of the women did you feel the most connection to, and why?

The characters are distinct individuals with varied pasts and concerns. For example, Sharon Gold is the Jewish, northerner and she is preoccupied with fitting in and in one case she discovers that she has nothing in common with the Jewish wives club members, but has more in common with Kim, Wendy, and Donna. I actually did not feel an affinity with any of the characters. I loved hearing about their respective fears and concerns, but I did not feel connected to any of the women. However, I could identify with the each woman’s struggle to belong.

  • Have you read many books set around the Vietnam War? If so, how does this compare?

I have read other Vietnam War novels and nonfiction books in college. One of my favorite authors is Tim O’Brien who wrote In the Lake of the Woods, The Things They Carried, If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home, July, July, Tomcat in Love, and Northern Lights. Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam is a non-fiction work I read for class by Frances FitzGerald, but I don’t believe that I read it cover to cover. We also read Paco’s Story by Larry Heinemann. I’ve also read the following poetry books as well: Dien Cai Dau by Yusef Komunyakaa and Song of Napalm by Bruce Weigel. I’m sure there are other books I’ve read as well, but these are the ones that come to mind.

I would say that the majority of the books I’ve read about the Vietnam War focus upon the male perspective of going to war, being in the war, and coming home and dealing with its effects. Mrs. Lieutenant is the only book I’ve read that deals with the impacts the war had on the wives of these soldiers and how they dealt with the prospect of being left behind and possibly never seeing their husbands again. It also provides a female point of view of war in general and the wives’ obligations as part of the military.

  • Some reviewers have drawn parallels between the setting of this book and that of the Iraq War. Considering that, do you think this would be a good read for those either pro or con about the current war? What about non-Americans?

I think this book would be a great fit for those who either are anti- or pro- Iraq or Vietnam War. It provides an inside look at the emotions stirred up by conflict and wars that are not easily understood. Non-Americans interested in American history would find the book interesting as well. But in a broader sense I find this to be a human interest story, a struggle of women with the emotions they have about war, losing their husbands, and traditions kept during that time period by the military.

  • Do you feel from reading this book and interviewing the author that it is heavily based in her own experiences? Does knowing about the author’s background beforehand add or take away from the reading experience for you, generally?

I knew about her background before reading the book, and I don’t think that it detracted at all from the novel because both viewpoints are presented about the war, as well as some more ambiguous viewpoints about the war. For some, serving was a duty, while others saw officer’s training as a means of escaping the draft or biding time until the war was over. Phyllis Zimbler Miller did indicate that this novel is heavily based upon her experiences as Mrs. Lieutenant, but she does not let her personal experiences color the characters she has created.

  • Did you have a favourite part or find something especially memorable that you’d like to share?

I cannot pinpoint my favorite part of the book, only because it would give away too much for one of the character’s stories. But it is a doosey and it caught me off guard.

And a couple of general questions, if you want to answer them:

  • I see from your blog that you are a writer. How does blogging fit into your writing life?

Blogging is a great relief from my daily writing at work. It’s creative, but it isn’t where my passion lies. Poetry is something I write most often, though I am working on some fiction pieces and a novel. I have a hard time juggling my many interests on occasion and one interest may surface as the dominant writing pursuit from time to time. I enjoy blogging because it is a community experience and it always provides me with new books to read.

  • What are some of the things you have found most fulfilling about having a book blog? More books for the TBR, finding like-minded people…??

Oops, I already partially answered this question. I like the community aspect of blogging and meeting new bloggers with a variety of interests and writing styles. It’s great to read some of the more humorous stories people blog about, but it is also great to read reviews of books I haven’t discovered yet or even books I have discovered. I enjoy reading reviews that are opposite of my own as well because it provides a different outlook on what worked for that reader and what didn’t work for me and vice versa.

I hope you enjoyed this Weekly Geek, and if you have, you should sign up for the next round. I had a great time chatting with Mel at Indextrious Reader, and she was kind enough to spread the word about my contest for a copy of Mrs. Lieutenant to her readers as well. Thanks, Mel.

***Please do not forget to enter the Mrs. Lieutenant Contest, Deadline is Sept. 14.***

***Diary of an Eccentric has a contest for The Almost Moon and The Choice; Deadline is Sept. 30.***