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Well-Read: Great Book Blogs

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


In addition to the books I enjoy reading, there are many fun book blogs that I check in with from time to time. Here I am able to learn about current books, old favorites and the new ones that are due out in the upcoming months. There are contests, book-give aways, reviews and author interviews all to enhance your reading pleasure. Whether job or hobby, it’s all about the love of the book. These are a few of my favorites!

Women’s Book Reviews

Blog author Debbie Weiss had taken a series of Web design classes a few years ago and needed a final project in order to obtain a certificate. While at a friend’s home she was talking about not joining book clubs due to the obligation of reading the chosen books, but that she was curious about what others were reading. Weiss’ husband who was apparently eavesdropping chimed in with “Now there is a project for you – create a Web site where your friends can go to see what everyone else is reading.” Project accomplished and the site was born! Debbie is looking to grow the site and provide interesting topics for readers. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, her favorite summer read so far, Weiss describes as delightful and meaningful. Tea Obrecht’s The Tiger Wife is up next. The Men’s Corner is a new feature on the website. Attempting to fill a void in the book club for men arena, reviews are being taken on the site and Debbie would love to hear from other men about what they are reading, to keep things interesting.

Books in the City

After Colleen Gorman’s book club disbanded in 2009 she missed the recommendations she would get from fellow members and the discussions they would have about the books. She started looking online for titles and book talk where she discovered book blogs. She followed a number of them and then decided to start one of her own. Colleen says she was “blown away” by the warm welcome she received from the book community and enjoys writing the blog as a great creative outlet and a break from her work life. I bumped into fellow tweeter Gorman while reading through posts of some of the book people I follow. When asked how she manages her online time Colleen shares that she loves Twitter and fears it is becoming a bit of an addiction. “Luckily, work is a ‘tweet-free-zone’… at home I try to finish all the ‘must do’ tasks before I get on Twitter.” She has had a great summer of reading; when asked to select a favorite, she said that Faith by Jennifer Haigh wins the prize! This is the first Haigh book read by Colleen and she enjoyed it so much that she wants to now read her earlier novels.

Summer Reading Challenge

Crystal Patriarche, founder and publicist of SparksPR Agency, spoke with me a couple of months ago about the Summer Reading Challenge which can be found on her Web site. She says it’s been a lot of fun and people are continuing to sign up (not too late!). Crystal tells me “the readers really like the social media and interactive nature of the challenge…to be rewarded for reading and to discover some great summer reads.” Due to its success she is planning on making this an annual challenge and perhaps adding in smaller campaigns such as a Fall reading challenge or a Holiday campaign. Unable to choose just one favorite summer read, Patriarche provided me with several! The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore, Maine by Courtney Sullivan, Game of Secrets by Dawn Tripp and The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan to name a few. (Coincidentally all have interviews posted on www.readingwithrobin.com.) A contributor to SheKnows.com, Crystal posts lots of reviews, authors Q&A’s and has some fun book segments on SheKnows TV’s Daily Dish. She’s hoping to have some great news to share in the coming weeks for SheKnows.com and the books page. For pure pleasure, next up on the reading list is Lisa Tucker’s The Winters in Bloom

The Magic Lasso

In addition to blogging about the books she’s read, Jill Celeste hosts two events, Orange January and Orange July, where she encourages people to read at least one Orange Prize winner or nominee during those months. Launched

in 1996, the Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world (The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht its most recent and youngest winner). Jill started her blog in 2007 after discovering so many other book bloggers through www.librarything.com. The blog was a way of keeping track of all she was reading and she describes it as a “wonderful journey” and says that book blogging is the “best hobby!” Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman was Celeste’s favorite book of the summer, which she read for Orange July. The sentiment is qualified with her favorite recently released book, the very popular State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Next up is an advanced reader’s copy of The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn McCrumb. This is Jill’s first McCrumb book and she’s looking forward to it.

Many of the bloggers will post their favorite book blogging sites so the more you read these blogs, the more new favorites you’ll add to your list. There are so many interesting sites devoted to the joy of reading. If you follow book blogs I’d love to hear from you!

Reading enthusiast and all around "book-pusher" Robin Kall can be heard live Saturday mornings from 7-8am on Reading With Robin WHJJ 920AM. This week, author Mary Alice Monroe (The Butterfly’s Daughter) will be her guest. Also streaming live at www.920whjj.com. Follow on Twitter @robinkall, and Facebook - Reading With Robin.


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