Here are some posts, blogs, and events that attracted my attention this week.
All the Buzz Reviews hosted a five-day conference last week about book reviewing. Each day focused on a different topic: how to be a reviewer, what about negative reviews, advantages of being a reviewer, readers' viewpoints, and authors' thoughts. This was a great discussion and one that all book reviewers should read.
⇒ Historical fiction lovers are in for some treats.
Even if you're not a Shakespeare or poetry lover, you'll want to read the review of The Sonnets by Warwick Collins over at Devourer of Books. The book "feels as if it is a snapshot of Shakespeare’s life, it could almost be an excerpt from his lost diary." This is a terrific example of how to review a good book that just isn't the right match for you. We can all learn something from Jen's sensitively written post.
Civil war and global war are often difficult topics to read about, and Amy at My Friend Amy addresses this issue in her review of the novel Winter in Madrid by C. J. Sansom. The book doesn't flinch from teaching us about the darker sides of the Spanish Civil War and its lasting effects; as Amy noted, "In a haunting eerie way, I was reminded of how we are never that far away from . . . hopelessness and poverty."
⇒ And families were big this week.
What happens to a family when it must face a medical tragedy? While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky addresses this issue from a variety of perspectives. As Marta of Marta's Meanderings says, the book "makes you wonder if you know your family as well as you think you do." Sounds like a must read.
Valentine Roncalli's family business is in financial trouble, and the young woman has an idea for saving the company. So she and her grandmother travel to Capri to put the plan in motion. This is just part of story told in Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani and reviewed at Bermudaonion Weblog. I haven't yet read a book by this author, but Kathy says, "No one can write about families the way Trigiani can." Sounds like a great first in a trilogy.
⇒ And here's one for the bakers.
Need an excuse to bake? The holidays are over and winter seems to be dragging in the Northern Hemisphere. And those down under should celebrate the last days summer. Wendi of Wendi's Book Corner has the perfect cookbook for you: Confetti Cakes for Kids by Elisa Strauss with Christie Matheson. The book offers step-by-step instructions of the cutest cakes. And to show how inspiring the book is, Wendi shares photo of the car cake she made for her son's second birthday.
Okay, here's a giveaway that you won't be able to resist: Trish of Hey Lady! Whacha Readin'? is giving away two Slankets. What's a Slanket? It's a fleecy blanket you can wear like a robe. It's fabulous way to curl up on the couch on a winter's night and read, watch TV, or knit. Don't miss this one; Trish gives you plenty of chances to win.
Getting to Know You
⇒ I love getting to know my fellow bloggers better and so I have two treats for you this week.
Shelly at Write for a Reader shares her awesome mini-interview with us. If you haven't been following this meme, then you are truly missing out. This has been the most fun way to learn about some of my blogging buddies. Here's just one tidbit Shelly shared: "I have my Masters in Educational Leadership." If you want to be interviewed visit Shelly's blog and make a request.
Want to take a peek into someone else's home? Do you try to imagine your blogging friends hard at work in front of their computers? Your curiosity can be satisfied by visiting Kittling: Books and checking out Cathy's Wednesday feature called Scene of the Blog. We have visited with a blogger from Denmark and another from Canada. You too could be featured, just leave a comment on Cathy's blog.
Just for Fun
Twilight fans: Don't miss the preview of the New Moon movie put together by Tracy of Book Room Reviews. You'll find photos, the new logo, and the date of opening night. And don't miss Stephenie Meyer's latest book recommendation.
Do you use your library? Penny from Penny's Pages posted about the Library Use Calculator. It's a way to tell how much you're getting out of your library. Her family comes in at a whooping $1651 a month! Check it out!
Into word games that tie into literature? Then you have to play Saturday Word Play at The Book Mine Set blog. Each week John makes up a word game. Yesterday he cleverly integrated Wordle into the quizz!
Some of these links were part of a link-sharing group.