Twitter Book Club: “Utopia, Texas”

Greetings, all. It’s been a while. If I seem to say that a lot, well, it’s because I’ve been busy in the past year with a book, a startup, an injury, and a career change, which makes my life sound quite incorrectly like a Peter Greenaway film.

But enough about me for right now. Today I’m here to introduce a great giveaway for a great book launch. If you’ve followed #fridayreads for a while on Twitter, you may remember our earlier 2012 Twitter Book Club with the Greenleaf Book Group for Widow’s Might by Sandra Brannan. We had a wonderful time, and the good folks at Greenleaf have asked me to host a new Twitter Book Club in January for Utopia, Texas by Michael Glasscock.

We’ll have the Twitter Book Club on January 14th–but first, I have to get books to all of you eager readers out there! ...

My Year in Books: 2011

There are about 185 books on this list; I need to add a few more. I’ll continue to format/update through tomorrow, but I wanted to at least put the list up today. At the request of several friends and colleagues, I’ll also try to give brief annotations for each book, but if my fingers seize up from typing you’ll know why…

A few caveats:
–These are not in chronological or ranked order; I simply drew on my memory, notes, bookshelves, tweets, blog entries, and more. However, it is accurate to the point that I read each and every book on this list–some with better attention and/or comprehension than others.
–I read a lot of galleys and ARCs. Some of these books won’t be available for sale until early-to-mid 2012. This is also why I often forget that I’ve read something. If you know I’ve read something (we’ve discussed it, etc....

FridayReads: Full Disclosure from @TheBookMaven

UPDATE: As most of you will have seen by now, I’ve been trying to approve all comments on this post as quickly as I’ve been able to get to them.
I have two comments that were negative that I’m holding because they come from Twitter followers who wrote particularly thoughtful responses, and I’d like to write back to them for some clarification before posting their words.
However, one particularly snarky comment from a person I don’t know said “It’s adorable that your first paragraph is an ad.” I guess that it could be read that way. My intent was to make sure that I got the info people wanted up front.
Thank you all for your comments and feedback. I’m going to get this post up on and out via our Twitter feed today (as another person suggested), and continue to think about how best to move ...

UPDATED: A FridayReads LIVE Twitter Book Tour Event: “Enjoy Every Sandwich” by Lee Lipsenthal, MD

On Thursday, November 17th at 7:30 p.m. ET, Rebecca Joines Schinsky and I will be hosting the first-ever FridayReads Live event. We will be discussing a new title from Crown Publishing: Enjoy Every Sandwich: Living Each Day As If It Were Your Lastby Lee Lipsenthal, MD.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve read the book, or not–come join us!

If you’re able to join us in person, come to Housing Works Bookstore at 126 Crosby Street (just south of Houston) between 7pm and 9pm, where Rebecca and I will be on our computers to host a Twitter Book Tour chat. Thanks to the good folks at Crown Publishing, we will have wine, beer, and sandwiches available. Meet me, Rebecca Schinsky, Iris Blasi, Erin Cox, and others as we chat, quaff, nibble…and tweet.

If you’re able to join us online, please connect with us online via Twitter by using the hashtag ...

FridayReads EXTRA Giveaways

Desperate times call for desperate measures, they say.

I really want FridayReads to hit 8K this week.

IF WE HIT 8K–and only if we do–I will give away three extra prizes.

Here they are:

1. A set of three slipcased, signed Indiespensables titles: Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

2. One $150 gift certificate to One More Page bookstore, my local indie. Don’t worry, they’ll be happy to take your online or phone order, wherever you live. They will special order anything you like.

3. A mega-set of Boots the Chemist bath goodies from Target, all full-size products, including three bath milks, three body butters, three body washes, and three hand lotions, plus an assortment of sponges, scrubbers, and other treats.

Interested in winning one of these prizes? Share YOUR FridayReads on Twitter or ...

Club Read 2011 Book Blogger Challenge

Club Read 2011 is brought to you by the fine folks at SIBA/NAIBA and Book Club Girl, and it’s a 24-hour readers’ wonderland being held on October 15-16 in Huddleston, Virginia at The Mariner’s Landing Resort and Conference Center. A dozen authors (Adriana Trigiani! Gretchen Rubin! Greg Olear! MORE!) will join a few more dozen readers of all sorts to talk about books, reading, and other passionate pursuits (think cooking, crafts, games, and fitness, to mention a few).

NOTA BENE: FridayReads is a proud sponsor of Club Read 2011–which is why I am providing this blog entry for all.


ONE free ticket (a $499 value that covers ALL meals and lodging and events on the program! The only things you have to pay for are your travel expenses, and any shopping crimes you commit) will be awarded to the blogger who ...

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (Hint: Books Were Involved)

Yes, summer technically ends on September 21st, but we all know it really is officially over when the sun sets on Labor Day each year. Instead of “Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome,” it’s all “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, did you remember to pack the towels from the outdoor shower?”

OK, well at least that’s what I heard from Mr. Bethanne yesterday as we untangled dog leads from tote bags and vacuumed sand out of the car after a week on Cape Cod.

All good things, like summer and vacations, must come to an end. For the past few months I’ve been busy helping Shelf Awareness—our wonderful industry information source—to launch a version of its bookseller email newsletter for readers. It’s been a lot of fun, and in particular, I’ve loved getting the chance to work alongside my colleagues Robin Lenz and John Mutter.

I’m moving on, now, although ...

Further Reading – THE HYPNOTIST by Lars Kepler

International crime fiction has been all the rage recently with the now famous Millennium Trilogy, featuring the titles The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, but Stieg Larsson isn’t the only crime author that will make it big internationally. The newest sensation is The Hypnotist by an author named Lars Kepler, sort of. You see, Lars Kepler is actually the pen name of two writers, husband and wife Alexander and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril, who had already made names for themselves as writers in Sweden and wanted a new identity for their crime fiction. They developed the pseudonym as a tribute to Steig Larsson and a scientist named Johannes Kepler. The crime fiction that’s coming out of Sweden right now is excellent. It’s such an interesting trend in current literature, but what about crime fiction ...

Further Reading – Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

Maine, J. Courtney Sullivan’s followup novel after her bestseller Commencement, is an amazing family drama, set on the beach in Maine, that examines the lives of three generations of Kelleher women. There is the cold matriarch Alice, her daughter Kathleen, her daughter-in-law Anne Marie, and Kathleen’s daughter Maggie. What Maine does so brilliantly is the changes from one generation to the next and the ways in which each woman views the others. The preconceptions we build up as readers are slowly deconstructed with each new perspective. Alice was a woman who did not have many choices in life, especially in terms of childbearing or career. She wanted to be an artist, to live in Paris, to do all the things she dreamed about doing, but life got in the way. Kathleen is a recovering alcoholic who has finally followed her dream, across the country to California, where she ...

Further Reading – Untold Story by Monica Ali

There are certain events that live on in all of us. Everyone remembers exactly where they were when the world changed. It’s natural to want to look back and think, “What if….” What if it had been different? What if it had never happened at all? Monica Ali does that in her new novel Untold Story with the death of Princess Diana. July 1, 2011 marks what would be the 50th birthday of Princess Di, and in Untold Story, she lives to see it. What kind of woman would she be?

There are plenty of world events that cause us to sit back and think about how drastically they changed our world. In all of these novels, something about our world or our history is different. All three authors answer that important question: “What if?”

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. DickThis ...