All tagged Valentines Day

I Love... Book Blogs

In honor of Valentines Day I thought I'd write about something I really love: a good book blog.


One of the main arguments against book blogs is the variable quality of their writing. Traditionally published reviews generally get a more thorough editing and a news-outlet's stamp of approval, while blogs can be more hit or miss, without any editors at all. This system can make for inconsistent quality, but to dismiss the entire idea because of a few typos (or cheerleader-y reviews) would be foolish. Honing in on good-quality blogs that hold themselves to high standards (like Clear Eyes, Full Shelves *ahem*) means getting the quality writing while taking advantage of all the benefits of a blog.

One of the reasons I prefer book reviews on blogs to those in newspapers/magazines/trade publications/etcetera is the community available online.

I can start a conversation about an online review, share my own feedback, or ask questions of the reviewer. Basically, blogs provide us with communities and the chance to interact with other readers. Book reviews transform from individual opinion pieces into ongoing conversations with multiple perspectives.

I Love... Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

Everyone has a first love.

Book love, that is. 

You know what I mean. It's that book that you had to buy a second copy of because you wore out your original. The one with passages you can still recite by heart. The one that makes you squeal like a crazy person when you find someone else who loves it just as much as you do. It's the one that shatters your soul when you see anything but rave reviews for it on Goodreads.

For me, that first book love was Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes.

Tiger Eyes is the single most influential book of my life. I first picked up a raged copy for--and I remember this as clearly as if it were yesterday--50 cents at Powell's Books at the old Beaverton location. It was the summer between by freshman and sophomore years of high school.

I'd read most of the typical Judy Blume books a few years previously, but not this one, which I managed to overlook at my public library. (It's possible that my conservative hometown's library didn't even have this oft-banned book, or that it was shelved in the adult fiction so sixth-grade Sarah didn't have a chance to discover it along with Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.)

Tiger Eyes set the stage for my lifelong love affair with quiet, character-driven contemporary fiction.

I Love... Book Club

Dear Portland “FYA” Book Club,

I <3 you.

Our meetings are my favorite event every month. I’m not exaggerating one bit. If I only got to see my husband and cat/Kindle stand once a month, you might have some competition, but since I see them every day, there’s no contest. 

I know it seems like perhaps you are not a priority since I have a tendency to begin reading the monthly selection only four hours before the meeting is scheduled to begin. But truly, there is nothing else on my calendar each month that I prioritize more. 

I love that every time we meet, we have avid, enlightening exchanges about anything and everything having to do with reading culture, including all sorts of books that Sarah generously keeps track of in her ever-handy notebook, publishing, and book stores, along with banter on Very Important topics such as Justin Timberlake and The Vampire Diaries. 

I love that our gatherings run so long and late that those of us who are married often feel compelled to bring home dinner, chocolate bourbon hazelnut pie, and/or a Dairy Queen blizzard for our wonderful, understanding husbands.

I love that when Sarah and I decided to subvert our FYA overlords due to their political selection of unappealing books, you were all on board with our coup.

I love that no one considered not meeting during the craziness of the holiday season, which was a possibility that I actually stressed out about beforehand due to my overly anxious tendencies.

Most of all, I love that all y’all seem to love book club as much as I do.