Friday, September 04, 2009

When My ELLE-o-quence Escapes Me

Since none of you seemed too offended by my last post of complete randomness, I figure why not do another one? I just thought you might like to know that I finished up the non-fiction portion of my commitment to ELLE. Emboldened by Megan, I decided I have no reason to feel guilty over abandoning the last two of the nominees. After all, the magazine only requires that I review my top 3 choices; I read enough of the last two books to know they didn't have a chance of toppling my Holy Trinity of non-fiction picks. Just because I didn't care for them, however, doesn't mean they aren't worthy of consideration, so here (for your reading pleasure) are quick synopses of the two memoirs I didn't finish:

Losing Everything by David Lozell Martin - This is Martin's story of growing up with a rage-filled father and a mother who is literally insane. It's about how history repeats itself, and how one man finds his way home after going through hell on Earth. The beginning is well-written, but a little slow and a lot depressing. When I got to the part where Martin's mother tries to seduce him and his hormonal teenage self actually considers it, I was sickened to the point that I couldn't read anymore. I appreciate his honesty, but it was just way too much for me. I believe - and hope - that his story comes to a hopeful end - I just couldn't stick around that long. The book is garnering excellent reviews on Amazon, which you can see here.


I Love A Man in Uniform by Lily Burana - Although it sounds fluffy-duffy, this is a very heartfelt memoir about a former stripper who marries an officer in the U.S. Army. The unlikely match sets tongues a-waggin'. Burana, a once anti-establishment punk goth, now has to navigate the "arrow straight" (7) world of the military, complete with acronymns, deployment, PTSD and, scariest of all, the other Army wives. Burana is candid and real - military wives, especially, will relate to her story. I just got tired of the raunchiness. This one, also, gets rave reviews on Amazon - check them out here.

So, my Top 3 picks are I'll Never Be French (No Matter What I Do) by Mark Greenside (my review), Weekends at Bellevue by Julie Holland, MD (see my review), and Lucky Girl by Mei-Ling Hopgood (my review). I'm not going to tell you how I ranked them. I'm just sneaky that way. I believe the results will come out in the December issue of ELLE, but I'm not positive.

I'm still working on my Top 3 fiction picks. I'll keep you informed.

----

And now, for the even more random portion of the program ...

One of the FAQs around BBB is: How do you snag all those great books? And what do you do with them after you read them? Excellent questions. I think I'll answer them.

The easiest way to snag ARCs and other books for review is to - get ready - ask for them. If you're a book reviewer, stick a note on your blog saying you're willing to receive them. Soon, you'll be getting more requests than you can handle. You can also sign up to host authors on blog tours, which not only gets you a free book, but also drives traffic to your blog. Pretty soon, you'll build up a network of contacts in the publishing world and you'll be drowning in review books, just like I am. Easy, no?

What to do with the hundreds of review books I receive? That's a tougher question. My home is already filled to the brim with reading material, so I can't keep every book I receive, nor do I want to. If I really enjoy a book and it's clean enough for my bookshelves, then I keep it. I especially adore signed copies of books I love. It doesn't get better than that. If I get a published book that is just okay, or that has too much sex, profanity or violence, then I donate it to my public library. Donations either get added to its collection or sold to generate more funds for the library. If I get a MG novel that doesn't exactly thrill me, or that my kids aren't interested in, that book gets donated to their elementary school. ARCs, of course, can't be donated, so if I like them, I keep them; if I don't, well, that's where it gets tricky. I've trashed one, sent a couple to other book bloggers, and loaned/given some to friends. The others are sitting in a box by my desk.

Now, this is the part you need to pay attention to - I donate most of the review books I receive to the library. Since I'm giving them away anyway, you are welcome to them. There's a catch, of course - as much as I'd like to, I don't have the money to mail books all over the world. However, if you're local, you're welcome to come by and grab what you'd like. Just email me if you see a review of a book in which you're interested - if I have a copy, it's yours. Book bloggers - I'm open to swapping books via mail or IRL contact (if you live near me). Shoot me an email or leave me a comment and we'll set it up.

Authors - I know these books are like your children. Rest assured that even if I don't enjoy them, I always try to get them into the hands of other readers. Your babies are going to get the least amount of exposure sitting on my bookshelves, so I go out of my way (literally - my favorite library's about 10 miles away) to get them read. Promoting books and reading is extremely important to me. Don't fret - I've only trashed one book. So far.

How about the rest of you book bloggers? What are your secrets to getting the best, most sought-after ARCs? What do you do with your review books when you're finished with them? Inquiring minds want to know!

Oh, and if you're curious as to which titles I have in my hot little hands, check out the handy-dandy Google spreadsheet I made. I update it regularly, although I'm a tad bit behind at the moment.

Now that I've blogged twice in one day, I think I'm going to pay some attention to my very messy house. Of course, Catching Fire is just sitting here, begging me to pick it up ... I'm nothing if not obliging :)

3 comments:

  1. As long as you're being random, I can too, right? I was looking at your Austen list o' things to do for the challenge... and can't help but suggest that, instead of re-reading Pride and Prejudice, that you substitute Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I read the first chapter and it was funny. 90%(or more) of the text is Austen, so you get that great familiar feeling... but the other 10% makes you laugh. I'd love to see how you like it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I LOVE random! I think my brain thinks like that much of the time...maybe that's why setting up my classroom takes so darn long; I flit from one area to another until I finally focus myself and go around the room clock-wise!! Focus, focus, focus!

    Your posts have been great the last few times. I actually enjoy the random posts and the glimmer into how you blog, what you're reading, and how you get your books.

    I enjoy giving my books away - sharing with others and of course trading them in at Bookman's and Half Priced Books. I've even been prone to practice BookCrossing and just leave a book for others to read in hotels, restaurants and other public places with a note. Who knows where my little guys may end up?? I also put my books out onto Paperback Book Swap. Don't forget to donate some to your local hospital. Waiting rooms and many a patient are so grateful.(My first job as a candystriper was as the Book Cart girl at our local hospital. I really loved it when they were so glad to see me and welcomed those books! I think it started something!)

    Enjoy your weekend. And may we get more rain!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. i am clicking over to your list right now. always looking for a good book and love reading your reviews!

    ReplyDelete

Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin