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Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

coloronlineOne of the things I’ve become passionate about is promoting books by and/or about people of color, and specifically women of color. I think the science fiction and fantasy genres are severely lacking in diversity, and that’s not going to change unless we start talking about the little known or the less read books, the books that feature characters that are diverse and non-stereotypical. Showing fans, authors, and publishers alike that anyone can enjoy these books is so important.

That’s why I’m happy to announce that I’ll be writing bi-monthly guest reviews on science fiction and fantasy books by women of color at Color Online. Every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, you can find me over there, talking about books and doing my best to diversify a genre I love, but would love even more if it were inclusive and representative of all sorts of people.

You can read my first review there today, covering Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. Thanks go to LaTonya for giving me this great opportunity. Please take the time to read my guest post and leave your comments there.

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I’ve been noticing that in the book review community, many reviewers will not accept e-books. I think that’s a waste, and I’m sure they’re missing out on a lot of great books just because of format. You don’t need a Kindle to read e-books, all you need is a computer. Here are some great resources for e-books.

  • Public Libraries: Many local libraries have an e-book lending system. Find your library’s website and see what you can pick up.
  • For those who simply must have some kind of e-reader, your phone is often enough. I use Mobipocket, one of the few e-readers that has a Blackberry port. I’ve read everything from Jane Austen to David Weber on my phone. And it’s free to download!
  • For a great book blog that often addresses e-books and the issues that go along with them, check out the Bookavore. She is one book-smart lady.
  • One of my favorite sites for finding science fiction and fantasy e-books in Fictionwise. They have a large selection and carry many of today’s most popular authors in the genre. Plus, their prices are reasonable.
  • Finally, for the book lover who absolutely must have an e-reader, check out the reviews for the three top e-readers. It’s not surprising that the Kindle is at the top, but there are other great readers out there.

I think so many book blogger dismiss e-books because the idea of not holding the hard copy in our hands is so disconcerting. We deal so much with the online world, it’s nice to be able to come back to reality with a book in our hands. But I also think that is doing a disservice to a new technology that is making books available to so many more people. Give e-books a chance.

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I’ve been busy this week, traveling around the blogosphere.

startrek

I saw the new Star Trek on Saturday night, and while I was impressed with the visual style and impact of the movie, I was less impressed from a feminist perspective. You can read my full review over at Heroine Content. Thanks go to Skye and Grace for letting me guest post! I would love to hear your comments and opinions.

In honor of Children’s Book Week, Nari at The Novel World invited me to do a guest post over there on my favorite book related memories. That should be up sometime today, so please head over there to read and comment.

And of course, below is my new review for Coraline.

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Please Excuse the Mess

I’ll be working on the blog layout today, so bear with me while I mess around. I like the general layout I have, but it’s still not quite what I’m picturing in my head.

:::Update:::

Okay, that was terrifying and I don’t ever want to do it again. Maybe some day when I’m rich and famous, I’ll have someone build me a website. For now, holy shiate, I am not messing with any more crazy template html things!! I have no idea what I’m doing and I almost killed my blog.

**cries in corner**

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As an (aspiring) book reviewer, I’m trying to teach myself how to read critically, not just for enjoyment. This is at times fun, and other times distracting. It can be difficult to concentrate on the story, when I’m thinking about how I’ll write a review for it.

I have begun to develop a strategy, though.

1. A notebook next to me. As I read, I jot down my thoughts and observations, but it’s really just a streaming thought, not a coherent whole. I put these notes together later.

2. Peer discussion. I’ve mentioned my bookclubs on here several times, now. I’m a member of several local clubs that meet once or twice a month to discuss the book we picked and read together. This allows me to hear other opinions on the novels I’ve been reading, and helps me articulate and defend (or concede) my own opinions on the book. I also visit message boards, for those books that I’m not reading for a club.

3. Falling back on education. While currently not in school, I was once (and hope to be again) an English Literature major (also majoring in Biology). Years of reading, and then writing papers on what I’ve read, has definitely helped me out in my reviews. A college essay is not the same as a review, but you use many of the same skills with each.*

These three strategies have begun to help me bring my reviews more thought and depth, as well as perhaps more relevance. I am, of course, still learning. My eventual hope is that I might even make a little money from my blog, but my true goal is to share my love and understanding of books. If even just a few people get something out of my writing, I’m happy. I want to be a published writer someday, among many dreams, and I can only think that writing here, and reading with my brain turned on, are great places to start.
*This is not at all to say you must be (even partially) college educated to do intellectual work. It’s just helped me personally in this particular instance. There are many continuing education and community outreach programs, even through local libraries, that adults can learn critical thinking skills from. Many great minds, though, were entirely self-taught.

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I follow lots of blogs, and have wide area of interest. Feminism, books, crafts, birth advocacy, celebrity gossip (this is a horrible guilty pleasure, but I only go to the site that makes fun of them!). I also visit Cracked.com for their stupid-funny articles, and of course there’s Fark, for not-news.

But a special place is reserved for Grandma, of Old Grandma Hardcore renown. She truly is a lady after my own heart. She’s a hardcore gamer girl, as well as being proficient in sailor-like cussing. Combine these two, and you have some of the greatest gaming rants of all time.

Her grandson Tim began to blog about and film her gaming sessions, and she is now a famous character in the video gaming community as well as YouTube. She receives advance copies of games, a pass to the famous E3 gaming expo, and she’s on a first-name basis with some of the big names in game development.

A few months ago, she went through heart-bypass surgery, and the recovery has been grueling and slow. I’ve been jonesing for a Grandma fix, and today we finally got an update.

She’s getting better every day. I’m so excited to hear about what she’s been playing, because as a fellow gamer girl, I value her opinion. I also think she’s freakin hilarious, and I hope I’m as tough (and totally awesome) as she is when I grow up.

We’re all rooting for you, Grandma.

Get Well Soon!

For your viewing pleasure, Grandma plays Overlord.

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On one of the mommy boards I frequent, some of the nifty ladies on there set up dates for moms to have a night out and meet a new person. I was lucky enough to be paired with the lovely Arisa, an accomplished artist and mom of three.

We had a great evening at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which hosts a night once a month when they stay open until midnight, featuring local bands and booze. For $15, we got to wander through all the exhibits, listen to live music, and have an actual conversation with an actual grown person! Amazing.

The art was really cool, of course. It included the famous picture by Andy Warhol of the multiple Marilyn Monroes in bubble gum colors, as well as The Brown Sisters by photographer Nicholas Nixon. I was fascinated by the photos following four sisters, stretching across 32 years, starting with young women and ending with the most recent photo taken in 2007 of four women sliding gracefully past middle-aged.

Outside in the sculpture garden, we listened to some of the live music. Our first stop out there was near sunset, with a giant thunderhead rolling right past the museum in the sky. So beautiful.

We took a break to head over to Spiral Diner for snacks and a beer. Spiral Diner is Fort Worth’s premier (and possibly only) vegan restaurant. Then it was back to the museum for some more music.

The last band of the evening was very into audience participation, but Arisa and I were convinced that their silly directions to the crowd seemed much too much like work, so we abstained and just watched. The last song we stayed for ended with people running in a loop through the packed garden. A little more exercise than I was personally looking for in my evening.

I’m so very glad I went, and I can’t wait to make more plans with Arisa and other moms from my board. I hope Arisa enjoyed her evening, too.

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