Tag Archives: BBAW

Sunday Salon/ Currently: 2/21/2016



Sunday Salon banner

Quiet, low-key weekend here. Yesterday was as spectacular of a weather day as it gets in Pittsburgh — made even better by the fact that it’s February. Nearly 70 degrees, I did errands with my car window rolled down and it was warm enough to sit out on our enclosed deck.

When Breath Becomes AirThis week I finished When Breath Becomes Air, the posthumous memoir by Paul Kalanithi, a doctor who was diagnosed at age 36 with terminal cancer just as he was on the cusp of finishing ten years of medical training to be a neurosurgeon.  Without a doubt, at year’s end this will be high atop my Best Books I Read in 2016, if not my favorite book of the year. It certainly is so far. I am so in awe of this book, which I am recommending to everyone. I can’t stop thinking about it.

Saying that this is a thoughtful reflection on life and death sounds too simplistic; so does saying that it’s about time and what we do with the time we have.”What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present?” is the question posed in the book jacket description. It’s about the connection between science and the soul. What an incredible writer, doctor, and person Paul Kalanithi was.  What a tremendous loss to the medical and literature worlds.

When Breath Becomes Air is the type of book that requires something less intense as a follow-up read.  A collection of essays about Hillary Clinton and the 2016 presidential race probably doesn’t qualify as a less intense read, but nonetheless, I’m reading Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox which is edited by Joanne Cronrath Bamberger.

Love Her Love Her Not

Ten essays in (of 28 total), this anthology seems balanced towards the Love Her side of the polarizing effect of HRC.  That’s fine with me, since I’m a Hillary supporter and have been since the ’90s. I’ll be curious to see if the subsequent essays present a different view of her candidacy.

The Witches

After nearly four months, I decided to give up on The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff — at least temporarily. It’s incredibly detailed and very well researched, but for whatever reason I can’t seem to make much progress with this one. I think it’s the type of book that demands close focus and while I am trying to read only one book at a time, that hasn’t been the case with this.  I may give this another attempt at some point with an audiobook/print edition combination.


I’m still catching up with all the Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) posts from this week. A month or so ago, I first learned that the ladies from The Estella Society were bringing back this event, but it didn’t register that this was the week.  Hence, my participation was limited to two posts:  Why I Love Book Blogger Appreciation Week and Staying Connected with the Book Blogging Community (and 326 Book Blogs).

One BBAW-related post that I really liked was by Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness who wrote about Six Ways to Avoid Book Blogger Burnout. Her tips are great ones to keep in mind regardless of whether you identify as a book blogger or not.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my friend Florinda for including me in her BBAW Superlatives list as the blogger “most likely to go off on a tangent.”

Hope you’re having a great Sunday!

Thanks for sharing this post!

Staying Connected with the Book Blogging Community (and 326 Book Blogs)

BBAW 2016

I’ve been doing this book blogging thing for 7 years now, and here’s something I’ve learned.

People either get it or they don’t.

And I think most people fall into the latter camp.

Say it’s a Monday morning and a group of coworkers are talking about the weekend.  While everyone else has been binging on Netflix shows or running a marathon or driving a team of kids across the state for a soccer tournament, you’ve spent two glorious days reading and blogging and tweeting as part of Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon.

If you even mention this at all (which, after a few raised eyebrows, you’ve probably learned not to) you get a comment like, “How do you have time to read so much?”  or “But you don’t actually know these people, right?”

Well, that’s the thing.  Just like someone doesn’t know every single marathoner in that 5,000 person race, it’s impossible for us to know every single blogger. That doesn’t make the bond that we book bloggers have any less of a community.

Staying connected to and with the book blogging community is HARD. It can feel like a full-time job. According to my Feedly, at this moment I am subscribed to 326 book blogs. Yes, that’s right. Three hundred and twenty six. And that’s AFTER a fairly recent vigorous weeding of defunct (no posts in more than a year) blogs.

(Note that this number is just book blogs; it doesn’t include 35 blogs about parenting a child with autism, or 102 food blogs, or 180 blogs that are written by my fellow Pittsburgh bloggers, or …. yeah.  I have kind of an intricate categorizing system going on.)

No, I don’t read every single post from every single one of the more than a thousand blogs in my reader.  Even if that was the only thing I did all day, every day, I still wouldn’t be able to keep up.  I skip and skim quite a bit, and I don’t comment as frequently as I once did — because, honestly, I hate commenting with Twitter, Facebook, Google and ESPECIALLY Disqus (I have never been able to figure Disqus out, ever).

Yet I still feel connected to the book blogging community.

With so many blogs, how’s that possible?

I try to participate in events like this one (Book Blogger Appreciation Week), Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, Bloggiesta, read-alongs and different blogging projects. It all depends on what’s going on at that particular time.  Same with weekly features like The Sunday Salon and Weekend Cooking. Most of my comments and camaraderie stem from these sorts of activities — plus, I find them enjoyable and fun.

Like anything else worth doing, what you get out of book blogging is related to what you put into it — without being judgmental or overly competitive. There’s an investment of time, but we all choose what activities receive our attention. In a way, this is no different.

I love the book blogging community that we have created. I’m so glad to be part of it, and I’m glad you are, too.

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Why I Love Book Blogger Appreciation Week

BBAW 2016

A few weeks ago, I was delighted to read that Ana, Jenny, Heather, and Andi of The Estella Society (one of my very favorite blogs) were bringing back the very fun book blogging event known as Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW).

I always loved this event for many reasons — the camaraderie of those of us who love reading and writing about books, discovering new blogs to follow (one can never have too many, as my Feedly proves to me every day), and celebrating what we do as book bloggers.

But this event is special to me because it represents, for me, my introduction to this wonderful book blogging community 7 years ago.  I had just started my blog in August 2008 when Amy from My Friend Amy  decided to create, as the ladies from The Estella Society wrote: “an online festival for book bloggers called Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Her intent was simple:

Acknowledging the hard work of book bloggers and their growing impact on book marketing and their essential contribution to book buzz in general, I am excited to announce the first Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Think of it as a retreat for book bloggers and a chance for us to totally nerd out over books together. And of course, shower each other with love and appreciation.

For me, BBAW came at the perfect time. I was new to the blogging world and to find other people who also loved reading as much as I did — and, who, even more unbelievably, loved WRITING ABOUT THE BOOKS THEY READ  — well, this was a game changer for me.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that book blogging changed my life. I’ve made new friends from all over the world who I would never have met otherwise.  I’ve traveled (by myself!) to New York City for the Book Blogger Con (back when it used to be called the Book Blogger Con), spoken at Podcamp Pittsburgh, and started writing book reviews for our local newspaper. I’ve connected with some of my favorite authors and met new writers who have become some of my favorites. I’ve learned about the publishing industry and strengthened my own writing. I’ve increased the number of books I read each year and discovered new writers and genres.

If you’re new to my blog (either because of finding me via BBAW or Listen to Your Mother), welcome! I’m so glad you’re here.

By way of introducing ourselves for BBAW, we’re asked to tell about five books that represent ourselves in some way or our interests/lifestyle. Looking through my Goodreads list, here are five that seem fitting:

B is for Betsy - orig

B is For Betsy by Carolyn Haywood

In a January 2009 blog post called Happy 111th Birthday, Carolyn Haywood!, I wrote about why B is for Betsy (and all of Carolyn Haywood’s books) were important to me as a child. “The Betsy books were just the beginning of my love affair with books. I still have the same feeling upon discovering a new author, a new work of literature (and your books were, most definitely, literature), a book that pulls me into its world.” 

Stones from the RiverStones from the River, by Ursula Hegi

I read this because OPRAH TOLD ME TO.  (It was an Oprah Book Club selection.) And I’m so glad she did, because this was one of those books that found me at precisely the right time.

The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor

The Collected Stories by Flannery O’Connor

In college, I took an English course called “Faulkner, O’Connor, and Morrison” which introduced me to the short stories of Flannery O’Connor. That was more than 25 years ago now, but I can still remember how in awe I felt when I first read her work.  Her stories made me fall in love with the short story and, of course, with every word she wrote.

Making Peace with Autism

Making Peace with Autism, by Susan Senator

When our boy was diagnosed with “clinical features of autism spectrum disorder” shortly after his second birthday, we were lost. What we needed — instead of the badly-photocopied article that the “specialist” practically tossed at us as she dismissed us from the tiniest exam room in all of Philadelphia — was some reassurance that our boy would be OK.  That our family would be OK. Susan Senator gave me that hope during some very dark days and for that I am very grateful.

Little Nightmares Little Dreams

Little Nightmares, Little Dreams, by Rachel Simon

When this book came out in 1990, I went to a local writing conference where author Rachel Simon was the main speaker.  That book and that event sparked a friendship with Rachel that I am so grateful for, as she is one of my writing mentors.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week continues for the next four days, with writing prompts and much more bookish fun.

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BBAW: P**p This Book

Okay, today’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week topic is one that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy (’cause it is about books, yo) while also making me cringe.

One little word is showing up in the prompts in most of the 330+ book blogs I read this morning and it’s giving me the creeps.

(The word pimp – as in “pimp this book” – gives me the heebie-jeebies. For the record, the word “gush” has the same effect on me. Which is probably understandable.)

Excuse me while I take a moment.

However, I am all about giving some books that may have been overlooked some well-deserved recognition and loooooove. I just don’t want to feel like I need a shower after doing so.

That being said, I want to highlight two books which I looooooved but which I haven’t written full-fledged reviews yet. I’m hoping to do so, but until then, suffice it to say that you really need to read these.

The Storm at the Door, by Stefan Merrill Block

I’m cutting and pasting from the publisher’s description here, because there’s just too much to summarize about this one and I didn’t do a proper review. 
The past is not past for Katharine Merrill. Even after two decades of volatile marriage, Katharine still believes she can have the life that she felt promised to her by those first exhilarating days with her husband, Frederick. For two months, just before Frederick left to fight in World War II, Katharine received his total attentiveness, his limitless charms, his astonishing range of intellect and wit. 
Over the years, however, as Frederick’s behavior and moods have darkened, Katharine has covered for him, trying to rein in his great manic passions and bridge his deep wells of sadness: an unending project of keeping up appearances and hoping for the best. But the project is failing. Increasingly, Frederick’s erratic behavior, amplified by alcohol, distresses Katharine and their four daughters and gives his friends and family cause to worry for his sanity. When, in the summer of 1962, a cocktail party ends with her husband in handcuffs, Katharine makes a fateful decision: She commits Frederick to Mayflower Home, America’s most revered mental asylum.
Inspired by elements of the lives of the author’s grandparents, this haunting love story shifts through time and reaches across generations. Along the way, Stefan Merrill Block stunningly illuminates an age-old truth: even if one’s daily life appears ordinary, one can still wage a silent, secret, extraordinary war.

I am trying to get The Husband to read this, but so far, no avail. He’s typical of most dads of special needs kids, I think: he loves his kid deeply but he leaves the book-reading and the researching and the memoirs to me. Father’s Day is raw, honest, powerful and emotional from a dad’s point of view. I read it in the spring and I am still searching for the words to do this one justice. It’s not one to read upon the moment of diagnosis, however. It’s one for later, when you’ve been in the trenches a little bit.

Both of these books, when I think back on my reading year of 2012 thus far, are ones that immediately come to mind. There are others, of course, the blockbusters that have been all over the New York Times bestseller lists and the blogs, but these have lingered.

These are special.

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Thanks for sharing this post!

Meet Julie from My Book Retreat

Each year during Book Blogger Appreciation Week, we have the opportunity to be paired up with another blogger and to get to know him or her better through an interview post. It’s also a chance for our readers to be introduced to another book blog and someone who might broaden one’s literary horizons.

I was thrilled to be paired up with Julie from My Book Retreat. Julie’s blog is no stranger to my Google Reader; I was already a subscriber before this year’s BBAW and I was delighted to discover the same is true with her.

One of the downsides of reading so many blogs via a reader is that you don’t often see the actual blog layout – which is why I didn’t know that Julie has my blog included among those in her blogroll. I’m very appreciative of that, and I’m equally grateful to Julie for her patience this week as I scrambled amidst a bit of chaos to get this interview completed.

And now, without further ado, I give you Julie from My Book Retreat.

Melissa: I noticed you are a fan of historical fiction. That’s a genre I’m just starting to get into. What would be some book recommendations (or authors) you could suggest for those new to the genre? 

Julie: Most of the historical fiction I’ve read has been with my neighborhood book club, and some of my all-time favorite books are within this genre. For someone who has not read a lot of historical fiction, my advice would be to choose a time frame or location that is of most interest to you, because that will definitely impact your enjoyment of the story. 

Some of my favorites are The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, and Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill are excellent too, but they’re much more complex and long. You might start with one of the others first, or search for books that take place during a time period that interests you.

Melissa: Tell me about your job as a content strategist. I would imagine that helps with the blog …or does it feel more like “bringing your work home”? 

Julie: One of the tough parts about writing book reviews is that I spend my entire day writing, editing and dealing with web content, so it is hard to get into the swing of writing reviews at night. I have to say that’s one of my biggest challenges. But I love reviewing books and I love my job, so it all works out in the end!

In my job, I’m responsible for all of the “content” on my company’s website. Actually, I work for a huge company, so it’s really all of the content on a smaller website within their website. But what matters is that I write every piece of copy on the site, and I help make decisions about what copy, videos, white papers, case studies and other items go on which pages. I also have input into what pages we have on our site and how they are organized. I’ve been a web writer and editor for a long time but have only been a content strategist since the start of the year and I have to say I love it!

Melissa: You’re hosting the Non-Fiction Non Memoir Reading Challenge (while I’m the host of the Memorable Memoir Reading Challenge 🙂  (Note: I’m participating in the Non-Fiction Non Memoir Challenge.) What suggestions or tips do you have for others contemplating hosting a reading challenge? 

Julie: Borrow from others! I’m serious. When I started my challenge, I first visited other challenge pages to get ideas for what sorts of policies to put into place and how to organize it. Also, only commit to what you think you can do. I set my challenge up with a range of levels. I didn’t choose to participate at the highest level, but I included that high level for others who might want to commit to that. I also think having a linky for not only sign ups but also reviews helps. I know I love to have a place to link up my reviews when I participate in challenges.

Melissa: What are your 5 favorite books read in 2012? 

Julie: My favorites so far this year are Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen, and The Mine by John A. Heldt (I’ll be talking about this one on my blog on Thursday – haven’t written the review yet).

Melissa: Tell me about your neighborhood book club. 

Julie: I joined the book club when I first moved to my neighborhood in 2006. It was started by a group of women who live on my street a few years before I moved in. It’s a great group of about 15 women, and we meet monthly. We take turns hosting; when it’s our turn to host, we provide snacks, desserts and drinks, and oversee the discussion. Generally we spend the first hour or so just socializing and trying whatever the featured drink of the night is! Then we move to the living room to discuss the book. While most hostesses have a list of questions, we often discuss the book in a more unstructured way. It’s a lot of fun and has helped me discover many books that I probably wouldn’t have read otherwise.

One of the nice things about our book club is that the hostess chooses 3-4 books and then we have a Yahoo group where we vote for our favorite. This way, the hostess can choose some books she’d like to discuss, but the club as a whole gets to choose the specific book we read.

Melissa: I love how you incorporate your kids’ reading into your blog. What books would THEY recommend to others? 

Julie: I’m guessing my son, who is in 3rd grade, would recommend the following series: Harry Potter (he’s read the first four books), Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dragonbreath, and Origami Yoda. My daughter, who is in kindergarten, would recommend these series: Elephant and Piggie, Fly Guy, Biscuit and The Pet Club Series.

Melissa: What do you find to be the most challenging part of blogging? 

Julie: Finding the time to blog. I have two kids and a husband. I work full time and so does my husband, so our time with each other and our kids is in the evenings and on the weekends. I feel bad ignoring all of them to sit at my computer and blog (as I’m doing right now!). I also love to read, which is why I started my book blog. So I find myself reading when I have some free time, rather than blogging.

Thanks again, Julie! Make sure to stop by My Book Retreat to see Julie’s interview with me, and to read more of her thoughts on books.

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Putting the Appreciation in Book Blogger Appreciation Week

I do not have a single prepared post for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, which happens to be today through Friday.

So, I’ll be the one winging it here, participating as I am able.

For today’s BBAW writing prompt, we’re asked to share with our readers some of the blogs we enjoy reading and why.

Now, see, here’s the thing. I read 332 book blogs. That’s not a typo and that’s not a total of 332 blogs. That’s JUST the book blogs. (There are a mere 1,142 blogs in my Google Reader.)

So, yeah. 332 book blogs.

In the interest of time, I’m tempted to cheat and direct you to my BBAW post from 2009 when I linked to my entire Google Reader of 101 of my favorite book blogs.  

(Yeah. I really did.)

That was back when I only read 400 some odd blogs TOTAL.

Or if 101 book blogs is too many to peruse, perhaps check out my link in 2010 when I did a shout out to 8 book bloggers that I appreciate (still appreciate them all today!)

But that still leaves a lot of people out. And this former Always-Picked-Last-For-a-Team-in-Gym-Class-Survivor feels kinda guilty about that.

So, I’ll give a shout out to a few book bloggers who I somehow either omitted (the horror!) or discovered since.

A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook – I’m always adding to my TBR pile after reading Matt’s blog.

Beth Fish Reads – Weekend Cooking is one of my favorite blogging features, but there’s so much more here at Beth Fish Reads. Great writing and always interesting posts.

Bonjour, Cass! – I love Bonjour, Cass! for the great mix of LBGT books that are presented and for the commitment to the community that is demonstrated here. I’ve added so many books to my TBR list from here.

caribou’s mom – I’ve been reading Wendy’s blog forever (I’ve been blogging for 4 years now) and cannot imagine why I haven’t included her on any of these lists before now. Her reviews are always well-written and honest. And, she makes me believe that someday I might even sew a quilt.

Coffee and a Book Chick – I don’t know what came first: meeting Natalie at a Book Blogger Convention or reading her blog. Either way, I’m glad both things happened because hers is one of my favorite blogs – and her design is spectacular.

Fig and Thistle – A new blog discovery for me. I’m looking forward to getting to know this one more.

My Porch – I love how Thomas is able to tie something bookish into anything he posts – whether it is about a vacation or his work as an archivist.

nomadreader – Another one that I’ve been reading for awhile, that I love, and that I cannot believe I’ve never recognized.

Ready When You Are, C.B. – It’s not an official BBAW award, but it’s the best thing I’ve got. Seriously, I love this blog and C.B.’s take on all things literary. I’m usually left saying, “damn, I wish I thought of that,” or nodding my head in agreement.

Savidge Reads – Awesome writing. Awesome blog.

She is Too Fond of Books – I love that Dawn and her husband have extended their passion for books to BUYING AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE. Livin’ the dream, girlfriend. Livin’ the dream. I admit, I worried that it would perhaps put a halt to the blogging, and that would give me a sad as Boston is too far for this Pittsburgh girl to go book shopping, but that does not seem to be the case. (And again, I’ll sound like a broken record: how have I gone 4 years without a shout-out to Dawn?)

Sophisticated Dorkiness – Kim is the reason why I head to the nonfiction section of the library’s new releases first. (OK, BESIDES the fact that they are the first shelf as one walks in the door.) The girl didn’t win the Goodreads trip to the Book Blogger Convention for her nonfiction reviews for nothing, you know. She’s really that good.

Sorry Television  – If there were still BBAW awards and if there was an award for Best Blog Name, I would be nominating Sorry Television. Because it is just so awesome. You should check out the blog to see why. (It’s also very well written, too.)

The Well-Read Wife – I really like Mandy’s reviews and just her general, fun approach to blogging. I especially love that she personally bought 50 copies of a book and shared them with bloggers so that they could discuss them. Now that’s a dedicated book blogger!

I also have to give a shout-out to two Pittsburgh bloggers who I recently discovered. Semi-Literate Yinzer Bookclub and Tiffany’s Bookshelf.  I’m looking forward to getting to know them, too. Yay for yinzers who love books!

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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The Sunday Salon: Closing the Books on Summer Edition

Like most people, I think of Labor Day as being the end of summer – regardless of what the calendar says. Betty and Boo have been back in school for almost a week now. Occasionally, I need to put on a sweatshirt in the morning. I’m planning a vegetarian beef stew for dinner tonight. And, of significant importance in this house, a new football season is upon us. (Go Steegles! Once again, my loyalties are divided somewhere in the vicinity of a bar in State College. I love Pittsburgh, I love the Steelers, but I just can’t abandon my Philly girl roots. I can’t help it.) 
It is time, then, to close the books on the Summer of 2012.
Quite frankly, I’m ready. This was, in my view, The Lost Summer. Completely unmemorable, save for last weekend’s visit to Ohio and a week-long visit in July from the grandparents. It’s going down as the summer of a tough job hunt that’s still in progress (there’s something particularly depressing about filing one’s unemployment claim on Labor Day weekend), a summer camp experience for the kids that could have been better, and the summer where we all realized how much we missed (and therefore craved) our annual vacation at my aunt and uncle’s beach house, which we went without this year. 
My summer escape, then, was found in the usual places: in reading, and in the novel writing. From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, I read 19 books – probably the most summertime reading since I was a teenager lounging around a swim club that’s no longer there.  And this summer, I wrote. Not quite as much as I’d hoped, but there’s more on paper than there was at the beginning of June. 
Among the books I finished the summer with was The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan, which was fantastic. I absolutely loved this memoir. And then (this is where this Internet thing gets all kinds of cool) the very next night after I finished this, Kelly herself discovered my review of her book Lift and posted it to her Facebook page, which I didn’t realize until I noticed all kinds of hits on the blog coming from that post via Facebook. So now, we are Friends. Just like that. Coolest thing ever. I’ll have a review of this one soon. 
When I was in something like the 5th or 6th grade, I was fascinated by the whole saga with Wallis Simpson and Edward giving up the throne for her. I wrote a research paper on it and all. To my tween self (we weren’t called tweens back in the early ’80s, but you know what I mean), abdicating the throne was, in my mind, THE most romantic thing imaginable. I mean, I sure as hell couldn’t picture any of the guys I had a crush on in middle school doing any such thing, hence, the whole deal has always held this sort of romantic Disney-ified mystique in my mind. 
Which is why I was intrigued to read Abdication by Juliet Nicolson. (That, and because I don’t read anywhere near enough historical fiction and I’d like to remedy that.) Just look at that cover; it’s gorgeous, isn’t it?

Alas, I wound up abdicating this book last night, at page 54. Several reviewers on Goodreads mentioned that this is more about several peripheral (fictitious?) people in the lives of Wallis and Edward, rather than Wallis and Edward themselves. I wouldn’t have minded that – I mean, that’s kind of the whole POINT of historical fiction as I understand it, right? – except that these new folks weren’t holding my attention. I just kept waiting for something to happen. And … it didn’t. And the Goodreaders indicated that it wouldn’t, and so … abdication.

And with that … we’re into the autumn season, with two exciting things happening that I wanted to be sure to mention, in case you were unawares.

1. Over at Stainless Steel Droppings, Carl is once again hosting his annual R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, which is not a reading challenge, per se, but rather “a participatory event wherein we the people spend however little, or much, time we want over the months of September and October imbibing all things ghastly and ghostly.” This is not my typical reading fare, but I cannot resist this. Henceforth, I have two books lined up for this Labor Day weekend that fit the bill quite nicely.

Since I loved Gone Girl (review here), I’m looking forward to reading Gillian Flynn’s second novel, Dark Places. 

My second book for the week is this.

Steampunk: Poe! Here’s the description (could this be any more perfect for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril?) 

If you combined clockwork gears, parasols, and air balloons with Edgar Allan Poe, what would you get? Steampunk: Poe! This is the first collection ever of Poe stories illustrated with the influence of steampunk. Running Press Teens has selected some of the most popular, thrilling, and memorable stories and poems by the classic 19th century American writer whose literary talent continues to open the mind to countless interpretations.

Every Poe story and poems is fully illustrated with steampunk-inspired art—from 1920s aviation gear to elaborate musical instruments—creating a fresh perspective on his work containing bizarre characters of madmen and mystery. Just in time for Halloween, Steampunk: Poe is the perfect classic horror choice with a haunting steampunk twist!

And the second happening …

2. Book Blogger Appreciation Week returns September 10-14 and, after much to-do in recent years about awards or no awards, the structure and activities for 2012 are very much “back to basics”. I think this will be a refreshing change and a great step in bringing the book blogging community closer together. Amy (at My Friend Amy) and those who volunteer to help her with BBAW do a tremendous job in organizing what has always been a tremendous week, so if you’re a book blogger or just looking for some interesting book blogs, you should definitely check out what BBAW is all about. (Even if you’re brand new. Four years ago, Book Blogger Appreciation Week was my introduction to this crazy world of book blogs – and I haven’t looked back since.)

All right. I’ve kept you from your Labor Day weekend long enough. Run along, kids. Go. Enjoy. Soak up what remains of this summer whilest you can. 

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Thanks for sharing this post!