Liebster Award

It’s been a little while since I’ve seen these awards poke their heads out in the blogosphere, but twice in one week, I’ve been nominated by two lovely ladies at Turning Pages and Tea and Bookwormchatterbox. The Emmas both curate excellent blogs and I highly advise you to take a peek over there (because finding new sites is really what the Liebster is about). So without further ado…

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Display the award somewhere on your blog.
  3. List 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Answer 11 questions chosen by the blogger that nominated you.
  5. Come up with 11 new questions to ask your nominees.
  6. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you think deserve the award and who have less fewer than 1,000 followers. (You may nominate blogs that have already received the award, but you cannot renominate the blog that nominated you.)
  7. Go to their blog and inform them that they’ve been nominated.

Eleven Facts About Me

  1. I really disliked the film Million Dollar Baby and still don’t understand why it received so much hoopla.
  2. I used to play the saxophone; one of the first songs I learned was “Tequila.”
  3. After reading Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, I briefly thought I knew how to play baccarat.
  4. I own two copies of Gravity’s Rainbow, have cited it in papers before, but I have never read past the first page.
  5. Bill Murray was once standing outside of my work building on a disused street with no one else around, but he wasn’t waiting for me.
  6. Much to the horror of others, I am double-jointed in my arm and can turn it all the way around.
  7. I still vividly remember kindergarten.
  8. I am an avid reader of Wikipedia pages about religious cults. To think of all of the time I’ve spent…
  9. My second apartment in New York City was above a fish market, but it mysteriously didn’t smell like fish.
  10. I make a mean sauerkraut au gratin. Don’t turn up your nose. It’s delicious.
  11. Because of an illness, I haven’t been able to have a cup of coffee or a pint in ages. It’s driving me mad!

Eleven Answers – because I received two nominations, I picked questions from both lists, with some overlap

  • What is your favourite book?

That’s always a tough one. I’ll cheat and give three: Closely Watched Trains by Bohumil Hrabal, The Notebook by Agota Kristof, and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. (Also, the Kafka oeuvre).

  • What made you become a book blogger?

I started writing this blog as a way to keep track of the books I was reading and to share my love of literature. I also had just returned from a trip to Prague and felt particularly inspired.

  • How do you arrange your bookshelf? (e.g. by colour, by author, etc)

I sort of have a feng shui thing going on. It’s more about the balance of the books and how they are placed together than by color, author, etc.

  • Do you ever listen to audiobooks?

I do. I usually listen to an audiobook when I’m traveling and have a while to go. I used to also listen to audiobooks every morning while I showered before having to go to my soul-sucking government office job.

  • Is there anything else that you would blog about, other than books?

Probably movies–old ones with Lon Chaney or Vincent Price on the posters (so probably old horror) or maybe kitschy sci-fi like Barbarella and Zardoz. Of course, art. I love photography.

  • What is the longest book you have ever read?

Probably 2666 by Roberto Bolano. It’s the only one I can think of right now. While reading it in a park, a man walked by asking if I was reading Twilight.

  • Which book do you recommend most to others?

I think it depends on the person, but for the purposes of this Q&A, I’ll say Speedboat by Renata Adler.

  • Do you think more people should read the classics?

Of course! I wish I had more time to read the classics, too.

  • Where do you read?

Up here, over there, but my favorite place is in my wing chair.

  • What is the worst book you have ever read?

Hm. That’s a tough one. I was one assigned a book to review called The Abominable Gayman. That was pretty terrible.

  • If you could take 5 books with you to a desert island, which ones would you choose?

Dracula by Bram Stoker, Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard, Catch-22 by Joseph HellerBad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill, and probably a big book by Wilkie Collins.

Bloggie Blogs – nominees are in no particular order other than alphabetical

  1. Beguiling Hollywood – Vicky Lester’s smorgasbord of old Hollywood.
  2. Bibliophilopolis – Jay writes about a variety of bibliophilia, but his biggest project is “Deal Me In,” which focuses on short stories.
  3. Doublewhirler – I love their photos and stories that accompany the posts.
  4. Fourth Street Review – Rory always has a great review up or other literary goodies.
  5. Grotesque Ground – A new blog; she writes about finding the grotesque in films and literature.
  6. Multo (Ghost) – Nina’s blog has been a favorite of my mine since my beginning blogging days. Folklore, ghosts, and all tales of the amazing.

**This is a little of a cheat, but I have to give a shout to one of my faves: Helen at Schietree but she has over 1000 followers (oh, those pesky rules!).

I hope you have fun investigating the other blogs listed above. The list could have gone on, but I’m short on time now.

Questions for Bloggers

  1. When did you start your blog?
  2. What was the motivation behind it?
  3. Have you found anything surprising about blogging?
  4. Do you have a personal favorite post on your blog?
  5. Has the point of view for your blog changed since you started it (strayed into other directions)?
  6. Any favorite internet places for wonderful procrastination in the art vein or otherwise?
  7. What has been your favorite place to visit and why?
  8. If you could meet any historical figure, dead or alive, who would it be?
  9. Time for that completely unanswerable question: What’s your favorite book?
  10. I can’t leave out the Proust questionnaire: What is your most treasured possession?
  11. Jet ski or 100 bottles wine? Which is a better prize?

Bookishly Me

persōna f (genitive persōnae); first declension

  1. mask
  2. character
  3. person, personality

self-portrait of the writer on the streets of Prague.

When I originally began this little corner of mine, the idea was to keep myself anonymous to give myself a distance from my published work and this personal work, which still remains the case. Also, to have something separate from my peers and colleagues; only a few of my friends know about this site. The few images I’ve had here have always not included my face; for a while, some people assumed I was male because I gave no identification (Female, here). For now, that’s pretty much all you’ll get from me.

I sometimes wonder why certain blogs are super-successes and some live in quieter niches. Blogs with a specific personality win over hearts and rack up the followers. I don’t know where I fit in with that, but I was surprised to see Acid Free Pulp included on a Southern literary agents list of personality-driven review sites. This is what got me thinking about the whole thing…

I suppose I add myself into my musings and reviews here in a way that is different from my published work. In that way, I can see why I was added to the personality-driven section. However, my identity is missing and in its place, I rely solely on my words to showcase my personality and sense of humor, along with what fascinates and captivates me.

In comparison, the very popular book blogs that have clear author personalities with people’s names have tons of comments in the discussion section, where mine, for example, does not. Of course, I am generalizing here because I read a gaggle of well-written blogs with all sorts of owners, but I’ve noticed many of them offer a clear representation of who they are (“Jane X, Midwestern housewife who loves YA books and travelling…”). Could connecting with the blog author be easier for discussion? I sometimes wish that there was more discussion here, but it means LOADS to me when people leave comments thanking me for a great review and telling me to keep up the good work, or pointing them in the direction of something that is new to them. That’s the point of all of this, right?

Words are what I work with. They’re everywhere in my life. When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading. I read when I’m rinsing my mouthwash, swishing it through my teeth, while I stand at my bathroom sink. I’m envious of my friends who are fantastic playwrights, poets, memoirists, because these are disciplines I haven’t mastered. I’m more comfortable in fiction and criticism. I get audibly annoyed at Jeopardy contestants who avoid the literature categories. Most of my jobs have been in the arts in some way (with the exception of my bit time working as a rep for a holistic dog food company. Weird.).

I think this post comes from a few places. The first, of course, being the aforementioned list and my rumination on “personality.” The second comes from a book fatigue of sorts. I have a whole stack of this past year’s award winners and books that have been reviewed in the New York Times. I just feel that they must be read, if nothing more than to be a part of the larger discussion (which I still think is important). But, I’m a bit weary of it all. I want something astounding and not written by the same writers all of the time. I want books that can also be beautiful pieces of art (this usually comes from smaller presses).

My weariness also comes from the boom of young adult novels. My point is not to knock them (if you have a well-written piece about The Phantom Tollbooth, I’m all over that), but their current incarnations are lacking and are usually turned out factory style (think Andy Warhol for novels). An interview last year with an outgoing Munich editor said that we are reading more books than before, but we are consuming so many of low quality (take what you will from that paraphrase). The blog world is full of book bloggers talking about these books, where, in my opinion, other reviews are getting ignored. To remedy this, I did a book order this week. I am dreadfully poor, but still had a gift card lying around from a few months ago and scooped up some reads that might ease my ailing book lover heart.

Like this little writerly musing, I am grateful that you put up with my ramblings, complaints, and meanderings; I get a kick out of other bloggers’ reactions to the occasional Distraction; I love getting new insight and recs like on yesterday’s PKD post; even though I might be a masked book blogger, many thanks goes out for reading my reviews and recommendations. My main mission is to write about books that I find interesting and share them in the hopes that others will find something new that they normally might have missed. I also particularly like the interaction with other bloggers and reading their recommendations, etc.

What is the point of this post? I don’t know and I hesitate to press ‘publish’ after all of this, but I think I’ll do it anyway…


  1. The definition above is taken from Wikipedia. Accessed 6 February 2014.
  2. Something personal on this rare occasion inspired by the self-portrait on this post: I love Prague. It is what inspired me to start writing this blog.
  3. For those who’ve stuck with me for this long, I present you with the music video for The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame,” because it has been stuck in my head all day.