In My Mailbox: Joan Didion, Chris Baty, and Rebecca Skloot

Books in This Episode No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty Blue Nights by Joan Didion Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis Inside Edge: A Revealing Journey into the Secret World of Figure Skating by Christine Brennan Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction by Joan Didion The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot Hemingway by Kenneth Schuyler Lynn []

“Before They Are Hanged” by Joe Abercrombie

Before They Are Hanged, the second book in Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, takes off right where The Blade Itself left off. Glokta, the crippled torturer with a sense of humor as sharp as his tools, has been promoted within the Inquisition. His new post in the besieged city of Dagoska brings him dangerously close to his old friends, the Gurkish—the enemies to the South who introduced Glokta to the torturing biz years before.

December 2011 in Review

December was a good month for me. Thankfully, I had time off to relax, which of course means I was able to read and review several great books. I’m feeling rejuvenated heading into a new year; I’m confident 2012 will be even better!

Subscription Saturday: Poets & Writers

I’ve had a subscription to Poets & Writers for a few months, and I highly recommend a subscription for amateur and professional wordsmiths alike. Each issue is devoted to an important part of being a writer: finding a literary agent, choosing an MFA program, establishing a writing community, staying passionate and inspired.

“The Blade Itself” by Joe Abercrombie

The Northmen have invaded Angland. The northernmost territory of the Union, a kingdom similar to Europe (or perhaps just a larger England), Angland has served as a tenuous barrier between the civilized Union and the wild tribes of the North, now held loosely under the control of Bethod, their self-proclaimed King.

Top Ten Books I’m Excited To Read in 2012

There are some reviewers who have their finger placed perfectly on the pulse of new releases. They know in January what July’s bestseller will be, and they are busy composing their 2012 sneak preview lists right now. I am not one of those reviewers. For a variety of reasons, none of which matter enough to mention, I rarely pay attention to books before they are released. I know, I know; strip my of my reviewing credentials right now. But I believe there []

Blogging Resolutions in 2012 and Orange January

Last month, I found myself thinking about what books would be on my Top Ten Books of 2011 list when I realized that I had fallen inexcusably far behind on my reviews. I had a stack of great books I’d been wanting to share for months, but for various reasons hadn’t gotten to. Therefore, my 2012 blogging resolution is to review every book I read within a month of finishing it. Sounds easy, but sometimes life gets in the way!

In My Mailbox: Laura Hillenbrand, Suzanne Collins, and Gift Cards!

Books in This Episode Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat Brainwashing for Beginners (and The Misanthrope’s Guide to Life) by Meghan Rowland and Chris Turner-Neal What Is the What by Dave Eggers War by Sebastian Junger Bookstores in This Episode Kramer Books Politics & Prose In My Mailbox is a way for book bloggers to discuss all []

Top Ten Books of 2011

This year has been an excellent year in reading for me, and I’m excited to share the list of my favorites with you. I’ll be keeping my eye on all of these authors for future releases. I hope you enjoy my selections; have a happy new year!

In My Mailbox: John McPhee, Susan Orlean, and Maui Guidebooks!

Books in This Episode Swamplandia! by Karen Russell Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover (I can’t believe I mispronounced his name!) The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander The Founding Fish by John McPhee The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc Frommer’s Maui 2008 by Jeanette Foster Fodor’s Maui 2008 by Amanda Theunissen []

“American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld

Alice Blackwell can’t stop thinking about the man camped outside the White House. He won’t leave, he pledges, until he can convince Charlie Blackwell, to end the war in Iraq. For the first time in many years, Alice begins to agree with the man: her husband, the President of the United States, is wrong.

Wordless Wednesday: Hahnemann Memorial

Recently, I discovered this monument on a lunch-break perambulation. Dedicated to Samuel C. F. Hahnemann, a German physician and the founder of homeopathic school of medicine, this colorful memorial has been around since 1900… and I only just opened my eyes and saw it. Living in DC is like walking the pages of a history book.

Top Ten Books on My Christmas List

This week, I’m listing the top ten books I hope Santa brings. Of course, if Santa has already purchased a book for me that’s not on the list, I’m sure I will be no less joyful on Christmas day. 10. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch According to the Boston Globe, “This graceful memoir describes a true love affair with books.” I love memoirs and reading, so what could be better than a book about one reader’s year of grief []