The Entertainer Blogger Award

So it looks like I’ve been nominated for The Entertainer Blogger Award. There are a bunch of these blogger awards going around, but this is one that’s not as common, and the questions are a bit weird. Who makes this stuff up? I have no idea, but it’s a fun way to learn a bit more about other bloggers, so I’m always excited to do these. Thanks to Poppy’s Best of Books for nominating me.

THE RULES

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Add these rules to your post.
  3. Answer all the questions below.
  4. Display the award picture in your post.
  5. Nominate 12* other bloggers who are funny, inspiring and most important of all ENTERTAINING!

And here is the random picture I need to include, as per the rules. Why a sailboat? I have no idea.

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Q1. Why did you start a blog in the first place?

I had quit my job in the publishing business, and was moving onto something a little more ‘stable’ for my career. But, books are my passion, and I had really grown to love the people I was working with. So, I started a book blog to continue participating in this wonderful industry. The free books are a nice perk too.

Q2. What is your favourite book?

That’s a really difficult question, and one that I get asked all the time. I usually refuse to answer, mainly because I can’t really think of anything off the top of my head. But, I did really really really enjoy To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. I will commit to keeping my copy of it too, so that’s how you know I REALLY liked a book.

Q3. What do you dislike the most?

Hmmm not sure if this question refers to books, or anything about life in general, so I will give two different answers. I hate books that are too long, it’s not only a waste of time for the writer and the people who published it, but it’s a big waste of time for the reader, first and foremost. What do I hate about life in general? People who text/talk on the phone while driving; it’s just so dangerous.

Q4. What is your favourite food item from the mall?

Cinnzeo/Cinnaroll/Cinnabon.

Q5. What is your favourite pastime?

Reading, obvi.

I NOMINATE…

  1. Jo’s Book Blog
  2. Fiction Fan’s Book Reviews
  3. The Misstery
  4. Play Baby Play!
  5. The Paperback Princess
  6. Grab the Lapels
  7. The Owl on the Bookshelf

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*I only nominated 7 other bloggers, because 12 is just too many yo!

My Interview with The Black Lion Journal

Things seem to be coming up “Anne Logan” these days. I’m really enjoying recording my weekly radio segments on the CBC, because it’s so fun to chat books with other people who really enjoy reading. And the fact that a large audience is forced to listen to my babble is a secondary perk. And now, the great people at Black Lion Journal have posted an interview with yours truly on their blog, along with a nice pictorial timeline of my life in publishing so far. They even have a featured series that showcases some truly adorable pictures of my cats. What else could a girl ask for?

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Happy 200th Post!!!!

Whew, how did I get here? 200 posts plus numerous cat pictures later, and I’veReadThis is still going strong, thanks to you guys, my readers. When I first began this blog, I had just left my job in the publishing industry, and was desperate to keep ties to the book community I knew and loved. But what I didn’t know was that I was about to step into the even bigger, more interactive community known as book blogging.giphy

Just to recap how this site has grown, I decided to take a look back at what I’ve been up to for the past three years. Aside from posting reviews and getting to know you book-loving folks out in the blogosphere, I‘ve had the pleasure of participating in a few radio programs where I got to ‘talk books’ to an even bigger audience, which was a TON of fun (and quite a bit more challenging, when you can’t use the delete button on your keyboard to erase something you regret saying!). And now, I regularly review books from the following publishers: Penguin Random House of Canada, House of Anansi Press, Simon and Schuster Canada, Hachette/Little Brown, Aksashic Books, Freehand Books, and many other small, independent presses. My foray into author interviews hasn’t been extensive, but I’ve loved my experiences so far, and hope to do others soon (hit up my contact page if you’re interested). Participating in book tours has also been part of my learning curve, but again, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

Cleave even used some authentic WWII stamps when he signed it-I watched him do it!

Cleave even used some authentic WWII stamps when he signed it-I watched him do it!

So to reward you, dear reader for making your way through that paragraph of bragging above, I’m doing a giveaway! I’ve got a (SIGNED!!!) advanced reading copy of Chris Cleave‘s latest novel Everyone Brave is Forgiven, and a Tom Dixon etched metal bookmark, all the way from Germany (seriously, I lugged this thing with me through my month-long travels specifically for this purpose), just ready to be shipped to the winner of this contest. All you have to do is comment on the post below. One week from today, I’m going to count up all the comments in total, and draw a number to determine the winner. I’ll contact you directly to let you know you’ve won, and ship you the prize to your doorstep. Oh, and you can only comment once you sneaky buggers.

So thanks again for being a part of my blogging and book reading journey-please keep in touch!

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Calling All Youths!!!!

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it doesn’t hurt to say it a second time; I’m on the Board of Directors for a really amazing organization called The Writers’ Guild of Alberta. That’s right, I don’t just read books! I try to support writers too, because I’m not a writer myself, but I want to make sure the world is full of writers, because I need reading material dammit.

Anyway, one of our fabulous committees  is dedicated to supporting and encouraging youth writing, and they are holding a young writers’ week from March 16-20. Yes, you’re correct, THAT MEANS IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. And for the record, we define youths as aged 30 and under. So, for all those ‘just turned 30’s’ lamenting the fact that they are getting older, stop it, because you’re still a youth at the WGA!

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One of the best parts of this focus on youth writing is the ‘ask an expert’ live discussion being hosted on facebook, on March 19 from noon to 4pm MST. There, writers will be answering your questions on demand online, and…you can technically be over 30 to join in, so anyone can participate. Doesn’t matter where you live, or how old you are, you are cordially invited to ask your writerly questions.

In the meantime, check out our blog posts on the topic of writing, and common challenges faced by youth writers. Welcome to our community!

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Books I’ve Read in 2015

It’s that time of year again folks; it’s when I list all the books that I’ve read in one year so you can see how much reading I do and how little I  actually parent my child. No-I don’t post this list to brag, in fact, I think many people actually see it as proof that I am as lame as they suspected. And no, I don’t get out much, but when I do, I try to sneak a book into my purse so I can get a bit of reading in wherever I am.giphy

For those of you who are just seeing this list for the first time (you can check out my lists from 2013 and 2014 too), I’ll run down the rules quickly. This lists each book in the order I read it in, and I will link to my review of the book if I indeed wrote one. If I didn’t write a review, it’s not because I didn’t like it, I simply ran out of time. Keep in mind that many of the books I review I receive directly from publishers in return for an honest review (like many of my fellow book bloggers), but a small percentage of the books have been given to me by friends and family (for example, the Murder She Wrote books). No one would ever notice this, but I feel the need to mention something else; in some cases I will have read parts of one of these books previously for a book-related gig in the past, but I list the books here once I’ve read them completely. So, for instance I read parts of Matthew Thomas’s book We Are Not Ourselves in October of 2014 when I hosted the Wordfest gig he was in, but I wasn’t able to read it cover to cover until 2015.

Many of my reviews are positive, because I typically refuse to review books I know I won’t enjoy and I can usually find something good to say about almost everything I read. If you want to see me post more negative reviews, let me know in the comments section and I’ll consider upping my standards in 2016! Just kidding, don’t do that.

  1. Indian Ernie by Ernie Louttit
  2. Not the First Thing I’ve Missed by Fionncara MacEoin
  3. Wildness Rushing In by dee Hobsbawn-Smith
  4. A Crack in the Wall by Betty Jane Hegerat
  5. The First Principles of Dreaming by Beth Goobie
  6. Rose’s Run by Dawn Dumont
  7. Wiseman’s Wager by Dave Margoshes
  8. Between Clay & Dust by Musharraf Ali Farooqi
  9. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
  10. Bark by Lorrie Moore
  11. We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
  12. The Forever Girl by Alexander McCall Smith
  13. Neverhome by Laird Hunt
  14. What I Meant to Say: The Privates Lives of Men-Edited by Ian Brown
  15. No Man’s Nightingale by Ruth Rendell
  16. 7 Ways to Sunday by Lee Kvern
  17. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
  18. Landing Gear by Kate Pullinger
  19. As Chimney Sweepers Came to Dust by Alan Bradley
  20. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  21. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
  22. If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie
  23. Suitcase City by Sterling Watson
  24. 12 Rose Street by Gail Bowen
  25. Welcome to the Circus by Rhonda Douglas
  26. A Beauty by Connie Gault
  27. Delicious Foods by James Hannaham
  28. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
  29. Time Will Say Nothing by Ramin Jahanbegloo
  30. The Half Brother by Holly LeCraw
  31. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
  32. The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens
  33. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
  34. Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Lynn Crosbie
  35. A Measure of Light by Beth Powning
  36. The Incarnations by Susan Barker
  37. Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
  38. Wake the Stone Man by Carol McDougall
  39. In Another Country by David Constantine
  40. His Whole Life by Elizabeth Hay
  41. Blackout by Sarah Hepola
  42. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
  43. Under Major Domo Minor by Patrick deWitt
  44. Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
  45. Close to Hugh by Marina Endicott
  46. Honeydew by Edith Pearlman
  47. Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
  48. The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel
  49. The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger
  50. The Wrong Cat by Lorna Crozier
  51. Ghostly-Edited by Audrey Niffenegger
  52. One Night Markovitch by Ayelet Gundar-Gostaven
  53. Long Change by Don Gillmor
  54. Sutterfeld, You are Not a Hero by Tom Stern
  55. Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
  56. The Big Disconnect by Catherine Steiner-Adair (this was a parenting book I read, and because I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent, I don’t feel comfortable writing reviews on parenting books quite yet)
  57. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
  58. Manhattans & Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
  59. Yuletide Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
  60. The Winter War by Philip Teir (review to be posted shortly)
  61. This is Happy by Camilla Gibb (review to be posted shortly)

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New Year, New Look

I was getting sick of the way my blog looked before, so I gave it an update, thanks to the fine themes they have available through wordpress. I personally find change difficult, but I hope you, dear readers, appreciate this transformation, because I would like my blog to be more user-friendly; if you can’t find what you’re looking for on my site, than that’s not good for anyone! Thankfully they made it easy for me, because changing the format of this site stretches the very limits of my formatting abilities. That being said, I’d  love to hear your thoughts on ivereadthis’s new look.

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Give the Gift of Intelligence this Christmas

It’s that time of year again, the gift-giving season we all dread/look forward too! Now that I stay at home all day, I have a lot of time to think about what I’m going to get people, and where and when I’m going to get it, so I’ve been thinking about Christmas since the beginning of November. For those of you who don’t have that kind of time, a good book is always a great gift for that special someone on your list, and because you most likely have multiple people to buy for, going to a book store will ensure you can cross off everyone on your list in one go. Best of all is that you don’t have to stop foot in a mall, because you can go to your local, independent bookstore to get all these wonderful gifts. The people that work there will also be able to give you honest, thoughtful recommendations too. Hotline-Banner-Home

But, if you don’t want to leave your house in the driving snow, you can also get useful recommendations from the knowledgable publishing staff at the Penguin Hotline.  You just send them some info about the person you’re buying for (interests, age, etc) and they will recommend a book that should suit their tastes. I’ve been assured this resource is publisher agnostic (which I’m assuming means they won’t just recommend books published by their own company) because these kind folks just want people to read good books, which is a mantra we can all get behind. So don’t get people useless crap that will just collect dust in their basement, get them a gift that makes them smarter: something that they can pass along to others when they’re done with it…or enjoy again and again!

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The Literary Festival Season Has Begun!

So with the onslaught of Fall book awards come the annual procession of literary festivals. Canada is lucky enough to have quite a few of them, although there is always room for more! As you all know, I used to work for Wordfest, so this is a topic near and dear to my heart.

I just finished reading a fun little piece in the Globe and Mail interviewing various authors about their coping techniques on the festival circuit. And just so we’re clear, most authors are dying to be on this kind of tour, and find it an honour to simply be invited to these festivals. There are of course, those mega super stars who can pick and choose what they do, but for 98% of Canadian writers, these appearances are fun because they’re finally getting paid to read their own writing to audiences.

4067553As Mark Medley notes at the beginning of the article, there is no shortage of debauchery at these things, and I can attest to that. Dave Bidini wrote an article about this, and lucky me, the inspiration for this came from a certain evening we both participated in during Wordfest. (Side note, he’s attending Wordfest again this year, go check him out!) Everyone seems to think that your university years are when you party hardest. In my case, it was when I was exposed to poets, musicians and fiction writers looking to let loose in the mountains.

Each festival week that I worked was a mixture of exhaustion and stress.  But every time an author I really admired spent time chatting with me, or genuinely thanked me for my hard work, it made it all worth it. I even have a few, treasured gifts from some writers who I can now call friends, which is just icing on the literary cupcake for me.

This is all to say that I’m a bit nostalgic when this season rolls around, because I miss the roller coaster of emotions that would typically accompany my work at the festival. However, being in the audience is just as fun, especially because I don’t have to worry if the readers are going to party too hard for their own good that night. They probably will, but I’ll be fast asleep at home while it’s happening.

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Book Tag: Reading Habits Tag

I’m curious to see if people care about my reading habits or not, but either way, I’m posting this because I was tagged by another blogger.  I’m a techno newb, so I may not be doing this right/tagging people correctly, but thanks to Book Bunny I’m going to attempt it, so here goes!

Do you have certain places at home for reading?IMG_20150809_163306396_HDR

Yes, although I’m willing to pick up a book and start reading just about anywhere. My favorite reading location is my couch, in our front living room, with Smokey, Pearl, or both sitting on my lap.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Bookmark! I have about a million of them, but my favourite one is from the resort my husband and I got married at in St. Lucia, called Jade Mountain. 

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

As a new mother, I am frequently forced to stop reading ( usually accompanied by a baby’s wail, signalling the end of nap time), but when I’m reading at night before bed, I typically try to make it to the end of my chapter or section.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

Oh hell yah! A nice cup of tea is a great accompaniment to any kind of book, but if I’m feeling naughty, a Cadbury Dairy Milk Bar is my go-to choice.

Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

The only thing I can do at the same time as reading is breastfeed my baby, or pet my cats if they are close at hand. That’s about it.

One book at a time or several at once?

Usually I like to stick to one book, but these days I find myself reading one kind of book to blog about, plus some parenting book that gives me some sort of clue as to what I should be doing with my kid.

Reading at home or everywhere? IMG_20150809_165817026

Errrrrrrrreywhere.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

I read my own books silently, but I read out loud to my baby.

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

God no.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I’m not sure if I actually break the spines, but I force them open as much as needed to read comfortably. I also try to keep the dust jackets of the hard cover books intact, so I can pass them on to others when I’m done.

Do you write in your books?

Why the hell would I do that?

I’d like to tag the wonderful blog I Will Never Own Enough Books to answer these same questions, when she gets around to them! And no rush, I know you’ve got lots of reading to do🙂

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Judging a book award: the most rewarding/time consuming job on the planet

I had the good fortune of being a judge for the 2015 Saskatchewan Book Awards that were just handed out this past weekend.  I was on the panel that decided the winner of the City of Saskatoon and Public Library of Saskatoon Book Award: Manny’s Memories by Ken and Angela Caron. It’s been awhile since I read the book (November-December ish), but of course I remember it well because it was so beautifully written and illustrated. I recommend picking it up-it includes a CD with the book as well that gives some nice context to the story, so it’s well worth the 15 bucks. download

This category was particularly difficult to judge, because it encompassed all different genres of books: children’s books, cookbooks, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, you name it! From what I understood, the only criteria of the category was that the author had to be living in Saskatoon, so pretty broad. How do you compare a children’s book to a book of poetry? It’s challenging, let me tell you, but I believe the most deserving book won, and I stand behind our decision completely.

There were about 20 books in total that needed to be read, some very short, some very long. I even cooked a recipe out of the cookbook to help decide where I stood on it. So yes, it was a time-consuming process, but because I love reading, it was a really enjoyable task. I must say, this has also given me a new appreciation for the people who judge major literary prizes, because many of those high profile, international awards have 50-100 submissions. Even for die-hard book lovers like myself, reading one book every day or two can be tiresome, so luckily I’m starting slow with a regional award like this one. But I’m hoping I’ll get the chance to judge more book awards in the future (call me!).funny-call-me-maybe-maeby

The hardest part was keeping quiet about this newest adventure on my blog for this long, so the next few reviews that you will see on here are some of the books that I read as a judge for this category. I’ve always been a big fan of Alberta-grown lit, but I can now confidently say that Saskatchewan has some pretty good authors as well.

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