Armchair BEA – Introductions First!

Today kicks off the start of the Armchair BEA – a terrific event geared towards those bloggers unable to make it to New York City for the BEA. If you’re interested in joining in, please visit the dedicated blog for the event. It is going to be a wonderful week for bloggers and books!

Today is all about getting to know each other:

Instead of interviewing one blogger and being interviewed by another, we decided that the best way to encourage meeting as many bloggers as possible would be to run individual interviews and then have a little game. In other words, you will be interviewing yourself and then visiting and leaving comments with as many other bloggers as possible.  Who knows? There might even be a fun prize for the “winner”.

So, we were asked to pick five questions from the Armchair BEA site to answer. Here are the ones I chose:

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

My real name is Wendy and I live in the mountains of Northern California. I’m married to the sweetest and most generous man in the world (9 years last month) who I met doing Search and Rescue with my dog, Caribou. We don’t have kids, but we have fur children: Raven (3+ year old German Shepherd), Maia (12 year old Siamese mix), and Gizmo (7 year old Siamese mix who is Maia’s “baby”). I work as a Physical Therapist and spend my off time quilting, reading, hiking, gardening, and cooking up scrumptious meals.

I started blogging way back in February of 2005. At that time, my blog was a personal blog…but in December 0f 2006 I discovered reading challenges and book blogs and never looked back. I was drawn to blogging initially as a way to share my love of animals and as a place to write. But once I found the book community, I fell in love with all things bookish.

What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?

I have found myself in a reading slump for much of 2012, but despite that I have read some really stand out books. I am not prepared to pick just one “favorite”…but I will share my top five so far.

Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman (read my review)

Come In and Cover Me by Gin Phillips (read my review)

Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron (read my review)

Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (read my review)

Small Damages by Beth Kephart (read my review)

Where do you see your blog in five years?

Well, I hope I am still blogging since that will be 12 years total that I will have been at this! Although I’ve found myself struggling a little this year to keep things fresh, I think that is less about book blogging and more about my own personal evolution and widening interests. I hope to still be reading lots and talking about books here and continuing to share my personal interests as well (quilting, travel, animals, etc…). I’ve never made money on my blog and I don’t see that changing one iota.

What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?

What has always been the best part about this community is its warmth and acceptance. I have yet to find an online community that can compete with the book bloggers in terms of reaching out to newcomers, enthusiasm about literature, and personal support to its members. When my wonderful Search and Rescue dog, Caribou, died…I was overwhelmed with the warm comments, emails and personal cards that found their way to me. It truly touched me. I hope that the one thing that never changes here is this camaraderie with each other.

Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

Oh goodness, yes! Before I started blogging, I read mostly best selling genre fiction. I could not have told you who had been short listed or won any literary prizes. I couldn’t share with you one collection of short stories. I had never read YA fiction or translated works. I stuck to the authors I had always read.

Since I started blogging, my reading has expanded hugely. I read some of the best literature out there from all over the world. I have discovered countless new authors and read so many debut novels that I’ve lost count. I have fallen in love with the art of the short story. Book blogging has truly provided me with a rich and rewarding literary experience.

Check out the Mr. Linky for more links to Introductions First! posts.



Tomorrow there will be a giveaway day sponsored by the Armchair BEA…but I’ve decided to give away books all week long here on my blog. I’ll be selecting the winners on Saturday, June 9th after 5:00 pm PST. Check back daily to enter all the giveaways (some are international, some just US/Canada).

Check out my Sunday Salon post yesterday to enter the first book giveaway: The Road to Grace by Richard Paul Evans (a US/Canada giveaway; book bloggers only).

Today’s offering is the paperback version of Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (on sale June 26, 2012 through Penguin) which I enjoyed in hard cover back in September of 2011 (read my review).

From the publisher:

The New York Times bestselling novel that “enchants on first reading and only improves on the second” (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

This sophisticated and entertaining first novel presents the story of a young woman whose life is on the brink of transformation. On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve. With its sparkling depiction of New York’s social strata, its intricate imagery and themes, and its immensely appealing characters, Rules of Civility won the hearts of readers and critics alike.

  • This is a brand new book and the giveaway is open to everyone WORLDWIDE.
  • You do not need to be a book blogger to enter.
  • To enter, leave a comment on this post. If you want to leave a comment, but do NOT want to be entered into the giveaway, please make sure you tell me not to enter you!

That’s it…easy, right?

Please follow and like the blue thistle


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    • Melanie on June 4, 2012 at 06:38

    I certainly hope that you are still blogging in 5 year – and longer. I enjoy your reviews, pet pictures, and your beautiful quilts.

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:15

      Thank you so much, Melanie! I hope I still have the energy in five year *laughs*

    • Laura on June 4, 2012 at 07:39

    What an amazing accomplishment to have been blogging for seven years. I never celebrate my blogoversaries. I’m not sure why. Thanks for the giveaway!

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:16

      Laura (The Scarlett Letter): I always forget to celebrate blogoversaries too…I think in seven years I’ve celebrated two!

    • Linda B on June 4, 2012 at 07:40

    Enjoyed reading your post, and I’d love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:17

      Linda B – Thanks! Good luck in the giveaway!

    • freda on June 4, 2012 at 07:40

    Loved getting to know more about you Wendy! I hope you will visit my post too.

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:17

      Freda: I enjoyed your post too!

  1. Don’t need to enter me, just stopping by to see what you wrote and say hi! Love the picture you included of you and your fur baby!

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:18

      Jill: Hi right back atcha! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Amy on June 4, 2012 at 07:45

    I was surprised to read you’ve been in a reading slump for much of 2012, Wendy, since you read and review so many books. I really enjoy your blog for the books you review so wonderfully and for the quilts you create and share your ‘how-to’s with bloggers and your love of animals.

    I didn’t realize you’ve been blogging for so many years already. I understand for you your blog may not feel fresh…for more recent followers of your blog, such as myself, your blog is fantastic!

    I can relate to your experience about how your reading ‘expanding hugely’ once you discovered blogging. The same happened to me. I found out about so many authors, debut books, historical fiction and other genres…

    Have a wonderful week, Wendy!

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:19

      Amy (Aimala): Well, I’ve been reading – but my volume is way down this year (I used to easily read 8-10 books a month – lately I’m reading more like 4 to 6…so that feels like a slump to me!). I’m glad you enjoy my blog!! And thank you for your kind comment. Have a great week, too!

    • Amy on June 4, 2012 at 07:48

    I forgot to mention your giveaway of Rules of Civility. This book is on the top of my wish list and I’m lookig forward to reading it. Thank you for choosing it as one of your giveaways.
    Please include me in this giveaway!

  2. Yay for the community and continued blogging, Wendy! Happy Armchair BEA!

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:20

      Andi: Definitely Yay for community! I loved your vlog today!

    • Jeanne on June 4, 2012 at 10:53

    Here’s to longevity in blogging! It’s interesting that bloggers led you to appreciate short stories. Whenever I read about Faulkner, I want to tell people to read the stories first.

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:21

      Jeanne: Truly I never read short stories before I started blogging (well maybe not “never” but so infrequently that I can’t remember them). I joined the Short Story challenge a few years in a row and that is pretty much what hooked me. I love collections!

  3. I hope you do continue blogging though the next 5 years! Have fun with Armchair BEA.

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:22

      Laura @ ImBookingIt: I will do my best to still be alive, kicking and blogging in five years 🙂

  4. I saw you on the ABEA linky and just had to stop in to say hello. I always like checking in on your blog as you always review titles that I may not have heard of otherwise. Happy Belated Anniversary!

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:22

      Sarah: I’m glad you stopped by! Thanks for the belated anniversary wishes!

    • Ryan on June 4, 2012 at 12:27

    I’m so jealous right now of your wonderful dogs. I adore them but sadly don’t have enough space to them

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:23

      Ryan: Dogs do need a lot of space and time…maybe some day you will be able to get one (or two!).

  5. Hi, hope you’re having a great Armchair BEA. 🙂 Love the pictures of your pets too.

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:23

      Becky B: Thanks … I hope you have a great week to!

    • Marg on June 4, 2012 at 13:06

    It’s great to see that in amongst all the newcomers to blogging that there are still people who have been around as long as we have who are passionate about reading and blogging!

    Enjoy your Armchair BEA experience!

      • Wendy on June 4, 2012 at 16:24

      Marg: There are still a few of us old times around! I don’t think I’ve lost my passion one iota…which is good given the stacks of books I still need to read (and which seem to grow daily!) Have a great week!

  6. I love that blogging has encouraged people to read outside of their comfort zones. Falling in love with something unexpected is a real treat.

  7. Hi welcome to Armchair BEA12, really liked your post and how thoughtful to tuck in a giveaway. I appreciate your willingness to buck the system and pick more then one favorite read. I really thought RUNNING THE RIFT was beautiful and was glad I had the chance to read it.

  8. I, for one, certainly hope you’re still blogging in 5 years, since so many of the books I enjoy come from your recommendations. And speaking of which, RULES OF CIVILITY looks like a great giveaway. I’ve had that out from the library, but had to return it unread.

    Enjoy Armchair BEA!

  9. I listened to the audio of this book, but desperately want to read it in print form as well! Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Alyce on June 4, 2012 at 22:05

    I know I enjoy visiting your blog and learning about literary titles that are new to me. It was neat to learn that you got into literary works via your blogging.

    • Serena on June 5, 2012 at 03:19

    I’m lurking for ArmChair BEA this year…taking it all low key. I just wanted to stop by and say that it has been great getting to know you on and offline…and can’t wait to see what the next 5 years brings for you and your blog.

  10. You got into book blogging one month before I did, so I’m an old-timer, too. Is this your original “personal blog” that you converted to a “book blog”? Or did you make a whole new blog when you discovered book blogging? Being an avid reader all my life, Bonnie’s Books was my original blog, though I have made additional blogs for specific uses — like Banned Books to review challenged and banned book (as you know, being a contributor). I think I met you in 2007 when I joined my first reading challenge — “Something About You” — and chose to read a book that would tell me about you (Place Last Seen by Charlotte McGuinn Freeman, about search and rescue using dogs).

  11. I thought your blog looked familiar, then I realised I’ve been following you for a while. But mostly I read your posts in my RSS reader (except when I comment).

    I’d love to be entered for the giveaway – I’ve heard great things about the book.

    Seven years is a long time in blogland. I’ve only been here 2 years but even that feels a bit like a veteran.

  12. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Jenna on June 5, 2012 at 09:24

    I had not heard of some of your top books- I will definitely be looking in to them.

    I would like to be entered in the drawing, Rules of Civility sounds interesting!

  13. It’s been awhile since we have “chatted”-mostly Armchair BEA has been a way for me to meet new bloggers but in this case it has allowed me to re-connect. I am so sorry to hear about the lose of your dog. I wish I would have known, I know how close that bond was.
    I just realized we’ve been blogging since almost the exact same time. It’s great to catch up on your blog and I would love a visit if you have time over at Stiletto Storytime. Thanks for the giveaway as just so happens that one has been on my “want” list for some time. Hope you have a great Armchair BEA week and I will try and check in with you more often…”see” you around!

    Stiletto Storytime

    • Cayce on June 5, 2012 at 11:34

    I’ve heard great things about The Buddha in the Attic. *adding it to my TBR list. *

    I’m a huge dog lover, too. 🙂 We have two, that’s the max allowed per household in here.

    Have a great BEA week!

    • Nise' on June 5, 2012 at 16:29

    I love Beth Kephart and can’t wait to read Small Damages. The quilt you made is absolutely beautiful.

    • Amanda on June 5, 2012 at 19:12


    I enjoy reading your comments about books. I love reading and collecting books. I keep coming home with stacks from used book stores or used book sales. Thanks for helping me to hear about new and different books.

    • Pamela on June 6, 2012 at 08:37

    I would love to win this book! Love following you for book ideas and to see your lovely quilts!

    • dogwood on June 7, 2012 at 03:57

    I’m so glad we have book bloggers. I’ve also been found so many great books that I might not have otherwise thanks to you all!

    Rules of Civility has been on my wishlist for some time. It would be great to win a copy.

  14. Hi Wendy! I’ve always loved your blog. 🙂 I know I don’t visit as much as I should, but I always remember that you were one of the first set of blogs I followed when I started my blog almost three years ago. I agree with you. The camaraderie in this community is what makes it so wonderful. While we love what we do here, that part just makes it all the more special. I do hope to see you still blogging many years down the road.

    Oh, and thank you for the giveaway! This book does sound interesting.

  15. I’m following all the recommendations coming through BEA. Going to have unending lists of books though. Thanks for this giveaway.

    • monica on June 9, 2012 at 22:22

    Thank you for making this international, I would really like to read this book!!

  16. Interesting how our reading tastes change after becoming bloggers. 🙂

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