Armchair BEA 2011: Nurturing and Blogging

Armchair BEASo last night and early this morning, I was able to join my first Twitter party, and what do you know, it made me stay an extra hour at work, and it made me wake up earlier the next day to attend the second Twitter party. I would not have done all that if it weren’t for Armchair BEA.

When I started my blog, I was pretty much of a lurker. I used to keep to myself and only read specific blogs and hardly leave comments, because it’s never really been a habit of mine, back even when I had my personal blog. It’s a strange thing, especially since I’ve been blogging for years, and the fact that very talkative in real life. :P

I think I tend to lurk because of two things: I’m not really someone who ask questions, and I kind of suck at keeping in touch with people that I hardly see in real life. I’m trying to work on those two things, and it extends to the book blogging world, too.

I guess for me, that’s how I’d nurture my relationships with other book bloggers. You just can’t take and take and wait and wait for people to come to you. You’d need to be able to reach out, too — you know, reply to comments, visit other people’s blogs, converse in Twitter, join in online events like Armchair BEA. I mean, what can you lose, right? As long as you’re respectful, I don’t think there’d be any problems. :)

And if there are online gatherings, offline, face to face gatherings are the just thing to seal the deal in nurturing relationships. I’ve always enjoyed the Filipino Book Bloggers meet-ups because it’s not often I get to talk to like-minded people. I found that book bloggers are a very nice and friendly bunch, whether online or offline. :)

First Filipino Book Bloggers Meet-Up

Like I said, what’s to lose? Who knows, these blogging friends could be not just that but true friends, people who you can talk to even if it’s not about books (like movies, make-up, and sometimes even english horse tacks, no matter how strange it sounds). :) I know I found some of those because of my blog, and I’m excited to find more. :)

* * *

Now, let’s go to blogging. I won’t ramble too much here now because I rambled above. :P In my almost 10 years (gasp!) of blogging, here are some things I learned and try to live/blog by:

  • Be respectful. Respect goes a long, long way. Remember, the blogs you read are run by people, too, and everyone deserves respect.
  • Unless you blog for a living, don’t be pressured to blog. Remember why you started your blog for the first time — because it’s fun. If you feel like burning out, take a break.
  • Readable fonts. Nice, clean layout. It makes people want to visit your blog more.
  • Content is king. Memes are fun, but don’t make a blog just full of memes. When writing reviews, don’t just write raves or rants without saying why you’re raving or ranting. Personally speaking, I like going back to a book blog when it contains good content, and I can rely on the blogger to have a review that I would like to read. Content is what makes people come back to a blog. :)
  • But speaking of content: never steal content. Always give credit where it’s due. Always.
  • Don’t make it hard for the people to subscribe or comment. Personally, if there are too many word verification thingamajigs, I skip commenting.
  • Interact! Don’t lurk! Trust me — it’s fun to de-lurk and say hi to people. :)
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to be honest. I admire bloggers who write what they think, even if their opinion is a minority. I think being honest in a review is the best thing a book blogger can give to the community and maybe even to the industry. Honesty with a lot of tact is very valuable in a place where opinions are given in every post. :)

So it’s been a fun week. :) This has definitely refreshed my book blogging mojo. I look forward to visiting and checking out the new blogs that I’m following, as well as interacting with the new-found friends I met from the entire week and yesterday’s Twitter party. I’m proud to be a part of this great community. :) Thanks so much to the organizers of Armchair BEA — you guys are more than awesome! Till the next!

Armchair BEA 2011: Interview with Neri of In the Name of Books

I totally missed the sign-ups for the round robin interviews for Armchair BEA, but the good thing is, there are also some bloggers who missed it. I was lucky enough to find an interview buddy, who is also my first blogger interview in One More Page! :)

Let’s all give a warm welcome to Neri from In the Name of Books! :)

In The Name of Books

Let’s start this off a bit Twitter style: describe yourself in 140 words or less.

Mom & wife who has an addiction to books, handbags, & shoes. Sometimes I’m way too talkative, loves traveling, music, & photography.

You mentioned in your introduction post that you only started reading again recently. What were you doing before then?

So I have always been a reader but I had kids young , got married, went back to school while working full time. I really didn’t have any extra time to read, so I kind of just stopped reading. My birthday is in February and every year my husband would buy me the new John Grisham book because for whatever reason the book was always released in February, he is still one of my favorite authors.

So last year I watched Twilight for the first time, and realized this was based on a book. I bought all four books in one shot and stayed up till the early hours of the morning reading.

I later spoke to my only friend that actually shares my interest in books and she introduced me to Netgalley, Goodreads, and Shelfari.  That’s when I found the Shifter series by Rachel Vincent and the Allie Beckstrom series by Devon Monk.

I’m sure you encourage your girls to read, too? Do they have any favorite books?

My oldest daughter who is 9 loves the Erin Hunter-Warrior Series and she also likes The Missing Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. My little one who is 7 going on 17 loves the Junie B. Jones series just because she says “she’s smart, mischievious, and funny.”  I do try to encourage them to read and they love to go with me to the book store or library to check out new books.

Continue Reading →

Armchair BEA 2011: Best Reads (So Far)

Armchair BEAHappy second day of Armchair BEA! :) It was fun blog hopping through the intro posts yesterday, and I’m not yet done checking them out. Talk about busy!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to prepare a giveaway today, so instead, I’ll be writing about some of my best reads in 2011. Not all of them were published in 2011, though — some of these books here have been in TBR pile since God-knows-when. It feels nice when you pick a book there and you come out loving it in the end, right? :)

Here are five of my best reads in 2011:

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo IshiguroAh this is one of those books that I never thought I’d enjoy reading, but was totally, absolutely blown away when I was done. I loved how simple and haunting it was, and how it leaves you with lingering thoughts on the characters life and how it all ended. The movie was also just as good (and depressing!), but go for the book first. If you haven’t read this one, I suggest you put it in one of your books.

Never Let Me Go is one book that truly did not let me go (no pun intended). It reeled me in with its simplicity and refused to let me move on long after I finished with the last page.

Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee

Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca LeeI’ve had this book since forever, but it kind of slipped under my TBR pile until I unearthed it late last year. Since Tosca Lee is coming up with a new book this year (with Ted Dekker!) and another one next year, I figured it’s about time to read this. Oh, and it was such a beautiful adventure. Havah is definitely one book that spoke to my heart.

I can say that reading Havah became more than just leisurely reading but almost a personal journey. Eve, christened as Havah by the adam because she “…will live, and all who live will come from [her], and [she] will give birth to hope.” (p. 102), spoke to my heart as she told her story.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia HandI rarely read YA paranormal romance because honestly, I’ve gotten tired of the genre. If it wasn’t for the good reviews of blogger friends who also don’t read much paranormal romance, I would never have picked this up. Unearthly had a good set of characters, solid mythology and a healthy romance, and the story’s very engaging, too. :)

If you’re planning to pick up a paranormal romance novel soon, or if you want something to surprise you, then definitely get this book. Take it from someone who’s given up on paranormal romance — this is one of the good ones. ;)

The Last DragonSlayer by Jasper Fforde
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper FfordeJasper Fforde has been one of my favorite, favorite writers of all time. When news came out that he was coming out with a YA book, I was thrilled. I was lucky enough to snag a copy of this as soon as Fully Booked had it, and this book seriously saved me from a slump. If you love Fforde, you’ll enjoy this one. If you’re new to Fforde, The Last Dragonslayer is the best book to get your feet wet. :) Quark! :3

This book had everything I loved about Jasper Fforde. The best thing about his novels is how real they are even in their impossibility. Fforde writes in such a deadpan manner that you just can’t help but believe what he writes no matter how outrageous they all seem to be.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Jellicoe Road by Melina MarchettaI love contemporary YA, but I’ve surprisingly never read any Marchetta. My first Marchetta was actually Saving Francesca, and I loved it. But when I read Jellicoe Road, I was blown away. This is one book that you’d want to reread immediately after finishing it. This book made me love the contemporary YA genre more, and it made Melina Marchetta my auto-buy authors.

While I was going through the first part of the book, I wasn’t really sure if I would like it as much as my other bookish friends did. When I closed the last page, I was sure that I had just as much love for this book as they do…reading this book was like breaking my heart and then putting it back together again.

I’ve learned that I’ve become a bit more critical with my book reviewing this time around. Back when I first started my blog, I used to give five-star ratings for many books and I was hesitant to give lower ratings even if I didn’t really like the book. But after some time, I’ve become…I don’t know how you call it, braver? Have you experienced that, too?

These are just five of the best books I’ve read in 2011. I have a separate shelf in my Goodreads account so I can keep track of them and list-making is easier by the end of the year. :) And even if I can’t be physically present in BEA this year, I know I’ll still be able to get copies of the books they’ll be featuring there some day, and I look forward to reading more good books this year. :)

Armchair BEA 2011: Hello World!

I’ve been trying to think of a good introduction for my first post for Armchair BEA 2011 for the past hour, but I honestly can’t think of any. Since I signed up for this at the spur-of-the-moment, I figure the most proper way to go through this post is to jump right in.

Oh, look, I have an intro. =D

So. Hello world! Welcome to One More Page! :)

No, this isn't my armchair for BEA. This is a couch at work. :) Photo was taken late last year, and I just remembered them recently.

I’m Tina, 25 years old, book blogging from the Philippines! In case you’re not sure where the Philippines is, it’s here:

If you see the distance between the Philippines and NYC, where Book Expo America is being held, you’d probably understand why I’m just participating in Armchair BEA. But it’s okay! I’ve always dreamed of going to New York City, and BEA just adds to the perks of wanting to visit the city. One day, one BEA, I’ll be there in the flesh. :)

I’ve been reading since I was a kid, ever since a classmate let me borrow one of her Sweet Valley Kids books. I try to read everything that seems interesting, but I’m very partial to contemporary YA, chick lit and just last year, fantasy. I like reading books with Christian characters/themes as well as Filipino-authored books (love your own, of course). Some favorite books from the top of my head: This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti, The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and Dreaming in Black and White by Laura Jensen Walker among others. I have a favorites shelf in Goodreads, if you want to check it out. :)

I’ve been blogging since 2000, but I only started book blogging in 2010. I used to write book reviews and such in my old personal blog, but some friends complained that my book reviews are taking over the personal stuff, so I moved it. I still maintain a personal blog, and you can drop by there in case you want to read about non-book related Tina things. :) I used to write some book reviews for The Philippine Online Chronicles, and now I contribute some book lists to Female Network. I also have a fiction blog, and every November I turn into a cat-herder, cheerleader, Municipal Liaison and mad novelist for National Novel Writing Month.

When I’m not reading (what do you know, that still happens!), I like to write, hang out with friends, and travel every now and then. I’m very talkative, and it shows in my blogging, if it’s not obvious. :P Oh, and blogging/being online for a long time means I am very Google-able, but if you want to reach me, you can just follow my Twitter or Tumblr, or add me on Goodreads. I don’t bite. =D

No armchairs, but the couch is just as comfy. Oh and what do you know, I actually have a proper "reading" picture!

Armchair BEAI’m very excited to be a part of Armchair BEA (even if I did sign up at the spur of the moment). I feel like this is a time when I can quit being too much of a lurker among the book blogging community and “meet” other bloggers all over the world. If you’re new here, consider this a formal introduction, and if you’re an old follower, then consider this as another “hello”. :) Be sure to visit the other Armchair BEA 2011 participants, too!