Book Blogger Appreciation Week β€” Unexpected Treasure and another Giveaway!

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Today’s post is all about trying something new – participants in Book Blogger Appreciation Week have been invited to share a book or genre they’ve tried due to the influence of someone else (blogger or otherwise).

If you read Stacey’s interview with me yesterday, you’ll know now that I’m not a great reader when it comes to reading books for grown ups. I wish I did read more, but with 2 small children I’ve found it really hard to carve out time (and have energy spare) to read purely for my own pleasure. So when 2010 arrived I decided that this was to be the year I read more and I even had a plan to help me succeed in this!

I decided to ask 12 friends and family members to suggest one of their very favourite books for me to read. I wanted books that I might not otherwise have picked up, and books that would give me reasons to chat / argue / laugh (preferably lingering over coffee or wine) with people I care about. This plan hasn’t worked quite as well as I had hoped, in that I haven’t manage to read a book every month, but it has been a success in that much of what I’ve read I probably wouldn’t have read had it not been for the recommendations.

Two books in particular stand out: I didn’t do it for you by Michela Wrong and White Jazz by James Ellroy.

I didn’t do it for you tells the astonishing, shocking modern history of Eritrea. It’s a fascinating read, an eye opener, and has lead me to dream of visiting Asmara. If you can’t place Eritrea on a map you should definitely read this book – you’ll discover how it has played a major role in geopolitics, one that we all ought to know about. Definitely a book I’d recommend if someone asked for something a little unusual.

Photo: ctsnow

White Jazz was a crazy read – not at all my usual sort of thing, and probably not something I would have stuck with had it not been for my project to read more this year. It’s occasionally funny, often brutal, and a window on a seedy, violent world that didn’t leave me desperate to read more by Ellroy (although I then heard an amazing interview with him on Desert Island Disks where Ellroy came across as a fascinating, thoughtful, complex person, an interview that did make me want to try something else by Ellroy). Can any of you suggest what I should try next by Ellroy?

Photo: Ell Brown

As to kids’ books I normally avoid any picture book that revolves around dogs; it would be an understatement to say I’m not a dog person. I have tried to take myself out of my comfort zone, with reading Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates, which I discovered thanks to Ian at Tidy Books (here’s his review, and here’s a review from Library Mice, and another from Through The Looking Glass, which I later came across). I should have loved this book as it’s all about the joys of books and the adventures they can take you on but I couldn’t get passed the dog thing.

Just last week I read another dog book with the girls, Dogs Don’t Do Ballet by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie, because it was shortlisted for the Booktrust Early Years Awards. Again it was a book I that I simply didn’t click with (nor did my girls much to my relief!). The story is moderately funny, the illustrations nice enough, but it stars a dog and I couldn’t, however hard I tried, get passed that problem!

Now, I don’t like to think I’m stuck in my ways πŸ˜‰ so maybe, just maybe, one of you can suggest a picture book featuring dogs that I could fall in love with…. I’m open to suggestions!

On a different topic altogether, today I’ve got another giveaway! One brand new copy of Wake Up! by Katie Cleminson, which I loved and reviewed here, is up for grabs. To be in with a chance of winning, simply leave a comment on this post. Next Wednesday (22 September) I’ll randomly select one winner. The giveaway is open worldwide. Good luck!
This giveaway is now closed.

26 Responses

  1. Meera

    We’d love a copy of the book! We checked out Magic Box many times from the library and my two kids (5 and 2.5) adore the book. Our library doesnt have Wake Up! yet

  2. Sam

    The Black Dahlia has been recommended to me by a friend as an Ellroy book to try. I haven’t read it or anything else by him yet, so I don’t know if that’s a good suggestion or not.

    As for dog books, you might try Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd, a NZ writer. I’ll be reviewing within the next couple of weeks, but the short version is that it’s cute, rhymes, gives exposure to multiple breeds, and has a cat who conquers all, which might appeal to the non-dog lover in you. And my one gripe is a rhyme that really doesn’t work in my accent, but depending on your exact location over there, you may be able to pull it off less awkwardly than I can.

  3. Iris

    I didn’t do it for you sounds fascinating!

    Your comment that you are not a dog person and thus have trouble enjoying children’s books about dogs made me laugh.

  4. Swati

    You got me thinking about dog books now. We don’t have any topic allergies, so anything and everything goes. Also, because we have no libraries – not to speak of – I end up buying thrift books by the dozen, rather than actually choosing books to read. So, we have quite a few Biscuit and Clifford books πŸ™‚ The only other book which comes to mind right now is The puppy who wanted a boy by Jane Thayer (illus Lisa McCue). Its sweet, but not too much.

  5. Wanda

    Reading your review of Wake Up has given me happy goosebumps. I would love the opportunity to win this book!

  6. Nancye Davis

    I would like to win this book to read with my daughter. Thanks for the chance!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  7. Janelle

    You already know we’re big fans of Katie Cleminson! Love her style and use of pipettes.

    My very favorite picture book with dogs is Harry the Dirty Dog. I loved it as a child and my children love it now.

  8. Christine W

    I would love to win Wake Up! I would read it first and then hopefully get to share it with my grandson. Thank you for sponsoring this giveaway.

  9. Heather Henderson

    Thanks for the BBAW giveaway, based on your review this book looks like something we would enjoy.
    hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

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