Cybils 2017

Cybils 2017

Today nominations open for the Cybils Awards. The Cybils are the Children’s and Young Adult Blogger’s Literary Awards. The award “aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal”.

How to Participate

Nominations will remain open from today until 15 October. Anyone can nominate a book (one nomination per category). There are 10 categories, ranging from board books to graphic novels to young adult speuclative fiction. Nominated books must be 1) published in Canada or the USA, 2) between 16 October 2016 and 15 October 2017, and 3) written in English. Books don’t need multiple nominations to make the cut. If you nominate it, it will be considered! You can find out more about nominating at the Cybils website.

My Role

Last year, I had the opportunity to participate in the Cybils as a panelist for middle grade fiction. This year, I will be participating as a judge for middle-grade speculative fiction, my favourite genre 🙂 This means I will be part of the second round group that selects a finalist from the shortlist created by the round one panelists. I am honored and excited to work with a group of book bloggers who are experts in the genre. Be sure to check out their blogs.

Have you read any books this year that you think are worth nominating?

Jenna's signature

Armchair Book Expo – Giveaway

Armchair Book ExpoGiveaway day has arrived! In preparation for a cross-country move in August, I have been clearing out my bookshelves. I’ve picked four books from which you can choose your prize:

  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling – “When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?”
  • Success Secrets of Sherlock Holmes: Life Lessons from the Master Detective by David Acord – “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle funneled much of his real-life genius-and the brilliance of others around him-into Sherlock Holmes, creating a character greater than the sum of his parts. In this quirky and intriguing look at the traits that made Sherlock Holmes successful, David Acord explores how to unleash our own genius.”
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – “Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.”
  • Majalis al-ilm: Reclaiming and Representing the Lives of Muslim Women by Salima Bhimani – “Through lively provocative discussions (“sessions”), thoughtful analyses, and personal creative expression, nine young people from diverse backgrounds consider their lives a modern Muslim women in Canada. With the current view of Islam in vogue in the West, Muslim women have often been presented to the mainstream as victims and products of a misogynistic religion and of barbaric societies. Majalis al-ilm: Sessions of Knowledge counters these stereotypes with stories, views, and concerns that are complex and not simplisctic. The women consider issues such as identity, gender, faith, and community. They probe the importance of Islam in their lives, and ask searching questions about its history and evolution.”

ARmchair book Expo giveaway

Giveaway terms: Open internationally to members of the online book community (i.e. you must have an active and primarily book-related blog or account on any platform). A winner will be randomly selected and announced via Twitter on Monday 5 June. You do not need to have a Twitter account to participate. I will contact the winner via e-mail. They will have 48 hours to respond; otherwise I will draw again.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please leave a link in the comments if you have posted book recommendations or a giveaway for ABE!
Jenna's signature

48 Hour Book Challenge

48 Hour book challengeI am taking a break from Armchair Book Expo posting today (though I am still reading and enjoying your posts on diversity and dining with authors) to mention that I am also participating in a 48 Hour Book Challenge (#48HBC) this weekend, hosted by Ms. Yingling Reads. This is a low-key, low-pressure reading event that essentially gives you an excuse to read and chat about books all weekend 😉 Below are four books I picked up from the library specifically for this challenge, plus one that I’ve owned for some time. All are middle-grade novels that have been on my TBR for at least two years.
48 Hour Book Challenge

I am not sure how much reading I’ll actually be able to accomplish this weekend, but I will provide updates on Twitter and perhaps a final recap post on Monday if all goes well. If you have even a few spare hours to devote to reading (or chatting about reading!) this weekend, I encourage you to check out this challenge. What bookish plans do you have for this weekend?
Jenna's signature

Armchair Book Expo – Let’s Collaborate and Listen

Armchair Book Expo

I spent some time today getting caught up on posts from yesterday, during which I realized I do indeed have opinions on best practices when it comes to book blogging.  I have read a lot of thoughtful posts on the subject and look forward to reading more on today’s topics, one of which is…

Let’s collaborate and listen – The online book community has changed so much over the years. How do we keep up within our own book-sphere as well as within the community as a whole (i.e., libraries, bookstores, authors, publishers, etc.)? 

Listening

Something the best practices topic got me thinking about is how I engage with the online book community. In the past, I often felt like I was running behind when it came to keeping up with blogs, authors, and other bookish news. I checked Twitter multiple times a day, skimming through various lists to try and pick up on the significant news of the days. I glanced through hundreds of posts in my feed reader to find posts that mattered to me. How do I cut through the noise and find the bookish news that’s relevant to me? How do I choose which blogs can I find the time to read and comment on? How can I attempt to forge meaningful relationships when there are so many people trying to connect in this community?

This year, I think I have been succeeding in managing the neverending stream of voices from the book-sphere. I make rigorous use of Twitter lists and Feedly collections to prioritize my reading. For example, in Feedly, I have five categories of book blogs. I read and comment on blogs in the first category, then if I have time I move to the second, and so on. After a week, I mark all blogs as ‘read’ and move forward. This has helped me focus on the blogs I really love while also keeping an eye on blogs I don’t have the time to visit every day. I have stopped worrying so much about ‘missing something’, and just focused on enjoying the content that’s there in front of me. I don’t need to read every single blog update. The Forest app has also been an excellent help in restraining me from opening Twitter whenever I have a spare moment.

In keeping up with the greater community, I find Twitter (and Facebook to some extent) has been just as excellent a resource in keeping up with my local authors, publishers, and librarians as with my fellow book bloggers. I wonder sometimes how my life would be different without libraries, without the internet, and without Twitter! It’s truly an incredible platform – once you know how to find the voices that you should really be hearing.

Collaborating

I’ve written a lot about the listening part of this topic. I haven’t really addressed the collaboration aspect. Admittedly, this is something I’m still trying to get the hang of. I want to build more substantial relationships and have more meaningful conversations in the book community. (Armchair Book Expo has been an excellent way to do that so far!). This is also something I’ve been making a concentrated effort on in 2017. It may take me a little while longer to get the hang of than the listening side of things, but I’ll keep at it.

The other topic is What do readers want? I have plenty of thoughts to share on that topic as well, but as it’s almost bed time I’ve decided to save it for another time.

Please leave a link in the comments if you’ve written about today’s topic. How do you stay connected to the book world? Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of information you have access to online?

Jenna's signature

Armchair Book Expo – Introduction

Armchair Book Expo
It’s been a couple years since I participated in Armchair Book Expo. Perhaps it will be just the jolt to get me back into blogging regularly 😉 The introduction prompt this year is 10 sentence starters; here are my responses to five of them:

  1. I am . . . a 25 year old Canadian currently working as an EA with dreams of becoming a children’s librarian (I start an MLIS in the fall).
  2. My favorite . . . authors are (in no prioritized order) Haruki Murakami, Helen Oyeyemi, Neil Gaiman, J.R.R. Tolkien, Cornelia Funke, Neal Shusterman, and Catherynne M. Valente.
  3. My current read . . . I have a lot on the go right now. This afternoon I was reading Independent People by Halldor Laxness (Icelandic fiction from the 1950s). I’m also reading The Hobbit, a book of Japanese haiku, and Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hothschild. (Saving the middle grade for this weekend’s 48 hour book challenge).
  4. My summer plans . . . include enjoying my last Winnipeg Fringe Festival (second largest in North America) before I move to Vancouver in August.
  5. My blog. . .primarily features reviews of a wide variety of books (including fiction and non-fiction), as recording my thoughts on what I read has always been my primary purpose in blogging. I post sporadically but try to work it out to eight times a month.

The other topic for today is best practices in the online book community. I’m not the greatest at participating in community so I don’t have much to say on this topic but I am interested in what other people come up with. (Perhaps what I would have to say could be distilled down to ‘be considerate’.) Time to blog hop!

Are you participating in Armchair BEA? Leave a link to your post in the comments if so~

Jenna's signature