March 31, 2012

Pajama Musings - An almost epic fail

Remember my bookish New Years Resolutions?
In short, I failed.

Before anyone gets the wrong ideas, I didn't fail with all of them, but some managed to kind of slip through somewhere along the way. First though the good news *pats herself on the shoulder*. I didn't download any free eBooks and I didn't go on a shopping spree either. Especially the latter had me initially worried, but now that I'm half way through my book buying ban I am quite surprised that actually it's really not so bad. Admittedly it helps me to focus on this resolution every time I stub a toe on one of my towering book piles. Does it mean my wishlist's been growing by a rate of ten books per week? Oddly enough, nope. My wishlist looks pretty smallish. Shocking, right? Then again, having mountain ranges of unread books kind of puts things into perspective.

So where did I fail then? Well, the other two resolutions I made *sigh*.

First of all I wanted to take it slower with my reading schedule, but somehow I already managed to read 42 books in only three months which means I'm way ahead as far as the 100 books I planned on reading goes. Sure, I figured I'd end up reading more than that, but by the looks of it I may head towards 200 without much difficulty. On second thought, maybe I should just squeeze in more chunksters which would at least reduce the number of books if not the page count. Bottom line, it could be worse - maybe I'll take a reading hiatus sometime this year! The blog hiatus worked great for me, made me recuperate, and I was full of energy and new ideas after those four weeks, so maybe a little time out when it comes to reading might have the same effect. Or maybe not.

Secondly I'm once again treading in last year's steps and have only read English books. Like I mentioned before, my book piles consist of mostly books in the English language, yet there are also quite a few German books that want to be read one fine day. Unfortunately, so far, that fine day hasn't arrived yet. I wanted to read at least two German books each month, so in theory I could catch up with that plan if I read three starting from now. Feasible? Certainly. Likely? Hahaha! Then again, I do have some German chunksters which would fit perfectly in my Tea & Books Reading Challenge, so all hope is not lost. Yet.

How about the rest of you? Did you make any bookish resolutions? How are those working out for you? Anywhere close to my own (almost) epic fail?

March 30, 2012

Book 101 - Children's Literature

Let me start this post with a rather surprising fact. Children's literature as such probably only ever started in the 17th century. It is generally believed that before then books were written mainly for adults. Obviously, at the time, most printed works were hardly affordable for everyone due to their cost and were thus mostly available for purchase by upper class society.

Copyright by Meg Fish

But what exactly is children's literature? Depending on who you ask, children's literature may be books written by children, such as the juvenilia of Jane Austen, written to amuse brothers and sisters, as well as books written for children, such as J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Then there is the interesting distinction of books that are chosen for children or chosen by them, the first being a very restrictive definition, while the latter is certainly the broadest definition of children's literature, because it applies to books that are actually selected and read by children. Definitions vary and one of the key problems of defining it is that adult and children’s literature constantly slip into each other. Some books aren't exclusive to children either and if you've enjoyed Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as a child you may re-read it as an adult and see the darker themes that were lost on you as a younger reader.

And some more facts for the road. Children's literature can be divided by genres as well as age category. Apart from picture books you'll find pretty much all genres common for adults here too. Being an age category opposite adult literature, it is divided further due to the divergent interests of children in their particular age groups. There are Picture Books for pre-readers ages 0–5, Early Reader Books appropriate for children age 5–7, Chapter Books appropriate for children ages 7–12, and last but not least Young-adult fiction appropriate for children age 13–18. The criteria for these divisions are rather vague though, and some books may be classified as different categories.

If you had to define children's literature would you include books written by children? Think Anne Frank here. And are there any children's books you re-read and enjoyed as an adult too? Let me know.

March 28, 2012

Beyond the Shelf - Littlefly

Let's talk jewelry. Let's talk books. Let's talk bookish jewelry. I'm pretty sure some of you might have already seen one of Jeremy May's creations somewhere on the web. I think my first encounter with his work was on theBERRY, but pictures of his jewelry have also been shared by fellow bloggers every now and then.

It all starts with paper. Jeremy is capturing the beauty of paper via a unique laminating process. Littlefly paper jewelry is made by laminating hundreds sheets of paper together, then carefully finishing to a high gloss. The paper is first taken from a book, and the jewelry then re-inserted in the excavated space. Text and images pass all the way though the object, only exposed at the surfaces – giving a glimpse of the book within. Each piece is impossible to replicate, and is unique to the wearer. Talk about unique OOAK gifts for book lovers.

On his website, UK based Jeremy shows off his work, some of which has already been sold, other pieces still available. If you have a favorite book that you want to carry with you always, be it as a ring, a necklace, a bangle or earrings, simply contact Jeremy to discuss the requirements for your individual piece of bookish jewelry.

Do I own one of his pieces? Nope. But hey, a girl can dream!

March 27, 2012

Quote Garden - What an original idea

An original idea. That can't be too hard. The library must be full of them.
Stephen Fry

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.
Jim Jarmusch

The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
C.S. Lewis

Anticipatory plagiarism occurs when someone steals your original idea and publishes it a hundred years before you were born.
Robert King Merton

March 26, 2012

A Writer's Life - Coffee or book?

What's your first thought when you see this picture? No need to say it out loud, because we all think it. And now think again, real hard, if you please.

While this comparison seems to hit a raw nerve with lots of authors, indie or not, it is awfully flawed. So there's a writer typing and plotting and doing all kinds of writerly stuff for two years until she holds the result in her hands. No-brainer, really. Then there is the barista who does what? Take an order, press a button, put on a lid, and hand over the steaming liquid. True, but do the coffee beans materialize out of thin air? I don't think so. As much as making a cup of coffee isn't the most creative thing in the world it involves a whole lot more than the person who thought up the clever idea of comparing the cost for some java with the cost of an eBook believes it does. I'm talking cultivation of the coffee bush, harvesting, transportation, etc. It obviously doesn't take two years from bean to cup, but it definitely needs more than one minute. And from between the field in Brasil to your preferred coffee shop there are dozens of stages and people involved who make your much needed caffeine boost possible.

Do $3,50 still seem expensive for a cuppa Joe? They sure do. I always think that way about things I drink or eat. In my mouth for a few seconds and a couple hours later you, ahm, flush it all down. There it goes, never to be seen again. Unless the flush is malfunctioning which hopefully it won't.

Do $2,99 for an eBook seem cheap? Absolutely. I've always been a defender of fair prices when it comes to books, be it eBooks or physical books. But this isn't about the burning question why many authors decide to boost their sales by essentially giving their work away for a penny (I will certainly make that a topic one day soon).

Let's get back to that comparison which, as I dearly hope, you've by know acknowledged has a slight limp. It's not so much about a certain price for a certain product, but about what this product means to you. The coffee will give you a boost and depending on how long you're nursing your cup and just how much you prefer hot coffee over cold coffee, this may be a matter of minutes. A book on the other hand you can indulge in for hours and when you re-read it it will be just as good as on first "sip", maybe even better. Coffee is meant to end with a flush. Books are meant to end with an inspired mind. Of course, ultimately it's all about what something is worth to you personally. And in my case the book wins every time.

Copyright by Squawkfox

Support Indie authors!
And bring your own coffee, for crying out loud.

Old Books in Need of a New Home

With a bit of a delay (initially I planned this post for February) I welcome everyone to the second edition of Old Books in Need of a New Home where I'll be giving away a nice sized box filled with books to one lucky person.

How does it work?
First of all, this isn't a regular giveaway which means the receiving person will be handpicked by me and not random.com as I want to make sure the books find the best home. Now you may wonder what you have to do to convince me you're the best choice for the homeless books. Easy. Just comment and let me know why you want them. In case there are several highly convincing comments I'm going to do the good old drawing of a paper slip from a hat to determine the person who'll receive the box.

What's in the box?
I aim to have a themed box full of books from a certain genre, with certain authors, etc. and by full box I mean up to ten books. That'll also depend on their format/size. Titles and authors will be listed along with the condition the books are in. Most boxes will be filled with English books, though there might be the occasional box with German books only too.

What condition will the books be in?
They are not going to be spanking new. These books have been read by me and can be in any condition ranging from almost new to having been pawed through several times before. I will always state the exact condition the books are in so you can decide whether you want to enter or not. I realize not everyone likes used books, especially when they look the part, but fear not, I will also be giving away books that have been very gently read by me only and those look almost like new from the store.

Who can participate?
You have to be a follower of my blog (any way you want to, I'm not picky - GFC, RSS feed, e-mail, Networked Blogs, Bloglovin', Linky Followers or Goodreads) and you have to live in Europe! I really hate to leave out my international readers, but it's just too darn expensive to send a box full of books overseas.

What's in the box?
Mysteries!
Charlaine Harris
(includes: Real Murders; A Bone to Pick; Three Bedrooms, One Corpse; The Julius House)

Laura Childs
Death By Darjeeling (Tea Shop Mysteries #1)
Shades Of Earl Grey (Tea Shop Mysteries #3)

Cleo Coyle
Latte Trouble (Coffeehouse Mystery #3)
Murder Most Frothy (Coffeehouse Mystery #4)
Decaffeinated Corpse (Coffeehouse Mystery #5)
French Pressed (Coffeehouse Mystery #6)

Condition?
I bought all the books used and their condition ranges from good to very good. Some of the books have yellowed pages as they are older editions. Please note that the Aurora Teagarden Omnibus has some small burn marks on a couple of pages towards the end of the book - the text there is readable and the book doesn't smell of cigarettes either, but I thought I'd mention this! Nasty surprises like this are the downside of buying used books, I guess!

And now, comment away!
Tell me why you want to win these books.
Tell me which country you're from (to make sure you really are from somewhere in Europe).
Tell me how you follow (like I said, I'm not picky, so simply follow the way you like best).
Tell me how I can contact you in case you're being picked as the winner.

This post will be open for a week, but time may be extended in case of low entries.

March 25, 2012

In My Mailbox - Like Sisyphus

Let's have a look at this week's book haul! Not that big, then again my TBR pile seems to be growing even with this slow trickle and despite the fact that I read like a maniac. Can you say Sisyphus? And seeing how only one physical book sat in my mailbox, I decided to spruce up the picture with something else I've received this week - a cute little business card holder which I've won from miniART.

Won
Rot & Ruin (Jonathan Marberry)

For Review

Thanks to The Story Siren for hosting the IMM meme!

The Reading Files - Dome or tome

I still giggle every time I think about dome rhyming with tome, but hey, it's true Under The Dome is quite the tome and it took me a full week to finish it. Many pages, small print, you get the idea. On the bright side, this is the second book for my Tea & Books Reading Challenge *pats herself on shoulder* which means "only" four more tomes to go, eeek!!!

Under The Dome (Stephen King)
paperback
Source: bought used
Genre: Science Fiction

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.


Title & Cover: There are many covers to the book, this being one of four similar themed ones showing a person (here, a girl) looking up at the invisible dome. Love how it conveys the mood!
Story: A small town trapped underneath a mysterious barrier turns into a place where the bad thrive. Intriguing plot idea with an ending quite to my liking.
Narrative: Descriptive, not to say graphic, Mr King certainly knows how to set the scene. A little wordy though.
Characters: A lot, and I mean A LOT. All very well drawn though.
Thoughts: Can you say carnage? If this were a Star Trek episode then 90% of the characters would be wearing red shirts. Overall I must say I really liked the narrative though the plot could have used a wee bit of streamlining.


Unfair Trade (Conor Woodman)
paperback
Source: Random House
Genre: Non Fiction / Economy

Why the world's poor continue to lose out in the global market -- and what can be done about it.
How is it that our favourite brands can import billions of pounds' worth of goods from the developing world every year, and yet leave the people who produce them barely scraping a living? Is it that big business is incompatible with the eradication of poverty? And, if so, are charity and fair trade initiatives the only way forward?
In Unfair Trade Conor Woodman traces a range of products back to their source to uncover who precisely is benefitting and who is losing out. He goes diving with lobster fishermen in Nicaragua who are dying in their hundreds to keep the restaurant tables of the US well stocked. He ventures into war-torn Congo to find out what the developed world's insatiable demand for tin means for local miners. And he risks falling foul of the authorities in Laos as he covertly visits the country's burgeoning rubber plantations, established to supply Chinese factories that in turn supply the West with consumer goods. In the process, he tests accepted economic wisdom on the best way to create a fairer world -- and suggests a simpler but potentially far more radical solution.

Title & Cover: Good one! Showing both sides of "your" coffee.
Story: How companies use ethical labeling as marketing tool and how people "buy" a clean conscience through purchasing certain products vs how things really are at the other end of that label.
Narrative: Comprehensible and concise!
Characters: Those who work for the ones doing so-called ethical business.
Thoughts: An important topic yet I would have wished for more than just a brief introduction to it. Also the focus on the ethical labeling of products would have deserved more exploration. That said, it is a great book though personally I found it to be a bit of a lightweight for such a serious topic.
FULL REVIEW TO FOLLOW

March 24, 2012

Pajama Musings - Won't you follow me?

It's one of those topics that will pop up on blogs every once in a while. Today it's my turn. We're all following countless blogs and websites, and we do so one way or another. With the demise of GFC various new followers widgets have settled down on our side bars and admittedly the space is getting kind of crammed by now. If you're on Blogger, like I am too, the obvious choice still is GFC, though the word is that after they pulled the plug for non-Blogger sites, it won't be too long before it will retire completely.

Fear not, because you can follow in your RSS reader of choice or maybe by e-mail. And then there's always the option of a Google+ or a Facebook fan page, and in the latter case you may additionally offer Networked Blogs to your readers. And of course there is also good old Twitter. Not entirely new either is Bloglovin' and then there's Linky Followers which came to my attention just recently. I'm sure there are even more ways you can follow your favorite blogs, but you already get a pretty good idea what I'm getting at here. I hope.

Tons of ways to follow vs the hunt for numbers. I mean, let's face it, it is a good feeling to see your follower count rising. For some this might be a sport (which, frankly, it shouldn't be) and for others it's simple proof that people like their blog content. Either way, with so many different ways to follow, and GFC pretty much out of the big game, it's become increasingly hard to determine your ... well, let's call it popularity, in lack of another word.

I realize there are other ways to gain insight information on how many page views you get and stuff like that (try Google Analytics for example), but those aren't on display on your blog. And with people following you in half a dozen different ways, some even following more than one way, how can you even determine how many individual followers you've got?

Now some might argue they don't care about this whole numbers game. Others will probably be in the middle of a panic attack. Me? Honestly, I go by page views these days. As much as my recent milestone of crossing the 1.000 followers mark on GFC made me burst with pride, this number means nothing without the context of how often someone actually visits your blog. Last month I had roughly 15.000 page views and while Blogger stats don't show how many of those are recurring visitors it does prove something - a whole lot of folks have a pretty good taste in blogs, yay!

What do you think about the many possible ways to follow blogs? Do you appreciate having various options? Which is/are your preferred ones? And what about those blog stats? Are you a sucker for those rising follower numbers or are you more of a silent appreciator of page views?

March 23, 2012

Preview on next Giveaway Hop plus 15%-OFF Coupon Code

Can't get enough of The Hunger Games?

Watch out for an awesome The Hunger Games prize that could make it into YOUR Easter basket in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop (April 6th - April 12th).

Cannot wait? Leigh from Pretty Little Charms is already offering 15%-OFF in her shop just for my wonderful blog readers! Just head on over (link to her shop to be found at the top of my side bar) and use the coupon code HUNGERGAMES when checking out!

P.S.: If The Hunger Games aren't quite your thing (really?) Leigh's also got lots of great Harry Potter pieces in her shop!

Book 101 - The Printing Press

What would the life of a reader look like without Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the printing press? Most likely not all too different as someone else would have come up with the same ideas. After all, Gutenberg hasn't been the first to implement a form of moveable type. The Chinese already did that about five hundred years earlier. I guess this is a bit like Columbus not really being the one who "discovered" America, but I digress.

Copyright by Alte Bilder

The earliest dated printed book known is the Diamond Sutra, which was printed in China in the year 868. While this is the oldest such book we know about, it's likely that book printing may have occurred long before this date. In 1041 a movable clay type was first invented in China. Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press with replaceable and movable first wooden, and later on metal letters in 1436. Whatever inspired Gutenberg to his printing ideas, he must have had very good knowledge of chemistry and mechanical engineering. It's not just about carving letters out of metal, slapping ink on and then pressing these onto paper. His metal type made the invention of new, oil-based inks that would stick to the type, necessary. Just the same there was the need for a device that could transfer (or press) the ink evenly onto the pages.

Of course progress didn't stop here, on the contrary.

And apropos inventions. Piracy of intellectual property is not an invention of modern society. The first "pirates" already rubbed their hands in greedy delight shortly after the invention of the printing press. By around 1525 Martin Luther could already find that the unauthorised versions of his German Bible were being turned out at a rate ninety times that achieved by his own printers (and you thought all those Gucci fakes that street vendors try to sell you are bad). Copyright was developed largely to discriminate piracy from authorized publishing, and to criminalize the rampant copying.

How about a fascinating conversation starter? Each piece of movable type, including letter forms, punctuation, and blank spaces, was originally made by hand. Some printers created their own typefaces, also called fonts. Some of these fonts are still used today. Garamond, for example, is on many computers and is named after the French printer Claude Garamond. Now imagine the printing press had never been invented and books would only be copied by hand. That'd be some seriously long wait for the next novel by our fav authors. Though admittedly such books would have a certain charm (especially when the copier leaves out essential words, oh dear).

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop Winner

Before I'm going to announce the winner of the latest blog hop I need to vent a little. As some of you might have noticed I had this catchy little message posted underneath the header during the duration of the giveaway:

Dear *insert name of person who obviously thinks I'm stupid*,
I appreciate you stopping by my blog and entering my current giveaway. Best of luck to everyone but you, honey! Now don't look so sad or surprised. You probably didn't think I'd notice, but entering SEVEN times within 48 hours is a far cry from accidentally entering more than once. So I've decided to delete all SEVEN of your entries.
Yours sincerely,
B.

P.S.: In case you should end up entering an EIGHTH time I'm going to ban you from each and every giveaway I'll ever host again on my blog. Just sayin'!


Needless to say she entered an eight time and a ninth and ... you get the idea. So Ms Delusional will from now on be banned from every single giveaway I'll ever host on this blog again. Not as though she'd care. She ignored my message above and will most likely not care about this rant here either. Maybe she's devastaded that all her effort didn't pay off. Poor honey, you do get something free from me after all - a new and shiny "Banned from all giveaways" club badge!

-----------

And now ... no, not quite there yet! Remember the question I asked in the giveaway form? What would you rather want to find at the end of the rainbow - a pot full of gold or a huge pile of books? Curious about the result? I sure was!

There were a total of 306 entries in the giveaway and most of you went for the huge pile of books. Can't say I blame you, seeing how we're all bookaholics. Yet a whooping 41% went straight for the pot full of gold to buy not only books, but ... I think I remember some folks mentioning paying bills or a Kindle Fire or shoes. Yep, shoes! Well, you can't go to the bookshop barefoot, can you?

The lucky winner of the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop is
#99 Aimee Cook
who has won a $15,00 Amazon GC or a book of choice from The Book Depository!!

E-mail is on the way and please get back to me within the next 48 hours!

March 21, 2012

Beyond the Shelf - Visitor Widgets

Now how could we possibly clutter up those side bars even more? I mean it's not like those were half empty, but hey, one or two more widgets or buttons can't hurt, right? Well, joking aside, there are some widgets that every blogger should have (including a dozen different followers widgets, because you definitely want to offer satisfactory methods of stalking to everyone out there) and one such thing are those neat little visitor widgets. Some will cost you money, but quite a few are absolutely free.

The first one I ever used on my blog was ClustrMaps which seems to be rather popular judging from how often I see them on other blogs or websites. There is a basic free version which really is very basic - there are two map styles to choose from, you may zoom in on the map (but not in detail), and you get stats on country totals. If you upgrade, which costs $1,99 a month, you get to play around with a whole lot more features.

Not all too fond of those red dots I soon progressed to the next widget that caught my attention. Who.samung.us is also a free service which may be upgraded for a fee starting from $5,00 a month. The basic version is pretty neat though with ten different maps that you can personalize with your preferred pins, and the zoom is comparable to the one from ClustrMaps. Unfortunately the free map doesn't offer stats on visitors by country though.

Then I found the coolest visitor widget ever (so far, that is). Revolver Maps gives you not just a map but the planet Earth revolving (hence the name) which is really neat (or maybe I'm just easily impressed by fancy little thingys like that). You have the option to "only" put a 2D map on your blog too, though I obviously chose the revolving map - there are nine different ones to choose from, and you may play around a bit with other settings too. Apart from all that I love how you get global statistics, not just countries and regions but cities too. Not to say those stats are very accurate seeing how I will show up as a visitor too every time I do something on my blog, but oh well. I didn't find any info on upgrades, then again you already get a whole lot for free here anyway.

March 20, 2012

Quote Garden - I have learned a great deal from novels, some of it is even true

Please, don't torture me with cliches. If you're going to try to intimidate me, have the courtesy to go away for a while, acquire a better education, improve your vocabulary, and come back with some fresh metaphors.

Where there is cake, there is hope. And there is always cake.

If God is an author and the universe is the biggest novel ever written, I may feel as if I'm the lead character in the story, but like every man and woman on Earth, I am a suporting player in one of billions of subplots. You know what happens to supporting players. Too often they are killed off in chapter 3, or in chapter 10, or in chapter 35. A supporting player always has to be looking over his shoulder.

If dogs talked, one of them would be president by now. Everybody likes dogs.

But once an idea for a novel seizes a writer ... well, it’s like an inner fire that at first warms you and makes you feel good but then begins to eat you alive, burn you up from within. You can’t just walk away from the fire; it keeps burning. The only way to put it out is to write the book.

By Dean Koontz

March 19, 2012

A Writer's Life - Still alive and typing

By the looks of it I made it through my hiatus unscathed. I wonder if anyone thought that I might extend it or maybe come back earlier? But nope, those four weeks I planned for the hiatus really worked perfectly well for me. I'm more excited, more relaxed, more inspired, more energetic, more ... well you get the general idea.

Taking a break did me good and, if I dare say so, I have this feeling it will also improve the quality of my posts. Not as though those would have been lousy before I started hiatus-ing (love that word creation though it will probably make all those grammar enthusiast throw a fit), but during the past few weeks lots of fresh and interesting ideas sneaked up on me and who am I to deny entry if they knock and ask to be let in so very politely (and quite insistent too).

So, here I am, not the lazy bum some small part of me feared I might morph into during my break, but ready for some serious action. Of course I did a pretty good impersonation of that lazy bum during the first half of my hiatus, but hell, that was part of the deal and it's not as though I'd be hanging around with unwashed hair and unshaved legs ... on second thought, I don't quite recall shaving my ... oh never mind.

I've seen other bloggers going on hiatus and I've always wondered about those who sounded so stressed out that they declared not even being certain they'd return. Some did, others didn't. Makes you wonder what the difference between those two factions is. Maybe you need to pull the plug early enough and definitely before the whole floor is already flooded (so to speak) so that you'll inevitably get wet feet or slip out or even both. Don't ask me where this bathroom analogies are coming from. Must be this distracting thought that my legs and my shaver will have a date later on.

That said, don't be scared of taking some time off if you need it. Your blog followers won't desert you like rats scrambling from a sinking ship. Your loyal followers won't mind if you take some me-time, and those who only stop by every once in a blue moon won't really notice if you're gone for a month. Yep, we all have such nominal followers hidden in the depths of our GFC widget.

There are two things you should take to heart: 1) not worrying about followers running off by the dozen and 2) warning them by announcing your hiatus, of course. Trust me, this is better than to simply vanish and reappear weeks or months later (and yes, I've seen that quite a few times happening). If you take blogging seriously you owe it to your readers to simply let them know about your vacation from blogging. I realize there are some bloggers who already break out in cold sweat when they think about the possibility of loosing one or two followers (I've seen shockingly long blog posts by mournful bloggers who made this a subject, oh my), but these things happen even if you blog daily year in and out.

Still scared folks might run off? Alrighty ... as some of you might know I used to have a travel blog too - The Travel Garden - and when I decided to go on a extended hiatus declaring I didn't know when or if I'd ever be back, guess what happened? Last time I checked (a minute ago) I had 23 followers. Before you go into shock, guess how many I had when I announced the break sometime last November? 23. Any further questions? Didn't think so.

Here's to the end of a month of hiatus-ing ... and unshaved legs too! I'm glad I'm back and now, if you'll excuse me now, me and my razor have things to do ...

March 18, 2012

In My Mailbox - Who's got mail?

Me, of course! Some books I've won, some are for review. Either way, a very happy reader and a well fed mailbox!

Won
Angels' Flight (Nalini Singh)

Kim kocht neu (Sohyi Kim)
from Tele

For Review
The Good Daughter (Jasmin Darznik)


The 13th Tribe (Robert Liparulo)

Thanks to The Story Siren for hosting the IMM meme!

The Reading Files - Here's to a dystopian future

It's been living in dystopian worlds for me those past two weeks. Actually that's not quite true. I did top it off with some good old fashioned mystery.

Delirium (Lauren Oliver)
#1 Delirium
hardcover
Source: gift
Genre: YA Dystopia

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Title & Cover: Absolutely gorgeous!
Story: Love is a disease, yet some would rather be "sick" than "safe". Sprinkled with quotes from The Book of Shhh.
Narrative: Emotionally gripping yet awfully slow during the first half of the book.
Characters: Lenas might not be perfect, but very relateable in her thoughts and actions.
Thoughts: Once again one of those books people either love or hate. Obviously certain themes will repeat themselves in the recent flood of dystopian, but for me this is one of the better as far as plot and execution goes. No happy ending, yet one filled with hope.


Partials (Dan Wells)
#1 Partials
eBook
Source: NetGalley
Genre: YA Post Apocalyptic / Dystopia

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.
When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question--one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.


Title & Cover: Love the mood it conveys! Good one!
Story: There are Humans and there are Partials. Whether they want it or not, their fate is inevitably connected, and one cannot survive without the other.
Narrative: Fast paced adventure!
Characters: Kids acting like grown ups, but yay, no love triangle!
Thoughts: Now this is a novel which is "only" good as a book, but would make for great movie material. And maybe it's just me, but despite the neat little twists and turns, the story has been a bit too foreseeable for me.
FULL REVIEW HAS BEEN POSTED YESTERDAY


Glow (Amy Kathleen Ryan)
#1 Sky Chasers
paperback
Source: Pan MacMillan
Genre: YA Science Fiction / Dystopia

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?
Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them ...
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.
Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.

Title & Cover: As much as it looks pretty, it doesn't really relate to the story.
Story: Two spaceships on their way to New Earth and infertility on one ship makes the crew take drastic measures, taking all the girls to safe their own future.
Narrative: For this being YA the writing is really poor. Maybe ok for ten year olds, but that age is in stark conflict to the theme in the book.
Characters: One of those tragedies of not being able to connect with any of the main characters - I seriously started hating them for their actions and/or stupidity.
Thoughts: Oh my, where to begin? So yes, the premise is great yet I think that the book should have been aimed at a far more mature audience with its theme (sexual/ reproduction) and been presented in a much more elaborate way instead of this "kiddie style" narrative.
FULL REVIEW HAS BEEN POSTED YESTERDAY


The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Omnibus 1 (Charlaine Harris)
#1-4 Aurora Teagarden Mysteries
hardcover
Source: bought used
Genre: Mystery

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES: An omnibus edition of Roe Teagarden's adventures! Aurora Teagarden loves reading about famous murderers - until she finds herself investigating a real-life killing spree! The first four novels in the Aurora Teagarden mysteries series. Lawrenceton, Georgia, may be a growing suburb of Atlanta, but it's still a small town at heart. Librarian Aurora Teagarden - Roe - grew up there, and she reckons she knows everything about her fellow townsfolk, including which ones share her interest in the darker side of human nature.
This omnibus edition contains four novels:

Real Murders: Though a small town at heart, Lawrenceton, Georgia, has its dark side-and crime buffs. One of whom is librarian Aurora "Roe" Teagarden, a member of the Real Murders Club, which meets once a month to analyze famous cases. It's a harmless pastime-until the night she finds a member killed in a manner that eerily resembles the crime the club was about to discuss. And as other brutal "copycat" killings follow, Roe will have to uncover the person behind the terrifying game, one that casts all the members of Real Murders, herself included, as prime suspects-or potential victims.
A Bone to Pick: Aurora "Roe" Teagarden's fortunes change when a deceased acquaintance names her as heir to a rather substantial estate, including money, jewelry, and a house complete with a skull hidden in a window seat. Roe concludes that the elderly women has purposely left her a murder to solve. So she must identify the victim and figure out which one of her new, ordinary-seeming neighbors is a murderer- without putting herself in deadly danger.
Three Bedrooms, One Corpse: Deciding if she wants to go into real estate becomes a life-or-death choice for Aurora "Roe" Teagarden. A naked corpse is discovered at her first house showing. And when a second body is found in another house for sale, it becomes obvious that there is a very cool killer at large in Lawrenceton, one who knows a great deal about real estate-and maybe too much about Roe.
The Julius House: Love at first sight turns into newlywed bliss for former librarian Aurora Teagarden— until violence cuts the honeymoon short.
Wealthy businessman Martin Bartell gives Roe exactly what she wants for their wedding: Julius House. But both the house and Martin come with murky pasts. And when Roe is attacked by an ax-wielding maniac, she realizes that the secrets inside her four walls—and her brand-new marriage—could destroy her.


Title & Cover: Skull and cat!? What's up with that? Just because it goes with the genre? Oh, come on! And yes, I know, there is a cat playing a part and then of course the thing with the skull ... but still, the cover is so cliched.
Story: Murder victims turn up around every corner but never in a forced way just to give our heroine something to do. Perfect balance of mystery and Aurora's personal life.
Narrative: Both gripping and fun!
Characters: Gotta love the quirky librarian! Not all that happy with her taste in men though.
Thoughts: I haven't read any of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, but when it comes to cozy mysteries Charlaine sure is on top of my list!

March 17, 2012

Review - Glow (Amy Kathleen Ryan)

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?
Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them ...
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.
Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.


Review
A mix of science fiction and dystopian society Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan centers around three teenagers, Waverly, Kieran, and Seth, living on board the Empyrean headed to a new life on a new planet. When a sister ship meets up with them it becomes clear that the other crew's mission isn't friendly at all, governed by the need to ensure their own survival.
With its thrilling though not completely unique premise I found the first pages fast paced and fluently written, yet I soon discovered several problems which dampened my reading experience. I liked the alternating narration between the main characters, yet with every turning page I had to realize that I just couldn't relate to them and their actions, nor did they show enough depth for my taste. Oddly enough the secondary characters quite grew on me.
More importantly though I had another, much bigger problem with the book. While it is a YA novel the narrative used is aimed at a very young audience, certainly not mature teenagers. In stark contrast to that there is the underlying theme of sexuality/procreation. While the latter is certainly not explicit, I must honestly say this imbalance disturbed me a lot. As much as this novel didn't work for me, I believe with a more elaborate narration and a focus on an older age group of readers, it would have been a great read.
In short: Adventurous journey to a new world with some flaws!

2/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pan MacMillan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review - Partials (Dan Wells)

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.
When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question--one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.


Review
Trying to save her best friend from loosing her baby to an omnipresent deathly virus, Kira sets out to seek answers and a cure by finding those thought responsible for all this - the Partials. Yet it soon turns out that not all is as it seems, on both sides, humans and Partials.
With a gripping plot, which personally I haven't seen in a similar variation in any other book in the latest flood of YA dystopian novels, Partials by Dan Wells was like being sucked into the middle of an action movie. Twists and turns along the way, some a bit foreseeable, though that might have just been me, there was one particular thing that honestly surprised me. For once an author didn't rely on some love triangle to keep the story's momentum, and I applaud this decision. Still I would have expected the somewhat troubled relationship between Kira and Marcus to be a bit more emotional and less mellow, just the same I think it's a shame that the partial boy Samm didn't get explored further in his uniqueness. Maybe the sequel will make me happy in that regard.
Last but not least, fiction might not always be realistic, but if a girl solves within days what plenty of doctors couldn't in a decade, one should think that the medical terms had received a more serious approach instead of the "kiddie talk".
In short: Fast paced and action packed this book has great movie potential!

3/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review - Triumph Of The City (Edward Glaeser)

In 2009, for the first time in history, more than half the world's population lived in cities. In a time when family, friends and co-workers are a call, text, or email away, 3.3 billion people on this planet still choose to crowd together in skyscrapers, high-rises, subways and buses. Not too long ago, it looked like our cities were dying, but in fact they boldly threw themselves into the information age, adapting and evolving to become the gateways to a globalized and interconnected world. Now more than ever, the well-being of human society depends upon our knowledge of how the city lives and breathes. Understanding the modern city and the powerful forces within it is the life's work of Harvard urban economist Edward Glaeser, who at forty is hailed as one of the world's most exciting urban thinkers. Travelling from city to city, speaking to planners and politicians across the world, he uncovers questions large and small whose answers are both counterintuitive and deeply significant. Should New Orleans be rebuilt? Why can't my nephew afford an apartment in New York? Is London the new financial capital of the world? Is my job headed to Bangalore? In TRIUMPH OF THE CITY, Glaeser takes us around the world and into the mind of the modern city - from Mumbai to Paris to Rio to Detroit to Shanghai, and to any number of points in between - to reveal how cities think, why they behave in the manners that they do, and what wisdom they share with the people who inhabit them.

Review
Cities. Most of us live in them. Some days we wish we didn't, and then we can't imagine not to. In Triumph Of The City Edward Glaeser introduces the reader to what cities are made of. What makes them rise. What makes them fall.
I must confess right away that I don't see myself as a city dweller. As much as I can't imagine living in a big city, I still appreciate living in the vicinity of one. According to Glaeser we are indeed an urban species and it's the innovations and prosperity which comes along with it, that have literally paved the path for the modern metropolis.
A smart and insightful look on the modern city, its dynamics and economic perspectives, this book might appear to be a dry read on first glance, but it most certainly isn't. If you're interested in the topic, you will come to appreciate the mixture of informative content and its highly comprehensible presentation. Drawing from both historical examples and comparing them with various present day cities, I was amazed at the intricate web that makes cities what they are and how many prejudices about them simply aren't true, eg cities can often be greener than rural or suburban living.
Admittedly I might not appreciate city life as fully as the author does, though I definitely loved his thought provoking depiction of what makes cities tick.
In short: A fascinating look on what cities are made of!

4/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pan MacMillan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review - Surprised By Laughter (Terry Lindvall)

Surprised by Laughter looks at the career and writings of C. S. Lewis and discovers a man whose life and beliefs were sustained by joy and humor.
All of his life, C. S. Lewis possessed a spirit of individuality. An atheist from childhood, he became a Christian as an adult and eventually knew international acclaim as a respected theologian. He was known worldwide for his works of fiction, especially the Chronicles of Narnia; and for his books on life and faith, including Mere Christianity, A Grief Observed, and Surprised by Joy. But perhaps the most visible difference in his life was his abiding sense of humor. It was through this humor that he often reached his readers and listeners, allowing him to effectively touch so many lives.
Terry Lindvall takes an in-depth look at Lewis’s joyful approach toward living, dividing his study of C. S. Lewis’s wit into the four origins of laughter in Uncle Screwtape’s eleventh letter to a junior devil in Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters: joy, fun, the joke proper, and flippancy. Lindvall writes, “One bright and compelling feature we can see, sparking in his sunlight and dancing in his moonlight, is laughter. Yet it is not too large to see at once because it inhabited all Lewis was and did.”
Surprised by Laughter reveals a Lewis who enjoyed the gift of laughter, and who willingly shared that gift with others in order to spread his faith.


Review
Probably best known for his fantasy trilogy The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis was much more than just a novelist. An academic, literary critic, and Christian apologist, his life and work will hold quite a few surprises for those who love to learn more about the person behind the author. In Surprised By Laughter Terry Lindvall sets out on a journey through Lewis' work, focusing on the importance of humor, or more specifically, what joy, fun, jokes, and satire meant to him - not just in writing but in living.
While this book certainly presents all kinds of landscapes of humor it does so in the most serious way. Despite Lindvall's notion that we must not loose out humor while studying Lewis' work, humor is obviously serious business and awfully dry too. Of course I didn't expect a slapstick comedy unraveling before me when I started reading this book, yet it soon became very clear to me that it is more aimed at those academically inclined people out there and not really for someone who likes their non fiction to be both engrossing and entertaining.
My impression of this treatise is that it is a balanced work on both Lewis' literary work and his Christian faith, certainly well written but far from being accessible for the average reader. I rarely give up on books, but admittedly I gave up half way through here.
In short: Humor as serious business - too serious for my taste!

2/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review - Death By Petticoat (Mary Miley Theobald)

Every day stories from American history that are not true are repeated in museums and classrooms across the country. Some are outright fabrications; others contain a kernel of truth that has been embellished over the years. Collaborating with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Mary Theobald has uncovered the truth behind many widely-repeated myth-understandings in our history including:
·Hat makers really were driven mad. They were poisoned by the mercury used in making hats from furs. Their symptoms included hallucinations, tremors, and twitching, which looked like insanity to people of the 17th and 18th centuries—and the phrase “mad as a hatter” came about.
·The idea that portrait painters gave discounts if their subjects posed with one hand inside the vest (so they didn’t have to paint fingers and leading to the saying that something “costs an arm and a leg”) is strictly myth. It isn’t likely that Napoleon, King George III, or George Washington were concerned about getting a discount from their portrait painters.
·Pregnant women secluded themselves indoors, uneven stairs were made to trip up burglars, people bathed once a year, women had tiny waists, apprenticeships last seven years – Death by Petticoat reveals the truth about these hysterical historical myth-understandings.


Review
Were long skirts and petticoats likely to catch fire thus being a leading cause of death in woman of Colonial America? In Death By Petticoat Mary Riley Theobald sets out to expose historical myths which are apparently still widely believed in today.
Presenting a wild collection of myths - all set in Colonial up to Victorian times on the North American continent - it was interesting to see how some of them are also familiar in European context while others have been completely new to me. While a quick and light read can be like a sweet treat every now and then, unfortunately this compilation lacks when it comes to really explaining where certain myths originate. Each of the myths is presented in a very brief format, often no more than a paragraph - often accompanied by a photo or illustration - consequently lacking details that would have been of interest, and even more so, neglecting thorough explanations in many cases. Even though the content of this book can be seen as history fun facts I would have expected a bit more substance.
I'd also like to add that as fascinating as some of the myths here are, quite a number made me wonder where on Earth the author dug them out as they are utterly ridiculous (on second thought, maybe I'm just too well educated). History buffs beware - this isn't the book for you!
In short: Nice little book for museum shops!

2/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review - Hit Lit (James Hall)

DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF WHAT MAKES A MEGA-BESTSELLER IN THIS ENTERTAINING, REVELATORY GUIDE
What do Michael Corleone, Jack Ryan, and Scout Finch have in common? Creative writing professor and thriller writer James W. Hall knows. Now, in this entertaining, revelatory book, he reveals how bestsellers work, using twelve twentieth-century blockbusters as case studies—including The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jaws. From tempting glimpses inside secret societies, such as submariners in The Hunt for Red October, and Opus Dei in The Da Vinci Code, to vivid representations of the American Dream and its opposite—the American Nightmare—in novels like The Firm and The Dead Zone, Hall identifies the common features of mega-bestsellers. Including fascinating and little-known facts about some of the most beloved books of the last century, Hit Lit is a must-read for fiction lovers and aspiring writers alike, and makes us think anew about why we love the books we love.

Review
Have you ever wondered why certain books make it onto bestseller lists, or even more so, why some books will rank high in sales for decades? In Hit Lit James W. Hall takes a closer look at twelve such novels from the last century, presenting the common features which propelled them into the realms of bestsellers.
Looking at the selection of American bestsellers of the 20th century, from "Gone with the Wind" to "The Da Vinci Code" the selected books seem to be a rather wild mix and I was curious to find out what they could possibly have in common and how these similarities make them some of the most read novels of our time. From the rather obvious such as being unputdownable fast paced tales with contentious topics and colossal characters doing great things, to the not quite as conspicuous such as the importance of geography, religion and sexual encounters this was a both surprising and insightful read.
Engrossing, informative, and accessible, which shouldn't be taken for granted when it comes to authors dissecting literature, this is a truly fascinating view on the bestseller-making parts bestsellers have in common - though ultimately a great book will always be more than its individual parts. Admittedly I would have loved a broader approach to the topic and not just the focus on American bestsellers, then again maybe such a book is already on the author's to-do list. I certainly wouldn't mind!
In short: Revelatory journey into the world of bestsellers!

4/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop


What is a giveaway hop? That's simple. Each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers to hop easily from one giveaway to another. For followers this means lots of chances to win free books and other goodies. For blogs hosting a giveaway it means lots of new visitors and followers. It's a win-win!

I'm giving away an Amazon Giftcard worth $15,00 (if you're from the US) or a book of choice worth up to $15,00 from The Book Depository (if you're international)
Please note: This giveaway is open worldwide, but only for countries TBD offers free shipping to - please check here.

All you have to do is fill out the form!

This giveaway is now closed!

Rules
Comments do not count as entries - you must fill out the form!
Following my blog is no requirement, but greatly appreciated.
One entry per person.
Open worldwide.

Winner
One winner will be picked through random.org on March 23rd and will then be contacted by e-mail as well as announced here on my blog. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and if he/she fails to do so I will draw a new winner.

And now, head on over to the rest of the blog hop participants!

March 15, 2012

2 by 2 Giveaway Winner

The lucky winner of the March 2 by 2 Giveaway is
KaylaBeck @ Bibliophilia Please
who picked the book Dave Barry's Greatest Hits!

E-mail is on the way and please get back to me within the next 48 hours!

March 12, 2012

2 by 2 Giveaway

Welcome to the March edition of the 2 by 2 Giveaway on my blog!

If this winter has frozen your face into a scowl these books might be able to help getting those smile muscles back into action.

If Life Is Full Of Cherries What Am I Doing I The Pits? (Erma Bombeck)
Dave Barry's Greatest Hits (Dave Barry)

Once this post goes live you have two days (48 hours) to enter by telling me which of the two books you'd like to win and don't forget to leave your e-mail address so I may contact you in case you're the winner.
Please note: This giveaway is open worldwide, but only for countries TBD offers free shipping to - please check here.

Rules
Following my blog is no requirement, but greatly appreciated.
One entry per person.
Open worldwide.

Winner
One winner will be picked through random.org on March 15th and will then be contacted by e-mail as well as announced here on my blog. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and if he/she fails to do so I will draw a new winner.