Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Author Spotlight:: Donna Chrobot-Mason November 19, 2010

Who wouldn’t want to learn how to become a more effective leader in both their life and work? For the last 5 days, I was given the privilege of attending the Center for Creative Leaderships’ Leadership Development Workshop. With 25 hand-picked powerful career professionals from all over the world, we were psychoanalyzed by ourselves, our peers, our leadership life coaches, and spent the most powerful days together.  I can truly say my life is forever changed in the 27 new friendships I’ve made over my week at CCL by the people I met and the stories I heard. I hope to see each of the people again someday.

Among the participants,  I had the privilege of getting to know Donna Chrobot-Mason, professor  the University of Cincinnati and author of Boundary Spanning Leadership. The insights Donna offered throughout our week together  will stay with me for a lifetime. Her kindness, gentle demeanor and spunky laugh make me want to share her work with all of you.

 

Here we are down in front in the group photo:

At the end of the week, Donna was sweet enough to sign my copy of her book. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this labor of love, to continue my development as a leader both in the workplace and as a woman balancing all the facets of life. Stay tuned for my review of her latest book!

From the CCL website, here is some background on Donna:

“Donna Chrobot-Mason has been teaching, consulting, writing, and researching issues around leadership and diversity for fifteen years.  She is committed to helping both scholars and practitioners better understand the challenges and opportunities that exist in leading a diverse workforce.

Donna is an associate professor in psychology at the University of Cincinnati.  She has taught courses in organizational psychology, diversity, leadership, and research methods to undergraduate and master’s level students.  Recently, Donna became the Director of the Center for Organizational Leadership at the University of Cincinnati.  As center director, she spanned boundaries to create and lead a cross-disciplinary research team that examines leadership from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives.

As a researcher, Donna has presented at nearly 50 conferences, coauthored five book chapters, and published 12 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Human Relations, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and Group and Organization Management. She is co-author of the book, Boundary Spanning Leadership: Six Practices for Solving Problems, Driving Innovation, and Transforming Organizations (McGraw-Hill Professional). Donna also serves on three editorial review boards for leading management journals.

Donna began her career as a practitioner in human resources at the Xerox Corporation. She also consulted with numerous organizations to evaluate diversity climate and develop training programs. Her skill as a diversity scholar and passion for applied research landed her an invitation to join the Leadership Across Differences project at CCL, eventually leading to the partnership that created this book.

Donna has a Ph.D. in applied psychology from the University of Georgia.  She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, son, daughter, and two cats. When not working, Donna enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and water-skiing at the lake.”

LibraryLove

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Author Spotlight:: W. Bruce Cameron :: November 17, 2010

I just finished reading A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron and loved it so much, I knew an author spotlight had to be featured on our website!

A hilarious writer, Cameron is the author of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter which after it’s popular reception became a hit TV show. Also the author of How To Remodel a Man and 8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter, Cameron’s writing is laugh out loud funny and hard to put down.

Good things are worth waiting for and Cameron certainly did his share of waiting before becoming a New York Times Bestselling author. After writing eight unpublished novels, he decided to write something for himself instead of to get published. In Cameron’s own words (from his website):

As I wrote it, I found something interesting: it was funny. Apparently, when I stopped writing to sell and just wrote from my own voice, it made me laugh. Also in 1995 I started an on-line Internet column. I began it with six subscribers, four of whom were related to me or were me. I asked people to pass it along to others if they liked it, and they did. At its peak, the Cameron Column had 40,000 subscribers in 52 countries, if you count Texas as a country.

Meanwhile, Oliver North took an interest in 8 Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter and it was later co-developed by Disney as a feature film and a TV show. The screenplay was picking up momentum until the tragic death of John Ritter when progress came to a hault.

If you haven’t already seen my review on A Dog’s Purpose, check it out and then get the book! W. Bruce Cameron has even created a website (www.adogspurpose.com) where you can enter YOUR beloved pup in the Dog of the Week contests. How did he come up with the idea for A Dog’s Purpose? Taken from his website:

I was probably 8 years old, playing in the back yard of our house in Prairie Village, KS, when my dad opened the gate and in rushed a 9-week-old Labrador puppy. I fell to my knees and spread my arms and that dog leaped into them as if we had loved each other our whole lives. It’s a scene that shows up in A Dog’s Purpose—a puppy and a boy meeting each other the very first time, both of them full of unrestrained joy.

We named the dog Cammie. She arrived in my life when I was just beginning to connect some of the dots in my memory to make a picture of who I was, forming my identity as a child. I remember every skinned knee and bicycle ride in the context of Cammie, who was always there for me. And I lost her just as I was starting to leave childhood behind, passing on after I’d spent a year in college. That’s Cammie, the dog of my childhood.

Years later I was riding my bicycle in the mountains outside of Pine, CO. A chance decision to bounce down a dirt road led me past a few scattered ranches and one small house near a creek, set back from the road at least 50 yards. A single “woof” from a dog caught my attention, and I braked and stood in the dry, clear air, regarding the dog who had called out to me.

She was on a chain by the house, and a fence stood between us, so I remained on the road even though I could see that the dog, a black lab mix with a crazily active tail, was clearly friendly. I gazed at her and the dog sat, attentive, staring into my eyes exactly the way my first dog, Cammie, used to look at me, really seeing into me.

And that’s when the thought hit me. What if this wonderful dog was Cammie? What if dogs live over and over again, and always remember us?

I dismissed the thought, waved at the dog, and rode away, but days later the idea came back to me. What if?

W. Bruce Cameron has become a new favorite author and I look forward to reading his future materials, joining the Cameron Column mailing list, and looking for any book tour dates in our area.

Happy reading,

Fabookulous

 

Cupcakes, friends, and Weiner! Oh My! July 15, 2010

Rewind! As you know if you follow this blog, Jennifer Weiner (pronounced WHY-ner) is one of our most favorite authors. She’s adorable, hilarious and approachable. I owe my love for Weiner to one of my best friends, Heather, who lives out-of-town. Heather got me hooked on Jennifer Weiner’s writing a few years ago. My gal pals, Fabookulous included, were hooked too!  We had the chance to meet Weiner last summer when she toured in our area where I also sparked a new friendship with another one of my besties, Planet Books! For Heather’s birthday last year, I gifted her with a copy of Best Friends Forever (how apropos?!) signed with a special birthday message from Weiner! We vowed that next time Weiner came to our area, Heather would be in tow. As luck would have it, Heather was planning a summer visit to stay with my husband and I this July so we could celebrate her early birthday together! We booked this on the calendar about six months ago. One fine day, Fabookulous sends me the serendipitous news that Weiner’s summer book tour stop in our town fell during Heather’s visit to us!

The stars aligned and we had such an amazing evening tonight, all together!  Oh and unless you live under a rock, you know that cupcakes are the latest craze all over the place, especially on the east coast. So as a perk for going to Weiner’s author event, she’s had each city’s best cupcakery cater cupcakes for the entire audience! After a quick dinner, we settled in to an evening of cupcakes (courtesy of Georgetown Cupcake), best friends AND Jennifer Weiner!!! What more could a girl ask for? Well, one of my other favorite author friends, Sarah Pekkanen, jet-lagged and all from her whirlwind European tour came by at the end. I was so glad to introduce her to my friends who enjoyed her novel, The Opposite of Me, as well! What a two-fer!

As usual, Weiner was dynamic, witty, and personable. She even gave Heather a hug and thanked her for coming from such a far distance. It was a truly magical evening getting to share so many wonderful things with so many wonderful people. When it was my turn to have my books signed, I asked Weiner how she ‘unplugs’ from all the distractions of Facebook, Twitter, email, blogging, writing…oh and being a wife and mother! She said that reading is her escape and an outlet for unwinding. I really enjoyed hearing that and could relate 100%!

Jennifer, we’re some of your biggest fans and we are so thankful that authors like you take time to connect with your fans the way you do. If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of Weiner or Pekkanen’s events, I highly recommend it! Thanks again to my wonderful friends who made the night the even yummier icing on the already delicious cupcake! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I have THE most wonderful friends a girl could ever ask for. Ladies, I’ll be your den mother any day of the week! *mwah*

Off to tend to my out-0f-town guests. We’re looking forward to our relaxing pool day tomorrow and Heather’s (early) birthday party Saturday! Back to your regularly scheduled programming. This bookworm is ZONKED. Over and out!

xo♥xo,

LibraryLove


 

Gearing up for Book Blogger Appreciation Week June 16, 2010

September 13-17th is National Book Blogger Appreciation Week and Year of the Bookwormz2010 is entered in the running for 2010 Best Eclectic and Best Written Book Blog!

We look to our readers, fellow book bloggers and favorite authors for suggestions and ideas. Many of our readers turn to us before loading up their library queue. What better time to appreciate your favorite book blogs than during the Book Blogger Appreciation Week coming this fall, especially if a book blog helped you discover some of your favorite reads!

We were asked to select 5 blog posts in each category that best represent our voice here at Year of the Bookwormz. This blog is not only unique in that we review ALL genres of books, but it’s jointly managed by both of us so the only way to fairly participate is to enter one category each. So thanks to our loyal fans, below are links to our most popular and/or most commented posts that we selected as entries. Thanks so much for making this blog a success and for all  your enthusiasm so far!

Entries for Best Written Category

1) Book #7: Fabookulous

2) Book #10: Fabookulous

3) Author Spotlight: Laura Bush

4) Book #17: Fabookulous

5) Book #20: Fabookulous

Entries for Most Eclectic Category

1) When World’s Collide: Sue Monk Kidd & Jenna Lamia

2) Book #26 LibraryLove

3) Book #24 LibraryLove

4) Author Spotlight: Garth Stein Author Event

5) Book #18 LibraryLove

As an added bonus, each blog entered in Book Blogger Appreciation Week is asked to select 1 work of fiction (wish we could pick 5!) as their favorite.

We selected Beth Hoffman’s best selling novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, as our 2010’s Best Fiction. Reviews of her novel here at YOTBWZ received the most blog hits and searches of all, AND she was kind enough to allow us to host a CeeCee Giveaway! Good luck Beth, we hope you win! we’ll also let you know closer to the time if voting is open to the public!

xo♥xo,

Year of the Bookwormz


 

Summertime Giveaway: FREE Garth Stein Swag Bag! ***Winner just announced*** May 26, 2010

Ok guys. Are you ready for this??

I’ve been bursting at the seams with excitement over here and can finally announce this exciting giveaway!

Thanks to Garth Stein and his publicist, Sarah at Terra Communications, I am excited to announce our first contest here at Year of the Bookwormz. One OH-SO-LUCKY winner will receive a FREE Garth Stein  ‘GoEnzo.com’  SWAG BAG (pictured below) with a stunning red Raven Stole The Moon umbrella AND autographed hardcover copy of Garth Stein’s prolific New York Times Bestseller, Art of Racing in the Rain!

How can you win this fantastic booty?
It’s SUPER EASY! Just leave a comment  and tell us:

1) Your name

2) The name of your favorite pet (past or present)

3) Something funny or cute or anything at all this pet did/does to make you smile

If you’ve never had a pet, you can still enter– use your vivid imagination and make something  up!

This contest will be open until Wednesday June 9th.

After the contest closes, a winner will be chosen using Random.Org. Please check back here to find out if you’re the lucky winner of this fantastic prize pack!

Not only is my favorite author of my favorite novel an amazing writer, speaker, and chef, but he’s extremely generous, humble and kind. If you follow this blog, you know I had the honor of meeting Mr. Stein last month at the Bethesda Writer’s Center where he made all the girls cry (ok but then he made us laugh immediately after). I look forward to supporting his future endeavors, including attending his event in September. After viewing this blog and my photos from the event, Sarah, Garth’s publicist,  approached me asking if she could use my photos in Garth’s newsletter. (No brainer!) I was honored and told her yes immediately! She then gave me the opportunity to host this giveaway.

Where would we be without technology?! Social media and Web 2.0 afford me the platform for promoting someone I believe in and support so much. Being able to reach out to our readers and give one of you the gift of this compelling novel  is a privilege. The Art of Racing in the Rain changed my life and I believe if you read it, it will change yours as well.

Good luck! Please share this with all your friends!!

xo♥xo,

LibraryLove

PS- Here’s a photo of one of my favorite pets. His name is Zumo and his strength amazes me. Zumo is our 18-month-old rescue Akita. He loves his weekly hydrotherapy rehab sessions and this photo just makes me smile every time I see it, because it’s like a circus just getting him into his “swim gear”. One afternoon, while unloading the dogs from hydrotherapy, one of the young neighborhood girls asked, “So Zumo is a rescue? He, like, jumps in pools and saves kids and stuff?” I laughed and replied, “No sweetie. We rescued him.” 🙂

 

Author Spotlight & Book Signing:: Emily Giffin :: May 20, 2010

No author’s work epitomizes summer reading like Emily Giffin (NOT Griffin)! Thanks to Fabookulous’ recommendation and a few credits from Paperbackswap.com, my girls and I devoured each of Giffin’s books last summer by the pool/beach. On the outside, the book covers are girly and bright. On the inside, these books will make you laugh, cry, and call your best friend. Giffin’s books cover all the bases- life’s challenges in personal growth, relationships,  marriage, friendships, motherhood and beyond. These books are written in such a fun and fresh way. To quote CoverGirl- they’re just easy, breezy!

In March, while on vacation visiting family and away from the computer, Fabookulous was bursting at the seams to tell me about Giffin’s tour dates hot off the press! With the date firmly inked on the calendar, we sent a “smoke signal” and organized a group of our gal pals from near and far. Tonight was the long awaited Girl’s Night Out to share in the excitement of meeting Giffin as she kicked off her 2010 summer book tour (thankfully with a stop in our town) promoting her latest release, Heart of the Matter. The girls and I HAD anxiously awaited this event since voraciously devouring all her books last summer. We’d been chomping at the bit for more. Turned out it was also the BabyMoon weekend I organized for one of my besties to come down to stay with us at “The Chateau” for a girly weekend of pampering and prenatal massage before her new baby arrives. She was able to arrive a day early and join us for GiffinFest2010!

Those of us who were able, met at a french cafe for dinner before the big event. We arrived in plenty of time to save prime seats for our other friends who were coming from farther away in traffic.

I don’t know how it happens, but I seem to make new friends everywhere I go.  I was complimenting the girl in front of us on her gorgeous blue/purple dress. We starting chatting books and she loved hearing about our blog. Turned out this was her VERY first book signing event! So Alyssa, if you’re reading this, I’m so glad to have met you and we hope to see you at the Jennifer Weiner event this summer 🙂

From the moment Emily walked into the room, she captivated us. She’s the kind of girl you want in (as I call it), in your “friend arsenal”; intelligent, friendly, hilarious, kind and thoughtful. It was such a fantastic opportunity to hear her talk openly about her process for writing Heart of the Matter as well as her other bestselling novels, balancing being a wife, and and mother of twin 6-year-old sons and a 3-year-old daughter.

My gal pals and I coordinated outfits to match the beautiful deep purple cover of Heart of the Matter. Emily was so tickled by our gesture that she had her assistant take a photo of Emily with our group especially for her blog. I cannot wait to see it! Emily, we love you and cannot wait for you to come back around!! I would say more but I have out-of-town company to attend to. I knew you folks would want a quick recap and the night was just spectacular. Thanks to my girlfriends for making it extra special. As I say, it’s always better together!

With the most wonderful time of the year a week away, that’s right folks- pool and beach season, time to pack that beach bag, pool bag or airline carry-on with your favorite summer reading. What’s at the top of your favorite summer reads? Drop us a comment anytime, I’d love to get suggestions for my summer TBR list.

Want more Giffin? The first book, Something Borrowed, is currently being made into a major motion picture!! So far, Kate Hudson (Darcy), Ginnifer Goodwin (Rachel), Colin Egglesfield (Dex) and John Krasinski (Ethan) have been cast for the film. As can be expected, we can’t wait to make a fun night of this and go as a group to see the film when it comes out 😉 In the meantime, check out Giffin’s recent blog post as she shares her experience of visiting the set of the film, and getting to meet the cast! Giffin is also working on the screenplay for Baby Proof!


Happy reading and don’t forget the sunscreen.








xo♥xo,

LibraryLove

 

Spotlight:: When Worlds Collide:: Sue Monk Kidd & Jenna Lamia:: May 18, 2010

Did you know June is National Audiobook Month? The other day, while perusing the “just added section” of my library’s iPod audiobook catalog, loading up my wish list for next month, I stumbled upon a gem: The Secret Life of Bees!! Just when it couldn’t get any better, I see under the title, read by Jenna Lamia!!!!!!!!

Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees left a lasting impression on me when I first picked it up a few years ago after a recommendation from one of my besties. I absolutely adored it; I laughed, I cried and I felt like Lily was my little sister who I wanted to just take under my wing. I wanted Lily to know she would overcome the horrible turn her young life took and comfort her. Watching the movie was just “so-so”, as I’ve found are 99.9% of movies adapted from novels. Knowing Lamia was the voice of Lily, I made a beeline and downloaded Bees immediately. Kidd’s other books have been on my TBR list for a while now. I was recently re-inspired when Traveling With Pomegranates became available from my local library, Kidd’s dual memoir with daughter Ann Kidd Taylor. Mermaid Chair is also on its way to me through Paperbackswap.com. Unfortunately, Kidd’s author event in my area falls on what seems to be THE busiest weekend of the year and I won’t be in town. If Fabookulous can make it, I will anxiously await her gushing afterward!

Jenna Lamia, my FAVORITE voice-over artist, in addition to narrating Secret Life of Bees, has cropped up in some of my other favorite audiobooks (go figure)! I just love when worlds collide and simply had to blog about it. I plan to follow her career, as Fabookulous would say, “like white on rice”! After a quick IMDB search, Lamia has also appeared in numerous films as an actress, but carved out a perfect niche in the voice-over universe. Lamia read the voice of Skeeter in Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, a book that will remain in my Top 10 best reads. In addition to narrating the entire audiobook for Bees, Lamia also narrated the audiobook for friend and YOTBWZ2010 supporter, Beth Hoffman’s debut novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Interestingly enough, I found many similarities between the three books’ main characters- Skeeter, Lily and CeeCee. If I were a college student again, I’d write a character analysis paper comparing/contrasting these three young women. I think it’d be fascinating to analyze these three books in relation to one another’s main characters. Lamia’s voice is the perfect tie to bind them and I thank the “voice over powers that be” for “casting” the audiobook just right. Lamia’s voice so perfectly springs these authors’ words from the page and into life with such feeling and intensity. Her timing is right on point.

If you’re new to the audiobook realm, I highly recommend you just give it a try and observe June’s National Audiobook Month in a few weeks. Take a listen to Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, The Help and/or Secret Life of Bees and come back here to let me know your thoughts, feelings, reactions! You will be hooked. Audiobooks make my commute, housework, and summer roadtrips much more enjoyable and are widely accessible from your local library’s digital download section or in CD format. When all else fails, head over to iTunes and download the audiobooks from there.

“Jenna Lamia brings a fresh, captivating voice to the audiobook world, and with only a few audiobooks under her belt, she has had amazing success. Her performance of THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES was a 2003 Audie Award Finalist in the prestigious category of Best Female Narrator. Director Paul Ruben shared his excitement about their work on the audiobook, saying, “Only good actors make good directors, and she’s one of them. A natural.” GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING was her first audiobook, and an Earphones Award Winner. We celebrate HOPE WAS HERE with another Earphones. She has an attentive ear for the nuances of speech patterns and regional inflections, yet makes an effort not to overprepare. “I let the characters grow and take care not to be too knowing,” she says. “I come to the story as the listener does, allowing it to unfold.” Jenna’s success is not just in audiobooks; a big break came with her 1998 performance in Ah, Wilderness on Broadway, and recently she starred in Bed Bound Off Broadway. She’s now in Los Angeles where she had a role in HBO’s Oz. Movies on the way include Audrey Tautou’s Nowhere to Go But Up. Jenna’s interest in audiobooks will likely keep open some time for narration in the coming months”.–2003 Narrator Yearbook.

Look for my review of Secret Life of Bees coming soon!

Happy reading,

Xo♥xo,

LibraryLove