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Posts from the ‘Book events’ Category

Group Read: Infinite Jest


Never read Infinite Jest? A few of us over at Litsy will be doing a buddy read of Infinite Jest starting Feb 1. What does this mean exactly? We’ll be me making our way through the book very slowly (about 55-70 pages each week) and along the way we’ll be discussing the book, posting quotes and photos, and providing encouragement to each other.

Unfortunately, you have to have Litsy (available as an app for iPhone and Android) to participate but it’s free and addicting once you get the hang of it. The photo above has a rough guideline for what we will be reading each week. Come join us.  To join in, find me over at Litsy (I’m JenP) and you’ll see the posts I’ve made about it. Then you’ll just use the hashtag #InfiniteJestBuddyRead to participate in the discussion.

Hope to see you over there. We will start reading Feb 1, but over the next few days I’ll be posting some tips on how to get started and some questions to get us warmed up.

Literary Inspired Candles


Looking for some good gift ideas for the book lover in your life? We may have the answer. I’ve been working hard on developing a new line of soy candles inspired by literary works. Each candle is handmade with all-natural soy wax, and inspired by a book that I have personally read. When possible, I’ll try to add bookish candles based on novels that we’ve featured on the blog.

You can purchase these candles on my Etsy store: Off the Page Boutique.

Why this new endeavor? First, I personally love candles. Plus, unlike standard candles, soy wax candles are clean burning with no toxins or carcinogens that are found in paraffin candles. They also are longer lasting (burning 30-50% longer than standard candles) and help support local farmers. While there are a variety of literary candles out on the market, very few are inspired by classic literature and children’s books.

Second, I wanted to help raise a little money to give better prizes out on our blog. We host several reading challenges throughout the year and I’d like to avoid having to pay for prizes out of my own pocket. Selling these candles on Etsy will help me raise money for the blog so we can up our game on prizes.

So I hope you check all check it out my store and maybe even buy a candle. Unfortunately we are currently only selling in the U.S. and Canada but may expand to international shipping if there is enough demand. We have 5 different candles currently listed including a chocolate fudge candle inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a Lemon Pound cake one inspired by Alice in Wonderland, a Christmas Hearth one inspired by A Christmas Carol, an English Garden candle inspired by The Secret Garden, and a Midnight Spice (citrus with indian herbs) inspired by Midnight’s Children.

Future bookish candles will be arriving soon and include the following books as inspiration:
Memoirs of a Geisha – Bamboo, lemongrass, and green tea
Sense and sensibilities by Austen – Lavender & vanilla
Winter by Marissa Meyer – Apples and Maple Bourbon
To Kill a Mockingbird – Caramelized pralines
Brief History of Seven Killings – Caribbean Teakwood
The Sellout – Cinnamon buns & coffee
A Fine Balance – Cinnamon chai
Anna Karenina – love spell (apple, lilac, & musk)
James and the Giant Peach – peach nectar
Anne of Green Gables – Meadow (cut grass and floral)
Cider House Rules – Mulled cider and chestnuts

Which books would you like to see adapted into candles? You can visit our store here: Off the Page Boutique

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon

This saturday October 22nd is Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon and I’m are excited! We’ll even be hosting a mini-challenge here on the blog during hour 9 of the readathon. This is my second readathon and I’ve been  spending the last few weeks preparing. Book Worm unfortunately has family plans so won’t be participating this year but hopes to join in next time.

Last time I did a poor job of preparing. I didn’t make any plans to get private reading time and my 5-year old wasn’t too excited about giving me sustained reading time. I also didn’t make any kind of reading list and ended up picking House of Leaves as my first book (a poor choice). This time around I’ve planned ahead. My husband and daughter have plans most of the day outside of the house and I’ve prepped a stack of books with enough variety to keep things interesting. Here’s my current readathon stack…


What do you think? Any  suggestions for books I should add or books I should remove?

I hope that many of you join me this saturday because it’s a lot of fun to see familiar faces and check in with people. For me the reading is fun but the social interaction with other readers is probably my favorite part. I’ll be posting most of my updates on Twitter and Instagram rather than this blog. As I mentioned above, we’ll also be hosting a mini challenge in hour 9 (4pm EDT) and we hope you stop by for the chance to win a cool prize. I’ll also be co-moderating two hours (4-5pm EDT) over at goodreads and I’d love to hear from you over there too.

There’s still time to sign up and I highly recommend it. There are mini-challenges every hour, prizes, social interaction, book discussions, and so much more. You can sign up and read more about it here.

We want to hear from you! Will you be participating on saturday? Which books do you want to read? What are your readathon goals?

Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize for Literature


Singer songwriter, Bob Dylan was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature. The Swedish Academy stated that Dylan won the prize for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Dylan is the first American to win the prize since 1993 when it went to novelist Toni Morrison.

While the prize has gone to a range of stylistically diverse writers, the announcement was a surprise to many in the literary community since Dylan’s work doesn’t fit traditional literary canons generally recognized by the award. Past winners include Svetlana Alexievich (2015), Patrick Modiano (2014), Alice Munro (2013), Mo Yan (2012), Tomas Transtromer (2011), Mario Vargas Llosa (2010), Herta Muller (2009), Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio (2008), Doris Lessing (2007), and Orhan Pamuk (2006).

I do love Dylan and think he’s a brilliant songwriter, but I can’t deny that I was surprised by the decision. I’m not entirely convinced that Dylan’s body of work can compare to the likes of some of the favored names who were mentioned as candidates this year — authors like Don DeLillo, Murakami, Ngugi wa, Ismail Kadare, or Javier Marias. Dylan is the first songwriter to be awarded the Nobel Prize. However, it’s an interesting decision and one that will likely lead to some interesting discussion about what constitutes literature. Many congratulations to Mr. Dylan.

Dylan is trending on twitter. Here are a few reactions:

What do you think? Does Dylan deserve to win? Why or why not?

National Book Award for Fiction Nominees

‘Tis the season for literary awards. Earlier this week The Man Booker judges released their shortlist while the National Book Foundation released their nominees for poetry, nonfiction, and young peoples literature. Today they released their nominees for fiction. Interestingly, there is surprisingly little overlap between the awards (Bailey’s prize, Man Booker, and National Book Awards) proving once again that judging books is completely subjective. Here is the list of fiction nominees for the National Book Awards. Read more

Read Different Challenge & LGBT Pride Month

diverse books

Last month we decided to join in with the Hachette’s Read Different campaign and we invited you to join us in an informal reading challenge to expand your reading horizons. The month of June happens to be LGBT pride month so what better time to highlight some of the great books by LGBT authors or with LGBT characters? Read more

Do we still need a Women’s Prize?


A few days ago we announced the winner of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for fiction. The Bailey’s Women’s Prize was started in 1992 when a group of people within the literary community came together to discuss, and try to remedy, the incredible underrepresentation of women nominated for major literary awards. Since then, there continues to be much dialogue on the underrepresentation of women in the publishing world, but some women authors have also spoken out about the concept of a Women’s Prize.

In 1990 A.S. Byatt denounced the prize as “sexist” and “unneeded.” She claimed that “You couldn’t found a prize for male writers. The Orange prize assumes there is a feminine subject matter – which I don’t believe in. It’s honourable to believe that – there are fine critics and writers who do – but I don’t.” But what Byatt failed to account for was fact that for many years, all the major literary awards were essentially prizes for men since women were consistently being underrepresented in all these awards.

Thankfully, we seem to be making some progress in this area with women starting to be seen more frequently in major literary longlists. The question is do we still need a women’s prize today? We took a look at the last 5 years of Man Booker Awards and here is what we found. Read more

Bailey’s Prize 2016: Our Predictions

In two days the winner of the 2016 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction will be announced. The prize was founded in 1996 after a group of journalists, reviewers, publishers, librarians, and agents came together to discuss the appalling lack of women authors making it on to the major literary prize lists. Out of this effort, the Women’s Prize was born to bring recognition to the talented women authors who were being overlooked by traditional prizes.

The long list was announced in March and we wrote a post about it that you can read here. In April, the shortlist was announced. The 6 books on the shortlist are: Ruby, A Little Life, The Green Road, The Improbability of Love, The Portable Verblen, and The Glorious Heresies. Book Worm read all 6 nominees and I read half of them. Here are our predictions for the winner.
Read more

Book Expo America Update


Many of you know that I’m away at BEA this week. This year the expo is in Chicago so I flew out here on tuesday and since I’m too tired to socialize tonight (gathering books is surprisingly exhausting), I thought I’d write an update. Read more

2016 Bailey’s Prize Longlist

This morning the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist was announced. The Bailey’s Women’s Prize is one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary prizes. It is annually awarded to a female author for the best original novel written in English and published in the U.K. in the preceding year. The award in 1992 began after a group of journalists, reviewers, agents, publishers, and booksellers realized that the 1991 Booker Prize shortlist did not include any female writers despite the availability of talented women writers. By 1992 only 10 percent of novelists shortslisted for the Booker Prize were women despite the ratio of books published by men to women being 60/40. The Bailey’s Women’s prize was a way of bring “outstanding writers to the attention of readers.”

Previous 10 winners:

2015: Ali Smith for How to be Both
2014: Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing
2013: A.M. Homes for May we be Forgiven
2012: Madeline Miller for The Song of Achilles
2011: Téa Obreht for The Tiger’s Wife
2010: Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna
2009: Marilynne Robinson for Home
2008: Rose Tremain for The Road Home
2007: Chimamanda Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun
2006: Zadie Smith for On Beauty

Find out who made the first cut for this year’s prize. Read more