Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Best Keep Secrets for Book Lovers: NetGalley

Book lovers/reviewers/bloggers like me are eternally questing to get their hands on ARCs (advanced reader copies) of up-and-coming literature.  Nothing beats the thrill of holding a pre-release novel and getting a chance to whip up one of its first ever reviews.  Memes like "Mailbox Monday" (started by Marcia of A Girl and Her Books) have sprung up to celebrate the arrival of new ARCs via snail mail, posts which I follow with equal amounts excitement and envy. 

As a new book blogger, it can be difficult to get recognized by publishing companies as "worth the investment." Without a good number of references and online clout, it's easy to get ignored by the bigger houses as they seek new reviewers.  However, a new website has started changing all of these things and oh my stars I am in love...

Welcome, readers, to NetGalley, an online hub of pre-released books from every genre.  (Yes!  Even poetry! Hooray!)  As described by the website:  "NetGalley delivers secure, digital galleys to professional readers. If you are a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, you can use NetGalley for FREE to read and request titles before they are published." 

NetGalley makes thousands of electronic ARCs available to book bloggers and book reviewers for free.  A quick account creation instantly hooked me up with hundreds of publishers, allowed me to search galleys by publication date and genre, and then send a request directly to the publisher to receive access to the eARC.  As many thrilled authors and publishers have pointed out, less good books slip through the cracks when more interested reviewers get access right off the bat.  New authors can instantly reach out to book bloggers interested in their subject matter, and resultantly these books are exponentially more likely to find their audience.  And everything is easily downloadable to computers and e-readers.  (Getting galleys onto my iPad is a total snap.)

Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore. [[via]]
In truth, I have become something of a NetGalley addict.  Almost all of my "requests to view" have been approved, and so my iPad is constantly filled with a glorious stash of juicy new reads.  After reviewing a galley on the blog, I notify the publisher that sent me the ARC and they can use my blog as a media reference to bolster the book's release.  Really, everyone wins here.  The only problem is that I can't... stop... reading.  Ever. Social life, I bid you farewell.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I Got the Literary Blues (And They're Awesome)

Taking a look at my 2012 "read" shelf on GoodReads, I noticed something for the first time... I've got a serious case of the blues.

Four of the books on this list got a "5/5" rating from me... which is almost unheard of. 

Is reading only books of a certain color some type of epic reading challenge? If so, I think I'm winning...

What are you reading right now? What's next on your list?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Creations from the Stude: Red and Black Tote

In the true spirit of hibernation, I have been reading like crazy and sewing and generally enjoying staying holed up in my apartment, aka The Stude. I've got a bunch of new reviews to post this week, but in the mean time...

Here is my latest creation, the gigantic red and black book tote. This was meant to be a test run / mock-up for when I bust out the fancy-pants fabric, but it turned out so well that I'm going to put it in my bag rotation.

My first attempt at pleating.  Still kind of shocked it worked.

Red-lined inside with pocket.