You’re Invited to the Utah Book Bloggers Winter Social!

Utah Book BloggersIf you are a book blogger, author, aspiring author, bookseller, or publishing industry professional, you’re invited to attend our Utah Book Blogger winter social on Saturday, March 5th at 6pm held in the  banquet room at the Golden Corral at 655 East 7200 South in Midvale (map)

The cost is $9.88 per person plus drinks and tip.   Be so kind as to RSVP with the number of adults attending so we can have an idea of who and how many to expect.  You may RSVP by emailing utahbookbloggers (at) gmail (dot) com.

We will also be holding a book swap as well, so bring a used or loved book to exchange.

And please do spread the word! Blog and tweet about it so others don’t miss out on the news.  The best place to keep updated though is by checking in with the Utah Book Bloggers group.

Let myself, Suey, or Becky (also on Twitter as @mawbooks, @sueysays and (@mjmbecky) know if you have any questions.  We are really looking forward to hosting this event for Utah Book Bloggers and our local authors.  Our socials in the past have been awesome and this dinner will be no exception!

Want to know who all of your Utah book bloggers are? Check out our shared RSS feedUtah Book Community Twitter list, and the Utah Book Bloggers group.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Book Cover: Lonesome DoveWell, would you look at that? It’s a post! And not just any post but a book review post! It’s time to brush off the old keyboard and see  if I can still call myself a reviewer!

Whenever somebody that I know offline would ask me what my favorite read of 2010 was (surprisingly a question I hear more offline than online), I without any hesitation or doubt would say Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.  “Really?” and a blank stare is what I would almost always get back. People, this book was AMAZING.  Every 945 pages of it. When it ended, I wished there was another 945 pages. I was not ready to let these characters go!  Lonesome Dove has deservedly been called epic. But what makes a book epic?  I think it’s just one of those things that you know it when you read it. And oh, was this book epic.

Larry McMurtry is a master storyteller.  I was a tad daunted opening that very first page and I do admit that even 200 pages into the book I wondered if anything was ever going to happen.  And even though it was off to a slow start, I wouldn’t wish it any other way. The background characterization that McMurtry gives his essential to the story.

The inside cover of my copy of the book lists the key characters with a short description of each. I loved the summary it gave so am taking the liberty of copying it here for  you.

Augustus McCrae: ex-Texas  Ranger. A fierce fighter, loyal friend, gentle lover, a boisterous spinner of colorful yarns. Gus years for adventure, and is drawn into Woodrow Call’s dream – a cattle drive to Montana, to the free and wild frontier . . .
Woodrow F. Call: Gus’s partner and friend, a driven, demanding man, a leader with no patience for weakness – and a secret sorrow of his own . . .

Jake Spoon: dashing gambler, former comrade-in-arms of Gus and Call, his passions plunge him into a terrifying fate . . .

Clara Allen: the woman of Gus’s young dreams. Out of the frontier’s cruelty and death, she forgers a life as generous, brave and unyielding as the land she learns to love . . .

Blue Duck: a renegade Indian with cunning heart of a vulture. He tortures and ills across the Plains, and savors his victim’s agony . . .

Newt: the brave, bewildered young cowboy who discovers his manhood, and his past, on the hazardous journey into Montana . . .

The Hat Creek Outfit: Jake, Deets, Pea Eye and the Boys . . .  wranglers, tracers and scouts, they follow Gus and Call into the heart of the adventure, through sandstorms, stampedes, bandits, floods and snow . . . living on in the undying legends of the great American frontier.

If you don’t know who these characters are from having read Lonesome Dove yourself, I dare you to love them.  I dare you to hate them.

I picked up this book in every spare moment of my day when I was reading it. And when I wasn’t reading it, I wanted to be reading it. I thought about it constantly.  I know I haven’t gone into all the intricacies of why Lonesome Dove is so amazing but let me tell you simply-  the characters! the story! the love! the friendships! the fighting! the determination! the devotion! the heroes! the outlaws! the whores! the Indians! the frontier! the forging ahead! the friendships again!  And it’s also laugh out loud funny with some great one-liners and some beautiful passages.  Definitely need those lighthearted and thoughtful moments between the gun slinging, the scalping, and the hangings.

Yes, my favorite book of 2010 was unabashedly a Western.  A genre I didn’t really think I read.  But did I tell you I loved this book?  Oh, how I loved Lonesome Dove. Officially one of my most favorite books.  Ever. Do you need more recommendation then that?

(I remember when the mini-series came on TV when I was little and we all watched it together as a family. MUST re-watch it now! )

Links of interest: More book  blogger reviews.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Western
Publisher: Pocket Books. 1985.
Paperback, 945 pages. ISBN 067168390X
Lonesome Dove is available from your favorite independent bookstore, Powell’s, and Amazon.

2010 Cybils Awards Winners!

cybils 2010 large

The 2010 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards, or better known as the Cybils, were announced today!

Check out the winners across nine different categories!

You may recall that I served as a first round panelist on the Fiction Picture Book category and was eager to find out which book from the shortlist the second round judges picked for the win.  (Yes. I sat at my computer waiting for the strike of midnight refreshing the page every few seconds.)  Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein!

Interrupting Chicken

I was also heartened to see one of my initial nominations, Yummy by G. Neri and illustrated by Randy duBurke, take the win in the Young Adult Graphic Novel category.   What an amazing book.

Split by Swati Avasthi won the Young Adult Fiction category and I must agree that it’s particularly deserving.

Now off to add the rest of the Cybils winners to my TBR list!  Do check the award winners as well as the amazing finalists.  I’m partial to the Fiction Picture Book Finalists! I never posted anything here on the blog when the Caldecott Awards were announced.  But I was beyond ecstatic with the A Sick Day for Amos McGee win.  Love, love, love.

I know how difficult it is to pick winners in an awards selection like this and so a huge shout out to the Cybils organizers, panelists and judges.  Job well done!

What do you think of the winners?  Any surprises for you?

Bloggiesta – The Finish Line & Survey

Bloggiesta Finish Line

You made it! Bloggiesta is coming to a close and you made it to the end!  We officially had over 250 bloggers join the fiesta.  Improvements, new skills and incredible changes were taking place.

A shout out to the incredible ladies who hosted mini-challenges: Amy from My Friend Amy (@myfriendamy), Tasha from Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Books (@heidenkind), Jen from Devourer of Books (@DevourerofBooks), Jenn from Jenn’s Bookshelf (@jennsbookshelf), Callista at SMS Book Reviews (@callista83), Trish at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? (@trishheylady), Hannah at WordLily (@Wordlily), and Jennifer at Teach Mentor Texts (@mentortexts).  And thanks to Danielle from There’s a Book (@the1stdaughter) who helped me input names into the shared RSS feed and to those who hosted the flashback mini-challenges from years past.

Watch my blog in the next couple of days for prize winners.  If you posted a finish line wrap up post, feel free to link it up here on the Mr.Linky.  A post isn’t required this year but I know some of you would still like the Mr. Linky to go blog hopping. Which I highly encourage – the blog hopping that is.

New this year is an end-of-event survey which I would like to ask you to take the time to fill out.  In Bloggiesta’s of the past, I have not conducted a survey before.  This year?  This year I am craving your input, your thoughts, and general demographics.  So have at it!

And when is the next Bloggiesta?  I’m thinking June, so stay tuned for details!

Note: There is a survey embedded in this blog post. You may also complete it with this direct link.

Ole!  Now that we have all had a fantastic fiesta, Pedro is off for a siesta!

Bloggiesta Prize List

Bloggiesta: PedroI would like to give a heartfelt thank you to the following publishers who sponsored Bloggiesta with the following books up for grabs.  Publishers have embraced bloggers and for that we are grateful.  I was out of town for three weeks and really put Bloggiesta together in the two days before it began.  So I’m particularly grateful for these publishers looking past my short-notice emails and donating to our great fiesta!

Harper Perennial

SEPARATE KINGDOMS by Valerie Laken Short stories, 5 Advance Reading Copies, US & Canada shipping

Lee & Low Books

YUMMY by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke- 1 copy, signed by author, US shipping

YASMIN’S HAMMER by Ann Malaspina, Illustrated by Doug Chayka – 3 copies, US shipping

AMAZING FACES by by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Illustrated by Chris Soentpiet- 3 copies, US shipping

Walden Media

GUYS READ: FUNNY BUSINESS ed. by Jon Scieszka – 3 hardcover copies, US  Shipping

THE BILLIONAIRE’S CURSE by Richard Newsome – 5 hardcover copies, US  Shipping

THE FOURTH STALL by Chris Rylander – 3 hardcover copies, US  Shipping

COSMIC by Frank Cottrell Boyce – 1 hardcover copy,  US  Shipping

JUNIPER BERRY by MP Kozlowsky – 1 ARC, US  Shipping

Maw Books

In addition to the above books, I will also be throwing in three $15 gift certificates to the store of your choice (or to a book of your choice from Book Depository) to our international participants or those who may have their interests elsewhere.

Jenn at Jenn’s Bookshelf

Jenn has also generously offered any book up to a $20 value from Book Depository shipped to any of our international participants as well. Thanks Jenn!

After Bloggiesta is complete, I’ll randomly pick winners from the Mr. Linky at the start line as well as from those who participated in the mini-challenges (one from each current mini-challenge and then one combined from the flashback mini-challenges.   I don’t know if that makes sense to you but it does to me).

Many of you are already wrapping up your festivities. I’m flying by the seat of my pants this weekend, so as soon as I actually complete making the end-of-event survey, I’ll get it posted.

Carry on! Ole!