Mar 28, 2009

Weekly Geeks and Cats and How to Herd Them

This week's Weekly Geeks is a revival of a theme we did last year:
1. Write a post encouraging readers to look through your archives (if you have your reviews in a particular place on your blog, point them there), and find the books that they have also written reviews. Tell them to leave a link to their review on your review post. For example, I've written a review for Gods Behaving Badly and Jane Doe leaves a link to her review of Gods Behaving Badly in the comments section of my review.

2. Edit your reviews to include those links in the body of the review post.

3. Visit other Weekly Geeks and go through their reviews. Leave links for them.

4. Leave a note somewhere on your blog to let people know this is your new policy.

5. Write a post later this week letting us know how your project is going
I'm very happy that this theme is being revived. I love finding other reviews to link to, for many reasons: because it contextualizes my opinion as one of many, because it's a way to reach out to other bloggers, because I think it's useful for readers, because it helps us remember where we first heard of a particular book, etc.

So: here is my archive. You are more than welcome to leave me your links.

And I suppose that now is a good time to bring this up: please please please don't be shy about leaving links. The reason why I'm saying this is because I can feel reluctant about it myself. I worry that I'll look like a spammer, even though rationally I know there is no reason to. But if I read your blog and have left your review out, I absolutely guarantee it wasn't on purpose. Most likely the reason is that Google Reader searches only go so far back. (Speaking of which, did you know there is a Book Blogs custom search engine?) If I don't read your blog yet, here's a chance for me to discover it.

In any case, your links will always be welcomed.

Cat herding time! I missed the fun last year because I was drowning in challenges. I'm close to reaching that point again this year, but who cares! Renay is hosting Herding Cats II: Attack of the Hairballs, and there's no way I'm going to miss it again. The rules:
1. Make a list of five books you love. Directions:
  • Five. I'm as serious as a beached whale.
  • All titles must be books you've read in 2007, 2008 or 2009.
  • Please don't list a series; just the first book. If you really want to list a book in the middle of a series, you can, but it has to be that specific book.
  • Feel free to share why you're putting the book on your list, because I am nosy.
2. Post your list:
  • in your own journal, in the comments here, whatever is fine. Share the link to the list here.
  • Lists should be public (no locked entries, no logging in to view).
3. Browse the new book list. Stay a while. Read a few (eta: if you want; not even reading is required this time around if you don't have time to commit to a new challenge but still want to share your favorites).

4. If you review your books, you can share the reviews. You know, if you want. No pressure. Definitely not.
This was hard and painful, but after twenty mental revisions at the very least, here's my final list:
  1. The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar - Sadly I read this book about a week before I started blogging in March 2007, which means that even though I've gushed about it in the comments of every blog, I don't have an actual post that concentrates all my gushing. One more reason to read it again! I love it because it's funny, it's serious, it's extremely tender and sweet in a subtle and absolutely not sappy way, it has glbtq characters, and it tells one awesome story.

  2. Nation by Terry Pratchett - Yep, I'm predictable. But there's no way I could leave it out. I don't think I've ever read a book that sumps up my way of looking at the world as well as this one. It's a book in which dreadful things happen, but it's in no way bleak. It's hopeful, it's full of wisdom and respect, and it's intelligent. The last few chapters in particular perfectly capture that feeling of awe we get when looking at the universe, a feeling that is usually associated with faith. And I know that people of faith experience it, but non-believers do too, and it can be very emotionally satisfying even without a belief in our own permanence. What I mean is, it's not all nihilism and despair. Actually, none of it is nihilism and despair. Anyway, I'll shut up now. I love this book.

  3. Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson - I love this book, and I hate the fact that I never actually wrote a proper post about it. Monkey Beach is the story of LisaMarie, a First Nations young girl living in modern day British Colombia and trying to find her place in the world. It deals with the conflict between her traditional culture and the modern world, but it's also a very personal story about growing up and dealing with grief and loss. It's an amazing book and it deserves more attention.

  4. The Watermelon King by Daniel Wallace - If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might have heard me go on about this book before. But I actually haven't done it in some time, so here it goes again: This book is about a fictional small town (Ashland, Alabama) and a strange ritual involving watermelons. And it's about Thomas Rider, who returns to the place where he was born so he can unveil his past. Just recently I came across something (and sadly I can no longer remember what it was) that made me realize that the plot of this book actually mirrors a well-known fairy tale. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you which one or exactly how without major spoilers. I'm not completely sure if that's what Daniel Wallace was going for, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was. He is that awesome. I still remember reading Big Fish again and realizing how some of the scene mirrored the twelve labours of Hercules and gaining even more respect for him. Also, the writing. Oh, the writing.

  5. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan - I also couldn't leave this one out. I just couldn't. It's only been a month and I already want to read it again. And again. It's so tender, so perceptive, so wise. But as in this case my unabridged gushing is quite recent, I'll leave it at that.
There! I still haven't decided what I'll read from the master list, but two I really want to include are The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchet. We'll see about the rest.

Still on cats: Maree is hosting a Catch Up on Challenges Mini-Challenge in April. As this post clearly evidences, I could use some catching up. The goal is to read 4 books for different challenges you joined. And there's a cat in the button! Who can resist that?


  1. I am practically rolling on the floor here...your list!!! Looks like I better get to the bookstore. Because there's ONE on there that you haven't already caused me to go buy! Seriously, you are responsible for my shelves containing all but The Watermelon King. Don't worry, I'll rectify that soon. :) And then maybe I should actually get them read, huh?

    I loved what you said about worrying about leaving links out and all that. I hate it, because I KNOW I'm always missing plenty of them. And it's not a conscious decision...I NEVER purposely leave anyone's out...I just don't know how to find them.

    And looks like that's a mini-challenge I need to join...though actually "catching up" is an impossibility, it won't hurt to try.

  2. Oh, and I meant to tell you that I finally finished Maurice (had a couple days where I just couldn't get much reading in at all). Oh Ana, it is such a wonderful book. I'm at a loss how to even talk about it. I just couldn't get over all the important things it had to say. Thank you so much for encouraging me to read it!

  3. I've got this link policy on my blog, but I don't think anyone has combed through my archives (or index) in a while. Anyway, I'm going through yours now!

  4. Thanks for posting your book review list. I have linked some of mine to yours - American Gods, Wintersmith and Inkheart. I am terrible at this, not intentionally, just lack of time to search other people's blogs. You have read some fabulous books which I found myself adding to my list. Thanks again Nymeth.

  5. Of course I'm putting Tender Morsels on my list. Now I have to go sign up for the Catch up on Challenges Mini-challenge.

  6. Thanks for plugging the Book Blogs search - always appreciated! The more people that go to check it out and send me sites I've missed, the more useful it'll be - and I KNOW you've got tons of readers whose sites I haven't run across yet!

  7. I'm putting Tender Morsels and Nation on my list for the Herding Cats challenge :)

  8. Nymeth-I am adding three titles to my Herding Cats List from your book list. I believe you will love the Chiang book.

    I'm working on my WG post but realized, looking at my posts, that I'm still not confident about reviewing books. I'm hoping that this week's WG will get me more organized and inspired.

  9. I would love to join this week's WG too, and I do try to link to others, although it depends when I'm in the mood to search, lol, but I don't have an archive list of reviews yet, they're just on my sidebar. And also, I haven't done a lot, as I just began blogging. So maybe next time.

    And I'm tempted to join that herding cats challenge.. I'll think about it today. Haha.

  10. Alright then, I will leave my links. :) I love it when people leave me links as well. Here are a few links for you from me.

    Anne Bishop - I actually have quite a few for Anne Bishop, I did each of her novels out, so this is a category link for her.

    Enders Game by O.S. Card

    And I did find some reviews to books I'm currently reading, so I'll be adding links to: Zel (DJ Napoli), Beauty (R McKinley) and Starfinder (J Marco).

  11. I love this year's rules for Renay's challenge! "read a few" :P no pressure whatsoever. I think I'll join:)

  12. I have to confess that I gave up linking to other people's reviews because it was just so time consuming. Maybe one day I'll bring it back.

  13. I am thinking I am going to join this challenge this year. I have to think about my list, though! I have Nation and Tender Morsels on my TBR pile already. The other three the library does not have. That drives me crazy because I have wanted to read The Good Fairies of New York forever! And, how could the library not have any books by Daniel Wallace! That's quite the lapse, I think.

  14. Um, I didn't know there was a Book Blog specific search ... and (even worse!) I never thought about searching Google Reader archives. I thought that once it was out of the GR it was gone unless I went to the blog directly.

    Yikes! Thanks for teaching me a few things today :)

  15. I linked your review to my Tender Morsels review. I have to check the rest of your archive. There is so much there!

    Don't forget Lanagan's White Time.

    Have your read Theodora Goss?
    I think you'd like her.

  16. I love love love your list for Herding Cats!!! I'm going to be reading Tender Morsels soon :D Can't wait! And I love the title of this post :p

  17. You never look like a spammer Nymeth

  18. Thanks for the search engine link, I will make good use of that, I'm sure :-)

    And in case you didn't see on Twitter, your bookmarks arrived while we were on vacation... They're gorgeous, thank you again!!!

  19. I just added your entire list of books to my TBR list...they all sounded so good :) And this is a challenge I really want to join and I am close to drowning in the challenges myself. One more couldn't hurt though, right?

  20. Wow - what a list. Out of the whole list, we have two in common - Wicked and the Graveyard book. So many of your books look good though. I'll put you in my reader so I don't forget to check whenever I review something. Right now, not necessary to link to mine. I think I'm going to start doing this from today, otherwise I'll be going crazy. :)

    This is such a neat idea. I love it. My post is up now.

  21. That's quite a list of titles you've reviewed. I didn't find any reviews in common but I counted almost thirty that I have read because you read such a wide variety of books. I review literary fiction and only a small number of those I read. I read so many of your reviews I will never get this link assignment done but what a good time I had. I will have to come back a few times to add comments. I'm thrilled to find someone who's also read Elegy for Iris,The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, the Father Brown Stories, Obasan, To Be a Slave, and If This is a Man. And I am now adding Monkey Beach to my Herding Cats list. Thank you.

  22. I am a dope. I did find two book reviews that we have in common and left links on the respective posts of The Book Thief and Memories of My Melancholy Whores. That last one is some title, what?

  23. I love to read and sometimes even comment on a review link someone has left on my posts! That's why I have that: "If you have a book review on one of the books I do a post on, I would love for you to leave a link in the comments to it! No matter how old, " at the top of the page.

  24. I haven't joined WG yet (I know, what am I waiting for, right?). This seems like a really good policy though. I haven't had anyone link to a review to any of mine yet (maybe you should start me off? :D ) but I love giving readers a chance to see someone else's thoughts on the book I've read.

    Thank you for the search engine link by the way!

  25. I loved The Good Fairies of New York! It was funny and something different and refreshing about fairies. LOL. Love your list!

  26. I'm really going to have to read Nation aren't I?!

  27. Debi: I feel all accomplished that I convinced you to give all those books a try :D I seriously think you'll enjoy them. The Search Engine is a fantastic way of finding review links! It's impossible to find them all, of course, but it's a big help. And I can't tell you how happy I was that you enjoyed Maurice so much :D

    Jeane, thank you for leaving me your links!

    Scrap Girl: It can take a while, that's true. Thanks for the links you left me! Added them all.

    Vasilly, can't wait to hear your thoughts.

    Fyrefly: It deserves plugging! I hope lots of people send you their links.

    Becky: yay!

    Gavin: I bet I'll be reading some from your list too :) And I'm so glad you ended up joining this WG task after all. Thank you for recommending Theodora Goss, btw!

    Claire: Even if you don't join this week you can start doing it anytime. If I remember correctly, it was actually last year's task that inspired me to make an index! And now I'm an organization freak :P

    Jackie, thanks! Added. I enjoyed those three books; hope you do too!

    Valentina: I hope you do! I'd love to see you list.

    Literary Feline: I totally can be quite a time suck!

    Kailana: You HAVE to read those two! The whole world does :P And yes, quite the lapse indeed!

    Dawn: You're welcome! Google Reader does let you access past posts, but not all of time, I don't think. It only goes so far back.

  28. Chris: Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it :D

    Karrie: I tend to worry too much..paranoia is my middle name :P

    Melissa: Glad to know you like them :D

    Sam: Exactly! What's one more? :P

    Robin, I added them anyway :) Thanks for adding me to your reader! Last year when I did the task I decided to only do it for future books at the time. Then slowly, over an year, I went through my archives and added the old ones.

    Sandra: Thank you for leaving me your links! And yes, that's some title indeed. I hope you enjoy Monkey Beach :)

    Tink: Me too! When I finish a book, I love reading other people's thoughts on it. That's a great idea to have that at the top of the page.

    Lena: One thing I forgot to say and really should have included is that the link exchanges are not just open to WG participants...anyone is more than welcome to join in at any time!

    Alice: It really was refreshing!

    Mariel: way out :P

  29. I never seem to have the time to go back and look through someone's archives to find reviews of books I've also reviewed. But I do love it when people give me their links because, like you said, even when I search Google Reader, it invariably misses some.

    I have to put together my list yet, but I'm probably going to join the Herding Cats Challenge again this year. Such a fun idea! The catch-up mini-challenge sounds like a good idea too.

    @saveophelia - I linked to your review of The Artist of the Floating World on my review last month. :)

  30. Nymeth, I still haven't read The Watermelon King you sent me! My bad!!! I'm drowning in my own sea of books, and it's not even funny! :P

    And I knew you'll list Tender Morsels while reading the first few lines of your tl;dr list! ;)

  31. I definiltey want to read Tender Morsels and I am looking forward to The Good Fairies. I am giving this challenge a miss for now as I just have so many on the go at the moment.

  32. I'm so glad someone else is doing the google custom search! I made one up a few months ago but it wasn't working for me and I don't have time to do it, really at all!

  33. tanabata: Google Reader really is tricky like that. I know some are always left out, and I worry that people might think I left their review out because I didn't like it. I worry too much :P I hope you join Herding Cats - would love to see your list!

    Melody: We're absolutely even, because I haven't read From Black Rooms either. Books versus time: the eternal battle :P And lol, you're all starting to know me too well :P

    Rhinoa: If you don't get to Tender Morsels this year, you can be sure it'll be on our next challenge list :P

    Rebecca Reid: It was awesome of you do start doing it anyway! It's such a great idea.

  34. I am so bad about linking reviews and I need to get much better at it because I do like to do it. I always have the best intentions and then I forget. I'll have to pay better attention and start especially with the blogs I read consistently.

  35. I added a bunch of comments under different reviews - I just wanted to add that I added your reviews to my blog also! Thanks!

  36. Hi Nymeth,

    I just added links for Night and Rebecca. I love your reviews!

  37. I try to remember to add links at the end of my posts because I think it is a great idea also. I have to admit that often I forget--or if the book is SO popular I skip the exercise. I need to be better about it, though.

    Thanks for including the link to Fyrefly's google search. 660 book blogs?? I had NO idea!!

  38. Dar: I used to forget half the time when I first started doing it, but now I got into the habit and am much better at remembering.

    Kristi, I added them all. Thank you!

    Dreamybee: Thank you so much! I added them.

    Trish: Yeah, it can feel daunting for books EVERYONE has read, like The Book Thief or The Thirteenth Tale :P wow, 660 is a lot, isn't it? The book blogging world keeps growing and growing.

  39. I've just updated all the reviews we share to include your links, I think the only one I was missing was The Graveyard Book. After looking through your master review list I can now see why my TBR pile is so full ;)


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.