Monday, September 13, 2010

My Blogiversary and a Giveaway!

Exactly one year ago today, I posted my first blog entry.  Though I haven't read or posted nearly as much as I wanted, I'm pretty pleased with the results so far.  I've read some great books and added LOTS to my to-read list, and I've also discovered lots of other great bloggers.

Just for fun, I thought I'd look back over the past year and compile a few stats about some of the books I reviewed (sadly, I haven't reviewed every single book I've read.  That would leave less time for reading).  Anyway:

Blog entries: 93
Books reviewed: 74

Classic books:  30
Contemporary fiction: 18
Nonfiction/Memoirs: 4
Juvenile books: 9
Young adult books: 4
Short story collections: 5
Horror/SciFi/Fantasy: 4
Gothic/Mystery/Crime: 10
Plays: 1
Books in translation: 7
Books by nonwhite writers: 4
Books by men: 33
Books by women: 37

Note: these stats don't always add up evenly because books may fall under two categories or have multiple authors, i.e., short story collections.  Anyway, I thought it was quite interesting -- my split between male and female authors was pretty even.  I'm definitely going to try and read more world lit and books in translation, and books by nonwhite authors.  Of course, since I'm trying to read lots of classics, most of the authors are dead white males.  But I suppose that can't be helped.

I've had a lot of fun writing this blog, and discovered some great authors.  This week I'll be posting more thoughts using topics from Book Blogger Appreciation Week, which I'll start tomorrow.  In honor of my one-year blogiversary, and in honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I'm giving away a book!   Since this blog is all about sharing my favorite books, I'm giving away a paperback copy of one of my favorite books reviewed in the past year.  If you'd like to be entered in the drawing, please choose a book from the list below and leave a comment.  Tell me what you liked about the review or why the book interests you. Each title has links to my original review for your reading pleasure. The drawing ends Friday at 3 p.m, Central Standard Time. All eligible applicants will be entered into a drawing, and the winner will be chosen at random.  One entry per person, and be  sure and leave your email address so I can contact you! The paperback book (I'll select the edition) will be mailed worldwide from The Book Depository.  Here are your choices, in no particular order:

NOTE:  The book giveaway is now over.  Thanks for all the entries and comments!

1.  Daddy Long-Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster (Penguin Classics edition).  Charming epistolary fiction, and an unappreciated classic.  The book that inspired this blog.

2.  Bleak House by Charles Dickens.  It's long, it's complicated, there are far too many unbelievable coincidences -- it's Dickens!!  What's not to like?

3.  Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.  A joy and a delight, and my first Persephone Classic.

4.  Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.  A twisty-turny Dickensian page turner.  Wowza.  I've never read a 500-page book so quickly.

5.  My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.  A delightful true story of a quirky family of British expats living in Greece, told from the point of view of the youngest child.

6.  A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot.  A French bestseller about the horrors of WWI and a disabled woman's search for her missing fiance.  Brilliant, and beautifully adapted into film.  So worth reading.

7. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham.  Kitty Fane is the bored wife of bacteriologist Walter Fane, who decides to take his adulterous wife to a remote village in China during a cholera outbreak in the 1920s.  Sound promising? Well, it's Maugham, so it's tragic, but fascinating.  Kitty is one of my favorite trainwreck heroines.

8.  Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories.  Particularly appropriate this time of year, especially for those signed up for the RIP Challenge.

9.  The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin. A great food memoir -- with recipes.

10.  The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola.  A French classic AND great food writing!

11.  When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.  The 2009 Newbery Award winner.  I couldn't put it down, and it made me bawl like a little kid.  I loved it.

12.  Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome.  Imagine if Bertie Wooster and his two equally clueless friends went on a pleasure trip down the Thames, but instead of Jeeves they brought a fox terrier.  Lots of digressions and silly observations about life.  It's hilarious, and it never ceases to amaze me that this book was written 100 years ago.  One of the funniest things I've ever read.


  1. I have heard great things about Fingersmith! That would be my pick. :)

    Happy Blogiversary! I was stopping by because Amanda (Zen Leaf)mentions your blog this morning and I had to come and see. So many great looking reads here!

  2. Yay! I'm glad you put this post up today, Karen! I so loved introducing your blog during BBAW last year. :) And I'm so glad you started blogging. It's so much fun to know a blogger in real life and to get to hang out.

    I'm going to enter the contest for Three Men in a Boat!

    Are you hooking this post up to the BBAW giveaway blog?

    Happy Bloversary!!

  3. Happy Blogoverary! Your blog is one of my favorites!
    I would love a chance to win Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. I've heard so many positive things about it,and I want to read the book before I see the movie.

  4. Happy Blogiversary!

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog and would definitely go for the Belly of Paris - how can you go wrong with a book by Zola that includes food!

    If you like charcuterie, I would recommend Jane Grigson's book on it - much, much more than a collection of recipes.

  5. Happy Blogiversary! I've not commented much here, but I have been enjoying what I've read, and I can't pass up a giveaway. :-D

    Throw my name into the Miss Pettigrew hat, please.

  6. Happy blogiversary! I'm so glad I discovered your blog during DWJ Week. :) I'd love to be entered for When You Reach Me. It sounds charming! :) bastet57 AT gmail DOT com

  7. Wow, so many entries already! Woo hoo! Thanks to Amanda for the link, I'm sure it's due to her kindness that I've found followers. I am going to link to the BBAW giveaway page.

    And so interesting to see how many different choices have been made already. I'll have to post the results of the most popular books when I announce the winner on Friday.

  8. When you reach me. I've seen this reveiwed repeatedly so figure I should read it.
    bkhabel AT GmailDOTcom

  9. I hope you get lots of traffic coming your way, Karen! I tweeted out your link and linked to your blog in my post today. :)

    I tally of most-popular picks sounds excellent!

  10. yeay, happy blogoversary and Happy BBAW! I'd go with the Pepin memoir. Sounds yummy!

    my email is my first name [at] my first name lastname [dot] com.

  11. Happy blogiversary!
    It was a hard choice between Three Men in a Boat and Miss Pettigrew, but I'll choose Miss Pettigrew. :)


  12. Nice giveaway, Karen! It's a difficult choice, but I'd like to win Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

    jh303015 at

  13. Hi !

    I would like to enter for Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome.

    acrisalves AT gmail DOT com

  14. Thanks so much for the giveaway I would be thrilled to win Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories because I really enjoy short stories Happy BBAW
    tanyainjville at yahoo dot com

  15. Wow, it feels like you've been part of this community for more than a year! Happy Blogiversary AND BBAW.

    My pick from your list would be Fingersmith by Sarah Waters because your description sounds like some I simply can't miss!

    jenstusue AT yahoo DOT com

  16. Miss Pettigrew is one of my favorite books!

    That said, your review of When You Reach Me made me want to read this book EVEN MORE. Definitely want to check it out!

    Benz1966 at gmail dot com

  17. I'd love to win a copy of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. I have read dozens of reviews raving about it but have never read it.


  18. I just want to say - Happy Blogiversary! Can't believe it's only been a year. I always enjoy Books and Chocolate. Thanks.

    I'm happy to leave the winning to others.

  19. I'd like to be entered for Three Men in a Boat. I could always use some good laughs.

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

  20. Happy blogiversary! I'm glad I've started reading it over the past couple of months!

    I would definitely love to get Three Men in a Boat. I've never seen anyone dislike it (which seems unlikely but awesome!).

  21. Happy Bloggiversary! I hope you have many more years of blogging to come.

    Thank you for a great contest! Please count me in for A Very Long Engagement! Thanks!

    jmchshannon at gmail dot com

  22. Congrats!
    I would like to be enter for
    When you Reach Me

    girlsgonereading (at) yahoo (dot) com

  23. Three Men in a Boat, b/c I love humorous books and I've actually heard of this before and was recommended.

    lauren51990 at aol dot com

  24. Happy Blogiversary!! I would love to throw my name in for Fingersmith as I am reading my first book by Waters right now, The Little Stranger, and I just love it.

  25. Happy blogiversary!

    I'm interested in Three Men in a Boat, because I'm in the mood for funny books lately and because I'm surprised I haven't read it before.

    ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

  26. such an awesome choice of books. Please enter me for Fingersmith. Thank you for the giveaway and thank you for making it international.

    violetc dot books at gmail dot com

  27. Oh, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is one of my very favourite books! I admit to seeing the movie first (something I rarely do) but then I went straight out and read it, and it was. So good.

    I would like to be entered for that one, please!

    kemendraugh at gmail dot com

  28. Happy Blogoversary!

    Wow, so many excellent unread titles to choose from.

    I'm going to have to go with Miss Pettigrew lives for a Day--I want to get this for my Mom for Xmas and I must read it first.

    I enjoyed your review of it, and can't wait for a nice snow-bound day to inhale it.

  29. Wow -- so many comments, I am overwhelmed. I'd love to reply to each individually, but suffice to say I'm keeping reading all and I'm really enjoying everyone's choices. It seems like Three Men in a Boat and Miss Pettigrew are the favorites, followed by When You Reach Me. I hope this is because of my rave reviews!

    I'll post the winner's name on Friday afternoon, Central Standard Time.

  30. So hard to choose. But after much deliberation, I'd like to enter for When You Reach Me. I love Newbery books and don't have this one yet.

  31. Just picturing Bertie Wooster in a boat is hilarious. Three Men in a Boat for me please. Thanks for celebrating BBAW so generously.


  32. Happy Blogiversary!

    I'm most interested in My Family and Other Animals, because the title itself promises great hilarity to follow.


  33. so much fun to meet so many new bloggers via BBAW!

    I loved the film adaptations of 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' and 'The Painted Veil', but because of them, I now know those stories.

    So of the non-familiar books, I'm most intrigued by your description of 'Fingersmith'

    Thanks for mini reviews and contest1

  34. I would like to read When You Reach Me. I too was a latchkey kid though not in the great city of NYC. I've always been facinated by NYC and why not here about it from a kid who may not always have their parents around.

  35. *to the tune of Camptown Races*
    It's your blogiversary, doo-dah-dah,
    So I shan't be cursory in commenting today:
    I don't need a prize,
    But simply wished to say,
    The Books and Chocolate is an awesome blog,
    And the blogger behind it is great!


  36. Sorry about cursory. Blogiversary is a hard one to rhyme. Usury? Perjure me? University? Bursar's fee?

  37. I would love to read Daddy Long Legs! I've recently taken to reading coming-of-age stories, and have heard great things of this one, on your blog and others. Thanks so much!

    ang_vaughan at yahoo dot com

  38. I would like to be entered for Dickens' "Bleak House," please! I love the BBC miniseries and have been wanting to read the novel. Thanks so much for the chance to win!


  39. Happy blogiversary!

    I'd like to enter for Three Men in a Boat, because I like classics and fun books. Thanks!

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  40. Happy blogiversary! As you mention in your review, there are good things floating around about Fingersmith everywhere, so I'd like to win it! Plus you describe it as Dickensian so I can't resist. I hope whoever ends up with Bleak House loves it as much as we do!

  41. Happy blogiversary! I'd pick Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, because I saw and loved the movie and have wanted to read the book ever since.

    WordLily AT gmail DOT com

  42. Happy Blogiversary! Love that word - I just finished Julia's bio, My Life in France and would love to read
    The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen ...these are my favorite chefs ever.

  43. I would choose A Very Long Engagement. Sounds great!

  44. I would love to read Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories. I am a huge Dahl fan. I remember when I was little my mother would read me his books like the twits and Bfg. I remember for daydreaming for hours on ened that I was there in the chocolate factory with charlie!

    melissa R.
    Giveawaymommy at

  45. I'd love to read the Painted Veil. Thanks for the giveaway.

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com