Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Second Blogoversary and a Giveaway!

Exactly two years ago today I posted my very first blog entry.  This blog was supposed to be about books and chocolate, but the chocolate and cooking entries seem to have fallen by the wayside.  I haven't blogged nearly as much as I wanted to lately -- I recently started a wonderful part-time job at the public library, and I'm continuing with Spanish classes.  That and my home life keep me pretty busy.  But I did want to thank all the people who have read and commented on my blog the past two years, so again I've decided to celebrate by giving away one of my favorite reads since my previous blogoversary.

Here are the rules:  ONE winner will receive a paperback copy of the following books, his or her choice, shipped via The Book Depository [if the winner resides in the U.S., I reserve the right to ship via Amazon or Barnes & Noble].   To see if The Book Depository will ship to you, click here.  I'll choose a lovely edition for you.

To enter: please select one of the following books, some of my favorite reads from 2010-2011.  

In the comment section below, please tell me why you'd like to read it, or why you liked the review.  You MUST include a link or email address so I can contact you if you win! 
One entry per person.  UPDATED:  The deadline for entry is now midnight Saturday,  September 17, 2011, Central Standard Time.  

At Home: A History of Private Life by Bill Bryson.  A long book about the social history of Victorian houses and so much more!  This was probably my favorite nonfiction read of 2011.

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope.  Dear Trollope!  Backstabbing and bitchery among the clergy in a small Victorian English town.  It's a great introduction to Trollope.

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym.  A great, subtle novel about a spinster in 1950s England and her eccentric neighbors.  Pym has been compared to Jane Austen, and I love her wry observations.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.  Completely unlike most of my other reading, but so good!  It will get you completely sucked into the world of Winterfell and the Seven Kingdoms.

Germinal OR Pot-Bouille by Emile Zola.  Two very different books from Zola's Rougon-Macquart cycle of novels.  Both were wonderful, so the winner could choose either one.

Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.  A GREAT Victorian sensation novel and my most recent posting.  I had to include it!

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.  Another book for the person who's read all of Jane Austen.

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley.  A charming novella about books, booksellers, and finding love.

The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton.  My favorite so far of the NYRB Classics, about the residents of a small boarding house in WWII era London, trapped by life and circumstances.  I loved it.

Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple.  I had to include at least one Persephone, and this is one of my favorites.  Whipple is the best-selling author in the Persephone book catalog, and it's easy to see why.

Very Good, Jeeves! by P. G. Wodehouse.  I didn't technically write a complete post on this book, I've read a lot of P. G. Wodehouse the past few months and I couldn't keep him off the list!  I feel the need to spread the humor of Wodehouse, and this is a great starting place.

Good luck and happy reading!


  1. Happy anniversary! I always look forward to your posts - hopefully you still have time for reading, even if you have less for blogging. I was sorely, sorely tempted by your review (and Simon's) of The Slaves of Solitude, but I haven't gotten ahold of a copy yet. So I'd put my entry in for that. I love accounts of the homefront in World War II.

  2. Happy anniversary! I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and it's the best thing that's happened to me all month. I would totally have to go for the Barbara Pym. I'd never heard of her before this summer, but for some reason, I've been finding references to her everywhere lately. I'm a huge fan of Austen, so I'm curious to see how she compares.

  3. Happy Blogoversary!! I'm so glad I found your site awhile ago, because I've definitely enjoyed reading your posts for quite some time now. So, keep on blogging - regardless of how often it is - I just love to see what books you've read, because it helps me add more titles to my TBR list. As for the giveaway - THANKS! I'd love to read Parnassus on Wheels, because after reading your post about it, how could I not want to read it? Its about books! A traveling book caravan! How awesome, is that?

  4. Happy Blogoversary! And I agree, keeping a Blog/Life balance is tricky sometimes.

    I'd love to be put in the draw for Very Good Jeeves! - I still haven't read any PG Wodehouse and was wondering where to start - plus your review of it was one of the first times I commented on your blog!

  5. Congratulations on two years! Regular followers do not mind the blog breaks, they know that life happens!

    As a fairly new follower to the blog, I love the books you read and it is great to know someone else who loves Wodehouse. And as I foolishly gave all my Jeeves books away, I would like the opportunity to start collecting again.

  6. Happy Blogoversary! I will be coming up to my second in a few months too (how time flies!)

    I have just discovered your blog through a link on Anbolyn's blog and have loved flicking through your reviews.

    I would love to win a copy of Germinal because a) your review makes me want to b) I have been told by several people that I should read more Zola because c) I have only read (and loved) Therese Raquin

    Thanks for the giveaway :)

  7. Happy blogoversary! I like the idea of your name--books and chocolate go together.

    I would like to read North and South because I have read all of Austen...

  8. Hi Karen! Like I said in the email, I'm sorry I didn't even know this post was here! Stupid GR. Well anyway, I think I'll enter for Lady Audley because I really loved that book! I could very well enter for Pot-Bouille too, but I think I'd rather have the Lady Audley for now. :D

    Happy Blogoversary, and whether you're posting or not, I'm glad you've been blogging these last two years.

  9. Hi Karen!

    Congrats on hitting two years! I never knew you started blogging around the same time I did. But congrats. :) So exciting!

    Since I adored Germinal, I would have to go with Pot-Bouille. I really love Zola's style, and since you posted your review, I have been searching for a copy (I eventually want to read that whole series).

    Congrats again! yay!

  10. Happy Blogoversary! :D

    I'd love to try Excellent Women. You had me at wry observations. ;)


  11. Happy Blogoversary! And thanks for the giveaway! :)

    I would love to read Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, because it has been on my wishlist for a long time plus your review makes me want to read it even more.



  12. Congrats on two years! The mere mention of chocolate is enough for me.
    It's very hard to pick just one, but I'll go with Barchester Towers. I still have not read anything by him, and it sounds like a good place to start.

  13. Congratulations on your fantastic achievement!

    I am a new follower to your blog and was attracted by the variety of books you review. I have been on a classics 'kick' recently but your review of A Game of Thrones made me intrigued! There has been a lot of excitement about this book but I didn't think it was aimed at me given my disdain for Fantasy novels. However, seeing your response and our similar taste in books otherwise, I'm intrigued! I would love to win a copy.

    Katiebaxter at hotmail dot co dot uk.

  14. Congratulations on your Blogoversary! I've been following quite awhile (though i'm not much of a commenter). I have many of the books on your list already but I do not have Pot-Bouille by Emile Zola. I absolutely loved Germinal and my library system doesn't have a single copy of Pot-Bouille so I would love a chance to win my own copy. Thank you and again, congrats!
    waitmantwillie at hotmail dot com

  15. Yay - congratulations! I really love reading your blog and hope it is here for many more years to come. I would choose North & South - I really must read it soon.

  16. Thanks for reposting this (not sure why it didn't show up in my GR) and Happy Blogoversary! I followed a link over from Amanda's blog shortly after you got started. Books and Chocolate has been a regular stop ever since!

    I'd love to win a copy of Lady Audley's Secret... there's just something about those Victorian sensation novels. I was going to say At Home, but will probably end up listening to that one this winter. Thanks for the giveaway.


  17. Happy anniversary.Would love to read at home perfect read for the fall.Thanks for your wonderful blog.

  18. Huzzah for long-time blogging! Yours is definitely one of my favorite blogs (and no, I don't say that on every blog).

    I very much want to read Bill Bryson's At Home, as apparently it's all Victorian trivia which is where it's AT, yo. (...yes)

  19. Well, I'm one of the ones who missed this post so ...

    Happy blogiversary! Here's to (at least) two more years! I really enjoy reading your posts and get a lot of great recommendations from you.

    I already have some Trollope sitting here waiting to be read so I'll choose Excellent Women as I have yet to read Barbara Pym!

  20. I thought I already entered this? Anyway, I'll go for Lady Audley's Secret since you and Amanda have both loved it this season...although that Bill Bryson actually sounds awesome too. rebecca[at]rebeccareid[dot]com

  21. Happy Bloggiversary! I enjoy your reviews very much. You come across wise and friendly in how you share what you read and why you like something (or not). I will have to request the Wodehouse if I win. I have read a bio on him but only have seen tv clips of his plays. Thx for extending the contest so I could find it and celebrate with you!!!
    BkClubCare [at] gmail. Are you on Twitter? you can always let me know there at @BkClubCare

  22. Happy Bloggiversary! I enjoy your reviews very much. You come across wise and friendly in how you share what you read and why you like something (or not). I will have to request the Wodehouse if I win. I have read a bio on him but only have seen tv clips of his plays. Thx for extending the contest so I could find it and celebrate with you!!!
    BkClubCare [at] gmail. Are you on Twitter? you can always let me know there at @BkClubCare

  23. Congratulations! I've loved reading for a large part of your two years.

    I'd love to win At Home. I have it in my library pile and I am loving dipping in and out but dreading having to part with it soon.


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