Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Armchair BEA: Introductions and Classics

Design credit: Emily of Emily's Reading Room

Welcome to Girls Just Reading! This is out third year doing Armchair BEA and we're thrilled to participate. It's a way for us to feel part of the action long distance and meet other bloggers. We are a collaborative blog that's fast approaching our 6th anniversary in the book blogging sphere. We currently have three active contributors, Alice, Jenn, and Julie who will all tell you a bit about themselves...

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Why did you get into blogging?
My name is Alice and I am a Portuguese American who makes my home in beautiful New Jersey. (Jersey Strong!) I have lived in Jersey since my parents immigrated here from Portugal when I was two years old. I love my Portuguese heritage. We are commonly known as being very loud, very funny, and the most important thing is not money or fame, it’s family. I have a pretty large extended family, many of which live within 20 miles of my house. It’s a pretty special thing actually. My cousins were my first friends and are still my best friends.

I have been part of Girls Just Reading for about three years. I met Julie, Jenn and Lisa many, many years ago when we were all part of a message board where we discussed our love for the TV show Alias. (Just about the best show ever.) Alias discussions, let to personal discussions, led to a knowledge of a mutual love of reading, led to a GJR book club started by Lisa. When the board disbanded, Julie, Jenn and Lisa formed what is now the Girls Just Reading book blog. Although I wasn’t originally part of the blog, I did maintain a long distance friendship with my girl Jules (aka Julie). Jules is one of my closest friends and although we communicate mainly through email and text, she has been there for me a million times over.

One of my favorite topics with Jules was books. We would recommend novels to each other, discussing ones we both read. We both had a love of Jen Lancaster and Jennifer Weiner. We loved our Chick-Lit and Women’s Fiction. She convinced me to try some Thrillers and introduced me to Jodi Piccoult. Our friendship strengthened over our love of books. And I believe that is what led to Julie suggesting to Jenn and Lisa that I be added as the fourth member of Girls Just Reading. I am still honored by this.

Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
I have loved reading since high school where I was madly in love and addicted to romance novels, especially historical romance. Vows by LaVyrle Spencer is still one of my all-time favorite books. I fell in love with Tom Jeffcoat at the same time Emily Walcott did. Although I read off and on, my major book and reading addiction didn’t start until I landed a dream job in New York City where I would spend two hours a day on public transportation. It was prime reading time.

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
Of all the characters I have met over my lifetime, I would love to have dinner with Tom and Emily Jeffcoat. I curious to know what life brought their way and if their love prevailed through good and bad times. Did Emily become a vet? Where they able to reconcile a friendship with Charles? How are Fanny, Edwin, and Frankie? Do they have any kids? Was their life together everything they hoped for? I would come full circle with two characters I watched fall in love, two characters who helped me fall in love with reading.


Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you?  
Hi! If you've visited our blog before, you may know that I am not only a book junkie but a TV addict as well. I live in Buffalo, NY and hate snow, but love hockey - especially the Sabres. I am a wife to one patient, understanding husband and mother to one princess-doctor-swordfighter kidlet and a rescued dog. Really, I'm just a basic Jenn-of-all-trades-master-of-none.

Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read? 
I'd have to say any of our group reviews. I love when we girls read a book and express differing points of view.

What are you currently reading?
So many books so little time. In the past few years I've found that I have been slowly getting away from YA, which is my first love. While I've been busy reading other things I've missed a lot of fantastic YA lit. So now I'm trying to catch up. Don't get me wrong, I still love my crime novels and food-lit, but I feel the need to return to my roots.

This also leads into today's discussion of Classics. I used to try to read one a year, but back while I was pregnant I started having trouble concentrating and had to give it up. It is something I would like to get back to actually...

The thing I love about the Classics is everything in literature draws from what came before it; they give you perspective on everything else you read.   I'd have to say my favorite Classic would have to be Dracula. It has everything, romance, thrills, and a whole lot of Vampire!

At this very moment though? I'm feeding my TV as well as my book addiction by reading Psych's Guide to Crime Fighting for the Totally Unqualified.  

If you could eat dinner with any author, who would it be and why?  Meg Gardiner!  Hands down. She is one of the most creative authors I've ever read and her wit and wry sense of humor would fit right in at our dinner table, as would her appreciation of the macabre.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you?
Who Am I? Wow that's an exetential question. LOL all kidding aside. I'm a mom and wife who works and finds what little free time I have to read. I really do try to fit in whenever. The bathroom is my friend. LOL
I'm also trying to pass on my passion for reading to my kids. It seems to be rubbing off even if a little bit.

What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013?
I'm currently reading Sara J. Henry's A Cold and Lonely Place. Asking me about my favorite books is like asking about my favorite child. :) So I will name a few I've truly loved so far this year:  And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini; Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck and Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman.

What is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?
I'm with Jenn on this one, I think our Group Reviews are pretty awesome. We each have different reading tastes so when it comes to reading the same book we all have variety of thoughts.

So Classics:
Truth be told, I don't really read the classics. Sure I did in high school but I'm not even sure what defines the term "classic" in literature anymore. I mean isn't there something also called "new classics". I've tried reading Pride and Prejudice a lot but I cannot make it through it. I rather turn on one of the movies than try to read through it. I will say last year we did a group read of To Kill a Mockingbird and reading it through the eyes of an adult/parent is so different than reading it as a child. You come to align yourself more with Atticus since you've seen more of the world and want to shield your kids before they need to know certain things.

Am I opposed to reading the classics? No, but it better catch me in the first 50 pages or I'll put it down. I will encourage my children to read them though and perhaps when they have to for school, I will read along with them.


Unknown May 28, 2013 at 12:39 PM  

I have been reading your blog for awhile, but had never really known much about all you ladies. Nice to hear all about your lives outside the blogging world.


Teresa May 28, 2013 at 1:36 PM  

Oh my! I loved Alias, would have loved to have been a part of those discussions!

Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf May 28, 2013 at 3:18 PM  

Do you speak Portuguese, too? (I ask because I know often the language is NOT passed down after immigration, sadly). I've always thought it is such a stunningly beautiful language!

Anonymous ,  May 28, 2013 at 3:39 PM  

Never been to your blog and I love that 3 women came together for their love of movies & books!! How awesome and unique :D

Roof Beam Reader May 28, 2013 at 7:47 PM  

Hello, Ladies! Glad to see you all participating in Armchair BEA. I love that your friendship has turned into such a great project, despite distance and other realities of life. It's one thing I've always admired about your blog!

I really want to read Call Me Zelda sometime soon. The Francis-Zelda Fitzgerald relationship is so interesting, and you can really see the bizarre love-hate passion-tension in their writing. I know Call Me Zelda is fiction, but from what I understand, the author did quite a bit of research, too.

(Hope your TBR Pile Challenges are going well, too!).

Jana May 28, 2013 at 8:44 PM  

Hi, Alice, Jenn, and Julie! It's nice to meet you all! I hope you enjoy this week!

- Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

Julie May 28, 2013 at 9:36 PM  

Hi Everyone - Thanks for stopping by our blog. We look forward to stopping by blogs we've never been to before.

The Relentless Reader May 28, 2013 at 11:53 PM  

I agree with Adam, what a great project for you guys!

I hope you're having a great ABEA!

A Journey in Reading May 29, 2013 at 8:05 PM  

I love that your friendships led to this blog. I have read To Kill a Mockingbird many times and it leaves me with a new feeling every time I read it. I can't wait to read And the Mountains Echoed.

Anonymous ,  May 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM  

Well now...you three make me want to grow my to read pile to a ridiculous size, lo. I am really wanting to read more adult and YA fiction this summer and that list is growing thanks to blogs like yours!

And there is a classic middle grade or two I could recommend...heck there are a ton of them that a modern day classics. Let me know when you and the kids are ready to be hooked up with a few, Julie. Totally hear you on that all important first 50~!

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