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A Fantastical Librarian turns 3!!

birthdayThree years ago today, I created A Fantastical Librarian. I wasn’t sure how long I’d keep up with it, because I’m notoriously bad a keeping up with diaries and blogs etc. But to my complete amazement I found that I liked blogging about what I read and being part of the online SFF community immensely. I got to know some amazing people, fellow bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists, via Twitter and various blogs and I felt more and more at home. I was even lucky enough to meet up with some of my bloggy friends in London.    Continue reading »

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Meanwhile on… The Founding Fields

TFF_logoToday I’m once again out and about on the internet, this time on The Founding Fields at the invitation of Shadowhawk (a.k.a. Abhinav from Angels of Retribution) where I’m writing about the trials and tribulations of reviewing. After having had some pretty harsh (to put it mildly) comments on a negative review Shadowhawk wondered whether he was the only who sometimes hard a hard time keeping this blogging lark fun and approached a bunch of his blogger friends to write guest posts. Today it’s my turn.

Shadowhawk gave me a rather glowing introduction – thank you AJ! – and let me ramble on about the things I have a hard time with reviewing-wise. If you’re interested in seeing how time-management, the ability to say no, and the importance of honesty are integral to keeping blogging fun for me, check out my post on The Founding Fields.

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A Short Interruption of Your Usual Programming

redcrossJust a quick post to let you know that this week will be a quiet one on the blog as I had a shot to combat the tendinitis in my right wrist last Friday and I’m not allowed to use my right hand for a week. So while I was able to prep my review for last Friday and this post – as I’m writing this on Thursday. It’s time travel, yo! – I still needed to read the books I planned to review this week. Unfortunately this means, that other than a guest post I’ve written for a Bane of Kings’ writing blog, there won’t be any new content up. I’ll try to get a post up on Wednesday with a link to the guest post, but that depends on how much patience I have with one-handed typing after a day at work, otherwise I’ll throw it up here next weekend.

Hopefully, we’ll be back to our regular programming next week and the up-side is that I’ll have extra content then, because I may not type as well one-handedly, but I can read like a champ even with only one hand!

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Cookie with your reading?

cookiesAs you might have noticed if you’re reading this post from the site and not from an RSS-reader, I now have a cookie policy in place. It’s not by choice, but because last year the Dutch government, like the rest of the EU, decided that websites needed to inform their public of the sort of cookies they used and get consent. Now in most EU countries, this consent can be implied, so either just a page with a policy or a banner like I had before stating cookies were used was fine, but the Dutch government took it one step further and made it law that consent had to be explicit. Hence the new lovely diamond thingy in the lower left corner and the pop-up if it’s either your first visit or you elected not have your decision remembered.

It’s still not completely where I want it and need it to be, as it doesn’t actually block the cookies Jetpack implements, which is how I track my stats and which enables the comments and sharing. So for now, I’ve disabled all the sharing buttons except email and printing as those don’t throw cookies at you, but I’ve left the stats up. I’ve put in a support ticket with Cookie Control, so hopefully I can get the blog all set-up as it needs to be soon.

So that’s why I have the pop-up and sharing is disabled for the moment!

Edited: I actually put the sharing stuff back in, as the cookies showing up weren’t connected to them. They only start throwing stuff at you if you click them I think, so for now, unless proven otherwise, they’re back. Have I said that this whole thing is a headache, by the way? Because… aaaarrrggg!

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More Sad Goodbye’s

goodbyeIn the past week there were two influential blogs that closed their doors. I wanted to take a moment to say goodbye here on my blog.

John Ottinger III was the first to announce the retirement of Grasping For The Wind. This one came as a surprise, though it shouldn’t have. Grasping For The Wind was a wonderful genre resource, featuring not just wonderful reviews, but Geek Media Round-ups and interesting interviews as well. It will be missed. But as John is calling it retirement instead of closure, perhaps we will see a return at some point in the future.

The other site, which closed its doors on New Year’s Eve, is My Favourite Books. Besides Floor to Ceiling Books, which closed last year, My Favourite Books and its team, Liz, Mark, and Sarah, have perhaps been some of the biggest influences on my beginnings as a blogger. Besides being incredibly supportive of a newbie blogger, their passion for books and reading was an inspiration and kept reminding me that perhaps my reviews aren’t as eloquent, erudite, or brilliant as I’d like them to be, but as long as I’m passionate about the books I read and promoting reading in general, then I was doing a good job. In addition, Liz, Mark, and Sarah have become friends I love chatting to on Twitter and other places and if possible to meet up with (though opportunities are rare and I haven’t actually met Sarah yet!) and I’m glad they’ll be around to chat with even if MFB has closed its doors.

For all of them, John and Team MFB: Thanks for everything, most importantly exploding my wishlist to gigantic proportions with all your reviews! I wish you guys all the best in future endeavours and hopefully we’ll see you around the online community!

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A Sad Goodbye to Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review

Yesterday Graeme announced he was closing up shop over at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review. I was really saddened by the news and I wanted to take a moment to mention it here on the blog. Graeme’s was one of the first blogs I started following way back when and he’s actually one of the few bloggers I’ve met in person. He’s a lovely bloke and I’ve had numerous fun and interesting Twitter convo’s with him on books, life and other stuff. If nothing else Graeme can always be counted on to commiserate with me when I’m sleep-deprived and in need of coffee. He’s turned me onto a number of writers I’d not have discovered without him, Charles Stross for one, and I’ll miss his reviews.

While I’m sure we’ll still be chatting on Twitter and Facebook and I’ll hopefully get to meet up with Graeme at a signing next time I’m in London, Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review will be missed.

So, so long Graeme and thanks for all the reviews ;-)

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Welcome to my new home!

Moving Boxes

Tada! Please excuse the dust. I made a bit of a mess moving in. And there’s still some work to be done, but I’m really pleased with my new abode. Don’t worry though, other than a new address and a new look, A Fantastical Librarian will remain much as you’ve come to know it, with lots of reviews, with Blogger Queries, Author Queries and more…

Have a look around and excuse me, I have some more decorations to put up!

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A Fantastical Librarian in the Wild!

I know I said I wouldn’t be back till this weekend, but Jared (@Pornokitsch) surprised me today with this tweet:

Since the pic was a bit blurry, the lovely Simon Spurrier himself sent me the following picture:
Yesterday was Simon’s book launch for the awesome A Serpent Uncoiled (my review) at Forbidden Planet and the above was the poster hung at Forbidden Planet to announce the event. And look! Look at that first little quote! That’s me! Yes, it’s my first blurb (Jared said it qualified as one, so it’s true) and I’m so excited. So I just had to come and share it.
I just feel like a kid in the candy store and I’ve been grinning about it all day. I know, I’m a dork! So for anyone who’s ever been blurbed, were you just as stoked when you found out? And what was your first quote?
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How many is too much?

For the past few weeks I’ve been struggling to keep up with my RSS feeds. Every time I clear it out, the next morning there will be 35 new posts. Last week I was really strapped for time and I didn’t get to keep up at all, apart for quickly scanning all the cover announcements (if I’ve seen it once, I don’t have to see it in ten other posts), books that really don’t interest me at all (The Lost Gate, I’m looking at you), re-read posts at Tor.com which I’m not following (which means any but the Malazan one) and articles and giveaways that I don’t care to read. If I hadn’t done the pruning thing last week and checked off the few posts I did manage to read, the counter would probably have been at double the amount it is at the moment.

Right now I have 132 unread items in my books folder. These are all items I want to read and in an ideal situation, comment on some, if not most, of them too, if only to let someone know I’ve enjoyed their review. But if I do that, I’ll spend so much time reading my feeds, I won’t have time to read books, let alone keep up my own blog. So I was wondering, am I following too many blogs? At the moment I have about 90 blogs in my reader, some of these update once or twice a week, others update every day and sometimes several times a day. Reviews of books I have on my TBR-pile are saved to a separate folder in my favourites, so I can read them after I’ve written my own review, but that still leaves a lot of posts! And often once I do post a comment, I’ll be so late, that the blogger won’t even notice it or the discussion has already died down and the blogosphere has moved on to other things.

So here’s my question to you. How do you manage your RSS feeds? How many do you follow and how do you keep it manageable and balanced against your own reading and blogging time? Is a big prune of my feeds in order?

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Life Is Good: A Blog Award

Hurray, my second blog award :) I received it from the lovely Mel over at Mel’s Random Reviews 

Here is what is what they’ve asked after receiving this Award:

1.Thank and link back to the person that gave this award.
2.Answer the following 10 survey questions mentioned below.
3.Pass it on to another 15 Blogs that are fairly new and interesting to you.

4.Contact the bloggers so they know they’ve been chosen.

This is a great refreshing idea that will be useful and fun for blogs mentioned and blogs just beginning. The questions are a neat way to find out more about fellow blogs as well discover other likes and dislikes. So without further adieu… let’s continue with this ongoing extravaganza!

I received this award from Mel from Mel’s Random Reviews  which is a fab blog filled with reviews and features. My favourite one is her monthly Book Temple post, where she spotlights great bookstores. Go check it out!

1. If you blog anonymously are you happy doing it that way; if you are not anonymous do you wish you had started out anonymously so you could be anonymous now? 
I don’t blog anonymously and I was fairly concious in that choice. I’ve never believed in hiding who I am and so far (knock on wood) I haven’t regretted it. I’ve learned not to say anything online I wouldn’t say in offline life, so I’ve got a pretty well-developed filter and am not ashamed to say what I think.

2. Describe one incident that shows your inner stubborn side:
I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night to start up the computer to look something up to prove to my husband that I’m right about some disputed fact or another on numerous occasions.

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?

Someone who’s worked hard to get where she is now, who finally isn’t unhappy with who is looking back at her.

4. What is your favorite summer cold drink? 
Fanta Orange or ice cold sparkling mineral water.

5.When you take time for yourself, what do you do? 

6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it? 
I want to make it to a bookcon at one point in my life!

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever , the shy person, or always ditching? 
I was the shy overachiever. I always had my nose stuck in a book.

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment of your life what would you see? 
Waking up the morning after my daughter was born and seeing her lying there in her crib. She was so small and so perfect!

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?
I’d like to think that my sense of humour and who I am comes through my reviews. I think reviewing is inherently showing a lot of yourself, since reviewing is always partially subjective. Once you give a ‘rating’ to a book, it’s subjective, even if you write a formal review, in the end whether a book works for you is directly linked to your personal taste.

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read or talk on the phone, which would you do and why? 
I’d sit down and read, because I’m always short on reading time!
Passing the buck to:
Sarah at Bookworm Blues 
Ria at Tea and Tomes 
Ole at Weirdmage’s Reviews 

Sorry for it only being three blogs, but I don’t know that many new bloggers! 

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