ArmchairBEA Day 2: Social Media

ArmchairBEA Logo

 Armchair BEA is for those people who cannot visit Book Expo America but still want to join in the fun. This week, May 27th to 31st, there are celebrations for those who stay at home rather than make it to New York. Check here for other participating blogs discussing social media. 

Today, Thursday, is about using social media to expand your blogging horizons.


Twitter is my main form of communication with book bloggers. You can find me here: @Leeswammes Before my blog, I had a Twitter account but hardly used it. Now, I use it for:

  • Keeping up with my blog friends
  • Promoting my new blog posts
  • Show off new books that have arrived
  • Twitter parties

But I also keep in touch and get information from publishers, hear about new books, events, etc.

I love Twitter! I’ve got followers from all over the world. Although I only follow a couple of hundred people myself,  I have close to 1,300 followers.


I do have a Facebook account, but not a special page for my blog. I do keep in touch with some special blog friends on Facebook, but otherwise, I’m not doing too much with it, blog-wise. Do you? Do you find it useful?


A fun way to find out what my friends are up to, and I share my new arrivals and love seeing what books others are reading. I’m here: @leeswammes

What about you?

How active are you on social media?

I’m curious!  :-)

ArmchairBEA Day 1: Introductions

ArmchairBEA Logo

 Armchair BEA is for those people who cannot visit Book Expo America but still want to join in the fun. This week, May 27th to 31st, there are celebrations for those who stay at home rather than make it to New York. 

Today, Wednesday, is about getting to know each other. Armchair BEA has made some interview questions that I’ll answer below.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

Although I call myself Leeswammes, I’m not Lee, as some people think: I’m Judith. Leeswammes is a word I made up from two Dutch words and means something like “lazy person reading”.

I’m an independent editor (books!). I’m also in the Prize team for Armchair BEA, for the second year running. So if you win a prize, I may be the one who assigns you your first choice, or second, or third. Be sure to fill out the prize claim form a.s.a.p. because prizes go: first come, first served.

I’m from the Netherlands and I read books in English and Dutch. I have been blogging for five years. I was already reviewing books on Shelfari (it’s a reading community like Goodreads) but I wanted a place of my own to keep track of the books I read and share with others.

What is the top book in your TBR pile?

Ah, it’s one that is related to my work as an editor – Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris

What does diversity mean to you?

I chose this question because I found that I have no idea how to answer this!

What comes up in my mind is equality and companionship (i.e., we’re all one group, not many). But also: can’t we all just accept each other so we don’t have to worry about terms such as diversity?

What book are you reading right now?

Aquarium by David Vann. A beautiful novel that reads like a fairy tale, but with a nasty fairy godmother!

Share your favorite blog post on your blog

A few years ago I was getting annoyed by all the author emails asking me to review their books. So, I wrote this post: Authors: How to Pitch Your Book to Bloggers which has become quite popular, as you can imagine!

What about you?

Let me know your answer to one of these questions! 

I’m curious!  :-)

Almost Armchair… BEA!

Armchair BEA



Hey, do you realize it’s almost ArmchairBEA? This coming Wednesday we’ll have five days of blog events to celebrate Book Expo America from our lazy chairs. Lots of us bloggers would love to go to New York to be part of the BEA, but not all of us can. In fact, I was invited to a BEA-party at Adriana Trigiani’s home (in NYC) last year, but I still couldn’t  go.

So, we celebrate from a distance, reading, blogging, getting to know new bloggers, and winning books. Yes, of course, there are books! I’m on the prize team, so be kind to me and you might win a book (although unkind people have just as much chance of winning a book…).

There are also Twitter parties and themed blogposts every day. Join in with the fun!

See you there?

(Where? Well, here!).


Book Review: Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong

Wolf Totem by Jiang RongWolf Totem: What it is about

From the publisher: “Published in China in 2004, Wolf Totem has broken all sales records, selling millions of copies (along with millions more on the black market). Part period epic, part fable for modern days, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongols-the ancestors of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the world-and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf.

Wolf Totem: What I thought

This is a very long, but beautiful story about a Chinese student who is sent to work in Mongolia together with a number of fellow students. He is fascinated by wolves and would love to adopt a young wolf and raise it himself.

The story starts very slow, with lots of descriptions and explanations of the countryside and abut the way people have lived on the Mongolian plains for centuries. It felt like a documentary at times, a documentary that I would have preferred to watch on television rather than read. But as a TV documentary, it would have been spectacular.

Later on, the actual story of Chen Zhen, the student, becomes more prominent, while at the same time, the contrast between the modern way of farming that the Chinese government is advocating and the old-fashioned way of life on the plain is very clearly and heartbreakingly described.

Ignorant people from outside manage to unsettle the careful balance between man and nature, and that is what this book is trying to show: the demise of the Mongolian plains through the poor husbandry by the Chinese rulers. The story is told without too much drama, showing both sides of the medal, but favoring the preservation of the old-style farming, in which wolves, as well as other animals, play a large role, and without which, farming is doomed to be discontinued within a few decades.

Full of powerful descriptions, but a bit slow at times.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 400

First published: 2004

Translated: from the Chinese (Lang Tuteng) to Dutch by Daniëlle Alders, Marion Drolsbach, Susan Ridder, Jaap Sietse Zuierveld, and Selma Bakker.

I got this: bought in a book shop

Genre: contemporary fiction



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