My Guestpost on Irisonbooks’ Blog

Check out my guestpost, today on irisonbooks‘ blog!

Iris is doing a Month of Dutch Literature, and in my guestpost, I talk about The World of Dutch Literature. Have a look!

Book Bloggers Abroad (26) – Canada

Book Bloggers AbroadWelcome to the weekly guest post in the Book Bloggers Abroad series. Every week a book blogger from a different country is featured who talks about what it’s like to be a book blogger where he or she lives.

Canada

Our guest blogger for today is Lydia from Canada. Her blog is called The Literary Lollipop . She reads both literary and popular books. As she says herself: “No genre is left on the shelf”. Go and check out her blog!

Me and Rowan

Me and Rowan

 

I live in Ottawa, Canada. I’m not married but I live with my crazy but cute miniature schnauzer, Rowan, who is an absolute diva. I love her to pieces, though.

Although I finished school over three years ago, I sometimes still feel like a student. Ottawa is a small city, compared to Toronto, but I’ve grown to like the “small town” vibe of the capital of Canada. It’s a government city, as it’s the home of the parliament buildings, so the urban atmosphere has a tendency to be on the traditional side. Everything is very well developed (perhaps over developed) with malls and box stores.

Downtown is always a great place to find cheap books and yummy Shawarmas. I sometimes wish we could have kept a little history in our architecture; there’s nothing special about the landscape when you’ve got a Walmart in the distance…

My Bookshelf

My Bookshelf

 

I am not specifically loyal to only one book  store. My favourite places are Chapters, which is a GIANT chain of Canadian book retailers, and its online store. However, I’ve recently become drawn to used bookstores and Bookmarket has proven extremely resourceful. There is also a hole-in-the-wall bookstore next to an independent movie theatre (“The Bytowne” if you’re curious) on Rideau street that is an incredible source of hard to find and unique classics, novels, and rare finds. I usually am able to find what I’m looking for. The only time I couldn’t find a specific title, I tried The Book Depository for the first time, which turned out very, very well. I’m impressed with the promise of free shipping.

I don’t normally have electricity failure or internet disruptions, unless we’re having an especially heinous winter or electrical storm. Either way, it’s unlikely that our weather will be so awful as to affect our internet. Even our earthquake didn’t cause a hiccup in the connection.
My circumstances: During the summer I have more time to read. Once September hits, work kicks into overdrive and doesn’t let up until February, when things finally settle down. I don’t have a housekeeper, although that sounds absolutely fabulous. I work full time, so my time for blogging (recently) has dwindled, and I have a lot of hobbies outside of reading that monopolize my time as well. In addition to reading and writing, fitness is a big part of my life, so I’m usually at the gym for an hour (5-6 days a week). Also, I train for half-marathons when I have the extra time.

My Marathon Number

My Marathon Number

 

Something I would like others to know about my country: No, we don’t live in igloos and no we don’t pronounce it “a boot.” Okay, I’m kidding, of course. Joking aside, there are a few things about my country (and city) that I would love to share with you all:

  1. The National Art Gallery is an often overlooked tourist spot; check it out any time of the year and its glittering glass roof will dazzle you and the giant spider sculpture out front will astonish you.
  2. Ottawa’s endless Shawarma and Pho restaurants are totally tasty.
  3. If you ever get the chance to visit Grosse Ile in Quebec, I highly recommend it. You’ll be absolutely haunted saddened by the Irish history captured on that tiny piece of picturesque land.
Bike Path where I run

Bike Path where I run

Where I read: At the moment, it’s been raining for nearly two days, so I definitely can’t go outside to read. However, in the summer I love to read on the balcony, if it’s nice and humid. Right now, I love to read on my new couch, or in bed, with a mountain of pillows behind me and my comforter pulled up to my chin.

A local Ottawa writer I enjoy is Alan Cumyn. His novel Losing It is absolutely hilarious. He was writer-in-residence for a period of time at the University of Ottawa, my old academic stomping grounds.

Worldmap-Ottawa

Click on the world for a Google Maps picture!

Thanks Lydia, for letting us have a look at your life as a reader and blogger. I would love to go to Ottawa sometime. My husband went and loved it there. I think I’ve heard of Alan Cumyn and I must check out his books, thanks for the recommendation.

Don’t forget to take a look at Lydia’s blog. If you have any questions or comments for Lydia, just leave them in the comments section.

Next week Nat from Japan will be visiting us for the twenty-seventh Book Bloggers Abroad guest post. Don’t miss it!

Note:

There will be only one or two more guest posts in this series, but you can join me in the Book Bloggers Abroad 2011 Challenge and read some of the books that have been recommended by guest posters in this series.

Book Bloggers Abroad (25) – USA

Book Bloggers AbroadWelcome to the weekly guest post in the Book Bloggers Abroad series. Every week a book blogger from a different country is featured who talks about what it’s like to be a book blogger where he or she lives.

USA

Our guest blogger for today is Colleen from USA. Her blog is called Col Reads. She reads a mixture of books, but mainly literary fiction from all over the world, and classics. She also likes to join in with readalongs and challenges. Go and check out her blog!

Please give a little bit of information about yourself:
I work, read and blog in State College, Pennsylvania, USA. I live within a few miles of Penn State University, one of the country’s largest research universities and the home of the famous Nittany Lions (well, famous if you’re an academic or a college football fan, anyway).

The Lion Shrine at Penn State University

The Lion Shrine at Penn State University is an iconic image -- people wait in line to have their pictures taken here, and wedding parties often stop here as well

State College, located in Happy Valley (you can’t make this stuff up!) is a very typical college town, with a busy commercial district near the university, residential areas right outside of the commercial district, and lots of nothing between here and Pittsburgh to the west, and Philadelphia to the east!  I live here with my husband of nearly 20 years and our two daughters, ages 16 and 10.

Where do you get your books from?
I try to avoid buying books – because money spent on books is money I’m not spending on travel! I have the good fortune of having access to an amazing university library and a fine community library, so there are very few books I haven’t been able to borrow. I do buy some titles when I can’t wait to read them, and usually have at least one book at a time on my iPhone.

Pattee/Paterno Library entrance at Penn State

This is the Pattee/Paterno Library entrance at Penn State

What are your circumstances?
I am a full-time college professor, so research and teaching take up most of my days. I am also the mom of two very busy girls, so my afternoons revolve around dance classes, swim classes, piano lessons, Model UN meetings – you get the idea. Finding time to read and blog is a challenge, but one I find rewarding enough to pursue as often as possible.

Where do you read?
Loving to read is part of our family identity, and our living room is a place where each of us has at least one book to cuddle up with when we get the chance. I have also been known to spend my lunch hour in Pattee Library’s second floor reading room, which has the comfiest chairs you can imagine. Or when it’s warm enough, the Adirondack chairs of the university arboretum are lovely for reading!

What language(s) do you read in?
In addition to English, I read in Spanish quite a bit. My next Spanish language read is El Pergamino de la Seducción.

This is my favorite chair

This is my favorite chair, surrounded with books, and a glass of wine within reach!

Please suggest one national author that you love.
Funny question, because I’m a world literature reader. When I read US authors, it’s usually because I’m in the mood for non-fiction or humor or both—I recommend Carl Hiaassen, Christopher Buckley and Dave Barry, all of whom have made me laugh until I cried at various times, to truly experience the snarky side of American intellectualism. Buckley’s Boomsday was a favorite.

Worldmap-State College

Click on the world for a Google Maps picture!

Thanks Colleen, for letting us have a look at your life as a reader and blogger. I love your cozy living room. I could read there all day! I love college towns, I think you live in a great area.

Don’t forget to take a look at Colleen’s blog. If you have any questions or comments for Colleen, just leave them in the comments section.

Next week Lydia from Canada will be visiting us for the twenty-sixth Book Bloggers Abroad guest post. Don’t miss it!

Note:

There will be only a few more guest posts in this series, but you can join me in the Book Bloggers Abroad 2011 Challenge and read some of the books that have been recommended by guest posters in this series.

Book Bloggers Abroad (20) – USA

 

Book Bloggers AbroadWelcome to the weekly guest post in the Book Bloggers Abroad series. Every week a book blogger from a different country will be featured who will talk about what it’s like to be a book blogger where he or she lives.

USA

Our guest blogger for today is Cathy from the USA. Her book blog is called Kittling: Books. She reads and reviews mystery books. She also runs a weekly feature called Scene of the Blog, in which a blogger shows pictures of where they blog and read. A great feature for nosy people like me! Go and have a look at her blog!

I live in the center of one of the largest metropolitan areas (in population and land area) in the United States, Phoenix, Arizona with my husband, Denis. While I am a transplant from a small farming village in the state of Illinois, my husband is a naturalized citizen who grew up in Lancashire, England. Phoenix is in the Sonoran Desert and has the hottest climate of any major US city– on par with Riyadh and Baghdad– but don’t picture something like the Sahara Desert in your mind. There are no sand dunes here, and after plentiful winter rains, the desert is awash with acres and acres of colorful wildflowers. Winters are mild, and brilliant sunlight is normal here.

 

On the Trail in the Mojave Desert

On the Trail in the Mojave Desert shows our beloved Jeep in the northwest corner of the state exploring the Mojave Desert... miles from the nearest town or ranch. One of our favorite things to do!

If desert summers are too much for you, the Pacific Ocean is a six-hour drive away, or there are high mountain ranges, lakes and thick forests less than two hours away. Arizona is one of the most diverse states in the country. There’s something for everyone, and one of the things Denis and I love to do is pack a cooler and jump in the Jeep to explore trails within the state.

The Poisoned Pen

The Poisoned Pen

In town, there are excellent city and university libraries as well as wonderful bookshops for voracious readers. My favorite is The Poisoned Pen, which caters to crime fiction readers like me. If you’d like to see more of the inside, you can always take a look at one of my blog posts.

I don’t do well with returning library books on time, so I tend to either buy the books I read or swap them through Paperback Swap. Denis mainly listens to audio books and gets almost everything he needs through the Phoenix library system. Neither one of us has a problem obtaining the books we want to read!

I have plenty of time to read and blog because I was laid off work (after 26 years). Although I don’t miss being employed, I am checking into various work-at-home options. Denis and I would like to travel to the UK again, which means a bit more money has to be coming into the bank account!

 

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided gorge carved...

Grand Canyon - Image via Wikipedia

 

Most people around the world, if they’ve heard of Arizona at all, have heard of the Grand Canyon. Well over five million people visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon each year. In choosing something different, I find the task to be almost impossible. Should I choose the one and only trail on which you can drive down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon?

 

Apache Trail

Apache Trail: shows the eastern side of the Valley of the Sun (what we call the Phoenix metropolitan area). This road goes through the Superstition Mountains (Lost Dutchman Mine) past lakes and some magnificent scenery, and eventually turns into a dirt trail.

 

Should I choose my favorite canyon– Canyon de Chelly? My favorite museum– the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum? My favorite county– Cochise County, Arizona, where you can watch thousands of migrating cranes in the winter, walk the streets of Tombstone, and travel trails high up into the sky islands? Not everyone is lucky enough to live exactly where they want to be. I am one of the lucky ones. I’ve been in 30 of these United States, and Arizona is where I choose to live. (Denis doesn’t miss the rain and cool weather of England, either!).

 

South Mountain Park

Mike at South Mountain Park. South Mountain Park is at the southern edge of the Valley of the Sun and is the largest city park in the US. You can see the entire metropolitan area from here.

 

Phoenix has mild winters and well over 300 days of sunshine per year. Unless it’s actually raining (average annual rainfall is about seven inches total), I can sit outside practically any day that I like. Of course, it’s a bit warm in the summer, so I’ve learned how to sit in the pool in the shade and read without getting my books wet. On days when I read inside, I usually sit in my recliner in the family room or sprawl across our bed. I also take a book with me wherever I go to take advantage of “hurry-up-and-waits”.

 

Summer Reading Spot

Summer Reading Spot where I sit in the pool under the shade of the umbrella to read. (Yes, it's a rough life!)

 

Although Arizona has several excellent authors who write about the state, I’m going to choose Jon Talton. His David Mapstone mystery series, which begins with Concrete Desert, is set right here in Phoenix. The stories and characters are excellent, and Talton gets Phoenix and its history just right.

Worldmap-Phoenix

Click on the world for a Google Maps picture!

Thanks Cathy, for letting us have a look at your life as a reader and blogger. The only time I went to the USA I went to Arizona and it’s so beautiful! Yes, I did visit the Grand Canyon and I hope you don’t mind me adding a picture of it – it’s such a fantastic place! As is your favorite reading spot!

Don’t forget to take a look at Cathy’s blog. If you have any questions or comments for Cathy, just leave them in the comments section.

Next week Larissa from Brazil will be visiting us for the twenty-first Book Bloggers Abroad guest post. Don’t miss it!

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