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Well, the Bloggiesta is over and I’ve had FUN. I’m going to repeat the things I achieved at the end of this post, so you don’t have to re-read them all (it’s just for organization purposes). Neither am I going to sum up the things I didn’t get to. My to-do list was HUGE and I’ve hit a dent into it ;) Thanks to the nineteen-and-a-half hours I’ve put into Graasland this weekend. Also, I visited several other participants and cheered them on in the comments. Don’t know how many though ;) This week I hope to work some more on my drafts backlog. I shouldn’t wait until the next Bloggiesta, which will take place in June! If I don’t have any other obligations at that time (like Mr Gnoe’s birthday…) I will definitely join again. Note to self: do not get distracted by mini-challenges ever again. *focusssss*

Thanks to Natasha of Maw Books Blog for hosting the Bloggiesta and all others that have contributed to the fun. Let’s hear three times OLE!

Bloggiesta Finish Line

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Sunday, actually most of the weekend, was dominated by my first Bloggiesta. And it’s not over yet, so I’m still having fun! Even though I didn’t get as much work done on Graasland as I had hoped. Especially regarding my review backlog… :(

Anyway, following last week’s Sunday Salon about the books I read in 2009 I made some pie charts on:

  • gender,
  • fiction/nonfiction,
  • original language.

I forgot about statistics on authors new to me: 22 of 34!

Yesterday I finally finished reviewing my best read of 2009: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. That is such a relief! Post scheduled for later this week.

I decided to cut back on challenges this year that require me to write reviews. That means I have to stick with the ones I’ve joined until now — and maybe even drop out of the What’s in a name? challenge. Unless I’ll be able to write really short reviews, or even just comments on the challenge blog. Let’s not be too radical at once ;)

During the week I finished reading 2 books, one of which belongs to the What’s in a name? challenge, category ‘title’ (Professor):

Both were VERY good, so I’m off on a good start this year! :)

My Gnoegle map of Bookcrossing releasesThanks to the Bloggiesta I added two challenge pages to Graasland: current and finished. That way I could declutter my sidebar of old challenge buttons. But I replaced them with something new: a Gnoegle map button leading to my Google map of Bookcrossing releases. I completely made it myself! *solliciting compliments*

One of the things you’ll be able to find on the Gnoegle map is team De Boekenleggers’ release in week 10 of Bookcrossing Convention Monopoly. Search for Een echte Lizzie kerst (A Real Lizzie X-Mas) on page 2. It was hung in a real life Christmastree and happened to be the 200th release of the game!

Which reminds me of some other Bookcrossing related activities I participated in last year, that haven’t been mentioned yet on this blog.

Being in the mood for archiving I also added two posts to Graasland about books read in 2005 en 2006. And I have updated my profile on the Bookcrossing bookshelf. Such a lot of maintenance I got done! HOORAY!

So, how was your week???

The Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

I’m cheering myself on because for the 3rd (half a) day of Bloggiesta I hope to get more done than I did yesterday. I’m relieved that I did finish my review of The Grapes of Wrath — I just need to check it once more and then it will be scheduled as a future post. I’ve kept track of the time it took to write and I will do the same for the next few reviews. If I know how much time they actually cost me, I hope to be able to feel more resigned about book evaluations.

You see, Shanra from Libri Touches was right in her comment on yesterday’s post: first I need to look at what is — or feels — wrong with my current review system. It is not that I don’t know what to say about my reads, I want to share too much! For now I have decided I must prioritize: cut back on reading challenges so that I only have a few reviews to write on ‘demand’. *denouncing challenges right away* That’s a start on my main blogging goal for 2010 to more efficient book blogging (with which I participated in The Booklady’s Blog mini-challenge).

As you may have gathered from the above, I really don’t need to do Jenn’s mini-challenge thinking of 10 future posts. My problem is that I have too many drafts lined up… But I might post a list later today, trying to prioritize them by popular demand ;) LOL

Another tip I might check out after the Bloggiesta is Kristen’s: The Bloggie Cult, a blogger mentoring program and forum.

But a mini-challenge I did join yesterday was checking for dead links on instigation of Karin’s Book Nook: zero found! The funny thing is that I got a ‘page not found’ on the problogger article at first. ROFLOL But it was just a bad internet connection. Baaaaad internet connection!

Today I’ll be alternating between making a ‘Gnoegle’ button leading to my Google Map of Bookcrossing releases and writing (at least) one other post out of my collection of (often very basic) drafts. It will probably be one of the following:

  • last Friday’s Hello Japan! Music Lesson about Ryuichi Sakamoto,
  • my top-3 of favourite vegetarian restaurants in Funchal (Madeira) in Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking meme,
  • a wrap-up post on one of my 2009’s reading challenges.
  • Oh, ánd a short Sunday Salon of course ;)

But I’m going to start with cleaning up my sidebar — get rid of those OLD challenge buttons. I am denouncing reading challenges, remember?

Yesterday I worked for six and a half hours on Graasland throughout the day. I didn’t do as much as I had hoped, but I feel accomplished anyway. And I did’t overdo it ;)

I made an outline for this month’s Hello Japan! mini-challenge, which I’m turning into a series of no less than five posts about Japanese music! The first one being a belated New Year’s post that got blogged yesterday.

I also started on my back(b)log of book reviews with my favourite read of 2009: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I hope to finish it today! I dread book reviews the most because they take so much time to write :( Actually, I hope to find a more efficient way to blog about books! That’s my main goal for 2010 and I hope this Bloggiesta will get me off on a good start with that. Do you have any suggestions? Are there any blogging buddies available out there?

Some more ‘small’ stuff I got done yesterday: thanks to Farm Lane Books I made a backup of my weblog, and Trish from Hey Lady! Watcha Readin’? encouraged me to make a blavatar (the little cat in the tab) — my gravatar (in the address bar) was already up so that’s neat!

I cleaned up some old (imported) posts, diminishing the ‘uncategorized’ section of Graasland. Now there are just 15 more of them left — will get to that, though maybe not this weekend. And I updated my current reads. I still have to unclutter the sidebar of last year’s challenges though… :\

Although it will be snowing a lot today we need to run some errants, like returning our Rob Scholte silkscreen to the art exchange because it has expired. We’re sad to see Golden Horizon #8 go! Would love to buy it but unfortunately that’s not possible.

But I’ll get back to this fiesta a.s.a.p.! Because I’m having fun ;)

A bit later than planned, but yes, I’ve started my first Bloggiesta! I’ve been looking at the challenges of the previous bloggiesta and actually carried out one of them already: I’ve analyzed my weblog in Website Grader, which was recommended by Bookish Ruth.

And I’ve scored a 89% (out of 100)! I think I’ve passed the test, don’t you? Especially since it’s about marketing for businesses — and there are some things in WordPress I can’t control. If you’re wondering what the percentage actually stands for, here’s what the report says:

of the millions of websites that have previously been evaluated, our algorithm has calculated that this site scores higher than 89% of them in terms of its marketing effectiveness

:)

I’ve picked two more out of the previous challenges that I might actually do. But I shouldn’t get sidetracked, first I need to cross off some items of my to-do list that I compiled during the week. I’m not going to share it here, because I like surprises ;) And I don’t need the stress of people breathing down my neck either LOL. But I mean to diminish my backlog (among which book reviews and challenge wrap-up posts), clean up some old posts, make an index page, a button for my Bookcrossing Releases Google Map etc.

Haven’t you heard about Bloggiesta yet? It’s a weekend of getting our acts together on our blogs… Check out the details at Maw Books Blog and join! Yes, there’s still time ;)

Now let the party begin! It’s good that I have some of those blue nacho chips and homemade salsa picante left over from last night’s dinner! :)

The Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

2009 was a good year for reading. I completed 35 books (5 more than last year) and I didn’t put any aside because I found them too disappointing. My eyes have goggled a total of 10.038 pages ;)

2009 FIRSTS:

I’m afraid I have a lot of ‘wrapping up’ to do on my challenges — writing reviews and wrap-up posts — so thank god for next weekend: it’s Bloggiesta!

Now, the highlights of 2009…. (drum roll)

BESTEST book: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (published in 1939)

I would never have guessed it would end as my best read of 2009. I had a hard time getting into the book, especially because of the ‘epic’ chapters intertwining the story of the Joad family during the Great Depression in the US. But it really got under my skin. And looking back The Grapes of Wrath definitely made the biggest (and a long lasting) impression.
I still need to review it so I guess it’d better be one of the first to tackle. (Review added)

SECOND best book: The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata (1962)

I had never heard of Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata, even though I’ve been reading Japanese authors for a while now. So I’m really glad I got to know him thanks to the Japanese Literature Book Group that started this year. Again, I haven’t reviewed this book yet :\ But I absolutely loved the detailed descriptions of Kyoto and Japanese culture. It reminded me of last year’s favourite: The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery. But The Old Capital is way more subtle — Japanese, where The Teahouse Fire is recognizably American in comparison. So, another review that’s high on my to-do list.

Worst book: Butterfly in the Wind by Rei Kimura (2000)
What do you know, I do have a review of this year’s worst read on Graasland! ;) That’s because it was the first book I read for the Japanese Literature Challenge (for which I actually only needed to read 1 book, but why stop, especially after such a disappointment? ;) I read Butterfly in the Wind in Dutch (Vlinder in de wind) and found the content, the way the story was told ánd the translation all h o r r i b l e.

I have thought of listing more books especially worth mentioning, but I had many good reads this year so I’ll just give you the whole lot of them. The first title (Silk) was read last, the last of the list my first book of 2009 (Falling Angels). Are there any of these you would have picked as your best read?

  • Zijde (Seta / Silk), Alessandro Baricco
  • The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson (online reading group)
  • I am a cat (Wagahai wa Neko de Aru), 2nd volume, Natsume Sōseki (Japanese Literature Read-along, JapLit Challenge)
  • The Old Capital (Koto 古都), Yasunari Kawabata (Japanese Literature Reading Group)
  • Persuasion, Jane Austen audio book
  • In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (November Book Group read; What’s in a Name)
  • I am a cat (Wagahai wa Neko de Aru), 1st volume, Natsume Sōseki (Japanese Literature Read-along, JapLit Challenge)
  • Coraline, Neil Gaiman (graphic novel)
  • De pianoman, Bernlef
  • Be With You (Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu), Takuji Ichikawa
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck ((multiple) challenge book) TNX to boekenxnl for this rabck!
  • Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates (Classics challenge; online reading group)
  • Het Pauperparadijs, Suzanna Jansen (non-fiction)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (Bookcrossing bookring / (multiple) challenge book)
  • Vlinder in de wind (Butterfly in the Wind), Rei Kimura (Japanese Literature challenge book)
  • Away, Amy Bloom (online reading group)
  • The Mapmaker’s Wife, Robert Whitaker (Bookcrossing bookring / What’s in a name challenge book)
  • What came before he shot her, Elizabeth George (What’s in a name challenge book)
  • With no one as witness, Elizabeth George
  • Zo god het wil (Crossroads / Come Dio Comanda), Niccolò Ammaniti
  • De inboorling, Stevo Akkerman
  • Ten zuiden van de grens, ten westen van de zon (Kokkyo no minami, Taiyo no nishi / South of the Border, West of the Sun), Haruki Murakami
  • De kleine keizer (‘The Little Emperor‘), Martin Bril (What’s in a name challenge book)
  • Nikolski, Nicolas Dickner (ring)
  • Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh ((multiple) challenge book / bookgroup)
  • Slam, Nick Hornby
  • Notes from an exhibition, Patrick Gale
  • Rivier der vergetelheid (Meuse l’oubli), Philippe Claudel
  • Dans dans dans (Dansu dansu dansu / Dance dance dance), Haruki Murakami
  • The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro ((multiple) challenge book)
  • Grijze zielen, Philippe Claudel (What’s in a name challenge book)
  • The National Trust for Scotland: Brodie Castle (non-fiction)
  • De ijdele engel, Godfried Bomans
  • The End of Mr Y, Scarlett Thomas (TNX to rapturina for this rabck!)
  • Vallende engelen (Falling Angels), Tracey Chevalier

The ‘stats’ (for real geeks like me ;) will have to wait until another day. But here’s what I read in 2008 and in 2007 — for those of you who haven’t had enough yet (are you also from the Eighties generation, too fond of making lists? ;)

My Google map will show you my Bookcrossing releases of all-time. Making a sidebar button for it is one of my wishes for next week’s Bloggiesta! As is, maybe, a special page where I can bring my year lists together?

Coincidently (dôh) this week’s Booking Through Thursday wants to know exactly what I’ve been talking about today!

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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