Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 2012 by Penguin Classics
A gorgeous deluxe edition of the world's most celebrated guide to life, love, relationships and pleasure.The Kama Sutra has always been a bit of a taboo book and as such I never really knew what was between the covers. I was a little shocked when I was asked if I wanted to include a copy in any Valentine's Day activities I was planning for my blog. I actually wasn't thinking about doing anything for Valentine's Day. As a singleton, it is just another day. But I was curious about the book, so I agreed.
Little is known about Vatsyayana, who is reputed to have composed the Kama Sutra "while observing a celibate's life in full meditation." In Sanskrit the word "kama" means desire, especially for sensual pleasure, and its proper pursuit was considered an essential part of a young, urbane gentleman's well-rounded education.
Untold numbers of readers are curious about the Kama Sutra but put off by its clichéd image as an erotic Oriental curiosity. This elegant edition offers a compelling modern translation of a classic Indian masterpiece-and a wry and entertaining account of human desire and foibles. From Goodreads.com
It is a really pretty book. It has French flaps and rough cut pages. There are no graphic pictures inside (no pictures inside at all). A friend and I flipped through it the day I got it and read snippets on the way to lunch. It was eye opening as there was much more to it than just sex. There was still plenty of shocking bits, but most was tempered by remembering that it was written for a different culture at a different time period.
If you follow me on Twitter you know I hosted a Girls' Night with The Kama Sutra. It was a lot of fun. I had a few of girlfriends over. We shared a couple of bottles of wine and took turns reading excerpts from the book. I was hoping they would share a few comments for my blog post, but I think they are a bit shy.
Like I said, some of the advice belongs to a different culture and time period, but some was still relevant today. We liked how most of the advice ended with "whatever pleases the woman".
Share the (Book) Love
As my Valentine's gift to you I'm sharing the book love I receive from authors and publishers. You have the opportunity to win 1 of 5 books. Each day I will feature a different book in the giveaway, but you only have to enter once for the drawing. I'm using Rafflecopter and you have until midnight EST Friday February 10 to enter. Here are the books available:
The Kama Sutra - paperback, US residents only
Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by J. B. Lynn - ebook, US residents only
Writer with a Day Job by Aine Greaney - paperback, US residents only
Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard - ebook, International
Life is More than Candy Hearts - short stories by Michele Richard, Lisa Bilbrey, and Laura Braley - ebook, International
Sunday, February 5, 2012
In My Mailbox
A weekly meme from The Story Siren
You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You by Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner
available April 2012 from Da Capo Press
The Darlings: A Novel by Cristina Alger
Available this month from Pamela Dorman Books
Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klineberg
Available now from Penguin Press
A weekly meme from Book Journey
Temptation: A Novel by Douglas KennedyThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Narrated by Jim Dale)
From the New York Times bestselling author of Leaving the World comes the brilliant, breathtaking story about a Hollywood screenwriter whose “overnight success” brings about his biggest downfall. Like all screenwriters in Tinsel Town, David Armitage wants to be rich and famous. Finally, after eleven years of disappointment and failure, big-time luck comes his way when one of his scripts is bought for television, making him the new toast of Hollywood as the creator of a smash hit series.
Suddenly a major power player, Armitage begins to reinvent himself at breakneck speed, quitting his day job, trading in his Reagan-era Volvo for a Porsche, and leaving his wife and daughter for a sleek, young producer.
Enter multibillionaire film buff Philip Fleck, who proposes an unsavory collaboration to the screenwriter. Armitage takes the bait and suddenly finds himself entering a decidedly Faustian pact—and unknowingly hopping an express ride to the lower depths of the Hollywood jungle. From Goodreads.com
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.Amongst My Enemies by William Brown
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart. From Goodreads.com
Inside an old German U-Boat rusting on the bottom of the Baltic are millions in gold bars, stolen art, and a secret that could tear NATO apart. The only one who knows the truth is Mike Randall, a battle-scarred American who survived four months in the frozen Hell of northern Germany at the end of the war. When he does speak up, he puts a target on his own forehead, one which the Russians, the West Germans, the U-boat’s former owners, the Israeli Mossad, and even his own government quickly take aim at. Some want the gold, some want him dead, and some want proof about a high-ranking spy inside NATO itself. Randall’s wants are much simpler. Caught between the Kremlin and a new, deadly, 4th Reich, he wants revenge and to satisfy some old debts with a steel-jacketed bullet. From Goodreads.com
Friday, February 3, 2012
ARC, paperback 444 pages
Published October 2011 by Unthank Books
Read September 2011 - January 2012
Buy: Amazon Powell's Books
Let me start off my saying two things: 1. DO NOT READ THE INTRODUCTION to the book unless you already know the story line as it gives away the ending, 2. Just because it took me forever to read it, it wasn't because it was dull or boring. Actually it was quite entertaining.
I did have some trouble getting into the story at first, but that is typical for me when reading Dickens. Though I love A Tale of Two Cities I use to skip the first several chapters and sometimes all of book 1. I also had to get in the right frame of mind as words used during Dickens time just don't mean the same thing today.
As some of you might know, this was the project Dickens was working on when he died and he did not complete it. I would think it would be difficult to pick up someone's story and complete it, but added that this is a murder mystery and has the twist and turns inherent to the genre, I would think it would be extremely difficult to complete. I mean how does one know what a real clue and what is a red herring in the plot? The introduction does provide some explanation as to how Madden drew his conclusion and I recommend reading it (just after reading the story). I like research so I found it interesting.
While the Dickens portion took me quite a while to get through I relatively breezed through Madden's section. Whereas the first part was dark and heavy (I kind of pictured Cloisterham as Knockturn Alley), there seemed to be a lightness to the second part (even the image of Cloisterham changed in my head to a lighter more open place). The language seemed more modern. More like what I would read in a historical novel that wanted to give the feel of the time, but make it easier for today's generation.
Dickens is very detailed in his writing. The characters come fully alive. I loved the characterization of Mr. Honeythunder (though I did not like him). I could so picture the dinner party. Madden emulates Dickens with the character of Billickens.
While I enjoy Dickens, I haven't read many of his works, but the ending Madden puts together seemed a little too tidy. All the characters were accounted for and tied up in a neat little bow. Something about it just seemed off to me. Any other Dickens fans out there? I'm trying to remember how wrapped up the ending was for A Tale of Two Cities. All I remember is how sad I was that Carton found love just as he headed to the gallows. I ask you, Dickens readers, how do other Dickens' novels end?
Thursday, February 2, 2012
|Image via CrunchBase|
The Myth About Being Liked (on Facebook)
These days it seems everyone is after "social proof," that elusive number of Likes or Followers that will make you seem part of the "in crowd." Unfortunately getting someone to like you is only half the battle, you must now get them to stay "in like" with you.
Studies show that the expectation of content does vary by age, but the direction is still the same: it's more than just getting someone to "Like" your page, you now must learn how to keep them. With all the social media options out there it's critical to not just build numbers, but maintain them, too. In order to do this, it's important to know what users want and when they want to see you post new content.
As I pointed out earlier, content expectations vary by age. For example, Facebook users between the ages of 18-26 have the lowest expectations of receiving something in exchange for their "Like" endorsement. When you go up the next rung, ages 27 to 34, they are more likely to expect something solid delivered in a Facebook update. But the users with the highest expectations, and those you are likely serving, is the 35-51 age group. This is also the group most likely to unlike a brand if it fails to meet expectations.
But it's not only about having great content, it's also about creating great engagement. A study done by Roost.com evaluated 10,000 Facebook fans across 50 industries and found that certain posts leverage more engagement than others. Here are some of their findings:
- Photo posts get 50% more impressions than any other type of post
- Quotes get 22 percent more interactions
- Questions generate almost twice as many comments
- Ask questions to spark dialog (questions often see twice as many comments) and consider fill in the blank posts which tend to receive 9 times more comments than other posts
- Posts delivered between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. tend to receive 20% higher user engagement
- Best day for Fan engagement? Wednesday - up by 8%
- How many posts does it take to increase user engagement? If you're thinking more frequent posts you are wrong. Posting one to two times per day produces 71% higher user engagement.
- When it comes to Facebook more is not better, sometimes it's just more. Posting with 80 characters or less receives 66% higher engagement. Very concise posts, between one and 40 characters, generate the highest engagement.
Understanding Facebook Content Interaction
Fan Pages now have a fabulous feature called Facebook Insights. Head on over there for some really interesting information and insightful (hence the name) data.
First, you can find Insights on the left side of your page. Once you're there you can see all sorts of data on the information you post.
- Reach: This is the number of unique people who have seen the post for 28 days after publishing the post.
- Engaged Users: These are people who have engaged with your post in some way: i.e. clicked the link.
- Talking about this: This is an interesting number and you've no doubt seen this pop up right under your "Likes." These actions are: liking the post, commenting, sharing the post, responding to a question, or RSVPing to an event.
- Virality: This is the number of people who have created a story from your page post.
It's not just about getting "Liked," it's about staying "Liked." Creating insightful, helpful, and engaging content is one piece to the puzzle, the other is timing and receptiveness of your fans. Though I've outlined 'general' user guidelines in this piece, be sure to check the Facebook Insights for key data that will help your fan base thrive!
Quick Ways to Promote your Facebook Fan Page
* Put your Fan Page URL in your signature line
* Email your newsletter list
* Add a Facebook Fan widget to your blog and website
* Add your Fan Page URL to your biz cards
* Tweet the link to your followers
* Notify your "Friends" on your personal profile that you now have a Fan Page
Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com
- Improve Your Social Media Marketing with Facebook Insights (blogs.constantcontact.com)
- A guide to the new Facebook Insights for pages: The like is just the beginning (marketing.yell.com)
- 4 Things You Can Learn with Facebook Insights (blogs.constantcontact.com)
- Facebook activity analysed (thebluedoor.com)