Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts

Friday, June 21, 2013

TWRV: Books That Take Me Away

Today is your third-and-final guest installment for  The Well-Read Vacay 2013 .  Please join me in welcoming  Jennifer from The Relentless Reader!   I heart Jen's blog because she and I have SUPER similar taste in books.  Plus, she introduced me to the awesome idea of Google-mapping all of the books I read throughout the year (check out her map below!).  A great way to mind-travel from the comfort of your living room.  Speaking of which, read on to check out her latest book travels!


Reading   makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.   ~Jean Rhys

One of the great things about being is reader is being able to travel the world without leaving the comfort of my own home. I can visit every corner of the globe without breaking my budget. I can satisfy my curiosity while staying true to my introverted roots.

I've been to Africa while wearing my fuzzy slippers. I've walked the streets of New York in my smiley-face pajama pants. I've been to Japan and India while cuddled up in bed. I spent a long weekend enjoying the sun in Chile while my hometown was being pummeled with 15” of snow.

Here are a few books that have recently swept me off to distant lands:
... Moloka’i by Alan Brennert led me to Hawaii...

...and Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter set me in a seaside town in Italy.

This year I also decided to keep track of all of the places I visit through literature.

So, where have books taken you?

(Don't forget to check Jennifer out at, or on Facebook and Twitter!!)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Today is your second guest installment for  The Well-Read Vacay 2013 .  Please join me in welcoming Katie from Words For Worms!   Katie harbors an unusually enormous love for penguins and writes some of the most entertaining book reviews on the interwebs.  Today she's taking us on a fan-flippin'-tastic journey through children's literature.  Buckle your safety belts, kiddos.


Hola, Bookworms!
I'm Katie, and I have taken over this blog. MUAHAHAHAHA! I normally write over at Words for Worms, but, Kelly, our proprietress here at The Well-Read Redhead, is out this week VACATIONING. When she asked if I would write a guest post for her, I was more than happy to oblige. Now. We all love reading. And we all WISH we were vacationing. I'm going to play travel agent for a bit and offer you THE TRIP OF SEVERAL LIFETIMES!
Follow the Yellow Brick Road, dangit!
Follow the Yellow Brick Road, dangit!
We will begin our journey at a farmhouse in Kansas. We'll have dinner with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry before catching the first twister out of town. You know how RV's are always advertised as "taking your home with you when you travel"?! An RV has nothing on us. We're taking the whole dang farmhouse. We may sort of accidentally squash a witch upon landing, but her only family is a disgruntled sister whose case won't hold up in Civil Court (and whose, uh, self? won't hold up to water...) Upon arrival, you'll receive a pair of STUNNING shoes (though not the most practical footwear for a long journey. I hope you packed band-aids.) We will then embark on a walking tour through Oz's countryside and into the EMERALD CITY. Just don't take off your glasses, okay? It will ruin the effect. Oh yeah, we may or may not be detained by flying monkeys. (You'll have to sign a release, it's all there in the fine print...) Once you tire of Oz, you need only click your heels together...
And you'll find yourself back at home. In your bedroom. Bored silly after your Ozian adventure, natch. Luckily, you'll notice a package containing a model tollbooth. (Who plays with a tollbooth? That's a ridiculous question. Nobody when presented with a toy tollbooth refuses to PLAY with it!) It's a good thing you brought plenty of change, because your trip to The Kingdom of Wisdom is going to get a little crazy. From Dictionopolis to Digitopolis, you will encounter miles and miles of idioms and homonyms before you can even hope to rescue the Princesses Rhyme and Reason. Luckily, you've got a Watchdog sidekick. Named Tock. Because he's both dog and clock, obvi! After all that rescuing and toying about with the English language, you're bound to be pretty worn out. You decide to turn your car around and head home.
Unfortunately, after your exciting day, you'll have a hard time sleeping. Your next tour guide should arrive punctually, looking for his shadow. All it takes is faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust before you're second star to the right and straight on till morning, my friends. Never-Never Land is pretty sweet. You don't age, for one thing, and you have no responsibilities! On the downside though, you're expected to hang out with a bunch of lost boys, a surly gang of pirates, and a bloodthirsty crocodile. Adventurous, sure, but probably not the sort of locale you'd want to set up shop in. Once you get home, I advise you to take a little nap...
Just not a very long one. Or you'll be late for a very important date! You have your choice of conveyance here, you can either fall down the rabbit hole in the yard or walk through the looking glass. Both roads lead straight to Wonderland. You'll visit with the Mad Hatter, March Hare, the Tweedles, and a whole host of other oddities while growing larger and smaller based on the whims of your tea cakes. It's all fun and games until the queen gets all "off with her head." You'd be well advised to skedaddle when you hear that one. Never to fear. Your trip is not quite over.
Now that you've made it back to your bedroom, take three steps to the left. There? Good. Open your wardrobe. Push past the coats. (Do NOT stop to wonder how you acquired so many coats, it will only lead to buyer's remorse.) You should emerge in Narnia, which will be pleasantly covered in snow. You'll see a lamp post and meet a centaur. You'll make friends with some beavers, too. And you'll somehow gain three siblings. Don't ask questions! Then you'll have to fight a massive battle and defeat the evil "Queen." Just make sure you don't eat the Turkish Delight. Trust me. It doesn't even taste good. 

Once you get back through the wardrobe, you'll realize you've only been gone a few hours. And had the adventures of several lifetimes. All this for the bargain price of ZERO dollars. Courtesy of your local library. Thank you for joining me on Storybook Tours. Please come again.

That's right folks. If you don't have the time or money for an official vacation? Take a few hours for a brain vacation. If the reason you have no time or money is your children? All the better. Take them on the trips with you! Now we're all much less jealous of Kelly's vacation, right? Right? Ah well. Distraction only goes so far. Kelly, you'd better be having a REALLY good time. Have enough fun for ALL of us!

(If Katie made you LOL (which she makes me do on-the-regular), check her out at, or on Twitter and Facebook!)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

TWRV: Reading on Vacation...With A Toddler

Today is your second lovely guest post for  The Well-Read Vacay 2013 .  Please join me in welcoming  Cari from Sweet Sweet Nothings!   I am totes biased in choosing her to guest blog for me, because in addition to running a very cool mommy-slash-review blog, she is also my real-life BFF.  So I can verify that she is (mostly) not crazy and a super awesome person overall.  Even though we are polar opposites (a story for another day).  :)  ANYWAY, Cari has her very own Small Fry (Lexi), so she gets what I'm going through as I vacation with my little man this week!  Read on for her insights into squeezing in that reading when you vacay with kids...


Helloooooo Well-Read Redhead readers!
My family on vacation in the Outer Banks
I am so honored to be guest blogging today on my dear friend's blog while she is off with her family vacationing.  I am completely jealous of her leisure reading chasing after a toddler right now! I am not a book blogger, but I do have a blog over at  Sweet Sweet Nothings  where I blog about my life, being a mom, and I also try to squeeze in reviews on all sorts of subjects.  Although I leave the book reviewing to this awesome blog because really even before Kelly started it I was always going to her for advice on what books to read and so 99.9% of the books I have read Kelly has reviewed already!  While Kelly is in a million challenges and has read more books in one year than I have in a lifetime (okay now I am just being dramatic, but I bet it is close), I only gave myself ONE book challenge this year.  My challenge for myself was to read 1 book each month and I am happy to report that I am right on track to meet this goal!
off in search of seagulls!
Some of my favorite times to read during the year is when I am on vacation.  I would normally bring about 5-6 books on vacation (now with a Kindle this is a much lighter feat).  I would start my reading in the airport before boarding a plane and usually wouldn't stop until we parked back at our house from our vacation.  It is great because both my husband and I could sit by a pool and read all day under an umbrella and sip on fruity drinks.   I have even been known to bring my book into the pool!  This was certainly my definition of a leisurely vacation.  
Enter in our life a baby. Our first vacation as a family of three my daughter Lexi was only 4 months old.  She was still a very sleepy baby and wasn't mobile and so I was still able to find plenty of opportunities to squeeze in a few books while on vacation.  Our next trip was to Florida without Lexi  for my husband's 30th birthday and we just sat by the pool all weekend long reading, relaxing, and drinking fruity drinks like the old days.   So when we took a trip to the Outer Banks this past April with a very mobile toddler I  was a bit naïve to think that I could stuff my Kindle with books and find plenty of time to read.  We did a ton of playing, digging in the sand, applying suntan lotion, running away from waves, swimming, keeping sand out of her mouth, building sand castles, collecting rocks and shells, and chasing after seagulls--but reading didn't really make our to-do list most days.  I would average about 4-5 books on a week long vacation and on our April vacation I didn't even get through an entire book! GASP!   Looking back there are a few things I would do differently on our next trip with Lexi to fit in more time for reading and I thought I would share with all of you avid readers out there! 
1. Have the mindset of "If I was stranded on an island and could only bring 1 book...". 
Since I thought I was going to be reading a few books on vacation I didn't really put much thought on what book I would start off with while on vacation. I started my vacation with a slow moving book, which led me to choose other activities rather than pick up a book I was dying to keep reading.  I am not one to drop a book easily (like my friend Kelly!) and so I was trying to get through the book little by little, which in the end wasn't a smart move because I never did finish the book while on vacation.  I found that I didn't have the Big Mo' for reading while on vacation and this was my biggest downfall.  For me, once I start reading a really good book it keeps me in the reading mind set for an entire vacation and keeps me engaged in reading.  I wish I did some better research on the book I was going to read and picked one that had the description of a quick read to help with this dilemma. So my advice is to think to yourself if you only get through one book on vacation, which one do you really want it to be? Because it really could be only one book you get through on a vacation with a toddler. 
2. Make a plan with your partner. 
We love family time and hanging out all together so it can be hard to carve out some "me" time during a family vacation.  My husband throughout the week would tell me to go and do something for myself and I just felt the pull of staying with everyone. It felt weird to just leave and hang by the pool and read for even an hour while he was busy keeping Lexi entertained.  It probably has to do with some sort of mom guilt, but in the end it was hard for me to pull away from the family.  Towards the end of the trip,  I was really getting into my book and my husband said to stay up and read and that he would take the morning shift with Lexi.  I just thought this was so brilliant!  I like reading into the wee hours of the night and so this plan made perfect sense.  Plus I am not a morning person so this sleeping in idea sounded like a real vacation luxury! So I was really grateful to have the reading time for myself without worrying about the consequences it would bring when Lexi woke up early.  That next morning I was able to sleep in after a night of reading and in that moment I truly felt like I was on vacation with no mom guilt in sight!  It was a spontaneous plan, but a plan none the less to help structure my "me" time into the vacation and help with the dreaded "mom guilt" that can sometimes happen with "me" time.   For future trips I hope we do more planning about what "me" time would look for both of us.  It will really help out with making trips feel leisurely even with a very active toddler.
taking a break from eating the sand
3. Don't pack a book in your beach bag. 
Okay so this one might be a little bit of a stretch for you avid book readers (I know Kelly doesn't go anywhere without a book!), but it has to do with being realistic and not necessarily your beach bag.  At the beginning of our trip I would throw my Kindle into the beach bag thinking "if I get a few moments to read it will be nice to have..." In theory this sounded like a great idea, but it only left me frustrated.  There were a few times on the beach that I was thinking that I wish I could bust out my book and read a few pages, but with a toddler you need all eyes all the time on them near bodies of water.  A couple of times I said to my husband, "remember when we could just lay out on the beach and read for hours?" In that moment I was really missing our old way of vacationing.  Knowing the book was in my bag was just taunting me on the fact that I wasn't reading the book and it was taking my mind and focus from family time on the beach.   After two days of this, I realized  that I wasn't going to have a few moments to read my book on the beach/pool and left the Kindle back at the house rather than in my bag.  This act made a world of difference with keeping my focus on family time and my daughter rather than the book at the bottom of my beach bag.  It gave me a realistic view of what our time on the beach would look like with a toddler and helped me realize I needed to carve other time in my vacation outside of my normal sit by the pool/lay on the beach type reading I was use to.
4.  Lastly, read with your child. 
I know toddlers have an attention span of 5 minutes seconds for a task, but each day on vacation we would have some quiet playing time (around 15-20 minutes) to wind down from the day.  She was 13 months at the time of the vacation and so she was just starting to do some independent play.  It normally involved giving her some books for her to read, blocks to stack, paper to scribble on and other low energy games. Depending on the age of your child that will probably determine the length of time you get to read.    I wasn't able to get huge chunks of solid reading done during this time, but it gave me a chance to finish up a chapter I was in the middle of reading or a chance to read a magazine (magazine reading counts too!).  A few pages over the course of a vacation can really add up! Plus I want reading to be a part of my daughter's life and most of the reading that I do she doesn't get to witness.  This gives her a chance to see that reading is important to me too and that I love to read as well!  She sees me put on makeup every single day and so now she wants to be like mommy and put on makeup in the morning with me (I can't believe it already is starting!) and so if she sees me reading even a little each day it might give her the push to want to do like mommy and read a book.   I am hoping on future vacations reading can become a family event towards the end of the day to wind down from our awesome vacation adventures. We are taking toddler steps towards that goal. 
Anyone have any other reading tips while vacationing with a young child? How many books can you normally read on a family vacation?
 all pictures were taken by  Beach Productions
Want to know more about Cari and her adorbs family?  Check out or her Twitter!

Monday, June 17, 2013

TWRV: Seeing The World, One Writer's House At A Time

Hi, readers!  As promised, today is the first guest post for The Well-Read Vacay 2013 .  And so, I will now step aside and introduce you to the lovely Shannon from Giraffe Days!  In addition to running a fantabulous book blog, Shannon is also the brain trust behind the Around the World in 12 Books Challenge .  So she's like a certified book traveler, y'all.  Not to mention she's living in Canada and moving back to Australia this she's a real life traveler too!  And today she's taking you on a trip to author's homes around the world.  READ ON!


Years ago, while on holiday in Paris for two weeks, I had the chance to visit the château de Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas' country house. It was built in 1848 but after two years of partying there, Dumas was forced to sell it because he'd run out of money.
  Château de Monte-Cristo
 It was a pretty impressive building, even though, in person, it looked a bit squished, like a large building made miniature, like a dollhouse - I think this effect was mostly due to the fact that the house was built in a little dell, with a steep hill rising above it. What made it interesting were the details, everything from the carved faces of famous people above the windows and doors (with Dumas himself above the front double doors - the man had quite the ego!) to the Moroccan room inside (it was the fashion at the time). What I really loved was the adorable writers' studio outside, though. With its own little moat and a tower housing a staircase that went nowhere, it was the place Dumas used to flee to to write, often abandoning his own lavish parties and ignoring all his guests. Amongst the brickwork are hundreds of white plaques, each bearing the title of one of his works of fiction. Like I said, he was quite pleased with himself!
Château d'if 389px-Le_Port-Marly_Château_d'If_001
I've never forgotten the exciting pleasure of seeing the home - now a museum - of one of my favourite writers. It reminded me that my sister had once given me a book called Writers' Houses as a gift, and it makes me think: what other authors could I visit, posthumously? I bet I could travel the world, hopping from one author to another! Though only the deceased ones: there's something definitely stalkerish and creepy about the idea of standing outside Margaret Atwood's Cabbagetown house here in Toronto, peeking through the windows!

Here's one possible itinerary:
Kenya: I'm not sure how many African authors have had their homes turned into museums, but I can't help but think it's a bit of a western white thing to do; in Kenya you can visit Danish author Karen Blixen's house (otherwise known as Isak Dinesen, who wrote Out of Africa).

Ireland: it's a bit of a cliche but then how many of us have done the James Joyce walking tour in Dublin? or visited the James Joyce House of the Dead?

United Kingdom: from Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton to Elizabeth Gaskell's Manchester house to the Charles Dickens Museum in London, you'll get a real dose of classic British lit. I would have to visit Hill Top, too, Beatrix Potter's home in the Lake District. And then there's Shakespeare, of course...

Russia: check out Leo Tolstoy's "Yasnaya Polyana" (Bright Glade) home, now a museum, which he called his "inaccessible literary stronghold" - there is also the Tolstoy House Museum on Arbat Street in Moscow to see. And while you're in Moscow, stop by the Dostoevsky House Museum, the Bulgakov Museum, the Gogol Memorial Rooms and the Chekov House Museum - or his country house Melikhovo, also a museum. Lots of famous dead white men in Russia!
Yasnaya Polyana

Germany: I'd love to visit Germany, with its stunning landscapes and rich history. While there, I could check out Goethe's Home and Goethe National Museum.
Goethe's Home and Goethe National Museum
Goethe's Home and Goethe National Museum

The Netherlands: I'm ashamed to say I haven't yet read Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, but if I ever have the chance to visit this country I would visit the museum where she wrote her diary while hiding from the Nazis.

The Czech Republic: I would love to visit Prague, it's one of my top-3 places to see, and while there I'd love to see the places Franz Kafka called home, starting with the house where he was born, which is now a restaurant.

United States: like the UK and Europe, there are plenty to visit in this country; the question is more, how to pick and choose when you've limited time? There's Margaret Mitchell's house in Atlanta, Mark Twain's house in Connecticut, or the very picturesque Steinbeck House in California.

Canada: Prince Edward Island is, of course, otherwise known as LM Montgomery-land, and I'm bummed that I won't be able to visit before moving back to Australia later this year. There's also the museum home of Gabrielle Roy and the Margaret Laurence House, both in Manitoba, and Joy Kagawa's house in Vancouver.

And here in Toronto, you can discretely gawk at LM Montgomery's Swansea home (which remains a private residence) and check out where Ernest Hemingway lived at 1599 Bathurst Street for a while during the years he worked for the Toronto Daily Star, even though he apparently felt mostly contempt for the city and Canada in general. We'll take what we can get, thanks! A great website I came across while looking these houses up is, full of news and interesting information as well as details about authors' houses you can visit.

Have you ever visited an author's house? What writer's house(s) would you love to visit?

(Don't forget to check out Shannon at, as well as on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads!!)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Feature: Book Bloggers International!

Hey, book bloggers!  Have you heard about Book Bloggers International yet?

BBI is a great new blog space put together by Becca (of Lost in Books), Tif (of Tif Talks Books), and Tasha (of Truth Beauty Freedom and Books).  Their goal is to create a place where book bloggers can network and get to know each other a little better.  I know that I come across new book blogs, so having a site like this will be really helpful for me in terms of networking!  I already was introduced to a great new-to-me blogger (Bryan from Still Unfinished) in their first feature earlier this week.

I am honored to be the blogger they chose for today's feature, which you can check out HERE .

Check out Book Bloggers International, y'all, and I hope I'll see you featured there soon!  :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Guest Post: Why Contemporary Fiction Is My Jam

Happy Friday, loves!  FYI, I have a guest post rockin' over at Lost in Books, in honor of Becca's Women's Lit Event (going throughout the month of March!).  It's called Why Contemporary Fiction Is My Jam , and it tells you all the wonderful, lovely things that I adore about modern-day women's fiction.

If you need further temptation, there's a gif from Mean Girls included.  WIN!  Go read it!
Imagination Designs