Sunday, May 25, 2014

Armchair BEA: Introduction to Me

Hi and welcome.  I'm excited to be participating in my first Armchair BEA.  I should say excited and nervous.  But let's get to it, shall we?  First up?  My introduction.

Hi, I'm Mark, and I'm a book blogger.  Oh wait, wrong introduction.  Let's go through a few of the questions that the organizers of Armchair BEA have created for us.

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

You think that's a simple question?  Unfortunately, it's not.

I have a blog, Random Ramblings from Sunny Southern CA, that I started in 2002.  (It also gives away that I live in Southern California.)  It's more of a journal type blog, but I do still try to post in it a few times a week.  Likewise, I started reviewing at Amazon in 2001, adding the now defunct site Epinions in 2005.

I started this blog in 2013 and spent the first six months copying over all my reviews from Epinions, which was no easy task.

As to who I am, I'm an accountant currently looking for my next job who loves to consume books in my free time.  When I'm not reading, working, or blogging, I play ultimate Frisbee and go on mud runs as well as watch TV and movies.

Why did I get into reviewing?  I've always loved to talk about the book I am currently reading and enjoying.  (Just ask my parents.)  This gave me another outlet to do so while also helping the sales of the authors I love.  Don't worry, it's a selfish motive.  If the author's sales go up, they'll get contracts to write more books, so I'll be able to read their books for a long time to come.  See?  Selfish.

Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details -- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. -- so we can connect more online.

I think the tag I've got at the top of my blog says it best - "Reviews from a collector and media addict."  If I had to say it another way, it would be something like, "My thoughts on whatever I am currently enjoying."  I do cover more than just books here.  I also review movies, music (mostly Christian music), TV shows and Hallmark Christmas ornaments with the occasional food or game review added for good measure.  Really, anything I feel like reviewing.  Now don't laugh; ornaments are some of my best hit getters come November and December, and I find that reviewing them refreshes the muse.  As far as TV shows go, I write full recaps of a few shows in addition to TV on DVD reviews.  And I'm gearing up to start the Weekly TV Thoughts meme when the fall TV season starts up again.

Believe it or not, I don't have a Facebook page for my blog.  Honestly, I'm trying to decide if that is a good idea or not.  Thoughts?  I just signed up for Instagram, so I don't have much there yet.  You can also follow me on Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

I would like to take this time to plug a page I do run on Facebook, however.  Over on First Line Monday, readers share the first line of whatever book they are currently reading - all genres are welcome as are articles, non-fiction, etc.  It's not a place to plug reviews, just post the first line of your current read, title, and author.  I hope you'll come check us out and join us.

What genre do you read the most? I love to read because ___________________ .

I mostly read mysteries, specifically cozy mysteries.  These are mysteries with an emphasis on the who done it over anything else.  There is minimal language, sex, or violence in them.  Think of Agatha Christie or Murder, She Wrote.

I've also gotten a bit more into Middle Grade books again.  Here, I will read anything from mystery to fantasy.  I've found some very fun stuff doing that which I will highlight later in the week.  I also participate in Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, hosted by Shannon Messenger, herself a middle grade author, on her blog.

If you want a better feel for what I read, you can check out my recently completed Index.  (Yes, I'm thrilled to be done with it and showing it off every chance I get.)

I love to read to be entertained.  If you tell me a good story with characters I like, I am yours.  Escape is part of it, but just the simple joy of a great story is another part of it.  (Which also explains why I love movies and TV - good stories, at least in most of the shows I watch.)

What does your favorite/ideal reading space look like?

Quite often, my favorite reading spot is the passenger seat of my car.  I find my best reading happens on my lunch hour.  I go out to my car and sit and read.  I often doze off for a few minutes, but then I am back at it.  During the summer, it often gets too hot to do that, so I find some other spot in the shade to read.

Here at home, I will often read on my couch if my roommate isn't using the living room.  Otherwise, it is on my bed.

Share your favorite book or reading related quote.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.  Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."  Groucho Marx.

That's it for my intro.  I look forward to getting to know many of you better over the course of the week.  And if you have any questions for me, feel free to ask.  I do reply to all comments.

35 comments:

  1. I have also recently become re-enamored with Middle Grade works. I think there's just so much greatness there that sometimes people overlook because of where it is shelved. But then, I guess people were saying that about YA a few years ago as well!

    Nice to "meet" you, Mark!

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    1. It's a shame to dismiss something because of the target age range, isn't it? So many good books, so little time, and who cares who the target audience is, right?

      Thanks for stopping by, nice to meet you, too.

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    2. agreed! Brings to mind a C.S. Lewis quote: "A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." Good reads are good reads, regardless of the presumed target audience. Glad for it! :-)

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  2. More and more middle grade books are finding their way into my bookshelf and my ereader. I have two kids in that age group, one entering 3rd grade and one entering 6th, although the older of the two is hijacking most of my YA books now. But I love being able to read and discuss books with my kids. I love how simplistic and genuine some of the middle grade reads are. It takes me back to a time when life was not so complicated.

    Lisa @Just Another Rabid Reader

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    1. I don't have the excuse of kids in the Middle Grade range for reading the books. But your point about taking us back to a simpler time does makes sense. Maybe it is one reason the genre still appeals to me.

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  3. I absolutely adore cozy mysteries. I am working on a number of series. I am glad that I have found you and look forward to getting to know you and your blog.

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    1. Another cozy reader! It's such a fun genre, isn't it?

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  4. You can't go wrong reading cozy mysteries and middle grade fiction! I'm glad to have met you today!

    --Brenda @DailyMayo

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    1. Two very fun genres if you are reading for pure pleasure for sure.

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  5. You should be proud of the Index! Those things are a beast to put together (but they are so great and useful for visitors!)

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    1. It was a huge undertaking, but I am so happy to have it up. Keeping it up to date should be much easier.

      And I have a feeling I'll use it frequently myself to find a review I want to reference.

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  6. I do pretty much the same thing when I take my lunch breaks. And I have to hide, or people will bug me the entire time. I love that quote. It always makes me giggle. :D

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    1. The car is a great place to hide, at least most of the year.

      I first heard that quote 10 years ago and still love it.

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  7. Middle grade reads have become my favorite to read in the summer :) Maybe because it taps into my love of reading as a kid. My teacher would give us 3-4 white pages with lists of books &tell us to pick 5 for the summer . I would finush at least one whole page! I'm really loving the Jedi Academy novels and the Origami Yoda Series.

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    1. Every year as summer approaches, Middle grade books from my past call to me. I don't often get them reread, but they definitely call to me.

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  8. It is fun to see more people reading MG, since that's all I read. personally, I think Facebook is creepy, so I don't have a blog presence there, just a personal one. My students like Instagram, but Twitter seems to be for older people. I have enough trouble keeping up with reading blogs!

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    1. I have a lot of fun on Facebook, but it is more personal than professional.

      I just mix a little MG into my cozies, but it's certainly more than it was a year or two ago, thanks to part to Shannon's MMGM.

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  9. Great intro! I really feel like I got to know more about you and your reasons behind blogging. Thanks for sharing. Great Groucho Marx quote too!

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    1. I'm glad to hear that - especially from someone who already stops by regularly.

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  10. Great introduction. I enjoy middle grade books, too. I'm pretty much all over the place when it comes to reading. I have a Facebook fan page for my blog. I don't have my posts automatically sent there. I do it the old-fashioned way and add links to things I find along the way. I don't think it hurts.

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    1. I'm sure having the Facebook page doesn't hurt. I'm just not sure I have the time for it.

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  11. We like the same genre - mysteries, cozies....

    I'm currently unemployed and looking for a job, but I used to love to read in my car on my lunch hour.

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    1. Something else we have in common, then, being unemployed and looking for a job. If only we could review for a living.

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  12. "Accountant by trade but a reviewer at heart." Well said. ^_^ I have the feeling I must have read some of your reviews in the past on Amazon... it looks like you've written countless! Very cool.

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    1. When you've been at it for a while (and you review just about everything that crosses your path), you wind up with a lot of reviews.

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  13. Hallo, Hallo Mark!

    *waves hallo* from the cheerREADER Team4! :) I had a bit of a late start today commenting, but I am happily determined & thrilled to be a part of the cheer squad! I am enjoying my route through the book blogosphere tonight, and am always happy to meet & interact with new readers & book bloggers!

    I think most of us started blogging about books because we have this deep well of musings & thoughts intermixed with observations that need to be shared about the books we love and the books we find most challenging either to read or understand. I yield to writing about books that I love to soak into but there are the occasions when I read a book on a blog tour that may or may not have resonated with me as much as I had wanted it too. As long as we're humbled and honoured by the journey I consider it a true blessing to be a book blogger because it helps unite the bookish & geeky! We get to find others who appreciate the books we do and we get to spread the word to others who might not have discovered the authors we're endeared too! :) Rock on!

    Ooh! Now that seriously rocks! I'm a cosy mystery girl myself! For the same reasons, but I do read relationship-based Romances, so love scenes are okay with me! Just not lust or erotica! However, back to the cosies -- I grew up on Aunt Agatha! (Christie) The closest to hard boils I can go are the Coffeehouse mysteries by Cleo Coyle but ooh! Java & tea are my bliss so it was a foregone conclusion I'd dig into those! Do you enjoy the Aunt Dimity series!? I cannot read that one fast enough!

    Great way to break the ice and get people interested in reading your blog!


    Jorie's #ArmChairBEA Intro

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    1. You've named three authors I haven't read much of. I know a little bit about Christie, but there are many books of hers I haven't read. I have the first Coffeehouse Mystery, but haven't read it. And the only ghost series I read is Sue Ann Jaffarian's Ghost of Granny Apples, so I haven't read Aunt Dimity. I've heard wonderful things about all those series however. Just a case of so many books so little time.

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  14. I'm not sure if I'd recommend a facebook page or not. Personally, I just autopost my blog posts there, so people can follow that way if they like. I know some of my family and friends use it that way :) Beyond that, given how few people see each post, I haven't bothered to do much with it.

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    1. That is a factor I hadn't really considered - how little a page's posts can show up in a feed. I try not to post too many articles so I don't drive my friends and family crazy, but a select few to get posted on my feed, and I post others in some mystery groups I'm part of as well.

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  15. OMGosh, I love your quote! I'd never heard it before, and it actually made me laugh out loud.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it so much. I laughed the first time I read it, too.

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  16. Great introduction, Mark! I love reading in my car!

    Have a great week with Armchair BEA!

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    1. I can read pretty much anywhere, so I always have a book with me. Heck, I've read in line at Disneyland before (I was in the area and popped in for a few hours by myself. I'd never read with friends around.)

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  17. Hi Mark, were you a fan of the original CSI series? I was. I love when crime drama is heavily mixed with medical science and I also like to research real psychopaths like the Iceman. Can you name some good books?

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    1. I watched it and the spin offs for a few years, but I gave them up years ago because they were just getting too weird and out there.

      It's also not the type of book I read, so I can't come up with any good suggestions for you. The few thrillers I read don't involve science, and none of my cozies do. Sorry.

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