my writing

Post image for BlogHer Books: 7 Nonfiction Books to Read by the Pool

When I think about nonfiction reads for the summer, I always return to books that are both a lot of fun to read and that don’t take a lot of brainpower to parse through. The authors with books on this list are definitely smart, but they’ve also found a way to make their topics — everything from the birth of forensic toxicology to the history of a favorite summer toy — easily digestible even after a margarita or two.

Post image for Programming Notes: ‘Tension City’ and ‘Badasses’

Despite how much I’ve been writing here, I’ve actually been doing some posts in other places around the Interwebz, which I wanted to take a moment to share.

First up is a review of Jim Lehrer’s book about his time moderating presidential debates, Tension City. I thought this book was a delightfully nerdy and awesome look behind-the-scenes at an event so many people watch but few people understand.

Post image for Nonfiction Murderers, Monsters, and Mayhem-Makers

Today I have a guest post over Jenn’s Bookshelves as part of her Murder, Monsters, & Mayhem celebration this October. For the post, I picked three different nonfiction books I think well-represent murder, monsters, and mayhem… depending on what you’re in the mood for reading.

Unrelated, I also had my first new post up on Book Riot last week in which I confess to my habit of turning classic literature into a daytime soap opera.

Post image for Book Riot: Raise an Uproar About Books

If you’ve been on Twitter much the last couple weeks, you’ve probably seen some posts about Book Riot, a mysteriously blank-looking site with the tagline, “It’s not a book club… it’s a movement.”

Now that it’s finally October 3 — launch day — get to help spread the news about what the site is since I’m going to be one of the regular contributors.

Post image for Thoughts: ‘Miracle Beach’ by Erin Celello

My last books article before I left Madison was a a combo interview and review with Erin Celello, a Madison-area author who just published her debut novel, Miracle Beach.

On the whole, Miracle Beach is a pretty good book. It’s told from three points of view — Macy, Magda, and Jack — and I was impressed with how well Celello was able to differentiate between them. I also liked that each of them was flawed, and Celello wasn’t afraid to make them behave badly when the situation warranted. Grief can make people do awful things, and the book accepts (maybe even embraces) that fact.

I’m going to be experimenting with some changes to Monday Tally over the next couple months to see if I can find a way to make the post easier to put together and less time-consuming for everyone to read.

Last week I started playing around with Tumblr, which is a short-form blogging platform — somewhere between Twitter and a full-length blog. Tumblr has different post formats that make it easy to just throw up a picture, video, link, or text into a short post. So far, I really like it as a way to collect links and comment on them as I find them. You can find my Tumblr, A Little Bit of Dorkiness, at

Post image for Thoughts: ‘The Mesh’ by Lisa Gansky

Businesses that rely on sharing goods are part of a new business culture, The Mesh, which author Lisa Gansky explores in her book The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing. I can’t remember how I ended up with this book for review, but I pulled it off the shelf a couple weeks ago because I was feeling like reading something different.

Mesh businesses rely on a principle of sharing, that it makes sense to share items that are high-cost but that are used infrequently (cars, power tools, expensive jewelry, that sort of thing). The book profiles a number of businesses that are taking advantage of this phenomenon.

Post image for Thoughts on Sarah Blake’s “The Postmistress”

Today my first “professional” book review was posted online — The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. In addition to getting to review the book, I also got to interview Sarah while she was in Denver on her book tour, so some of her thoughts on writing the book are part of that story.

I have to admit, I was a little bit intimidated working on this story because doing a mainstream review is a different style than what I write on the blog. I didn’t get to use the word “awesome” as much, and I felt like I had to pull back my personal opinions on the book a bit to talk about it in more general terms.

How Do Small Publishers Make eBooks?

by Kim on February 4, 2011 · 15 comments

Post image for How Do Small Publishers Make eBooks?

What happens to a small press when they need to start producing ebooks?

That’s always been one of my questions as I read stories about the impact of ebooks on booksellers and consumers, and I finally got a chance to get a perspective on that issue when I interviewed Krista Coulson, the electronic publishing manager for the University of Wisconsin Press, for the books column I write for a local newspaper.

The Sunday Salon is Open!

One of my favorite weekly memes, and the only one I continue with semi-regularly, is The Sunday Salon — “an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one’s earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book.” For awhile it was closed to new members because the technology behind it couldn’t handle the feed. But, the organizer now moved it to Facebook and the meme is open to everyone. So visit The Sunday Salon on Facebook and join in!