Tag Archives: book thoughts

“Blended” Genres: Do You Like Them, or Hate Them?

Every now and then, I come across a blog post that asks, is there a genre you never read?

I used to say “historical fiction”; hesitatingly, of course, because in the back of my mind I know that “never” is too strong a word and I don’t know what might come my way in this genre that I might fall head over heels in love with.

But then one day I thought to myself, “Wait a minute. It’s not really true that I ‘never’ read historical fiction, is it?”

And it’s not true. While I very rarely pick up “pure” historical fiction, I have read and enjoyed many historical mysteries and historical fantasies.

That’s when I realized that I really like “blended” genres. The paranormal that’s also a mystery. The funny chick lit that has fantasy elements in it. And yes, the historical novel that features a whodunnit.

The only “blended” genre that I don’t usually pick up is is a genre in and of itself: romantic suspense. It’s simply because I like my romances to be humorous, and most romantic suspense novels don’t fall into the humor side of things. I’m sure there are romantic suspenses out there that are funny, too, and they would be right up my alley. I usually love “chick lit mysteries”, for example.

And of course, urban fantasy is, in and of itself, a blend, taking fantasy into a contemporary setting.

It also makes perfect sense, then, that many of the ideas for novels that I have running around in my head feature a blend of genres. NANTUCKET, the first draft of which I’m almost finished (I have, unfortunately, been “almost finished” for ten days now), is a mystery with paranormal elements.

My next project, which I want to launch into as soon as I get the first draft of NANTUCKET done (I don’t have a code name for it yet), is an action/spy/fantasy thing.

So here are my questions for you – I’m curious both as a reader and as a writer:

How do you feel about genre “blends”? Are you disappointed when you pick up what you think is a “straight” genre book, only to discover it incorporates elements from other genres? If you are disappointed, is this disappointment related more to the fact that it wasn’t what you expected, or is it because you simply do not like it when a novel features a blend of two or more genres?

Do you think there is a right way and a wrong way to blend genres? I find I never like it when the author throws in a fantasy element right out of the blue, when the book has been dancing its dance as a mystery, for example, for more than half its pages.

If you do like novels that blend genres, what are some of your favorite “blends”?

So, Where Did I Get The Last 20 Books I Reviewed?

I wasn’t going to blog about this, because out of all the book and lit blogs I follow in my feedreader, I’ve never thought any of them reviewed a book more positively simply because it was an ARC or a review copy.

Let’s Do Some Math

Honestly, the amount of time it takes to read a book, then sort out your thoughts about a book enough to review it, and then sit down and actually write the review, is worth far more to me than getting a book in exchange for that time.

I mean, really, if you think about the numbers, it looks something like this: let’s assume that, on average, it takes you six hours to read a 250 page book. Then it takes you another hour to think about the points you’d like to mention in your review and maybe some nice turns of phrases that have you smiling, and then let’s say, another half an hour to write the review.

That’s 7.5 hours for a 250 page book.

Here in Ontario, the current minimum wage is $9.50 an hour (this converts to USD $8.92). Now, my time is worth more than $9.50 an hour, but even assuming my time is equivalent to minimum wage, that “free” book the publisher or publicist or author sent me cost me $71.25 to review. Granted, this is in Canadian dollars, so let’s do a quickie conversion, shall we, and see how much this is in U.S. dollars.

In U.S. dollars, at today’s exchange rate, that comes up to $66.87.

Call me crazy, but for that USD $66.87, it would be much better for me to just go out and buy all the books I want to read, don’t you think? In hardcover. The moment they hit the bookstores. And still have money left over for some takeout to go with the books.

Honestly, don’t you think that would be a much better option than earning the distrust of your readers by writing an unwarranted positive review in exchange for a book that will cost you $66.97 of your time to read and review?

Update: An even simpler calculation just occurred to me. Let’s say the average price of an ARC, if you bought it in a bookstore, was $20. Using our 7.5 hours to read and review the book as an example, you’re “making” $2.67 per hour. Nuts, right?

Sure, there’s the advantage of being able to read a book a few months before the general public gets to read it, but honestly, there are only a handful of books that I am that anxious to read. Time flies by so quickly these days, before I know it, the kids are all another year older and all those books I was looking forward to yesterday have all been released.

So you see what I mean? It’s simply silly to think that one would keep writing positive reviews in order to keep getting “free” books from publishers.

And, I suspect no-one ever questions newspaper reviewers about this kind of thing. I wrote a video and PC game review column for a Florida newspaper for two years, and got all sorts of games sent to me in the mail; it never even occurred to me that people might suspect I was writing a positive review simply because a publicist sent it to me. I got dozens and dozens of games, and since I only wrote one review a month, most of them didn’t get any coverage. I was totally honest in my reviews, and the publicists (who, I suspect, were simply glad to see their game getting picked to be reviewed) understood this.

Yes, I got paid for my monthly review column, but it definitely didn’t come close to compensating for the amount of time I spent actually putting a game through its paces and then sitting down to put my thoughts into a coherent article.

My time is my time, very valuable to me, regardless of whether I’m writing a review for a newspaper or for my blog.

So, Where Did The Last 20 Books I Reviewed Come From?

I know I said I wasn’t going to blog about this, but then I saw that so many of the bloggers I followed are posting about this issue, and you know me. I’m influenced very easily, very easily indeed. So here I am, blogging about it.

Of the last 20 books I reviewed:

16 Bought

2 ARCS

2 Library

(If you’ve ever read any of my posts about my book buying binges, these numbers would make perfect sense.)

To add insult to injury (so to speak), out of these last 20 reviews, 19 of them were at worst lukewarm and at best raving recommendations dotted throughout with I loved this! Why aren’t you running out to get your hands on this right now? OMG this was such a great read! The book that received the one negative review was an ARC. It was also the first book this particular publisher has sent to me, no less.

As far as I know, they’re still talking to me, and  I still have a standing offer to choose from this publisher’s list of upcoming releases. And yes, I will likely send a quick email if anything does come to my attention.

Now, having said all of this, I do feature every book that comes into my hot little hands in my Incoming! new book arrival posts, whether I’ve bought them or received them from a publisher or publicist, or won them in a giveaway or got them at the library (I’m a little behind in my Incoming! posts at the moment, as you can imagine). I do this mainly because I always love finding out about different, new-to-me books on other blogs, and if you all were to rely on stumbling on good books through my reviews (I only write one to two a week), you’re not likely to find too many here. So my Incoming! posts are are the best way I can think of to share with everyone the books in my TBR pile. Not to mention, on a slow day, it gives me something to blog about.

So you see? In the words of John Ceepak (from one of the books I recently raved about), it’s all good.

Wait a Minute. Why Only One Bad Review?

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “How come only one bad review out of twenty?”

The thing about my reading habits is this: I am an extremely moody reader. What this means is that I have a lot of books lying around partially-read. I can’t even call these books DNFs (did not finish’s), because most of the time, I’ve put the book down because I just didn’t feel like reading that particular type of book at that particular moment.

So you see why it would be totally unfair to review a book that I haven’t finished, especially when the DNF status might very well be only temporary?

Now, there are books that I just don’t have any intentions of finishing – my “true” DNFs, so to speak. I don’t review those, either, simply because my threshold for not wanting to finish reading a book, ever, is very low – not even the 50-page point that a lot of people have.

I figure it’s just as unfair to review a book that I’ve only read a handful of pages of.

So what this all means is … if I’ve finished a book, it’s likely I’ve enjoyed it. Or at least, it was readable enough for me to give it my time and finish it. The result? At worst, a lukewarm review, at best, a raving recommendation (see above for full description of raving recommendation, complete with quotes). In the case of the negative review of that one ARC, I didn’t realize it was a book I didn’t like until the end. There’s not much a moody reader can do about something like that.

And that is why it’s rare for me to write a negative review. Except, of course, if the book is an ARC. (Just joking!)

Are You a Re-Reader?

I’ve been thinking about this lately – the fact that I’m a re-reader, I mean.

It used to make sense, back before I began blogging about what I read, and discovering other bloggers doing the same thing. Back then, I actually went through periods during which I ran out of books in my TBR.

Yes. It’s true. I’m not making this up. I used to go through dry spells where there were very few books in my TBR, and then there would be whole days when I had nothing to read, and not even a browse through my library’s shelf would net me anything of interest.

Nowadays, though, I can’t go online without adding yet another new title to my i-want list. My TBR has grown into several minor mountains (I’m thinking of naming them according to the location of each pile – oh, I think that book is in Mt. Outside-the-Upstairs-Bathroom. And this title? Yes, here it is, in the middle of Mt. Beside-the-Office-Bookshelves.)

So why is it, I have to ask myself, I find I sometimes can’t resist the urge to re-read a book?

I’m not even talking about things like signing up for the Harry Potter reading challenge; after all, I have a good excuse. I haven’t listened to the books in audio, and anyway, I’ve been yearning to read the series from beginning to end ever since I put down book seven, floating in a blissed-out state but awfully sorry the series had ended.

CIMG2608 I’m talking about being immersed in two or three really good current reads, and suddenly thinking, you know, I’d really like to re-read L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle (and then I promptly did so). Or P.D. James’ The Murder Room, which is sitting on my desk right now because yesterday I was getting together a bunch of books to add to the Giftaway Shelf, saw The Murder Room, thought I would add it to the pile and then, for some reason totally unknown to me, decided to re-read the first page. Which is why it’s sitting next to me right now on my desk, and not in the stack of books destined to be added to the Giftaway Shelf.

Every time I do this – decide to re-read a book – I swear, all the books in my TBR piles give a collective groan, whip out their Daytimers and rub out the date they each figured they’d finally get read by me.

And despite this, I still do it.

What about you? Do you find yourself re-reading books even though the state of your TBR threatens to overwhelm you? Or are you really good about books you’ve already read, able to give them away or put them away and never think about them again?

The “Write” Priority

Today’s word count: 2,266 words

NANTUCKET total word count: 67,407 words

*************************************

Please excuse the pun. I couldn’t help myself.

Today is Day 3 of my latest writing goal, which is to make my writing a priority. While my daily word count goal of 2,000 words has been a huge personal success, in that it’s gotten me back into writing and I seem to now have a healthy supply of bum glue, some days (nights, really) I found it really stressful working to meet that goal.

Here’s an example of what used to be a typical day for me.

During the day: email, Twitter, work on my current paying deadline, do family stuff with kids and husband, play or watch a video with my youngest, eat, email, Twitter, read other blogs, email, Twitter, write blog post (maybe), work some more on my current paying deadline.

I always wrote in the evenings, after my six-year-old was in bed. The problem was, there was usually more email/Twitter/deadline work/blogging to do once I had some true peace and quiet. By the time I turned on my writing program, chances were good it would be past midnight, sometimes well past midnight, and what I wanted to do wasn’t write, but drop into bed and sleep.

Not to mention, it was tough writing scarier scenes, since my office is on the ground floor, there’s a window to my right and we have yet to find window coverings we like, so I’m basically staring out into the pitch black night where anything might be lurking every time I happen to look up (which, when I’m writing, is actually quite often).

With my new writing goal of making my writing a priority, I’ve made a commitment to writing before I work on my latest deadline or do any blogging. In other words, my writing comes first. I found I couldn’t resist checking email and Twitter first though, so email and Twitter time doesn’t count (rather unfortunate, actually – two days out of the three so far, my email and Twitter time ate up most of the morning and then of course I had to have lunch (and go on a book-buying binge on one of the days) and before I knew it, it was the afternoon and I hadn’t started writing yet.)

But after email and Twitter time, I write my 2,000 words for the day.

My findings so far:

1. It takes me a little longer to meet my daily writing goal, because there are more interruptions around here during the day, especially in the form of my six-year-old whose current passion is telling “knock knock” jokes he doesn’t really fully understand. Over and over. To which you must respond.

2. My writing sounds better to me. I think this is because I’m not typing my words out while in a half-asleep daze, and not really because my writing is actually better, but who knows.

3. When I finish typing that last word, I feel really good. Like I’ve accomplished something. In the past, when I finished typing that last word, it was all I could do to quickly write up my writing goals blog post and then stumble off to bed. I rather like this feeling good business.

4. I am a little behind on my regular work deadlines.

All in all, I like the better-sounding writing and the feeling good, so the extra bit of time it takes me to pound out those 2,000 words is, I think, well-worth it. Being a little behind on my work deadlines isn’t such a great thing, but I still think it’s worth it, and anyway, I’m practically always a little behind on my work deadlines, since I’m very good at procrastination.

So please keep your fingers crossed for me that I can keep this new writing goal going for 30 days, after which I am confident it will become “just what I do”.

When do you do your best writing? In the early morning, before there are any other demands on you? During the day? Late at night?

What’s Up Sunday – June 14

I normally post this as “What’s Up Saturday”, but yesterday kind of flew by really quickly, especially since I was behind on the big giveaways post.

Deadline Alley

I’m heading into Deadline Alley over the next ten days – I have five deadlines to lay to rest and I’d like to get everything finished by next Wednesday. That will leave me a day to help my husband pack for our road trip, get our housesitter settled in, make sure there’s enough pet food on hand to feed the assortment of pets and well, just de-stress a little so I’ll enjoy the 19 hour drive to the beautiful shores of Nova Scotia!

Currently Listening

This past week I’ve been really enjoying listening to Tilt-a-Whirl, by Chris Grabenstein. It’s the first book in a mystery series about part-time beach resort town cop Danny Boyle and his partner, John Ceepak; Beth F. recommended the audio version of the series to me, and I am very grateful (if you love audiobooks, check out Beth F’s blog; she always has great suggestions). The narrator of the series, Jeff Woodman, has now been added to my own personal list of great audiobook narrators (joining Lorelei King, who narrates Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, Hugh Fraser, for his narration of the Agatha Christie novels, and Jim Dale, narrator of the Harry Potter series).

I’ve been actively on the look-out for good audios primarily because of the 19 hour drive (I can’t read in a car, unfortunately); the other day on Twitter Miriam Parker from Hachette Books suggested that I give Bill Bryson a try, and ever since then I’ve been walking around the house sounding rather demented because every now and then I’ll give out a big burst of laughter. Listening to Bill Bryson in audio will do that to you.

Right now, I’m listening to Bill Bryson’s I’m a Stranger Here Myself; my version is actually called Notes From a Big Country, which you can buy at Amazon UK. Notes From a Big Country has eight more essays than I’m a Stranger Here Myself (I have both titles in trade paperback, so I counted); otherwise, they contain much the same essays (I didn’t do a title-by-title check, though).

If you have an Audible membership, you’ll be getting Notes From a Big Country if you go for the unabridged version; unfortunately, Bill Bryson only reads the abridged version, but William Roberts, the narrator of the unabridged version, does a pretty good job. This listen is, obviously, a “reread” for me (since I ended up buying both versions of the book, it would be pretty sad if it wasn’t!); Bill Bryson’s books are brilliant and very funny reads whether you get them in print or in audio.

This Week: No Picture, but a Video

Rather sharing a picture from my life this week, I wanted to share the following video, called Validation. I discovered it at my dear friend Bethie’s blog, Simply Blessed. It’s a long video – 16 minutes – but I guarantee, if you have the time, and you’d like something to give you a bit of a lift and put a smile on your face, it’s well worth the watch. It was written and directed by Kurt Kuenne, stars TJ Thyne (of Bones fame), and has won a whole string of very well-deserved short film awards. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Blog Overload! (or, How Do You Keep On Top of Your Blog Reading?)

It’s finally hit me. Blog overload, I mean. I spent all day yesterday trying to catch up on comments, and I don’t feel like I’ve made a dent at all in all the blog posts still to be read.

(The state of my Google Reader is beginning to eerily feel like an online version of my physical TBR piles.)

I thought I had a great system nailed down. First, I check out the recent blog posts of everyone who comments here, if they have a blog. Second, I have a special folder in Google Reader called “Must Reads”. That’s the one I hit first. It contains all sorts of blogs: book blogs, writing blogs, just-my-life blogs. All the blogs I really enjoy.

The problem is, that folder has recently gotten totally out of control. So not only is it impossible for me now to make it through that folder in one sitting (I need at least a few days, I think), I STILL have all the other blogs that I liked enough to add to my feedreader originally, the ones that aren’t in the Must Reads folder yet (“yet” being the key word here), and yes, I do still want to check in with everyone.

So now I’m toying with the idea of a different kind of system: separate folders for each day of the week, each one containing a random selection of blogs. I’m wondering if that might help me to at least peek in on what everyone’s doing at least once a week. I’d still keep my “Must Reads” folder and try to get through that every couple of days, too.

I can’t bear the thought of unsubscribing from any of the blogs I’m subscribed to; in fact, despite the fact that my Google Reader is full to bursting, I just keep adding more feeds.

Here’s what I’m wondering: How do you keep on top of all the blogs you follow? Do you have a system you can share?

Netbook Equals Ebook Reader (Sort Of)

I am incredibly thrilled with my netbook right now – I’m sure if anyone took a look at me, all they’d see would be streams of bookish glee floating all around me.

The other day, I decided to see if I could easily set my netbook’s screen to portrait orientation. It had occurred to me that I might actually be able to see an entire page of an ebook on the screen, making it easily readable, if I could set the screen to portrait mode.

After surfing around for a bit, I discovered that my Asus netbook accomplishes this quite easily. I press CTRL + ALT + the right arrow key, and voila! the screen changes to portrait mode. Getting it back to normal is as easy as pressing CTRL + ALT + Up key.

Armed with Adobe Digital Editions (for PDFs) and Sony’s eBook Library Software (for ePub format), I now can easily read ebooks!

So, of course, the first thing I did was surf around for some free ones, just to give things a whirl. The Sony eBook Store has a bargain section, and Terry Brook’s wonderful Magic Kingdom for Sale – Sold is on offer right now, so I created an account and downloaded the book. I switched to full-screen view and then set my screen to portrait mode – and it’s wonderful!

I took pictures, but it was challenging because the screen kept catching my flash, and if I don’t use the flash, you can’t see the keyboard portion of the netbook.

CIMG2012 The Keyboard is On the Right

CIMG2010 The Page is Nice and Clear

It’s not quite the same as having a Kindle or an eBook Reader – while my Asus netbook is small (the screen is just under 10 inches and it weighs just over 3 pounds), it’s still larger and heavier than a Kindle. On the other hand, holding it in portrait orientation sort of feels like holding a book, so it does feel very familiar. The battery is capable of lasting up to 9 hours in power-saving mode, which is more than long enough for a reading session.

I’m going to be asking for a Sony eReader for my birthday, I think. But in the meantime, my netbook plays its role of eBook reader well enough. Turning the pages is as easy as keeping my cursor in the right spot and then giving a little tap on the trackpad.

The bonus is that I’ll be able to load anything I buy from the Sony eBook Store onto my Sony eReader (when I get it)! I see lots of happy shopping ahead of me. And there just might be times when I want a backlit page, and for those times, my netbook is perfect!

Audiobook Magic: 7 Reasons Why You Should Listen to Your Next Read

One of the things that has really amazed me is how I have so suddenly become an audiobook convert. Last year at this time, I wouldn’t have even considered listening to a book in audio, unabridged or not (but please don’t get me started on abridged versions – I have only one word for them, and that word is “why?”).

In this time-crunched world of ours, though, I do know how it all happened. Audiobook magic – or, multi-tasking at it’s best. Here are seven reasons why you should listen to your next read:

  1. You can read while you’re driving. You knew this one already, didn’t you? It’s probably the number one reason why audiobooks have become more popular. There’s nothing that will make you feel more serene while stuck in traffic then listening to an audiobook; everyone around you might be swearing and blue in the face from frustration, but you’re actually hoping traffic doesn’t pick up, not until you finish up this chapter.
  2. You can read while you’re doing housework. I swear, these days I actually look forward to doing the laundry. I’m digging around the house for dirty clothes, and my kids are telling me, “Mom! I’m still wearing this. No, you can NOT take it off me.”
  3. You can read and get fit at the same time. Score one for the couch potato reputation of the bookworm. The treadmill beckons. And as nicer weather approaches, it gets even better. You could be enthralled with the Women’s Murder Club, or maybe Stephanie Meyer’s The Host, and logging those miles all at the same time.
  4. You can read while pretending to watch the latest episode of Toopy and Binoo. This one is high on my list, because my six-year-old wields the remote control the way some kids hang on to their Wii controller, and one episode of Toopy and Binoo can take two hours to get through, with all the rewinding and replaying of specific funny bits that goes on.
  5. You can read while the in-laws are visiting. This one takes a little bit of camouflaging effort, but trust me, it can be done. Just make sure to keep your hair in your face so it’s impossible to see your earbuds, and every now and then, when you notice them looking at you expectantly, say something like, “Really?” or “That’s quite amazing” or “What did she say when you said that?”.
  6. You can read while you’re at work. Just take heed of point no. 5 above, and make sure your earbuds are invisible to the rest of the work world. Stare at a notepad on your desk as if you’re deep in thought, and every now and then, shuffle around some papers and re-arrange some file folders.
  7. You can read in bed at night with the lights out, a glass of wine in hand. This isn’t multi-tasking, but listening to an audiobook is one of my favorite ways to unwind at night. I’m giving my eyes a rest, relaxing, and, well, yes, getting through that book I swore I’d finish this week. It’s all good.

Basically, you can read an audiobook while you’re doing any mundane task. And really, that’s the biggest thing. I listen to audiobooks these days while I’m making the kids’ lunches, while I’m weeding the garden, while I’m cooking, while I’m cleaning – while I’m doing anything that doesn’t require much thought but still needs to be done. And all the while, I know I’m accomplishing something even more important – I’m finishing a book. When it feels like there’s no time for anything other than getting through the things that need to be done, this can lead to quite a lot of satisfaction.

Do you listen to audiobooks? What are you usually doing when you’re listening? I guess what I’m really asking is, have you experienced the magic of audiobooks?

What’s Up Saturday – May 30

What a wonderful and interesting week it’s been. Here’s what’s been going on:

My First Twitter Party

party

I went to my very first Twitter party last night – BEAtwittyparty, hosted by The Book Lady’s Blog. And I have to say, it was absolutely wild. I mean, really, truly wild – if you followed the party using the search page at Twitter, every few minutes it would tell you to hit refresh, because about a gazillion more tweets related to the party had just been tweeted. There were so many great threads of conversation, all whizzing by at hyper-warp speed.

If I closed my eyes, it almost felt like being at a real party (except, of course, if I closed my eyes, I couldn’t very well type or read all the tweets …).

There were some great conversations going around, and just like at a real party, people jumped in and out of various discussions. I met new people, and it was just a whole lot of fun. My main regret is that I arrived late, and then had to leave early (now that I think about it, this happens to me a lot in real lie, too. I guess I can’t claim the title of “Life of the Party”).

(Photo credit: JadeGordon)

No BEA? Books Anyway”

There’s another great BEA event for those of us unable to make it to Book Expo America this weekend: Devourer of Books is hosting the “No BEA? Books Anyway” event. To show our support for the book industry, those participating will do some book buying this weekend.

I already went bookstore shopping yesterday, and will be heading out for another book buying shopping trip today – all specifically for this event (isn’t it a wonderful excuse to indulge?).

Writing Goal

I finally did something that’s been a long time coming for me: I owned up to my lack of writerly disciplined and decided to make myself accountable. I am committed to working on my fiction by writing for half an hour a day, and so far (knock wood) so good.

You’ll be seeing a series of new posts around here called On Writing – I’ll be posting about my progress, so that I can keep myself accountable. Two Three other book bloggers are setting writing goals too: Dorte H. from DJS Krimiblog, Margot from Joyfully Retired and Melanie from Novel Ideas by Mel.

I’m hoping that I can stick to this commitment for 30 days, after which I fully expect to have a new habit – a writing habit!

New Features

I also added some new features this week: Title Finds and From the Haphazard Twitter Files of Ms. Bookish. I’m pretty sure these new features will help me with my other commitment, which is to blog here regularly.

New Template

Yes. Soon. I’m hoping later today. If I don’t get my new template up before tomorrow’s Big List of Giveaways posts, I’ll have to break the posts into two or maybe even three. I really dislike doing that, so I’m hoping I’ll get the template up before then!

Appreciation

Finally, I want to wrap up this post with a huge thank you to everyone who’s come by and commented on my posts here this past week. I can’t begin to express how much I appreciate the time you all take to make a comment. When I’m sitting here staring at the screen, wondering if, really, I should even bother writing up the next post, your comments make all the difference to me.

Feeling Twitter-ific, Thanks to My Netbook & Seesmic Desktop

twitter

Update: spelled Seesmic wrong! Typo has been changed. In title too. Sigh

I think I’m finally getting the hang of Twitter! It’s really due to two things: I picked up my ASUS EEE PC 1000HE on Saturday (do I love it? do I LOVE it!), and I downloaded Seesmic Desktop, a desktop Twitter application, and have been making full use of its list-making feature to keep track of things.

Note: I liked using the word “Twitter-ific” in the title of this post, but for anyone wandering in from Google, this post isn’t about Twitterific, which is a Twitter app for Mac and iPhone users.

ASUS EEE PC 1000HE

I work from home, and spend most of my work time in front of the computer. So, while blogging is fun, I’ve been feeling kind of chained to my desk lately.

Enter the netbook.

At first I was thinking of the Dell mini laptop, but then I surfed around, looking for reviews, and the ASUS EEE PC 1000HE looked perfect for me. CNET”s Crave blog rated it the no. 1 netbook in its top ten list of mini laptops.

I already have a laptop but rarely use it because I’m always paranoid it’s going to run out of juice just when I’m getting to a good part of whatever I’m working on, and having to plug it in everywhere kind of takes away from the whole portability thing, you know?

The EEE PC weighs a little over 3 pounds, has a nice, almost full-size keyboard and best of all, has a battery that lasts 9.5 hours! Of course, that’s if you use it in the optimal battery-saving mode, but all the reviews I read clocked the battery at lasting around 7 hours and 20 minutes, give or take ten minutes or so, running in normal performance mode.

I can attest that this is true – at least, on Saturday I had it running for about six and a half hours before I finally switched it off, and the battery wasn’t fully drained yet. Which is a relief, as the battery’s capability is the main reason why I decided to get this particular netbook. (Well, okay, the price is pretty good, too.)

The only thing I don’t like about the EEE PC is the multi-touch touchpad, but that’s just me. I’ve never liked touchpads or trackpads – I prefer plugging in a small USB mouse and going with that.

I have felt so free the entire weekend! I can sit and “watch” a Diego DVD with my little one, check up on my favorite bloggers, tweet to my heart’s content, and not feel any “bad mother” guilt at all.

And with the good weather here, I can get outside more without feeling like I’m shirking either my blogging or my writing duties. (The indexing, unfortunately, needs me to be at my main computer with its lovely ergonometric keyboard and paper holder; but mark-up of the page proofs can be done anywhere, thank goodness.)

Seesmic Desktop

I’m also loving Seesmic Desktop. It helps me keep track of different groups of people I follow, I can use it with more than one Twitter account (I have another Twitter account for the food blog my husband and I do together, Muse in the Kitchen) and so far (knock wood), unlike Tweetdeck, I haven’t experienced any problems with Firefox slowing down.

I like the number of sections I can have open, too; I now keep my replies window open so that I can keep track of replies, too.

Of course, this is now – who knows how I’ll feel about Twitter in a week or two. But for now, I do feel like I’ve got the hang on it. And now is really what’s important, right?

So all in all, it’s been a very good, Twitter-filled weekend. Do you Twitter? Look me up – my Twitter name is @msbookish!