JL's Bibliomania

Bibliomaniac. Daughter of a Bookaholic. Wife of a Bibliovore.  Mother of 2 Bibliophiles.


While my first love was SF and fantasy, I read widely in YA, urban fantasy, police procedurals, and non-fiction. 


Also occassionally on GoodReads as J L's Bibliomania:


and Litsy @jlsbibliomania






Dewey's Closing Survey

Well Quincy slept in, so I did too.  Read another few chapters of The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson before falling asleep around 1 am. 
How would you assess your reading overall?
More reading than I have done since COVID-19 turned our lives upside down. I'm satisfied.
Did you have a strategy, and if so, did you stick to it?
Only strategy was to focus on reading and to remember to turn on an audiobook when I was working on other things. I was partially successful at staying out of the games on my phone.
What was your favorite snack?
Pretzels & Peanut Butter
Wanna volunteer for our next event?
I'll tell you closer to it. I've been participating in at least one #Readathon a year (either Dewey's or 24in48) since October 2013, but often have conflicting events. Cheering on everyone else's reading is one of my favorite parts of the Readathon, so if I don't have conflicts, I'd probably sign up for a shift somewhere.

Dewey's Mid-Event Survey and Good Night


It’s hour 16ish and closing in on Midnight for me, so I’m going to close my day with the “Mid-Event Survey”


What are you reading right now?

Getting ready to take my Kindle with The Secret Garden to bed and read until my eyes shut.


How many books have you read so far?

I haven’t finished anything (and am unlikely to finish anything) but I’m not disappointed because with finishing 7 chapters in The Secret Garden and listening to 6 chapters of in the Audiobook of The Third Daughter, I’ve read more today than I have in the previous month.


I might have to find a picture book on Hoopla, just so that I can have an entry in the books finished database.


What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Going to bed, because I’ve been exhausted. But our dog has a bad habit of waking up at 6 am, so I’m hoping he gets me up to read some more.


Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

My Readathon day is full of interruptions, and other responsibilities.  It has been for pretty much every Readathon I’ve participated in.  I just read when I can. 


What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

Not a surprise, but I’m loving the Facebook posts and Booklikes blogs about what everyone else is reading and doing today!  It’s wonderful to feel like part of community!  I’d thought about venturing onto Twitter or Instagram, but decided to pick up a book instead.


P.S. The Split Pea soup was yummy!


Dewey's Readathon Hour 8 Update - April 2020


So far today I have


  • Read 5 chapters in The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson (don’t know how many pages since I’m reading on a Kindle Fire) 
  • Snuggled with my reading companion
  • Had my Kindle run out of charge
  • Listened to the first 3 chapters of The Third Daughter - Talia Carner on Hoopla (don’t know how many pages since it’s an audiobook, but about an hour’s worth)
  • Run out to pick up washable face masks (while listening to said audiobook).
  • Participated in my online Karate class
  • Cleaned up from class
  • Ate a chicken sandwich for lunch
  • Realized it was too late to start split pea soup in the crock pot and just started it on the stove instead (while listening to more audiobook)


It’s nap time now.


Afterwards, I’ll probably listen to more of the audiobook while meeting my daily quota of grinding/farming in Empires and Puzzles

Virtual NEFFA

The 76th New England Folk Festival was supposed to conflict with #Readathon

While it's unfortunate that the in-person festival needed to be cancelled because of COVID, they've put together a virtual festival instead

So if you're looking for a soundtrack while you read, head over to NEFFA and give something a listen.


P.S. These videos will be available the weekend of April 25-26 and a few days more, and then I expect they will take them down

Dewey's Readathon - April 2020 Starting Line


Heya – It’s Readathon this weekend, so here I am again after a long hiatus.


This post is being pre-written and pre-scheduled based on the questions from the last Readthon I participated in so that I don’t lose reading time in a busy day


1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? 


I’m reading from Socially Isolated Southern NJ. 


2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?


I’m looking forward to finishing my reread of The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett  which my work book club is discussing via Skype on Thursday.  And I’m planning to start The Third Daughter - Talia Carner  as  the author will be having a Zoom call with my Synagogue Book Club later in the month (on the day she was originally scheduled to visit in person).


3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?


Not a snack, but a meal – It’s supposed to be rainy and cool, so am planning to start a pot of split pea soup in the crock pot and let it go all day.


4) Do you have a #readathon plan of attack?


Since the start of the COVID-19 shutdown a month ago, about all I’ve been reading is the newspaper and more newspapers and Facebook (and playing games on my phone).  So if I actually read a BOOK today around running out to pick up washable masks and an online karate class and keeping my family fed it will be a win.


5) Are you doing the Readathon solo or with others?


I am the only one doing the Readathon, but I live in a household of readers, and I expect everyone will end up with a book in their hands at some point on Saturday.


Dewey's Readathon Ending Survey

Artificial Condition - Martha Wells Deeper Than the Dead - Tami Hoag The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield

They've changed up the survey questions!


How would you assess your reading overall?

I'm happy. I read for about 5 hours


This is more than I've read in a long while


Did you have a strategy, and if so, did you stick to it?

Not strategy other than to read when I could around a tired Friday night and a very busy Saturday.


What was your favorite snack?

The leftover falafel bowl I ate for lunch


Wanna volunteer for our next event?

I have and will gladly cheer for other readers, or even captain a cheering squad on the day of the event, but my life is too full to commit to working outside the day of the Readthon itself.

Summer 2019 Reverse Readathon Mid-event Survey

Artificial Condition - Martha Wells The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
1) What are you reading right now?
Artificial Condition (Murderbot #2)
2) How many books have you read so far?
Parts of 2, several magazine articles (online), and lots of other people's Readathon posts
3) What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the read-a-thon?
Continuing to nibble on The Thirteenth Tale
4) Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
My entire day is an interruption that I am sneaking a few hours of reading into.
5) What surprises you most about the read-a-thon so far?
That I'm stoked about watching others love to read


Summer 2019 Reverse Readathon

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield

I haven't felt the urge to blog since last November.  And have been spending more time on cooperative online games rather than reading, but decided to play along on the Summer 2019 Dewey's Reverse Readathon


1)What fine part of the world are you reading from today? And what time is it where you are?


Southern NJ, so in the "official" time zone.  Starting at 8 pm


2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?


Only book I've preselected is The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield  which my IRL book club is reading


3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?


Our blackberries are ripe, so I am planning to bake blackberry squares sometime in the next day or so


4) Do you have a #reversereadathon plan of attack?


I haven't been reading/blogging a lot. My goals are 1) to make progress on the book for my book club and 2) to spend some time catching up logging the books I've read in the last few months


5) Are you doing the readathon solo or with others?


I am the only one doing the Readathon, but I live in a household of readers.  Hubby is curled up with Gardner Dozois's last anthology and younger son is reading web-fiction serials (as usual)



Happy (American) Thanksgiving


I'm taking advantage of the day off to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!


Sometime in October, I appear to have lost the urge to blog about books.  I'll be back eventually if the energy, time, and interest returns. 

Halloween Bingo - 1st Square Filled

The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater

I finally finished my first book for Halloween Bingo by re-reading The Raven Boys. While it can go many places I am counting it for the Raven Square.


The first time I read The Raven Boys, I listened to the audiobook, and was enchanted.  This time, while my delight  was somewhat lessened by already knowing the major reveals, Maggie Stiefvater's language was almost as magical in print as it was as an audiobook.


Reducing my rating from 5 stars to 4.5 because you can't be delighted by a book for the first time twice.



Reading progress update: I've read 101 out of 409 pages.

The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater

Blue, largely against her will, glanced to the booth he pointed to.  Three boys sat at it: one was smudgy, just as he said, with a rumpled, faded look about his person, like his body had been laundered too many times.  The one who'd hit the light was handsome and his head was shaved; a soldier in world where where the enemy was everyone else.  And the third was -- elegant. It was not the right word for him, but it was close.  He was fine boned and a little fragile looking, with blue eyes pretty enough for a girl.


I'm very much enjoying this re-read of The Raven Boys.  My first time through was the audiobook read by Will Patton, which forced me to take the time to savor the language.  I'm finding this time through different, with the major reveals no longer a surprise, but  still loving how Maggie Stiefvater crafts language.


While The Raven Boys could fit many squares, I'm intending to use it for




Reading progress update: I've read 17 out of 268 pages.

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer   Wright

Through Chapter 1.  So far it's a very light read. 


I don't know whether to be fascinated by Ms. Wright's attempt to make the material approachable by references to current pop culture (such as the allusion to the West Wing in the Chapter on the Antonine plague), or if these references will quickly make Get Well Soon horribly dated.


I've not made the time to read the other reviews coming out, in part because I don't want to prejudice the rest of my read.

August Retrospective

Between procrastinating the book for my IRL book club, getting hooked on an online farming game, and starting to watch Dr. Who with my husband, I’ve spent a surprising amount of August not reading.  I’m especially surprised because I’ve been on vacation for the past week and instead of my usual book a day, I have only finished one book (though I did DNF 2 others). 


During August, I finished 3 books in print and 1 audiobook.


Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - J.E. Vance 


Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - J.E. Vance got a lot of press right after the 2016 presidential election, but it took me until now to listen to it as an audiobook.  As advertised, Hillbilly Elegy discusses the plight of  whites of Appalachia in the story of one family told by the son who "made it" and moved away.  Like many personal narratives, I think Hillbilly Elegy would have made a wonderful long-form article, but the full  book was a bit thin and repetitive.  While Hillbilly Elegy does a good job of personalizing one segment of the white working class and their struggles, I found it long on anecdote and short on rigorous analysis that would have deserved the reviews saying that it explained the appeal of Mr. Trump to these voters who swung the election. 


The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware 


My IRL book club read The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware for August.  After procrastinating starting it, I did finish it in time for the book club meeting, due in part to insomnia the night before the meeting.  I didn't find the protagonist appealing, but once the story got going, the pages turned.  The opinion of the book club was that The Woman in Cabin 10 was the suspenseful/thriller-like story that we were expecting for our previous selection Before the Fall - Noah Hawley.


Tinker - Wen Spencer  


My husband has been trying to get me to read Tinker - Wen Spencer for over a year.  My younger son devoured the series this summer.  I brought the opening volume of this urban fantasy-like series based on the premise that an orbital gate transfers a near-future Pittsburgh to the planet of the Elves on vacation with me. Tinker had some rough edges and Mary-sue-like moments, but I was right, it did make a good vacation read.  I am curious to see where the series goes, but not quite sure how it might fit into Halloween Bingo (while you could stretch and call elves cryptozoological and there is a murder, at least this first book doesn't fit the suspense/mystery/horror requirement).


Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel - Jesmyn Ward 


I've been intentionally trying to read more books by African-American authors.  So after seeing glowing reviews, I started the 2017 National Book Award winner Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel - Jesmyn Ward. I can't articulate why, but the book just didn't grab me (The extended episode with the car-sick little girl was the penultimate straw). So, despite feeling that Sing Unburied Sing is something that I should have read, and a book that would be good to be conversant with as part of cultural literacy, I guiltily decided to DNF. 


 Leviathan Wakes - James S.A. Corey  


The rest of the family has also devoured Leviathan Wakes - James S.A. Corey this summer.  DH is on book 4 of the series and older son is up to book 6.  I started Leviathan Wakes late last week.  After getting about 50 pages in on August 31st, I decided to throw it back onto the someday/maybe pile and move on to Halloween Bingo selections instead.


I Don' Wanna

The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware

My IRL book club picked The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware  as our next read. I've been resisting starting it, but feel obligated to at least give it a swing since I didn't even really give the last selection a try.

State of the Database: BookLikes database, Halloween Bingo, and a mini-rant - with pictures.

Reblogged from Murder by Death:

Note: I'm writing this a little hungover.  That's my disclaimer if anything sounds snarky.


A common grumble in BookLikesandia is that the database could be better (my polite translation).  This is a perennial grumble that rolls across BookLikesandia regardless of search/import outages or other unfortunate and annoying bugs.


I and the other librarians scurry around the records like ... ants, trying our best to fix things and make the database a solid body of reliable, verified data.  No flag waving, but Themis-Athena and I have done over 100,000 edits combined - and in reality, the number is much higher because the system only counts how many times we open a record, not the number of edits we make while its open.  With other librarians, the count is almost 150,000.  We've been scurrying.


We have so much more work yet to do.  Tip of the iceberg stuff.


But changes on BookLikes take a lot of time.  There are no bulk-edit librarian tools; every book and author record has to be edited, merged, or tied together one at a time.  Today, I did 7 pages of queued up edits, 20 to a page, in 5 different languages. It took me over 2.5 hours. 


I enjoy doing it - I'm a nerd and get a great sense of satisfaction out of seeing an accurate and complete record.  BUT - and this is the point of my lead up:  if edits and new books were added correctly by  most users, 2 hours of my time this morning could have been spent fixing old problems and cleaning up old records.


If records are submitted correctly (including edits), I could have gone through the 7 pages in the queue today in 30 minutes, instead of 2.5 hours.  I've done posts before - repeatedly - about do's and don't's, and, let me be clear a lot of people DO submit wonderful records.  Really, and it's really appreciated.  We remember your names, and smile when you submit stuff.  Ok, I do anyway.


But a lot of people are still missing the details.  So.  I have pictures.  Screenshots of the two biggest time wasters for librarians processing the queue:  mis-labelling formats, and adding ASINs where they should NOT be added.


Let's start with E-books:


Both of these are wrong, and have to be fixed.  The first one because it's a KINDLE, not an ebook, and the second because it's an EBOOK, not a kindle, and the ASIN should NOT  be theres.  It should be on a KINDLE edition, seperate from the ebook edition.


This is what a correct ebook edition should look like.


This is what a correct KINDLE edition should look like.



Now, paperbacks and hardcovers:


Both of these are wrong and have to be fixed.  Paperbacks and hardcovers NEVER HAVE AN ASIN.


This is an example of what a paperback edition should look like (and hardcover - except, of course, it should say "hardcover").



This record is doubly wrong:

No format was included, so we don't know if this is supposed to be a paperback, hardcover, ebook or kindle - hell, it could be an audiobook for all we know.  So we have to leave Booklikes to search the web (because most of these include a GoodReads source URL that doesn't specify the format) to find out what format it is before we can correct it.


Sometimes shit happens.  Sometimes mistakes are made, or someone is in a hurry, no biggie.  But most of these aren't mistakes, most of them are submitted by serial offenders.  And please understand that I'm not complaining about a few - almost half of the queued lists are usually made up of records like these, that have to be opened and corrected before they're approved.  Today's count would have been close to 70 records.  On top of the records missing covers, ISBNs, etc.  Out of 140 records today, only about 40 were submissions I could just approve as is.


As I said, I enjoy doing this, as do the other librarians, but our time is finite, so whatever we spend on new submissions that have to be corrected is time we can't spend on fixing old records, bad imports, combining scattered editions and merging duplicate author records.  The records that cause all the grumbling in the first place.


Please help us make the BookLikes database better for everyone.  Rant over.  Send aspirin.

Preliminary and evolving Halloween Bingo TBR

I typically average about 5 books a month, so unlike many of the more voracious readers here, I’m not even going to attempt to black out my Bingo card*.  So I think I’m going to follow the same strategy that I used last year – pick a likely row with a handful of interesting books and then just wait for the calls to catch up. Here are some of the books I'm debating for the start.



A3 – Slasher Stories

Sandman Slim - Richard Kadrey 

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys - April Genevieve Tucholke 


B3 – Spellbound (an embarrassment of choices)

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead - Kim Harrison (can also fit Deadlands, Cryptozoologist, Shifters et c.) available as an audiobok

The Book of Life - Deborah Harkness  (might also fit Relics & Curiosities) - available as an audiobook but at 24 hours is longer than might commit to in audiobook during Bingo

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld - Patricia A. McKillip   

A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab  (one of many places this can go since I don’t have the Darkest London Square).


C3 – Raven

The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater (reread - though this can also go many places)

one of the overflow from Spellbound

A short story TBD 


D3 – 13 

We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson (even though I think this will stretch my comfort zone and could go elsewhere)

Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo 

Or more Raven Boys


E3 – Ghost Stories

The Girl in the Green Silk Gown - Seanan McGuire  (could also fit New Release)



*Yes, I know short stories count towards Halloween Bingo, but I can’t see reading 25 of them in a 2-month span either.  (And I’m just too likely to get sucked into the anthology and not move to other squares anyway)

Currently reading

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Peter Hunt
Progress: 100/210pages