Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Meet John Valeri, Hot Blogger Reads Books!

My dear friends, I have for you today, John Valeri, a wonderful, wonderful book blogger that churns great bookish contents. You must visit him to see what I mean. I did a little happy dance when John said YES to be featured here. I will now take you straight to what this great friend of mine has to say, so...

Please join me in welcoming John!

Love that cute outfit, John! By the way, brown is my favorite color. And the books, oh the books...

The (written) words get in the way…

That is my life motto. (OK—that, and I love me some Gloria Estefan!)

I’ve had an ongoing love affair with books ever since I got over that whole “reading is evil” childhood mentality. In fact, books were my frequent “Friday night date” growing up—and, in retrospect, I have to say that they often make better company than people!

And that is why I decided to take up book blogging…

Hartford Books Examiner is a column dedicated to my lustful literary life, and features book news, reviews, and author interviews.

When I debuted HBE in the winter of 2008, I figured that it would be a good way to keep my writing skills sharp (because don’t all readers secretly—or not so secretly—want to be writers?) while earning a few extra pennies. I also saw it as an opportunity to bring sexy back. Book sexy, that is. In a world where video games reign supreme, I wanted to honor the power of the written word.

Since that time, I’ve found that writing a book column has many advantages—more than I anticipated, really. (On the downside, I spend so much time reading and writing that, due to the sedentary nature of the job, I’ve gained about half a person!)

First of all, book blogging gave me a legitimate excuse to avoid such mundane household tasks as dishes, laundry, and cooking. (“Sorry, honey, I’m reading—it’s for work!”) Granted, that was a short-lived reprieve, but a reprieve nonetheless. While I’ve always tried to make my book consumption a priority, I finally had a “call of duty” that could be used to rationalize what other, less enlightened people might view as antisocial behavior.

Second, I have gotten to know fellow bibliophiles from distances both near and far. Not only has this been a nice social perk, but it has afforded me the opportunity to discover new thoughts, philosophies, and cultures—and new books! (Who would have thought that Alice, from Malaysia, and I, from the United States, would bond over our shared admiration for author Karen Olson?) Everybody has a recommendation, and I’m always open to hearing it. Of course, I’ve also done my fair share of championing authors and books, and there’s nothing more gratifying than somebody telling you that they picked up a book based on your endorsement. (There are also those few people that disagree with you, but that’s a different story. And they’re wrong…)

Third, HBE has allowed me a forum to welcome some of my very favorite authors. I have found that writers love to talk about their books, and most respond enthusiastically to the opportunity to do so. (Quick life lesson: Never be afraid to ask the question because the answer will often surprise you.) In addition to featuring some of Connecticut’s finest writing talent, I have hosted some of the biggest names in the literary world—Mary & Carol Higgins Clark, Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Gardner, Wendy Corsi Staub, Debbie Macomber, and Wally Lamb among them—and all from my little writing nook in suburban CT. It has been a true honor sharing their voices (voices that have kept me such good company) with my readers, and I look forward to continuing to do so…

Fourth, and finally, I have to admit that I have been the beneficiary of some unexpected indulgences. Not only have I cultivated numerous relationships with writers, publishers, publicists, booksellers, and booklovers that have enriched me both personally and professionally (and that may even help to open a door within the industry someday), but I also find myself coming home to a mailbox full of books more days than not. (Heaven to me, but I’m pretty sure the mailman detests us!) Is there anything better than receiving an ARC of a book that doesn’t officially release for weeks (or months)? Right now, I am completely immersed in the new Patricia Cornwell novel, Port Mortuary—and it doesn’t hit the States until November 30th!

Needless to say, I have come away from the experience of book blogging far richer than when I began. Except monetarily, that is…

(Thank you for hosting me, Alice! You are a true friend. And I can honestly say that nobody’s blog leaves me hungrier than yours…)

Happy reading,

Hey John, even if you've gained half a person from all that bookish diet, we all still love you. Honest. I'm sure Karen agrees too (right, Karen?)... Oh yeah, who would have guessed Alice from Malaysia and John from the US would
bond over a shared admiration for author Karen Olson? (Karen, you brought us together—thank you!)

Thank you, John, for writing this interesting and engaging post and for that cute photo. You're a true friend too, you know that.

Well, my friends, I hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I have enjoyed hosting John for this "issue" of Hot Guy Reads Book!