Weekly Geeks: 2009-05 – Judge a Book by its Cover!

This week it’s all about judging books by their covers! Pick a book–any book, really–and search out multiple book cover images for that book. They could span a decade or two (or more)…Or they could span several countries. Which cover is your favorite? Which one is your least favorite? Which one best ‘captures’ what the book is about?

Two of my most favorite books of all time are John Steinbeck’s East of Eden and Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth. I could not decide which book to use for this week’s post, so I decided I would just pick both!

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

This is my favorite cover because of the cleanliness of design, typography and layout. And it doesn’t have the garish “Oprah” endorsement, which just destroys the book cover design for me. (I bought this edition when it came out several years ago. It did have the red Oprah label on it but the good thing was it can easily be taken it off and thrown away because it was just a piece of paper wrapped around the book.)

This is my least favorite cover because it’s so bland. It doesn’t evoke any feeling or desire to read the book. It just doesn’t do anything for me. I just don’t get it.

This book cover best captures what East of Eden is all about. If you’ve read it, you’ll see the meaning—both literally and figuratively.


The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

This is my favorite cover. I love how Ken Follett’s name looks like it’s engraved on stone. The image of Medieval men constructing the cathedral is beautiful, too. Just looking at the cover, I know that it’s a historical novel, unlike the other ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ covers…like the one below.

Looking at the cover you’d think that it was another Follett suspense novel and not a historical masterpiece. The first time I saw this book with this cover at the bookstore several years ago, I thought it was set in the present time because of the image used. This is definitely my least favorite. Sure there’s a cathedral on the cover, but it missed the mark.

This is one of my favorite covers too. For me, this latest edition best captures what ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ is all about.¬† Combining the cover design with the weight of the book in your hands, you know that what you have before you is a historical, majestic, and sweeping masterpiece.


Weekly Geeks: 2009-04 – Other Passions

This week’s Weekly Geek is inspired by Dewey’s Knit-a-Long, a mini challenge of Dewey’s Reading Challenge. Dewey had other passions besides reading and blogging. Knitting was one of them. This made me think, what are the Weekly Geek’s other passions?

1. What are you passionate about besides reading and blogging? For example, are you crafty (knitting, woodworking, scrapbooking, model building)? Do you cook? Into gaming (computer or board)? Sports (player or spectator)? Photography? Maybe you like geocaching, rock climbing? Or love attending events like renaissance fairs, concerts? Music? Dancing? You get the idea.

Tell us why you’re passionate about it. Post photos of what you’ve made or of yourself doing whatever it is you love doing.

2. Get us involved. Link to tutorials, recipes, Youtube videos, websites, fan sites, etc, anything that will help us learn more about your interest or how to do your hobby. Maybe you’d like to link to another hobbyist whose work you admire or tell us about a book or magazine related to your interest.

3. Visit other Weekly Geeks. Link in your post to other Geeks who’ve peaked your interest in their passion. Or maybe you might find a fellow aficionado among us, link to them.

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This really got me thinking. I just realized that almost everything I am passionate about has something to do with books, but not specifically reading or blogging, so I think I’m good to go.

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The first thing that comes to mind is, of course, BookMooch. I am very passionate about BookMooch as is evident in my blog. I live, eat, breathe BookMooch every single day, it’s both crazy and wonderful. Not a day goes by that I don’t log in on the site, check my pending page, check my wish list page, and check the site for new books to mooch. I also read and post on all of the BookMooch forums (BM Discussion, BM on LibraryThing, and BM Pilipinas on Shelfari).

I love BookMooch so much that last week, my friend Triccie and I put up a BookMooch table at a high school fair to promote the joys of mooching. We even had t-shirts made! Oh the BookMooch awesomeness!

And every week (and on some weeks, every day) I answer email messages from BookMooch newbies who ask for tips and advice on how to maximize their BookMooching experience. I think it’s important to guide these new members so that they won’t encounter the same problems or hitches that I experienced as a newbie.

Another thing that keeps me on BookMooch everyday is the fact that I volunteer at the QC Public Library – Pasong Tamo. I manage their BookMooch account and handle all online and offline transactions, from requesting books to answering emails to receiving the books at the post office to delivering the books to the library. I love that this little library is getting help from all over the world. You should see how the kids and older students and the adults and senior citizens love to read at the library.

BookMooch is an online book-swapping community where you give your (unwanted) books away to get books you really want. BookMooch is free to join and use. Your only cost is mailing books to other members. BookMooch is open to everyone who has a computer, internet access, post office, and, of course, books to give away. I love that it’s international! And I love that John Buckman (BookMooch owner and developer) doesn’t hide behind a contact button. BookMooch is transparent, honest, and very user-friendly.

In the past year and a half that I have been a member, I have mooched over 400 books and given away 500 books worldwide. I remember that when I first joined I was so fascinated to be giving away my unwanted, well-read—but sometimes new and untouched—books to members in the UK, Australia, US, Japan, and Germany. One man’s trash is definitely another’s treasure! It was also super great to find books that were never released here in the Philippines. I have mooched so many books on so many different topics (Medieval History, British royalty, Tudors, learning Italian) that are hard to find here in my country. On BookMooch, since it’s international, you can find books in different languages, so I was able to mooch several Italian-language novels to help me learn Italian better.

BookMooch can be found here. All of the information you will need to know more about BookMooch or get started as a newbie can be found on this blog, left-hand column, under BookMooch Links. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me an email through BookMooch. If you are already on BookMooch, add me as a friend!

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Another of my passions are bookplates and bookmarks. I am crazy for them! I buy most of bookplates online and at Barnes & Noble when I’m in the States. I don’t go to the US as often as I want to, so I make sure to purchase several packs whenever I’m there. Sometimes I am able to find great quality bookplates (like Antioch) at Fully Booked and Powerbooks, but they don’t always have them in stock.

My Bookplate Collection

Good bookmarks are also a bit hard to find here in Manila. But then again the only places I look for them are in bookstores. Maybe there are other places I can buy artsy ones? In the meantime, I can satisfy my bookmark cravings on Swap-bot, an online swapping site. I love that you can swap anything on the site, like postcards, penpal letters, tea cups, ATCs, crocheted and knitted items, books, CDs, jewelry, thimbles, trinkets, scrapbooking paper, stickers, and of course, bookmarks! You can either handmake the bookmark or buy them at the store and then swap them for other bookmarks. In the two months I have been a member, I have received really, really beautiful bookmarks. Awesome.

Some of my bookmarks (the rest are already inside most of my books!)

Here are some useful links about bookplates and bookmarks:

What is a bookplate?

Free downloadable bookplates online

Blog on bookplates

Free downloadable bookmarks online

Swap bookmarks on Swap-bot

An excellent site on bookmarks

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Besides reading, BookMooching, collecting bookplates and bookmarks, I love to bake! My specialty is soft double chocolate chip cookies with walnuts. But I can’t share that recipe because it’s a *secret*! I also love baking all kinds of cookies like Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Ginger Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Snickerdoodle Cookies, Gingerbread, Peanut Butter Cookies, Truffle Cookies…I could go on and on. I also bake all kinds of cakes and brownies.

I started baking at age 12 after my cousin showed me how to make brownies from a Betty Crocker mix. In the beginning I only baked with mixes (brownie, cookie, cake) or frozen dough. I wasn’t brave enough to try it from scratch. When I was that age I was also freaked out by our oven—it was huge! So I always had someone else put in and take out the pan of brownies, cookies or cake for me.

A couple of years later I started reading about all these great recipes on the Internet and decided to try them myself. Measure the flour and sugar, soften the butter, crack the eggs, mix them all together—how hard could it be? I can’t remember the first thing¬† I made from scratch, but I imagine it went well because I just kept on baking more than a decade later. (I also overcame my fear of the oven—one day came that there wasn’t anyone to help me, so I had to do it myself!)

Most of the recipes I use I get from the Internet or in cookbooks. I only have a few recipes that I made myself, so I prefer to keep them under wraps for now. Super secret recipes!

The sites I frequent often for recipes are: Epicurious, AllRecipes, Recipezaar, the Food Network, Martha Stewart, and many, many others. I also love to read baking blogs! I have a huge folder with over 50 baking blog links.

If you have or know about a baking blog or recipe site that I should know about, please let me know!

***Photos courtesy stock.xchng

***I never take pictures of my baked goodies. I never remember to do so!

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Other Weekly Geeks with passions the same as mine (or hobbies I would like to learn myself):

BookNut decorates cakes and loves photography! I like to bake cakes and love photography, too.

Fizzy Thoughts loves to travel. I love traveling, but I don’t get to do so as often as I want to.

The Cubicle Reverend loves The Big Bang Theory as much as I do. I heart Sheldon!

book-o-rama crochets beautiful scarves, hats, gloves, and toys. I don’t know how to crochet and have always wanted to learn how to do so.