Smugglivus

Three Years of Book Smuggling…

It’s hard to believe that we have been running The Book Smugglers for three years now (and also that we have no intentions of stopping anytime soon…or ever). When we started the dinky blogger-hosted incarnation in 2008, we never in our wildest dreams could have imagined where our shared love (or is it MINDLESS OBSESSION) for books would take us. And yet, here we are – over 1000 reviews, guest posts, and other musings later. When we celebrated our first blogoversary in 2009, we talked about how The Book Smugglers began, and on our second birthday we took a retrospective look at the year.

Here’s a look at the highs (and lows!) of 2010, that made the year so memorable.

January

  • As Smugglivus 2009 comes to a close, we hold our very first annual Customer Satisfaction Survey and get a ton of feedback from you, dear readers! We resolve ourselves to make the site more easily navigable (with a horizontal nav bar) and to offer more of everything in 2010 (reviews, giveaways, etc)
  • Bloomsbury’s Covergate Whitewashing Fiasco continues into the new year: this time the victim is Jaclyn Dolamore’s Magic Under Glass. After coming under much fire from impassioned bloggers (who make pleas ranging from contacting the publisher to boycotting the book), Bloomsbury retracts the cover and issues a new one
  • The first ever Book Blogger Convention (awesomely associated with BookExpo America) is announced and we are THRILLED – Thea books her ticket straightaway (and begins goading Ana into coming to New York in May)
  • Ana discovers John Green and promptly becomes a nerdfighter: TFTBA!!!!

February

  • The FINAL SEASON of LOST premiers – to much sobbing, yelling, and craziness from Ana and Thea
  • For his new novel A Dark Matter, Thea gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to interview one of her favorite authors since middle school: the horror great, Peter Straub
  • Ana reads her favorite book of 2010: Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves and her head explodes with the Awesome.
  • We participate in Alert Nerd’s second blogtastic roundup with our own “True Geek Confessions” (Ana loves Ewoks. Thea loves Sky High. With the force of a million suns.)
  • We Book Smugglers take whitewashing VERY seriously and post our inaugural Cover Matters essay: On Whitewashing, in which we examine whitewashing in the publishing industry and why it is such a pervasive practice.

March

  • We celebrate our first themed week of 2010 with our very own Steampunk Appreciation Week(s) (because we had so much to cover, it turned into a two week event, naturally). During the event, we have a heated (and widely varied) discussion about what constitutes “Steampunk” as a subgenre, and read and review a number of awesome (and many more not-so-awesome) steampunkish titles. Thea’s favorites include Tim Akers’s Heart of Veridon, Stephen Baxter’s Anti-Ice and Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn; Ana’s include Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brook and The Annubis Gate by Tim Powers (although she doesn’t really think this one is Steampunk). Both of us enjoy Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker but discover, devour and LOVE Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius comics.
  • We have a close call with another whitewashing accusation with the cover of Holly Black’s White Cat. After much thorough investigation, we post our findings in another Cover Matters article.
  • TONS of awesome books come out in March. Not only is this the month in which Thea reads TWO of her top 10 books of the year (Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey and Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron), but a number of other notable favorites are consumed by both Smugglers including: Carrie Ryan’s The Dead-Tossed Waves, Carolyn Crane’s Mind GamesMegan Whalen Turner’s A Conspiracy of Kings, Susan Beth Pfeffer’s This World We Live In, Patricia Briggs’ Silver Borne, and Karen Healey’s Guardian of the Dead.

April

  • Kick-Ass hits theaters like a muthafukin’ roundhouse to the face! Ana does a Page to Screen review of the comic book and film (and we both love the film so very much)
  • We host our very first twitter party for the release of Meg Cabot’s final Airhead novel, Runaway! And the twitter party is CRAZINESS – amongst the prizes we get to dole out are sephora gift cards, limited edition t-shirts, and, oh yeah, a freaking iPAD
  • We examine Fantasy Covers in this month’s edition of Cover Matters, sparking a heated debate about what covers are “good” and why certain cover image tropes are used over and over and over again. Since we get such an interesting range of opinions, we decide to have a survey about covers and whether or not they play a decisive role in book purchases; and the results are FASCINATING
  • Thea gets to go to the LA Times Festival of Books leaving Ana green with envy as she attends talks by Mark Waid (or Irredeemable fame) and freaking Wil Wheaton. Not to mention all the authors and bloggers she met and books she got
  • There’s a whole lotta blogosphere drama in April, with multiple articles from all corners of the interwebs concerning blogging & reviewing: how to do it, how not to do it, shut up you’re doing it wrong, no wait I’m doing it right, etc. DRAMA.

May

  • May kicks off with more drama, as fanfic becomes the subject of internet brouhahas; Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin and James Long of Speculative Horizons go all nasty on fanfic, sparking a wildfire of controversy and responses (for the record, we think fanfic rules – just read Cory Doctorow’s article)
  • For the first time, Thea and Ana head off to New York to attend BookExpo America! We cannot express how crazy the experience was (so many awesome people! SO MANY BOOKS!); suffice to say it was AWESOMENot to mention how cool it was to see each other again – it was only the second time we saw each other in Real Life
  • And, on the heels of BEA, we attend the first ever Book Blogger Convention – again, made of AWESOME. Thea got to be a panelist for Blog Marketing, which was a wonderful (if somewhat unnerving) experience.

June

  • Still a *little* bit on our BEA/BBC high, we devote a week to reviewing some of the delectable ARCs we amassed at the convention. So. Many. Books.
  • The World Cup commences with much craziness on both Ana’s and Thea’s behalf. Also, for better or for worse, the world is introduced to the vuvuzela. Too bad both Team Brazil and Team USA didn’t do as well as either of us hoped but that’s ok because…
  • IN DRAMATIC GAME 7 FASHION, THE LAKERS BEAT THE CELTICS AND WIN BACK TO BACK CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!!! AAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! SUCK IT BOSTON! SUCK IT HARD! Ahem.
  • Thea discovers and reads her favorite book of the year – Justin Cronin’s truly epic The Passage. It was awesome.

July-August

  • Our second ever Young Adult Appreciation Month kicks off and lasts for over 5 weeks (July 18 – August 21). We’ve come a long way since the early days of the blog when Ana – GASP – didn’t read YA (and now it is the overwhelming majority of her reading!). We reviewed a grand total of 32 titles, some that we loved and some that we hated (more on that in a bit). Thea’s favorite books were POD by Stephen Wallenfels and WE by John Dickinson (which isn’t really a YA book, but for some reason is marketed as such!), and Ana discovers Jaclyn Moriarty and her life will never ever be the same again.
  • In addition to the love, there was also one notable DNF (there seems to be one of these each year) – Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, and our joint review sparks a huge debate about rape culture, especially as it pertains in genre and YA literature.
  • More whitewashing happens with the first cover of Catherynne Valente’s Habitation of the Blessed and with Cindy Pon’s reissued covers for her Phoenix books, causing much headdesking at Book Smugglers’ Headquarters
  • The Mockingjay officially lands – and the world will never be the same (people are torn on this one – Thea liked but wasn’t crazy about it, but it’s decidedly different from the earlier books).

September

  • 2010’s annual Book Blogger Apreciation Week takes place (September 13-17), and again a TON of blogs participate. We devote hours to blogging for the week and guess what? We win an awesome award for Best Speculative Fiction Book Blog! (Thanks to everyone that voted for us!!!!)
  • September also marks Banned Books Week, and we participate with an awareness post
  • We celebrate a huge milestone when our hit counter reaches the One Million page views mark – and we are delighted to say that right now, we aren’t THAT far away from the Two Million mark either!
  • Also, September marks Thea’s first semester of grad school. Talk about a lifestyle change (relocating to New York is a hard, hard thing to do)!

October

  • October is the month of New York Comic Con! Thea goes, meets up with some cool people (like KT Grant), gets a ton of free books but also spends a ridiculous amount of money on unnecessary purchases (mostly more books). Ana is once again puke green with envy
  • This is also the month that both Ana and Thea read and LOVE L. Jagi Lamlighter’s Prospero in Hell
  • Halloween Week is back, and although not nearly as thorough as prior years, we still have a blast with book and movie reviews. AND Thea gets Ana to do something that Ana swore she would never EVER do: watch The Exorcist
  • It’s been one year since we posted the infamous negative Hush, Hush review and to our dismay, it is our TOP review to date in terms of page views and comments (seriously, every few weeks we get a new comment – and some of them still suggest that Ana is too old to be reading these books)
  • Also on Halloween, The Walking Dead premiers and rocks EVERYBODY’S world.

November

  • We do a joint review of one of the worst titles of the year – Ally Condie’s much over-hyped Matched (aka the book that is a direct ripoff of Lois Lowry’s infinitely superior The Giver)
  • Ana discovers The Vampire Diaries and goes bananas for the show disappearing for weeks as she marathons through the episodes
  • Thea goes on a UF spree and reads two awesome titles (that she had been putting off for months to build up the emotional fortitude): Ilona Andrews’ Magic Bleeds and Rachel Caine’s final (*SOB*) Weather Warden novel Total Eclipse

December

  • Our official month-long year-end celebration, Smugglivus 2010 begins with all its madness and glory! With a number of guest authors (29), bloggers (26), publishers (3), reviews, and giveaways, 2010 marks the busiest year of Smugglivus yet.

So that’s our month-by-month recap of 2010! But we feel like we’ve only just started! And so, to our everyone that reads our blog and to those that support us, to all of our friends, acquaintances, regular commenters, and lurkers alike, we say THANK YOU! Book Smuggling just wouldn’t be the same without you.

2011 Resolutions & Goals:

As part of our New Year Resolutions we would like to concentrate even more on reviews so we plan to write reviews more than ever in 2011 – it is what after all, what we are here for. On top of that, we have decided to try and read more of older books, classics, and books published by smaller publishers as well as fully embracing diversity: more books by and about PoC and LGBT. We will try to write at least one Ponderings post every month.

With regards to Smuggler Features, we will continue with our Inspirations and Influences (in which authors talk about the ideas/inspirations/influences), On The Smuggler’ Radar (posted every Saturday – in which we pimp upcoming books we are dying to read) and What She Said (in which we read & review books that the other Smuggler has already reviewed). Since we love TV Shows and Movies as well, we would very much like to bring back a Popgeekeery post – probably one every month. We also plan to have at least two Appreciation Weeks this year, one celebrating Classics and another for books in different Genres we SHOULD have read by now; plus of course, the return of our annual Halloween Week, the Young Adult Appreciation Month in July-August and Smugglivus at the end of the year.

We also plan to attend both BEA and Book Blogger Convention again this year (Ana’s ticket to NY has been secured!) as well as other publishing/author events and signings.

Please note that we do reserve the right to go bonkers and change our minds about all of the above.

And with that we declare Smugglivus officially finished! Thank you so much to all of our guests (authors, publishers and bloggers) who made it all possible. As Arnie would say: WE WILL BE BACK. And until next year, we remain…

~ Ana and Thea, your friendly neighborhood Book Smugglers

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23 Comments

  • Celine
    January 7, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Congratulations on having committed so much awesome so far! Sounds like 2011 will be even better ( who’d a thunk it possible!)

  • Jodie
    January 7, 2011 at 2:32 am

    It has been a big year for you two! Congratulations on a third aniversary and on so much awesomeosity throughout the year. May there be many years to come.

    Also thanks for the re-link to the Cory Doctorow fan-fic article, forgot just how smart and cool he is.

  • Bella F.
    January 7, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Congratz on such a successful 3 years u guys! I was lucky enough to find y’all that first year in 2008 (around October I think??) and it’s been interesting to say the least. So HNY! and may 2011 be even aWesome-r 😀

  • The Book Smugglers turn 3 | David Maybury | Blog
    January 7, 2011 at 2:40 am

    […] Birthday to Ana and Thea – The Book Smugglers turn 3 today! Hello – it looks like this is your first time here – you might want to subscribe to […]

  • Tina
    January 7, 2011 at 4:38 am

    Happy blog birthday to you guys! 🙂

  • RK Charron
    January 7, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Thank goodness you both decided to blog.
    This is one of the very best book blogs on the entire internet.
    Congratulations on 3 Years!
    All the best,
    RKCharron

  • Rana
    January 7, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Happy Blog Birthday!!
    I’m glad I found out about this blog last year
    imagine all the awesome reviews I would’ve missed :S

  • April (Books&Wine)
    January 7, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Happy Blogoversary! I hope you lovely ladies continue to blog for a very long time.

    This was certainly a fabulous year to be following the Smugglers (I particularly adored the Cover Matters posts).

  • Estara
    January 7, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Yes, this. As long as you have fun with it. :mrgreen:

  • Niall Alexander (The Speculative Scotsman)
    January 7, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Congratulations on another year of quality content, oh Smugglers.

    From where I’m sitting, it’s been a hell of a one!

  • Ceilidh
    January 7, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Congratulations on a jam packed year full of name taking and butt kicking. Ah, the Sisters Red debate. I particularly enjoyed how the author pulled the Anne Rice card about you guys interrogating the text from the wrong perspective then moaned about nobody understanding her on twitter. You guys did a bloody great job on that article by the way, I continue to link people to it.

    Here’s to the publicity machine churning out better YA books than Matched!

  • KMont
    January 7, 2011 at 9:46 am

    HAPPY Blogoversary! Always good times around here – always. 😀

  • Lynossa
    January 7, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Congratulation! And yeah, Go Lakers 😀

  • Kat
    January 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Happy Birthday!

  • Megan
    January 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I’m a big reader of this site, but don’t often take the time to comment and give you two your well-deserved props! I’m always impressed with how well thought out and put together all your reviews and events and blog in general, are. Definitely one of the best sites out there and I’m glad you guys keep doing what you’re doing and so well 😀

    I have two suggestions (ummm like you all need any but still) of rarer/older/less well known YA books that I used to be obsessed with:
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4580.Enchantress_from_the_Stars
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/92717.The_Darkangel
    I’ve been meaning to re-read them sometime soon myself so I can properly start pimping them out 🙂

  • Kristen
    January 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Happy blogoversary! Here’s to many more years of book smuggling! 🙂

  • E.J. Stevens
    January 7, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Happy Blogoversary!
    xx,
    E.J.
    From the Shadows

  • MaryK
    January 7, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    we have no intentions of stopping anytime soon…or ever

    Good

    :mrgreen:

  • Cindy
    January 8, 2011 at 5:34 am

    A very happy birthday !

  • orannia
    January 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Congrats on an amazing 3 years! I think you are both amazing…and secretly have a time machine 🙂

    All the best for 2011!

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  • Michelle
    January 9, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Congratulations on another wonderful year! Love you guys and your blog. I’m excited to catch up with you in NYC this summer. 🙂

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