What's a Common Reader -- and what is Uncommon Reading?

Virginia Woolf defined a common reader as someone who is not a scholar; not a critic. A common reader "reads for his own pleasure rather than to impart knowledge or correct the opinions of others. Above all, he is guided by an instinct to create for himself, out of whatever odds and ends he can come by, some kind of whole." By that definition, I'm definitely a common reader -- reading an uncommonly large and diverse collection of books.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bastille Day Giveaway!

So, it's Canada Day, July 1, and the number of blog followers seems to be stuck at 61! So I'm issuing a challenge: help drive the number of followers up by the time Bastille Day rolls around, and you'll have the chance to win one of five French-themed books on offer. For every 20 new (visible!) followers logged between now and then, one additional book becomes available, to a total of five if we hit 161 followers by midnight at the end of the day July 14 (midnight, East Coast US).

The rules:
  • You don't have to be a new follower to enter; all you have to do is e-mail me at UncommonReading@gmail.com and tell me which book you'd most like to win (and if there are any you've read and don't want to be considered for.) You do need to be a follower to enter, however
  • For every 20 new followers, one additional book becomes available.
  • One entry per person, please.
  • Winners will be selected via random number generator and notified by end of day on July 15. The books will arrive via Amazon or BookDepository shortly thereafter. 
  • International entries accepted.
For every 20 new followers, a new book becomes available, according to the following schedule:
The first 20: Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors: A young woman tries to carve a path for herself through the French Revolution
The second 20: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery: meet the most unusual Parisian concierge of all time.
The third 20: A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor: a fascinating novel revolving around the Dreyfus Affair
The fourth 20: Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay: the legacy of French collaboration in WW2, and a secret hidden in a Paris apartment.
The fifth 20: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain: the tale of Hemingway's first wife of "the moveable feast" that was Paris in the 1920s.

I'll pick winners in order of the books' popularity; if at least 80 new followers are added, all entrants will be eligible to win one of four books (unless they opt out of one of them.) I'll first choose the winner of the book picked as first choice by the most entrants, so everyone has the best possible chance to win that. If someone isn't interested in a particular book, they won't be entered for it, but will be entered for all other books. The less popular a book and the greater the number of new followers, the better your odds.

Good luck!


  1. Hi, just wanted to let you know I've added your entry to the literary blog directory: http://tinylibrary.blogspot.com/p/literary-blog-directory.html
    Hope you find some great blogs through it and also get some new readers. There's a button on my blog if you want to use it.

    I'm also a new follower of your blog :)

  2. New follower (found you on the Literary Blogger Directory).

    I need more books like a hole in the head so I won't enter, but I did want to put a plug in for 'Elegance of the Hedgehog' - fantastic book.

  3. Welcome to all the new followers! I know the "another hole in the head" feeling all too well -- but somehow that never stops me. Just returned from a trip to pick up a Thomas Mann novella/story collection for my RL book circle -- but came out with four books....

  4. Hi! Im a new blogger and its easy to get stuck:) You have a very nice blog and would love it if you stopped by mine if you have a chance. Im a new follower. Thanks!

  5. Hello, I'm a new blog follower. Nice blog! Please enter me in the contest. Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors sounds good. -laura h.
    L_Hogg at comcast dot net

  6. I would love to win The Paris Wife. My email is darlene.foster@telus.net I am following your blog. Great iidea - hope you get many new followers. My blog is http://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

  7. A really nice selection of books, I hope to win one.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com