Monday, September 8, 2008

The Evolution of a Book Blog

by Sophie Epstein

Hi, I'm Sophie Epstein! I'm a twelve year old girl, and I'm the author of the blog Mrs. Magoo Reads.

I've been blogging for over a year now, and Mrs. Magoo Reads has undergone many changes. I've changed the color scheme at least five times, added another sidebar, changed the banner picture, and added many widgets. However, the most important changes have taken place in the content.

If you read my very old reviews, you'll see that they're extremely short and not very descriptive. Now, my reviews are much longer and more descriptive. A few months ago I added pictures to all my posts, and at the beginning of August I altered my reviewing format. After a few months of blogging, I started adding features. I started posting author interviews. I recently added a feature called Saturday's Scribe: every Saturday there is either an interview with an author or a guest blog. I also have Movie Monday (a book review video posted every Monday) and various contests. You can also take a quiz to find out what type of reader you are. I've set up various stores for Mrs. Magoo Reads as well.

Check out one of the review videos I made:

This is a review I wrote in October 2007:

When the famous and popular author Vida Winters decides to tell the truth about her past, no one can believe it. For years, Miss Winters has told lie after amazing lie about who she was and where she lived. And our protagonist, Margaret, doesn't even understand why she was the one chosen to listen to the story: she has never even read one of Vida Winter's books.

Telling a clever and witty tale, Diane Setterfield has put together a real masterpiece. The unexpected surprise at the end will keep the reader smiling for at least a week afterwards and will inspire any young writers who plan to write their own novel. Teenagers up to adults will be lost in the world of 'The Thirteenth Tale'."

Here is one I wrote in August 2008:
Title: Sisters of Misery
Author: Megan Kelley Hall
Grade: A
Ideal Audience: Girls, 11-16
Reading Type(s):
The Mysterious Reader & The Down-to-Earth Reader

Summary: Maddie Crane is a member of the Sisters of Misery, a clique that includes the most popular- and feared- girls in her high school. The leader of the group is Kate Endicott, who belongs to the richest, most influential family in the town. Maddie's always followed Kate without question, despite the nasty tricks the Sisters of Misery must perform.

When Cordelia, Maddie's beautiful and mysterious cousin, comes to stay with Maddie- and inevitably starts attending the same high school- the Sisters of Misery immediately dislike her, to say the least. But Cordelia is able to show Maddie what Kate really is: just plain mean. Unfortunately, the two girls will end up discovering the extent of Kate's cruelty.

One night, the Sisters of Misery do horrible, tortuous things to Cordelia, and force Maddie to participate. But the next morning, when Maddie awakes on the doorstep of her house with barely any memories of the previous night, Cordelia has disappeared. Maddie knows it is her duty to find her cousin, but what if Cordelia doesn't want to be found?

My thoughts: I was extremely impressed by Megan Kelley Hall's debut novel, especially by her characterization. The Sisters of Misery are not your average mean cheerleaders, especially Kate. She even shows that Cordelia is not just another of the pretty girls you read about in books: she has dark secrets, too. Last but not least, the character of Maddie, the narrator of the story, is complex, a mystery even to herself.

Sisters of Misery is interwoven with mystery, intrigue, drama, and even schoolgirl troubles. I would recommend it to many teenage girls, as well as girls in middle school. I'm looking forward to the upcoming sequel, The Lost Sister.

Buy this book: Sisters of Misery

I've also gotten a variety of readers since I started Mrs. Magoo Reads. When I first started it, my only reader was a friend from school and my little sister. Now, I get thousands of hits a month, and am constantly getting new visitors, as well as a regular following. I love to hear my readers' feedback, and I am constantly trying to improve my blog to make it the best that it can be.

Do you have any suggestions for my blog? How has your blog evolved over the course of the months/years?

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