Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Happy Banned Books Week!

I'm a couple days late on this, as Banned Books Week technically started on Sunday.  I've just been super busy and forgot to post about it.  I love Banned Books Week, though, and try to read one of the previous year's top 10 list every single year.

The top 10 banned books lists are starting to look eerily familiar every year, as there are certain books that some people just can't seem to let go of.

Here are the top 10 banned and challenged books of 2014:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Food for thought

This post recently went around on Facebook:

What's better than a vending machine full of snacks? One that's full of books. For free!

Yep.  Since so many of the kids don't have access to age-appropriate books, there are three vending machines full of books going into schools in Washington, D.C.  This sounds like a dream come true for my childhood self (even though I had access to all the books I wanted).  Heck, even my adult self would love to stumble across one of these vending machines!

"What?  I'm a child, I swear! ... I like kids' books, does that count?"

Seriously, though, what a great idea!  I'd be really interested in hearing about how it fares in D.C.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Little Free Libraries

Have you noticed all the Little Free Libraries popping up in people's yards everywhere?  They're usually shaped like miniature houses, set on a post like a mailbox, with big doors on the fronts and books inside.  The idea is to take a book to read, and leave a book for someone else, so that the library always stays replenished.

They're becoming quite common in the Denver Metro area, especially in some of the trendier areas, but I've been mystified to hear from time to time about people hating on them.  Then I saw this article.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Reasons to date a reader

I was amused by this Wordables post about why readers make the best lovers.

What about you?  Do you think those reasons are true?

I personally will probably never again date someone who doesn't read for pleasure, and it's not because it makes them better listeners or more likely to give me a back rub.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The issue of screen time

There's a lot of attention given to the subject of "screen time" in the world of child psychology and development.  Experts have generally recommended limiting screen time because of rising childhood obesity rates, but with much of what we do migrating to screens, I think that's going to have to change.

Think about it.  These days, a kid could be adding to "screen time" while reading a book.  Writing puts you in front of a screen.  As this NPR story points out, educational games, some of which provide genuine opportunities to learn about things kids could only read about in real life, utilize devices with screens in order to make it happen.  Even online classes -- which many homeschooling programs use -- contribute to screen time.

So when do we recognize that "screen time" isn't always something we should be limiting?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

A little while back, I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, but I had yet to blog about it.  I got this title off of the list of books to read for fans of Gone Girl, but it was only really after I read it that the book took off.  Suddenly it was on tables at all the bookstores, and when I told people I was reading it or had read it, they told me they'd seen it recently or had just bought it themselves.

I loved this book, in some ways even better than Gone Girl.  It was basically the story of Gone Girl if Amy hadn't been Amy, and hadn't been scheming to get her husband in trouble.  How would it have changed things if she was missing for a valid reason, instead of her own conniving?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What are your favorite books with strong female main characters?

This article is a couple months old, but I just ran across it today, and I love it:

29 Awesome Books With Strong Female Protagonists

I love me a good book with a strong heroine, and this list has some of my all-time favorites, such as Jane Eyre, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and The Island of the Blue Dolphins.  I was a bit disappointed that Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials wasn't on there, because Lyra is one of the strongest and most defiant female characters I have ever read about, but I guess there are plenty others that didn't make the list, too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I haven't read Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca recently, but I've been thinking of rereading it.  The 13-year-old I nanny for read it not too long ago, and Anne Rice has been posting about it a lot of Facebook.  It's one of my favorite women's classics and one I go back to from time to time.  I even have a first edition copy.

Anne Rice posted this article recently, which I thought was very good:

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Barnes & Noble's summer reading program

In previous years, I've encouraged the kids I nanny for to do the Barnes & Noble reading challenge, as well as the one with the local library.  From B&N, they earn a free book, and from the library they earn a series of three prizes, usually a reusable book bag, a book, and a choice of either a book or a ticket to Elitch Gardens (our local amusement park).

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Are libraries still useful or necessary?

NPR ran a story today that made my heart skip a beat: Do We Really Need Libraries?

Yes, yes, yes, of course we do!

If anything, I think, over the years libraries have evolved to fill more needs in the communities they serve.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Free e-book of All the Light We Cannot See

Does this show up as free for you?

All the Light We Cannot See

It was free for me, so I downloaded it, and it appears to be the entire book, not just a sample.  Perhaps it's to celebrate the Pulitzer Prize the book won for 2015.  In any case, if you're interested I suggest downloading it as soon as possible, as there is no telling how long the sale will last!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Reflections on reading habits, skipped grades, and gifted kids

I read very early as a kid, my parents say by the time I turned 3.  As a result, when I started kindergarten and everyone was just learning to write individual letters, I was bored.

My school in Tennessee started out by putting me in the first grade reading group every day, but eventually (I don't actually know how long it took) they moved me up into first grade entirely.  I stayed a grade ahead from then onward, even when we moved to Colorado the summer before second grade.

So I have a vested interest in articles like this one:

Skip A Grade? Start Kindergarten Early? It's Not So Easy

Free ebooks for poor kids

There's a new plan afoot: to give free ebooks to poor kids.  It's part of the Obama administration's newest plan to get more books into the hands of underprivileged kids.

"Children should not be unable to get reading materials because their parents don't have money," says Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, which has offered up all of its titles for kids from 4 to 14.

Candlewick Press, publisher of the popular Judy Moody series, is also opening its catalog.

"We really, really care about getting books to all kids," says Candlewick CEO Karen Lotz. "Kids who can't afford them. Kids who are in rural areas and not near bookstores."
As the article points out, the biggest hitch in the plan is how to deliver the books to the kids.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Happy Independent Bookstore Day!

Today is Independent Bookstore Day.

From the official site:

Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent.
So true, isn't it?  I love spending time at bookstores, whether I'm browsing the shelves, sitting and reading, or even just hanging out and working on my laptop.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Denver's favorite indie bookstore, Tattered Cover

Tattered Cover is an independent bookstore in Denver that has grown considerably over the years, starting out as a single store in the wealthy Cherry Creek neighborhood, and becoming a small, local chain with three stores and an annex in the newly redesigned Union Station.

Lately there have been several pieces of news regarding this longtime favorite of Denver bookworms.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Health benefits of reading

What do you know?  Turns out that reading habit I've had since a kid might actually be beneficial to my health.  It turns out that even sedentary leisure activities can be beneficial to your health, because they prevent you from stressing out or getting bored.

Mellow Pastimes Can Be Good For Your Health, Too

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Harper Lee is mentally competent!

I don't know if you've been following the news, but after the announcement that an earlier book of Harper Lee's, a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird that was actually written first, had been rediscovered, several people came forward to contest her mental competency to consent to publication.

After reading the story, I became very suspicious that the concerned parties actually had ulterior motives.  One of them was an author of a new memoir about living next to Harper Lee, and Lee had actually denied having given the author permission to write it.  So I figured the woman was either getting her revenge for that, or was trying to generate publicity for her memoir.

The other concerned party was a doctor that supposedly knew her, but had never actually treated her.  I wonder if there was a connection between him and the author of the memoir...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Do you have book-related New Year's resolutions?

B&N Reads recently posted this cute article about realistic resolutions for the time-strapped book nerd.  I found it especially amusing, since every year I resolve to read more classics, and it never works out for me.  I'm still working my way through Les Miserables -- not very quickly, since I keep taking breaks to read other books and forgetting to go back to it.  One of the books on my list from previous years, Moby Dick, is even the subject of one of the points in the B&N blog post:

Skip the boring parts.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

What are you doing today to celebrate the most romantic holiday of the year?  I plan to read and spend time with my horses, primarily.

Barnes & Noble posted this awesome list of romantic quotes from literature on B&N Reads.  Some of the quotes I love, and some I'm not as fond of.  I don't understand why a quote that comes from the scene kicking off all the misery in Wuthering Heights is considered "romantic," for one thing.  But I am pleased that The Great Gatsby made the list, as well as a quote from Mark Twain.  That quote, by the way, is only six words long, but utterly perfect.  Typical Mark Twain.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Take the book nerd quiz

B&N Reads posted this adorable book nerd quiz yesterday.  I had to laugh, because each of the first few items lead into one another, and I was answering yes to each and every one of them.  In fact, I only got two nos, which means my score was an impressive 48 (no friends sent me the book nerd quiz -- I found it myself on social media).

What about you?  How do you score?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Harper Lee: No longer a one-book wonder!

To Kill a Mockingbird is an American classic, taught in schools across the U.S. and in other countries too, yet Harper Lee never wrote anything else.  Perhaps she was afraid anything else would be a disappointment in comparison.

Finally, though, Harper Lee has another book coming out.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

National Readathon Day is Saturday!

This Saturday is National Readathon Day, so clear your calendar!  This is the first National Readathon Day, and it's being put on Penguin Random House and the National Book Foundation.  This Saturday, January 24, 2015, everyone is to read from noon until 4pm in their own time zone (no time zone math required).  You can also donate to the efforts to raise literacy rates in the United States, or open your own donation page which appears to work like a charity race where you get friends and family to pledge donations on your page.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

For fans of Gone Girl

I read Gone Girl a couple of years ago, and absolutely loved it.  It was one of the most compelling books I've read, some of the best characterization I've seen, and has my favorite all-time ending, specifically my favorite last line (or two).

Considering how much I loved the book, it's somewhat surprising that I haven't managed to see the movie yet, but that's neither here nor there.  What I really wanted to blog about was the amazing list B&N Reads put together of other books that will appeal to fans of Gone Girl.

What to Read Next if You Loved Gone Girl

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

I haven't been reading as much lately, but apparently I'm good at picking them!  Like Every Day, the last novel I read, I could not put down Emma Healey's Elizabeth is Missing.  I read it in two nights, getting about a quarter of the way through it the first night and reading straight through to the end (until 4am!) the second night.

One of the most intriguing things about Elizabeth is Missing is the fact that it's narrated by an old woman with Alzheimer's, so you don't know whether what she's telling you is accurate.  In fact, there are many times where in the narration Maud forgets something she told you just a page before, or mixes up the details of the story the second time she tells it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Habits of bookish people

B&N Reads posted this delightful post today:

A Field Guide to Spotting a Fellow Book Nerd

Most bookish people will be able to relate to this list.  Yes, I read food packaging, shampoo bottles, you name it, when nothing else is available.  Yes, I text in real words and full sentences.  Yes, I am more patient when I am waiting with a book in hand.