Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Spoo-ooky Books*








*This is as spooky as I get



Spoo-ooky Books

I'm a 'fraidy cat.

 I've read maybe two horrifying books in my life and I immediately regretted reading them. 
So I'm just saying...I might not be your best source for naming spooky books.

If you're like me, however, and your kids are clamoring for those scary books at this time of the year, 
you might take a look at these for ideas that 
won't send your whole family into having nightmares for the rest of October:








What did I forget? Any suggestions for me?

           




Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Rainy Sunday Salon: Hurricanes, Browsings, and Other Nonsense





     When you don't watch tv, you miss a lot of things. All I can do is try to connect the dots, but I think a hurricane came from the Pacific all the way across Mexico to us here along the Texas Gulf Coast. We don't usually get storms here from the Pacific, over a thousand miles away, but I see that forecasters are saying that this Hurricane Patricia may be the strongest storm ever measured. In any case, it is raining here. A lot.



     I like rainy days. My plan for today is to spend time on the Cybils. I'm on the Fiction Picture Book panel this year, and, so far, we have 243 books to read and evaluate. Whew. I've managed to scrounge up and read 27, and I've got 93 requested from one library, 18 from another library, and 15 from a third library. Who does math out there? How many do I have left to find and request? How many to read? Anyone who can figure out how many hours this will take me? And how can I possibly come up with a shortlist of 5-7 books?

     The Cybils definitely inflate my book totals for the year. How many people can say they have read 27 books in a week?! 


     I've read two other books this week. Chocky is another 1001 Children's Books You Must Read title, and I had the odd feeling that I've read this book before, back in my scifi/fantasy heydays during my 20's. Matthew is a regular boy until he suddenly starts talking about Chocky. Chocky is more than just another imaginary friend; Chocky asks questions about math and physics and brings Matthew to new levels in physical and artistic accomplishments. So who is Chocky? And what's he doing with Matthew? Chocky is just the kind of book that I steeped in during my youth, with lots of things to think about that take you outside this tiny world of planet Earth. Browsings took me straight into my favorite place to go: deep inside the best and brightest books. Browsings is just what the subtitle says: "A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books." Author Dirda compiled fifty of his columns from The American Scholar to put together Browsings. He loves the obscure books and so do I. This is the fourth Dirda book-about-books that I've read, and it is just as fantastic as the other three.


     I'm working on three other books right now, all nonfiction: Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes; Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert; and Where I'm Reading From: The Changing World of Books by Tim Parks. If it keeps raining like this, I should finish all of these this evening.
     
     Oh, and did I tell you that we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Miss Annie Readerbuzz, our first grandchild? They say hurricanes can get babies here quickly so let's see if this huge Pacific hurricane can help Annie into the world. We can't wait to meet her.


What is the Sunday SalonImagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them,and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book. Click here to join the Salon.

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news and recap the past week.

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share books that we found in our mailboxes last week.  It is now being hosted here.

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which you can share the books you've acquired.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is now being hosted at The Book Date.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Wild Swans


I've always been a fan of fairy tales. Princesses. Wicked stepmothers. Clueless fathers. Brothers who need tending. The dark and mysterious forest. Magic spells.

This story has all of these things. It's an old folktale, though you probably know best the version by Hans Christian Andersen. 

I won't be surprised if this is your new favorite version of the story.



Jackie Morris has taken the short story and expanded it into a 175 page tale, complete with rich characters and a magnificent setting. 

It's illustrated into a beautiful treasure of a book.



The plot? The king and his wife and their twelve children are very happy until the queen dies. 



Soon after, the king meets and marries a strange woman in white. 



Inexplicably, the king hides his children from their new stepmother. When she learns of the existence of the children, the stepmother finds them and turns the brothers into wild swans.



The beautiful princess must sew shirts for each of her eleven brothers in order to restore them into humans. And, while she sews, the princess must not speak or her brothers will die.

It's a rich, beautiful story. So happy I got to read and review this book.





The Wild Swans
Author: Jackie Morris
Format: Hardback, 176 Pages
ISBN: 9781847805362
Age Range: 8 to 12
Published: Oct. 1, 2015


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jackie Morris lives in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with children, dogs and cats. Ever since leaving college, Bath Academy of Art, at least one cat has watched over her while she works. Big cats and small are a passion in her life, and it was while reading and watching her cat Pixie sleeping in winter that the idea for I am Cat came about. Among her many books for Frances Lincoln are The Ice BearThe Snow Leopard, and Tell me a Dragon.

AUTHOR WEBSITE
I hope that tomorrow you will visit Jen Funk Weber for a Q&A session with the author and a giveaway.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ten Wishes I'd Ask the Book Genie to Grant Me

Oh, Book Genie! Do I have a few wishes for you!

10. Could you start by restoring reading to a place of respect here in the US? No more awful movies and tv where nerdy people are the only ones reading, please.

9. I'd like a new huge series that seizes the imagination of children worldwide, Book Genie.

8. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see people carrying around books everywhere they go? I've seen this in big cities I've visited, like Chicago and NYC, but wouldn't it be wonderful to see it even in little spots like my own small town?

7. I'd love to hear people talking about books instead of hearing that constant jibber-jabber about celebrities. It would be so refreshing. I can hear a bit of it now..."Didn't you love the way the author...."

6. I've only ever seen ads for books a couple of times. How about a book ad during a Super Bowl commercial? In Times Square? I'm not a fan of ads, but I'd love to see book ads everywhere.

5. Book Genie, could you please bring back some of people's old favorites that we don't see any more? Where are the Babysitters Club books, for example? Goosebumps?

4. Kids just don't get the whole book experience when they don't have big beautiful books of their own. Let's start a Christmas campaign, Book Genie: Give a book for Christmas to your child.

3. Reading used to be a child's default setting. Could you restore the defaults, BG?

2. Let's hear what our candidates are reading. Our CEOs. Our teachers at school. Professors. Doctors. The mail carrier. The checkout clerk at Wal-Mart. The barber. Go ahead. Share what you are reading in casual conversation.

1. I think you know what I'm getting at, Book Genie. I want to live in a world where people are thoughtful and considerate and well-spoken and expressive and empathetic and...well, literate. Could you make that happen for me, Book Genie? Please?



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

My 16th Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon!



Hour 24

Finished All the Bright Places.


Which hour was most daunting for you? 
Hour two. I had to leave and help my family do several tasks. I really wanted to keep reading.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Graphic novels. Children's books. YA. Short stories.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
It is perfect as it is.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The cheerleaders were so supportive.

How many books did you read?
3.

What were the names of the books you read?
The Death of the Hat.
Hairs/Pelitos by Sandra Cisneros
All the Bright Places.

Which book did you enjoy most?
All the Bright Places.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
100%. Any role that needs to be filled.




Hour 23

Awake. 
Back to All the Bright Places.




Hours 16-22

I slept.




Hours 14-15

I read two small books:
The Death of the Hat (poetry)
Hairs/Pelitos by Sandra Cisneros


I got 100 pages into All the Bright Places 
and fell asleep.



Hours 2-14

I spent the last thirteen hours:
(1) working at the farmer's market
(2) unloading furniture at my son & daughter-in-law's new house
(3) wishing I was reading

Okay. Done with all that. 
Now, let's bring on the good stuff.
Reading, here I come.




Hour 1 - Survey Time

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Alvin, Texas.
Just south of Houston in the USA.
Or, as we say, "Just south of high pressure."

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I'm hoping to reread all the books I nominated for Cybils.
The graphic novel of Macbeth especially.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Coffee. 
I must do a snack run later in the day.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Primary school librarian.
Book blogger for seven years.
Puppeteer. Artist. Writer. Guitar player.
Happy person.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? 
This is my 16th readathon.
I've only read for all 24 hours one time,
and I know it won't happen today.
My plan today is to read a little and visit a little,

read a little and visit a little, and so on...all day.



Pre-Hour 1

Ah, my book-ish friends, once again it's that time that we love...it's time for Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon! It happens but twice a year and oh-how-eagerly we await it. 

I'd planned to co-host but instead I'll be spending most of the daylight hours selling things for my very-pregnant daughter-in-law at a local farmer's market. 

It's all good.

I decided to spend the time I have just reading and cheering others on. It's what I love best about the read-a-thon, anyway: wonderful reading time and wonderful time meeting other bloggers.

I'll be cheering on the Sycamore team. Hope to visit all of the bloggers on my list at least once during the 'Thon.

Here are the books I have at the ready: two Sandra Cisneros books, a graphic novel of Macbeth, Did You Ever Have a Family, Crossover, The Death of the Hat, and All the Bright Places. (A little bit of everything...poetry...picture books...YA...children's book...and fiction).




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

TweensRead Book Festival

Another book-ish goal achieved! I served as moderator for the Five Funny Guys panels at the 2015 TweensRead event held at South Houston High School in Pasadena, Texas on Saturday, October 3.

Oh my. Are these five guys ever a hoot!

They didn't need a moderator; they needed a ringmaster with a whip.




Five Funny Guys: Gene Luen Yang, Nicholas Gannon, Jeff Anderson, Geoff Rodkey, and Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snickett)


 The tweens had lots of questions.

I was happy to see some of my librarian friends in the audience.

It was fun being moderator.

And I came home with an autographed book from each author.


Did I tell you how much it cost to attend?
Yes, it was free. Free.

Did you miss it this year?
Well, don't miss out next year!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Mary Karr Reading Frenzy







     Two memoirs. One poetry book. One writing book. Yes, it was a Mary Karr week.


     My Mary Karr reading frenzy all started quite innocently. I took a writing class last summer at Inprint in Houston. Our teacher told us Mary Karr was coming to Houston in September. I spontaneously decided to buy a ticket, vaguely remembering that I'd read her first memoir, Liar's Club, back twenty years ago or so. When the date of Karr's reading approached, I was exhausted by all the beginning-of-the-year stuff we teachers experience but I remembered a book was included in the price of the reading, and I didn't want to miss out on picking up that book. So I reluctantly decided to go. When I googled the address of the reading, I was surprised to see that it was being held in a church. Must not have been able to book the Wortham for that night, I thought. 

     
     I was wrong. It was no accident that Mary Karr was at Christ Church Cathedral, an Episcopal Church in downtown Houston, built in 1839; all her readings were being held in churches. 

     I was intrigued. An author in a church. Imagine that.

     Mary Karr was fascinating. "I was a strange child," she told her audience at the reading. "I was not a happy child. But there was something about reading memoirs that made me feel less lonely." Karr shared her new book, The Art of Memoir, and suggested that through our stories we manufacture a self. "Writing a memoir is like knocking yourself out with your own fist," she told us.

     All her books, Karr explained, could be summed up: "I am sad. The end." 

     In her life, Karr survived her alcoholic and dysfunctional parents to become an alcoholic and dysfunctional parent herself. And somehow she broke free of all that, mysteriously embracing both writing and the Catholic Church.
  

     Mary Karr is a little older, a little less functional Texas-rooted me. Like me, she has both the redneck-storytelling people and the salvation-through-reading people in her family tree. 

     That was enough. I raced home from the reading and put everything I could find of Mary Karr's on hold at the library. I was amazed to find that not only were all three of her memoirs at the library, but that I could also check out and read one of her books of poetry. 

     I'll just tell you that her books are mostly "I am sad." But, happily, there is a little more there before "The end." 

     Beautiful writing. Sad stories. And redemption. Mary Karr.
           






What are you reading today?!


What is the Sunday SalonImagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them,and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book. Click here to join the Salon.


The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news and recap the past week.

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share books that we found in our mailboxes last week. 
 It is now being hosted here.

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which you can share the books you've acquired.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! I love being a part of this and I hope you do too! As part of this weekly meme Book Journey loves to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme.