Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Amelia Bedilia Turns 50

Calling all Amelia Bedilia fans!! Amelia Bedilia is celebrating a big milestone... The big 5-0!

On the ABC News website, I came across an article titled The Country's Most Famous House Maid Turns 50 by Susanna Kim. Ms. Kim writes the following in her article:

Possibly the most successful house maid in the world, the children's book character Amelia Bedelia, turns 50 today, with a new line of books to mark the milestone. 

The late author Peggy Parish wrote the first Amelia Bedelia book in 1963, eventually writing a dozen picture stories that chronicled the house maid's penchant for literal interpretation, such as sketching curtains on paper when asked to "draw the drapes." 

Today Greenwillow Books, the book series' publisher, which is a division of Harper Collins, is releasing a 50th anniversary edition of Amelia Bedelia with drawings by the original illustrator Fritz Siebel and a behind-the-scenes look at how the series evolved.

Click on the above link to read the full story and learn more exciting details regarding Amelia Bedilia.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy 200th Birthday to "Pride & Prejudice"

Alright, I admit it! I've never read a single thing Jane Austen has ever written. I am not proud of admitting this tidbit, but hopefully some day I'll get around to reading one of her novels.

Nonetheless, I still find it exciting to learn that today marks the 200th birthday of Jane Austen's beloved novel Pride & Prejudice! Long live Jane Austen!!

I stumbled upon an article this morning on The New Yorker website titled Happy Two-Hundredth Birthday, “Pride and Prejudice” by William Deresiewicz. In his article, Mr. Deresiewicz writes the following:
The most beloved novel in the language was written by a rural parson’s daughter with no formal education, in ten months, between the ages of twenty and twenty-one, and published two hundred years ago today. That’s not entirely true: she revised it later, but probably not very much. Elizabeth Bennet’s story was largely composed by someone Elizabeth Bennet’s age.
Two hundred years. But there seemed little chance, two hundred years ago, that many people would remember either the novel or its author by now. The draft that she produced at twenty-one was rejected by a London publisher sight unseen. Other disappointments followed, and after a series of personal upheavals, she gave up writing altogether. But circumstances stabilized and hope returned, and by the time of her death, just four years after “Pride and Prejudice” came out (four years during which she finished “Mansfield Park,” and wrote “Emma” and “Persuasion” from scratch), her brother was willing to venture the claim that her novels were fit to be placed “on the same shelf as the works of a D’Arblay and an Edgeworth.”

To read more of Mr. Deresiewicz's article, click on the link above.

 Are you a Jane Austen fan? What do think of Austen's writing style? Have you read Pride and Prejudice and what are your thoughts about this novel?

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is the first novel I've read in 2013. This novel had been waiting 'to be read' by yours truly since September 19, 2012.

I'd heard wonderful things about The Art of Racing in the Rain from other readers on Bookcrossing, which is how I came to purchase a used paperback copy of this novel for a dollar at our local Friends of the Library Used Bookstore in Carpinteria, California.

Interestingly enough though, as much as I wanted to read The Art of Racing in the Rain, it hadn't even been in my top ten of books to read this year. It wasn't until I decided to taken part in a dog themed book exchange, that I realized one of the few dog themed books I had on hand, was The Art of Racing in the Rain. So, I quickly read The Art of Racing in the Rain. I loved reading every page of it! 

It's going to be difficult to top this novel as my favorite read of 2013 as it really knocked my socks off. I never could have imagined how much I was going to love this book and what a lasting impact it would have on me.

What appealed to me about The Art of Racing in the Rain, aside from glowing reviews I'd heard about this novel, was that it is written from a dog's perspective, which I found intriguing. I am an avid dog lover and am the proud human parent to two very adorable dogs who bring so much joy to my life. 

Aside from the glowing reviews of The Art of Racing in the Rain and that it's from the point of view of the family dog, the message contained within its pages leaves you with a wonderful message of love, family, loyalty and triumph over adversity & perseverance.

I admit that I cried on many occasions while reading this novel. The last paragraph of chapter 26 left me crying and so did the entire 58th chapter was also particularly difficult for me to read as I knew Enzo's (the dog) life was coming to an end. 

Some of my favorite quotes from The Art of Racing in the Rain are as follows:

"[T]hat which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves." page 43

"The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles - preferably of his own making - in order to triumph." page 135 

I enjoyed many of the of the scenes in this book. Like the ones with the zebra and its symbolism. Or the documentary Enzo watches and learns that the Mongolians believe that the next incarnation for a dogs is man.

So, which books have made a lasting impression on you recently?

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Little Free Library in Santa Barbara, California!

I accidentally stumbled upon a Little Free Library in downtown Santa Barbara this past weekend with my husband that I never knew existed until this past Sunday!

My hubby & I enjoyed eating breakfast in downtown Santa Barbara this past Sunday morning. Afterward, we decided to go Geocaching as this is one of our favorite hobbies we enjoy doing together.
While attempting to find a parking spot near one of the Geocaches we were seeking, we stumbled upon a Little Free Library quite by accident. I never knew that a Little Free Library even existed in Santa Barbara and believe me, I've visited the Little Free Library website on several occasions and never saw an address for a Little Free Library in Santa Barbara before.

Little Free Library!!
Needless to say I was surprised to find a Little Free Library purely at random. This Little Free Library still isn't even registered on the Little Free Library website. It must be really new or the folks who built and maintain this Little Free Library haven't registered it on the Little Free Library website.

I love how this particular Little Free Library was made to look like the building it is located next to. :-)

UPDATE: I discovered that this Little Free Library is located outside the doors of Horny Toad, Inc. They make apparel! Here's a link to their blog post discussing the above Little Free Library: http://www.hornytoad.com/blog/2013/01/17/little-free-library/

Friday, January 18, 2013

Collecting Rare Books For Beginners

I think it would be fun to collect rare books some day down the line.... I haven't started collecting rare books for the following three reasons:

1. I've always had the impression that collecting rare books is an expensive hobby. One out of my budget.

2. I don't know much about collecting books and don't want to end up with a book that isn't all that rare, isn't a 1st edition after all, or the autograph inside of the book is forged. Put another way, I don't want to dish out a lot of money on what I think is a rare book, only to find out I've been scammed. 

So, before I even begin collecting rare books, I want to educate myself on the ins and outs of collecting rare books. Being a smart consumer is the only way to go in my opinion.

3. Lastly, what kinds of books do I want to collect???  

I recently discovered an article on a website called Best For Beginners by Joseph Pickett titled Collecting Rare Books for Beginners. In his article, Mr. Pickett provides 7 tips to collecting rare books. 

My favorite tip or piece of advice given by Mr. Pickett in his article is on 'where to start' and he writes the following:
The smartest place for the amateur book collector to begin is to check with the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (abaa.org) to locate a quality bookstore in your area. Every bookstore that is an ABAA member has been thoroughly vetted. It is very important for you to find a legitimate bookstore, as scammers and rip off artists are sadly too common in the world of rare books.

If you happen to visit any bookstore in you area, you should ask them if they are registered with the ABAA.

Mr. Pickett gives other good advice on collecting rare books as well. So, be sure and click on the link above and learn more tips on collecting rare books.

Once I have a good grasp on collecting rare books, perhaps I'll start collecting a few of them myself. 

Until my next post, happy reading! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Autobiographical Graphic Novels You Maybe Interested in Reading!

I usually don't read many comic books, graphic novels, or manga books. These types of books have largely been unexplored by yours truly... Although, I'm open to reading books from these genres.

In the Fall of 1994, I did read a couple of autobiographical graphic novels for a college English course. Our class was required to read Maus I and Maus II by Art Spiegelman. I remember that both of these books were my first exposure to graphic novels and that I enjoyed reading them both at the time. I liked viewing the artwork/graphics along with the storyline as it gave a new perspective to reading a book.

I recently came across an article published on the Information Technology Schools website titled 10 Autobiographical Comic Books You Should Read. I'm always on the look out for some of the best reads in a genre, so I clicked on the link to take a look at the 10 titles given. This list of 10 autobiographical books, looks like a good one. The list includes Art Spiegelman's Maus collection! I'm looking forward to exploring the other graphic novels mentioned on the list in the future.

Do you enjoy reading graphic novels, manga books or comics? Have you read any of the ones mentioned in the above article? If so, which ones and how did you like them?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The 1st Bookless Public Library in the USA!

Yes, you read correctly, the first book-less public library will be opening in San Antonio Texas this fall. There will ONLY be e-books, no physical books to check out!

In Joana Stern's article for ABC News, titled The First Bookless Public Library: Texas to Have BiblioTech, she writes:
The 4,989 square-foot space will look like a modern library, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who was inspired to pursue the project after reading Walter Issacson's Steve Jobs biography, told ABC News. (A glance at the photo shows that its inspired by Apple in more ways than one.) Instead of aisles and aisles of books there will be aisles and aisles of computers and gadgets. At the start, it will have 100 e-readers available for circulation and to take out, and then 50 e-readers for children, 50 computer stations, 25 laptops and 25 tablets on site.
 Click on above link to read the full story!

So, what do you think of a book-less public library? Are you excited about using one in the future? Do you think book-less libraries are the way of the future?

As someone who already owns and reads both physical and e-books, I'm warming up to the idea of a public library going completely book-less. It's progressive and the way the future seems to be going. 

Will I miss traditional libraries filled with physical books? You betcha! I'm hoping the traditional library filled with physical books doesn't disappear altogether! I think there is a place for libraries filled with physical books as well as e-books. 

Ideally, I'd like a public library that is a good blend of both physical books & e-books, as I do still read physical books too... Probably more physical books than e-books if the truth be told.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Diesel -- Another Bookstore in Malibu!

Diesel Storefront
I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Diesel Bookstore in the heart of Malibu's bustling Malibu Country Mart

It's been awhile since my husband and I have visited the Malibu Country Mart and it was fun to see that this shopping center has been given a facelift since our last visit! This shopping center looks much nicer now. I also like the new stores, including Diesel, that are now part of the Malibu Country Mart.

Diesel is a small bookstore filled with new books. I love that this bookstore is light and bright. The layout of Diesel is wonderful and nicely organized. The staff member I interacted with was friendly and helpful, which is always a plus in my book. 

I walked away with a paperback copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I've heard wonderful things about this book from a couple of other readers, so had to add this novel to my ever growing 'to be read pile' of books I look forward to reading!!

Until my next post, happy reading!

Bank of Banks in Malibu, California!

Bank of Books Store Front
This past Saturday, my husband and I took a short, half day trip to Malibu, California. We made the journey by driving down the Pacific Coast Highway for most of our journey south from our home in Carpinteria. 

What a sunny, gorgeous day to take a drive along the coast of California!! It was a lot of fun to see the beaches of Malibu on our trip southward. While in Malibu we enjoyed eating lunch and exploring two bookstores during our visit.

Bank of Books Interior

The first bookstore we visited was Bank of Books, which is a new and used bookstore inside the Point Dune Village shopping center. The Bank of Books bookstore is small and charming bookstore with friendly staff and is attached to an independent coffeehouse called Cafecito Organico. 
Used Paperback Books For $1!
There is ample indoor and outdoor seating to enjoy something to drink from Cafecito Organico and read your latest purchase from Bank of Books! I also enjoyed the bargain book sections outside of Bank of Books offering used paperback books on sale... Some books were selling for $1 each and others for $3 each.

I enjoyed our visit to Bank of Books in Malibu very much. I've also visited their other location in Ventura last year, which was also fabulous!

Monday, January 14, 2013

40 Fabulous Reads For Running Enthusiasts

I'm not a runner myself, but have a few family members and friends who are avid runners themselves and partake in running competitions themselves. 

In fact, my stepfather has been a runner since high school and has run many marathons. Although he doesn't enter many races today, he still runs almost daily as a way to stay in shape.

My sister-in-law has also run since high school and still runs many road races throughout the year at the marathon level. She has qualified for the Boston Marathon three years running and is happily running it again this upcoming April. She's also moved into the realm of triathlons and has been competing at the half ironman triathlon level since 2011. She's hoping to complete her first full ironman triathlon later this year. 

So, this post is dedicated to all the runners out there who love to read about their favorite sport!! I came across an online article that highlights forty books about running. The topics on running covered are varied from bios/memoirs about famous runners, fiction, running culture and of course, how to guides to the world of running! Please check out 40 Exhilarating Reads for Runners from the Online College Courses website.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Have You Donated to Your Local Public Library Lately??

Yesterday, I became a member of the Friends of the Carpinteria Library. It's the first time I've actually become a member of the local chapter of the Friends of Library and am happy I finally did because the money helps support the local public library here in Carpinteria.

For me donating to our local public library in some way, shape, or form is important to me. I feel everyone from all walks of life should have easy access to reading books, periodicals, and other educational materials.

Over the years, my husband and I have donated many of our books we no longer want or need from our own personal library, along with dvds, compact discs, and so forth to our local public library for them to sell and raise much needed funds. 

I also regularly purchase books from the local Friends of the Library Used Bookstore in town and all money raised from the sale of books is used to support the library.

At some point, I'd like to be a volunteer at our local library in some capacity when I have more time in my schedule to do so on a regular basis.

Do you volunteer your time or donate goods to your local public library? Share your story!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Finds #7

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. It’s a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list. Or simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile! 

Although I didn't receive any books for the holidays in 2012, I did receive a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble Booksellers! So, earlier this week, I found myself browsing the Barnes & Noble website looking for books to read. 

I have a long list of books on my wishlist, so choosing ones to read was a difficult one indeed. I've been in a nonfiction mood, so I ended up purchasing three nonfiction books with my gift card. 
The book titles are as follows:

1. You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness by Julie Klam

2. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

3. An Eagle Named Freedom: My True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Jeff Guidry

I am hoping to read these three books sometime in the near future, but have so many books in my to be read pile that I'm not sure when I'll get to them. Thank goodness books don't have expiration dates, so I can read them whenever I have the time just right for me.

 So, which books have you purchased in the new year?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

"Cutting libraries during a recession is like cutting hospitals during a plague." -- Eleanor Crumblehulme, library assistant, University of British Columbia

I know that I mentioned that I was doing away with 'Bookish Quote of the Day!!' posts this year unless I came across something worthy for posting. I thought the above quote provided food for thought. Cutting libraries during a recession is never a good thing in my book. Your thoughts?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Thumb Thing --- Making Reading Easier?!

I love coming across new reading gadgets! I've seen the ThumbThing, reading gadget online in the past and came across this item again over the weekend. Here's what the makers of the ThumbThing have to say about their gadget on their website:

A brilliant new invention for reading books – it makes reading more comfortable. Also use it as a bookmark.Ideal for reading in bed, or in the bath or on the beach. Great for commuters.
I'm curious about ThumbThing and wonder how well it works?? Has anyone used it before? Please share your review of ThumbThing, if you own and use one. I'd love to read your honest opinion of this cool looking reading gadget!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

I first read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros almost twenty years ago now for a college course titled Women in Literature. 

I didn't remember much about my first experience reading The House on Mango Street, other than it was a short, quick read about a young girl growing up as a 'Latina American' in Chicago. 

The House on Mango Street is a 110 page novella told through a series of short vignettes. It is a 'coming of age' story for the lead character, Esperanza Cordero, a Latina American girl growing up in Chicago.

On December 30th, I finished reading The House on Mango Street for the second time around. I enjoyed reading this novella more the second time around then I did in college. Maybe this was because I've had more time to reflect on the story itself or maybe because the storyline and characters are still fresh in my mind's eye. Whatever the case may be, I really enjoyed the way in which the story was presented. The vignettes provided wonderful snapshots and insight to Esperanza Cordero's everyday life and the Latino American experience in general.

The House on Mango Street is one of several books selected for 2013 US World Book Night. I've recently applied to be a 2013 US World Book Night book giver and have chosen The House on Mango Street as the book I'd most like to pass out within my community. I hope I'm selected to be a book giver this year as I enjoyed being a book giver for World Book Night last year.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 in Review & 2013 Blogging Goals!

First off, I'm thrilled to report that last year, I keep my blogging goal and posted daily (sometimes more than once daily) to Captivated Reader!! In fact, I made a total of 382 posts in all last year and all posts made were book related in some way.

I'm proud of my achievement as I had my doubts about being able to reach my goal of posting daily... Let alone, end up making 382 posts. But I did it!! 

The three main reason I had originally decided to post daily to Captivated reader, is as follows:

1. Was it even possible for me to find something 'book related' to blog about on a daily basis?

2. Make blogging a habit for me. I wanted to share my love of books and reading with others on a regular basis. Finding a way to connect with other readers and book lovers is important to me.

3. If I was going to start a blog, it was better to 'go big or go home'! Blogging regularly was a key issue for me in reaching the 'go big or go home' goal

I find it disappointing when I come across blogs that don't contain good content. Or the creator of the blog doesn't post very frequently. Or lastly, the blogger abandons their blog altogether and quits making posts. I don't want my blog to become one that I wouldn't want to read personally.

It was a struggle at times to find topics to blog about on a daily basis. Sometimes simply trying to motivate myself to make posts throughout 2012 was a difficult feat as I did find myself having blogger burnout at times. And, of course, if you become sick with a cold, dealing with the holiday season, or on vacation, etc., the desire to blog is the last thing on one's mind. The good news is that I persevered and reached my goal of blogging daily.

This year though, I'd like to make some changes. I still plan to post as frequently as possible. Just not on a daily basis. Of course, all posts will remain 'book related'. I want to focus more on quality content and less on quantity (posting daily). I also plan to do away with the "Bookish Quote of the Day!!" thread, unless I come across something that is so profound that I need to share it here.

As readers of my blog, what sort of 'book related' content would you like to read about most? How can I improve my blog to make it more interesting, entertaining and informative to read?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My 2013 Reading Goals!

Happy New Year to YOU!! Welcome to Captivated Reader!!

Since mid-December 2012, I've given some serious thought regarding my 2013 reading goals. After thoughtful contemplation, I've finally decided to commit to the following 2013 reading goals as follows:

I plan to read a total of forty books in 2013. This seems kinda of paltry considering that I finished reading 102 books this year alone and have a ginormous 'to be read' pile of books in my home. However, for me, it's all about quality verses quantity in 2013. I want to enjoy what I read, instead of rushing through books because I want to dwindle my ever growing 'to be read' pile of books.

I plan to read ten books this year that fall into the health, fitness, self-help/self-improvement genre, in an effort to make myself an even better person... Not that I'm not wonderful already, but there's always room for improvement, right?

I'm also planning to read ten nonfiction books that DO NOT fall into the health, fitness, self-help/self-improvement category.

I'll also be choosing ten fiction novels to read in 2013. I haven't decided on which ones yet, but I'm hoping to (perhaps) read a couple of lengthy classics that I have been wanting to read for far too long now -- Like the novels, Anna Karenina & The Grapes of Wrath.

Last, but not least, I'll select ten books given to me by various Bookcrossers and read them during 2013. This way, I may move them along to new readers!

Now, if I can only stop myself from purchasing anymore books for myself in 2013, I'll be thrilled! My 'to be read' pile has grown to overwhelming proportions at this point in time.

So, what are your reading goals for 2013?