Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Audiobook Week -- June 25 through 29, 2012!!

If you have not listened to any great audiobooks lately, here's a short list of places to find audiobooks to suit your interests:

3) iTunes
5) Your Local Library

Audiobooks are wonderful to listen to any time of year!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Do You Listen to Audiobooks?

I don't listen to audiobooks all that frequently. Usually, I enjoy listening to audiobooks on long car trips, train trips, or plane travel, but unfortunately, I don't travel much by plane or train and long car trips are usually taken with my hubby... So, the two of us end up talking most of the trip or listening to something altogether differently then an audiobook... Like music or talk radio.

When I do listen to audiobooks, I prefer listening to the unabridged version, if it is available.  I was rather pleased recently, when I was able to obtain a couple of unabridged audiobooks on compact disc from Amazon's bargain section and decided to listen to them at home instead of waiting until my next lengthy trip.

Ghost Radio
The first audiobook I listened to was Ghost Radio by Leopoldo Gout. Ghost Radio is a novel that falls into the horror genre, which I thought might be kinda of fun to listen to in audio form.... However, this audiobook failed to entertain. The dramatic reading of this novel was nicely done, but the story fell short of being entertaining... At least for me anyway. The story's premise started off grabbing my attention, but the last quarter of the book lost my attention completely as the story just seemed to unravel.

The following is a product description of Ghost Radio from the author, Leopoldo Gout's website:
From the cramped bowels of a dimly lit Mexican radio station, Ghost Radio is beamed onto the airwaves. More than a call-in show to tell scary stories about vampires and poltergeists, Ghost Radio is a sanctuary for those sleepless denizens of the night, lost half way between this world and the next.
Joaquin, the hip, melancholy host sits deep in a fog of cigarette smoke, fielding calls from believers and detractors alike. He is joined in the booth by his darkly beautiful girlfriend, Alondra, and his engineer, Watts. Before long, a radio conglomerate offers to syndicate their cult show in the U.S., and Ghost Radio becomes a national success - a price at success which Joaquin’s soon begins to regret having paid.
A former punk rocker, Joaquin has had two devastating near-death experiences—accidents of shocking and horrific proportions. He emerged the sole survivor after these events, walking away even as his parents and later, his best friend and cohort in music and mischief, Gabriel, perished. Though a charismatic host, he remains a skeptic even as he begins to notice a curious and troubling phenomenon. Joaquin feels himself drawn further and further into the terrifying stories he solicits on the radio. Slowly he loses control over his circumstances, and finds himself unable to distinguish between the real world and the world populated by the nightmares on Ghost Radio. He is not alone, and as the voices of the dead begin to drift onto the airwaves to tragic results.
Joaquin suspects that someone from his past with a grudge to pay is the agent forcing him to confront his own mortality, save that which is most precious to him, and repair the crumbling wall between the living and the dead.

Perhaps someone else will enjoy or appreciate the storyline more than me.

The Scandal of the Season Book Cover
The second audiobook I listened to was The Scandal of the Season by Sophie Gee, which is historical fiction. The following is a synopsis of this novel found on Amazon:
London, 1711. As the rich, young offspring of the city's most fashionable families fill their days with masquerade balls and clandestine court-ships, Arabella Fermor and Robert, Lord Petre, lead the pursuit of pleasure. Beautiful and vain, Arabella is a clever coquette with a large circle of beaus. Lord Petre, seventh Baron of Ingatestone, is a man-about-town with his choice of mistresses. Drawn together by an overpowering attraction, the two begin an illicit affair. 

Alexander Pope, sickly and nearly penniless, is peripheral by birth, yet his uncommon wit and ambition gain him unlikely entrance into high society. Once there, privy to every nuance and drama, he is a ruthless observer. He longs for the success that will cement his place in society; all he needs is one poem grand enough to make his reputation. 

As the forbidden passion between Arabella and Lord Petre deepens, an intrigue of a darker nature threatens to overtake them. Fortunes change and reputations -- even lives -- are imperiled. In the aftermath, Pope discovers the idea for a daring poem that will catapult him to fame and fortune.
For a debut novel, I found The Scandal of the Season to be very entertaining. The following is a YouTube interview of Sophie Gee, the author of The Scandal of the Season, about the book that I think you'll enjoy.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yoko Ono's Top Five Must-Reads Books

So, what would Yoko Ono read? If you ever wondered, check out the article titled Yoko Ono's Top Five Must-Reads in the Guardian. Come on you know you want to!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

"Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness." Helen Keller

Monday, June 25, 2012

Books That Shaped America Exhibit at the Library of Congress

In Michael Dirda's article titled 'Books That Shaped America’: a reading list as big as a nation published in The Washington Post, he writes the following:
Happily, the Library of Congress’ latest exhibition, “The Books That Shaped America,” ignores the familiar high-culture shibboleths and embraces cookbooks (Irma Rombauer’s “The Joy of Cooking”) and schoolbooks (McGuffey’s “Primer”), mysteries (Dashiell Hammett’s “Red Harvest”) and science fiction (Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”), political tracts as well as poetry, both Dr. Seuss and Dr. Spock.

Running from Monday to Sept. 29 in the Thomas Jefferson Building, the exhibition — its titles chosen by the library’s staff members after considerable wrangling — puts on display what one might call the classics of upset and trouble making. When first published, these books shocked people, made them angry, shook up their deepest beliefs. They shamed readers with accounts of racism, greed, corruption, Puritanism and provincial narrow-mindedness. Here are the impassioned works that made us look behind the curtain, into the bedroom and closet and boardroom, at what we were afraid of and at what we covered up. Just skimming through the titles of “The Books That Shaped America” underscores that in this country anything can be questioned, nothing is set in stone, everything can be changed. We are, after all, a nation founded on and grounded in revolution.
This sounds like an exciting exhibit to see in person!! To see the list of books that will be part of the 'Books That Shaped America' exhibit, click on the link above.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Expanding One's Reading Horizons

Do you pretty much read books from the same genre(s) or books written by a few select authors you enjoy reading? Or do you frequently branch out and try reading new authors and reading books from many genres?

If you're like me, then it's some sort of combination of the above. Sure, I'm like most people and stick to my favorite genres and authors, but I also like to branch out and read new books by different authors and from different genres. I enjoy reading a wide variety of subjects and also discovering new authors.

So, how do go about expanding your reading horizons? For me, it can be a recommended book or author from a trusted friend whose taste in books is one you can trust. I also read a wide variety of nonfiction books based on my current interests... For instances, I enjoy reading biographies and memoirs from a diverse crowd ranging from the famous to not so famous. 

I am currently interested in reading books from writers of different countries. I came across an article on the Flavorwire website titled 10 Contemporary Japanese Writers You Should Know and decided to check out the article. Some of the Japanese authors mentioned I had heard of before and some I had not... I've not read any books by these writers, so now I'll see which titles are most appealing to me & discover new talent! 

My biggest problem is that there are so many great books out there to read and so little time to read them all!! Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Do these books REALLY make ONE undateable??

A couple of days ago, I stumbled across a post on Flavorwire by Emily Temple titled These Are the Books That Make You Totally Undateable. Curious by the title of the article, I decided to see which books made the list. 

I can't seem to to take this article, nor its list of book titles seriously! How can a person be totally undateable due to having a particular book in their personal collection of books? It seems kind of shallow, in my opinion, to deem a person undateable because they have a particular book title in their library. I'd hope that people would have a better reason for not dating someone than this.

I also don't understand why owning/using a Kindle or other eReader would make one totally undateable either. No explanation was given by Ms. Temple as to why owning an eReader made one undateable.

So, what are your thoughts? Do certain books make someone undateable or is the whole notion ludicrous?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Impressive Looking Book Sculptures by Jonathan Callan

British artist Jonathan Callan makes very cool looking, stacked book sculptures! Check out the Colossal Art & Design website to view Jonathan Callan's works of art!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bookish Quote of the Day!!!

"It's difficult to beat making your living thinking and writing about subjects that matter to you." Eleanor Holmes Norton

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Do You Enjoy Reading Short Stories or Novellas?

This year I've found myself reading a lot more short stories and novellas than I can recall reading in recent years. I enjoy reading short stories and novellas because they're usually fun, fast reads that are great for when you don't have a lot of time to devote to reading books. They're also perfect for time spent traveling, or an afternoon at the beach, etc. 

Plus, I find that reading short stories and novellas are a great way to become acquainted with authors that are new to me without having to plunge into a lengthy novel and discovering I don't like it. Short stories and novellas are akin to dipping your big toe into the shallow end of the pool to test the waters before making the plunge.

What are your thoughts about short stories and novellas? Do you like them or not? Have you read any good short stories or novellas lately that you'd like to share? I'm always open to promising suggestions... So, suggest away! Give me your best short story and novella recommendations.

I read It's a Dog's Life by Dale Mayer, which is a novella/short story that I blogged about on June 13, 2012. Click on the link above to see what I wrote about this fun novella. It's the only novella or short story that I've read so far this year that I would recommend to others. It's not a five star read, but makes for fun beach reading! Plus, who can resist a book with dogs in it??

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Natasha Trethewey is Named the 19th US Poet Laureate

Congratulations to Natasha Trethewey on being named the 19th US Poet Laureate!! I learn of the news in an article written in the New York Times titled New Laureate Looks Deep Into Memory by Charles McGrath. In Mr. McGrath's article, I learned the following information:
The Library of Congress is to announce Thursday that the next poet laureate is Natasha Trethewey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of three collections and a professor of creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta. Ms. Trethewey, 46, was born in Gulfport, Miss., and is the first Southerner to hold the post since Robert Penn Warren, the original laureate, and the first African-American since Rita Dove in 1993. 

“I’m still a little in disbelief,” Ms. Trethewey said on Monday.

Unlike the recent laureates W. S. Merwin and her immediate predecessor, Philip Levine, both in their 80s when appointed, Ms. Trethewey, who will officially take up her duties in September, is still in midcareer and not well-known outside poetry circles. Her work combines free verse with more traditional forms like the sonnet and the villanelle to explore memory and the racial legacy of America. Her fourth collection, “Thrall,” is scheduled to appear in the fall. She is also the author of a 2010 nonfiction book, “Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
Click on the above link to read the full New York Times article, 'New Laureate Looks Deep Into Memory' by Charles McGrath.

I'd never heard of Natasha Trethewey until she had been named the next US Poet Laureate. Eager to hear one of Natasha Trethewey's poems read aloud, I curiously searched YouTube and found several videos with Natasha Trethewey in them. The above video features Natasha Trethewey reading her poem "Liturgy" from her 2010 book Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I loved the poem and thought it was very moving! 

I love listening to poetry being read aloud, especially from the poet who actually wrote the poem. I hope you enjoy listening to the poem as well.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

Milkweed Book Cover
Milkweed is the 4th novel I've read by Jerry Spinelli and as usual, Jerry Spinelli's writing and storytelling doesn't disappoint!! I was captivated from the very first page, right through the last page & so will you!

Milkweed is a novel for young adults and it deals with the heavy and sad topic of World War II during the time when the Nazi's occupied Warsaw, Poland. 

The story is told through eyes of a young, orphan boy who is alone and trying to make sense of the world around him during this chaotic time. Milkweed is his journey to survive in the world, to find and belong to a family...

The following is a brief synopsis of Milkweed from Jerry Spinelli's website:
He's a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Runt. Happy. Fast. Filthy son of Abraham.

He's a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. Who steals food for himself and the orphans. Who believes in bread and mothers and angels.

He's a boy who wants to be a Nazi someday, with tall, shiny jackboots and a gleaming eagle hat of his own. Until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind.

And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he's a boy who realizes it's safest of all to be nobody.
Read Milkweed, see where the story leads you and how it all ends.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

"I would rather be poor in a cottage full of books than a king without the desire to read." Thomas Babington Macaulay

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Make Your Own Accordion Books!!

Have you ever thought about making your own according style book? I have wanted to make my own accordion style book ever since I purchased two beautifully constructed accordion books that were hand crafted by a talented Etsy seller!

I've searched YouTube and found several do it yourself accordion book craft projects that look like fun to make! Check out the following projects.

The above video shows an interesting way to make an according book. You can download a template to make this accordion book from the YouTube page that this video is found on. Instructions are also given in the download on how to make this cute looking triangle shaped accordion book.

Make an aceo accordion style themed book. This one looks like a fun accordion style book to make also!

I love the look of the above mini accordion book!! But it it seems kind of advanced for a newbie crafter like me!

The above video teaches you how to make an accordion photo album without any glue in its construction.

Do you like making craft projects for yourself, friends or family as gifts? 

I use to do a lot of craft projects, but I've not had the opportunity to do much crafting over the past three years. I'd like to start making some craft projects again though and the above accordion style craft projects look like something right up my alley. There are literally hundreds, and more like thousands of craft project videos on YouTube. Check them out and get crafty!! 

Let me know if you make any of the above projects!! I'd love to hear how they turned out.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Accordian Books from the Uniquely MaryL Etsy Store

I found myself browsing Etsy once again. I love their website as it is a wonderful way to showcase wonderful handcrafted items. This time around I found a seller that makes adorable accordion books.

The blue snowflake accordion book features eight haiku poems that are winter themed in nature. This accordion book's interior is also decorated with cute snowflake stickers, which gives it a wonderful wintertime feel. The reader is suppose to guess, by the haiku's description, what object is being described in the haiku poem, which makes reading this book fun... The answers to each haiku are listed in the back of the book.

The red and cream floral accordion style book is filled with colorful images of bird feathers and lovely poetry that pertains to feathers.

Both books are nicely constructed and contain beautiful images within each book. I wasn't able to photograph great images of the interior of either book, so have none to upload. 

I purchased the above accordion books from the Uniquely MaryL storefront on Etsy. There are many more cute accordion style books for sale at Uniquely MaryL, along with other cute handmade items. Enjoy perusing the Uniquely MaryL storefront!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Incantation by Alice Hoffman

Book Cover
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Alice Hoffman's novel Incantation. This is the first novel I've ever read by Alice Hoffman and I'm sure it won't be my last after reading Incantation.

Alice Hoffman is a wonderful storyteller as the reader is drawn into Incantation's story on the first page and your attention is kept throughout the entire novel. 

Checkout Alice Hoffman's website for a synopsis of Incantation along with an excerpt and reading guide.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's a Dog's Life by Dale Mayer

Book Cover
It's a Dog's Life by Dale Mayer is a novella that is approximately 70 pages in length. I was able to download, It's a Dog's Life, for free from to my iPad.

I love dogs, so when I came across It's a Dog's Life, it was an easy decision to decide on reading this novel. It sounded like a short, fun filled read with a cast of quirky characters. Plus, who can pass up on a free book to read?? 

I'm glad I chose to read It's a Dog's Life. It was a fun, easy breezy beach read that made the afternoon pass by quickly! I enjoyed the plot twist at the end of the novel, which made for a nice surprise.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Bookaneer Used Bookstore

Last weekend, my hubby and I were in the Thousand Oaks area on a day trip. 

After lunch, we headed to a used bookstore in Thousand Oaks called The Bookaneer, which is a nice sized independently owned bookstore located in a strip mall with ample free parking. 

The Bookaneer contains a well stocked selection of used books from various genres. Books are sorted by genre and alphabetized by authors last name, which makes finding books you're looking for easy. Books are 50% of the cover price unless otherwise marked.

Tracy was the nice lady on staff during our visit. She offered wonderful customer service... We talked about books. I shared with her that I was a cozy mystery novel lover and that I'm always on the look out for new mystery authors. So, Tracy shared the names of two mystery writers with me that write novels, she enjoys reading... Now I'll be on the look out for novels by Ellis Peters and Elizabeth Peters in the future!!

I ended up purchasing two paperback mystery novels before I left The Bookaneer titled What's a Ghoul to Do? by Victoria Laurie and Murder Under the Mistletoe by Jennifer Jordan. I look forward to reading both novels.

The Bookaneer also buys and trades used books. Call them for more details at (805) 379-9667.

The store hours for The Bookaneer are as follows:

Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm during the summer and from 10am to 5pm during the winter.

You may follow/like The Bookaneer on Facebook. Use the following link to find their Facebook page.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Artist Crafts Dress Out of Romance Novels

I love it when I come across online articles with photographs of artwork by talented artists who create artwork from books. I am always amazed by their talent and skill as an artist to craft wonderful works of art from books or other medium for the world to see.

Carrie Ann Schumacher is once such talented artist, who has crafted a dress she sculptured from romance novels. The pictures are amazing of the dress she crafted and so is the story behind how Ms. Schumacher created this lovely dress! See pictures of Carrie Ann Schumacher's beautifully crafted dress and read how she created the dress from a post made by RT BOOK REVIEWS.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bookish Quote of the Day!!!

"One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time." Carl Sagan

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bring Your Next Date to the Library!!

Yes, you read correctly! Bring your next date to the library. I just read an online article published on The Date Report website, titled The Seven Best Libraries In America (To Bring A Date) by Chiara Ank. In the article, The Seven Best Libraries In America (To Bring A Date), Chiara Atik writes the following:
When it comes to romantic date spots, the library is a hard place to beat. It’s free, it’s quiet, it’s dark, it’s sexy, and there is endless, endless fodder for (whispered) conversation.
A good library is practically designed for a logical date progression — depending on you and your date’s interest (and nerd-level), you can start by nostalgically going over your favorite picture books from childhood in the Children’s section, and then move on to listening to LPs on the record players in the music room. A reading room is actually way sexy: nothing builds sexual tension better than sitting next to your date and not being allowed to talk.
Going on a date to the library can be a lot of fun! My personal pick for best library to go on a date is the Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens. The Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens is the perfect date spot as it has a library with great exhibits, expansive gardens to walk through, art collections galore and last, but not least, a wonderful tea room that serves exquisite English style tea service with all the traditional finger foods to eat.

Share your favorite library with us and tell us why it makes a great date spot!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Why Libraries Make Great Date Spots

I admit it! I'm a book nerd and I love anything book related, like libraries, bookstores, author lectures/signings and so on. 

So, when I stumbled upon an article titled, Love In The Stacks: Why The Library Is Actually A Good Date Spot by Chiara Atik, I couldn't resist reading this article and sharing it with you. Chira Atik offers up seven great tips for making a date to the library a memorable one! Click on the above article to read the full article.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Paper Passion Perfume --- Smell Like A New Book!

It seems that Karl Lagerfeld's quote “The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world.”, has been taken very seriously in the fragrance industry as Paper Passion Fragrance is a new and exciting fragrance created by Geza Schoen, Gerhard Steidl, and Wallpaper* magazine, with packaging by Karl Lagerfeld and Steidl.

Steidlville website writes the following about the  Paper Passion Fragrance:
This tells the story of a passion and a twisting plot to put the particular bouquet of freshly printed books in a bottle. Gerhard Steidl was first alerted to the importance of the smell of a book by Karl Lagerfeld, prompting a passion for paper and the composition of a scent on the pages of a book. To Wallpaper* magazine the pairing of the publisher with the perfumer seemed a natural partnership and so the idea for Paper Passion was born. Wallpaper* Magazine commissioned master perfumer Geza Schoen to create a fragrance based on the smell of books to be part of the Wallpaper* magazine Handmade exhibition in Milan.
Paper Passion Fragrance retails for $115.00 here in the USA.

I love reading books. I also enjoy wearing a lovely smelling fragrance.... However, I'm not sure I want to smell like a brand spanking new book!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury Dies at Age 91

In a Los Angeles Times obituary titled, Ray Bradbury dies at 91; author lifted fantasy to literary heights, writer
Ray Bradbury, the writer whose expansive flights of fantasy and vividly rendered space-scapes have provided the world with one of the most enduring speculative blueprints for the future, has died. He was 91. 
Bradbury died Tuesday night, his daughter, Alexandra Bradbury, told the Associated Press. No other details were immediately available.  
Author of more than 27 novels and story collections—most famously "The Martian Chronicles," "Fahrenheit 451," "Dandelion Wine" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes"—and more than 600 short stories, Bradbury has frequently been credited with elevating the often-maligned reputation of science fiction. Some say he singlehandedly helped to move the genre into the realm of literature.
Continue reading about the life of Ray Bradbury by clicking on the link above.

Also, watch the following 8 minute video of Ray Bradbury. It is a phenomenal video!

Thank you, Ray Bradbury, for touching the lives of readers with your words.

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." Mark Twain

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

11 Cakes Based on Children's Books, Movies or TV Shows!!

I loved seeing these lovely looking cakes made to look like characters from children's books found on the Mental Floss website. The cakes I enjoyed viewing most were the Alice in Wonderland cakes and The Very Hungry Caterpillar cake. Which cake or cakes did you most enjoy viewing?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Born Twice by Giuseppe Pontiggia

Born Twice Book Cover
Born Twice is the first novel I've read by Italian author, Giuseppe Pontiggia and hopefully not the last novel I read by this author.

Amazon Editorial Review:
The first major book by one of Italy’s most distinguished novelists to appear in America – an award-winning fictional memoir of a man’s transfiguring experiences raising a son whose disabilities were caused at birth by the carelessness of a single doctor. 
After thirty years of visits to specialists, Professor Frigerio–the articulate, unsentimental, powerfully expressive narrator–remembers what one doctor told him only months after his son Paolo was born: “These children are born twice. Their second birth depends on you, on what you are able to give to them. But in the end you too will be reborn.” And as he recounts this journey–his tone ranging from lyrical to angry, humorous to philosophical–we are witness to the emotional and intellectual vicissitudes he has faced: from his guilt at having had an affair during his wife’s pregnancy to his son’s endless medical struggles to his moments of denial and rage as he navigates a world full of obstacles, cruelty, and indifference. But at the heart of this story is Paolo, an extraordinary child we witness grow up to become a teenager who teaches his parents a thing or two while coping exceptionally well with all the questions, curiosities, and dreams of any young man his age. Here, too, is a finely drawn portrait of Paolo’s mother and brother, and of the life of a family bearing the weight of both great tragedy and great love. 
Born Twice is a remarkable novel–compassionate and rigorous in its exploration of fatherhood, and of the often surprising nature of disability.
I finished reading Born Twice last week. I enjoyed reading this novel immensely, but do I love it? That I'm not sure of at this time. Although Born Twice provides great food for thought and the author writes beautifully, lyrically and philosophically throughout Born Twice... Some passages left me wondering what exactly the author was trying to convey.

What did I enjoy most about 
Born TwiceThe fact that it is a fictional memoir featuring the father's point of view about his disabled son. The story didn't just simply focus solely on his son or the father's feelings about his son's disability, but also on the relationships with family, the medical community, and other people and their views on disability. All of this made for an interesting read.

Born Twice is the winner of the of the 2001 Strega Prize, which is Italy’s most prestigious literary honor.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bookish Quote of the Day!!!

"Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day." Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sharon Lovejoy author lecture & signing event!

Sharon Lovejoy, the author of Trowel and Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener, along with several other books, was at the Curious Cup Bookstore in downtown Carpinteria this afternoon at 2pm to give a short talk about gardening and to sign copies of her books. 

Before signing copies of her gardening books, Sharon Lovejoy gave a wonderful talk about gardening filled with tips about composting, ridding one's garden of pests using natural means, and the benefits of bees and worms in one's garden. Ms. Lovejoy also answered questions from the audience about about gardening and even book publishing! 

I walked away thrilled with what I'd learned from Ms. Lovejoy's discussion this afternoon. I even purchased a copy of her book Trowel and Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener, which I had autographed and will be giving as a gift to my mom. My mom is the true green thumb in our family and adores spending hours in her yard gardening each week.

Sharon Lovejoy even has a blog, which may be found at the following link:

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I finished reading The Giver by Lois Lowry a couple of weeks ago. This is the first novel I've read by Lois Lowry and all I can say is W-O-W!!! What a powerful novel. I can see why The Giver is the winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal.

I've enjoyed reading a few dystopian novels over the years, so The Giver appealed to me for this reason, along with it being a Newbery Medal winner.

The Giver is set in an unknown society that is presented as a utopian society at the start of the novel and gradually over time, this society, appears more dystopian in nature. In this unnamed society, it is learned that:
The society has eliminated pain and strife by converting to "Sameness," a plan that has also eradicated emotional depth from their lives. Jonas is selected to inherit the position of "Receiver of Memory," the person who stores all the past memories of the time before Sameness, in case they are ever needed to aid in decisions that others lack the experience to make. When Jonas meets the previous receiver—The "Giver"—he is confused in many ways. The Giver is also able to break some rules, such as turning off the speaker and lying to people of the community. As Jonas receives the memories from the Giver, he discovers the power of knowledge. The people in his community are happy because they don't know of a better life, but the knowledge of what they are missing out on could create major chaos. He faces a dilemma: Should he stay with the community, his family living a shallow life without love, color, choices, and knowledge, or should he run away to where he can live a full life?
The above quote is from Wikipedia. Click on highlighted text to read/learn more.

The Giver has had its share of controversy and has appeared on the American Library Association's list of top 100 banned/challenged books for 2000-2009 and also made the list for 100 most frequently challenged books for 1990-1999.

In an article, titled Lois Lowry's Newbery-winning 'Giver' still ignites debate by Karen MacPherson published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ms. MacPherson sites the following controversy regarding The Giver:
A number of American towns and cities have chosen it for community wide reading projects, and the book is a popular gift for graduations and bar mitzvahs.
But "The Giver," which won the 1994 Newbery Medal, also is among the most challenged books in the nation, according to the American Library Association. These challenges are filed by adults who contend that the book supports euthanasia, abortion and infanticide. Lowry, as well as the book's many fans, vehemently deny these charges.
"The reasons that people give for challenging the book make it clear that they haven't read it," Lowry said. "It's saddening and frustrating because it seems to me that this is a very moral book."

I really enjoyed reading The Giver. Yes, it deals with mature, thought provoking subject matter for young adults, but I never once felt that The Giver promoted/supported "euthanasia, abortion and infanticide". I simply felt The Giver made me, the reader, think more about the world around me and more importantly about the government's role on the society in which we live.

Although, I do not have children myself, I am old enough to be a mother of a young adult and I would allow my child to read this book if I had a child. Promoting the love of reading and having healthy, meaningful discussions about what has been read is a good thing.