Month

September 2016

Yvonne M. reads…#carolinareads

178933_3657051579365_16208889_n-copyWhat’s the first book you remember reading?
The first book I ever read was a primer in grammar school called Dick and Jane – I hated that book. It was too simple and it bored me. When I was in third grade I went to the big kids’ section in the library and the librarian told me that I was too little to read the big kids books. I showed her. They never stopped me after that. By the time I was in fourth grade I was reading the dictionary and encyclopedias because they were filled with new things to learn.

What’s the most recent book you have read or what are you reading right now?
I am reading Hex on the Beach by Gina Lamanna- it is quite interesting and a fun read. I just finished Chelsa Ave by Armand Rosamilia. That book will give a person chills but it also will give them pause to think about their failings and strengths.

Why did you choose that book?
My interests in books are as eclectic as I am and this one caught me eye. As an author, we must not limit ourselves to just those books which we are comfortable with. We must expand our reading in order to expand our writing. I will read just about anything in order to keep my mind sharp and my writing skills fresh.

If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be and why?
I would love to meet Edgar Alan Poe or Shakespeare. Both of authors inspired me to believe that I could do what I do. Both of those authors were maligned and ignored until they died. Their work was not fully appreciated until long after they had died. They were both tragic figures and it comes through in their writing which is brilliant on so many levels. Both are dark writers in their own way and both write with morals in their stories. These writers gave me the belief that it was okay to write like I write, that I didn’t have to write happily ever after like my teachers wanted me to write. That is was okay to allow my dark side to be put to paper. If I could meet them I would thank them for their inspiration and their trailblazing so that I might do what I do. You see as authors we must be true to ourselves if we are not – it comes through in our work.

You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they?
The Vampire Lestat, The Bible, Edgar Alan Poe’s Complete Set, Shakespeare’s complete works and one of Tim Dorsey’s books

I am not only an author I have an online radio show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yvonnemason and my website at http://authoryvonnemason.com/ and my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.mason1 . I am always looking for folks to interview on my online radio show because I am only as successful as I allow others to be.


Join the movement!
I want to promote reading. I know there are so many out there who have read a book and thought, this is something others need to know about. Reading encourages a lifelong passion for learning. #carolinareads is a movement that will give readers a chance to share what they are reading. There is a five question interview. I will share it on my website and give you a chance to not only promote your love of reading but also to promote yourself as you can include a website in your two sentence biography. Don’t live in the Carolinas? Well, do you know someone who does (hint: the person who created this form) you can still participate. Submit the form and I’ll let you know the date of your spotlight. Spread the word! Join the movement. Please email a picture if you would like it to be included.

Marked (The Birthright Series) by Amy Saunders

**I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
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Starting a new life is never easy, but when you are a teen with unusual powers that you really aren’t completely sure how to use them, it is even worse. Rosamund Brandt tries to make the most of her new life, but she is haunted by the past that could kill her or her family. She has to navigate a new high school, deal with emerging powers she doesn’t understand, and solve the murder of one of her best friends.

I enjoyed this book. I think it is hard when writing sci-fi to create a world so thoroughly that the reader completely believes it exists. Saunders nails it. She also does a great job revealing just enough information to tease the reader and keep her interested, without telling the whole story at once. Not all YA books create characters that are believable as young adults. All the characters in this book are solidly developed and true to the concept of YA books.

This is book two of the series. However, I did not feel like it was hard to understand the story because I hadn’t read book 1. I recommend this book as a good read. Come back next week for an interview with Amy. You can find more about her here.

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Don’t Read This!

In honor of Banned Books Week, I urge you to NOT read this post!


stand-up_facebook2Well, if you’re a rebel like me, you’ve continued. Good for you.

When I was in the classroom, I loved Banned Books Week. My first teaching job was at a school comparable to the one in Dangerous Minds or Stand and Deliver. I started teaching in November after three other teachers left. On my first day, a young man threw a desk at me. Trust me when I say, these kids knew what it meant to break laws. So when I told them that reading certain books would break a law, I got their attention.

One year, I arranged for security to come and confiscate all our copies of Of Mice and Men. Then an administrator pretended to write me up and threaten to fire me. None of my students said anything for the rest of the class. I gave the books back to them the next day and explained why I did it. I also explained to four parents who called the school mad as heck.

There is a difference between a challenge and a ban.  According to the ALA website, a challenge is an attempt to remove a book and a ban is the actual removal of the book (citation). Speaking from my own personal observation, anytime a book has a swear word, a racial epitaph, or any kind of sex beyond a kiss on the check there will be a challenge. However, the kinds of challenges have changed over the last several years. James LaRue, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom said challenges today are mostly “focused on issues of diversity—things that are by or about people of color, or LGBT, or disabilities, or religious and cultural minorities” (citation).

The most challenged books for 2015 are:

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”)

I only know two books on this list; Fifty Shades of Grey and The Holy Bible. (What does this say about me?) I would like to hear from any of you who have read any of the others on this list. Here is a link with a little more information about each of these books.

Who wants these books banned? Mostly parents. (citation). I firmly believe that parents have the right to control what goes on in their house and if there is a book they don’t want their child to read, they can make that happen. However, they don’t have the right to ban books from my child. And I believe none of us have the right to ban books from the public library. There is fear in being uncomfortable. Many parents believe it is better to avoid any uncomfortable situations rather than take advantage of these opportunities to open dialog. It is easier to ignore it than to face it.

When I worked in the library anytime I told a student a book was banned, it was the first book they would read. So my two cents? Be a rebel. Pick up a banned book and enjoy.

 

 

 

Brenda W. reads… #carolinareads

14274537_10155305197699899_571564900_oWhat’s the first book you remember reading?
Harold and the Purple Crayon

What’s the most recent book you have read or what are you reading right now?
The Inn at Ocean’s Edge

Why did you choose that book?
One of the authors I enjoy reading

If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be and why?
Colleen Coble or Karen White I would ask them lots of questions about what inspires them in their writings and to tell them how much I enjoy their books.

You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they?
The Lost Hours, Best of Me, A Year of Pleasures, Rosemary Cottage, Far From Here

Brenda and I have been friends for over ten years and guess what? She still talks to me!


Join the movement!
I want to promote reading. I know there are so many out there who have read a book and thought, this is something others need to know about. Reading encourages a lifelong passion for learning. #carolinareads is a movement that will give readers a chance to share what they are reading. There is a five question interview. I will share it on my website and give you a chance to not only promote your love of reading but also to promote yourself as you can include a website in your two sentence biography. Don’t live in the Carolinas? Well, do you know someone who does (hint: the person who created this form) you can still participate. Submit the form and I’ll let you know the date of your spotlight. Spread the word! Join the movement. Please email a picture if you would like it to be included.

The Truth about Goodreads Challenges

dog-734689_1920For a bibliophile, Goodreads is awesome. It is a social media network designed to center on books and reading. Readers make lists and create bookshelves. Readers leave recommendations and reviews and connect with other readers around the world. I joined Goodreads late, 2011, but I’ve used it faithfully since then. My current status is 545 books read. Each year I have read more books, except for 2014 when I only read one. (I don’t really remember what was up with that year so I can’t even explain it.)

Each year Goodreads creates a yearly challenge asking their users to battle with their friends and themselves to see how many books they can read in a year.  As of today’s date (see the date of post) there are 2,681,633 participants who pledged to read 127,300,031 books, an average of 47 books. So far challengers have read 28,311,591 books, a little less than a quarter of the books. But hey, there are 96 days left. I’m sure we can stop everything that is going on in the world and observe SSR (silent sustained reading).

Most of the challenges I set for myself stress me out to the point where I become obsessed. I put my Fitbit away for a little bit because if I did not reach my daily steps goal, I got cranky. I don’t participate in any more biggest loser competitions because I hate the weekly weigh-ins. I even find that keeping track of every single crumb I eat, stresses me out. My Goodreads challenge doesn’t stress me out at all, though.

I rarely check to see how my friends are doing and I have never said, “Oh I’m beating Anastasia ( a name created out of the gray matter in my head)”.  I did joke about last year I wasn’t going to make it, but it was a joke. A few of my friends suggested I read kid’s books to help with that. Ummmm… NO. That’s not the point. I wouldn’t normally read kid’s books and I don’t see that as a challenge.

I was surprised when I found some people blogged about how stressful the challenges are and they have stopped them all together. I have to admit, I understand that, though. I think some people see the yearly reading challenge the way some people see Pinterest. Very few of my Pinterest projects turn out just like the pin. I used to freak out about making everything in my life Pinterest perfect. My family almost had an intervention when I tried to draw botanically correct flowers on the toilet paper with sensitive-area-safe paint.

Recreational reading must be fun. I went for ten years while in college through various degrees without opening many books for pleasure. Now reading relaxes me. It transports port me to other world and allows me to walk in other people’s shoes. I always have a book or my Kindle with me. I spend a lot of time waiting on my kids at practices, activities, and appointments. I don’t watch much tv. My husband is an early morning person and goes to be early. I am not. So I read a little bit most nights as a way to wind down and relax. So with all of that, I read a lot.

Right now I choose to not read heavy books that challenge me. I want to be entertained. I don’t want to savor each word right now. I want adventure, excitement, and romance. In my research, I came across a few people who struggled with not meeting their goal because they could not savor the book, read longer books, or listen to audio books. BFD! Some of the bloggers complained that they did not choose books of their “to-read” shelf because it would take too long. The point of these challenges is to push us to read more. Don’t take it seriously. Use it to motivate yourself and have fun.

In case you noticed my Goodreads widget on the side, I posted that more to encourage people to follow me, which you can do here, and also to promote the authors of the books I’m reading. If you want to see the artsy stuff I like on Pinterest you can find me here and my more professional pins are here.


 

Brenda H. reads… #carolinareads

Tina D. reads… #carolinareads

tina-wino

What’s the first book you remember reading?
I think it was a Dick & Jane book from the 1970s!What’s the most recent book you have read or what are you reading right now?
Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

Why did you choose that book?
I’ve read 2 of her previous books & enjoyed them, so thought this will be a good read.

If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be and why?
Judy Blume. I loved her books as a child/teenager and have also liked some of her more recent ones. Would be thrilled to “pick her brain” about life!

You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they?
Night, The Help, To Kill a Mockingbird, Wonder, and The Art of Racing in the Rain

I’m a former stay at home mom who has ventured out into the working world over the past year and a half. I truly have loved to read my entire life! I am the leader for my neighborhood book club (although we should call it “Book & Wine Club”).

Join the movement!
I want to promote reading. I know there are so many out there who have read a book and thought, this is something others need to know about. Reading encourages a lifelong passion for learning. #carolinareads is a movement that will give readers a chance to share what they are reading. There is a five question interview. I will share it on my website and give you a chance to not only promote your love of reading but also to promote yourself as you can include a website in your two sentence biography. Don’t live in the Carolinas? Well, do you know someone who does (hint: the person who created this form) you can still participate. Submit the form and I’ll let you know the date of your spotlight. Spread the word! Join the movement. Please email a picture if you would like it to be included.

Cameron M. reads… #carolinareads

meWhat’s the first book you remember reading?
The Bug Book by Edward GoreyWhat’s the most recent book you have read or what are you reading right now?
A Secret History of Time to Come by Robie Macauley

Why did you choose that book?
I want to write a sequel to it.

If you could meet one book character or one author, who would you like it to be and why?
Edgar Allan Poe, to find out how he died

You can only choose five books for your bookshelf. What are they?
An Ice Cream War, Water Music, Picture Palace, Little Big Man, The Shipping News

I’m a university professor, started writing in 2005, have self-published four novels and have three more in progress. My work is inspired by my father, with whom I co-authored my first novel in 2014: Citadel of Ice

Join the movement!
I want to promote reading. I know there are so many out there who have read a book and thought, this is something others need to know about. Reading encourages a lifelong passion for learning. #carolinareads is a movement that will give readers a chance to share what they are reading. There is a five question interview. I will share it on my website and give you a chance to not only promote your love of reading but also to promote yourself as you can include a website in your two sentence biography. Don’t live in the Carolinas? Well, do you know someone who does (hint: the person who created this form) you can still participate. Submit the form and I’ll let you know the date of your spotlight. Spread the word! Join the movement. Please email a picture if you would like it to be included.