Tag Archives: Reading

Why ban books when we can just get kids to hate reading?

Please note that I wrote this a couple of years ago. While I still feel like common core standards are creating these issues, I am in a more moderate place than when this post was first written. Of course, I have left the public school system behind for now and currently teach in a charter school. There is still some definite fuel for thought here so I decided to share this post even though I have mellowed a bit in the interim.

man-hands-men-book.jpgI don’t know how many of you know much about common core standards and the dangerous implications for the future of education that they hold, but if you haven’t done any research into this topic, I would recommend looking through the common core standards for yourself and when you see that teachers are being pushed in the younger grades to use at least 30% informational text, 50% informational text in the middle grades and 70% in the upper grades, you will quickly see why this plan is going to lead to a generation of kids that absolutely hate to read.

man-hands-reading-boy.jpgFirst though, what is informational text? Informational text is text that fails to follow a narrative form and provides information. We are talking word mapping, tables on contents, diagrams, indexes, glossaries and other forms of reading designed to give out information in a non-narrative form. The rest of their reading should be in the classic drama, fiction and poetry. Does anyone else see the huge problem here? First of all, whoever designed this decided that no one needed to learn information in a narrative way. That kids should only be able to learn new ideas when they are presented in a non-narrative form. Right now, that means that instead of kids getting new ideas and information from the text and pulling it out of the context, they are being trained to only identify valid information when it comes in a non-narrative form. This means that kids are being trained to treat every ounce of regular reading as FICTION. While teachers don’t see this conclusion yet, they are going to make this unintentional connection for the students who in turn are only going to believe something that is written in a manual. This means that things like biographies, historical narrative documents (like informative essays and persuasive papers), the Constitution and even the Bible will become unimportant to these kids who are being trained that information only comes from these non-narrative sources. They are teaching kids that there is a whole huge section of reading material that isn’t valid at all. In fact, it is so invalid that they will never study it formally in school with these new standards outside of possibly reading a textbook which will contain more and more informational text instead of traditional narrative.

Fiction is also being damaged by common core. Fiction is supposed to be 70% in the younger grades (in reality they are pushing 50%), 50% in the middle grades and only 30% in the upper grades. Then the fictional text that students will be reading will be focused on only teaching age-appropriate classics. I don’t know about most of you, but I learned to love to read through picking up fictional stories that interested me. I eventually graduated to the classics but only once me reading level was high enough to support it, which came earlier than most of my peers, but I still didn’t venture into classic literature until I was ready for the complexity held within it’s pages. However, instead of gradually increasing the reading level, common core puts a focus on almost all classic fiction.

The problem with focusing on only classic literature, especially in the younger grades is two fold. First of all we need to look at vocabulary. Language is ever evolving and changing over time. The  meanings and word usage itself changes over time. I can give you instances where today’s meaning of a word is drastically different and sometimes even opposite than the original meaning. The word choice will have very little meaning and connection for students who are young readers and if they don’t understand the vocabulary or struggle with it, there is no way they are going to have any comprehension of what they have read, if they can even figure out what the words are. The second issue is context. I live and teach in a pexels-photo-261895.jpeglarge city. Living on a farm during the early days of our country has very little context for me, let alone the students that I teach. When the students have no connection to the people they are reading about and have no understanding of what they are doing, there is no way they are going to understand the text they are being asked to read. Let’s not even start on other cultures and our students lack of awareness about them. We are creating confusion and complication for our kids far beyond what is going to be a challenge and move straight to the place where they become frustrated and give up.  However, having seen the text selections in person, the vocabulary is completely inappropriate for the age level of the intended audience, using archaic terms and ideas far outside what most American children are familiar with, with no explanation or clarification. When the reading they are assigned is cumbersome, what is a kid going to do? Simple. They aren’t going to enjoy reading fiction. They will associate reading fiction with a laborious process full of confusion and things they cannot relate to because they are completely beyond their knowledge base. Let me say that again – due to common core and the complex nature of the completely age inappropriate texts, kids are going to hate reading fiction.

So, now that reading for knowledge is going to be discounted or completely simplified and reading fiction is going to be too difficult for 98% of the children at the grade level that it is intended for, we are creating a generation of kids with the new common core who are going to hate reading. They aren’t going to view it as something fun to do when they have spare time. They aren’t going to understand that it is a great place to escape. They aren’t going to value it as a place to learn from. They will have virtually no reading comprehension skills because they won’t enjoy reading and kids who don’t enjoy reading, aren’t good readers.

So unintentionally or even perhaps intentionally, common core is going to create a group of kids who will grow into adult who not only don’t like to read but due to the lack of practice due to their intense dislike of reading, will be poor readers. The implications for the future are sad. We are going to have a generation of workers who cannot grasp complex ideas from text. We are going to have a generation of people who will only be fit for blue collar work. The few who go to expensive private schools will be groomed to be more than this but we are intentionally dumbing down the next generation of workers by creating a generation of non-readers.

That is just the reading standards by the way – don’t get me started on the new way to do math.

What can you do to stop common core?

1.Do your research – find out more about common core and why it is such a bad idea

2. Research groups in your state that are fighting common core and see what you can do to help

3. Contact your state legislature to get common core removed from your state – flood their email and mail boxes with letters about how you do not want common core for your state

4. Contact your state department of education and let them know that you do not want to see common core in your state and request a return to your state’s standards

5. Contact your federal representatives(house and senate) and tell them that you want the federal government out of state education. That they shouldn’t be allowed to control state’s interests by dangling federal dollars over their heads.

Don’t take just my word for it – here are a couple of videos that explain further why common core should be removed.



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The Lupus Encyclopedia by Donald E. Thomas, M.D.

Lupus Book Review

The Lupus Encyclopedia

The Lupus Encyclopedia

The Lupus Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Families (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book) by Donald E. Thomas, Jr., M.D., FACP, FACR, was recently released.  Within the astounding 43 chapters is an in-depth and exhaustive discussion of the many facets of lupus.  This book is for lupus patients, but is not a quick read, but between two covers holds a broad library of balanced lupus topics that are worthy of investing some time and study.

There is so much in this book, but where should you start?  Begin in the Preface, where Dr. Thomas sets forth seven specific steps a lupus patient may use right away to get the greatest benefits from his book:

  1. Go to the 3 page Lupus Secrets Checklist in Chapter 44
  2. Read the listed specific chapters Dr. Thomas recommends reading next
  3. Get a copy of your medical records, notes, labs, x-rays, etc.
  4. Skim interesting chapters to find and go back to spend more time on ones that apply most to you
  5. Consult the Patient Resources at the end of the book
  6. Visit Dr. Thomas’ Facebook page and follow him on Twitter for current lupus news
  7. Consider sending an email to Dr. Thomas with suggestions for future editions

After ferreting out reliable lupus information for more than twenty years since my diagnosis in the early 1990s, it really seemed there were few sources of fresh information about Lupus, without going to books and references written for the medical community.  This book provides an understandable reference resource appropriate for patients. Happily, there is great depth and much to learn from reading and referring to this important book!


Check out this new Lupus book!

Dr. Thomas clearly demonstrates his broad understanding of Lupus, and this book should stand the test of time as one of the great books about this complex auto-immune disease.  The first printing of this exhaustive patient reference initially sold out in both hard and soft cover edition at a reduced price through Amazon.com but a few more copies are now available, and more are on the way.  It is also sold at BarnesandNoble.com in both cover styles and as a Nook e-book at the lowest price I have seen online so far.  If other sources are out of stock and you don’t mind paying full list price, purchase it direct from the publisher’s website at John Hopkin’s University Press.

I heartily recommend The Lupus Encyclopedia, and urge you to check it out, too.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Book Review: The Weird Sisters

Book: The Weird Sisters

Author: Eleanor Brown

Recommend: This is a very different and original tale. One that is outside what I normally read but I loved it!

There are different kinds of reads. Some books race through forcing page turn after page turn, making it impossible to put down until you make that final flip. They make the reader frantic, cause hearts to race and can leave you breathless. There are books that tear the reader’s heart out a little more with ever page turn and bring them back up with only a few words. Then there are books that really make you think. One where you put it down every few pages and contemplate what the author is saying. This book is one of the last kind. It took my twice as long as it should have to get through this one because it kept me thinking the whole way through.

This story tells the tale of three sisters who have grown up in a small college town with their professor father and stay at home mom. The girls had all come home after some kind of failure or another to a mother sick with cancer and a father trying to cope with his wife’s illness. Each of the girls dealing with the mess that their lives have become. One pregnant without having any kind of plan. Another freshly fired for stealing from her job. The third about to tear apart her relationship out of fear.

This book really dived into common aspects of what the girls were going through that could be understood and related to by any reader. While I don’t have a parent with cancer, I do have one with a severe illness that can cause her issues. I am the oldest child like the main character. We have all done things we regret and continued to do others in order to not deal with the guilt like Bean. We have all felt completely unprepared for adulthood like Cordy. Add in a family that reads like mad and you have something that almost any reader can connect with and learn from.

The only slight negative I might be able to come up with is that the narrator can be a bit hard to pinpoint, however it is very effective for the story being told. If you aren’t ready for a bit of confusion on this it might through you a little bit. Definitely worth the slight aggravation though.

This book is one that deserves a lot more attention than it has received.

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

Need more than one copy!!

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Book Review: Dreams and Shadows

Book: Dreams and Shadows

Author: C. Robert Cargill

Recommend: This is definitely not something for everyone.

Okay, I picked this one up simply because it seemed different from most of what I’ve been reading lately. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was the first reader of the book. How could I tell? The scraps of paper from the pages being cut fell out as I read. While I like old books, there is something cool about begin the first person to dive into the pages of a brand new book as well, especially when it is a library book that will end up in the hands of many others. I enjoy books set in hidden worlds that run parallel to our own and this one is definitely that. However, if you are not a  fan of fairy stories (and I’m not talking the sanitized Disney ones like Tinkerbell), this one is definitely not for you. It is dark and a bit bleak.

The story centers around two boys whose lives have been irrevocably altered by their introduction to this world. Ewan is taken as a baby and is replaced by a changeling. Colby meets a djinn and requests to see all the hidden things in the world including becoming a magician. When Colby saves Ewan from becoming a blood sacrifice, the two boys’ lives are chained together in a series of events that will leave them both changed.

I really enjoyed how flat-out spooky this one was. This is not a happy fairy tale by any means. It actually reminded me a lot of reading The Child Thief by Brom. This one is not for the squeamish or faint of heart though. It is gory and violent. Not children’s fare by any means.

While I really enjoyed this one, I wouldn’t want a steady diet of this kind of book. Read at your risk.

Final Rating:

Get it used...

Get it used…

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Book Review: Harmony

Book: Harmony

Author: Keith Brooke

Recommend: Definitely not worth the time or effort to get through this one.

This book had a lot of potential. An interesting idea of a world where aliens ruled and we were at their mercy. The thing that doomed this book honestly was the fact that the author simply didn’t construct his world well. With a little bit more effort and clarity this book could have been so much better than it was. Basically this author needed to read Card’s book about writing science fiction and fantasy. He had no clue how to create a world or add the right amount of details so that the reader could see it in their heads. Some things were very well defined but others were so vague that you couldn’t really get a good sense of what was going on. The storyline is good but the world underneath it isn’t established well enough for the reader to really get into it.

I would skip this one because it will only create frustration and aggravation for you.

Final Rating:



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Book Review: Invincible

Book: Invincible

Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Recommend: It’s a fun read if you are into paranormal fiction.

Hurray for a sequel that doesn’t stink! I like how this author keeps the story moving through the whole length of the book and unlike her adult material the action doesn’t seem to wane after a while only to build to the climax. She had created a great balance of interest and plot development in just the right proportions to keep the reader interested and informed. Nick is finding out more about his world and begins to figure out who Ambrose is in this one. Also there is a crazy undead football coach trying to kill him in a way that is quickly becoming far too familiar for this character.

The only issue I have with this one is that he is supposed to be working for Kyrian but I think he’s showed up at work a grand total of two times in the two books I’ve read. I get why he hasn’t been there but it would be good to see him actually do the job that he is getting paid an obscene amount of money for. Other than that this is a fun read. I’m actually rather disappointed that I didn’t get book four yet. I see a library trip in my near future (like immediately after I finish the third one).

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Book Review: Code

Book: Code

Author: Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs

Recommend: It was a fun read, if not a bit reminiscent of a Bones plot twist.

In the latest installation of the Virals series, we have our first signs of romance overshadowed by a deadly game that no one wants to play.

This book honestly reminded me of the Gravedigger arc on Bones combines with the arc where Brennan’s grad student, Zach helps a cannibalistic serial killer. Toss in a dash of the Saw series and you basically have the plot for this book. While I think the story is a great read, I am starting to see less and less originality from this author and her son, who joined her for the third book in this series.

While I really enjoyed the frantic pace and the way these character are written, I don’t see myself rereading these anytime soon.

Final Rating:

Get it used...

Get it used…

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Book Review: Virals

Book: Virals

Author: Kathy Reichs

Recommend: Definitely! Worth a read.

I must admit that I have never read a sing book by this author before but I am a big fan of other characters she has created, namely those for her adult books about Temperance Brennan which was the inspiration for one of my favorite TV shows, Bones. While the Bones books are on my eventual reading list, I was able to get a hold of all three books that are in the YA series thus far and couldn’t help but dive in. I was fairly certain before I cracked the cover that I would enjoy these books.

The plot is refreshingly original, the main character is a lot of fun, if not a bit too much like her Aunt Temperance. This one had a bit more meat to the plot line than many YA books and for once, romance isn’t the main character’s major motivation. For some reason most YA authors feel the need to shove romance down their reader’s throats but this author refreshingly leaves it alone.

The story made a lot of sense and somehow, even though it dealt with superhuman capabilities, it remained within the realm of believability. I can’t wait to see where the author takes it next!

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday on Sunday: Top Ten books I’ve read in 2013 so far

Top Ten TuesdaysThis is crazy late. I know. I was very busy helping a friend out by babysitting her little one. I actually went most of a week without reading a single book! I did very little homework. So needless to say, this week’s posts got a bit delayed. I guess better late than never though! Here is the list of the best things I’ve read this year  so far.

1. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson – This is one of the best YA series I’ve ever read. it is unique, doesn’t try too hard and has compelling characters that have enough flaws to seem read. If you haven’t picked this series up yet, check it out!

2.Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – If you are a gamer or really enjoy pop culture of the 80s and 90s, this book is a great read. I loved the way the book dealt with the real world versus the game world.

3. Shade’s Children by Garth Nix – This was one of the darkest and most gory YA books I have ever read but the storyline really made it completely necessary to the storyline. It is one of those stories that sticks with the reader long after the book is finished.

4. Agenda 21 by Glen Beck – WOW. This book is a chilling reminder of how bad big government and its control can get.

5. Redshirts by John Scalzi – This was a great read. If you are a fan of good (or bad) science fiction, this book is a hilarious read. This star trek spoof deals with the likelihood of those wearing redshirts to die more often, especially when they have only been around for a few episodes.

6. The Road by Cormac McCarthy – Okay, this is the novel that all other post-apologetically novels should be measured by. The depth and range of emotions expressed in this book is phenomenal, let alone for a book where the world is ending. Good luck finding a copy that isn’t expensive but worth every penny. I got my copy from the library but it will be joining my collection.

7. Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch – This is a unique YA story in a sea of three basic plot lines (vampires, werewolves, dystopian societies) where half of the world is governed by the laws of physics and they think that the world beyond the barrier is a nuclear wasteland. When they find out that is not the case, nothing will be the same again.

8. Rise by Anna Carey – The conclusion to the Eve trilogy which was such a fun read. I was sad to see this one end. This trilogy is worth the read.

9. Crewel by Gennifer Albin – This is one of the more unique stories I’ve read. The idea of world manipulation as working with cloth was interesting.

10. God Save the Queen by Katie Locke – This book was just a really fun read. It’s a bit steampunk, a bit urban fantasy and lots of British. It’s a fun romp and worth a read if you aren’t squeamish.

What are your favorite reads this year so far?

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Top Ten Tuesday (on Thursday): Freebie – Popular books I can’t stand.

Top Ten Tuesdays

Full disclosure, I haven’t been on my blog in a while. I set up a bunch of posts a few weeks ago because I knew I wouldn’t have time. I logged back in today after the end of a crazy school year. Realized that I hadn’t put in a Top Ten Tuesday for this week and it was Thursday. Oops. So here it is. Better late than never??

We’ve all been there. It was supposed to be this fabulous story that people couldn’t get enough of and yet for some reason you didn’t connect with it. Everyone looks at you like you have a second head when you admit to the fact that you simply can’t stand the book or the author. Yep, here’s my list of books I’ve been looked at like a crazy person for not liking.

1. Feed by M.T. Anderson – I’ve heard nothing but glowing admiration for this book. I wasn’t even able to get halfway through before I threw it back into my library bag in disgust. The book is not a stretch of imaginative writing, in my humble opinion it is simply bad writing. I couldn’t get into the story because the writing was just horrible. To all those YA fans out there who recommended it to me over and over again, sorry but I simply don’t get it.

2. Watership Down by Richard Adams – I tried three times to read this one since I’ve heard so many times that it is a must read. I simply couldn’t get through it. I found the writing to be obnoxious and the characters completely dull. I got about a third of the way before I gave up again and for good. I am a huge fan of other animal based books (I love the Redwall series by Brian Jacques) but this one simply couldn’t get or hold my interest for anything.

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Whether it was because it was required reading, the fact that I find the time period completely uninteresting or that the characters annoyed me, I have never felt any kind of love for this book. I know that many people will disagree but I also won’t be spending a ton of money to go see the new movie no matter how much I typically like the other movies the director has done.

4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – Everyone seems to have read this one. I found it trite and predictable. Also completely uninteresting. Yep. I really don’t get all the hype surrounding this one at all.

5. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – I came, I read, I despised. Scarlett drove me completely insane. Even though I read the whole thing I never could get to the point where I could even remotely stand her as a character. Sorry to all those fans of the epic story but you can have it.

6. Three Cups of Tea by David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson – Yep. I found the writer annoying and the main character more than a  bit self – important. When it came to light the at least some of the book was fiction, I found myself annoyed but not shocked.

7. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame – Smith – Can we say poor writing? The thing is that I’ve really enjoyed some of this author’s other work, just not this one. It is so forced that it’s completely broken in my opinion. I’ve read others of this type and loved them. This one, I simply couldn’t stand. Try Jane Slayre instead.

8. Wicked by Gregory Macguire – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this man is one of the driest writers I have ever read. Period. Add in really inappropriate content and it’s not worth the read. The musical on the other hand – go see it!

Okay, I’m running out of ideas but can anyone add a nine and ten to this list? What popular books do you despise?



Filed under Book Worm's Obssessive lists, Top Ten Tuesdays

Book Review: Crewel

Book: Crewel

Author: Gennifer Albin

Recommend: Wow… what a great book!

Have you ever had a book captivate you so completely that you lost complete touch with where you are and how long you’ve been sitting still reading? That happened to me at the library today. Normally I can sit for a little bit and go through my selections a bit to make sure I actually want to take everything home that I’ve picked out. Today I got to the second book and the next thing I know, I’ve finished, it’s dark outside and the librarian is barking out that the library will be closing in fifteen minutes looking at me pointedly since I am literally the only one still sitting there, oblivious to things like people wanting to go home. So I took two more minutes, bought the book on nook and stumbled towards the self check out, knocking over some carts on the way. Hurray for being a klutz! Never have I been so glad to get out of the library…

A plot summary is going to be difficult but I’ll give it a try. I highly doubt it will do the book justice because I didn’t want to read it after reading the plot summary the first time either, so keep an open mind about this one. Adelice is almost through her testing when the unthinkable happens. She lets her gift at weaving slip. Instantly she knows what is coming. She is going to be a Spinster and there is nothing she can do to stop it. When her family tries to get her out, it just makes everything more complicated. The only reason she is allowed to live is that her gift is so much more than that of a simple weaver. She is a creweler and she might even be the next world shaper. Unfortunately for them, it is the last thing she ever wants to be.

I loved this book. It was well written, moved quickly but developed the characters nicely and explained the weaving aspect well without getting to technical and boring. The main character actually acts like a teenager some of the time. While there is a love story it is not the main focus of the book and she thinks for herself. The world is creative and the idea of everything being fabric is a refreshing and new idea.

The only issue I had with this book seems to be cropping up more often in teen fiction and that seems to be almost mandatory inclusion of a homosexual character. Please just stop trying to indoctrinate young adults that this is okay by including it in everything they read. Let them form their own opinion instead of being brainwashed by print propaganda about their plight. This type of thing is what causes parents to want to censor their child’s reading material and then they get upset because they really want to read it and it turns into a huge mess when they sneak behind their parents’ back and do it anyway. Or the parents end up having to read everything their teen is going to read with their teen  or pre-teen (cause let me tell you how often I find my 10 year old students carrying around YA books) so they can discuss it with them. I will say that this author doesn’t hit you over the head with it but it is definitely there and prominent enough that I minded as an adult reader. That issue aside though, it was a great book.

I’m going to be watching for book two of this series to make its appearance with bated breath!

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

Need more than one copy!!

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Book Review: Archangel

Book: Archangel

Author: Sharon Shinn

Recommend: Definitely – it’s a great read!

A friend of mine and I were talking books earlier this week, comparing reading lists. We discussed our love for all things Harry Potter and some of our other favorite authors. She mentioned this book and told me that I had to read it. When she told me about the plot, I was honestly a bit nervous simply because I don’t read much where the plot involves angels. I haven’t found anything that I really liked about angels. However, this friend hasn’t ever recommended anything I didn’t enjoy and so I picked it up, hoping that my friend was right and she was. I loved it.

Gabriel is all set to become the next archangel. He first must find his angelica, a moral bride to sing with him at the annual Gloria. He cannot perform it alone. However his bride is nothing like he expects.

The plot was really good. Enough of the familiar to allow the reader to connect with the story, but unique enough to be interesting. The author is really good at creating great mental pictures so it practically leaps from the page.  I would say the biggest fault this book has is the cover which looks extremely dated. I don’t think very many people would pick it up simply because of the drab artwork. This really needs an update. It would get a lot more readership if they simply redesigned it for a reprint. Don’t let the cover keep you from reading this great book! In fact, I bought it for my nook as soon as I finished reading it.

One final note on this book. Some Christians might feel an aversion to reading this one. It isn’t set on earth and is very clearly fantasy. I did not have a problem with it however some might.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂



Filed under Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals for 2013

I decided that one of the ways I was going to add more than just reviews on here was to start doing top ten Tuesdays from Broke and Bookish. I really love the idea and I’ve come across it on so man other blogs. I’m going to attempt to at least do this for a few months…

Top Ten TuesdaysBookish Goals for 2013. I’m not sure I have ten but here goes…

1. Read less YA fiction – I feel like I’ve been reading too much YA lately. While I enjoy it and it’s an easy go to, I need to pick up more serious literature again. Although with my master’s degree program still going, we’ll see if that happens.

2. Read at least 100 books this year – Yes, last year I read over 150 but I was working on a year long contest and I’m finishing my master’s up this year, I just don’t realistically think I’m going to get as much reading done as last year.

3. Be more on time with ARCs – I get free books quite often and lately they have been quickly piling up. I really need to be on top of these more this year.

4. Spend more time writing – some day, a long way down the road I would love to be an author myself. In order to do that, I need to spend more time writing and less time reading.

5. Finish NaNoWriMo in 2013 – I entered for the first time this last year and sadly did not complete the journey. I really want to get through it this year!

6. Allow myself to do more rereading – I love to reread. Pretty much the only reason for this goal since I wasn’t doing any rereading due to the page count contest I was in.

7. Read one new classic or book of the 1001 list a month – I’ve been really wanting to get into that list but just haven’t done enough. I need to spend more time getting to know the essentials beyond my favorites.

8. Stretch my horizons and try a new genre – There are a few genres I completely avoid. I feel like I need to try something new. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? I might even – pick up a mystery willingly 😉 Or maybe not…

9. Work on getting my husband to hate reading less – yep. I married a non-reader. It drives me nuts sometimes. I’m still bound and determined to show him that he is missing out on something HUGE. Any suggestions out there?

10. Thin out my library – As painful as that sounds, I have no more room for books and it must be done. Sad but true. Maybe I just need to buy them all on my nook…

I can’t believe I found ten goals! I’m going to be a busy girl this year…

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Rereading a childhood favorite

https://i1.wp.com/img2.imagesbn.com/images/171900000/171909160.JPGBook: The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry

Recommend: Definitely!

When I was kid, I read this right when it first came out. It was my first true exposure to the idea of dystopia (although the word had yet to be coined). The concept of the book horrified me. The idea o f a society where there was no color, everyone dressed the same and children were bred, not born out of love.The whole thing made me realize that the future maybe wasn’t as bright as I thought it might be. It was the first time I had considered a future where everything had grown worse instead of getting better and more advanced.

To this day, this book still is incredibly striking even though I’ve read countless dystopian novels since, nothing holds a candle to this one in my mind. After reading this again as an adult, I found something even more disturbing. When I was a kid I didn’t really understand the significance of the pills that the adults had to take. I didn’t grasp the concept of love not really being a part of their  world.The first time I read this book, The Giver himself felt like the horrible person. This time, The Giver was someone to be pitied and honestly I couldn’t stand the father and a society that could treat death so flippantly.

Some of the biggest differences between this book and the dystopian novels being written today is the lack of detail. the author doesn’t feel the need to explain everything completely. She doesn’t feel the need to make it probable, just horrifying that somehow it simply is. I can’t imagine an author today trying to come up with even a simply way to explain the lack of memory and color that this society is living without and even though you question it as  reader, it doesn’t trivialize the fact that it is. I think sometimes dystopian novelists spend too much time trying to explain their world and not enough time telling the story.

I love this book just as much as the last time I read it and feel like I have a better understanding of it now.

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

Need more than one copy!!

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Filed under Children's book review, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy

I was going to write something with a patriotic theme today but…

Happy Fourth of July!

Okay, I had been planning to write this list of patriotic books to read but just never got around to it. I was determined when I woke up this morning that I would spend some time getting to done so that my post would go out around noon, which is when my posts usually hit. However, when I woke up this morning, I found a post on my personal Facebook wall from a friend sharing this blog that she was sure I would love. She was right. In fact, at this point I’ve spent two hours looking through this one and decided that I simply couldn’t keep something this good to myself.

reading The Rum Diary

Reading Rabbit Run

Reading The Iliad

The blog is called Underground New York Public Library and it is a photo blog dedicated to picture of people reading while riding the subway or waiting for it in New York City. I think what draws me in the most about this blog is the expressions on the reader’s faces. You can tell just by looking in many cases whether they are enjoying their read or not. I also love seeing the unexpected readers and books. Some of them are funny, some are surprising but they are all intriguing. Like the older gentleman reading teen fiction (Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins). The homeless man reading a kid’s book and was so excited about it that he just had to share. I also found myself trying to figure out where readers were in books I knew well or had recently read, imagining what the expression on their face meant in relation to where they were in the book. It’s the most subtle form of book review I have ever seen but is extremely powerful as well.

You can find the blog at http://undergroundnewyorkpubliclibrary.com/. Definitely worth checking out 🙂

Maybe next year I’ll get to that list of patriotic books, but for this year, hope you enjoy seeing people reading in one of the most iconic places in the country.

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Help! I’m in a reading slump!!

Reading away..

I just finished a huge, difficult read. I picked up another book and out of sheer relief was able to breeze through it. Then, I went to pick up another book and couldn’t get motivated, even though I’ve been wanting to read it for quite some time. I finally plopped myself down on the couch and got going. While the book was good, I just couldn’t seem to get into it. The next day, I tried again and kept getting distracted, people talking to me, my mom locking her keys in the car and needing me to rescue her, the allure of shopping and then a stop at the library. While at the library, I couldn’t seem to get motivated to pick out books! Unheard of! Then I knew, I had hit a serious reading slump.

How I felt with my latest reads..

I am lucky. These very rarely happen to me and when they do, they are usually easy to solve. I was curious if others had the same problem I did and did a bit of research. While most of these things weren’t new ideas, or are things that I typically do when I hit a slump, I figured that it would be a good idea to put together a list of things to try when you’ve hit a reading slump for others out there!

  1. New Book – If you don’t like the book you are reading, unless it is required reading, put that sucker down and pick up something else. Don’t push yourself through something you aren’t enjoying. The whole point of reading recreationally is to have fun after all. If you have to read it, reward yourself with a book you love at the same time.
  2. Reread a favorite book – Pick up something from your shelves that is guaranteed to get you lost between its pages and start reading. Getting into a familiar world where you know you are going to have fun gets your mind in the right place to enjoy reading again.
  3. Doctor Who books are on my list for my next reading slump.. or this one if it keeps up.

    Read some fan-fiction – The whole point of fan-fiction is to entertain readers who didn’t quite like how something went in their favorite stories. These are usually shorter and all plot based. It is also a lot easier to abandon a story you don’t like. A good place to start is fanfiction.net where you can find stuff based on almost anything.

  4. Watch TV – Yes you read that right. Watch some TV. Let your brain veg and get your stories another way. Typically when I’m in a reading slump my go to shows are Doctor Who or The X-Files. Pick one of your favorite shows and just relax. Another idea is to pick a show that there are books for and then pick up the books from that show to get you back in the habit.
  5. Write something – This one may not be for everyone, but typically when I can’t stand reading, spending some serious time writing will solve the problem.  I upload my brain with tons of stories when I read and then my head needs to download the ideas it absorbs. I can’t tell you how many times I have to put down the book I’m reading because I just had a fabulous idea come to mind (typically that has NOTHING to do with what I’m reading).
  6. Set a time/page limit – If you need to keep reading because let’s say, you write a book blog and need to have something for your readers to read about or you have to get it done for school, set yourself a limit of how much you have to get done that day. Don’t feel like you have to push through until you finish. Give yourself a good manageable goal. If you go beyond it – great!
  7. Reading buddies

    Find a Reading Buddy (who reads at the same pace as you) – Find someone who likes to read the same things you do and read the same book together. They will help keep you motivated. I would NOT suggest doing this with someone who reads much faster or much slower than you do or you will feel frustrated.

  8. Audiobooks – Listen to a book you have been dying to read. For those of you who typically enjoy audiobooks, this a great way to make reading fresh. If you don’t enjoy audiobooks, it can be motivating in a different way. This one can work for me. I get listening to a book and then get frustrated with how slow the reader is or their voice and simply have to pick it up and actually read it.
  9. Organize your books– This one may sound a bit odd, but if you can’t seem to read your books, putting them in order is a great way to end up with a book in your hands that you simply have to get to. Just don’t leave the job half done and let your significant other find you with your books all over the chairs and you sitting on the floor reading away. It will not be a good experience. Trust me on this one.

    My stacks look even bigger… scary I know

  10. Read a new genre – Sometimes picking  up a book in an area you don’t typically read is a great idea. Reading slumps are usually when I read non-fiction or mystery novels. They are a nice break from my normal choices and make me want to get back into what I enjoy reading more. My thought process tends to be, that was good but something sci-fi or fantasy would be even better!
  11. Read something short – When you are in a reading slump is not the time to pick up something over 400 pages. You’ll get frustrated and bored quickly. Books chosen during a slump should be short to create a sense of accomplishment.
  12. Read something you know you’ll love – Make your next book be something you know you’ll enjoy. When I don’t want to read, one trick is to put off anything else on my list and pick up some science fiction or fantasy by an author I love.
  13. Read Short Stories – Short stories can be extremely satisfying during a reading slump. They are typically extremely well written and are over quickly, giving that same sense of satisfaction as finishing a book brings without having to finish the book. Charles de Lint or Orson Scott Card are great for this.

This picture has no purpose except it was cute and I had to share it. Yep. I’m a cat person 😉

Hopefully this gives you some ideas of what you can do to get out of a reading slump and get back to doing something you love.

Anything you do that I didn’t come  up with? Please share it below!

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Filed under Book Worm Rant, Book Worm's Obssessive lists

Book Review: The Map of Time

Book: The Map of Time

Author: Felix J. Palma

Recommend: Definitely worth the read!

I originally saw this book sitting on the shelves at my local Barnes and Noble. I really wanted to pick it up and read it but there was something else I needed to read and so I decided against it. I subsequently forgot about it until I saw it on the shelves at the library a couple of weeks ago. Immediately I recalled my desire to read it and hastily shoved it in my overflowing book bag. I cannot go to the library, it seems, without filling my bag to the brim and beyond.

This book was not what I was expecting. The jacket gives a hint of the plot at the end of the book, but is rather misleading. I’m not sure the jacket writer actually read the book. The Map of Time begins with a wealthy young man falling in love with one of Jack the Ripper‘s victims and his attempt at suicide. His well-meaning cousin enlists the help of H.G. Wells and they fake an episode of time travel to ‘save’ her, even though he cannot be with her.

H.G. Wells, 1910

H.G. Wells, 1910 (Photo credit: LSE Library)

The basic idea of the book is how one writer’s flight of fancy can have an effect on the real world in simple yet profound ways. I found the book very interesting and was able to make it through rather quickly, even though I am currently fighting off a reading slump. Particularly, the very obvious narrator was written in a refreshing, humorous way that made me laugh out loud a few times.

The only negative I can find with the book were some moments that could have been left to the reader’s imagination that were for some reason described in detail. For me, this is a personal pet peeve since I end up skipping over such material, even though I don’t like missing part of book.

This one is definitely worth picking up, especially if you are a fan of H.G. Wells, time travel or speculative fiction in general. I personally enjoyed it more than the work of Mr. Wells itself. I am very eager to read his next book, which should be out in the near future.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Filed under 2012, historical fiction, mature themes and subject matter, Review, romance, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, Summer book challenge