Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

There have been a slew of articles lately about how to read, and what to read, and whether or not it’s wrong to read certain kinds of things. Which all seems sort of silly to me, as these articles seem to miss a very basic point: PEOPLE ARE READING. That’s a very very good thing.

And really, whose business is it to criticize what others read? Sure, *I* might not choose to read a certain book or a certain author or a certain subject, but those are my own personal choices for me. And they should not be applied to anyone else. They can even change when applied to me! So it’s beyond the height of arrogance to assume that you or I know what anyone else should be, ought to be reading.

If someone asks for an opinion or a suggestion, that’s a little bit different. It’s still not in any way a decree, and should never be taken as such.

So get off your collective high horse, article writers! And everybody else, keep on reading what you love!

love to read

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Looks Matter

When Bad Covers Happen to Good Books

We all judge books by their covers, to be sure, even though we know we’re not supposed to and even though an entire industry is built around just that.

I do own some books whose covers I dislike, but that doesn’t make me incapable of reading them. I just sigh when I pick see them off the shelf, wish I had a different edition, and then get lost in the book I love.

Oh, how I wish I had the hardcover, rather than the paperback.

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A Book A Day

A Quest to Read a Book a Day for 365 Days

This is much more ambitious than I could ever be! I’ll read more than 100 books for sure this year, and will almost certainly “beat” last year’s total of 106. But I’d rather read a lot because I enjoy it, not because I’m trying to accomplish some goal. More power to those that do, however! It’s just not for me.

Nina Sankovitch’s website, blog, and twitter

(This has nothing to do with Nina’s list, except in spirit.)

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Thanks to a really nasty summer cold, my brain is still mush and not quite up to working on the review posts I have brewing.

So instead I will link to this very interesting article in the NYTimes:
A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like

And then talk about it:

I think this is a fantastic program, and only wish that I could have had the opportunity to experience a program like this in school. Right up front: I love to read, I come from a family of readers, and I was always in the “smart kid” classes. That being said, I really despised most of the assigned reading I had to do in school, and think it was an utter waste of everyone’s time. Grapes of Wrath? Hated it, and have no desire to read anything else by Steinbeck. Red Badge of Courage? Didn’t like it, and thought it was boring. Billy Budd? REALLY hated it, and would rather scrub bathrooms (a chore I despise) than read Moby Dick. And so on and so forth. In fact, the only required reading I liked was the Shakespeare, but I already liked Shakespeare before I had to start reading it for school, and Their Eyes Were Watching God. That’s it, out of 12 years of school. (I’m skipping college and grad school in this argument, because those are a bit different, but honestly, I hated almost all of the assigned readings there as well.)

Being forced to read a difficult book that may or may not Teach an Important Life Lesson is going to do nothing to make a reluctant reader more receptive to reading–it will only reinforce their opinion that reading is too hard, and that books not worth the time and effort it takes to get through them.

I do think there should be guidance by a teacher, and I do think that there should be expectations that the books become more engaging (or difficult, or challenging, or sophisticated, or however you want to phrase it) as the school year progresses. I do think there should still be (excerpts of) books that all the students read, but that those should not be the bulk of the course readings.

Meg Cabot hits it on the nose:
How to Foster a Hatred For Reading

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I am intrigued by this contest thingy which will run late fall-winter. It looks like fun, and an excellent excuse reason to visit local bookstores! (Here is the main site.)

Found via Magers & Quinn

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A Trend With Teeth

This is not news, really. Vampire books for kids and adults have always been hot; they’re just going through an extreme cycle right now.

My dabbling in vampiric books includes:

    • In Germany in the 1980s I read the extremely popular series Der kleine Vampir by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg (which was turned into a dreadful English-language movie called “The Little Vampire” but had absolutely no relation to the books)


  • Reading Dracula in 9th grade, because I had seen it on stage the previous spring; to this day when I read the final scenes, I am transported to the cafeteria in Manhattan Kansas where I first read them



  • Devouring Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles in Belgium, but being disappointed by Memnoch the Devil when I read it in college, and therefore giving up on the series (and really, some of the later ones are quite bad)



  • Flirting with the Anita Blake series and the Sookie Stackhouse series, but never really getting into either



  • Loving absolutely every second of Sunshine because it’s by Robin McKinley



  • Reading The Historian and thoroughly enjoying it, although I need to reread Dracula now



  • Adoring Peeps (except for the gross bits) and having a great time during The Last Days (but I don’t want to start a band)



  • And then there is the Twilight Saga. Oh, the Twilight Saga–what can I say that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before?


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from here

Between this and the Moby Dick segment on my old “10 Classics in 10 Minutes” tape featuring John Moschitta, I’m set.

Which is great, because after having slogged my way through Billy Budd and absolutely loathing every second of it, I never ever want to read another word Herman Melville wrote.

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Twice within the past week, I’ve helped kids who have been looking for a book that fit certain criteria, but who did not have a particular author/title in mind.

Friday was the girl who needed a “realistic” fiction book that had to be “modern” and not about a “historical” period. Sensing there was a little wiggle room here, I suggested several titles published since 2000, but then did a hard sell for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I love that book so much! When Mr Lush and I were in New York several years ago for a wedding, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I was *horrified* that you had to pay to get in! What would Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler say???

Today was the boy who liked fantasy, and rattled off a long list of what he had read and liked, and then a shorter list of what he did not like. I very selfishly suggested some of my personal favorites, including, but not limited to, Sabriel and its sequels, The Keys to the Kingdom series, Uglies and its sequels, Peeps, Inkheart and its sequels, The Hunger Games, The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, and The Golden Compass and its sequels. He chose Inkheart, but asked me to write down all the other suggestions so he could read them later.

Some days, I really love my job!

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An open letter to…people


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Most Interesting Bookstores of the World

I’ve only been to Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, but it’s amazing. In fact, the shelves behind the bed is where I found the book I mentioned in question 10 of the book meme. (For those keeping score at home, it was Warlock at the Wheel, which has been out of print for years and years.)

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