Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “Book Booster”

Reader Round Up: June


Sometimes a novel stands out from the others. It shines out its brilliance so noticeably that it deserves an entire post. Leif Enger’s Virgil Wander is such a read.

Five Star–most def

Halfway through the book Virgil , out titular hero, and Rune, think Gandalf with kites, are drinking a Nordic spirit, apparently possessing the kick similar to sake, and Rune makes the philosophic observance “…that just because a thing was poetry didn’t mean it never happened in the actual world, or that it couldn’t happen still.”

This is what is so noteworthy about Virgil Wander as a novel. It is not exactly real-world in scope, neither is it magical realism, but neither is it so unbelievable as to be dismissable. The naysayer critics argued that Enger’s engaging tale is stretching unbelief a bit too much. Like Rune noted, just because it didn’t happen, doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.

It seems storytellers, the ones like Garrison Keillor who come from Minnesota are the ones who take the ordinary and lean it somewhat so that you have to tip your head to get it all in focus. Or at least I do. I took it with a grain of salt when Keillor spun his hometown stories of seemingly average citizens and transformed their lives and situations into above average. Enger does the same with his own Minnesota tale. He takes a small town on the banks of the Lake Superior and tips its inhabitants a bit sideways and creates intriguing situations out of the mundane. For instance, a sturdy sturgeon that is repudiated to be the cause of death for one fisherman takes on menacing qualities akin to Moby Dick. That homey festival that every small town hosts, the one with corn dogs, a parade, face painting, and a band? Enger turns into an event celebrating the hard luck days of the town, complete with children dressing up as frogs to replicate the day it indeed rained frogs upon the fair town. There may or may not be a bomb threat involved. There is even a raven who becomes mildly domesticated of his own volition.

If the novel sounds odd in highlighting aspects that caught my eye. Well, it is odd. Odd wonderful. Oddly captivating. Odd how I couldn’t stop reading it, being irritated when I had to stop periodically to eat or sleep.

I vastly relished Enger’s debut novel Peace Like a River, and so did the nation. It only took eighteen or so years for his third novel to appear (haven’t caught up to his second one yet), but it sure was worth the wait.

Looking for amusing, Keillor-style storytelling, winsome characters, unforgettable setting, and a couple of mysteries to sweeten the plot? Then I hope you locate a copy of Virgil Wander.

Let me know if you found a copy or if you have read it. Let’s dialog this five star find.

Reader Round Up: May


May was a month of escapism as different stresses cropped up and reading is my escape goto having learned that finding frozen yogurt in the local groceries is frustrating and futile.

An eclectic batch indeed:

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell⭐️⭐️⭐️

Malcolm Gladwell has proven his ability to combine an intriguing premise with research data, anecdotal examples, and an engaging style of bringing it all together. This method worked well for Blink, The Tipping Point, and Outliers. Not so much for David and Goliath.

One problem is how the premise is not fully defined, or tends to flex and morph into something a bit different as the book progresses.

True to Form by Elizabeth Berg

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

True to Form continues the story of Katie Nash, a 13 year old girl who has both little and everything going on in her life. With only one friend and a summer filled with jobs arranged by her emotionally distant father, Katie is fairly sure her summer of 1961 is going to be dreary.

While Katie’s summer is far different than she anticipated, she discovers new friendships, experiences new opportunities, and finds out making choices can be very serious—and can drastically change a person’s life.

Engaging and charismatic, Katie’s voice borders on being a bit too precocious for a young teen girl, yet there is much truth to Katie’s observations. This can be read as a stand alone.

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

A small town in Maine is the setting for a novel that interconnects various stories of coping with loss. Switching from WWII and its aftermath, to present day, the author explores how people cope with losing someone they love, exploring emotions from guilt and sorrow to regret and restored faith, Dyke weaves in humor and poignant human drama to create an engaging inspirational romance with historical insight.

Jackaroo by Cynthia Voigt

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

One aspect of rereading books from long ago is rediscovering and reconnecting with the story. I only vaguely remembered the incident of finding Jackaroo’s costume, all else was like reading a new novel.

And what a wonderful story! Adventure, Middle Ages setting with villages, earls, and plenty of Robin Hood trope. Voigt crafts her story with full characters and descriptive imagery that rounds out a story not easily put down once started.

There are enough twists in the plot to prevent the usual stale tale script from forming, and the ending is definitely satisfying.

It will be a happy mission hunting down the other books in the series.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Exupery

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The Little Prince is of those mesmerizing books containing a deep message as it twinkles and beguiles readers with its captivating prose and quaint renderings. For children it’s the magical tale of a prince who rules a planet and journeys to other worlds. For adults it’s an allegory of despondency–how life is not always as it seems to be, for we get caught up in our world of being grown up for having peeked behind the curtain, we sadly realize the truth behind the magic.

June and summer vaycay is welcome anticipation. What titles are you looking to read? I wouldn’t mind plumping up my “want-to-read” list now that it’s under a 100.

Reader Review: Such Good Reads


Blank yyib header maxres

The Goodreads elves sent out their annual Year in Books report earlier than expected this year. Although I surpassed my reading goal of 101 books, I’m still reading! I hope to reach 135, and I just might.

Because I know you are interested, here are the highlights:

The Golden Mean by Nick Bantock Shortest book–46 pages/4 stars

Part of a series I discovered at the library. Very creative format.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Longest book–655 pages/3 stars

I read most of Brian Selznick’s books, having

enjoyed The Invention of Hugo Cabret. This title, although an interesting, wasn’t quite as compelling as his other stories.

The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsMost popular read: 1,790,319 readers can’t be wrong? Right?

I read it simply to see what the fuss was about, and why so many of my students were reading it. An idea Hitchcock, no doubt, would have explored. Or did he?

Literature Made Easy the Merchant of Venice by Ruth ColemanLeast popular read: 0
–that does not bode well for my upcoming unit…

Highest rated on Goodreads: a warm tribute from a son to his well-known, beloved father.

Through My Father's Eyes by Franklin Graham

First review of the year:

The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman A four and half star read that contained an intriguing plot twist (or two). A find at the library sale.

Last review of the year:

A fun, and surprisingly informative introduction to Shakespeare I found while shelving at the library. A solid four stars.

I will continue setting my goal at 101 for next year. We’ll see what happens. And I am open to suggestions for reads.

And if you are really interested the elves might be willing to show off their colorful Goodreads chart work by clicking here.

A Good Year for Reading


January is a month of reflection. This is probably due to January being the default month since it is between Christmas past and Valentine’s Day to be. While working off Christmas treats in order to succumb to anticipated chocolate hearts I have decided to give my 2015 year of reading a closer examination. Actually, I probably wouldn’t have done much more than said “Cool. I met and surpassed my Goodreads Reading Challenge.” Since they took the time and trouble to send me such an attractive report, I shall share the highlights with you all. If the pontification of accomplishments is not within your scheduled viewing, I am absolutely not offended if you drift off to the next blog in your reader. However, I am hoping you will stick around.

First Off:
Books Read: 91
I set my Reading Challenge at 50 books, thinking “Hmm, that’s about one per week–that’s doable.” With so many great recommendations from so many dedicated Book Boosters like Heather and The Paperback Princess, I kept adding to my “To-Read” list and kept reading. I still have about 73 books on my TBR list. *Sigh* I have need to read issues.

Secondly:
The Short and Long of It
Shortest book: 96 pages

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep

by Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin

Reading books to kids at bedtime is a lovely routine, a cozy bonding time, and a way to pass on the joy of words to children. I anticipated this sort of connection when I requested Ehrlin’s The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep and was sorely disappointed when I discovered the text to be a form a hypnosis-inducing sleep tool. The purposely scripted story is almost a little scary in its intent. Instead of waving a golden watch and chanting, “You are growing sleepy” a fuzzy bunny becomes the stuff dreams are made of.

While some may like a lab technique to put kids asleep, I’ll go for the classic lullaby of cuddle and lulling words.

                                                             LONGEST BOOK
                                                                  624 pages
                                                                   Jane Eyre
                                                         by Charlotte Brontë

Average Page Length: 305 pages

Most Popular Book:

4,019,963

people also read

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
I decided to reread the entire series in one dedicated weekend as a preparation for the last installment of the film adaptation. I do think JLaw IS Katniss.

Least Read Book:

2

people also read

Sky Blue Pink
by Pam Lippi 
This is a self-published fictional memoir and it is a fun little read about two seventeen year old girls who travel around Europe after graduating from high school. This was back in the days of the seventies when bell-bottoms and adventures were part of the culture.

Benediction:

Completed square

You read 86 out of 50 books. [I actually snuck in 5 more after this]
172%
Congratulations! You’re really good at reading, and probably a lot of other things, too!
Not a bad year for my Goodreads [a litotes, if there ever was]
Okay–your turn…
How was your 2015 year of reading?
Favorite book?
Definitely won’t be recommending?

Biblio-profiled


Books

Gotta HaveBooks! (Photo credit: henry…)

 

Book Boosters. That’s my term for those of us that love books, love reading, love to promote reading and books.  Reading–rhymes with breathing.  Can’t go through life without either.  Actually, make that a day.  Something as wonderful as reading books tends to get knocked about: Bookworm, Get Outside, You’re Reading Another Book. You know the gamut.

Apparently we bibliophiles (very different from being a bibliomaniac) are profiled as being loners, hoarders, idolizers of authors, browsers–I shall not continue. An article in the Huffington Post entitled “These Stereotypes About Book Lovers Are Absolutely True, and That’s a Good Thing” lists 31 stereotypes. I’ve pulled the Top Ten I’ll admit to:

1. I never leave home without a book (I count the one I got going on my iPhone)

2. I don’t loan out books for fear of having them returned in a shabby condition (do not dog ear, please oh please)

3. I give books as presents (even if they would rather have a Red Robin gift card).

4. I would actually collect author trading cards (I’ll trade you my Vonnegut for your Whitman).

Various trading cards

Author trading cards available? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. Yes, I do read about how famous authors became so well-loved because I do believe myself to be a page away from writing the Great American Novel (okay, I’ll amend that to Novel)

6. Bad movie adaptations can crease my day (perhaps not my whole summer, just a couple of weeks worth)

7. Finding a typo is irritating (though I live in a glass house, I’m afraid)

8. Yes, I do have strong, unwavering opinions about e-books (never mind what I said in #1)

9. Being located near a library is more important than other aspects of moving (Libraries rate over Starbucks proximity)

10. Audio books are marvelous road trip companions (Will it bother you if I plug in my book?)

Then in a December 2013 post, BookRiot blogger Dr.B  busted a move and dispelled some very important points: not caring about dog earing books *gasp* or cracking spines *be still my heart*; rarely giving books as gifts *but, but, they would like this one–I’m sure they would*; not caring about bad adaptations *oh, to have such strength*; typos? no big deal *again, to have such a cavalier attitude*.

Jester reading a book

Just another fool reading a book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What leanings do you have towards your profiling? Are you the Huffington style of traditional or more of the forgiving Dr. B?

Honk If You Love Books


That’s right…Honk if you love Books!

Passing through a town I spotted this in a parking lot:

And what made it extra delightful was how a Goodwill store  was just one parking lot over, a bit of  a conceptual juxtaposition tickle to see a promotion to recycle used reads instead of used clothing and sundries, a new way of thinking against the standard. I looked up the site and discovered a few things from their FAQs:

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Discover Books? Discover Books is a for-profit corporation with a social mission.  They are in the business of collecting used books from thrift stores, library discards, residential curbside pickups and collection boxes located throughout North America.  They sell used books online at discounted prices to be read again, or donate them to literacy-based or community service organizations greatly in need of free reading materials. When books cannot be sold or donated, they are recycled, diverting millions of pounds of books from landfills each year.
What will happen to the books placed in my hosted bin? The books placed in the collection boxes have always followed three pathways: they are resold to other readers, donated to children, families and literacy organizations in need, or responsibly recycled.  This has always been the case and will not change.  If you would like to talk to a Discover Books representative to learn more, please email us at info@discoverbooks.com or call us toll-free at 888-402-BOOK(2665).

All this brought to mind my original idea back in February when I began blogging how I wanted to gather a cavalcade of readers, those folks who promote books through voracious reading and reviewing.  Book Boosters was born and although I had hoped to have 500 BBs by June I can’t complain about having 35 so far.  Especially since I haven’t done any active promoting (I don’t Tweet, Face, Stumble, Link or such–old-fashioned, maybe–time deprived, very much so).

So if you are reading this and find you fit the Book Booster profile and don’t see your name on the list, please let me know and voila, you will be added. There are no dues, annoying ads, or newsletters.  I am working on a secret handshake.

Happy Pages,

CricketMuse

Are you a Book Booster?

  • Do you love books?
  • Do you have favorites you read, recommend, and even re-read?
  • Are you a frequent flyer at the local library?
  • Are you an on-line regular of book sites, be they promoting to buy, review, or boast books?
1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You...
1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perchance you operate on a need to read basis–you have to have a book in hand, by the bed, stashed in the car, or have one nestled in the backpack.

You then, my friend, are a Book Booster.  And you are in good company.  Add your name to the list and welcome to the shelf of those who appreciate and advance the cause of books.

Join the continuing ranks of Book Boosters:

1.  www.BookWrites.wordpress.com

2.  www.eatsleeptelevision.wordpress.com (adambellotto)

3.  www.homeschoolhappymess.com

4.  www.carolinareti.wordpress.com

5.  www.opinionatedmama.wordpress.com

6.  www.jessileapringle.wordpress.com

7.  www.wcs53.wordpress.com

8.  www.spookymrsgreen.wordpress.com

9.  www.cecileswriters.wordpress.com (Samir)

10.  www.HannahBurke.wordpress.com

11.  www.thecoevas.wordpress.com

12.  www.Jayati.wordpress.com

13.  www.collecthemomentsonebyone.wordpress.com

14.  http://scriptorwrites.wordpress.com (scriptor obscura)

15. http://jinnyus.wordpress.com/

16.  http://1000novelsandme.wordpress.com/

17. http://literarytiger.wordpress.com/

18.  http://chicandpetite.wordpress.com/ (Bella)

19.  http://booksandbowelmovements.com/ (Cassie)

20. http://bookrave.wordpress.com/

21. http://fromagoraphobiatozen.wordpress.com/ (Marilyn Mendoza)

22.http://bibliophiliacs.wordpress.com/

23.  http://thoughtsonmybookshelf.wordpress.com/

24. http://shelovesreading.wordpress.com/

25.  http://ajjenner.com/

26.  http://artsandyouthlove.wordpress.com/

27. http://readingreviewingrambling.wordpress.com/

28. http://365amazingbooks.wordpress.com/

29.  http://beckysblogs.wordpress.com/

30.  http://bookpolygamist.wordpress.com/

31. http://aliciadevoursbooks.wordpress.com/

32. http://readinginterrupted.com/

33. http://bundleofbooks.org/

34. http://bitsnbooks.wordpress.com/

35. http://justonemonkeytyping.wordpress.com/

I hope your peruse the above blog sites, especially if you favor reading, and adore books.  And next time you are done with that read, consider donating it to the friendly little parking lot box.

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