Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “readers”

Book Booster Spotlight


Around four years ago when I began this blog I set up a page dedicated to collecting Book Boosters.  The qualifications were fairly simple:

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?

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.

To date there are around 70 Book Boosters. There are no secret handshakes, no monthly meetings. I have considered t-shirts and bumper stickers.  As a thanks for taking the public step as a proclaimed bibliophile, I shall spotlight a random Book Booster.

This month’s BB Spotlight is:

Tish Farrell

Portland 6 (2)

In her own words:

Being a writer can be wretched. (What did Douglas Adams say about it: staring at the page until your eyes bleed?) So in an attempt to stop my eyes bleeding, or my brain exploding I thought I would use this blog to write about the place where I am now (Shropshire) and the places where I used to be (Kenya). Sometimes they get mixed up together. But that doesn’t matter. Anyway, the literary analysts tell us that creating a convincing setting, that telling sense of place through which the human action threads and is revealed is crucial to any story – non fiction or fiction. So these are my practice pieces, then; a fending off of writer’s block perhaps. Who knows? Other stories might spring from them.

Tish also provides amazing photos. I especially appreciate her Kenya shares, as I doubt I will ever make that journey.

Are you interested in proclaiming your love of books, your need to read? Leave your name and I will gladly add you to the growing list of Book Boosters, and who knows you too might find yourself as a featured BB Spotlight in the near future.

 

 

Review Roundup


I catch up on my blogs through my iPhone reader which means I miss any goodies that enhance that web page. And that means people miss my little extras as well, such as my Good Reads update feed. So, a new addition to my line up of features shall step forth: the Review Roundup in which I lasso a couple of books from my Completed Reads Corral and trot them out for all to admire. I’m in the midst of Cormac’s All the Pretty Horses, so horsing around is a given.

Last year I thought 50 books to be a good goal and I nearly doubled it by reaching 92 reads. This year I decided to go for 101. So far, so good as I read 11 books in January. Here’s my top three picks of January:

Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs

Fair is the song that remains in the heart,
That soothes the savage scorns that love inflicts,
Or brings joy to our lips as does the lark,
Causing fingers to snap and heels to click.Songs. Sonnets. Put them together, as has the very clever and talented Erik Didriksen, and you have a collection that is memorable and marvelous. His book started out as a weekly sonnet post on Tumblr which grew a following and garnered him a publishing contract. Ooh, I love those kind of success stories.

There is indeed something for everyone, from The Beatles to Cyndi Lauper to Frank Sinatra–sing the praises of Pop Sonnets.

I am in the middle of my “chase-down-every-D.E. Stevenson-book-I-can-find” adventure. I may owe our public library’s inter-library loan department some compensation once I reach my goal of finding all 40 plus novels. I am a professed Dessie. Stevenson’s books are old-fashioned, yet hold up well for story-telling. A big bonus is that many take place in Scotland, the land of my ancestors. I do like her plucky heroines. Here is a new fave:
Kate Hardy buys a country house unseen and makes her move from London to the dull quiet life so she can continue writing her popular hero-action books. Yet, life in the country is far from dull. Strange letters, neighborhood dramas, tangled romances, along with irritating relatives visiting, interrupt Kate’s solitude. And she doesn’t mind one iota.
A thoroughly likable plot and heroine, the book would have garnered five stars except for the ending. DES is terrible about her loose endings. Everything comes crashing to a big finale but she tends to leave loose bits trailing in the breeze. My hope is that Kate Hardy continues on in another book.
The Renaissance is an age like no other. There were so many accomplishments in so many areas of the humanities and sciences, it merits study to better appreciate the genius behind the works. One area of accomplishment, one that still leaves the world in appreciative awe is the art and artists of the Renaissance.
Barter’s reference book provides background and insights on several of the prominent artists of the time such as Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Raphael. Surprisingly, Botticelli is not part of the group; however, the artists featured provide a satisfying study into some of the most influential talent of that time period. A great reference for students, or for those looking for a quick, in-depth study.
Have you read any of these? Better yet, what was your favorite January read?
 

And Now For Something Different in Playing Tag…


SFarnell tagged me and I’m both perplexed and delighted about it. I know that reading is right up there with feeding the mind and soul, yet I hadn’t quite made the connection that books can be considered food. The idea of this book tag is match a book to a pastry delicacy. That’s the delighted part. The perplexed part is that I am not much of a pastry foodie and only know a couple of the menu selections. Well, let’s just give it a whirl, anyway, shall we?

Here are the delicacies I do not know, so it’s hard to relate a book to something I’ve not actually tasted and so I will offer a possibility with no extra description (I would appreciate enlightenment of what these pastry treats are all about!):

Vol-au-vent: Name a book that you thought would be amazing but fell flat
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Pain au chocolat: Name a book that you thought would be one thing but turned out to be something else
I perked up at chocolat, but I am unsure how anything with chocolate in it can be anything else but tasty

Profiterole: Name a book or series that doesn’t get enough attention.
Quite clueless on this one, though I will offer the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde. They are hysterical.

Croquembouche: Name a book or series that’s extremely complex.
Pleading clueless once again as to the pastry–maybe C.S. Lewis’ Perelanda series? Lots of allegory going on.

Napoleon: Name a movie or TV show based off a book that you liked better than the book itself.
Oh my, I need to get out more. Napoleon had a pastry named after him? Umm, I did find the movie version of The African Queen to be much more satisfying in its conclusion. Plus I’m a Bogey and Katie Hepburn fan.

Empanada: Name a book that was bittersweet.
Finally one I’ve heard of, but mine wasn’t bittersweet. I would nominate just about any Dickens novel for this.

Kolompeh: Name a book or series that takes place somewhere other than your home country.
I can’t even pronounce it! How about Anne of Green Gables–love just about anything that’s British in setting.

Pate a Choux: Name one food from a book or series that you would like to try.
Nope, not trying anything that sounds like pate (I know what it’s made out of–thank you very much).

These I know! and can easily match them up to books.

Croissant: Name a popular book or series that everyone (including you) loves.

53367The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I didn’t discover this series until high school and I simply devoured it. Having become a devoted fan of the books, I was thrilled when a new adaptation came out (not the old BBC puppety try, thank you) I loved the first movie, and was sad when they stopped at only the third installment. Lewis presents such a grounded, yet fantasyic tale of magic and allegory. I can’t wait to introduce the books to my grandkiddo. This series seems to be part of most everyone’s childhood.

Macaroon: Name a book that was hard to get through but worth it at the end.

264

Henry James is not my favorite author, due to his long descriptions and the over-the-top drama that the heroines face. Truthfully, I only read the novel because it was on the AP Literature list and I had inherited 90 copies of them from the former teacher, so I wanted to see if I would offer it in class. I shall not. Was it worth it? I stuck with it only because I hoped she would show some gumption and stand up for herself. No spoilers. You’ll have to find out for yourself.

Now I will tag the following five bloggers whom I believe will have fun with this venture into delicacies and reading:

Jilanne Hoffmann

Vanessa-Jane Chapman

Britt Skrabanek

Letizia: 

Sarah Loudin Thomas

Now, I’m not sure what happens from here…read, eat, tag?

No obligations to partake, yet, if you happen to be able to describe these pastry wonderfuls to me, I would be both enlightened and appreciative.

Yay! An Award!!


BR_Award

I like awards. I especially like them when they are unexpected. Nicole over at I Am Booked unexpectedly gifted me with this lovely award and I shall now pass it forward by A) discussing how I started CricketMuse plus a bit of advice on blogging and B)nominating 15 other blogs.

The Blog Start
The conference presenter said “You have to establish a platform if you intend on getting noticed as a writer.” I took that bit of insight to heart and bounced around ideas for a blog. It had to be something I had an interest in, could sustain, and it needed to be catchy. Well, I am passionate about books, reading, writing, and teaching. So finding sustainable subjects wasn’t too much of a stretch. And in terms of catchy–that was the tough part, because I know getting the title right is an important part of blogdom, as well as grabbing reader attention. It’s competitive out there. After some different ideas, I decided upon Cricket Muse because Cricket is a nickname (chirpy little critters with a song that is either annoying or pleasant depending on your point of view) and Muse, which is what I do a lot–ruminate, didn’t sound quite as lyrical. I’ve been blogging about three years and I haven’t run out of ideas yet. In fact, I have a page full of post possibilities I constantly add to.

The Advice
As for advice, I offer two tidbits: consistency and scheduling. Bloggers come and bloggers go. I follow lots of blogs, yet few keep a consistent posting pace. I believe the most popular blogs keep a fairly visible presence. I suggest posting at least once a week, more if possible, to keep interest level up. This brings me to scheduling. I have devised a schedule of topics for different days of the month. I have a running theme of “Why We Say” which explores all those odd sayings that work themselves into our speech, as well as a Poem(s) of the Month page. I also try to spotlight a writer, a blogger, or a book. This equals about six posts a month or about every five days I’ve got something going. This diversity of topics also appeals to a variety of readers, so I am constantly attracting new viewers. If readers like what they see, and get a sense for what is offered, they will, it’s hoped, keep coming back, and perhaps become a follower. And I suggest follow up visits. It’s not only polite, but it’s also fun to go out and visit new-to-you blogs, and exchange howdies with those you already know.

The Nominations
The following blogs have a commonality in being Book Boosters. I am indeed a reader, and I have a definite soft spot for others who unabashedly promote books to their readers. I hope you check out their blogs. And once again, a big thanks to Nicole!

  1. Paperback Princess
  2. Interesting Literature
  3. BitsnBooks
  4. Books on the Tube
  5. Literary Distractions
  6. The Literary Classics
  7. The Nerdy Book Club
  8. One Minute Book Reviews
  9. Reading with Rhythm
  10. 746 Books
  11. Picture This Book
  12. 100 Books Every Child Should Read Before Growing Up
  13. Book to the Future
  14. Friendly Bookworm
  15. Blogs-of-a-Bookaholic

Not on the list? It was tough to choose, since I follow so many different blogs, I decided to keep it to the theme of Book Boosters, and I know there are more bibliophiles on my list. So, if you aren’t in the line up–you are in my thoughts, just not on my list (for now).

Happy blogging!

Blue Skies,
Cricket

BookMarks 


You know you are a book nerd when you start collecting photos and misc tidbits about books. Here a few I found cluttering up my files:

  Do you know the French have a word specific to their country addressing booksellers? I came across the word Bouquinistes in a review and became intrigued. The photo and info are both from Wikipedia.
Bouquinistes are small bookstores in Paris, on each side of the River Seine. They are green boxes made ​​of wood. They were classified as a World Heritage Site in 1991. The word bouquinistes is used only in Paris. The word comes from bouquin, book in French slang.

Gluten-free is the new buzz in product promotion. I spotted a sign signifying a snack as being gluten-free: an apple? Really. I did have to stop and click when I came across this sign in a used books store display window: 

 
Another slice of book interest, a Kindle ad in a magazine: 

 
Have you come across a free library tucked away somewhere expected? I discovered this one situated in a quiet little neighborhood. It looked child-centered. How fun it would to be a kid and check for new books or exchange ones out! 

   
What about you, dear readers–any fun, interesting, wonderful noteworthy bookish bits to share?

Blog Spotlight: Paperback Princess


The Paperback Princess

I read a lot of books

 

I appreciate unabashed Book Boosters. This is one reason I took to following Paperback Princess. She sometimes laments her inability to resist buying books. A recent post of hers highlights that this is indeed a concern she will have to attend to due to bookshelf space. Too many books is not the same thing as having too many shoes. Books never go out of style. Well, maybe Valley of the Dolls, but everyone has their own preferences for reading material.

Dear Princess–adding books to your bulging shelves is an admirable dilemma. It’s enviable. Making room in your life for knowledge, adventure, new friends and old friends is delightful in my perspective. You will never be lonely!

PP also provides wondrous book suggestions and reviews. Plus, she is a conversant commenter, which a blogger always appreciates. I’m taking liberties and borrowing a part of her fabulous TBR <a title="list" href="https:// Read more…

Blog Spotlight: Jilanne Hoffman


Jilanne would have received my recent pick of nominating a blogger for One Lovely Blog, yet she has one already. In fact, she has a bunch of awards–well deserved, I might add.
Upon visiting her site you have to stop a moment and decide what to visit first. Her book reviews? Her writing challenges? Her impressive bio? I especially like her Picture Book Friday entries because there will always be a place on my reading list for picture books. She is definitely a book promoter–not just picture books. A definite Kindred Spirit for Book Boosters out there.

Jilanne also provides readers with unique stories (check out her O ring entry). You will not be bored, that’s for sure, with so many options to select. And that’s what makes her site so diversely interesting.

I also get a kick out of her friendly mutual pokes and swipes with Mike Allegra. In fact, I think that’s how I connected with her, through his site. You really do meet up with the nicest people on WordPress.
So I hope you check out Jilianne’s blog and enjoy your visit, I know you’ll find something of interest there.

#8: TBRs Awaiting In The Wings


I have three books by the nightstand, I just finished two audio novels, and two books are patiently tucked wating their turn in my library bag.  As the saying goes:

image: Highsmith.com

I can’t imagine not having a book ready and waiting for me.  And as the clock suggests, I feel time is fleeting in terms of getting around to all my TBR books.  I have had to stop writing down book suggestions from other bloggers since my list has grown longer than my left leg.  Contending with my prior list of must-get-tos is causing me to wonder what would happen if I stopped everything that wasn’t absolutely pertinent and simply read.  Rod Serling asked the same question back in 1959.

Witness Mr. Henry Bemis, a charter member in the fraternity of dreamers. A bookish little man whose passion is the printed page, but who is conspired against by a bank president and a wife and a world full of tongue-cluckers and the unrelenting hands of a clock. But in just a moment, Mr. Bemis will enter a world without bank presidents or wives or clocks or anything else. He’ll have a world all to himself…without anyone.

“Time Enough at Last” is  episode that deals with Henry Bemis who would much prefer reading to working as a bank teller or spending time with his wife. He gets his wish, only with a dark twist.  The episode has been much parodied over the years and it makes me ever so glad that I am near-sighted after all.

As for my TBR list, it’s daunting; I’ve divided it up into categories to help sort it out.  Maybe if I take one read from each category and move through the list I can get to the top of the list by the year’s end.  Sounds like I’m either trying to make a resolution or a concession.  Maybe I should get back to my reading.  Any of these on your TBR list?  How many are awaiting in the wings for you?

Classical Works:
The Iliad, Tartuffe, The Misanthrope

Realistic Works:
Crime and Punishment, Anna Karenian, A Doll’s House

Romanatic Works:
Don Quixote, Les Miserables, Faust

Impressionistic Works:
Heart of Darkness, The Awakening

Naturalistic Works:
Metamorphosis, Dubliners

This list comes courtesy from one of my AP resource books.  Looking it over I have decided I am fairly illiterate and must get busy.  To make myself feel a bit better I have read many of the suggested work, but I am still way behind.

Getting to these TBRs doesn’t give me too much opportunity to read the likes of a Hunger Game when it comes about.  Those count too, right?

Fortunately, I am not derided for being a “reader” as was Henry Bemis.  And I hope I won’t get my wish for more time in the manner of Henry.  Until then there is summer vacation, my hammock, and my understanding family.

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