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Give the Gift of Reading!

my friend Kelsey’s classroom really needs reading-level appropriate books for the kids. Donorschoose is a great organization where you can help teachers get materials they need for their classrooms. Check it out and donate if you can!

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Supporting Storytime

My friend Kelsey is a teacher at Faubion Elementary in Portland, Oregon. This school is near my college, and many of my friends have done student teaching here. It’s a title 1 school with a high poverty level.

Kelsey teaches 1st grade and like me, has a love of reading. She tries to impart this passion to her students, but currently group instruction time is on a cold, hard floor. Kelsey has started a campaign using DonorChoose in order to get a carpet purchased and installed in their classroom. If you have a passion for reading, education, or children, and want to donate, you can do so here

Every little bit helps!

Thanks everyone!

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair

I first saw Nina Sankovitch’s “Tolstoy and the Purple Chair” in a random bookstore in downtown Boise. I wasn’t looking for anything specific, just browsing.

I’ve loved memoirs ever since my senior year of high school when we focused on some great memoirs for an entire semester. I also took a course in college that focused on memoirs. I find them interesting in many ways. For one, you get to see a very personal side of someone’s life. You get to see their life through the lens of a specific theme which they’ve chosen as their backdrop. And then, after you’ve read it, you can analyze their version of events and speculate how other people in their lives may have told the story. The subjectiveness of truth has been the downfall of many memoirs’ reputations. It brings up the question: Is it how events happened that matter, or how we remember them, the message we take away from those events?

Anyway, I was going through the memoir section of this bookstore, and “Tolstoy and the Purple Chair” jumped out at me. I read the back, and found it interesting, but I didn’t really need more books (as if I ever do…) so I put it back. Read the rest of this entry

Abandoned books

Goodreads put together an infographic about book abandonment that I found super interesting.

A few months ago I put together a post about all the unfinished books that I have and a goal of finishing them. I haven’t made a lot of headway. For some reason, I haven’t felt like reading that much lately, which isn’t like me. But this weekend I’m reading Life of Pi. I really like what I’ve read so far, but I just need to buckle down and read.

What causes you to put a book down and just not pick it up?

 

Of Blade and Valor

Of Blade and Valor Cover

The Cover to “Of Blade and Valor”, Cheryl Alleway’s new release

In the midst of war torn Scotland, a baby girl is born to Jacob Douglas and his young wife. The conflict between the English and the Scots breeds trials of loyalty that tarnish the landscape, while Jacob teaches his strong-willed child the skills she will need to face her uncertain future. Behind the veil of war, villains pillage their land, pilfer what is not theirs and do not fear retribution for their deeds. There is none strong enough to make a stand; no one, until Deb Douglas. Keeping her father close to her always, he radiates a courage that motivates her fight for freedom, for love, and for her land. Deb rallies those she meets to join her cause, which frees the secrets from her past that have been buried for many years. While destiny is all-knowing, Deb never backs down and faces it all with the courage of a man and the heart of a Scot!

I’ve always loved to read, as long as I can remember. When I was four years old I would wake up before my parents on Saturday mornings (that stopped as I got older), and get out my Dr. Seuss books and “read” them. I knew some of the words, but mostly I just knew the stories by heart because I made other people read them to me so often. Read the rest of this entry

Treasuring Books

How do you treat the books you read? Do you keep the pages close together so as not to break the binding? Or instead of bookmarks do you sprawl the book open at the page you’re on. Do you mark your favorite passages? Or are the pages not to be marred?

I have some very good friends who collect books and they have very strong opinions about how books are to be treated. They do not read their signed copies of science fiction. They have copies that look pretty and are in pristine condition, and copies that can be read, which they still are careful with.

I’m not the world’s neatest person. I keep my books in piles throughout my room, and sometimes they fall or get stuffed in a bag and pages get bent. Sometimes there’s water damage or tears. And it’s sad, but as long as I can read the words, I’m happy. Because the magic of reading isn’t in the mass-produced pages.

I love books. Not just reading, but books themselves. I haven’t succumbed and gotten an e-reader yet. I probably will eventually, but it’s not a high priority. Books feel nice, smell nice, and are fun to have around. But it’s the stories within that are the treasure. And no matter how ratty and battle-worn a book is, the story can shine through. That’s the real power of literature.

After all, the bulk of the heart that an author puts into their book is in the writing. Sure, they have input on the cover, maybe even create it themselves. And some authors choose the paper the book uses. But a lot of the printing process is largely impersonal, or at the very least, not unique to the story on the pages.

So whether you wash your hands before opening your favorite tome, or have to squint to read through the greasy chip stains, or slide through the words on a screen, take some time this long weekend to enjoy a story.

Zombies!

My very good friend Beth who has just moved back into town has an obsession with zombies. She is not only prepared for the Zombie apocalypse; she is looking forward to it. This makes her really easy to get presents for. Zombie Apocalypse survival kits, pretty much any functional item that has been covered in decomposing limbs, no problem.

Since Beth is also obsessed with books, I have made it a point for the past few years to get her books about Zombies. First was the Zombie Haiku Book. Then Zombies vs. Unicorns. The latest is Shakespeare, Undead.

Somewhere between Zombie Haiku and Zombie vs. Unicorns, Beth and I had made a deal. She would finally read Pride and Prejudice (which I enjoy, though I do like the Colin Firth movie better) and I would read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Both of us kept our convictions about which was better. I did come out with a larger appreciation for zombie stories though, whereas Beth’s opinion of classic literature (yawn) did not change. Read the rest of this entry

Unfinished

I am a procrastinator. Not in the worst way. I get important things done. But I would get a lot more done if I sat around less and actually did the things I put on my to-do lists.

I love the idea of crafts, and have a giant bin full of pieces of fabric, paper, and knick knacks waiting to be turned into art, gifts, or both.

I love to read, but sometimes I start a book and no matter how much I like it, I put it down never to pick it up again. Read the rest of this entry

Powell’s

So, I went to Portland (Oregon) last weekend, and of course, as any trip to Portland requires, I went to Powell’s. For those of you who don’t know, Powell’s is an amazing new and used bookstore. It takes up a whole city block and is three and a half stories high. The rooms are color-coded and organized by section. The blue room has literature and poetry. The Gold room is science fiction and mysteries. The Rose room has a lot of stuff, but most notably children’s literature. The purple room has a lot of non-fiction- race and gender studies. Travel is in the orange room. Graphic novels are in the room with the cafe (brown).

I can’t go to Powell’s without buying too many books. I think once I went there and only bought one or two. Not this time though. My Powell’s and Portland withdrawal led me to purchase a whole stack even though I already own many books I have yet to read. Guess I just need to dedicate more time to reading.

Here’s the list of books I bought, in case you’re interested Read the rest of this entry

From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Some books rock the one-word title; others go for long and slightly absurd. I’m of course going to talk about the latter today.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a Children’s novel published in 1967. It is the story of a brother and sister pair who run away from home and live temporarily in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. They discover a mystery and set out to solve it by seeking out Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, an eccentric, rich old woman. Read the rest of this entry