Reading Thoughts

School’s Out for Summer – READ READ READ!

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For many children, school is now out for summer. If not, they are counting down the days. Studies show that students drop reading levels at the start of a new year from lack of summer reading. Don’t let this happen to a child you know!

Summer is a time of lazy days with more daylight – more light for reading time! Encourage children to keep their mind active over the summer months. Here are just a few reading ideas.

  1. Join your library reading program. Many libraries have fun themes, extra activities, and even prizes!
  2. Read a book in a hammock.
  3. Start your morning with a puzzle.
  4. Tell ghost stories (or any story) around the camp fire.
  5. Take a book to the beach, park, grandparent’s house, or anyone else.
  6. Listen to audio books on road trips.
  7. Act out your favorite book.
  8. Read a book about stars then star gaze.
  9. Read a book about gardening then help plant your own garden.
  10. Adults also read to show an example.
  11. Read to the family dog/cat/hamster. (They don’t care if mistakes are made.)
  12. Have a bookclub and discuss the book.
  13. Read a book before bed. (Instead of tv time)
  14. Read about the place you’re going to visit or where you’d like to go.
  15. Pick up any book and just read!!!



Writing 101 Challenge: Loss

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‘Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more’.

I had difficulty with today’s writing prompt, because I couldn’t think of one particular item or individual. I thought of what makes me sad that is no longer there. I suddenly got the idea of local libraries and bookstores closing.

I drive by a podiatry clinic in my neighborhood and sigh each time I pass it. Many may wonder what’s wrong with me, since nothing is wrong with my feet. The problem is that the clinic was a small library. It breaks my heart to see the small building now taking care of feet. There were shelves of books, movies, music, and more. Now people sit in waiting chairs than a comfy couch reading. It saddens me knowing someone may not have access to these materials.

A similar loss is when small bookstores close. They often can’t stand against the changing times. This is very unfortunate. I always smile when I enter a bookstore and feel at home. When I hear about bookstores closing it almost feels like a part of me closed. It doesn’t matter if I visited the bookstore often, occasionally, or never. Instead it’s just one more place where my soul had a chance to open to the wonder of books and reading.

The definition of a book has even changed and a slight loss is felt. I own a kindle, but it took me forever to finally purchase one. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I read a book on my kindle. To me, it’s almost a loss in society as books have changed so much.

True, people are still reading and some may say there’s an increase in reading. However, there’s nothing like holding a book in your hands, turning actual pages, and smelling the paper.

The loss of libraries, bookstores, and the definition of books saddens me. Books and their ‘homes’ have been in use for thousands of years. Hopefully, the ‘changing times’ won’t increase more losses.

Importance of a Book Friend

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Have you ever felt so connected to a book character that they almost feel like a friend? Sometimes when I finish a book it almost seems I lost a friend. This may sound weird or cheesy to some people, but I’m sure book lovers agree with this feeling. (Even if they don’t want to admit it.) However, it’s not exactly like losing a book friend instead you’re gaining their experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Perhaps your book friend is someone you strive to become or who you once were. Do you relate with a character similar to you or are you the complete opposite? Books allow us to go anywhere and experience the character’s journey. Also, we have different groups of friends, so it’s appropriate that we can have different book friends at various times. Which book friend most relates to you?

Help! I Need a Book that Hooks Me!

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Recently, I’ve had difficulty finding a book that keeps my attention. I start a book then quickly lose interest. Perhaps I’m not giving enough time and effort to determine whether I want to read a book. Last weekend I went to a used bookstore in the hopes that a book would scream from the shelf ‘read me, read me!’ Sadly after spending an hour at the bookstore, no book hooked me. I then thought perhaps I’d visit an old friend and reread a book. Readers gain insight each time the book is read again. This almost worked, but I still wasn’t fully hooked into a book. Here are some recent titles that I started then stopped: Divergent, Catcher in the Rye, Jane Eyre, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Oleander Girl. I’m even embarrassed to say that I didn’t read my last book club book, however I still attended to eat and greet.

I need YOUR help. What books do you suggest to hook me?


Happy Reading on Read Across America Day

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In honor of Dr. Seuss‘ birthday (March 2nd) is Read Across America Day. Dr. Seuss sparked reading with fun rhymes and good messages. The National Education Association (NEA) marked the calendar this year for March 1st, so schools across the country can participate. Schools, libraries, and other locations plan special activities for this event. So, grab your Dr. Seuss hat and any book to READ, READ, READ! Every day is great day for reading! seuss4

You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild,
To pick up a book and read with a child.
You’re never too busy, too cool, or too hot,
To pick up a book and share what you’ve got.

In schools and communities,
Let’s gather around,
Let’s pick up a book,
Let’s pass it around.

There are kids all around you,
Kids who will need
Someone to hug,
Someone to read.

Come join us March 1st
Your own special way
And make this America’s
Read to Kids Day.

(National Education Association Read Across America Poem)

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Click to access RAA13_EduKit_Booklet_WEB.pdf


2012 Book & Reading Review

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Reading Highlights:

  • Joined two book clubs.
  • Completed my 2012 reading goal to read at least 20 books.
  • Started a book journal to list summaries and my thoughts about books.

Here’s a list of the books that I read in 2012. I underlined my favorite books read from this year.

Favorite Books from 2012:

  1. The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern
  2. The 19th Wife by 
    David Ebershoff
  3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

  4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  5. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
  6. The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell
  7. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
  8. My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store by Ben Ryder Howe
  9. Gold by  Chris Cleave
  10. Atlas of Unknowns by Tania James
  11. The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
  12. Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
  13. The Chaperone  by Laura Moriarty
  14. 13, rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro
  15. A Dog’s Journey by  W. Bruce Cameron
  16. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  17. A Woman’s Place by Lynn Austin
  18. Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic*
  19. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
  20. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  21. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (reread)
  22. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (reread)
  23. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (reread)

What were some books that you read in 2012? Hopefully, 2013 is filled with pages of wonderful books!

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This week is banned book week. Challenged and banned books are celebrated and each individual has the freedom to read whatever they desire. I still smile when I read this excerpt from Harry Potter.

Children's Books & More

Any student found in possession of the magazine The Quibbler will be expelled.

For some reason, every time Hermione caught sight of one of these signs she beamed with pleasure.

‘What exactly are you so happy about?’ Harry asked her.

‘Oh, Harry don’t you see?’ Hermione breathed. ‘If she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!’

– J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 512)

I remembered this small conversation between Harry and Hermione from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix after yesterday’s post about censorship in The Day They Came to Arrest the Book. (Yes, I’ve read them enough times to recall certain phrases.) I don’t think this conversation spoils the book if you haven’t read it yet. The basic idea is…

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You’re Reading That Book Again?

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I just finished a book, A Dog’s Journey, which means I’m hunting for my next book to read. Honestly, I don’t feel like hunting for a book. Even though I’m always looking for my next favorite book. There are certain books I fell in love with, such as Little Women and the Harry Potter series. I think I’ve read each three times. Is there a rule that a new book must always be read? Why are people puzzled that someone can read a book they’ve already read? I often gain fresh experiences and fall in love with the book all over again when I reread a book. In the past, I’ve often rushed through books to see how many I can read. I’m a fan of the online, Goodreads, that allows you to keep track of books, read reviews, participate in online book clubs, and maintain a reading goal. Should reread books be put into my goal? So before you ask someone, ‘How can you read that book again?’ think to yourself that there must be a reason why this person is reading it again. Also, the individual is reading which truly is all that matters.


2012 Reading Goals

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No, you read the title post correctly it is for this year. I’m just a tad late. I heard many people share their reading goals for the upcoming year, but I’ve never really done that. Instead I look for my next book either while I’m reading a book or immediately after I finished a book. Unfortunately, I haven’t really read a book this year that has grabbed my attention or I truly enjoyed. So, I went back to my list of books I’ve previously read and loved. I thought to myself, ‘Why not read them again?’ Here are some books I’m thinking of reading this year.

Books I Plan to Reread:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
(I’ve probably already read 3x.)

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling 
Already read about three times, but that doesn’t matter especially now that I can read it on my kindle. Almost finished with this goal. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

New Books I Plan to Read:

J.K. Rowling‘s new book, The Casual Vacancy
It releases on September 27, 2012. (Even the book cover is a surprise.)

Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy, by Ken Follet
 It releases on September 18, 2012. 

Another book by Jules Verne 
The first book I read by him was Around the World in Eighty Days.

Another book by Alexandre Dumas 
I LOVED The Count of Monte Cristo even though it took awhile to finish. 

What are some books that you plan to read in 2012? Do you have any suggestions?


A Journal for Book Thoughts?

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I read some of my earlier blog posts to gain inspiration about what to write next. It somewhat sadden me, because I discovered that my posts now hardly have any writing.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because my blog has grown to have a focus. However, I also miss sharing my general thoughts. I wrote a post from September, about what I should read next. Sometimes I can’t match my next book to the greatness of my finished book, so I thought of an idea.

I love reading and always want a book to read, but perhaps it’s okay to not be reading a book at all times. ‘Gasp’, I’m not sure that’s actually possible for me. I’ve written in a general journal to share my own thoughts and feelings although it’s never been constant. I got an idea from a reader’s comment. (Yes, I do read each and every comment.) It’s okay to reflect upon the book. What made the book so spectacular that I couldn’t stop reading? Why did I become sad when I finished the book? Why do I have such a difficult time finding my next book to read? I keep a small notebook of books I’ve read, would like to read, and reading quotations. However, I don’t have a notebook to reflect and write about the book. I was asked to write papers and essays about books in school, so why should that change. I think I’ll begin a book thought journal to write both positive and negative things about what I thought about the book. Reading helps us grow, so how did the book change me?

Please give me your thoughts about book reflections. Do you also keep a record of what you’ve read? How do you reflect about books?


2012 Reading & Blog Goals (and my 200th post!)

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In 2011, I challenged myself to write a blog post every day. I didn’t start my blog until July, but I somehow still managed to post daily. Sometimes it was a struggle to plan ahead and schedule posts for each day, so I decided to change that for this year. I’m no longer going to attempt a blog post every day. Instead, 2012 is going to focus upon quality vs. quantity. I want to enjoy writing book reviews and not feel rushed. My goal is to write quality posts about four times a week. I wonder if I can get 100 blog subscribers by the end of 2012? Of course, it doesn’t matter how many readers I have. I’m also starting 2012 as my 200th post!! I can hardly believe it.

When I read it’s almost a personal race to see how many books I can read. However, you shouldn’t race and force yourself to read a book quickly. A book should be savored and slowly tasted. I’m not looking for average or good books to read, instead I’m hoping to find great books. Books shouldn’t be read just to check off a list. I think this quotation by Mortimer J. Adler describes how books should be enjoyed:  In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”  In 2012, I plan to not look how long I’ve been reading a book and just enjoy my time reading. I’m always searching for my next book. What are your book suggestions?

Potential Books for 2012:

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan
Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Read Again:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

What are your books for 2012?


2011 Book Reflections

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Personally, 2011 has been a wonderful book year! I always enjoy keeping track of what I’ve read, rating books, and sharing recommendations. Similar to Word Press’ daily post, goodreads encouraged readers to set a reading goal for 2011. Mine wasn’t as daring as other readers, but I completed and read beyond my goal. I’m now going to share my favorite books from 2011. These aren’t full book reviews, instead just mini highlights.

Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

True this book was huge, but it’s been on my ‘to-read’ list for a very long time. I’ve always enjoyed the movie and since the book is normally better, I decided to conquer the book. Well, I can’t watch the movie anymore since it doesn’t give the book justice. There’s a little of everything: romance, revenge, suspense, murder, and more. The book took me about a month to read, but it was highly worth it. I also listened to the book, which added to the excitement.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I would describe The Shadow of the Wind as a book lovers book. Many scenes are within an old bookstore where all the books have a soul. The book is full of suspense and mystery. I don’t want to share too much, but this is a book that I couldn’t put down and I was sad when it was finished.

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Perhaps I was attracted to the book, since the black Labrador on the cover is similar to my own dog. The entire book is from the dog’s perspective how he tries to please his owners with a purpose. The book had me laughing aloud and crying. I enjoyed A Dog’s Purpose so much that I’ve already read it again. If you’re hesitant to read this book, since all dogs in dog books seem to die I’d reconsider this book. It has an interesting twist.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This book is a coming of age story about a girl living in Brooklyn, New York. She experiences struggles and takes comfort in reading. She’s very curious about her world and wants to gain information.



 Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

This book takes place the turn of the twentieth century in New York City. It is the true story of a woman’s relationship with Louis Comfort Tiffany and stained glass.



 The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

I first read this book, because my library had a community reads together. It is the true story about a young boy living in Malawi, who deals with poverty, famine, and daily struggles to survive. He’s forced to leave school, since his family can’t afford the tuition. He continues to read and learn from the library. He desires to help his family and community and creates a windmill to produce electricity. The story is very inspirational and makes you want to keep trying to reach your goals.

New Authors: A new and enjoyable author that I read this year is Lisa See. I read Shanghai GirlsDreams of Joy, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Her books focus upon family relationships, historical fiction, and Chinese influences.



Another new author I discovered is Carl Hiaasen. I read Scat and Hoot. These books were for middle school age that were mysteries focused upon environmental issues.

In 2011, I purchased a kindle and I never thought I would read from an electric device. I read about twenty books on my kindle, but I still enjoy ‘real’ books.

I also started this blog in the middle of 2011, which encouraged me to read more diverse books and write reviews. It gives me great pleasure to recommend books for others to enjoy. I’m always looking for new books, so please feel free to share your own recommendations. Hopefully, 2012 brings more wonderful books to enjoy!

Bookworm Traits

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This week I showed bookworms with books, pictures, and poems. Today I’m going to view a bookworm as most people think – a book lover. How do you know if you’re a bookworm? I made a list of possible bookworm traits. You don’t have to have each trait. Leave comments for additional bookworm characteristics.

1. People often find your nose in a book spending hours at the library or bookstore.
2. is bookmarked and frequently used when you can’t get to the library or bookstore.
3. Who cares about the next DVD release? When can I get the latest book release? 
4. Books are on your Christmas or birthday list. 
5. You’d rather read a book than watch television. 
6. You argue that the books are always better than any movie based off a book. 
7. You get a thrill when you open the book for the first time and feel its pages with the promise of a next favorite. 
8. You smile when you see children reading rather than playing video games or watching television. 
9. You cringe when you see watermarks, torn pages, and vandalism to books. 
10. It’s normal to leave the house with some reading material. 
11. It’s not a vacation unless you have a supply of books. (If not, you can always visit the town’s bookstore.)
12.You listen to more audio books than the car radio. 
13. You dish out recommendations and welcome any in return. 
14. You constantly add books to your to-read list. 
15. You stay up past midnight to finish a great book. 
16. After you finished the great book, you wish you slowed down to savor it. 
17. You imagine meeting your favorite book characters. 
18. You’d like to jump into your favorite book to fully experience it. 
19. You don’t have enough shelves to hold all your books. 
20. You analyze and discuss books with fellow bookworms. 
21. You look forward to school and library book sales. 
22. You ‘browse’ books in a bookstore and come back each week.
23. You read The New York Times’ Bestseller List for new books to read. 
24. You have a bookstore membership for book rewards.
25. Rainy days are good reading weather days. 
26. You enjoy any reading, even what some consider ‘junk mail’.
27. You feel lost without a book to read. 
28. You love hearing stories read to you. 
29. A long flight, car ride, or train journey is the perfect time to read a book. 
30. You keep a journal of the books you’ve read and plan to read. (record books on goodreads)
31. You remember quotes and passages from your favorite books. 
32. You compare individuals to characters in your book. 
33. You have an endless supply of bookmarks and battery replacements for book lights. 
34. You’re not afraid to laugh or cry while reading. 
35. You read the book that made you laugh or cry again. 
36. You spread the word to everyone to read a book. 
37. You take literary trips that connect to your book. (Blog post about a children’s literature tour in New York, abroad a train for Agatha Christie’s Orient Express, visit Forks, Washington, for Twilight, explore Concord, Massachusetts,  for Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, or even visit Hogwarts at Universal Studios)
38. You cook dishes similar to foods in books. (Blog that relates books and food)
39. You try skills and hobbies as characters in books.
40. You’re sadden when bookstores and libraries close. 
41. You have difficulties picking just one favorite book. 
42. You know that reading will never die, even with more e-readers and technology. 
43. You feel bad for those who don’t enjoy a good book. 
44. You wish you could talk to the author after finishing a book. 
45. You attend book signings and author discussions. 
46. You know that reading is your ticket to anywhere your heart desires. 

Book Smorgasbord

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Walk into a buffet restaurant and you’ll  find many choices. Grab a plate and pile on your favorite dishes. We’ll pretend that calories don’t count and you have a bottomless stomach for this meal. Select your meats whether it’s roast beef, spicy sausage, meatballs, or barbeque chicken. Perhaps you’re a vegetarian who doesn’t select a meat choice. Continue through the buffet to find pizza, french fries, fruits, vegetables, and even jello. Of course we need room for delicious desserts, such as cookies, berry cobbler, and ice cream. Finish your selections and head to your table to compare your choices with friends. You may see food on a friend’s plate that you didn’t notice at the buffet. Maybe you make a sour face to a food you dislike on someone’s plate. Perhaps you snitch food from others. Buffets often change weekly, so each visit is new.

Instead of a restaurant, you’re now walking into any library, bookstore, school, or garage sale with discount paperbacks. Maybe you decide to ‘walk’ into your Amazon account from the comfort of your home. Depending on the location, your ‘plate’ today is a library card, wallet, school pass, loose change, and most important an open mind. Everyone has different ‘tastes’ when we select books to read. There are endless ‘dishes’ from mystery, romance, science fiction, biography, contemporary fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, picture books, reference books, magazines, journals, newspapers, history, foreign language, poetry, best sellers, photography, travel, geography, audio books, religion, how-to books, and much more. There’s even subcategories for each book ‘dish’. You can ‘travel’ to different countries with books about its food, landmarks, transportation, geography, historical aspects, and more to fully ‘explore’ the location. Similar to a buffet, you don’t need to select every book. Also, you don’t need to have the same book ‘taste’ preference  as your friends. However, friends can always share ‘dish’ recommendations about which books to read next time. Of course, new books are stocked so numerous trips need to be taken to satisfy your ‘hunger’ for books to read.

Banned books week is next week, however we need to celebrate book diversity all year. Individuals should have the freedom to read anything they desire without criticism from others. I’m not going to forbid you from picking a book I dislike. Nobody should have the right for books to be removed from classrooms, schools, and libraries. Often individuals don’t even read the material before deciding if it should be banned. You never know, you may learn something new or gain an appreciation for different perspectives. We all have different book tastes, so allow others to enjoy their choices without judgement. Experience the diverse flavors of a book smorgasbord.

Dare to think for yourself.

– Voltaire

Information about banned books week:

banned books

American Library Association (ALA) information about banned books

YouTube Banned Books Channel