Posted in Library News

Banned Books Week 2016

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This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Discussing challenged books, the reasons they’ve been challenged, institutions that have decided to exclude certain books and even libraries that opt not to shelve challenged books invigorates me.There’s nothing I like better than a lively discussion, especially when books are the topic.

infographic-reasonsThis year, the focus of Banned Books Week is diversity. It seems that the rising trend is parents suggesting that specific books be removed from a school’s curriculum because they (the books) expose their children to “sensitive” subjects such as LGBT, racism, and atheism (to name a few). What cracks me up is that parents think by removing books from schools that they find to be offensive is actually going to A) Stop their children from reading them and B) Stop their children from being exposed to these topics/themes. What a book can be and should be is a starting point for an open conversation between you and your child about these topics. Unless you’re raising your kid in a bubble and off the grid, they’re going to meet at least one gay and/or lesbian and/or atheist and/or racist person in their lives. Most likely, they’re going to meet at least one a day at school. Because you know what??? These are the people that make up our society. Get a clue.

The ALA said that in 2014, 8 out of 10 challenges were made about diverse books. Last year, it was 9 out of 10. Doesn’t this say “close minded” to anyone else? Doesn’t it concern anyone else? By challenging books with these themes, I think it demonstrates a bigger problem on a smaller scale.

What really gets my goat is when parents challenge a book that they haven’t even read. That is the epitome of ignorance and stupidity. I’m referring to the ridiculousness out of Chesterfield, VA. Here’s the story if you haven’t read it. And can I just say, “Wow,”? People never cease to amaze me.

If YOU find a book offensive, don’t read it and don’t let YOUR child read it. It’s truly that simple. Don’t decide for others what is or is not offensive. It’s not your job.

Posted in off topic

Autumn

All of you frothing at the mouth for your PSL can now get it knowing I’m not scoffing at you drinking what is clearly a drink meant for autumn.

You can now start talking about the changing colors of the leaves, the cooling temperatures, and the shorter days.

You can now start planning for Halloween and other fall activities like hay rides and pumpkin farms.

I, however, will continue to wear my flip flops, shorts, tanks, and sunglasses. I went to the beach this morning just so that I could put together the collage below. This is what autumn looks like in the Sunshine State. Enjoy, safe in the knowledge that with autumn comes winter soon after. You know, snow, slush, ice, etc., etc…Oh, and one last FYI, the water is still warm and it was 90 at my house today.😉

(All said tongue in cheek with a smile on my face. Well, except for the PSL part. I meant that.)

florida-autumn-collage

Posted in Community, meme

Mid-Week Update

Just giving a brief update as to what I’m reading or planning on reading via a couple bookish memes.

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First up, What Are You Reading Wednesdays hosted by It’s a Reading Thing.

Grab the book you are currently reading and answer three questions:
1. What’s the name of your current read?
2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.
3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

Funnily enough, I started my current read last week after writing up the Shelf Control meme. It sounded so good to me, that I just couldn’t put it off another day. I’m currently reading The Affinity Bridge by George Mann. From page 34:

“This bruising suggests the victim was grabbed forcefully around the throat and struggled somewhat before finally being despatched. There’s nothing of the perpetrator left at the scene, but it certainly matches the profile of the other killings.”

Based on this passage, I wouldn’t choose to live in this world. Seems awfully dangerous. However, in general, I would love the chance to live in a steampunk version of Victorian England. It’s a time in history that I find vastly interesting and it’d be enhanced with steampunk inventions.

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My book for this week’s Shelf Control is Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.

Blurb:

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

I bought this book at Barnes & Noble somewhere around June 2015. Honestly, I bought it because it’s a Rainbow Rowell book and because it’s a signed copy. If you’re familiar with Rowell’s books, you know that Carry On was taken from her Fangirl novel. In Fangirl, the main character is obsessed with a Harry Potter-like series of books and there were quite a few passages (that I skimmed more than read.) taken from those “books” and quoted in Fangirl. So, Rowell took those fictional characters from within a fictional world and wrote Carry On as its own story. From the very first, I thought that Simon and Baz’s world sounded too much like a spin off of Harry Potter’s world and it doesn’t sound too original. As such, I really don’t have any plans on actually reading this book. It was more of a buy for collecting reasons than because I’m interested in the story. Who knows though? Someday…

 

 

Posted in Community

Top Ten Hobbies

I’m not linking up with Top Ten Tuesday this week since I’m stepping outside the box and making up my own topic for today. Today’s Top Ten at the Bookish Korner is my top ten hobbies and/or interests that have NOTHING (very close to nothing anyway) to do with books or reading. As always, they’re not in any particular order.

  1.  sims-4 Video games. I’ve been a gamer since elementary school when we played The Oregon Trail on Commodore 64s. I admit, the older I get, the more narrow my gaming focus gets, but I still enjoy the occasional MMO and The Sims 4.
  2. Journaling/Planning. This is a relatively new interest of mine. I keep both a Happy Planner and a bullet journal. My Happy Planner is the way in which I keep my days, weeks, and months organized. I keep appointments, reminders, and tasks in it. My bullet journal is where I log my thoughts, how I’m feeling, gratitude, a habit tracker, and other things. I’m very new to bullet journaling so I’m still finding my way and figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t. This is something that I love about the bullet journal, if one thing doesn’t work that month or week, I can change it the next week or month or leave it out altogether. Click on either of the links I included in this paragraph is you’re interested in finding out more about bullet journaling.

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    This is one of my earliest Happy Planner layouts in my old HP planner.
  3. Knitting and crocheting. Crocheting more than knitting though. Mistakes with crochet are so much easier to fix in my opinion. I make lots of mistakes, lol.
  4. Shelling. Collecting shells never gets old, even when you find a shell that’s like a dozen others you already have.
  5. Collecting pens. I’ve always loved stationary and the associated accessories. Recently, though, I’ve been buying pens based on their actual function rather than just how pretty they look in the package. Not that I still don’t buy pens because they’re pretty, lol. My next additions to my collection are going to be fountain pens. I’ve had them before but only because I liked how they looked and not because I actually knew how to use them or wanted to learn. Which brings us to #6.
  6. Hand lettering. Journaling/planning, pens, and hand lettering all go hand in hand. Planning came first, then the bullet journal. I joined a few groups, subscribed to some YouTube channels, found some blogs, etc. on planning/journaling and saw what other people were doing with it. I’ve always wanting to improve my penmanship and seeing the beautiful ways in which people were writing in their journals/planners, I knew I had to learn. It’s fun and a way to be creative.
  7. Sketching. Probably never something I’ll publicly share, but I enjoy sketching. I’ve never had training (if you can even call it that) outside of high school, but I’m aces at following along in books and now, YouTube videos.
  8. Writing/Blogging. Do I really need to elaborate here?
  9. Coloring. I’ve always, always, always, loved coloring. My crayolas were among my most prized possessions growing up. I was territorial over my box of 64s. Then, “adult coloring” all of a sudden became a thing and I have a fun collection of books and my Prismacolor Premier pencils are obsessively protected and I drool over them regularly.
  10. Makeup. Again, something I’ve been interested in for years. Decades really. I follow along with the trends and I’m pretty good at reproducing looks that I see others do that I like. I’d never in a million trillion years ever say that I’m even close to being on par with MUAs out there, lol. But I like to play around with makeup, different brands, colors, types, etc.
Posted in Book Review

Book Review: A Study in Scarlet Women

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Title:  A Study in Scarlet Women

Author:  Sherry Thomas

Publisher:  Penguin Publishing Group

Pages:  336

Genre:  Mystery, Retelling, Fiction

Setting:  Victorian England

Source:    Net Galley

Publication Date:  Oct 18, 2016

Blurb:

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society.  But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

From Me:

This was an entertaining read. It had a very Sherlockian feel to it with added feminist twist. Sherry Thomas was vastly clever in her retelling of Sherlock and let’s face it, this is a story that has been retold by many authors in varying ways over the decades. I would think it would be a daunting task to not only take on such a revered story but to try and put any originality to it but Thomas succeeds.

For the most part, all of the characters are well-developed, interesting, and three dimensional. The “but” in this is that I wish Thomas would have put a little more time into Charlotte’s love interest or not have given her one at all. It almost felt superfluous to the story.

I’m thrilled that this is the first book in a series. However, reading this as an ARC, I’m going to have a verrrry long wait for the next installment.

 

Posted in Community

The Ratings Pressure

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I recently watched a booktube vid on YouTube about the positive and/or negative aspects of rating books. The video is Goodreads Ratings:  Yay or Nay? by suddenlylorna, who I love and you should check out. I’ve touched on this subject in the past but from a different perspective and I’d like to revisit it today.

I rate books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and here on my blog. I do so for several reasons.

  1. A rating gives an instant and brief glimpse into my feelings about a book. This is useful to me, personally, because it helps jog my memory about how I initially felt about a book. I think this is helpful to other readers too, to give them a starting place upon which to decide if they want to read a book or not.
  2. It’s easy. I do my very best to write about my feelings on books that I’ve read but sometimes, especially if the book is older, I don’t always take the time. A rating takes the place of a drawn out review and/or journal entry.
  3. A rating is less opinionated.

I can see suddenlylorna’s point about no longer wanting to rate books on GR though. She said she feels pressure to rate a book in her mind, as she’s reading it before she even finishes a book. I’m sure other readers feel the same pressure. In my mind or in a notebook, I am taking notes on what I am liking or disliking about the book as I’m reading it. I’m not assigning it a rating though. I also don’t give in to the pressure to agree with the majority. If I rate a book, its rating is coming from my experience with the book, not other people’s. This is controversial, but I’ve seen GR users gang up together to attack authors and/or books. These so-called “influencers” can severely hurt a book’s rating. This reason alone is enough to base your opinions on a book on what you take away from it, not what other people are telling you is good or bad about a book.

Ratings and opinions are subjective. The book I reviewed on Monday was given a wide range of ratings on GR. I gave it a middle rating of 3 but I could see why other people only rated it 1 star. The things that bugged me about the book bugged them even more. That’s their opinion and it isn’t right or wrong just like my opinion isn’t right or wrong. I can think of one specific book that bugged the ever living hell out of me. I can’t, not for one millisecond, see why so many people liked it. Still, it has been made into a movie and is ever so popular. Who cares? I can live with being in the minority.

Why don’t we, as a book reading society, allow ourselves to have opinions? I remember reading someone’s blog or an article or something, where someone said it’s rude to post a negative opinion about a book. Maybe it was in a Facebook group. I think it’s actually against the rules to debate about why they (the member(s)) didn’t like a specific book. Anyway, wow! Not every book published is actually good. Not every book that has received critical acclaim is good. Not every book adapted into a movie is good.

It amazes me how much pressure we put on ourselves. Allow yourself to have an opinion on your books! Of equal importance, allow others to have opinions too even if they don’t agree with yours! The world would be a boring place if we all thought the exact same things.

Posted in Community, meme

When You’re Stumped for a Post Topic

Find a new weekly meme!! I gravitate towards memes for a couple reasons. For one, they provide a post topic with little thought on my part. I can get on board with that. Secondly, participating in memes is a great way to involve yourself in the book reading and book blogging community. If you’re looking for a meme, I suggest you check out Bookshelf Fantasies meme directory post. I found it through Google and was surprised at how many bookish memes there are out there. Wowza!

I decided to try out It’s a Reading Thing‘s meme, What Are You Reading Wednesdays.

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Rules are pretty simple:

Grab the book you are currently reading and answer three questions:
1. What’s the name of your current read?
2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.
3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

I just finished my current read last night in bed and I’m starting The Heretic’s Creed by Fiona Buckley today.

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At 34% in:

The men led the horses away and the small woman who had with such difficulty dragged the gate open turned to us.

“My name is Margaret Beale,” she said. “Whatever brought you here and in such terrible weather? Did you miss your way somehow? You must be long miles out of your proper road. You’re in luck as it chances for we’re expecting a part of five guests soon, but I can’t suppose they’re likely to arrive now, not until the weather clears.”

I have an insatiable interest in the Tudors and the Elizabethan era. That being said, being alive in those times was a dangerous thing, even more so for women. If something as innocuous today as the flu didn’t get you, childbirth oftentimes did. If time travel existed, I wouldn’t be able to resist at least visiting this world though.

I’m also giving Bookshelf Fantasies Shelf Control Meme a go this week.

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Again, rules are pretty simple:  write a blog post about a book you already own but haven’t read yet. Include when and where you got it.

This is a pretty easy meme for me since I have approximately 70 books on my bookshelves that I haven’t read yet. This doesn’t include books that I want to read but haven’t yet bought. This number also doesn’t include books my husband and/or kids have bought that I might want to read but haven’t added to my TBR. We, as a family, have bookish issues, lol.

Anyway, first up is The Affinity Bridge (#1 in the Newbury and Hobbes series) by George Mann. Published in 2009 by Tor Books.

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This cover! ::swoon::

Blurb:

Welcome to the bizarre and dangerous world of Victorian London, a city teetering on the edge of revolution. Its people are ushering in a new era of technology, dazzled each day by unfamiliar inventions. Airships soar in the skies over the city, while ground trains rumble through the streets and clockwork automatons are programmed to carry out menial tasks in the offices of lawyers, policemen, and journalists.

But beneath this shiny veneer of progress lurks a sinister side.

Queen Victoria is kept alive by a primitive life-support system, while her agents, Sir Maurice Newbury and his delectable assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes, do battle with enemies of the crown, physical and supernatural. This time Newbury and Hobbes are called to investigate the wreckage of a crashed airship and its missing automaton pilot, while attempting to solve a string of strangulations attributed to a mysterious glowing policeman, and dealing with a zombie plague that is ravaging the slums of the capital.

Get ready to follow dazzling young writer George Mann to a London unlike any you’ve ever seen and into an adventure you will never forget…

I bought this book in June 2016 from Barnes & Noble. I love steampunk. I love Victorian England. And zombie plagues?? This title received decent reviews on Goodreads. I really don’t know why I haven’t started this book yet!! Writing about it makes me want to eat it up.