Pottermore, more Potter, more reading

I haven’t joined Google+, I reluctantly signed up for Spotify, but for Pottermore, I’m willing to get up at a horrendously early hour and refresh my browser indefinitely? Yep. I know, I know! We are Potterheads, and we’re proud of it. 😉 I managed to get accounts for both Josh and myself, and we’ll just see if the site is worth the trouble. What I do know is that JK Rowling obviously has a brilliant marketing strategist. ~ahem~

With or without Pottermore, things are still All Harry Potter All The Time around here. We’ve read all the books and seen all the movies, and now Josh is re-reading them. He’s planning to be Harry for Halloween, again. We discuss storylines, and theories, and how we would have written things differently if we were in charge. He looks for details he missed in the first read and we talk about in what ways the books differ from the movies, for good and bad. I love what this series has done for Josh’s willingness to read, ability to read, and his constant need to read more, more, more. He was always a good reader before, but this year, he became a became a real, pick-up-a-book-on-his-own-and-read-for-hours-at-a-time READER. The one thing he really wanted in his new bedroom – a comfy reading nook. ~love it~

I am constantly on the lookout for other books to fuel his reading bug. He particularly likes scifi but enjoys mysteries too. Series books are a must – he’ll read stand-alones but much prefers stories that go on and on. These are a few series and authors he’s read recently that we highly recommend:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (We’re definitly going to check out his other 2 series, the Heroes of Olympus, and the Kane Chronicles.)

The 39 Clues by various authors (Fabulous for those who like both mysteries and history. Josh can’t wait for book 12!)

How to Train Your Dragon (Yes this was a not so great movie, but a fabulous series, especially for readers new to sci-fantasy)

Guardians of Ga’hoole by Kathryn Lasky (We only read the first four and Josh grew out of them before we realized there were many more.)

Swindle by Gordon Korman (He is a seriously prolific author and has some other series we’re going to check out.)

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (Again, a mediocre movie but really fabulous books.)

The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris D’Lacey (We just finished the first book The Fire Within, and Josh is chomping at the bit to go back to the library for the next couple.)

Some series that we’ve heard great things about and plan to start soon:

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Do any of you have recommendations for similar books?

We’ve already been through all of the Narnia books, The Wrinkle in Time books, everything Roald Dahl ever wrote, almost everything Beverly Cleary ever wrote, and as many boy classics like How to Eat Fried Worms and Frecklejuice that I could find. Sheesh. I’m running out of ideas, someone give me some!

ps. While I’m waiting, I’ll be looking into how to officially change my name to my Pottermore nickname  – hollyfirebolt. I’m sure you can get used to calling me that, right?

pss. Did any of you also get into Pottermore? Or am I the only crazy one here??

psss. Honest to god I made him do a math sheet this morning because I started to wonder if I’m letting him read too much. I am crazy.

book gluttony

Have any of you ever been to Booking Through Thursday? It’s a cute unassuming little blog with a ton of readers and every week they ask a new question for you to answer on your own blog, or in their comments. I’ve never participated but I’ve been reading for a long time. I think it’s fun to get a glimpse into other people’s reading habits, as much as into their gardens! 😉 Yep, I’m nosy.

This week’s question made me laugh:

Book Gluttony! Are your eyes bigger than your book belly? Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them? Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself? Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?

Heh. I laughed because (duh!) I have a book problem, as in a serious addiction. I am in fact a book glutton.

I rarely, very, rarely buy new books, but I have a thing for used bookstores, yard sales, flea markets, book swaps, anywhere I can get books cheap. My parent’s house is the cheapest…free!…and with a fantastic selection…gee, I wonder where I picked up this habit eh? Ahem – hello Mom & Pop???

It doesn’t help that I hate getting rid of books either. I like my books, I like to look at my books, I like to pick them up and remember reading them. If I can’t remember much, or if I loved it particularly well, I read it again.

My bookshelves are stuffed, just the way I like them. I keep areas set aside just for all the books I’ve picked up along the way that I haven’t read yet. When I’m in a mood for a particular type; mystery or scifi, history, or yes, even romance, I know I have something sitting there, just waiting for me to pick it up.

I have a pile by my bed, a pile on my desk, a pile next to the couch. I have massive built in book shelves in the basement that my darling husband (and enabler) put in for me. Well, okay, he’s not so much of an enabler as a co-glutton. But don’t tell him I said so.

I’m turning my kid into a fellow book lover too. He’s got heaps of them in his bedroom. Even though we’ve culled the baby books they still don’t all fit on his bookshelf. I always find a mountain of books on the floor next to his bunk bed where he drops them before he turns off the light each night. He loves to troll the used bookstore with me, and I don’t think I’ve ever said no to him when he’s asked for a book. It’s not the worst way I could be spoiling him, right?

This is one addiction I don’t plan to change!

CPSIA insanity

Okay by now you’ve all heard about CPSIA and it’s effect on the handmade toy industry and the small businesses that will suffer under it. I haven’t discussed it here because so many others have said it all, and better than I ever could.

But there is an aspect of it that I just heard about this morning and it is completely blowing my mind. (Thank you to Minnemom for the link!) For those of you who won’t click links, I’m reprinting the entire press release here:

Contact: Jenni Terry
ALA Washington Office

For Immediate Release
January 26, 2009

ALA Files Comments, Urges CPSC To Exempt Libraries from Regulation Under Consumer Product Safety Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Library Association (ALA) today filed comments with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), urging the commission to issue notification confirming that the new lead limits under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSIA) do not apply to library books and related materials.

Under the CPSIA, which was passed by Congress in August, children’s products are required to undergo stringent testing for lead and phthalates. Currently, the General Counsel of the CPSC  is interpreting the law  to  apply to ordinary, paper-based books for children  12  years of age or younger, so that all such books and product would have to be tested for lead content.  Therefore, public, school, academic and museum libraries would be required either to remove all their children’s books or ban all children under 12 from visiting the facilities as of February 10.

The ALA’s comments explain that the new CPSIA standards applicable to children’s products should not apply to library books on library shelves prior to February 10.  Since a library’s books are neither “produced” nor “distributed” by the library, the law should not apply to library books.  At this point, however, the CPSC has indicated that the law will apply to libraries.

Additionally, the ALA’s comments reaffirm the comprehensive evidentiary support the publishing community has supplied the Commission that children’s books do not present any of the health or safety risks to children that the law aims to address. This evidence provides an ample basis for CPSC to exercise its regulatory authority to determine that books inherently satisfy the new lead standards.

Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA Washington Office, said it is critical the CPSC take these comments into consideration.

“If the commission does not correct their ruling to include library books under the regulation of the Consumer Product Safety Act, communities and schools across the country are going to be shocked and outraged on February 10,” Sheketoff said.

“While we understand the process the CPSC must carry out in order to ensure this law is properly enforced and that the safety of our nation’s children is protected, we believe the commission is wasting time and resources by zeroing in on book

The ALA’s letter to the CPSC can be viewed here

Did it blow your mind too? When I first read it I almost thought it was a joke or a misunderstanding. It is neither, it is real. This needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed now.

the other book list

Lest you all think I’m pretentious after seeing my list of must read books, today I will give you my list of favorite books/series that are not classics, that I don’t think everyone should read, and that I’m kinda embarrassed to admit to loving. But hey, is there anything that makes a better blog post than a little embarrassment? I think not!

You know that other list was a lot of books that I had to read for high school and college, or books that shaped me as a child. Most of them I haven’t picked up in a long time. I love them, and I would re-read them all anytime, however, my reading choices these days are, shall we say, a little less intellectual.

I think I started reading pulp regularly about 8 or 9 years ago. I can’t blame the boy since he’s only 5, I blame the job I was in at the time. I worked for a group of history magazines as a photo editor. I had to read the articles and find the appropriate pictures for publication. When I say I had to read the articles, I mean I had to read and understand them. Some of these were deep, theoretical essays, using a whole new (to me) military style language. Some were battle dissections, and I had to be sure I had the right units and insignia represented at all times. My brain was overflowing with new, difficult material all the time. Information overload.

The last thing I wanted to do when I got home at night was read yet more historical analysis, or even grand literature, or really, pretty much anything that made me think very hard.

I still read voraciously, but I read a ton of trash. I went through my historical romance phase, my chick lit phase, my crappy scifi phase, my vampire phase, and my mystery phase. Don’t tell me you haven’t done this too! Please? Well, okay, except for my English Teacher sister who never ever reads crap. I’ve tried to bring her over to the dark side and she still likes reading Beowulf better.

Anyway! Long story to rationalize my terrible reading habits, eh? Oh, the guilt! The wasted hours! Tough. I love my junk fiction and I’m not going to give it up.

So here is my list of my favorite fiction novels/series (in no particular order) that most of you will laugh at. Unless you secretly read like me and haven’t admitted it yet. (Please tell me I’m not alone!)

  1. The Riftwar Saga – Raymond Feist. One of these books, Magician was included in my first list, but it’s really not complete without the full trilogy. This is my favorite series of books, ever.
  2. The Vampire Chronicles – Anne Rice. Now technically this series is something like 12 books long now, but I only really get into the first four originals.
  3. The MacGregor Series – Nora Roberts. I love Nora Roberts. Yes, these are romance novels, don’t judge me. There aren’t many romance authors I will still read, but she is one of them. I think I’ve read everything she’s written and I own most of them, but the MacGregor books are my all time favorites.
  4. Confessions of a Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella. I laughed so hard at this book I had to do kegels. I didn’t particularly like the sequels, but definitely adored this one.
  5. Stephanie Plum Series – Janet Evanovich. These are laugh out loud mysteries about a chick bounty hunter. DH always knows I’m reading one of these (there’s 14 so far) when he finds me laughing hysterically to myself.
  6. Ill Wind – Rachel Caine. The first book of the Weather Warden series, and my favorite of the bunch. Smart, sexy and supernatural.
  7. Hannah Swenson Mysteries – Joanne Fluke. Mix cookies and murder and sugar sweet characters and you have this series. Kinda silly but I can’t help how much I enjoy them!
  8. Eye of the World – Robert Jordan. First book in the Wheel of Time science fantasy series. Seriously wordy but very entertaining. The later books in series bog down a bit in the elaborate storylines, but this first one was fantastic.
  9. Manhunting – Jennifer Crusie. I didn’t know which one of Crusies’s novels to pick so I picked her first one. I’m hooked, her writing is funny and clever and her characters are adorable.
  10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams. Well if it didn’t make it onto the other list, it definitely had to be here! Love it. Love it. Love it. Thank you DH for introducing it to me way back when we first met. If you’ve never had a chance to hear it as a book on tape, do it. It is fantastic to listen to as much as it is to read.

I’m looking back at this list and it occurs to me that I seem to really like books in series. I think I gravitate toward them because when I find characters I love, I don’t ever want the story to end!

Okay now, your turn. What do you really like to read? Recommend something good for me in comments. Obviously I like all genres and I need something new to try!

10 must read books

I love books, (you know I love books!) so when I was tagged by my friend Erin for the 10 Books You Must Read Before You Die Meme I knew I had to take my time and really think about it. I admit I’m getting kind of meme’d out, but I really like this one!

Here’s my list of the 10 books I think are must reads, in no particular order:

Okay, that was harder than I thought it would be! It would have been easier to have a list of twenty – there’s so many books I wanted to put here like Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide, Burnett’s The Secret Garden and Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago but they didn’t make the final cut!

Rather than tag anyone, I’m going to let you decide if you want to do this meme! So what are the 10 (or 20!) best books you’ve ever read?

Hey, while we’re talking books, are you on GoodReads yet?

have you heard about Schuyler?

Back at Christmas I received a few of books that I had really really wanted. Lucky for me my MIL always checks my Amazon Wishlist when she buys me presents! But then, as much as I wanted to read them, I couldn’t focus and I just set them aside and kept on reading blogs instead. Then I started my own blog. After a few months I realized I had not read a real book in ages, and that is so very unlike me. I resolved to set the computer aside, at least a little bit. One of those Christmas books was at the top of my to do list: Schuyler’s Monster: A Father’s Journey with His Wordless Daughter.

I never should have waited so long to pick it up, because once I did, I couldn’t put it down. It made me laugh, it made me cry (a lot), and it made me fall in love with Schuyler all over again. The writing is so beautiful and so is she, that you just can’t help it.

See, I’ve been reading Robert Rummel-Hudson’s blog about Schuyler for about 2 years now and it’s one of the first feeds I check to see if it’s been updated, so I already knew the gist of the story. It’s different though, to read bits and pieces here and there, versus reading it all at once on real *gasp* paper, printed with real *gasp* ink.

If you’ve read either the book or the blog, then you already know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’ve never seen either, you should, but I warn you, once you start, you’ll be hooked. I suggest you start here, then here, then just add his feed to your reader. And, you know, go get the book.

Cross-posted at my new review site, Catnip’s Critiques.

books, books, and eh

I just tried to write a post about why I don’t read as many books as I used to. The basic premise was that I just don’t have the same attention span since I’ve been a mother as I did when I was younger. Problem is, I got bored writing it. See? Lack of focus! <Sigh.> Anyway. I’ve really been trying hard to read more books. (As opposed to all the other brainless crap I do.) I’ve got a stack waiting for me to dive it. Let’s just see if I can unplug more often so I can.

Maybe that’ll be my Earth Day pledge. Turn off the TV, put the computer to sleep, and pick up a novel.

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