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When Paper Hits The Road ( a moment of heartbreak)

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My heart lays heavy.

Recently I was asked if I would be interested in being a part of a new group of readers in the area that would preview books to see that they are appropriate for middle grade and teenage children.  I liked the thought of that, I have done some of this proofing for friends in the past.  As the information unfolded I discovered that this group would work at having books that they decided were deemed unsatisfactory for young eyes to be removed from the schools.

:shock:

Visions of book burning swam before my eyes.  This is when I realized there is a difference between book lovers, lovers of the written word – and readers.

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There was a particular book that was already being sought out for removal I was told.  A book filled with inappropriate language. I started to think what YA book could have caused such a stir… was it Hunger Games, Twilight, certainly we have moved beyond Harry Potter by now….

and then I was told the book’s title,

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

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At this point my heart fell.  Steinbeck.  A Classic. Banned Books. Censorship.

I called a friend, a fellow book lover and someone I know who takes great care with what she has her children read (ages 7 – 14) to ask her thoughts on this and she was shocked.  She said what I needed to hear at that moment, that it is up to us as parents of our younger children to help them choose books and to help them understand when a book may not be a fit for them due to language, sexual content…  or EVEN why a book was written that way – perhaps it was the time period…. The answer is not to take the books away…

the answer is not censorship.

Of course, Of Mice and Men is not new to this battle.  Published in 1937, this book is one of the most challenged books of the 21st century due to the vulgarity,offensive, and racist language  within its pages.   And while I am not a fan of the language – the story does cover such topics as friendship and bullying – BULLYING. A topic that is huge today.

Please chime in on this one.  I would love to know your thoughts. 

What Makes a Good Book – Book Discussion Worthy?

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Books.  There are great books out there.  As readers, we are quite familiar with these books.  Perhaps they are beautifully written and each word creates a full picture in your mind of the scene, the scents, the heat (or lack there of) in a room.  They can create great emotions – from joy to pain; laughter to anger.  (Come on, admit it – haven’t you ever thrown a book down on a table or across a room because of the emotion it evoked?  No?  Just me?  Well… this is awkward…. :razz: )

My question I present today is what types of books lead to great book discussions?  Not all great reads make for great discussion.  I know personally from my own book club experiences, some are really hard to group review other than just opening the room up to discussion.  No hot topic questions come to mind… no great emotion.  The book may be perfectly fine, there’s just really not much to say.  :shock:

I love books that stretch us.  That make us think differently.  They cause a difference in opinions within the group – love or hate the protagonist; lets talk about it.  Hot topics of today and/or in the past… lets discuss. 

SO I toss this question out to you.  Many of us are in book clubs or book discussion groups. 

When choosing a book that you think would be great to bring to the group to read, what do you look for within that book? 

Do you look for something in the synopsis that you think will work great for a group discussion, or is that not a part of it? 

When you select a book for a reading discussion have you already read it? 

 

I am excited to hear what your group does. :)

What Book Are You Afraid Of?

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There are different ways to be afraid of a book.  The most common way to think of it is obviously, the scary ones… the ones that you feel may just be too dark, too frightening, or perhaps on a topic that kind of freaks you out… like lets say…. CLOWNS.

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GAH!

But there are also other ways to be afraid of a book and this is the type I am talking about today.  It could be that final book in a series that you want to read, but at the same time you don’t want to end… don’t want to set free that character, or perhaps really… even know what will happen. 

It could also be, as in my case…. a book you are afraid to read because you have put said author up so high on the pedestal from previous books they have written that you LOVE and you are afraid that this new book may just show you they are human after all.

My book that I am afraid to read is:

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If you know me as the BIG HARRY POTTER fan dork that I am… then you may understand why.  I thinking JK Rowling is brilliant.  Every time I re-read a Potter book or an article on the books – I catch something new and then I love her writing even more.  It’s kind of like people who do not want to go to a funeral of a friend because they want to remember them as they were….  and no I am not comparing Casual Vacancy to a funeral.  :razz:

I am not saying I will NEVER read Casual Vacancy.  It is JK Rowling after all.  I do own the book, I pre ordered it before release and it has sat on my shelf in the “R’s” ever since.  I will get there…. someday.  I just need time. 

Is there a book that you are afraid to read?  Please share your thoughts here! 

Readers! I Need Your Help With A Blind Date! ;) w/ giveaway!

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Hi everyone!  For February at our local library we are putting up a Blind Date Display.  I am pretty excited about the concept, which is to take people out of their comfort reading zone and try a new genre or a new author.  We will have a whole display up of books wrapped in brown paper with only the scan code uncovered for check out.  Other than that you have no idea what you are checking out to read.  We will put a little “singles ad” on the outside of each book so they have a little idea about who they will be dating…. for instance:

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If this book were wrapped up and on the shelf the singles ad may read… “I am overly sweet and predictable, but people tend to love those qualities about me.”

I am VERY excited about this!

This afternoon I will be going in and setting up the window at the library to let people know about this and encourage them from February 1st – 15th to come in and check out a blind date.  :)  Once they return the “date” they will have an opportunity to the end of February to fill out a little “Rate Your Date” survey with fun questions like, “Would you date this author again?”  “How was your date as a whole, did you find you had things in common? ”  Stuff like that.

Here is where YOU come in. :)

I am working on compiling a list of books for the library staff that would make for great dates.  As we will be pulling these books off the shelf we do not want to use the uber popular books that are hot right now, but instead books that may expand the reader.  You know, the favorites of your past.  A book that might make the reader, “Go wow! I have truly been missing out!”

My challenge to you that I hope you will accept is to leave in the comments titles of books that you think would fit this “blind date” event.   I will enter each person who responds with a book title between now and January 17th into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.  IF you can also give me a fun singles ad to go with the book you suggest you will receive two entries. :D  We want to have enough books to keep filling the shelf we set up as they are checked out.  I will be encouraging my book club to go in and give it a try as well.  :)

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So there it is. I was working on ideas at home and then thought, who better than to ask the readers what books would make for great blind dates? 

Thanks in advance!  I so look forward to what books you will come up with!

Where Were You When Dumbledore Died?

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It was book 6, The Half Blood Prince; so much was going on… Sirius had died,the Order of The Phoenix was a mess, and Dumbledore had taken Harry under his protective wing, sharing secrets of Tom Riddle.  This is the book where we learn of the Horcrux’s.  And this is the book… when Dumbledore dies and my heart breaks a little….forever.

It would take me 8 years before I realized this was my favorite book of the series.

~Sheila

I dont know why but this question has been in my head for a few weeks now and finally has made it to the blog.  It is one of those pivotal fiction moments that is embedded in me forever.  

I was at the YMCA on the treadmill.  I had just read through the whole chapter of Harry and Dumbledore searching for a horcrux and they had just made it back to Hogwarts, Dumbledore being in a weakened state.  It is Malfoy who approaches Dumbledore first and Harry is hiding below the staircase where he can see it all as it plays out.  Soon Belatrix arrives with her sister and they are shouting at Malfoy to do it, just kill him… but here is where you see that Malfoy is not as evil and dark as he wished he was.  It is then that Snape comes up the stairs quietly past Harry and you think that Snape will save the day….  but he doesn’t.  He instead kills Dumbledore and the pages become a massive blur of smear as I try to keep reading and understanding believing it must be a joke… it has to be really great magic …. it can’t be….

but it is.

That July day in 2005 I was at the YMCA on a treadmill with tears rolling down my face reading a big hard cover book that was hard to hold on the treadmill but it didn’t matter.

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It is amazing that even as I write this I have to pause and take a deep breath because it all comes rushing back.

I write this post because much like the loss of a beloved relative or friend or famous actor, we tend to remember forever where we were when we first heard… first knew… it amazes me that in a really incredible read, that can happen as well.

For you maybe it wasn’t the death of Dumbledore… maybe there was another beloved character out there that even when you think of them today tears can come forward or your heart takes that little extra beat of sorrow. 

I would love to know who that character was for you and from what book.  Sure, for me there have been others, but Dumbledore was the one that really taught us all lessons (not only the students) through the years of the books leading up to book 6.  I still hold his wisdom true today and occasionally quote him the way some would quote Yoda. ;)

Please add in the comments either the answer to the BIG question, where were you when Dumbledore died, or where you were when that character you loved and cherished ceased to be.

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*Oh and just in case anyone calls “Spoiler alert” to my description of the death scene…. I am sorry but…. REALLY?  I think the statute of limitations on spoilers in a book like this ran out a long time ago.  If you have not read this or any of the Harry Potter books you are truly missing out on the books that changed fantasy writing forever. 

2013 – A Look Back… The Books, The Rides, and all the craziness in between

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Holy smokes… where did the time go?  Here we are creeping up on 2014 at break neck speed and I need a moment to look back over the year that is… 2013.

Join me please for a walk through of 2013… the best moments (maybe a couple “UGH” ones) … shall we begin?

January

Best books of the month:

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The Midwives Tale by Sam Thomas

The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker

It was also the first 5k of the year which was an obstacle course called The Ice Man

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February

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Eat and Run by Scott Jurek

 

March

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Six Years by Harlan Coben (rumors are this one could be a movie!)

 

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7K run for St Patricks Day… it was like 20 below zero – SOOOOO COLD!

 

April

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The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

May

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While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

Return To Sullivan Island by Dorothea Benton Frank

June

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Quiet by Susan Cain

The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

July

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Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

 

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Bookies Queen Event!

Rescuing Mater… a year later

 

August

Wine and Words – 1st Annual Brainerd book event

8 posts.  I had 8 posts in August.  WOW.  An all time low.  I had the camp bike ride, then a week of working at the camp, then a mud run, then Wine and Words.I guess that explains August.  I read…. nothing. 

September

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The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

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A little time in a police car

October

Yes I read, but nothing I would consider “the best of”

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November

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The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty

City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City Of Glass by Cassandra Clare

City Of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

 

Mmmm hmmm…. had a bit of a Cassandra Clare episode.  ;)

 

December

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

City Of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

I read a lot of older titles this year.  And I really lacked in the summer months.  I am hoping 2014 will be a fresh start.  I am really looking forward to the New Year :D

First Book Of The Year 2014

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Every year I get excited about what will be that first book that I will be chatting about going into the new year.  I make a big deal out of picking the book.  It is usually a book I have wanted to read for awhile and for whatever reason, I just have not been able to make the time to read it.

This year I would love for you to join me in this tradition of picking the book that you will be reading into the new year.  It can be a coveted book that you have been waiting to read, a guilty pleasure book, a re-read of a favorite that you want to explore once again… whatever you want.

Our posts of what we are reading will go live on January 1st.  You do not need to be done with the book on January 1st, just reading it on January 1st and yes, you can start on the 31st and be reading into the New Year.  I would like to link up all your posts here on the 1st as well so others can visit you and cheer you on!  If you are interested, please feel out the short form below.

Morning Meanderings… Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates the day of the turkey!  :D  This morning I have one turkey in the oven, another will go in later after the pies.  I am on my way in mere minutes to the Baxter Turkey Run, with my friends Amy and Laura and my son Justin.  Its crazy I know… long johns and running pants… a hat and two pairs of gloves but it will be great :D

Later this morning both boys will be over and we will bake and play board games, snack on meats and cheeses and dips and watch movies.  We will eat turkey and stuffing and salad and bread and no doubt way too much of everything. Its low key, low maintenance and I love it.

To you and yours this holiday weekend.  May we all remember all we have to be thankful for.  Be safe and know you are loved. :)

Retrieving My Readers

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Many moons ago (ok, 4+ years…) I started this little book review site called Book Journey.  It was a lot of fun to get going and every reader comment was so exciting to see in my email.  In those beginning years I was able to not only comment back to very comment given me, but if they were fellow bloggers I went and visited their blog as well.  This really was the start to my readership and my daily visitor stats grew.

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It really was a lot of fun to book chat every day with those I came to “know” through this blog.  I would learn their name, and remember things they posted so I could comment about their dog, something going on in their life, or a particular book we both enjoyed.  It was like a whole group of friends out there in the world that I may or may not ever meet face to face and this was pretty cool.

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The “It’s Monday What Are You Reading” meme opened blogesphere doors for me with new visitors and I made sure that when they stopped in, this blog was something they would want to come back to. I kept my sidebars current and my reviews frequent.  I posted about bookish topics, I proposed questions about e readers, publishing trends, and one of my person favorites… what to do when authors attack.  I engaged my readers in conversations with me and with each other.

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As time went on, I even wrote for a few Book Reviewer events on the topic of bringing in readers and keeping them.  I answered questions and wrote posts about blog traffic.  Each day I came home from work and would quickly check my email to see who had commented on my review or my meandering, and I would respond.  I set a goal to visit 20 blogs a day and maintained it…

and then one day…

I didn’t.

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Life became…. busy.  Between work, writing, working out, reading, and everything else I crammed into a day… for the past 9 months… this blog has been fairly quiet with about one or two posts a week.  I stopped responding to comments.  I found no time to go and visit other book blogs. I rarely requested a book for review or accepted a review offer. The Monday What Are You Reading post became a”had to” instead of something I wanted to do; and yes, for a while I was wondering if I had lost my love for blogging.

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I am not sure what, but something made me hold on.  I enjoyed and still enjoy my online friends.  I knew I was not ready to give that up.  I wanted to hang on to see if after the busy time of summer and fall if I would be able to retrieve some of this bloggers life I love…

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and I am glad I did.

Over the past few weeks I have started updating some of my page links here.  I started writing the reviews that have backed up in my mind like a massive car pile up on a highway.  I started making time to visit the blogs I enjoy reading and hope they did not die of shock when they seen a comment from me.  For the first time in probably over a year, I visited all the blogs that linked to this weeks Monday What Are You Reading, something I used to love to do – and loved doing it again. 

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What I guess I am trying to say is, I am back. :D  I know I do not have to go to the extreme in which I once blogged… but I truly am getting that desire to write posts again. For the first time in a while when something funny or odd happens to me I think, that would be a great Morning Meandering post. (It has been a while since I have thought in “posts”).

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I am glad it is not over for me as I love this life of reviewing and chatting up books – one of my FAVORITE all time topics.  This post was mainly to let you know that readers, I hope you are still around and I hope you pop in once in awhile and say hi and chat books with me.  My promise to you is:

1.  I will always write honest book reviews (you get my real thoughts here :D )

2.  I will occasionally be snarky, but never mean.

3.  I will share with you the craziness of the life of a want to be writer, half marathon training, book loving, adventure seeking, constantly on the go, audio book addicted, frequently fails but gets back up again, rescue dog adopting, gets up too early and stays up too late girl.  

Welcome to Book Journey.  Hope to see you around the blogs. :razz:

Why Do We Choose The Books We Do?

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Three weeks ago was our Brainerd Library sale.  Normally I post much quicker on my treasures, but it was a busy time and honestly, I had not even opened the bags until I went to take these pictures today.  Prior to opening the bags – I could not have named more than 5 of the books I had in them.  I knew I had some old Nancy Drew, but that was about it.  Opening them reminded me all over again why I chose to bring them home.

I choose books for many reasons.  I choose because of covers and titles.  When I go the library sale I can not resist a lovely eye-catching huge hard cover read for 50 cents ( you will see a few of those here).  I like picking up books that I LOVED for someone else to enjoy.  I look for authors I have enjoyed, and I pick up books that I have listened to on audio and really enjoyed, like Joshilyn Jackson’s A Grown Up Kind Of Pretty and HIllary Mantell’s Wolf Hall. 

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I look for books I have really wanted to read like The Year Of Living Biblically and Mansfield Park.

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Or I have been told that they are AMAZING like Blind Your Ponies .

And all together they compile the books that were in the bags. :D

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How do you choose the books you read? 

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