Armchair BEA Day Five — Children’s & Young Adult Literature

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When I was in first grade, I had a hard time learning to read.  I vaguely remember having to work extra hard to learn what the other kids were picking up.  But once I got it, I never stopped.  By second grade, I was reading on a sixth grade level.  Needless to say I became obsessed with books and would read anything I could get my hands on.  My dad would take me to the library and make me promise not to read my book in less than a day (that never worked).  I’d have gone to the library every day if I could — heck, I’d have lived there if I could!  I remember my mom having to take books from me and hide them so I wouldn’t stay up all night under the covers with a flashlight finishing it.  As a kid, we didn’t always have the funds to keep up with my reading habit, so I relied on the school and public libraries to fill in the gaps.  Still, I remember envying my cousins ever-full bookshelf.  I think this is why today I buy books before I buy anything else.  I was lucky to find a man who loves reading and our home is filled with books — and thus, both my children have picked up our habit.

So here are just a few books who made a profound imprint on my book reading soul.

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A Wrinkle in Time (series) by Madeleine L’engle

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis

The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene

Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Dealing with Dragons (series) by Patricia C. Wrede

The Babysitter’s Club series by Ann Martin

The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine

Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal

The Giver by Louis Lowry

Wayside School series by Lois Sachar

Much love,

Jess

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Special shout-out to the awesome  Sarah of Puss Reboots for the Armchair BEA

Armchair BEA Day Four — Nonfiction

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Today’s genre topic is Nonfiction.   I never was really interested in nonfiction until I took a Literary Journalism class, where we focused heavily on memoirs.  Ever since then, I’ve become obsessed with memoirs.  I think it is the fact that it is a specific point in time, something that is usually the most devastating point in a person’s lives (I tend to pick morose topics for some reason).  When I read a memoir, I feel like I’m right there with the author experiencing that moment in life with them.  It speaks to the human condition and the idea that we are connected in this life.

Here’s a few of my favorite memoirs:

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And here’s a few that I’m dying to read:

wesmoore stillpoint bloomworldsstrongest things thinaircarryyou

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Click on any to learn more.*

What are your thoughts on nonfiction?

Much love,

Jess

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Special shout-out to the awesome  Sarah of Puss Reboots for the Armchair BEA button!

Armchair BEA Day 2 — Blogger Development & Genre Fiction

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So, I’m a little late, but I’m going to be participating for the rest of the week in Armchair BEA.  If you haven’t heard BEA in the last few weeks, you probably haven’t spent much time in the book blogging world or Twitter.  SO, for those people BEA (BookExpo America) is the US’s largest annual book trade fair.  Since many bloggers can’t be there, Armchair BEA is a way for us to conference “in the comfort of our favorite chair.”  Although my chair is more of a bed, since that is my favorite place to blog these days.

Now that you’re all caught up, I’ll move on to my post.  On day two, we were asked to talk about two topics: Blogger Development and Genre Fiction.

Blogger Development

As a blogger, I am fairly new to the game.  I’m a long-time lover of books, practically inhaling everything I can get my hands on.  The last seven months have been a major change from my quote unquote normal life.  I haven’t worked a full time job, so I’ve been mom, something I’ve never ‘only’ been since I had kids.  I’ve always been student, mom, job title here, etc.  So, to fill the gaps, I added more books.  After awhile, I figured it was time to start sharing what I thought.  I’ve wanted to forever, and if not now, when?  I’ve also started working on the book I’ve told myself I was going to write practically my whole life.  Plus there is the whole 29 going on thirty thing… I think I’m trying to finish my ’20’s bucket list’ as much as I can before March comes around.

Anyways, SO I started blogging in late April.  And I can’t believe how much I love it!  It really started in February when I got active on Twitter in the ‘book world.’  I am so amazed by the relationships and camaraderie that people seem to have with one another.  Now that I’m posting my reviews, I’ve kinda got addicted to it.  My husband lamented the other day that it is becoming my whole life.  I promise my children are still getting their bathes and food!  But really, books are always at the heart of my life, so this is a natural progression for me.  Books have saved me so many times in my life and blogging has become an outlet to help deal with the struggles of life.

As for the future, I don’t know.  I’d like to say that I will continue to grow my readership, challenge myself daily in my writing, and become a more vocal participant in the book blogger world.  Right now, I’m still figuring out ‘ME’ and what I want from the blog and I what I want to put into the blog.  And one day, I hope to have my own .com and maybe even supplement my income.  But really, this isn’t about money or popularity.  It is about doing something I’m passionate about, something that moves me.  After all, if not now, when?

Genre Fiction

This next topic won’t be nearly so emo!  This is my take on genre – what draws me to one, my favorites, etc.  So with genre, it all depends on my mood.  I tend to take on the mood of the book I am reading, so at times I have to pick the book that I need to read.  If I’m feeling numb or depressed, a book about struggles (i.e. death, suicide, mental health) will help me to sift through my own emotions.

When I want to feel a connection to humanity, I usually read dystopian.  Surprisingly reading about the end of the world gives me a) hope about the human race and its endurance b) comfort in the fact that things really aren’t all that bad.  I mean, I could be living in a world where kids are murdered for fun or a girl lives in a tent to hide from aliens who look like her.  Yeah, my life is peachy-keen compared to that.

And when I’m feeling particularly in the clouds, fantasy is my poison of choice.  I love magic, dragons, fairy tales (especially those about assassins named Celaena Sardothian), and everything else that comes with fantasy.  And when fantasy meets real-world, I kind of feel Peter Pan-ish, like Never land is just around the corner.  I also like paranormal, because GHOSTS and ZOMBIES and anything else crazy that could possibly happen but hasn’t yet happened to me.  And then people with superpowers, because COME ON, you know you want to be able to read minds or fly or transport yourself to Paris.

Greek mythology has become a real favorite lately, because it is already so fascinating to study the classics, but when you see authors put a modern spin on it, there is just something beautiful about that.  Seeing those classical works re-brought to life and re-infused into our culture is pretty awesome.  I love sci-fi, because I am a nerd and I’ve always been into science and the geek-ery that is space travel and time travel and all those fun parallel/alternate universes.  Pseudo-science.  Cause you know one day we’ll find that alternate uni, and all us sci-fi geeks will say “I KNEW IT!”

Okay, so I’m getting a bit silly here at 1:30 a.m. but I think you get the point.  I’m way into different genres, for different reasons.  My last sub-genre would be romance.  I don’t usually read pure romance books, but somehow I get sucked into the love triangles of every series — choosing teams, holding my breath, laughing when they FINALLY KISS.  You get the drill.

I’m going to share my favorites of 2013 in each of these categories.  If you haven’t read these books, I HIGHLY recommend them!

Struggles/Coming of Age – Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
e&p

Dystopian – The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
5thwave

Paranormal – Die for Me series by Amy Plum
dieforme

Fantasy – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
throne

Greek Mythology – Starcrossed series by Josephine Angelini
starcrossed

Science Fiction – Across the Universe series by Beth Revis
across

So, this long, long post has been my purge to you, the readers.  I hope you learned a bit about me and my personality.  And I hope it makes you want to hang out for more in the future.

Much love,

Jess

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Special shout-out to the awesome  Sarah of Puss Reboots for the Armchair BEA button!