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 — Ethics

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Today’s second Armchair BEA topic is ethics in blogging.  I’ve already read a ton of posts centering on plagiarism.  As an English teacher, I’m just going to sum it up by saying: DON’T PLAGIARIZE.  Don’t steal someone’s words.  Don’t copy a URL on pictures (download and upload on your blog’s server) and credit all works of art that you can to the author/artist.

The ethics I want to talk about is the responsibility a  blogger has to their review readers, the authors, and anyone else involved in the book making and book buying process.  I can say from my point of view, book blogging is an EXCELLENT way to promote and sell books.  I’ve bought so many books due to the reviews of others.

The responsibility then becomes transparency and honesty.  It isn’t fair to anyone to boost a book (give it a better review than you really felt) or sink a book (give it lower review than it really deserves).  It isn’t fair to the authors and publishers who work hard to write, promote and sell those books.  And it certainly isn’t fair to the readers.  I would hate for a less than honest review of mine to cause someone to buy a book they didn’t like.  Now obviously my opinion is going to be different than yours, and what I may like you may hate.  But if I deceive you, that just isn’t fair.

This is where the transparency comes in.  You can’t merely offer a “I didn’t like it” or a low review.  No one knows WHY you felt that way, and they can’t use that to gauge their own experience.  I can’t tell you how many times a well-written one star review has actually convinced me to read a book.  So don’t be afraid to make your true feelings known.  That said, you should also respect the effort that went into the world — criticism can be constructive without being vicious.

On the flip side, it is also important to not boast about a book you really didn’t like, especially if you received it from the publisher as an ARC or a galley.  They aren’t giving you that book to be an a PR rep — they want real honest opinions.  That’s why you add (or should!) the disclosure statement about being given the book in return for an honest review.  I know it can be daunting in this time of social media to write something that the author may end up reading.  But I believe if it is written constructively, it is the right thing to do.

Those are my beliefs.  They may not be yours.  That’s the thing about ethics and moral compasses — they are different for everyone.  My perspective as a reader is different from someone who has been in the professional side of books for years.  And that’s okay!  But hopefully, my POV on this topic will help keep me honest and open for my readers.

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:

running yearofmagicalthinking twokisses lookme heartbreakingwork girlinterrupted exactboyalone nightintothewildemergence

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!