Do you book club?
When I lived in Salt Lake City I was super busy working full-time and going to school full-time (it was an insane time-period to say the least and it lasted about four years) but I was able to join a YA book club that I enjoyed so much! After all my English classes (I got my BA in English Literature) where I was required to read boring, heavy, and/or depressing novels that I didn’t get to choose, it was so fabulous to read something that was quick and fun (although some of the titles chosen were tough and emotionally charged). Since moving to Phoenix I realized that I was missing that discussion, laughter, and enjoyment of a book club (not to mention the food always associated with a good book club). So I decided to fix that by starting up a book club and we met for the first time this past week. While I am not usually a huge fan of dystopian novels I decided we should start of by reading Divergent by Veronica Roth. I also thought it would be a good novel to start with since the movie comes out in March.
We chatted about books, hot men, how much I love Sean Connery (I would pay that man money to read me tax forms…but I digress) and I was so glad I finally did what I had been talking about for so many months. What made me even happier about this was having several friends in the club tell me that they haven’t read anything for awhile but flew through the entire Divergent series. I love it that they are reading again! In my mind the whole point of a book club is to get people reading and expose yourself to books you might not otherwise pick up.
I have thought about starting on online book club but am unsure if a) people would actually come and b) what technology would be the best way to go about doing a book club. But what do you think readers? Do you have a local book club you belong to? Do you like the idea of an online book club? Let me know what you think!
I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas and received lots of new books to read. Sadly, I don’t receive books as gifts any more. Is that a gasp I hear from you?! Well, I used to receive books, mostly from my mother who has since passed away but now I get the same statement from everyone “I don’t know what you have already read so I got you a gift card to buy books.” Don’t get me wrong, I adore receiving gift cards so I can make my ridiculous to-be-read pile on my Kindle even larger. There is something so delicious about being able to log on and buy two or three books at a time without feeling guilty (okay, so I don’t really feel guilty I just worry the hubby is going to get annoyed and give that “you are ridiculous Jessica and have a serious problem that I will put up with for the rest of our marriage” look). Looking at the pretty new unread books on the Kindle just makes me warm and fuzzy all over but, this is a big but, it is not the same as receiving a book as a gift. Receiving a book as a gift is a multi-layer experience for me, first, there is knowing it is a wrapped book in my hands, a book that I have no idea what it is, all wrapped in shiny paper, tempting me to figure out what it is. Second, there is receiving a book from someone else, knowing that either they loved it and care enough about me to share that love with me or it is a book they think I will enjoy. I think sharing a book is a very personal event, it is almost like sharing your baby because what if they don’t like it? What if they criticize your baby? I realize that it can be tough to share and even harder to share ebooks (although ebook providers have made this easy but it can be intimidating to the non-techie). While I love receiving print books either as a gift or in the mail I do prefer reading ebooks, especially now that I have a little one, it is SOOO much easier to balance my kindle in my hand while rocking him or feeding him (I don’t know how all you mommies did it before ebooks). I know that sounds like a problem, here I am complaining about not receiving print books and yet I am going off about preferring to read ebooks, it is a problem but I have decided I am okay with this dichotomy in my life.
As a result of my loving receiving books I have become the “book” aunt to my nieces and nephews, they know that any gift they receive from me will be a book I loved when I was their age. I LOVE discussing books with them, what did they love, what did they hate, what impacted them, children are so great about telling you exactly what they think about the book in such a free way that I am never offended if they don’t like the book I gave them. This year was fun for me because I got to pick out books for my new little guy. I realize that four months old is a little young for some books but I knew he was going to receive toys and clothes from the grandparents so I decided that most of the gifts from the hubby and me were going to be books. It was great! I loved mentally debating with myself over the merits of the Llama Llama series verses The Brown Bear finally I decided to go with some of my favorite books from when I was a child (and my siblings favorite, not a single title remains at my parents’ house, all of them mysteriously walking out the door after one of us had come to visit). The author and illustrator of these great books is Bill Peet, an animator at Disney for numerous years, his illustrations are engaging but it is his use of words and imagination that I love. He didn’t dumb books down for children but instead used all the fabulous words available to him to create fabulous stories, exciting adventures and heartwarming messages. I can’t wait to start sharing them with my little guy (and I may have read all of them before wrapping them, deliciously savoring each one like a long lost friend). I hope your Christmas was filled with lovely books and fabulous words.
There are many things that I am grateful for, too many to post all of them here. But I do want to say how grateful I am for the written word, its ability to inspire and uplift, to make laugh, but most especially its ability to take me to far off places and times, allowing me to experience the world through new eyes. I am grateful for authors who are willing to spend hours slaving away to write their story and then having the courage to take that baby (the novel) and send it out into the world so people like me dissect it, stating what we like and don’t like. I am also grateful to have an ereader to keep all the many novels in (never more so then now that I have a little one, it is SOOO much easier to read one-handed with my Kindle then to try and read a paperback novel while holding him, how did you moms do it before ereaders?). Finally, I am grateful for all of you readers of my little site, without you I wouldn’t be able to do what I do (which is to discuss all things bookish). So thank you for reading and for being patient for the last year while I dealt with life stuff and not giving up on me.
From all of us here at Novel Reaction we wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!
Here in America it is Thanksgiving week. For me this means time spent eating way too much yummy food (completely ignoring the fact that I have several pounds left to lose before I will be able to fully fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes), time spent with the family (love to see them and love to leave them after a couple of days) and time spent in the car traveling to see the family. For me, this also means some down-time where I get to tackle some of my ridiculous TBR pile (so much to read, so little time). So I thought I would share with all of you some (notice I say some and not all) of the books I am hoping to read this coming week.
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.
Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
They thought they had escaped. They were wrong.
After fleeing the Branch with Sam, Cas, and Nick, Anna is trying to make sense of the memories resurfacing from her old life. At the same time, she’s learning how to survive in hiding, following Sam’s rules: Don’t draw attention to yourself. Always carry a weapon. Know your surroundings. Watch your back.
THE GHOST NEXT DOOR
When destiny takes a hand…
You’ve got to hold on tight.
When single mom Elizabeth Jennings gets sent to a new town to revamp its weekly paper, she resists. Her daughter Claire is just fifteen, and has recently started high school. But Elizabeth’s boss insists, so the two pack up and move to the tiny Virginia town, which isn’t even on most maps. Their luck goes from bad to worse when they discover the house Elizabeth rented online cozies up to an abandoned house. When creepy things start occurring next door, Elizabeth’s glad to have the small-town sheriff in their corner. Nathan Thorpe is not just a stand-up guy they can trust, he’s cool to have around when things go bump in the night. Elizabeth also learns he’s good at holding her tight. And, when she’s wrapped in his arms, she becomes afraid of more than ghostly happenings. She fears she’s losing her heart.
Like most folks in Blayton, Nathan Thorpe is here for a reason. Only, he didn’t fully understand what that reason was until a stunning brunette and her daughter came to town. Nathan’s immediately drawn to Elizabeth and feels motivated to protect her and Claire, believing that means shielding them from nonsensical small-town lore. With Halloween approaching, there are rumors swirling about concerning the old Fenton place located across the street from the graveyard, and next to the newer home occupied by the Jennings. Nathan’s a calm thinker who can find a rational explanation for almost anything. Yet there are deeper mysteries in Blayton than Nathan can explain. When he learns the truth, will he still be able to hold onto the woman he loves?
Innocent Blood by James Rollins and Rebecca CantrellA vicious attack at a ranch in California thrusts archaeologist Erin Granger back into the folds of the Sanguines, an immortal order founded on the blood of Christ and tasked with protecting the world from the beasts haunting its shadows and waiting to break free into the sunlight. Following the prophetic words found in the Blood Gospel–a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries–Erin must join forces with Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and the dark mystery that is Father Rhun Korza to discover and protect a boy believed to be an angel given flesh.But an enigmatic enemy of immense power and terrifying ambition seeks the same child–not to save the world, but to hasten its destruction. For any hope of victory, Erin must discover the truth behind Christ’s early years and understand His first true miracle, an event wrapped in sin and destruction, an act that yet remains unfulfilled and holds the only hope for the world.The search for the truth will take Erin and the others across centuries and around the world, from the dusty plains of the Holy Land to the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean, from the catacombs of Rome to an iron fortress in the Mediterranean Sea, and at last to the very gates of Hell itself, where their destiny–and the fate of mankind–awaits.