> The Things You Can Read

The Things You Can Read welcomes you and thanks you for your readership. We, here at The Things You Can Read, ask your help, if you visit our site regularly, please follow us either via email or Google Friend Connect.  Launched on June 7, 2012, our site has already attracted a great deal of attention.  One of the goals of the site is to feature reviews of Children's Picture Books, Young Adult novels and Adult Literary Fiction/Nonfiction.  A second goal for the blog is to be a resource for teachers of English and writing--with examples of student created writing, writing tips, resource links, and the opportunity to pick the brain of a seasoned English teacher.  To spice things up...every now and then, we'll also include random quotes and thoughts on education and life in general, but our ultimate goal is to reach out into the blogosphere and be a "Book Whisperer" and "Writing Whisperer" to children and adults of all ages.   Thank you for your readership.  Here is to a lifetime filled with reading and writing.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Book Lover's Day August 9, 2015

Happy Book Lover's Day!  Sorry we're a day late for this one, but over here at The Things You Can Read every day is a Book Lover's Day!

Happy Reading & Writing
The Things You Can Read!
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books & Writing!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Happy Esther Day!

* * *

'I Love You': Indies Celebrate Esther Day

Yesterday was Esther Day, named for Esther Earl, the teenager who died in 2010 at age 16 of thyroid cancer. She was an early "nerdfighter" who became friends with John Green and his brother, Hank, and was the inspiration for the character of Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars (which Green dedicated to Esther). Although yesterday was not the first Esther Day--that began in 2010, when the Green brothers honored Esther's request that her birthday become a holiday on which people express love for friends and family to whom they may not otherwise say the words--it could become the first unofficial holiday to be inspired by literature and spread by independent booksellers.
The bookseller part began at BookPeople in Austin, Tex., in January upon Dutton's publication of This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl, a collection of Esther's blog posts, writings and pictures and those of people she loved, which fulfilled her dream of becoming an author. BookPeople's children's book buyer Meghan Dietsche Goel said she brainstormed with store YA specialist Ta'necia Cannon over a way to create an interactive display that "captured the spirit of the book." Working closely with BookPeople's Teen Press Corps (a group of special teen customers who share their reading experiences, expertise and energy as BookPeople advisers), the staff culled a series of probing questions from Esther's work and invited readers to supply their answers on paper stars that were then hung from the ceiling in the YA section.
"The stars are still hanging today because they are so affirmative," said Goel.
Crediting BookPeople with the inspiration, Lisa Kelly, director of marketing of middle grade and YA at Penguin Young Readers Group, said the publisher created kits with an easel, poster and stars for customers to inscribe their messages of love, which it distributed to booksellers around the country for their own Esther Day celebrations on Esther's birthday on August 3.
"We just ran with it," said Michael Barnard, owner ofRakestraw Books in Danville, Calif. Since creating its Esther Day display, Barnard has been following readers' posts from around the country on Instagram and Twitter (#EstherDay) and started snapping pictures of his customers who have filled out stars to display at Rakestraw.
At Andover Bookstore in Andover, Mass., Julie Chaisson said she had not heard about the Instagram campaign but said the store was eager to do its own interactive front-window display when it received the Esther Day kit from Penguin.
BookPeople display for Esther Day
In a USA Today article about Esther Day last week, John Green said, "It's the only day of the year in which Hank and I say 'I love you' to each other--before the first Esther Day, we hadn't said it in years--and it's become a hugely important holiday." John and Hank's Esther Day videosare on YouTube.
And on top of all that, it seemed fitting that Esther Earl, the girl who asked such bold questions and whose life influenced Green's The Fault in Our Stars, was the key clue in Final Jeopardy last week during its Teen Tournament. The spirit of Esther--who was called Star--continues to shine bright with a little help from readers, booksellers, social media--and even Alex Trebek. --Bridget Kinsella
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Happy Birthday S.E. Hinton 2015

How old was S.E. Hinton when she published her first novel, The Outsiders, in 1967? To celebrate the author's 66th birthday, the Guardian featured a teenage rebels in fiction quiz, asking: "You got a problem with that?"

  1. S. E. Hinton
  2. Susan Eloise Hinton is an American writer best known for her young-adult novels set in Oklahoma, especially The Outsiders, which she wrote during high school. Wikipedia
  3. BornJuly 22, 1948 (age 66), Tulsa, OK
  4. SpouseDavid Inhofe (m. 1970)
  5. AwardsAnne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Celebrate the Publication of Catcher in the Rye 2015

July 16, 1951: The iconic tale of teen angst, Catcher in the Rye, was published 64 years ago today.
J.D. Salinger
“I'm quite illiterate, but I read a lot. ”
― J.D. SalingerThe Catcher in the 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Pablo Neruda 2015

Happy Reading
The Things You Can Read!
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Fourth of July 2015 from The Things You Can Read

Happy Reading
The Things You Can Read!
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Beach Reads Defined

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: A Brief History of Beach Reads

First, sincere congratulations to CNN as the 2014 award winner (in a very competitive field) for most egregious use of a summer reading pun: "Whatever your definition of 'beach book'--romance, mystery, gripping true-life-tale--you'll find a shore thing here."

As I dutifully pored over all the summer reads recommendation lists released during the past couple of months, I began having sun-addled visions of beach reads from the distant past (sometimes called "hammock reads," I soon learned). After some seasonally appropriate leisurely research in the archives of the New York Times, I now offer for your summer reading pleasure an ever-so-brief history of the American beach read:

1890s: "During the Summer days a table was placed in the doorway and here were displayed a selection of the paper-covered books for 'Summer reading.' For some reason lighter books were considered more suitable to the hot weather."

1897: "The reader of to-day whose knowledge of books goes back twenty years must often have been surprised with the change that has come over books intended for Summer reading.... Society and civilization may take hope from the improved quality of the Summer books.... It truly seems as if all the world were writing novels. With bad ones plentiful enough, how good the best ones are!"

1900: "But if there is one season in which the printed book might be regarded as a questionable intruder it is when the pageant of Summer has attained its full splendor and the most attractive pages of the great book of nature lie open before us.... When he would for a brief period escape the spell of the printed page, break its chain, and rise to a rarer atmosphere, lo, the whole world seems leagued against him, and from a hundred throats he hears the cry, 'Books for Summer Reading!' "

1907: "What I'm trying to discover is whether any one reads in Summer, or whether the bulk of vacation literature is really an unopened contingent.... It isn't necessary to read a book in order to be happy with it. On a steamer or in a hammock you simply have to have the book in your lap or close at hand, with the paper-cutter and pencil."

Cincinnati Public Library bookmobile, 1927
Cincinnati Public Library bookmobile, 1927
1920: "It made us wonder just how Summer Reading has progressed in a world where excitement has been the rule and where nothing has remained as it was.... Gone are the days when the unambitious reader would lie in the grass in a semi-coma and meander blankly through a volume of trashy lovemaking and trashier thrillers."

1928: "What do people read in the summer?... They read, in other words, whatever the tastes and piety of earlier generations of Summer residents have stored for them on the hotel shelves."

1950: "There is, however, one error which is disastrously popular--namely, the assumption that only 'light' books, by which is meant trivial or foolish or badly written books--are suitable for summer. Nothing is actually harder to read than that which is not worth reading, and there is nothing more likely to produce boredom than a too desperate attempt to escape it."

1953: "When an unwished beach picnic is suggested, for example, the necessity of reading a light romantic novel will not stand up as an excuse for not attending. On the other hand, the casual display of the somewhat weightier book will prove at once that even on vacation the thirst for knowledge rises superior to such casual pleasures as picnics."

1968: "There is nothing like the library of a summer house to reverse the tides of literary improvement.... It is wonderful junk--never weeded out, like other junk, because summer people just can't throw any book away, however transient its subject or purple its prose." (William Zinsser)

1971: "The reviewers must have reasoned that as we, book lovers all, packed to head off for vacation, we agonized about how to pack our limited baggage space with the most rewarding material available. Hence 'suggestions for summer reading.' " (Russell Baker)

1985: "A feeling seems to have arisen that summer is the time for light reading. I don't know where anyone got that idea. The truth about summer is this. There are an enormous number of hours in it--slow hours--and yet, before you know it, somehow it is over.... Summer is the time for heavy reading, reading that works up a sweat. I wouldn't be surprised if there were scientific studies showing that the sun's heat melts eye-glaze." (Roy Blount, Jr.)

2014: "For me, being a reader, in summer or at any other time, isn't a 'lifestyle choice.' Rather, I made the choice--if that's what it was--so long ago, it has taken on an inescapable character in my mind.... The beach is one of the few places pathological readers can pass undetected among their civilian cousins." (Zadie Smith in O, The Oprah Magazine)

And, finally, these history-transcending words of summer reading perspective from George R.R. Martin: "Winter is coming." --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)
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