> The Things You Can Read: March 2013

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, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Vintage Easter Image - Chicks Riding in Car

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

Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Spring Break 2013!

Description: comic strip

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

Review: The Book of Secrets By Elizabeth Arnold

The Book of Secrets

“Sitting in our bookstore at night, I can hear the stories.  Or not hear them so much as feel them: the neat, round softness of Austen with its improbable, inevitable love affairs; the sprawl of Dickens with its meandering threads tying into coincidental knots.  All the books have colors and shapes not just from the stories written but from the stories of the authors who’ve done the writing; from Steinbeck’s realism to Murakami’s cubism, a regular art museum of voices.” Enter the world of Chloe Sinclair whose life-long relationship with books has been a centering force.  Chloe’s bond with the characters she meets on the page is just as real as the life-long friendship she shares with Nate, her husband, and his sisters, Grace and Cecelia.  If this strikes a chord then this novel is a must read.
The Book of Secrets is a book lover’s dream.  Elizabeth Arnold has captured the love affair many have with books.  She has found the words to express eloquently the real connections people make with words written on the page.  “So.  Once upon a time there was a girl named Chloe who lived virtually alone, in a cottage by the woods.”  Enter Chloe’s world.  The world she creates on her eighth birthday when according to Chloe “…she was born.”  Join her as her life entangles with that of the Sinclair family, an entanglement that will forever interlace Chloe’s life with that of this eccentric family, a family full of secrets.  As Chloe says, “We think we know our friends, our lovers, but really all we know is pieces of them.  Fragments we learn by watching, sharing time and place, listening to their stories; over the years there are more and more of these fragments and we can draw lines between them, fill them with what we imagine is true.  But of course we only know what they show us; lines we think jig here may actually curl somewhere else altogether.  The lines we draw aren't always real, and often have more to do with our own selves.”  Delve into this work of fiction and immerse yourself in an engrossing portrayal of a family.
The author artfully and repeatedly uses that age-old comforting childhood phrase, Once Upon a Time, that initiates many children into the world of storytelling:  “Once upon a time there was a young man who’d loved a girl so deeply, so truly, that he left his family to be with her.”  Step over the threshold into Elizabeth `Arnold’s remarkable love story to literature.  The Chronicles of Narnia, Where the Wild Things Are, Crime and Punishment, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Road Not Taken are just a few of the chapter titles which allow the reader to establish the mood for events to come or yet to be revealed.   

I found The Book of Secrets mesmerizing.  It is one of those novels that kept this reader up into the wee hours of the morning because I had to know what was going to happen next.  When was the last time you stayed up past your bedtime to finish a book because you just could not stop reading?  If you love books, I mean really, really, really, love books, and you love novels that tackle big themes, such as, Family, Friendship,  Marriage, and Loss then read The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Arnold. 

We want to thank Bantam and Net Galley for providing us with an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of  The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Arnold.

Rating:4 of 5 stars
Summary Courtesy of Net Galley:
At once a captivating mystery, a love letter to classic literature, and a sharp-eyed examination of marriage, The Book of Secrets is a gripping novel of family, friendship, and the undeniable pull of the past.

After more than twenty years of marriage, Chloe Sinclair comes home one night to find that her husband, Nate, is gone. All he has left behind is a cryptic note explaining that he’s returned to his and Chloe’s childhood town of Redbridge, California—a place brimming with memories of young love and unspeakable loss, and a place Chloe never wants to see again.
Tending to their small bookstore while trying to reach her husband, Chloe stumbles upon a notebook tucked inside Nate’s ancient copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Written in a code that Nate and his sisters created as children—using passages from their favorite books to scramble hidden messages in the text—the pages contain long-buried secrets from Chloe’s and Nate’s past, and clues to why he’s gone back to Redbridge after all these years. As Chloe reunites with Nate’s family and struggles to decipher the notebook’s hidden messages, she revisits the seminal moments of their youth: the day she met the enigmatic Sinclair children and learned what a magical escape books could be from a troubled childhood; the first time Nate kissed her, camped out on the beach like Robinson Crusoe; the elaborate plan the young couple devised, inspired by Romeo and Juliet, to break free from Nate’s oppressive father, and how the thwarted attempt upended their lives forever. And as the reason for Nate’s absence comes to light, the truth will shatter everything Chloe knows—about her husband, his family, and herself.

Does this sound like a book for you?  Let us know here at The Things You Can Read!

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

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Breaking News: Amazon Buys Goodreads

According to Huffington Post:  Amazon Buys Goodreads
NEW YORK -- Amazon.com Inc., the world's biggest online retailer that got its start in bookselling, has agreed to buy book recommendations site Goodreads.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Amazon said Thursday that it "shares a passion for reinventing reading," with Goodreads. "Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world," said Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle content for Amazon. 
To view  the full article on Huffington Post: Click Here
To view Goodreads press release: Click Here
What are your thoughts on this acquisition?

In the March 29, 2013 edof Shelf Awareness several reactions were shareed:
But judging from the reaction of booksellers, publishers and some Goodreads users, the process may not be so easy. The overwhelming feeling expressed yesterday on Twitter and Facebook was surprise and disappointment. ‏@NextGenAuthors tweeted us: "Hey, your April Fool's edition doesn't come out until Monday!" Many indies and their fans promptly cancelled their accounts.

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

Countdown to World Book Night: April 23, 2013

Shelf Awareness shared a recent update from World Book Night 2013 stating:

With less than a month until World Book Night U.S. on April 23, this is the first of the organization's weekly updates and reminders to the volunteer givers, to bookstores and libraries and to the publishing community:
James Patterson has been confirmed for an appearance on CBS This Morning on Friday, April 19. Patterson is also joining Ann Patchett at Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., as one of 12 author events scheduled as part of the Monday, April 22, Kick Off Celebrations. Three WBN Poetry Nights have been added, as well a WBN Theater Evening in conjunction with the Looking Glass Theater production of Still Alice in Chicago.
Also confirmed: a recorded interview with WBN U.S. executive director Carl Lennertz will air on 100 local NPR stations the week of April 15, and a WBN story will run in the April issue of American Way magazine. More media updates next week.
Givers, booksellers and libraries are also getting regular e-mail updates, and being reminded to go to the Resources section at us.worldbooknight.org to download signs, bookmarks, press release templates and much more. Booksellers have been mailed WBN book stickers for regular edition displays, as well as posters to stores and libraries by request. 
Special guests will be in attendance Tuesday, April 9, at 6 p.m., at the AAP offices, 71 Fifth Ave., 2nd floor, for a WBN U.S. celebration. All book industry folks welcome.
wbn logo no date
Learn more about World Book Night 2013 by visiting their site and signing up for their World Book Night 2013 Newsletter. As shared previously, we are so excited to have made the list of BOOK GIVERS! Back in December 2012, we shared the details on just what World Book Night is all about and how to participate. 
Did you sign up?  Were you chosen?  We'd love to know...The Book Givers for 2013 have all been chosen, so applications are now closed for 2013, but you can still participate vicariously by checking out World Book Night's website: Click HERE. 
Take a peek at what the folks at World Book Night are up to, and GET INVOLVED...it's easy!  Click on over to the 2013 list of books at World Book Night and see what Book Givers all over the United States will be distributing. How many of these great reads have you read?  We will be giving away Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury on the 50th anniversary of this classic's publication.

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wordless Picture Books


Sharing Wordless Picture Books

A book with no words. It almost sounds like a contradiction in terms. However, wordless picture books can be a very enjoyable and beneficial addition to your child's bookshelf, whatever your child's age.

What are some of the advantages?  Well, according to Reading Rockets:

Sharing wordless books is a terrific way to build important literacy skills, including listening skills, vocabulary, comprehension and an increased awareness of how stories are structured. 

Have you read wordless picture books to your children?  Let us know why or why not?  Looking for a good one to try?  Checkout Arrival:

The Arrival

The Arrival

4.33 of 5
In a heartbreaking parting, a man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He's embarking on the most painful yet important journey of his life- he's leaving home to build a better future for his family.

Shaun Tan evokes universal aspects of an immigrant's experience through a singular work of the imagination. He does so using brilliantly clear and mesmerizing images. Because the main character can't communicate in words, the book forgoes them too. But while the reader experiences the main character's isolation, he also shares his ultimate joy.


Reading Rockets

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

Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Tolkien Reading Day

The HobbitHappy Tolkien Reading Day!  According to The One Ring"Today fans of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien will join together in a worldwide celebration of the late author’s works for Tolkien Reading Day. The theme for this year’s event is Tolkien’s landscapes in honour of the fabulous scenery currently on offer in Sir Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy."  Checkout Caffeinated Life's post with regard to Tolkien Reading Day: Caffeinated Life

Launched in 2003 Tolkien Reading Day event has sparked interest in reading and reading groups across several nations and ages, from primary schoolchildren to university students and library users of all ages. 25th March has significance to Tolkien’s readers, as it is the day of the Downfall of Sauron at the conclusion of the ‘War of the Ring’ in The Lord of the Rings.
more information about the event here
What J.R.R. Tolkien classic are you reading today?  We are reading The Hobbit!

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

Friday, March 22, 2013

Life After Life: Book Review

Life After Life: A Novel

"Now Joanna is holding the hand of someone waiting for her daughter to arrive.  Only months ago, this woman-Lois Flowers-was one of the regulars in Pine Haven's dining room where the residents often linger long after the meal for some form of entertainment or another."  Thus begins Jill McCorkle's Life After Life: A Novel, a novel that is set in a small southern town, Fulton North Carolina.  The heart of the town is Pine Haven Estates, a retirement home full of eccentric characters.  Some of these off-beat folks work for the retirement community others are residents.  Each character is rich and full.  Jill McCorkle litters the pages with individuals that the reader would love to meet, even the not so likable ones would, at a minimum, certainly make for an interesting conversation. 

Saying that Life After Life: A Novel is about a retirement home and dying does not do the novel justice.  The story is about self-discovery.  "The longest and most expensive journey you will ever make is the one to yourself," is a startling, yet real, realization one of the main characters, Joanna, makes early on in the novel.  This is a story about making peace.  For many of the characters this is a long and painful journey.  Good parenting, bad parenting, good choices, bad choices, choices never made-these are but a few of the issues characters face; especially those who are dying.  Rich or poor, it doesn't matter; life is hard and full of adversity.  As we all know, adversity is often senseless, painful, and beyond our control, yet how we react to life’s hard knocks is the key to our journey.  Many of the characters in Life After Life: A Novel choose to learn valuable lessons from each adversity they encounter.  
The chapters are sprinkled with gems for living.  For example, one character, C.J., observes, "Real clean people are often overcompensating for some really bad shit and really dirty people just don't care.  Which is worse?  Flip a coin."   Keen observations about life abound, look for them. 

Life After Life is a novel full of examples on "how to live" or "not to live" a rewarding life.  Take a moment and see what can be learned from Sadie, Joanna, Rachel, Stanley, C.J. and a slew of other folks that are waiting inside these 352 pages.  As Joanna says, "Now you see her, now you don't.  It's an easy trick, all about making the right turns, standing in the right place at the right time.  If you look closely enough you can see the opening; you can see what's coming..."  Enjoy the journey! 

We want to thank Algonquin Books and Net Galley for providing us with an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of Life After Life: A Novel by Jill McCorkle. As always, Algonquin continues to publish the best and the brightest writers, we are never disappointed after reading a book published by this house.

Summary Courtesy Goodreads
Life After Life: A Novel
by Jill McCorkle

Jill McCorkle s first novel in seventeen years is alive with the daily triumphs and challenges of the residents and staff of Pine Haven Estates, a retirement facility, which is now home to a good many of Fulton, North Carolina s older citizens. Among them, third-grade teacher Sadie Randolph, who has taught every child in town and believes we are all eight years old in our hearts; Stanley Stone, once Fulton s most prominent lawyer, now feigning dementia to escape life with his son; Marge Walker, the town s self-appointed conveyor of social status who keeps a scrapbook of every local murder and heinous crime; and Rachel Silverman, recently widowed, whose decision to leave her Massachusetts home and settle in Fulton is a mystery to everyone but her. C.J., the pierced and tattooed young mother who runs the beauty shop, and Joanna, the hospice volunteer who discovers that her path to a good life lies with helping folks achieve good deaths, are two of the staff on whom the residents depend.
McCorkle puts her finger on the pulse of every character s strengths, weaknesses, and secrets. And, as she connects their lives through their present circumstances, their pasts, and, in some cases, through their deaths, she celebrates the blessings and wisdom of later life and infuses this remarkable novel with hope and laughter.

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

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Graphic Novelist George O'Connor

At first, when we thought of graphic novels, we thought comic books, but graphic novels are so much more than simply comic books.  According to Merriam-Webster a graphic novel is defined as, "a fictional story that is presented in comic-strip format and published as a book."  Well, even that doesn't exactly capture all that is going on with this relatively new sub-genre.  Even classics novels can now be found in graphic novel format.  If you are new to the graphic novel world check out Gerorge O'Connor.  His work will give you a great persepective of what a graphic novel is all about:

Courtesy of Shelf Awareness:

George O'Connor is a graphic novelist, and according to Shelf Awarness:
"[He] is one the most balanced reader-writers we've ever encountered. The things on his nightstand, his favorite books and, in particular, the title he evangelizes (The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony) lead naturally to his fabulousOlympians series--the sixth title of which, Poseidon: Earth Shaker, will be published by Neal Porter/First Second on March 19.  O'Connor got his start working at New York City's Books of Wonder bookstore. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y."

Interested in the classics in graphic form?  Click Here!  Let us know what you think of graphic novels.

Nerdy Book Club has a new posting on Graphic Novels entitled Pay It Forward: Using Graphic Novels in the Classroom take a look: Nerdy Book Club.

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy First Day of Spring!

March 20th ~ First Day of Spring 2013: Vernal Equinox !

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.-Hal Borland

March 20: Today is the vernal equinox, when night and day are exactly the same length. 

Philomel Books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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

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