Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day to Read: January 8 2009

Soccer Mom in Denial is at it again. She wants us to take a day and sit on our heinies. Well, it is for a good cause.

What she'd really like is for us to turn OFF the computers and the other idiot boxes for the day and read. Really read. From a book. You remember those? They have many words on actual paper, and they're usually placed between two pieces of either paper-thin or thicker cardboard, sometimes or sometimes not covered in cloth. (And if you're having luck on January 8th, you won't read ANY sentences like my last one).

Despite my joking around, this is a serious issue. From SMID's launch blog post:

"...according to a report released last year reading books is linked to civic engagement. This National Endowment for the Arts reports that young folks aren't reading like they used to. Get this:

* only 30% of 13-year-olds read almost every day

* the number of 17-year-olds who never read for pleasure increased from 9 percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004 - that is 1 in 5 kids don't read for fun

* Almost half of Americans between ages 18 and 24 never read books for pleasure

* The average person between ages 15 and 24 spends 2 to 2 1/2 hours a day watching TV and 7 minutes reading

According to Dana Gioia, the Chair of the NEA,

'The poorest Americans who read did twice as much volunteering and charity work as the richest who did not read. The habit of regular reading awakens something inside a person that makes him or her take their own life more seriously and at the same time develops the sense that other people's lives are real.'"

So those are all the good and civic reasons to do this, but I also want to hit on the FUN factor. To get the party started, I want to issue a bookworm challenge and also give you some suggestions for those books for Day to Read.

First, the bookworm challenge:

I found this fun challenge at anno's place:

THE CHALLENGE: Pass this on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 46. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences. The closest book, not the coolest, or the one you think will sound the best. THE CLOSEST.

The book closest to me is, believe it or not, BOOK OF POISONS: A GUIDE FOR WRITERS.

"A white crystalline solid, napthalene will usually be ingested."

er.... hmmm. I'm sure you all needed that information today. CYRANO is also nearby, but BOOK OF POISONS was closer. Darn. At least I get the very cool button.

I'm not passing this on to five more bloggers - I'm going to tag anyone who wants to play and NEEDS this very cool button on their site.

The Books

So, recently, there have been some great book launches around the blogosphere. One you read about on this very blog - SHOT GIRL by Karen E. Olson. Again, I'd recommend reading her entire Annie Seymour series first, but SHOT GIRL stands alone and it's just a fabulous ride. I think tying up a series can be difficult as hell, and Karen E. Olson does it beautifully. For anyone who knows her character, Annie, they know that Annie has more than her share of flaws and attachment issues. She has to face those in this final book, and Ms. Olson carries it off with aplomb and not a speck of melodrama. I just loved this book. From Karen's site:

New Haven police reporter Annie Seymour has a talent for running into trouble. So it should come as no shock when her co-worker's bachelorette party at a local club turns into a crime scene. What is surprising is that the dead bar manager on the sidewalk outside happens to be Annie's ex-husband - and the bullet shells around his body match the gun she has in her car.

Coming face-to-face with her past, Annie delves into a conspiracy involving everyone from a male stripper to a shot girl. If she wants to get the story, she'll have to escape a killer . . . before she becomes the next headline.

A book I read last spring via download, is about to be out in paper. For those of you who love romance - ENJOY!!! Marianne Arkins is a funny, warm-hearted writer and her many stories and this novel show her flair for comedy and her penchant for absolutely, melt-in-your-knees happy endings. (And there's often a cute dog, too). From Marianne's site:

Olivia "Liv" Leigh, wealthy socialite and spa owner, suspects her fiancé of cheating on her, so she takes drastic steps to discover whether appearances are deceiving. And if those steps require a bit of stalking, a change of appearance, a hippo-sized dog named Spike, and sacrificing her manicure to clean house for a sexy but sloppy man whose neighbor is determined to break several of the strangest Guinness Book of World Records, why should that be a problem?

Mike, a happily single auto mechanic, is more than content sharing his bachelor pad with piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and a sneaky ferret. But when a half-crazed woman in a bad wig shows up on his doorstep, what's a nice guy to do? Why, invite her in, unknowingly help her in her search for the truth and, in the process, fall head over heels for a woman who's never been less his type.

There is also this cool give away contest, so hurry over to Marianne's site right now!

Michelle, of Bleeding Espresso, recently had this post interviewing Diana Sprechler, author of Who By Fire. There is also a giveaway involved with Michelle's post, so by all means hurry over there. The interview with Diana was fascinating, and I believe Diana will be a guest here in the next few weeks, as well. From the Harper Collins site:

Bits and Ash were children when the kidnapping of their younger sister, Alena—an incident for which Ash blames himself—caused an irreparable family rift. Thirteen years later, Ash is living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel, cutting himself off from his mother, Ellie, and his wild-child sister, Bits. But soon he may have to face them again; Alena's remains have finally been uncovered. Now Bits is traveling across the world in a bold and desperate attempt to bring her brother home and salvage what's left of their family.

Sharp and captivating, Who by Fire deftly explores what happens when people try to rescue one another.

So let's all read a good book. And write about our reading. Wander over to Soccer Mom in Denial and find out how to get more involved.


thailandchani said...

What an absolutely wonderful idea! :) I'm in.


Jen said...

Glad to hear it, Chani!

Mae Travels said...

The death of reading has been discussed as long as I can remember. Reading was killed by movies, then by TV, then by video games, then by the internet(s), more recently by social networking and text messaging, and so on. If 80% of high school kids ARE reading for pleasure, how bad is that?

Of course I agree that reading is great, and I do it all the time. I also understand that publishers are in trouble, but that has to do with marketing issues and their run for the mass market. I did see am article that said that libraries are experiencing increases in demand for many services, including books -- which is bad for publishers, not for reading.

So, I see the point but I'm just not totally convinced that actual reading is any deader than ever.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a great idea, but it should have been on a Saturday, given that most people work on Thursdays. I'm sure I can still find the time, but still.

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Ooh sounds like fun to me! I may move it back a few days since Italy is still on holiday until the 6th anyway :)

I'm excited to see what Diana has to say over here! Thanks for the linky love!

w said...

"You remember those? They have many words on actual paper, and they're usually placed between two pieces of either paper-thin or thicker cardboard, sometimes or sometimes not covered in cloth." Hehehe, I was laughing a lot when I read this :)

It is a very good idea indeed. I remember I had that challenge some months ago and it is really good. Looking forward to it again :)

Anonymous said...

I'm in. I can't get enough reading time...I am always so darn busy reading papers and required junk like that...when I do get the time, I read for DAYS without stopping to even go to the bathroom! I am IN! And YES, SHOT GIRL was a fabulous story. I must now read the rest of the series! I still want to get her autograph on my got a connection Jen?? :P

Anonymous said...

Oh, one more thing...I'll be in the Southern Carribbean on a cruise January get bet your bippy that I'll have a book with me on the beach!

Jen said...

Mae, those points are well taken. At the same time, I guess I'm up for anything that promotes reading.

Patti - stop by SMID's blog and suggest that to her.

Michelle - Diana wrote me a sweet note after my comment on your post - and I said I'd be delighted to host her. Her writing seems gorgeous.

La Del - I love reading your reviews of books - you always read such interesting things.

HotMama - I'll e-mail you on that. Not sure, but maybe you can contact Karen and see if she's open to it. I'll send you her site/blog, etc. info. And it's nice to give ourselves permission to read non-work reading, isn't it?

Korie said...

Meh....January 8th I have a final exam. I do read plenty though. I just finished up Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman and I've started up the first Sookey Stackhouse novel, plus I have Labyrinth by Kate Mosse started too. I've also seen some YA lit by Harper Collins that I want to read and Brisingr of course, when it comes out in paper back.

soccer mom in denial said...

I want a sexy-reading button! I NEED it!! Where can I get that on a t-shirt?

So the closest book was Very Hungry Catepillar which is a bit short. I grabbed one a couple books over, Baedeker's Italy From the Alps to Naples published in 1909 (I wasn't kidding when I say I'm a bit obsessed with A Room with a View). And yes it intermingles with children's board books. Page 46, 5th sentence says:

"della Santissima Sidone (open from morning-mass until after 9 a.m.;"


Thank you so much, Jen, for promoting Day to Read.

And in response to Mae Travels I personally believe we should always renew our support of reading. And I wish we were a society that didn't think 80% was "good enough". Why not shoot for 100%? Do we really want to say that the intellectual grown of20% of kids doesn't matter?

And to TeacherPatti - YEAH you are a teacher! The primary reason why I picked a non-weekend day is because I find most of the bloggers I interact with don't post or read blogs on Saturdays - they are already doing other things (maybe even reading!). Most of my traffic is during the week so it made sense (to me) to pick a busy blogging day.

Anonymous said...

i do agree that reading is sexy. i always light candles and have classical music playing in the background. i'm currently reading the Romanov Prophecy; a great read for sure. Makes me feel like a Tzarista!

Jen said...

Lilac, ugh... well, I guess you'll be reading during the exam, right? I LOVE the Sookie novels, especially the early ones. How was Fragile Things? D felt it was really creepy, and he usually loves Gaiman. I find Gaiman creepy most of the time.

SMID - thanks for coming on and responding. And yeah, wouldn't it be great to get that button on a t-shirt? I wonder who designed the button - it totally rocks.

Bren - what a great way to treat yourself to a "reading date"!

Anonymous said...

That is a cool badge! Thanks for stopping by while I am recovering. It's so nice of you to keep me company :)

Marianne Arkins said...

Hey.. thanks for the shout-out! And, I do love that badge. I may have to steal it :-)

Jen said...

Maryann, it was great to "see" you - I sure hope that back gets better SOON.

Marianne - the badge definitely rocks. And so does LIV!

Flower Child said...

From Stealing Buddha's Dinner - "They trickled in monthly and soon he bought the house across the street for his in-laws."

Momisodes said...

This is such a fabulous idea. I am long overdue for getting lost in a good book. I am 100% guilty of allowing the internet to substitute any book reading.

I'm off to the library this week :)

Anonymous said...

I was looking at the Day To Read icon on my site last week and was thinking if we'll do it again...then I get to read this post, love it!

I'm heading to SMID to sign up and will do the tag this Tuesday...will let you once it's up...

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I am trying to read as much as I used to. I read more in the summer when I haul my beach chair to the beach and enjoy the peace and tranquility of my favourite beach.I have done the challenge but haven't completed the post yet.As always it has tons of information and takes time...away from reading.

Jen said...

Flower Child - I absolutely adored Stealing Buddha's Dinner. I think the writing is astounding.

Momisodes - I LOVE our library - we use it for everything. We can now get great DVDs, music, everything there.

Mariposa - glad to hear you'll be joining in!

Val, I agree that summertime and reading seem made for each other. There's a lot to be said for reading by the fire, too, though. ;-)

Virtualsprite said...

I'm so there! I just raided the library for more books... I'm ready. Bring it one!

I'm working on my kids... unfortunately, they're part of the generation that's no longer reading for pleasure. I've got my stepdaughter hooked and my four-year-old. Now my teenaged stepson. I'll get him yet!

Anonymous said...

I see statistics like that and it always surprises me because we're such readers at our house. We all read every day!

How can people not read? Reading is COOL!

Jen said...

Sprite - my teen son just loves to read - I think it may be the individual kid. I also think the DEAR program at schools help, when kids have had exposure to that.

Amy - ours, too. We're total book freaks.

April said...

I LOVE to read, and do so much as possible, but I'm not seeing that in my girls yet. It's disheartening. (Just finished the oh-so-literary Grrl Genius Guide to Sex (with other people) today - so much fun.)

anno said...

Great idea -- I'm in! One of your recommendations might just fit the bill for that day.

Jen said...

How was the Grrrl's guide, April? It sounds like something I might find fun - I need some REALLY light reading right now. ;-)

Anno - maybe you have some suggestions, too?

peter said...

First, I think we should all get credit just for reading this long-ass post.

Second, I just read Kurlansky's history of salt for my first ever published article (out in Jan.) so this was a timely novella-length post.

Jen said...

Peter - Kurlansky's Salt was an amazing book. And I just have the need to write amazingly long posts from time to time.

glamah16 said...

I have always loved my books, and reading. I cant imaging life without them.

Grimm said...

Well crap, I totally missed the boat on this one.

Do another!

Mikaela said...

This is why you don't want me in the game...
Page 47 (46 is a picture) of my nearest book reads:
"The pro-a chains are processed by a number of enzymic steps within the lumen of the RER while the polypeptides are still being synthesized. Proline and Lysine residues found in the Y-position of the -Gly-X-Y sequence can be hydroxylated to form hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine residues."


Alex Elliot said...

I'm excited to participate again this year!

Anonymous said...

Great idea. I usually limit my computer time on weekdays to a few hours, with lots of breaks. Weekends are limited to posting blog entries and getting back off to spend time with family. Love reading, and usually have about 5 books going at once. Usually cookbooks or fiction. LOVE it! Vikki

Goofball said...

I'm gonna be reading again if I'm awake that day (remember that cyst infected last year? it's going to get removed that day).

I haven't had a chance to blog about this initiative yet. aaaah, I am so behind on everything. Either offline either drop dead tired to take in anything, ...