By Mary Martinez
We have a new amazing library in our little town, and I haven't been to play there as often as I should. The other night I had an opportunity to browse around and I found a treasure. No, not a book. But a list of them.
A bit of background here. My library is part of the county library services and like any library they have their own programs. One of their programs is called Reader's Choice Awards. This is the 20th year they've been doing this. Two times a year the librarians pick their favorite books and post them in a booklet of nominee's that is available at the library for approx. four months. The reader's pick up these lists and read the blurb and decide what to read, then vote for their favorite. And then you know, the one with the most votes win.
I picked up a list of the Award Winners from 1998 through 2011, what a list of treasures. The very first winner-- 1998 January - April was The Maze by Catherine Coulter. She is one of my favorite authors. So I did a little research, and The Maze is her second book of her FBI series, with The Cove (which I've read) being her first. She was just starting out. Of course, now I need to read The Maze. What a wonderful find, one of my favorite's, from her beginnings. And maybe the only reason The Cove didn't win, was it came out two years before our library system started the program.
The 2nd winner of 1998 was The Starlite Drive-in by Marjorie Reynolds. I've never heard of her so I did some digging. And this novel has been re-released just last year. Sounds great, it's about: The discovery of human bones at the site of an old drive in. Yuppers, it's on my to be read list. Who knows, maybe I've found a new favorite.
Now I have two new books to read--that are old. What treasures from the past can you find? Please let us know what you find. We would love to what you've read of older publications.
The staff here at Canyonland Press thought this was such a fun idea we're going to do our own version. As you know, we'll be having a Madam/Monsieur Librarian Book Recommendation of the month. These will be our nominations for first Canyonland's Reader's Choice Award's. In September we'll list the first 6 recommendations for our readers to vote on. ANOTHER challenge for all of you; Read each book so you can vote for your favorite! Our first Librarian Recommendation and Reader's Choice Nomination coming March 1st.
By Anna Sugg
I talked to my sister the other day. She’s an avid reader–always with a book in hand, and now, her Kindle. Some of her favorite authors are Nora Roberts, Carla Neggers, Iris Johansen, Karen Robards, Clive Cussler, and Catherine Coulter. She has even emailed Cussler and Roberts, and others, which is great. Even Nora Roberts answers her emails and once sent her a mug. So naturally, I asked which author she was reading.
Wow! She actually was reading my historical romance novel, The Quartering Act. Why is that a Wow? Well, she never reads historicals. And, that’s okay; you know the old saying - to each his own. So, I was pleasantly surprised that she had decided to read my Revolutionary War romance. How great is that?
I went on to ask her if she writes reviews on the novels she reads, especially her favorites. She said nope, never thought about it.
My mouth dropped.
Why, I asked? She shrugged. I just haven’t thought about it. (I forgot to mention, I was talking to her on Skype since we live several states apart – love that Skype.) My sister took time to email her favorite authors, but not do reviews. So that brings me to my point: Reviews
How do you write a review?
First of all, to review a book is to describe and evaluate the novel, not retell the story. There is no right way to write a review. Everyone’s different; a book review is personal and only the opinion of the reviewer. You can write a short or long review, up to you.
You with me so far?
Okay, here are a few tips:
Read the book. No brainer. Make it simple.
Start by giving the title, genre, and the author’s name. Not necessarily in that order.
You may want to mention the significance of the title, if it fit or not. Write about the characters that move the story along. If you didn’t feel the character(s) developed along the way, state so and why you feel that way. Don’t give away the story, that’s not fair to someone that wants to read the book you’re reviewing.
Were the characters believable? Did you have a favorite character, and if so, why? Did you relate to any one character in the story?
Where was the setting and did you have a sense of the surroundings and environment.
Did the plot play out in a way that kept you reading and did the resolution engage you in a satisfied feeling?
Did you like the book? Favorite part? What would you change? Ending? (oops, remember, don’t reveal the story.)
When writing your review, you don’t have to answer all these questions, just give your opinion about the story. Be honest, after reading a book, you know you have an opinion one way or another. Don’t you?
Now, be brave, write reviews. My sister said she would.
by Marie Higgins
Have you ever read a book that had been getting rave reviews and everyone was talking about only to find you didn’t like it?
I know everyone has their own opinions about what books are good and which aren't, but have you ever been reading a book and all of a sudden you were yanked right out of a story—thrown to the ground, and stomped on? Oh, I have!! And I hate being pulled out of stories like that. So have you ever wondered why you were pulled out so forcefully?
There are a few things that can disrupt readers while in the midst of a good story. Spelling errors are one – although keep in mind that ALL published books will have a few spelling errors...even Stephen King or even Stephanie Meyers! But mainly, I want to focus on in this article is inaccuracies.
I’m a historical writer, which means I thrive on research. I know I’m not going to be 100% accurate (since there's no way of knowing exactly what happened back in history), but I want to come as close as I can. I remember a long time ago I was reading a Medieval Romance. The author was new, but still with a pretty big publisher. Most everything I read was historically accurate – as far as I knew, anyway. But the one thing that kept pulling me out was when her characters greeted each other. “Hello, fair maiden.” “Hello, Sir Hunkiness.” (yeah, I’m being silly now, but you get the picture.) Did you know that the word HELLO wasn’t used in medieval times? So why didn’t the publisher know that? And why didn't the publisher (or author) know that a reader out there somewhere will also know that?
A friend of mine said she was reading a book where the characters lived in California and they drove from point A in California to point B in six hours. Because she was raised in this area she knew there was no way the characters could make it in six hours...unless their car had wings. So even little things like this are big things if it pulls a reader out of a story.
I've talked about this subject to a few people at work who read a lot! They were not aware of some of the things that pulls a reader out of a story. They have been pulled out before, they just didn't know why. Well...now you do! (grins)
So my question to you is – what pulls you out of a story?