Linda Stevens's blog

The Amazing Read: Summer Reading Challenge, Week 4

amazing readWe're almost at the halfway point for Summer Reading!  Last week, we did some homegrown Texas reading.  My choice was Texas Soundtrack: Texas Stories Inspired by Texas Music.  By eating ice cream while I read, I was able to achieve a trifecta of personal favorites.  I highly recommend this book, Texas music, and ice cream.

Since we went local last week, let's have a global challenge this week:  Read worldwide.  You can try a book by an author from another country, follow Bill Bryson or Rick Steves on their travels, spend time learning another language, or read about a culture different from your own.  I've downloaded the audio of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo for my choice.  What are you reading?

Meet the I-Team

breaking pointI don't know if I've told you this before, but I'm kind of a hoarder.  A book hoarder, that is.  I buy books and put them in the bookcase and then sometimes forget to read them.  Recently, a novella I purchased for my Kindle led me to the discovery that I had almost all of Pamela Clare's I-Team series in my bookcase.  Once I actually read the first one, I didn't stop until I had finished the entire series.

The Amazing Read: Summer Reading Challenge, Week 2

amazing readI hope everyone enjoyed last week's mystery challenge!  My choice (Started Early, Took My Dog) introduced me to a British mystery series that I will definitely revisit.  

Let's get a bit nostalgic this week:  Read or share a childhood favorite.  If you are an adult, re-read a book that you loved as a child or share it with a child in your life.  If you are not yet an adult, ask a family member to share their favorite childhood book with you or get them to read your favorite book.  Don't forget to tell us all about it.

I'm going to re-read a book that I carried around with me for an embarrassing number of years -- Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary.  It's checked out from the Digital Media Catalog and loaded on my Kindle.  What are you reading?

First Adult Summer Reading Prize Drawing June 11th

woman readingIf you haven't yet signed up for Adult Summer Reading at HCPL, now's the time!  We'll be drawing from registered readers to win a Kindle Touch eReader on Monday, June 11th.  Every two weeks of the program, we'll randomly draw from current registrants for an eReader prize, either a Kindle Touch or a NOOK Simple Touch.  At the end of the summer, we'll have drawings from readers who complete the program for one $30 Amazon gift card at each branch library and two grand prize drawings  -- one for a Kindle Fire and one for a NOOK Color.

Thanks to the Harris County Friends of the Library for providing the prizes and their generous support of Summer Reading!

Photo © jupiterimages.com

The Amazing Read: Summer Reading Challenge

amazing readWelcome to Summer Reading 2012!  This year, we'd like to challenge our readers to read a little differently, maybe outside of your normal comfort zone.  Each week, we'll post a different reading challenge and ask you to respond by sharing your reading choice through your Summer Reading program log, comments on the blog post, through FacebookTwitter or Pinterest, or just tell everybody you meet.

We'll start off easy with this week's challenge:  Read something that solves a mystery.  It can be from the mystery or thriller genres, a true crime book, an article that explains a scientific principle, a blog post that demystifies Stonehenge, well, you get the picture.  I'm going to start with the audiobook of Kate Atkinson's Started Early, Took My Dog.  What are  you reading?

Romance at the Beach

beachcomberIt's time for the wonderfully long holiday weekend, and another dose of bibliotherapy, romance style.  If your plans don't call for venturing any farther than the back patio, you can still take a trip to the beach.  The titles below feature many different styles, but they all include a sunny setting.  So, check one out, stick a little paper umbrella in your orange juice, and relax!

Summer Reunion by Kasey Michaels       Hurricane Bay by Heather Graham  

By Any Other Name

crystal gardensI've documented here before my fangirl adoration of Jayne Ann Krentz.  The one time I managed to meet her in person I gibbered with all of the sophistication of Porky Pig.  What's unusual for me about this author is that I enjoy all of her different romance genre explorations equally, whether it's the science fiction Jayne Castle books, the historical Amanda Quick books, or the contemporary Jayne Ann Krentz titles.  I would imagine that authors use different pen names to manage reader expectations with different types of books, so I wonder what usually ends up being stronger -- the appeal of the author's style or the appeal of the type of plot or setting?

New Romance for April & May

perfect storm If you're like me, you sometimes feel like you're held at the starting gate of a race to get new library titles and when the signal goes off and the books are in the catalog, you're number 325 in line.  Well, that still could happen, but here are a few popular new romance titles that are just in or have been ordered for a May release -- hopefully you'll get a head start to be one of the first to place your hold!

Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr         Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston

Stop Right There

When recommending books to people, I've found that what a person does not like is almost as important as what they do like.  I read a tremendous number of books, usually 3 or 4 a week, from various genres.  I read even more book reviews and descriptions of books and blog posts about books and book catalogs.  Still, there are certain title words or plot points that will make me stop immediately, knowing that this is not a book for me -- particularly in the romance genre.  This is not to say that there is anything wrong with the book, it is just not one that matches my tastes.  In fact, isn't it better that the title or the blurb on the back of the book gives you a clear signal of appeal?

HCPL Friends: Birdies for Charity

As budgets get smaller, the financial support of the Harris County Friends of the Library becomes more important then ever to our libraries.  The Friends help pay for the summer reading programs, staff scholarships, program refreshments and ebooks for the collection.  Over the last five years, they have donated over $15,000 to help fund services at county libraries.  

The primary fundraiser of the Harris County Friends of the Library has been a wonderful program run by the Houston Golf Association called Birdies for Charity.  It is centered on the Shell Houston Open but you don't have to golf at all for a chance to win a car, just be willing to donate to your favorite cause, Harris County Friends of the Library.  One hundred percent of your pledge goes to help libraries.  The HGA takes care of collecting and then distributing the money without taking out a penny.

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