The Big Switch

Well, WordPress, it’s been a great year- over 25,000 readers! Thanks for the love!

But the time has come… to act my age. And that’s 23. And this blog was feeling a little old.

So I’m moving over to Tumblr, with a new approach and hopefully a much more fun blog. I hope you’ll join me there:

http://bookgirladventures.tumblr.com/

 

I hope I’ll see you all there soon! xoxo Alice

Published in: on January 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy Holidays!

So I’m under the impression that people have already scattered for the holidays. I will do the same and see you in January. :) Here’s a great picture I most certainly did not take:

Published in: on December 12, 2011 at 1:59 am  Comments (2)  

Let’s get juiced.

As a writer, which some people say I am, I am supposed to experience writer’s block. But I’m not really a writer, so it’s more sitter’s block. As in I am sitting, and I happen to not be writing. But my boyfriend is a writer, and so are some of my friends, and they do experience writer’s block.  So if you’re a writer, or you teach writing, or if you’re a creative person, or if you’d like to be, you might need to get you might need something to get your creative juices flowing. I call these Juicers (TM). Here’s a list to help you start your Monday off on an… interesting note. I suggest you use these as conversation starters at work, as people will definitely think you are very cool. (more…)

Published in: on December 5, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (2)  

All of my friends are imaginary.

I went to see the Muppet Movie this weekend (and, by the way, it is as clean, fun, and bright as I possibly could have hoped and then some). When the main character, a man born a muppet (lowercase) who worships The Muppets (uppercase), I felt a weird sort of kinship with him. I realized that all of my friends are imaginary.

(more…)

Published in: on November 28, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (1)  

Much more than “Okay”

I’ve been meaning to put some book recommendations up on here, but I’ve struggled with the subject matter- what I love to read (especially first-person narratives about women of the Old Testament, as I think I’ve mentioned) may not be what anyone else enjoys. And my readership really varies, from other young bibliophiles to teachers and librarians to families. But this weekend, I finally found one book that I can strongly suggest to anyone who likes to read, period:

Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt, is, quite possibly, the best book I’ve read all year. Read that again- not the best book written for young adults (which it is), or the best work of fiction- the best book. If there’s a contender, I can’t recall it. Okay for Now stole my heart and ran around in circles, waving it in front of the whole school and taunting me to come get it, and I didn’t even give chase. It was that phenomenal.

Doug Swietick seems like a jerk. For the first few chapters or so, he complains often and gives us little reason to cheer for him. He doesn’t like his new town or anyone in it. But slowly- very slowly- we realize what made Doug that way, and I must admit, I’d be far more of a jerk in his situation. But he learns the balance of Maryville and the opportunities available to him once he starts seeing the world through the eyes of John James Audubon.

Yes, like the Audubon Society. This might seem a little odd- it did to me, at first. Paul visits the local library every Saturday to view (and eventually draw- small spoiler I suppose) pictures from a book of Audubon’s work, and that struck me as a bit unnatural. But through the various expressions of birds – birds tumbling from the sky, strutting proudly, or soaring together for just a second in a strong wind- Paul finds hope and kinship in what seems to be, initially, a hopeless and friendless town.

The cliche that something “made me laugh and made me cry” is rarely true for me. What brings tears to my eyes rarely brings more than a quick smile to my lips. But Okay for Now epitomized this feeling. Though it was, as my father would say, “a slice of life book” with no big adventure, I couldn’t put it down. There weren’t any plot twists. No cliff-hangers. Simply put, I didn’t want to leave Doug Swietick alone. He’s rough around the edges, but with an amazing heart – there’s definitely some Holden Caulfield in there. At first I read because I wanted to protect him, but later because I genuinely loved him. If you don’t root for Doug, you’ve probably never rooted for anyone. Really. Without being at all saccharine, Gary D. Schmidt has created one of the most lovable characters I’ve ever encountered.

There’s a lot of buzz about this book, and I hear it’s got a great shot for the Newberry Award. Take this opportunity to be ahead of the curve and read it before every parent, child, teacher, book club, and bibliophile is telling you you’re missing out. You won’t regret a single minute you spend with Doug Swietick.

Published in: on November 21, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (2)  

Book snobbery: just say no.

(Fess up; what brings out the book snob in you? Leave it in the comments!)

“One of the hardest things about this job,” someone told me as I started my work with Scholastic Book Fairs this week, “Is getting over your book snobbery.”

Book snobbery? Was this directed at me, specifically? Did I come off as a book snob?

Looking around the cases, there were, of course, the books that wouldn’t have caught my eye as an author and avid reader:

The TV Tie-Ins…

The photoshopped cute and cuddly animals…

The gender stereotypes…

PINKALICIOUS PINKIE PROMISE  (LEVEL 1 READER)

But was that so bad? I mean, as English majors (assuming you are reading my blog because you are, in fact, just like me- if so, let me save you some trouble; those little red spots mean you are allergic to almonds) weren’t we trained to seek out great literature and avoid cheap tricks at all costs?

Luckily, before I could go running my mouth off and make a fool of myself, someone casually mentioned to me that, at any company that really cares about kids, some books are just used to lure them in.”Imagine,” someone told me, “That you’re in a room full of books, and you don’t think you like to read. Everything in the room is unfamiliar to you. Everything is a little scary.”

Everything, that is, until you see a familiar face- SpongeBob SquarePants, or Pikachu, or a puppy that looks just like yours. Suddenly, you feel at ease. Reading is not such an unfamiliar experience, and the shelves aren’t full of strangers- your friends are there.

And like any good friend in an unfamiliar environment, they introduce you to new friends. They make you feel even more relaxed and comfortable, just by being there, and you realize you want to explore. Your eyes are opened to all sorts of new things.

Books steeped in history…

Or mystery…

Or hope.

If it takes a WWE wrestler to get kids reading about World War II heroes, I’ll put those books on the shelf any day. I can support those choices.

Even if you don’t work in kids’ publishing, however, you’ve definitely got to admit that you, yes YOU, can be an awfully big book snob. A month ago (heck, a week ago) I probably would have told you I’d never read any of the following:
Sci-Fi, chick Lit, vampires, zombies, animals, romance,  self-help, fantasy, books that came after the movie, books that are meant to gross you out, books with money on the cover… you get the idea.

Man, was that limiting me. Opening myself up to children’s books- really diving in, head first, to a world I didn’t always love even when I was there- has been extremely liberating. I realized how many books I was missing, even if I wasn’t missing them.

On Thursday, I flew first class for the first time in my life. I sat in the very first row, a good four rows of the business elite facing me in their oversized, reclining seats. I read Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell. And I was not ashamed.

Published in: on November 14, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (2)  

Fantastic, Enthusiastic, Scholastic!

This week, I made a big announcement on my Facebook account:

after much, much searching, I finally found a job. And it’s something that’ got me incredibly. Starting tomorrow, I will be a Literacy Consultant for Scholastic. That’s right- Scholastic.

(more…)

Published in: on November 7, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (6)  

Vote! Please. :)

I’m nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award!

http://www.goodreads.com/award/choice/2011#55900-Best-Memoir-&-Autobiography

7 kinds of awesome!

Published in: on November 2, 2011 at 5:13 pm  Comments (7)  

Don’t be so negative!

Today’s post features a guest essay by my former professor, Evan James Roskos of Rowan University! He is a fellow book-blogger and a generally awesome dude (with a baby, who doesn’t love babies?) so I hope you’ll give it a read and leave your comments! His essay is about negative book reviews, and I’ve posted before on the subject of negative reviews of my book, but never on books in general.

Honestly, as much as I respect your right to post them, I am not a fan. (more…)

Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (6)  

The best reason for taking off your shoes.

I travel often, and some days, I’m really not in the mood. I wish I was. Every single event I’ve done so far has been worth my while, so why do I dread getting out of bed on the morning of some trips? Well, for one, I have a very comfortable bed. And also, I hate airports. Hate them. The smell of food and people, the stop and go, going through security in my socks… they are strange, awful places.

But sometimes, something wonderful happens to remind me just how lucky I am to live this crazy travelin’ lifestyle. This weekend was one of those times. (more…)

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (4)  

Just a short hello!

Hey everybody!

Yep, I won the speed-reading contest by a landslide. :) Many thanks to my partner, Kathy O’Connell, of WXPN’s Kids Corner. I had soooo much fun. I was genuinely nervous going into it – not that I wouldn’t be the fastest, because that really wasn’t the point of the event, but that I’d mess up and say something horribly offensive. Everyone else expressed this fear before the contest, which might be the only reason none of us actually made such a gaffe.

Today I am speaking at The University of Southern Indiana, where my book is required freshman reading (!) and unfortunately (well, fortunately for them!) all my preparations are going to that. So I apologize for the length of this post; be sure to check back next Monday. I promise not to do this too often!

xoxo   A

p.s. Anyone brave enough to upload a video of yourself trying Fox and Socks and leave it in the comments? The full text is available online, so you don’t even need a copy of the book!

Published in: on October 17, 2011 at 3:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Speed DEMON

So here’s my (now-pitiful) attempt at Speed Reading Fox in Socks, as posted juuuust under a month ago:

And here I AM NOW! Boo ya!

The contest is tomorrow… do you guys think I’m ready? :)

 

Published in: on October 10, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (5)  

Playas gonna play

Darn it, why’d I waste a “the play’s the thing” reference on the last, unrelated post?

I’ll come out with it right now: I am a (recovering?) drama geek. I’ve been in over 50 theatrical products, and worked backstage… and directed… and even written a couple. I haven’t done any acting since a few student films in college, but I really miss it.

Be intimidated by my icy stare.

When people discuss great literature, I am always genuinely hurt if plays are omitted. That is really the only point of this post. So I suppose it won’t be very long. But really! We only read plays in one of my English classes in college, and that was Shakespeare. Everyone gives Shakespeare his due, and then ignores the hundreds and thousands of truly amazing plays. Why do people do this?  (more…)

Published in: on October 3, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (1)  

The game’s the thing.

Book people are word people. I’ve yet to see an exception to this. If they’re number people who like to read, even if all they ever read about is numbers, somewhere along the way they become word people as well.

I love words. I happen to not be a number person at all, but even if I had been, I think I would love words. I am happiest when I am surrounded by words: reading, writing, hearing stories, seeing plays. And like many word people, I’ve always loved word games.

Scrabble. Crosswords. Hangman. Balderdash. Bananagrams (haven’t played it? Look it up!). If you and I ever spend an evening together and you want to make me totally, blissfully happy, pull out a word game and you’ll have significant trouble getting me to go home.

For whatever reason, though, I’ve always been opposed to those word games you play on your smart phone or on Facebook. You know the ones. They look like Scrabble but with a more obnoxious color palette, and people play them instead of interacting with the humans around them. Those games.

Man, did I used to hate those things.

Then recently, my boyfriend asked me to play Words with Friends on Facebook. That’s another Scrabble knockoff, and I do love Scrabble. But I was still torn; I felt like I was being sucked into some weird internet world – a cold world, without cookies or soup. And I love soup.

I told him I’d play if we played it like a real game- if we both sat down at the computer, at the same time, doing nothing else, and played the game all the way through. Not a distraction from real life. Not that flashing light in the background that annoys the person you’re talking to. Just a game I could play with a super special person while we couldn’t be together.

The game was surprisingly fun, and I agreed to start new games, with my best friend and my roommate. But those weren’t “real time” games, and I found myself working on them when I should have been doing other things. Like eating. And sleeping. Not good. I’d rather be reading anyway.

But word games are SO. MUCH. FUN. It was tough. Once I started, how could I stop?

For myself, I’ve decided to set a few ground rules.  Basically, I want to feel like I am playing a real game. So I can’t play multiple games at once, and I can’t play games while I’m doing other things, and I’m certainly not going to play a game with someone without talking to them. I make conversation, online or on the phone, to keep things personal. I am, after all, a very chatty girl.

The internet and words. Words and the internet. They’ve become forever entangled, and I’m not  the first person to try and pull them apart in a way that makes it all work for me. I’m just a people person who loves word games. So sue me.

So where do you draw the line? Are games, conversations, etc. things that should happen in person? Are there things that you flat-out won’t  do online?

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (7)  

A Good Book: The Cure for the Common Celiac

Is “the tummies” something you grew up saying? As in, “I can’t go out, I have the tummies” when your stomach feels like it’s going to burst into flames? Or did I invent that? Anyway, I used to say that a lot. I can’t go out, I have the tummies. I can’t write, I have the tummies. I can’t sit up straight, I have the tummies.

For the first time in my life, though, this past month I found myself thinking the unthinkable: I can’t read- I have the tummies.

(more…)

Published in: on September 19, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (8)  

Mean, Clean, Readin’ Machine

Apparently I’m participating in a celebrity speed-reading contest?

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Published in: on September 12, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (3)  

5 Years Later

It was five years ago this week that my father and I ended our 3,218 day reading streak.

It would seem appropriate for me to do an essay on how our lives have changed since then, what the response has been to our story, and all of the wonderful things that came along with the book. But (spoiler alert!) that’s actually going in the paperback version! Instead, and in keeping with my style, I offer you…

The Five Things My Father was Always Right About (Even If I Didn’t Know it Then)

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Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (7)  

The Best Books to Read When __________

On Friday, I was contacted by the Washington Post for an article on the best books to read when you’re waiting out a hurricane (and they used the quote- see!). I thought this was an absolutely GENIUS idea, so like so many creative types over the years, I stole it and adapted it for my own use.

Here’s a totally incomplete list of, in my opinion, the best books to read when… (more…)

Published in: on August 29, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (7)  

That dang-founded Twitter thingamajig again

I have so many followers on here who are older people, or those less technologically inclined, that my Twitter content means absolutely zip to them. That is alright by me, but still sort of a shame that they are left out of the fun. So when Novel Publicity contacted me about promoting this book, In Leah’s Wake, via a “twitterview” (that’s an interview, done via Twitter) I thought to myself, self, this is a pretty neat opportunity. I get to give another author a little boost, and also, I get to introduce some of my readers to Twitter.

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Published in: on August 22, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (1)  

Guilty as Charged

I’ve gotten several emails, and read some reviews, saying that my book was not what people thought it would be. Sometimes they say it as a good thing, and when they’re not directly emailing me it’s sometimes a bad thing, but it does often come up, and it usually goes like this:

I thought your book would be all about books. I thought it would include in-depth discussions, and lengthy debates, and character analysis. But really, it’s less about the books and more about the people who read them. What gives?

(more…)

Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (7)  
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