Linda Stevens's blog

The Amazing Read: Summer Reading Challenge 2013

amazing readWelcome to Summer Reading 2013!  We're continuing our reading challenge this year, encouraging everyone to read a little outside of your comfort zone from week to week.  We'll post a topic each week to go along with our theme this year, Have Book, Will Travel, and ask you to respond by sharing your reading choices through your Summer Reading Program log, comments on the blog post, through Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, or in conversation with family and friends.

This week's challenge is simple:  Have Book - Will Travel this Summer.  So, let's read something that has a summer theme.  It could be a beach read, a scary campfire story, a picture book about learning to swim, or a grilling cookbook.  This challenge is for all ages and all reading tastes.  I'm going to read Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.  I've listed a few other suggestions for different ages below.  What are you reading?

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

serendipityI knew very early on that I was destined to be a city girl.  I tend to wilt outdoors, I prefer food that isn't cooked by me, and I really like movies that need subtitled translations.  Or maybe it's just that I prefer to remain anonymous when I visit the 7-11 in my pajama pants.  No matter the reason, in contrast to my everyday life, I can't get enough of small towns and villages in fiction.  They provide a warm and cozy vacation to a place with a personality of its own, complete with a variety of colorful characters that form an extended fictional family.  Judging by the popularity of many of these books, I am not alone.

Everything Old is New Again

sunny chandler's returnWith eBooks, that is, not age -- unfortunately.  One benefit I am taking advantage of from the eBook phenomenon is the discovery (or rediscovery, sometimes) of older titles by authors I really enjoy.  Whether it's through their normal publisher, a digital publisher, or self-publishing, many popular authors are now making previously hard-to-find backlist titles available to the eBook crowd. 

Who's Your Book Boyfriend?

shadowfeverI was talking with a friend the other day, and I'm not really sure how this came up, but she said that Jericho Barrons would always be her imaginary boyfriend.  I'm sure her real husband doesn't have a problem with that.  It would be a rare woman who did not think that Barrons was uniquely appealing, but I find that I am a much more fickle reader.

Self-Pub Success

on dublin streetI am not only an extreme book nerd, I am also a book publishing news junkie.  I've been particularly addicted lately, when the latest book publishing trends have such a huge impact on libraries.  One trend that I find fascinating is the change that's taken place in self-publishing over the last few years.  We've come a very long way from the days when John Grisham self-published A Time to Kill and sold it out of the back of his car. 

This trend is most visible in the romance genre, spurred on by the success of ebooks and blockbuster breakthroughs like E.L. James.  Many self-published ebooks that become popular are purchased by traditional publishers and made available in print.  The titles and authors listed below have either had their beginnings in self-publishing or the authors have decided to make a break with traditional publishing, at least for some titles, and give the new business model a try. 

Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Programs at HCPL

HC fun for seniorsHarris County Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program (SAP) will begin offering special programs at the Barbara Bush Branch Library and the Fairbanks Branch Library in February for adults 50 years of age and older. SAP events are part of Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner R. Jack Cagle’s educational and recreational commitment to Harris County residents.

Barbara Bush Branch Library:  Tuesdays, February, 5 and 12:

10 a.m.  Senior Fitness Class
Safe, effective, and fun fitness class designed for active older adults!

1 p.m.   Art Class
Pursue any type of artwork, in any media, in this class led by an award-winning artist. Students work at their own pace; no prior experience is necessary. A list of supplies for the media you choose will be provided in class.   

Fairbanks Branch Library:  Tuesdays, February, 19 and 26:        

10 a.m.  Senior Fitness Class
Safe, effective, and fun fitness class designed for active older adults!

1 p.m.   Art Class
Pursue any type of artwork, in any media, in this class led by an award-winning artist. Students work at their own pace; no prior experience is necessary. A list of supplies for the media you choose will be provided in class.

Baby, It's Cold Outside

deep kiss of winterOkay, it's actually been kind of cold for a couple of days in Houston, Texas and many of us have been enjoying the chill before we start wearing our shorts again.  I think that people who have always lived in warm climates romanticize snow and wintry temperatures, with pictures of fireplaces, snowmen and hot chocolate dancing in our heads, instead of snow tires, shovels and bursting pipes.  While safely ensconced in our temperate zone, what's the harm in that?

Friends of the Library Drawing Winner

Congratulations to Susan Meeks from the West University Branch Library!  Susan is the winner of the Harris County Friends of the Library drawing for a new Kindle Paperwhite and cover.  Thanks to our generous donors and to all who participated to support the Friends and HCPL!  Funds raised will be used to support summer reading programs at all Harris County branches. 

For more information about supporting the Harris County Friends of the Library, visit www.hcfol.org or volunteer for your local Friends group and make a difference in your community.

Support Your Local Romance Writer

wanted undead or aliveWe hear a great deal nowadays about buying local and eating local, but what about reading local?  I was preparing a presentation about hosting an author visit and it made me think about the talented and wide-ranging crop of local writers available in the romance genre. 

Starting Over

I am a firm believer that book series should have a definite beginning and end, and not just keep continuing on because they are selling well.  All of you series readers know what I mean -- sometimes no matter how much you love the characters, the story has come to a natural conclusion.  How do authors bring that about in a way that will satisfy their fans and then try something new?

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