Linda Stevens's blog

The Benefits of eRomance

sony readerIt’s not exactly breaking news that the eBook business is booming right now.  At HCPL, our customers check out at least 20,000 eBooks and eAudio books each month.  A blog post I read today compared the rise of eBooks with the debut of mass market paperbacks around the time of World War II, and many of the issues sound similar.  Pricing issues – check.  Publisher paranoia – check.  Genre domination – check.  Literary snobbery – check. 

2011 Audie Award Nominations

audie awardsThey might not receive as much attention as The Oscars, but each year The Audies highlight the best in audiobooks from the previous year.  The Audies feature 30 categories, including Biography/Memoir, Fiction, History, Humor, Solo Narration, and Original Work.  The awards will be announced at the Audies Gala on May 24, 2011, but you probably won't see the winners strutting down the red carpet on television.

There are some strong contenders this year, including the titles listed below.  Why not branch out from your usual audiobook selections and try one of these quality guaranteed nominees?

Beloved Book Characters Visit 5 Library Branches

madeline

In honor of Read Across America Day on Wednesday, March 2nd, some of our favorite characters from Main Street Theater will visit five library locations after school and share their stories.  There's Madeline, the French schoolgirl, Moose, the hungry guest from If You Give a Moose a Muffin, Drover, Hank the Cowdog's loyal sidekick, Farmer Alfalfa, the corn growing goat from Busytown, and our favorite Herdman from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, young Gladys Herdman. 

African-American Romance Authors

I recently read an article that contained a quote by Beverly Jenkins, a prolific author of romances featuring African-American characters.  Ms. Jenkins stated that she creates heroines who are beautiful in "who they are and how they live their lives," "women who are the first African-American doctors, journalists and business owners."  It made me start thinking about how quickly the romance genre went from having only white characters to having a wealth of styles and storylines featuring African-American and multicultural characters.

Rising Stars of Romance

iron dukeAll readers love a new release by one of the favorite authors they've been reading for years and years.  Some of us wait quite impatiently.  But, because of the work I've been doing with the HCPL Book Hunters service and my own insatiable reading habit, lately I've been enjoying disovering authors that are new to me.  I must say, there seems to be a very talented group of young romance authors right now.  Their books already have library customers waiting in line, but check one out if you haven't already beat me to it:

The Vikings are Coming!

viking shipJoin us at the West University Branch Library on Saturday, January 22, 2011, at 1:00, as the Vikings invade! 

Were there really warriors, once upon a time, with horns on their helmets?  Did these warriors have a scary dragon head on their ships?  Learn all about the Vikings (if you dare)...their tales, their history, and their impressive ships.  This family event will feature a performance by the "Little Vikings" choir and a tasty sweet from Denmark. 

Following the family program at 3:00 will be a film screening of A Viking Voyage.  Hear the tale of the reconstruction of the Sea Stallion, introduced by a crew member who was part of the voyage, documented by BBC film.

For more information, call 281-497-7382 or visit www.aia-houston.com.

Second Chance Romances

I love the feeling that comes with the start of each new year that you are beginning with a clean slate.  It's a time when you can try to make improvements in your life and correct mistakes of the past.  Okay, so I didn't finish my resolution to read all of Tolstoy or learn to speak Italian, I still enjoy the giddy new year second chance feeling. 

Moonlight & Mistletoe: Holiday Romance Reads

There's nothing that speeds along the blossoming of your annual holiday spirit like a heartwarming festive story.  Probably because it's a genre that's all about the heart, you'll find no shortage of these in the romance category.  From series titles to bestselling authors, there's something for everyone, so put away your inner Grinch and pick up a novel full of holiday cheer!

Heart of Christmas by Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick & Courtney Milan 

Cowboy Christmas by Janette Kenny

Movie History

citizen kaneLike many movie buffs, I've been glued to the TV set each Monday for the past few weeks to catch Moguls and Movie Stars: a History of Hollywood on TCM.  The series goes decade by decade through the development of motion pictures, from 1889-1969, and each episode has inspired me to revisit old favorites and explore other landmark movies that I somehow never managed to see.  Last night's episode was particularly interesting, focusing on World War II efforts and the development of a social conscience at the theater.  I've got at least a week's worth of self-programming as a result.

Old School Romance Reading

I don't mean the "old school" romance writing style of the 1970s type with a bosomy cover and the word "savage" in the title.  I'm referring to the fact that I find that there are some authors whose earlier books I really liked, but their more recent books do not appeal to me.  Either they moved settings from historical to contemporary, they upped the suspense and dialed down the romance, they moved into a new genre, or their style somehow inexplicably changed.  Many became even more successful, so they probably appealed to more readers with their changes.  It's all a matter of personal reading preference. 

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