by Shauna Lynn--WBP Blogger and Editor
It’s definitely that frightful season out there. It’s also getting colder and fairly fast too. What better way to warm up with a good book, a good SCARY book. There are so many out there though, which one do you want to read? I’ve scanned several websites and tallied up several scary books and I’m going to give you the top five.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Goodreads says, “First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill Househas been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. “
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Amazon.com says, “The deceptively simple story focuses on Regan, the 11-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C.; the child apparently is possessed by an ancient demon. It's up to a small group of overwhelmed yet determined humans to somehow rescue Regan from this unspeakable fate. Purposefully raw and profane, this novel still has the extraordinary ability to literally shock us into forgetting that it is "just a story."
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Goodreads describes this one, “There's a killer on the loose who knows that beauty is only skin deep, and a trainee investigator who's trying to save her own hide. The only man that can help is locked in an asylum. But he's willing to put a brave face on - if it will help him escape.”
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Part of Goodreads’ description states, “ There's a killer on the loose who knows that beauty is only skin deep, and a trainee investigator who's trying to save her own hide. The only man that can help is locked in an asylum. But he's willing to put a brave face on - if it will help him escape.”
The Amityville Horror (A True Story) by Jay Anson
A portion of the description on Goodreads says, “On December 18, 1975, a young family of five moved into their new home, complete with finished basement, swimming pool, and boathouse. Twenty-eight days later, they fled in terror, leaving most of their belongings behind. — The fantastic story of their experiences was widely publicized on network television, newspapers, and national magazines. But the Lutz family never disclosed the full details to the media. Now, their own carefully-reconstructed memories -- and independent interviews with local clergy and police -- reveal their entire harrowing story.”
I’ve seen portions of a few of the movies, but now I’m going to be ordering these books to cuddle up with my kitties and some hot cocoa and a good scary book. Nothing better to get that blood flowing when you are cold and achy. Which one do you plan on reading first?
Shauna Lynn, a talented writer, founder of Pickles and Peppers, and chronic illness advocate covers a wide variety of topics that she is passionate about. In her free time, she loves creating crafts with her family or creating a new and delicious recipe that she shares throughout the blogosphere. She loves animals and curling up with a good book too. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what unique and engaging content she can create for you. Be sure to stop by her blog Pickles and Peppers for food, family, and fun with a side of reviews and giveaways.
Pickles & Peppers: www.pickles-n-peppers.com
From Market Writer
E-readers have flourished in the market since their inception, as they attract avid readers of the advanced technology generation. When the latest characteristic of sophistication is the notion of consolidation and compaction, E-readers are the device of choice for bookworms that want to keep reading at all times. But there’s a wide selection of E-readers available which makes it difficult to decide which one is best for each individual, especially given that they’re quite similar in features. For instance, the top recognized E-readers all offer 4G of storage capacity, quick page turning capabilities, Wi-Fi, and high contrast screens to enable easy reading. That said there are a few differences within each that warrants some discussion.
Choose What’s Right for You
This is the device that comes to mind when one considers the very design of an E-reader. Revered as the reader of choice among an outstanding population of E-reader consumers, it also offers reader a better bargain for the price. Averaging at a price of about $200, the overall rating of its performance and design has been scored 4.5 out of 5 stars. The Voyage model, in particular has by far the crispest resolution with dedicated buttons for page turning. If you ever wondered what the big difference is between the Voyage and the Paperwhite, there are no remarkable differences except for the evident increase in price of the former as opposed to the latter. It’s also worth noting that Amazon is the only E-reader manufacturer that enables cellular data connections (without a monthly fee) to allow you to buy books regardless of Wi-Fi connectivity at your given location.
Barnes and Noble Nook:
The device itself is created by a well-established sophisticated enterprise with a great reputation that attracts scholars nationally. It’s sleek and compact, weighing 6.2 oz. which is noticeably different from heavier competitors. Additionally, it’s respected for granting readers and ad-free experience as well as the added benefit of a silicone frame to protect it in the event of a fall. However, there are no other slots other than the USB port at the bottom and dirt from hands easily shows on the white finish of the device. There’s no HTML book format support as well.
The device has an admittedly impressive touch screen interface with front screen lighting. It’s compatible with just about any e-book store and offers an additional memory expansion slot. At the expense of having a wider screen, it does weigh more than other E-readers (over 8 oz. with 6.8 inches of screen surface as opposed to the standard 6 inches). Although there is a down side to owning one is the inconvenience of having to make third-party e-book purchases that require PC connection.
From Market Writer
When the reader is enthralled by an author’s renditions, a person may become part of the story. Reading the book before watching a movie is always the better choice. Its details are translated by the author to the reader, which gives insights into the characters, events, and locales. When a filmmaker or scriptwriter tries to do the same, often the conversion of the novel is lost. This may be untrue if the author is on-site when the picture is being created, but this is not the median to the rule when creating a movie from a novel.
When a novel is being reworked into a movie, there are simply too many ways to interpret dialogs or events into a script. One small novel may be interpreted differently from one individual to another, so the original storyline that readers love, will not be the same. Some film makers will also put their own personal twist into the movie for ratings. Otherwise, the scriptwriter may add new settings or delete scenes altogether, which will drastically or subtly change the plot line. By changing events or dialogs the author’s original intent may be changed entirely. The actor or actress may change the story as well.
The movie executives may hire actors or actresses that are incompatible for the character portrayed within the novel or the actor or actress may not perform the characters properly. Many people may be disappointed when they see the film, because the movie may differ from how they may have envisioned the characters or scenes they discovered within the novel. But these matters are not the only constraints by watching the picture first, without reading the novel.
Within the movie, there are time constraints directors must adhere to. Most films are around an hour and a half, to three hours long. When a new scene is created, there may parts from the novel cut or altered to repair the time restraints. Hence, the original novel will deliver more detail, making it more pleasing to experience.
When a tale is interpreted from a novel to a script, the scriptwriter may have a problem with the inner dialog represented within the original works. Oftentimes, the reader acquires an insight into the character’s inner dialogue through reading. The visual representation of this on the big screen will not express this inner dialogue. Film producers will usually need to make up for this with new content, voice overs, or altered content which can also alter the story line. A full novel will let the reader to put the elements together in their judgment, without the elaborate visual effects or voiceovers. But the best part about reading, verses watching a story unfold on the big screen is it makes the reader more versatile! Frequent reading will assist a person with a better overall composition and it stimulates the mind and reduces stress.
Additionally, it reinforces the following: knowledge, vocabulary, memory, analytical thinking, attention, and focus. Can it be said that watching a movie can do the same, no matter how entertaining it is? It is important to read often, and discover the plot lines that that inspire the world of entertainment today. Reading will always be the better option!
From Market Writer
What was Hidden Has Come Into The Light
Social stigmas and perceptions associated with the LGBT community have long prevented the LGBT literature from being talked about in the open. Whenever intellectual discussions revolving prize-winning or noteworthy literary works of the century are held on TV or during social get-togethers, the notable works of LGBT literature hardly get any mention, let alone praise and admiration. However, this has now changed as what was hidden has now come into the light, quite a bright and dazzling light to be more precise.
Projects such as ‘LGBT Books to Prisoners’, sending free LGBT literature to LGBT inmates in US prisons, and ‘The Stonewall Book Award’, rewarding writers and illustrators doing amazing work in LGBT literature, are now being talked about extensively. Journalists and literary bloggers too are compiling lists of the most enriching LGBT literary works, thus making LGBT literature a part of everyday conversations and people’s bookshelves.
The History of LGBT Literature
LGBT literature is not a new phenomenon. Members of the LGBT community often turn to literary works discussing and portraying attraction and love between same-gender individuals in order to find validation and peace, which they are often denied in the outside world.
Greeks are known to be the first ones to have contributed to LGBT literature through popular and notable works such as Plato’s ‘Symposium’and Aeschylus’ ‘The Myrmidons’. Ancient Greek mythology often portrays deep affection and attraction between few of the Greek Gods and talks of divine miracles that transformed genders. Petronius’ ‘Satyricon’, a 1st century AD Latin fictional work, depicting the adventures of two gay lovers, is one of the earliest works in LGBT Literature.
Earlier authors of 18th and 19th centuries would often use coded messages to depict same-gender love and their sympathy towards LGBT community as writing about homosexuality was largely illegal in many powerful nations such as UK and United States. However, 20th century saw a rise in more explicit depiction of gay lives in LGBT literature.
What is Changing Perception?
With increasing acceptance of homosexuality and transgender communities among societies, LGBT literature is finding itself being discussed more positively and openly.
Over the last few years, several changes have taken place which have compelled people to change their perceptions towards LGBT’s- same sex marriages have been legalized in a few nations, gay pride parades are held more frequently, several international celebrities have confessed about their homosexuality and non-profit groups for LGBT members are working actively to help gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people get equal rights as their heterosexual counterparts. All these changes have opened readers’ minds to LGBT literature in order to explore the world of LGBT.
What is the Future for LGBT Literature?
With exclusive literary awards being set up to recognize admirable LGBT works and critics discussing LGBT works in their blogs and columns openly, LGBT literature has a brighter future ahead of it. More and more readers, not only those who belong to LGBT but others as well, are expected to make LGBT literature a part of their reading lists. In many ways, LGBT Literature is expected to fuel further acceptance and understanding of LGBT community and its amalgamation into regular society.
From Market Writer
Do you often go through lists of bestselling books and make your buying picks out of them? If yes, then it’s high time you break away from this habit and try something new for a change. There are plenty of books by new authors that come out every day. Not only do these books make for fascinating reads but also contain fresh and unique content that will amaze you and satisfy your book-loving soul thoroughly.
It’s Time to Explore Something New
While reading bestselling books may be a safe option, it does not carry with itself the same level of excitement that comes with picking up a book from an author you have never heard of before. After reading tons of reviews of bestselling books, there is little left for you to discover. Exploring new books will give you a chance to discover something new on every page!
Also, wouldn’t it be fun if your review of a book by a new author turned it into a bestseller? Reading books that are not part of classic bestselling lists will give you an opportunity to acquaint your friends, family and peers with new and exciting books.
Widen Your Perspective
Everyone has a different taste in books. While some like romantic dramas, others may prefer spy tales or thrillers. Hence, decide what genre indulges your mind the most and try out new books from that genre. This will help you experience variety from that genre and widen your perspective. You will surely have much more to say next time you will meet your book club mates!
The beauty of reading books by Indie authors lies entirely in the element of surprise. Every time you are reading a book by a bestselling author, you already know what to expect as you are familiar with that author’s style of writing and storytelling. However, reading books by Indie authors whom you have never read before gives you a chance to feel surprised now and then and enjoy the sweet feelings of amazement and wonder. This not only enriches your mind and soul but also makes your book reading experience worthwhile and enjoyable.
After all, what is the fun in reading a book if your heart already knows what might happen in the end? None, right? So why not give a chance to an Indie author today and let yourself be swept by a wave of surprise! After all, surprise is the spice of life.
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: Word Branch Media
Every year I write a blog for Banned Book Week, and this year is no different, and, sadly, there is no shortage of banned and challenged books in the US as well as worldwide. But, on the positive side, we at least have this opportunity to showcase the seemingly growing problem of special interest groups attempting to control the speech, thoughts, and beliefs of all. When I talk to people about Banned Book Week and my passion to eliminate restrictions in reading, I’m sometimes met with shock. That surprises me, but I think education is the key to make others more aware of censorship.
For those not familiar with Banned Book Week, it is the annual event, supported by the American Library Association (ALA), that celebrates our freedom to read and protests the censorship of books. The ALA recognizes the potential danger of the restriction of reading and the historical and contemporary impact it has on civilizations. Click here to read more about the ALA’s involvement in Banned Book Week.
I think it is important to note that books that are banned and challenged in the US may not be what people think. We’re not talking about some dark pornography or terrorist manifesto; we are talking about American classics like The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird. We’re talking about beloved children’s books like Harry Potter and young adult favorites like The Hunger Games. We are talking about books that shed a light on racism and other social issues like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and The Bluest Eye. We’re talking about books that make us think and create, that lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and society.
The reasons that books are banned or challenged are many, and while it may be tempting to blame it entirely on fringe religious and political groups, often it is ordinary people who initiate the challenges. Sometimes it is just well-meaning folks who just can’t understand why others don’t think or act like them. Sometimes it is a misguided notion that you can protect children by restricting what comes into their world. Valid points . . . to some extent. While parents have a right to restrict what their children read, they certainly don’t have the right to restrict my children’s reading. One person’s religious or political views that control their own choice of reading material shouldn’t dictate what I choose to read and, by extension, think.
I get that some people think that The Color Purple, or similarly ranged books, isn’t appropriate for all age groups, and it is not. It is not the easiest read in the world, and it deals with some very adult subjects. But no one is suggesting that your second grader be forced into reading it, and even if you oppose your high school student reading Invisible Man as an assigned book, I know of no school or teacher that doesn’t have alternative books for students whose parents protest. But that doesn’t mean that other students shouldn’t be restricted from what is a learning and growing experience.
And you may say-what is the harm in taking The Sun Also Rises or Harry Potter out of libraries to keep these special interest groups from squawking? The danger is that when one first amendment right is chipped away at, it sets a dangerous precedent for others. I’m not suggesting that we are in imminent danger of becoming a real-life Fahrenheit 451 society (which ironically is on the banned list), but, as James Madison said: “there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
ALA Press Release: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2014/09/affirm-freedom-read-during-banned-books-week-sept-21-27-2014
Notable First Amendment Court Cases:http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorshipfirstamendmentissues/courtcases
Frequently Banned and Challenged Books: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics
ALA Banned Book Week 2014: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
When I began doing research for this blog, which was originally about self-publishing versus small presses, I was a little surprised of the number of articles and blogs that listed do-it-yourself, small presses, and large publishing companies as “choices” for new authors. The idea that any of these is a given is unrealistic—and yes, I do mean to include self publishing, at least successful self publishing. While this seems like an issue solely for writers, this is good and bad news for readers too.
Most writers fantasize about being discovered by one of The Big Six (or Five depending on the day)[i], getting a six-figure advance, and having their book turned into a artsy, yet lucrative film—probably not going to happen. In fact, the odds are very much against it. Only one percent or fewer of a large press’s annual titles are from new authors and very few get any type of advance at all[ii]. The myth of a large publishing house spending oodles on marketing is a bust too. As markets shrink for print books, large publishers are also shrinking their marketing budgets. They only will spend what they think they can get back from sales. If you are a new author, then that will be low if any. With this unstable market and publishers going under or being sold at a rapid rate, they are taking very few chances.
I don’t want to come off sounding completely pessimistic—there are fairytale endings even in the publishing world. The author of Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James, turned a fan-fiction novel into a best-selling trilogy for Vintage, and Lisa Genova’s Still Alice was picked up by Simon & Schuster to rise to number five on the New York Times bestseller list[iii].
Five years ago, self-publishing came with a lot of stigmas, and many, including writers, saw it as something of a passing joke. People stopped laughing when Amanda Hocking made nearly a half million dollars in one month with her self-published series, The Trylle Trilogy[iv]. Self-publishing gives the power and the profits back to the author and allows new authors to test their wings without a stack of rejection notices.
But as most veterans of the self-publishing world find out, the path to success is fraught with roadblocks and pitfalls. While seemingly easy (write, upload, sell), it doesn’t take long for problems to arise. Many authors are completely vexed by art and font copyrights, the technical aspects of formatting for upload, book design not to mention ISBN acquisition, Library of Congress numbers, and BISAC classifications. Then comes selling . . . Creating a marketing plan is essential as well as understanding the limitations. When and where to put advertising dollars can be overwhelming to the novice and can bankrupt a modest budget in hours. Distribution avenues are often not offered to self-publishers as well as some venues, national chains, libraries, and others, won’t sell self-published books.
A new industry has sprung up to assist the self-published author get a book ready for publishing and marketing and selling afterward. Some of these are very expensive extravagances, and a few outright scams, but some are absolutely essential like editing, professional cover creation, and formatting for print and e-book.
Lastly is the small press. New technologies have given rise to numerous small publishing companies, like Word Branch Publishing, and, again, this is both good and bad news for authors and readers.
The bad news for authors is that the terminology, thus the results, are confusing. Although innovation is critical for success, some small presses are actually old ideas in disguise. I’ve listed a few types of small publishers below to help clear up the terms.
· Subsidy, or what used to be called vanity, publishers: The writer pays up front for all services like editing, proofing, and book design but keeps rights.
· Hybrid publisher: Doesn't charge for services, but may keep rights for books. Due to working with new authors, costs are kept low by contracting employees, working virtually, and using print on demand-POD. Distribution is sometimes limited, and marketing often falls on the shoulders of the writer.
· Independent publisher: The indie is a small scale version of a traditional publisher. They work with a salaried employees or small pool of contractors. They take care of all technical aspects, and usually have a marketing plan for each book in which they work in tandem with the author’s own marketing. They may use POD or short print runs depending on needs. They will often have wider distribution channels still depends on working in conjunction with the author for promotion.
In case you were wondering, Word Branch falls somewhere in between hybrid and indie. You can read more about it in Lynn Sarafinn’s article about WBP: http://www.crtwriting.com/1/post/2013/08/lynn-serafinns-blog-about-word-branch-publishing.html
Now, as for what all this means for readers is, again, both good and bad news.
Self-publishing has given readers a plethora of books from new authors. The amount of free and reduced price e-books means that an avid reader can fill his or her Kindle with reading material to last a lifetime for practically nothing. The bad news is that a lot of these books are just plain not very good. They sometimes are poorly edited, the author has not spent enough time rewriting, the cover is derivative or the story is stiff and unimaginative. However, more good news is that many diamonds in the rough are there for the reading, and it is a real joy to come across a really good author who you may have never discovered otherwise.
Traditional large presses will always have books that are in demand. Nearly all of the bestsellers come from the big guys, and they have the money and power to deliver the recognizable names. On the downside, they offer the reader a relatively limited pool of books that are salable to the masses. You end up reading what everyone else is reading[v].
Small publishers offer readers a choice usually at a pretty good price. Indies tap into a market that otherwise wouldn’t get notice and wide distribution. They are fairly selective in what they publish and have a personal relationship with the authors. Call or email a small publisher, and you will probably get an answer from the owner. However, due to a fickle market and the necessity of laying out large amounts of cash to get a book established, many small publishers go underwater leaving authors and readers hanging.
Large or small, new or old publishing companies, readers or writers—we have all been effected by the shakeup in the industry in the last five years. But I remain optimistic that we are going into a new renaissance of books and that the changes will benefit us all.
Suggested Reading and Links:
Word Branch Publishing’s sister companies assist writers with editing, covers, and formatting as well as marketing:http://www.crtwriting.com/ http://wordstreambooks.com
Why You Should Avoid Bestselling Books: http://theweek.com/article/index/261079/why-you-should-avoid-best-selling-books
The Wonderful World of E-Publishing: http://www.crtwriting.com/1/post/2012/06/the-wonderful-world-of-e-publishing.html
E-Books vs. ‘Real’ Books: http://www.crtwriting.com/1/post/2012/06/the-wonderful-world-of-e-publishing.html
[i] Hachette (publisher)
Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group/Macmillan
Simon & Schuster
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, WordBranch Media
March is National Reading Month, and instead of blogging about writers and writing, I wanted to do a little research to find out what makes dedicated readers tick. It’s clear that not everyone enjoys reading and not everyone reads in the same way. The obvious bumps in the reading road are issues like dyslexia and visual impairment; although, neither precludes reading altogether or even the enjoyment of reading. I know very intelligent people who aren’t readers, and many of us mere humans who enjoy it immensely. So what is it that makes some of us avid readers and others not? What is it that inspires the translation of squiggles and loops into magical movies in our minds?
The physiology of reading, it turns out, may have an impact on how long we read, who enjoys reading, and what we read. According to an article in the American Journal of Psychology, eye fatigue and our ability to focus have a great deal to do with our reading abilities. Although dated, the concept of the article is relevant: eye movement and how much discomfort it causes the reader has a direct impact on reading enjoyment. So is this an innate condition that excludes certain individuals from enjoying reading? Probably not in most cases. Lighting makes a big difference. Direct, full spectrum lighting can ease discomfort considerably. The type of font is also a factor, and most publishers are aware of the fonts that are easiest on the eyes. E-readers can be helpful in the adjustment of many issues that can cause discomfort.
The next thought is what happens in the brain when we read and how does this affect our reading abilities? A 2012 study revealed that there is a difference between the parts of the brain used while reading aloud and reading silently, and attention plays a major factor as well. Silent readers’ brains interpret reading as having a conversation and pay more attention to the inner dialog. Most avid readers will tell you that the scenes in their heads are more of a continuous thought rather than individual words, and this increases the speed that information is processed thus leading to a greater focus on the material.
Clearly, much of our enjoyment, or lack of, comes from childhood. I come from a family of readers and was taught to read very young. My father read to me; I read to my children, and books, many books, were always a part of our home. Children who start out with difficulties in reading tend to carry these into adulthood. Often astute teachers and active family support can help, as well as being aware that reading problems may be the symptom of other issues that need to be explored further.
“Books are,” to quote Stephen King, “uniquely portable magic.” Indeed, reading transports us, takes us out of who and where we are. An article in the Reading Research Quarterly supports this by claiming that reading is a form of play.While reading can be functional and necessary, a good deal of the reading the avid reader does is for pleasure. The article introduces the idea of ‘lucid reading’ or readers who involve themselves in the book and read often. Not surprisingly, lucid readers were found to be better readers in terms of speed and comprehension, and the result of this spilled into other parts of their lives. Lucid readers are often more focused, more likely to be critical thinkers and more creative.
My personal philosophy that readers are made, not born. Even those with a poor track record of reading and who claim that it is torturous and tedious can become book lovers with the right material and environment. In my years of teaching English at the college level, I had many students who told me that they really hated to read. Nearly always, if we found the right genre and created a positive atmosphere, they found that reading was not only tolerable, it was pleasurable. Like leading the proverbial horse to water, you can’t make the non-reader love books, but you might spark an interest.
So Gentle Reader, this month is for you. Celebrate, revel, rejoice and curl up in your most comfortable chair with a good book and enjoy the adventure, the peace, the knowledge that these magical squiggles and loops create.
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
I went to a small Quaker liberal arts college in Ohio and later taught there. Although not Quaker, I received a large dose of the philosophy during my years at Wilmington College. One belief that has stuck with me all these years is the idea of bearing witness. Part of that idea is that a person should take a strong moral stand and live by that. Over time, I have felt strongly about a number of issues: equality, combating genocide, conservation among a few. But as a publisher and writer, no issue is more important to me than censorship.
Writing has always been politically explosive. From Socrates and Milton to Twain and Rushdie, writing bears the brunt of free speech infractions due to its permanence and portability. The greatest detriment to oppressive regimes in Europe was the invention of the printing press that made it possible and plausible for the masses to read and to write. Jonathan Swift’s metaphorical “A Modest Proposal” sank its barbs deep into British oppression of the Irish just as Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” held a mirror to the repressive side of African politics.
Some religious groups have been as active, possibly more so, than governments when it comes to censorship. Hiding behind a smokescreen of morality, suppression of books by religions has a long and ugly history. The Catholic Church’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum, radical Islam’s fatwa against authors who cross a man-made line, and Scientology’s aggressive attacks on any critical writing are just a sampling of the groups who seek to silence writers on grounds that range from silly to deadly.
Conversely, religious writings have suffered from censorship as well—usually from rival groups. Both the Qur’an and the Bible have been banned by governments and groups as well as various Buddhist writings and Wiccan books.
And so, Gentle Readers, I invite you to take part in sharing quotes from your favorite banned writing on Word Branch Publishing’s Facebook page. From September 22nd to the 28th, I will be sharing my favorites, and we encourage everyone to do the same. If you haven’t liked our Facebook page, you can by clicking here. If you need some inspiration, check out some of the other resources below.
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
What can be more satisfying to a book lover than talking about books with like-minded people? My own book club, The Underachievers, has been a place where I met wonderful people and was exposed to books and genres I probably would have never read. It has helped me grow as a reader, and it makes me feel more a part of my community.
If you are currently a member of a book club, you know what I mean. If you would like to start your own book club, you are beginning a journey that will enrich your life. Although it’s not difficult to do, there are a few considerations to make your experience rewarding and stress free.
Focus: If you are starting from scratch, ask yourself what type of experience you want from the club. Do you want to enrich a much loved genre (mystery, science fiction, romance) by discussing it with others or do you want to explore new territories? Are you interested in classics or new best sellers? If you have friends who want to start the book club together, include everyone in the discussion—don’t assume that everyone’s book preference is the same as yours.
Location: The first consideration for location is physical or virtual? Internet-based book clubs are becoming more popular and work well for some people. If your members have trouble finding the time to get together or live a considerable distance apart, this may be the way to go. There are a number of sites that offer free meeting places, including libraries, but Book Club It seems to have a simple, no-fuss platform. http://www.bookclubit.com/
If your location is physical, you have a range of options. Many clubs opt to have meetings in members’ homes rotating sites so it doesn’t get overwhelming for one person. This can easily become an opportunity to extend the meeting with carry-in meals or wine or coffee get-togethers. If this isn’t the best option, try a local coffee shop or book store. Contact the management first to make sure they can handle the extra people. You may even get a group discount. Libraries always have a steady stream of books clubs and often have a dedicated space.
Members: Before you begin recruiting members, consider the focus of the group. Start with friends and family who share the group’s reading interests, and ask them to pass the word. Post flyers at libraries, coffee shops, book stores and places where you might find compatible reads: i.e. an inspirational book club might post at a church or synagogue.
One caveat about members coming and going: Don’t be hurt if you lose members (and you will) because they either don’t have time or just don’t click with the group. It happens, and most book clubs are very fluid with membership.
Before the first meeting: A book club should be fun and gratifying, but if you haven’t made some plans, it will become chaotic pretty quickly. Some things that you want to consider are listed below:
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