Category Archives: Trends in books

Longing for someplace unfamiliar

In grade school I would skim the readers for something intriguing, passing over  everyday stories of American life that were supposed to draw in readers with their familiarity. I yearned for tales of distant lands, places with unique landscapes, animals … Continue reading

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Critiquing myself

I grew up as a bookworm, constantly reading. My parents sometimes claimed that I spent my entire childhood with my nose in a book. But I didn’t learn how to read until I was five, so books had to have … Continue reading

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Uncontrollable Characters

Some authors claim that characters live in the their head, sometimes ignore their directives and even argue with what the author has planned for them to do. The difficulty with capturing real characters is the finite number of words in … Continue reading

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Twisted Wit

During my lifetime I have noticed a shift in the focus of humor–laughs are no longer based on situations but humorous conversations. Wise-cracking retorts are funnier than amusing events. In fact, often the events would be minimal.  The sitcom Seinfeld … Continue reading

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Breaking the speed limit

A thrilling fast-paced first chapter that pulls the reader into the story does not have the power to create tension for the entire story. A dramatic, edge-of-the-seat beginning might even decrease the tension. After the first thrill is over, the … Continue reading

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Nothing New under the Sun

There have been authors for many millennia and the tools that they use have changed—from painting on stones, to drawing on animal skin, to writing with ink on paper, to using block prints and printing presses and we have electronic … Continue reading

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Whose Needs to Be Involved in Reading Curriculum?

Parents, children and school personnel all need to be involved reviewing books for the literature curriculum. I’ll tell you why. In sixth they had us read the Iliad and I wasn’t getting it. I asked my mom to read it to … Continue reading

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Choice

Ninth grade literature class–I was not aware that I had been chosen for the class of only twelve students. We read a few short stories in common and discussed them. The lengthier novels we selected for ourselves and read them … Continue reading

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Crime and picture books

At the library my five-year-old son pulled out a beautifully illustrated book of an old steam train. He had ridden in a few that still run for tourists. It was the kind of activity we did as a family, and … Continue reading

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How likeable does a character have to be?

We often hear it is absolutely necessary for your protagonist to be likable. I take this advice not just with a grain of salt but with a huge chunk of sodium chloride. One of my very dislikable characters (according to … Continue reading

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