Blog Archives

Your Brain on Fiction

Turns out reading fiction is great for your brain! It’s the cognitive equivalent of taking your brain for a jog. So exercise daily with a good book.

A Five-Star Review for Time’s Warriors

Time's Warriors Facebook“Anytime I read a series I usually find the first book in the series to be my favorite. This trend does not hold with the Time’s Edge series. Each book written becomes my latest favorite! Each book draws you deeper and deeper into a world of science fiction, adventure and romance. Each book has a mesmerizing quality that makes you long to stay in Time’s Edge and leave the hum drum of the real world behind. The only draw back to each book is that they end and leave you longing for the next one to be written.”

Forgetting How to Use a Book

A very interesting post from journalist David Bauer. He has been reading books all his life, but after only two years of reading on an ipad, he is no longer comfortable reading a book the old-fashioned way.

confused by booksI find it increasingly uncomfortable to move my eyes from the top of a page to the bottom as I read along. I prefer to keep my focus at roughly the same spot and to move the text rather my eyes.

Read his entire blog here: The Day I Forgot How to Use a Book

Fiction in the Garden

We have a lot of fun with our gardens. They are a mix of styles: cottage, Zen. rock, and just plain whimsical. (Plain whimsical? There’s an oxymoron for you!) But they do have one element in common. Each garden contains at least one reference to a work of fiction.

Sometimes it is just the name of the garden. One of  our gardens is called the Thoughtful Spot from A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. It sits by a large pair of pines tree and has three boulders for sitting and contemplating nature, the world, or the plot of our most recent book. One of the entries to our backyard gardens is guarded by a large stone lion that we call Aslan. Next to him there is a sign that says “Narnia”  with a directional arrow. A rock with a hole in the center has the name “Excalibur” scribbled across it. The roses that line the sidewalk out front are Robin Hood Roses (aka Mediterranean Musk Roses).

As you wander through our gardens, you will occasionally find a helpful signpost. Need to get to the Emerald City? No problem. A sign points the way. Want to visit Hogwarts? The sign tells you to follow the path through the shade garden. There are numerous signposts throughout our gardens, some boldly tacked to trees, others hidden so that they may only be glimpsed by the careful observer. If you look closely you will see directional signs for Camelot, Xanth, Neverland, Middle-earth, and several others. We are always adding to our collection.

The best part about our gardens? Nearly every one has a place where you can sit down and read. Benches, tree stumps, boulders; nooks, crannies, and hideaways. Just follow the sign to your favorite place, sit down, and open a book (or ebook, depending on your preference). You will be there.



Library Santa

Connecticut Authors Trail

We are very excited to have been invited to participate in the 3rd annual Connecticut Authors Trail. We will be appearing at the Sprague Public Library in Baltic, Connecticut on July 21st at 6:30pm.

The Connecticut Authors Trail consists of a consortium of Libraries in Eastern Connecticut who are constantly amazed at the variety of genres and diverse styles of writing among the authors who live in or are associated with the Nutmeg State. Beginning July 12th, 2011 in Franklin and ending September 22, 2011 at the Mohegan Sun, local authors will showcase their books and share their stories. Please join us on the 3rd Annual CAT.

Passports are available free at participating libraries throughout the summer as a guide to the author events. Have your passport stamped at each author event for a chance to qualify for an exclusive pre-program Meet & Greet in the Cabaret Theatre at the Mohegan Sun on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm. If you can’t make the Trail during the summer you are invited to meet many of the authors from the Trail on Thursday, September when the doors to The Cabaret Theatre open at 6:30 pm. Then stay and join us for a fun-filled evening starting 7:00 pm.


Genre Busting

Every book has a genre, right? Or perhaps not. Trying to describe the particular genre of a book these days is not as cut and dried as some may think or even want it to be. When is a mystery not a mystery? When it’s suspense. But aren’t mysteries by definition, full of suspense? And what if a mystery novel also has a romance? Then it’s romantic suspense. Throw in something supernatural? Paranormal fiction. Add some magic and set it in the present day. Urban fantasy.  But what do you call a book that has mystery, romance, and a little magic? A paranormal urban fantasy suspense novel? Sheesh! Labeling can be taken too far!

Many folks want books to fit neatly into one major category, and we understand readers’ desires to find books in genres that they love. But good stories often have details that fall outside “the genre”. We love tales that include a little mystery, a little romance, a little adventure. Unexpected elements add interest and depth to a story. And if that means the book doesn’t fit neatly into one genre, so what? Most things that happen in life don’t fit neatly under one subject heading. Why should our books?

Of course, we know books must be classified in some way or searching for something to read could become very much like Indiana Jones searching for the Lost Ark. What we are applauding are writers who stretch the boundaries and take their particular genres for rides down new roads. Sure this may befuddle the people who love tidy labels, but the rest of us get the fun of enjoying stories that challenge our expectations.

Our book, Time’s Edge, is basically labeled sci-fi/fantasy. One review claimed it was pure fantasy, while someone else praised the book for being great science fiction. One called it a sci-fi romance, another a sci-fi/fantasy adventure. But several readers realized the book didn’t fit neatly into one particular genre. A recent review on Amazon said “I enjoy reading mystery books, science fiction books, fantasy books, and good ol’ fashioned shoot ’em ups. This book literally had all of these in there somewhere, plus a healthy dose of romance and, dare I say, lust thrown in for good measure.” Now this is our kind of reviewer. He understands that the line between genres has become blurred and what’s even better, he doesn’t seem to mind.

Read for Fun

Our local library posted a link to a great article: “Pleasure Reading Leads to Professional Careers” which describes the interesting results of a study by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Apparently, pleasure reading is really good for you.

This made us think of a great list created by Dean Schneider and Robin Smith for the Horn Book Magazine. We’d like to share it:

Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader

by Dean Schneider and Robin Smith

1. Never read where your children can see you.

2. Put a TV or computer in every room. Don’t neglect the bedrooms and kitchen.

3. Correct your child every time she mispronounces a word.

4. Schedule activities every day after school so your child will never be bored.

5. Once your child can read independently, throw out the picture books. They’re for babies.

6. Don’t play board games together. Too dull.

7. Give little rewards for reading. Stickers and plastic toys are nice. Money is even better.

8. Don’t expect your children to enjoy reading. Kids’ books are for teaching vocabulary, proper study habits, and good morals.

9. Buy only 40-watt bulbs for your lamps.

10. Under no circumstances read your child the same book over and over. She heard it once, she should remember it.

11. Never allow your child to listen to books on tape; that’s cheating.

12. Make sure your kids only read books that are “challenging.” Easy books are a

complete waste of time. That goes double for comic books and Mad magazine.

13. Absolutely, positively no reading in bed.

Text © 2001 by Dean Schneider and Robin Smith. From the March/April 2001 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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