Tag Archives: Love Of Reading

Book Buzz: How to Find Love in a Bookshop

Book Buzz: How to Find Love in a Bookshop

So how could a bibliophile not pick up a novel entitled “How to Find Love in a Bookshop?”

Of course I did.

Book Buzz: How to Find Love in a Bookshop

How to Find Love in a Bookshop

Here is my observation about novels with bookshops. They have a sprinkle of whimsy and magic throughout. Any why not? Bookstores are … were … filled with wonder and enchantment. Generations following us may never know the delight of browsing in a bookshop, losing any sense of time and space while paging through new titles, and admiring the art of beautiful covers.

Veronica Henry’s How to Find Love in a Bookshop is set in the Cotswolds in England, a magical place in and of itself, where Emilia has returned following the death of her father Julius to salvage the bookshop he ran for years.

Called Nightingale Books, the quaint and dusty bookshop had been tended with care if not financial acumen. Julius was devoted to his beloved books and also to his customers who became his extended family. With his notion that “a town without a bookshop is a town without a heart,” he created a comfortable space that encouraged lingering and schmoozing.

When he passed away, Emilia — and the townspeople who adored him — were struck with the magnitude of his loss. Emilia vows to maintain the cherished bookshop in her father’s benevolent style, but struggles with the overwhelming debt he had unknowingly accrued. And as property developers circle her like hawks, having to shutter the doors for good becomes a grave possibility.

It is the cast of wonderful characters in the town that truly is the heart of this novel. We come to know and connect to the patrons of Nightingale Books who stop in to get recommendations for their next read … or ask for help in selecting a gift … or simply share their own stories.

There is the wealthy lady of the manor who hides a painful secret, and her daughter whose wedding plans are thwarted by a devastating car accident. There is the single dad desperate to do right by his son through introducing him to books. We get to know the painfully shy young chef who can’t bring herself to approach the man she secretly has a crush on, and the mum of a baby who offers free interior design advice to upgrade the shabby room of the shop.

This is a community of folks that values its local bookshop and its owner, and each other, through the ups and downs of daily life. These human connections that arise from a shared love of books are not to be found, sadly, when simply ordering a book online.

Are there shocking twists and turns? No. Is there murder, intrigue, and violent car chases? No. That’s not what this novel is. Picture yourself in a comfortable chair sipping tea (of course) on a lazy day with a cat on your lap.

That’s the feeling you’ll get when reading this novel.

 

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of How to Find Love in a Bookshop. Please leave a comment below, and a winner will be randomly selected. US addresses only, please.

 

I received a copy of How to Find Love in a Bookshop from Viking for an honest review,
which is the only kind of review I write.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Celebrate International Literacy Day

My grandmother was a teenager when she came to America. Fleeing the hardship of shtetl life in Russia, she landed on Ellis Island with just the clothes on her back and a small valise. She had little money and no formal education; in fact, she did not know how to read or write.

She and my grandfather settled in Pennsylvania and raised four active sons without the help of modern conveniences. No dishwasher, no washer and dryer, no microwave for a quick and easy meal.

My grandmother worked hard to keep her family well tended, with food on the table and clean clothes to wear. She spent her days cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing.

She never got around to learning to read or write. But she was so proud of her sons who excelled in school, all of them becoming college graduates.

Literacy is a human right.

These days we tend to take our education for granted, so it is alarming to discover that there are 757 million adults in the world, age 15 and older, who can’t read or write a simple sentence. Even more shocking, 14% of the U.S. population is illiterate — and 19% of them are high school graduates.

Literacy is not only a basic human right; it is a human need, as basic as water and a daily dose of sunshine.

The good news? The goal to eradicate illiteracy is achievable.

Today, the day that many of our children return to school to start or continue their education, is International Literacy Day. This week Grammarly is working to raise awareness about the importance of literacy.

There are global problems that seem too massive to fix, causing us to throw up our hands in dismay or just give up. What can I do, we ask ourselves.

Illiteracy is not unfixable.

There is something we can do. For starters, and I’m sure you all do this, make reading in your home a part of the daily routine. Develop a love of reading in your kids as early as infancy by reading to them every day. As your children grow, encourage them to read and write for pleasure.

There’s more. You can donate books or money to local libraries and schools. You may even want to volunteer a few hours a week as a literacy coach. Check with your library for information.

The infographic below is being circulated on social media today to raise awareness of the issue of literacy.

Do you have ideas for breaking the illiteracy barrier?

Literacy Day

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Go Away, I’m Reading

Try to interest me in a New Year’s challenge and I will probably back away slowly.

It’s a Pavlovian response. When I hear New Year’s and challenge in the same phrase, my eyes get glassy, my palms clammy. I might start to itch.

Such is my aversion to New Year’s challenges. To be more specific, the ones that involve losing weight, getting fit, or becoming enlightened.

I admit, in days of yore I signed on for New Year’s challenges with gusto. I can change my life, I exulted (in the privacy of my own home). I can be thinner, trimmer, happier, wiser, a better mother/wife/writer/friend/dog parent. I can do this!

I couldn’t.

Well-intentioned I may have been, but out of touch with reality. My reality. I don’t do challenges well. Suffice it to say that my good intentions evaporated as quickly as January snow on a 40 degree day.

I eventually gave up on challenges. January is just another month. I probably won’t lose weight and since I haven’t gone to the gym in over a year, fitness will not be my friend. And my word for 2015 is blintzes.

So there.

But I happened to notice Popsugar’s 2015 Ultimate Reading Challenge a few days ago and was intrigued. A reading challenge? Hey, I can do that. And when I was satisfied that neither food deprivation nor excessive sweating was involved, I jumped in. That’s the kind of cardio I can do.

A reading challenge? Well, hello.

I have no affiliation with Popsugar, I am not being compensated by Popsugar and, let’s be honest,  Popsugar hasn’t a clue that I exist, which is a long-winded way of saying that I am sharing this strictly for fun with no strings attached.

The premise is that in 2015 you will read 50 books of various types. Books that you may have planned on reading anyway, and others way off your radar.  A book written by an author who has your initials. A book written in the year you were born. A book with a one-word title. And so on.

Here’s the actual checklist if you want to print it or pin it.

Go Away, I'm Reading

Book nerd that I am, I put out a call on Facebook to enlist friends to join me, and now I’m in a small but active group of bookies. We will read books, recommend books, review books and talk about books: the book nerds’ equivalent of a spa retreat.

I began with the first one on the list: a book with over 500 pages. That was easy. I had wanted to read “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr and it qualified with a page count of 530.

Just let me say … well, I almost can’t. I’m speechless. OMG. What a book. A National Book Award finalist, it is about the lives of a young German soldier and a blind French girl in World War II-ravaged Europe. The writing is exquisite. As Booklist said in its review, “a novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned.”

Yes, that.

Go Away, I'm Readimg

The only consolation is that now I have a new favorite author whose previous novels I have added to my TBR list.

I am seldom without a book in hand (hence the name of my blog) so you might argue that a reading challenge is not much of a challenge. But what I like about this one is reaching out of your comfort zone for a different kind of book. By the end of 2015 I will have read a graphic novel, a novel 100 years old, a trilogy, and so much more that will be new to me.

Incidentally, if this challenge strikes your fancy and you crave an online group as I did, go on over to Goodreads and see what other readers have to say.

I’ll share a secret with you. I started Weight Watchers three weeks ago. And I’m tracking my cardio every day. So I’m not giving up entirely on personal improvement. I’m doing what I have to do.

And saving the rest of the time for reading.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Without Borders

This was a tough week. I unhappily bid farewell to a friend who was always entertaining, full of light and had an uncanny knack of drawing me in. Naively, perhaps, I thought our relationship would last forever. So I am in denial that things are over.

RIP, Borders.

My sadness is tinged with a bit of indignation. What does this say about our culture that a well-respected, successful, forward-thinking corporation that sells BOOKS has sputtered out of steam? Was this a long time coming, or did I ignore the signs of malaise? Was the writing on the wall, as it were, when mom and pop bookshops collapsed one by one like stricken toy soldiers?  We mourned the end of that era but understood the economics. Rising coats, competition, we got it.

But not big, strong, iconic Borders??

With the announcement of the closure came a collective moan could be heard across the land. Well, in my office, anyway. Author Jennifer Weiner tweeted, “Very first reading for my very first book was at Borders on Walnut Street in Philadelphia. Sad to see them go.”

Does Borders’ demise sound the death knell for the few bookstores that remain? For the record, let me disclose that yes, I do order books online. Amazon is easy and efficient, and the free shipping is enticing. But it is simply not the same experience.

Will the next generation of readers, the multi-tasking, attention-challenged, sensation-hungry demographic that it is, ever while away a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon at the neighborhood bookstore? Will our grandchildren yawn when we describe the art of browsing bookshelves with heads tilted 45 degrees, contentedly shuffling sideways as we perused new titles and old favorites? Will they roll their eyes when we wax rhapsodic about the joy of selecting a book and rifling through its pages?

You can’t take your kids to Amazon and let them roam free in the children’s section while you nose around the cookbook stacks and your husband gets absorbed listening to tracks of new releases in the music section. Same goes for story hour, author appearances and girl scouts cookie sales by the front door.

Borders was my go to store more than any other. I caught up friends over a cup of coffee. As an alumni admissions interviewer for my alma mater, I sat with prospective students in the comfy armchairs. If I needed to buy gifts, Borders afforded one stop shopping, with free gift wrap, no less. Best of all, though, was the idle time spent looking and savoring, and often discovering literary gems just by happenstance.

I can accept that popular reading devices, like the Kindle, are rapidly usurping the hard copy book. I can acknowledge that newspapers and magazines are shrinking, if not disappearing, and books are being eschewed as pre-millennial. Even our libraries are reducing their inventory in favor of the electronic variety. But not having Borders … well, that borders on crazy.

And  now let me get back to my book.

If you like my blog post, please share it!
Facebook Twitter Email Stumbleupon Pinterest Linkedin Delicious Reddit Tumblr Plusone Digg

Start