Childhood Memories: The Velveteen Rabbit

By Lisa McGinnes

Not long ago, I made a comment to my significant other about being real – with a capital “R”. He didn’t seem to know what I meant.

“You know, like the Velveteen Rabbit . . .” I prompted. Still nothing.

“Remember how the Velveteen Rabbit was loved until he was real, and that makes you Real?” Nope.

He had never read The Velveteen Rabbit. I was shocked. I mean, yes the book was already several decades old by the time I read it as a child, but I guess I thought the 1922 classic was so classic that everyone had read it. Maybe it’s not for everyone. The language is a bit old fashioned, and it is quite sentimental (both of which are germane to its charm for me.)

The best thing about my S.O. not having read the book was that I got to read it to him; and the only thing I like more than reading is reading out loud. So I had the double pleasure of re-reading a favorite book from my childhood, and reading it to someone who had never heard it before.

From the first paragraph, I was hooked – again. They just don’t write like that anymore!

“There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid. “

How can you not love that first sentence?

Maybe the reason this book speaks to me is because, as an often-lonely only child, I spent a lot of time with my stuffed animals as a little girl. I don’t remember having a rabbit, but reading about his pink sateen ears and beautiful, velvety fur still gives me that cozy feeling of being curled up under the covers with a soft, snuggly stuffed animal and a good book.

The quintessential passage is the Skin Horse explaining to the Velveteen Rabbit what “Real” means in their toy world:used toys.jpg

“Real isn’t how you are made. It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.

 Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” 

This is a love story in its purest form – the love of a child for his stuffed animal. If you think that sounds silly, don’t bother with it. But if your mind is open to nursery magic and fairies and Real stuffed animals, and you like feeling all the feels, do yourself a favor and read or re-read this short children’s classic.

 

 

 

Where the Wild Things Are, and Where They Are Now

By Yvonne Bertovich

If you’re hoping I start this off by saying, “They’re in my heart, where they’ve always been. Just like Max,” then, sorry, I won’t, and this won’t be a total cheese-ball fest (if that sort of thing exists).

For those of you who have never read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, it was my book when I was youngin’ and I highly recommend it, just for the illustrations alone. The next time you’re in the children’s book section, pick it up. In short, the book is about a young boy named Max who gets sent to his room without supper for sassing his mom. His imagination takes hold and he is transported on an eye-opening adventure. He befriends some beasts, yet also gains an appreciation for his mom (*sheds single tear*) before returning home.

Revisiting the work made me temporarily question why I used to love this book, besides the lively illustrations, of course. In all honesty, I have always been incredibly self-aware, even in my younger years. I can’t tell you how old I was when this book posed a challenge for me.

Upon rereading the book, I was immediately reminded of my distaste toward Max. I remember thinking he was a punk back then, and I still feel this way. Granted, I got sent to my room on a few occasions when I was younger, too, one of which was because I was in a fit after visiting my mom on her lunch break at the Gap (I know, could I be any more 90s?). shutterstock_457498756For some reason, I thought I would never see her again. I remember thinking my crying was illogical back then, but it was just one of those weird things I couldn’t control. Feelings, man. My dad and Memé sent me to my room to sort myself out, and I did. I couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old.

It was in situations like this one that makes Where the Wild Things Are so applicable. Instead of sorting through his feelings methodically (because not many young children can), Max instead dreams up a him-centered world where he has to exert bravery and cunning, yet have fun and cause mischief, too. He injects himself into an alternate realm wherein he learns that dealing with unruly creatures (like how he was acting toward his mom) is difficult and taxing.

As kiddos, and even as adults, I feel I’m correct in assuming that we’d all love to escape reality to the extent that Max did. Imagine the headlines: “Corporate tax evader escapes to exotic private island.” Well, OK, maybe that’s not that far-fetched.

Where the Wild Things Are is a prime example of one of those self-realization stories where the subject just seems to figure things out on his or her own. There’s great beauty in teaching yourself something, especially when it results in a heightened appreciation for someone or something else of value — or just life in general. I’ve spent 21 exhilarating years doing this (but had plenty of long talks with Mom, too). Thanks, Maurice, (because I feel like we’re on that level). And thank you, Max.

 

 

Childhood Memories: Little House in the Big Woods

By Danielle Lieneman  

A well-written novel can transport you back in time and leave you confused about what year it is. Rereading a childhood favorite can have almost the same effect by bringing you back to childhood. We’ve decided to do a series where all of us here at the office reread an influential book from our childhood and see if the magic is still there.

The very first “chapter book” I read on my own was Little House in the Big Woods by Laura laura ingalls wilder
Ingalls Wilder, and boy was I obsessed. I read the entire series, the spin-offs about her daughter, mother, and grandmother, only to turn around and reread all of them immediately. I asked for every Little House companion I could find, from cookbooks to compilations of Wilder’s letters. I even tried to watch the show, but it just wasn’t the same. Luckily for me, and maybe unluckily for my parents, we lived an hour away from her long-term home in Springfield, Missouri, and I asked to go more often than I can remember. I even had a bonnet, guys…like a real honest-to-god bonnet. Thankfully I don’t think any pictures exist of me in said bonnet, but I digress.

Rereading the book as an adult was a different experience for sure, but that’s to be expected. I never could quite understand as a 5-year-old why my 15-year-old sister didn’t get a kick out of Little House like I did; what do you mean you don’t want to read about a small child whose biggest plot twist was the fact that she got a rag-doll and mittens for Christmas when everyone else only got mittens??

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy rereading the book or don’t think that it has literary significance, just that it was written for a child. Rereading the book actually had its own kind of special magic. While I didn’t necessarily identify with Laura anymore, I was able to see what it was that had drawn me to the book in the first place. While writing in a way meant to engage with children, Wilder is still able to create a world that the reader wants to learn more about. The characters were loving and realistic; I didn’t want anything to happen to Pa when he went hunting, and I wanted to know more about Ma’s struggles to create a home without any of the conveniences of today. I was happy when they were happy, sad when they were sad, and scared when they were scared. I even laughed at some of the more ridiculous stories, like Ma hitting a bear in the dark thinking it was their cow!

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A reconstruction of Wilder’s home in Wisconsin.

I was able to clearly see the lessons that Wilder was trying to impart on her readers. Everything from table manners to being grateful, and that’s what you want in a book for children. There should be lessons embedded within the story, and Wilder knew just how to do that. I was actually surprised at just how much sometimes. This book seemed to critique some of the more problematic aspects of the 1800s to make those issues teachable moments. One particular line comes to mind about gender roles: “It was harder for little girls. Because they had to behave like little ladies all the time, not only on Sundays. Little girls could never slide downhill, like boys. Little girls had to sit in the house and stitch on samplers.” Initially, this line made me cringe for obvious reasons, but as I sat down to write about it I was left with a different impression. Rather than forcing gender roles on her readers, Wilder seems to be telling them to appreciate how far we have come since her grandmother’s day. I think she would be proud of how far we have come since 1932 when Little House in the Big Woods was initially published.bonnet
All in all, Little House in the Big Woods is a story I hope future generations will appreciate as
much as I did. Except for the bonnet wearing thing. I don’t wish that particularly embarrassing photo opportunity on anyone. In case you weren’t as weird as I was and aren’t sure what a bonnet is, I’ve provided an example.

If writing children’s books sounds like your thing, be sure to get our book: So You Want to Write a Children’s Book, available on Amazon.

 

BookTube All Day, Every Day: BookTube Recommendations

shutterstock_337052687Guilty as charged. I’m that person who spends all my free time watching YouTube. While I do watch a lot of the stereotypical people that you think of when I say the word “YouTuber,” I spend a good amount of my time watching BookTubers also. Ah, just saying the word makes me so happy.

I’ve been watching BookTube for about two years now, so I have found some of my favorite content creators. These are the people that the second I see they posted a video, I’m watching it no matter what I’m doing.

Maybe you’ll find that you love these five I mention, but maybe you won’t love them. Regardless, I think they are a good mix of people, and I highly recommend watching at least one of their videos.

Now, this list is in no particular order because I arguably love all of them equally. Even while scrolling through my subscriptions to find my select five, my heart broke because there are so many BookTubers that I absolutely love. But these are the five that I watch the most often and could rave about for the longest time. I tried not to choose the BookTubers that everyone knows about like abookutopia, jessethereader, polandbananasBOOKS, Katytastic readbyzoe, etc. While I do love them, too, I wanted to pick the not-so-obvious choices.

aVxKnfFe5. BooksandLala – First of all, I just want to say how utterly jealous I am of how many books she has in her book hauls each month. She just knows how to find a good deal,. which I really respect because I personally never buy a book full price. Lala, can I come book shopping with you sometime?

I love that Lala reads a wide range of books. She reads such long books, and I wish I could do the same. The way she rates her books in her wrap-ups each month is so unique and something I really enjoy. When she rates the books, she gives them a one to five star rating, but each star that she gives relates to a specific thing about the book and each star she takes off relates to a specific thing she didn’t like. For example, she might give a star for the character development, plotline, or pacing of a story. She might take off a star because she couldn’t relate to the characters, the story was
n’t believable, or the ending of the book didn’t tie up all the loose ends.

DZ-cClsV4. Bookables – There is a good chance that I like Heather because she reads the same type of genre of books that I do: chick lit. The style of her videos is just so fun. I also really like that she replies to each and every comment that people leave on her videos. There are other BookTubers that do this, too, but she is one that I really notice. It’s such a simple thing to do, but it really goes a long way because it really helps you build a connection with your audience. Our tastes in books are so similar that if there is a new-released book that I think looks amazing, and Heather says it’s bad, I won’t read the book.

D4B2pI5R3. HaileyinBookland – Maybe I just notice it more than the others, but she posts videos on such a consistent basis: Three times a week, which I just find incredible. I have a BookTube channel of my own (shameless self-plug), and I can barely manage to post a video a week! Hailey goes to school, has a job, and still finds time to film, edit, and post a video. Is she Superwoman because I am honestly questioning it? She also has some of the most original video ideas, which I think is quite hard to do. It’s already hard to post three videos a week, but it’s also hard to continuously come up with new ideas for videos.

Whitty2. WhittyNovels –One of the reasons I really like Whitney is hands down because of her humor. She’s roughly the same age as me and going to college as well, so a lot of the things she talks about in her videos are really relatable. I still vividly remember watching her vlog about when she moved into college, and I had just started college the year before so I had all the feels for her. I will say that I don’t always agree with her views on books, (sorry, but I love Colleen Hoover), but I think that’s part of the fun with BookTube. It allows the opportunity to really get exposed to other’s views on things, and it genuinely expands your horizon. If you don’t follow her on Snapchat, I highly recommend that you do. Not only is she hilarious, but when she is home there are numerous videos and photos of dogs, and dogs are probably tied with books on my list of favorite things on this planet. (I haven’t read Shatter Me yet, but I promise I will soon!)

Laura1. LovelyLikeLaura – Again, Laura is someone that I can relate to because we are around the same age. Sometimes I genuinely wonder if we are the same person because we have a lot of the same interests and most definitely the same taste in books. I finally started reading Colleen Hoover after hearing her talk about how much she loves her, and I found out that I really like her books. The second I hear her talk about a book that I haven’t heard of, I add it to my TBR list. So thank you to Laura for making my TBR pile 10 times longer.

While I may spend far too much time on YouTube, it’s a great way for me to stay up-to-date on the book world, which I think is incredibly important since I want to continue my career in publishing for as long as I can (and hopefully the rest of my life). So if you ever find yourself with some spare time on your hands, I highly recommend watching one of these individuals!

*Photos used with permission from the BookTuber.

Thank you, Heather for the featured image!

 

Happy Birthday Mr. President…Jackson

NEW Andrew Jackson battleMarch 15th. A seemingly uneventful day for most of us, but on this day in 1767 our 7th president was born. Andrew Jackson was an America statesman, soldier, and politician who is most well known as being a president for the common man. Before becoming president, Jackson led quite the interesting life: he was kidnapped by British soldiers at the age of 13; he was educated as a lawyer and served on the Tennessee Supreme Court; he served in the U.S. Army during the War of 1912 and became a national war hero after a decisive victory at the Battle of New Orleans; and was (briefly) Florida’s governor.

In honor of his birthday, we have decided to give a sneak peek of our biography: People That Changed the Course of History: The Story of Andrew Jackson. This excerpt focuses on one of the most controversial and well-known actions that Jackson took while in office, The Trail of Tears.

Although Jackson had defeated the Creeks and Seminoles, it didn’t put an end to battles between settlers and Native Americans. One of the most controversial acts of the Presidency was the decision to deal with the constant clashes between Indians and Americans in the South. To make matters worse, gold was discovered in Cherokee territory in the state of Georgia. Governor George Gilmer complained to Washington that he had no authority to give rights or protection to the either the Cherokee or the trespassing minors. Something had to be done.

The people demanded action, and in May, Congress passed The Indian Removal Act. This law gave the federal government the right to meet with tribal chiefs for negotiations to move the tribes further west into territory that is a part of Oklahoma today. In reality, it demanded the Indians give up their homes and lands to the United States and pushed them out of the way.

 A Virginia newspaper defended the law. It claimed that the Indians would not be forced to go and that they would be given money for expenses and their first year of life in the new land. In Washington, the President stated it would “separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; [and] enable them to pursue happiness in their own way, and under their own crude institutions” (Globe, 1830).

Those who spoke out against The Indian Removal Act included Davy Crockett and Abraham Lincoln. It made no difference. President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act on May 28, 1830. It gave him the right to grant the Indians lands in the West as a trade for the Union taking over the lands of their ancestors.

Although the Indians had the right to meet for negotiations, there would be little choice in the matter in the long run. They would have to move. The pressure to submit to the will of the Republic fell on the Indians. Many of the tribes hesitated. They saw no reason or right for them to be kicked off their lands. When the Indian fighter, Andrew Jackson, won the White House election again two years later, most of the leaders finally agreed to go.

The majority of the tribes went peacefully, but not all of them. They sent delegations and petitions to Washington. They even took their case to the Supreme Court. Loss after loss doing things the white man’s way left many frustrated and depressed.

As a treaty was drawn up that gave the United States the right to take Indian lands in exchange for western territory, supplies, and money, a small group of Cherokee Indians received permission to meet with President Jackson in person. They called him the “Great Father.” He had already met with some of their greatest lawyers and defenders but turned them away. The Indians must have felt this would be their last hope.

The president continued, telling the representatives they were now subject to the same laws and consequences of white settlers. He scolded them for their violence as well as growing problems with alcohol. They didn’t do much to farm or modernize their lands the way whites thought it should be done. He warned them they would eventually disappear like the Indian nations before them if they didn’t learn the white man’s ways.

He eventually closed with what he considered wise counsel. “You have but one remedy within your reach. And that is to remove to the West and join your countrymen, who are already established there. The choice is yours.May the great spirit teach you how to choose.”

Eventually, the Cherokees submitted to a Senate-approved final treaty when it was sent to their own National Council in New Echota, Georgia. They were forced to surrender all of their lands east of the Mississippi for $5 million. Along with the new territory granted to them in the West, they would receive regular shipments of supplies like blankets, kettles, and rifles.

In the winter of 1838, the last of some stubborn Cherokee tribes were lined up and walked out by force. Thousands of them died along the way, earning the march the name The Trail of Tears.

If this piqued your interest and you want to learn more about Andrew Jackson and the early years of American history, be sure to buy our book here.

Relaxing Reads: Recommendations for Spring Break

By Kylie Widseth

As you might have guessed, when I’m not editing books my favorite pastime is reading. My favorite genre by far is contemporary, so spring break is one of the best times of the year reading in bed.jpgfor me: I get to read my favorite genre for a whole week straight!

I compiled a few of my favorite contemporary books, ones that I think would be perfect to read on spring break, wherever that may take you. Whether spending break at the beach or in your bed at home, these reads will be sure to delight and entertain.

  1. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon — I want to start out with the book that I most recently finished. I thought that this book wouldn’t be as good as everyone said because I had seen so much hype for this book, but oh my goodness, was I wrong! This book follows a Jamaican girl named Natasha and a Korean boy named Daniel. The two end up meeting up on a street in New York City on the day that Natasha is supposed to be deported. This book takes place over the course of a single day, and that idea alone still blows my mind. Please do yourself a favor and read this.
  1. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover – Now I know Colleen Hoover can be quite a controversial author, but I really like her. If you like a good romance , she could be the author for you. Now I really can’t say a whole lot about this book because one of the big things that makes this book successful is just going in blind to the book. Don’t look up reviews or anything because even being spoiled a little can really ruin the beauty of what this book is. I’ve heard people say that her books keep getting better and better, and I definitely agree.. This book was the first one I read by her, and I almost regret it because none of her past books can match this one.
  1. The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke – Sometimes I really believe that I’m a middle-aged women trapped in a young adult body. Either that or I am really starting to “grow out” of young adult books because I find myself reaching for adult books more and more. I think this book is a good in between because it has a really unique plot line that can appeal to younger and older audiences. It’s about a 35-year-old woman named Kate. Her fiancé, Max, decides to call off the wedding while they are at their rehearsal. As expected, Kate is heartbroken and confused. She struggles to really understand what went wrong when she discovers that her Facebook statuses are changing the outcome of her life, whatever she writes in her Facebook status comes true. Now just take a second to really imagine what they would be like! This could be a really great and exciting thing, but it also could create some issues. This book revolves around Kate really trying to understand why Max left her.
  1. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult – Sometimes spring break can be the perfect time to tackle longer novels, or at least that’s what I like to do. This list wouldn’t be complete without a novel from my absolute favorite author, Jodi Picoult. I’m sure you know of some of her more popular books, but this is one of her most underrated books and my personal favorite. This book follows a wife and mother named June. Years ago, one of June’s daughter and her husband were murdered and a man named Shay is on death row for their murders. In present day, June’s daughter, Claire, has been diagnosed with a terminal heart condition and needs to have a heart transplant to survive. Since Shay is already on death row, he wants to donate his heart to Claire as a way to redeem himself. This book follows the trials and tribulations of whether Shay can actually donate his heart and whether June will let the man who killed part of her family donate his heart to her child.
  1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – This book is by another one of my favorite authors. This book can be a little bit of an emotional one, but that only adds to its beauty. As with It Ends With Us, I’m only going to give a little bit of the book away. The main character, Aaron, is battling a decision about a Leteo procedure. This procedure would allow him to completely alter any memory in his life, and throughout the book he contemplates whether this is a good idea and what particular memory in his past he should change. I know that was an incredibly vague description, but once you really get into the book, it will all make sense. This book was incredibly beautiful and one of my favorite books of all time.

beach chair reading.jpgI hope at least a few of this books sounded interesting to you, and if you decide to pick up any of these books let me know what you think of them! Whether you decide to read this books or not, I hope you find just the perfect book to curl up with over your spring break! I know I’m particularly excited to read any and every spare moment I have.

Happy reading!

Novel Nostalgia: What You’ll Miss About Assigned High School Readings

By Yvonne Bertovich

Amidst drowning quite severely in textbooks during my junior spring at the University of Florida, I couldn’t help but miss some of the titles I used to sigh about having to read in the “glory days” of high school. You may find that many of your peers peaked during this time, and you may also find that this was the peak of your literary enlightenment thus far. Bear with me. Here are a few titles that are worth a revisit, or to read for pleasure (gasp) when you’re avoiding that law or physiology textbook or before these horrors become your daily reality.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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One of my journalism teachers in high school talked about how much he hated this book, and I never understood why. This 1925 classic details the lavish and borderline melodramatic lifestyle of millionaire Jay Gatsby and his ongoing love affair with socialite Daisy Buchanan, an interest he reconnects with after many years. The novel mainly takes place at Gatsby’s residence in West Egg and the social scene of 1920s New York. The Great Gatsby is narrated by Gatsby’s neighbor, Nick Carraway, a humble guy trying to make it as a bond salesman after serving in the Great War, as so many men did during this time. I always thought this work was not only a relatively easy read, but richly written in a simple manner. The novel includes intimate detail of a variety of overarching concepts, including the values, ideals, hopes, and dreams of Americans in the Roaring Twenties. Fitzgerald glamorizes a time that is far behind the current technologically-obsessed age — but still made it feel modern.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Trying to describe how many groundbreaking lessons about civility, humanity, and equality are woven into this novel in just a few sentences is impossible, but I’ll try. The novel is made friendly and warm by its focus on the Finch family, made up of six-year-old Jean Louise Finch (Scout), her older brother Jem, and their widowed father, Atticus. It takes place in the town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression — in which the town is not immune. Scout, a young girl wise beyond her years, experiences firsthand the period’s ill-regard and discrimination against not only African-Americans, but women, and, particularly, a misunderstood shut-in by the name of Boo Radley. Much of the novel is centralized around the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a local girl. In short, the book is beautiful, humble, heartbreaking, and reassuring. If you’ve read it before, just read it again — I guarantee you’ll get more out of it the second time around. If you’ve never read it, buckle up.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

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A novel that reads like a movie — epic. As alarming as Orwell’s depiction of this dystopian world is, it’s incredibly gripping. The novel’s plot, largely focused on the horrors and manipulation of an omnipresent government, presents issues of privacy and the hierarchy of humankind you wish were a stretch. However, many concepts mirror today’s ongoing struggle between government and the people. You almost feel as though “Big Brother” is watching you through the novel, which takes place in Airstrip One, a region formerly known as Great Britain. The main character, Winston Smith, works for “The Ministry of Truth,” a branch of government in charge of spreading propaganda and revising history. You’ll accommodate Smith on a whirlwind journey as he attempts to live, love, and grapple with his sense of self and individualism.

Overall, the lightest read on the list is probably The Great Gatsby, followed by To Kill a Mockingbird, and then Nineteen Eighty-Four. You’ll still feel feelings and think thoughts reading Gatsby, mind you, but there’s a higher level of darkness on occasion in the latter two novels you should prepare yourself for. My final comment aside, happy reading!

Curl Up With a Book on Valentine’s Day

By Danielle Lieneman

Happy Valentine’s Day! In my opinion, there’s no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than jumping back into some of the greatest literary relationships of the ages. As lame as it may sound, there’s nothing more relaxing (or romantic) than getting lost in someone else’s love story.

jane-eyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This classic Victorian novel was ahead of it’s time in many ways. The reader follows Jane through her childhood and education to her eventual assignment as a governess with Mr. Rochester. Through Jane’s journey into adulthood, there is a clear exploration of class, sexuality, and the early stages of feminism. The romance builds slowly throughout the novel as Jane discovers herself and what is important in a romance and a marriage.

anna-kareninaAnna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

An intimidating near brick of a novel, Anna Karenina is a classic for a reason. The novel focuses on the drama of Anna Karenina and her affair with Count Vronsky. By breaking societal expectations Karenina finds herself on the outside looking in, providing an interesting perspective of the repercussions of our choices, love, and societal expectations. With secondary characters that are frequently the subject of narrative with the alternating chapter style, the reader is easily immersed in the many aspects of Russian society in the       eighteenth century. (It’s like the  Gossip Girl of the Russian aristocracy).

gone-with-the-wind-front-coverGone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Set against the American Civil War, Gone with the Wind provides an almost too real insight about life in the South before, during, and after the war. While annoyingly condescending and conceited, Scarlett accurately represents the entitled attitude of the upper class in Southern society. Her wild love affair and struggle for survival as the tide of the battle turns toward the North leave reader rooting for the once barely palatable main character.

 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austenpride-and-prjudice-penguin

It wouldn’t be a list of great literary romances without including Jane Austen’s iconic Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. While their relationship may be a central focus throughout the work, Austen’s searing satire leaves little doubt about her critique on the societal expectations placed on women and the structure of marital relationships during the late 18th century. Even if you’ve already read this novel (because honestly, most of us have by now), it’s well worth a critical reread.
I’m a strong proponent of reading the original novels (obviously — this is a blog about reading after all), but if you want to share these stories with a loved one the movie adaptations do the story justice. Gone with the Wind is a classic American film of the 1930s, but If you want a more modern film, watch the 2012 adaptation of Anna Karenina or the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice (both featuring the charming Keira Knightley as the heroine).

Keeping up With Reading When Life Gets in the Way

By Danielle Lieneman

It can be difficult to find the time to keep up with your daunting pile of books waiting to be read once life gets in the way. As much as reading is an enjoyable and relaxing part of my book stack w: mug.jpgday, all too frequently I realize that it’s been three weeks since I’ve touched a book that wasn’t for work or school. Here to help combat life (and that Netflix addiction), I hope that your love of reading is fulfilled.

Create a set amount of time that you want to read every day.

Treat this time like an appointment and put away all distractions (Twitter can find out what your reading AFTER you’re done!). This time can be entirely dependent on your schedule, as long as you make it a part of it, and can be as long or short as you want. You’ll be surprised how quickly 15, 20, and 30-minute increments can add up.  Last semester, I started setting my alarm 40 minutes earlier than I needed to actually wake up to give myself some time to read while enjoying my morning coffee, and I managed to get through five books!

Carry a book with you everywhere you go.

While the daily commute on the bus or subway can seem like a waste of time, if you’ve got a book in your hands what better way to pass the time! If the doctor’s office is behind (as always seems to be the case), or your ride is running late, you won’t be bored if given the opportunity to read a few pages. This doesn’t need to be a physical, hardcopy of a book because those can get cumbersome while on the go, but downloading the Kindle app on your phone is a great way to always have access to thousands of books.

Listen to audiobooks.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of audiobooks for the longest time, but now I can’t get enough of them. They’re the perfect companion when driving to work or school or walking around campus. Although as a disclaimer, I must say be careful when choosing your book choices for that car ride. I just finished Lauren Graham’s Talking As Fast as I Can and between laughing and crying at the Gilmore Girls reminiscing I swear I was about to crash my car!

Make a book club with your friends.

I know that book clubs are something only middle-aged women do, but I’m here to tell you
that simply isn’t the case! What better way to motivate yourself to make time for reading than the promise of discussing it with your best friends over brunch. No one wants to be book club .jpgthe only one who didn’t finish and who doesn’t love a good reason to eat a Belgian waffle from your favorite brunch locale? Book clubs are also a great way to find new books that wouldn’t typically be up your alley. There’s even some celebrities who have a running book club list (Emma Watson, Oprah), so there’s not even the excuse of being unable to pick a book!photo-jan-15-3-14-59-pm

I know it’s easier said than done, but once a routine has been established, it becomes much easier for reading to become a part of your regular daily habits.

Time Traveling With Atlantic Teen: John Quincy Adams

By Danielle Lieneman

I hope that every one had a good winter break and that the first couple weeks of school are going well. I know for me it was always hard to remember that learning can actually be fun (it’s true, I promise!). A trick I always try to keep in mind is to find something that interests me on a general level, and then expanding that interest further. For those of you that have been following our Time Traveling series, then this newest post will be the perfect remedy to shake off those back-to-school blues.

John Quincy Adams, remember him? The son of John Adams, the revolutionary leader and second president of the United States? John Quincy Adams shared more than just a name with his father. Both extraordinarily men have shaped the history of the United States with their passion for politics and serving the American people.

When looking back at our history and the individuals who have shaped it, it’s easy to forget that these figures were people. Before John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States, he was a kid struggling to live up to his parent’s high expectations. Before being a Representative for the people of Massachusetts, the only President to serve in the House of Representatives post-Presidency I might add, John Quincy Adams was a heartbroken teen trying to balance a love life, schoolwork, and parental expectations. If all of these struggles sound familiar, it’s because while the technology may have changed in the last 200 years, people are still people and teenagers are still teenagers. We can learn a lot by studying our revered figures of American history and look past the policy and focus on the personal as well.

jqa-coverMike Purdy, an author specializing in presidential U.S. History, expands on this idea of presidents being people first, elected officials second in the forward one of our new books featured as a part of our Historical Anniversary series: People That Changed the Course of History: John Quincy Adams. To read more about John Quincy Adams, both the legacy he left after serving the American people and who John Quincy Adams really was, feel free to check out Mike Purdy’s own blog post or order our book on Amazon.