Category Archives: Book Stuff
Happy Saturday! Another week has flown by! This week I have been working in my office on rewrites, research, a couple of days dedicated to the baskets for the auction next Friday prep,Book club and an author event, and I spent some time extracting honey. Yup honey.
My friend Amanda started raising bees a little over three years ago. The fun thing about her story is that she is pretty much self taught between books (yay books!) she purchased at our local book store and You Tube Videos. What started out as a hobby has grown into a full grown commercial bee business from rearing her own queens, splitting hives, providing bee nucs for other companies (pretty much a bee starter kit), pollinating almond trees in California – and of course producing and selling honey.
Her business, Buck’s Busy Bee’s has grown exponentially and as of this fall she will have over 2,000 hives.
A few months ago I was contracted to write her story for our local magazine Her Voice. That article came out this week but unfortunately while in magazine format, has not yet been put on line so I am unable to link to it.
I have helped Amanda off and on through the years from going into the hives, to building the frames that go into the boxes they live in, to harvesting honey, and now most recently; extracting the honey. When giving my notice recently to invest more time into the writing opportunities that are coming in, Amanda asked me if I would want to assist her with the bees when I am able to.
I really do enjoy learning about the bees and this is the final push before the bees are trucked off to the warmer states – Florida and California where they will spend their days in the sun, probably in the next 5 weeks or so. Amanda’s husband owns a trucking company so he takes the bees to their warmer destination as they do not do well in the cold Minnesota winters. Lucky bees!
So here is the process:
Each host home, (a home that has given space for there to be hives on the property) will receive a case of honey as a thank you. The rest of the honey will first go on sale at the Little Falls Craft Fair which is the 6th and 7th of September and after that what is left will be on sale on her website.
It really is a fascinating process and who knows… maybe someday I will write a book about bee keeping, or have a bee keeper character in it. ;)
Stop by Buck’s Busy Bee’s on Facebook and like the page. Giveaways are going to start on Monday on the Facebook page and winners will be drawn from the page likes :)
This post is a part of Saturday Snapshot where people all over the world post pictures of what they are doing, or what they have done in the past. It’s great fun so pop on over to West Metro Mommy Reads and see what others are taking pictures of :) I am also linking this to Weekend Cooking found over at Beth Fish Reads because this is kind of a foodie post too :)
A few days ago I posted my thoughts on Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Last night, the Bookies Book Club met for pizza and reviewed this book as well and then followed up by seeing the author speak.
The whole Orphan Train experience has been fun. First, our Book Club won the books from a Harper Collins on line contest. Then our Library secured her to come and speak in our town, AND it just happened to be on the day our book club normally meets AND happens to be the Bookies Anniversary month (13 years!), it sounded like a fun night.
When we went to see the author of Orphan Train speak we were in for a real treat. Christina Baker Kline was a delight to listen to. She put an impressive amount of research into the book, fueled on to the topic as her husband’s grandfather was an orphan on the train.
When Christina asked the audience if anyone knew someone who had been on an orphan train, a third of the rooms hands shot up. Wow.
As you can see, Minnesota was one of the higher states as far as the count of orphans were that road the trains. It was sad to learn that only 30% of the children were orphans. Many were abandoned, and some were even taken. Christina said that you did not want your children outside after dark for fear that they be snatched and put on the trains.
The children mainly were between the ages between 2 and 14. Preferred were boys between the ages of 9 and 14 as they were handy to use on the farms and they could sleep in the barn. Babies were the next in demand and these trains of babies were called Mercy Trains. The hardest to place were girls as they could not do the physical labor that was needed and they were more underfoot as girls did not sleep in the barns but in the homes instead. Harder yet to place, Christina said, was red heads. No one wanted red headed children or children with freckles. Christina had articles where they specifically said they do not want any red headed children claiming that they were more prone to disobeying and fights.
Most of the children were not adopted by the families that took them in. Adoption meant inheritance and people did not want these children to inherit their lands. They were chosen and signed for with very little paper work – and yes, like in the book Orphan Train, some were abused.
The trains ran from 1854 – 1929. Over that time more than 100,000 children were placed in homes – many with no records of who they were or where they came from. Christina had documented conversations with some of the Orphan Train riders she had spoke with and even though the survivors are now in their later 90’s, they still say they always felt something was missing – while they may have been placed in good homes, they still felt somewhat disconnected and knew that “these were not my people.”
When Christina first started her research she was able to connect with around 60 Orphan Train Riders. Now she said there is about 25 left in the world, and it is their descendants that have picked up the torch to carry on the research and the questions yet unanswered.
The Bookies overall rated the book a strong 4 out of 5. Most of us really enjoyed the historical fiction mixed with fact. Following up with the author event was a real treat and for me, has left a need to know more. This will not be my last look into the Orphan Train. Thank you Christina Baker Kline for opening our eyes to such an important part of our history.
Do you know anyone who has ridden the orphan trains?
I am home. Wiped out. Tired. Lots to do. Home.
Friday I drove with my friend Amy to a hotel in the cities to meet up with Jennifer and Jody, the other two girls that we were doing the mud run in Wisconsin with on Saturday morning. It was a lot of fun and I will have pics up later of the mud run – we use old school disposable camera’s because.. well it’s mud. And lots of water we jump in, swim in… and well, more mud.
Then… after the Mud Run we drove to Shakopee Minnesota to drop Amy off with friends for Canterbury Downs (horse races!) and I hurried home to shower, change, pack, and head to Crosslake Minnesota for day two of the Camp Benedict AIDS bike ride. I did not ride as I had missed day one and did not want to have my car and bike and have to figure out how to get the car back home, 40 miles away. I did go to cheer on the riders and spend time with friends. I was tired but it was good to catch up with everyone and I seen them off this morning as they started their ride.
So now I am home and need to get in my office and get some work done. I have work to do on the book and I need as much time as possible in the office this week to make the deadline coming up. Here are the books that came in the house the past two weeks:
I was out of town last weekend so did not put a post up – but lots of goodies have come in the door!
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom (audio)
JERK by Johnathon Friesen – purchased
MAYDAY by Johnathon Friesen – purchased
Aquifer by Johnathon Freisen – purchased
A full house here but books make me smile :) Hope the rest of your Sunday is wonderful!
Recently I was at our cabin on the North Shore, right off Lake Superior. It is a 3 1/2 hours from our home… a jaunt by any account but one that is worth it. Once there – I am out of internet and cell phone range. It usually winds up being quite the reading time.
Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf was one of the books I enjoy during this last trip. I have read Heather before and enjoyed her writing very much. This latest book, makes for GOOD Summer Reading! I picked the book up in the sunny afternoon and I did not stop until I closed the last page that evening.
About Little Mercies
In her latest ripped-from-the-headlines tour de force, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf shows how one small mistake can have life-altering consequences…
Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity—the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children’s advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.
Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends’ couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen’s and Jenny’s lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.
A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.
I have an opportunity working with Harlequin, to offer to one commenter a chance to win a Little Mercies Bundle (*SQUUUEEEEE!*) The bundle includes: Little Mercies, The Weight Of Silence, and These Things Hidden. Leave a comment here on what you like to get out of your Summer Reading (thrillers, fantasy, beach reads, lite lit…)
· Visit Little Mercies page on Goodreads
Post 3000!!! Giveaway and Book Discussion – Does An Online Book Presence Replace Face to Face Book Discussions?
Well holy smokes! This is my 3,000 post. Is that not just crazy? Certainly a monumental post like this can not go by without some sort of hoopla…. you know how I like to celebrate! :)
This post actually falls into a spot I was planning to chat about on-line book relationships vs. face to face (ie. Book Clubs. reading groups, book studies…) and I am going to go ahead with it as I think it is a very worthy discussion for our friend, “Post 3000″.
Credit for the idea behind this post goes to Rita of My Home Of Books. She recently wrote a post about book clubs and within her post she asked the question
If you have a solid on line presence with a large network surrounding your book related topics, do you find it necessary to also be in a book club?
This is the question that started me thinking, as I love my online discussions about books but I also love love my face to face book club and I personally would not want to give either up. Them’s fightin’ words.
But… that’s me.
What started me thinking was if an online presence around books can replace that face to face feeling. I personally would hope that it would not need to, but as I have heard from many of you through the years, finding a face to face book group is not always easy to do.
If you are reading book blogs and reading books suggested, or have already read a book that is being discussed, do you then join in the discussion?
I think if you are participating in active commenting on bookish topics you are simulating a “book discussion” and if that is all that is available to you for numerous reasons -
- no book clubs available
- inability to join a group do to work, kids, family, commitments
- existing book club/group never seems to discuss the book
Then certainly – get your book on that way and YAY that you do! There are a smorgasbord of book sites out there for everyone’s tastes and many times you can find your favorite publishing houses on Twitter and FACEBOOK (by all means Friend them – they have great conversations and many times they have giveaways too!)
However…. (and this is where the discussion could get interesting ;) ) I personally feel that face to face book relationships can stimulate a deeper connection to people and to books. Let me explain:
While it can certainly be AWESOME to discuss a book on-line either gush worthy or “hated it!” It is hard to get the real emotion that went into the read to come out in an online discussion. Sure, I can say a book made me cry – but how does that replace sitting in a room together and hearing my voice crack when I say ” __________________’s break up with __________________ made my sob as though it was happening to me.”
Also, on-line it is hard to keep the conversation flowing at a rate that is satisfying to either party. Sure I (or anyone) can write a review and you can comment. Then at some point later I many read your comment and respond, and sometime later yet you may (or maybe you don’t) come back, see my response and then you comment again. It’s a bumpy conversation.
Obviously I love on-line book conversations or this post 3,000 (echo when you say it – its cool….. 3,000, 3,000, 3,000…) would not be happening. And I love visiting other blogger book sites and chatting books with them too. I also love face to face book encounters and would like to give suggestions of how you can make that happen or find a fit that works for you:
The one I love the most is join a book club. If you do not know of any, check your local library. They may either know book clubs in the area, or they may be offering them at the library (ours offers children, middle grade, family and adult book clubs). *In the event that you can not find a book club and your library does not know of any groups… start one.
Look for local author events (check book stores, library, newspaper, look on-line). Listening to an author can be a wonderful experience. I love to get to know the person behind the book. Grab a friend… go go go!!!
If there is a great read out and you and a couple of people you know have read it, invite them over to discuss it over drinks on the deck, or meet up at a coffee shop or restaurant. It does not have to be a “book club”, but even taking time to talk with others about a book you enjoyed is stimulating conversation.
Please – I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Do you think that on-line book relationships can replace face to face ones?
Do you feel some can effectively do it all – discuss on-line books topics well and face to face encounters too? Should they?
Do you have other suggestions for finding face to face book discussions for people looking?
Is this just a crazy discussion and post #3,000 is a weak attempt to engage people in book chats? ;)
Please share your thoughts – I did mention a giveaway – Leave a relevant comment here on this post between now and Thursday June 26th and I will enter you into a giveaway for a $10 Barnes and Noble or Amazon gift card – winners choice. One entry per comment. If you “Tweet” about this giveaway and post and put the tweet link in a comment space I will give you two additional entries.
(just click the “Tweet” button at the bottom of the post.)
I just purchased a book I was pretty excited about. So excited in fact, that as soon as I was out of the book store I took a picture of the book and put it on Twitter:
Shortly after my return home with my purchase, I was reading on line and discovered an article on The Slate Book Review called AGAINST YA,
with a tag line that reads,
Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.
According to Ruth Graham, author of this *set my soul on fire* article, states that as adults we are better than this.
YA character’s are emotionally amplified. ~ Sheila-age 40 something ;)
Over to you. Do you read YA books? Why or why not? If you do, what do you think draws you to them? How do you think YA compares today to previous generations?
Holy smokes??? 5 Years! I never thought that when I started this “on-line book journal” (that’s what I thought I was doing in the beginning), that it would take me on this AMAZING adventure ride! This year I would like to list a few things that have changed in my life in the past 5 years mainly due to this little project website I call Book Journey:
I was asked to write for a local magazine after an editor seen my reviews here
I learned about the Book Expo in New York by reading other blogs and have just returned from my 5th year attending, representing this blog site.
I have met the most incredible people through blogs and then in many cases, in person which blows my mind, and they have become great book friends – you all know who you are ;)
3 years ago I did not have a library card :shock:, but reading other blogs helped me realize that this is an important part of our community and I have since carded up, became President of our local Friends Group and was put on our City Library Board.
I have participated in World Book Night the past three years
I have been asked to speak on panels around Minnesota and beyond (most recently at the book expo!) on blogging, writing, and reaching readers
My advocacy for books has risen times a zillion…. I will talk books any day… any time :D
I have learned A LOT about social networking, blog “curb appeal”, and advanced my knowledge of the internet.
I have written a book and have connected it to publishing houses. *fingers crossed*
I have made wonderful relationships with the Publishing world and have learned much.
Don’t even get me started on the wonderful authors I have had the privilege to meet and talk with.
Myself and a team created the Wine and Words event in Brainerd Minnesota, a literacy fundraiser and I invited authors I knew from the expo to come and talk books…. and they did. (My heart overflows with gratitude!) The event was such a success last year, that we are doing it again this fall and 5 authors are coming again. ♥♥♥
Just yesterday I was called by MALF (Minnesota Association Of Library Friends) and asked to be nominated to be on their board.
Non of this would have happened without Book Journey. Sure, pre-Book Journey I was a reader, but nowhere near to this extent or involvement. I think those of you who have book blogged for a while can relate to what I mean. :) For this… all of the above… I am so grateful.
Enough about me. This blogiversary is really my celebration of YOU! The readers! Because seriously… as much as I enjoy talking books… I LOVE LOVE LOVE talking about them with you. I love your comments, your questions, your occasional emails, and honestly… I love it when I see Book Journey on your sidebars (if you blog) – to this day it gives me a little “SQQQUUEEEE” inside that you enjoy reading my crazy ramblings here enough to add me so others may come visit too. You are what makes Book Journey a well…. Book Journey. You are why I get up in the morning with COFFEE CUP and turn on my laptop and share with you the inner workings of my day, life, work, wins and fails, and the books I am reading.
For today only, as in past years… I offer up a set of giveaways. A few of these books are duplicates from the expo, many are from my personal stash. I will add what is in each group shortly here – right now I just want to get this post up (I meant to write this last night but instead went with a friend to the movie Fault In Our Stars, then out for appetizers and to chat and got home after midnight. *oops* ;) Winners will be announced tomorrow morning – Sunday June 8th.
As per tradition,
For those of you who have come to my party the last few years, the basics are pretty much the same… to be entered for the great giveaways (pictured above), simply leave me a comment here telling me how you traveled to the party, and what virtual gift or food item you brought with you: For example, you may have come by freight train to the party and brought with you Twinkies … (really be as crazy as you want… I love the fun imaginative comments!) For a little bonus if you would like to share how long we have known each other (blog or otherwise) and if you are brand new to the house of Book Journey – feel free to share that too! I love new friends!
Today I was at an author event where the author was discussing his book covers. He actually had some fascinating thoughts on them (more on that in tomorrow’s post) but one thing he mentioned stood out to me. He has a cover with a little girl on a tricycle peddling away so you do not see her face, he said he had her riding away as when you see the face on a cover it gives you an image of what the character looks like and he feels that should be part of the reading experience; to create the character in your mind.
Part of the reading experience should be to create the character in your mind.
Ooh…. I like that.
I have always had a sort of dislike for covers that have a picture of the characters on them. Why? Because that image is now in my head as I read the book. The girl (or boy) on the cover is now who is running through the pages which is fine if it is a move cover as we already have the character defined for us by the big box… but not for the original pre-movie (or no-movie) book.
Ok so above – is my example. To the left, is the book I mentioned from the author today. It is an engaging cover and I like it… I want to know where she is going, or where she has went, or who has taken her…. the only thing that would bother me here is if the girl in the book has long flowing BLOND hair, or if her hair is short, unlike the cover. To the right, is Vampire Academy. Nothing against the book… but this girl on the cover makes me think of an older girl than the protagonist in the book.
There have been books I have read that the character inside the book is NOTHING like the cover picture and I can not even tell you how bat sh** crazy that makes me. I seriously flip from the cover to the page I am reading to the cover again… if the girl (or boy) on the cover is not the one described in the book, then who is she or he?
There is one instance that comes to mind from a few years back where the cover actually caused an all out battle. Seriously… anyone remember LIAR?
LIAR is the story of Micah who is well… a liar. And I will say she is! Or at least the people who made the cover are, because Micah, is an African-American girl… not at all the one in the cover. There is a HUGE story behind this cover and there was a refusal by bloggers to review the book as they were all so upset that the publishing company went with a white girl on the cover. Seriously…. this is a whole other story so Google it someday, but the ending result of this battle was:
Yup. Seriously amazing… and all of this could have been avoided.
I really prefer non-face covers. Give me a lake setting, a boat, abandoned car, a road, a house, even people way in the background so you can not really make them out… you name it… I can pretty much work with it… all of these lead me into the story…
“Who lives there?”
“Where are they going?”
What is going to happen?
What are your thoughts on book covers? Preferences? Do you mind faces on book covers? How do you feel when the cover does not match the story?
Recently while reading a review, the writer had mentioned a surprising twist towards the end of the read that changed their thoughts on the book. I am certain that in my review of this same book, I too mentioned a twist towards the end that really threw me for a loop. It had been a discussion on Twitter that saying there is a “twist”, is sort of a spoiler to the reader of the review who has not yet read the book.
I am reminded of Season Two Downton Abby. For those who may not know, this is a British tv show on PBS that has caught the attention of many… addicting for sure… and that is not a spoiler… I don’t think. ;) Anyway, a friend of mine who had finished the second season before I had, eluded to a big SHOCK that would be devastating once I knew it. I remember from that point on each episode I watched I was waiting for it…. wondering, is that the big shock? Is that? When will it happen? Who will it involve? It may be safe to say that knowing something big was coming did take a way a bit of the experience as I was waiting for the BIG THING.
I can see how saying there is a shock, or a twist can lead to the reader waiting for that moment to happen – but I think it also builds up the read. When I mention that a book shocked me or a twist really impressed me as I had no clue, to me, that builds value in the read. If a reviewer I enjoy says something like this, it draws me closer to the book… the mention of a surprise makes me want to know… “Wow, what happens?“
So the question before us is… is it? Is it a spoiler to a book if we discuss that there is a twist at the end, or a change that happens that totally changed the way we felt about the book.
Also… how do you define what a SPOILER is? As Grace from Books Without Any Pictures recently (and brilliantly) said in a historical fiction review, “is it a spoiler if it actually happened?”
You know the books… the ones you are drawn to but even you are not always exactly sure why. It may be a long-term addiction… or it could be fairly new… but either a genre, a topic, or certain type of book draws you to it time and again.
We may not even care to admit that we like to read them. In fact… we may overreact if caught reading them or if someone speaks against them…
Relax. Sheila says relax. ;) I have them too. Mine fall under the category of books that may be defined as dorky…. but I really have found that I like reading about companies…. corporations… and the people behind them. I mean I loved the move Social Network (about Facebook). And I loved reading about Steve Jobs, The Makers of the game Doom, Straight Flush (about the college kids who brought the online poker industry to an all time high, and most recently Creativity Inc about the success of Pixar.
I think I am drawn to the creative thinking process. I am so amazed at the brilliant people who come up with things like the IPOD, creating video games, developing winning strategies. I guess what they all have in common is success. And if I am honest… I am drawn to it.
On the darker side… I also like to read the occasional true crime.
What does that say about me? I am not sure I want to know….
What is your guilty pleasure read? Craft books, how to books, vampires, dystopian, harlequin romances, books about animals….. Oh my! Share :)
For fun…. (I like fun!) leave a comment with your answer and I will enter you into a giveaway for a $15 Amazon gift card to purchase one of your guilty pleasure books of your choice. I will email the winner the gift card on Friday of this week.
I can not wait to hear what your guilty pleasure reads are :)