Fantastic Friday: Expand the Universe

Books, Books, Books!

I blogged earlier this month about summer reading. It’s always been a favorite activity for me since I can remember.

Today, my county library was having a huge book sale set up in one of the middle schools. The sale spanned the cafeteria, two gyms, and several other rooms—and it was packed! While I, normally an introvert, detest crowds, I was excited to see it so crowded. In fact, by the time I arrived (not even 2 hours after the sale opened), parking was available only in the overflow lot at the neighboring elementary school.

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The only reason the pile is so small is Toddler was in “meltdown mode,” so I had to hurry!

This is heartening because of how important reading is: it’s the foundation of independent thought and the ability to communicate asynchronously. (I always think of author Ray Bradbury, who once met a man who told him he’d live forever: through his words, Bradbury has!) While it’s true that today so many people prefer television and film (and video games) as their modes of entertainment, it’s also true that someone has to make that entertainment. Books help us expand our horizons and way of thinking, and those who can write well will be able to produce excellent works both on the page and on the moving screen.

I’m currently reading (among other things) Invitation to a Beheading by Nabakov. His prose, in places, is stunning and poetic. Some of it reads like a film, the way he imagines images and thoughts blending together. Every now and again, I fear that our culture will lose the ability to think this way, to use the medium of the written word to express complex and intangible thoughts that delve beyond the literal. But then I see the packed book sale—with people of all demographics perusing tables for books—and I regain my faith in the power of the written word and our interest in it.

Despite her earlier skepticism, the toddler enjoyed looking for ducks and dogs (her favorite animals) in "If You Were a Homonym or a Homophone" after a brief nap.

Despite her earlier skepticism, the toddler enjoyed looking for ducks and dogs (her favorite animals) in “If You Were a Homonym or a Homophone” after a brief nap.

My toddler was in “near-meltdown” mode due to an ear infection, so the books I scored ended up being mostly classics I’d never gotten around to reading. I let the toddler choose several, although the dorky English/Etymology teacher in me couldn’t help buying her a picture book called If You Were a Homonym or a Homophone by Nancy Loewen (illustrated by Sara Gray). With meltdown mode impending, I did not have a chance to preview most of the books, but I opened to a random page featuring a bird on a skateboard holding a roll with the words “you could ROLL with your ROLL.” It was plenty dorky. I nodded and handed it to the toddler to put into our basket. (“No,” she said obstinately, but it went in anyway). (When I got home, I read the whole book and saw an entire spread dedicated to explaining contractions and apostrophes with several examples of you’re/your. The English teacher in me is secretly thrilled, especially as the next page proclaims “THEY’RE riding THEIR bikes over THERE.”)

And now my summer reading pile is a lot longer, and my horizons are exponentially expanded—and when the ear infection is done, so will be the toddler’s.

More good news about summer reading!

No good deed goes unpunished when freshman Steffie Brenner offers to give her awkward new neighbor a ride home after her first day at school. When her older sister Ali stops at a local park to apply for a job, Steffie and Madison slip out of the car to explore the park—and Madison vanishes. Already in trouble for a speeding ticket, Ali insists that Steffie say nothing about Madison’s disappearance. Even when Madison’s mother comes looking for her. Even when the police question them. Some secrets are hard to hide, though—especially with Madison’s life on the line. As she struggles between coming clean or going along with her manipulative sister’s plan, Steffie begins to question if she or anyone else is really who she thought they were. After all, the Steffie she used to know would never lie about being the last person to see Madison alive—nor would she abandon a friend in the woods: alone, cold, injured, or even worse. But when Steffie learns an even deeper secret about her own past, a missing person seems like the least of her worries…

No good deed goes unpunished when freshman Steffie Brenner offers to give her awkward new neighbor a ride home after her first day at school. When her older sister Ali stops at a local park to apply for a job, Steffie and Madison slip out of the car to explore the park—and Madison vanishes.
Already in trouble for a speeding ticket, Ali insists that Steffie say nothing about Madison’s disappearance. Even when Madison’s mother comes looking for her. Even when the police question them.
Some secrets are hard to hide, though—especially with Madison’s life on the line. As she struggles between coming clean or going along with her manipulative sister’s plan, Steffie begins to question if she or anyone else is really who she thought they were. After all, the Steffie she used to know would never lie about being the last person to see Madison alive—nor would she abandon a friend in the woods: alone, cold, injured, or even worse.
But when Steffie learns an even deeper secret about her own past, a missing person seems like the least of her worries…

One of my publishers, Barking Rain Press, is having an ebook sale to celebrate summer reading.

My titles through BRP are only $1.99 through July 4. (This includes The Scarred Letter and The Girl Who Flew Away.)

You can also find the discount at Amazon (Amazon—Scarred; Amazon—Girl) or anywhere ebooks are sold… but only through the 4th.

To check out BRP’s catalog of excellent books, see http://barkingrainpress.org/, and use code SUMMERDZ.