Category Archives: Reading Group

Reading Books

Books, they are more accesible and affordable than ever before, now more and more people can have their own private libraries compared to those a century ago. To me it’s practically an addiction and I know it’s to many other people, but I wonder about today’s generation of young adults. With the powerful development of online services and the vast information they get I wonder if for some reason that might discourage them to buy books like they used to. I spend a long time online but to me personally there is nothing like holding a good book on my hands and lay on bed with it. Sometimes I take it to the porch and read as I take my morning breakfast.

I found a great book in the Good Will Bookstore not too long ago and found it helpful not only for my kids as I teach them how to go about reading a book but I believe it will be useful to any book lover. How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren. It’s the Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading. Reading is important but knowing how to read is even more important. Perhaps that’s why the kids in school are so disinterested in reading anything, they don’t know how to read good books specially classical books. I’m amazed at the kind of books the school selects now for their required reading, the quality of the reading material has declined tremendously. Where went the times when the students were pushed to increase their level of understanding?

My point here is that books like How to Read a Book are valuable tools to help anyone understand better what they read.

What is your opinion? Should we lower our standard of reading or should we provide the necessary resources to help the students understand good literature at large?

Clary Lopez, author
Simplicity – Richness of Life
http://clarylopez.com

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The Next Level on Reader’s Website

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For immediate release For Further Information contact:
Clary Lopez
email: info@clarylopez.com

BookHomestead.com – The Next Level on Reader’s Website

A brand new concept in reader’s website is opening at BookHomestead.com. Guerrilla Marketer’s Cafe is taking the concept of reader’s website and reviewing books to the next level.

“Book reviewing should be fun and rewarding” – Clary Lopez

Last year, Guerrilla Marketer’s Cafe was looking to help their numerous authors with a whole new concept in book promotion and they finally found it.

A new service has been established at Guerrilla Marketer’s Cafe for all its members, it’s called BookHomestead.com; a brand new site to promote books by attracting readers who enjoy writing book reviews. The concept is a unique combination on book reviews and been eligible to win rewards. The rewards are gifts provided by the authors, BookHomestead.com and their official sponsors.

The site also counts with a community area in which the readers and the authors can participate to get to know each other, participate in contests and much more. The site will also have a whole section on professional services and gift service available to its members in the near future.

“According to the popularity that community websites is making these days we expect to get a good reception from book lovers in general. The site mission is to become the bridge within the reader’s community at large and new and talented authors and their work. I believe we have a win-win situation with the launch of BookHomestead.com,” said Clary Lopez, CEO/Founder.

For more information on how you can start reviewing new books and be rewarded, visit www.bookhomestead.com.

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Choosing Your Books

books

I’ve built up a pretty size library here at my home. As I go to the bookstore, discount stores, garage sales or the Good Will Book Store I try to look for gems to add to my private collection. When it comes time to choose I go by what my needs are at the moment. For years it was educational purposes what I needed to attend since I homeschool my kids, so I kept my eye open for books we could use to supplement the curriculum. Now that I have most of the books I need for educational purposes and the kids are soon to graduate I’m cleaning out the shelves for classical and best selling books. I also like to have history and art books around.

I have three different areas in which I keep books; the study, my bedroom, and my office. In the study I keep all the educational and reference books. That’s the area where the kids go when they need to work on something. In my bedroom I have a small three shelf bookcase with all of my spiritual books and in my office all the books that has to do with my work, writing, fiction and travel writing. I also keep my magazines, notebooks and journals.

When it comes to choosing which book to read next I go by the mood I’m in or the time of the year. People love to pick up fiction set in a Christmas time during the Christmas season and books then you have fantastic stories set during the summer time or travel setting that attract readers that time of the year as well.

Now that summer is over I won’t have that much time to read anymore even though I eliminated television viewing in order to gain time to do so. I’m not sure what I will be reading next but I’m loving to read poetry lately and that is something that doesn’t take that much time. I might pick up one of two fiction books in order to get better at writing a story someday.

So share with me how do you go about choosing your books and influences you to purchase certain books. Are you going to be able to read much this fall season?

Clary Lopez, Author
Simplicity – Richness of Life

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Portraits in the Dark Now Available Through Locus Online

Portraits in the Dark is an award-winning collection that has received stellar reviews from both readers and professional reviewers alike. Get your copy today to see what all the buzz is about!

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My book, Portraits in the Dark: A Collection of Short Stories, is now available through Locus Magazine Online, one of the best online sources for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.

You can purchase the book and support Locus Online by clicking on the bookseller links under the title listing.

Taken from Locus Online: Your purchase of books through Amazon.com and Amazon UK links (click on titles or covers) helps support Locus Online.

Also, if you live in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, you can also purchase the book from the Barnes and Noble in White Marsh, MD and the Barnes and Noble in Towson, MD. It is currently in stock and available at those locations. If you find that they have sold out of the books, please consider ordering more and help put Portraits in the Dark on more book store shelves throughout the country!

Click these links to purchase through Locus Online: http://www.locusmag.com/2007/Books05d.html.

and

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0595392806/locusmagazine.

You can also read past reviews of the work at the amazon link above, as well as at:
Portraits in the Dark web site: http://www.portraits.bravehost.com.

http://www.writersgroupblog.wordpress.com

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My Ten Plus Reasons

With so many choices, hundreds of thousands of books on the shelves, how in the world can a person narrow their take to a manageable number of reads over the summer? Guess you just need a little help from your friends. That’s how I get by.

Awarding winning poet, Nancy Tripp King, writes: “Linda Bergman-Althouse’s book, Save Them All, lingers with me long after I have placed it in its alphabetical order on my bookshelf of ‘Keepers.’ It wasn’t just that I learned so much about the nature of wild creatures (despite my growing up on a farm), it wasn’t just the easy flow of extensive events nor the ease of the dialogue and interactions between this northern transplant and all those southerners, who she portrayed with such justice and kindness; nor was it the complicated love triangle focused on Colbi, her lead character. It was the way this author dealt with prickly situations. I, as a reader, fell in love with Elliot, the ‘older’ doctor who befriended Colbi when she first came to Locus Point, and did not want him hurt. I began to wonder how she was going to handle my heart if he became the ‘one-not-chosen.’ The writer in me struggled with the notion that if she rejected and, therefore, hurt him, I would dislike this Linda Bergman-Althouse. Sometimes, we just need to take luxurious pleasure in love found within the pages of a book. Linda, with the ease and generosity that, I think, is her trademark, let love happen on a ride running the gamut of emotions. This, and her expertise with plot and character, allowed me to wallow in this wonder called ‘Love.’ And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes Linda Bergman-Althouse’s Save Them All a keeper.”

Nancy Tripp King authored “Tobacco Blossoms and The Pulled-Tight Twine,” a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award For Poetry and “Those Days When Love Doesn’t Work,” which was selected and published as part of Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Select Poetry Series. Her most recent writing credits include Evansville Review, Concho River Review, Pembroke, Asheville Poetry Review, Iris, and a Pushcart Award nomination from Coal City Review.

It’s a fact. Self-publishing demands self-marketing. Therefore, I submit to you my 10 plus sane reasons to choose Save Them All for a perfect summer read.

IF: You are a person who doesn’t follow trends.
You want to live another life for 256 pages.
You want and need romance in your life.
You want to hone or manifest coping skills.
You don’t know what a Dovekie is.
You want to bathe in an invigorating story blessed with strong female, as well as, male characters.
You care about our natural resources including wildlife and want to know others care too.
You choose to spare yourself from yet another book that imagines our nation’s catastrophic decline.
You are going on vacation and want a book that doesn’t take up too much room in your travel bag.
You want to read an intriguing and unusually packaged novel, washed in peach, a cool summer color.
You want to vacation on the coast but because your funds are so scarce, your only ‘resort’ will be visual imagery.
You want to get to know me better.

AND you may choose Save Them All because Nancy Tripp King, a darling of a southern writer who delivers a mix of soothing and gritty prose we can all dance to, recommends it.

Basically there is no reason, I can think of, not to experience the subject author’s book! Check out my website for umpteen methods and locations offering Save Them All. If you’re an avid reader with a number of titles in mind, just add it to your summer reading queue. I recommend placing it on top of the pile and keeping it handy after the read just in case the second book in the stack causes you to want to revisit Locus Point, where romance and passion, awakened, go wild! Some people actually have time to read 4 or 5 books a week. I find that ability staggering, and I’m quite envious. I can just imagine all the adventures I’m missing. “One Day,” she sighed.

A Friend,

Linda Bergman-Althouse
Author of “Save Them All”
Coming Soon(er or later) – – “The Purple Fence”

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Summer Book Club

Summer is just around the corner, the kids will be out of school and we are going to get busy with our summer plan schedules. But for book lovers around the globe it is the perfect time to select the books they want to relax with during this time of year. There is nothing like a good book to read and sink your mind into during those quiet times at the beach or at the lake home.

Get together with other readers online. Many groups meet online to discuss their reading on forums, bulletin boards, chat rooms. You can find some of them here:

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/
http://dearreader.com/http://www.bookclubdirectory.com/
http://www.oprah.com/obc_classic/obc_main.jhtml

Tell us about other book clubs. If you know of a book club group and want to let others know, please leave us a comment with a direct link to it. The readers at The Book’s Den will love to visit.

Find new books. Here at The Book’s Den we count with excellent authors promoting their latest books.

Meet the authors. I would like to invite you to hear from the authors why their book would make a good summer book selection for you or your group. Click on Comments for this entry and read the authors book’s description.

Order your books. You can order most of the books online and if you would like to order a book autographed by the author this will be your chance. You might want to read on our previous post about making your selection for your Book Club.

Let us know about your selections. If you already made your books selections for this summer, share with us your titles and let us know why you selected the books. We are always looking for good books to read.

Enjoy! From all the authors at The Book’s Den, we want to wish you a wonderful and safe summer time and we look forward to meet all of you soon.

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Twelve Months Buried in the Pages

The following was orignally posted on my personal blog last month:

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com 

As a writer one of the most common questions I get is “what do you like to read?”  I typically read five to ten books a year.  I always like to have a collection of short stories on hand as they serve as great inspiration before writing sessions. In the past I’ve spent many months (in some cases, depending on how thick the volume, over a year) with the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, Ann Beattie, Russell Banks, and Shirley Jackson—all of them short story masters. I feel you really get to know a writer when you settle down for a long tenure with their short stories that are often more varied and daring in topic and plot than their novels or other forms. When it comes to full length books, I tend to lean more towards nonfiction (a habit I picked up from mandatory reading in college) with history and psychology being my favorite topics.  When it comes to novels, I like to keep up to speed with the competition and typically read contemporary best sellers or the occasional literary classic.

Below is a run down of what I read during the last twelve months (done in an end of the year awards show fashion).

THE BEST BOOK I READ LAST YEAR Award goes to:
The Great Escape by Kati Marton
Marton’s book is a fascinatingly detailed and lovingly researched look at a group of Hungarian Jews who escaped their homeland just before the Holocaust and went on to do amazing things while living in exile (among them renowned scientists Edward Teller and John Von Neumann, film makers Michael Curtiz and Alexander Korda, photographers Robert Capa and Andre Kertesz, and writer Arthur Koestler).  Marton’s vivid descriptions of Budapest during its golden era at the turn of the twentieth century and the harrowing times of fascism that followed make you feel like you were there with these amazing survivors. She shows a great respect for the people and places she depicts. This is a must read for any person of Hungarian heritage and WWII/Holocaust buffs, but also for movie lovers, as it discusses the lives of two of the most influential film makers from that time period; Korda who produced The Third Man and Curtiz who directed Casablanca. It also goes into detail how famed war-photographer Robert Capa’s tortured romance with international movie star Ingrid Bergman inspired Alfred Hitchcock to create the seminal characters for his classic suspense film Rear Window.

THE “INSTEAD OF EARNING MY MASTERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, I READ THIS BOOK” Award goes to:
Whispers: The Voices of Paranoia by Ronald K. Siegel
Whispers is an uncompromised series of case studies involving severely paranoid patients.  Due to the fact that many are paranoid from excessive drug use, there’s often a sarcastic, cold, and detached narration to the stories.  The descriptions of insect infestation hallucinations are particularly graphic, but also darkly humorous.  This is a must read for those studying abnormal psychology.

 THE “CROSS-PROMOTIONAL ADS ON THE INTERNET ACTUALLY WORK” Award goes to:
Love & Hate in Jamestown by David A. Price
Love & Hate is a vividly detailed and meticulously researched account of the early years of the Jamestown settlement, the life of John Smith, and the legend of Pocahontas.  I came across an add for this while writing my review of Terrance Malick’s movie on the same subject, The New World, on the Internet Movie Database.  I had to have it, and loved every interesting tidbit of history and fact it provided.

THE “I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M STILL READING THIS” Award goes to:
The Complete Short Stories of Graham Greene
Best known for his novels (The Quiet American, The End of the Affair, The Power and the Glory) or his film treatment for the The Third Man, Greene was also a master of the short story form.  He’s one of my favorite writers and he’s quite astute in discussing religion, politics, spying, bourgeois guilt and ennui, and pragmatic romances.  This is a rather large collection, close to 50 stories, and with the reading of about one story a week, it has found what seems like a permanent place on my coffee table.  My favorites from the collection are “The Basement Room,” “The Blue Film,” “The Little Place off Edgeware Road,” “The Innocent,” “Across the Bridge,” “A Drive in the Country,” and “Cheap in August.”

THE WORST BOOK I READ LAST YEAR Award goes to:
The Ruins by Scott Smith
The Ruins is disappointing popular fiction of the most abhorrent kind. Don’t get me wrong, Smith is a decent enough writer and this was a page-turner in the sense that he was crafty enough to trick me into thinking this was going to lead somewhere. His tale of a group of college-age pals getting trapped on a hill in the middle of a Mexican hell plays out like Hostel meets Day of the Triffids. And that’s the major problem: this seems more inspired by recent horror movies and films in general than by anything of literary merit. There’s some really gross-out stuff, and some sustained suspense, but it all becomes extremely repetitive, and the characters grow more and more unlikable with each unbelievable twist, and the whole book literally leads nowhere. Nothing is explained. No interesting plot point is explored (even Stephen King would’ve known to make something out of the second mind shaft and where that might’ve lead or given some flashbacks to the archaeologists or some sense of history behind this horrible place), and, hell, there aren’t even any god-damned ruins! Avoid at all costs. It’s worse than the worst Stephen King book, and not half as clever in its central conceit as the recent horribly-written mega-stinker The DaVinci Code.

So what am I reading now?  Once I’m done devouring the short stories of Graham Greene, I look forward to stalking the short stories of Kurt Vonnegut (a much slimmer volume).  I’m also currently leafing through Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch (yes, the film director).  Lynch takes a look at how transcendental meditation has influenced his film making, art, and life in general.  I can only recommend it to those with a big interest in meditation (I prefer sleep to meditation), or those who love anything that has to do with the enigmatic Lynch (count me in!) The best line thus far from the book is page 115, Lynch’s one page chapter on the explanation of the box and the key in Mulholland Drive, and I quote “I don’t have a clue what those are.” I laughed out loud for a good minute.

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