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Do You Like Illustrated Books? Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

Booking through Thursday


Question of the Day. How do you feel about illustrations in your books? Graphs? Photos? Sketches?

For the most part, I like my imagination to run wild picturing the characters, settings, creatures, etc. in reading fiction. Though. I don't mind illustrations in books if they add value. Maps serve a great pupose in guiding me across the book's journeys. The black and white drawings in Pride and Prejudjice and Zombies were hilarious and added some much to the story!

Poetry is hard for me. Illustrations found in poetry titles sometimes assist me in getting the feeling and nuance of the words 

Many nonfiction books require charts and graphs. Also, photos include in nonfiction titles grab me to be included in the story.  

Of course, graphic novel, picture books, art books, and comic book are a given.

So, all in all, illustrations in fiction books -- mainly, no. Nonfiction -- mainly, yes.

What is your take?

Barbara's picture

Mary Sharratt and Daughters of the Witching Hill Video

Mary Sharratt will be one of the panelists on Reading Group Choices' panel at the Virginia Festival of The Book on March 19 in Charlottesville. I'm really excited! Mary's new novel, Daughters of the Witching Hill, is filled with great discussion points for reading groups -- mothers and daughters,  historical views of men and women, religion, forgiveness, personal, social, and moral challenges. 

Daughters of the Witching Hill takes place in Lancashire, England. Based on historical facts, Mary retells the story of the Pendle Witches and their subsequent hanging in 1612 for witchcraft. Many books have be written about the Pendle Witches but none have told the story from Bess Southerns (aka Mother Demdike) and her family's (the witches) point of view. Mary channels their voices so the reader can discover the joy and beauty and the poverty and suffering of their world. 

Mary lives on the spot where the Pendle witch-hunt unfolded. What history! She researched the court accounts and the major characters and events come from those accounts. Seven women and two men were hanged.

In this video, with the landscape of Lancashire in the background, Mary tells us why she was inspired to reveal Demdike's story. 




Mary is the author of Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point. An American, she lives in Lancashire, England. (That's her horse in the video!)


Starred Review

The Daughters of the Witching HillThe 1612 Lancashire, England, witch trials that resulted in nine executions inspires Sharratt’s gorgeously imagined novel that wonders if some of the accusations of witchcraft might be true. Sharratt (The Vanishing Point) focuses on the Southerns family of Pendle Forest. Widowed mother Bess Southerns tries to save her family from bleakest poverty by healing the sick, telling fortunes, and blessing those facing misfortune, conjuring “charmes” that combine forbidden Catholic ritual, medicinal herbs, and guidance provided by her spirit-friend, Tibb. Though Bess compassionately uses her powers, her granddaughter, Alizon, unwittingly endangers her family while under the interrogation of a conniving local magistrate. Sharratt crafts her complex yet credible account by seamlessly blending historical fact, modern psychology, and vivid evocations of the daily life of the poor whose only hope of empowerment lay in the black arts. Set in forests and towers, farms and villages, deep in a dungeon and on the gallows, this novel grows darker as it approaches its inevitable conclusion, but proves uplifting in its portrayal of women who persevere, and mothers and daughters who forgive. 

Barbara's picture

Teaser Tuesday 3/9 The Beautiful Between

Teaser Tuesdays (Hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading) is here again.

The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (May 2010)

The Beautiful BetweenFirst two lines "If you think of high school as a kingdom -- and I don't mean the regular kind of kingdom we have today, like England or Monaco, I mean those small ones in fairy tales that probably weren't kingdoms at all so much as they were nobledoms where the nobles considered themselves kings and granted themselves the right of prima nochte, that kind of thing -- if you think of my high school like one of those, then Jeremy Cole would be the crown prince. The crown prince who could choose from all the women in his father's domain -- and not only choose them, but have them parade in front of him at, say, a dance, trying to catch his eye, hoping to be chosen."

This lovely and memorable debut by Alyssa B. Sheinmel contains many of the hallmark themes found in young adult literature—friendship, coming of age, finding a place to belong, and overcoming the death of a loved one. Emotionally moving from start to finish, The Beautiful Between introduces a strong new voice to the genre, a voice with a long future ahead of it. (summary from Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)

Can't wait to read it -- sounds like a great book for a mother/daughter book club!

You can play Teaser Tuesday, too!

  1. Grab your current read
  2. Open to a random page
  3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Barbara's picture

Friday Reads -- Top Ten March 5

The Book StudioEvery Friday on Twitter, The Book Studio and The Book Maven (Bethanne Patrick) hosts #fridayreads. Tweep people post what they are reading this week. It's fantastic! So many people and so many books. It really does the heart good to see people keeping the joy of reading alive. The Book Maven just posted the Top Ten of Friday March 5. It is so diverse! 

Barbara's picture

Mysteries Heal the World

Girl detectiveI love mysteries. One of the main reasons is to challenge myself to figure out the killer before it is revealed. Most times, I can. But is there another overriding factor?

I read an On Fiction article that got me thinking about the real reason. Keith Oatley talks about P. D. James (love her work) and her thoughts on why murder mysteries grab the reader. Oatley paraphrases P. D. James ideas with , "The detective story has its appeal, she [P. D. James] said in her talk, not because of a death, but because of a murder. Murder is the most horrific of crimes. It damages the fabric of our everyday world. The role of the detective is not to be clever, it's to heal the wound in society. To bring justice, to make the world whole again."

Wow! She is so right. The ending is the beginning -- everything is right again in the world. The world isn't fair but justice almost always brings a resolution and closure.

I will still challenged myself to nab the killer before the detective/protagonist does. But James' idea has opened my eyes to a new, enlightened, and profound concept. Friends have always said I like heavy, dark literature. It will blow their minds that I read mysteries to heal my and the world.

Do you read mysteries? Do you agree with James' premise?

Barbara's picture

Is Writing Style, Grammar, and Punctuation Important?

(Hosted by ttp:// ))

This week’s question asks:

In honor of National Grammar Day … it IS “March Fourth” after all … do you have any grammar books? Punctuation? Writing guidelines? Style books?

More importantly, have you read them?

How do you feel about grammar in general? Important? Vital? Unnecessary? Fussy?

Because I used to be a copyeditor and proofreader, so I had many writing style and grammar books. There are three guides that I still have -- The Elements of Style by Strunk and White (both the regular and illustrated edition) and The Chicago Manual of Style.

When I write formal proposals and business correspondence, I am fussy about writng, style, and punctuation. Personal writing (like this) -- not so much!

My favorite punctuation is the em dash! I find it hard to use sometimes when typing on the computer -- easier to use two hypens.

I love receiving ARCs to see how much red pen I can use! Interesting enough, some publishers are better at editing that others. Some ARCs turned out very "bloody!"

What do you say about writing style, grammar, and punctuation? With all the texting going on, does it matter anymore?

(Remember -- this is personal writing. No lectures, please!)


Barbara's picture

2010 Indies Choice Book Awards

The American Booksellers Association unveils the finalists for the 2010 Indies Choice Book Awards. Booksellers at ABA members stores will cast ballots to choose the winners in eight categories.

Six Reading Group Choices' selected books were including in the finalists! Check them out for great discussion ideas for reading groups!

The Indies Choice Book Awards reflect the spirit of independent bookstores and the IndieBound movement. The winners, to be announced in April, will be honored at BookExpo America 2010 in New York City.

Border Songs, by Jim Lynch
Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin
The Children's Book, by A.S. Byatt
Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
Generosity: An Enhancement, by Richard Powers
Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel

Animals Make Us Human, by Temple Grandin
Lit: A Memoir, by Mary Karr The Lost City of Z, by David Grann
Stitches: A Memoir, by David Small Strength in What Remains, by Tracy Kidder When Everything Changed, by Gail Collins 

The Earth Hums in B Flat, by Mari Strachan
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
The Piano Teacher, by Y.K. Lee
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, by Reif Larson
Still Alice, by Lisa Genova
Tinkers, by Paul Harding

(The author who is an in-store star as well as having a strong sense of the importance of indie booksellers to the community.)
Isabel Allende
Laurie Halse Anderson
Libba Bray
Michael Chabon
Kate DiCamillo
Abraham Verghese

Congratulations to all authors and Good Luck!

Barbara's picture

Teaser Tuesday 3/2 The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

teaser tuesdayTeaser Tuesdays (Hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading) is here again. I'm still reading Angelology and used the title last week. I loving it! So, I will grap some some lines from one of the books I received yesterday.

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott"It was a brisk autumn day and the platform was blustery. Louisa felt the skirts of her slim black dress swirl around the ankle boots, the pair she'd had for years, the pair she'd worn in Rome in the cathedrals, in Nice, in the parlor of the Paris inn where she'd shared wine with a Polish revolutionary as he described the deaths of all his friends.'' -- The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees, April 2010

Deftly mixing fact and fiction, Kelly O'Connor McNees imagines a love affair that would threaten Louisa's writing career-and inspire the story of Jo and Laurie in Little Women. Stuck in small-town New Hampshire in 1855, Louisa finds herself torn between a love that takes her by surprise and her dream of independence as a writer in Boston. The choice she must make comes with a steep price that she will pay for the rest of her life. -- publisher description

Love Little Women and A Long Fatal Love Chase. can't wait to read about Louisa!

What's your TT?


Barbara's picture

Reading a Book You Hate?

My Friend Amy asked an interesting question a few days ago -- do you read books that you think you will hate? And, she was influenced by a post from Laura Miller. Don't you love the blog network!

In a previous post, I answer a question about how reading opens doors of learning, imagination, understanding of other worlds and times. So, if I don't read books that challenge me in one way or another -- I was disingenuous. And, I wasn't.

I belong to a reading group! Reading groups and book clubs tend to open horizons for all the readers. The diversity of the club allows diversity of reading -- stretching members minds to books they wouldn't pick up themselves. That's the beauty of book club!

Preferring genres over anothers doesn't constitute a hatred for them but I do tend to avoid them. There is no specific "genre" associated with these not-preferred books -- I know them when I see them! But, I also know that there is value in all reading. Therefore, I will accept Amy's challenge and read two books of that type in 2010 -- the fluffy commercial formulaic tugs at your heart-strings tear-jerker books!

Do you read books that you "know" you will hate? Will you join me in Amy's challenge?  

Barbara's picture

BTT 2/25 Reading Books=Insufficient Life??

Booking Through ThursdayBooking Through Thursday is hosted by

This week's question, suggested by Janet, asks:

"I’ve seen this quotation in several places lately. It’s from Sven Birkerts’ ‘The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age’:

'To read, when one does so of one’s own free will, is to make a volitional statement, to cast a vote; it is to posit an elsewhere and set off toward it. And like any traveling, reading is at once a movement and a comment of sorts about the place one has left. To open a book voluntarily is at some level to remark the insufficiency either of one’s life or one’s orientation toward it.'
To what extent does this describe you?"

Interesting question, Janet! My life has been happy and fufilling, so far. Though, like everyone, I have ups and downs-- "life" must go on! I agree with the "movement" aspect -- an mind and soul journey -- of Birkerts' quote concerning but totally disagree with the "insufficiencystatement.

Reading is a passionate part of my life--celebrating learning, imagination, understanding other cultures and ideas, the incredible art of writing (which I don't have) and, of course, fun and escape! I work in the book biz --translating my fascination of books and reading to my career. Got to love that!

The reading "motion' or journey gives me a chance to find out that everyone has an incredible story. Learn it and be amazed! If I can hear, imagine, believe, understand someone else's story, my life is enriched. No insufficiency, here!

Do you agree with Sven Birkerts’ idea? What does it say about reading groups and book clubs? 

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