The Evolution of Reading – Welcome 2014

Growing up, I fully believed that reading was an art. I believed the better I got at it, the more advanced reading I would do. I suppose this will always be true on some level, but I will always remember the moment I realized how seriously misguided I was.

In the second grade after my fling with mystery and science fiction, I wanted to get into what I considered ‘advanced reading’. I went to the school library and checked out Sounder and Tuck Everlasting. ¬†Feeling eager and ambitious, I propped my books on the counter for the school librarian to check them out for me. They were handed back to me and I tucked them in the nook of my arm, feeling the delightful weight of my new chapter books. Just before my class was to leave the library, my teacher calls out to whoever checked out Sounder and Tuck Everlasting. Unsuspecting, I shot my hand up so she would know I was the one who checked out these lengthly books. To my surprise, I was told I could NOT check these books out as they were beyond my reading level. Looking back, those books would have posed a great challenge to me, certainly more than I expected at the time. However, in the moment, I was crushed.

When fourth grade came around and I was “old enough” to read these books, I read them with joy and some bitterness at having them taken from me when I was younger. I was one of the top readers in my class that year and I decided I’d never subscribe to “reading levels” again. A few years later I become obsessed with the classics. My Barnes and Nobles Classics collection was, and still is, quite impressive. I read Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad, Charlotte Bronte, Mary Shelley, Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G Wells, and more. I thought I was quite sophisticated. I was beyond low and middle brow reading. It was my belief that quality writing was all that deserved to be read. I was wrong.

At the time, I was the biggest reader in my household and I was proud of the title. That is, until my twin sister picked up the Harry Potter series. After she found her love for reading, she was unstoppable. My sister was out-reading me. It was okay though, because for a while, I thought my books were “harder”. Sure, I would read the “fluffy” stuff for fun, but I knew I was capable of more. Then one day, I learned my older brother had read Twilight, loved it, and was reading for fun.

This was the moment I re-evaluated my opinions.

How did two people who weren’t much into reading become as avid readers as myself in such a short span of time? I realized that I wasn’t a better reader because of what I read. I realized that what might be considered middle brow reading for some was pure adventure for another. It was around that time I became fascinated by popular literature and genre trends. I’ve learned a lot in my reading and I firmly believe that I’m not sacrificing quality by picking up these books. Popular fiction embraces the culture of its moment and is truly perceptive to its generation of readers. I’ve read books by insightful and inquisitive writers that have challenged my thinking more than certain classics have. I’m not arguing that popular fiction is the best type of genre, not at all. I’m just saying this:

The evolution of reading is perfected by each individual. No one wins at reading. If you read a book, a magazine, a blog, a tumbler post, a tweet…..you’ve already found something wonderful. Don’t stop. Read on.

In 2014 make the time to read that book that’s been on your ‘to read’ list for too long, find a blog you love (maybe this one?), or even write your own. In 2014 discover the magic of words because I can tell you it really does make a difference.

Happy New Year!

 

Let’s hear how you’ve evolved in reading. Comment below.

The Dinosaur Daily

The Dinosaur Daily is a work-in-progress transition from my previous meme, The Daily Dahl. This meme is designed as a discussion post. My focus will generally be on publishing news, but sometimes may just be a poll or opinion piece.

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Today I wanted to talk about self-publishing. It seems to be covered in every medium of news that I’ve been reading, and as I just began to read another self-published book, I thought it would be fun to discuss the nature of this controversy.

I read an article in The Guardian (published 12/09/13) by Beth Reeks discussing her journey in self-publishing and how she was able to succeed and earn a three-book deal with Random House . The truth is, self-publishing is rapidly growing. Obviously this presents a major challenge for publishers and other distributors, but some have faced the challenge head on. I don’t want to focus on the impact this has on publishers though, I’d like to focus on the readers.

Beth Reeks started her career at age fifteen writing on Wattpad and promoting her book through various social media. She brought herself success as a writer and was even profitable in the process. ¬†I’ve read some amazing self-published books and some that struggled more. Despite some bad reading experiences, I still love to pick up a book by someone who worked hard to share his imagination or knowledge with others. It takes gumption to get one’s book published and released to the public no matter which path the author chooses. Therefore, I have a lot of respect for the self-published.

What are your thoughts? Have you come across any self-published gems or have you been unsatisfied with your self-published reads?

 

Read the article here

Rawr Rawr Rawr Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Pssst. Don’t tell Kalee, but I’m putting on a special little Christmas special for you. Kalee was likely to post something like, “ho ho ho, Santa and his reindeer wish you a Merry Christmas” or something of that sort. Well, I’ve beat her to it so I can make sure you all know the truth.

This is the truth: Dinosaurs are better than reindeer.

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for Goodreads synopsis, click on image

I read Dinosaur Christmas by Jerry Pallotta, Illustrated by Howard McWilliam to celebrate my Christmas morning, and I must tell you how much I enjoyed this book.

As one of the few remaining dinosaurs, this book was a perfect reminder of the good old days… when dinosaurs pulled Santa’s sleigh. That’s right, my Stegosaurus kin were once part of the spirit of Christmas. Now, if you read this wonderful book you’ll see dear old Santa testing different dinosaur species to pull his sleigh. Not all of them were very good at it. Some dinosaurs are just too slow and others too bossy.

This book is a must for any curious Christmas reader. Read this to you’re youngsters on Christmas Eve so they can dream about spiky stegosaurus’s pulling up next to their window with a delivery of personal gifts. It is a quick, never dull read. Also, the images are warm with splashes of delightful color – perfect for the holiday season.

Even better, read this book every day of the year! Besides learning the truth of Christmas, you can have fun with some pretty crazy dinosaur names along with the ones you know and love (i.e Stegosaurus). Along with the playful rhyme of the story, there is plenty of creativity. I mean, I know the Tyrannosaurus rex were clumsy, but Mr. Pallotta was kind to attribute their failure due to their wagging tongues. I do wish he had given the Stegosaurus their deserved credit. My family were some of Santa’s top sleigh choices! You’ll just have to take my word for that one though.

I give this 4 out of 5 Stars!Image

Well, it’s Christmas morning and I have gifts to deliver. Have a wonderful holiday!

(Kalee, if you’re reading this please know that this is all really you’re fault for giving me snacks before bed. That’s why I woke up before you and wrote this review. Oh, and I have a special gift for you so don’t be mad with me.)

Rawr Rawr,

Jameson

Picturebook Review: Again! by Emily Gravett

I picked Again! by Emily Gravett as my first book review because it reminds me of Jameson and I’s relationship.

Again! by Emily Gravett

published by: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013

GoodReads Synopsis:

A little dragon and his favorite book make for a combustible combination in this clever picture book with a surprise ending.

It’s nearly Cedric the dragon’s bedtime, and for Cedric, bedtime means storytime! When his mother reads him his favorite book, he likes the story so much that he wants to hear it again–and again–and again!

Cedric’s mom understands that the best stories are ripe for repetition, and she tries very hard to be patient. But sometimes dragons will be dragons–which is why this bedtime tale ends with an incendiary surprise!

My Review:

I’ve always been a fan of Emily Gravett, and Again! delivers her usual quirky charisma that I love.

The story narrates a mother’s patience with her child’s stubbornness. It is about a child’s love for his favorite story and the consequences of losing sight of necessities (like sleep). I loved the relationship between the mother and her son. I found it to be honest. You may not have experienced a tired child at bedtime who refuses to go to sleep, but Again! is accurate.

The short picturebook may not seem to have a resolution, and true, there is not definitive visual or verbal narrative to signify a moral or conclusion to the child’s outburst. However, the ending is intentionally ambiguous to emphasize the chaos of the little dragon’s exhaustive temper. I certainly doesn’t go unnoticed – the hardcover version has a hole in the back, and minor characters are shown recovering from the damage in some distress.

Again! was an adorable read. It makes a fun read for any time. I can be a bedtime story, but it isn’t limited to that. It’s an enjoyable book for both adults and children; it might even hit home for them. Also, the frame-tale aspect of the story can be very engaging. You will probably want to read it again (no pun intended) to experience it the way Cedric the dragon does.

The illustrations are wonderful. They are bright and detailed, with plenty of inviting, open space on each page. Take a careful look when reading. You’ll realize the book begins right on the dust jacket, through the end pages, and to the first page of the story. You will also see the consistent hints at repetition and juxtaposition between Cedric the dragon and the young dragon in the story. It’s in the way they are positioned on the page and the varying colors. Emily Gravett really has a knack for bringing her books to life.

I give this book 4/5 stars!

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Welcome! Bienvenidos!

Meet my co-blogger

Meet my co-blogger

This here is the official transition from my previous blog, Dahl’s Doll at Blogger, to my current one. The content will remain the same, I’m just getting a makeover! I will do my best to merge the two accounts so all of my previous content will be available on Rawr is for Reading. My reason for switching is to connect all of my accounts to my real social networks and drop the alias I was using, Zooey Dahl. It will be much simpler for me to communicate as myself rather than using an alias for book reviews and working with authors. And also, switching to WordPress gives me the opportunity to explore new online platforms and become an expert in all of them. After having had three blogs using Blogger, I’m ready to switch it up. I hope you enjoy reading this one as much as you have my previous blogs.

Oh, and say hi to Jameson Stegosaurus. He’ll be my co-blogger. You may see him pop up at times doing some mischievous deeds. You can see he was quite excited to start this blog with me, he already raided my bookshelf and is ready to write his first post. I caught him in the act.

To read my previous work, visit any of my blogs:

www.dahlsdoll.blogspot.com

www.thekingstongue.blogspot.com

http://cmu-kingston-fall12.blogspot.com