Green Eggs and Ham…revisited!

greenLooking back on some of our more popular posts, it surprises us to see Green Eggs and Ham on the list. While it was actually a really interesting look into how Theodore Geisel’s editor challenged him (Dr. Seuss) to write a book using only 50 words, the post continues to be one people search for most. Are people looking for information on this challenge because they want to try it themselves? Or are they simply interested in green eggs and ham? Your guess is as good as mine. Until the Great Google tells us why someone searches, we’ll never know.

However, if you are looking for recipes for Green Eggs and Ham, Food Network star Paula Deen has a fun recipe that involves a few drops of food colouring, and some fancy cookie cutters to use on the toast. But there are also plenty of fantastic–and creative–green eggs and ham recipes to be found on Pinterest….not all of which are actually eggs, or ham.

What if Geisel’s editor had chosen the 50 words for him instead of letting him choose which words to use? Would that have made it more difficult? Or would our Dr. Seuss memories be about something even more off the wall, like purple potatoes and blue milkshakes? This could be a fun writing challenge, and one I’m considering for our Young Writer’s group a little further into the new year. Maybe you should give it a try, and see what you come up with!

Regardless, GREEN EGGS AND HAM continues to be a popular book for children many generations down the line. I bet you could stop almost anyone in the street and ask them to recite at least one line from the book, and they could do it. Can you say the same about many other popular children’s books?

I do not think so. I say no.


In Flanders Fields…

25241478Most countries cannot boast a poem as being something they are famous for, but In Flanders Fields by John McCrae is certainly known as Canada’s most important poem, by far. This year, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the writing of this poem, a new book entitled IN FLANDERS FIELDS: 100 YEARS, WRITING ON WAR, LOSS AND REMEMBRANCE has been released. It is a collection of poems, essays, and more by authors, poets, historians and historical figures from Canada, who have put down their thoughts about the war, the poem, and the poet John McCrae.

We have this book at the library, and it might be a great way to begin this important week. Drop in to see what else we have in our special Remembrance Day window, as well. You’re bound to find something to take home.

Lest we forget.

Can James Patterson Teach?

In one of our writers’ meetings at the library recently, one of the members told us about something they’d seen pop up in their Facebook feed…a writing course taught by James Patterson. They had no other details, but it sounded intriguing. After all, James Patterson puts out about a million books a month (yes, I’m exaggerating, but only slightly), and we can assume he’s doing quite well by it, so a writing course might be something of value.

12275830396489850044So, when I came across this article by an author, Joyce Maynard, who took the course, I was interested to see what she thought. Ms. Maynard explains that she has written 15 novels over the course of her writing career, all of which have sold modestly, and while she earns her living through writing, she is not earning by James Patterson standards. She was curious as to what Mr. Patterson might teach her–clearly admitting that he must know something she doesn’t about the business of writing—and forked over the $90 for the 22 sessions in the James Patterson MasterClass.

The classes are well organized on a special website, and students can work at their own pace, accessing any of the lessons in any order they prefer. Maynard got right to it, deciding she’d spent enough of her life trying to write a best-seller, and worked through the lessons in about three hours, avoiding the exercises for the most part. Going in, she was slightly skeptical, but upon her “graduation”, she held a new respect for Mr. Patterson. While most of the topics were not new to her, she found that Jim, as she liked to refer to him now, talked most importantly about storytelling, and the art of creating stories that will grab the readers and not let go.

His most valuable piece of advice, according to Ms. Maynard? “Don’t set out to write a good thriller. Set out to write a No.1 thriller.”

Good advice. I think I’ll bring this course back up to the writing group later this month. It might benefit some of the more seasoned writers and give them something new to work toward. While Maynard claims Patterson’s course is not without cliche, or geared toward those who want to write poetic, epic stories, she believes every writer could learn something from this best-selling author.

Maybe there’s a lesson in there for all of us. The people who are doing the job and doing it well enough to earn their living, must have the right formula, whether you “admire” that person’s skill or not. Can you learn from it?


In the running…

There are only a few short days left before the elections on October 19th, but you still have time to read a little more about some of the candidates. And wouldn’t you know it, two of the three party leaders have new books out, and the third has one from 2014.


While these books might not sway your vote in one direction, it might be interesting to read more about each of these men who are vying to take/keep control of the reins this fall. Don’t forget, the library is a great place to further your understanding of important political issues, people, and party standings. Drop in to read the daily newspaper to keep abreast of everything happening in our area, or book a computer to surf the web and read current news articles.

And don’t forget to exercise your right to vote on October 19th.

The Nerd Herd has CONVICTION!

This month, the Nerd Herd is prepping for something very exciting. It’s our first author interview, and we’re doing it through a Google Hangout! Joining us from California is Disney-Hyperion author, Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of CONVICTION, a stunning YA debut about a boy, his love of baseball, and a family tragedy that spirals out of control.

ConvictionWe’ve been reading, preparing questions, planning our snacks, making posters and cards, deciding on games, and most of all, we’re looking forward to speaking with an author and hearing how she came to be published. This is a fantastic book–very different from a lot of the fantasy/dystopian/adventure books we’ve been reading, but certainly a book full of current topics.

From Goodreads:

Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch al- ready has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.

It’s going to be so exciting! Have you read this? Let us know what you think! We’ll post some follow up at the end of the month to let everyone in on the experience.


Books vs eBooks

recite-1l27nz1Such a true statement, and yet, people often ask us if we’re seeing a decline in readers of actual books at the library. It’s actually quite a balanced answer: people who read traditional books are often also reading eBooks. If the world had been taken over by eBooks, we would have seen huge evidence of that by now, I think.

However, that being said, there is an interesting statistic that has come up recently regarding people who do download eBooks. It seems that more and more people are purchasing cheap eBooks…and yet, not reading them.

The people at Kobo delved into the statistics last year, and found that 60% of eBooks sold through their company were never even opened. Sixty percent. That’s a lot of books. And the more expensive the book was to begin with, the more likely someone would at least open it. So, are cheap books really benefiting anyone?The trend seems to be on buying these digital books when they’re offered as promotions, but maybe it’s simply the old adage “out of sight, out of mind”, that makes people ignore the books once purchased. They’re not sitting out in plain sight on our shelves as eBooks, and so, tend to be forgotten.

This could be why Amazon’s new plan to pay authors for the number of pages read–instead of for the entire book sold–is bothering a lot of people. If readers are downloading books because they are being offered at a reduced rate…and then not reading them at all, the authors will lose out. Effectively, it looks like Amazon will be the big winner here.

Unless the world and environment deems we cannot physically make books anymore, I think the digital world of reading, and the traditional world will not collide or overrun one another.

Have you ever purchased an eBook and not read it?