The Ash-Born Boy

15 05 2012

So a few months ago Victoria Schwab emailed a bunch of bloggers and said she had an awesome project, and today I’m here to reveal the awesome project!

Introducing

(in all caps and bolded of course)

THE ASHBORN BOY — a free prequel/novella

The Ashborn Boy is a prequel to Victoria’s novel The Near Witch. She says that she gets a lot of questions about who Cole was before he came to near, so here’s the answer! Victoria decided to write a prequel to the book and Disney Hyperion (her publisher) has posted it on their site. AND, because Victoria is awesome, she will always make a spot for the novella on her site if the book ever leaves the DH site. The best part: the book’s free! (Say what? Yes, you can read it for free online, and it will always be free! Hurrah!)

Now, with further ad0,

THE ASHBORN BOY.

Before he came to Near…

Before he met Lexi…
Before they faced the witch…
Who was the boy named Cole?

Follow us to Dale, a city on a hill, where in a matter of days fire will devour everything. Meet the Lord and Lady, and their son, the boy destined to inherit all…until everything turns to ash.

It’s time to learn the truth behind the stranger’s story.

Link to view the site: http://un-requiredreading.com/books/the-ash-born-boy

Sounds great, huh? The good thing is that you can read it without having read The Near Witch and you can read it after reading the book for a better insight into the story. Also, c’mon, it’s 6o-some pages — it would make for a quick and easy read, not to mention that it is FREE!! I think that this is a great idea and I always love reading a good prequel/short story based around familiar characters. Make sure to check out the site and if you want, add the book on Goodreads. Happy reading, and great idea Victoria.

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Popularity

26 03 2012
Ahh, popularity.

The mean girls from Mean Girls being…mean.

You know, “she’s more popular than I am” or “I wanna be popular” or “I’m so unpopular”, etc. There have been plenty of movies on the subject. Mean Girls is maybe the most popular. We’ve all had issues with popularity, and I’d be surprised if you haven’t. I want to be more popular, I don’t like being popular, I’m such a nerd, why can’t I be popular, the popular girls suck and I want to destroy them, to name several examples.

This situation has popped up in many, many contemporary books. It happens to plenty of people, whether you’re concerned about your popularity or bullied or harmed by other, more popular people. And the situations, of course, also are often found in media.

But the problem of popularity also crosses over into the blogging world, sadly.

Note: not all bloggers are kids in green shirts.

Not all blogs are popular. There are extremely popular blogs and then moderately popular blogs and then small blogs and then blogs that are barely noticed.

However, sometimes, sadly, being popular gets you more stuff. More ARCs and more chances to be on a blog tour. More chances to interview big authors or get swag, more chances to host giveaways. The more stats you have, the more followers, the more people interested in reading your blog the better chance publishers will notice. (Kelly’s post on stats here is a good explanation of stats & what they really mean.) And so people want to be popular, because they want….stuff.

And free stuff is nice. I like free stuff. I’m not judging people who want to gain more free stuff.

But it makes me sad when people just want to be popular. Now, this next part will probably sound like I’m an annoying mother, and I am sorry OH SO VERY SORRY, but there really is no other way to say it:

BEING POPULAR IS NOT EVERYTHING.
Now, I’m probably reminding you of your mom, or a counselor or guidance worker. You’ve heard this before. C’mon.
Picture me as this lady, minus the math problems (ick).
But it makes me sad that we still have to point this out, prove that being popular is not everything. Midlist blogs can still get free stuff. I get emails asking if I can review books. I get ARCs. I’ve been offered to do blog tours before.
Being popular is not everything. You can still receive stuff, get fans, get comments, get anything your heart desires.
So I’d like to thank all the blogs I continually read, the ones that pipe into my reader. They aren’t all popular, have thousands of fans, host plenty of giveaways and have mailboxes stuffed with books. But they’re good blogs with quality resources and reviews. And that’s really all I want to get out of a blog.
So I’d like to thank all the blogs I read. And remember (hear goes the teacher thing again): your blog does matter.
No matter how popular it is. And popularity isn’t everything.
So thank you, bloggers, no matter how popular you are.




Why Libraries and Librarians Matter

19 03 2012
Why Librarians and Libraries Matter
 I want to be a librarian.
I’ve wanted to be a librarian for a very long time. I’ve done research on what education you need to be a librarian, read magazines geared towards librarian readers, and I’ve nibbled up every snap of information I can get on librarianship. Of course, I know that simply doing research isn’t enough. I’ve prepared myself for volunteer work at the library in the future, connected with librarians and just tried to understand the job and its community.
But the truth is, it’s not really a common thing for teens and kids to want to be. Most of my classmates want to be sports players, vets, rich people, etc. A teacher in fifth grade asked my class what we wanted to be when we grew up. We had to write a short paragraph and draw a picture of ourselves as an adult in the job position we chose.
Again, my classmates said they wanted to be sports players, presidents, judges, lawyers, writers (the girl who said that is my friend, of course) and all kinds of normal, typical things that made sense for a bunch of ten-and-eleven year olds.
I stood up and said, “I want to be a librarian.” Most of the kids stared at me like I was an idiot. A couple said things like, “Why would you want to be one?” My teacher shushed them but I could tell she was surprised too.
And the same kind of attitude — thinking libraries and librarians are stupid and old-fashioned — seems to have carried on into adults.
That is not to say that every adult hates libraries or librarians, or thinks that they’re stupid and/or old fashioned. But there are some that do, and there seems to be an image in popular culture of librarians. These librarians are old people, usually ladies, with thick glasses and sweaters who constantly tell you to be quiet.
But that is not how librarians are.
This should seem to be an obvious statement. Obviously this image is a stereotype, etc etc. But the image continues.
I’ll counter this stereotype by telling you about librarians I know. I have known three librarians who shaped my life. Lori, Carol, and Amy. Lori was my elementary school librarian and the first ever librarian I really knew. She was very funny and kind, and an amazing book talker. Carol was the kids/teen librarian at the public library by my house. She led a mother-daughter book club that my mother and I participated in for almost four years until I grew out of the program. She was a smart lady who was fantastic at leading book discussions and picked great books. Amy is the assistant librarian with a focus on teens at the library I now patronage. She’s a very funny lady with a great mind for what teens like.
And these librarians — three amazing ladies — are just three of many, thousands and thousands, of librarians around the world. Librarians are diverse; they’re male and female, young and old, with every race represented.
But is the job easy? Of course not, no job is completely easy. Librarians deal with bad patrons and computer problems and plenty of other issues. There’s the issue of e-books and technology and the fact that libraries might become obsolete someday. The issue that popular culture doesn’t think highly of librarians and they are stereotyped. There are problems with budgets and not being able to buy enough books and the issue of books being stolen and the fact that funding for libraries is low.
But despite problems, libraries really can impact people. They help kids learn to read, impacting the babies and toddlers directly by storytime, and helping the parents with programs on literacy. They give older kids fun programs – gross out ones and fun ones and book related ones, work their butts off in the summertime for summer reading. They help kids find books to read, whether the books be for pleasure or a project, and make sure to give them good stories to enjoy.
Frankly, I love librarians.
I could go on forever about why I like them and why I care. But at the same time, these descriptions of what librarians do are empty in a kind of way. So I’ll tell you a true story. It may be a bit movie-like, and perhaps dramatic, but I think it tells a librarian story very well.
This story involves Lori, the first librarian I talked about. You’ll remember that she was the librarian at my public elementary school and was a fantastic book talker and storyteller.
Also, note—“we” and “us” mentions are describing my elementary school classes as a whole.
In elementary school, every time we visited the library as a class we would sit on a big round circle rug first. Lori would sit in a chair across from us and read us a book,  and when we got a little older, she would talk to us about other topics, such as online safety and plagiarizing.
When we were younger, we’d sit and beg her to read more and more. We liked reading, yes, but we liked listening to her more.
Lori was a clever lady. She knew we’d listen to her, so she carefully book talked books as soon as she finished reading. We paid attention, captivated, and guess what? Those books always got checked out. And guess what? They were great books.
As we got older, we started to read more. We read more thanks to what: her awesome book talks. She gave us a love of reading slowly. And you know what? By the time we were in fifth grade we didn’t want to listen to a story. We wanted to get up and check out a book or two (or three, thanks to our school libraries’ lovely policy of allowing older kids to check out up to three titles).
And what I love the most about this story is not how amazing our librarian was. It’s how this affected so many people – twenty six kids, and guess what, every single one of them read.
And this was just the classes I participated in; think of the other three or four classes, all of which went to the library and also gained a “thirst for books”.
Librarians can make an impact. And they do make an impact.
Personally, I think they’re underappreciated.
And I’ve known many, many great librarians both online and in real life.
And I’m proud to say that someday, yes, I want to be a librarian.