Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mini-Review: Santa Claus is for Real by Charles Edward Hall

Santa Claus Is for Real: A True Christmas Fable About the Magic of BelievingSanta Claus Is for Real: A True Christmas Fable About the Magic of Believing by Charles Edward Hall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was really excited to read this book by the Radio City Music Hall Santa, Charles Edward Hall. Charles has played the roll of Santa for over 25 years, he's the Santa many of us grew up with in experiencing the wonder that is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

I was interested in his journey in becoming this roll (if you've had the pleasure of seeing him in this role, you know he becomes this character) from some one who didn't believe in the spirit of Christmas.  What bothered me about this book was his "discussions" with the real Santa. These just didn't work with me and wish they would have found a different avenue for sharing his conversion to a believer.

I also would have liked some more from the show itself and how it's changed over the years and how his role of Santa has changed along with the holiday.

It was an enjoyable read and I do recommend it for anyone who is looking to get into the holiday spirit.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nonfiction November - Diversity

Hosted by I'm Lost In Books this week
This week's prompt:
Diversity and Nonfiction: What does “diversity” in books mean to you? Does it refer to a book’s location or subject matter? Or is it the author’s nationality or background? What countries/cultures do you tend to enjoy or read about most in your nonfiction? What countries/cultures would you like nonfiction recommendations for? What kind of books besides different countries/cultures do you think of as books of diversity?
What does “diversity” in books mean to you? Does it refer to a book’s location or subject matter? Or is it the author’s nationality or background? 
There is so much talk right now about the need for diversity in reading. (Search "We Need Diverse Books") The movement is really about the large scale need for diversity on our bookshelves in both libraries and personal collections. I think it's a good movement and an important undertaking to diversify literature/reading.

However, I feel that we can all read diverse books on the small scale. Just pick up a nonfiction book about a person or a place that is different from your own life/home/situation and you have diversified your reading. I will never know what it is like to be a poor black man in Baltimore, MD, so reading The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore introduced me two lives that are greatly different from mine.

What countries/cultures do you tend to enjoy or read about most in your nonfiction? 
I can honestly say that I'm limited in this type of reading. Since I'm just really starting to branch out in my NF reading, I'm starting out by testing the waters.  I've enjoyed reading about different paths to success of people of similar or different cultural backgrounds than my own. One that stands out is Sonia Sotomayor's My Beloved World.  While ethnically we have a lot in common, there is very little that we shared in life experiences.

I do like to read about different cultures, but a lot of what I have read relates to how different cultural backgrounds conform to life in the United States.

What countries/cultures would you like nonfiction recommendations for? 
I would love recommendations of cultural books based in their home countries. The parts of I Am Malala that I enjoyed the most are when she described what life was like and the history of her country. It's a great way to learn about other places and people when told from a native instead of reading about it from a Western view point.

What kind of books besides different countries/cultures do you think of as books of diversity?
Books that share different lifestyles. I think we need to expand into reading about people from different religious backgrounds, different sexual orientation, and those who live alternative lifestyles (like those doomsday preppers).

Monday, November 17, 2014

2015 Finish the Series Reading Challenge

Hosted by Socrates' Book Reviews

Here are the rules guidelines.

1) All books that are part of a continuing series qualify (i.e. Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, James Patterson's Alex Cross, etc. etc.)

2) It doesn't matter if you have 1 or 10 books in a series to complete it, it qualifies (i.e. if you only need to read one more Sookie Stackhouse book to complete the goal, that's fine) The goal is to complete a series from wherever you are up to until the last published book.

3) The qualification period is January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015. Books must be read during this time frame to count.

6) Any format of book counts - print, audio, ebook, etc.

7) You should choose the series you want to finish before the challenge begins, but it isn't necessary. It's fine to change series during the year - as long as you complete whichever series it is.

8) Choose a level....

Level 1 (Novice series reader) - Complete 1 series.
Level 2 (Testing the waters) - Complete 2 series.
Level 3 (Experienced) - Complete 3 series.
Level 4 (Expert series reader) - Complete 4 or more series.


I looked at my FictFact page and noticed that there were a few series with 1 book left and some with a lot more. I'm aiming for Level 4 (Expert series reader) and completing more than 4 series.

Full book list and progress through 2015 can be found here - 2015 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge