JetBlue and Random House Partnering up to Give Away 100k Books

Yep, you read that right. When I first heard the news I thought the two companies were an odd match for something like this. But I soon realized that book programs don’t have to be limited to non-profits or bookstores or libraries. Any company can come up something. And then I also realized that JetBlue has been involved with getting books into the hands of children for years with their Soar With Reading Program.

But this year they’re changing it up a bit. They’re adding a #BookBattle to the mix. The battle is between five cities and the public is asked to vote online to decide which of the five cities should be given 100k books for children in need. I think that’s pretty great. The five cities are New York City, Detroit, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, and Houston. I don’t know how long the voting period will be open, but I do know it’s open right now. So if you don’t live in any of the five cities, then the choice you should make when considering which city to vote for is obvious, right? Houston! Duhh. Bring those books here! Please.

You can visit the Soar With Reading website here.

Also, JetBlue installed three book vending machines to dispense free books throughout the city of Washington D.C. this year. How cool are they? Have you heard of this program before?

If you Could | Book Tag

Hey look, after three videos during my first month on YouTube I’ve finally gotten started on my second month! I told y’all I’d meant to make a video a few weeks ago when I finished Lone Survivor, but I just wouldn’t have been able to speak if I’d done it then. And even with all my new book purchases recently I still haven’t finished a new book from the Amazon list. So it was really something of a blessing to be tagged to do this, even though I know absolutely nothing about any BookTube tags floating around. But I figured I might as well do it so I could get SOMETHING on my channel while I work my way through a few more books.

Now go ahead and watch so you can see me answer random question about books!

So what did you think of my answers?

PS: I know you haven’t made a video in a little while, but you’re the only other person I know who might do this. So I tagged you, JOSIE, to do this! It’s okay if you don’t have time or something.

Setting a Story in a Foreign Place

I’ve read plenty of books by plenty of authors. My typical experience is that most authors will set their stories in a single place. And occasionally branch out from there. But other times I’ll come across an author who sets stories in many different cities that are nothing alike. And my thought is they’re either a world traveler or they are great at research. It’s usually a mix of both.

For example, Michael Connelly set one of his Bosch stories (in part) in Japan. But as he was in the process of writing it he took a trip there and stayed for three weeks taking everything in. And also writing, of course. Suffice it to say that I don’t have that kind of money to be able to do that.

But I realized something recently. My second story was set in a different city I’d only visited once or twice. And as soon as I reached the point in the story in which Andrew had to make the trip I stopped writing. So I’m really thinking that my story didn’t work out because I didn’t know enough about the city to continue. I’d planned a short trip just to walk around and take in as much as I possibly could, but that never happened. For now and into the future I’ll just stick to the one city I know.

What about you? Have you ever set one of your stories in a city you didn’t know well?

Readers Only Care About What Harper Lee has Written Rather Than Harper Lee Herself

I’ve written about Harper Lee multiple times in recent weeks, and today will likely be the last time I do. Go Set a Watchman sold 1.1 million copies in its first six days of release. Even though there’s been controversy surrounding the book since the day it was announced.

Am I surprised by this? No. But it is somewhat depressing to realize. Harper Lee is a literary icon. She’s supposed to be beloved and respected and all these great things by her fans and peers alike, right? But it’s clear to me that her readers only care about what she has or has not written rather than the person doing the writing. I fully understand that people will buy any book with her name on it, but one would think that some people would just not buy it because it may or may not have been published almost entirely without her permission.

People can think of the entire situation however they like, but this is what I think of it. I have a real issue with supporting the exploitation of an elderly woman for money. Because that’s what I truly believe has happened here. And sure you can say that your $15 or whatever it cost you to get the book isn’t even a drop in the bucket when it comes to what this book will earn, but that’s just offering a justification for your actions. A justification that I have no interest in.

How Many Books Have you Bought This Year?

I’m pretty certain that y’all know by now that I track EVERYTHING when it comes to my reading. I track how many books I read. I track which series I’m reading. I track the amount time I spend reading each year. I track the number of pages I read. I track which books I’ve read from the Amazon list. I have a master list of every print book I own. And I have an Excel spreadsheet that tells me every author I own books by and how many. See, I know everything. But up until last week I never actively tracked the number of books I was buying.

Amazon keeps track of every order I’ve ever made, but this year not every book has been purchased from the online giant. But I was able to put together a list that includes every book I’ve purchased in 2015. I know the total number of books. I know the retailer. And I know the price of each. And I know if they’re new or used at the time of purchase. All good information to have when December comes around and I’m analyzing data for my yearly recap, right?

Here’s what I found. I’ve bought 15 books this year. And I’ve read seven. I’d like for that number to even out a bit more before the year ends. And I’m sure it will. So tell me, do you know how many books you’ve bought this year? Or how much you’ve spent on books in the first seven months of 2015?

I’m Sick of People Trying to Ban Books

In recent weeks there has been a lot of controversy down here in some Texas libraries. Some people have tried really hard to ban books. And they haven’t succeeded.

There are two books that immediately come to mind when I think of this recent nonsense. I don’t remember the titles, but one was a children’s book that dealt with transgender issues, and I believe the other dealt with growing up as an LGBT person. Also a children’s book. These are just the two examples that come to mind. This post is NOT about what you think when you see a trans person or what you think of so-called “adult” issues appearing in children’s books. Because right now the content is irrelevant.

These people (and there have been A LOT of them) have tried to get these books either out of the library or in a different section of the library because they don’t agree with them or their placement. Think about that. Now think about how many books are published each year that you don’t agree with. But you’re not in your local library trying to change which books they carry or how they display their books. And I’m definitely not doing that.

People need to just accept that the world doesn’t revolve around everything they believe in because I know I’m not the only one getting sick of this crap about banning or censoring books. There wouldn’t be any books in the library if everyone conducted themselves this way.

Have there been any high profile incidents of people trying to ban books near you recently?

Writing in School

I’m talking about everything that comes before college. How much are students actually required to write? I remember in second grade having to write some kind of essay or paper in class. I think we were being taught something about the format. Similar assignments were given during the rest of elementary school. The writing was always done in class.

But I’m sitting here thinking about my middle school years and I can’t remember writing anything substantial during that three year span. And then in high school we generally wrote one major paper a year and spent months on it. I wrote about Dracula once, violence in video games, and two topics that I can’t seem to recall at the moment. All of that is to say that I was not forced to write hardly at all until I stepped foot on a college campus. And I think this could be a contributing factor when it comes to people saying writing is a dying art. Imagine if millions of students across the country have similar experiences. And then they enroll in a degree program that is not writing-intensive. Mine was, but my degree plan had a grand total of two math classes. College algebra and Stats. I’d prefer a class that required 15 essays in 15 weeks over stats every day of the week. But I imagine there are MANY programs that are just the opposite and have very little writing.

All I’m saying is that perhaps it isn’t the media or non-writers who are tossing around this myth that writing is a dying art, maybe it’s the entire education system that’s pushing this idea along. I don’t know. How much were you required to write in school?


On this day in 2014 I published Listen to Audiobooks?.