Reading Rotation 2017

So Many Books, So Little Time

As those who have been with me long know, I have developed a somewhat quirky system for choosing what book I will read next. The need for such a system is threefold:

  1. I used to like to gorge myself on whatever genre I fancied until I’d read so many, I ruined myself for reading any more books of that genre for a long, long time. (It’s sort of like working in a candy store and being told you can eat as much as you like then finding you have made yourself so sick of candy you do not even want to look at another piece.
  2. I have eclectic reading taste. Therefore gorging myself on one genre neglected all the others I loved, which my inner five-year-old felt was very unfair.
  3. I tend to buy books faster than I can read them, therefore the “to be read” titles in any given genre were stacking up so alarmingly, I needed a system to equalize the build-up on any one bookshelf. (Yes, I have bookshelves in every room and our home library is sorted like genre–as, come to think of it, is my school library.)

The Solution: A Reading Rotation

I’ve brainstorm all the genres I like to read, considered which I like best (fantasy, historical mysteries, and historical fiction) or need to read (fantasy –since I am a fantasy writer and books about writing to help me grow as an author) then compile them in a list with repetitions where needed.

For each book I choose to read, I date that genre on the list and look at what comes next so I can eagerly anticipate what my next read will be. And so I work my way from top to bottom of the list, and then start all over again. Hence, a “Reading Rotation.”

This year I determined I am not reading enough non fiction, so I have established two lists–fiction and non fiction, to be read three fiction books for every non fiction book. I am very excited about this. I love novels, but I’ve missed the types of non fiction I enjoy.

The New, 2017 Reading Rotation:

new-2017-reading-rotation

A Book Nerd

I know. If you hadn’t thought of me as a book nerd before, you will now. I love to read! And I look forward to a year of awesome reading, and hopefully to learning about what you are reading, and thereby discovering more gems as well.

Happy Reading!

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Pen Pals and Reading Buddies: Literate Lives 2017

pen-pals-reading-buddiesStarting a Blog is like Starting a Pen Pal Friendship…

That is how I began my second post here at Literate Lives.

As I was doing my blog-housekeeping last week, I was captivated by this post. “Yes,” I thought, ” Now art thou Romeo!” (translation: now you are acting like yourself! See Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 4.) Therefore, as with my previous post, I wanted to start a new year with some excerpts and additions:

Pen Pals & Reading Buddies

I have decided starting a blog is like starting a pen pal friendship. You begin by explaining to each other who you are, and as your individual identities become established, you begin to write about ideas and events in your lives and the common interests you share.

So, who is this person (me, Debby Zigenis-Lowery) who is trying to reach out to readers, writers, parents, teachers, and anyone else who loves reading or writing?

I have been (and-oftentimes-still-am) a child, as well as a wife, mom, writer,  student, preschool teacher, librarian, and middle and high school English/Language Arts teacher. And through it all, I have always been a reader.

Books were the first things I ever chose to collect. They have been my friends, guides, encouragers, windows to other worlds, and companions in scary, sad,  and lonely times. I love books–the look of them, the feel of them, their typefaces, cover illustrations, page and line art. And I love the materials that go into making them—pencils, pens, paper—so many wonderful kinds!—computers, word processing software, fonts, dictionaries, reference books, 3×5 index cards, notebooks, and any slip of paper on which I can scribble a new idea.

What do I read? I am a fantasy loving Christian. I love fantasy stories intended for all kinds of readers– children, young adults, and actual adults. Other favorite genres include historical fiction and historical mysteries. (I love the Middle Ages!)

As you may have noticed, I included children’s and young adult fiction in my fantasy favorites. Why? Because I grew up loving fairy tales, and eventually found C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Lloyd Alexander. I now not only read fantasy fiction, I write it. I have had retold folktales, published in Cricket magazine, have written Set in Stone, a middle grade novel and The Swallow’s Spring, a coming of age novel (and am now seeking publishing homes for both of them), and am working on a new middle grade novel and a YA.

I am a teacher, member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and two critique groups. In addition I am a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and serve as the Pal Communicator for our Oregon region’s Ad-Com committee.

I am so looking forward to making new friends, as well as enjoying those I’ve long cherished, in the months ahead. So tell me about your reading, writing, and teaching interests. Who are your favorite authors? Your favorite genres? I hope Literate Lives will be a place you can come to enjoy, interact, and share.

May 2016 Reading List

41BfcrI4hML._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Tardy again, aargh! (Read this post for a bit of an explanation)

However, better late than never, right? So it is, my May 2016 reading list:

Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls, by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. My husband is in school earning his MAT, but when I saw this book sitting around, I had to read it too. In addition to having three precious granddaughters, I am  a teacher who works daily with at risk teens. Sax’s contention is that there are four factors at play in society that negatively impact the lives of girls and young women: premature pressure to address questions of sexual identity, the pressures of living in a cyberbubble, the dangers of obsessions, and the presence of environmental toxins. Sax cited numerous situations that have already had me concerned, and offers tips for parents (but also useful for educators) to help our young women grow up healthy and strong.

urlLockwood and Company: The Whispering Skullby Jonathan Stroud. This one I got from our school library. It is the second in a series (the first is: The Screaming Staircase). This is a YA fantasy novel set in a modern/futuristic London where “the problem” (ghosts, specters, and all kinds of disturbing supernatural phenomena) has been going on for a long time and young people are the only ones sensitive enough to the phenomenon to be able to get rid of it. The protagonists run an independent ghost-busting agency and are hired to provide protection when a graveyard is prepared for relocation. Darkness, chaos, and a contest with their most aggravating competitors ensues.

urlThe Skin Map (Book I of the Bright Empires Series), by Stephen Lawhead. For my husband and I, anything written by Stephen Lawhead cannot go terribly wrong. And so, with trust, when The Skin Map opened with a contemporary setting (something I very rarely have any interest in whatsoever) I hung on for what was for me a slow start. It paid off. Lawhead unfolds a mind bending (time bending) adventure that pops into ancient Egypt and 18th century England, China, and Prague. Enjoy.

If you were to ask me what was the best book of May, I would not be able to decide. However, Girls on the Edge was certainly the most alarming and thought-provoking and The Whispering Skull the best romp. I would recommend any of the three.

Pen Pals and Reading Buddies

I have decided starting a blog is like starting a pen pal friendship. You begin by explaining to each other who you are, and as your individual identities become established, you begin to write about ideas and events in your lives and the common interests you share.

So, who is this crazy egomaniac (please read the June 7th post if you are tempted to take that seriously) who is trying to reach out to readers, writers, parents, teachers, and anyone else who loves reading or writing?

I have been, and oftentimes still am a child, daughter, student, preschool teacher, writer, wife, mom, librarian, and middle and high school English/Language Arts teacher. And through it all, I have always been a reader.

Books were the first things I ever chose to collect. They have been my friends, guides, encouragers, windows to other worlds, and companions in scary or lonely times. I love books–the look of them, the feel of them, their typefaces, cover illustrations, page and line art. And I love the materials that go into making them—pencils, pens, paper—so many wonderful kinds!—computers, word processing software, fonts, dictionaries, reference books, 3×5 index cards, notebooks, and any piece of paper on which I can scribble a new idea.

What do I read? I am a fantasy loving Christian. I particularly love fantasy for children and young adults. Other favorite genres include historical fiction and mysteries.

As you may have noticed, I specified children’s and young adult’s fiction as my fantasy favorite. Why? I grew up loving fairy tales, and eventually found C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Lloyd Alexander. I now not only read children’s and young adult fantasy, I write it. I have retold folktales for Cricket magazine, and have written a young adult novel and am finishing up a second.

So what are your reading and writing interests? Who are your favorite authors? I hope this will be a place you can come to and share.