Quote: Kate DiCamillo on Reading and Children

Quote: Reading should nor be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift. Kate DiCamillo

Reading should nor be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift. Kate DiCamillo

Quote: Reading should nor be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift. Kate DiCamillo

Also see —

Quote: At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better. It’s an enormous force for good. — Barack Obama

Quote: Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. — Emilie Buchwald

Quote: “It was at that age, that poetry came in search of me.” Pablo Neruda

Quote: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”― Madeleine L’Engle

 

Reader Roadtrip: Forefathers Book Shop

Reader Roadtrip: A Treasury of American History in Centre County, PA

Forefathers Book Shop

121 East Main St
Rebersburg PA 16872
Phone: 814-404-0506
One of the first sights in the shop the 76 miniature classic book collection in a cabinet
One of the first sights in the shop is the 76 miniature classic book collection in a cabinet

Housed in a former bank building, Forefathers Book Shop is a delightful place to spend a couple of hours. In addition to the books on the shelves, there are stacks of books to explore on tables and almost every surface.  Likewise, be sure to take a peek in the basement where there are thousands of novels. Moreover, there are even boxes of books waiting to be searched for hidden gems.

Vault Room, Forefathers Book Shop
Vault Room, Forefathers Book Shop, shelves of biographies of American Presidents

The book shop specializes in American History, specifically Political History.  In addition, there are thousands of biographies of American figures. The biographies of every American President are displayed in the former bank’s vault. The theme of American History wraps its way through out the store in artwork, presidential portraits, and collectibles on any wall space not taken up by book shelves. The theme is extended to the glass bottles of soda and frozen treats available on site.

The book shop is located in Rebersburg.  Rebersberg is about midway between State College and Lewisburg, along Route 192. Visitors to either Penn State University Park or Bucknell can plan a lovely morning or afternoon jaunt away from the typical college town exuberance. Complete your roadtrip with a meal in nearby Millheim at the Elk Creek Cafe. Uncover a treasure of Centre County, Pennsylvania and visit Forefathers Book Shop.

121 East Main St
Rebersburg PA 16872
Phone: 814-404-0506

Reader Roadtrip:

A Treasury of American History in Centre County, PA

Booklist:  10 Books for a Reading Roadtrip Across America

Booklist:  10 Books for a Reading Roadtrip Across America

 

Scintilla.info has been proudly international from the beginning, intentionally seeking books and authors from around the world. But we are based in the United States. Given that our country celebrates her birthday on July 4th, we decided to highlight some books that we have reviewed that are American in focus. 

 

There There, Tommy Orange

Possibly the most powerful book we’ve read for Scintilla is There There by Tommy Orange. There are a lot of reasons to choose this book, but in this context our main reason is its setting. Oakland is almost an additional character within the book, a side of Oakland perhaps not obvious to tourists but rather one that locals would recognize. The characters and the powwow might be fictional, but the city is real and vibrant and essential to the story. Orange makes good use of the quote that inspired the title and shows that Oakland indeed has a there there.

 

Hellbent, Gregg Hurwitz Out of the Dark, Orphan X series, Book 4, Gregg Hurwitz

Moving down the coast, pick one of Greg Hurwitz Orphan X books which are primarily set in Los Angeles. Although protagonist Evan Smoak does travel around the country, he is based in LA and much of the action takes place in the US’s second largest city. Using actual neighborhoods and streets gives the settings a strong realism. The only thing hotter than the summer temperatures is the story when Smoak goes into action.

 

The Library Book, Susan Orlean

And for some reality in your LA story, The Library Book by Susan Orlean tells the story of the LA library in a way that reads more like a novel than a history. The people and the city that the library serves are well represented, as are the characters who came to lead the library throughout its history. A fun and enlightening read.

 

Long Road to Mercy, David Baldacci

Although many of David Baldacci’s books are set in Washington, DC, his recent book A Long Road to Mercy puts FBI agent Atlee Pine into a small town near the Four Corners region of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The landscapes and distances are almost characters themselves in this novel with a kickass heroine and a typically complex Baldacci plot.

 

Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward

Mississippi is the setting for both of Jesmyn Ward’s National Book Award winning novels: Salvage the Bones and Sing, Unburied, Sing. Her evocation of the heat and humidity can make you sweat on a winter’s day in Pennsylvania, and I say this from personal experience.

 

Florida, Lauren Groff

Florida by Lauren Groff takes us across the country to our 27th state, the southernmost of the 48 contiguous states. Filled with unique characters and individual stories, the state figures into every story of this book that bears its name.

 

The Tenth Justice, Brad Meltzer The Hellfire Club, Jake Tapper

Brad Meltzer’s first novel, The Tenth Justice, and Jake Tapper’s novel The Hellfire Club are both set in Washington, DC, roughly 50 years apart. Both are thrillers with intrigue, political skulduggery, and real and potential violence. If you want to escape the current political news cycle, these are two options that keep you in the Beltway without once mentioning any actual living politicians.

 

Invisible, Stephen L. Carter

And finally, NYC is home to millions of people and almost as many stories, but Invisible by Stephen L. Carter is a true story of his grandmother and her battles against the mob in the 1930s. A lawyer under the famed Thomas Dewey, Carter’s grandmother tackled prejudice and gangsters using her intellect and the law.

 

Obviously there is a lot more country we could have visited…so let us know if you enjoyed this brief tour and maybe we will travel to some more places next July!

 

Booklist:  10 Books for a Reading Roadtrip Across America

Quote: Barack Obama on Literacy and the Knowledge Economy

Quote: Literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy. Barack Obama

"Literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy." Barack Obama

Quote: Literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy. Barack Obama

Also see

Quote: At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better. It’s an enormous force for good. — Barack Obama

Quote: Barack Obama on Children and Libraries

Quote: At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better. It’s an enormous force for good. — Barack Obama

At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better. It's an enormous force for good. Barack Obama

Quote: At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better. It’s an enormous force for good. — Barack Obama

Read more books about books and libraries:

Booklist: Books about Books for Shared Reading with Children

Booklist: Books about Libraries for Shared Reading with Children

Book Review: Summer Hours at the Robbers Library, Sue Halpern

Book Series Review: The Invisible Library, Genevieve Cogman 

Book Review: The Mortal Word, Book 5 of The Invisible Library Series, Genevieve Cogman

Book Review: The Library Book, Susan Orlean

Quote: The only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library. Albert Einstein

Quote: Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation. Walter Cronkite

Quote: Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future. Ray Bradbury

 

 

 

Book Review: Dreyer’s English, Benjamin Dreyer

Book Review: Dreyer’s English, Benjamin Dreyer

Nonfiction: Dreyer’s English, Benjamin Dreyer

This is a delightful, funny, and soon-to-become indispensable guide to writing in American English. Benjamin Dreyer has been a copy editor for Random House for more than 20 years. He has worked with numerous authors during that time, authors who appreciate both his attention to detail and his care for their voices being heard through their prose. Dreyer’s English finds that precarious balance as well: it advocates boldly for correct usage and grammar, while also recognizing that style and voice can occasionally transcend the “rules” of English.

 

Dreyer has a delightful sense of humor. I have long suspected that “only godless savages eschew the series comma;” he proudly calls out this travesty of omission. Many of the funnier statements are found in the footnotes which festoon almost every page, and which are required reading to fully appreciate the wonders of this book.

 

Dreyer’s English is divided into two sections. “The Stuff in the Front” includes “Rules and Nonrules,” “67 Assorted Things to Do (and Not to Do) with Punctuation,” and “A Little Grammar Is a Dangerous Thing.” This is where the meat and potatoes of improving writing can be found. Not all of his rules and suggestions will be universally acclaimed, a fact which he sometimes gleefully admits himself. He also looks at the numerous differences between British and American styles of writing and punctuation. A British author might write, ‘the book says, “quotes work thusly”’. In America we would argue, “the book says, ‘quotes work thusly.’” (The tendentious word “thusly,” punctuated in true American style, is my own example) Dreyer is not arguing that one is better than the other. He is simply acknowledging they are different, and those of us who occasionally read books from the other side of the pond may sometimes find ourselves mixing our styles capriciously. These and many other warnings can help the careful writer avoid simple mistakes that would distract a reader from the heart of the text.

 

“The Stuff in the Back” includes lengthy lists of misspelled words, “Peeves and Crotchets,” and other things that occasionally catch even the best writers off guard (and occasionally pass by even the most circumspect of copy editors). This section can be read through, but might also be seen as more of a reference companion. It continues with his delightfully unabashed approach to language as something that is fun and should be enjoyed, and not at all as a list of reasons that show you really should have stopped writing after Remedial English 001. (Though randomly popping in the word “really” is one of the no-nos he warns against, so maybe I need to revisit that class myself.)

 

In fact, nothing in this book is meant to brow-beat the aspiring author. Dreyer enjoys English. And he wants you to enjoy it, too. He rails against rules that choke creative writing, such as the rule against starting a sentence with the word “and” as I did the one before this. Dreyer cautions against usages that confuse or belabor; he encourages tight and taut sentences that communicate well. He supports the use of semicolons. Nowhere, though, does he belittle or demean authors who struggle with the applications of these rules. They are the reason copy-editors are necessary, right?

 

Dreyer’s English is a book every aspiring author should buy. It has a place on your desk and will find a place in your heart. You will use it, you will refer back to it again and again, and you will wish that Benjamin Dreyer could be your copy editor when that day comes for you to publish your own work. My hope is that I will find someone who has a copy of this book on her desk.

Also see the book review:

The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between British and American English, Lynne Murphy

 

Book Review: Dreyer’s English, Benjamin Dreyer

Booklist: Fun Summer Reads

Booklist: Fun Summer Reads

It’s June, and summer in the northern hemisphere where we live will soon be in full swing. Along with vacations, swimming, cookouts, and other fun summer activities, it’s time to put together your summer reading list.

 

You’re not going to go wrong picking any book for a summer read, but we will admit to preferring a little lighter fare for our summer reads. Thick, serious books just seem a bit harder to focus on when the sun is out and the garden (or beach or pool or grill) is competing for attention. That’s not to say we would avoid them completely.

 

For our summer tastes, though, something a bit cheerier is usually on the menu. We love SFF, and Catherynne Valente’s Space Opera is as funny a book as you will find in the genre. Part apocalyptic threat, part Eurovision competition, and all absurd, it is serious and ridiculous and joyful all at once. A couple of series also deserve mention here: Curtis Chen’s Kangaroo books and Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine novels are excellent and fun.

 

Summer is also a good time for us grownups to catch up on our YA novels (admit it it, you love them, too!). Seafire is the kickass girl pirate book that I want my granddaughters to read when they are older. And Richard Bach’s Ferret series is charming and is a terrific read-aloud-together series for families with children.

 

Moving away from SFF, last year’s hit summer movie was Crazy Rich Asians. The series is smart, biting, and hilarious, and you should definitely read the books before the movie sequels come out. The movie was great–but the books are better. (Yes, that’s almost always the case.)

 

And lest you let the summer gap take away everything you learned the rest of the year, some non-fiction should go onto your list. Lucy Cooke’s The Truth About Animals is the book you didn’t know you needed about animals. From swimming sloths to panda sex to bomb-carrying bats, this book is full of stories of animals and the strange relationships we humans have with them. If you want to feel like a kid again, Steve Brusatte’s The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs will remind you why you fell in love with those prehistoric giants in the first place. And finally Lynn Murphy’s The Prodigal Tongue is a laugh out loud book about the differences between British and American English–written by an American teaching English in Britain.

 

Hopefully your summer is full of fun. Let us know whether any of these books make it to your own list–or what you would recommend we add to ours. Maybe we’ll review it! This Summer!

 

Enjoy Reading this Summer!

Book Review: Space Opera, Catherynne M. Valente

Space OperaCatherynne M. Valente

 

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Waypoint Kangaroo and Kangaroo Too, Curtis C. Chen

 

Seafire

Seafire, Natalie C. Parker

 

0756410843     Heroine’s Journey, Sarah Kuhn

Heroine ComplexHeroine WorshipHeroine’s Journey, Sarah Kuhn

 

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Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, Kevin Kwan

 

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The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of WildlifeLucy Cooke

 

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Rescue Ferrets at Sea, The Ferret Chronicles series, Richard Bach

 

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Nonfiction: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, Steve Brusatte

 

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Nonfiction: The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between British and American EnglishLynne Murphy

 

Also see fun reads for kids:

Booklist: Beach Reads for Kids, Shared Reading with Children

Booklist: LOL Books to Laugh Out Loud with Your Children

Booklist: Fun Summer Reads

Booklist: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Booklist: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

We at www.scintilla.info have had the privilege of reviewing many books by people whose heritage and ancestry hails from the world’s largest continent. Although this month is specifically devoted to the celebration of Americans who count Asia and the Pacific Islands in their genealogy, we are going to include other Asian authors (i.e. those who are citizens of Asian, European, or other non-US countries) in our list so as to make it as inclusive as possible.

 

Our apologies to anyone we’ve missed in this list. Asia is a large continent! In many families, including ours, family names do not adequately reflect ancestral homes so we did not rely exclusively on that. If someone should be on this list, please let us know and we will correct it. Any errors or omissions are entirely our fault.

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Curtis C. Chen — Waypoint Kangaroo and Kangaroo Too

 

The Art of Logic in an Illogical World, Eugenia Cheng How To Bake a Pi cover

Eugenia Cheng — The Art of Logic in an Illogical World and

 

How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics

 

Amy ChuaPolitical Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations

 

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Michio Kaku — The Future of Humanity

 

The Poppy War: A Novel

R.F. KuangThe Poppy War

 

0756410843 Heroine’s Journey, Sarah Kuhn

Sarah KuhnHeroine ComplexHeroine WorshipHeroine’s Journey

 

0345803787 0804172064 052543237X

Kevin KwanCrazy Rich Asians trilogy

 

The Incendiaries, R. O. Kwon

R.O. KwonThe Incendiaries

 

Fonda LeeJade City and Zeroboxer

 

Liu CixinBall Lightning

 

Ling MaSeverance

 

Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

Celeste NgLittle Fires Everywhere

 

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Vaddey RatnerIn the Shadow of the Banyan and Music of the Ghosts

 

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Thaddeus RutkowskiBorder Crossings and Violent Outbursts

 

Somini SenguptaThe End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young

 

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Vandana SinghAmbiguity Machines and Other Stories

 

Tales from the Inner City, Shaun Tan

Shaun TanTales from the Inner City

 

Booklist: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month