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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

February 10, 2011

Don't Forget the Hashtag

FridayReads Modern Love Anthology for Book LoversFriday Reads Modern Love Anthology
Published February 2011 by Shelf Media Group
Read February 2011

A rapidly growing phenomenon is occurring on Twitter and Facebook. Each Friday, thousands of people mention what they are reading. I found #FridayReads a couple of months ago when I joined Twitter. In just the few months that I have been following it, this hashtag has grown from 3,000+ participants to routinely more than 5,000 participants. So what is #FridayReads (also can be found on Facebook here for the non-tweeting type)? Each Friday people tweet (or comment) what they are reading. It may be a blog, a newspaper, a book, anything. Each week there are prizes given out - autographed copies of new books, subscriptions to literary magazines. Now that #FridayReads has broken the 5,000 barrier they don't want to stop there. In an effort to reach 1 million readers this week Shelf Unbound (Shelf Media Group) and @thebookmaven (who started #FridayReads) are offering to everyone that comments or tweets tomorrow (Friday - Feb. 11) a FREE copy of FridayReads Modern Love Anthology (it will be available on Amazon for Kindle users and Google Book).

I had the pleasure of being able to preview this prize. This anthology is composed of four short stories and 1 poem. I have to be honest when I received my copy I wasn't overly thrilled that I would be reviewing a collection of love stories. It isn't that I don't like love stories, but as a single gal that has only had 1 date for Valentine's Day in her entire life, well I might be a bit jaded. But these stories aren't your typical romance stories and I found myself rather enjoying the tales.

The Cartographer's Girl starts off the anthology and sets the tone quickly that these are not the love sick stories that typically accompany Valentine's Day rhetoric. I can just imagine the map maker painstakingly drawing out by hand the maps he uses to discover his lost love and the tragedy he must feel when instead he discovers the truths that she kept hidden.

I might have identified best with Reading Rilke. A passing of a bookstore brings up memories of the girl who got away. Whether this girl was his last love or his true love, she has left a mark on him. The memories inevitably lead to the end - the moments where all went wrong are brought forth (what if I hadn't questioned... just dropped the subject...). As the unpleasant thoughts fade the story turns to what the future would hold should they meet again. And there you discover what love transpired between them.

From a gal who isn't keen on love stories I recommend taking a look at FridayReads Modern Love Anthology. It might just remind you during this season of flowers and candy that love isn't just the mushy sentiment of corny cards, but a profound emotion that impacts your life in ways you might not imagine. You can get your own copy of FridayReads Modern Love Anthology for free by telling the world what you are reading on Friday. Go to the FridayReads Facebook page or on Twitter remember to add the hashtag #FridayReads.

February 7, 2011

It's the end...No, the beginning...It's a Circle

Green by Ted Dekker
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published September 2009 by Thomas Nelson
ISBN13: 9781595542885
Read January 2011

I was reading another Dekker book, Skin, when a reference on caught my eye listing it as pat of the Books of History Chronicles. I clicked the link to see what other novels were part of it. Surprised to see The Circle Trilogy listed there, but even more shocked to see that another book at been made part of the trilogy (making is quadrology?). After this revelation I scurried around to locate a copy for myself - a library in south Georgia was able to send it my library. I had to wait about a week for it (but the huge snowstorm may have impeded its delivery).

I couldn't wait to start it and was slightly confused when it was listed as the prequel to the series. An introductory note from Ted Dekker helped to clear it up. Just as no circle has no beginning or ending, neither does this series. You can start with Green or Black. If any of my readers should read Green as the starting point of the series I would love to hear what you thought without have all the story in your head. I was constantly trying to piece together how it could be the end and beginning. 

The opening chapters and the description of The Gathering to celebrate The Great Romance immediately reminded me of what I loved about this series. Once again I was pulled into wanting to stay in Thomas's desert world and not flip back to the other world. But again these to worlds collided and each had a part to play in the story.

When I first read this series I had not read C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. Ok, so I still haven't read it, but I did see the movies (Prince Caspian in Dawn Treader is totally swoon worthy). Anyways, I could see definite similarities in the works. Of all the Dekker books I have read, the Circle series is by far of the most heavily Christian themed - though at the center of all his books is a battle of good and evil, and to some extent a message of redemption. 

Have you read Green? Did you read it first or last? I highly recommend this series to readers that enjoy a good thriller novel. The writing is wonderful. Dekker is masterful at the written word - some of his Facebook statuses have given me chills in their profoundness. I must warn you if you are considering embarking on this journey: A circle has no beginning nor an end, but is just a continuum.