Saturday, November 14, 2009


Reading aloud uncovers all sorts of treasures and pleasures

Perhaps it is the cooler, rainy weather fall has brought along, but lately I'm spending a lot more time cuddling and reading to my kids. The children's books I'm opening up are inspiring me...I love to hear the cadence of the authors' voices and see the brilliant colors and luscious brush strokes of the innovative artists.
In between cuddles and giggles, I ready my ear to focus on word choices and the authors' selections and pacing. Definitely it is a great exercise as a writer (and, as a mother, a wonderful experience).
My kids are old enough to pick their own books, but young enough to be able to enjoy our time reading together. Like hearing a new song, letting my kids' interests guide me has opened up new arenas for me and helped challenge my own writing. Seeing what books attract them, other than some action-packed comic books attractive to the almost-a-reader, the books have been fun, colorful and lively. It's been fantastic to discover or--in some cases--rediscover some children's books.
A few weeks back, when we bought boxes of books from our local library book sale, I selected a few that might be "reading-list books" in the future. However, my ulterior motive is that I might get a chance to read them. There are those I have never read, such as "Johnny Tremain" and those I remember enjoying (although the plot may be hazy to my 40-something mind), such as "Island of the Blue Dolphins."
On the flip side, I've been trying to interest my oldest in some classic Beverly Cleary. When I finally coaxed her to give "Ribsy" a try, she refused to put it down and, in short time, devoured it from cover to cover.
While she has been encouraging me with her titles, I have to pace our exchanges. As soon as she finished "Ribsy," I found other Cleary books at the library, but (so far) she has refused these. So I am reading them.
I'm now devouring "Dear Mr. Henshaw" when I should finishing an article for one of my clients, not to mention spending time with my own writing...and listening to my own cadence. But this reading has become a "guilty" pleasure I'm not willing to give up--whether reading aloud or devouring silently.

What's a recent reading "guilty" pleasure you've been experiencing lately? Or one you wish you could take time for?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and creativity coach. Besides contributing to AOL's ParentDish, she blogs at The Write Elizabeth, delving into creativity in everyday places. Today might be another good day to visit the library, don't you think?

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009


So You Think You Know Literature

by LuAnn Schindler

If you're like me, you're a literature buff. You have an extensive collection of books in your personal library, only rivaled by your parents, who are twice your age and have twice as many books.

And, if you're like me, you like to test your literary prowess and brag about it. I've found the perfect place to test your literary genius in addition to your personal writing. Try the never-ending book quiz at Good Reads.

Who are the lovers in The Time Traveler's Wife?

In C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, what mythical creature does Lucy encounter on her first trip through the wardrobe into Narnia?

Which book begins, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times"?

Registration is required to continue past the first question, but it's worth it. If I need a short break from my writing routine, I head to the quiz and see what trivia I know.

Sure, it's addictive. So is good literature.

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