Category Archives: Reading

Make-A-Book Day: If an 11-year-old Can Do It, So Can You #DIYBOOK

Books – Whether your are young or old, taking the time today to make your own book is a great idea.

K.L. Kranes, Author

Today is a little known holiday called Make-A-Book Day. Apparently it’s always the Thursday of National Family Reading Week, which is always the first week in May. Shocked you didn’t know this? Don’t be. Neither of these book holidays is exactly celebrated far and wide. You have to scroll through several pages about “World Book Day” before you find anything on Make-a-Book Day.

But, isn’t it kind of fun being the person who knows about an obscure book holiday? It’s like knowing a secret.

It also just so happens that my daughter finished a book-making badge for girl scouts recently. I wrote a little about it in a previous blog that focused more on her event and how we destroyed books in front of a library (I know! Sacrilege!) than actual book making.

Therefore, my daughter, who is 11-years-old, kindly agreed to write a blog on DIY book-making based on all she learned. If she can do it, so…

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Food for Thought: Where to find Bookish Restaurants

Books – I really liked some of the suggestions in this post. In particular I plan to look up the “Hobbit Cafe” when I travel to Houston this summer. I can’t think of a better combination than good food and a good book.

K.L. Kranes, Author

I love to sit alone at a restaurant or a cafe and read a book. When I was a kid, I’d see someone doing this and feel so sorry for them I’d want to go sit with them. As an adult, if some kid did that I’d think it’s cute, but prefer to be left alone. I love a good lit lunch.

For me food and restaurants are linked to books. On our a recent trip to Williamsburg, VA, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of literary references and motifs in the local restaurants.

Here are just a few.

Food For Thought

20170410_184846I stole the name of this blog from this restaurant, which doesn’t just center it’s theme on books but books that make you think. It had my favorite book – Atlas Shrugged front and center over the waiting room seating inside. Large letters hang from the walls…

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Reading Fiction Improves Your Job Performance

Reading – I came across the article “Five Ways Reading Fiction Makes You Better At Your Job” this morning and thought that it made good arguments for include some time for reading fiction in your daily schedule. I have been reading fiction, mostly science fiction, for most of my life. What this article points out is that readers of fiction benefit in five ways:

  1. Improved reasoning skills
  2. Understanding of complex problems
  3. Emapthy
  4. Stress relief
  5. Strong role models

I have found over the years that reading has been a means of relaxing and forgetting for a few minutes the stress of life. If you can find an author you like and get immersed in his story, this may help you unwind.

Many, but certainly not all, novels have strong characters that can serve as role models. I think that this is particularly true of Young Adult readers, but it does apply to everyone in one degree or another. Again there is the challenge of funded the right book with the right role model for you.

I do think that reasoning skills can be improved if you read a novel that has some mystery or complex problem to be solved. You begin, whether consciously or not, to try to come up with a solution before the author does.

You can get very invested with a character in a story. While I have read hundreds of novels, only in a very few cases have I felt that a close friend is gone once I’ve finished the story. I have also found that stories often take a different approach to a problem that I would have taken. It makes me think a little more about the problem.

The net of all this is that you should find a few minutes each day to read some fiction. There is so much available now to read that finding something should not be hard. If you are on a tight budget, there are several daily email publications you can subscribe to that will alert you to free or low cost eBooks. Most are from new and upcoming authors, but I have found that many are pretty good. There are also some “all-you-can-read” services.

iOS “Sleepy Hollow” Interactive Edition

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I saw the announcement of this interactive book yesterday and took a moment to download it and began to read it. It is a very well done visual extension of the book with music. I recommended it to a friend and her young son thinks that is is awesome.

This edition of the book by Washington Irving has been produced by iClassics Productions and is available for a short time for free in celebration of the authors birthday. As they say “Using the unabridged and original Washington Irving text, the classic story is elevated to a whole new level, complete with artistic illustration, animation, interactivity, FX, and an original soundtrack recorded specifically for the story.

The book is normally $4.99, but is available for a limited time for free download. If you are interested in it I would download it immediately. And if you like this book, they have several other classics they have similarly updated.

Once I have finished reading the book, I will publish a review.

Spain, Barcelona – Gigamesh Bookstore


2016 Cruise – Day 3 – As I have mentioned before, we like to visit bookstores on our travels. The last stop we made in Barcelona before heading to our cruise ship was the Gigamesh Bookstore (Bailén, 808010 Barcelona  932 46 63 59). We had returned to our hotel to drop off our purchases, then we headed across town on the subway.


The Gigamon was an excellent bookstore. It had a wide selection of Science Fiction and Fantasy titles (always something I look for) and a sizable collection of English language titles. There was also an area in the back of the store that seemed to be dedicated to gaming. There were displays with several of the figures used in gaming for sale.

Were I to return to Barcelona and be looking for a book, this is definitely the store I would go to.

With our time in Barcelona nearing an end, we headed back to the hotel. We were picked up by the same driver that had dropped us off on the first day. We arrived at the cruise ship dock mid afternoon and quickly completed the boarding process. We spent the rest of the day familiarizing ourselves with our ship.

According to my Apple Watch, I completed 13,279 steps. A substantial number, but nothing like we would experience later.

See my other Food and Location articles


Spain, Barcelona – Laie Pau Claris Bookstore


2016 Cruise – Day 3 – While on our travels, my wife and I like to visit local bookstores. On our third day in Barcelona we had breakfast in our hotel then headed to the bookstore Laie Pau Claris (Carrer de Pau Claris, 85, 08010 Barcelona, Spain).


Not only was it a nice bookstore, it also had a very nice cafe where we had a cup of hot chocolate.

You can follow Laie on Twitter

See my other Food and Location articles


Brown Bag Book Exchange

This looks like a great idea. It would be something that book clubs might try.


Cafe Book Bean

16711971_1778298172489682_3883182582501892248_nThis is a brown bag book exchange. You bring a book and you get a book, but you do not reveal what you bring. The book you bring must be disguised and briefly described. So bring your book covered or in a brown paper bag, write the genre on the outside and/or a few tidbits about the book, but keep it a mystery!16649565_1778214235831409_8198701075672050166_n

Books should be in really good condition. Bring up to 2 (different) books. There will also be awesome coffee and pie available for purchase via the delicious Bipartisan Cafe. So come and join the fun, meet new people, and read a new bookdownload!download (1)

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iOS New App Release – Stela Unlimited App

Product announcement – Stela LLC of Dublin, California has released Stela Unlimited App for iOS. Delivering a curated library of original visual content created by award-winning artists and storytellers, including graphic novels, comics, illustrated novels and other rich visual media, Stela is the only subscription based app that features content created specifically for mobile reading.

According to the American Association of Publishers, the industry generated $28 billion in revenue in 2015. While the latest Pew Institute studies show that 28% of Americans now consume published material through electronic formats, there is a prevailing lack of original comics created for the mobile medium. Mobile readers of print content formatted to mobile suffer with clunky platforms that deliver a poor reading experience, turning them away and stalling the growth of visual storytelling in the digital age.

Stela is the first and only subscription based app that delivers a natural reading experience optimized for mobile devices. All content in Stela’s library is created for mobile reading, which means readers can engross themselves in fantastic worlds and complex characters without having to disturb the experience by panning around pages or enlarging and shrinking panels. Stela allows readers to simply scroll and read – on the train, in the car, or tucked in your favorite reading corner.

All in One, One for All:
The Stela app is a one stop shop for visual story lovers. Stela’s library features a variety of genres and styles, full of premium content created and curated by Stela’s dedicated award-winning in-house editorial team. From science fiction, action, romance, historic, and slice-of-life, there is something for everyone to enjoy, all rendered in amazing quality from award-winning creators, featuring some of the leading writers and artists of the day. Just as Netflix led the way in pioneering a new way to create original content and deliver it, Stela is breaking the barriers when it comes to mobile stories.

“Much of what we read or do on our mobile devices is very shallow,” says Jason Juan, CEO of Stela LLC, the studio that created Stela. “There’s very little emotional connection with reading news or social media updates. We aim to change that. What people yearn for is something to lose themselves in. Our wide variety of moving stories with lush graphics means anyone can find something to enjoy, and enjoy on a deep visceral level.”

Sample Series Currently Available on Stela:
* “The Inheritance” – In a world of magic and fantasy, a special child is born once every thousand years blessed with tremendous magical power – but anyone who takes that child’s life also steals the great power for themselves. A retired warrior must protect his daughter against the hordes of mages, dragons, and necromancers seeking that power.

* “442” – The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up entirely of Japanese Americans, was the most decorated unit of World War II. Even with their families confined behind barbed wire in government internment camps, these soldiers fought bravely to rescue a Texan battalion lost deep behind enemy lines. Based on actual events. Releasing on February 17th, 2017.

* “Breaker” – Living a quiet life in SoCal isn’t easy for Verity Monroe. Perfect waves, cold beers, and her best friend Eva are all she really wants. Until torn bodies start literally piling up on the doorstep of her beachfront home, and she’s forced into solving a murderous, centuries old plot involving cults, prophecy, and every kind of supernatural creature imaginable.

Stela’s premium content library is constantly expanding, with new original content updated weekly. It’s a truly unique visual storytelling experience that will get users to stop binge watching and start binge reading.

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
  • Requires iOS 9.0 or later
  • 37.3 MB

Stela Unlimited 0.7.9 is free to download, with a great assortment of free and preview content available to try. It is available worldwide through the App Store in the Books category. There is also an Android version available on Google Play. Subscriptions are available for $9.99/month, which unlocks Stela’s entire premium content library for unlimited reading and enjoyment.

The Etymology of a Book

Reading – I like history and reading. This is a quick combination of the two.

Kristen Twardowski

We think of books as being filled with words and ideas, but they themselves are also a word and an odd one that. So how did the English word “book” come to be?

The term originated from several linguistic paths. Its closest relative is the Old English word bōc, which also meant book. As German speakers may guess, bōc shares a root with the Old Saxon word bôk and Old High German word buoh. The original meaning of these words was not “book” as we know it today, but rather referenced some sort of “writing-tablet, leaf, or sheet.”

Linguists believe that the various iterations of these terms are related to the Old English term bóc and Old Norse term bók, both of which reference beech trees. It is suggested that early written works may have been drafted on paper or tablets made from the bark of beech trees. It…

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International Book Giving Day

Books – I found out this morning that today is recognized as “International Book Giving Day“. This day is celebrated on February 14 each year and began in 2012. The purpose of this day is to get as many books in the hands of as many children as possible. Of particular focus is the distribution of books to those children who could not otherwise afford books on their own.

Bookplates and posters are available to download from the website.