Guest Post: “Tips for Setting a Reading Goal” by Lesley Conner

ConnerL-AuthorPicLife is busy. Between work and family and friends, we all have countless commitments that are scrambling to suck up all of our free time. If we aren’t careful, reading time gets broken up and given away to other tasks. Before you know it, one day you stop and think Wow! When was the last time I sat down and read a book? If you’re a big reader like I am, this is a sad thought and one that I’ve had in the past when life has gotten too hectic. Setting a reading goal each year helps keep me from finding myself in this place. Since it is January, I thought this would be the perfect time to share some tips for setting such a goal. Continue reading

Guest Post: “When Reading Habits Become Writing Habits” by David Towsey

TowseyD-AuthorPicCropA few months ago I stumbled across a Twitter discussion that changed the way I look at my reading habits – both past and present. I have since forgotten who was involved, which is unfortunate because, like a good academic, I prefer to cite my sources. Essentially, ideas of “deep” and “shallow” reading in genre circles were tabled (without attaching any value judgements to either term). In this sense deep meant reading all the works and series of relatively few authors – typically favourites – and shallow referred to someone who reads single texts by a lot of different authors. This was something I hadn’t really thought about. I started asking those difficult questions – the kind we aim at ourselves. What kind of reader am I? What kind of reader have I been in the past? Continue reading

Guest Post: “Libraries and Civilization” by Jo Walton (& Giveaway!)

Walton-AmongOthersUKIn 2004, I went to the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston, and after the con I went with some friends to see the Mary Baker Eddy Library and its amazing Mapparium, It’s a globe made entirely of stained glass which you can walk inside – it has room for maybe a dozen people. It has amazing acoustics, which the guide encouraged us to test. People were doing various things, and I did my standard thing I do when asked to “say something”, Keats “On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer”. I’ve been using it for mic tests for years. Inside the globe it sounded wonderful, even more wonderful than usual, because of the acoustics and because of being surrounded by the glowing glass world. It’s a sonnet about the amazing wonderful power of reading. In it, Keats is all excited about having read Chapman’s translation of Homer. He compares reading it to finding a new planet and even to discovering the Pacific.

Walton-AmongOthersThat’s how I feel about reading too, reading opens up marvellous exciting new vistas, reading can take you to other worlds and give you experiences you couldn’t ever have imagined.

And it’s also how I feel about libraries. Libraries are where they keep all the books, where you can find books even if you don’t have any money, where you can have new worlds open up to you even if you’re a kid whose parents don’t care about books. Fund your libraries for a better tomorrow.

Among Others is a fantasy novel about the power of reading science fiction, and the power of finding other people to talk to about the books you care about. It’s about a young science fiction reader who has fantasy problems – she has to deal with magic and witches and fairies with their own agenda… but she has books and libraries, so she knows everything will be all right.

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GIVEAWAY! (Worldwide!)

Pretty simple, really – there are three copies of Among Others up for grabs. All you have to do is email your name and address to:

civilian.reader[at]hotmail[dot]co.uk

I will select the winners on Monday 25th March, 2013, and contact them via email and also in the comments thread, below.