Welcome back to Armchair BEA! If you're not sure what it's all about be sure to visit the Armchair BEA headquarters.
Keeping it real. Now that's a throwback phrase if I've heard one. All it means is keeping yourself up to date, active, & attractive. I've had Tattooed Books since July of 2009 and the most important tool I've used to keep myself motivated & encouraged to continue writing is break time. I have taken a few breaks from blogging: when I just didn't have time, when my heart and mind weren't really in it, and when my personal life needed some attention. Making your blog your be-all-end-all works for some people, but for the majority of us we realize that with such a large commitment, you'll need some breathing room.
What I believe keeps people coming back for more is the honesty that I put in my reviews. I don't tell you everything is peachy & a do a fairly comprehensive review of content, quality, and appropriateness. While I started by aiming my blog at my teen readers from work, I soon realized that the majority of readers were fellow bloggers and (of all people) teenagers' parents. The former is mostly co-bloggers that I worked with or have interacted with in some fashion. The latter was a shock to me, but they find my reviews most helpful in keeping up to date on the types of things their teens are reading.
I haven't spent a lot of time growing my readership intentionally, but it has definitely grown since I started. The best asset I've found has been Twitter. By tweeting my reviews to publishers & authors, I get more exposure if they favorite, retweet, or respond to my posting. I tried hooking up with different social networks (aimed specifically at bloggers) and with the follow-me-I-follow-you memes, but they were more work than I had time for since I wanted to focus my time on reading and my content.
The easiest part about continuing the fun is in making new friends and learning new things. I am constantly in awe of our community. We've got some incredibly imaginative thinkers and some wonderfully engaging bloggers. If it weren't for them, I don't know how much fun this would still be. If you're still reading this, thank you. You, dear reader, along with the myriad of bloggers, are why I still love this blog.
The genre topic today is my favorite (naturally) as I read mostly Young Adult books. But instead of me continuing to talk about why I love Young Adult books, I would rather talk about children's books. I really want to give you my "top five books I think every child should read" list. As a former public library assistant, I know a lot about helping people look for the right book. Sometimes though, you don't have to look for the most current thing; sometimes you have to look back a bit to find the best books. :D My suggestions are:
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by C.S. Lewis
- Matilda by Roald Dahl
- Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
These are just some of the books that I absolutely ADORED as a kid. I know that most of them are for older children, but Love You Forever and even The Lorax are very toddler-friendly. That doesn't mean that they will necessarily grasp the concepts and fully understand them, but at the very least the rhythmic lyrics in Love You Forever will be a cadence that they are familiar with. There are so many great books to choose from that it was difficult to narrow them down so much, but these are some of the core books that I read/had read to me.
My parents (and sister) really stretched my imagination with The Princess Bride and Alice... because while the ideas and images presented therein are fairly commonplace (talking animals, larger than life creatures, etc) the scenarios that these images are found in are fantastical. I firmly believe that I developed a love of the fantasy & paranormal genres from these types of readings.
What do you think of my list? What would you add or take away? And most importantly, what was a formative reading for you as a child?