Category: The Star Chamber Show

#TwelfthNightReadathon | “Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection” an anthology with a charitable heart benefiting Indy Reads Books!

Posted Saturday, 14 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Twelfth Night Readathon badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Ahead of Christmas 2015, I received a beautifully lovely gift: a specially released anthology celebrating Speculative Fiction authors and the gift of charity. Indy Reads Books is an independent bookstore in Indianapolis, Indiana giving back to authors, readers and members of their community on a yearly basis whereas the other half of “Indy Reads” is a non-profit literacy organisation. This is a bookstore I have come to know through the authors who are behind this anthology: Mr (RJ) Sullivan, Mr (John F.) Allen and Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison) of whom I have had the joy of interacting with both on blog tours or outside of them for Tomorrow Comes Media and/or Seventh Star Press.

This particular book was offered to me knowing how much I love holiday stories and the beauty of having such a strong presence of Speculative stories contained in one singular anthology with the heart of the holidays a central theme running through them! I personally love reading anthologies within the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror genres, which in of itself felt like a good fit to read this collection. I was unexpectedly taken ill during December 2015 (my infamous thirty day flu!) and this past December, whilst I had re-scheduled this to be a part of my #ChristmasReads and #WYChristmasReadathon series of posts, I was otherwise distracted by the recovery process after my Dad’s stroke. You can read about the first twenty-four hours after his stroke (per this post) and a bit of a background on my inability to read during December (per this anchour section of a recent review). Thus, my idea of recapturing the Christmas Spirit during Twelfth Night weekend was bourne!

I received a complimentary copy of “Gifts of the Magi” direct from the author R.J. Sullivan in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#TwelfthNightReadathon & what sparked the idea:

I personally love reading holiday stories around Christmastime, however, this year, proved to be quite a unique year all the way round; starting Thanksgiving weekend. I dearly wanted to dig inside these lovely stories which are winking at me to read but with a heavy heart and a mind weighed down by anxieties attached to stroke patient’s recoveries, you could say the timing was definitively ‘off’ this year for posting anything remotely lit with the Christmas Spirit in December. I had to fight my way back into reading just to secure a passageway back into the hours I love spending inside stories and the journey of characters; as let’s face it, I had a lot on my heart and soul this year.

The blessing is being able to find my bookish joy emerged through a succession of Rom Novellas through a blog series I entitled: #MidnightChocLit (see the thread). This enabled me not only to retrieve my bookish heart but my bookish joy – the curiosity about stories and the lives of characters started to renew inside my imagination and it started me off again on solid ground. Spending this past week tucked inside an INSPY #HistRom also provided me with the hours I needed to heal my nerves and resume enjoying the hours I could spend inside a fictional world (see also Review).

Despite my progress back to my blog and back into an active reading life, there were ebbs of guilt murmuring inside my heart because more than anything I had wanted this to be a December where I could fully embrace reading stories of the season. This is when a lightbulb flashed in my mind – wait! The Christmas season isn’t fully extinguished until Twelfth Night and Twelfth Night is a celebration of the three kings! I knew I should start by reading and live tweeting my responses to Gifts of the Magi on this particular Friday, as it marks Twelfth Night officially! Ergo, all the lovely stories of Christmas Spirit across genre and literary selections could now be happily read during my own personal #TwelfthNightReadathon!

Except to say, Mother Nature had other plans in store for me – we had an epic storm arriving in the afternoon hours of Twelfth Night itself and it continued into Saturday; therefore, my tweets were quite a bit delayed – thus kicking off this readathon as a ‘weekend’ celebration; perhaps it was meant to be all along, as this is what I had put on the badge I created to celebrate the series of reviews! My readings of this anthology truly were encased during #TwelfthNight weekend, however, my reviews I wanted to feature over the weekend are running this week instead. The best part for me – is to be able to recapture stories of a season I cherish so dearly during a year where my heart was full of anxiety and now just a stone’s throw in the New Year, I can reattach the joys of soaking into stories of Yule & Christmastide!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This of course, would have remained true if my dear Maine Coon / tabby hadn’t been struck quite ill whilst I was trying to kick-off this readathon. Turns out, as a senior cat of nearly 13 years he’s developed horrid food allergies and was quite miserable; his sister-in-arms is one year his junior (my little Tux!) of whom now has ‘food intolerance’s’. Despite being earnestly hopeful to find something that would work for them (as in their kittenhood and early years of growth, they had (as did their two siblings) multiple health issues which is why Mum and I were consistently ‘on the road’ to new places to purchase high quality pet foods whilst the Vets and my fam were growing more discouraged by the hour when even the best quality you can find isn’t working for your four cats. Hence why we were advised to go with what worked for our darlings and not worry about what is working for everyone else. This worked out quite well – until now.

Turns out!? The *best!* cat food our cats need was developed by Rachael Ray! Her Nutrish line for cats (esp the Chicken and Potato dry food!) is what turnt this crazy insanity around in *one!* feeding! ONE! Our Coon / Tabby who was *always!* Alpha is now a Beta cat whose so relaxed and happy, his Tux of a sister is still trying to get used to him being less playful around her and just go with the flow. All his issues are gone as are hers, to such a degree it’s a true miracle. They used to eat only wet food, but this dry food has done so many marvels for their health (i.e. vision, fur, digestion, etc) I cannot see them returning to wet food! Their so happy right now, it’s a beautiful thing to see – ergo, I am continuing this readathon in the spirit of Twelfth Night – as a closing of the holiday season and the stories of Yule.

This is why you’ll see my tweets stopped for a short break – as everything prior to Unraveled was written by the 9th before I was able to resume and conclude my ruminations.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com#TwelfthNightReadathon | “Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection” an anthology with a charitable heart benefiting Indy Reads Books!Gifts of the Magi
Subtitle: A Speculative Holiday Collection
by A.D Roland, Chantal Noordeloos, Debra Holland, Herika R. Raymer, John F. Allen, Katina French, Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison), R.J. Sullivan
Source: Direct from Author

Stories for Christmas-- authors for the New Year!

Find within this magical tome 14 NEW original holiday-themed stories of fantasy, horror and science fiction by a talented group of authors--plus one holiday essay. The tales from our Magi vary from the light and satirical to the dark and serious, and we've shuffled the deck to keep you guessing.

· A time guardian may have to choose between preserving reality or destroying the man she loves.
· A snowman comes to life, but he's not a happy soul.
· Santa makes a terrible bargain in order to save Christmas.
· On Christmas Eve, a furious fairy princess attacks a double-decker bus.
· Two secret agents attend an exclusive Christmas party with an unusual price of admission.
· Soldiers in the midst of the zombie apocalypse try to find the Christmas spirit.
· A boy and his father confront an alien creature on the Longest Night.
· A mercenary packing magical pistols battles a monster while Christmas shopping for her werewolf boyfriend.
· Steampunk detectives find themselves fending off Christmas "elves."
· Humans exiled to an alternate world blend alien and human holiday traditions.
· A banished prince with a magic chicken finds a nearly drowned soldier--so says the storyteller.
· A bounty hunter searches for a rogue elf.
· A traumatized punk girl confronts the spirits from the worst night of her life.
· In a dystopian future, Christmas is outlawed.
· ...And Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Nicole Cushing reveals the holiday specials that she feels deserve "lumps of coal."

100% of all proceeds from this book benefit Indy Reads.

Indy Reads is a not-for-profit organization that relies on volunteers to provide basic literacy tutoring to illiterate and semi-literate adults. Indy Reads operates a bookstore in downtown Indianapolis. Learn more at www.indyreads.org.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1502902528

Also by this author: Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, Blue Spirit, Guest Post (Restless Spirit), Restless Spirit, Road Ghosts : Omnibus Edition, Road Ghosts : Omnibus Edition, Virtual Blue, Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy, Author Interview (Red Lotus, Vol.1), Commanding the Red Lotus

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Cosy Horror, Fantasy Fiction, Science Fiction


Published by Speculative Fiction Guild

on Halloween, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 196

Published By: Speculative Fiction Guild | Facebook | @sfg2013

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #SpecFict + #anthology (or #SpeculativeFiction)

About John F. Allen

John F Allen

John F. Allen is an American writer born in Indianapolis, IN. He is a member of The Indiana Writers Center, began writing stories as early as the second grade and pursued most forms of writing at some point, throughout his career. John studied Liberal Arts at IUPUI with a focus in Creative Writing, received an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force and is a current member of the American Legion. John's debut novel, The God Killers was published in the Summer of 2013 by Seventh Star Press. He also has published short stories in several anthologies including: Thunder on the Battlefield, Vol I, also by Seventh Star Press and In The Bloodstream, by Mocha Memoirs Press.

John currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

About Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison)

Ms Chris Garrison

E. Chris Garrison writes Fantasy and Science Fiction novels and short stories. She used to publish as Eric Garrison, but has since upgraded.

Her latest series is Trans-Continental, a Steampunk adventure with a transgender woman as its protagonist. The series is set in one of the worlds in Chris’s dimension-hopping science fiction adventure, Reality Check, both of these series are published through Silly Hat Books. Silly Hat Books released Alien Beer and Other Stories, a collection of her short stories, in 2017.

Chris’s supernatural fantasy stories include the Road Ghosts trilogy and it's companion series the Tipsy Fairy Tales are published by Seventh Star Press. These Urban Fantasy novels are humorous supernatural fantasies, dealing with ghosts, demonic possession, and sinister fairy folk delivered with a “lightly dark” side of humor.

Her novel, Reality Check, is a Science Fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013. Chris lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her wife, step-daughter and cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

*Biography updated: March, 2018

About R.J. Sullivan

R.J. Sullivan with his characters

R.J. Sullivan’s novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press also released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, and Virtual Blue, the second part of Fiona’s tale. The short stories in this collection have been featured in such acclaimed anthologies as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His next book due out very soon will be Commanding the Red Lotus, which collects the series of science fiction novelettes in the tradition of Andre Norton and Gene Roddenberry.

R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks regularly from a Little Mermaid coffee mug and is man enough to admit it.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #TwelfthNightReadathon
  • #WYChristmasReadathon
  • Sci Fi Experience 2017
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Posted Saturday, 14 January, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BlogTalkRadio, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosy Horror, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Futuristic Fantasy, Guest Author on the Chamber, Indie Author, Parapsychological Suspense, Podcast, Supernatural Fiction, Telepaths & Telepathy, The Star Chamber Show, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “Blue Spirit: A Tipsy #fairytale” by E. Chris Garrison The author I happily chatted with on #blogtalkradio and cheer for on #JLASblog!

Posted Saturday, 29 August, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the “Blue Spirit” genre-bending fairy-tale fantasy release tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media, however, the author and I have continued our friendship since we first interacted via The Star Chamber Show (which I’ll expand on in a moment). Ms Chris asked if I would be keen on being involved in her blog tour for “Blue Spirit” after I had happily read about Skye & Minnie’s adventure in the anthology release “A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court” wherein I positively expressed my joy in reading “Seelie Goose”. I was happy to be notified in time to participate as I love her quirky style of comedic fantasy!

I received a complimentary copy of “Blue Spirit” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On my connection to E. Chris Garrison:

I first discovered Garrison’s style of story-telling when we both appeared on the Star Chamber Show, which is a weekly podcast on BlogTalkRadio sponsored by the publisher Seventh Star Press. Since our first encounter with each other, we’ve developed a friendship I am blessed to have and I appreciate getting to know a bit more about an author whose not only developing a unique style in the world of Fantasy but is receptive to the thoughts readers have as they gain impression by reading the stories themselves.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Garrison through our respective blogs, the twitterverse, the podcast world, and privately. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. For more information, I disclosed a bit more on my first 10 Bookish, Not Bookish Thoughts (read No.7!).

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I love Skye MacLeod | whilst finding her writ two different ways:

I am familiar with Garrison’s character Skye from my previous reading of Virtual Blue, however, at that particular point in time I had not realised the full scope of Skye’s character! You see, Skye was ‘lent on loan’ to Sullivan in order to create the Urban Fantasy story in which I reviewed on a previous blog tour! I remember reading about the ‘Seelie Goose’, as regular readers of Jorie Loves A Story will recognise that I also hosted a Cover Reveal for Garrison and around that point in time or thereabouts I became familiar with the short story I now have happily read! For one thing, the comic brilliance of the anarchy of the fairy-tale world spun into reckless flight of an attempt to stop a wedding was most keen indeed! – quoted from my review of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

Going into reading Seelie Goose was a bit unique because I had this strong impression about Skye from Virtual Blue and coincidentally, it’s that original impression that led to my further curiosity in wanting to read Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy wherein the connections continue! (especially in regards to Rebecca Burton!) You could say, two authors have bewitched me with one character whose attributes and mannerisms switch-up a bit per each writerly voice whose narrating her individual stories! It’s quite the journey for me as a reader and a happy challenge as a book blogger – as each time Skye appears in a story, she’s not quite as she was from one installment to the next! Two sides of a coin and individualistically unique!

Let’s recap the particulars, shall we? Skye was a supporting character in Virtual Blue whereas she takes the lead in Garrison’s stories; on the other hand, Garrison is borrowing Phil and Rebecca Burton for the sequel to Blue Spirit! (further tidbit: the Transit King (he’s with Skye on the bus!) was spotlighted as a cameo in Haunting Obsession!) Meanwhile, I get the pleasure of reading more of Burton myself when I pick up Whimsy! Except it doesn’t stop there – no! Skye was originally introduced in Sinking Down where Garrison found a way to merge her between the Road Ghosts + Tipsy Fairy Tale series by offering to cross-over the characters/story-lines. *whew!*

A short note from Ms Chris:

TK also appears in 3 stories in a self published Christmas anthology of speculative fiction that RJ, John F. Allen, and I put together last year called Gifts of the Magi. He’s in my own Christmas Special, RJ’s Blue Christmas, and John’s An Ivory Christmas. I guess the little fairy godfather just lends himself to stories about giving gifts! :)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Note on Cover Art Design:

This is my first cover attached to a SSP release by the works of Ms Rosario, and I must say, what I loved the most about it is the EPIC way in which the neon bits remind me of black light art designs! I love how the whole of this piece truly *pops!* on a blog post, and how in person, it translates differently altogether! I love cover art that leaves an impression inasmuch as represents characters and stories. This one brings a bit of the forest and the fairy to the center of who Skye is and why Minnie is important to her whilst giving you a bit of a whimsy touch of ‘ah so that’s why it’s tipsy’!
Biography of the Illustrator:
Anne is a self-taught Filipino visual artist specializing in both digital and traditional mediums. Her style is a unique mix of the naturalistic and the whimsical, combining the elegance of fine art with the edgy grit of contemporary Manga. She has worked as a 2D artist in the game development industry since 2006, and has recently branched into creating illustrations and exhibiting her traditional artworks in group exhibits.
The little creature hugged by the E in BLUE and SP in SPIRIT held my eye!
It’s like he’s trying to tell you something!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Blue Spirit: A Tipsy #fairytale” by E. Chris Garrison The author I happily chatted with on #blogtalkradio and cheer for on #JLASblog!Blue Spirit
Subtitle: A Tipsy Fairy Tale
by Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison)
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Anne Rosario
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

Gamer girl Skye MacLeod can see fairies, but only when she's tipsy. More Grimm than enchanting, some of these fairies are out to ruin her life, wreaking havoc with her job, her home, and her relationships.

With the help of her tiny fairy friend Minnie, Skye has to protect her vampire wannabe gamer friends from all-too-real supernatural threats only she can see. Can she keep it together and hold fast against a wicked fairy Queen's plot?

Blue Spirit is the first book of A Tipsy Fairy Tale series!

+ For a preview of Skye and Minnie,
be sure to scope out Jorie's review for A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court!

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781941706824

Also by this author: Guest Post (Restless Spirit), Restless Spirit, Gifts of the Magi, Road Ghosts : Omnibus Edition, Road Ghosts : Omnibus Edition

Series: Tipsy Fairy Tale


Also in this series: Restless Spirit


Genres: Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 12th May 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 238

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Softcover and Ebook

(Illustrator) Anne Rosario | Facebook | Portfolio | Tumblr | Instagram

Converse on Twitter: #TipsyFairyTaleSeries & #7thStar

About Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison)

Ms Chris Garrison

E. Chris Garrison writes Fantasy and Science Fiction novels and short stories. She used to publish as Eric Garrison, but has since upgraded.

Her latest series is Trans-Continental, a Steampunk adventure with a transgender woman as its protagonist. The series is set in one of the worlds in Chris’s dimension-hopping science fiction adventure, Reality Check, both of these series are published through Silly Hat Books. Silly Hat Books released Alien Beer and Other Stories, a collection of her short stories, in 2017.

Chris’s supernatural fantasy stories include the Road Ghosts trilogy and it's companion series the Tipsy Fairy Tales are published by Seventh Star Press. These Urban Fantasy novels are humorous supernatural fantasies, dealing with ghosts, demonic possession, and sinister fairy folk delivered with a “lightly dark” side of humor.

Her novel, Reality Check, is a Science Fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013. Chris lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her wife, step-daughter and cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

*Biography updated: March, 2018

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Posted Saturday, 29 August, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BlogTalkRadio, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Dating & Humour Therein, Doctor Who, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore and Mythology, Gaming, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Horror-Lite, Illustration for Books & Publishing, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Murdoch Mysteriers, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Shapeshifters, Singletons & Commitment, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, The Star Chamber Show, Time Shift, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vampires, Virtual Reality, Vulgarity in Literature, Werewolves

*Booking the Rails, No.1* A book entitled ‘Wonder’, with a curious proposition held within its story,…

Posted Saturday, 22 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , 5 Comments

Parajunkee Designs
Books on the Underground; Books on the Subway; Jorie Loves A Story: Booking the Rails

The premise behind “Booking the Rails” was the impetus of a scathingly brilliant idea on behalf of Jorie! How does a girl who lives in the Southeast of the United States *actively!* participate in the mission of Books on the Underground & Books on the Subway!? How can she make a difference with a bookish blog without placing the books on the rails herself!? *lightbulb!*

Generate a book blogosphere gathering, where readers and bloggers can reach out to each other and start a social conversation! Expounding social interest to a new high to where those who pick up the books left on the rails by Hollie (in London) & Rosy (in New York City) will be encouraged not only to touch base by their mutually exclusive hashtags #BooksontheUnderground & #BooksontheSubway but might find themselves sharing their impressions of the books which alighted in their hands! This is one bookish blogger’s mission to read the books left on the rails! Jorie is therefore “booking the rails!”

Join her discoveries! Chat your thoughts! Tweet & share the movement behind volunteer public libraries! Unite bookish souls! Unite!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

 About the Girls of the Rails:

*:Hollie*:

website: booksontheunderground.tumblr.com
twitter:
@BooksUndergrnd
hashtags: #BooksOnTheUnderground
facebook: Books on the Underground

I moved to London five years ago after graduating from university and I’m originally from Lincolnshire. I left university adamant that I was going to get a job as a Creative in an Advertising agency. After 2 years of interning at agency after agency, I now find myself working at Leo Burnett, London. I have about an hour commute to work everyday, from Dalston to West Kensington, so reading is a nice escape for me. I love receiving recommendations for books and I have always loved passing on great books to my friends. One day I finished a book I was reading on the tube and just thought what a lovely surprise it would be for the next person to find. I didn’t leave my book that day because I realised there were a lot of hurdles to overcome. I didn’t want it to be just a book out in the world alone; I wanted it to be part of something bigger. I designed and printed Books on the Underground stickers and that’s how it started. What’s Books on the Underground? It’s a public library on the go! Find a book, take it, read it and when you’re done with it, put it back on the train for someone else to enjoy! All books are marked with the BOTU sticker and encourage people to tweet & follow the blog.

*:Rosy*:

website: booksonthesubway.com
twitter:
@BooksSubway
hashtags: #BooksOnTheSubway
facebook: Books on the Subway

I’ve been living in New York for around one year when I found out about Books On The Underground, thanks to Facebook. I saw an article about Hollie and BOTU when it hit me right there: I need to do this in NY. I think I thought about it for 5 minutes before I decided that I’m going to do it. I reached out to Hollie who was amazing and supportive; we did the NYC stickers together. Why did I decide to do it? I have a 40 minute commute to work everyday, and that’s nothing compared to some other commuters who have even longer commutes. Looking at people in the early morning is the most depressing thing ever. It’s like their eyes are lifeless. They stare into space as they cruise from stop to stop. Why not give these people something to look forward to when they get onto the train? Why not pass the time enriching their brain instead of bobbing their head along with the train movement. That’s why I decided to expand BOTU to BOTS. And I haven’t regretted my decision for one bit. What’s BOTS? It’s a public library on the go! Find a book, take it, read it and when you’re done with it, put it back on the train for someone else to enjoy! All books are marked with the BOTS sticker and encourage people to tweet & follow the blog.

And, then came *:Jorie*: {Booking the Rails!}

website: jorielovesastory.com
twitter: @joriestory
(updated: at time of post I was @JLlovesAStory)
hashtags: #JLASblog, #ChocLitSaturdays, #BookingTheRails

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and after a ten-year writer’s block I discovered Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. In December 2013 my path crossed with Rosy & Hollie (of Books on the Underground & Books on the Subway) via Twitter whereupon I was encouraged to play an active role in promoting their bookish mission. I conceived the idea of an exclusive feature entitled “Booking the Rails” to showcase the books they leave on the trains in London & NYC thinking this would create a social conversation. The first feature debuts 19 March 2014 to coincide with my third appearance on The Star Chamber Show. I am the Chambers volunteer live tweeting secretary.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

*:Booking the Rails, No.1*:

A book entitled ‘Wonder’,
with a curious proposition held within its story,…

Waiting in the station at West Ken this evening are some of the final copies of Wonder by @RJPalacio from @RHKidsUK pic.twitter.com/ybFmbFcVjH

Each feature spotlight of “Booking the Rails” will be drawn from the books left on the rail systems via New York City and/or London! For my first spotlight, I was trying to sort out which of the books I pulled from my local library to read first! Oh, I had forgotten to say, whilst the rail passengers are taking part in a volunteer-run library, I am ‘booking the rails’ along with them by borrowing the books from my own public library! Mine might be stationery but the books allow my imagination to remain transient! “Wonder” was a selection of mine to read when it first debuted, having been checked out numerous times to where I was a bit vexed it simply *had!* to boomerang back due to lost hours whilst checked out to me! The premise never left me and it felt fitting my first selection would come from the London rails! The start of everything!

Borrowed Book: My local public library originally purchased Wonder by R.J. Palacio at time of publication. I had always meant to borrow and read the book directly thereafter but never had the opportunity! I feel twice blessed by this book ahead of reading its pages; the first was finding it through my local library and thus, a second time in the feeds of Books on the Underground! The very Twitter account which launched a budding friendship and a conjoined effort to bring awareness to volunteer libraries on the move! I borrowed “Wonder” from my local library and this time, I read it through and through!

Inspired to Share:

The compassion Ms. Palacio has for this story and its heartfelt message of hope in the face of adversity is something that I not only support but am appreciative to observe! Her kindness is revealed in her worriment over the reactions of her sons, which served as the impetus of writing Wonder; drawing light upon our own apprehensive nature, and to serve as a sounding board towards social change & tolerance of the unknown. To change our immediate reactions which might even come to surprise us whilst allowing compassion and acceptance to be the greater good in which we impart. Listen to her words and open your heart to engage directly into the narrative.

Authors Revealed: R.J. Palacio via NCTV17

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Published By: Random House Children’s Books
(an imprint of Random House Publishing Group)
, 14 February 2012
Official Author WebsitesSite | Blog | Twitter | Facebook for Wonder
Available Formats: Hardcover, E-Book, Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition Hardback
Page Count: 320

Converse via: #TheWonderofWonder & #ChooseKind

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A boy named August:

August has a keen philosophical intuitiveness about himself, the dynamics of his family, and his personal living environment around him. He seeks to find solace out of uncertainty and squalls chaos with simplistic truths which etch out the stigmas of which society oft-times places on individuals who are in some shape or form ‘different’ from the ‘norm’. And, the sad truth is that normalcy is in the eye’s of the beholder! To be normal is quite definitively the ability to be wholly true to yourself, your internal resolve of spirit, and in knowing who you are without the prejudgements and negative thoughts of others assembling into your heart. August has instinctively dry humour to convey his thoughts about life, dispelling any unease to meet him because he breaks the ice by simply being himself! He draws you into his sphere by engaging you in a way you were not expecting! No pretense. He’s simply ‘August’, who prefers to go by ‘Auggie’, the brother of Via and the boy who wants to live like a regular ten-year old entering fifth grade!

The author instinctively took the elephant out of the room by not revealing the true nature and perception of how August looks to the world. I can only hope that if this were to become a motion picture, the film-makers would make the same choice in revealing the story as told by those who interact with August without the full sight of his facial features. Because this isn’t a story about medical afflictions and physical disabilities which challenge us, this is a story about a young boy seeking to find his niche inside of a world who is not yet understanding how to accept him in its fold.

When August started enveloping me into the block of New York City he calls home, I felt as though I could sense the comfortable aura of where he walks and of whom he interacts with on a daily basis. The inertia of home outside of his house, where people know his name and his personality giving him a true sense of acceptance in the outside world. Whilst on the fringes of leaving the cosy-comforts of this reality to trade it in for the unknown perils of attending school for the first time.

My Review of Wonder:

The author chose an opening quotation from the song “Wonder” by Natalie Merchant, which I must admit, was one of my favourite songs on the radio whilst I was in high school! I loved the simple and honest truths stitched inside the lyrical story, allowing you to feel instantly uplifted by its spirited message of Hope and Acceptance. A tune which for the greater part of my teenage years was one of the few songs which lived inside me, a bit like some of the spirited songs by The Cranberries, Jewel, Barenaked Ladies, Alanis Moriesette, Sarah MacLachlan, and the Indigo Girls. Free spirits seeking to spread enlightenment and harmony through their vocals and melodies! To realise that this song was the inspirational foothold to allow Palacio the ability to transcend into the heart of the narrative is quite humbling! A song of reverberated ideals and a moral uplifting resonance transmorphed into a story of a young boy who leads quite the extraordinary life! I oft felt that the extraordinary individuals we perchance to encounter whilst living through our everyday hours are the very individuals who never consider themselves anything outside the ‘ordinary!’ Their inner light does not only shine bright, but with a humbling arc of self-acceptance and awareness which infects all of us with a measure of gladness we did not realise was amiss!

[ Speaking from a teenager of the mid-1990s, I love how the title of page 61 begins with the key lyric of the Green Day song which I actually liked back then! ]

August is a character held within a sincere voice of the transforming and wonderment of youth; where we get to be on the ‘verge’ of every new experience in trepidation of the unexpected and unknown for the very ‘first’ time! We get to have the belly bouncing butterflies of indifference and of anxiety stemming out of our inability to trust ourselves by a confidence we have not yet garnished into place. We are on the brink of discovering the layers of our personalities and the depths of our resolve to compute the outward changes of our lives, whilst muddling through our growing years in full wonder of how we are able to rise into each new obstacle and challenge us with a determined spirit of growth. August is like so many of us who felt as though each new experience coming into view arrived too quickly, and was not fully wanted at its time of arrival!

#ChooseKind is cleverly taken from the novel (off of page 48!) inside Mr. Browne’s English class where he is inviting his students (and August too!) to examine their conception of who they are and who they are striving towards becoming. It’s a preceptional challenge to have the students in the story step back from themselves and examine how they are being perceived by their peers and if they are representing their inner truth. It’s a classical technique to include a key word or phrase into a storyline, but in the advent of the technological age of social media, this clever phrase being turnt to clue in the reader to an impactful life lesson takes on a higher level of meaning! A hashtag allows all thoughts and observations attached to the tweet embedded to become interwoven into the global thread of conversation whilst allowing everyone to have a conjoined and collaborative exchange! This takes a book whose message is self-evolving outside of its sleeves to a new height in ‘interaction’! And, I am celebrating this achievement! Choose kind is the individual choice of being who you ought to be in the moment which intersects with right and wrong behaviour. As much as it’s an exercise in learning that being right ‘all the time’ isn’t something to strive to achieve either! There is always a middle ground in life, and the younger everyone can embrace this, the more enlightenment can be ignited. In my thinking, alongside the lines of using the hashtag for #randomjoy (one of my most favourite ways of sharing my ‘extra’ bubbles of joy!) this new hashtag could be inserted to express, convey, and materialise little notes of thought where a kindness was given openly and freely. Or an acknowledgement of a generosity in the midst of in-difference could be honoured. A seedling of a conversation where in every point of face reaction, ‘choosing kindness’ over aggression or even in projecting a position of righteous thought could be replaced by ‘a kind act of humanity’.]

Seeing August slowly become integrated into his class, where Summer breezes into his life during lunch and Jack (Jack Will) decides to make up his own mind about August, chooses to help find the humour in everything that could hurt August if he weren’t on his side, I started to get a warm glowing in my heart. I liked the direction of progress Palacio used inside the story. Especially with the additional “Precepts” by Mr. Browne’s English class! No one is ever too old to wiggle their mind around something quite larger than the scale of our lifepath. Yet, appearances of friendship can be a dicey sea to navigate properly! Those who appear to be your stand-up friend and confidante might actually be a wolf hiding in sheep’s clothing. The tricky part is sorting out who is a friend and who is truly a foe. For young August, his mask of reality was shattered by Halloween on campus. He was given a golden opportunity to listen to his classmates speak about him, but the startling and scary truths coming out of their mouths was enough to shatter anyone’s heart and soul. His spirits had been keenly lifted by prior kindnesses, yet in that one moment of clarity he saw what all of us who are bullied have to see: sometimes the people you trust are not the people whom you trust them to be.

I have to give credit to Palacio for switching up the regular order of the novel by inserting full-on chapters which reveal a principal character’s insight into August! She started out by showcasing Via (August’s sister), followed by Summer (August’s first true friend), and then came Jack Will. I wasn’t sure what to think as I started to read Jack’s section because I had previous information about how he effectively tainted his friendship with August. You get an inside glimpse into each of the character’s emotions and thoughts as their lives intersect with August at school and off school grounds. It’s quite unique, because the author has this ability to keep a vein of realism in how she portrays the children and not forgetting to keep August grounded at the center. Writing Via’s boyfriend Justin’s perspective in undercaps was a charming way of revealing his inner spirit. I especially loved how some scenes we’ve already read are re-examined or pulled back through another interpretation of the events as they unfolded. As though even as we had seen them, we were still missing pertinent pieces to understand the wholeness of the scene. By the time I reached Miranda’s section my heart-felt quite full. I knew of a girl like Miranda who felt safer and more at home at a classmate’s home.

The greatest gift we can all give is the gift of love and friendship intermixed with everyday kindness. This is a novel which celebrates the simple joys in life and the complications of when the views and opinions of the outside world can sometimes cloud our own perspectives and hearts. It’s a novel which champions those few who might have a harder line to walk in life but do so with a gladful heart. They see the light and the sparks of joy whenever possible and attempt to let go of the swarming of negativity that can overshadow them. They are the true heroes and heroines of our world, because it’s in their quiet calm of recognition of our frailties and our insecurities that we remain our humanness back to them. This is a novel which exposes the will to carry-on in a positive way whilst allowing for the grace of acceptance of other people’s weaknesses not to overshadow inner strength. The true ‘wonder’ of ‘wonder’ is how kind the world truly is when you walk out each day with a heart full of joy, a spirit full of kindness, and a warm smile to reflect your innermost feelings at heart.

Booking the Rails : whilst reading Wonder:

I can only imagine truly what it would feel like to find this curiously robin egg blue book with a curious illustrative face on its cover which bespeaks of a curious tale; one blue eye nestled into the left side of a young boy’s face. Scribbled over the eye in a child’s hand of letters is the single word: W O N D E R, of which is the book’s title. The author’s name is curiously attached to the bottom of the illustration left behind as a watermark. Although, on my library copy, a sticker of “SSYRA 2013-2014” is tucked quite close to the ‘eye’ of Wonder and the author’s name is obscured by my library’s barcode sticker! This isn’t the first time I’ve wondered what the full-on cover-art might appear as by seeing ‘past’ the library markings; but I am ever so very thankful to be blessed with the literature my library provides, when I am truly curious, I simply pull up an author’s website! Wonder is one book I’ve seen in big box stores to chain bookshoppes! I’d love to say I’ve seen this little book that could change the world in an Indie bookshoppe, but all of those have gone by the wayside locally. A sorrow I have not yet quite let go of. What then would I feel as I settled into my spot on the train (am I booking it in to the city or the suburbs?), whilst idly curious about this book which presented itself (in the station? on the seat next to me? notched into a fixture of pamphlets?) to be picked up? I’m carting off this blue book of Wonder without even realising what led me to be drawn into it. Now, I’m sitting on a train (perhaps a train I take quite frequently but not for work or trade?) toying with opening its pages yet caught up in the humdrum of train life. Other people are jostling into view, one steady stream of commuters and rail riders. The noise is deafening and yet, at this point in my life it’s barely an audible hum. My stuff is in my lap and I’m indifferent to wanting to browse through my portable calendar ticking off my next scheduled ‘have to dos’. The book is resting on top of my backpack (because that’s how I roll!) diverting my attention from anything else. Alas, the curiosity of what is inside befalls any other notion to notice which station we’re coming in or out of, much less how much longer I’m meant to ride to my destination! I open the book to find Natalie Merchant’s words from her infamous song “Wonder” and I nearly hear it on the PA system; its left that strong of an impression in my mind! Hmm,. this is quite interesting! The first section of Part One reveals another piece of the song and floats me inwardly back to the days gone by when it belted out on the radio whilst my driver’s license was being minted into use! I turnt the page and found myself curiously drawn into a boy named August’s life story… his humour is dry, his sense of identity is nonplussed, and his story is captivating me,… I reach page 44 cringing at the cruel reference Julian gives August about Darth Sidious ahead of disembarking this otherwise ordinary train which transports within my regular sphere of living! What day is this!? What was I meant to do?! All I want to do now is resume riding the rails to see where Wonder leads me,…

My recollection of ‘booking the rails’ is a fictional account, yet my mind wonders, what were the stories of those who read ‘Wonder’ on the London Tube!? #TheWonderofWonder perhaps!? Let’s start a conversation, shall we!? Share your story in the comment threads!

Via, no Olivia? : A sister whose brother has special needs:

Never one to assert her own needs ahead of her brothers, Via is one of those strong-willed and self-reliant children who has a sibling with medical special needs whereupon she built an armour of strength to support herself without parental oversight. Her side of the story isn’t explored until page 81 where Part 2 begins. The honesty her character was given was especially giving as I would feel that it was a very real emotional change of perception on Via’s behalf when her eyes betrayed her heart in seeing August as the outside world does. She was the supportive older sister for all of his life, but when she spent time away with her grandmother she was led out of her routine. She was given the freedom to be Via, to express herself without cause for alarm, and to be surrounded in perpetual light rather than with shadows and darkness looming in and around her steps. She was living without consequence of prejudicial perceptions and for the first time in her young life, her eyes changed how she saw the world. The way in which she saw her brother terrified her on one level and opened her up to a new awareness on another level. Its how she dealt with balancing the two living truths that would set her character on a path she might not be willing to explore.

Via goes into more detail about August’s birth defects and what she presumes is the underlying problem between her, August, their parents, and the world. She’s on the verge of adulthood and deciding on who she wants to be, and that includes the type of sister she will be for August. I’ll admit, I cannot always picture characters as they are described inside stories, sometimes my mind falters and sees the character as my heart sees them rather than what is visually on display through descriptive narrative. For me, August doesn’t quite fit the picture Via has painted for us, as I see August’s heart.

The mere fact that she was reading “War and Peace” inside her ninth grade year made me smile inwardly! Except to say, I’m reading “War and Peace” this year ahead of turning thirty-five and to me, that’s something to smile about as well!

Why a book called ‘Wonder’ is transformatively positive:

Full credit for the bravery shown throughout “Wonder” from the guiding hands of its author, Ms. R.J. Palacio who guides her audience through the brewing storm of August Pullman’s fifth grade year. This is a pivotal transition for August because he is going to be mainstreamed into regular school without the protection of family and the homeschooling environment of learning at home. Palacio placidly and pointedly gives the readers strong evocations of what is right and wrong throughout the dialogue exchangements between the principal characters and supporting characters. She allows the reader to decide in some ways, what is the right phrase to express yourself and what is the wrong way to implicate a negative response out of someone you want to bully. She draws out the undercurrent issue of the anxiety bullies have about their peers, and how their anger towards the bullied is fueled by an intolerance for nonacceptance of children who are different from them. This indifference turns quickly into hatred which grows out of the inability to accept what is not yet understood. She pulls you into August’s heart by seeing how he reacts and distracts from the extra attention he is given by his new classmates. Her bang-on narrative to include popular motion pictures and video games, garnishing a truism of narrative that young people can relate too helps aide the dialogue about bullying to be brought out into the open, because August feels 3-dimensional rather than flat on a page!

The absence of focusing specifically on what medical conditions August is afflicted by and exactly which surgeries he has undergone I believe adds to the gentleness of the story. Afterall, if anyone is living a life inside shoes similar to August, they might not feel comfortable disclosing their full medical history! They are already on the defensive and internally dealing with the emotional trauma of being misunderstood and misconstrued, so why add to their burden to adapt into a new environment?! Much less give any potential bully more fodder to stoke the coals of the fire!? I felt that this disfragmented perception of only subtle clues and hintings of what August is facing day-to-day brings his life full circle. We’re in ‘his thoughts’ and ‘sensing’ how he projects himself and internalises his world. We’re walking quite literally inside his shoes to see how what others are projecting towards him are being received. In this, I think Palacio hit the proverbial nail on the head!

An added reason for loving this book is the dimension of multicultural heritage woven into the background of August & Via’s parentage! Their father is of Russian & Polish descent and their mother is Brazilian! It isn’t often you get to see characters having a diverse background of ethnicity and ancestral roots, and being that I love genealogical histories, this was an extra special treat for me! However, it also sparked a unique perception of how exceptionally diverse New York City has become due to the multitude of immigrants who call her home! This is transformative in of itself, as there are only a handful of authors who include such a unique family in their stories! We are a melting pot in America, and seeing more of us represented in stories for children and for adults, (as Wonder is brilliantly lovely to be a cross-over sensation in both sections of readership) is one way of opening up our hearts to the wholeness of who we are as Americans.

Within the story of ‘Wonder’, I was Summer growing up because I oft befriended those in my classes no one else could understand at first glance. I did not focus on their disabilities or their learning difficulties, mostly because I had my own strugglements with speech, reading, and mathematics. I saw the world through a pair of dyslexic eyes and I was always considered the ‘different one’, so I suppose you could say I always sought out the friends who were a bit different like me. I saw them the way I hoped everyone else saw them. Not as the boy in pre-school who was feared mute; he was simply a happy-go-lucky soul who had such an aura of kindness around him, he made glow and chuckle without words at all! I didn’t even notice the girl’s wheelchair at the Science Center, but saw her active mind for solving complicated issues and tasks whilst we pretended we were stranded on a desert island without proper provisions. And, I could continue to call out cherished friends throughout my schooling years who always staid close in thought and mind. I oft wondered over the years where they are and what they are doing. If perhaps they found others like me who saw their souls shining bright and their voices conveying their courage and their friendship? Each of us is on a path towards understanding more of who we are and why we are here. Why then do some try to make our path a bit more difficult by simply not accepting we all are different from each other, but we’re all the same at the very same time!? Our differences make us unique, and our similarities connect us through a tapestry of thread that extends from one heart to another until everyone is united.

If only the story of August Pullman could continue and carry-on as he grows and gains more experiences in middle school, high school, and the life awaiting him past the walls of school. I’d welcome a series of sequels which allow us back into his family and his inner world.

A notation on bullying:

I will always celebrate those writers who are on the forefront of the social conversation for change in regards to ‘bullying’. I previously reviewed The Pact by Mitchell S. Karnes, which dealt with a decidedly different point of view on bullying and being bullied; to the brink of challenging this reader’s opinion of how much violent inclusion is necessary to carry the story. Within that narrative, a true impression of the depths of which bullying is now surfacing to include was both harrowing and insightful; showing the true measure of how much change we need to bring to the limelight for a very difficult challenge to overcome. I am going to be reviewing the second book in Karnes novel this Summer (The Dragon’s Pawn) in which I resume the story where the last installment left off; on the suggestion of the author that my wrinkles and flies in the ointments would be fully understood and fleshed out in the sequel. Until then, as I am quite open to seeing where his vision is leading him in this conversation, I am going to seek out other stories for children and young adults to tie in the conversation further whilst exploring the literature sparking the dialogue amongst adults who seek to protect the innocents who are affected.

The following video was unearthed whilst I was seeking supporting content for this special feature of “Booking the Rails”. I always strive to find content that has merit and interconnecting positions within the theme or context of what I read. Every small pebble and ripple of change has to begin with one person deciding that enough is surely enough. Bullying isn’t something that we have to ‘agree to disagree’ about happening; it’s an underbelly issue of intolerance and negative passive aggression, rage, and unprecedented psychological trauma. We need to take a stand and re-direct the behaviour by giving clear guidelines of proper communication skills, action-reaction tactics, and the ability to intercede through mitigation where parties involved in bullying will talk out their emotional triggers and start a conversation towards resolution, change, and reconstruction of childhood interactions. There is a heap of work yet to be done, it all starts with a single conversation about how to interact with peers and what do when your faced with the cruelty of the growing years being taunted in your face.

This is one bullied girl on a mission to seek out stories which bring both sides of the discussion to the forefront. Join me?

Choose Kind Compaign (inspired by “Wonder”) via Random House Kids

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

 

 

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Question to Readers: All comments & reactions are welcome!

Are you one of the readers from the London tube who picked up a copy of “Wonder”?! What were your initial thoughts and impressions of the book!? What staid with you the most after you placed the book back on the rails for a new reader to discovery!? Did you have trouble parting with the book!? Perhaps you’re a reader of “Wonder” stateside or elsewhere in the world. Was “Wonder” gifted to you? Did a teacher introduce you? A book which caught your eye whilst walking in a bookshoppe!? How did “Wonder” alight in your life and what did you appreciate the most from its story!? IF you haven’t yet read the story, does this spotlight endear you to find a copy!?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Official Book Trailer of “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio by Random House Kids

{SOURCES: Booking the Rails conjoined badge of all three blogs made by Hollie (Books on the Underground) and used with permission. The book trailer by Random House Kids had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Saturday, 22 March, 2014 by jorielov in BlogTalkRadio, Book Browse, Booking the Rails, Bookish Discussions, Books on the Metro, Books on the Subway, Books on the Underground, Bullies and the Bullied, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Debut Novel, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Equality In Literature, Guest Spot on Podcast, Homeschool Education, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Library Find, Library Love, Literature for Boys, Live-Tweeting Secretary of the Chamber, Middle Grade Novel, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Pro-Positive Cultural Reactions of Disabilities, School Life & Situations, Social Change, Sociological Behavior, Sociology, The Star Chamber Show, Transitioning into Private School, Volunteer Mobile Libraries, Young Adult Fiction