Exciting news for fans of literature! The Romance Writers of America (RWA), the trade association that gives out the highest honors for romance fiction. The awards recognize outstanding published romance novels and novellas, with the event itself unfolding at Manhattan on Friday, July 26th at a black tie awards ceremony. Up to 2,000 romance novels and novellas are judged each year by the judges, with the competition being narrowed down to 100 finalists after initial judging. Then, final round judges, also published romance authors, select one winner in each category from among the finalists.
Did any of your favorite romance books make the final cut? Are you excited to add anymore of these award winning books to your collection? Tell us in the comments! And let us know any thoughts you have on the RITA Awards in general.
Summer is in full bloom and most of us will be taking some class of vacation, whether it’s going away or just taking a little time off work for a staycation and some R&R. So whether you’re looking into reading more books or trying to find a new escape from reality, here’s how you can balance both of them this summer.
1. Set goals for the Summer
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Making a short and reasonable list of the things you would like to do for the season will help you keep things in perspective and on track. Your list can be whatever you want it to be, but it has to be something that you can actually accomplish. For example, “read a book a day” or “visit all of Europe” might be a bit overly ambitious, unless you have Hermione’s time-turner! The items on your list should be things you’ll find enjoyable and that won’t stress you out; try ‘finish a book every week’ or ‘visit at least one place you’ve always wanted to see’.
2. Include A Good Group Of People In Your Plans
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This is not to say that you should exclude anyone, but especially if you are spending a great deal of time with these people, the people you take along with you on your summer vacation should be folks you won’t want to strangle if things become heated. If you’re planning something simple and short, like going to a nearby boardwalk or a movie then “the more the merrier”, but for long trips it’s definitely best to keep your invites to your closest friends or your family. But most importantly, if you’re looking to have some quality time reading, then it’s good to have people around who understand and respect that.
3. Keep a book on hand at all times
Unless you’re a magician, don’t try this at home | Image via giphy
Bring a book with you wherever you go. There will always be some downtime to read, waiting in ridiculously long lines at the airport or when conversations run dry during the long drive. Even if it feels like it may be dead weight, you’ll be happy you brought it with you just in case. Especially if you’re not used to reading often, having the book on hand is a good reminder to starting turning those pages!
4. Share your book
Reading. Pass it on! | Image via TED-Ed
If you’re with people you love and feel comfortable around, chances are they share your interests to some extent. They may even ask about the book you’re reading. Talk about it. Maybe even loan it to them when you’re finished. Who knows—maybe one of your summer goals could be to start a summer book club on the beach! Why not?
5. Take advantage of the sun
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There’s nothing like soaking up the sun while soaking up some quality literature. Set yourself up for a tan in your backyard when you have time. If the neighbors are being noisy, plug in your headphones and play some music that doesn’t distract you from reading. Better yet, play an audio book while you bake in the sun. Just don’t forget the sun screen! This is great for those of us who really don’t have a lot of time or money to go away on vacation.
6. Find New and Comfortable Reading Nooks
You probably won’t be coming across any magic flying carpets, but you’d be surprised what you can find out in the world | Image via Rebloggy
For reading in general it’s important to find a comfortable space in which to settle down. Finding a comfy nook while on vacation can prove to be a challenge, especially on family vacations, but have faith. Bring one of your most comfortable pillows, your favorite reading socks, and whatever else you can to recreate the best reading space for you. It might even be good to look for a space where you wouldn’t normally think of. If the hotel you’re staying at has a quiet lobby or a peaceful garden, try that. If you are looking outside your hotel room or in general plan on wandering a bit, keep an eye out on your surroundings rather than your book.
This idea can also work if you’re taking a “stay-cation”. Try going out to your local library for reading and taking part in summer events. A local park or boardwalk could be relaxing as well.
7. Take a shift watching everyone’s belongings
Don’t worry. They’ll be back soon. | Image via Giphy
While it may not sound thrilling, at some point everyone’s belongings are going to need to be watched whether you’re at the beach or an amusement park. Now don’t be the one to sit around and do nothing while babysitting the bags. You deserve to enjoy the fun too, but when you’re feeling tired and don’t mind being alone for a little while, go ahead and take one for the team. You’ll have your book to keep you company until the group comes back and someone else takes the shift.
8. Read A Little At A Time
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Typically when you’re away or out and about, you’re moving around almost non-stop, but make sure to make the most of any downtime, however brief! Many of us will be tempted to go through the full chapter, and some of us can multitask walking and reading, but if you are hustling through your vacation read only a few pages of your book at a time. When you’re done, put the book away and enjoy what you can.
9. Use your book as a getaway from your getaway
The vacation is falling apart? Bye Felicia! | Image via giphy
Let’s face it, no vacation goes without its mishaps. Many times it can feel like dealing with the planning and the people can feel like more work, even after you’ve chosen your closest people. When you feel you need a vacation from your vacation, take some time alone and use that time to read and escape in your own way.
Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just to make sure you’re out there living your absolute best life! This week, we’re taking a break from the usual routine to bring you some summer reading for the 4th of July! Here are some reading recommendations as you relax on a beach, prepare to lounge by the pool, or take in the fireworks!
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5. Shapes of Native nonfiction edited by Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton
Shapes of Native Nonfiction by Elissa Warburton is a collection of essays that helps us remember America’s first people, the Indigenous Americans, even as we celebrate our own independence from British rule. This collection features a full range of dynamic Indigenous talent designed around the theme of lyric essays. Featuring imaginative and well regarded talent putting on a full range of work, this collection is one to read about America’s heritage and certainly a relaxing read beneath the warm skies.
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4. Because Internet by Getchen McCulloch
Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch is a good book to get yourself back into the internet swing of things in a relaxing fashion. This book defines the language and slang of the internet for not so savvy internet users, as the internet is making language change faster than perhaps our brains can keep up with. The author helps unpack the evolution of digital language, providing a survey of everything from the appeal of memes to the true meaning of ‘LOL.’
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3. Revenge of the Punks by Vivien Goldman
Revenge of the Punks by Vivien Goldman is a rock and rolling book about reliving the turbulent days of youth. Goldman was Bob Marley’s first UK publicist but also wrote searing music reviews in the 70s and 80s. She now turns her pen to telling the stories of female music writers and women’s relationship to the music that defined generations. She tells stories of the genre’s rebel women such as Bikini Kill, Nehen Cherry, and activist punks. Goldman’s book explores their lives, capturing the spirit of rebellion to get you pumped for July 4th.
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2. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino is a collection of essays revolving around our own self-destruction, fueled by the rise of social media and our increased isolation. You might not think that’s an optimistic, breezy read, but the author tackles the essays with humor and grace, tackling challenging topics with easy to understand context. This may be a little more challenging, but if you’re looking for a way to truly stop your self-reflective sense of self-delusion and self-destruction, this is the read for you.
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1. A Death in the rainforest by Don Kulick
A Death In the Rainforestby Don Kulick discusses what it means to truly study another culture that is not your own. It tells of Don Kulick, who went to the tiny village of Gapun in New Guinea to document the death of the native language, Tayap. Over thirty years, he documented the slow death of Tayap and the look of vanishing death. The story tells not only of Don’s illuminating look into the native language, but also the white society’s reach into the farthest corner of the Earth, and Kulick’s realization that he had to stop his study of the culture altogether.
Summer is here (thank god!) Goodbye freezing winds, slogging through mounds of snow, cold nights, and early sunsets. Say hello instead to warm beaches, cookouts, strolls through the beautiful foliage, and leaping into the pool! Its summer time, book lovers, and we’re sure you all have a lot of reading to catch up on. What better place to read than on a sunny beach listening to the crash of the ocean waves or lying in the soft grass under the shade of a swaying tree in a park? Here are ten quotes from literature to get you hyped for the splash of summer!
Image via the New York Times
1. “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer” – The Great Gatsby.
2. “The summer stretched out the daylight as if on a rack. Each moment was drawn out until its anatomy collapsed. Time broke down. The day progressed in an endless sequence of dead moments” – Perdido Street Station.
3. “The castle grounds were gleaming in the sunlight as though freshly painted; the cloudless sky smiled at itself in the smoothly sparkling lake, the satin-green lawns rippled occasionally in a gentle breeze: June had arrived” – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
4. “August has passed, and yet summer continues by force to grow days. They sprout secretly between the chapters of the year, covertly included between its pages” – Tree of Codes.
5.“Spring flew swiftly by, and summer came; and if the village had been beautiful at first, it was now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. The great trees, which had looked shrunken and bare in the earlier months, had now burst into strong life and health; and stretching forth their green arms over the thirsty ground, converted open and naked spots into choice nooks, where was a deep and pleasant shade from which to look upon the wide prospect, steeped in sunshine, which lay stretched out beyond. The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green; and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and vigour of the year; all things were glad and flourishing” – Oliver Twist.
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6. The summer night was settling upon the neighborhood like a dark lace veil, casting dappled shadows on the roofs and sidewalks and lawns” – Luisa Across the Bay.
7. “Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the tree house; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill” – To Kill A Mockingbird.
8. “It was rapture enough just to sit there beside him in silence, alone in the summer night in the white splendor of moonshine, with the wind blowing down on them out of the pine woods” – The Blue Castle.
9. “At these times, the things that troubled her seemed far away and unimportant: all that mattered was the hum of the bees and the chirp of birdsong, the way the sun gleamed on the edge of a blue wildflower, the distant bleat and clink of grazing goats” – The Naming.
10. “The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change” – Charlotte’s Web.
What are some of your favorite summer books? What’s on your reading list for this summer? Tell us in the comments!
As kids, summer reading may have been the most dreaded thing on our minds as the final school days of June ticked by and thoughts of swimming and sleeping until noon filled our heads. Well, for those of us who weren’t absolute bookworms anyway. No matter how many times a teacher or parent told us it was important, we didn’t want to do it. I’m sure more than half of us didn’t even pick up one of those assigned books until the last weeks of August when it became a race to get it done before the first day back.
So what is the point of Summer Reading? Well, it helps prevent what is known as the “summer slide.” The summer slide is the phenomenon where kids’ reading ability worsens over a summer of no reading. Reading levels drop, and reading comprehension becomes more difficult upon returning to class. Assigned reading over the summer months was just one of the many ways schools and teachers have tried to combat this slide in literacy, but there are more interesting approaches like that of Scholastic.
Like many teachers and parents, Scholastic knows that summer reading can be a challenge but a very important challenge to keeping literacy rates high. Scholastic is a popular children’s book publisher, popular for more than just the publication of the Harry Potter series, which makes it unsurprising that they have a plan to inspire children across the United States to get reading this summer. For their thirteenth year running, Scholastic is hosting Read-a-Palooza, helping kids track not just books read but the minutes spent reading. This, unlike many reading challenges, isn’t a competition to see who can read the most books, which can discourage the slower readers in the bunch. All that matters is how much time a kid spends reading this summer!
According to the homepage for Read-a-Palooza, “77% of kids ages 6-17 and 94% of parents believe reading books over the summer helps kids during the school year.” For Read-a-Palooza, kids can unlock digital rewards for tracking their minutes spent reading, and they can help unlock a very large book donation for communities and children in need across the United States. Students can even help land their school in the 2019 Scholastic Book of World Records. There is no shortage of incentives to get kids reading!
One super important point to make is that there are no requirements as to what kids are reading. Graphic novels? Great! Fantasy? Excellent! As long as they’re reading, it counts. Kids have until September 6th to input their minutes on the Scholastic website.