My (In Case You Haven’t Noticed I Like Steps) Step-By-Step Process of How To Write Discussion Questions

So one of my many extremely important jobs at The Company is to read books and then write discussion questions for them so that teachers can teach the books in their classrooms and have jolly good fun 🙂

Once I am given a book I then have to go home, read it, and then come back to work FILLED with stimulating questions worthy of the Pulitzer. Ok maybe not, but its no joke. I can’t just write things like Why does Jane not want to go the park? when it’s clear that Jane doesn’t want to go to the park because she is deathly afraid of pigeons (something we would have in common if I hadn’t just made her up). Well I guess I could but my boss would just give it back to me with “suggestions” and lots of them, so I’d have to redo it anyway.

So because that just sounds really hard and because sometimes (on the often side of sometimes) my brain is useless and I find myself staring into space for an hour and a half… I have a created an (almost) fool proof plan as to how to come up with good questions. Of course, ones brain must be able to do some thinking but my plan allows that to occur and happen quicker (at least it does for me)

Anyway (I really do have a skill at distracting myself)…

Step 1: Bring book home– If you forget the book you are totally out of luck unless you buy a new one which  is annoying because you just had a free one and normally I get advanced copies which aren’t out yet. Also you get The Look from your boss and you feel really bad.

Step 2: Read it– My boss usually gives me books on friday so naturally, I leave this step for Sunday night at 10. But it really works because I’ve done all I wanted to do already and I can’t put it off any longer, because if I don’t want to be a total word that rhymes with witch the next morning, I need to go to bed in 3 hours 🙂

Step 3: Annotate– I never thought I would actually promote annotating because it is the most ANNOYING thing ever created… but it is actually helpful because as soon as you read something, you write down comments and questions that you think will work. They don’t have to be amazing because you can edit them the next day but then you have a jumping off point. Also fold pages over (I give you permission) so that you know where these wonderful comments are so that you don’t waste time looking for the comments you made.

Step 4: Go to bed and sleep on it– It actually helps because then it marinates over night and then the next day you can squeeze the juice out of the book and come up with good questions (Ileana… props to people who know who that is)

Step 5: Wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed– Yeah right. I am the worst morning person ever. I dread mornings. But get your coffee or (if you’re like me and you don’t like coffee cause it’s gross) your tea, orange juice, or sausage egg and cheese’s from Dunkin Donuts and get presentable 🙂

Step 6: Go to work and write– Look through your notes from the night before and keep in mind the age group you are writing the questions for because that really makes a difference. Middle grade and younger is easy, it’s the young adults that make it hard because they don’t take B.S. and won’t answer the questions if they think they’re dumb (you know its true).

Step 7: Impress boss with AWESOME questions– Enough said

Step 8: Reward yourself with an early lunch– 🙂


Thank you *bow* thank you. You’ve been great… anyway, yeah it works so try it 🙂

Oh and in case you haven’t notice I am physically incapable of writing things technologically without smiley faces. I know this, but its just looks so angry without them because people can’t hear your tone of voice.

Its like I’m here vs I’m here 🙂



04/27/2011. Uncategorized. Comments off.

Saint Louis Armstong Beach

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach 

Yes its a middle grade book (publisher speak for a book for middle schoolers). Yes its 138 pages. And yes, there were tears.

Saint Louis Armstong Beach (SOOO LONG) by Brenda Woods is about a boy named *sigh* Saint Louis Armstrong Beach, who thinks that he is anything but a saint. He was named after his grandpa, King Daddy Saint, Louis Armstong, and the beach where he and his family live near.

He plays the clarinet like nobody’s business, he knows people named Jasmine Jupiter and MonaLisa and his best friend is a stray dog named Shadow.

Througout the book, Saint is trying to act older than his eleven years to impress his TWELVE year old neighbor, he is saving up money for a coveted Leblanc 1191S Opus II (a really cool clarinet) by playing for New Orleans touists, and he is trying to forget that his palm-reading friend Jupi told him that his life line is short. All while Hurricane Katrina is inching closer every day.

Phew. Thats a lot for one eleven year old kid to handle. Especially one who has allowed himself only one white lie a day.

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. And you will totally want to bring him home because he is SO sweet and selfless.

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach (my goodness) is about a boy and his dog who refuse to give up on each other.

Whoa. Doesn’ t that sound so ABC family-ish?? Well the book is anything but and you should totally read it!! 🙂

Side note: You know those ginormous, ugly, gross, blow up rats that are always around the city and that have something to do with the union??? Well they are currently in front of the building where I work, and they are freaking me out!!!

04/26/2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


So I know that I haven’t mentioned my internship in a while I’m going to now…


Quick recap: Its at a publishing company that shall not be named 🙂

So anyway, here’s a list of why its awesome (not so much in order of least to greatest or vice versa):

-I get an hour lunch break

-They give me jobs where I actually use my brain, not jobs that make me want to staple my forehead (Ha ha, Get Smart)

-I start at 10 (an hour and a half later than I had to be at school!!!)

-The people are nice

-It’s a 10 minute walk from my house so it doesn’t matter if I leave 10 minutes late ( if I walk really fast)

But the absolute best best best thing about my internship?????

-I GET FREE BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, I just discovered the magic of “take shelves” which I passed all the time but never actually thought that you could take from. Which because it’s called a TAKE shelf but what can I say?? Anyway, yeah I find books that I want and then I take them and don’t have to feel weird about it because people WANT me to take the books otherwise they would recycle them or something. And some of the books haven’t even come out yet so its SPECTACULAR!!!!!!!

So yeah, you probably already guessed that I am OBSESSED with books so OBVIOUSLY getting FREE books is like a dream come true and I wish that it did not have to end May 13th. But then again, I want to graduate and not have to think about work for a month and a half until I have to go to freshman orientation.

Oh yeah!!!! Random thought… I’m going to Skidmore!!! Yay!!!!

Ok, I’m back. So yeah, if you also have an obsession with books I would highly recommend getting a job at a publishing agency. Or at least getting a key to front door 🙂

Just Kidding

04/25/2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

A Solution: A Brief Continuum of The Pros and Cons of Readers and Such

Just a little tidbit:

Because I do not want unwanted books on my reader and it is annoying to not be able to read the endings of books, I have not so recently figured out a solution to basically the biggest con about readers that wasn’t just an annoyance.

What is it, you may ask?

Well I just do my step-by-step process (see: How To Buy A Book) except instead of doing Step 6 (or 7) I go home and buy the book on my reader, it’s usually cheaper that way and you have more space for things like, a bed 🙂

It’s not scientific or mind-boggling but it works for me. And I don’t know if your allowed to do that per se, but no ones arrested me yet so that’s a plus 🙂

04/20/2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

How To Buy a Book

My easy step-by-step process of how to buy a book

*Clears throat*

Step 1: Arrive at nearest bookstore – If no bookstore is near you, then a Wal-Mart or pharmacy with a book area is fine

Step 2: Proceed to correct aisle – In my case I always go to the romance section but of course YOU do not have to, though you are missing out 🙂

Step 3: Start browsing – Look for books that catch your eye, authors that you have already read, books that people have recommended, etc…

Step 4: Pick out/weed out – Once you’ve figured out what kind of book person you are it’s fairly simple to pick and weed out. Again, I give you permission to judge the heck out of those books. They’re there to please YOU!

For example:

 When you’re feeling in the mood, yes. When not, nope.

 Only if it were the last book on the planet (FABIO WITH HIS SHIRT OFF!!! Did I not tell you????)

 What some people call a beach book. It’s fluff but its nice when you want a cute, relaxing read

 Fun on rainy days and in cars

 Oh yeah 🙂

Step 5: OPTIONAL: Read the endings – This is just personal to me, but, I ALWAYS read the endings first to make sure that the couple ends up together in the end (it counts if they’re both dead, they just have to be together in death and aware that they are together in death) and that there is enough suspense to satisfy my suspense-buds (get it?)

Step 5 (or 6): Pick 1-4 books – Less than that is heinous and more than that is a bit much for one time. Unless it’s a series that you KNOW you’ll love then it’s ok because it is TERRIBLE waiting to read the next one

Step 6 (or 7): Proceed to checkout 🙂

Step 7 (or 8): Enjoy!!!!

04/20/2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover? Yeah Right

Have you ever heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well I think that that’s overrated. I’m all about judging books by their cover (literal books not the metaphorical ones). If I didn’t I would give books like these a chance


I mean seriously??????? I am sooooooo going to judge these because they deserve to be judged. I mean its not even their covers that annoy me though they are atrocious, its the TITLES!!!!! Scoundrel’s Captive? Master of Desire?? Don’t even get me started on Love’s Secret Sniper. I mean what does that even mean?Couldn’t they be a little more imaginitive. Or self-respecting?

And they all have the EXACT same cover. A woman draped across a built man’s body as he stands their shirtless looking like Fabio. Why do all cheesy romance novel heroes have long hair? I mean no offense to the people who write this stuff but I can just imagine them sitting in their apartments with their 10 cats lounging about and imagining all of that stuff happening to them.

And did you also notice that all the authors names have 3 words in them? JoAnn De Lazarri. Kinley MacGregor (I’m counting Mac as its own word for arguements sake). Dee Dee Drake. Maybe its some kind of unsaid rule. All cheesy romance novels have to be written by people with 3 names. But I mean its weird.

But thats also the case for lots of different genres I guess

ANYway… The books that catch my eye are more along the lines of this


Now I know some of you probably feel the same way about romance suspense novels that I do about regular cheesy romance novels but I still think mine have more substance, style, respect, awesomeness, etc… I mean I would be ashamed of myself if I was one of the other romance books.

Ok and sometimes I kind of feel bad for them (the trashy romance books) because I feel like EVERYONE is always hating on them (myself included). But then I look at them and I blame it on the cover designers. Because Scoundrel’s Captive maybe an amazing book but I will never know because you couldn’t pay me (ok maybe you could) to pick one up because it just looks SO bad. I don’t know who publishes those kinds of books but they really need to work on their strategy. I mean they are the reason that romance novels have such a bad rep. They make covers like this

    and this    

and people remember them because they are JUST SO BAD. I mean WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!!!!!?????

Anyway, moral of the day? Its ok to judge books by their cover when their actual books because some books just need to be judged.

04/15/2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

The Pros and Cons of Readers and Such

This is what mine looks like 🙂

I, like many others on this planet, have broken down and bought a Sony E-Reader. Like Kindles and Nooks, the Sony E-Reader allows people to read/buy books electronically without the killing of trees and the long trek to the bookstore. I can buy books without even getting out of the safety of my bed. It’s so easy. Its like click I just bought a book. Click I just bought another one. I’m glad that at the moment all purchases are charged to my dad’s credit card 🙂 because if it wasn’t I’d have spent my rent money a long time ago (not that I have rent money or rent to pay but you get the picture). I actually think that its more money for my parents because I used to be too lazy to get presentable and go to the bookstore but now I all I have to do is turn my Reader on. If I was too lazy to do that then there would be a problem.

So anyway, PROS:

I do not have to invest in a third bookshelf because now I basically have  invisible books

Readers help us live because we now don’t have to kill as many trees, trees produce oxygen, we need oxygen to survive therefore readers help us live

I can get books that bookstores do not have because their too old or something

Sometimes the prices are lower so I can get books way cheap

My dad doesn’t get mad at me for bending pages, because it’s not real

I can borrow books from the library electronically and put them on my reader (again, don’t have to leave the house)

I can buy books anywhere (in the car, at a restaurant, at the airport, etc…)


It runs out of battery and I have to wait three hours to read my books

I have to turn it off during take-offs and landings

Sometimes there’s a glare from my light and I can’t see the words

I can’t read the ending of a book until after I buy them so I only buy books by authors I KNOW will write happy endings. Also BECAUSE I can’t read the endings I have a bunch of books that I don’t want to read because their endings are not to my liking

I keep accidentally pressing the wrong buttons so I randomly exit out of things and turn pages. It’s annoying.

Sometimes bookmarks get deleted and I have to read the book over again to put them back

I need internet to buy books and sometimes there isn’t any which is also annoying

So the pros and cons are even but I think the pros outweigh the cons because most of the cons are just things that are annoying and the pros are things that are awesome 🙂

Oh and one thing that really annoys me are people who like and dislike things just because everyone else likes or dislikes things. Like the Twilight series. Everyone LOVED IT and now everyone HATES IT (everyone to me is everyone I know), but I am a die-hard fan and I will not be swayed regardless of how many times people have tried to convince me otherwise. Edward is piña coladas and falling asleep in a hammock all rolled into one! Delicious and smile inducing. So what if Bella is not a role model? Do we read books because the heroines are good role models? I sure don’t but obviously I am not the only person in the world and thats just my opinion.

Anyway (something you may have noticed is that I get off track sometimes but I always find my way back), some people are against readers because they think that they take away from the reading experience or something. It doesn’t. This is the 21st century and the age of technology so get with the program.


04/12/2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Lucy B, Anyone??

   Cute right??

During a rather rainy and exhausting college visiting weekend, I read one of the Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker books by Robin Palmer, for a project having to do with the Company that shall not be named (I also can’t mention the actual name of the book because it’s an advanced copy but it’s one of the books in the series). It was sssssoooo adorable. I forgot about all those sweet, feel good books that I used to read in middle school. Like The Princess Diaries and Ramona and Beezus. Books that left you with a smile. Because my taste in books has evolved into romance suspense, someone always ends up murdered and/or stalked. And though there is always a happy ending (I don’t read books that lack a happy ending) it’s a bit of a relief to read books that are all sugar, spice and everything nice.

In case you don’t know, the Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker series is about a girl named, surprise, Lucy B. Parker whose mom starts dating Alan Moses, the father of Laurel Moses who is the “most famous girl in the world.” Kind of like Hannah Montana but with a teensy bit of OCD (which I think everyone has a little bit of because, I for one, take an even number of napkins and eat my food in order of least favorite to favorite).

So, back to the story. Surprisingly, despite its feel good qualities, there was a lot of hardcore stuff that Lucy had to deal with. Between a new baby brother on the way who is going to be named Ziggy (a point of embarrassment for Lucy), a dad who is paying more attention to his new family then to Lucy, and an accidental run for class president–with the goal to end “Dork Discrimination” (a worthy cause)–against the most popular girl in school Cristina Pollock (who is a word that rhymes with witch), Lucy’s plate is very full.

I almost laughed out loud and I started feeling really bad for Lucy because SOOO many things were happening and some people in her life were just plain obnoxious and annoying.

So yeah, read it, tell your kids to read it and read it in order (I did not) because it makes way more sense and you get all the inside jokes 🙂

04/12/2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.



I dream about this stuff

Finally after months of wondering, worrying, and waiting I have succeeded in procuring an internship at a bookpublishing company, that shall not be named but will forever be known as The Company. I have no clue what I’ll be doing nor where I will be doing it but I’m just relieved that I got something because my parents were starting to freak me out. Asking EVERY DAY about my Senior Project even though I told them I would tell them when I knew anything was starting to give me heart palpitations (not literally, but you know what I mean). But now I can finally tell them that yes, actually, I do know something about my project. I’m looking forward to free books and NO SCHOOL at the moment but I’m sure once I start I’ll look forward to other things because I will have figured out what the heck I’ll be doing 🙂

So after Spring Break (best two weeks EVER) Senior Projects will commence and things will become way more interesting because I’ll actually have things to talk about.

Sooooo…. about Spring Break. I’m going to Florida!!! My dad and I will just be hanging out and doing stuff like calisthenics (which I have managed to avoid doing so far), swimming (because he is obsessed with water), and driving (with the not so occasional storm of curses because he HATES using his breaks and people ALWAYS cut him off). I, for one, will probably not be driving even though I have my license (yay!) because my dad refuses to get an automatic for me to drive and I CANNOT drive a stick shift. I’m scared that the transmission will fall out of the car or something or that scary grating noise will emit from the inside of the car. So sadly the next 2 weeks will be driving free but spring break is awesome so its ok.

So, The Company here I come and Happy Spring Break!! 🙂

03/17/2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

BOOKS, BOOKS, and you guessed it… BOOKS!!!!!

Ever since I was little I have been obsessed with books, and I am not being facetious. I have read more books than I can even begin to remember. On more than one occasion, my parents have actually forbidden me from reading until after 9:00 because they know I might seclude myself from the world. However, I always managed to sneak in some reading while no one was watching.

Though I know the characters in books would not hold me at fault, I feel like I am betraying them if I leave their stories unread, as if I am telling them that their stories do not matter. I have laughed at, cried for, and raised my voice to many protagonists in books, questioning the characters actions rather than the authors’ choices. Literary characters have been there for me when I have felt irritated, depressed, cheerful, unpleasant, jaded, exhausted, rejected, and overwhelmed. They never judge me when I have done something wrong or turn away when I feel lost. They have always provided worlds for me to fall into so I could forget mine for a while.

Throughout the many genres I have read, I have predominantly fallen in love with romantic suspense. The satisfaction of the inevitable happy ending and the thrill of danger enthrall me. Recently I have taken to reading the endings of books first to make sure that it is a happy ending (normally a happy ending is when the guy and the girl end up together, a usual given in romantic suspense novels). I started this habit after reading three different books (Before I Die by Jenny Downham, The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman, and Eighteen Seconds by George D. Shuman) after which I cried myself to sleep because they were not happy endings. Why should I feel depressed after reading a book when the world can accomplish such a feat on its own? Even for something as disconnected from my own life as a failed relationship between two fictional characters, I refuse to make myself unnecessarily unhappy.

It is a great skill to take people along with you on a literary ride and to make them love the characters as you do. I admire the people who are brave enough to send a little bit of themselves out into the world, not knowing what might happen.

02/10/2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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