The Day After …


‘Tis the day after 15 April 2017, a pleasant holday for getting together with family and, for many, a reaffirmation of faith. The preceding day (the 15th) is not a holiday and has many locally generated unofficial names. Some of them are even not obscene. I’ll just stick with Tax Day (capitalization is my choice). The date is a deadline by which many US citizens and residents must report their earned income to the US Federal Government so that they can voluntarily pay a sum of money (Tax) determined by the Government. This is an over-simplification because there are many exceptions (loopholes) as to required filing dates. It remains a deadline and for those who can’t work to deadlines (writers?), the existence of yet another deadline can produce stress.

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A Slight Change of Focus

I am in the final week of classes where I lecture at university. My goal for all my classes, no matter the subject, is to encourage the students of English as a Foreign Language to read. This blog has been my experiment to get them to do so. By trying to read one novel or short story per day and writing a short review, I hoped to expose readers to a wide variety of novels and language. Now that the experiment is over, I want to shift focus and content a bit.

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Thoughts on a Reviewer Mentality

About a year ago I was reading a lot and made a decision to write a review every time I finished a book. I felt it would impose some measure of discipline on my reading. Much like running/jogging/exercise, if I missed a scheduled workout, I would feel guilty. Avoiding guilt is good.

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Books for Free (almost)

A Reading Resource

Library Thing Early Reviewer Program

Library Thing Member Giveaway Program

This is an administrative post which I will recommend my students read about a way to get free books from Library Thing. Readers can join the Library Thing Member Giveaway Program and get free books in return for a review. In the Member Giveaway Program, the authors send you books for free. You can get hardcopy books, but watch out if you live outside the US (as I do). Import taxes on books coming into Indonesia are unbelievably high; it is just not worth it. Books are provided by the author in other formats: eBooks, mobi (Kindle), and audiobooks, to name a few. With this program you are requested to provide a review, but you do not have to. It seems sort of logical to me that if you do not provide reviews, you will not receive further offers.

Another program is the Library Thing Early Reviewer Program. Books are provided by the publisher, not the author. The reader is expected to provide a review. If you accept one of these books and do not provide a review, you will not receive more books from this program, although you might still receive books from the program above.

Each month two lists are published on the Library Thing website. I don’t count, but there are probably at least one hundred books of all genre offered for review. You choose which ones you want to bid on (receive to review). I typically ask for four on Early Reviewer list and ten on the Member Giveaway list. I typically “win” two from the first list and six from the second. Although I read them within the month, there is not a time limit on the second list; for the Early Reviewer Program, it is a couple of months.

Joining the program is free. On your personal library site you can have up to 200 books. If you have more than 200 books (I do) there are additional requirements.

Move Along, It Is All Admin

After one month of trying to set up a blog, after one month of trying to read a book per day and post a review of said book, I am going to take a day (one post) to sort of clean up things administratively.

My blog purpose is to get my English as a Second Language students to read. I hope short reviews do that. I also want to expose them to sources for interesting stuff. So, some definitions.

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A Note on Reading Resources

As an English language teacher I am always seeking to make learning English less of a chore, in other words, more fun. I downplay the teaching of grammar. It has a place, a minimal knowledge of it is necessary for workplace competence. But irregular verb constructions will never be fun. Obsessive preoccupation with the correct preposition to use will not get you invited to parties. Talking about the latest book you read, or heard (audiobooks), or the latest film you saw when you had to read the subtitles might make you a center of attention. Reading in film is not reserved for foreign films only. Think of the film Unfriended. Your presence at parties, especially when you demonstrate your clever, glib self while expressing your viewpoints, will be your reward for reading. Unless your expressiveness repeatedly ends in bar fights. Then you should direct your reading to books on developing social skills.

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