Five Fascinating Facts about C. S. Lewis

While at Wesleyan, I studied C.S. Lewis and his Inkling pals in depth and the classes were life-altering for me. To this day, Lewis is my most-loved author with his novel, Til We Have Faces, at the top of my favorites list. Check out these interesting facts about our beloved author…then let’s talk about costume parties for next year. Apparently, I haven’t been trying hard enough…

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Interesting Literature

C. S. Lewis was born on this day in 1898, so we’ve gathered together our five favourite interesting facts about Lewis and his work. Some of the interesting facts about C. S. Lewis that follow touch upon his friendship with J. R. R. Tolkien; these may be known to diehard fans of the ‘Inklings’ (of whom more below), but we hope that some facts will be news to even devoted fans of C. S. Lewis’s work.

1. C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien once went to a party dressed as polar bears. It wasn’t a fancy-dress party. According to Humphrey Carpenter in his biography of Tolkien, Tolkien went to a New Year’s party in the 1930s as a polar bear, wearing a sheepskin with his face painted white. Neil Heims, in a recent book on Tolkien, lists Lewis as his fellow party guest, similarly attired in ursine costume…

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Bookish Fashion: City of Heavenly Fire

Bookish Fashion: City of Heavenly Fire
Now, I know that there isn’t a ball at Alicante in CoHF, but I just couldn’t resist this dress and it made me think of Clary’s dream of dancing with Jace in Alicante. Of course, any good Shadowhunter would never leave without a sword, so I’ve given Clary a gold-plated misericorde, ivory flats (because only Izzy can fight in heels), a golden bracelet (a sword, actually, a nod to Izzy’s whip bracelet), and a necklace made of gold wings. As you’re reading through CoHF, though, you’ll want to wear the black outfit, a nod to Clary’s Shadowhunter gear. The YSL jacket and pants, calf-high boots and sword ring are just right. The sword is optional ; )
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Shiver for Free

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One of my favorite books, Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater, is FREE today for downloads on both iBooks and from Barnes and Noble. From the author’s mouth (keyboard). Links to both can be found here! Enjoy!

The Top Ten List: College Advice from the Joneses

It’s graduation season. The time for commencement speeches, well-wishes and cards that better be filled with something bigger than a $20 bill. Because ya’ll…college ain’t cheap.

For my dear graduates, I’d like to share a bit of advice. Please pay attention.

Here’s my top ten lessons learned in college:

  1. Live in a dorm. It’s part of the college experience and no matter how crappy it is, it’s probably the one and only time you’ll live in a community such as this.
  2. Make new friends in college.
  3. Delay picking your major. Give yourself time to find out what you really like.
  4. Take crazy classes. College is the only place that you will have the opportunity to discover those hidden loves and talents and probably even get class credit for them…I’m talking PE credit for taking Beginner Ballet…or scuba diving. Art credit for Photography. Science credit for Mental Illness at the Movies. It doesn’t get better than that and you won’t ever have the chance again.
  5. Spend your weekends and maybe even minor holidays at school. You’ve been home for years. Give your parents and yourself a break. Enjoy the college experience…all of it.
  6. Take philosophy classes.
  7. Study abroad. You may never have another chance to see the world. Take it now.
  8. Get to know your professors.
  9. Don’t rush. There’s no need to finish early.
  10. Fall in love. Many times.

And of all the best advice I can give to any if you, it is this: do whatever brings you happiness, especially if that thing is reading up with the Joneses ; )

Congratulations Class of 2014! Read Up!

Assassin Nuns

See, I’m not the only one that loves His Fair Assasins! Here’s another blogger’s take on the series. I think she’ll really enjoy Mortal Heart…and so will you when it comes out in November! Read Up!

Eleventh Stack

A couple of days ago, I was involved in a gathering of library workers to discuss reader advisory. During the discussion we were each tasked with finding ten different books in different genres and then asked to describe at least one of the books we selected. One person started off describing a book as “about assassin nuns.” Of course after hearing that I was intrigued about the book she was talking about. And then I discovered that I had read the series! I had read the first two books in the series and was excited that someone else was recommending the books, which then prompted me to write this blog. It’s a great series and has a bit of danger wrapped up in it as well. The series I’m talking about is the “His Fair Assassin” trilogy.

Gave Mercy book cover

All three books are about young girls and women who are left at…

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50 Shades of Grey or Contemporary Christian Music Lyrics? A Quiz

You’re getting more than usual today, I know, but it’s because I’m enjoying my morning at the Jones’ favorite local coffee house. I wasn’t going to post anything else, but really, I COULD NOT RESIST SHARING THIS! Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey? Listened to any Contemporary Christian Music in the past, oh, 15 years? If you answered yes to both, be prepared to quite literally, roll on the floor laughing with this quiz. The people around me now think I’m crazy…sitting in the back corner, hoping no one is reading over my shoulder and trying desperately to contain giggles. Enjoy and Read Up! Let me know what you think!

Homeschoolers Anonymous

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By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Growing up evangelical, I listened to a lot of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). I never understood the whole “rock music causes demons to eat your brain” mentality. But I did understand — to some extent — their point that Christian rock music was just normal rock music with “Jesus” pasted on top. To my friends and I, that wasn’t actually an intelligent critique. It was more a joke, something we all laughed about.

Fact is, my peers and I often thought it was funny that many CCM songs appeared to be sexy romance songs where the “you” was just capitalized so it suddenly was about Jesus rather than a hot piece of man-flesh. And some CCM bands — Skillet, most of all — have lyrics that are so spiritually kinky, even actual kinksters might blush.

So to honor this humorous memory of CCM’s…

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So Last Season by Michael Guevara

There are more good books in the world than any of us will ever be able to read. Don’t worry if you aren’t reading the newest of the new or following the “hype” of the most recent bestseller. I’ll let you in on a secret: I still haven’t read The Fault in our Stars. Shhh…don’t tell anyone. The hype is just too much.
My absolute favorite books are C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. One of the best parts of being a mother is watching the reaction on my children’s faces as they discover theses stories for the very first time. Old books, sure, but brand new stories for them, and hopefully, stories that will help shape their lives. Enjoy this post and even if you’re not reading the newest of the new, still Read Up with the Joneses!
“No matter how long a book has been out, the first time you read it, it’s new to you. All the wonders others have previously discovered are still there waiting for new readers to discover them.”

Nerdy Book Club

Sometimes I worry that I’m not book hip enough, that I haven’t kept up with the latest must-reads, that my books are so last season. Others recommend new book after new book they’ve read while my Amazon Wish list grows like the epiphyseal plates of a teenage boy.

The co-opted cliché, “So many books, so little time” makes me regret all the Sophie’s choice moments in my life: yard work/gardening or reading; spending time with the family or reading; pretending to be a runner or reading; Real Housewives of New Jersey marathon or reading (don’t judge—some of them write books.)

Still, my longing, which is just a nice way to say jonesing, for the next new read stirs the dilemma that is the book-nerd nexus: Buy now and read later, or buy now, forsake all others, and read now. What is a reader supposed to do? In my family room…

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Book Anticipation: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

It’s tax day, I know. Depressing for a lot of us, good for some of you. The Joneses aren’t usually in the group of refund recipients, unfortunately. There’s a reason why you try to keep up with us ; ) It’s not for the tax refund, though (the fabulous books, maybe).

Warning: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN A LARGE AMOUNT OF CHIC-LIT. You’ve been warned.

Today is ALSO a big book release day! There are a lot of great new reads being released today, but this one in particular has me buzzing with anticipation!

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all. (synopsis from goodreads)

Just, imagine with me, one moment, that all those journals we wrote, letters in which we confessed our undying 14-year old love to our freshman year boyfriend…were mailed! I know, If you’re below the age of say, 20, you probably can’t even fathom this, but if you’re well past adolescence, you know what I’m talking about. Listen kids, we didn’t have all this texting and snap chatting back when we were young guns. We had these magic things called pencils and notebook paper (and if a boy ever had the audacity to pass me a note or write a letter and not bother to pull the cussed strip of holes off the side margin…we. were. done.).

There was no feeling more exhilarating than finding a tiny, square folded love letter dropped into your locker. That origami mess was not easy. I actually still have a box full of love letters from old boyfriends. It’s quite fun to pull them out and read them…also slightly mortifying. Anyway, back to our imaginations…how humiliating would it be for those boyfriends to get those letters now?! I die just thinking about the humiliation.

Jenny Han is one of my favorite summer authors, so you’re definitely going to see her name again. One of my favorites of hers is The Summer I Turned Pretty series and I really, really want to read the Burn for Burn trilogy…just because I love the covers.

All of her work is YA contemporary, which just means that it’s like…a normal, modern story. No paranormal creatures, adult scenes (that’s under the NA…New Adult…genre, if you weren’t sure) or historical fiction. It’s worth noting, though, that most YA contemporaries are breezy reads. Cute, fun, maybe a little foolish in the plot; books that will make you smile and remember your own experiences, but may not be too thought-provoking in nature…which is, kind of the point.

Here are a few more YA contemporaries you should check out. I actually almost bought The Museum of Intangible Things in hardcover at the Bookshelf today. The cover is gorgeous!

If you like contemporary, but want something a little more grown up, check out Emily Giffin. Her books are wildly popular, but to be honest, they aren’t my favorite. Her most recent, The One and Only, releases May 20th, but is available for pre-order. They are good, sure, but I like to read younger character perspectives. Besides, re-imagining my high school days through fictional character (and fictional boyfriends…not gonna lie, I’m totally crushing on Cole from #scandal right now) is much more fun than reading about people my age…especially since I try to deny my age on a daily basis (shout out to the student in drama who told my asst. director that I looked 22…you’re my new favorite).

So there you go! Pick up a YA or NA contemporary novel, fix some coffee or hot tea (we prefer the latter, English Breakfast to be exact…just, FYI), and Read Up! Don’t forget to show us some Like on our new Facebook page and share it with your 500 closest friends. MMMWWAAAAH! Read up!

My Own Copy by Charlotte Cundiff

W loves to bring home her Scholastic order form each month and the Book Fair is the most anticipated event of the year. The review below is written by a fourth grader, Charlotte Cundiff. Isn’t it fantastic that our kids are being taught to read critically? Love.

Keep Reading up with the Joneses! Enjoy!

Nerdy Book Club

Last week when I handed out the Scholastic order forms to my fourth grade class for the month, I noticed Charlotte’s wide smile as her eyes lingered over one of the pages.

“See something you’re interested in?” I asked. Charlotte is an avid reader with a strong sense of her own reading preferences.

“I already know what I’m going to order,” she said with a satisfied sigh.  “Eight Keys.”

Thinking back to some of our reading conferences, I wondered aloud, “But you already read that.”

“Yes, but I just have to have my own copy!”

Smiling to myself, thinking this is one of the highest compliments you can pay a book, I suggested, “Well, you definitely need to write a review for that book, then.”

eight keys

Eight Keys

By Suzanne LaFleur

Reviewed by Charlotte

Unlock, unlock, unlock, unlock…

There were eight locked doors upstairs in the barn. Eight of…

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