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How to Read Boxes and Boxes and Boxes of Books in Two Weeks

posted Mar 29, 2013, 5:38 AM by Christine Brower-Cohen   [ updated Mar 31, 2013, 6:52 PM ]
March 29, 2013
 
I'm sorry for the blog silence this month.  I have (FORTUNATELY) been working on other writing projects, one of which involved reading upcoming books.   Of course, I was honored and thrilled to be given this assignment, and ecstatic when the first box of books arrived at my house.  I tore right into the box, pulled out the advance reader copies and uncorrected proofs.  I inhaled the smell of the printouts which would one day be bound into picture books.  I pored over middle grade books with pages that said, "Art to come." 
Then another box arrived.  And another.  And a large manilla envelope with just a couple of books in it.  And another box arrived.  Uh oh.  You see where I am going with this, right?  How was I going to read all of these books in two weeks?  What had I gotten myself into?
Well, I took a pile of books with me to all of my children's activities, and tried to read at practices and while waiting for games to start. Throughout my life, I never liked quitting reading a book that I had started.  To me, it was like breaking a promise to myself.  However, in this case, I quickly found that if I wasn't in love with the book by chapter 3, I had to put it aside, and move on.  I involved my children in the process, by reading the books out loud to them.  If they didn't love the books, we moved on.  As my deadline approached, I became merciless in my judgment of the books.  If the book didn't hook me right away, I put it on the "discard" pile. 
So, which books had me at "Hello," and made it into my final piece?... You'll have to wait a few months and buy the magazine when it comes out.
More importantly, what made a book a definite "NO" for me?  That will have to be the topic of a future blog post, because as I read so many books so quickly, I noticed certain patterns emerging.  I noticed  several authors doing the same things that turned me off as a reader.  As a writer, I'm taking this exhausting experience and using it to look over my own work, and make sure I am not making those same mistakes.
 
Happy reading,
Christine
Christine Brower-Cohen
ccohen(at)wbschools(dot)org
 
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