International Literacy Day

Literacy: What exactly does it mean? Do we still have literacy problems in the modern world? Well, on a basic level it means to possess the ability to read and write efficiently. Beyond the basics, it also includes recognition of languages and cultures within the learning process. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization had this to say about International Literacy Day:

“Our world is rich and diverse with about 7,000 living languages. These languages are instruments for communication, engagement in lifelong learning, and participation in society and the world of work. They are also closely linked with distinctive identities, cultures,  worldviews,  and  knowledge  systems.  Embracing  linguistic  diversity in education  and  literacy  development  is  therefore  a  key  part  of  developing  inclusive  societies that  respect “diversity”  and “difference”, upholding human dignity”. Audrey Azoulay, Director General, Message on the occasion of the International Literacy Day

Literacy rates have been on the upswing across the globe with some countries reaching a 100% literacy rate. While that is amazing, the United States and others haven’t reached the 100% rate yet. (For more information on literacy rates around the globe click here to go to UNESCO site for actual numbers.) According to UNESCO, there are still 750 million illiterate people around the world with the largest percentage being female. We can each reach out and help someone become confident and self-sufficient within our own communities. This issue can be solved if we work first within our communities and then globally. Take time this week to ponder the blessings of a free education and how you can bless the life of someone struggling to read or write.

“‘Let us pick up our books and our pens,’ I said. ‘They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.’” (Page 310) Malala Yousafzai I Am Malala (Incredible book that changed my perspective and worldview forever.)

Join DiscoverBooks.com in celebrating the accomplishments of this journey towards 100% literacy rates by Reading a Book to a Child, Working with an Adult, or Just Enjoying Your Own Literacy by Reading a Book on World Issues.

Enter coupon code ILD2019 to save 15% off all books purchased now through Sept. 22nd.

Tribute to J.R.R Tolkien

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” -The Fellowship of the Ring J.R.R. Tolkien

COUPON CODE TOLKIEN2019 AT CHECKOUT

J.R.R. Tolkien chose to spend his time enlightening the imaginations of millions of readers throughout the world. He created worlds of his own and left part of himself on this earth contained within his stories.

Yesterday marked the 46th anniversary of the death of this creative soul. His life experiences and beliefs are captured in print forever. All we need to do is open our minds to the worlds he shaped to help us better understand how to live in this world.

Library of Congress

Tolkien’s book(s) beckon us to move forward against all adversity, trials, and self-doubt. The journey is before us every day and we can rise to the challenge of it and face it with courage. #Letthestoriesliveon

Tolkien’s life represents this concept. His life was marked with adversity from a young age. First, when his father died and left the family with no income. His mother, brother, and self moved in with his mother’s family in Birmingham England. His mother taught him at home which allowed him to explore subjects he loved such as botany, nature, languages, and fairy-tales. He loved to read George MacDonald and Andrew Lang (wikipedia) Second, when at twelve years of age, his dear mother passed.

During World War I, he was a second lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He had already married Edith Bratt by this time. The separation was long and hard as it was for many during that time. Life was a journey and he was facing it head on.

Wikipedia

September 21, 1937 marks the publication day of his first novel The Hobbit. It is here, we begin the matter of fact journey into mythical creatures and beings not yet imagined. The world was suffering from the great depression, the Hindenburg disaster, and the dust bowl not to mention Hitler was setting the stage for Germany’s world domination campaign. The campaign against the Jewish people was just beginning as Tolkien introduced his imaginary world with Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves to mention a few. #Letthesstoriesliveon

Library of Congress

Join us on a quest to remember and honor this creative mind by reading either again or for the first time one of his fantasy novels. Perhaps, you haven’t read his commentary on Beowulf and would enjoy it. Try a book about Tolkien or his worlds. Find them all at Discover Books. Use Coupon Code Tolkien2019 at checkout for a 15% discount on all books. Good until 9/8/2019.


Hello Labor Day

Labor Day. The day of sales. The transitional end of summer vacation. The call to go one last time to the beach, camping, boating, or to host a barbecue. The signal to get serious in your studies. The herald of fall, football, school, and cozy blanket weather. But what does it mean? Who started it? What exactly are we celebrating?

Labor Day begins with the industrial revolution and the moving away from the homestead into the city for work. It ends with you and how you celebrate your opportunities for employment. It’s more than just a holiday. It’s a day about people, labor, history, industry, and law. It’s about Americans who believed in living life and not just surviving. #Letthestoriesliveon

I’m a people person. I like to understand and comprehend how people think, live, feel, and express themselves in all times. As humans, we analyze, categorize thoughts and ideas as we watch and learn about people. Let’s begin our journey to learn together. #Letthestoriesliveon

From the Lewis Hine's Collection Library of Congress. In 1954 the Library received the records of the National Child Labor Committee, . . . 350 negatives by Lewis Hine. In giving the collection to the Library, the NCLC stipulated that "There will be no restrictions of any kind on your use of the Hine photographic material."
Library of Congress Lewis Hines Collection

Labor Day is an opportunity to glimpse back through history to a time when industry was king. People flocked to it. Families worked to create it with little in return. As we turn back time, we see fathers with large families laboring in dirty, dim factories or mines to bring something, anything home to their families. Mothers struggling to keep house and a job that required 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week. Children as young as four crowded into factories because they were cheap labor. We see the business owners trying to balance the cost of business with profits.

Library of Congress Lewis Hine Collection

We see life. Life in a different era. We struggle not to judge, but use it as an example for our own lives. Gratitude. Gratitude for those who risked everything to change the system. Men like Peter J. McGuire and Matthew Maguire, who are accredited with bringing us what is now known as Labor Day which was established as a federal law 1894. A day for celebrating the accomplishments of American workers.

Lives were altered, ended, supported, and made throughout the history of the industrial revolution. Learning about those lives and their impact on history helps us develop an understanding of the many blessings we have because of those who came before, and the legacy we want to leave for those who come after. #Letthestoriesliveon

Book Recommendations for your personal journey through the industrial revolution through the campaign to better conditions for workers and the enactment of the LABOR DAY HOLIDAY. Enjoy your long weekend. (And thank you to those who will work during the holiday to keep us safe and comfortable.) Use code LABOR19 at checkout for a 15% discount.


Dr. Seuss’s Birthday – Read Across America

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Saturday, March 2, is not only a day to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday, it is also the NEA’s Read Across America event.  Thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers celebrate by bringing together kids, teens, and books.  If you’d like to get involved, you can find out more here.

mullberyStreetDo you remember your first Dr. Seuss book?  The odds are you can’t if your parents started reading to you at a very young age…just as I have done with my children.  But surely we have our favorites.  Wocket in my Pocket (for its silliness), To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street (for the imagination), and of course How the Grinch Stole Christmas (for the change of heart).

Dr. Seuss is not only a star in the book world.  His books have become huge movies and TV shows.  The first Grinch movie came out in 1966, and has been a must-watch movie each year.  Who can forget the song You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch (as sung by Thurl Ravenscroft – he also provided the voice of Tony the Tiger for Frosted Flakes commercials “They’re Great!”)?  Then in 2000, a live-action movie version of the book came out starring Jim Carrey.  And just last year, a new CGI movie version of the book came out under the title The Grinch.  These serves as a reminder of the staying power of Dr. Seuss’s story-telling.

 

Other recent movies include 2003’s The Cat in the Hat, 2008’s Horton Hears a Who!, and 2012’s The Lorax.

catInHatPremiering in 2010, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! is a TV series featuring the voice of Martin Short as the cat who takes Nick and Sally, the Fish, and Thing One and Thing two on adventures in his Thinga-ma-jigger “vehicle.”  The series focuses on science and learning concepts.   A tie-in book series has been published too, exposing another generation to new variations of the Seuss world.

To celebrate Reading Across America and Dr. Seuss’s birthday, we’re having a “Buy 2 Books, Save 15%” promotion.  Enter the coupon code SEUSS19 on the cart page.  Good through March 2, 2019.  And let books take you to all the places you will go.

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New Donation Bins Acquired in the Northeast

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This is great news for our customers and our mission.  Read the release below:

Press Release – For Immediate Release

“Discover Books” acquires book collection bin assets of “Big Hearted Books, LLC.”

BOSTON, MA – BALTIMORE, MD – August 22nd, 2018 – The United States Federal Bankruptcy Court District of Massachusetts Eastern Division recently authorized the sale of the collection box assets of Big Hearted Books and Clothing, LLC, aka Got Books, to Discover Books, a Baltimore-based organization, with operations throughout the United States and Canada.  These collection boxes service the Northeast including Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York.

“This acquisition furthers our mission to provide gently used, affordable books to consumers and donations to our literacy partners.  Moreover, it strengthens our ability to responsibly recycle remainders for reuse providing an essential service for the residents of the Northeast,” states Gary Broache, CEO of Discover Books.

Since the bankruptcy of Big Hearted Books, many of the collection boxes have not been serviced resulting in many questions and concerns for the hosts.  “With the recent court authorization occurring on August 20th, we are committed to making all efforts to service partner locations,” states Mr. Broache.  “The additional and timely servicing of over 1,200 new collection boxes is a big task, and we ask for the patience of our new partners while we get our teams rolling.”

Discover Books logistics personnel are already addressing the most urgent service needs while doing a comprehensive review of all locations in an effort to find, identify and validate the bins and communicate directly with each of the host partners.  “We are committed to our mission and greatly appreciate the loyalty of our new partners,” Broache says.

An 888 toll free number and email address have been established to communicate any partner service needs and questions regarding the recent acquisition.  Please call 888-402-BOOK (2665), or email bins@discoverbooks.com.

Visit us at www.discoverbooks.com to find out more information on our program and find affordable books.

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Discover Books, a for-profit company, is one of the largest online used book sellers and sources of literary donations to charitable organizations in North America.  Discover Books collects used books through thrift stores, library partnerships, residential pick-up operations, and book collection boxes across the U.S. and Canada.  The company resells, donates, or responsibly recycles used books to achieve its mission.  To date, Discover Books has donated more than 12 million books to those in need and has diverted over 500 million pounds of books from landfills.

Young Adults’ Recommended Reading (by Kate)

As the primary IT guy for our website, one of the benefits my family enjoys is ordering books when I make code changes to DiscoverBooks.com. After a change, I always order a test book (to make sure everything still works properly). My daughter and wife fight about who gets the next “free” book (free to them – of course I pay for books just as everyone else does, after checking our social media and email campaigns for a coupon code). My 11-year-old daughter wrote a blog post about the books/series she likes the most:

Greetings, fellow readers! My name is Kate. I am in the sixth grade, and here are some of my middle school reading recommendations:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

I started to read the first (of five books in the series) in the summer before fifth grade. It had been sitting on my shelf, and I decided to bring it along on a trip. Once I started reading it, I could not put it down. It is beautifully written and absolutely hilarious. I finished it at the beginning of the school year, and I was very excited to read the next book in the series. While reading, you will learn about Greek mythology. I already knew some Greek mythology before I read this series, but Riordan brought the characters to life for me. You’ll learn about Poseidon, Zeus, Medusa, Athena, Hera, Demeter, Ares, and many more including cool monsters and Titans. One of my favorite chapters is about Aunty Em’s Gnome Emporium, which turns out to be statue shop – with statues that Aunty Em (Medusa) created with her deadly gaze. I gave the books to my mom when I was done and she likes them, although she has to fight my friends for them because they’re all reading them too! Rick Riordan has four other different series right now and I’ve enjoyed them all as well. I’ll talk about them in my next post.

Visit Percy Jackson on Discover Books


Harry Potter by JK Rowling

The Harry Potter series is very well known to readers all around the world (more than 400 million copies sold, in 55 languages — including Latin and Ancient Greek). JK Rowling is the first author to make $1 billion. The series is about a boy who finds out he is a wizard. In every book he goes on a new adventure, usually with his two best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. I like to watch the movies after having read the books to see how they are different. The book is always better. My favorite book from the series is The Goblet of Fire.

In this book, Harry has to compete against wizards from other schools in many challenges. My favorite characters in the books are Hagrid, Cho Chang, and Fleur Delacour. I was lucky to have my mom take me for a weekend to Universal Studios in Florida. We visited the World of Harry Potter. I had butterbeer (it’s like an ice cream float – so good!) and we had a lot of fun exploring Diagon Alley. I highly recommend reading the books (first), watching the movies (second), and visiting Universal (if you can- get the butterbeer and chocolate frogs).

Visit Harry Potter Titles on Discover Books


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games series is probably my favorite series so far this year. It is thrilling and action-packed. The only problem is younger readers may be frightened by the violence that’s described. The story takes place in the future with a country divided into 12 districts that are harshly ruled by an evil president in the capitol. Every year, two children from each district participate in the “games.” They fight each other until only one person is left alive. As the series continues, there is a revolt. The main character, Katniss, becomes the face of the revolt and is nicknamed the Mockingjay (which is the name of the third/final book in the series). For Christmas last year, I got a bow and arrow set – sometimes my dad calls me Kate-nis when I’m practicing. I don’t mind too much. I watched the movies after reading the books. They were good but left out a lot of parts I enjoyed from the books.

Visit Hunger Games Titles on Discover Books


Other series I recommend:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney – I read all these a year or two ago. Easy to read, funny. Good for younger readers.

 

 

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth – I’m reading this now. It is similar to The Hunger Games in some ways.

 

 

 

The Maze Runner by James Dashner – I’m reading this next.

 

Your 2018 Summer Reading List

Every year for the past 30-something years, my mother’s side of the family has come together for a week at the beach. We’ve ranged in numbers from 15 to 45, with ages from one to 75. And while we’ve added family members and lost others, while bathing suit sizes have crept up, and while more folks have reading glasses perched on top of sunglasses, on every beach day, you’ll see a line of us on the shore with books in hand.

Summer reading lists for the beach mean different things to different people. For some it’s picking up a classic they didn’t quite finish in high school but always meant to tackle. For others, it means they now have time to wade deeper into a mystery series.

And there are always one or two uncles with a Tom Clancy or John Sandford paperback pulled waterlogged and dog-eared from the bottom of a bag. But for the majority of us, beach reads equal something lighter in nature, or catching up on the latest New York Times Best Seller that everyone is talking about.

Beach reads can be the paper versions of Lifetime holiday movies. You can generally figure out the plots early and know who is going to end up together. But exploring the complexity of family relationships and travelling to different places feeds right into the summer mood.

In my teenage years, my summer reads were written by Rosamunde Pilcher who, in addition to her most famous book, “The Shell Seekers,” wrote more than 30 novels and story collections over her career.

From there I moved on to a couple of mystery series, choosing a couple of Janet Evanovich or Sue Grafton letters and numbers to pass the time. And now it’s whatever the book club has selected (which can admittedly go either way…).

There are endless online lists of recommended summer reads where you can select by genre or choose based on an author you’ve enjoyed previously. Local libraries often have summer reading programs to encourage reading and are a great source of information as well. We’ve assembled a Popular Reads section where you can browse our top-rated and best-selling books. And when you’ve found your titles to pack in your beach bag, remember to check discoverbooks.com to make your beach budget stretch even further. Stock up on all of the best books for summer with our selections below:

Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy’s classic techno military thriller, Rainbow Six, focuses on an elite counter-terrorism unit led by one of Clancy’s lesser used characters, John Clark. This is one Clancy’s more standout novels and a great example of the tech thriller of the late 90s early 2000s. It’s a beast at around 900 pages, but a veritable page-turner.

Shop Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy

Broken Prey by John Sandford

John Sanford is the king of the serial novel genre, and perhaps his most notable series is the Prey Series which features Lucas Davenport as the main protagonist. Stretching across 28 books, the Prey Series, follows Davenport as he navigates life in the Minneapolis Police Department. Broken Prey is the 16th book in the series and puts Davenport and the reader in a chase with one of the most ruthless killers in the Prey series.

Shop Broken Prey by John Sandford

Two For The Dough by Janet Evanovich

Two for the Dough is a book by Janet Evanovich in the Stephanie Plum series and spent 36 weeks at the Top 150 best-seller list. This novel features corrupt funeral home owners, embalmed body parts in the mail, and not-to-be-underestimated grandmothers, as well as the introduction of “Big Blue,” the only car to remain unscathed throughout the Plum series.

Shop Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich

Shell Seekers by Rosamond Pilcher

Shell Seekers is a time agnostic novel that follows the main character, Penelope Kneeling, as she examines her life in her 60s. Told through impressionistic flashbacks and multiple points of view, this novel has been a long-running best-seller, especially in author Rosamond Pilcher’s home in the UK. While not a page-turning serial thriller, this is a great summer read if you’re looking for something with a little bit more emotional depth and less action.

Shop Shell Seekers by Rosamond Pilcher

X (A Kinsey Millhone Novel) by Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Series features detective Kinsey Millhone and is set in California. X is the only title in the series to not have been followed by a word in her now famous title styles (A is for Alibi). Written in the classic hard boiled detective genre, X is set in 1980s California and follows Millhone as she tracks down a sociopathic serial killer.

Shop X by Sue Grafton

May is Short Story Month

For those of us without a lot of time to read – or perhaps readers like me who have books all over the house and want to be able to pick up and put down something if we have a few minutes to spare – short story collections are the perfect solution to get your reading fix without having to read hundreds of pages.

Most of us were introduced to short stories in high school. Whether the suspense of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, the heartbreaking brilliance of Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron or the mind-bending consequences in Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder, short stories introduced younger readers to the possibilities of fiction without sacrificing language, plot, or characters.

Today, short story collections are everywhere. They allow you to explore new genres and authors without the commitment of wading through a longer novel, but with all the satisfaction of finishing a great story. Once you’ve got short story authors that you really like, you can expand your reading list to novel authors you’ve enjoyed and of whom you’d like to read more.

Since May is Short Story Month, we’re showcasing some of our favorite short story picks for our readers.

Ernest Hemingway’s The Nick Adams Stories

Ernest Hemingway is widely considered the grandfather of the modern short story. He has a number of famous short story collections, like In Our Time, but we’d like to point you in the direction of The Nick Adams Stories. This posthumous collection features stories published – and some unpublished – throughout Hemingway’s life. This is one of our favorite collections of short stories to read that are a little off the beaten path.

JD Salinger’s Nine Stories

JD Salinger is widely known for his anti-hero classic, A Catcher in the Rye. He followed his breakout novel with a collection of short stories called “Nine Stories.” It included “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” which was originally published in the New Yorker Magazine a couple years before Catcher came out. This collection was surprising popular (and financially successful) for a collection of short stories and kept Salinger’s literary star in the spotlight as the famous author slid into the seclusion.

Stephen King’s Night Shift

Night Shift was Stephen King’s first published collection of short stories. Published right after the success of the Shining, Night Shift features 20 of King’s stories, some previously published by various magazines, others unpublished. Unsurprisingly, many of these stories went on to get film adaptations in Hollywood, including Children of the Corn, Truck, The Lawnmower Man, Graveyard Shift, The Mangler, and Cat’s Eye.

Roald Dahl’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More

Roald Dahl has penned children’s classics such as James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but what many Dahl fans don’t realize is that he also wrote several short story collections from the point of view of children. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More is a collection of short stories written for a slightly older audience than the majority of his famous children’s books, leaning more young adult than elementary school aged readers.

 

 

 

Honorable Mentions:

Short Story Categories:

Whether science fiction, classics, horror, Southern literature, or modern authors, there’s sure to be a collection out there that feeds your enjoyment of reading. Check out all of our short story collections here.

Parents Survival Guide While Kids Are Away at College…”Sniffle, Sniffle”…

It’s that time of year again when the children are back in school and for school-age children and even high schooler’s, that means that parents are probably doing a little bit of a happy dance…don’t deny it, you’re a little excited even if you don’t want to admit it.

But what about the parents of kids in college? ESPECIALLY freshmen college students who have recently left the nest for the first time?! In the excitement and chaos that came with packing up their new college student and getting them off safely, no one stopped to think about the parents and how hard it must have been to see their children leave!

Popsugar.com even posted an article recently about our former POTUS, Barack Obama, and how he cried when Malia left for college. The Secret Service would likely deny any knowledge of this but Barack came out and said,

“I dropped off Malia at college, and…it was a little bit like open-heart surgery. I was proud that I did not cry in front of her.  But on the way back, the Secret Service was off, looking straight ahead, pretending they weren’t hearing me as I sniffled and blew my nose. It was rough.”

You can read the full article here but I would imagine that a lot of parents can relate and while those with younger children in school look forward to a little, teeny bit of extra free time to get things done, those with college students are probably scrambling….looking for anything and everything that they can do to get their mind off of their son/daughter being gone.

So today, you are in luck. We have listed below the top 3 books that will help you cope, understand and make the most of the time that you spend away from your (all grown up) little baby!

Check them out below at www.DiscoverBooks.com for next to nothing so that you can keep your emotions AND your wallet in-tact until Christmas break!! YAY!!

1) Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years by Helen E. Johnson

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2) You’re On Your Own (But I’m Here if You Need Me) by Marjorie Savage

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3) Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn

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