Category Archives: Reading

Watch the Movie, then read the Book

November 29, 2010

Back in the days of my youth–the ancient days of the 1990s–I made a great discovery. Ah yes, I remember it fondly, it was a few days after I had seen David Fincher’s Fight Club and I was wandering around the book store at my local mall. I scrutinized the science fiction section and found nothing to read. I checked the comic section and found nothing to read. I looked in the literature section and found Brad Pitt and Edward Norton staring at me from the cover of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. So I bought it and read it. And then I realized that I should always read novels after I’ve seen their movie adaptation.


I liked reading Fight Club after watching the movie adaptations because it didn’t ruin any expectations. I knew the book would be better. Palahniuk’s poetic prose was better than anything the movie had to offer. The characters were richer and darker. The themes of anti-consumerism and isolation are more focused. The book is just better. Except for the ending; I like the movie’s ending.

I tested my theory with other books and it continued to work just as well. I stumbled across Richard Hooker’s MASH. I love Richard Altman’s movie so I gave the novel a try. Once again, I loved the novel. And I never felt any frustration that the movie isn’t a direct copy of the book.

So there’s my advice. Watch a movie then read the novel. It seems counter intuitive until you realize that a copy is rarely as good as the original. Hopefully, this idea can eliminate some frustration in the future.

Found! Babies!

November 1, 2010

A small baby collection!

I can understand using a picture of your baby as a bookmark. If you get bored mid-sentence, you glance over at that sweet cherub and smile. Unfortunately, boring books means you leave your bookmark between the covers, it gets sent off to a warehouse such as ours, where one of us finds it, takes pictures of it and posts it on our company blog.

Are any of these yours?

What else have you used in place of a “real” bookmark?

Banned Books Week

September 28, 2010

American Library Association's Banned Books Week Poster 2010

Imagine walking into your favorite bookstore or library and finding certain titles- Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Judy Blume’s  “Forever”, J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye”, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, just to name a few- missing from the shelves not because of budget cuts or any financial reasons but because they were banned.

Scary thought, right?

In these modern times we live in, you wouldn’t think literary censorship still occurs. But it does. Only recently in Stockton, Missouri, Sherman Alexie’s Young Adult novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian” was removed from schools citing objectionable language and sexual content. In Texas, Ellen Hopkins was uninvited from the Teen Lit Festival because her novels tackled topics that were deemed age inappropriate.

Due to language, violence, sex, the topic itself, or even just a different viewpoint, lots of people will find something unacceptable in many books. That’s fine. Unfortunately, there are also people that band together to demand these types of books be banned from schools, libraries and bookstores. That’s not fine. They may have the best intentions but if their challenges result in actual banning, others are denied the opportunity of reading the books and forming their own opinions.

Banned Books Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of this issue and to make sure censorship doesn’t occur. It’s a constant battle and not always successful. As readers, we have to do our part. Back in Texas, with the whole Ellen Hopkins controversy, several authors who were slated to appear at the Teen Lit Festival withdrew to show support. The event has since been cancelled.

BannedBooksWeek.org is a great resource to find more information in regards to its history and purpose, actions on what’s being done to combat literary censorship, and lists of banned and challenged books.

Share your thoughts with us on your favorite banned books and celebrate your freedom to read!

5 Annoying Things My Cat Does When I Try To Read

June 28, 2010

Reading is great. I like reading. Cats are great. I like cats. Combining the two can be a pain in the neck. My cat loves attention. If I’m paying attention to anything other than him, he gets jealous. He even gets jealous of the books that I read.

1. Petting Himself with Books.

Whenever my cat sees a free hand he rubs his face against it. I like to think that he’s stealing some petting. Usually, I think it’s cute and scratch his head. It’s not so cute when I’m on the couch with a book in my hands trying to read. He rubs his head against the book and I lose my place.

2. Biting the Books

When rubbing books doesn’t get the results he wants, the cat moves to more drastic measures. He bites the books, mostly around the spines or the book edges. Maybe he thinks it’s a new pet vying for my affections. I imagine this creates much anxiety in him and he must kill the new pet.

3. Sitting in Front of the Books.

If he can’t kill the new pet, the cat will climb on my lap and sit in front of the book. He does this when I sit at my computer, too. He sits nobly and stares at me. Almost as if he’s reminding me that cats were worshiped in ancient Egypt.

4. Running Like Mad

After I explain to the cat that I’m not going to worship him, I pick him up and put him on the ground. He’ll wander around aimlessly for a bit, and then suddenly remember that he’s supposed to annoy me. He starts running around; darting back and forth. Leaping on and off me like I’m part of an obstacle course.

5. Meowing

Eventually, he’ll run down the hall. And get lost. I don’t know how he gets lost; he’s less than ten feet away from me. But he can’t find me, so he starts meowing and meowing. Then, he paws at the bedroom door, because he thinks I’m in there. But I’m still on the couch. So I take pity on him and call him over. He sprints over and jumps on the couch and settles down for a nap. And then I finally get to read my book.

Summer Reading

June 25, 2010

Do you remember the scene in “Grease” where John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John’s characters broke out into song about what they did during their summer vacation? I think it went a little something like this…

OK, so that didn’t really happen in the movie.

Wouldn’t it be cool though if people sang the praises of summer reading? Fortunately, there have been recent studies doing just that- albeit without the musical numbers. The reports indicate that kids who read over the summer have better retention on what they’ve just learned and an advantage for the following school year.

I know reading is the last thing on young people’s minds during this time of year. But there are more and more incentives out there for them to pick up a book.

Libraries nationwide are inviting kids and teens to “make a splash” and participate in the many summer reading programs they are offering. In turn, there are prizes to be won based on how many books or pages they read.

Some bookstores are giving out free books after kids read a certain amount on their own. Barnes & Noble has partnered with Scholastic and multi-media series “The 39 Clues” to launch their program. Borders, with “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” author Jeff Kinney, has put out a “double-dog dare” challenge for kids to read 10 books this summer.

Grown-ups shouldn’t feel too left out. Some libraries have summer reading programs aimed specifically for adults. At McKenzie Books, we are extending our Facebook and Twitter Book Giveaways to you- our Green Frugal readers. Comment on any post for your chance to win a $5 gift certificate to use on our site. There’ll be one lucky winner per week all summer long!

Showing by example is a great way to get kids to read. So what are you waiting for? What’s on your summer reading list?