San Francisco Book Review

I have some epically exciting news. I will be reviewing professionally for the San Francisco Book Review and I just got my first three titles in the mail. Since I am now going to be spreading the awesome of Bookalicious into the print sector I am super excited. Here are my first three assignments. Click through for descriptions via Goodreads.

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Censorship Week: Susan from Waste Paper Prose

Welcome to Bookalicious and Censorship week. We all know I am a huge advocate for censoring in your own home and leaving others to do what they wish in their own. Instead of giving you post after post of my own opinion, I wanted to bring in some other awesome bloggers to give us their take on censorship and what it means to them personally and their thoughts on what it means to us as a society. Humans through the ages have always banned, censored, rallied against, and protested anything that fell beyond their comfort zones. Whether that zone is in place due to religion, upbringing, or personal morals I have never understood the need to force others to your mentality. As bloggers we have the platform to be anti-censorship. To be a flagship of open content and doing and saying on our own blogs what we see fit. We must outwardly oppose censorship of any piece of literature, even if we are censoring it in our own homes. What if we are the next to be censored? Freedom of journalistic integrity and blogging taken away. What then?

What Susan from Waste Paper Prose has to say:

I’m a first amendment kind of girl. I’m an express-yourself-and-don’t-give-a-damn-what-other-people-think kind of girl. And admittedly, I’m the kind of girl who doesn’t hold back when I’ve got something to say, even when it could get me in trouble.

Opinions matter. They generate debate and spawn ideas. They shake up the status quo, force people to take a deeper look at issues, and hold the potential for solution and innovation. The problem is that sometimes people aren’t terribly keen on hearing the opinions of others.

Therein lies the root of censorship.

It’s a phenomenon that has always fascinated me. Whenever anything forces people to look at something they don’t want to see or consider a point of view that’s not their own then eradication always seems to be the answer. Eliminate the offending material. Wipe it off the face of the Earth. Sweep it under the rug. Forget about it. And most importantly, never consider the possibility that you could learn something.

Trouble is that the quest to do away whatever it is usually creates more buzz. I know my ears perk up when I hear about any instance of censorship. They have since I was a teenager. If it was off limits then I had to see what the big deal was.

That’s how I found Forever by Judy Blume. It was in the top ten on the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books for a decade solid, from 1990-2000, because it contained suggestive language and depictions of teenage sexuality and sexual intercourse. Learning it had been challenged sealed the deal for me. I had to read it. When I did, I wasn’t the least bit shocked or offended. Why? Because it felt real.

In retrospect, the moment I finished that book might have been the same one in which I came to understand that just because something is challenged, censored or banned doesn’t mean that it’s inherently bad. In most cases, it just means that the book, or whatever the item in question may be, pushed boundaries and that someone, somewhere was offended by it.

By no means am I advocating for every controversial book in existence nor am I saying that everyone will value these books or find insight in their pages. What I am saying is censorship isn’t an absolute. It’s the product of opinions. It’s someone saying “you shouldn’t read this because I don’t approve of it”.

Ultimately, you have to make up your own mind.

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Housing Works: Books for Aids Research

So as you all know I was in NYC last week for the Book Expo America Conference. I was so lucky to get into a tour of Scholastic (Thank you Book Blogger Con) and got to the office quite a bit early. Laura and I had quite a bit of time to kill and we happened upon this awesome book store and cafe. When asking more about the store I learned it was all donation ran books with money from sales going to aids research. So watch the video of me with the press representative and then look below for some printed information.

HousingWorks from Marco van Hylckama Vlieg on Vimeo.

You can donate books (by mail even) or volunteer. Visit housing works @ online or by visiting:

128 Crosby Street New York, NY 10012 (212)334-3324

Housing Works is the largest community-based AIDS service organization in the United States, as well as the nation’s largest minority-controlled AIDS service organization. Since our founding in 1990, we have provided lifesaving services, such as housing, medical and mental health care, meals, job training, drug treatment, HIV prevention education, and social support to more than 20,000 homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS.

So visit!

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IMM The first edition

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. This is the first time I am participating and I will be going around commenting after brunch.

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An Open Letter to Self Pubbed Authors

Dear Self Pubbed Author,

It’s not that I hate you or your book, or even that I don’t want to review them here on my site. Because I do really I do. I know how hard you work to try to get the word out about your product, and I understand how hard it is to continually hear the words no over and over. However some of these no’s you are bringing on yourself.

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If you read my review policy it clearly states that I do not accept e-books at this time, so do not email me asking me if I would like to have a pdf copy of your book. The answer is no. If you read my policy it tells you the genre we review here on bookalicio.us, which is YA fiction, even with some names of authors that are comparable. This is because these books are what the target audience at bookalicio.us expect to see. So when you send me a review request for your financial strategy manual, again the answer is no.

A couple of more things before I go. Please do not use Twitter/Facebook/Myspace or any other social media to ask me for reviews, that is to say hello and to let people know what you have going on as an author. I have an about page with a policy and an email address. Oh and don’t spam me, and you know how I know. It’s when I see “undisclosed recipients” instead of my email address there in that little box that says to in the email.

So please bring me your tired, your hungry, and your weary, YA fantasy and fiction self pubbed authors. The rest quit spamming my blog and the blogs of others. Take time to read the review policies and word will get out how awesome you are for doing that.

Thank you,

Pam van Hylckama Vlieg

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