For Immediate Release! ***Update***

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Writers are amazing people. And as a passionate reader and lover of books, I can’t thank writers enough  for enriching my life.

In the past six months so many writers, authors, editors, publishers and publicists have reached out to me to read and review all kinds of books, many of which you have read at here at The Book Self ( thanks to Good Reads, various Social Media and my presence on Book Blogger List for leading these bookish types to my blog).

I still have quite a few books to read and review-a bounty of riches! So I can’t possibly get to all book review requests. (Plus there is my off-line life I need to handle).

So I’m announcing a way to help writers market and promote their work. If interested please do the following:

  • 1) Please send me a brief synopsis of a book you’d like to promote (3-5 paragraphs) with any important links (website, social media, Amazon, IndieBound, etc.)
  • 2) Send to the email thebookself@yahoo.com with Book Marketing/Publicity in the subject line
  • 3) If possible please send me a copy of the book jacket, a photo of yourself and a brief bio about you and your writing history.

Once again, thank you for reaching out to me regarding your books. I will do my best to get your entries posted at The Book Self.

Warmest regards,

Bookish Jen

***Due to some increased activity in my life, I can do only around 1-2 marketing and publicity pieces per month. As for book reviews, I prefer to read books in old school form and have them mailed to me via the post office.***

 

 

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Book Review: You Play the Girl-On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks & Other Mixed Messages by Carina Chocano

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Is there a book you wish you had written? Is there a book you would have written if you had the ambition? Well, thank goodness Carina Chocano had both the desire and motivation to write a book and that book is her collection of essays You Play the Girl-On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks & Other Mixed Messages.

I love pop culture, and I’ve been studying and writing about pop culture since I was in high school. But despite my mad love for film, TV shows, music, and obviously books, I’ve often been dismayed (if not downright pissed off) on how girls and women are portrayed in these various works, and how they affect society and those we care about.

Chocano shares this loathing and wonders these same issues and writes about this in this dazzling collection of essays (which also acts as a caring and concerned love letter to her daughter, Kira).

After a brief introduction, You Play the Girl is divided into four distinctive parts:

Part One: Down the Rabbit Hole covers topics like Playboy bunnies, the classic Good Housekeeping column, “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” and MTV-inspired movie Flashdance.

Part Two: The Pool of Tears muses on the concepts such topics like ingénues and bad girls.

Part Three: You Wouldn’t Have Come Here, Chocano writes about the surrealism of the “Real Housewives,” awkward men who choose “Real Girls” over real-live women, and the singular, life-changing journey of redemption of eating, praying and loving.

In in Part Four: Mad Tea Party, Chocano acknowledges girls love math even if Barbie claims, “Math is hard,” women as a trainwreck, the phenomenon of the Disney movie Frozen and wraps up things with her desire for a feminist dance number (personally, I suggest bellydancing).

There are several reasons why I Iove You Play the Girl. First, Chocano is an excellent writer. Sure, she’s technically proficient but most importantly she has a distinctive voice, down to earth, wise, but also funny and charming. Plus, she just makes you think. Her essays are deeply researched and make you reflect on how pop culture affects you in ways you never thought possible whether it comes to classic sitcoms like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie to the current day of reality television with its collection of real housewives, bachelors and bachelorettes.

Chocano also has interesting opinions when it comes to classic movies like The Philadelphia Story and a movie I hope is never considered a classic Pretty Woman. And when it comes to how boys and girls are portrayed coming of age books, films and TV shows, Chocano sums things up with this passage:

“In the male coming-of-age story, the boy creates himself. In the female coming-of-age story, the girl is created by forces around her”

She questions why in an age of diversity and women making strides in business, academia, politics, technology, activism, arts and entertainment, and business our definition of what makes a woman attractive and sexy grows more and more narrow.

Chocano likewise has a very interesting take on women’s magazines and how they prey upon women’s insecurities and perceived failings as wives, mothers, workers, and just human beings as a whole even in this age of “You go, girl!”

Throughout, You Play the Girl, Chocano looks at the details but also gives us the big picture on so many attention-grabbing topics. Simply put, You Play the Girl is one of the best books I’ve this year.

 

 

 

Writer’s Block

Leslie Caron BookJust a quick update on what’s going on in my life. Needless to say I’ve been busy, busy, busy with various personal and professional activities. One cool thing is I’ve been called to do publicity and marketing for my church’s little bookshop. So far I’ve written a publicity piece for the church’s monthly newsletter and I’ve designed a flyer. I’m also going to write a book review, which I will post at The Book Self asap.

And as many of you know I design jewelry and I’ve sold a couple of pieces and I’ve been commissioned to design more pieces. In the new year I hope to get further into my jewelry selling business, just have to figure out some financial issues together.

As for this blog, well I just finished reading three books and will post my reviews in the coming weeks along other book-related goodness.

Book Marks

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1. The Obamas are adapting a Trump-related book for Netflix.

2. Former Barnes and Noble CEO accused of sexually harassing multiple women.

3. Finding your creative flow during NaNoWriMo.

4. How do move a small book store? With a chain of hundred book lovers, of course.

5. Didn’t win the 1.6 billion Mega Millions lottery? Me, neither. But here are some books who put the odds in perspective.

6. Apparently throwing yourself on a pile of open books is a thing.

7. Books that take you inside political campaigns.

8. New cocktail books for mixologists of all kinds.

9. New book takes a look at the complicated history of the TV show Friends.

10. Rebecca Solnit is “naming problem.”

 

Book Review: Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

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I’ve been a feminist since a tender age and not ashamed to admit it. And in the age of Trump bragging about grabbing pussy to the importance of the #MeToo movement, not to mention the Kavanaugh hearings, feminism is more important than ever.

Though some anti-feminist naysayers are still stereotyping feminists as man-hating, pussy hat wearing, slutwalking dykes (or whatever), I know feminists (and feminism itself) are women and men with varying ideas, opinions, and lives who continue to shape and inspire me.

One of these feminists is writer Rebecca Solnit and her book of essays, Men Explain Things to Me. If the title seems familiar it is because Solnit wrote an essay of the same name in 2008 and it hit a nerve with every woman who has to put up with some man who wrongly assume her lady brain didn’t understand certain things, in other words, “mansplaining.”

Starting with her book with the title essay, Solnit’s collection of keenly-observed and passionately-written essays focuses on issues like rape and other sexual violence, global injustice, the meaning of marriage equality and so much more. Most essays are brief, but pack a wallop of thoughts that at are turns funny and tragic. And Solnit is smart enough to back up her essays with references and facts.

While reading Men Explain Things to Me I found myself nodding my head in agreement with Solnit’s evocative and intelligent musings, thinking to myself, “Yes, I’ve felt this way, too. I’m not the only one.” Or I found myself shaking my head, as if to say, “Damn, things are still messed up. What can we possibly do?”

Fortunately, in the final chapter, Solnit provides guidance on how we can join forces to make things better for women in our communities and throughout the globe.

Men Explain Things to Me is a slim volume but packs a meaty punch to feminism and is food for thought for feminists of all kinds.

 

“Author!Author!” An Interview With Children’s Author Brett Fleishman

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Brett Fleishman loves to make children laugh and one way he does this is through his books for children of all ages. His books mix whimsical word play with creative illustrations, jokes, and puzzles.

Brett’s latest creations include the following:

1. Toilet Trouble (for beginners)

2. Take a Hike! (for intermediate readers)

3. Bedtime Story (for advanced readers)

Brett was kind enough to grant me an interview and here it is. Enjoy!

  1. How long have you been writing? What inspired you to write?

I started writing children’s poetry four years ago.  Prior to that, I had never written a poem.  In fact, up until then, I didn’t know the creative side of my brain existed!  Unfortunately, it was a stressful personal situation, going through the early stages of a divorce that inspired me to write.  At that time, I was desperately looking for a way to escape from the anxiety around the divorce.  Writing children’s poetry was that escape.  I guess everything happens for a reason.

  1. Why do focus on books for children?

Because I am a kid at heart.  And I relate to children incredibly well.  I’m not convinced my maturity level is too much higher than a 12-year old’s.  So it’s a perfectly natural target audience for me.  I was always the class clown / goofball growing up.  I kind of still am?

  1. Describe your latest books?

My latest three books, which will be released on Nov 8 through amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and indiebound.org, are designed for beginner (grades K-2), intermediate (grades 3-5), and advanced (grades 5-7) readers, respectively.  Each book is the second volume in a series of books I am writing for each of these three reading levels.  Each book contains a collection of humorous poems with bright, colorful illustrations.  The intermediate and advanced books are humorous, but also very educational since many of the poems employ word plays (puns and idioms).  In the appendices of these books, I include a section that explains what puns and idioms are, and then explain, poem by poem, how the puns and idioms were used in the poems.  Educators and parents seem to really appreciate this aspect of my books.

  1. What challenges do you face as a writer?

Finding the time to write is my biggest challenge.  While I would absolutely love for this to become my full-time job, right now, unfortunately, it’s not.  I have an M.B.A. in finance and work in the investment industry.  (I’m guessing there aren’t too many investment poets out there.)  I also spend a lot of time with my two sons and play competitive tennis.  So carving out time to write is my biggest challenge, for sure.

  1. What are the reactions to your books?

Generally speaking, the feedback has been extremely positive.  I have had a lot of parents and educators tell me that my poetry is very high-quality.  They like the fact that my poems are not only designed to make children laugh, but also to make children think.  For me, that’s what makes writing poetry so much fun. 

  1. What advice would you give to other writers?

I would give other writers the same advice I give myself:  Don’t get frustrated.  Don’t give up.  Believe in what you do.  This is a very tough industry to break into.  I like to read about all of the super-famous authors who were rejected time after time after time before finally being recognized for their work.  If you aren’t persistent and confident in yourself, you aren’t going to last in this business very long.

  1. What are your future plans?

For Thanksgiving?  Or for Christmas?  Or for New Year’s?  Oh, you mean future plans as a writer?  Ah, right…   So once these three books are published in November, I will have finished publishing six books in a little more than a year.  I’m proud of that, but I’m also exhausted?  My first six books all contain collections of poems.  But I’ve also written a handful of fairly long poems that I am planning to publish as standalone books.  One of them, which is called ‘Chasing Santa Claus,’ I am planning to publish in late 2019.  I have hundreds of unpublished poems still, so after ‘Chasing Santa Claus,’ I am planning to publish many more beginner, intermediate, and advanced children’s poetry books starting in 2020 — and continuing on for the next decade (or two).

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