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Monday, May 9, 2011

Guest Post & Giveaway with Alyssa B. Sheinmel, author of The Lucky Kind

Books I Would Have Recommended at Different Ages
by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

The Beautiful BetweenI always have trouble when people ask me what my favorite book is. I have too many favorite books to answer the question in fewer than, say, 10 pages. It’s not that I don’t have a favorite book; it’s that the answer to that question changes all the time.

The Baby-Sitters ClubBut I love this question beccause I do remember which books held that favorite spot (however briefly) over the years; the books I would have recommended at the different ages of my life. When I was nine-years-old, I would have told you that you had to read The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin. Those were the first books I ever loved; they were the books that first allowed me to call myself a reader. I even wrote my college admissions essay about the series and the first line was: “I owe everything I am to The Baby-Sitters Club.”

Jane Eyre (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage Classics)At thirteen, I would have told you that you had to read Jane Eyre. We read it in my eighth grade English class, one chapter a week. I got into trouble because I read the book too fast; I finished at least a month ahead of schedule. But I just couldn’t pace myself, reading that story. I didn’t want to stop reading. I think my teacher was worried that I’d forget the key points of the story by the time exams came around. But I still remember that book so clearly, and I still love it because there are so many different ways to read the story (e.g. Mr. Rochester: dreamy or ghastly?), so it always feels new to me.

Prozac Nation (Movie Tie-In)At seventeen, I would have told you that you had to read Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel and Wasted by Marya Hornbacher. That was the age when I discovered memoirs by girls who weren’t all that much older than I was, and already had so much to say. These books were like nothing else I’d read before: nothing else had ever been quite this personal, nothing else had ever been quite so raw. I had never felt as close to the author as I did reading those two books. Years later, I got to meet Marya Hornbacher; I can still remember trying to tell her the impact that her book had had on my life (and falling all over myself in the process).

At twenty-one, I would have told you, with absolute conviction, that you had to read A Moveable Feast. If you’d responded that you didn’t like Ernest Hemingway, I would have said that you only didn’t like him because you hadn’t yet read A Moveable Feast. It was – and frankly, it still is – impossible for me to imagine anyone disliking that book. The Lucky KindI was convinced that no one had ever written as beautifully as he did in those pages: no one had ever explained so well what oysters tasted like, no one had ever understood F. Scott Fitzgerald’s talent so perfectly, and no one had ever been as in love as Hemingway had been with his first wife, Hadley (even if their love didn’t last). That book made me want to go to Paris; it made me want to fall in love; it made me, the way the best books do, want to be a better writer. It taught me that Ernest Hemingway, famous for his spare writing, was capable of lovely, elegant, and even occasionally florid (but always perfectly so) turns of phrase.

A Moveable Feast: The Restored EditionI am one of those irritating people who will tell you that I have gained something from every book I’ve ever read, even those I didn’t particularly like (even those I very particularly disliked). I really do think that they all have something to teach me. There are so many different ways to tell your story; some books make me feel closer to the type of writer I want to be, and some show me just how many ways there are to write that I can’t even dream of attempting. But that doesn’t bother me, because I am so much more a reader than I will ever be a writer: I can imagine my life without writing in it, but I cannot imagine my life without reading.

Alyssa B. Sheinmel was born in Stanford, California. She is a graduate of New York City's Spence School and Barnard College.

Alyssa lives in New York City and works in children's book publishing. The Beautiful Between is her first novel.
Official Website


1 copy of 
The Lucky Kind by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (courtesy of Random House)

The Lucky Kind

High school junior Nick Brandt is intent on getting a girlfriend, and Eden Reiss is the one that he wants. He has exactly four semesters to get the girl, but when the phone rings on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday night, life for Nick and his parents will never be the same. What had been a seemingly idyllic home life has become something else entirely. But with this shake-up comes a newfound confidence for Nick; he's become a bolder version of himself, no longer afraid to question his parents, and no longer afraid to talk to Eden.

Alyssa B. Sheinmel has written a powerfully gripping story about family secrets, falling in love, and finding luck in unexpected--and sometimes unwelcome—circumstances.

Official Rules:
1.You must be 13 year or older to enter and a BLOG FOLLOWER.
2. Open to entrants with a valid U.S. mailing address only. 
3. Entries must be received by Midnight EST on May 20th 2011.
4.To enter to win, simply fill out the form below.


Bethie said...

THanks for the giveaway. I enjoyed reading your recommendations. Jane Eyre is my all time fav.

I follow on GFC

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

THanks for the giveaway. I enjoyed reading your recommendations. Jane Eyre is my all time fav.

I follow on GFC

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Irene Sun said...

Thanks for the giveaway and the Guest Post. I'll check out those books that have been recommended! Thanks again!

Irene S.

Meredith said...

Sounds good. It's rare that the "phone call" is what makes us stronger. Sometimes it takes some time before that strength appears.

Catherine Stine said...

Good post! Yes, I was really into Hornbacher too.

Tiffany Drew said...

I loved this. I also can never come up with one favorite book. There are so many books and so many different genres that it is important to narrow it down to just one. I really enjoyed hearing about her favorites and how they have changed based on the changes in her life.

khashway said...

Great interview and contest. Thanks for offering.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I enjoyed reading about the books you liked at different ages.

Very nice post.

Roshini said...

An awesome guest post! Can't wait for your book! Thanks for visiting!

-Divya L. (Roshini)

Vivien said...

Ernest Hemingway's life story is just so despairing. But wonderful at the same time.

~The Book Pixie said...

I loved the Babysitter Club Books when I was younger. I, too, read Jane Eyre for the first time in 8th grade, but by choice, and I loved it! I'll definitely have to see about reading A Moveable Feast. Excellent guest post and thanks for the giveaway!


Sophie said...

I loved Hemingway when I read him in high school but I don't remember reading A Movable Feast. I'm now putting that on my TBR. Thank you for a inspirational article. :)

mamabunny13 said...

You've got me...I have find out what happened to this family to change their lives. Sounds interesting.
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

Sandy said...

Great post! The BabySitters Club were my first favourite books too I read those from primary school straight into middle school :). I wish I could enter to win this book, its on my TBR but I'm out of the US. I'll buy it though, no doubt about it ^_^.

My Manga Giveaway

latishajean said...

What a great post thank you so much look forward to reading the book sounds very good!

Jennie Smith said...

What a great post! My students are constantly asking what they should read... hence the blog I started. Now that I am thinking about it, I recommend different books to different kids for a variety of reasons. Who they are as a person, as a reader, what mood I am in reader wise, and so many other reasons. This has me thinking about what I would recommend at different ages. I see an entry in my Writer's notebook coming! Thanks so much!!



Carol N Wong said...

Is it difficult to think like a younger person when writing a book?


Hoot said...

I love to hear what people would recommend for different age groups. Thank you for the interview.

Jessy said...

Thanks for the recommendations. It's funny, I never read any Babysitters Club books.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Very cool list!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I loved the BC :)
(not an entry)

Jess (The Cozy Reader) said...

Interesting picks as favorite reads. I haven't read any of them!

Thanks for the giveaway!

Regina said...

I am a true believer that everything that I have read has somehow developed and embedded somewhere in my character. I have kept a piece of each one with me. Something resonates with me from each story. Good or bad.

Margie said...

I cannot imagine my life without reading either!
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a good book. I would love to read it. Thanks for having this giveaway.