Brain downloads

I love reading books. I love the journey, getting to know the characters, the anticipation of what will happen next.

book animated GIF

But then I look at my To Be Read list and I feel downtrodden. I feel like I need to hurry through the book I’m currently reading so I can get to the endless stream of book I just need to read. Sometimes I need to take a break after reading a really good book just to absorb all that imagery and feelings. Then there’s the pile of books and the TBR list on Goodreads yelling at me, “Read me. Read me. READ ME!!!”

I get overwhelmed. Then I wish I could just plug in and download the book directly to my brain, Matrix-style. I could read so many books in just a few minutes. That long list would be gone by lunch!

Then I think the anticipation of what will comes next will be gone. That calm, reflective period after spending a whole night reading a great book would be gone too. Everything that makes a great book even better would be gone. Everything would be gone.

When it comes to reading it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey. And I love the journey, one book at a time.


Images: Giphy

The Final Hobbit Movie will be bittersweet

There is always a war raging in my head when a book is turned into a movie. Will it live up to my imaginings? Will they get the drama, comedy, etc. right? How much will it change? I feel a lot of angst when going to see a movie based off a book I really loved.

However, I really enjoyed The Hobbit book and I really like the movies – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – as well. I like seeing how some of the characters have changed or developed to bring more drama and comedy to the movies. There were so many characters in the book that I felt there wasn’t enough time to get to know them.

Don’t get me wrong some of the scenes in the book were so much better than in the movie; such as, when they get stuck in the woods with the giant spiders. We can see more of Bilbo’s challenges and his desire to help his new friends. And let’s not forget about all the songs!

The ending of the book was perfect and I felt the same as Bilbo and Gandalf as they made their way home. There are a few parts of the ending I hope they change in the movie though, especially since the characters in the movie are such good eye candy. Yeah, I said it. Some of those dwarves are hotties!

This last movie has even more meaning for me. My father died in October 2012. In honor of our’s father’s December birthday, my brother and I always go see a movie together. My dad loved going to the movies and it was tradition to see one on birthdays. My brother and I have seen the previous Hobbit movies on dad’s birthday. This will be the first time since my dad’s death that I will not be with my brother watching the last Hobbit movie. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will be bittersweet in more ways than one.

Why you get lost in a book

I found this article on Bustle written by Caitlin White and thought it was spot on! (Hopefully, they won’t get mad I re-posted the article.)

tumblr_m3bi93ZCuX1qgu7y5o1_500Image: Kellie on Segulla

Here’s The Scientific Reason Why You Get Lost In a Book

Ever had that experience reading a novel when you become so absorbed that you forget to each lunch or you miss your subway stop? Or you’re turning the pages so fast when you look up the house has gotten dark around you, and you realize you’ve been squinting to see the words. You probably call it “getting lost in a book,” and we could all probably name a novel that has caused this to happen. No surprises here, but many people mention J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series as making them victims of this absorption.

For the first time, bookish neurologists have looked into what causes people to get lost in a book, and they’ve used Harry Potter books as research. A team of researchers and scientists lead by psychologist Chun-Ting Hsu at Free University of Berlin in Germany studied brain reactions to particular passages in the Harry Potter books to see if certain types of excerpts facilitated the immersive experience.

The result was the “fiction feeling hypothesis,” which the research team describes as:

According to the fiction feeling hypothesis, narratives with emotional contents invite readers more to be empathic with the protagonists and thus engage the affective empathy network of the brain, the anterior insula and mid-cingulate cortex, than do stories with neutral contents.

For us non-scientists, it essentially means emotionally charged book passages → empathy with the book characters → brain engagement → getting lost in a book.

OK, so the key to unlocking the immersive reading experience is point A: emotionally charged book passages. What do these entail? First of all, the scientists studied four-line passages from Harry Potter — some were neutral, as in exposition, and others were fear-inducing.

One guess as to which of the two causes more people to get lost in a book… you’re right. It’s the latter.

Take for example, two passages from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The study didn’t disclose which excerpts were used, but it’s not hard to imagine what they were like.

Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways. For one thing, he hated the summer holidays more than any other time of the year. For another, he really wanted to do his homework but was forced to do it in secret, in the dead of night. And he also happened to be a wizard.

And then there’s passage No. 2:

Harry’s eyes darted downward, and what he saw made his stomach contract. There was a hand protruding from the cloak and it was glistening, grayish, slimy-looking, and scabbed, like something dead that had decayed in water…But it was visible only for a split second. As though the creature beneath the cloak sensed Harry’s gaze, the hand was suddenly withdrawn into the folds of its black cloak.

Even Muggles know that Dementors are terrifying, so yes, the second passage, in this theory, is the kind of writing that will cause you to miss your subway stop.

And not only that, but the latter passage also triggers completely different neural pathways than the former, leading much more clearly to the empathy portions of your brain.

So what does this mean? Well no, it can’t yet tell us how to make an entire book immersive, because if there isn’t any exposition at all we’d be all so confused about the book’s plot that it would be hard to get lost in it. But it does showcase how books not only teach empathy, but the types of writing that can boost empathy even more.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever read The Fault in Our Stars, that reading fear-inducing text — and yes, fear doesn’t have to be scary monsters, but it can be existential, too — can make you cry and feel empathy.

But it’s these kinds of studies that can only enhance people understanding the importance of reading, particularly among children as their brains age and advance. And it’s a positive first step toward researching reading and emotion, showing that no, we book nerds aren’t crazy — maybe we’re just addicted.

Images: Giphy (3)

Why I love reading Young Adult Books


When I was in elementary/middle school teachers would confiscate my books because I was reading instead of listening to them. But I just couldn’t help myself. The story would get so good I could not put it down. I longed for LEAP or other standardized testing days because that was the only time I was allowed to read what ever I wanted in class.

I remember staying up late reading Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, Encyclopedia Brown, or The Baby-Sitter’s Club. Once my parents fell asleep I would sit next to a night-light in my room to read. I was too old for a night-light but it was a good source of light to read from and didn’t make my parents suspicious.

While reading I wanted to be the characters or one of their friends. I wanted to be IN the book and a part of the story. I would adopt the mannerisms or sayings from my favorite characters. After the story ended I was so sad. I would use my imagination to continue the story in my head. I guess that’s why I like series books.

As an adult I still read young adult books but now I appreciate the end of the story. I find a great ending can be euphoric in some ways. Young adult books also make me nostalgic for my youth. It was a time when you had no real problems but everything seemed to be the end of the world.


There is so much a writer can do with a YA story.  Kids have imaginations that are willing to accept anything. Life and experiences haven’t inhibited their imaginations yet. Whole worlds with different rules and laws can be created in these types of books. Plus an author can add different genres to every story. A YA book can be fantasy, sci-fi, romance, mystery, thriller, comedic and many more all rolled into one. And if it’s written just right it can conjure just as many feelings as well.


I’m really looking forward to this year’s BookExpo America. To meet other adults who share my passion for YA. I can’t wait to hear the authors speak at the Children’s Book & Author Breakfast; or go to sessions dedicated to children’s and YA books or hear how editors knew a certain YA title was perfect for their list. Here are few more sessions I can’t wait to attend:

While at BEA I will be tweeting about what I learn and what kind of swag I’ll be snagging. Follow me on Twitter here.

Hopefully my apartment won’t look like this after BEA:

But then again…

Union Square Excursion (part 1)

Union Square

Today I enjoyed the beautiful NYC weather while visiting Union Square. My roommate and I got a bagel and coffee first at The Bean.

The baristas were very helpful.  I don’t like the taste of strong coffee, so I usually stick to Folgers Coffee or McDonald’s coffee. The barista recommended a café au lait with almond milk.  Once I added six Equal packets it was pretty good.

Strand Bookstore

After filling our bellies we visited Strand Bookstore.

The legendary bookstore boasts “18 miles of new, used and rare books.”  It does not disappoint.  I felt at home surrounded by all those books.  It made me happy to see so many people enjoying the books.  I did notice quite a few people get annoyed when I said “excuse me” to get by them in a narrow aisle, but I decided since they were enjoying the books so much to let it slide.

I found Christmas cards that were New York themed and a T-shirt that my brother will love. I also found a great collection of old books. They were

Inside Strand Bookstrore

leather bound with gold embossed pages.

While walking around I came across published versions of several of my Advanced Reader Copy books.  Many of my ARC copies did not have complete artwork so it was great to see the finished product.

I plan of visiting Strand quite often. If you are a bibliophile this would be a great place to visit on your next trip to The Big Apple.

Which U.S. President was born in New York City? Find out tomorrow when I tell you more about my Union Square Excursion.

Hi, My name is Liberty and I’m a Book Hoarder

If you met me on the street today you would think, “now she is a wonderful woman who has her head on straight.”

But back home I have a secret. I am a book hoarder. There I have said it. Ahhhh, I feel better.

Bookcase #1

I don’t plan on changing. I love reading and I feel better when I am surrounded by books.

A home is not a home without wall-to-wall books.  I have three bookcases in the living room and two stacks of books in my room. My roommate thinks I need to be like Beyonce, who bought an apartment for her shoes except mine would have books.

Yes, my books are in alphabetical order.

Bookcase #2

Luckily for my roommate I have cleaned out a box full of books that I know I will not be able to read.

I do give away books I have already read and know I will not read again. So, technically I’m not a real hoarder.

I also went through all the books at my parents’ house and decided to get rid of a whole bookcase of books. I still have a lot more there though.

Bookcase #3

If you look at my page titled Books Read in 2012 you will see I do a lot of reading. My goal is to read 53 books this year.  I am close to my goal.

Right now I am taking a break from reading all those books in my bookshelves because I have a thesis due in December and I need to finish it.

When I read everything is put on hold until the last page is turned.

Stack of unread books

You are probably wondering why I don’t get e-books.  I don’t like the screens.

I stare at computers all day at work and for school and the last thing I want to do when I am trying to escape into a book is stare at a screen.

Stack of read books

However, I did just get Life of Pi and Cloud Atlas. I like to read the book before I see the movie.

Let me know if you like to hoard books too by commenting.

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