Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Sun versus Snow 2018 Free Pass

Well, I've tried three times to get the rafflecopter to behave and no luck so far. It drew a name but won't display it. So I'll report that the winner of the free pass onto Team Snow is GAYLE KRAUSE! Congrats, Gayle!



Sun versus Snow is coming! As of right now we have close to twenty agents. (Agents announced in a few weeks.) You can see the rules here. My last couple of contests averaged three success stories from my picks alone. Free Pass winners have ended up with agents in past years.






This is an opportunity you don't want to miss. A free pass allows you to skip the slush and become an instant pick. You will get to work with a mentor to improve your query and first page. Your entry will be seen by our agents and any ninja agents. And you'll be the first member of Team Snow!

You must do two things to enter: leave a blog comment on this post and use the rafflecopter to record that you commented. If you aren't in the rafflecopter, it can't pick you as the winner. This ensures the winner is random and no bias slips in.

In the blog comment I want a short paragraph about your book traditions. Is there a certain book that you read at holidays? One that you take on vacations? An author you read when you feel stressed? Or just what book can you read over and over again. Be creative. It should be fun and imaginative. There's no need to post something long. Try and stay under 200 words.


For example: I used to read A Christmas Carol by Dickins every year before Christmas and I still take Sanditon (the completed version) by Jane Austen and Another Lady with me whenever I go to the beach. When a new book of my favorite series comes out, I often reread the entire series before opening the new volume--just to save it like a dessert for last. 
  
Use the rafflecopter for additional optional entries and to help spread the word. Please tweet about this mini contest and pass it along to your friends! The more the merrier!


The free pass will stay open until January 19th. Good luck and I hope to see you on Team Snow!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

115 comments:

  1. Hi! I like to occasionally skim through favorites, picking random passages to read. I also like reviewing books on writing, looking at underlined passages and thinking about how it applies to my WIP.
    Simeon Mann

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  2. Whenever life seems overwhelming, I turn to Dostoyevsky. If I need a distraction, I pick up Brothers Karamazov; if I need to restore faith in humanity, The Idiot, and if I want to stoke righteous anger, then Crime and Punishment. The writing is so rich, reading it I feel like I’m eating a chocolate cake with fresh raspberries: bitter, sweet, sour, and perfectly balanced. The characters are so real I often play a game of spotting them (or a shadow of them) among people I know. And the problems they face are so devastating that mine fade in comparison, and by the time I close the book I feel tranquil, content and a little bored with what seemed like an insurmountable obstacle just hours ago.

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  3. It may sound lame, but every year on Christmas Eve, we read The Night Before Christmas as a family. I know it's technically a poem, but it is the one thing we read regularly together. Personally, I have so many favorites, I can't pick just one. The most dogeared book on my shelf, I must admit, is the first Harry Potter book, The Sorcerer's Stone.

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    1. Sharron that isn't lame, my family also reads "A visit from St. Nicholas" every Christmas Eve. I also used to take Tom Clancy's "Rainbow Six" on every vacation to read on the plane. I would pick up where I left off on my last vacation.

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  4. I don't have any particular traditions, but if there's one book or series that I can read over and over and never tire of it's Harry Potter. It's a world I love to escape to and with all the craziness in our real world today, I need to escape often.

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  5. Whenever I get stressed with my dayjob blurring over into my personal life, I read Into The Wild. Usually this ends with me asking my husband if he'd be up for going to Alaska and usually he says "why don't we go to Portugal instead?" The book always helps, and it's extra special because I bought my copy in the Anchorage airport the first time I visited. It helps me realize there is more to life than just working to pay my student loans, and I can straighten out the line between Work and Life.

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  6. We don't have any traditions, but I can pick up a Harry Potter book (any one)and it always seems like new again, a world I love to lose myself in.

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  7. I have read C.S. Friedman's Coldfire trilogy so many times that I've lost count. (I think I'm up to 5?) I have ridiculously high expectations when it comes to fantasy and while current YA fantasy seems to be hitting the mark more often than not lately, I find current day adult fantasy is often lacking. (I'm open to suggestions, btw!)

    When I'm feeling stressed about reality, I turn to fantasy to pull me into a whole new world (um, not the one with Aladdin and Jasmine...). That's the time when I want to delve deep into a fantasy world with more layers than an onion, and that's when I open Black Sun Rising and start from the beginning. The depth of characters, their arcs, the turns the story takes (while still staying on task), it all does such a wonderful job of pulling me away from reality and onto Erna! These books are made for the reader who needs to get away. (And right now, who doesn't?)

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    1. I just finished re reading this trilogy for the third or fourth time. It’s my absolute favourite!

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    2. Yay! I'm not alone. I think Gerald Tarrant is one of the best characters *ever* created! So many layers! I swear I didn't fully understand all of the books until the third time I read them through. So many little things that you miss unless you *know.* Love!

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  8. When I get particularly down, or uninspired, there's this portal fantasy MG series, Secret of the Unicorn Queen, that I love love love reading because it reminds me that anyone can be special. It also has my very first book crush in it, LOL!

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  9. There are many books I come back to, but one in particular is the Clan of the Cave Bear series. I know that is a strange thing to admit, but on some level Ayla codes as autistic to me, and she’s getting hers.

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  10. The lost art of keeping secrets when I want to read something fun and on the island when I want to feel some sun! The Snow child at Christmas- it's gorgeous

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  11. My book tradition is binge reading. When I start a book/series I will do everything in my power to read everything I can get my hands on. As a 3rd grader I remember combing through our school library every time I found a new author I enjoyed so I could read everything they had ever written.

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  12. I've found that I prefer my reads to be seasonal - wintery romances around Christmas, typical beach reads in the summer, and darker mysteries/horror in the fall.

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  13. I binge read too! Once I start a series I want to finish it!

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  14. I reread Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey every year. When I hit my first book slump where I can't seem to get into anything new, that's the book I read.

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  15. In our house the traditions are seasonal. With colder weather we start re-reading the Harry Potter series- it just fits nicely with the holidays. As summer approaches and the days grow longer we read Where the Sidewalk ends and other works of Shel Silverstein.

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  16. For me the tradition is Halloween. My husband and I watch as many horror movies as we can get our hands on, and I burn through fiction and non-fiction books concerning all things paranormal and spooky and occult.

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  17. Every year for Christmas we give my children each a book with a hand-written inscription in it. We generally explain why we picked that book for them, what we hope for them for the coming year, and what we hope they take away from the book. My husband started it a few years ago and it became our tradition.

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  18. Always reading a book over Christmas break! No one is allowed to talk to me from the hours of 9-12 for three days straight. And they listen! A new tradition has been my book club. Domestic thrillers are the current theme and has helped me discover a ton of great book!

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  19. I read every night before I go to bed. I'm a night owl so I can read until 1 in the morning. I can't sleep if I don't read. My favorite books are romantic fantasy. There's just something interesting about delving into the world where the impossible can happen.

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    1. Yessss! Me, too! I love fantasy with a romantic twist (as opposed to romance with a fantasy setting), but both are good.

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    2. Me too, Caroline! I've read before sleep every night since I was fourteen. Can't imagine doing without it.

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  20. My family's book tradition has been to read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve in front of the fireplace. We each take turns reading a page.

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  21. Growing up, we always read The Polar Express while drinking hot chocolate and my mom had a bell she would let me ring. I have a tendency to read in between writing to help with my book hangover and always keep the ebook versions of the Outlander series on my phone and always have an audiobook downloaded to listen to the newest YA book whenever I can.

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Deleted my comment because I forgot to add some details!

      When I was a kid I would read The Evil Twin which is part of the Sweet Valley High book series around Christmas time. I had a very specific order: Two Babysitter Club books, Sweet Valley Twins, then Sweet Valley High. But the Evil Twin was such an over-the-top book and I LOVED it, LOL. I recently found out that book was on Kindle and I didn't hesitate to buy it. So I'm restarting the tradition of reading it again each year.

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    2. Oh, how I loved all the Sweet Valley books while I was growing up! (Babysitter's Club books, too!) I was an addict!

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  23. One Christmas my brother's girlfriend gave me The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. Bless her heart, she thought Adrian was a girl. I remember reading that book right into the New Year and was spellbound to learn that boys really worried about these kinds of things? I was hooked on Adrian Mole books and every time I feel like I need a fun escape, I pull out one of those books. I have the entire collection now.

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  24. I read Garth Nix's Sabriel at least once a year. She's still one of my favorite heroines, and I love Nix's worldbuilding in that book so much. I've rarely connected with a book so strongly.

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  25. I give out copies of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day to every child who's even tangentially in my orbit. I keep several copies on my bookshelf at all times so that I'm never without a copy myself because no matter the age, here's what we all need to know--some days are like that. Even in Australia.

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  26. My favorite books to read on vacations are the ones left behind in hotels and condos. Of course I take my own with me, but I’ve found so many gems hidden on the semi-dusty wicker shelves of tropical timeshares. During a recent trip to the Cayman Islands I read most of Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series. Those books were delightfully dark in contrast to the warm, happy beach I was laying on with them.

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  27. Sometimes I read The Picture of Dorian Gray in Spanish for fun, but if I'm stressed, I often find myself reading Cassandra Clare's books.

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  28. I love fantasy from picture books to adult novels, whether reading or writing them. All of my fantasies are located on one tall bookshelf in my home, my go to place for inspiration when writing, or to reread a favorite and relax by the fire. When I need to escape, I return to Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters novels, the perfect blend of magic, history, and fantasy.

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  29. Anything by Gail Carson Levine helps me when I'm stressed. She was my favorite author as a kid, and I still love her. Her stories are just so magical and fun. So whenever things get really hard, I turn to her books to calm me down. :)

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  30. Any time I have an hour or two to myself, I usually peruse my bookcase next to my bed and pick a favorite to read for the thousandth time - whether it's Tamora Pierce, Anne Bishop, or Anne McCaffrey, I can read their series every year and still find something new to discover in them for the first time.

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  31. Reading the Psalms is something I do when I feel stressed or am panicking. I also love escaping into anything by Haruki Murakami. I don't really re-read books but I do save the ones I really love.

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  32. I cannot remember a single day of my life that I didn't read something.

    The first chapter books I loved were The Happy Hollisters, Trixie Belden, and Nancy Drew series, slipping into those happy worlds the way Mary and Bert vanished into sidewalk chalk drawings in Mary Poppins.

    These days, I have daytime books and nighttime books. I read for an hour or so every afternoon--exciting things like The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt or currently, The Girls by Emma Cline. I've troweled in the gaps of my literary education with classics like A Tale of Two Cities, East of Eden, and favorites like The Professor's House, The Magus, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. At bedtime, I curl up with cosseting, dog-eared copies of books by Anne Rivers Siddons, Anna Quindlen, Jennifer Weiner or Jacquelyn Mitchard.

    The King--Stephen King that is, said it best--"Reading is the creative center of every writer's life." I must read and so must you.

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  33. When my nieces were born, my wife and I decided we would be the aunt and uncle who gave books, and so they always receive books from us for Christmas. Being the writer, I select some of my favorite books from recent years and try to pick ones they may not otherwise know. My nieces always seem to like my choices. Or maybe they're just too nice to tell me otherwise. :-)

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  34. One of my favorite things to do is go to the library every few weeks and grab a handful of new books to read. I have a kindle but I hate using it. I love having a stack of books on my table. And if I love a book enough I have to go and buy it right after.

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  35. I love to reread the HP books in the winter, usually right before Christmas. In spring I'll pick up a Stephen King book. Summer is Nelson DeMille. And every autumn I will reread something by Neil Gaiman, usually for Halloween to get me in the mood. After each one of this runs, I pick a new author at random.

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  36. Every summer, I read Pat Conroy's the Prince of Tides. I read it for the first time in the 8th grade, and it blew me away. I didn't quite grasp all of it then, so I started reading it yearly in college, and I find something new every time.

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    1. Hi, Marisa. That one is the hardest for me to read for some reason--I think it's Savannah's heartbreaking madness. But I admit--without shame--that I've read all of PC's others at least 5 times. He left us too soon!

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  37. I read Twas the Night Before Christmas to my daughters every year on Christmas eve (they're 17 now). As far as books, I don't have a go-to author or genre. I read the next one in my TBR pile.

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  38. Whenever I get feeling like I can't keep writing, I reread Judy Blume's ARE YOU THERE, GOD? IT'S ME MARGARET. I read it when I was nine years old and I remember thinking, "THIS. This is the kind of book I want to write." I've read that book so many times that some of the words have literally worn right off the page. Luckily, I have most of them memorized anyway.

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    1. What a great book! I read that one when I was 10 or 11 and I have never forgotten it. My 11-year-old read it earlier this year and I am proud to report that I embarrassed her when I started doing butterfly curls and chanting, "We must. We must. We must increase our bust." :-D

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  39. I like to be the one in the family to recommend books, so come the holidays, I get bombarded by siblings on what they should read next. I especially like suggesting novels that I know will hook them, but contain a horrid twist (example: Strangelets by Michelle Gagnon)!

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  40. I don't think I have any specific book traditions. I do have some feel-good rom-coms that I need to reread every so often. If I'm feeling down, I read one. Siera Malley's books are adorable f/f contemporaries (mostly) that have that perfect HEA.

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  41. We have a box of holiday books that we open during the decorating season. The kids love pulling out their favorites and rereading them every year. As for me, I love a good Sandra Dallas historical fiction over the holidays. Rural Colorado was a tough place to live before snowplows, penicillin and duct tape.

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  42. I love to reread books, even mysteries and crime novels. I sometimes start with reading certain passages that speak to me in some way, and then end up rereading the entire book. I also often read the last page early on. It never ruins the reading experience.

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  43. I don't have any book traditions, but there is one author that I read when I'm stressed and that's Brian Jacques. I love reading his Redwall novels and every time I read them I feel calmer and my imagination goes wild with ideas. If there's one book that I'd have to pick I can reread forever then it would have to be Lord Brocktree. That book is perfect in so many ways to me and it always sparks my imagination whenever I need it.

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  44. Every Christmas season, I read a beautifully illustrated version of "The Little Drummer Boy" to my smallest kids. They all love it, and they have learned the song this way. I also read chapter books daily during the school year for my elementary-aged kids. We've worked through some pretty neat (older!) series this way. (Amy Nygaard)

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  45. I don't love the holidays but for some reason from November to December I crave curling up with Christmas romance novels and movies. The cheesier the story is the better.

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  46. Whenever my family goes on vacation, everyone packs at least one book for the way there and one book for the way back. It was like that when I was a kid too, I remember reading at every place we ever took a vacation.

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  47. I never thought about book traditions! But now that I have . . . I always pick a spooky book in October. I enjoy reading books that are set in the same season that is currently happening.

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  48. Hi! I recently learned about Jólabókaflóð (pronounced yo-la-bok-a-flot) which means the Christmas Book Flood. It actually refers to the peak of the Icelandic publishing industry’s year. In the 3 months leading up to Christmas, they release the majority of the year’s titles like 500-1,000 books at one time. So in honor of this tradition, we all bought books to flood our home and opened one each on Christmas Eve. We then spent time reading and eating ginger cookies by the tree. I read up on more history of this and found out that it started around WWI when books became the best gift choice.

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  49. My book traditions are normally reading romance novels to keep me warm from the winter cold. A good mystery would keep me in suspense, if I have the blues. I rarely read seasonal or holiday books.

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  50. My book tradition is sharing the books I loved as a kid with my daughter. She's only seven but we've covered so many of the classic picture books, like Goodnight Moon and Dr. Seuss. As she gets older I'm hoping to introduce her to The Babysitter's Club series and R.L. Stein.

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  51. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

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  52. One of my favorite book traditions involves Banned Book Week, which is the last week of September. My birthday is the 28th, so usually in the midst of BBW, so it has become very special to me. Every year I pick a different banned or challenged book to read, I discuss it on social media, sometimes in conjunction with my branch of the Harry Potter Alliance, The Gryffindorks, & I review it on Goodreads. Kids' freedom to read even controversial books is important to me, since these books may deal with the very issues they deal with on a daily basis. Thanks!

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  53. They say that Valentine's Day is for your sweetheart, but in my house we celebrate as a family. My 3 younger girls get little heart boxes of chocolate and a stuffed animal, my son gets the same, only a coffee cup instead of chocolates. My oldest daughter and I both share a love for reading and so every year I select and purchase her a new YA novel instead of a heart shaped box of chocolate. :) This year she is 18 and her tastes in literature have shifted away from our mutual love of YA to her new love of NA. So the book this year will be a reflection of that. She's all grown up.

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  54. I love to re-read about Ramona (Beverly Cleary) and her stubborn, joyful, investigative self. Also, in the past few years I've read as much about and by women authors as I can. I got to the end of Mary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism & started over. This is a new tradition I want to keep. However on Christmas Eve when our kids were younger we'd read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (I can hear my grandfather's voice reading it to me) -- & we read Bible verses by candlelight for Advent.

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  55. We don't have a book tradition, other than giving each other our favorite authors' books at Christmas. My mom gets a John Sandford, my dad gets a Lee Child and if I'm lucky, I get one or more of those and/or a Stephen King. By the time the kids go back to school, we'll all have read all the books!!

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  56. Of course, everyone has their favorite authors. I, too, enjoy Stephen King. Vince Flynn inspired me to write my first novel. Terry Brooks carried me away to places and times other than my world as a kid. But what I really have an addiction for, what gives me the perspiring shakes, is to read the works of people I've met. Anyone can read a work by someone great. Not everyone can write something great.

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  57. My favorite book tradition is to gift The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base as an 11th birthday present. It's deceptively simple and most 11yr olds don't expect a picture book. But the puzzle is complex and engaging and the illustrations are gorgeous.

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  58. The book tradition of my heart is rereading the Harry Potter series when I need comfort. When I'm going through a big life change, a season of depression, or anything that throws my day-to-day into a tailspin, I delve into a world that feels safe and familiar. Harry Potter is basically a sacred text to me (which incidentally is also the title of a wonderful podcast: HP and the Sacred Text. Check it out!).

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  59. I have many favorite books, but one of the most unusual is called "An Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't." In a nutshell, this book contains the most salient points of an entire high school education, addressing such important skills as knowing the difference between Yeats and Keats. I have given away this book -- as in given away my copy of the book and had to repurchase it -- at least a dozen times. This normally happens during a social conversation in which my friend/ex-boyfriend/family member/husband laments something s/he forgot from high school. I tell him/her I've got the perfect book, and s/he expresses envy and states that s/he wishes s/he had the book. At that point, if I believe their desire for the tome is sincere, I give it to him/her. I finally started keeping two copies around so I could still have one once I gave one away.

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  60. I read the Velveteen Rabbet every Christmas and To Kill A Mockingbird every Halloween. I love them both and never get tired of reading them.

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  61. I'm a romantic so my fallback is Outlander, especially when feeling sad or down (or snowbound in our endless New England winter). Like wine, it gets better with age. I like knowing that there will be a happy ending (hence why I write/love romances and HEAs). My kid book go-to (yeah, I'm a mom) - any Elephant and Piggy book. If those two can't cheer you up, I don't know who will! While I'm at it - movie go-to - The Princess Bride. Great for days home in bed with the flu.

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  62. Ah, my book of choice is Left Hand of Darkness. The world Le Guin created always strikes new sparks for me, some bright burst with an idea or a feeling or a memory. Is it a comforting book? I wouldn't say so, no more than The Dispossessed is; but oh, it's such a gift. Left Hand of Darkness is one of the books I just keep returning to when I feel drained or downtrodden, and it's one of my favorites to give to others. If any of you have yet to read it, please do!

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  63. For several years, I read the entire Harry Potter series in order every summer. When I got tired of that, I read them in reverse order. I'm overdue for another re-reading.

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  64. Every year, my mom and I reread The Dresden Files. She’s the one who introduced me to the series and we’re both huge Jim Butcher fans. We always reread the series at the same time and only had one set of books, so we’re grateful for e-readers. No more figuring out which bookmark is yours and trying to decide who’s turn it is to read.

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  65. Well, I'm not a re-reader or re-watcher of movies, by stubborn inclination. I can't even stomach the idea of re-reading my own (except for revising mss--then I will read again and again, ad nauseum). The only exception to this is my re-read of HP 4 just before the movie came out. My only true tradition is that I'm a cover design geek and I keep my favorite books around for me to look at regularly. For instance, my copies of SIX OF CROWS and the CROOKED KINGDOM are my absolute favorite book designs, followed by A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. These covers sit forever on my office side table and hold up my lamp. I just like to look at them from time to time for inspiration.

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    1. Not sure why this shows me as Unknown! I'm Lisa Amowitz.

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  66. My go-to book is To Kill a Mockingbird. I can reread that one forever. Love the seamless writing and the characters. Atticus Finch is my role model in how he's the same both at home and at work. Also, this exchange gets me every time: “Atticus, he was real nice." "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”

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  67. I have a peculiar habit of leaving a bookmark in a book if I've enjoyed it enough to read it again. Each bookmark in itself tells a story of who I was at the time of reading. From teddy bears to *Nsync, it never gets old to embrace the nostalgia of the very first time I cracked open a book and snuck inside the pages. And it has the added benefit of letting me know just how much I liked a book. For instance, ten bookmarks hid in the pages of The Fellowship of the Ring before I built a bookmark collage to rule them all. :P

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  68. I reach for books, like I reach for my coffee - with a single-minded determination that no one will come between us. Holidays are the exception, as sharing (stories - not my coffee) is traditional. Despite the fact my progeny are past the age for children's stories, the day after Festivus we read The Grinch Who Stole Christmas to begin our celebration. Then, once the magic of the season has become a pleasant memory (sans the inevitable family misunderstandings and boorish behavior by those who imbibed too much eggnog), the bills begin to appear in my inbox and I realize I will be lucky if I am debt-free by August. Grateful for a thirty-day grace period, I inevitably reach for a bottle of champagne, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and grab a towel, thus ensuring the New Year is met with a positive outlook, a few laughs, and the proper accoutrement for intergalactic travel - you know, just in case this is my lucky year and Ford Prefect is looking for another traveling companion!

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  69. I re-read my favorite sci-fi book, THE DIAMOND AGE, OR A YOUNG LADY'S ILLUSTRATED PRIMER, every couple of years. It's so rich and it's a novel experience each time. : )

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  70. I've reread the Bronte sisters and Jane Austin books more time than I can count. There's nothing like curling up under a blanket and easing into the words you know almost by heart.

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  71. Every year at Christmas I don't re-read the same book, but I always buy that years' Christmas themed romance anthology set in Australia (where I'm from.) and read that. There are usually 4-5 novellas in the anthology that help get me into the Christmas spirit.

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  72. My mom used to read The Night Before Christmas to my two sisters and me every Christmas Eve. It was a special copy with beautiful illustrations that she took out just for that reading. My sisters and I would sit on the floor in our pajamas in front of the Christmas tree. I can remember sitting quietly and waiting as she turned off each lamp, letting the tree be the only lights in the living room. She would settle in her chair and open the book slowly so you could hear the binding crackle and then begin, "Twas the night before Christmas..." She killed herself shortly after I turned 21. It was a lifetime of pain for her as well as each of us sisters. I don't know if she did the Christmas Eve readings hoping to create memories for us, but she did and they are lovely ones. In them, she's smiling.

    Abbey Kirberger, notoriously poor computerer. How do I make myself not an 'unknown'?

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  73. Jane Eyre is one of my very favorite books and the one I usually turn to when people ask that dreaded question. Since college I have collected used copies of this novel whenever and wherever I find them: on vacation, at garage sales, in antique shops. Even some of my friends have gotten in on the tradition and have hunted down used copies of Jane Eyre for me all over the country.

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  74. Northanger Abbey is my go-to. It's gotten me through tough times, it's been there when life was going great--it's a lovely read that comforts and inspires. I read it and still laugh at Catherine, hate Isabella, and swoon over Tilney. I believe I'm going on my eighth or ninth read-through. I also give this book as a gift if I know the recipient has never read it and say, "If you like Pride & Prejudice, TRY THIS. You'll love it." I'm usually right. Northanger Abbey RULES.

    Writing as Vivien Chase

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    1. Dunno why I'm unknown, but it's Vivien Chase here! =D

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  75. My biggest book tradition is that I find a book on writing craft or revision when I'm starting and/or revising a novel. I feel like it makes me hone in on the development of the manuscript in a way I wouldn't otherwise.

    For my current work in progress, I'm reading Story Genius by Linda Cron. For years, I've called myself "thoughtful panster," which leads to a lot of starts and stops as I write my rough draft. This book is pushing me not to outline or fly by the seat of my pants, but to look at how character's misconception drives plot and do some exercises to help me understands how the characters' past inform their present BEFORE I begin writing. (Okay, I sort of cheated because I wrote several chapters before I bought the book.) Maybe I'll meander less! Better yet, maybe revision will be less painful. A girl can dream!

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  76. When I need good words and escape, I turn to Carlis Ruiz Zafin's THE SHADOW OF THE WIND. His techique is sublime, his setting atmospheric, the story mesmerizing. I am swept away to Europe just after the Spanish War when a young boy is tsken to a treasure trove of firgotten books. He is allowed to chose inly one. That book propels the story forward. If you haven't read this book, it's a must fir and writer and any reader.

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  77. I have reread JANE EYRE at least 30 times. I have a rare 2nd edition given to me by my grandmother. The thing is, I can't read any other copy than that one. I have become so accustomed to its odd font, its shape, feel, and smell, that a different copy isn't the same experience. I know I have to put it aside to preserve it, but I can't.

    As a writer, I have learned to never read a book similar to the one you are currently writing, editing or simply mapping out. It's the kiss of death.

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  78. Our most steadfast tradition, revolving around books, happens every Christmas Eve. I take great care in choosing special books for everyone in my family.  It's memorable and a given that everyone opens their book and new pj's every Christmas Eve.

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  79. Words bound me to my grandmother. King and Koontz. Efron and Bryson. She spoke like Churchill and cooked like the gruel-makers of Dickens. We swapped books and tales until her dying days, when we said our goodbyes - surrounded by dust covered books soaked in the stale cigarettes that slowly killed her. I go back to those books, those ebbs and flows of genres - of lightness and heavy topics. Though she’s gone the tradition remains. I close each cover and reflect on each one as if sharing it for the first time.

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  80. There's a few books that I like to revisit from time to time. Christmas Eve, I read POLAR EXPRESS and A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS (which is a comp for my novel). But generally, my favorite book is IN COLD BLOOD. Capote fascinates me with that work in a way no other books does, so I read it often. On vacation, I usually pick up a musician's biography. My favorite so far was Neil Young's WAGING HEAVY PEACE. I'm not even a legit fan of his music, (yes I still consider myself Canadian), but the tid-bits about his family life and his hobbies: fascinating!

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  81. The books I always turn to for just a fun/easy read are the Pendergast Series by Preston and Child. Pendergast is brilliant, and the stories always start fast-paced, throwing the reader into the action. One of my all-time favorites to read and read again is Markus Zusak's, The Book Thief.

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  83. For just about any holiday, trip, or when I'm bored, I usually reread any one of my Harry Potter books (although, I've found I do reread Chamber of Secrets the least). I can easily lose myself in that world as if it's my first time reading them.

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  84. In winter, I find myself craving for historical fiction and/or SFF more than usual. The harsher winter is, the more I need another fantastical world to run to when the going gets cold. When I'm down, I go back to some favorite childhood books such as the wonderful The BFG, Anne of Green Gables, and the Angel (Ephraim Sidon). Because I relocated to the US as a kid, then came back to my home country, and later moved to Germany, I have a soft spot for books about immigration with an emphasis on immigrant children. I guess that I've always felt like one even after returning to my home country. A book I must have read a thousand times in my life (especially in hard ones) is the extraordinary The Funny Girl with Earrings (written by Yael Rosman). It's a wonderful coming-of-age story about a little girl (Mariana) who makes an Alyia to Israel with her father to look for her mother, who had immigrated to Israel 9 years before that and disappeared. No matter how sad I would get sometimes, this specific book served as a loyal friend who could lift my spirits in a minute :)

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  85. I don't have a book that I would call a tradition, but for the last several years, I seem to read a ton of cozy mysteries right around the holidays. I think it's probably because cozies are like brain candy for me--I don't have to concentrate on them and so they're good for getting through the stress of the holiday.

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  86. I love to read fantasy books before I begin writing. The book I usually lean towards is Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. His prose is so beautiful and I learn so much from the way he writes. Its almost poetic and definitely puts me at ease.

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  87. I've always loved Cindi Madsen's books. I'm currently expecting my second baby and have had a lot of insomnia this time around. When I can't sleep, I turn to Cindi's fun romantic comedies. I've re-read a couple and finished a new one in the last nine months.
    Jennifer K (signed in as Jessica Lynn)

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  88. I always have to two books going at the same time. I listen to one audio book and read another. The audio book must be exciting and fast paced. I run to it, grocery shop to it, drive to it, and clean to it. It becomes my soundtrack. The book I traditionally read takes longer to get through, but I savor it. I sneak over to it late at night and in early mornings, under blankets. I take my time and so the themes can be deeper, a little harder maybe, or a little less on the surface. The two books I’m reading now are, Song of Susannah, The Dark Tower VI by Stephen King, for my audio book and The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis, for traditional reading.

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  89. I don't have a ton of book traditions. I love reading new books at the holidays or on vacations to keep things fresh.There is one book that I've read probably 5 times in the past decade or so. It's a biography of Gene Kelly, my all time favorite movie star. His life was fascinating, and the movies he chose are mostly amazing! It's one of my favorite books and I love old Hollywood.

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  90. I don't have traditions - my favourites and retreats have changed down the years, but just now, with a touch of flu coming on, I am inclined to reach for the row of Terry Pratchett on the shelf. That said, my re-read delight for the past decade or more is Lois McMaster Bujold's 'A Civil Campaign' - I think that hits every button I have, in the nicest possible way.

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  91. My go-to books to unwind—or simply cleanse my reader's palate—is the Harry Potter series. I have read them so many times, I don't read them in order any longer. I just pick the one that fits my mood of the moment.

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  92. I can read many books more than once. I love visiting the worlds created by other authors. My favorite books involve mermaids, angels, fairies, immortals, and most importantly love. Jennifer Donnelly, Lauren Kate, Alyson Noel, Frewin Jones are some of my most favorite authors. They each have something special about their writing. The each tell different stories about the most passionate love between their characters. I love how they stand together and on their own.

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  93. I only developed reading traditions once I had my son. There's a book of Thanksgiving poetry by Jack Prelutsky that we read every Thanksgiving. I loved it when I was a kid, so I love sharing it with him. We also always read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. In addition to that, we usually read The Polar Express and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Nightmare is my son's favorite movie, so he enjoys the poem. We usually read it around Halloween as well.

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  95. I don't have annual reading traditions, but after 9/11 I reread all of Elizabeth Jane Howard's books about living through WWII in Britain. Somehow it was soothing to know bad stuff had happened before. Otherwise I follow my nose, dabbling in the world-building of others. -Carol Newman Cronin, showing as unknown Google user for some reason... carolncroninAT gmail DOT com

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  96. I try to read as many books as I can. I rarely reread a novel. But I always pick a new book to read during traveling.

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  97. I know this has been mentioned already, but we always used to read "T'was the Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve as well. We also had this kids book that had pictures that were painted with glow in the dark paint, so that when the lights were turned off you'd see things like snowflakes and such. We would read that either before or after the other one. In fact, I think I might still have that one in a box somewhere. As far as what I do as an adult, while I like to read new things, when I am tired, or sad, or sick, I will reread books that I have already read and that make me happy. As I know how they end, I a.) won't stay up all night finishing it, and b.) won't be even more depressed if it ends badly.

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  98. Note: I accidentally entered my Twitter follow entry with my gmail address rather than my Twitter address - correct twitter is @onyxdreams.

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  99. I love reading romance novels when I'm stressed out. I have a few favorites (by Kresley Cole, Lisa Kleypas, Elizabeth Hoyt, and others) that I return to again and again. The stories are still exciting, but when the real world is overwhelming, it's good to know that the characters will get their happily ever afters. I also love diving back into the fantasy worlds I loved growing up--Tamora Pierce, Ray Bradbury, Robin McKinley, etc. Those books are responsible for me becoming the nerd I am today.

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  100. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity, Michelle. :)

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