Horror & Hormones | Book Review of Charles Burns’ “Black Hole”

It seems impossible to write a book review of Charles Burns’ Black Hole, a graphic novel compendium of a comics series from 1995-2005. While I was reading the novel, I fluctuated between  so many emotions—wonder, boredom, disgust, fascination, repulsion, transcendence. This is partially because Burns’ novel, now considered a landmark classic in the history of modern-day graphic novels and comics, truly defies categorization. It is almost a Rorschach ink blot where it means different things to everyone. Yet it is absolutely a must-read litmus test for your opinions on sexuality, medicine, infectious disease, love, and the suburban teen experience. Let me back up and try to give you a passable summary. Essentially, Black Hole is about a group of teens in the Seattle suburbs during the mid-1970s. The teens notice an outbreak of strange medical phenomena. For example, they pass out and hallucinate that they are falling into a black hole. Or they meet someone with a tail and don’t really see it as that unusual. People develop tiny mouths on their neck, feet, and back. Other teens have their facial features transformed into furry creature faces. At the same time, the comics focus on a small and select group of these...

An Epic List of 52 Book Blogging Ideas: From Cookbooks to Confessions

I consider myself “an idea person” and coming up with book blogging ideas is my specialty. You see, I’m one of those people who interrupts conversations mid-sentence to catch an idea before it dissolves into a disorganized mess. My eyes aglow, I say, “One second!”, and head to my mind palace while I write down a wisp of a thought on the nearest scrap of paper or on my iPhone. This is especially true if I’ve had a lot of caffeine, or med levels are a little low. As a freelance writer, blogger, and fiction writer, I love new ideas, especially book blogging ideas, and I understand how bad it feels to be grasping for something new to post. Today, I’m lifting back the veil and giving you some book blogging ideas in hopes that you may take them and personalize them for your own blog. Whether you’ve got blogging writer’s block, feel like the well of inspiration has run dry, or am just looking to vary things up, my epic list of 52 blog post ideas for book bloggers (one for every week of the year) is sure to have something for everyone. Enjoy! (Bonus article: Check out my Tips and Advice...

Tips and Advice for Aspiring Book Bloggers

In a little less than one year my blog went from bite sized to big, and so did my writing career. I can barely believe it but Broke By Books is officially 1 year old this month with my first post being published exactly one year ago on November 15th, 2014. Since then I’ve drive my traffic from 700 page views over the first 6 months to 900 unique page views a month or more on average over the last 3 months and posted more than 50 pieces of unique content, including a mix of reviews and feature length posts. Starting a book blog has led to coveted (and paid) freelance writing opportunities, has given me access to in-demand advanced review copies, and has established me an authority on the subject of books. It’s been trial and error for sure, but I’ve learned a lot about book blogging, often the hard or circuitous way. When I first started Broke By Books I googled “Tips for starting a book blog” and “Advice for becoming a book blog” and the like. For the most part I didn’t find the information I wanted, so now I’m writing the article I wish I had...

On Buying Books in Grocery Stores

Recently I steered my shopping cart around the bend past the plastic cups and utensils aisle and saw a kindred spirit hovering in front of the books section. She could not have been more than 11 or 12, and she looked like I did in those early middle school years: bespeckled, a tad bit awkward, and prone to self-consciously double and triple checking for imaginary book bullies. When she picked up a novel with the same reverence and delicacy you expect from someone who worships the gods of Book, I knew she was one of us: people who are drawn to books like cats to catnip. With an almost supernatural sense of smell, we sniff out books in some of the unlikeliest places, like the grocery store. Grocery shopping is one of my favorite activities. Not unlike perusing a bookstore or library, grocery shopping embodies some of the same sensual experiences. The smell of fresh strawberries and blueberries drifts into your nose much like the smell of spines uncracked, yet-to-be-loved books emanates from the new releases section of any bookstore. Cereal boxes have as much visual appeal as book covers. And some ice cream pairs exceptionally well with some tearjerker...

How to Read More Books: Read Shorter Books

How many books should you read each year? This is a topic I go back and forth about and can never come up with an answer that satisfies me. Since I interact with books on a daily basis in my various writing and editing roles, books are basically my life. Obsessed with trying to determine just how many books I should be reading to be well read and current in my profession, I secretly stalk my Goodreads friends’ Reading Challenge counts while neurotically adjusting my own reading challenge in small ways (from 52 to 75 books a year) to large ways (from 75 books to 175 books and then back to 52 books…all within the span of two days). A little much? It’s just another timesucking casualty of the book nerd life. The core question, though, is something I wrestle with, and the only answer I’ve arrived at that works is: “more.” There’s the answer: there is no magic number of books you should read in a year—read as many as possible and preferably at least if not more than the previous year, with allowances for longer books thrown in the mix. Simply, you can never read too many books....

Greetings Fellow Reader!

Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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