It all began with a question...

Today's post comes from Tami Barber, a supervisor in the General Book Department at the BYU Bookstore - 

When asked, "What book do you wish you could read again, for the first time?" Tami immediately knew her response, "The Good Earth," by Pearl S. Buck. 

The Good Earth is a novel about family life, set in a Chinese village before the 1949 revolution.  Riddled with tragedy, the novel follows the Lung family's journey as they struggle to survive in a feudal society. The Good Earth won the Pulitzer Prize in 1931 and historically, helped Americans come to consider the Chinese as allies in the future war with Japan.

I read it for the first time in about 7th or 8th grade.  I don’t know why I read it since it wasn’t required for a class.  No doubt that made me more receptive to the experience…
Reading The Good Earth was the first time that I read a book that took me to a place that I could not begin to image.  It drew me into the lives of the characters, their suffering and joy.  It set me down in the middle of muddy fields and bustling markets that I could feel and hear and taste.  It was the beginning of my discovery that the act of reading a book could be both intimate and expansive.  That reading could connect me to the universal human experience and making me feel like I was not alone.  

Who wouldn’t want to have that experience again for the first time?


Find The Good Earth at the BYU Bookstore

Tami Barber works in the BYU Bookstore General Books department and will be regularly contributing to this blog.  Tami coordinates promotions and author signings, as well as other various special events throughout General Book.  A BYU Cougar at heart, Tami always brings her love of reading to the BYU Bookstore.

3,218 Days

Last week I presented a class on children’s books to the Utah State Family and Consumer Science teachers and was reminded, once again, how much I love teachers. A good teacher, who loves reading, changes lives for generations to come. The only way it gets better is to combine a good teacher with parents who love books. You can almost imagine an infinite line of-- and they read to their children and they read to their children and they read . . . well, you get the idea. 

That brings to mind a delightful book titled, Why Do I Have to Make My Bed? (or A History of Messy Rooms). Wade Bradford not only addresses the generations of children required to do chores while asking, “Why” , he looks at the types of chores that have been required from 40,000 b.c. to the present, establishes the tradition of mom’s telling stories, and in the end gives the best answer to the question, “Why?” --All that in a picture book and kids love it. Now that’s an impressive feat.

Almost as impressive as reading aloud to your child for 3,218 nights, every night, for no less than ten minutes without missing so much as one day. 

With that kind of history, could that child, Alice Ozma, avoid writing a book? Well she did write a book, The Reading Promise. I love the book almost as much as the idea and I admit I am asking myself, “So, why can’t I find the time to . . . “ Please don’t tell me the things you have not done consistently for 3,218 days or nights.  But what books would you choose if you were going to take up the challenge of reading aloud for 3,218 days?


Find Why Do I Have to Make My Bed? (or A History of Messy Rooms) and The Reading Promise at the BYU Bookstore.

Anita Charles, an introduction

Before Anita Charles posts to this blog, we take a moment to introduce her to you –

When you come into the BYU Bookstore you will find Anita Charles surrounded by books. Whether at the Children’s Books Information Desk or in her office, you may see a shared favorite title or recent best-seller.

Anita is especially fond of children's books and is our in-house expert on the genre.

“I still have some of the books my parents bought for me as a child, but I don’t have any childhood toys,” Anita told us. “I think that says a lot about me and about the lasting value of books.”

Anita has found that children's books need to be especially well-written, so as to convey the same beauty and power of any other book, with considerably less words.

She remembers Lloyd Alexander once saying, “The main difference between books for adults and books for children is that a child’s book always has hope.”

“I am not sure that statement is as absolute now as it was when he said it, but it is what I always want to find,” Anita said.

According to Anita, the words of others provide an avenue of personal expression.

“I know myself better and I am better equipped to face the world because of reading books,” Anita told us. “I hope that in this blog I will have the opportunity to share my favorites and address them one by one, which is indeed how they became favorites.”

Next week we’ll be featuring Anita’s inaugural post and there will certainly be many more to follow. Stay tuned, and if you have any questions regarding Anita’s work and expertise in children’s literature, don’t hesitate to ask.

Anita Charles, will be a primary contributor to Y Read, the BYU Bookstore blog, sharing her expertise of children’s literature. She has worked at the BYU Bookstore for ten years, spreading her love of reading within our Children’s Books department and with many local book events such as Books for Young Readers, Education Week and the Annual Christmas Booktalk.

The Very Beginning.

Welcome to the BYU Bookstore General Book Blog. The BYU Bookstore opened in 1906, as a place for students to find a variety of needs on campus. The bookstore has evolved quite a bit since, and now supplies electronics, clothing and almost anything a student could need. Even so, we're still the bookstore and the heart of our mission lies within the heart of education: reading. The General Books department (all books sans textbooks) has a staff of well-read, opinionated readers, eager to help guide students, and bookstore patrons alike, through today's literary world.

This blog is a means to further help our readers. The general books staff of the BYU Bookstore, ranging from children's books to religious, and most everything in between, will be posting their own current literary picks, what's on their nightstand now and what new books they're most anticipating. There will also be interviews with some of our most beloved local authors, as well as professors on BYU's campus. Expect relevant stories about challenges faced by independent booksellers, a book club, and reviews of the most popular books here at the bookstore.

Feel free to comment and ask questions about books you're currently reading. Our staff are experts and want to be a part of your reading experience. Check back often, we’re here to stay and eager to interact with our readers. More than ever, the BYU Bookstore is here to serve you.

"We read to know we are not alone."
-C.S. Lewis