Reading Motivation and Where to Find It

Written by Madalyn Campbell

In general, humans respond well to validation. Do something and get a reward, any reward. Is the simple reward of a job well done enough? For some people that is plenty, but for others there has to be something more to doing a task. How do we make ourselves read in this world where a million other things are happening? You could use your ride on the bus to read a few pages or you could get on social media and get a few “likes” on your status. There are no thumbs up for reading, no one to tell you “good job.” The reward of reading those few pages is the few pages themselves. But, if that isn’t enough for you, what do you do? Does reading just fall by the wayside forever in favor of other things?

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Jane Austen Heroines Ranked in Order by How Much I Want to Be Them

Written by Madalyn Campbell

  1. Fanny Price (Mansfield Park)

How can I want to be Fanny Price when I am already Fanny Price? She worries a lot, has horrible self-esteem, is too hard on herself, but is also terribly judgmental. She wallows in her own misery, is applauded as a sweet girl, but is often judging others harshly. Fanny really stands apart from Austen’s other heroines, and I love her for it, but you can’t strive to be like someone you already are.

  1. Catherine Morland (Northanger Abbey)

Again, how can I want to be Catherine when I already am so similar to her, though maybe not as close as I’d want. Catherine is in love with a world that is far more interesting than the one she’s living in. She skips through pages of the Gothic, becoming the heroine of her own Gothic horror. She is naïve and easily trusting. Like her, I wish I could be the heroine of some great tale, I wish I could be her!

  1. Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility)

You can debate whether Elinor is the sole heroine of Sense and Sensibility or if her sister Marianne shares that spot. I’m already similar enough to Marianne, obsessed with emotions and tending to wallow in my own grief. Elinor, on the other hand, has a great control of her emotions. I’d love to be able to be calm and collected in challenging situations. Elinor can put aside her emotions and carry on for those she loves. She also is just extremely cool in general.

  1. Emma Woodhouse (Emma)

Ah, Emma. She carries herself with such confidence and poise for someone who makes a lot of mistakes. But, she doesn’t see her mistakes as mistakes! I wish I could have the fashion and taste Emma has. I also wish I could grow as a person through trials and tribulations involving match-making and secret affairs that aren’t actually there. Emma manages to grow tremendously; I can only hope someday I follow in her footsteps.

  1. Anne Elliot (Persuasion)

Anne loved and lost, then loved again. She wants to be usefulë—that is her main goal in life, to be useful and wanted. Anne held onto a lover for over eight years, and in the end was reunited with him. Through her patience and hope, she found her happy ending. I wish I could be as patient and caring as she is.

  1. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

If you clicked on this list with the thought, “Elizabeth is going to be number one,” then congratulations, you were absolutely correct. Who doesn’t want to be Elizabeth Bennet? She’s cool, funny, smart and witty. She has a lighthearted sense of humor while being fiercely loyal to the ones she loves. She also accepts and grows from her mistakes. Elizabeth really is the perfect heroine. I wish I was as charming as her. Also, she marries Mr. Darcy, which is a good bonus honestly.

On the Merit of Literary Awards

Written by Madalyn Campbell

LitHub recently published an article detailing award-winning books that have been generally forgotten in time. Scrolling down the list, even the most avid reader may find themselves facing completely unheard-of books. These books earned highest honors, yet they have been swept up in the tidal wave of history. How much merit do literary awards actually hold? Obviously, simply winning an award isn’t a guarantee your book will stand the test of time. Perhaps books that snag an award can find their way into the hands of people who read through award lists, but is that all awards are good for?

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A Little Background on the National Book Critic’s Circle

Written by Madalyn Campbell

Last week, Publishers Weekly wrote about the finalists that were announced by the National Book Critic’s Circle (NBCC). The list includes thirty names for its 2017 awards and three additional recipients of other prizes. So, what is the NBCC?

The National Book Critic’s Circle is the professional association of American literary critics. The NBCC was formed in 1974, at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. The hotel previously housed the Algonquin Round Table, an infamous group of writers, critics, and actors who dubbed themselves the “Vicious Circle.” The NBCC was founded with the intent of creating a national conversation about reading, criticism and literature. Their awards were first created in 1976, and  they consist of six categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. For a book to qualify, it must have been published in the previous calendar year, in English. Reprints and new editions are not considered; translations, however, are. The twenty-four judges are members of the NBCC who serve three-year terms on the voting board.

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Local and National Book-Related Charities for the Holiday Season

Written by Madalyn Campbell

Tis the season! Are you looking to spread the joy of stories this holiday season? Look no further: here are a few charities—some that are looking for books and some seeking monetary donations (which they use to purchase books).


Inside Books Project sends books to inmates in Texas prisons. They have drop-off locations around Austin for books, and also take monetary donations. Head over to their website for more details!

Bookspring helps promote childhood literacy and a lifelong love of literacy. They’ll help your old books find a new home in a child’s hands! They accept new and gently used books year round—just drop them off by their office! More details here!

StreetLit provides homeless individuals in the Austin area with a much-needed opportunity to immerse themselves in literature and creativity. They hold creative writing workshops and provide books for the homeless. Monetary donations are also accepted. Check out their website to learn how to donate.


Book Aid National works to get books to libraries all over the world. This holiday season, they’re attempting to raise money to get kids in Rwanda books for Christmas. Check them out!

Reach out and Read works with pediatric care to start a love of books early on in life. Donate and help them read to kids all across the country. Learn more right here.

Reading is Fundamental works with schools and communities to promote literacy and give kids books to take home. Click here for their website.

Project Night Night sends a blanket, a stuffed animal, and a book to children without homes so they can have a bedtime story. They accept monetary donations and donations for new books and stuffed animals. Follow this link for more.

Share the gift of reading and promote literacy this winter!


David France Wins the 2017 Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction  

Written by Madalyn Campbell

The Baillie Gifford Prize, formerly known as the Samuel Johnson Prize, is a U.K. prize for nonfiction. It began in 1999 and has continued awarding notable nonfiction books. It is open to any author of any nationality as long as the book was published in English and in the U.K. The prize covers any book that is nonfiction, such as autobiographies, books about sports, historical books, and many others. It is considered one of the most prestigious awards for nonfiction in the U.K.  

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