THE BOOK RADAR TEAM: Luisa | Tarah | Shannon | Cate
Tarah- Contributing Screener

My name is Tarah, and I’m a converted reader. If you read that with a tone of confession, you’d be hearing it exactly as I intended. I could count on one hand the number of books I read cover-to-cover after sixth grade. I had mastered the ability to score at least a B - a grade I was happy with - on exams and book reports without actually reading them. That is a statement that should raise the alarm of any parent/teacher hoping their students are absorbing all those precious words.

But then I found a love for reading. Or more accurately, I found friends I loved who loved to read, and it was contagious. So much wasted time skimming a book only to convince myself that reading was boring! Albeit not the most serious of my adolescent regrets, but it’s a regret just the same.

Now, reading is almost my favorite hobby. Reading or drinking coffee. Does coffee count as a hobby? On its own? Put those two together and I am one happy gal.

Since you have given this sweet blog some of your precious time, I think I should alert you to a few things which will help you understand me, and therefore my reviews.

One - I consider myself a “new reader” which means I am acutely aware that I have very little room to be, uh, “snobby” - which leads to me liking many more books than some of my well-read counterparts.

Two - I’m a weeper. A good commercial, a sad scene, a happy scene, a child-coming-of-age-scene, a perfectly brewed cup of coffee - those will all reduce me to an embarrassing puddle of tears. I have often sat, face and neck and shirt collar wet with tears, too embarrassed to raise my hand, or a tissue, to my face for the 117th time, hoping that no one will notice that every square inch of my front from the collar bone up is soused in salty drops. They notice. They’re just kind.

Three - Whether in print or in film, I am often willing to forsake a lot for something that moves me. Plot, for example. I am willing to overlook a slow or improbable plot if the story itself moves me. I have little prejudice for how it moves me - anger, sadness, love, inspiration, faith - although I know that lifting one’s spirit even one inch upward is so very hard and rare to come by that those generally take my favorite spots.

Four - I have a particular weak spot for history and biographies. Since they actually happened I feel I’m accomplishing two things at once: reading and learning. Both of which I slept through during my actual educational years. Somehow in the unspoken parts of my mind I have not wanted to allow myself to read only for pleasure. But I’m working on it. I’m fighting it. And with the help of good friends I intend to beat it.

Lastly - I am the proud mother of 5 (yes 5!) wonderful boys ages 9 and under. It’s a busy, loud, rambunctious, and deeply entertaining life. While it’s not often that my boys would choose to read over playing baseball, building a fort, or dirt of any kind, we are consciously making efforts to change that and encourage their reading. My husband and I would love to see them read with ease and pleasure - expanding their thoughts, feelings, experiences far beyond the borders of our suburban and carefully sheltered life. I have deeply wished there was a service that would provide me with a list of books without questionable content and/or a “filter” that I could purchase to keep my boys’ minds out of the gutter. We edit our movies, also. What a shame to see something so “healthy” as reading be the thing that teaches my boys how to lust or curse, or any other number of things. When our dear friend Luisa mentioned the idea of this service, I was thrilled to be part of it. I hope that Book Radar is welcomed into your life and home - after all, to quote the iconic Walt Disney, "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” But of course, not all “treasure” is appropriate content.

Your new friend: a laugh-seeking, history-loving, newly-converted-book-lover on this adventure to make reading safe.

My favorites thus far:

  • David McCullough - Wright Brothers
  • Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged (A FICTION!!)
  • Boys in the Boat - All my favorite things rolled into one
  • Pride and Prejudice - wit and romance at its best