Happy International Literacy Day! You know I love my obscure holidays, but this one has been around for a while in 1966 the UNESCO center founded International Literacy Day to help spread the word about an international crisis, illiteracy. Thomas Jefferson said, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” I take this quote to heart in all my efforts, whether they be here with this blog, in my community with my non-profit, or even at work and home. This year UNESCO’s theme for International Literacy Day is creating a culture of literacy.
To many, literacy means the ability to read and write, and while this isn’t wrong, it’s not the full picture. Literacy also means competency or knowledge in a specified area. I am literate in wine, food, and customer service. I am also literate in social activism, certain political topics, and Jewish history. The heroine of our reviewed book today is literate in covert operations, running a business, and creating amazing food. My point is, we all have our own spheres of literacy, but how, exactly, does one create a culture of literacy?
To start, you can take a lead from some public schools and libraries. Most schools have libraries associated with them, this is obviously a center for straightforward, knowing how to read and write, literacy. To increase this influence and culture, librarians will have bulletin boards with writing prompts and will share those essays on those boards or in school publications. They will have boxes of books in every classroom and even the hallways, and some schools even have a box outside of the building to participate in a free community library. Many schools partner with workforce centers and other organizations to help with continued education, encouraging adults to get their GED or continued skill based education. Schools also offer courses and extracurricular programs in subjects that don’t strictly relate to testing.
If you are out of school, or wondering how to incorporate these ideas into your adult and home life, you essentially follow the same path. You can participate in continued education programs through your employer or community library. Build or work with a “free” library, where people can utilize a leave a book take a book policy. Look for skill exchanges in your area. A skill exchange is a program where you can trade training in a subject you know for training in a subject you are not as skilled in. Similar to a barter system, these can often be organized through a workforce center or make a posting on a bulletin board. Whatever way you want to build your literacy, the intention should be to never stop learning or growing.
On that note, Spider’s Revenge by Jennifer Estep is not a particularly erudite book. It did not even attempt to expand my skills set in anyway; however, is was a delicious fantasy action book that I did not want to put down. Written from the perspective of Gin Blanco, an assassin with elemental powers and highly popular barbeque restaurant, this blend of magic, mystery and action really spoke to me. Throughout the story, Gin Blanco works to take down her nemesis Mab, Queen of the city’s seedy underworld, and nearly takes out everyone she loves in the process. Fighting a horde of bounty hunters seems to be trouble enough until her own fears and inhibitions start tripping her up as well.
I really loved the characters Estep includes in this story. While this book is definitely dropping you into the middle of the action-packed series, it’s not too difficult to catch on to the important things and the relationships are well established. Also, despite the fantasy elements, Gin’s characterization really spoke to me. On more than one occasion, Gin cooks away her worries and feelings, or feeds people to show her love, which is definitely something I do. It was fun to see this trait portrayed in an assassin novel. My favorite part was probably the final fight scene with so many twists and a ton of catharsis it was good to the last drop, but I don’t want to give anything away.
I really enjoyed this book, and have a feeling that I would enjoy the rest of the series as well. This series seems to carry the same energy of the Sookie Stackhouse Trueblood series. So, if you liked those books, you should definitely read this full series, you may want to start with the first one Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep.
If you haven’t read the Trueblood Series, and enjoyed the energy and action of this book, you should definitely pick up this series as well. I would recommend avoiding the TV Show. Though many fans enjoyed it, it veers far from the books plots, and its on HBO, which should tell you what to expect. Start with Dead Until Dark by Charlain Harris for the full experience.
Another series I would recommend if you were a fan of this book would be Patricia Brigg’s Marcy Thompson series which follows a mechanic, who is also a shapeshifter and has a very similar feel to these other two series. Start with Moon Called, which is actually a very fun book.
Have you read any works by Jennifer Estep or any of my other recommendations? What do you think of them? Any other adult fiction novels you think I might enjoy? I always love hearing from you so Please comment below or email me at Cherrieschocolateanddirt@gmail.com!