Realm of Books

Realm of Books

Ep 5: Divergent

At the end of Ep4, I asked you listeners a question concerning Ep5 and it’s book, Divergent.

The choosing ceremony for the 16 year olds is about to come to pass and it’s the year you get to choose which faction you will be belong to for the rest of your life… which do you choose? The selfless Abnegation, the intelligent Erudite, the brave Dauntless, the peaceful Amity or the honest Candor? And why do you choose it?

I’ve provided the manifestos of each faction to better help you make your decision. You can email your responses to or tweet them to me @RealmofBooks. Can’t wait to hear what you folks have to say! Stay Classy and Keep Reading!


I will be my undoing If I become my obsession.

I will forget the ones I love If I do not serve them.

I will war with others If I refuse to see them.

Therefore I choose to turn away From my reflection, To rely not on myself But on my brothers and sisters, To project always outward Until I disappear.*

(*Some members add a final line: “And only God remains.” That is at the discretion of each member, and is not compulsory.)


We submit the following statements as truth:

“Ignorance” is defined not as stupidity but as lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge inevitable leads to disconnect among people with differences. Lack of understanding leads to a disconnect among people with differences. Disconnection among people with differences leads to conflict. Knowledge is the only logical solution to the problem of conflict. Therefore, we propose that in order to eliminate conflict, we must eliminate the disconnect among those with differences by correcting the lack of understanding that arises from ignorance with knowledge. The areas in which people must be educated are:

1. Sociology

So that the individual understands how society at large functions.

2. Psychology

So that the individual understands how a person functions within the society.

3. Mathematics

So that the individual is prepared for further study in science, engineering, medicine, and technology.

4. Science

So that the individual better understands how the world operates. So that the individual’s study in other areas is supplemented. So that as many individuals as possible area prepared to enter the fields devoted to innovation and progress

5. Communication

So that the individual knows how to speak and write clearly and effectively.

6. History

So that the individual understands the mistakes and successes that have led us to this point. So that the individual learns to emulate those successes and avoid those mistakes. Leaders must not be chosen base on charisma, popularity, or ease of communication, all of which are misleading and have little to do with the efficiency of a political leader. An objective standard must be used in order to determine who is best fit to lead. That standard will be an intelligence test, administered to all adults when the present leader reaches fifty-five or begins to decline is function in a demonstrable way. Those who, after rigorous studying, do not meet a minimum intelligence requirement will be exiled from the faction so they can be made useful. This is not an act of elitism but rather one of practicality: Those who are not intelligent enough to engage in the roles assigned to us— roles that require a considerable mental capacity—are better suited to menial work than to faction work. Menial work is required for the survival of society, and is therefore just as important as faction work. Information must always be made available to all faction members at all times. The withholding of information is punishable by reprimand, imprisonment, and, eventually, exile. Every question that can be answered must be answered or at least engaged. Illogical thought processes must be challenged when they arise. Wrong answers must be corrected. Correct answers must be affirmed. If an answer to a question is unclear, it must be put to debate. All debates require evidence. Any controversial thought or idea must be supplemented by evidence in order to reduce the potential for conflict. Intelligence must be used for the benefit, and not to the detriment, of society. Those who use intelligence for their own personal gain or to the detriment of others have not properly bore the responsibility of their gift, and are not welcome in our faction. It bears repeating: Intelligence is a gift, not a right. It must not be wielded not as a weapon but as a tool for the betterment of others.


We believe that cowardice is to blame for the world’s injustices.

We believe that peace is hard-won, that sometimes it is necessary to fight for peace. But more than that: We believe that justice is more important than peace.

We believe in freedom from fear, in denying fear the power to influence our decisions. We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.

We believe in acknowledging fear and the extent to which it rules us. We believe in facing that fear no matter what the cost to our comfort, our happiness, or even our sanity.

We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.

We believe, not just in bold words but in bold deeds to match them. We believe that pain and death are better than cowardice and inaction because we believe in action.

We do not believe in living comfortable lives. We do not believe that silence is useful.

We do not believe in good manners.

We do not believe in empty heads, empty mouths, or empty hands.

We do not believe that learning to master violence encourages unnecessary violence.

We do not believe that we should be allowed to stand idly by. We do not believe that any other virtue is more important than bravery.


Conversations of Peace


A son says to his mother: “Mother, today I fought with my friend.”

His Mother says: “Why did you fight with your friend?”

“Because he demanded something of me, and I would not give it to him.”

“Why did you not give it to him?”

“Because it was mine.”

“My son, you now have your possessions, but you do not have your friend. Which would you rather have?”

“My friend.”

“Then give freely, trusting that you will also be given what you need.”


Daughter says to her Father: “Father, today I fought with my friend.”

Her Father says: “Why did you fight with your friend?”

“Because she insulted me, and I was angry.”

“Why were you angry?”

“Because she lied about me” (In some versions: “Because I was hurt by her words.”)

“My daughter, did your friend’s words change who you are?”


“Then do not be angry. The opinions of others cannot damage you.”


A husband says to his wife: “Wife, today I fought with my enemy.”

“His Wife says: “Why did you fight with your enemy?”

“Because I hate him.”

“My husband, why do you hate him?”

“Because he wronged me.”

“The wrong is past. You must let it rest where it lies.”


A Wife says to her Husband: “Husband, today I fought with my enemy.”

Her Husband says: “Why did you fight with your enemy?”

“Because I spoke cruel words to her.”

“My wife, why did you speak cruel words to her?”

“Because I believed them to be true.”

“Then you must no longer think cruel thoughts. Cruel thoughts lead to cruel words, and hurt you as much as they hurt your target.”

(The following section was part of the original manifesto, but was later removed.)


One friend says to Another: “Friend, today I fought with my enemy.”

The Other Friend says: “Why did you fight with your enemy?”

“Because they were about to hurt you.”

“Friend, why did you defend me?”

“Because I love you.”

“Then I am grateful.”


Dishonesty Is Rampant.

Dishonesty Is Temporary.

Dishonesty Makes Evil Possible.

As it stands now, lies pervade society, families, and even the internal life of the individual. One group lies to another group, parents lie to children, children lie to parents, individuals lie to themselves. Dishonesty has become so integral to the way we relate to one another that we rarely find ourselves in authentic relationships with others. Our dark secrets remain our own. Yet it is our secrets that cause conflict. When we are dishonest with the people around us, we begin to hate ourselves for lying; when we are dishonest with ourselves, we can never attempt to correct the flaws we find within us, the flaws we are so desperate to hide from our loved ones, the flaws that make us lie. What has become clear is that lies are just a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Lying to spare a person’s feelings, even when the truth would help them to improve, damages them in the long run. Lying to protect yourself lasts for so long before the truth emerges. Like a wild animal, the truth is too powerful to remain caged. These are examples we clearly see in our own lives, yet we fail to understand that they do not just apply to the dynamic between ourselves and our neighbors, or ourselves and our friends. What is society but a web of individual-to-individual relationships? And what is conflict except one person’s dark secret crashing into another person’s dark secret? Dishonesty is a veil that shields one person from another. Dishonesty allows evil to persist, hidden from eyes of those who would fight it. Dishonesty Leads to Suspicion. Suspicion Leads to Conflict. Honesty Leads to Peace. We have a vision of an honest world. In this world, parents do not lie to their children, and children do not lie to their parents do not lie to their parents; friends do not lie to one another; spouses do not lie to each other. When we are asked our opinions we are free to give them without having to consider any other responses. When we engage in conversation with others, we do not have to evaluate their intentions, because they are transparent. We have no suspicion, and no one suspects us. And most of all – yes, above all else – we are free to expose our dark secrets because we know the dark secrets of our neighbors, our friends, our spouses, our children, our parents, and our enemies. We know that while we are flawed in a unique way, we are not unique because we are flawed. Therefor we can be authentic. We have no suspicions. And we are at peace with those around us. Truth ‘Makes ‘Us ‘Transparent. ‘Truth Makes Us Strong. Truth Makes Us Inextricable We will raise our children to tell the truth. We will do this by encouraging them to speak their minds at every moment. For the child, withholding words is the same as lying. We will be honest with our children even at the expense of their feelings. The only reason people cannot bear honesty now is because they were not raised hearing the truth about themselves, and they can’t stand to. If children are raised to hear both honest praise and honest criticism, they will not be so fragile as to crumble beneath the scrutiny of their peers. A life of truth makes us strong. Adulthood will be defined as a time at which each member of society is capable of bearing every other member’s dark secrets, just as every other member will be subjected to The Full Unveiling in which every hidden part of their life is laid bare before their fellow members. They, too, will see the hidden parts of their fellow members’ lives. In this way we bear one another’s secrets. In this way we become inextricable. Truth Makes Us Inextricable.





Quick update on Ep4 & question!

Hey, folks!

It’s been a wild couple of weeks with real life trying to drive me crazy with schedule changes at work. But! That hasn’t diminished my ability to read or work on the next episode!

I’ve gotten a lot of awesome feedback from Ep3 with my interview of J. Paige Dunn. And I hope that everyone that’s picked up the book really enjoys it as much as I did!

Now, for Ep4… It’ll be dropping at the beginning of next month and, as I mentioned at the end of Ep3, I’m reading Death Warmed Over by Kevin J. Anderson. Dan Chambeaux is a private investigator. A zombie private investigator. Ever since the Big Uneasy unleashed all those beings of horror movies into the real world, things have been a little crazy. But they’re just like normal folks, right? Except for their thirst for O+ or changing at the full moon or, in Dan’s case, nothing at all except slowing rotting.

So in relation to what we’ll be discussing, I’d like to know what you folks think… Say the Big Uneasy -actually- happened and threw all sorts of beings at us… How do you think you’d react? Would you be as accepting as most of the individuals in the book are? Would you want to hide from some of the more scary? Would you find this as an opportunity to become like those you enjoyed from movies? Tell me what you think and I’ll include it in the next episode!

Can’t wait to hear from you, folks!
Keep Calm and Read On!

Interview with Piers Anthony

Like mentioned on Episode 2: On A Pale Horse, I got an opportunity to interview Mr. Anthony via email and here is the transcript from that exchange. I hope you readers enjoyed it as much as I did. He really is a brilliant man!



Hello, again, Mr. Anthony! I hope you’re doing well this day and that the Holidays and the New Year have visited you pleasantly. I’ve provided the list of questions I mentioned I would send in our last correspondence. Thank you again for agreeing to answer these for myself and the listeners.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in England, but all my education was in America, and I am a naturalized American. This gave me a certain perspective; I find it easy to identify with a foreigner or even an alien creature visiting human society.

What were you like at school? Were you good at English?
School was a problem from the start. It took me three years to make it through first grade, then I skipped second and fifth grades to catch up. When my daughter was diagnosed as dyslexic I recognized symptoms I had had, only in my day dyslexia did not exist, only stupid students. I was as stupid as they come. I was awful at English because I couldn’t make sense of verbs and nouns and was never good at rote memory. Only when I got free of conventional schooling did I prosper intellectually. As I like to put it, it has been some time since anyone other than a critic thought I was stupid.

Give us an insight into the main character, Zane, from the book we’re discussing, On A Pale Horse. What makes him so special?
Zane is special only in one way; his balance of good and evil put him in the category that required the personal attention of Death. Otherwise he is ordinary.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite part is the animation of the song “Holy, Holy, Holy”. I am agnostic, having no belief in the supernatural, but in the novel the supernatural is real and it was fun making it manifest.

What drew you into writing Fantasy?
I was a science fiction writer. But I had liked the editing of Lester del Rey and wanted to work with him. Since he was by then a fantasy editor, I wrote a fantasy novel, A Spell for Chameleon. And discovered I like fantasy, so chance was a huge factor there.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I had thought to be an artist, but concluded that I lacked the talent to make it commercially. I wanted to pursue higher mathematics, but was required to take four years of languages instead. So my main avenues had been balked. I pondered a day and a night in college, and realized that I wanted to be a writer. It was like a light turning on, and that beacon still guides me 60 years later. But I didn’t know it until that point. I did not dream of it in childhood. I think of it as being a bit like being rejected by the lovely Blonde, Brunette, and Redhead, then discovering that the mousy girl next door was the one for me, character being more important than appearance. But no, this is no reflection on my romantic life. My wife of 57 years and counting, was from far away and not mousy. But it was her support of my writing that enabled me to succeed.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
My daughter was hyperactive, so I learned to write in pencil on a clipboard, so I could drop it, literally, and catch her short of mischief. When she went to college I realized that I no longer needed to do that, and I jumped from pencil to computer. The computer is almost as versatile as the pencil, and faster.

What would you say is an interesting writing quirk of yours?
I don’t know whether it’s a quirk, but I was one of the first professional writers to do expressive author’s notes, not just lists of credits. No one liked them; reviewers lambasted them and the editor tried to chop them out of the books. There was only one category that liked them: the readers. So I am the Author’s Note author, closer to my readers than most other writers while critics continue to sneer.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
When an idea strikes me – and this can occur on a daily basis – I quickly summarize the gist in pen or pencil, then when I am at the computer I transcribe it for my voluminous Ideas file. When I need a notion, I look there. So there may be no outline, but I do like to know where the story is going before I write it. Some of those summaries get amended later, and one can expand to thousands of words. That’s the case for one I’m about to write, Neris, which is Siren spelled backwards, about a man whose mother is a normal human woman and whose father is a god of the sea. I have gotten to the point of naming the other characters, and assigning parts of it to chapters; I’m going to have to write it before it explodes. Some ideas simply will not be denied.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’m not sure I have changed creatively over the course of my career. What has changed are my writing skills, my commercial success, and the world around me. Today with self publishing I have no fear of an idiot editor abusing or rejecting my opus, so I am free to express myself. That allows me to be more creative than ever.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.
I try to read at least one book a month. I’m a slow reader, maybe a lingering aspect of the dyslexia, and reading cuts into my writing time, so it’s limited. Much of what I read is the work of aspiring authors, as I try to help them make it. I’m really no longer in touch with the authors of my generation.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I have made so many mistakes in my career that I could say a lot to my younger self, such as how to avoid getting blacklisted for telling the truth. But those sometimes bitter experiences are a significant part of what makes me what I am today, so probably I would simply say “Carry on undaunted!” and let it go at that.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Carry on undaunted!

How can readers discover more about you and your works?
Go to my web site where everything is spread out. I have a monthly blog-type column there, and an ongoing survey of electronic publishers for the benefit of aspiring authors. I have also had two autobiographies published: Bio of an Ogre and How Precious Was That While.

Anything you’d like to say to the listeners that are reading or have read On A Pale Horse?
As for On a Pale Horse: I hope you like it, and anything else of mine you read.


Also remember! Episode 3 is an interview episode with J. Paige Dunn! Tweet or email your questions to @RealmofBooks or

Until next time, folks! Keep Calm and Read On!

Update on Episode 2: On A Pale Horse

Heya, folks! -coughhack-

Yup, unfortunately I have caught the crud! I did so well to avoid it over the holidays when my husband, my in-laws & my step-son had it, but it was destined.

If you listened to Ep84 of Tauren Think Tank, then you heard Remghar mention that I was going to record Ep2 this past Thursday… but unfortunately, I woke up Wednesday night with a scratchy throat. Thinking it might pass, I went forward with my plans to record but Thursday night when I woke up, I sounded like a frog… and still do. I’m hoping to record this Thursday to get Ep2 out to the listeners! Frog voice or no!

So here is another chance to get your answers in for Ep2’s question:

You have been given the opportunity to attend a dinner with an author of your choice (dead or living); who is it? What book of theirs do you bring to have inscribed? And what one question would you ask them?

You can tweet your answers to @RealmofBooks or email me at or leave a comment here with your answer!

Until next time, folks! Keep Calm and Read On!

2013 Reading Challenge

After my first episode dropped in mid-December, I got a lot of questions concerning what books I read to complete my reading challenge of 60 books by the end of 2013. Instead of trying to include my list in an actual episode, I thought I’d give a physical list here.

Started January 2, 2013 & reached #60 on November 24, 2013.

I’ve also been asked if I am going to attempt another big challenge this year and the short answer is no, unfortunately I won’t be attempting another big challenge. Long answer: I won’t have time. Having just started this podcast (episode 2 will be recorded this weekend), I’ve set specific goals that I want to meet by certain times as well as have to account for the little surprises that creep up on me during the year. Reviewing and discussing a book isn’t all that difficult (just time consuming), but I’ve learned just two books into doing this podcast that I can’t just sit and enjoy a book from beginning to end. I have to be aware of bits and pieces that can be used in the show and take notes as I read. I still enjoy the book, no doubt about that, but I have to be more attentive to points I can bring up in the discussion on the podcast. I’m hoping to read, at least, 20 new books this year, but I’m not going to make myself stick to it like I did last year with the 60. The decision of what book to review & discuss is not only going to be made by me, but also by my listeners who send in the suggestions.

So, without further ado, my 60 books:

  1. Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
  2. Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2) by C. Clare
  3. The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon #3) by Dan Brown
  4. The Seeker (Shaker Series #3) by Ann H. Gabhart
  5. Lord of the Far Island by Victoria Holt
  6. Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris
  7. Living Dead in Dallas (Stackhouse #2) by C. Harris
  8. Club Dead (Stackhouse #3) by C. Harris
  9. Dead to the World (Stackhouse #4) by C. Harris
  10. Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson
  11. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  12. Catching Fire by S. Collins
  13. Mockingjay by S. Collins
  14. Switched (Trylle #1) by Amanda Hocking
  15. Torn (Trylle #2) by A. Hocking
  16. Ascend (Trylle #3) by A. Hocking
  17. The Devil on Horseback by Victoria Holt
  18. Homeland (Drizzt #1) by R.A. Salvatore
  19. Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare
  20. Exile (Drizzt #2) by R.A. Salvatore
  21. Sojourn (Drizzt #3) by R.A. Salvatore
  22. The Crystal Shard (Drizzt #4) by R.A. Salvatore
  23. Streams of Silver (Drizzt #5) by R.A. Salvatore
  24. Dead as a Doornail (Stackhouse #5) by Charlaine Harris
  25. Definitely Dead (Stackhouse #6) by C. Harris
  26. All Together Dead (Stackhouse #7) by C. Harris
  27. From Dead to Worse (Stackhouse #8) by C. Harris
  28. Dead and Gone (Stackhouse #9) by C. Harris
  29. Dead in the Family (Stackhouse #10) by C. Harris
  30. Dead Reckoning (Stackhouse #11) by C. Harris
  31. XO (Dance #3) by Jeffery Deaver
  32. Deadlocked (Stackhouse #12) by Charlaine Harris
  33. Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher
  34. Inferno (Langdon #4) by Dan Brown
  35. Dead Ever After (Stackhouse #13) by Charlaine Harris
  36. Fool Moon (Dresden #2) by Jim Butcher
  37. Grave Peril (Dresden #3) by J. Butcher
  38. Summer Knight (Dresden #4) by J. Butcher
  39. Death Masks (Dresden #5) by J. Butcher
  40. Blood Rites (Dresden #6) by J. Butcher
  41. Dead Beat (Dresden #7) by J. Butcher
  42. Proven Guilty (Dresden #8) by J. Butcher
  43. White Night (Dresden #9) by J. Butcher
  44. Small Favor (Dresden #10) by J. Butcher
  45. Turn Coat (Dresden #11) by J. Butcher
  46. Changes (Dresden #12) by J. Butcher
  47. Ghost Story (Dresden #13) by J. Butcher
  48. Cold Days (Dresden #14) by J. Butcher
  49. Side Jobs (Dresden Anthology) by J. Butcher
  50. A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone #1) by Sue Grafton
  51. B is for Burglar (Kinsey #2) by S. Grafton
  52. C is for Corpse (Kinsey #3) by S. Grafton
  53. The Lady and The Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
  54. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  55. Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie McGuire
  56. Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2) by J. McGuire
  57. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  58. The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver
  59. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  60. Allegiant by V. Roth

Started with a fantastic trilogy and ended with a fantastic trilogy! Oh, and you know, just a few really awesome books in between! I hope that you readers see this list and find books you haven’t read and decide to read! Several good series in there to choose from!


Until next time, Keep Calm and Read On, folks!