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Archive for the category “Randomly bookish”

Throwing another dart…

imagesWhen I began this blog in June, I had some rather ambitious goals. I really thought I could read and review books a few times a week, as well as post on other rather bookish topics on the days in between. This is not at all what happened, however. I missed that mark by so many days I began to lose count, making me feel like quite the blogging failure. By December, I was ready to scrap the blog and move on.

But its a New Year, all fresh and clean, and maybe before I throw in the towel I need to try again.  So, as of today, I’ve got a new look, and a few new goals for 2013 to try and make this blog a success.

What stays the same?

  • It’s still primarily a book blog. I love reading and I love sharing what I read. That hasn’t changed over the last six months, even if my schedule has.
  • Library Loot– I’ll keep posting what books I take out, even if I decide not to review them.
  • It’ll still be nerdy. This much hasn’t changed. 😉

What will change?

  • Weekend Recaps– These will be categorized as Life and Things. Friends and family living far away check in here occasionally, and  I want to be able to share what’s happening. Besides, as I started sharing my weekends I realized how genuinely boring my life is.
  • I’m not accepting books to review. I tried accepting books to review and found I could not meet the time constraints. It just doesn’t work for me. If you want to recommend a book, I’m all for it, but please, no ARC’s.
  • Library Loot will shrink. I’m limiting myself to one to two books each library visit. It will keep me from racking up fines for books I haven’t read, and it will help me focus on picking up books I actually read.
  • Any Reading Challenges must be started by March…and if I’m not enjoying it, its okay to scrap it. Blogging is more a fun side hobby than a part time job.

With these changes in mind, here are my more modest goals:

  1. To post once a week. Book Reviews, Randomly bookish topics, Library Loot, Quotes, and Life and Things Updates all count as posts.
  2. To take pictures for the blog and stop using images from the web. I credit them, but it would still be nice to start using my own images. Guess I will be purchasing a camera…. 😉
  3. To enjoy blogging a bit more. I love reading and I really do love writing. So maybe if there is a little less pressure to post, it will be fun again.

Happy New Year readers! Here’s to hoping 2013 means a bit more success on the blogging front!

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Book Blogger Confessions: Politics

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that posts the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month, where book bloggers “confess” and vent about topics that are unique to us. Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions.

Just keep it respectful – no bashing authors or other bloggers! If you want to participate just grab our button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming MediaMidnyte Reader or For What It’s Worth. We will be providing a linky at the end of our posts so people can “hop” to see all the participants answers.

Should bloggers & authors discuss politics? Does that turn you off to a blogger or an authors books if they tweet/post about their political positions or do you appreciate their passionate point of view? 

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve read a book blog that contained a political discussion, let alone one where their politics made me uncomfortable. I do honestly appreciate people’s passion, but I do not appreciate disrespect. One of the most challenging things for me this particular political season has been the decision of so many on social media to be disrespectful. Name calling, mudslinging- none of those have a place in a political discussion.

Who?

Over at Callapidder Days they have begun the Fall into Reading 2012 Challenge. With all the excitement in my life, I’ve found that this year I cannot participate, however, I am following the Challenge, and especially, the questions posted. I especially liked the first question, so I decided to blog along.

Is there an author (or authors) whose books you are always watching for? Do you jump to snatch up the latest literary offering from certain specific authors? In other words, who are your go-to authors?

  • David Baldacci- I discovered his books one summer, and I read through everything he had written up to that point. Since then, I always pre-order his latest offering, a carry over from my grad school days when I could read more than one or two pages of a book for fun without falling asleep and it took me six months to read it. Now I still pre-order them, but save them for vacation. [Ironically enough, when I popped onto Amazon this morning, they notified me that Baldacci has a book available for pre-order. Pretty sure I’ve found my reading for Christmas vacation.]
  • John Grisham- Yes, I know. Judge me if you will, but I still read John Grisham. I don’t love his latest offerings as much as I did his original work, but it still worth it.
  • A.J. Jacobs- his non-fiction writing is witty, and tends to take an unusual approach.

Fun question. 🙂 So, who are your go-to authors?

 

The Books that Shape Us

In my wanderings today, I came across this post by Nathan Harden “Five Classic Books Every Smart Person Should Read” on the Huff Post blog. I am not going to lie, I felt like it took some audacity on Harden’s part to title it as he did and I almost didn’t read on that basis alone…but I was too curious to see his list to not finish the post.

For those curious, Harden’s list includes:

1. Homer’s Oddessy

2. Plutarch’s Lives

3. The Bible

4. Dante’s Divine Comedy

5. Shakespeare’s The Tempest

What I appreciated about the article is that Harden advocated that individuals read these books not because they were his favorites, or because you should have read them as one of  the elite, but because they have shaped our intellectual and moral history. He pointed out that these books are no longer required reading, and that, “Consequently, we are less likely than ever to understand where our political and moral ideas come from.” Often, we are willing to read books that agree with our moral, intellectual, and political ideals, but we don’t fully explore where those ideals originated from. Americans especially seem to disconnect from history, aside from our own.

I will confess, I have not read the bulk of this short list, the exceptions being The Bible and Dante’s Divine Comedy, but I am curious to pick up each of the books mentioned, and to consider them for what they have been- books that shaped the intellectual history of generations.

What about you- have you read any of Harden’s list? Would you add any to this list, and why?

Book Blogger Confessions: Following

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that posts the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month, where book bloggers “confess” and vent about topics that are unique to us. Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions.

Just keep it respectful – no bashing authors or other bloggers! If you want to participate just grab our button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming MediaMidnyte Reader or For What It’s Worth. We will be providing a linky at the end of our posts so people can “hop” to see all the participants answers.

How do you follow blogs?  I think this depends on the blog. Those that post daily, and that I really enjoy reading I will actually add the RSS feed to internet tool bar so I can check it regularly. I have a few that I receive by email, and then the rest are in my WordPress reader.

Are you more apt to follow people who have less followers?  No…honestly, I can’t actually say I’ve paid attention to that this far. I tend to follow blogs on topics I find interesting and that make me laugh. I especially appreciate bloggers who clearly put thought into their content and book reviews. I blog, so I can understand how difficult it is to really put an effort into regular posts, and in making them interesting.

This makes wonder… do people follow me because I have less followers? Do they follow me in hopes that I will follow them back, or do they actually like my content?

Would you follow a blog to enter a contest? No. While I have no problems with commenting in order to enter a contest, I would rather follow based on content.

What makes you unfollow a blog?  If the blogger seems to have fallen off the planet and hasn’t posted in six month, I will sometimes stop following. Or if the content has really offended me.

Selling an opinion

A few weeks ago, I entered the debate on making money off of one’s blog in a Book Blogger Confession (see post here: https://thenerdreports.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/book-blogger-c…-off-your-blog/). For me book blogging is a hobby, and I do not receive any financial compensation for my reviews, although I do receive copies of books in exchange for an honest opinion. I do not promise anyone a favorable review because I am not willing to compromise my opinion or my values in order to make an author feel good about their work.

So when a friend email me this article, well, let’s just say I nearly had a heart attack: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-book-reviews-money-buy-131408538.html. Are you kidding me?! This guy was selling favorable book reviews?! Just the thought made my blood boil, and that was even before I read the article.

Believe, I know that there are people blogging that are receiving copies of books and posting amazing reviews without having read the book. But it kills me to know that people are not just not reading the book, but selling a favorable review…and that there is a legitimate market for it. I’m not sure what makes me upset, the idea that people are willing to write opinions on books they have never read, or authors that seek them out.

I am not a writer, save for this blog, and its not how I make my living. But it would seem to me that they best way to get good reviews is to write good literature, or, if really all your looking for is an audience, choose an audience, study what they read and what they like, and write to them (typing that just killed me a little on the inside). Just don’t hire people to praise your work. Have some integrity. Write something worth praising. And accept that it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

 

The Great Reader Debate: E-Reader or No E-Reader?

For a long time, I purposefully avoided this debate, running from the conversation so I didn’t have to form an opinion, but it would always catch up with me. People that knew I was ridiculously bookish would work it into a conversation, and for a long time, I couldn’t answer because I didn’t own an e-reader. It was not a luddite stand on the matter, it was simply for lack of funds…until I received a Kindle for Christmas a few years ago.

At first it wasn’t my favorite way to read. I missed turning the pages and the smell of a new book. It felt awkward to use the function to highlight passages for papers, or to search through the texts for quotes necessary for papers. But slowly, I got used to it. I could carry it easily in my backpack or purse. There were a lot of free books available, especially classics, so I could expand my library for free. And then there was the matter of shelf space- the e-reader freed up quite a bit of it.

This past February, however, I lost my Kindle at a bus stop. *Please pause for a moment of silence.* It’s been about six months without my e-reader, and I’ve found myself, at moments, longing for a Kindle Fire or an Ipad, especially when I travel. But I’ve also enjoyed the experience of reading without a screen. I like turning the pages, highlighting passages, and being able to loan my favorite books to my friends. I even like being able to swap them. And its pushed me back toward my local library. I borrow far more books than I ever have previously (at least as an adult), and I am exposed to alot of different genres because my recommendations are not simply restricted to what I’ve read before.

Given the chance to own an e-reader, I would probably go for it, but in the meantime, I will work on wearing my library card out.
What about you? Are you pro E-reader, or against?

“Whenever I opened one, …

“Whenever I opened one, T.Ray said, “Who do you think you are, Julius Shakespeare?’ The man sincerely thought that was Shakespeare’s first name, and if you think I should have corrected him, you are ignorant about the art of survival”

From The Secret Life of Bees, p 16

Summer Reading Challenge 2012…the countdown is on!

Well, there is a little over a week left until the end of my Summer Reading Challenge, and I thought it was time for a progress report. Those that are crossed off have been completed. Those in bold are in progress.

1. One Book Recommended By A Friend Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
2. One Book That Has Been Sitting On Your Shelf For Over A Year The Shack by Paul W. Young
3. One Book You Read A Long Time Ago And Want To ReRead Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
4. One Book From Your To Be Read List The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
5. One Book You’ve Never Heard Of On Hitler’s Mountain by Irmagard Hunt
6. One Classic All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
7. One Book You Started But Never Finished Emma by Jane Austen
8. One New Release Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by AJ Jacobs
9. One Book That Is Outside of Your Typical Genre Poetry and Prose by Walt Whitman
10. One Chunkster (A Book That Is Over 400 Pages) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I feel fairly confident that I can finish The Secret Life of Bees and Emma before Labor Day, but I admit, I am feeling less confident about being able to complete a monster volume of Whitman poetry, Gilead, The Shack, and a re-read of Sense & Sensibility before the end of next week. It’s just not terribly realistic of me to even try…and its doubtful I would even enjoy the books if I did.
Regardless of how things end up, I did learn some things by participating in the challenge. While I don’t consider these a justification or substitute for the fact I didn’t finish, they are still worth mentioning.
I tend to read in topical groups or series. This summer, after reading All Quiet on the Western Front, I couldn’t help but delve further into literature and history on World War I.  Although I took a course on European History in high school,  I learned very little on World War I in school, or even graduate school, in spite of the fact it would set things up for World War II would would shape modern history around the globe. It seemed that something was missing in my knowledge base, so it prompted me to read everything I can get my hands on in order to fix that.
I’ve also noticed I like series. It helps me know what’s next on my reading list and keeps things orderly.
If I am reluctant to read something, little will change my desire to read it…even posting it on a blog. I have had little to no desire to read The Shack, no many how times its been recommended to me. I even own a copy (it was a gift) and I can’t bring myself to read it. Honestly, I’ve glimpsed at it and its hard to get past the writing. I want to give it a chance…but I can’t when there is so many other things to read!
It’s easy for me to bite off more than I can chew when it comes to books. As soon as review copies started coming in, and I was getting new paperbacks from Paperbackswap.com, and I was let loose in the library…well… let’s just say it all went downhill from there.
Although I refuse to give up hope just yet, I realistically report that I may not finish my Summer Reading Challenge. Check back on September 4th to check on the final reading stats.

Ode to a Reading Chair

Image taken from the official Ikea USA website.

Since graduating with my undergraduate degree, I have moved a total of six times (and no, we are not talking about how long its been since that happened). Sadly, it took me six moves to realize that one of the most important things in setting up my room, aside from space for books and a place for jewelry, is a reading nook. But once I set my sights on it, I knew it would happen.

The first thing I choose was the chair. Oh, the chair. I had always been in love with the Ikea Poang chair. I can’t explain why, except to say I found it comfortable and incredibly reasonably priced. The thing is, I didn’t want the cheapest version of the chair. You know, the $69.00 version with a cloth cover. No, I wanted a black leather chair cover and a dark wood frame. And I needed the matching footstool as well.

While I would have loved to go straight to Ikea and purchase such loveliness immediately, my budget would not have it. But that was okay, because I had a plan. It was called Craigslist. I know, some of you have reservations with Craigslist, and I understand. But for someone with my budget, its one of the best options there is and I have gotten some pretty amazing pieces of furniture at incredible prices. Eventually I found my chair- $50.00 for both the chair and the footrest in the exact coloring I wanted.

Once I had my reading chair, it was simply a matter of rearranging the furniture. I moved a lamp into that corner, placed the bookcase nearby, and installed my chair. Although I will read on the couch in the living room, at the dining room table, or pretty much anywhere where I have access to a book, my favorite place to read is in my reading chair set so neatly in the corner of my room. It elevated my room from being a functional room to being my safe haven. Quite simply, I love my reading chair!

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