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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Slowdown, January 25: 'Thonning and Tracking


Sunday Slowdown, The 3 Rs Blog, 1/25/2015

I gave three of the designated four hours (and an undisclosed amount of dollars) to yesterday’s National Readathon Day. Four hours doesn’t sound like much when you’ve participated in readathons that last six times that long. But it turned out to be a nearly ideal amount of time to commit to reading on a Saturday afternoon–long enough to be productive, yet limited enough to stay (mostly) focused. I didn’t actually make the commitment until yesterday morning, when it looked like it would fit into other plans for the day, but I’m glad I did it. (Winchester reports on my results at the end of this post.)

I’m trying to commit to something else reading-related this year: I have succumbed to the lure of the “reading spreadsheet.” (You might think that spreadsheets would be a must-have for a book-blogging accountant, but they haven’t been for this one.) I’m working with a slightly modified version of the Track Reading Spreadsheet used (and shared) by Kerry at Entomology of a Bookworm, and I think that if I stick with it and remember to update it as I go along, I’ll have even more fun with data when I make my reading charts at the end of this year. I’m learning a few things already:
  • For the first time, I’ll know how many pages I read over a given length of time, and how many days I spend on a book. I suspect I won’t like that latter statistic very much.
  • While I’m interested in seeing what my completed reading adds up to, I’m not especially interested in tracking “progress” through individual books. I think I’d have to update that daily for it to be meaningful, and I know I don’t make enough reading “progress” on a daily basis to bother with that.
  • All but one of the authors I’ve read so far this year are white, American females. The exception is a white American male whose novel could be filed under “women’s fiction.” I have been resistant to applying “diversity” measures to my reading choices and I’m still not sure I will deliberately change anything. However, I’m not comfortable with what this reflects, so I have some further reflection to do.

We don’t have much planned for the second warm, windy day of this weekend. I foresee reading, writing, TV, and possibly napping, in no particular order. I have a short but intense work week ahead—intense mostly because, for reasons I’ll share later this week, it’ll be short—and I think I’ll appreciate a low-intensity Sunday. What are you up to today?

The Weekly Winchester


Winchester and the Readathon 1/25/2015 The 3 Rs Blog
“I read 100 pages of a galley & 70 pages of an ebook during 3 hours. Winchester didn’t read anything. #TimeToRead #readathon #dogsofinstagram #Winchester”



Thursday, January 22, 2015

(Audio)Book Talk: UNBROKEN, by Laura Hillenbrand (read by Edward Herrmann)

Audiobook read by Edward Herrmann
Random House (November 2010), Hardcover (ISBN 1400064163 / 9781400064168)
Nonfiction: biography/history, 496 pages
Source: Purchased audiobook (Random House Audio, November 2010, ISBN 9780739319703; Audible ASIN B004CJN7TG)
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Audiobook discussion on The 3 Rs Blog UNBROKEN

Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit was, and remains, one of my favorite books from the decade before I blogged:
“I never went through that pre-teen horse-loving phase so many girls do, and I’m not big on sports, so why would a book about horse-racing have any appeal? I’ve always been glad I ignored those roadblocks and read this. The story of this unlikely champion and the people who worked with him was utterly compelling (and much better than the movie).”
I was equally indifferent to the subject of Hillenbrand’s next book after Seabiscuit, Unbroken—a racing human instead of a horse, with World War II as a backdrop—and yet there was never any question that I’d read it. I asked for a copy of it, in hardcover, for Christmas the year it was published…and it’s been sitting on my shelves ever since. The recent release of the movie adaptation was what finally got it out of TBR Purgatory—as an audiobook. (The hardcover is on its way from the bookshelves to the book-donation box.) I knew I’d get to it eventually because I was sure that once I picked it up, Hillenbrand would get me just as interested in this story as she did in Seabiscuit’s.

Once again, my confidence in the author was justified. I’m still not a sports person, and despite the fact that both my husband and my son ran track in high school, I’m really not into running. And while I’m quite interested in aspects of the World War II era, I’m not especially fascinated by reading about war itself. But I was enthralled, and sometimes horrified, by the story of Louie Zamperini.

A troublemaking, thieving kid in Torrance, California, Louie’s life took a turn for the better when he was reluctantly recruited to run track, and discovered he was good at it, setting high-school and college records in distance races on the way to a spot on the US track team at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. A seventh-place finish in his event made him determined to do better in the 1940 games, but that was not to be; those Olympics, along with those scheduled for 1944, were casualties of World War II.

Hillenbrand’s accounts of pivotal races in Louie’s running career are as riveting as anything in Seabiscuit, but the real drama of this story doesn’t happen on the track. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Louie was drafted into the Army Air Corps and trained as a bombardier for air battles on the Pacific front. He didn’t see many of those, but he spent more than two years fighting for his own survival. After his plane crashed into the ocean—ironically, while on a search mission for another plane in the squadron—he and another crew member spent nearly seven weeks drifting, and starving, in a raft before they landed on a small island occupied by the Japanese. Louie’s years as a prisoner of war began there; the terrors and trials of those years, and his remarkable survival—even as the US War Department officially declares him dead—are the centerpiece of Unbroken.

As I expected, Hillenbrand relates this story vey well. But t’s a difficult and unsettling story, and reading it in audiobook is immersive in a way that sometimes makes it even tougher to hear. This is a case where a spoiler is welcome, and it helps to know going in that Louie does survive; decades later, he was able to share his own story with Hillenbrand for this book. (He died in July 2014.) It’s a one-of-a-kind life story, and I’m glad I finally came around to knowing it. Laura Hillenbrand is the perfect person to tell it, and Edward Herrmann was an excellent choice to read it for the audio.

Rating: Book and audio, 4 of 5
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On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

From Chapter One:

“In the predawn darkness of August 26, 1929, in the back bedroom of a small house inTorrance, California, a twelve-year-old boy sat up in bed, listening. There was a sound coming from outside, growing ever louder. It was a huge, heavy rush, suggesting immensity, a great parting of air. It was coming from directly above the house. The boy swung his legs off his bed, raced down the stairs, slapped open the back door, and loped onto the grass. The yard was otherworldly, smothered in unnatural darkness, shivering with sound. The boy stood on the lawn beside his older brother, head thrown back, spellbound.

“The sky had disappeared. An object that he could see only in silhouette, reaching across a massive arc of space, was suspended low in the air over the house. It was longer than two and a half football fields and as tall as a city. It was putting out the stars.

“What he saw was the German dirigible Graf Zeppelin. At nearly 800 feet long and 110 feet high, it was the largest flying machine ever crafted. More luxurious than the finest airplane, gliding effortlessly over huge distances, built on a scale that left spectators gasping, it was, in the summer of ’29, the wonder of the world. “

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Talk: SAVAGE PARK, by Amy Fusselman (via Shelf Awareness)

Savage Park: A Meditation on Play, Space, and Risk for Americans Who Are Nervous, Distracted, and Afraid to Die
Amy Fusselman (Twitter)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (January 13, 2015), Hardcover (ISBN 0544303008 / 9780544303003)
Nonfiction: social science/memoir, 144 pages

A version of this review was previously published in Shelf Awareness for Readers (January 16, 2015). Shelf Awareness provided me with a publisher-furnished galley to facilitate the review, and compensated me for the review they received and posted.

Book discussion on The 3 Rs Blog SAVAGE PARK by Amy Fusselman

As a visitor from New York City with her husband and two young sons, Amy Fusselman is startled, a little frightened, and deeply intrigued by Tokyo's Hanegi playpark. "Play freely at your own risk" says the sign at the entrance to "Savage Park." Open fires burn and families toast marshmallows while children climb on ropes in the trees and undertake construction projects with scraps of building materials and available tools. While Hanegi playpark is in some ways reminiscent of the vacant lots where earlier generations of American children played with whatever was at hand, the setting--and the message--are unlike anything Fusselman has ever encountered. Savage Park is a document of Fusselnan's fascination with this strange playground, which draws her back to Toyko a year later to to spend a week working alongside its lead "play worker," and what it comes to signify to her.

Fussleman's musings on cultural differences in the perceptions of "play" and "risk" lead to observations about how we engage with the space around us...and how we don't. The brief history of "adventure playgrounds" like Hanegi offered in Savage Park reveals that they are far more common in Europe and Japan than in America, and Fusselman suggests that the carefully constructed, padded structures in our play areas function at least as much in the interest of parents' psychological safety as for the physical safety of our children.

Illustrated with numerous black-and-white photographs of the place that inspired it, Savage Park blends Fusselman's thoughtful reflections with her passionate arguments for Americans to reevaluate our concepts of fear, space, and creativity, much as her time in Tokyo's "Savage Park" caused her to reevaluate her own. It's worth noting that Fussleman's perspective is a privileged one; those who actually live daily under risky conditions may be unlikely to want them in the artificial construct of a play space, and perhaps that's why playgrounds like Hanegi are relatively rare in American cities. That said, her exploration of the ideas that Hanegi represents--and particularly, how they impact children and parents--is compelling, and makes Savage Park good companion reading to Eula Biss' On Immunity.


Book description, from the publisher’s website
On a visit to Tokyo with her family, Amy Fusselman stumbles on Hanegi playpark, where children are sawing wood, hammering nails, stringing hammocks to trees, building open fires. When she returns to New York, her conceptions of space, risk, and fear are completely changed. Fusselman invites us along on her tightrope-walking expeditions with Philippe Petit and late night adventures with the Tokyo park-workers, showing that when we deprive ourselves, and our children, of the experience of taking risks in space, we make them less safe, not more so.
Savage Park is a fresh, poetic reconsideration of behaviors in our culture that — in the guise of protecting us — make us numb and encourage us to sleepwalk through our lives. We babyproof our homes; plug our ears to our devices while walking through the city. What would happen if we exposed ourselves, if — like the children at Hanegi park — we put ourselves in situations that require true vigilance? Readers of Rebecca Solnit and Cheryl Strayed will delight in the revelations inSavage Park.
Opening lines:

“Early one spring morning several years ago, I received an e-mail from my USSR-born, New York City–bred theater-director friend Yelena inviting me and my family (which then consisted of my husband, Frank, and our two sons, King and Mick, ages five and two) to visit her and her family (which then consisted of her husband, R, and their two sons, Chuck and Gen, ages four and one) at their new home in Tokyo, with the understanding that if we chose to come, we would stay for at least a month.

“I do not believe the English language contains a word that expresses all that this gesture was. Her invitation to us was a feat. She inhabited her space with such generosity that she enlarged it. And then, from that expanse, she called to us: Come in.

“She summoned us without much consideration, it seemed, for the space between us. The distance between New York City and Tokyo, after all, is basically the length of the world. It was as if she didn’t view the journey we would have to take to get to her as daunting, formidable, or even, really, interesting.

“The distance was just space, for her. And she did not see space as an enemy.”

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Slowdown...with an extra slow day

"Sunday Slowdown" at The 3 Rs Blog: looking back and planning ahead

I finished two books yesterday, within three hours of each other. I was so close to the end of the audiobook Unbroken when I got home from work on Friday that I listened to it while driving around on my Saturday errands, which I very rarely do. And I got a late start on those errands because I stayed home in the morning to finish Blue Stars. I'll be working on my writeups of both books over the rest of this three-day weekend--when I'm not at the movies, or reading another book (or some blogs), or just out appreciating some brochure-beautiful Southern California weather.

I've got three books that look good for March review assignments, and if time permits I actually want to try to get through all three. I'm reading Meg Wolitzer's YA novel Belzhar on the iPad right now, and will probably take a few days off for podcasts before I decide on my next audiobook.

Backtracking to my mention of movies, Tall Paul and I have decided that we are interested in seeing these Best Picture Oscar nominees in the following order:

The Imitation Game
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel (which we may have to find streaming somewhere, unless the award nominations prompt a theatrical re-release)
American Sniper
Selma

and less interested in seeing these nominees at all...but if we did, I would rank them as follows:

The Theory of Everything
Boyhood
Whiplash

On television, I am so enjoying Agent Carter and will be sorry when it ends its limited run...but if rumors that it'll come back next year are accurate, that will take some of the sting out.

Sadly, Parks and Recreation really will not be coming back after this winter's thirteen episodes are done. Some critics have remarked that it's bittersweet to think that in 2017, when the time-jumped final season takes place, the show will have been over for two years. So far, it looks like it'll be a good farewell tour, but I will miss just about everything about this comedy when it's gone.

That said, my true season of TV mourning will start on April 5, when Mad Men begins airing its last seven episodes.

I know I said I was going to make link roundups into posts of their own instead of including them in the Sunday update--I did that twice last week. However, these two are connected to reading and to each other, so I'm sharing them here today. (My blog, my rules to break.)


I'm not participating in this weekend's Mini-Bloggiesta, but I did clip the mini-challenges for reference--there are a couple I want to explore, later on. What are you up to this weekend?

The Weekly Winchester

dog on the hearth at The 3 Rs Blog
I used an Aviary filter called "Fireplace" on this photo. It seemed appropriate.




Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blog Talk: Your Blog is You (more links, more discussion)

More links and discussions about blogging on The 3 Rs Blog
I warned you on Tuesday that I was blogging about blogging this week. I've had a few other thoughts about "trends in blogging" since that post went up--some are in the comment thread there, and some are coming at you now.

Some long-time book bloggers made a deliberate choice, early on, to limit their content to book-related posts because they didn’t want their blogs to be too personal or revealing. Some blogged anonymously or under screen names, and some just didn’t want to expose their lives online. And some of us read--and tried to heed--the advice that a blog needed to “focus on its niche” to be “successful;” if we couldn’t figure out how to make a post work in our niche, we might just have to leave it off the blog.

Regarding that last point, the kind of “success” that advice addresses is largely of the professional/commercial variety, and that’s neither a goal nor a desire for many individual book bloggers. (And even if it is, if it comes at all, it’s usually because your blog was a gateway to other opportunities.) Once I clued into that, I happily realized there were so many blogging “rules” I could freely ignore.

In other cases, those choices were made before social media became so tightly woven into our blogs and our lives. It’s complicated to maintain different personas and communicate in different ways across Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and our own blog spaces...and maybe it’s just not worth bothering. Maybe some of the changes we’re seeing in blog content--more personal, more idiosyncratic--are motivated less by moving away from commercialism and more by wanting our blogs to be a better, fuller reflection of who we are and what we love to talk about.

Bryan tweeted this to me on Tuesday morning, after my post went up. I read Jamie’s blog, but I gave up on Tumblr forever ago, so I never would have seen her feelings on the state of the book-blogging community if he hadn’t pointed me to them. The quote echoes my own blogger credo, which I've bolded for emphasis.
People are way too concerned with what other people are doing: I mean, yes, of course we care about what others are doing. But what I mean is this thing that has been going on wherein people try to dtell others how to blog or what a book blogger looks like. Imma drop a truthbomb here….there is NO ONE WAY TO DO THIS. As a blogger, you can do whatever you want (exception: illegal and actual bad things). But here’s the thing…people start their blogs for many reasons. People criticize those who “don’t do negative reviews.” THAT DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE NOT HONEST. It could mean a number of things. That there blog is a place to talk about BOOKS THEY ARE READING AND LIKE. When I signed up to be a book blogger there was no RULE that said that you must be analytic and critical and post EVERYTHING you read. Some people want to spend time talking about books they like. Some want to be critical. IT IS ALL VALID. We need ALL of it. People who are looking for a reading journal type blog, will find it. People who are looking for new book recs and don’t want to wade through what books people didn’t like, will find it. People who want scholarly, literary criticism WILL FIND IT. It’s all here and that is great. IT IS. So the shaming that happens? IT IS SAD because it makes people feel like they are not valid as book bloggers. Who cares if someone posts all discussions or all reviews or doesn’t do this or does this. If ya don’t like it, click out….there are SO MANY OTHER BLOGS OUT THERE FOR YOU DOING THE THING THAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. What I loved about the blogging community when I started was that everyone was doing their own thing. Just be HONEST. DO YOU. Stay true to YOURSELF and do what makes you happy. It’s really simple. Let your blog reflect who you really are as a reader — not who you think you should be or what you feel pressure to be.
idiosyncratic blogging at The 3 Rs Blog

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Maybe your concerns about blogging into 2015 are more practical than existential--that is, whatever version of you your blog reflects, you want to tweak its presentation. This is a great time to find help with that. BlogHer is launching BlogHer University this month:
“Each month in 2015, we'll be delving into a blogging or social media topic that will help you improve your blogging and social media skills. Every month we'll have a new course, and we'll be talking on Twitter twice a week (follow @BlogHer and #BlogHerU) so you can ask the experts your questions.”
Schooling begins with how to add text to pictures, as follows:
  • Thursday, Jan 8: Basic design principles to follow when putting words on pictures
  • Tuesday, Jan 13: Font pairing
  • Thursday, Jan 15: Best practices and great resources for finding images you can use
  • Tuesday, Jan 20: Getting the most out of the WordSwag app
  • Thursday, Jan 22: How to use PicMonkey
  • Tuesday, Jan 27: How to use Canva
  • Thursday, Jan 29: Other resources, tips, and tricks you should know
Before you start on all that, though, you might want to see if you're making any of these blog-design mistakes. A lack of visual appeal could be one of the reasons that readers don't share your posts. Design also matters to your blog's newsletter, if you have one.

Life is so much easier for copyright holders today than it was just 25 years ago. In earlier days, a creator actually had to include a copyright notice on their work in order for that work to be copyrighted. (And before that, they had to actually register their work.) Now as soon as you bring your work into the world, it belongs to you whether you include a copyright notice or not. 
But registration and notices still have some utility. A copyright registration is handy if you ever need to prove that you're the owner of a copyright, especially if you register the copyright within five years of publication, and a notice can serve as a deterrent to copying — and lets people know who to contact in order to secure a license.
If your blog doesn't already have a copyright notice, you might think about putting that on your To-Do list for this weekend's Mini-Bloggiesta--time to get your blog all spruced up for the new year!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Blog Talk: Troubles and Trends in 2015 (link roundup and discussion)

The turn of the year is a time for introspection, reflection, and resolution for many of us, and it extends to our blogs. There’s been some great discussion about that lately--and a bit of angst.
Blogging About Blogging link roundup/discussion at The 3 R's Blog
Let’s get the angst out of the way first, with a little reminder to #bloghonest, from April The Steadfast Reader. (In that spirit, all material quoted in this post is attributed and linked to the original source.)
The whole thing started when a blogger (DT) noticed that bits and pieces of her content were appearing in recent posts made by AW. She appealed to a small group of bloggers on what to do about the situation.
Based on the group’s advice, DT emailed AW and requested that she remove the plagiarized content. She did not admit wrongdoing, but she did immediately remove DT's content from the post.
Though the content had been removed, the flimsiness of AW’s excuse spurred a number of us to look deeper into the blog, mostly to ensure that none of our content had been stolen. No fewer than eight posts had full paragraphs cut and pasted from other sources, none attributed. The sources ranged from other bloggers, to NPR, to Entertainment Weekly. Quite frankly, we were shocked, saddened, and at a complete loss of what else to do. AW was contacted via email once again upon the discovery of her more egregious plagiarism and again made no acknowledgement of wrongdoing...
At that point, knowing what I did and having attempted to deal with the situation privately 'as adults', but with absolutely no cooperation, change in behavior, or sense of remorse I felt the only avenue left open was to take it to Twitter.
Michele’s reflections at A Reader’s Respite helped her identify some "New Trends In Book Blogging for 2015," Plagiarism is not among them (thank goodness).
Old School: Book blogs as commercial-like ventures. 
New Trend: Small, independent book blogs that are as quirky and individual as the owners themselves. No more flashy ads, gimmicks to gain zillions of followers, daily commercial-like reviews. Book blogs are trending towards the more personal, with a small-town, indie-bookstore feel to them. 
Old School: Daily/weekly reviews of the newest book releases. 
New Trend: More focus on backlist books, favorite authors, opinion pieces, and essays. This is a very encouraging trend as there really were few things more irritating than opening up a feed reader and seeing fifty reviews of the same new release any given week. 
Old School: Posting nothing but book reviews. 
New Trend: Diversification...showcases the individuality of blog owners and really gets us away from the ho-hum of the generic book review. 
Old School: Reviewing as many books as possible. 
New Trend: Quality over quantity. We're seeing more and more established book bloggers cutting back on the number of books they are reading and reviewing each year. This is an encouraging trend as more bloggers are making the move towards quality reading and posting over sheer volume.
I’m excited by many of these "new trends." I’ve noticed them too; they seem to have been emerging over the last couple of years. And after nearly eight years on the blogging scene, what really strikes me is that some of these are old trends, making a welcome comeback. Chris notes this too, in her 2015 goals for Chrisbookarama (also turning 8 this year)
There was a time when book blogs were more diverse in topics, more personal. As bloggers tried to break into the professional side of things, they posted about their personal business less. I’d like to bring that back here...
There have been times when I haven’t agreed with the majority of the book blogging world, whether it’s an opinion on a book, or a discussion happening elsewhere. I’ve hesitated voicing that opinion, because of the drama it might cause. There is room for a dissenting voice.
Most of us who’ve been doing this for seven or eight or more years started out small and independent, reading and writing about whatever books we wanted to, regardless of how we got them or what format they came in. It’s good to reclaim that freedom to read--and blog--what we want, when we want. No matter how deep into the book-promotion machinery we may have gone, these blogging spaces have always been ours to use however we wanted to, and I’m glad if more of us are acting on that.

There have been times when I’ve felt like an imposter in identifying as a book blogger. I don’t post enough reviews, or post them frequently enough, or post about the right books...and I often post about things that aren’t bookish at all. If mixing up your blog content and making it less review-centric is a "new trend" in book blogging, I feel like I’ve been way out in front of it, and I welcome it with open arms!

Once you get past the five-year mark as a blogger, you’ve probably seen a lot of trends come and go. Stacy’s Books just turned 7, and trends have little to do with why she’s still at it:
My reading and blogging time is limited these days, but I still love it. I know my blog needs a major facelift and I wish I had more time to visit my blogger friends, but I choose not to stress out over it. If the blog causes stress then it’s not fun and there have been a few periods over the years when I’ve considered stopping, but I just can’t. I get too much out of it. And most of what I get out of it is the friendship with you who take the time to read and comment. I can’t believe that I’ve known some of you that long.
I’ve always appreciated the way Jennifer has openly confronted the struggles she’s had as a book blogger, and as 2015 begins, she feels that the Literate Housewife is "Stuck on an Escalator":
I find that analogy works very well for my reading and blogging life, too. In 6 weeks I will have been a book blogger for 8 years. Right now that feels like at least one year too many. While there are many things about this life that make me get down on my knees and thank God for having this opportunity, I’m stuck. Over the past year or so I’ve tried various things to rekindle my love of book blogging, but thus far they’ve been no more successful than the people in that video. If the idea even makes it to my blog (most have not), I rather quickly end back up sitting down on the escalator stair waiting for the repair man.

Deep in my heart I love reading. I love just about everything and everyone associated that I associate with reading. More and more over the years reading and writing reviews has become a chore. I know this isn’t the first time I’ve written about this and I know that many others before me have come to this crossroads. Passion for anything can only take a person so far. Couple that with unrealistic vows and commitments and you find yourself right where I am. I’m not a 100+ books per year kind of reader, yet I have been forcing that upon myself. After all, I set my initial goal of reading 52 books because that was a stretch for me. After that, the joy I found in the community and its place in the publishing industry inspired me to read more and more books…(T)here’s a problem. The longer I’ve tried to be who I’m not because I’ve been tempted to take on more than I can handle and enjoy, the less energy and desire I have for something that means a great deal to me. When I found myself sitting on that escalator stairs contemplating pitching all the books over the ledge instead of reading them, I knew it was time to take action. After all, when I pitch a book I want it to be out of the deepest rage possible, not out of boredom.

A couple of months ago I was prepared to write an "Auf Wiedersehen" post on my next blogiversary
.
I’ll be a book blogger for eight years on March 16. I started blogging in order to have a record of the books I read. I still want this blog to serve that purpose, so I’ll still write about every book I read, regardless of why I read it, where it comes from, or how long it took me to read it. On the other hand, that was never the only purpose of this blog, and I’m pretty sure it never will be, no matter what the trends are.

Bryan at Still Unfinished has rarely been one to get sucked into trends or succumb to blogging pressures:
This pressure of which I speak isn’t necessarily external, or from peers of book bloggers. In fact, often it is internal, self-imposed or a perceived peer pressure that isn’t there.
I will have been blogging for 10 years this coming October, book blogging for about 8 of those years. I have seen and been privy to lots of changes in the blogging and book blogging world. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in that time, it’s that reading challenges and reviews won’t go away…

I think it all comes down to what are you going to do with the 168 hours you’re given (whether you believe by the universe or a Supreme Being). Worry about this pressure…or just read, period? I’m going to choose to read, read what I want. How much or how little I want. To blog when I want, for now on Sundays, and how I want, without formal and probably without informal reviews too.
This week, I want to blog about blogging. I’ll be back with more of it on Thursday. Till then, remember this:

The Blogger's Credo of The 3 Rs Blog: There's no one right way to do this

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Slowdown: Rainy Reading

"Sunday Slowdown" on The 3 Rs Blog

My sister and I spotted a couple of snails on her front walk Saturday morning as we were leaving to go get coffee. It was a drizzly day, and that does tend to bring them out. They're not the most photogenic critters, but they do keep still enough to be photographed pretty easily...and so I decided to make one of them my mascot today. I'm considering re-christening this weekly update as the "Sunday Slowdown"--since that's really what I'm doing here, slowing down to take stock of the week--and a snail seems like the perfect emblem for that, doesn't it?

As a former book monogamist, it's odd to note that it now feels like slow reading when I'm only reading one book at a time. I have two books going right now, and it's my favorite combination: one print, one audio; one fiction, one nonfiction; and one theme both books share. I should be finishing Emily Gray Tedrowe's novel Blue Stars (a galley from Shelf Awareness, publication date February 17), about two military families with members wounded in Iraq, later this week. I'm almost halfway through the audiobook of Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand's biography of World War II hero (and Olympic runner) Louis Zamperini and may finish it this week as well, unless I decide I need to break it up with some silly TV-related podcasts. It's a pretty intense story.

I've also managed to get in a lot of blog-reading this week--and I have no idea how long it'll last, but I'm savoring it for now! I've even left comments in a few places(!), and I've saved a bunch of links--mostly about blogging, in one way or another. As I mentioned last week, I'm looking at bringing back the link roundup in some form, and I think the first edition is going to be a "blogging about blogging" collection. (Or two.) I have a weakness for both thinking and talking about that sort of thing, as you may already know all too well.

I'm probably at least a week away from posting my first book review of 2015, but I've recapped my 2014 Books of the Year and reading charts, so at least the slate is clean! What are you reading today?


The Weekly Winchester

So many dog toys, so little time: Winchester on The 3 Rs Blog
so many toys, so little time...