Off I go… see you soon!

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go.

It’s vacation time!

I’ll be away for the next few weeks — although perhaps not really entirely off-line. Because hey, there’s still the internet, wherever I go!

I’m off on a multi-part trip, first stop New York, where I’ll be doing THIS:

and also:

Yup, two Tony-award-winning shows over three days. Woooo!

Since I’m traveling with my teen-aged son, we’ll also be doing some top 10 tourism, like the Empire State Building, Central Park, and (if I can convince him), the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

From there, we’ll spend a few days visiting family in the area, before getting on yet another plane to go visit my husband’s family… and spend (I hope) a bunch of glorious days at the beach, enjoying sun, sand, good food, and plenty of books!

I won’t be posting on a regular basis, and I won’t be doing a whole lot of visiting other blogs and saying hello — but somehow I have a feeling that I won’t be completely absent either. No commitments!

And now I’m off to make sure my Kindle is charged and my designated beach paperbacks are stuffed into my suitcase.

Happy Summer!

Shelf Control is taking a little break!

Shelves final

I have some family visits and travel plans for the next few weeks, and while I may still do some blogging, I won’t be able to stick to a schedule or keep up with my regular weekly features. Shelf Control will be offline for about 4 weeks, returning in early July.

But, please, do me a favor! If you write a Shelf Control piece, I’d love it if you’d leave me a link here in the comments, so when I get back, I can catch up on everything I’ve missed!

Wishing you all a wonderful start to summer. See you soon!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

An update on Thursday Quotables

Hi there, lovely readers!

Several years ago, I started up a weekly feature here at Bookshelf Fantasies called Thursday Quotables:

quotation-marks4

Welcome to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!

For anyone who pays attention to such things, you may have noticed that I’ve really slacked off when it comes to weekly posts. In fact, I just realized that my last Thursday Quotables post was for Thankgsgiving — and even then, it was a repost of a holiday favorite, not a brand-new “quotable” discovery.

So what’s going on?

Well, the answer is simply that I’ve lost a little motivation when it comes to doing TQ posts according to a fixed weekly schedule. I’m finding that when I come across lines or quote that I love in whatever books I’m reading, I tend to go ahead and include them in my review posts. Or else, I get so caught up when I’m reading an amazing book that I don’t stop to highlight or flag the parts I want to come back to, because I’m focused on the reading itself and not thinking about posting about the reading.

At this point, I think I need to acknowledge that I’m not going to keep up with Thursday Quotables as a weekly blogging event here on my blog. When inspiration strikes, I’m sure I’ll continue to do occasional TQ posts, but I’d rather not feel like I need to hold myself to a schedule.

For those of you who participate in Thursday Quotables… well, great! Keep going! Come back and share your links with me, either here or on social media, whenever you feel like it. I’d love to see what you’re up to.

This isn’t good-bye for Thursday Quotables… maybe it’s more like “see ya when I see ya”!

Of course, if anyone is interested in “adopting” Thursday Quotables and taking it on as a new host, send me a message and let me know. Meanwhile, I’ll continue my TQ posts… when I feel like it.

Ah, the freedom!

Summertime slacking

Summertime, and the living is easy… or so I’ve heard.

And although I’m not lazing away my summer days on tropical beaches, I am trying to do a bit of relaxing and refreshing. Between my time away in early June for family matters, work craziness, and lots of upcoming projects and planning, I find myself in desperate need of more down time.

And so…

I’m planning to slack off a bit and cut back on my blogging commitments. Specifically, I’m putting the two memes I host each week, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables, on a bit of a break. Have no fear — they shall return! Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to reading whatever I feel like, posting on my blog according to my whims, and living commitment-free for a couple of months…

Okay, not exactly commitment-free. I still have a job and a family, places to go and people to see. But for July and August, I’m letting myself off the hook in terms of the need to stick to a weekly posting schedule.

Aaaaah. I can practically feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair!

Welcome back, glorious summer!

I’m baaaaaaaack!

Hello all!

It’s been a long 2 1/2 weeks, but…

Unfortunately, my time away wasn’t exactly a vacation. I was on the east coast, working with other family members to relocate our aging parents and settle them into a nursing home. This ended up involving interstate flights, wheelchair transportation, nursing aides, moving trucks, visits to hospitals, and transferring medical records, but in the end, we made it.

Good company and a few glasses of wine certainly helped.

I’ve been completely absent from my own blog, and definitely have been checked out from the world of social media, following anyone else’s blog posts, and all that other good stuff to be found on the interwebs.

But hey, I’m back!

I did manage to read a ton while I was gone, thanks to all those flights (and a few sleepless nights). I think I’ll do a bunch of mini-reviews to catch up on all the books I read. Some were great, some only so-so, but I’ll try to share thoughts on all over the next few days, in between trying to catch up on everything I missed at home and going back to work after a couple weeks away.

Bette Davis supposedly said:

(I say “supposedly”, because I’ve seen 3 or 4 different versions of this attributed to her, and haven’t found the definitive version yet.)

In any case, old age ain’t for sissies, but neither is being the folks making all the arrangements! I have to say that I feel lucky and blessed to have had some wonderful family members to partner with to make it all happen.

And now, I’m taking a few deep breaths and diving back into my normal, day-to-day life.

It’s great to be home!

A little break — see you in two weeks!

Hello, lovely readers! Bookshelf Fantasies will be taking a wee break for the next couple of weeks as I head out of town for some family business.

While I’m away, my two weekly memes, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables, are taking a rest too — but if you do posts for either one during my break, please feel free to share your links in the comments!

Shelf Control

 

quotation-marks4

I’ll probably end up sharing some book reviews while I’m away. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming the week of June 19th. Meanwhile…

Have a great beginning of June! See you soon!

Save

Save

A little break — see you next week!

Hello, lovely readers! Bookshelf Fantasies is taking a wee break this week as I head out of town for a combination of vacation time and family business.

While I’m away, my two weekly memes, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables, are taking a rest too — but if you do posts for either one this week, please feel free to share your links in the comments!

Shelf Control

 

quotation-marks4

Have a great week. See you soon!

A little taste of where I am right now…

Save

My blog and my memes

thinking

So I’ve been thinking…

I’ve been blogging for over four years now. Hard to believe! My interest and energy levels have gone up and down over time, and right now I find myself in a phase where I’m not as willing to devote dedicated time to blogging, especially when it comes to blogging on a schedule.

I still enjoy writing book reviews, random other pieces, and participating in some regular, ongoing features. Where I’m having difficulty right now is with the “have to” parts of my weekly schedule. Because I host two memes, I feel obligated to get my posts up every week, on time, no matter what. And frankly, lately it’s been feeling like a chore.

The thing is, I really like my memes and the concepts — and when I’m in the mood, it’s a lot of fun.

My two active memes at the moment are:

Shelf ControlShelf Control: Every Wednesday, highlighting books on the shelf — basically a chance to feature books that we already own but haven’t read yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

quotation-marks4Thursday Quotables: Highlighting a great quote or passage from the current week’s reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, gone but not forgotten:

ffbutton2Flashback Friday (which needs a better icon): This one has been on hiatus since last year, but I may bring it back from time to time. The point of Flashback Friday is to feature a book from our reading pasts, something published at least 5 years ago, and talk about why it’s special and why people should still read it. I really had fun doing this one, but eventually got a bit burned out and decided to put it on pause for a while.

 

My problem at the moment is that sticking to a weekly posting obligation — coming up with a Shelf Control post every Wednesday and a Thursday Quotables post every Thursday — has lately started to feel like work, not fun. Which makes me want to reconsider how, when, and why I do all of these.

I don’t particularly want to give them up — but I’m not sure I want to continue feeling like these posts are a chore than I must complete no matter what.

Maybe one solution is to take them out of “meme” world and just continue doing these type of posts when the spirit moves me — so if I do them as a feature on my own blog, rather than setting them up with linky sign-ups and encouraging others to post, then I have no obligation to stick to a schedule.

Or I suppose I could make one or more a monthly meme, rather than weekly.

I’ve also considered putting one or more of these memes/features up for “adoption” — seeing if anyone else would like to host, instead of me.

Basically, I’m back to the complaint that most bloggers have at one time or another. When blogging feels like work rather than play, for me at least, it means something isn’t working.

I don’t blog for money or fame or glory — good thing, since I’m not getting any of those! I just blog because I enjoy it — the creativity, the writing process, the sharing, and the community. When it stops being fun, I need to change my ways.

Which brings me back to the main issue of this post — what to do about my memes. I’m riding out my inclination to stop for now. I’m going to stick with things as is for at least a few more weeks, to see if I’m just in a temporary rut or if I really want to change things up.

But I’m looking for input too. Do you have regular features on your blog, and if so, what do you do when you start to lose interest?

Any suggestions for me and the future of my memes?

I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts!

Save

Hitting the road… See you next week!

Hello, lovely readers! Bookshelf Fantasies is taking a wee break for about 10 days as I head off on a much-needed vacation!

While I’m away, my two weekly memes, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables, are taking a rest too — but if you do posts for either one while I’m away, please feel free to share your links in the comments!

Shelf ControlShelf Control returns July 27th!

 

quotation-marks4Thursday Quotables returns July 28th!

Have a great couple of weeks. See you soon!

A little hint about where I'll be...

A little hint about where I’ll be…

Save

Discussion: Is it ever unfair to write a review?

 

discuss

Is there ever a time when it’s just not fair to review something?

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you’re reading a book in a particular genre. And it’s a genre you typically never read. What’s more, it’s a genre that you don’t particularly like. For whatever reason, you read the book anyway… and — big surprise — you don’t like it.

Do you write a negative review talking about how much you disliked the book? Or do you just put it down, accept that it was never meant to be, and move on?

Of course, you may be wondering, why even start the book in the first place?

Well, there could be plenty of reasons. Maybe a friend has urged you to read a favorite book… or you stumble across something at the library that catches your eye… or you see the author on a TV talk show and think she sounds interesting.

For me, I’m having this dilemma at the moment thanks to my beloved book group. (Hi guys!) Our monthly book picks cover a lot of different topics, although we do tend to veer toward historical fiction on a regular basis. That’s not all, though — we’ve also done historical non-fiction, thrillers, and contemporary drama, to name but a few.

Our current book — recommended by one of our members — is a romance/chick lit kind of book, which really, really isn’t my thing. Still, everyone else was enthusiastic, so I figured I’d give it a try. Five chapters in, I’m just not digging it, but I don’t want to sit out the discussion, so I guess I’ll do my best to finish it. And who knows, I may end up liking it.

(Doubtful, but why pre-judge?)

Okay, assuming I finish the book and still feel unimpressed, should I review it? On the one hand, it seems fair for me to say, basically:

This book did not appeal to me, and here’s why.

On the other hand, it doesn’t seem fair for me to say:

This is a terrible book, and no one should read it.

(Granted, that’s not something I’d typically say in a review, but let’s go with it for now.)

If I don’t like the plot or the characters, but the writing is decent and it seems to be successful within the usual “rules” of the genre, then who am I to say it’s not a good book? All I think I can truly say is that I read a book that didn’t work for me. And perhaps a romance fan might really and truly love it.

(Likewise, if you read a really gory scary horror book even though you almost never read horror and end up hating it, is it fair to say it’s a bad book? Or is it more fair to say that the book scared the bejeezus out of you and was icky and unpleasant, and hey, I hate reading horror, so I didn’t enjoy it at all?)

What do you do when you read a book that, objectively, you can recognize as pretty good for its type, but subjectively, you really don’t enjoy reading?

I’d love to hear some thoughts on this!