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

 

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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!

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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

 

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Have a great week. See you soon!

A little taste of where I am right now…

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My blog and my memes

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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!

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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…

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Discussion: Is it ever unfair to write a review?

 

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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!

 

Input, please! I need your opinion.

Hello, friendly booklovers and bloggers! I’m working on a new weekly feature that I’ll be doing here at Bookshelf Fantasies. For now, this is just something that I plan to have fun with myself, but if there’s interest, I can certainly turn it into a meme/link-up/shared kind of thing.

As an alternative to participating in a couple of different Wednesday posts that focus on upcoming new releases, I thought I spend some time featuring books that I already own, haven’t read yet, but really want to get to! I’m noodling around with a couple of formats and approaches, but meanwhile, I haven’t quite settled on a title. And here’s where you come in:

Take a look at the possible titles for my new feature, and let me know which ones you like! I’m going with a “shelf” theme, and have a bunch of variations so far. Vote for your favorite… although I warn you now, votes are not binding! I may end up using the one with most votes, but then again, I may invoke the blog host prerogative of going with whatever suits my mood.

So what do you think? Vote for up to your top three choices, and feel free to suggest your own twist!

Update: Spring cleaning for the Book Blog Meme Directory (all done!)

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Whew! That was fun!

I mentioned on Thursday that I planned to do some housekeeping on the Book Blog Meme Directory page. I intended to go through the directory, test out each link, and update anything that needed updating. I figured I’d tackle it in small bites, maybe just trying out a handful each day until I finished.

Whoops. Nothing like having an obsessive need to finish things to move a project along!

I sat down to work on it earlier this afternoon… and here, I am, two hours later, with tired fingers but a big smile of accomplishment. I’m done!

I checked out every directory listing, and archived every one I found that was no longer current. For some, the host blog was still active, but I didn’t see any recent meme posts (as in, not for months or even years). For some, I could find the blog but couldn’t find anything related to the meme. And for others, the entire blog seemed to be gone, or there was a final blog post saying that the blog would no longer be active.

That’s blogging, I guess. Things come, things go!

Never fear: Nothing from the Book Blog Meme Directory is gone forever. I’ve saved all of the details and images, and can reinstate any of the entries if needed. If you host one of the deleted meme entries, just get in touch (my Contact page is really the best way) and let me know your updated details. If you’re not the host but happen to know some relevant information (like the meme was adopted by a different blog, switched names, etc), please let me know!

Here’s a list of the 32 (!!!) meme entries that I’ve archived as of now:

Day Name of Meme Hosted by
Monday Music Monday Total Book Geek
Monday Middle Grade Monday Jordan’s Jewels
Monday Pay Day Book Haul After the Book Hangover
Monday Rambling Monday The Realm of Books
Monday Mangaka Monday The Fujoshi Reads
Monday Monday Recommendations Bookshelves & Paperbacks
Tuesday Top Off Tuesday Smitten With Reading
Wednesday Winning Wednesdays Write Note Reviews
Wednesday Way Back Wednesday A Well Read Woman
Thursday Quote Me Thursday Daily Mayo
Thursday Third Sentence Thursday That’s What She Read
Thursday Characterize It The YA Book Butterfly
Thursday Thirsty Thursdays Lazy Book Lovers
Friday Friday Favorites Tressa’s Wishful Endings
Friday Keen Cover Friday Keepbooked
Friday Friday Favourites Book Lover’s Life
Friday Five Friday Favourites Book Badger
Friday Falling Behind on Friday Moirae (the Fates) Book Reviews
Friday Fast Five Friday Reader Noir
Friday Free Time Fridays Eat Up My Free Time
Saturday Swoon Worthy Saturday Stay Bookish
Saturday Bookish Project Happiness Keepbooked
Saturday Hot Scot Saturday Leila Reads
Saturday Do Judge a Book By Its Cover The Book Magpie
Sunday Sunday Shout-Out Write Note Reviews
Sunday Bought, Borrowed & Bagged Talk Supe
Sunday Summary Sunday The Fujoshi Reads
Weekly/Monthly Peek Into My Postbox Fire and Ice
Weekly/Monthly Weekend Reads Escape Reality Through Books & Bookaholic-ness
Weekly/Monthly Quoteable Thursdays Mo Books
Weekly/Monthly Turn Right Down School Lane Trips Down Imagination Road
Weekly/Monthly Monthly Most Wanted Kit ‘N Kabookle

 

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Don’t worry! This may look like a lot, but there are still plenty left! So if you’re looking for a fun new meme to try out, come check out the Book Blog Meme Directory page and visit any of the 40+ memes currently listed.

As always, new memes are welcome! Just send me the info via my Contact page, and I’ll be glad to add a listing to the Directory.

Happy blogging to all!

The Book Blog Meme Directory: It’s clean-up time!

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As a certain purple dinosaur used to sing:

Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere! Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share…

The Book Blog Meme Directory has been up and running for almost two years now, and while I’ve done updates here and there, whenever someone sends me a change, I haven’t yet done a total top-to-bottom spring cleaning of the entire page.

So, I’m getting to it.

Over the next week or so, I’ll be going through the whole page and testing each link to see if (1) the link is still active and (2) the meme is still up and running. I know some may have been discontinued, may have been rebranded, or may have been picked up by a new host.

For memes that appear to be inactive, I’ll dig around and see if it’s just moved or changed somehow — but if not, those listings will be archived. If I come across any that need updating, then I’ll be sure to do that. And of course, for the ones that are still going strong, no changes needed!

Can you help? If you know for a fact that a meme has changed, moved, or been discontinued, please let me know! As always, new entries are always welcome. The easiest way for me to keep track of new memes to be added is if you send me the info via my Contact page, but feel free to reach out any way that’s convenient to provide your information.

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement!

For those who haven’t seen my earlier posts about the directory and want to know more, read on! The following information was originally posted earlier this year, and it gives an overview of what the Book Blog Meme Directory is all about.

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Do you host a meme? Do you have a favorite meme that you participate in? Do you know of a great meme I should check out? I’m always looking for new additions!

Any additions should:

So, for purposes of this Directory, let’s include any regular ongoing features that encourage bloggers to join in, participate by writing their own posts, link back from their own blogs, and visit other participants’ blogs as well.

  • Have something to do with books, book blogging, or reading.
  • Must be up and running (so please don’t ask me to add a meme that you’re planning for the future; let’s add it once it’s “live”).

Frequently asked question: Is my feature a meme? Quick test: Is this a weekly theme that you – and only you – use for your own weekly postings, specific to your own blog? Sounds like a feature. Is this something you host and invite others to participate in by posting on their own blogs and linking back to yours? Sounds like a meme.

To add a meme to the Directory, the simplest thing to do is to submit your information (whether you’re a meme host or participant) through my Contact page. I’ll confirm back to you once the Directory has been updated.

I only ask two things of folks whose memes I add:

1) Keep it up to date! If you change domains, change the details of your meme, add a new graphic, switch hosts or days of the week, etc — just let me know! I want to make sure the info in the Directory is current, and make sure that people who want to play along can find you!

2) If your meme is listed, would you be so kind as to say so on your blog? I’d really appreciate it if you’d either post my Directory button (available at the bottom of the Book Blog Meme Directory page) or post a link so your readers can find the Directory. Many thanks to you!

I hope you’ve all been finding the Book Blog Meme Directory helpful! Thank you to all who have shared information up to now. It’s great fun to hear about so many interesting, unusual, and quirky ways for book lovers to interact — let’s keep it growing!

Bloggy dilemma of the day!

I find myself in the midst of a dilemma and I’d love to hear some thoughts from other bloggers!

What do you do when you make a commitment and then can’t figure out how to keep it and maintain integrity?

Perhaps I’m overthinking this…

I write honest reviews, always. If I love a book, I say so. If I don’t, it can go a few different ways. If I was simply bored and find myself with nothing to say, I just won’t bother with a review. If I actively hated a book, chances are I’ll write about it and say why. Or, if I didn’t enjoy a book that I thought would be good, or liked the premise but not the execution, or disliked a book in a way that stayed in my mind, I’ll write about it too.

The dilemma is — what to do when a blog tour is involved?

I rarely sign up for blog tours, mostly because I don’t take well to reading and writing exactly on a fixed schedule. I participate sparingly, and only for books that really catch my eye.

My current problem is, I just finished reading my next blog tour book… and had to force myself to do it. I almost abandoned it midway several times, but because I’d committed to the tour, I kept going. The main promos for the tour list my blog and the date, and I’d made a point of requesting a giveaway copy too.

So…

I can see three main choices here:

1) Participate in the blog tour as scheduled, featuring the book cover, synopsis, and giveaway, but leaving out a review and keeping my post promotional only.

2) Do the blog tour, but include my honest thoughts, which won’t be very positive. Somehow, this seems like the worst choice — it’s a mixed message (I’m promoting a book I didn’t like?), and not very considerate of the tour host or the author.

3) Back out of the blog tour, and then either not post at all about the book or write a review that expresses my actual feelings.

I hate to break a commitment, but at the same time, I don’t want to give the impression that I liked a book or that I’m encouraging my blog readers to read a book that I didn’t enjoy.

Has this happened to you? How did you handle it?

I’d appreciate any words of advice!