05 October 2014

My new reality - the end of my blogging days?


Continuing the chronicle of my re-employment, it seems appropriate that I examine the future of my blogging life. Having a job that has me writing eight hours a day, do I really have the mental energy to come home and write a blog?

I know some of you love a naval gazing blog post, and others loathe them. I'm kind of in the middle, I kind of like them but I also feel like some bloggers take it all way too seriously. If you aren't having fun, pack it in. No one is paying you (and, I hate to break it to you, probably never will).

Rather than blather, I can sum it up it up pretty quickly: I am not going to stop blogging. I like the social network blogging provides too much to let it go. Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and The Readers podcast just aren't enough.

So you are stuck with me. And, since I have a pile of books that I really need to say something about, I am going to say something about them.

The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler
British woman moves to New York to get a Ph.D at Columbia. Gets job in used bookstore. Gets pregnant. A somewhat mediocre but also somewhat enjoyable read. I found myself having to suspend my disbelief a bit too much for such a non-fantastical, everyday sort of story.

contrary to this cover, I didn't listen to this book
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I was forced to read this by Simon Savidge and his Booktopia-induced peer pressure. I didn't hate it but would have put it down at 20 pages had it not been for the aforementioned peer pressure. I'm not sure I can describe what I didn't like about the writing, it felt a little too something. Clever isn't the right word. Forced. I think forced is the word. Flynn had a great idea and honestly comes up with twists and turns that are fascinating and compelling, and perfectly anxiety inducing. But it felt kind of forced. No interest in seeing the film at all.

The Bookseller by Mark Pryor
I enjoyed this book-based mystery way more than I thought I would. I'm not much of a mystery person. I hate murder mysteries. They are too often too pat and more disturbingly, I don't like the casual way they treat murder. This one was low on violence and high on book-related intrigue in Paris. The first of the Hugo Marston mysteries. I wonder if I would like any of the others?

An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay
I chose this one so I could participate in Aarti's A More Diverse Universe event she hosted on her blog Book Lust. My reading tends to be pretty white and Anglo-American so I welcomed the chance to branch out a bit more. Plus I had read two Adichie novels this year and loved them so I was interested in reading more great fiction by authors of color. Unfortunately my new job kind made it somewhat difficult for me to get my stuff together in time to participate. I did, however, really like An Untamed State. The story of a Haitian woman, married to an American and living in the US who gets kidnapped while visiting her wealthy parents in Haiti. She suffers unspeakable acts for 13 days while her father tries to out macho the kidnappers. Then the novel follows her trying to come to grips with her life once she is free and back in the US. Pretty compelling reading and Gay's writing has me wanting to keep my eye out for future novels.

I had two other books I was reading for this challenge. One was a graphic novel written by a Chinese woman which I found tedious and didn't finish. And one is a slightly boring story of an Indian chef during the time of partition. That one I still intend to finish. I guess when all was said and done Aarti's event was good for me. Got me to expand my horizons a bit and remind to continue to make a bit of an effort to be more diverse going forward.


The Shadows of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Another bookish mystery, but much more complex than the Mark Pryor mystery. This one has a bit of everything. Lots of old books, secret libraries, a fire-damaged villain, a masochistic policeman, connections that will make your head spin, and all set in Franco-era Barcelona. I really enjoyed this book. It was like Alexandre Dumas meets Wilkie Collins meets someone a little more modern.

Sarah Morris Remembers by D.E. Stevenson
This may fall in the bottom third of all the Stevenson novels I have read. But I still loved it. It was the perfect comfort read as I started my new job and needed something to unwind with. I won't bother with any plot description. If know me and my blog, you know the general gist of her work. If you don't just use the search window to see what else I have written about her.

My Wish List by Gregoire Delacourt
Story of a provincial French woman who wins the lottery and keeps it secret until she figures out what to do about it. In some ways I loved this book. It had a touch of Mrs Harris Goes to Paris about it, but deeper and more thought provoking than that. And the overall message of the book I found interesting and comforting. But there was a twist, that really annoyed me. I didn't want it to be that book. Now that I know that twist, I think I would enjoy the subtleties of the story more than I did the first time around.

36 comments:

  1. Whew! I thought this was a farewell post for a minute there.

    Now that you've read Gone Girl, I'm certainly the only holdout... no intentions of caving though. The Bookseller sounds good, Shadow of the Wind has been on my shelf for years, and I found My Wish List at the library after you mentioned it not too long ago. I also really like the concise rundown of books you've been reading.

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    1. Gone Girl wasn't even on my radar until it was thrust into my hands by Simon.

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  2. Adding my "whew" as well, and I'm glad you didn't keep us in suspense! I am another who hasn't read Gone Girl, but I haven't had anyone encouraging / pressuring me. I do like mysteries, though I agree they can be too cavalier about murder, so I look for The Bookseller.

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    1. I'm enjoying getting to know more mysteries.

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  3. I am glad to hear that you'll be sticking around.

    Shadow of the Wind is a fave of mine but the sequels that came after it, not so much.

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  4. I have Gone Girl on my shelf, so I'll be interested to see what you mean about the writing.
    My Wish List sounds interesting... love that cover, too. :)
    Very glad you're sticking around!

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    1. I must admit the cover has a lot to do with my purchasing My Wish List.

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  5. I enjoyed The Bookstore and My Wish List (Called The List of My Desires in Australia with pictures of buttons all over the cover here). Started Gone Girl , didn't finish but do want to see the Film and will pretend it is separate from the book. Glad you're not giving up blogging. Just do what you feel like and keep it fun.

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    1. I definitely would have stopped reading by page 50 for sure if I hadn't been for peer pressure.

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  6. Your blog has introduced me to some great books! Glad you aren't packing it in.

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    1. Glad to know you are finding good things to read on My Porch.

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  7. Phew! I thought we were going to lose you. I'm glad you like it too much. So do we!

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  8. I, too, am glad to hear your going to stick with your blogging. And, much relieved to hear that you enjoyed The Bookseller. I picked up the second one, but haven't had a chance to get to it yet. I keep hearing the Ruis Zafon title mentioned, so will have to add it to my "look out for list" along with My Wish List, which I hadn't heard anything about. I finally got around to reading Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris last month and loved it. I had no idea that Paul Gallico also wrote The Poseidon Adventure. I stumbled upon it when I went book shopping to look for the other Mrs. Harris books. Love these recap posts! Happy reading to you.

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    1. The other Mrs Harris books don't live up to the first one. I think you will really like Shadows.

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  9. Hi Thomas - best wishes in your new job. I enjoy your blog so much, and am happy to hear you're going to continue. Long live the cardigan brigade... ;O)

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  10. Glad you decided to hang in there for us.....post what you want and when you want...even a now and then post is better than abandoning us:)

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  11. The title of this post made my heart ker-thud--but immensely relieved to hear you are sticking around. I've never introduced myself but you are one of my fav bloggers. You got me hooked on Eric Ambler!

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    1. Oh, I am so glad you like Ambler. That's good to know.

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  12. Your blog has been a new discover for me, so I would hate to see it end. I do agree that blogging should be a fun experience but I also think blogging can be as regular as you want; so I do hope you continue posting from time to time. I know I take my blogging seriously but I'm proud (and addicted) of it.

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  13. So glad your continuing to blog enjoy your book selections updates on life your interaction with Simon.Glad your happy at work.

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  14. Me too, keep on, this is great blog.

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  15. While watching Charlie Rose's interview last evening with the "Gone Girl" crew (Gillian Flynn, David Fincher, Ben Afflack, and Rosamond Pike), Gillian Flynn mentioned that she had deliberately concluded the story with what is now being called an "unsatisfying" ending, simply because all life stories simply do not end with the satisfying "happily ever after" conclusion. So I guess some will like the movie, some not; it will depend on how you felt about the book. Personally, I was one of those who found it disappointing.

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    1. Simon told me how the movie ends. More exciting than book.

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  16. PS. Forgot to mention, glad you are not giving your readers the old heave ho! I enjoy your blog and appreciate interesting book reviews and referrals wherever I can get them.

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  17. Terribly selfish of me, but it seems to me as you begin a new job and a new world, you might need the comfort of your old blogging home. So glad you'll still be around!
    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

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  18. You are so right about blogging not being worth it if it starts to feel like work... but glad you're sticking around. Also glad to see you read (and liked) Shadow of the Wind; I adored it a few years ago and re-read it this year on a trip to Barcelona, which just made me love it all the more.

    Will have to check out some of the others here, as the only other one I've read above is An Untamed State.

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  19. So relieved to read that you are NOT giving up the blog! and you have nudged my conscience to take The Bookstore from languishing in mount TBR It was a Christmas gift from my sister and needs a try. You have moved me to the virtuous path with a single post

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