Monday, February 27, 2012

Stay Tuned...

If you read my post about my blogging slump, stay tuned. I haven't pulled the plug on blogging quite yet. I've put too much work into this to just stop. I'll post again soon. For now, I'm enjoying reading without the pressure of writing reviews and maintaining a blog. 

I've appreciated other bloggers sharing their thoughts. So...

If you're familiar with my blog, please let me know how you think I'm doing.

If you've had similar struggles and thought about quitting your blog, please share your experiences with me, too.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stress, Sickness, Slumps, and other Stuff

Okay, so for the past couple of weeks Read Love has been virtually inactive. I've been dealing with the stress of working a new job with a shorthanded crew while battling sickness and taking antibiotics. While I managed to show up every morning with a smile on my face, I would come home drained and exhausted. I continued my reading, albeit very slowly at times.  All oft this meant I had little energy to give thought to writing and blogging.

I've got four titles still awaiting review, and I'm at a loss trying decide whether I will post reviews for them. Honestly, I feel like the time I would spend writing the reviews is time that I could instead spend turning the pages of a new book. The time I have to read is valuable, and while I enjoy writing and blogging at times, it has begun to feel like a chore. Blogging has become something I have had neither the inspiration nor the motivation to do. 

I feel like the book blogosphere is vast. While I respect those who dedicate much of their time to maintaining their blogs and making regular posts, I also feel that the majority of bloggers are looking only to their own self-interests and are concerned primarily with their own popularity. I have never felt any community. Maybe I've shot myself in the foot by choosing not to do things like "Follow Friday" or "In My Mailbox," and I'll not get into why. But I chose to try to do my blog in my own way. And I've tried to reach out to others to bring some community to my blog, but it has been to no avail.

Another thing I'd like to get back to doing is listening to music more often. I have numerous unopened CDs that have been waiting to be enjoyed. I'm not one who can read a book with music playing in the background. I prefer quiet reading time. Or if I'm going to play music, it has to be something I know so well that it can fade into the background. New music just demands my attention too much to be played while reading. I want to catch up with all the music I've bought. It sits wrapped and waiting, just like all the books sitting on the shelf clamoring to be read. Who knows what happiness might be waiting for me inside those shrink wrapped plastic boxes?!

I've discovered that Owl City is my current music of choice when I need to be cheered up. It's impossible to play Owl City and not walk away happier than I was coming into it. So, thank you, Mr. Adam Young. You are a dear!

I understand this is all completely random, and I am fully aware that no one may ever read this. And that's okay. I just had to say it. And I'll have to take some time to decide if blogging is an appropriate way to explore my love for reading. In the end, all I really want is to enjoy reading and try to read consistently and regularly. If blogging can help me, maybe I will continue. If blogging hinders my reading, perhaps I'll stop. Time will tell. For now I think I'll take a walk...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Inspiration (23)

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy,
it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs; Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NIV)

Sunday Inspiration is a weekly feature hosted here @ Read Love.
It began from my desire to share a nugget of encouragement or wisdom.
I didn't intend for it to be a community thing, but due to positive feedback,
I'm giving it a try! (Thanks, Kate)

Participation is welcome!
Your quote need not be faith-based, but it should be positive and uplifting.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Inspiration (22)

"I remind myself that all these toys were never intended to possess my heart, that my true good is in another world and my only real treasure is Christ."
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Sunday Inspiration is a weekly feature hosted here @ Read Love.
It began from my desire to share a nugget of encouragement or wisdom.
I didn't intend for it to be a community thing, but due to positive feedback,
I'm giving it a try! (Thanks, Kate)

Participation is welcome!
Your quote need not be faith-based, but it should be positive and uplifting.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Read Love Reviews: Mockingjay

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Pub. Date: August 24, 2010
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Hardcover, 390pp
Age Range: Young Adult
Series: Hunger Games #3
ISBN-13: 9780439023511

Description from
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either.
My Review:

Mockingjay. What a book! Suzanne Collins has crafted one of the most intelligent and and readable series that we've seen in recent years. She utilized each piece in the trilogy to develop and bring the series to completion. Nothing is wasted. While she might have been tempted to stretch the series out for sales, it's clear she stayed true to her vision as she steered the story to an end. Much respect to Ms. Collins!

No bones about it, Mockingjay is a dark novel. You'll be emotionally spent when you finish it. And that's as it should be. Collins has successfully demonstrated the crippling and devastating effects of war. Civilian or soldier alike, no one escapes unscathed. No one remains unchanged. If you read The Hunger Games hoping for more exploration of the ramifications of war and violence, you'll be satisfied to see that Mockingjay is both ambitious enough and honest enough to confront the stark reality head on. Nothing is sugar-coated or glossed over. This unflinchingly realistic portrayal of war and revolution shows that even the victors sacrifice more than anyone should. 

If you are looking for sunshine and happy endings, you'll be disappointed. This is no fairy tale, and Collins would be doing you a disservice to serve up any other ending than the one that she provides. Because it stays realistic, this series feels more adult. It becomes elevated beyond a story. The characters start to live and breathe and rise off the page. Your heart will break for them as they love, fight, struggle, and survive (or die). Survival will not come easily or cleanly; it will not be free from trauma and after-effects. In this sense, the books succeed masterfully by showing the reader vicariously what war is like. Hopefully, most of us will never need to learn first hand the horrors of war. Collins has taken the subject and presented it in a way that effectively shows us the atrocities of war in order that her readers can learn something the easy way rather than through experience.

These books will inspire intelligent conversation about war and violence, truth and lies, and the influence of television and the media in disseminating information to manipulate the masses. Additionally, the series should inspire discussion about love and hope, compassion and kindness. By nature, man is capable of committing the most egregious acts of violence and hatred. But at the same time, we are capable of much beauty and love. And these novels show the complexity and fullness of humanity and how extreme circumstances can bring out both the worst and the best in us.