Wrapping up 2019 #ThankfullyReading Weekend

So the best laid plans…

In my initial post announcing that I was in for this year’s Thankfully Reading Weekend, hosted again by Jenn of Jenn’s Bookshelves, I had grand plans to read three books over the five days (Nov. 27 to today):

  • The Lord God Made Them All, the fourth book in the All Creatures Great and Small series, by James Herriot.
  • Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (a reread)
  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography by Eric Idle.

I got home early from work Wednesday night as the library closed early at 5 p.m. but didn’t get any reading in that day. Thursday, I only got a little reading in in the morning. Then my wife and I celebrated Thanksgiving with all the fixings. We watched our traditional Thanksgiving movies Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Pieces of April, AND Home for the Holidays, one of my wife’s favorite Thanksgiving movies.

Friday, I was off from work, but instead of reading Good Omens as I had planned, I started in on another book: The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 by Jonathan Rauch. Then unfortunately, after getting about halfway through, a lot of it skimming, I decided to DNF it.

Saturday, I worked only from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., but as we were getting ready for a book sale that was scheduled to start today, I was beat by the end of the day. When I got home, I had no energy to read and actually ended up taking a short nap before getting up later to watch a few episodes of Cold Case which I recently rediscovered on The Roku Channel. So much for reading.

And on this the last day, it is almost 2 p.m. and even though I have been up since 8 a.m., six hours later, I have not read any of The Lord God Made Them All, which I wanted to continue today and maybe even finish. But it doesn’t look like, even though I might read some of it, that I’m going to finish it. I don’t have any excuse not to read either as we’re in the middle of a freezing rain, sleet, ice, and snowstorm that is expected to go into tomorrow. I even put up this photo on Instagram earlier:

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A good day to be inside #thankfullyreading

A post shared by Bryan G. Robinson (@stillunfinished) on

False advertising.

Then I told Deb at Readerbuzz that I would participate in her Thankfully Reading Weekend Tic-Tac-Toe Game she created especially for Jenn’s event even though I wouldn’t enter the contest. Deb has been gracious enough to send me one book earlier in the year and now she is sending me another so I figured I already have two books from her, it’s not fair to try for yet one more. Now I am entering, but only because I don’t have tic-tac-toe in any direction and now have no chance of getting as I might not even read anymore.

I’m not going to eat a healthy snack, read more than 1 book, read for a total of 8 hours, read before breakfast (since this is the last day), post a bok review, read a recipe, wear something bookish, take a break and do some stretches, read outside (see about weather earlier), recommend a book to someone, read 200 pages (since I am past that point in the book and have less than that left), and/or write down a quote from a book. So I’m out.

And with that, I’m also out of this year’s Thankfully Reading Weekend. 🙂

It was fun, though, as I connected, and reconnected, with some fellow bloggers, including Heather at Froodian Slip, who also works at a library here in Pennsylvania and is working toward getting a librarian degree. It was good to get reacquainted with her.

Being honest here again…

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Back in May, I wrote a blog post “Being honest here,” where I rambled about how I don’t know how or where I fit in in the book blogging world, and how I don’t comment on posts as well as I should. Today, I’m going to be honest again with how I feel about book blogging in light of a giveaway I ran last Sunday and then extended until this past Wednesday because I didn’t get very many responses.

In the May post, I mentioned how I don’t take review copies, I don’t do blog hops (except for The Sunday Salon, which sort of is one), I do readathons but on my own terms, and I don’t read your blog posts as carefully as I should and as a result, don’t comment as well as I should. It is on that last point of not reading blog posts as carefully as I should that I would like to focus today. In last Sunday’s blog post, I mentioned I was having a giveaway to celebrate the end of my birthday month. I only received one entry that day. [I did get six entries when I extended the deadline until Wednesday and I’m glad for those who participated and were able to pick up a free book that they wanted.]

Why is that? I think it is a combination of factors, not just that you might not have been interested in any of the books I was giving away, but also included:

  • that I had two posts that day, the main one on my looking back at June and ahead to July and the giveaway one with the giveaway only running that day. So you didn’t even know what books I was giving away unless you followed the link.
  • Who wants to click through to another link? I already had several links in the post. I get it. Eyes glaze over at all the links sometimes. I work at a library and we have signs everywhere. Eyes glaze over at all the signs, I get it. Too much information, too many choices.
  • The bullet point list nature of blogging, even seen right here, where the blogger puts up a bullet point list of his week. The reader skims and sees what applies to him or her, if anything, and then moves on to the next post after maybe a cursory comment.
  • I didn’t promote the giveaway on social media, until the next day when I decided to extend the deadline until Wednesday, because I envisioned the giveaway just being for my blog readers. Then when I did on Instagram, I put the announcement up three times, once on Instagram Stories, and felt like a book gigolo in the process.

So what does this mean for the future? I’m doing away with the bullet point list posts. I will focus on one topic: reading, for example, with my Sunday Salon posts, and if I do other posts on TV, movies, music, or my personal life, they will just be on that topic. That way, maybe, just maybe, you as a reader also can focus on what I’m writing about for that post and not lose the thread. Hopefully I won’t lose the thread either.

Being honest here…

…Here’s where I am. At only 10 books finished for the year so far, and one more, All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot, that I am planning to finish by tomorrow, I am not a “real” book blogger.

…I’m okay with that. I still read what I want, whenever I can, even if I don’t fit the normal mold of “book blogger.” As always, this blog, as my life, is a work in progress, hence my being “still an unfinished person.”

…Plans don’t always go as…well…planned. For example, this past Wednesday I planned for Kim and I to write a blog post on short season shows we both liked. I then abandoned that and instead we had a post about our favorite Mother’s Day movies. This coming Wednesday, we plan to return with our recommendations for short season shows, those shows that didn’t or don’t expand beyond five seasons but are still worth watching, in our humble opinion.

…I’m not going to see my mom for Mother’s Day, not because I don’t want to and not because I don’t love her, but I need two days down this weekend, of not going anywhere, to rest my still sore (but slowly getting better) knee.

To join The Sunday Salon, visit Readerbuzz or go to the group’s Facebook page.

…I don’t know how I fit in with all of you Sunday Salon bloggers as I don’t consider myself a book blogger anymore. I don’t take review copies…er, obviously, with only 10 books read so far and all of them already published when I read them. I don’t do blog hops except for the Sunday Salon if that’s what you want to consider it, which in some ways, it is, but in other ways, it isn’t and why I like participating because of the people like many of you from around the country and around the world that I have met.

…I do readathons, but when I do, I’m not “in it to win it” like some of you seem to be. And I don’t get some readathons like Bout of Books (coming up this week and please join if you’re so inclined) that go for a week. I work during the week and when I got home from work, usually at 8 p.m. since I usually work afternoons, after being on a computer much of the day, one of the last things I want to do is read fine print on a screen or even worse in a printed book. Like I said in a previous post on “How Do YOU Read?”, I’m weird in that I like longer stretches of time in which to read. I’m not accustomed to reading in short bursts, and yes, probably why I’ve “only” read 10 books so far this year.

…That “only” will be a post for another time: The “only” and book blogger guilt of not reading the number of books per year we’ve read in the past and how some book bloggers can look down their noses at people who choose not to read for whatever reason or maybe can’t read. Not all, but some. I just have to figure out how to write it without coming across as a snob myself against what I perceive as book snobbery and not looking down my nose either at them.

…I feel sometimes I don’t read some of your blog posts as carefully as I should because I feel like I’m rushing through posts to try to respond to every post here in The Sunday Salon. I also feel sometimes that some of you don’t read mine either that carefully, so there is miscommunication on both sides. I’m sure that I’ll get at least one comment to this post that misconstrues something I wrote or doesn’t read the entire post and get the point, if there even is one, in context. And on the flip side, I’ll probably do the same with my response to your response or a comment on one of your posts.

…That said, I’m trying to do better and not just comment for commenting’s sake. If I don’t have something to say on your post, I just won’t say it. If I relate to something, I’ll respond, but just because I don’t comment doesn’t mean that I didn’t read your post; it just might be that I didn’t relate to what you were writing, at least not at the time I was reading…and maybe never. Likewise, don’t feel obliged to comment on my blog posts. I welcome your comments, but don’t expect them. I will attempt to be more attentive to reading your posts too and not rushing through them for the sake of reading them.

…I don’t know if I said all this correctly or in the spirit this post is meant to be taken, as a sort of a mind dump for me.

Honestly, this probably doesn’t work with this post, but honestly I don’t care. 😉

Honestly, where are you this week in terms of reading books, watching TV and/or movies, listening to music…in life, in general? Be honest. It’s okay. I asked for it.

One Foot In The Grave, but I’m still reading

Last weekend, I joined the “My Own Books Reading Challenge,” which started Friday, which I also happened to have off from work, and ends May 15. So….I read and finished my first of 10 books that I selected for the challenge. The book was Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan and while it wasn’t as good as my first seven books read this year, it still was a pretty good mystery by a first-time novelist, who is an award-winning short story writer. I’d be interested in seeing his next work.

My next book for the challenge is The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle, which my friend John highly recommended. After that, I have six others that I mentioned last week and two others: Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor, which I’m reading every Sunday during Lent, and Now and Then: The Poet’s Choice Columns, 1997-2000, by Robert Hass. I am planning to read those two periodically over the next two months. I did start on Leaving Church, but as I’m only two chapters into it, I can’t tell you much about it yet. I haven’t delved into the Hass book yet, but might do that this afternoon, I’m thinking.

Besides reading, I’ve been watching One Foot in the Grave on Britbox. The TV show, which aired mostly in the 1990s, is a British comedy about a man who is forced to take early retirement at age 60 and thinks his life is over. I find it kind of funny that I am discovering this right before I am turning 50 and feel a little (okay, a lot) like Melissa Firman, another Sunday Saloner, who wrote how she feels about turning 50 this year that ti-i-i-ime is (not really) on my side. My sister thinks I’m being dramatic about it, and to a certain degree, she is right, but I also understand and empathize with what Melissa says in her blog post.

Last weekend I also received a lot of feedback and comments on my decision not to read one book for the challenge and read another instead. To see what prompted the discussion, scroll down to the end of the original post and then read the comments, if you want. I always encourage comments and do my best to respond to each and every comment. When you sign in, leave a link to your blog or edit it so there is a link and I will visit your blog if I don’t already have your blog in my feed reader.

In other blog-related news, I updated my theme so if you are visiting from a feed reader, come visit my blog on a browser on your desktop, laptop or mobile device. I used a photo from a vacation to the Bahamas (our only vacation to the Bahamas) in 2006 for the header as I did with my old Facebook page. I think with that, I’ll leave you, thinking warm, happy thoughts of being on a beach in the Caribbean (which I just learned I didn’t know how to spell).

So how was your week? Reading, watching, listening to anything good? Share that and any thoughts on this post in the comments and if you have a blog, share your link to the linkup for the Sunday Salon over on the group administrator’s blog. If you wish to also post a link at Facebook, you can also do that.