Party Time!

party-people-1644802_1920Welcome to the Bloggers’ World Beach Party

It’s a grey and dull midday where I am. It may be sunny for some of you and it might be a tropical thunderstorm somewhere else. Some of you are maybe still in bed, some of you maybe went already to bed…

No problem! Because this is a virtual party…

So let’s  go down to a nice sandy beach somewhere… (you name it). Personally, I favour the beach under the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion. (We’ll pretend that the horrible hotel is not there.) And let’s watch the sunset over the Aegean together.

Bring out the party food, the cocktails and the mocktails, your swimsuit and beach towel (if you like a nice moonlit swim in the still waters of the bay later) – and of course the music!

How to Blog Party (In Case You’ve Never Done This Before)

Add a comment at the end of this post, introducing your blog (don’t forget to leave a link).  Read and reply to other people’s comments, visit blogs that take your fancy, chat to people like you’d do at a real party. You might or might not encounter new blogs to follow and new followers for your own blog but at the very least you have the chance to talk about blogging and make new friends.

I’ll start it off with an intro to my blog:


Waterblogged: Dry Thoughts on Damp Books

…started out life as a book blog when I got fed up with my family pulling faces at the dinner table as I was trying to share my earth-shattering insight into books I’ve been reading. And it remains primarily a book blog although it’s been enriched with travel photography, a quotes section and a bit of art and architecture on the side.

I read anywhere and everywhere – including the bath tub. In consequence I ruined many a good book by dropping them into the bath. If you have just spoiled a book in similar manner, I’ll refer you to my Wet Book Rescue page. 🙂

It’s not one of those book review sites where books are graded by stars and you get a link to a bookshop to buy the book and earn the blogger money. Although occasionally I write the odd more or less traditional review, there’s more to writing about books than writing reviews as you’ll find out if you explore my blog. 🙂

I love the classics (modern and ancient), history and travel so these are my chief topics (although I read plenty of rubbish too!).

First snow

White Backyard, red passions, and blue moods.
Nothing a fine scotch can’t fix.

#13wordstory #13wordstories Dedicated to FG

Hello, friends! The dark falls earlier each day and everywhere I look, people are lighting up their Christmas decorations. I am thinking about this season of light-in-darkness, and that prompted my post this week:

https://pamkirstblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/different-darkness-different-lights/

I hope your life is filled with light and joy! Happy blogging…

Pam

Hello on a windy, gray Ohio evening! I’ve been lucky enough to be with a variety of folks lately, representing a whole spectrum of meanings of ‘family’…. With Thanksgiving looming, and the image of the ‘right’ holiday being one where a huge, extended family gathers to feast, I started thinking about what defines a “good” holiday. Hence my post.

Whatever you celebrate in these winter months, I hope the activity brings you joy and solace!!

https://pamkirstblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/a-quiet-kind-of-thanks/

No refunds

You get what you pay for,
and not necessarily what you wish for.

#13WordStories #13WordStory Dedicated to everyone at BW.

You’re Gonna Love This Book: Writing a Book Review

A friend of mine gave me a book to read.

“You,” she said, “are going to love this book. It was funny! It was sad! And I loved all the characters.”

She told me the premise, and she outlined the plot. She couldn’t wait for me to read it so we could talk.

It seems to me a kind of sacred trust when someone places a book in my hands, so I cleared the decks, and then I read that book.

And I really, really did not like it.

I collected some things to say about that book–striking quotes and quirky things about the characters, and when I returned the book, we had a great conversation. And I realized that some of the things that happened in the book parallel things that are happening in my friend’s life.

It makes sense; I get it. That’s why the spoke spoke to her so strongly—and maybe why it passed me by completely.

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All of this made me think about how we can write about books.

There’s a place, I think, for the academic approach–for a discussion of plot, character, theme, and setting. And there’s the challenge of defining style, the way a wordsmith tosses words out on to the page, distinctively, a different sort of tossing than any other writer can attain. There’s the quest to identify symbols and meaning.

All of those are English teacher-y joys, book-geek occupations. Not everyone loves those discussions, and even if they do, the discussions don’t mean the person who reads them will also enjoy the book.

And it’s such a personal thing: we loved a book, it made a difference in our lives. We want our friends and dear ones to love it too.

So I’m thinking we need to write about the things in the book that connected….and write about the things going on in our lives that the book connects to.

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I retired in August. Not long after, a new friend from the blogosphere recommended a book by Dorothy Gillman, a mystery writer. The book was called A New Kind of Country, and it was Gillman’s memoir about moving to Nova Scotia when she was just about my age, and when her youngest son stepped out into adult independence. I dug up a copy of the book, which was written in 1978, and I read it.

It resonated because of the similarities between my stage of life right now and Gillman’s when she wrote it.

It fascinated because of the differences.

And it made me think there are some universal themes about this age and stage–nests that empty, parents who are aging, defining ourselves when the formal, official work life is over. Relationships and physical changes. How we decide what it is, in these latter years, what we call home.

So Gillman’s book enthralled me, and I started a quest to find other books by women of a certain age, and to see if the universal themes ring through their work.

Those books call to me because I speak the language, walk the same walk.

What books, right now, call to you?

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My son, a young adult with autism, loves the work of Stephen King. He enjoys the thrill of the horribly fantastic. He resonates, too, I think, with a recurring theme of ‘outsiderhood’ in King’s work.

My mother-in-law, widowed two years ago, devours romance novels. The love stories there fill a kind of void in her own life; she replaces her missing hero with a fictional one, and she is drawn in and delighted.

I would not enjoy most of Stephen King’s fiction (although I loved his nonfiction book, On Writing.) I don’t care too much for most romance novels. I do, though, love murder mysteries–me, the biggest pacifist you’ll ever meet. If I were to write about those mysteries, I’d need, I think, to explore why they speak to me so. Maybe it’s the satisfaction of seeing villainous skunks unmasked and brought to justice. Maybe there are other things in those stories that meld with the nerve endings in my mind.

Whatever it is, I could recommend Louise Penny or Anne Cleeves work to you, and you might like her work. Or, you might not.

They say you can’t step in the same river twice. Along those same lines, I don’t think two people ever read the same book.

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So in writing about books, I think we also have to write about ourselves. We need to talk about the characters, sure, and the reader needs to know at least a fundamental plot outline. It’s good to say when and where the book takes place, and what we like about the book.

But then we need to explore the why, I think–answer the question of why this book speaks to me right now. Unspool that, and share it, and the person who reads your review may say, “Oh, my gosh; that sounds just like me,” or, “I know someone going through exactly the same thing,” or, “I have no idea what that’s about and no desire to learn.”

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The reading of a book is a dynamic thing, a shared kind of creation. The writer organizes and puts down thoughts, brings his or her own gifts and knowledge, imagination or research, and presents that composite in a unique and certain way. The reader brings his or her own lived experiences, beliefs, and interests to the work. They sieve the writer’s words through a fine-grained filter as individual as a snowflake.

The experience of reading is different for every single person, and it’s even different for that person, every single time they read the same work.

And when we write about books, I think, our challenge is to define that difference. What does the work say to me, right here and right now? The writer’s words, my filter: what experience do we create together?

If we can capture that in our reviews, we can, maybe, show our readers one of the infinitesimal facets that can be polished by reading that particular work.

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What do you want to know when you read a review? What do you want to share when you write one?

Happy blogging, my friends.

Cold Autumn

He stayed watching the leaves fall,
she’s at the beach avoiding the cold.

#13WordStory #13WordStories Dedicated to Colette B

#justsaying

Good morning, friends! It’s cold,…

Good morning, friends! It’s cold, wet, and gray here, which is a GOOD thing because the skunk scent is being washed away from this neighborhood. Nothing like a mixed bag to make me remember and appreciate all the gifts I don’t always acknowledge. Hence my post this week.

Looking forward to continuing the party and visiting your blogs this weekend…

Pam

https://pamkirstblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/thanks-for-the-gifts-of-stuff-and-spirit/