Blog Hop: A Juggling Act

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: For all of you worker bees out there! How do you balance having a day job/career and managing your blog at night? Is it hard or easy to do, and what do people in your work life think of your blogs?

Well, I suppose it’s appropriate that a post about balancing my life is going up late…because things aren’t very balanced just now!!  Although it’s more because I moved into a new house a week ago, and we don’t have working internet at home yet.

I generally fit blogging in on evenings and weekends–a book review some time on the weekend to go up Monday, and the Friday post some evening during the week.  I do a lot of my fiction writing on my lunch break, a pause in the middle of my work day.  I’m happy to report on that front that revisions are still moving along at a pretty good pace, by the way, despite the craziness of moving.

Would this all be easier without a 40-hour a week job?  Yeah, I think so!!  (Ask me if I’m impressed that Stephen King writes every day.  Spoiler: No.)  But it’s kind of what I’m used to by this point.

My coworkers know about my fiction-writing, which they mostly think is pretty cool.  I’m not sure if any have read my blog.  In some ways I prefer to keep my life more compartmentalized than that.

Fellow bloggers, do you have full-time jobs?  How is balance working out for you?

Okay, back to revising–I have nine minutes left on my lunch break!

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Blog Hop: Terror on Screen

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: What were your worst movies based off of books?

Most people have probably already heard this rant, but…Ella Enchanted.  Book by Gail Carson Levine, movie by I don’t even know.  I don’t love it when movies change plot points or character arcs, but this one ruined the whole concept.  Ella Enchanted is a wonderful, magical but practical retelling of Cinderella, and I love that combination–magic, with a practical, logical, real-world bent.  The movie was some sort of confused, hyped-up absurdity, not true to the spirit of the book at all.

It seems only fair to give the opposite side, worst book I ever read after watching a movie it was based on.  African Queen, book by C. S. Forester, movie starring Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.  Everything good in the movie was not in the book, and there was nothing else good to compensate for it, with an ending that made the entire rest of the book utterly pointless and devalued.  Badly done.

What was the worst movie you saw based on a book?  And just for fun, what was the worst book you read that somehow had a good movie based on it?

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Blog Hop: Early Days of Reading

I am–somewhat back!  Life has been and continues to be a rather frenetic affair (besides getting married, I’m also moving), but I wanted to start dipping back into this blog at least a bit.  I may not be up to my usual schedule of blogging quite yet, but I’ll at least be popping back in some.  So today, here’s a blog hop…but not actually this week’s question, because I liked one from last month better.  So I thought I’d answer it!book-blogger-hop-finalLast month’s Book Blogger Hop question was: Do you remember the first book you read by yourself?

According to family lore, the first book I ever read myself was The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree.  An earlier target-age than most Berenstain Bears books, it only has one or two brief sentences to a page.  Before I could actually read, I memorized the book and would “read” it to myself, turning pages and “reading” quite accurately.

I don’t know if I ever had a copy–it may have been a strictly library book–but I know I didn’t wind up keeping a copy.  So I bought it myself sometime around college, and was surprised to learn that all the dramatic reading my parents did (which I still remember, despite not exactly remembering being read it) was all invented, not based in italics or funny fonts or anything.  It’s strange to read a book you know well for the first time!

I don’t know what the first book I really read was.  Probably some early reader in school.  And I don’t know what the first book I chose to read was.  But the first book I “read” was The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree, and I’m happy to say that it holds up over time–with dramatic reading included, of course.

Do you remember the first book you ever read?  Or “read”?

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Blog Hop: Self-Improvement – Plus News!

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you ever feel like you have emerged better for reading a book?

Hmm, an intriguing topic.  I think reading the Tortall series at formative years made me better, or perhaps at least more confident.  Brene Brown is very influential for me and I think made me better able to navigate relationships.  And I hope my spiritual reading on the whole makes me better.  Thich Nhat Hanh comes to mind fastest in that category, with his emphasis on peacefulness and tranquility.

And now the news!  I mentioned some months ago that I was engaged.  Well, the wedding is fast approaching–May 12th, so just over a week away!  As you might imagine, life is just a little bit hectic for me right now.  So for the first time in the life of my blog, I’m going on hiatus–I should be back on here before the end of the month, but for now I’m suspending regular programming.  I have a few other things to do… 🙂 ❤

See you soon!

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Classic Review: The Ashwater Experiment

I thought I’d look back at an old review this week, and found this one on a very good YA book I ought to reread!  A fascinating premise with such good characters, I’ve read it several times and always found it engaging!

Have you ever felt that you’re not quite like anyone else around you?  I’m guessing most people have felt that way at some time or another–and that feeling is at the center of The Ashwater Experiment by Amy Goldman Koss.

Hillary wonders if she’s the only person who’s real.  You can hardly blame her for feeling disconnected from the people around her.  She and her parents wander the country in their RV, selling trinkets at craft fairs and never staying anywhere long.  By seventh grade, Hillary has been to seventeen different schools and is firmly settled in her pattern of never making ties to anyone.  So when she finds out her parents plan to stay in Ashwater for nine months–longer than they’ve ever stayed anywhere–Hillary feels trapped.  That’s when she comes up with the Watchers.

What if she’s really the center of an experiment?  Part holodeck and part Truman Show, she imagines that the world she experiences is really created just for her, with nothing existing outside of what she can see in that moment.  At first it’s easy to imagine–everywhere she goes has always seemed to have a pattern, with the same kind of people at every school.  As she stays longer in Ashwater, though, people start to seem more real than ever.

I’ve read this book before, and in the past I think it was Hillary’s imaginary (but sometimes so real-feeling) game about the Watchers that struck me.  This time, that seemed more like a sidenote.  It’s a very interesting sidenote–but the heart of the story for me on this read was Hillary’s feeling of being different, and of her gradually increasing understanding for the people around her.

When she first meets the kids at her school, she easily classifies them and easily sees them as stock characters.  As she gets to know them, she finds unexpected depth to Cassie the bookworm, Serena the society queen, and Brian the class clown.  Even the more minor characters, like Serena’s mother or Cassie’s grandmother, the nasty girl who resents Hillary and even Hillary’s own parents and grandparents, are eventually revealed to have their own problems and motives and complexities.  No one is simple.  And we all feel different sometimes–paradoxically, it’s a feeling we often have in common.

This is another one of those books that reminds me just how good and how deep a YA book can be.  It definitely is YA (or even Juvenile), appropriate for young readers and focused on young adults.  Hillary is in seventh grade, and she has seventh grader concerns: whether the girls at school like her, how well she’ll do on the math competition, whether her parents are weird.  But the larger feelings Hillary struggles with are really universal, and there’s a depth that makes this appealing–even though seventh grade was a long time ago for me.

Author’s Site: http://www.amygoldmankoss.net/

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