Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Absolutely Love Dystopian Fiction!

Dystopian fiction is hands down my favorite genreI've gone through a lot of phases with books. When I was younger, I mostly read horror novels. As I got older, I branched out into high fantasy, but I never got into it. In early adulthood I read mysteries, almost exclusively. In my mid twenties it was romantic fiction (mostly Nora Roberts) and some Gothic novels. Sometimes I just picked and chose based on what I wanted to read, and my previous blog is actually a very good representation of the pick and pay method of reading that I've been using for so long. 

Don't get me wrong; it's not going to stop. I have a stack of romance novels waiting to be reviewed on Squidoo, for example. I have it in my head that reviewing Nora Roberts trilogies is going to do something for me that I can't get reviewing any other genre of fiction. While the truth is that I'm probably wrong, I don't care; I do enjoy reading these types of books.

But for a little while now I've been on a dystopia kick. It started with The Hunger Games and followed through with a reminder of the things I love in novels. The Long Walk is one of my favorites and of course I love The Running Man as well. Stephen King is, I suppose, one of my favorites. I can see connections that run through the dystopia of his novels and my favorite Hunger Games stories. It's interesting to see the way that it works.

I guess you could say I'm on a kick, because I think I'm going to be reading Fahrenheit 451 next. Brave New World is sitting on my shelf as well. 

Political dystopia is probably my favorite. I'm a very political person, and if you've ever read the original True Confessions of a Bibliophile blog, then you know what my politics are. I don't always agree with the politics of the authors of the books that I enjoy, but it doesn't matter.

I'm considering branching into Isaac Asimov. Some of his short stories fascinate me. I wonder if anyone would be interested in a book review of one of his books of short stories?

What's your favorite genre of fiction? 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Should Parents Control What Their Children Read?

Recently I encountered a question that asked whether or not The Hunger Games trilogy was appropriate for teenaged readers. The question was related to whether or not the series was too "grim" for young readers. However, I took a different angle when I wrote Is the Hunger Games Trilogy Appropriate for Young Readers? on Zujava.

As a parent, I like to know what my children are reading. It's important to me to have a solid grasp on what they are learning from the media that they take in, and it's not all about television. Ever since discovering that my four year old picks up on all of the bad habits in every television program that she watches, I've begun to realize that I don't have a choice but to be very thorough in screening absolutely every episode that she views and every story that is read to her at the risk of books and television having an undesired effect on her behavior.

But the big issue with The Hunger Games in particular is that I want to make absolutely certain in the case of my children (and step children) that they can understand the political ramifications of the novels, from my personal perspective. Anyone who has been following me for any length of time knows that I'm a political individual and most probably have an idea of what my politics are. My take on the novels is different from what others see, and while I value everyone's opinions, I want to be able to use the books to teach a lesson that I personally want my children to learn. 

Maybe I'm a traditionalist, like all those parents who told their children that they couldn't read Harry Potter because it involved Witchcraft, or Twilight because of the vampires. I believe, however, that parents should know what their children are reading, and be able to guide them when necessary. The Hunger Games may bring up a lot of questions, and I feel that it's important that parents and other support adults be prepared to answer those questions when their children ask.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blogging is Work

One thing that I forget about so easily when I'm writing is that blogging is work. Although I've been picking at my pages on Squidoo in the time that I've been away from the blogging world, I always felt that I could work on those pages when I wanted to, in my free time, at my leisure. And then, gradually, certain pages in my series on The Hunger Games began to improve in their ranking due to the fact that the movie is going to be appearing in theaters at midnight tomorrow. It got me to thinking about how important it is not only to promote my pages (which I've been doing off and on all along) but to get back to work on editing, updating, and improving every single one of them. 

Blessedly, blogging requires significantly less time invested in the upkeep of individual pages. Posts don't require an editing process unless you are manually linking one page to the next and then into another (which I don't do in general). If I need to update something on my blog, I usually create a new post for the update and say what needs to be said. If something has changed dramatically, I expect my readers to figure that out (perhaps unfairly).

Honestly, I don't mind the work. Most of what I plan on doing here is memes, considering that the majority of my time is taken up between schoolwork and the writing that I do on Squidoo and other similar platforms. Let me be honest: I make money writing articles on Squidoo, Hubpages, Wizzley, Zujava, etc. That money isn't where I make my living; instead it provides me with some extra income to "play" with. But the fact of the matter is that at the end of the day, blogging doesn't earn me any income. Notice the complete lack of ads on this page? There's a reason for that.

Blogging is a totally different type of upkeep, and it's not an easy upkeep, either. I take both forms of writing very seriously. The difference is that I know that in order to keep a blog "fresh," I have to post at regular intervals. Amongst other things, this gives readers consistency and they know when to check in with the blog. I don't have to publish to the other services daily, or even weekly, to keep things going there. I can publish an article and let it go. It might not thrive that way, but it will make me money (over time). 

It's all about getting back into the groove of things. I want to post here daily, and right now I'm also making an effort to post at least one article a day. Today's contribution to the book review and blogging theme is The Importance of Having a Book Review Policy

It all relates back to my little rant. As of right now, I have several incomplete pages instead of having anything that is particularly useful. I still need to write my own review policy for the benefit of my readers, authors, and of course as an example for others who are looking to my articles for advice. It's hard to claim any kind of authority when I don't have a policy of my own on the blog!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Whoah! I'm Back!

I know that it's been a while since anybody has seen me blogging, and I wouldn't blame you if you thought that I'd disappeared into the ether. The fact is that I returned to college, and although I'm attending classes online at the moment, the entire thing is so time consuming that I rarely have any time to take out to read a good novel. Fortunately for me, I've arranged with a friend to sit down an hour a day to read for pleasure. It means taking time out from other things that I'd like to do, but this should hopefully allow me to get back to book blogging. I can't promise that I'll ever make the goal of 50 books in a year, but I want to get back on board with the memes and with reviewing the books that I read.

Right now I'm doing quite a bit of reading young adult fiction. This previously wasn't what I would call my thing, but I'm getting more and more interested in this genre, following my enjoyment of The Hunger Games. This isn't the only genre I'll be reviewing, by any means, but it will be a start. 

Most of my actual reviews have been going on Hubpages or Squidoo. I'll be linking you to the book reviews themselves when they are written, so that you'll be able to find them easily enough, but I wanted to let you know that it's unlikely I'll be posting them directly on the blog. I'd rather use this space as a way to talk about books and what I'm reading. Besides, Hubpages and Squidoo have more potential for good exposure, so if you're an author considering requesting a review, I want you to know that I've gained some ability to optimize these pages so that they are easier for my readers to find. 

I'm still in the process of setting up this blog, so please bear with me while I spend a bit of time working on it. Hopefully I'll gradually get some of my old followers back. I hope to be back in on the memes starting next week. You know, after the opening of the Hunger Games Movie.

In the meantime, if you're looking for something to check out, feel free to head over to my most recent hub, this one about writing quality book reviews: How to Write Amazing (and Fair!) Book Reviews! I will be continuing to share these articles that I write about reviewing, so I hope that you'll check them out. If you have any tips of your own that you want to share, feel free to comment on my blog posts, on the articles, or, better yet (for you anyway!), write an article on the subject of your own. I always appreciate your feedback. 

Looking forward to getting back into the swing of things!