Reader Huddle Archive

January 2012 Wrap-Up

I did not get as much reading done this month as I might have liked. I was hit by a pretty bad slump through most of the first half of January. The cold of winter always gets to me and I always find myself more down than usual this time of year. I did end up participating in a read-a-thon towards the end of the month, A Winter’s Respite. My reading picked up a lot after that and my mood with it!

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2012 Reading Resolutions

So last year was pretty much a bust as far as reading and blogging went. So many of the year was spent in turmoil with living arrangements being uncertain, moves happening, new jobs, new cities, our very first house and not even having access to my books at all for at least half of the year and being forced to part with well over 100 of them in the course of things, many unread.

All of this has given me a new appreciation for the escapist, the centering and the often soothing effect reading has on my life. It also has led to a new appreciation for beautiful, meaningful books in gorgeous bindings for my permanent collection. I am more open than ever to passing over books that don’t add true joy in my life and that includes letting go of some real duds in my collection that I know I will never read again.

In the same vein, I want to focus this year on re-reading books that brought happiness to my life in the past, to get my groove back and really embrace reading and blogging again. Towards that end I have only signed up this year for group reads of books that I really would love to get another chance to read with more adult eyes and with friends. So I have signed up for the Harry Potter Reading Challenge and the Narnia Reading Project.

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Is It Really Just a Story?

For a little over half a year I lived, worked and went to school in western Wyoming. It was quite literally the middle of no where. The nearest city with decent shopping, medical facilities, what have you was Salt Lake City in Utah and that was three hours away. While I was there I had my eyes opened to an entirely new and different way of life. I went from a school that was completely racially diverse to a school where 95% of the population was white. I went from a city where I was used to having something to do every weekend to a town where the only thing to do was hang out in someone’s basement or garage. I went from a fairly progressive city to a town where conservatives ruled. I also went from a place of religious diversification to a town strictly christian with a strong Mormon presence.

I learned a lot about Mormons during those few months. Truth be told, I hadn’t even known of their existence before I moved there. I also learned a lot about intolerance, about racism, about religion and about myself. I took all of that to the table with me when I cracked open Twilight nearly a year ago now. Every female in my family under the age of 50 has read this book and some have become huge fans. I am “the reader” in my family. I have gotten a lot of flak for not at least trying to read this book, because they just knew I was going to love it. I did not. Then it became that I just needed to read the series as “it gets better”. It did not. If anything things got worse with New Moon. Now I’m faced with reviewing Eclipse and I am having a difficult time with it.

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Feminism and the Recent Vampire Craze

A while ago I tweeted a link to an NPR article called For Love of Do Good Vampires, and the article got me thinking. Why are vampires currently so popular? Why have they changed so much from vampires in the past? What does this say about us, our generation, and what our vampires are bringing to the table of vampire lore?

I’ve also recently been reading a book called The Chalice and The Blade that covers the history of feminism back to its roots and beyond into what caused the split from egalitarian societies of women and men working side by side to modern day male dominant society. It also covers the multiple attempts to swing back to an egalitarian model and the divisive (but not always complete) swings back to a gender dominant society that result.

These two works have been going around in my head and so here’s my take on Feminism and Vampires.

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Glowing Reviews

As a book blogger I actually find it really hard to write lengthy glowing reviews. If I love a book I can succintly wrap up why I love it in four paragraphs tops and often I feel like I’m stretching myself thin even with that. When it comes to listing all the things I enjoy about a book or putting it into witty phrases – or (let’s be honest here) any phrases at all – I stumble and find myself at a loss to say anything. Like a teenage girl with a crush I am completely tongue tied to explain even the beginning of why I like this boy book so much. It’s just hot!

For example, the book An Assembly Such As This is the only book that has ever given justice to the concept of a Jane Austen spin off. I’ve read dozens, but this trilogy (completed in Duty and Desire and These Three Remain) caused me to not only become a die hard Jane Austen fan all over again, they reminded me of why I loved reading so much and I wondered that I ever could have left it for as long as I did. None of those reviews really convey how much those books impacted my life and how honored (yes, honored) I was to read them.

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