This blog is my eighteenth. It’s also my last one for Shelf Life in the Mountains. (Long story short: moving out of state)
I did my first one almost exactly 2 years ago, so I’ve done about nine a year since then.
Rather than tout some favorite books or videos or music, as I’m wont to do, I want to ask some questions and offer some reflections on those previous blogs, kind of asking “what was the point again?”
I started with a series review, Charlaine Harris’ “Midnight Texas” trilogy. I’d just had the chance to meet the author in Greensboro at a conference, so even though I’d known who she was before (she was the author behind the books that were the basis for the hit HBO TV series “True Blood”) I’d not read any of her titles. Since 2016 and my initial reading of the Midnight Texas series, I’ve read several of her books. Some I liked, some I did not. But I think the Midnight series is a good one to introduce a reader to the author; it’s got fascinating characters, including the setting. Would I read the whole series again someday? Possibly…(oh, and they made a TV series about it too!)
My next blog was about a particular author who writes in MANY genres, from quirky detective mysteries to superhero stories to fantasy. That author was Brandon Sanderson. His latest title is a top ten read book on Amazon, and it was a #1 New York Times bestseller. He’s written in so many styles, and for both children and adults, that I’d like to see readers give him a chance. Certainly some of his works are not for every audience, but if I had to pick a title to get people started, it would be Steelheart or Elantris.
A long time ago, in a state far away, I got involved in an adult summer reading program about genre bingo, where you have to read a title from a particular genre of reading. I chose an author named Lee Child and a book about his protagonist, Jack Reacher. Since that first book, I’ve read all the Reacher books. I called that blog about Reacher “The Omnicompetent Hero” – the latest book in the Reacher series is The Midnight Line.
After Reacher, I picked a title that virtually everyone who’s ever asked me for a book recommendation has liked – The Shadow of the Wind. Stop, drop the mic…read this book.
Another blog featuring an author highlighted the work of Robert A. Heinlein. An author of primarily “hard” science fiction, Heinlein is revered in the science fiction world, although not without some detractors. This was my favorite author as a young adult.
I also did a blog on the joys (and perils) of reading a fiction series. “Let me explain…no, there is too much. Let me sum up…” BEWARE THE DANGERS OF STEPPING UNHEEDINGLY INTO A BOOK SERIES!
Do you like to watch a movie more than once? How about five times or more? That was the theme of a blog called “Repeat Viewings.” I later followed that with a blog about reading the same book over and over. (called, with great originality, “Repeat Readings.”) I added a few more highly re-watchable movies in specific genres in a later blog.
I have done a couple of “year in review” blogs about favorite books read in the previous year, one for 2016 and one for 2017. There are some great books mentioned, but I’ll do a condensed version and recommend one from each of those blogs: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion for 2016, and The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North for 2017.
In one blog I tried to convince my readers that eBooks were good things. I still believe this. (not to say that print books are not also good things)
I have been asked several times to recommend books for young male readers, I guess because I used to be young, I am male, and I’ve become the kind of reader that is a little bit overboard. So I took the Wayback Machine to those fabled days of yesteryear and came up with some ideas. Anyway, my hope for that blog is that folks in need of a good list can find some suggestions.
I tried to express something in one blog about movies that aren’t fun to watch, but you kind of feel that they are good for you to experience. I had 3 or four examples, and I called them “Movies that are like going to the dentist.”
My two least-popular (I know, painful to admit) blogs were 1) about a couple non-fiction titles I liked; and then 2) another blog that puzzles me why more folks did not like it – that latter one was called “Summer Music Memories.” I guess I understand that non-fiction can be a hard sell, but don’t most of us like music? Anyway, those two blogs had less than 20 readers each – maybe by mentioning them one more time someone will take pity on them and read the blogs, even if they don’t read the books or listen to the music.
Finally, my most popular blog was written about Oddball Movies – I must have struck a chord, but I picked four movies I thought were “weird but good.” Maybe more of my readers are weirder than I supposed…or maybe I’m not that much of an oddball.
So, out of eighteen blogs, twelve were about reading, 4 about movies, and one about music. All of them were meant to advance the Fontana Regional Library system and help make fans of the library out of “users” of the library. It’s been fun sharing my thoughts, recommendations, and efforts with you over the last two years. So, like the grandfather in the Princess Bride, I’ll shuffle out and wish you all the best.
and here’s a final bonus – a gif from one of those “oddball movies”