Posted in General

Why I Blog About Books

You can find lots of different posts in the book blogosphere about the benefits of book blogging. So I thought I would throw out my own thoughts.

Do I like it when my stats go up? Yes. Is it great to get another follower? Of course. Do I like comments? Absolutely! All of these things might fall under the category of interaction and community between and among other people who like to read books as much as I do. And, yes, that’s an excellent reason to blog about books and one of the reasons I do it and a major reason why many others do it.

But there are reasons I continue blogging outside of the community aspect that are just as important to me.

First, I don’t have a job or career that revolves around books or reading. I’ve often wondered how things would be if I had pursued a career related to books or literature but that hasn’t happened so blogging becomes an outlet for my thoughts about what I consider an important and fun part of my life – even if it is a hobby.

Second, because most of my life has to be organized, I don’t necessarily need my reading life to be that organized; however, I spent years reading and loving it without ever documenting anything about what I’ve read. I never kept a record of what I read outside of occasionally writing down quotations that would eventually go by the wayside. Blogging gives me a great format to organize and document what I’ve read and what I’ve thought about what I’ve read and saving it for future reference. I also utilize public libraries quite frequently so after I’ve returned the book, blogging allows me to remember and revisit what I’ve read. Every book I’ve read isn’t necessarily on my shelf so a blog post from the past can occasionally be helpful.

Can’t this be done on you might ask? Yes, but I find blogging allows for a little more creativity and it allows for an easier format in which to write about individual short stories as opposed to an entire collection. As I read a lot of short stories, that’s another benefit I find in blogging.

As the by-line for my blog says, this is “my reading journal”. It’s a journal that anyone can read and I definitely enjoy whenever someone else does. The followers and the likes and the comments increase the enjoyment of blogging but I find some practical benefits (that I also enjoy) outside of those.

So why do you blog about books?

Posted in General

Ron Hansen: Playland (Deal Me In 2018 – Week 49)

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On the surface, the people that frequent Playland in Ron Hansen’s short story of the same name seem happy and having a good time – just the way all the rich people in The Great Gatsby do – on the surface.  Playland is part real and part imaginary and the people who visit tend to be older teens or young adults. People who may not be all that world weary, yet. However, it’s set in the 1940’s after World War II and Gordon has difficulty walking from an injury during the war. So some may not find Playland quite as amusing as Gordon’s girlfriend Bijou.

Then Bijou’s Cousin Frankie shows up to slowly reveal the sinister and the shallow of Playland. Actually, Bijou, herself, can cover the shallow part while Frankie has a handle on the sinister:

Frankie scrooched forward on his bar stool. “You oughta see things with my eyes. You take Bijou, for instance. She’s a dish, a real hot patootie in anybody’s book, but she ain’t all she wrote, Gordo, not by a long shot. You and Bijou, you come to Playland, you dance to the music, swallow all this phonus-balonus, and you think you’ve experienced life to the hilt. Well, I got news for you, GI. You haven’t even licked the spoon. You don’t know what’s out there, what’s available.”

Again, just like Gatsby, the story takes on some noir qualities right up until the end – in which it takes on more Stephen King characteristics with a little bit of horror and gore.

All in all, I found “Playland” to be a fun story I would recommend.

Catholic Short stories

This story is included in The Best American Catholic Short Stories edited by Daniel McVeigh and Patricia Schnapp. I read it when I selected the Nine of Diamonds for Week 49 of my Deal Me In 2018 short story project. My Deal Me In list can be found here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.