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Sunday Salon – October 4, 2009

Sunday Salon

October 4, 2009

8:00 AM

Good morning, faithful readers! Fall has FINALLY arrived in Northern California with chilly mornings, warm afternoons and cold evenings. We’ve actually had to build a fire in the woodstove the last two nights…and this after triple digits last Saturday!

I’ve had a difficult week. I fell ill with the flu on Tuesday night and was pretty much out of commission until yesterday. Fever and aches are now gone, but my energy is still pretty low. I plan to spend today catching up on my blogs and reading. Yesterday I finally cleared my Google Reader…and by that I mean I read over 1000 unread blog posts! Lucky I did because I discovered many new and upcoming challenges and events which I added to A Novel Challenge. This is the season for new reading challenges and I expect that from now until the end of the year I will be very busy on that blog.

Speaking of challenges – how many of you are planning to participate in Dewey’s 24 hour Read-A-Thon October 24-25? I missed the one in April due to being the mom of a new puppy…but there are no excuses this time. I plan to participate and knock some books from my TBR pile.

Since my last Sunday Salon I’ve gotten in some decent reading (although as a whole, September was a terrible reading month for me). I read and reviewed A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman for a TLC book tour. Wow, I really loved that book. The subject matter is tough, but the writing? Oh my, just beautiful. As part of that tour Ru Freeman offered me a guest post and I offered her one. I wrote about A Different Kind of Connection (I hope you’ll pop over to Ru’s blog and read it). Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about our constant connections through the Internet (Twitter, Facebook, etc…) and how that impacts our lives. Before technology made it possible to have thousands of “friends” on Facebook or follow hundreds of conversations on Twitter, most people had a small group of friends and acquaintances. Even still, we sometimes missed birthdays or felt overwhelmed with our social obligations. How is it possible to keep up with all the connections we are making on line? I know I very quickly found myself overwhelmed with Twitter – a rapid fire form of communication with dozens of subjects being discussed simultaneously. I’m not sure that these types of social networks actually enhance our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I have met people on line who I have formed warm and meaningful relationships with – people who I wish lived closer to me so that we might go to lunch together, or see a movie together, or simply spend some quality time hanging out together. But that said, I don’t think we can possibly maintain all the connections which social networking encourages. How do you feel? Do you find yourself feeling stressed at trying to maintain contact with hundreds of people? Do you feel like you cannot possibly keep up with all the topics of discussion which play out in a single day? I know I am now re-thinking my priorities and simplifying where I can.

Whew, that just spilled out.

Back to books…

I also finished reading A Bend in the River, by V.S. Naipaul this week (read my review). Ugh. Hated it. I expect some people will take me to task for not loving this author, but I was completely put off by his writing.

My current read is fantastic. Goldengrove by Francine Prose is about how a thirteen year old girl adjusts to life after her older sister unexpectedly dies. It takes place over one summer. Last night I picked up the book and blew through 50 pages. I would have kept reading only the Tylenol PM I took had just kicked in. I expect to finish this book quickly. But you won’t see a review until October 13th when I tour it for TLC Book Tours.

I’ve officially given up on The Angel’s Game. Watch for my thoughts on that later.

What are you doing today? Whatever it is, I hope it involves a great book!

21 Comments

  1. October 4, 2009    

    It’s chilly here, too, in Nebraska. Woke to 35 degrees and it’s only warmed up to 46. Definitely blustery with the wind.

    I’m enjoying the weekend with my daughter who is visiting us from Texas. I haven’t done much reading, but am enjoying delicious meals at her favorite restaurants and we might take in a movie this afternoon.

    As far as the social networking topic, I have to agree. I did get sucked into Facebook and while I enjoy reconnecting (and staying connected) to friends and relatives, I try to limit my time since it is another time suck. I don’t dare go near Twitter. I’m sure it’d be fun, but I really can’t afford to spend any more time on this computer. Then I’d really run out of time to actually read books.

    I read Bellezza’s review for Goldengrove and added it to my wishlist. This sounds like something I would really like to read. I was going to say “enjoy” but somehow I doubt it’s a fun, light read. But it definitely sounds insightful, especially since I have a daughter who is still dealing with the loss of her only sister.

    I hope you are feeling completely well in the coming days. I’ve dodged that bug so far, but working in retail, I have a feeling my turn is coming. Congrats on reading 1000 blog posts!! I hate to think how many hours that would take me. Sheesh!

    Be well, Wendy.

  2. October 4, 2009    

    You wrote:

    Do you find yourself feeling stressed at trying to maintain contact with hundreds of people? Do you feel like you cannot possibly keep up with all the topics of discussion which play out in a single day? I know I am now re-thinking my priorities and simplifying where I can.

    Yes, agree with all of that! It’s sad, though, to sort and eliminate, but there’s just too much!

  3. October 4, 2009    

    This past week has felt like autumn. Cold nights, crisp mornings and the wonderful autumn light. The full moon was beautiful last night. I’m glad you are feeling better.

    Very thoughtful post. I completely agree with you about all the social networking. To me it doesn’t feel like real connections, just throwing thoughts out into space. I briefly had Twitter on my browser but gave up very quickly. I spend enough time online visiting blogs and writing posts! I wonder what human needs are being met by all this “rapid fire communication”.

  4. October 4, 2009    

    We still have our air conditioner on. Sorry to hear you’ve had the flu – that totally stinks this early in the year!

  5. October 4, 2009    

    I thought your review of A Disobedient Girl sounded wonderful! I’ll be looking forward to picking this book up at some point. Glad to hear that you are feeling better!

  6. October 4, 2009    

    It’s quite chilly here too now. I’m alternately cuddling my kitties and baking chocolate chip cookies.

  7. October 4, 2009    

    Very good points about how many connections it is possible to keep up with. I am avoiding twitter – I find blog reading and some Facebook plenty.

    Today, reading is my reward for getting a certain amount of correcting done. I finished off one big set of labs, and after this comment, it’s 15 minutes of reading, and then I plan to tackle of pile of tests.

    Glad to hear you are feeling better. The blogs will look after themselves – make sure to take care of yourself, and not feel bad it the blogs sit for a while. They will still be there.

  8. October 4, 2009    

    Yes, I find it very hard to keep up with the various social networking websites. And, I’m not even a Twitterite. My facebook page has been sadly abandoned with comments dating months back. I’ve also stopped using msn messenger – it’s much too distracting and stressful. The only online community I do enjoy is the blogging community, especially that of book bloggers, who seem to be particularly understanding and chill about these things. Sometimes I feel like it’s a difficult task to have to keep up with every blog, but I do make it a point to visit every blog on my bloglist at least once per week to be filled in and to take part, somewhat, in the interesting discussions held there. I have to remind myself not to stress out about keeping up, because that would be impossible and no fun!!

  9. October 4, 2009    

    I can really understand the hassle of social networking. It is just such a time suck. I love building friendships, but you do have to draw the line somewhere. I enjoy twitter, but I only use it in moderation.

    Glad you’re recovering from your flu. Fall is striking here too; it’s time to pull out my sweaters!

  10. October 4, 2009    

    Sorry Angel’s Game did not work out for you. I have not read it so I can’t comment. I did love Goldengrove though.

    It was cool last week here (64 degrees during the day indoors), but I always try to see if we can make it to 10/15 before turning on the furnace 🙂 Today is gorgeous low 70’s.

    I’m glad you are over the flu; hate that blah feeling. Have a good week.

  11. October 4, 2009    

    So September was a crummy reading month for you too, eh? Funny how similar we are at times!

  12. October 4, 2009    

    Sorry to hear you have been poorly. I know how you feel with it.

  13. October 4, 2009    

    I am happy to say that fall has finally come to Southern California too. I didn’t get the promised rain yesterday, but maybe it will come later this week. With the nearby fire, I’m sure it would definitely help.

    I hope you are feeling much better, Wendy. Something is going around my office right now and I’m hoping I can avoid it.

    Good luck with the Read-A-Thon! I haven’t participated in yet, but maybe someday.

    I agree with you in regards to the social media outlets. I have met and developed several wonderful relationships with people I met online, but there is no way to keep up with everyone. I still don’t have a good handle on Twitter. I haven’t tried my hand at Facebook and don’t intend to.

    I am so behind on blog posts. I have a feeling I’ll be doing more reading than commenting until I’m caught up. I’ve been more in the mood to turn to my books than turn on the computer lately. And since work is busy, I haven’t been able to get online there much either.

    I hope you have a great week, Wendy.

  14. October 4, 2009    

    I agree about social media! I sometimes feel so much pressure to be everywhere and connecting with everyone that I just have to draw a line and admit I’m human and don’t want to spend all of my time on the computer.

  15. October 4, 2009    

    Les: Thank you! Sounds more like winter than fall in Nebraska! You’re right about Twitter – it is a dark hole that is hard to climb out of!!! Re: Goldengrove, I think this might be a tender book for you to read given the loss of your daughter. I am so far really enjoying the main character – 13 year old Nico – whose pain is palpable. Stay tuned for my review. Stay well!!

    Jill: *nods in agreement* But, I have been ruthlessly cutting blogs out of my reader these days…I am just keeping my favorites (like yours!)

    Gavin: you said I wonder what human needs are being met by all this “rapid fire communication”. EXCELLENT question! It seems like just stimulation to me without substance.

    Kathy: Yes, the flu is definitely a bummer…especially since apparently it is too early to have the flu everyone is getting vaccinated for!

    Samantha: Thank you! Oh, I hope you love Freeman’s book as much as I did!

    Lenore: That sounds heavenly…chocolate chip cookies (warm from the oven) and kitties…awesome!

    Elizabeth: You are so right about the blogs going nowhere! Sounds like you have the perfect plan to get work done AND get in your leisure reading. Have a great day!

    Sharry: I am finding that balance is everything…and everyone’s balance point is different! Sounds like you are finding yours 🙂

    Meghan: Being able to moderate our time on line seems to be the key, doesn’t it? I love that time of year when I can take my sweaters out of storage 🙂

  16. October 4, 2009    

    Diane: Thanks! Good to know that Goldengrove worked for you!

    Laura: I don’t call you my bookie soulmate for nothing! *laughing* I should probably clarify, though…September was crummy for QUANTITY, but the QUALITY was pretty great 🙂

    Vivienne: Thanks!

    WendyCat: Glad to hear you are also getting cooler weather…we’re not out of the woods yet re: fire season, but we’re hoping for some of the wet stuff soon! I hope you stay well…this is a nasty bug! It seems that many of us are feeling overwhelmed of late…all I can say is, try to keep it all in perspective 🙂 Have a great week yourself!

  17. October 4, 2009    

    Twitter and Facebook are major time sucks. I don’t spend much time on FB for that reason. I don’t want to spend my entire life online. Twitter is great because it comes and goes–you can not tweet for a while, and then tweet a lot. It doesn’t require as much of a commitment.

  18. October 5, 2009    

    That stinks that you’ve had the flu. Hope you’re feeling better by now.

    As for social media, I dip into each but it hasn’t led me to attempt to create deeper relationships with anyone, even people I was once friends with as is the case on Facebook (high school or college friends, etc.). I’ve always hoped that no ill has come to people who moved out of my life and by glancing at Facebook occasionally, I can indeed see that they haven’t been hit by a bus or anything and so I go on about my life without thinking of them again for months at a time. Callous? Perhaps. But this way of using social media works for me. 🙂

    Looking forward to your review of A Disobedient Girl. I won it in a contest but haven’t read it yet.

  19. October 7, 2009    

    Heidi: I know what you mean about Twitter – I drop in from time to time for about 15 minutes…and then sign out. I thought about FB for awhile because my nieces are on there and I thought it would be fun to share with them there…BUT, everyone I know gets overwhelmed with friend requests and before they know it, they are on there all the time. I can’t take on anymore connections right now! *laughing*

    Kristen: Thanks – I am feeling better…but still not 100%. *sighs* I don’t think you sound callous at all. I don’t know how people maintain true connections with so many people…it sucks the energy out of me to try! I’ve posted my review of Disobedient Girl … LOVED it!

  20. Eva Eva
    October 12, 2009    

    I stopped using facebook when it got so huge.

    Personally, I love Twitter. BUT I have a very small circle of people w/ whom I’d say 90% of my tweets are with, and we tend to have extended conversations. 🙂 I have no idea why I would want/need 1,000 followers…as it is, it kind of creeps me out that people I don’t know are following me, and I’m thinking about making my account private so it’s just me and my friends. 😉 Twitter is great for me because I’m home sick almost all of the time, so I don’t get a lot of interaction w/ people outside of my family! I don’t feel obligated to follow every book blogger on twitter though, any more than I would in my GR, so I think that helps keep it cozy for me.

  21. October 12, 2009    

    Eva: It sounds like you’ve found just the right balance. I agree that having 1000 followers is ridiculous! And even a little creepy 🙂

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