Sunday, October 6, 2019

Stopping Regular Book Blog

For over a year, I have published a book review every other week, on Wednesday, at noon.  Every week in the middle of both summers.

Reading for review

My wife is a librarian, and when I started this blog, it was partly a way for me to share something about the numerous pre-release books that she and I would get when we went to book events.  Also, when I started, doing this was fun, and I figured that if I were any good at it, maybe I would reach other readers.  That maybe someone might reach out to talk about a book I reviewed that we both read.

However, in the last year, my wife has only gone to one book event.  I've covered some classics, and even purchased a few books for review purposes.  I've heard directly from exactly one reader, one time, so it mostly feels like I'm typing into the void at this point.  That means that this is no longer fun.  I realize that reading with the knowledge that I'll be writing a review, has become a chore.

Readership

Each post gets up to 19 readers.  Typical, though, is much closer to 8.  I don't even know if the (as little as 3) readers are regular readers, or just folks who stumble onto the blog through search, looking for information about a book I reviewed.

My style of review does not lend itself to Amazon/Goodreads (where I can just add my stars to the pile).  I try to pull out the things that might make a book worth reading, and the reasons someone might want to skip a book.  To me, this is the type of review I like to read and find most useful.

That's the rule of creative work anyway, right?  Create the thing you wish existed.

Future

I will still write reviews, but they won't be regular.  As far as my thoughts are today, I have already written and scheduled a review for late January for a book that is releasing in February (2020).

To those few of you who have come along with me on this journey, thank you.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

[Book] The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

Title Illustration
I read somewhere that the story of Disney's Frozen was based on this book, so I decided to read and review it for this blog.   I want to be clear that there is almost nothing that the story of Frozen has left in common with this original fairytale, except for a talking reindeer.  This is a short read, and I've linked to the full text via Project Gutenberg in the book information block below.

The story starts with the creation of a mirror by a mischievous hobgoblin/sprite, which once broken spreads, as dust and tiny shards, evil into the world.  In the second chapter, we are brought forward to meet the main characters, a young boy named Kay and a little girl named Gerda, and we learn that the worst snow storms are accompanied by the Snow Queen.

As fairy tales go, this one is elaborate.  There is a great deal of symbolism that may have been recognizable tropes to a contemporary reader of 1844, but left me feeling a bit lost.  Even the Snow itself is described instead as "white bees swarming".

Even though it is a short read, I don't recommend it.  I felt that most of the imagery was too abstract in that it doesn't translate to a modern day very cleanly.  That is, trying to figure out the meaning behind certain things was exhausting.  Chapter 3 introduces an Enchanted Flower Garden, but I couldn't figure out what the point was of most of it.

Feel free to try to explain what I'm missing in the comments below.