Tag Archives: Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Using the Library vs. Buying Books

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

An ereader propped up by eight paper books that are stacked on top of each other. Toronto has an excellent public library system that offers a wide range of paper, audio, and electronic books.

We also have some politicians who have been trying to justify additional cuts to the library’s budget for years despite how popular it is here and how many services it offers to underprivileged groups like new immigrants and people who don’t have homes.

One of the tools our librarians use to fight back against these cuts is showing statistics like having the highest circulation of library materials per capita in the entire world in 2008 or setting the world record for number of digital downloads in 2021.

This is one of the reasons why I use my local library as much as I possibly can. My tax dollars are already paying for it, so why not do my small part to help the librarians prove that this money is well spent and that their budgets should not be slashed?

My other reasons for using the library include saving money, protecting the environment by using shared resources as much as possible, and being an avid reader who doesn’t have a lot of physical space to store books in my home.

With all of that being said, I pass zero judgement on other people’s choices. Surprisingly, some countries don’t have libraries at all according to some bookish folks I’ve met over the last few years. Not every library system is as large or comprehensive as the one I have access to, and not everyone can patiently wait a few weeks or even months for a popular title to become available for them like I do on occasion. There is also the matter of Internet access and how patchy it can be in some rural areas. I’d probably own more physical books myself if I knew to expect a few long power outages a year or if I had very slow and unreliable Internet access like some rural communities do.

So much depends on where you live, how patient you are, and what resources you have access to!

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Least Favourite Chore and Why

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Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Person dusting a glass light fixture and a mirror. Dusting and sweeping are my least favourite chores. There is no carpet in my apartment, so these two chores sort of meld together.

Due to my environmental allergies, cleaning up dust often makes me cough and sneeze which can stir up more dust in a never-ending cycle of airway irritation and puffs of dust floating away.

This is the kind of housework that has no scope for the imagination in it. I can dance to music or listen to an audiobook while washing dishes, folding laundry, or even scrubbing a tub.

Dusting, though, requires such precise movements to ensure that I get every last irritating little mote of it that I struggle to make it amusing in any way.

This is also one of those chores that never ends.

I can hand wash a load of dishes or fold a load of laundry and see visual evidence that I’ve done good work and that it’s finished now.

Dust settles everywhere all of the time. You might think you’ve swept up the last of it only to find yet another corner of the house that needs attention. Everyone is shedding skin cells and hair right this minute that will soon clump up and create more dust bunnies.

It’s such a minor problem to have in life, and yet I still wish I could skip this chore forever.

 

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What Makes You Pick Up or Buy a Book?

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Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Woman holding antique book with blue cover in front of her face. Let’s see if I can answer this question without writing a whole book on the topic. Ha!

I prefer shorter works, so short stories and novellas rise to the top of my queue faster than books that are 200+ pages long. If something is more than 300 pages, I probably won’t read it unless it’s otherwise irresistible to me.

I like standalone stories.  It’s been my experience that they tend to have more concise writing, faster plots, and better character development because the author knows that he or she has limited time with which to get these things accomplished. Of course, there are  exceptions to this rule, and I love finding series that offer steady character and plot development from their first instalment to their last one.

I enjoy moderate amounts of descriptive passages. That is to say, give me a couple of pages describing what a setting looks like, but I’d prefer not to read Tolkien-esque descriptions that go on for a dozen pages unless there’s some rare, pressing need for that much detail. For example, some fantasy novels genuinely do need many pages to describe how things work in their world, but a contemporary romance or mystery almost certainly will not.

I love to be surprised. Authors who are intimately familiar with the tropes of their genre and have some indication that those tropes will be gently poked fun at, turned upside down, or otherwise subverted will grab my attention immediately. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is an excellent example of this, but I’ll happily read authors from any genre who pull this off. It’s much harder than it might look, but it’s so rewarding when it happens.

Here are some of the topics that will immediately make me read at least the first page of a book if they’re mentioned in the title or blurb:

  • (Non-romance) paranormal stories
  • Adoption, foster care, chosen families, etc. I have several adopted or chosen relatives and find these topics quite interesting.
  • Prehistory (hunter-gatherers, Neanderthals, mammoths, dinosaurs, etc.)
  • Hopeful speculative fiction
  • Alternate history books that aren’t about Hitler or World War II
  • Sapphic main characters (if they get to live happily ever after)
  • Stories about wild or domesticated animals (if they get to live happily ever after)
  • Non-fiction about the lives of ordinary people or historical events that usually aren’t taught in school. Learning new things is amazing.
  • Soothing fiction in general. Give me happy endings instead of heartbreaking ones.

I used to adore psychological horror, too, but have cut way back on that during this pandemic. Maybe someday I can handle being scared more often again.

I’ve also been making an effort to diversify my reading, so any books about people who are not Caucasian and/or who don’t live in North America float to the top of the list. Authors and characters who have medical conditions, disabilities, religious beliefs, etc. that I don’t have personal experience with are being prioritized, too.

You can learn so much about the world by seeing it through other people’s perspectives.

Anyway, that is a brief overview of my taste in books. I can’t wait to read what all of you had to say on this topic.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A Plot Line You Love to Read/Watch and Why

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I so badly wanted to pick about a dozen different answers for this topic, but I will follow the rules and stick to one.

A drawing of a halo and some angel wings. My all-time favourite plot line is rebirth. That is to say, the audience is introduced to a morally ambiguous character (or even a downright jerk) who learns the error of his or her ways and eventually make a genuine and permanent change in their behaviour for the better.

The keywords there are genuine and permanent. If a character is truly a terribly human being when we first meet them, I’m going to need to see a lot more time dedicated to showing how they realized they were causing harm to others and how hard they worked to correct their faults than if they were someone whose might have only been moderately irritating instead.

This is not an easy feat for storytellers to accomplish by any means, but when it’s done correctly it gives me so much hope for the future of humanity. Another cool thing about this plot line is that it shows up in every single genre one can imagine which makes it even more exciting to discover. Whether you love reading romance, mysteries, horror, science fiction, fantasy, or some other genre entirely, you stand an excellent chance of stumbling across a character who follows this pattern sooner rather than later.

Here are some examples of films, tv shows, and books that make good use of this plot line:

Traditionally, characters needed to be rescued by someone else when this plot line showed up, but contemporary takes on the topic often show characters who are much more assertive about realizing there’s a problem with how they behave and working to on their own to correct it.

I’m happy with either approach to the subject.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A Plot Line You Refuse to Read/Watch and Why

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Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

This week’s topic was a little tricky for me because I’m an adventurous and eclectic reader. I don’t regularly read romance, non-paranormal horror, westerns, or mysteries, but I have no problem picking up a book from one or more of those genres if a trope or clever plot twist in them tickles my fancy.

A stack of white cards arranged in a spiral pattern. The top card says, “no.”Of course, I still draw boundaries about what I’m willing to read and watch. I do not consume stories that make excuses for violence, hatred, or any form of abuse.

That is to say, I may read about these topics if they are themes in a story that otherwise appeals to me. They are a sad part of life, after all, and some authors have marvellous things to say about how people have risen about these experiences and helped others to escape them, too.

I will not read authors who make abusive relationships sound romantic or normal or who demonize entire groups of people for immutable characteristics like race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc.

Luckily, authors who write this way generally give hints that they will go in those directions within the first chapter or so based on the ugly comments they often make about their characters while introducing them.  Older novels are more likely to share such views in some cases, although there are still plenty of them that do not cross this line.

The beautiful part of reading book reviews is that many of them will mention stuff like this. I have only had to write a few such warnings in the hundreds of reviews I’ve written, but I think it’s better to let people know in advance than it is to give them a terrible surprise when they were expecting to read something nice.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Bookmark, Scrap Paper, or Dog-Ear?

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year. The vast majority of the books I read are ebooks, so my place is always marked in them automatically unless there’s a technological glitch. That doesn’t… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Where Would You Spend One Day in the Past?

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year. Anyone who has participated in the Wednesday Weekly Blog Challenge or who has followed this blog for a few years will probably not be surprised by… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Ideal Bookcase

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year. This week’s topic was “show us your bookcases.” While I do technically own one bookcase, it’s filled with clothes, random knickknacks, spare charging cords for our… Read More