Sunday SalonSo, it’s Sunday, the last day of my workless reverie before I start lesson planning this week and return to full-time teaching next week. Boo! Actually, I love the teaching aspect of my profession, I love the kids, but sometimes, collaborating with other teachers (adults) kind of bites the big one. So, I have one more day to pretend that I am blissfully unemployed and can do whatever I want. This is all I’ve been doing for the last two weeks, and I don’t regret it a bit!

So, despite the fact that all I’ve been doing lately is exactly what I want (reading, playing Skyrim, and reading some more), there has been a bit of excitement going on in my life! Here’s what I’ve been up to, and what’s on my mind lately:

Boxing and Muay Thai:

When I went home for Christmas, my sister and I engaged in one of our favorite past times: abusing each other with punches and kicks. We’ve always rough-housed, and our husbands usually look at us like we’re nuts, like we’re the 8-year-old boys that they’ve already outgrown. After one of our little play-fighting stints, I pointed out that we really should use this aggression in a way that would provide us with some much needed exercise. Namely, we should join a kickboxing class.

So, Erika did some research and found a boxing gym near us where we could take a trial class and then decide from there. So, nervously, we showed up to the gym, called Undisputed, with butterflies in our stomach, and signed up for a trial class of Muay Thai. Muay Thai is the formal name for kickboxing. The instructor was intimidating with his tattoos, blue mohawk, and black-painted toe nails. He was also rather gruff in voice. Yet, he immediately took us aside to some punching bags and showed us the correct way to punch, kick, and block. It turned out that he was very friendly and was eager to teach us the proper form and techniques in self defense. By the end of the class, we felt that we had some potential and that this was an instructor who could nurture us to success. We were also very sweaty and bruised!

So, we signed up for the gym, and since then, we have taken a boxing class and have both received a free personal training session with our boxing instructor. I must admit that I am very insecure about how out of shape I am, and am very self conscious when I see my red puffy face in the mirror. But, then I remember that everyone is a beginner at one time, and if I commit myself, I soon will be keeping up and slimming down (more like bulking up). I’m already feeling muscles that I haven’t noticed in a while! Plus, sparring with my sister is pretty fun–we even get to kick each other in the ribs. I know we’re strange, but that’s our kind of fun! I’ve never been the yoga type!

Authors as Trolls?

Yesterday, I was surfing around on Goodreads, and came across a really scathing review of a YA novel, which led to my discovery of a growing issue on the bookish social media site, as well as on Twitter. Apparently, in the last week, there has been quite a bit of tension between a few novelists (some very well-known) and Goodreads reviewers.

In short, there have been a couple of instances where a reviewer has written a negative review of a novel, and then is angrily addressed by the author of the book via a blog post, or by other authors (and literary agents) coming to their defense on Goodreads and even on Twitter.

For a recap of the various instances, see here at Cuddlebuggery.

For a reaction to these instances from bloggers, see Bibliophilic Monologues and today’s post from Chrisbookarama.

For a reaction to these instances from a few authors, see here: Veronica Roth, Phoebe North, and Hannah Moskowitz.

I find this all concerning as a reviewer of books, as I think it is my duty to write honest reviews–both the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m not worried about hurting anyone’s feelings. However, if I don’t like a book, I usually don’t finish it, so I rarely will write a scathing review. However, that could change in the future. Yet, I always will behave as a professional (even though I’m performing this service pro bona, as a hobby), and I would expect the same behavior from the authors being reviewed, who are not performing their services pro bona.

What these authors need to remember is that readers are smart and selective. I find it highly insulting that they would think that one bad review can kill their career, that readers are so easily led that they wouldn’t read between the lines of a review, wouldn’t look at other reviews, wouldn’t read reviews with a critical eye, and would simply not read a book because someone else hated it. Why the hell do I provide links to Goodreads reviews on my own reviews, or more importantly, why do I include links to scathing reviews on my glowing reviews? Because I know that readers are intelligent, that they deserve the opportunity to read my reviews with a critical eye, because they deserve the opportunity to make a choice. Give your readers some credit!

Anyways, that’s something I’ve been thinking about for the last 24 hours…

Downton Abbey Season 2Tonight: Downton Abbey Season 2 Premiere!

Hooray! Downton Abbey returns tonight on Masterpiece Classic for PBS! I am so excited about this, and will probably re-watch the entire season 1 today in preparation for tonight’s episode! If you haven’t checked this series out, I highly recommend it! It is currently streaming on Netflix as well as on the Masterpiece Classic website. Pull a marathon today and watch all four episodes of Season 1 today, and then check your local listings for tonight’s Season 2 premiere! Woo-hoo!

More Books and Future Giveaways

Yesterday, I received more books as I had my last Christmas exchange with my in-laws. I received the following books:

I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum

The Iliad by Homer

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

Endgame by Samuel Beckett

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

I also got another literary candle by Paddywax, this time it was the Oscar Wilde scent!

Because a few of these books were repeats of books I already own, and because my shelves are being overrun by books that I’ve read (or won’t read) that I probably won’t ever read again, I have decided that it’s time for me to start giving them away! In the past, I have always sold them to used book stores, but I’d rather give them to people that I know will appreciate them. Namely, all of you! So, look for updates this week on what books I’ll be giving away. Maybe, I’ll do a book a week? Or a few books per month? I will let you know.

In the meantime, here are a few books that will be up for grabs in the future:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

A Visit from the Goon Squad

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Olive Kitteridge

Wicked and Son of a Witch

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

And Then There Were None

And that’s what’s going on with me! What’s going on with you?