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Tag Archives: Reading

This week is my last full week of freedom before school starts up again next week. Well, I have to return to the school next week for set-up (the students don’t return until after Labor Day).

What’s that? I forgot to tell you I got my job back? Woo-hoo! Yep, I got my job back as the school district did something completely unexpected and rescinded all of the lay-offs this summer. I officially got my job back at the very end of June, and this year I will be teaching an entirely new section of English–English Interventions. This means that I will be working with a smaller group of students who are struggling with their English studies, and will push them up to proficiency. I have a feeling that I will love this new focus, which isn’t really a new focus as that is one of the facets of teaching at an underperforming school that I love and do very well at. I love a challenge, and I love playing coach, so this should be the perfect job for me!

Anyways, since I only have a week left before I go into work mode, I have decided to put all of my focus into reading this week. In fact, I’ve decided that this week I will be self-employed as a Reader, and will put in 8 hours daily to my full-time job as Reader. This doesn’t leave me much time for anything else, so I won’t be publishing any reviews or Inspired Adventures posts this week. However, I will post daily something related to the day’s reading. Therefore, you’ll probably see me here more often than usual!

This week’s reading includes:

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander series)

Wolves of the Calla (Dark Tower series)

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker’s Guide series)

Life, the Universe, and Everything (Hitchhiker’s Guide series)

A River Runs through It

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables series)

Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables series)

Song of Susannah (Dark Tower series)

The Complete Stephen King Universe

Whoo, that’s a lot of reading. I’m guessing you see why I consider this to be a full-time job!

So, I’ll be publishing a post relating to that day’s reading (all non-Stephen King reading) each day this week, with the possible exception of Saturday. Why not Saturday?

Because that’s my Blogiversary!

Yes, one year ago this Saturday, I tentatively published a post here at Adventures in Borkdom. In honor of the Blogiversary, I will be announcing a few giveaways on Saturday. So, be sure to tune in on Saturday to check out what sorts of prizes I’ll be giving (hint: they’re not all books).

Alright, so now you know what’s happening here at the blog, all of my week’s reading, and about the upcoming Blogiversary! Now, it’s time to clock in and start today’s eight-hour shift of reading!


Man alive, is writing hard!

I have staged a few comebacks here at Adventures in Borkdom, but none have taken as much effort, nor have been as inspiring, as writing a post for my good friend SJ.

SJ, as you may or may not know, has been hosting the most awesome of awesome readalongs with her Putting the Blog in Balrog (PtBiB). This is one thing that I have been very faithful in doing during the last month–my weekly PtBiB readings of Tolkien. While reading along, I have been trying to engage in the PtBiB conversations over at SJ’s Snobbery, as well as drinking along and tweeting with my fellow PtBiBers during our Friday night viewings of the LOTR films. I’ve wanted to contribute more to the group and our effort in the way of writing, so I got to work on a biography post on Tolkien for SJ’s site.

After reading a biography on Tolkien, written by Humphrey Carpenter, I spent most of Sunday and Monday writing the 3,540 word bio-article. And wow! That was rough!

I had forgotten how hard it is to write! They’re really not joking when they say “writing is a muscle that must be exercised regularly.” No shit! But, the work was done, I submitted it to SJ, and she published the first half of the post yesterday. If you’d like to read it, click here: Classic Authors: They’re Just Like Us! JRR Tolkien part one. The second part will be published tomorrow at Snobbery.

While it was a helluva lot of work to do, seeing my writing published and appreciated made me realize how much I missed serious blogging. Committed blogging. Not just random posts every couple of weeks. I think it’s all or nothing for me: I can’t just dabble in anything.

So, I’m going to propose right now that my goal for August is to get back into blogging full time. For reals this time.

I have a plan.

What I mean to do in August is the following:

– write reviews again, both full and mini-sized

– lifestyle posts (what’s going on in my life besides books)

– memes on occasion (they’re fun and good for ideas)

I’m also planning on (and already working towards) a new weekly feature here at Adventures in Borkdom tentatively called “Inspired Acts”. This would be a weekly post in which I detail some sort of activity I take part in that relates to something I have just read. For example, I just finished Hatchet, and so I will be taking a hike in the mountains in honor of the book, and will share details from the event and connections to the book here on the blog. Look for my first installment sometime later this week (I’ve got to figure out when I can fit in a drive up to the mountains!).

I’m pretty excited about August, and I am thankful to SJ for giving me the opportunity to re-enter blogging via her site. She’s always very supportive of me, and writing for her was an honor.

In the meantime, look out for tomorrow’s post, which will be full of mini-reviews on all of the books I have read since my last review (I’m thinking this will cover about 10 books at least). Also, don’t be surprised if the look of my blog changes–the Vertigo theme has been cool, but I think I’m ready to get more bookish again (might even go back to my old look, not sure).

Oh, one other thing…at some point in late August, it will be my one-year blogging anniversary. Therefore, obviously, this is a month of celebration and writing. I’m not sure what the celebrating will look like (probably some book giveaways or something), but it will happen in some way, shape, or form.

As always, thank you, any, and all, readers still reading. If you stick around, I promise I’ll keep putting out stuff for you to read!

– Mandy

Wizard and Glass by Stephen King; The Dark Tower

Wizard and Glass by Stephen King

• Paperback: 668 pages

• Publisher: Plume, 2003 (originally published in 1997)

• ISBN: 0452284724

• Genre: Fantasy/Horror

• Recommended For: Any reader of the Dark Tower series (you have to read this one to continue on); anyone who wants to read a Stephen King romance (75% of the book is romance!).

Quick Review: Two stories in one. The ongoing story of the Dark Tower ka-tet continues in Wizard and Glass and is awesome. Unfortunately, this story only constitutes 25% of the book. The other 75% of the novel is Roland’s back story, and this story is lackluster to say the least. But, you’ve got to get through it to continue on with the ka-tet and the genius that is the Dark Tower series. So, I recommend you read Wizard and Glass.

Overall, the book receives a 72% or 3.6 stars. This score has been calculated by rating the two different sections of the book: the present-time plot and the flashback plot. See critique and analysis below for a full explanation of the score and the corresponding rubrics.

How I Got Here: The Waste Lands ends on a MAJOR cliffhanger, and Wizard and Glass picks up right where it left off. This book satisfies tasks for The Dark Tower Challenge and The Stephen King project.

The Book: Goodreads’ Synopsis

Roland and his band have narrowly escaped the city of Lud and boarded Blaine, a train that will take them to, of all places, Kansas, where the ghost city of Topeka has been depopulated by a superflu and where, alongside Interstate 70, an emerald palace rises enchantingly. Before Roland and the companions of his ka-tet continue along the Path of the Beam, Roland must tell his companions the tale that defines him both as a man and hero, a long-ago romance of witchery and evil, of the beautiful, unforgettable Susan Delgado, of the Big Coffin Hunters and Rhea of the Coos. And when his tale is finished, Roland confronts a man who goes by many names, a man who “darkles and tincts” and who holds perhaps the key to the Dark Tower.

My Analysis and Critique:

Ahh…Wizard and Glass. Was I so eager for all things Dark Tower the first time, or am I just not interested in flashbacks? Am I so jaded when it comes to first love? Or do I only care about my precious ka-tet of Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy? I don’t remember disliking this book or trudging through it the first time I read it, but this second time, seven years later, I struggled. Not with all, but the majority. Let me break it down…

Wizard and Glass can be broken into two very unequal parts. There’s 25% of the book that covers our main Dark Tower characters: Roland, Eddie, Jake, Susannah, and Oy. The book begins with them and their ongoing predicament aboard Blaine the Mono and their few subsequent adventures. Then, Roland and the gang take a seat (literally) in the middle of the road and Roland finally tells the ka-tet the story of his first love and his first real challenge as a bona fide gunslinger in the small town of Mejis. This flashback portion of the novel takes up exactly 75% of the novel. The remaining bits of the 25% of present-set story arc show what happens to the ka-tet after they finish their story-time with Roland. This is a measly 52 pages more. While the present-day story of the ka-tet is, as always, very strong, it very quickly gets overshadowed by the “Susan story”, the not-so-interesting flashback to Roland’s youth that is mainly told via Susan (his one true love)’s perspective (how Roland knows her perspective so well is unknown, and unfortunate for the readers).

Because this novel is really two stories in one, and one is very strong while the other is weak, I made a difficult decision, one that I sometimes make as a teacher grading student essays and stories. I decided to critique this novel in two parts instead of as a whole. So, I completed two rubrics: one for the present-day story of the ka-tet and one for the flashback story of Susan and Roland. I then gave each portion its due based upon the percentage of the book it occupies. Thus, the grade for the flashback story counts for 75% of the overall grade, while the grade for the present-day story counts for 25% of the overall grade. Here are the rubrics: The Present-Day Story: Wizard and Glass_present Rubric and The Flashback Story: Wizard and Glass_past

and here are the calculations and overall grade:

The Present-Day Story earns a 96% and provides 24 points to the overall grade out of 100.

The Flashback Story earns a 64% and provides 48 points to the overall grade out of 100.

Therefore, Wizard and Glass earns 72 points out of 100, or 3.6 stars.

So, now let me explain a few points for and against these two parts of the novel.

The Present-Day Story: This book starts off with thrills and chills. Blaine the Mono (the creepiest train that ever was) is tormenting our ka-tet on a suicide mission, forcing our gang to try to come up with a riddle that Blaine can’t solve. Unfortunately, Blaine knows every riddle there ever was. This opening plot was just jaw-dropping “wow!” and the characterization was perfect, every member’s riddles fit them perfectly and their interactions with the ultimate bad guy Blaine were so fitting for their individual personalities. The climax of this scene was a fist in the air, Arsenio Hall-style “Whoo-whoo-whoo!”. So, exciting!

The plot goes on to reveal new twists and connectivity between the Dark Tower plot and other King works (namely, The Stand), which this constant reader always loves. The themes were solid and intriguing, it was super-addictive, and the setting came alive. Everything was as solid as The Waste Lands. Then, Roland had to go and ruin it all.

The Flashback Story: I really am interested in Roland’s back story. What happened to all of the other gunslingers? What was he like before he was so cold and stoic? What does it exactly mean that “the world has moved on”? Moved on from what?

You learn a bit about this in the flashback story, but not enough. Mostly, you learn what it’s like to be a girl whored off to a knuckle-cracking old man in Mid-World, and how much it sucks when you’re secretly in love with a dashing 14-year-old gunslinger from the Camelot-like barony of Gilead. Too much Susan! I don’t hate Susan, but I didn’t really want her story. Well, I didn’t want it from her point of view. I wanted Roland’s story! The plot was not exactly light in the flashback (there are definitely some intense, gruesome scenes), but it wasn’t strong either. The characterization was lackluster because the reader didn’t get to know the truly interesting characters as well as they might’ve liked, but really got to know Susan. The supporting cast was very strong–I loved all of the chapters that focused upon the tension between the three young gunslingers (Roland, Alain, and Cuthbert) and their nemeses, the Coffin Hunters. Plus, the setting of Mejis did truly come alive. Yet, if I had a choice, I would NOT re-read this portion of the book again. It did very little for me, and did not sate my appetite for more answers about the world of the gunslingers. I’ll check out the graphic novels for this and hope I get the story I really want.

Back to the Present Day Story: After the long story of Susan, I just really wasn’t feeling it anymore. I think that the remaining pages of Wizard and Glass were solid again, but I wasn’t as engaged with the plot anymore. The mood was gone. This is unfortunate, but hopefully I’ll be all amped up to be back with the ka-tet again when I begin reading The Wind through the Keyhole, the latest Dark Tower novel, next!


Goodreads Reviews

I am participating in Dewey’s Readathon again! On this post, you will find my reading updates. These will be posted every three hours (5, 8, and 11 a.m.; 2, 5, 8, and 11 p.m; and 2 and 5 a.m.). Please feel free to check back here on my progress! Also, I’d love to interact with you…so please leave comments or send me a tweet @borkadventures!

Update #6: 11:00 p.m.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Reading: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

On Page: 78

Hours Read: 18

Pages Read: 818

Books Read: 2

Mood: I’m so tired now! My eyes are droopy. I might pass out holding my book.

Reading Reflections: I want to keep going. I really do love the Guide, I’m just so tired!

Update #5: 8:00 p.m.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Reading: Ready Player One

On Page: 313

Hours Read: 15

Pages Read: 681

Books Read: 1

Mood: I’m still going strong! I’m making a pot of coffee now, and I think I’ll start drinking wine around 3:00 a.m. to bring myself down for eventual bedtime. That’s my new strategy. It’s so weird how quickly the day goes by when you’re readathoning. I can’t believe it’s already 8:00 p.m. when it feels like it was just a.m. and I was checking in here with the first update.

Reading Reflections: I’m still not done, but I am still loving it, and I will definitely be finished with it by my next update. Then, I shall be reading Lamb!

Update #4: 5:00 p.m.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Reading: Ready Player One

On Page: 203

Hours Read: 12

Pages Read: 571

Books Read: 1

Mood: I’m not sleepy anymore, thanks to the Red Bull! But, for some odd reason, I’m craving a cheeseburger! I had a healthy dinner planned, but all I want is a cheeseburger! So, I shall have it! I think my husband is getting it for me right now.

Reading Reflections: This book is taking up so much readathon time, but that is fine! Because it is so worth it to spend the whole time with a good book than reading a bunch of mediocre books. However, I do believe that all of my planned books are probably excellent. I might not get to the Wilder book, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get to Lamb and Hitchhiker’s Guide. <crossing fingers>

Update #3: 2:00 p.m. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Reading: Ready Player One

On Page: 90

Hours Read: 9

Pages Read: 458

Books Read: 1

Mood: I am not so energized. I have been considering a nap. But, I’m resisting. I’m drinking a red bull instead. I know it’s a teenager drink, but it’s my Comic-Con beverage of choice, and it seemed to go so well with this book that I bought one. Hopefully, it will boost me up!

Reading Reflections: So, seriously, this book seems to have been written for me. Or, probably every other person alive in the ’80s with some sort of geek leaning. Even Patrick Rothfuss said (on the back of the book) “I felt like it was written for me.” So, apparently Cline should’ve dedicated his book to all of us.

I am loving this book so much! I am going slow (and probably even slower now that I’m getting sleepy) because I am just soaking everything up. I love all of the references, I love the descriptions of OASIS, and I love how I feel like I’m on an adventure. This is a blast.

Update #2: 11:00 a.m.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Reading: Ready Player One

On Page: 4

Hours Read: 6

Pages Read: 372

Books Read: 1

Mood: Still very energized! I am working on a snack right now–celery, broccoli, and garlic hummus, along with my second Arnold Palmer (so refreshing!). I have also switched my wardrobe into “geeky-work mode”–reading glasses(my eyes started getting fuzzy around hour 2), my “STEPHEN KING RULES” shirt, and my Lost Boys-Frog brothers red headband. This shit just got real!

Jesse (the husband) has been delightfully distracting, which I think has actually helped with keeping me up. He is now banished to a day outside, so I probably won’t be distracted again until the wee hours when he gets home from his self-imposed Dude-Day hangout. He’s a good guy.

Reading Reflections: The Secret Garden was absolutely wonderful, and I wish I had read it on Monday when I was in such a self-doubting mood. It would definitely serve as a panacea to any funk like the one I suffered from this week! I took copious notes, so I should have no problem writing a review on it this week.

From the measly four pages that I’ve read of Ready Player One I can tell that I am going to love it! I only wish I had Wil Wheaton reading it to me (he is the reader of the audiobook). That would be absolutely perfect–whoever came up with that idea was a genius.

Update #1: 8:00 a.m.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Reading: The Secret Garden

On Page: 217

Hours Read: 3

Pages Read: 217

Mood: Wonderful! I am eating my breakfast now–asparagus frittata and toast with an Arnold Palmer. This book has me in a lovely, magical mood. I am inspired to start working in my garden again!

Reading Reflections: Burnett is a delightful writer–her characters are true and alive, and the scenery is magical. Plus, I finally learned what “wuthering” means (as in Wuthering Heights)–“the hollow, shuddering sort of roar which rushed around and around the house”. Am a little over half-done, so I should be finished by the time I check in here again!

5:00 a.m. (Start):

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Reading: The Secret Garden

On Page: 0

Hours Read: 0

Pages Read: 0

Mood: We’re too excited to sleep!

Man! I woke up 30 minutes earlier than I had to. And I was wide awake.

But, here we go! I’ve got my cup of coffee, loads of fruit on the coffee table, post-its and pens at my side, ready to roll! I’m pretty groggy, but so very excited! I’ve been wanting to read The Secret Garden ever since I saw the Hallmark movie when I was a kid (the one that starred Bastian from The Neverending Story as the weird nature boy). I know I’m going to love it!

I will update twitter regularly, so feel free to follow me @borkadventures, or check back here to see my twitter feed in the right margin. I will also try to complete some of the mini-challenges today and will check in here on this post with updates on my reading (every 3 hours). Wish me luck! And good luck to all of the other participants–(Go Kyle, Jillian, Jessica, SJ, and Priya!)

I’ll probably be about as tweaked out as Jessie come 3:00 a.m. tomorrow night. But, I’m so excited!

Amidst all of my brooding and cleaning and task-completing (and Angel-watching), I have been quietly anticipating this weekend’s readathon. I can’t wait!

I had such a good time in the fall when I participated in Dewey’s Readathon that I’ve been counting the months until the next one. Even my family and friends have been checking in on it–“When’s your next readathon?” It’s here friends and family! Tomorrow!

For me, the readathon is a major event. It’s a pretty big deal. Preparing for this month’s readathon has been a major part of this week’s tasks. I have to make sure that I’m prepared for a wonderful experience. Here are the (lucky) seven necessities for my perfect readathon experience:

1. Pre-selected Books of Different Genres

2. Ready and/or Easily Prepared Food and Beverages

3. Comfy Clothes

4. Ambience

5. Writing Tools

6. A Strategy for Success

7. Check-ins with My Reading Pals

1. The Books

This week, I set about obtaining all of my books for tomorrow. I am going to set aside the seven (seven!) books I am currently reading to start anew tomorrow. My plan is to read five books, all new to me, that are highly recommended by five of my blogging buddies.

Here are the five books I will read tomorrow, with the recommending blogger listed and how the book was obtained.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore (Suzy of Insatiable Booksluts); checked out from the library

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (SJ of Snobbery); owned for years.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Amy of Lucy’s Football, Insatiable Booksluts, and The Loser’s Table); purchased from Amazon

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Kyle of A Reader’s Pensieve); checked out from the library

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Jillian of A Room of One’s Own); purchased from the bookstore at the Huntington Library

2. Food and Beverages

Last time, I really didn’t care about eating healthy. I was bad! I ordered a pizza for the weekend, and that’s about all that I consumed. I’m currently trying to eat better, and I’m not going to use a readathon as an excuse to eat junk. Here’s my food for Saturday:

Arnold Palmer and books• Coffee for the morning and evening (around 7 or 8 p.m.)

• Green tea and lemonade (Arnold Palmers)

• Water (must stay hydrated for such strenuous activity!)

• Asparagus Frittata and toast for breakfast

• Mangoes and watermelon for snacks

• Soup and roast beef sandwich for lunch

• Dagoba dark chocolate bar for my sweet tooth : )

• Curried pork over basmati rice and peas (made in the Crock Pot the night before) for dinner

• I might cave to an ice cream craving around hour 20 if need be : )

3. Comfy Clothes

Yes, I do have a reading wardrobe! I have special cozy sweaters, yoga pants, and fluffy socks for the occasion. Plus, I have my secret reading weapon–my blue robe, with large pockets perfect for holding pens and post-its. I kinda wish I had a super-cool tee-shirt to wear under it, like maybe one with a dodisharkicorn on it or some reading statement like this:

One of the many awesome tees from the shop at Insatiable Booksluts

I guess that I’ll make do with my “Book Wyrm” tee.

4. Ambience

I love my husband so very, very much. He is so supportive of me and my hobbies, which are so very different from his. With that said, he’d better find something to do tomorrow night because I need my quiet time!

He works during the day tomorrow, and then he’s, of course, welcome to join me in reading. Stranger things have happened. We will have to discuss a plan. I will probably owe him a camping trip or a visit to the archery range or something for this. Maybe I could do a movie night where all we do is watch Jean-Claude Van Damme movies or Mythbusters. We have a system for these sorts of situations, so I will indulge him in some way for his sacrifice tomorrow.

5. Writing Tools

Writing ToolsTo be successful, I shall need:

• An internet connection

• My computer

• My IPad

• Pilot G-2 gel pens

• A steady supply of post-its (if you don’t want to forget what you thought of a readathoned-book, I highly suggest jotting down notes on post-its as you read tomorrow!)

6. A Strategy for Success

Like last time, my goal for the readathon is to read for the full 24 hours. I had a pretty good strategy last time, so I’m going to follow it almost to a T.

• Tonight: Draft my Readathon Update post and my Readathon Mini-Challenge post.

• 4:30 a.m. Wake up and get prepared. Drink some coffee and check in with my readathon buddies.

• 5:00 a.m. Get started reading right away. My first book will be The Secret Garden, a children’s book that should be easy on my groggy eyes and mind.

• Every hour: update my reading progress on Goodreads. This will automatically update to Twitter.

• Every three hours:

– Compose an update post here on the blog. This will contain reflections on my mood, the book I’m reading, the total number of pages read, and the total number of hours read.

– Check in on the Readathon mini-challenges to see if there are any I’d like to take part in. If so, I will complete the challenges on the Mini-Challenges post.

– Prepare a meal, snack, or drink.

• Read according to my perceived stamina. Here is the probable order of my reading choices based upon my stamina from the last readathon:

1. The Secret Garden (light and easy for when I’m groggy)

2. Ready Player One (I’m always at the top of my game from 8 until noon)

3. Lamb (Around book three, I might be dragging a bit, so humor will help me wake up)

4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide (Same as 3, plus it is supposed to be a quick, fun read)

5. Little House in the Big Woods (An easy children’s book, which should be perfect when my mind is mush in the wee hours. I will have the brain of a child around 2 in the morning!)

7. Check-Ins with My Reading Pals

I know of at least three of my buddies who are also participating in the Readathon–Jillian, Kyle, and Jessica. If you’re reading this and participating, please let me know because I’d love to add you to my list of people to interact with tomorrow!

I like to think of the readathon as a big sleepover for book dorks. Remember when you were a kid and you went to sleepovers? Remember how hard you and your friend(s) tried to stay up all night? That’s what I expect to be doing with my reading buddies tomorrow. We’ll all be comfy, we’ll all have snacks and goodies, and we’ll all be reading together (did you ever have sleepovers like this? I did!). Let’s support each other and just have a good time! There aren’t many opportunities like this as grown-ups. We get married, have kids, get caught up in being adults, and lose sight of how much fun it is to just stay up all night hanging out with friends. Granted, I’m a very nostalgic, immature adult, but I think this is a good thing! Let’s have fun!

Meanwhile, my buddies who aren’t participating in the readathon, I might check in with you too! And maybe you should consider signing up! It’s still not too late, and you don’t have to go for the full 24 hours!

Please note: I am inspired by and have taken liberally from the blogging manifesto at The Perpetual Page-Turner. Some of what I am writing here is taken word for word from this post, and I want to say thanks to The Perpetual Page-Turner for the inspiration and content. It was written so well, I couldn’t come up with better words than those written there. Please check out The Perpetual Page-Turner‘s My Blogging Manifesto.

This post is for me and anyone interested in my purpose here at Adventures in Borkdom. I might take snippets from this post and add them to my “About Me” page as this pretty much covers what this blog is all about.

As a few of my readers may know, I have been in sort of a slump for the last couple of days. I haven’t been very happy with myself and have been trying to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it. I have been working on solving problems that have been nagging me (completing tasks that I have been dreading and putting off all year) and I think that I am out of the woods now in terms of my self-loathing mood.

Part of my downer mood stemmed from blogging. Not a lot, but I was considering what my purpose was here. So, I took nearly a week off to really consider what I want to do here at Adventures in Borkdom and why I want to do it. It’s kind of ironic that this was an issue, as my last post was all about advising other bloggers how and why to keep writing what they want. What can I say? I’m a moody person.

On Tuesday, I really enjoyed reading a lot of posts which offered advice to new book bloggers. One post really stood out, written by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish. In my reflective, “What am I doing? and Why?” state, I was drawn to Jamie’s advice to create a blogging manifesto. I clicked on her link to her own blogging manifesto and decided that this was what I needed to do. I needed to lay down for myself what it is that I want to do and why, and a manifesto was perfect. So here I am.

Why I Started Blogging:

I started blogging because I wanted to write. In the summer of 2011, I set my goal to start writing. So, I pushed myself to write a few pages in a journal daily. After a few weeks of this, I looked into blogging and found that a lot of people were out there simply writing about what they loved. And commiserating with other people about what they loved. This sounded like my kind of bag–I love reading, watching movies, playing video games, listening to music, and many other odd hobbies, and I love discussing them with other people. With blogging, I could do all of this and write regularly.

I want to write fiction. However, I continue to find that my writing strength lies in essay composition. I have a very small background in journalism (I was the editor of a college newspaper at one time) and a large background in essays on literature. I get to use this skill when teaching my students how to write essays, but I miss using this skill for myself. I found that blogging could put this skill to use and I wouldn’t have to regret not finishing grad school (at least, not so much). Now, if only I could find a way to put my gymnastics background to use, I’d feel pretty complete!

My Blogging Manifesto:

• My blog will not define me. It is merely an extension of who I am.

I am not simply a blogger. I am not simply a teacher. I am not just “wife” or “daughter” or “sister” or “friend” or “the girl who reads a lot of books”. I am just Mandy. And I will not be defined in simple terms.

• I will not define my blog.

Adventures in Borkdom is representative of all things that I am interested in–bookish and not. Therefore,

• I will not limit myself in what I write.

Every once in a while, I become less interested in one hobby and more interested in another. Hence, my post on gaming, or posts on music or movies or television. In the summer, for at least a week, if not two, I will be attending and writing about Comic-Con, which might not be very bookish at all! But, this blog is about ME and the adventures that I have as a self-proclaimed book dork.

• I will not limit myself in what I read.

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll have noticed that I read a lot of classics. Yet, I also read a lot of fantasy. If you were reading my blog back in the fall, you would’ve thought that I only read contemporary fiction and horror. I read what I want, when I want, as my mood suits me.

• I will try new things!

The blog title begins with the word “Adventures”, so I really need to have more adventures. I am proclaiming now that I will start taking more risks in what I read, watch, listen to, do, and write. Perhaps that can be a regular feature…an adventure each month?

• I will always try to write something that matters.

Each post will be composed with careful thought and purpose, and I will not post something just for the purpose of posting. Even if it looks and feels light, there will be some reasoning for each and every post I publish.

• When I take part in memes, host giveaways, give blogging awards, or respond to a tag, I will make the post content-heavy, so it isn’t just another fluff piece.

• I will be respectful to other bloggers and my readers.

• On the other hand, I will be respectful to myself and will write what I will and how I will.

If I include expletives in a post or content in a video that is offensive, sorry sensitive reader. This is my happy place, and I’ll do what I want with it.

• I will do my damnedest to keep Adventures in Borkdom my happy place.

I will never allow blogging to become a burden.

• I will step away for a break the moment it becomes a burden.

• I will not obsess over my blog’s growth, followers, stats, and will not compare myself to others in a negative fashion.

• I will continue to find joy and excitement in the gain of followers and stats and will look to other blogs for ideas and inspiration.

• Above all, I will blog because I love to read, watch, listen, and do, and I want to share my love with others.

So, this is what I am doing here at Adventures in Borkdom, and why I’m doing it.

I feel better now, having written this. If you feel like you’re losing your sense of purpose or focus in blogging, I recommend that you follow Jamie’s advice and compose your own blogging manifesto.

So, I wasn’t completely honest with you guys yesterday. About my reading.

I am reading The Canterbury Tales and Wizard and Glass, or I was. No. I am. I’m just taking a little break, you know.

But, what I didn’t tell you yesterday was that this weekend, between (and sometimes during!) my outings with my husband’s family, I was cheating on these two books with another book. One that is from the wrong side of the tracks. Let’s just say that I’ve been paying attention to the bad boy as of late.

I’ve been known to do this…sometimes I just want something “bad”. Something that I am too embarassed to even add to my books on Goodreads. But, I might as well do it now since I’m coming clean here.

And everyone on the internets has been talking about it, there’s been movie-making talk, and Ryan Gosling’s picture was associated with the main character of it in one of the articles I read, and I have been loving Ryan Gosling this weekend (I watched Crazy Stupid Love on Friday).

Alright, alright, just come out with it!

Umm. Okay.

Here goes all of my credibility out the window…

Just do it! Maybe someone else has read it too.

None of my friends on Goodreads have.

Everyone reads trash at times. Most of them don’t even know it. At least you know it is!

Yes. Ok. Well, I’ve been reading…on my Kindle app…just type it already!

Fifty Shades of Grey!!!

There. I said it. And you know what else?

I kinda like it.

I don’t know why…I’ve told you all before that I’m a mood reader. And, for some reason, this book has fit my mood. And people have these kinds of moods, right? I mean, I know that Harlequin novels sell like crazy.

Now, I don’t like it in the 5 stars way…in fact, I’m not even sure that I’m going to review it. How can you judge something objectively when you are simply reading something in spite of your objectivity. I NEEDED A BREAK!

So, I don’t know. Judge me as you will, but I must admit that I feel better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.

While I’m at it, I’ll admit one more thing…I watch The Voice on Mondays! A reality singing show. It goes against everything I espouse about quality television, but I do. I watch mainly because…I’ll admit yet another thing…Tony Lucca, my childhood crush, is competing on the show. I used to watch him on The Mickey Mouse Club on Disney Channel when I was 11 or 12. So, I’m supporting my childhood TV boyfriend. And, I still think he’s cute.tony Lucca Mickey Mouse Club MMC The Voice

Alright, I’m going to disappear again. I have been hiding from the internet for the past few days in shame. I’ll finish the book soon, and then I’ll be right back to normal.