What is Your Reading Style?

 

November 20, 2020

Let’s Talk About the Reading Life!

What is your reading style (Image: someone is choosing a book from library shelves)

I’m in the mood to talk about reading today!

Knowing ourselves as readers leads to a more satisfying reading life.
Enjoy this reading video I saw on Facebook.

Are you a Supply or Demand Reader?

a girl pulling a wagonful of books

An episode of What Should I Read Next podcast discussed “supply” and “demand” reading styles. Supply readers love reading but they usually only read when they have great books in front of them (e.g. if a book catches your eye in the checkout line). Demand readers love reading and read everything…..the cereal box if that’s all that’s available. Demand readers deliberately search out and plan their next reads; whereas, supply readers will read when a book title presents itself and they think “Oh, I’ve heard the buzz about this and I think I’ll read it.” Or maybe they have received a book as a gift. Both types of readers love to read. I’m a definite demand reader….I aggressively search out my next book and don’t wait for it to make itself known to me. Are you a supply reader or demand reader?

What is your Reading Personality?

I did a DNA test and I found out I'm 100% bookworm

I took a quiz on the Modern Mrs. Darcey website and found out that I’m a “social” reader. I love to talk about the book I’ve just read, talk about my favorite books, or talk about what you’re reading. Most of the time, my preferred conversation starter is “What book are you reading?” This blog gives me a perfect platform to talk about the books I love.

If you’re curious about your reading personality, take this short quiz.

Are you a Genre Snob?

Don't you love it when a book kidnaps you?

Davida over at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Blog asked her readers this question recently and my immediate response was, “Yes! I think I am!” The more I read, the more I know what I like to read and I’ve grown in my ability to skip genres I don’t enjoy. Does this make me a snob or just a smart reader? I think knowing what you like and don’t like leads to a more satisfactory reading life and if this defines me as a snob I guess I’ll accept the label. However, what I don’t accept is putting down the reading choices of others….so if Genre Snob involves putting you down for your genre choice, I’m not a Genre Snob in this respect.

My favorite genres/categories: literary fiction, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, gentle mysteries, multigenerational and multilayered family drama, books about books or bookshops, (non-celebrity) memoirs and biographies, narrative nonfiction, and Middle Grade. My favorite themes include reconciliation, second chances, a hopeful future, resilience, courage, friendship, forgiveness, and found family.

Do you have Reading Preferences?

A book fort made of sheets and filled with stacks of books

Do you have a favorite reading spot or location? Does your reading involve a favorite drink or snack? Do you need it quiet or do you listen to music? Do you always read at a certain time of the day?

I can read anywhere! Quiet or noisy. TV on or off. At home or sitting in my car in a parking lot. Eating or not eating. If I’m drinking anything, it’s a Diet Dr. Pepper. I slightly prefer reading late at night when I know I won’t be interrupted and I can completely lose myself in the book, but you will find me reading at any time during the day. Perks of retirement! Some readers set aside a certain block of time every day for reading. Others read (listen) during their commute or on their lunch break. Whatever works for you is the only preference that matters.

Do you prefer Print (physical or e-reader) or Audio?

When I've had enough of reality, I just open a book

This is probably the only area in my reading life where I have a STRONG preference! Audio can either enhance your reading experience or detract from it.  Honestly, I have a difficult time with audiobooks and they are not my preferred reading format. My mind tends to wander. My favorite time to listen to audio is when I’m driving or walking. I’m also sensitive to the quality of the performance. I can think of a couple of audiobooks that had cringeworthy performers and I forced myself to finish those books. I usually listen at 1.25. I have found that the trick for audio is to start at normal speed until you get your bearings in the story and then increase the speed. Listening at a faster speed from the very beginning sometimes affects comprehension and your ability to get into the story. It takes me longer to read a book on audio than in print. Audio often puts me to sleep and then I have to backtrack to find my place. With print, I often scan a section or page, but that’s difficult to do on audio. Audio is great for commuters and readers who are washing dishes or folding laundry or exercising!

Are you a Rereader?

once upon a time there was a girl who really loved books. It was me. The end.

Some readers reread their favorite book every year! I’m usually not a rereader because of too many new books on my TBR. When I put a book on my lifetime favorites list, it’s probably one that I wouldn’t mind rereading.

Rereading makes me nervous….what if I don’t like it as much the second time? This happened to me with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I enjoyed the reread but I just didn’t love it in the same way I did the first time. One book I did enjoy rereading was The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman. It’s a novella, so I read it three times in a row one afternoon. During the first read, I was preoccupied with the outcome of the story (the plot) and sort of devoured it. As soon as I finished, I immediately turned to the first page and reread it slowly to focus on Backman’s craftmanship. Then I read it a third time for good measure! I think I’m more tempted to reread because of the author rather than the content of the book. Some authors have more to offer than can be appreciated in one reading. Do you reread?

Are you a DNFer or a Finisher?

I disappear into books. What's your superpower?

I wrote an entire post on the DNF topic here.

I fall into the DNF (did not finish, set it aside) camp and I promise that it gets easier with practice!

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Have you experienced a Reading Slump?

She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live. ~Annie Dillard

You might be in a reading slump when you have difficulty finding a book that holds your interest, or you start multiple books without finishing them, or you spin your wheels trying to decide what to read next. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a true reading slump. For me, it would be like not wanting to breathe. If I find myself thinking I might be burning out and sliding toward a slump, I turn to Middle Grade! MG books are usually quick one day reads and have hopeful themes. Other readers report that what helps them in a reading slump is to reread their favorite book or switch genres or read short stories. Have you experienced a slump? Do you have a tip for dealing with a reading slump?

Do you often have Book Hangovers?

I finished my book and I don't know what to do with myself (a cat laying its head on a book)

I think book hangovers can contribute to reading slumps. A book hangover occurs when you can’t stop thinking about the last book you read or it was so good that nothing else compares. Book Hangovers help me determine my five star reads and add to my lifetime favorites list! I love Book Hangovers! Books this year that have given me a book hangover include Hamnet, The Girl With the Louding Voice, and Transcendent Kingdom. I haven’t yet finished The Choice by Edith Eger, but I already know it will give me a book hangover! What is the last book that gave you a book hangover?

Do you have a TBR List or are you a Mood Reader?

a black and white cat sleeps on a tall stack of colorful books

During the early months of the pandemic, I became more of a mood reader than I’ve ever been. Normally, I think I’m BOTH! Each season and each month, I make a list of a few books I’d like to tackle. This gives me some structure, but it also leaves plenty of room for mood reading or FOMO (fear of missing out)! If I don’t complete my TBR (to-be-read list), it’s no big deal. Sometimes I find that I simply don’t want to read the book anyway or I just put it onto the next month’s TBR. The only MUST READS I have are review commitments. I push myself in a timely manner to read those by their pub dates. Otherwise, I need my freedom! I actually like to think of my TBR as a possibilities list or a shopping list! A TBR keeps me from starting from scratch in the search for my next read or from the panic of thinking I have nothing to read! I wrote an entire post on “How I Choose My Next Read” here.

Do you set Reading Goals or Track your reading?

I've invented a new sport. It's called extreme reading and I'm a black belt (image of a man sitting reading with feet soaking on a bucket of water

I set a reasonable yearly reading goal on Goodreads each year. I set it at a reasonable number so that I never feel stressed about it. I can also raise or lower the goal number during the year. I love using Goodreads to track my reading because I can organize my reading by shelves and also write a review (optional) so that I remember and have a record of the book I’ve read. I like being able to pull up my Goodreads app when I’m with friends (to add a book rec) or while shopping. Check out my Goodreads shelves here and let’s be friends! I wrote a post about using Goodreads here. In addition to Goodreads, I also keep an Excel Spreadsheet 1) as a backup, 2) to track additional data, and 3) because I’m a nerd!

FAQ: How do readers read so much?

I spent my life folded between the pages of books (words surrounded with a border of flowers)

This is a question I often see asked and these are the most common responses: 1) schedule a time in your day to read, 2) people make time for the things they really want to do, and 3) take advantage of every minute! One of the reasons I enjoy reading on the Kindle is that I have the Kindle app on my phone and carry my entire library with me in my back pocket! In a pre-Covid time, if I were in a long line at the grocery store or Target, I would pull out my phone and read! Waiting rooms? Perfect for reading! Traffic? An audiobook to the rescue! Bath time for littles (who need a bit of supervision) equals reading time! Ditto for park excursions! Washing dishes or other household or yard chores are perfect opportunities for audiobooks! When my children were in middle school and old enough to go on rides by themselves at Disneyland, where was I? On a bench reading of course (along with a check-in time!). Taking advantage of all the little minutes adds up to significant reading time throughout the year. What tips do you have for making time to read?

Thank you to ShelleyRae @ Book’d Out for reminding me that one can always opt to do “less housework”!

I was going to clean the house, but then I realised.l..this book isn't going to read itself (Image: a young woman sits on the floor leaning against a cabinet reading a book)

What is Your Reading Style?

a woman lies reading on a tropical beach

Know you know all about my reading life! Have you determined your reading style? Do we share any preferences?



QOTD:

I’d love to hear about your reading life!



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or the WP follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Nonfiction Books: Memoir/Biography #NonficNov

November 16, 2020

Nonfiction: Memoir/Biography #NonficNov

Nonfiction Nov 2020I’m eager to participate in Nonfiction November this year hosted by Doing Dewey, Julz Reads, What’s Nonfiction, and Shelf-Aware.

During November, you will notice one nonfiction focused post each week:

Weekly Topics:

My Year in Nonfiction 2020

Fiction/Nonfiction Book Pairings 2020

Be the Expert (today’s post)

Nonfiction TBR

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Nonfiction: Memoirs & Biographies

Nonfiction November is an opportunity to reflect on the year, to celebrate and appreciate nonfiction, and to share recommendations.

Playing The Expert: Today for Nonfiction November hosted by Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction, I am playing “the expert” and sharing books in a subgenre that I have read and highly recommend. These are my favorite memoir/biography recommendations. I chose them because they each share a personal story and help build my understanding of a specific life experience. Do you have a favorite memoir or biography?

Please join me for Nonfiction November!

15 Favotite Memoirs & Biographies for #NonFicNov (Image: text over a tall stack of books on a blue painted wooden table)

Background Image Source: Canva

15 Favorite Memoirs and Biographies:

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

(My review of Girl With Seven Names here)

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee (cover)

The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

(I have just started this, but I already know it will be a favorite! Review coming soon)

The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger (cover) Image: black text on a white background and a black stemmed reddish flower is placed on the entire left margin

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

A young readers version of Born a Crime here.

(My review of Born a Crime here.)

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (cover) Image: a casual Trevor Noah

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

(My review of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone here)

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (cover)

Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom

(My review of Finding Chika here)

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom (cover)

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin

(My review of Wait Till Next Year here)

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin (cover) Image: an old professional baseball stadium

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

(My review of Hillbilly Elegy here)

Hillbilly Elegy (cover)

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy movie here.

(My review of Just Mercy here)

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson cover

Unbroken: A WW11 Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken movie and YA version here.

(Not reviewed because I read this before I started blogging or Goodreads)

Unbroken

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle movie.

(My review of Glass Castle here)

Glass Castle

Educated by Tara Westover

(My review of Educated here)

Educated by Tara Westover (cover) Image: a giant sharpened pencil as background

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle

(Not reviewed because I read this before blogging or using Goodreads)

Tattoos on the Heart

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

The Bonhoeffer movie.

(Not reviewed because I read this before blogging or using Goodreads)

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (cover)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (childhood memoir) (MG)

(My review of Brown Girl Dreaming here)

Brown Girl Dreaming

We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success by Sampson Davis (The Three Doctors) (MG)

(Not reviewed because I read this before blogging or using Goodreads)

we beat the street



Related:

ICYMI: Here’s my post for last year’s “Playing the expert”: Nonfiction and Racial Injustice



QOTD:

See any favorites?

Have you read one of these titles?

I know you can help me add to this list! If my husband had helped with this list he would include titles by Ron Chernow for sure! Here, here, and here.

I’d love to hear your suggestions for a favorite memoir or biography.



Happy Reading Book Friends!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© WWW.ReadingLadies.com

Book Titles and Songs #toptentuesday

November 10, 2020

Book Titles and Songs

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Book and Song Titles.

TTT: Book Titles and Songs (Image: a tall stack of books on a blue painted wooden table)

Do you like music?

I’m spinning this week’s TTT prompt a bit to highlight six books that have music as a theme, one title that reminds me of a song, and three book titles that would make great song titles.

*Titles are Amazon affiliate links.



6 Books With Music Themes



The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Frank is dedicated to preserving vinyl and owns a music shop in a run-down London neighborhood. His special gift is recommending just the right record or song for each customer. There’s a playlist, too!  My full review of The Music Shop here.

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

As we follow Frankie through his life, we also hear about many music legends. Yes, there’s a playlist! My full review of Frankie Presto here.

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

As the men are called to action in WW11, the ladies of Chilbury resurrect the choir. My full review of Chilbury Ladies’ Choir here.

Musical Chairs byAmy Poeppel

Women’s fiction, complicated family drama, and a string trio. My Goodreads review of Musical Chairs here.

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

A string quartet and four friendships. My review of The Ensemble in this post.

She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh

How Dolly’s songs tie to Feminism and how they resonated with women of a certain generation and socioeconomic status. My review of She Come By It Natural here.

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Blog Audit Challenge 2020: October #blogauditchallenge2020

October 30, 2020

October’s Blog Audit Challenge 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 (picture of a woman's hands on the keyboard of a laptop)Blogging Friends,

This year I’m participating in Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!

 I hope that if you are reading this that you continue to be well and that your area is opening up for business and recreation with social distancing precautions. Our county is off the state’s watch list due to a decrease in COVOD-19 cases. Hoping we can stay that way! Stay safe, blogging buddies!

October’s Challenge Focus: Social Networking

How do you participate in Social Networking?

Over the last few months, the challenges have allowed me to improve content, design, and readership. Now let’s discuss Social Networking as another aspect of developing readership and increasing your blog traffic.

Honestly, promoting myself is an area in which I feel the least amount of comfort or confidence. It took me about a year to connect social networks to my blog. In retrospect, I’m sorry that I didn’t have social networking in place from Day One. I wasted a lot of time!

Our host for this challenge has suggestions for Social Networking that I’ll discuss here. What I also share here is my personal strategy which is a work in progress and will not look like your process. However, I think it’s interesting for bloggers to get a behind-the-scenes peek. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Social Networking To Increase Blog Traffic:

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10 Mildly Suspenseful Books #toptentuesday

October 27, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Mildly Suspenseful Books

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Freebie.

Are you a HSP (highly sensitive person) like me? Or do you like the scariest and most thrilling reads?

Does the thought of reading scary books cause anxiety?

I have a bookish confession: I’m an October Outlier. I don’t read books that fall into the horror, true crime, crime fiction, paranormal, or thriller categories or are too scary or spooky. I’m highly susceptible to nightmares. So…..this makes a typical Halloween post rather tricky! If you share my preferences and would rather have recommendations for “slightly suspenseful,” I think you might like today’s list!

I have discovered that I can tolerate a bit of suspense! However, I won’t promise you that I haven’t peeked at the last page to be sure my favorite characters are still alive!

Here’s my list of books that I have enjoyed that have a bit of suspense but are not too scary! I should also note that none of these books have a Halloween theme or setting.

Is there a certain type of book that you enjoy reading in the fall?

pumpkins

*Titles are Amazon affiliate links. (more…)

Blog Audit Challenge 2020: September #blogauditchallenge2020

September 29, 2020

September’s Blog Audit Challenge 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 (picture of a woman's hands on the keyboard of a laptop)Blogging Friends,

This year I’m participating in Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!

 I hope that if you are reading this that you continue to be well and that your area is opening up for business and recreation with social distancing precautions. Our county is off the state’s watch list due to a decrease in COVOD-19 cases. Hoping we can stay that way! Stay safe, blogging buddies!

September’s Challenge Focus: Developing Readership

Which is more important to develop readership, views or comments?

Over the last few months, the challenges have allowed me to improve content and design.

We looked at content gaps in August and now September’s challenge will focus on Developing Readership. We see our visitor and follower stats, but how do we know who is reading and engaging with our content? Is there a way to develop readership?

Our host for this challenge, suggests that comments help develop readership.

In my early days of blogging, I gradually grew braver in my ability to comment on the blogs I follow. I found that it started a conversation that was continued on my own blog as they reciprocated and commented on my blog. Gradually, I found blogs that I had a great deal in common with: 1. open to conversation, 2. enjoyment of similar genres, 3. perhaps in the same life stage/age group, 4. taking the connection one step further to share a post on Twitter, and 5. linking to each other’s content.

Commenting is one of the most practical ways to support your favorite blogger! Every comment brings me joy and is a tried and true strategy for developing readership and increasing engagement!

1. Optimize Comment System

  • In order for this to work, commenting needs to be easy. I’ve certainly experienced frustration in trying to comment on a blog post and it just won’t work for some reason. Commenting as a WordPress blogger on another WordPress blog is certainly the easiest. Although there is one WordPress blog I follow that I cannot comment on when I try and comment from the email notification. The comment appears to go through but it never shows up on her end. But when I comment from the WordPress Reader, my comment always goes through. I had about given up when I stumbled on the solution of using the WordPress Reader rather than my email for the point of origin.
  • Other times, I will enter all the required information to comment and the processing icon spins and spins and never seems to go through.
  • Sometimes, the blog will require you to sign in using FB, Twitter, or Google.
  • My tip for bloggers is to keep the commenting process as simple as possible! However, how do we know what the commenting process is like on our own blogs? Maybe an idea would be to set up a group of  ten random friends to make a comment on your blog and report back on the process.
  • If you have difficulty commenting on my blog, would you let me know?

2. Reply to All Comments

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Promote Literacy #NationalLiteracyMonth #NationalReadaBookDay

September 6, 2020

September is Dedicated to National Literacy Month

September: National Literacy Month (Image: text above an op

What are you reading today, September 6, for National Read a Book Day?

National Read a Book Day (Image: White text over a background image of a young woman sitting cross legged on the floor reading a book)

Today, I’m reading an ARC (advanced readers copy) of A Family in 6 Tones: A Refugee Mother, An American Daughter by Lan Cao and Harlan Margaret Van Cao. It’s a poignant and revealing memoir from the perspectives of a Vietnamese refugee and her American-born daughter….their cultural differences, their different life experiences, the expectations of culture, and typical mother/daughter misunderstandings.

A Family in 6 Tones by Lan Cao (Image: text on a white cover with an image of a mom holding a young girl)

This week I’m enthusiastically looking forward to reading Anxious People by Fredrik Backman! One of my most anticipated reads of the year!

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (cover) Image: a man and woman stand against a railing with backs to the camera

Dolly Parton is a Champion for Literacy!

Whenever I think of literacy promotion, I think of philanthropist and singer/song writer Dolly Parton and her Literacy Program: Imagination Library. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that gifts free books to children from birth to age five in participating communities within the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Republic of Ireland. Her organization has mailed 143,820,914 books and counting! She is also reading books online for children during the pandemic.

What are you reading for National Read a Book Day or for National Literacy Month?

Blog Audit Challenge 2020: August #blogauditchallenge2020

August 30, 2020

August’s Blog Audit Challenge 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 (picture of a woman's hands on the keyboard of a laptop)Blogging Friends,

This year I’m participating in Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!

 I hope that if you are reading this that you continue to be well and that your area is opening up for business and recreation with social distancing precautions. Our county is off the state’s watch list due to a decrease in COVOD-19 cases. Hoping we can stay that way! Stay safe, book buddies!

August’s Challenge Focus: Content Gap

Over the last few months, the challenges have allowed me to improve content.

We’ve looked at quality content and now August’s challenge will focus on the gap of information that might need to be filled. Do visitors find the information they expect to find when they land on your blog? Have you thought about your content gaps?

1. Analyze your current content and look for content gaps.

  • I have always enjoyed looking at “Insights” and noticing under “Search Terms”  how visitors have landed on my page. Many search terms already match my content: visitors are looking for summaries, reviews, and certain book titles.
  • One search always draws my attention, and that is the search relating to book clubs: book club suggestions or book club questions.
  • I’ve addressed one part of this search by creating a Book Club Recommendations menu tab. Visitors can find my recommendations organized loosely by genre and star ratings.
  • One content gap I can work on is adding a paragraph to my review that directly addresses book clubs or offers one or more discussion topics for book clubs. I have already done that in a couple of reviews like Deal of a Lifetime for example. For the rest of the year, I want to work on including specific content for bookclubs in each of my reviews. Is this something you would find interesting?

2. Visit other blogs to see what they offer that I don’t.

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A Week In the Life of the Block Editor and Me #WordPress #BlockEditor

August 25, 2020

A Week in the Life of the WordPress Block Editor and Me:

Dear Blogging Friends,

A week ago I began my adventure with the new Block Editor, and this is my seven-day journal of that experience. I held my breath and dove into the deep end without any preparation. You might laugh at me or feel sorry for me, but I hope that sharing my experience will also be a benefit!

WordPress Woes: A Journal

Have you seen my “Growth Mindset”?

August 19, 2020

It’s time to bite the bullet and put in some practice time with the Block Editor. For a while I’ve been avoiding it entirely by using a “work around”; i.e. copying an existing Classic Editor post and rewriting it. I’m still doing that, but I also created this practice post to build up my Block Editor skills.

OK…..first major frustration! I reread my first paragraph and found something I wanted to edit. I COULD NOT get my cursor to work within the block. I tried for five minutes before I copied and pasted the text into a new block which I was able to edit and then I deleted the old one. (***Edit to add that I have since noticed an “edit” option above a paragraph that will activate it again.) This is the type of shenanigans I don’t have time for!!! I need to know that I can easily return to edit my writing.

Something else that I’m noticing is that when I try to edit, my cursor doesn’t always follow and will sometimes select an odd place to land so that if I’m not careful, my edits end up in the middle of some random line. We will need to watch this carefully! Is anyone else experiencing this?

Thankfully, adding an image (my main post image at the top) seems to be fairly straightforward. I clicked on the + icon and selected an Image block. Then I added the image like I did with Classic Editor using the Media Library. When the image is placed in the post and it’s selected, you can use the edit bar above it to choose alignment and you will use the side bar to add Alt Text, adjust the size, etc.

The next task I attempt is to add color to text. In the classic editor, the color option was clearly visible on the editing bar. After some investigation, I did find out how to add color to the text (on the editing bar it’s under the “v” pulldown menu)….but the available colors are limited compared to what is available in the Classic Editor. I’m color-coding blue anything for which I need to find an answer. It’s slightly annoying that I need to use a pulldown menu to access text color….I need it to be always on the edit bar by default!

While I looked for text color, it also occurred to me that I need to look for how to add special characters (especially accents). I can’t find a special characters menu. Anyone???

A major element I will attempt today is a GIF. (Keep in mine….I BARELY know how to use a GIF in the Classic Editor) First, I choose my Gif and copy the link. Now, I start having difficulty. I click on the + but I don’t know which type of block to choose. I try using the standard paragraph block and paste the link into the “link” tool from the edit bar….NO. I delete the paragraph block and click on the + to try another type of block. I try an image block….NO. I select “browse all” and try video….NO. I don’t see one that says GIF. So finally because I’m out of options, I type GIF into the search bar and a GIF box pops up. I paste my URL into the correct place and click enter. It works!!! (see GIF at the top of this post)

TL;DR: I can use a GIF block to embed a GIF. It seems simple, but I didn’t see it until I did a search. I know now that options for text color are under the “v” pulldown menu in the edit bar. I can insert an image using the Image block. Time spent: one hour. I’m done for the day.

August 20, 2020

I should be able to handle this!

Yesterday left me a bit intimidated though. Is the entire blog post going to be this time consuming? I should be able to handle this (yet I continue to resist embracing my growth mindset).

Where is my “growth mindset” when I need it?! One more pesky annoyance is that in EACH paragraph, I need to reselect the last color I used. (In Classic, the last color I used stayed in the editing bar until I changed colors.) I’m a COLOR person, so this simple detail will cause considerable frustration!

I’ve hit another snag! I want to make a bulleted list here and I can’t find the bullet feature! Ah HA! I just found it under the paragraph formatting option! So here we go…

  • I have an associates degree in Graphics Technology (in addition to other degrees).
  • I spent years as a graphic designer.
  • I’m proficient in programs such as Pagemaker, Quark, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
  • I have used Microsoft Office for years and can create documents, PowerPoints, and a simple Excel Spreadsheet.
  • As a teacher, I mastered SmartBoard technology (Promethean Board) and other programs such as Accelerated Reader, electronic report cards, and generated many reports.

So, why is this intimidating?

This new Block Editor should not be a major obstacle to blogging for me, but it is. I tried the Block Editor once last year and spent one entire afternoon attempting to create a post before I reverted back to Classic. I think I just don’t want to invest the time in another learning curve when I’d rather be reading and creating content! I understand that some bloggers may need the advanced features, but for my simple book review format, I’d prefer to stick with Classic.

Have I listened to or watched a tutorial? NO. I think because of my above experience, I hope I can just figure it out! What I have found to be generally true for me is that if I fiddle with it first, tutorials tend to make a lot more sense. So I’m sure a tutorial is in my future!

TL;DR: Well…so far…so good. Just entering plain text (hitting the return key automatically brings up a new paragraph block). I didn’t try anything extra fancy except those bullets! Applying color to text requires extra steps. (reminder; if you create a custom color, write down the code somewhere in case you use it again!) Selecting heading size is fairly straight forward and in the same place as before. I still can’t find a special characters menu…..and I am wondering if Block Editor automatically saves my draft because I had to do a manual save just now. Time spent: one hour.

All for today!

August 21, 2020

(I want to insert a picture right here so my text will wrap it) OK…I’ve hit a major problem and I might need to contact my blogging phone-a-friends! I CANNOT figure out how to drop an image into a block so that the text wraps the image. Grrrrr….. For now, I’m leaving it above the text, but it’s not how I have always done it in Classic. I inserted an image into this paragraph block and you’ll see what I mean when it ends up above the paragraph with no wrapping. SOS! Anyone?

(I’m interrupting here to report that my post is automatically saving my draft….an answer to my question from yesterday.)

Another aspect I experimented with today is setting publishing details (social media sharing, categories, tags, excerpt, etc) Here’s what I found: first select the black settings wheel icon (next to the publishing option in the top right). It will default to “block,” so select “post.” Here you can schedule your post to publish (by clicking on “immediately” to set a date and time) or just leave the immediately setting. Farther down you can select categories and tags, featured image, and write an excerpt. Hummmm…..where do I find the twitter social media sharing? Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog to the rescue! (she had to contact support to find out) It’s going to take a village! So to edit your twitter message, select the small circular green (jetpack) icon at the top next to the settings option….this will bring up a new window where you can set up social media sharing and customize the message. I only have twitter connected, but I assume all the social media options are available here. Clicking on the green icon again will toggle off this window. To continue with settings, select the black wheel (settings) and “post” again. This was all in one place in Classic Editor…now it’s in two windows. I feel thrilled to navigate all these settings without accidentally hitting “publish”! I’ll take the win!

TL; DR: I managed settings OK today (with help from Davida); “Inserting an image” and wrapping text, however was a FAIL. Time spent: two hours.

I’ve had enough for today!

August 22, 2020

OK…..last night I thought about how to insert text and make it wrap and I remembered that Karen @ Booker Talk published a post on the Block Editor but it was during the time I had my head in the sand! I went back to read her post and found out that I need to look for a block called Media and Text to make a text wrap. Thanks Karen!

Help! I have no idea where or how to find a Media and Text block! But I do remember under settings that I have the option of Block settings or Post settings. So, I’ll start there. ….oops! Not there! Now, I remember that + icon that shows up under the paragraph when you start your next paragraph. So I click on that and Voila! I see different types of blocks! But I don’t see Media and Text, so I click “browse all” and it brings up another window on the left with all the possibilities. When I scroll down, I’m able to locate Media and Text. Whew! OK…now I’m ready to see how this works. Below you can see how the block looks when I add an image and text.

OK?!?!??!!? This two column format is not exactly what I am looking for…..the image on the left defaults to the center of the column and I can change that to the top….but then the text starts below it. I still can’t get it to wrap around the bottom….unless I cut some text and make another block underneath??? This seems way too laborious! I’m going to ask Karen and try it again later! I’ll leave it like this and create it again with an explanation if I can make it work! Grrrrr….

Abi Daré grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and has lived in the UK for over eighteen years. She studied law at the University of Wolverhampton and has an MSc in International Project Management from Glasgow Caledonian University as well as an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. The Girl with the Louding Voice won the Bath Novel Award for unpublished manuscripts in 2018 and was also selected as a finalist in the 2018 Literary Consultancy Pen Factor competition. Abi lives in Essex with her husband and two daughters, who inspired her to write her debut novel.

TL;DR: Image wrapped by text FAIL (two days now!). Time spent: one and one half hours.

August 23, 2020

OK…. Tina @ Reading Between the Pages came up with a alternative solution to my image wrapping problem!

First, use the Image block (click on the + and select image from the pull down menu).

Next, create a paragraph block underneath it and write or paste your text.

Finally, click on the image and select left (or right) and the text below should wrap like this! YAY! This will work!

Author Abi Daré

Abi Daré grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and has lived in the UK for over eighteen years. She studied law at the University of Wolverhampton and has an MSc in International Project Management from Glasgow Caledonian University as well as an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. The Girl with the Louding Voice won the Bath Novel Award for unpublished manuscripts in 2018 and was also selected as a finalist in the 2018 Literary Consultancy Pen Factor competition. Abi lives in Essex with her husband and two daughters, who inspired her to write her debut novel.

Incidentally, Karen replied back to me and also suggested the same option as Tina.

I think I’ll end on a high note today!

TL;DR: Text-wrapped image success! Time spent: One hour.

August 24, 2020

Today, I played around a bit with Reusable Blocks for content that routinely appears at the end of my blog posts. In the classic editor, I copied and pasted this information from a previous post. I decided to experiment with reusable blocks to see if it might save me some time! To create a reusable block, click on the 3 small dots at the end of the editing bar and find “add to reusable blocks” in the pulldown menu. You can group paragraphs to make one savable block and name it. I created a few reusable blocks and labeled them.

Eventually, my goal is to make a book review template using the new Block Editor and reusable paragraphs.

TL;DR: I spent time investigating reusuable blocks. Time spent: one hour.

August 25, 2020

I’m experiencing some frustrations using the reusable blocks I created yesterday. I saved them as ONE group block and now I can’t add color to the subheadings. I’m going to delete the combined reusable block and make separate blocks that I know how to edit. ……. I’m taking time to do that now…..Grrrr…. I feel like I wasted my time yesterday.

Tina @ Reading Between the Lines sent me this article on how to create and use Reusable Blocks. Thanks Tina! From a quick look at the article, I realize that if you edit a reusable block (for example the subheading color), that it changes the block everywhere you have used it in the past. This is not good. A workaround is the option to change the block back to a regular block before editing….then it will only change the block you are working on and not in any other posts. I think I will not use reusable blocks as much as I first thought I would because I almost always change colors for each post. It’s back to copying and pasting for me I think!

FINDS OF THE DAY: (1) I found a horizontal LINE Block (separator) !!! Click on the + and then do a search for blocks using the word “line”….you will find a small line separator and a paragraph length line! I’ve been looking for this all week to use between my standard end-of-post paragraphs ! I’m doing a “happy dance” right now! (2) I also found that I can close a gap or increase a gap between paragraphs by using the up or down arrows next to the paragraph symbol. (I had deleted a paragraph and thought I was stuck with a big gap.)

What I still need to know:

***One thing I’m still uncertain about is manually running the entire post through Grammarly before I publish. I do see the Grammarly icon below each paragraph block. For the first few paragraphs, I was able to edit the paragraphs in Grammarly one block at a time. Unfortunately, this only lasted for a few paragraphs and then my clicks started producing blank screens. So much for using Grammarly.

With Classic, even though I was prompted with spelling edits, I always put the entire post through a Grammarly check before hitting “publish.” I can’t find out how to do that with the Bock Editor and editing with Grammarly at the end of each block refuses to work consistently. Anyone???

In fact, I just paused to do a Google search and it seems like there are many complaints about the Grammarly and Block Editor interface. Lots of frustration and finger-pointing that seem to be directed at Grammarly. (I guess I’m pleading *not responsible for errors* in this post!)

***I never found the special characters menu. Anyone???

***Assigning text color is the most annoying of tasks! In the classic editor, once you assign a color, it remains an option in the entire post (until you change the color). But with Block Editor, the color needs to be chosen again for EVERY block! (and if you’ve used a custom color, the code has to be entered each time) So if each block has a subheading, you will be hassling with color frequently. I couldn’t figure out how to change the color of the subheadings in the reusable blocks when they were grouped together. So, that was super annoying until I converted them to regular blocks! In fact, after writing this post, I realize that the element I’m having the most difficulty with is color which seems ridiculous to me.

TIP: If you’re switching to Block Editor, now is the time to connect with your blogging community to ask questions and offer support!

TL;DR: I gained new knowledge about using Reusable Blocks. I WILL be watching a tutorial soon and specifically looking for answers to my blue-coded questions. Time spent today: two hours.

Time spent for a FINAL edit (Where are you Grammarly?!): one hour.

TOTAL time spent on post: ten and one half hours. Significantly more time than I would have spent creating this in the Classic Editor.

For my simple book review format, I can see NO advantage for using the Block Editor. I imagine I will become more efficient over time, but still….the Block Editor seems like a lot of fuss for minimal gain and an intimidating learning curve.

I hope my musings haven’t confused you! Producing this journal entry post allowed me to practice while at the same time giving you a peek into my process. I can confidently say that I “got my feet wet!”

NEXT STEPS: In the next few days, I want to work on creating a book review template in the Block Editor. This saved me a great deal of time in the Classic Editor, so I’m hoping it will work the same with the new platform.

Thank you surrounded by a floral wreath

A special shout out and thanks to Karen @ Booker Talk and Tina @ Reading Between the Pages and Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for helping me navigate my first week with the Block Editor! You are the wind beneath my wings!

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QOTD:

Have you started using the new Block Editor? What has been your experience? Do you have tips or questions for me? I’m always happy to share if you need help or encouragement or feel a rant coming on!

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Happy Reading Book Friends!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Happy National Book Lovers Day!

August 9, 2020

Are you grateful for books during this Pandemic?

What would we do without our beloved books and reading?

Happy National Book Lovers Day!

National Book Lover's Day, August 9 (image: a blue coffee mug sits on the spines of a line of books

What are you reading today?

I Love Reading

image of a girl reading with one hand while pulling a wagon piled high with books

giphy

a young woman sitting on the kitchen floor leaning against a cabinet reading a book (I was going to lean the house, but then I realised...this book isn't going to read itself)

a drawing a young woman reading while sitting on a stack of books among many stacks of books (when I've had enough of reality, I just open a book)

Happy reading everyone!

QOTD: What are you reading today?

AOTD: I’m reading Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones (author of An American Marriage).