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Looking Ahead in 2017

c92d3de879107a98efdfdbecf38b1bdcHello, folks! I thought I’d make a post before we get too much farther into January talking about the year ahead on booklearned.  The past year has seen some changes made that have hopefully pleased you, the reader.  I know that simplifying things has reenergized my motivation to blog and I am enjoying it more.  I’ve also been having a bit more free time of late, hence the increase in blog posts.  Well, that and I’m trying to get caught up!

Expect a few minor trends occurring this year as well. I am going to be incorporating more recommended books at the end of my book review posts, to give those interested more reading choices to springboard off of.  Also, I plan on doing a lot more thrift book hunting and so will have more frequent ‘random book shopping’ posts from now on.  Yay!  Unfortunately, I have now officially run out of bookcase room (having filled up my second bookshelving unit) and I have no idea where I will be turning to next for storage… but will that stop my book buying addiction?  N-O!

Also, as announced a few posts ago, I have returned to recording volunteer projects for Librivox. My goal is to step up my experience in voice over this year, through various projects that I hope to announce during the coming year.

Did you know that booklearned is on Pinterest? I haven’t strongly utilized it yet, but am working on it.  Mostly I just have random pictures on there right now.  I’ve learned how to create attractive quote pins, so continue to be on the lookout for those.  I would also like to soon get around to posting my book reviews on goodreads and linking here to booklearned.  I am slowly widening my use of social media!  Although I can’t claim a desire to manage a booklearned facebook page yet.

So, yeah, lots of things happening! I’m excited, are you?

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Posted by on January 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Spring Cleaning @ booklearned

5e01e0118abcf5a88df7d7289dd4b2b6Hi, there!  This month booklearned turns 3 years old!  Hip hip hooray!

After three years, I feel the need to do a little spring cleaning as far as my priorities go on this blog.  I’ve thought about it, and have decided to ditch some things that aren’t working so well for me or the site, but continue with some of the more fun aspects of booklearned (yay!).

For example, some of the things that I’ve decided to drop (at least for now) are my posts about genealogy and journaling.  Although I remain passionate about those topics, I sort of feel it’s a distraction from my basic purpose of the blog, which is to excite myself and others about diving into books.  I’ve also decided to shelve a couple of series concerning inspiring heroines and what we can learn from them (Character Reflections), and my Inspiring Voices posts.  Although I’ve enjoyed sharing what’s in my head, it has also sapped some of my energy and creativity that I need to put toward other things in my life right now.

What you can still expect to find here are book & movie reviews, links & lists, quotes & programs, my latest Librivox contributions, and of course my discoveries of fun audio dramas, free audiobooks, movie trailers, and links to quality articles concerning books and the audio world.  Also, new Christian fiction books coming out that I’m excited, and my used book sale finds.

I hope you will continue to visit and find booklearned a cozy, kindred spirit place to be.  I enjoy hearing from you!

Sincerely,

booklearner

 

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Looking Ahead in 2016

ab69e2f3c14a655230233382aef4abf9Happy New Year’s to everyone! Are your 2016 reading lists all made out and ready to go?  Do you have reading goals set for this goal?  Are you excited about what new things you will discover through the world of books throughout the upcoming year?

I enjoyed concocting a reading plan soon after Christmas Day, as is my end-of-year tradition. This year, I’ve planned more vintage classics to read.

I’ve also decided on a different reading goal for myself. Instead of choosing an X number of books to accomplish, my resolution is to reignite my love of reading again.  As mentioned in earlier posts my enthusiasm has rather dwindled over the last year and half.  I believe I may have figured out the cause, though it is still puzzling and strange to me. I moved around a year and a half ago and have not felt ‘at home’ ever since I changed location.  In the past, I’ve so enjoyed getting cozy with a book when I had a room, a nook, or someplace special that I had created to read in.  I have not had this in my new home.  I know we all go through phases where our interests wax and wane, but for someone who blogs about reading and who wants to narrate someday I feel the need to get into a good groove again.  So, this year I plan on repainting my bedroom, and be a little more purposeful in decorating.  Hopefully this will help me enjoy my surroundings enough to feel inspired to delve into fictional worlds!

I also will be rearranging my daily schedule in order to hopefully make time for more reading. I have found that when I feel I’ve done a good day’s work, I feel ready to sit down to read at the end of the day.  When I’ve been busy with appointments and other activities, I have a hard time winding down in the evening to feel much like reading.

Have you ever gone through a slow period in your reading adventures? How did you overcome them?

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Blog Under Construction!

Recently I’ve discovered that a lot of the links I provide on my posts have become dead over time and lead nowhere. 😦  I will be working in the near future on updating the links as best I can to make for a more enjoyable blog for everyone!  Thanks for your patience!

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Happy New Year 2015!

0f11ae94bce57f873d9d81b7dfb28257It’s that time of year again when we listmakers and booklovers scheme out our Reading Lists and make goals for the new year!  I spent the day after Christmas planning out my new fiction reading list and can’t wait to start a new reading goal!

I was able to successfully squeak under the wire and finish 2014’s goal of 2 fiction books + 1 nonfiction book a month.  This year, I want to try to read 4 books a month, totaling 48.  They can be either fiction or non fiction, so I’m not putting a certain number on each category like I did last year.  If I set my mind to it, I think I should be able to meet this goal well enough.  I seem to be in a sort of reading slog right now and I don’t know why.  Hopefully the start of a new year will help get me going again!

As far as my fiction reading list goes, I have a great mix of adventures in store for myself in the coming months.  Some genres include: a lot of late 1880’s-early 1900’s vintage publications; historical fiction; mystery; contemporary settings; stories of intrigue.  I even have a few fantasy and sci-fi thrown in!

Expect even more book and movie reviews on booklearned in the coming year…  There will probably be less articles and more reviews, at least for a little while.

What are your reading goals in the coming year?  What are some titles you are excited about reading?

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Happy New Year 2014!

I love this time of year!  I know many people make loud statements about the fact that they NEVER make ‘stupid’ new year’s resolutions because it never works out for them, and actually I used to say that, too.  But now I just love the pumped up starting-over feeling I get, almost like starting a new school year!  I get to choose what I want to change about myself and start putting a plan into action to do something about it.

THANK to all those following this year and I would like to take the opportunity to WISH you all, all the best for 2014. As the caption above says - treat the new year as a new book in 2014 - “write a good one!”   xoxo Kathy

Another reason why I love the beginning of the new year is that I’m a die-hard List Lover.  And at New Year’s, there’s LOTS of things to make lists over!  Lists of goals, things to buy, things to do, things to save up for, things to learn, things to change, and on and on.  And probably first and foremost on that list of lists to make is my new 2014 Reading List!!  That’s enough to get anybody psyched, I should think!  I literally have to restrain myself from going all out and making 2015’s reading list in advance, just ‘cause I’m so list crazy.  I made myself wait until the day after Christmas to make this upcoming year’s reading plan, and then it took me all afternoon concocting it.  It just makes me get goosebumps in anticipation of all the good books I know I have coming to me, all the different characters to meet and worlds to delve into!

Okay, enough already.  So what are you planning on reading this year?  Consider changing up your reading goals a bit.  Perhaps stretch yourself to read a new genre, or a new author.  Maybe you would like to incorporate more non-fiction or more classics into your reading diet.  Fun reading challenges abound in the blogosphere (just google it), so maybe you’ll want to take one of those on.  Would you like to join a book club or goodreads?  Perhaps you are setting out to break your current ‘Books Read’ record… or you might consider scaling back if reading is taking up too much of your time already.  All are great ideas!

In the upcoming year, I plan on posting even more book reviews than I have in the past, so make sure to stay tuned for that!

The New Year is a time to get excited for good changes and a time to be hopeful that better things are on their way!  Happy New Year!

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Art of Reading Aloud: Storytelling to Yourself

Little Girl Reading FairyTalesWhen I was in middle school, you would never recognize me without a book.  I didn’t have any friends to hang out with, and if you were unoccupied you were fair game for the bullies.  So having a book was my way of escaping and avoiding, I guess.  I could pretend I was someplace else, and could totally become oblivious to the world and noise around me.

When I was 13, my mom and dad chose to homeschool me (and contrary to a common myth out there that homeschoolers lack social skills, I came out of my shell, learned to socialize, and made friends… but that’s a different story for a different time).  Homeschooling means a lot of required reading.  A lot!  So I could take my book history book on the Vikings to my bedroom and it was there that I learned to read out loud to myself.

Perhaps you could make a case that my ‘reading aloud career’ started when I was 4 or 5 years old—when I narrated my picture books on the tape recorder that my mom provided to keep me occupied.  I think I was actually obsessed with the red light on the record button.  Then, as I grew older and learned to read simple children’s books for myself, I would record those.  In 6th grade, I would read my history homework assignments out loud to myself.  I think this might have been because I remembered what I was reading more.

And I read lots of Nancy Drew books to my sister, so I’d much practice reading for an audience, but it wasn’t until I was homeschooled teenager that I started reading aloud just for myself.  I started practicing honing my diction and enunciation.  I don’t really know why I started doing that.  Perhaps it was the perfectionistic side of me.  However, drilling this into myself at an early age certainly has made it a lot easier and it sounds a lot more natural now.  I don’t have to think twice about it, or make a concerted effort.  This is why I think it is important for children to learn the art of reading aloud.  It was as a teenager while learning to read the classics that I discovered my genuine love of vocal reading.

This article will be the first in a series about the importance of reading out loud, or “The Art of Reading Aloud,” as I like to call it.  Because it is an art.  And a fun one at that!

If this is something that hasn’t occurred to you before, you might be asking Why is it so important??  We think of reading out loud to children, or maybe to an elderly person, but what about to ourselves?  What’s the difference between vocal reading and silent reading?  At least you’re reading!  Yes, I’ll agree.  And I cannot speak universally, only from my own experience, so here it goes…

For me, reading the stories out loud makes them seem more real.  They come alive!  It’s like the difference between eating vanilla ice cream and eating Coldstone Vanilla Ice Cream with butterfinger candy bars, carmel, and graham cracker crust mixed in!  Plain vanilla is nice, and some people may prefer it better for special reasons.  But the other kind with all the extras adds dimension and crunch and gooiness.  You don’t know what you’re missing until you try it!  I now find it nearly impossible to comprehend and really involve myself in a good fiction story, without reading it out loud to myself, or at least whisper read if I have to be quieter.  I suppose this is because I am listening to my voice acting out the emotion of the story.  I feel it enables me to experience it at a deeper level.  I get easily distracted trying to read silently.  I start skim reading, which doesn’t enable me to experience it by half.

I also like to listen to the words.  I like to feel the sound of them slip up from my throat and over my tongue.  It makes me appreciate the words the author chose when I can hear them put together!

Delphin Enjolras (May 13, 1857–1945) was a French academic painter. Enjolras painted portraits, nudes, interiors, and used mostly watercolours, oil and pastels. He is best known for his intimate portraits of young women performing mundane activities such as reading or sewing, often by illuminated by lamplight. Perhaps his most famous work is the "Young Woman Reading by a Window"So, here is an exercise that I encourage anyone reading this try if you never have before.  Next time you sit down to read, read just to yourself alone out loud.  Choose a place and time when no one will be around to overhear you and make you feel self-conscious.  In some future post, I will submit tips and links to fun websites where you can learn to improve the art of reading aloud.  I am not a professional audio book narrator (though that is my dream) and I do not know everything on the subject; I only hope to pass along what I learn to you.  But right now the point is to just jump in and try it, mistakes and all.  No Internal Criticizers allowed!

You know… the voices that whisper in your ear things like, “You sound so stupid.  You can’t even pay attention to the story because you’re paying so much attention to how stupid you sound.  You don’t sound interesting.  You don’t even know how to pronounce that word.  You can’t make a believable British accent…” Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard those from myself, too.  But you seriously aren’t going to let that stop you from enjoying life more, are you?  Who cares if you don’t sound ‘interesting’?  Tell yourself right back: “So?  I’m just starting out and no one else can hear me.  I’m learning.  I’m just having fun and playing around.  I’m not setting out to win an Audi Award.”  It’s just like learning to do anything else, like piano or tennis.

So first thing, learn to get comfortable reading to yourself.  Have you ever listened to your own recorded voice?  Although this is hard to believe in today’s media age, a lot of people have never heard themselves.  Please, please try this if you haven’t!  If you have, you may feel inhibited because you don’t think you have a “good” voice.  Some people even loathe hearing their own voice, not because it really sounds all that bad, but they hate listening to themselves!  This is so sad, and I think it stems from a form of self-hatred that needs to be overcome.  You can gradually learn to improve the things you don’t like about your voice.  All voices have their pros and cons and no one is perfect, but everyone has something positive about their voice!  My Mom doesn’t like how her voice sounds so low, but if you’re female and you have an alto voice, it makes it easier to read the male characters’ voices!  My Grandpa doesn’t like how his bass voice has gradually gotten higher pitched as he’s aged, but I enjoy listening to his peaceful, mellow voice.

But keep trying, keep practicing, keep doing!  Just pretend as though you’ve been a professional audio book narrator your whole life.  Starting out with confidence makes a world of difference.  After a little while of gained confidence and learning to improve, you won’t hear those voices in your head anymore.

A lot of ‘imperfections’ work themselves out, anyway.  If you stumble, you will soon learn be able to read longer without stumbling.  Reading out loud has many more benefits that what I can list here, but becoming voice conscious is a good thing.  I wish more people were.  It really is a learned skill.  Being voice conscious not only helps you as you read out loud, but also you will gradually learn to be voice conscious subconsciously when you are not reading out loud!  You will learn to speak up so others can hear you, not harshly blast others’ ears out, speak with clarity and proper diction, and not mumble.  You will be aware of the ups and downs of your voice, the lilt, and musical notes of the way you say things.  You will be able to identify accents in others, and aware of it in yourself (whether you perceive this as a bad thing and want to change it, or a good thing and want to ‘hold onto’ your accent if you happen to move!)

J.C. Leyendecker 'The Arrow Collar Man reading book' 1916 by Plum leaves (in), via FlickrI think another reason why I love to read out loud is that there is an unfulfilled acting desire within me.  And reading aloud is that—acting.  More specifically, it is storytelling to yourself!  You don’t have to stress yourself out about really performing over the top for yourself (but as you have more and more fun, I hope you will!).  If doing voices and accents really isn’t your thing, no one says you have to.  But try and let yourself go!

Does getting a hoarse voice inhibit you?  I find whisper-reading the narration and only speaking aloud the dialogue helps a stressed out voice.

I don’t know much on this subject, I’m just throwing it out there, but some find that reading out loud helps them with dyslexia and ADHD.

Visiting the free downloadable audiobooks on Librivox may help you get over some of your inhibitions and inspire you to volunteer yourself!  Just ordinary volunteers reading books in the public domain, like a good friend reading out loud to you on a Sunday afternoon on the back porch!

I hope to have a future post on reading aloud to others.

If you have already discovered the joy of reading out loud, feel welcome to share what you love about it!

The king listens to himself reading…

 

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