Thursday, September 3, 2015

SHARON'S LOVE OF BOOKS Celebrates its 2nd year Blogiversary! ...AND...A SALUTE TO ALL AMERICAN WORKERS, THIS WEEKEND!

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     I am so happy to be here, today, to celebrate my 2nd year of blogging--Sharon's Love of Books. I can hardly tell you what it means to me to be here, today, writing this blog. I almost gave up a number of times this year. So, you see, I really am grateful to have made it through this very tough year. 

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     The actual day I started the blog was August 19th, 2013. I couldn't, however, write today's post for the 19th, because I just got out of the hospital. Ugh. Pneumonia isn't a good thing to have, believe me. I was admitted to the hospital because I could hardly breathe; my X-rays showed that I had pneumonia in both lungs. IVs were attached and numerous blood draws, and various tests were taken, and, last but not least, I was given oxygen treatments and then put on oxygen via canula. I'll add my vote to everyone else's: I don't like hospital food or port-a-potties.

     One last thing before we move on...I had a pneumonia shot, but it didn't protect me against this bout of pneumonia. Having a preventative shot (like the pneumonia shot) may not always protect you, so protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, and if anyone around you is sick, stay away. I didn't do that, and I got pneumonia from a loved one. Now you know how I have ended the blog year (Aug. to Aug.)-(I still have some coughing and am still weak), let's take a look at the rest of the year.

     Everyone asks me about my top ten favorite books. This is a flexible list, with some books that never leave the list and a few others may come then go. Here's how it looked in 2013.

     The major changes from 2013 to 2014 were the addition of sequels of a series and two books I read in 2014 that were new to me. It is an agonizing decision to consider removing one of my beloved titles from the top ten list. They fall into another very rare category of read books, my favorite top 20. Let's now take a look at my newly revised 2015 "My Top Ten Favorite Books--That I Have Read, So Far."

The titles in BOLD are the changed titles from
the original 2013 Top Ten list.
       As you can see in my new list for 2015, just below, this year did not bring any remarkable changes. I combined multiple titles of Orson S. Card under one place slot. If you look at number 6, you will see the big change (in bold); The Lightbringer Series: The Black Prism; The Blinding Knife; and The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks has been added to the list. The final change is that The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss has moved up and Ben Hur by Lew Wallace has dropped one slot.  Everything else is the same. 

     I found the new books that I have read this year to be mixed, of course, with some poor and some very good. As far as truly outstanding titles go, I didn't really find anything I would add to my Top Ten List, and obviously, Brent Week's books had already been published; in fact, the third title, The Broken Eye, was released August 26, 2014. It was just one week too late to get onto my Top Ten 2014 list; hence, its inclusion in this year's list may not be that surprising.

     Speaking of My Top Ten Favorite Books of All Time, I also have for you the ALL TIME FAVORITE POSTS! from the beginning of my blog--two years. If you were to consider the books on the right side of the screen, in the Top Ten Fav- orite Books of the Week, you might find many of these books on the ALL TIME FAVORITE POSTS list, as well.

     As I said, I have given you the top ten books that have, over the course of two years, consistently got- ten the posts about them read and reread. Just below, here, I have included the information about those books with a small thumbnail, Title, and Author.

     Of the ten books, I was very pleased that Brent Weeks' books from The Lightbringer Series made it to the top ten, and also  that Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive, Words of Radiance made it on the list, as well.

     For me, I am somewhat perplexed at, Endless Love, by Scott Spencer, and why it is number one of the top ten favorite books. Yes, the book was very well written, but the movies have endured as some of the worst material ever created in film history. I can only surmise that prurient interest garners readers for this book because of the book's reputation for graphic sexual scenes.

     I am very gratified that Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela's story about his "long walk," made the list. This beautiful soul and, perhaps, the most important person of the previous century, certainly deserves to have his story heard and legendary fight against apartheid and racism exemplified. I will never forget the day he was released from captivity: it was my birthday, and I celebrated his release along with so many others. Similarly, I mourned with the world at his passing, and dedicated the blog post to that great man.

    At first, I thought Monster Hunter Nemesis by Larry Correia, was a fluke. But as time went on, the book had staying power, and as you see, it made the top ten. I have to admit it, I really liked the book; you can see just how much by taking a look at my blog post. Readers of the M.H.I. series seem split on the series; I've read reviews and comments that call Correia anything but a writer, just a gun toting, gun and violence-loving _____. Nonetheless, I like the series, and since I'm a mature adult, I can decide just how much violence I can take in my reading. In a sense, much of the violence is so over-the-top, that the written scene is hilariously funny (BTW, for those of you who have read it, just think "snow plow"!).

   Divergent, is likewise, not a huge surprise. Since Veronica Roth parlayed the trilogy into a huge hit series, no one should be surprised.

     I read the book, 47 Ronin, by Joan D. Vinge because I heard the book was going to be coming to the big screen. I had been fascinated with the story of the "47 Ronin," and wanted to see how the true story had been fictionalized. With so many versions of the story out in book format, I wanted to read the book and see the movie. And, although I have mixed feelings about the movie, I really liked the story. Just keep in mind it is the fictionalized version, not a true-to-life story.

Date: 04-17-14
     I loved the book, Million Dollar Arm by J.B. Bernstein. It follows, that I wouldn't be amazed at its success as a movie as well as a book. Mr. Bernstein was kind enough to contact me and thank me for the review as well on behalf of Rinku and Dinesh. He also liked my book review as posted on my GoodReads page. So...I rejoice in Rinku and Dinesh's success, and everyone involved in the whole "Million Dollar Arm," project, book, and movie.

MULTIMEDIA THROUGH 2014:
     I try to mix it up when I can. Sometimes reading can get boring, so I try to insert various multimedia sources to keep things exciting and fresh. Taking thirty seconds to a couple of minutes can be a great way to get a new slant on things.

    So . . . since I have just given you a thumbs up on the Million Dollar Arm book (and movie), let me share with you a multimedia insert that I used in my post about the book. I had read an interesting factoid about Rinku. "According to India Today, before every game, Rinku recites Hanuman Chalisa and then listens to "I'm Not Afraid," by rapper Eminem. I found the song on Soundcloud and have it for you to listen to, here: [3]


 In the post I advised readers to listen to the words in the song, carefully, to see how Rinku psychs himself up. I also had confessed that I had never liked rap music much, but after listening to this song, I found it grew on me. I never knew I would ever like a rap song. You see, the power of reading led me to something new and beautiful and exciting. Oh, well, live and learn. Grow and become more.

     Not only did I utilize music tracks to encourage reading and interest in learning more about any subject, I also  used movie trailers. Since we've been discussing, Million Dollar Arm, let's see what the movie trailer looked like in my blog post:



     In the blog post about Million Dollar Arm, I confessed to readers that the trailer absolutely captivated me. Yes, I even knew what was coming, I had, after all, read the book. And, by the way, I laughed my way through the book, before seeing the trailer.

BUMPS IN THE ROAD:
Because I enjoy reading books and writ-
ing about them, I love this little caption. [5]
     Above, I told you what had happened to me, just three weeks ago, about getting pneumonia--that being the reason I could not do my post on time. Well, this year (Aug. 2014 to Aug. 2015), I had a few bumps in the road with which I had to deal. Early fall was all right. I did very well in my work, and health, my family was copasetic, and I looked forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas. In Nov. I got my pneumonia shot, but that didn't prevent me from falling. On Dec. 23rd, I fell and injured my arm. I spent the night in pain with an ice pack on my elbow. Dec. 24th, Christmas Eve, I went to urgent care and found out I broke my left elbow at the radial head in four places. I was placed in a half cast and went home with my arm in a sling. I did not enjoy spending Christmas Eve in urgent care. In late Jan. I was ordered into rehab and worked at that for six weeks. I was discharged from care and continued to work on strengthening my arm.

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     During the following spring months I had a round of flu, just like so many others have had this year. Then I began retaining water and had to take a water pill and potassium until that got better; I also wore compression stockings and elevated my feet and legs to help circulation. I continued to have lower back pain due to a degenerative disc; the disc also caused pain in my hip and legs. The most troublesome problem was insomnia; My doctor ordered a sleep study, but my insurance denied it. Then came the pneumonia and the doctors tried to order a sleep study (again), but I told them that it had already been ordered and denied.

Cartoon by Rob Rogers. [7]
     It appears I may be going in for my sleep study, soon. I was just informed the study was ap- proved due to the additional problems I had in the hospital. Currently, I am still on oxygen while my lungs heal. Some- times I feel OK about using oxygen, no trouble at all, sometimes I feel as if I am tied or tethered to a post, and want to be free, and sometimes I feel so grateful for advanced medicine. I go back in Nov. for my follow up chest X-ray and my yearly fasting blood work.

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     The hardest part for me is that all the injuries and illness, doctor's appointments, X-rays, therapy, seeing the home nurse, my inability to get a good night's sleep, and just feeling physically drained, has really slowed down my ability to draft my blog posts. I am pathetically behind, and feel ashamed I haven't been able to get them out, timely. It didn't matter that I am a "Never say 'quit'" person--I had to quit, at least for a while, and then go again, only much slower. You know what I say to that? "PLOT TWIST!"

FINAL TRANSITION:
     On May 8, 2014, I posted a blog post entitled, Don't Die With Your Music Still in You: A Daughter's Response to Her Father's Wisdom. The book was written by Serena J. Dyer and her father, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. As I write this, it was only four days ago that Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, age 75, reportedly, died of a heart attack, at his Maui home in Hawaii. It all sounds so formal and aseptic, doesn't it? Reporting facts often sound that way, but to millions, it is anything but aseptic.

     Everyone who knew Dr. Dyer, who knew of his work, or read his books or listened to his tapes, or met him, will be touched, each in their own unique ways. I would tell you how his death touched me.

     I was privileged to review his daughter's and his book that I mentioned, just above. I couldn't feel more touched when Serena Dyer contacted me to thank me for reviewing her and her father's book. On the right, here, is a copy of her message to me along with her and her father's picture.

     Although Serena was writing to thank me, I felt as if she had given me something wonderful. Her acknowledgement of my post to me was as important as my review was to her.

     Dr' Dyer's death, in part, meant so much to me because I had read many of Dr. Dyer's books and listened to many of his tapes. Without a doubt, my life changed after doing so. It wasn't, after all, the listening to the tapes or reading the books that affected the changes. The changes happened on the inside where they creeped along the byways of my mind...to a "road less taken."

     I dedicate this blog post to Dr. Dyer and his beautiful children and loved ones who will surely miss him the most. Similarly, my heart goes out to all those missing Dr. Dyer and to those who mourn him in his passing. Serena, I thank you and will keep you in my thoughts.

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THANK YOU FOR THIS PAST YEAR!
     As we all leave my blog year behind and begin year three, I want to thank all of you who stuck with me through this very rocky year.

     And while I am still coughing and remain on oxygen, the doctor released me to go back to work. I will be heading back to the law office next Tuesday, 09-08-15. I will be taking it easy there for a while, while I build up more stamina.

     Also, I want to let you all know just how very touched I am by some of your communications to me. I want to thank everyone who took the time to read my blog posts and keep coming back. I keep all of you in my prayers and in my thoughts. Please stick with me as I try to rebuild my blog and increase the frequency of my posts.
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     PLEASE join me again, next time as we get back to reviewing books and having fun doing it. Please do yourselves a favor and read something this long Labor Day Weekend.

     I applaud the work and achievements of ALL of America's workforce and hope that this weekend you take a moment to reflect on what the workers of America have done to bring those achievements to the world. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, drive safely this weekend. Take extra time and leave early enough to not speed; observe the rules of the road, and even more importantly, be courteous to all drivers and pedestrians.

Until next time...
This beautiful "Rose of Sharon" is white with red center.[*]

...many happy pages of reading!

I send you ALL my love and gratitude.
   











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REFERENCES/SOURCES
[1] "Happy Blogiversary!" [Monthly Archives: September 2013.] faithlovejoyhope.wordpress.com. Retrieved 08-24-15.
[2] "AL amyloid in the heart." amyloidosis.org.uk. Retrieved 08-24-15.
[3] "I'm Not Afraid." [Eminem] soundcloud.com Retrieved 04-13-14.
[4] "Million Dollar Arm." youtube.com [Movie Trailer: Million Dollar Arm] Retrieved 04-13-14.
[5] "Plot Twist." pinterest.com. Retrieved 08-31-15.
[6] "Cahootsville." tonjasgatherings.com. Retrieved 09-02-15.
[7] "Second Opinion." [rob rogers] robrogers.com. Retrieved 09-02-15.
[8] "Health Tips: Boosting your energy while at work." [your health update] Retrieved 09-02-15.
[9] "Self-Help Pioneer Dr. Wayne Dyer Dies at 75, Family and Publisher Say." nbcnews.com. Retrieved 09-02-15.
[10] "Donating." indiegogo.com. Retrieved 09-03-15.
[11] "Closed Labor Day." hometownprovisions.net. Retrieved 09-03-15.
[*] "White Rose of Sharon." zazzle.com. Retrieved 07-29-15.