Weird Things From Google Alerts

Okay, I was listening to Natasha on That’s How I Blog! when my connection, or blog talk’s, not sure, crapped out.  I was going to have to listen to it a second time anyway, since the kids decided to have a screaming match and wanted me to referee.  NOW, now that I’m NOT listening… they’re angels.  Better not type too loud, they’ll be in here fighting and fussing and chasing me off the computer!

*sigh*

So, during Bloggiesta, there was a mini-challenge about setting up the Google alerts.  I set up about 4 or 5, and then I get an email once a day with detailed web traffic that used the terms I put in.  So far, most of them link back to either my posts, comments or tweets.  Or they simply link to posts that happened to contain all the words, but not together. “Reading the other team’s stats, the Welsh rugby team has a challenge ahead of them!” has Welsh, Reading, and Challenge, but has NOTHING to do with the Welsh Reading Challenge.  Silver lining, I suppose, I’m learning a LOT about rugby… lol

But once in a while, it turns up a treasure.  There’s a blog out there named Scaling Mt. TBR and I felt an immediate kinship.  She reads a lot of historical romances and not as many books as I, but we rode the same wavelength.  She even has a Mountain pic in her header, like I do, but hers is massive and snowy and intimidating.  I like my green and trees and lake with the mountain.  There’s LIFE around my books.  I like her pic, too, but I like mine better 😉

I’ve also discovered the Welsh Reading Challenge is sponsoring the Left Coast Eisteddfod.  It’s posted on the Hiraeth page, as well as being in a widget, but I didn’t think of it as sponsoring, since I didn’t give money.  I thought I was only spreading the word.  I do support the event, and would go if I could.

Then there’s Wuthering Expectations.  I had to laugh when I read this:

As a side note, see here for the brand new Welsh Reading Challenge.  Now we just need an Irish challenge, and a Jersey and Guernsey challenge, a Cornish challenge, an East Anglian challenge, etc., etc.

I commented that actually, if we just went with Celtic Reading Challenge, it’d take in Irish, Scottish and Welsh, and the rest didn’t matter anyway 😀  I think Care said she’d like a Celtic one, too, so it’d work out.  I want to read Anam Cara (suggested by a good friend), and I could do that with a Celtic challenge.  Ah well, next year…  By the way, Amateur Reader at Wuthering Expectations is hosting a Scottish Literature Reading Challenge, but I don’t completely understand the instructions.  I do know this, though:  If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!

So, do you use Google alerts?  Anything interesting come up for you?  Have you ever discovered you were linked somewhere and didn’t know it?  Was it a good or bad thing?

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The Sunday Salon Is Closed? Oh, Noooz!

The Sunday Salon.com

Okay, before you get too excited, it’s NOT the whole thing that’s closed or closing, The Sunday Salon is just closed for new membership.

Let me explain.

When I started The Welsh Reading Challenge, it was my first book challenge, and I was doing it out of a love for my own heritage as well as giving myself a prod to read those books I’ve really been wanting to, but just not done it.  I hadn’t really expected very many people to join in, though I wasn’t closed to it.  So when a few people joined in, I got excited.  I looked around at everyone else’s challenges, especially those who were finishing up with their firsts and starting their second ones, so I could glean from their experiences.  One thing that was mentioned by a couple was that having a separate blog just for the challenge was a preferable way to keep the challenge better organized and thereby easier to navigate for participants.  So during Bloggiesta I decided to take the big step and give the challenge it’s own space to live and flourish.

I’ve been working on the challenge’s blog and adding pages and content, as well as beginning to get some offers for prizes (Thanks Ceri at Americymru!).  It’s been a bit of a reading distraction as I’ve been hunting up titles for the suggested reading page and worked a bit on a Welsh culture page called “Hiraeth” (which actually took a lot of reading and exploring).  Even when I have been trying to read, my mind drifts to the challenge and ideas for the blog to make it more fun (Pam at Bookalicio.us made the delicious suggestion of having a Welsh movie mini-challenge and we could sit around and drool over Ioan Gruffudd among others -what others? After she invoked the name of Mr. Fantastic, I was like Homer for donuts!  Mmmm… Ioan.. nom-nom-nom!), as well as informative.  It’s a labor of a lot of love, and even if no one else enjoys it, I do.

So when I thought about how to do a weekly wrap post to let everyone know what books were read with links to reviews and other Welsh-related stuff, I thought immediately about The Sunday Salon.  It’s a great weekly meme that many bloggers participate in, and the posts are linked through the site, yahoo tubes, as well as tweeted.  I jumped out of bed and ran the five steps to the computer to sign The Welsh Reading Challenge up!

Imagine my shock when I read this message:

as of January 3, 2010, we won’t be accepting new members in the Salon.

You see, apparently this fabulous meme has grown to over 500 blogs and is more than YahooPipes can handle.  LOL!  How fantastic is that?  To think that, right now all over the world, more than 500 people are at this moment writing a post like this one, or thinking about what they’re going to write, or reading other SundaySaloner’s posts after publishing their own.  I don’t know if The Sunday Salon is the largest meme on the Internet, but it’s amazing no matter what.

So what do you think?  Do you participate in The Sunday Salon?  How does it make you feel to know it’s closed?

Welsh Reading Challenge

Well, after Googling ever combination of Welsh, Author, Book, Reading, Challenge, etc, that I could think of, I can’t find a single reading challenge that focuses on my own family heritage (that’d be Welsh, if you didn’t guess it already 😉 ).  So, what better to make my very first sponsored challenge than a Welsh one?

I’m both nervous and excited about starting a book challenge, especially since I’ve got such a focused reading plan for this year.  How can I fit more books in?  But if I don’t plan to read them, I may never “be in the mood” to read books I really DO want to read.  Which is why I decided to create the WELSH READING CHALLENGE 😀

So the first thing a challenge needs is a button, and I got that.  It’s not the most incredibly creative, I suppose, and if anyone wants to make one for it, I’m open to it.

Welsh Reading Challenge 2010

1.  So next we need some rules…

Read at least one book in 2010 that is either by a Welsh author, takes place in Wales, or is about Welsh people (immigrants, descendants, etc).  Pretty simple 🙂

2.  And now we need levels to shoot for:

Efydd bathodyn (bronze medal) – Read one to three Welsh-related books between now and December 31st, 2010 to receive a bronze medal.

Arian bathodyn (silver medal) – Read four to six Welsh-related books by December 31st, 2010 for the silver medal rank.

Aur bathodyn (gold medal) – Read seven or more Welsh-related books in before the end of 2010 and be a gold-medalist!

I’m planning to read one Welsh-related book per month which will put me well into the Aur bathodyn range 😉  (BTW, I do not speak Welsh… try as I might, I have no one to practice with so my Cymraeg pretty much always sucks… so it’s quite possible that I’ve totally botched up the translations.  I used this online translator, so if you know the correct terms, leave a comment and I’ll correct it.)

3.  Post about it on your blog, leave a comment here to let me know and leave the link of reviews.  I’d love to make a page and do a monthly update of what everyone’s doing.  LOL.. though, everyone may just be me.  You can list which books you plan to read, but you don’t have to.

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And now for my planned Welsh Reading Challenge books:

1.  The Mabinogion – From the Amazon.com page -“Drawing on myth, folklore and history, the stories of the “Mabinogion” passed from generations of storytellers before they were written down in the thirteenth century in the form we know. Set in dual realms of the forests and valleys of Wales and the shadowy otherworld, the tales are permeated by a dreamlike atmosphere. In “Math Son of Mathonwy” two brothers plot to carry off the virginal Goewin, while in “Manawydan Son of Llyr” a chieftain roams throughout Britain after a spell is cast over his land. And King Arthur’s court provides the backdrop to tales such as “How Culhwch Won Olwen”, in which a young man must complete many tasks before he can marry a giant’s daughter.”  Basically, it’s like this… last year when I was looking for Welsh books, this one popped up.  It’s ancient, and so it’s like Uber-Cymraeg, right?  (LOL… linguists all over the world are having a stroke over that one)

2 and 3.  Aberystwyth Mon Amour and Last Tango in Aberystwyth by Malcolm Pryce – Noir detective novels with cool cover art and fun titles that take place in the Welsh city Aberystwyth.  He’s the best… and the only… Private Eye in town.  I’m really looking forward to reading these.

4.  A Writer’s House in Wales by Jan Morris – Journalist and National Geographic writer, Jan Morris, reflects on her home in Wales, her heritage and the history of the land.  Another one that I’ve been looking forward to reading.

5.  Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas – I don’t think a Welsh reading list could be complete without something by Dylan Thomas on it.  Most people know the line “Do not go gentle into that good night,” which is a Thomas poem.  Under Milk Wood is a play, and it’ll be new to me.  Before coming across the play, I’d only thought Thomas had wrote poetry.

6.  How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn – When I came across this treasure at the library sale last year, I actually broke out in a little victory dance.  I have been wanting to read it for a long time, and NOW I could finally do it!  Well… lol… can and actually DOING so are two different things.  This book is one of the reasons for THIS challenge.  It’s the story of a Welsh family in a coal town, how close they are as a family and community, and how the mining strike and later mechanization affected and fractured them forever.  It’s a before and after view, and shows how we have to give up a lot to get modern conveniences and luxuries and who has to pay.  Sometimes, even, we may want to take a second look at whether it’s worth the loss.

7.  Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman – LOL, I got this book basically because of the name.  It’s the first Penman’s Welsh Trilogy.  Oddly enough, I generally run in terror from “historical fiction” stuff… but because it’s “Welsh”, well, that’s a different matter.

8.  The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies – I had planned on reading this for the World War II challenge last year, but never got to it.  I’m hoping to get it read for sure this year.  I read a few blog reviews of it late 2008-early 2009, and thought it sounded really good, but it just never migrated off the long-range TBR shelf.

9.  On Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin – is a story of twin brothers living on a farm on the Welsh/English border.  The book description says it gives a wonderful description of the loneliness of life in rural Wales.  Hmm…  sounds a bit like rural Appalachia, which makes sense, given quite a few of the Welsh immigrants (including my own family’s ancestors) came through that area.

10.  The Journey Through Wales and The Description of Wales by Gerald of Wales –  after my failure to get through The Conquest of Gaul, I’m not sure how I’ll fair with this one.  Hopefully, the whole “war report” stuff Caesar wrote is why I couldn’t make it, and Gerald will be a wonderful historian to read.  For some reason, though, I’m feeling a bit like Catherine Morland at the moment… Historians inflict torture on people by writing books. 

11.  A String In the Harp by Nancy Bond – YA fantasy that takes place in Wales.

12.  Evans Above (Constable Evans Mystery) by Rhys Bowen – takes place in a small Welsh village, and looks like such a fun read 🙂

Okay, there’s my twelve.  MAYBE, I’ll try for some more, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to fit much more into it.  There’s more I’d like to read… like Sheepshagger by Niall Griffiths, that one looks like it’d make Palahniuk sick.  And I’d love to know what other great Welsh books there are out there.

I’m so excited to get reading!

Update:  The Welsh Reading Challenge now has it’s own blog.  Click here and explore!

And here’s Mr. Linky if you want to sign up now:

 

BTT~ Anthem of the Atlas for the Invisible Palace in the Valley of My Butt

The Booking Through Thursday question this week is:

We’ve all seen the lists, we’ve all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet.

What’s the best book that YOU haven’t read yet?

About 7 or so blocks from my house sits a fabulous building FULL of fantastic books I haven’t read yet, most of which I will NEVER read, though they may ALL be priceless gems of literature. Time, interests, inspiration and even the information that the best book ever written might be found among the thousands and thousands of books there stack the odds against me. Therefore, I could not possibly say what the best book I’ve never read is, as I don’t know its title.

However, for the sake of answering this weeks question… my first BTT in a few months, I will answer what’s the best book that I know of that I have yet to read. A still-very difficult question to answer. Mt. TBR’s inventoryis in a sad state of incompletion and in need of updating. And, I suppose there are phenomenal books that I don’t have in my possession whose titles I know. Invariably, no matter what book I mention here, I will later say “A-ha! I forgot about THAT book!” later when I read other answers to this question.

But…. all that babbling aside… a quick answer to a seemingly innocently easy question: It would seem that over and over again Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison pops up on the lists, and is also on Mt. TBR.  Another couple books I haven’t yet read but I consider some of the great books of literature are Atlas Shrugged (which I started a couple years ago, but stalled out) and Anthem (which was highly reco’d by a former instructor), both by Ayn Rand. Others on my own personal “I’d love to read that, but I haven’t got to it yet” list include: How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn (I am Welsh, you know 😀 ), In the Palaces of Memory by George Johnson and The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler (if for no other reason than the title’s hilarious).