Sunday Salon: Plans go Adrift

sundaysalonThis was a week which didn’t quite turn out the way I had planned.

It did start on a high note as the first edition of Shiny New Books plopped into my in box. Many of you will have already seen this but for the uninitiated I should explain that this is a new quarterly on line bookish magazine created by four UK based bloggers (Annabel, Victoria, Simon and Harriet). I was thrilled to be invited to contribute to the first issue with a review of Jim Crace’s Harvest. I knew this would be a good quality magazine because the four people are seasoned reviewers of some 30 years experience between them and know a lot about the literary world. I wasn’t prepared for just how good it would be however – scores of reviews and articles and all high quality. Do take a look and sign up for the newsletter (I warn you now that your reading wish list will likely get longer as a result.)

After that high spot, things went a little downhill.

Firstly, the magazine I’d bought which promised to show me many smart techniques for improving this blog using WordPress, turned out to be a mistake. Not the publishers’ fault, I should have studied it more closely. The tips were good, but the problem is that they seemed to work only if you have the self-hosted version available at not the fully-hosted version which is what I have. So the plug ins which you need to do cool things with images and tagging are not available. Which meant all my plans to get this blog into better shape went out of the window. 

And then, despite promising myself that I would devote time to catching up on all the reviews I have yet to write, how many did I actually do? None. Procrastination was one factor (I do seem to take an inordinate amount of time to actually decide what to write). The other was that I only had the use of an iPad since I was away from home and the WordPress system doesn’t seem to be that compatible with iPad. Text jumps around and if you try and do copy paste, you can’t seem to get the cursor to land exactly where you want to paste the text. I gave up…..

On the plus side though instead of blogging and writing, I could spend the time reading and finishing both the Guernsey Literary & Potato Pie Society (if this hadn’t been a book club read I wouldn’t have bothered finishing it) and Keri Hulme’s The Bone People which was much better than I expected it to be.

Next week I’ll be starting to think what books to take with me on a short holiday to Italy jus after Easter. Ideally I’d like something set in Italy but I don’t seem to have anything on the shelves that fits the bill and I haven’t come up with anything yet that I can go out and buy. Any suggestions/recommendations from you would be welcome – if possible of something set in Verona/Milan or that region…….

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on April 13, 2014, in Sunday Salon and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. I’m working on the basis that the more books I take the less room I’ll have for new shoes which will also have to be sneaked in LOL

  2. Yeah, that’s the trouble with wordpress hosted sites. But it is so cheap and easy I haven’t felt compelled to find a different hosting service. A holiday to Italy sounds wonderful. I can’t suggest a book. Do you need someone to carry your luggage for you though? I promise I won’t say anything about how many books you packed 😉

  3. What is the advantage of self-hosting? I hadn’t really thought about it before – probably because my technical nouce comes up as nil. I think City-Lit have a Venice book which would give you some ideas although possibly not about the right area.

    • One of the benefits Alex is that you get more control over how your blogsite looks. You can create more variations in colour schemes, different typefaces,ways of organising content plus there are lots of plug ins that you can use to do things like manipulating the file size of images, grouping related posts together which is useful if you are doing a series of posts on a similar idea. The problem is that you have to find a good hosting company (and pay for it).
      Thanks for the tip about City-Lit – I’m not familiar with that so will do some hunting

  4. I’ll be interested to hear why you didn’t like The Guernsey book, which from what I understand a lot of people like. I haven’t read yet and don’t think I will anyway, but still wondering why did you not like it. 🙂

    I understand about plans going awry. This happened this past Saturday and my whole weekend was sunk.

    • A lot of people have enjoyed the book Bryan. For me the style was just too relentlessly jolly. It’s in epistolary form with the letters written by several different people but they all seemed to write in the same style so the characters just blurred into one

  5. Have you ever checked out the TripFiction website? Great recommendations for almost every destination.

    • Thanks for that recommendation Tanya, that was a new site to me so I gave it a go. Verona didn’t produce much but by searching Milan I came across a classic crime noir move by Giorgio Scerbanenco who apparently is a leading crime novelist in Italy. This could be very interesting.

  6. PS. Perhaps an Italo Calvino book??

  7. I’m drawing a blank on a good Italian novel. I did enjoy The Solitude of Prime Numbers by an Italian author although it didn’t have a big Italian (setting) presence in the novel. Hmm. I’ll be interested to hear which book you settle on. We enjoyed a trip to Florence & Rome last fall. Wonderful!

  8. I was glad to go to self-hosted, too, and the WordPress happiness engineers were very helpful during the transition!

    • How difficult was it to manage once you got set up Laurie?

      • The dashboard looks pretty much the same; it’s just you can do a lot more with it. You can also use the JetPack plugin that connects you into the blogging community. You bring your subscribers along with you, and I don’t think they will notice any difference. I guess you probably lose any chance of being chosen for Freshly Pressed, though!

  9. I will be interested to hear what you have to say about The Bone People. I both loved and hated it quite strongly.

    • I had similar mixed feelings – maybe love/hate is a bit stronger than I felt but certainly there were sections I found very frustrating and redundant.

  10. I’m in the process of arranging to move my blog to self hosting. want to step things up a bit and give myself more freedom. Why not you?

    • Maybe I’m just too much of a coward Didi. I have this horrid feeling that I would make the switch and then find I can’t cope with the techno stuff

      • I don’t think it’s really that bad. One good thing is that you have fill freedom. I’m hoping to do it soon. I’ve even bought a new domain name for the occasion. Wish me luck. I prefer to change now that I don’t have too many posts.

  11. I was confused over the vs myself. I have a feeling I will one day bite bullet and move to the self-hosted version (and accept the high learning curve that will accompany that move), but for now I am making do with the “dot com” site 🙂

    • It is certainly confusing Molly. I would love to have someone just sit with me and tell me to press this, click that.Having to figure it out myself is a bit worrying

  12. I’m curious about The Bone People…and too bad about the blog tips that didn’t work out. Enjoy your week…and here’s MY WEEKLY SUNDAY/MONDAY UPDATES

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