Great Blogs and the Winner Is…

trumpeting statueIt’s about time to add to my list of great blogs. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve found here and this is just a small sampling of a few in alphabetical order. Many of you already know each other, but just in case there’s anyone out there who hasn’t visited these people, you’re missing out.

Carrie Rubin – Very funny observations on life, health, and writing from the author of The Seneca Scourge

Found in France – Photography and observations from a small town in France

4amwriter – Thoughts on writing and life and the balancing act between the two

I Have a Voice – Beautiful, inspirational poetry

JMMcDowell – An archaeologist and writer with serialized fiction posts and author interviews

Joy in the Moments – Posts on writing, author interviews, traveling, and all the joy that can be found everywhere from the author of Eyes of Light and Secret Keepers

LScott Thoughts – Beautiful, fun, inspirational poetry and thoughts

Milka Pejovic – Nature photography from the San Diego area

Miniscule Moments of Inspiration – Observations on life and nature from a writer and picture book illustrator living in Australia

Reading Interrupted – Inspirational posts on the love of books

The Vibes – A talented graphic artist’s collection of photos and artwork

Two Black Dogs – Photography and observances from travels through Europe and at home in Australia with two black dogs

I’ll be adding to this list with future posts. You can see others through the Great Blogs category listed on the home page.

Now it’s time to announce the winner of the $25 Amazon gift card. I plan on doing more of these giveaways in the future. I know we’re all busy so this is just a way of saying thank you to everyone.

All Twitter followers for @SheilaHurst11 were entered to win. Commenters on the last post were also entered to win. And the winner is….

Rebecca Belliston@rlbelliston

winner

I’ll send you a message for your gift card. As you can see from the photo, I used a very high-tech method for this madness. I printed out my list of Twitter followers, cut each one into fortune cookie strips, added commenters from the last post, and mixed them all together in a bowl before selecting the winner. Just in case you wanted the recipe.

Thank you all for visiting, commenting, and following, but most of all thank you for your friendship. I’m looking forward to laughing together through the winter.

Great Blogs

I just wanted to point out some newer blogs I’ve been enjoying lately. Please give them a visit – they’re all great ones!

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Suffragette Kitty – Louisa May Alcott has returned as a cat and is continuing her fight for women’s rights. Entertaining and informational posts on historical and present day women of note, Henry David Thoreau, and clean water for everyone. Another great thing about this blog is that I know the person behind the cat in real life! She was my editor at the first newspaper I worked at and is a great person and friend.

Licht Years – Breathtaking photography of the New England area with inspirational quotes and descriptions. I am in awe of Susan’s photos and the feelings that come across in them.

Writing Pieces of Me – Thoughts on writing and life during novel writing and revising. Arlene’s fun personality comes through in her posts and you’ll want to cheer her on as she finishes her novel.

Braith an’ Lithe – Life in the northwest highlands of Scotland. Funny and entertaining posts, especially when talking about things like learning new dance moves while sheep watch through the window.

Christina Lawrence – Book reviews, inspirational quotes, and observances from Great Britain.

Helenvalentina – Beautiful poetry expressing the elements of fire, water, air, and earth.

What do you look for in a blog? What makes it great?

Enjoy!

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The Giver Series: Learning from Fictional Societies

The GiverThank you to Milka for recommending The Giver series by Lois Lowry. I enjoyed The Giver so much that I launched into the next three: Gathering BlueMessenger, and Son. All four young adult novels are short, easy reads so they’re great for those of us most likely to fall behind on reading challenges.

Different communities are described in each book and it’s fun to compare them with each other, and then with our own society. The Giver shows a futuristic society that at first seems perfect. There are no wars. There’s no such thing as pollution, poverty, or hunger. Everyone rides bicycles to get anywhere within the community and there’s never any reason to leave.

But the characters never make any choices, which leads to having no real emotions, including love. A council decides everything: a person’s future career, spouse, children, meals. Individualism is discouraged. They think they’re content, but they’ve never known anything else.

Gathering Blue is then a surprise because the community is completely different. It’s a rougher place, with people living in huts and squabbling over territory. People act more on instinct or their own desires. They occupy themselves mostly with finding food through farming or hunting, though there is never enough food. Possibly because of this, they think nothing of ostracizing those with physical deformities, leaving them to die.

Messenger shows another, more balanced society. This one is based on welcoming outsiders, people who had to escape other places. Everyone finds a way to contribute to the community and it feels more like a family.

Then someone called the Trademaster appears. He has things people have never seen before, materialistic things, and they begin to trade the best part of themselves for those things. Materialism makes them more individualistic and they begin to worry that, with all the outsiders coming in, there won’t be enough resources for everyone. They vote to build a wall around the community. Outsiders are turned away. They don’t notice the connection between the Trademaster and the changes in their society.

Son ties everything up, with characters appearing from all three books like long lost friends. My favorites were The Giver and Messenger, mostly because of the unique communities but also because I loved Matty, the main character in Messenger.

Speaking of communities, I’m thankful for the friends I’ve found here. Milka (who recommended these books to me) has two great blogs: Perfecting Motherhood, a humorous look at parenthood with reviews of adult and children’s books, and a nature photography site where she finds beauty everywhere.

What do you think a perfect community would be like? Can we learn from fictional societies like these?