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‘Reading’ Category

  1. What a bargain

    March 30, 2015 by Suzi

     
    Recently I got this cool book from Barnes and Nobles. You know, the bargain racks with the cheap books, often hard cover, and usually non-fiction. This one was about royalty—kings and queens from the medieval times to now and their issues.
      king

    Like Vlad the Impaler, AKA Dracula (the real one) and Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary. Both sadistic killers who enjoyed torturing people.
     
    I also learned a lot about how insanity was passed down through generations in some royal families, like that of Queen Juana I of Castile (Spain). Her story made me wonder if now her problems could’ve been cured or at least managed with today’s medicine.
     
    This book is full of all sorts of examples of royalty behaving badly. Kings and their mistresses, spoiled children, and power hungry men and women who spend all of their country’s wealth. It’s fascinating how messed up European royalty was at times.
     
    I really should shop more often in the bargain bin of B&N. Of course then my wallet would be a little lighter too.
     
    Have you ever stumbled onto any terrific reads from the bargain bins of B&N or some other store? Do you think that reading about royalty in medieval times is fascinating too, or is it just me? :)


  2. What would you do?

    February 23, 2015 by Suzi

    So recently, I was at the library and saw this really cool book, but I realized it was actually a sequel. Luckily book one was available and looked just as awesome.
     
    But it wasn’t. The characters fell flat, the plot fell below expectations, the writing didn’t grab me, and I was disappointed. Which happens sometimes, but now I have a dilemma.
     
    Originally, I’d grabbed book two and thought it sounded intriguing. And I still think it does. But do I read it or forget it? Because one was a disappointment. And I can assume that the writing and characters will be similar in two. It’s not like it’s a minor complaint with book one; it was characters, writing and plot.
     
    I didn’t hate book one. I was just severely unimpressed.
     
    What would you do? Give book two a chance and hope it’s way better? Or give up and move on to another writer.


  3. The Kindle Crawl

    January 18, 2015 by Suzi

     
    When you’re reading an ebook, do you pay attention to that little percentage down at the bottom? It’s nice to have it, to see exactly how much of the book is left, but sometimes it’s not a good thing because of the Kindle crawl.
     
    The Kindle crawl: When you’re reading an ebook and you glance down at the percentage and think, I’ve hit the page down button like 10 times and I’m still on 22%? And the whole book seems to go the same way.
     
    That is the Kindle crawl. And I totally made that word up. I googled it and didn’t find any references, so I’m gonna claim it as mine.
     
    Now there’s two reasons for the Kindle crawl.
     
    1.) You’re reading a ridiculously long book. If the book’s 400, 500, 600… pages, it’s explainable.
     
    But the other reason is:
     
    2.) You’re bored. You like the book enough to keep reading it, but it just crawls along, making it feel like you’re barely moving forward.
     
    I thought about this because recently I’ve read some books that seem to drag. But right now I’m reading the opposite. A book that is going fast.
     
    The other night I was reading and I’m like whoa—I jumped ahead from 20% to 30%, and I hadn’t been reading that long.
     
    But maybe it’s a shorter story though.
     
    Luckily, the author is Jolene Perry, and I kinda sorta know her. And the story is The Summer I Found You. So I emailed her to ask about the word count, and she wrote back and told me. Cause she’s nice like that.
     
    The story isn’t short, but it’s not long either. It’s just in the middle, word count wise. But I love the story. The characters are fresh and likeable, their voices are perfect. Which means it’s an easy=fast=good read. So there is no Kindle crawl with The Summer I Found You.
     
    And I like to read books like that. I much prefer to read books like that. Of course, who wouldn’t? :)
     
    Do you ever experience the Kindle crawl? Or better, do you more often read novels like The Summer I Found You, where the book seems to move super fast because it’s a terrific story?


  4. A difference of opinion

    December 15, 2014 by Suzi

    I know two people can read the same book and have different opinions about it. Some love the writing, others will think it sucks. Some think it’s an original story, others think it’s cliche. I’ve read enough book reviews to see that. There’s many reasons why people look at books differently, including simple things like their tastes or deeper things involving their history and lookout on life.
     
    Yes, we’re all different, so we see things differently.
     
    But sometimes I question a reviewer’s take on a book–it just no sense to me. Just recently I finished Flawed by Kate Avelynn. I enjoyed the story and after finishing, read through some one and two star reviews to see what the people who didn’t like it said.
     
    And I read something that kinda shocked me.
     
    Spoiler alert. If you don’t want to know the ending, skip ahead to where I say spoiler end.
     
    The reviewer was unhappy because the MC had a HEA. And I was like, huh? A happily ever after?
     
    -The MC’s mother died during the story.
     
    -The MC will have to deal with the affects of her father’s abuse for the rest of her life.
     
    -The MC’s brother killed her boyfriend, who was also the brother’s best friend.
     
    -The MC’s brother, whom she deeply loved, also killed himself.
     
    That is nowhere near a HEA to me. I guess the reviewer wanted the MC to either be physically hurt or killed and anything other than that was a happy ending.
     
     
    Spoiler End.
     

    So obviously, me and that reviewer have drastically different definitions of happy. :) I can understand people view stylistic things differently, but this difference of opinion seems big. And honestly, it makes me wonder about this person. What they are like and how they generally view life.
     
    Have you ever had a similar experience reading a review, not just a difference in opinion, but something that makes you curious about the reviewer and what it was in their lives that helped shaped their outlook, and hence the review you just can’t understand. (Sorry, that’s kind of a mouthful.)


  5. Lying is the in thing

    November 30, 2014 by Suzi

    Recently I finished Gone Girl. For those who haven’t read it, neither of the main characters are likable. Interesting maybe, but not likeable. But what intrigued me with the story was the whole unreliable narrator thing.

    Image courtesy of
    Stuart Miles
    FreeDigitalPhotos.net


    Unreliable narrators can’t be trusted. They maybe lie, with-hold information or misrepresent what’s happening, but we the readers might not realize it until we get further into the book.
     
    It’s an unusual concept to me, and I was curious about other books with unreliable narrators.
     
    When I did a Google search, some of the well-known books that pop up are Lolita, American Psycho, and Fight Club—none of which I’ve read.
     
    There were a few on the lists I have read: Catcher in the Rye and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but I read those so long ago, I don’t really remember much about them.
     
    I’m curious though, and plan to read more about these scheming and deceitful characters. As a writer, I want to know what those authors do to make these liars likeable. From what I’ve seen, it’s not an easy thing to do.
     
    And I’ll probably start with Fight Club—I loved the movie after all.
     
    Have you read any books with unreliable narrators that you really enjoyed? Do you like the whole unreliable narrator concept?


  6. A useful tip

    November 16, 2014 by Suzi

     
    Right now I’m reading a big book. It’s just over 700 pages long. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?
     
    Well it isn’t. Cause it’s a large print. According to Amazon, Gone Girl is 432 pages, which isn’t exactly low, but it’s not 700. As most everybody knows, Gone Girl is the big rage now, especially because the movie is out. Which means that the book is hard to find at the library.
     
    There are 22 digital copies available through our library, and if I wanted to put a hold on it, I’d be number 185.
     
    Yes, that’s the 185th person waiting to check it out.
     
    I’m sure the hard copies have a big waiting list too although I don’t have that exact number.
     
    But I found a faster way to get it.
     
    Which is why I’m reading a 700 page book. When I first checked the book’s availability a while ago, the large print book was checked out, but nobody had put a hold on it. So I did.
     
    Reading a 700 page hardcover book is kinda a pain. I might end up with carpal tunnel syndrome, but it beats waiting.
     
    So remember that tip. If there’s ever a book you want to check out, more likely one that’s gotten pretty popular, check to see if there’s a large print edition because you might get lucky like me.
     
    Do you ever read large print books?
    Have you read Gone Girl? Seen the movie?


  7. Skipping ahead or leaving it all behind

    November 10, 2014 by Suzi

    Not long ago I finished reading a book. And by finished, I mean I read the last few chapters. But I didn’t read ALL the chapters.
     
    This book is by a popular author but I never connected with the characters, didn’t find the story all that interesting either.

    Image courtesy of Traffic Barrier by mapichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


    Because of some busy times a few weeks ago, I put the book down at about the 60% mark, and I could’ve walked away. Would’ve never given it another thought, but I wanted to read the ending—which I’d sorta heard about anyway, but didn’t know the exact details.
     
    So I did something I haven’t really done. I just skimmed a few chapters and jumped to the end.
     
    The ending didn’t change my mind about the story, by the way, and I didn’t regret skipping 1/3 of the story.
     
    Usually, if I quit a book, I quit fully. I don’t look to the end to see what happened. I just stop. (Of course, I normally stop before the 60% mark though too. And really, the only reason I read that far was because it was going fast and I kept wanting to like it like everybody else did.)
     
    So I was wondering what others do. If you give up on a book, do you jump ahead to the end to see what happens? Do you read spoilers in reviews to get an idea? Or do you just walk away and forget it?


  8. Finding what you didn’t know

    November 2, 2014 by Suzi

    Halloween is over but I’m sure I got my fill of candy. The DVR is filled with some cheesy horror movies and some decent ones.
     
    A weird thing happened this week. Okay, it’s not really weird, but more surprising. I’ve seen all the Nightmare on Elm Street movies—or I thought I did. With all the horror movies on AMC this month, I found one I missed. And that surprised me. (Even though there’s like a hundred, I figured I’d seen every one. :) )
     
    The same thing happened with some books this same week. I stumbled upon an author I’ve never heard of. Amy Reed. She just released her 5th book (since 2010) from Simon Pulse and her books are the type of I would read.
     
    And I was like, why haven’t I heard of her?
     
    Maybe I’d run across one of her books somewhere, and maybe then the cover or title didn’t strike me to read the blurb. But usually I’d at least have some memory of that book. I don’t have any recognition of her name or titles.
     
    She writes in a genre I’d like to be in and she’s published (five times over) by a major publisher. None of her books are in our local library, but they are in the library of the city next to us—of which I frequent sometimes. So it’s just weird to me that she just got onto my radar.
     
    If it were some Indie author, I can understand, but I bet she’s in Barnes and Noble too. (I’ll have to look.)
     
    And now I’ll have to check out her books.
     

    Anybody else ever had a similar situation like this occur? When you discovered a prolific writer in your genre that you probably should’ve known about by now?
     
    Have you ever read Amy Reed’s books? 


  9. Awknowledge this…

    September 28, 2014 by Suzi

     
    I just picked up a new book from the library, and I did what I usually do: Skim the first page and then turn to the acknowledgements. I like to see if an agent is listed, especially when it’s a writer in the same genre/category as me. And it’s interesting to see how some write their acknowledgements. Fun, with voice. Boring. Long. Short.
     
    The book I got is we were liars by e. lockhart. And no, that’s not my mistake. Neither the title nor her name is capitalized on the cover. For anybody that doesn’t know, e. lockhart is a successful (mostly) contemporary YA writer. I’ve read a few of her books and have heard a lot good about this one.
     
    So anyway, I was reading the acknowledgements and I’m like whoa. Holy name dropping. She sends thank yous to other successful writers including: Justine Larbalestier, Lauren Myracle, Scott Westerfield, Sara Zarr, Libba Bray, Gayle Forman and many many more. (Those were the ones I’m most familiar with.)
     
    And it got me thinking. Were most of these authors ones she met after becomming a well known writer? Or were some of them (I’ll assume not all, of course) her CPs that have been there during a lot of her publishing journey.
     
    It makes me wonder too if a lot of these authors who make the bestsellers list associate together. If they’re friend, or if they just have professional working relationships.
     
    Maybe in ten years, somebody will read my acknowledgement page and say, wow—she knows all those awesome writers? And I’ll be able to say, yeah—I’ve known them for years because they were my friends when I started out. They helped me become the writer I am today. (And well, maybe I helped them too. :) )
     
    Wouldn’t that be cool? (No need to answer, of course it would.)
     
    Do you usually read the acknowledgements page before starting a book?


  10. A happier reader

    August 3, 2014 by Suzi

    Last week I talked about getting novels, collaborations specifically, signed by both authors and how hard that can be. Rebecca Barrow had said this in her comment: I see your problem with author collabs, but I think the solution is easy–win the lottery and fly wherever you want to get them signed! Simple, right?
     
    And that got me thinking. I’d love to win the lottery, of course, but would it affect reading habits much?
     
    Yes, of course. I would love to buy a huge house and have the perfect library. You know, wall to wall shelves, a fireplace, and several comfy seating options. Fill it with hundreds of books. Thousands, maybe.
     
    But…
     
    Would I be a happier reader?
     
    Right now I have 308 books on my to read list on Goodreads. And I know I’m missing many more I’d like to read. And granted, I’d have a little more time to read if I won the lottery, but not that significant of an increase. And then my stress leves would increase.
     
    I’d have all these books on my shelf and no way of ever reading them. Not enough time. And I’d keep buying more books I’d probably never get to read.
     
    Wouldn’t that suck? Standing in front of your thousands of books knowing you’ll never get to enjoy them all. Even though they’re right there in front of you.
     
    I guess if I were super rich, I could hire an awesome therapist who would help me get through it. But still, every day I’d have too look at all those books I’d never read.
     
    Then again, I could share my special books with others, and that would make me feel better.
     
    Yes, that’s what I’ll do if I ever win the lottery. And hopefully the happiness of sharing will outweigh the depression of not getting to read all those books.
     
    So if you won the lottery and got to build your own personal library, would it stress you out to know you’d never have enough time to read all those books?