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.
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.)
Category Reading | Tags: About Me,Books,Reading | 4 Comments
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.
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?
Category Reading | Tags: Books,Reading | 6 Comments
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?
Category Reading | Tags: Books,Reading | 7 Comments
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.
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?
Category Reading | Tags: About Me,Books,Reading | 5 Comments
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?
Category Reading | Tags: About Me,Reading | 4 Comments
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?
Category Reading | Tags: About Me,Books,Reading | 2 Comments
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.
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?
Category Reading | Tags: About Me,For fun,Reading | 2 Comments
December 1, 2013 by Suzi
A few weeks ago I talked about cleaning up my Kindle, including getting rid of stuff I’d gotten for free, but now know I’ll probably never read. And I did some organizing by creating several collections (folders).
-Short stories/novellas (because when I want something short, it’s easy to find)
-Books on writing (it’s good to reference these every once in a while)
So proud of myself. But also kicking myself for not doing this long ago.
Now on to Goodreads. I look at reviews of course, but I haven’t used it much other than my to-read and read list. And really, I just add books to my to-read list, I don’t have them in any order.
But now I’ve realized I should be using GR to categorize books I want to read, because I so often forget what’s waiting to be read. So I set up a folder to show these to-read books
-Books I can get at the library, whether e-book or real.
-Short stories/novellas on my Kindle
-Novels on my Kindle
-Books (real) I own
This will help me better keep track of what’s available, because my to-read list includes many books that aren’t currently available to me. (Mostly because I’m not ready to buy them, cause you know… I got too many books waiting to be read and don’t need to buy more.)
So do you use the categories on Goodreads for more than just to-read and read lists? What categories have you set up?
Category Reading | Tags: Books,Reading | 2 Comments
October 27, 2013 by Suzi
First, I’d like to say thank you to YA Fusion. I won a copy of Ellen Hopkins new novel Smoke. I’ve read several of hers and really liked them, and I look forward to this one too.
So, for those who don’t know, I mostly read contemporary young adult. And I didn’t start reading it until a few years ago when I started writing it. Since then I’ve kinda fallen away from the classics, horrors and thrillers that I’d mostly read before that.
During the month of October, I hardly read anything, and finally jumped back into reading this last week. Christa Desir just released her new YA novel, Fault Line and I’d been waiting a long time to read it. It’s a powerful book, and I’d definitely recommend it. And it got me excited about reading again.
After finishing, I decided to go through my Kindle and clean up: remove books I won’t get to and do some other organizing. Since I have hundreds of books on the Kindle, and haven’t read probably ½ of them, I had a lot to go through.
And I found many interesting books I’d forgotten about. One is Night of Knives by Jon Evans:
Veronica Kelly came to Africa to start her life over. Still reeling from her divorce, she is grateful when a handsome stranger invites her to join a tour to visit gorillas in Uganda’s wild Impenetrable Forest. A trip that goes desperately wrong when their group is captured by brutal gunmen.
Then one tourist is executed.
And then another.
This is no random kidnapping: their abduction is only the first move in a deadly strategic game. A game in which Veronica’s ex-husband is somehow involved. Now she must embark on a wild journey across Africa, to unveil a malignant conspiracy before it consumes entire nations – and thousands of lives…
The Congo. Deception. Murder. Doesn’t that sound cool? And I’ve got many others like that I discovered once again. I definitely need to go through my Kindle more often. Or maybe Goodreads. I mean, hello, I can rate my to-read books by number. Usually I just add books to my to-read list and then forget about them.
I really need to be more organized.
So if you’re a Kindle or a Nook reader, do you have way too many books waiting to be read? Do you forget what books you have and then get a nice surprise when looking for something new to read?
Category Reading | Tags: About Me,Books,Reading | 7 Comments
July 6, 2013 by Suzi
Cool writer friends I want to meet
I’m really excited because next week I get to meet some very cool ladies at a writing retreat. I kinda feel weird telling non-writing people that hey, I’m going to spend the weekend at a house in a little town with a bunch of people (women) I’ve never met, but even though we haven’t met, I consider them my friends.
So then it’s like, will they like me? Will they think I’m weird? Will they totally delete me from their e-mail, Twitter and Facebook accounts after they get home from this weekend?
Okay, I’m sure they won’t do that, because they’re all great ladies. But it’ll be fun to see how different people are from their online personalities. Not because they’re misrepresentating themselves, but some people may seem really chatty online, but are quiet in person.
So there are so many writers I’d love to meet, and if I ever end up in their towns, I definitely want to look them up. People like:
Dani, who has the guts to get tattoos, piercings and major hair dye jobs. (Because obviously I’m too chicken for that stuff. )
Jade Hart, who has had an amazing life of travel to places I’ll probably never get, and I’d love to hear her stories.
Lara Schiffbauer because she posts the best funny Friday photos, and she doesn’t mind my rambling e-mails.
Chloe Banks, who not only writes novels but has been successful writing short stories.
Mark Koopmans, dad extraordinaire who writes the funniest blog posts.
Eileen Cook, whose blog posts always make me laugh.
Christa Desir, whose passion about her writing and those issues she cares about is inspiring.
Dahlia Adler, who not only is a wealth of publishing information, but also writes the best tweets.
Lynne Schmidt, who has been through a lot of crap, but keeps fighting and is so open about it.
Jolene Perry, who is just the most awesome person ever.
Kelley Lynn, who is an engineer like me.
Amy Sonnichsen, who has lived in Hong Kong and Northern China, and it’d be so fun to hear more about that.
Stacy Stokes, who was the very first person who beta read for me and who I beta-ed for. (And now that book is going to be published!)
So that’s just a few. There are so many others I didn’t list here because this post would get too long, and hopefully we’ll hook up at conferences or retreats, or if I just happen to be in your neighborhood. (Um, and I live in North Dakota if anyone ever happens to travel my way. ) Anyways, this writing community is terrific and I’m so glad to get to know all of you.
Have you gotten to meet any of your online writer friends?
Category Writers | Tags: Reading,Writers | 6 Comments