Weekend… Meme?

Happy Friday, everyone! I haven’t read enough books this week to have one to talk about today, so here, how about I answer some questions about books I might someday read?

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

So I have three TBR piles, really. There’s one that’s literally a pile of books, mostly that I’ve checked out of the library, that I should probably read before they’re due back. That one I keep track of by, again, having a literal pile of books on my office desk for the reading.

Then there’s the invisible TBR pile, which is made up of all the books I have on my Kindle: mostly galleys (read: books not published yet which I get through librarian-fu) but also some ebooks I bought on sale. I keep track of the galleys (as you’ll see a couple questions from now), but everything else just kind of sits there. I’m working on it.

Finally, there’s the giant imaginary TBR pile, the one made up of books that I want to read but that I don’t have in front of me, and that one lives on the Internet. Generally, if I hear about a book and I am near a computer, I pop that sucker onto my Goodreads “to-read” list, where it then languishes until I end up with a copy of it somehow and it gets put on one of the other piles.

2. Is your TBR mostly print or eBook?

Well, I mean, it’s mostly imaginary, so it could go either way? Of the books that I could conceivably read right this minute because they’re on my Kindle or my desk, the pile is mostly digital because it’s basically all galleys.

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Hey, remember the other day when I said I had a totally not metaphorical reading schedule? Yeah, that’s how I roll. I like to use my librarian powers to read ahead, so my schedule has all of the galleys I’ve obtained and their publishing dates. Also on the list are books I need to read for my book club and the date that the book club is meeting. When it’s time to pick my next book, I look at what’s first on that schedule and decide if I’m going to read it, and if I am, I do. If there’s a big gap, like right now, where I have a couple of weeks before the next galley I want to read is going to be published, I’ll fill in the gap with a book off of my literal pile or sometimes a book that I’ve decided I just can’t put off reading any longer.

4. A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest?

Aside from the books that Goodreads put on my imaginary TBR when I opened my account five or so years ago, the first book on that list is Touch Me, I’m Sick: The 52 Creepiest Love Songs You’ve Ever Heard, by Tom Reynolds, which is a book I had totally forgotten existed and which I will proooobably never read.

5. A book you recently added to your TBR?

A couple hours ago I added to the imaginary list The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez, which I’m surprised hadn’t made it there already.

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of it’s beautiful cover.

Boneshaker, another one I’ll probably never read because I’m not actually a steampunk person, though I very much wish I were one!

7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading.

Aside from the two above, Rebecca, which I promise to read on a regular basis and then I get six pages in and am like, “Nope.”

8. An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

A God in Ruins, which is the sequel to Life After Life and which is very happily on my invisible TBR to be read very very soon!

9. A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you.

That everyone has read? The DaVinci Code. Another one I’ll probably never get around to.

10. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

The Fellowship of the Ring. Technically it’s not to be read as I did read about 130 pages of it once, but I just can’t get past Tom Bombadil.

11. A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read.

Aside from A God in Ruins, I would say Stiletto, which is the sequel to The Rook and which I am very disappointed is only on my imaginary TBR. Review copy I want you!!!

12. How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

As of right now, 639. I might get around to them, someday?

Booking Through Thursday — Quotes

Today’s Booking Through Thursday is an easy one: “Do you have a favorite quote from a book?”

Why yes, yes I do. I used to keep better track of awesome book quotes, but I can tell you with certainty two of my favorite quotes, as they’re still hanging around on my Facebook page even if no one can really see them anymore. Neither is terribly upbeat, I notice, but they’re both awesome nonetheless.

“The world is unkind to the shoeless and frolicsome.”
This quote, from my beloved The Manual of Detection, comes after this beautiful passage about shoes and polished floors and socks and you should go click on that title and read it because I had to share it then and I have to share it now.

“Danger doesn’t brush her teeth, and probably has rabies.”
This is another quote I just had to share after reading. It comes from The Mischief Maker’s Manual, specifically a passage recounted here about staying away from danger, for realsies! It’s basically a fantastic life motto, and you should adopt it.

What are your favorite quotes?

Musing Mondays — Distractions

Today’s Musing Mondays question is… “Other than working at a job, what is your biggest interruption to reading? What takes you away from your book(s)?”

Those jobs, always getting in the way! But it’s true, I do sometimes find myself not reading even when I’m not getting paid to do other things… Usually the distraction is in the form of television shows, like when I spent most of December getting caught up with 30 Rock (only to fall behind again in January) or like last month when I discovered Community, or probably like next month when I’ll be recovering from jetlag with something completely mindless on Netflix. Suggestions?

The other thing that takes me away from reading, though less often, is video games. I’m not like the hubby who spends inordinate amounts of time shooting people and then shooting them again when they come back to life (seriously, if you think about Call of Duty too hard it breaks your brain) or building civilizations and making treaties and stuff, but if you give me a good tower defense game like GemCraft or a game I actually have to play with other people like Draw Something I can forget about books for hours or days at a time.

Thank goodness books don’t hold grudges…

Booking Through Thursday — Eternity

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question asks… “What book took you the longest to read, and do you feel it was the content or just the length that made it so?”

Hmm. If we’re talking in terms of when I picked it up for the first time and when I put it down for the last (well, I hope not last ever), I think that would be The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, which I started in the spring of 2007 and didn’t finish until the end of December 2009. That was a while. But in that case, I read a few of the short stories when I got it and then just didn’t read it until I was motivated to read it again, at which point I read all the stories in like two weeks. Not very long.

If we go by length of time spent actively reading a book, I’m pretty sure that would be Pillars of the Earth, a thousand-page book that I read a page or two at a time over the course of two months. It was intense, but ultimately worth it, and actually worked much better than that time I listened to the sequel over five weeks. In both of those cases, it was definitely the number of pages (or discs) that made the book take so long, both in that it just takes a long time to read that many words and because after an hour or so with no end in sight I needed a break!

Booking Through Thursday — Snap Recommendation

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is… “If someone asked you for a book recommendation, what is the FIRST book you’d think to recommend (without extra thought)?”

The SparrowThe Sparrow. That’s the absolute first thing that came to mind as I was reading the question. I’ve mentioned my adoration of this book before, and it still stands — this book is fantastic. And there’s something to appeal to all sorts of readers. If you like science, space, aliens, whatever, it’s a book about humans discovering life on another planet and going to see it for themselves. If you like to think deep thoughts about religion and morals, well, it happens to be a Church-sponsored trip with a Jesuit priest on board, and he comes back to Earth questioning his faith. If you like non-linear narratives, this one jumps between the Before and the After with ease. If you like to be a little grossed out THE HANDS OMG THE HANDS.

Anyway, why haven’t you read this book yet? Go! Go now!

Musing Mondays — Book Club

Today’s Musing Mondays question is… “Do you belong to any book clubs — face-to-face, or online? If so, how long have you been with the group(s)? If not, why?”

Book club! I love book club. I love book clubs, actually, as I am part of two lovely and wonderful groups.

The first group is one of my own devising, that I convinced a couple of college friends and my mother to start with me way back in the fall of aught-nine. We had a grand time reading and Skype-ing about and alternately loving and hating the chosen books for about a year, at which point all the grad-school kids got swamped with, like, real work and stuff and we had to take a year-long hiatus. But now we’re back (from outer space?) with more members and good books and I am very happy, because I heart my friends.

The second group is one here in Jacksonville, which I joined after eight months of being more or less a recluse in my new town. They were reading Middlesex, I love Middlesex, it was book club love at first meeting. We’ve read some stinkers, but the people who really hate a book are the ones who make the meetings hilarious, and because we meet in person we can always ignore the books in favor of food and tasty beverages. And just recently a bunch of us went to see The Hunger Games, a book club favorite, at the theater and it was a fantastic time.

In sum, books are wonderful and book clubs are a good way to read a book and make some friends at the same time.

Musing Mondays — Bookstore Beeline

Today’s Musing Mondays question asks, “When you walk into a bookstore — any bookstore — what’s the first section you head toward (what draws you)?”

Well, I have to admit that I don’t go into bookstores much these days, what with the working at two libraries and already having lots of their books on my shelves. But let me give you the lowdown on all of my book-finding habits.

At the public library, the first place I go is the holds shelf, because that’s where all of my books are, with my name on them and everything! Since I work in cataloging, I see all the new books come in and I tend to grab them up before anyone else even has a chance. If I’m somehow not retrieving holds, I’ll look over the various displays that the librarians have set up and see if one of those books on yoga or superheroes or whatever is of interest to me. At the branch by my house (not the one I work at), there’s a display of YA audiobooks that I like to look over because those tend to be easy and fun to listen to at work.

At my academic library, I again keep track of the new books that come in and grab the ones I want, though since they’re mostly fancy non-fiction things I don’t tend to kidnap as many. Well, I say this now; give me a few weeks and I’m sure I’ll be at my ten-book limit (or higher if I wield my override power!).

At my favorite used bookstore (Mac’s Backs in Cleveland), I’ll head straight to the mystery section to see if any Dorothy Sayers or Agatha Christie novels have managed to show up in used form — either no one ever trades these in or someone else like me is ready when they do, because I’ve only managed to get a couple this way. After that inevitable disappointment I’ll head over to the classics shelf and then make my way around to the general fiction.

At any other bookstore, I usually end up just starting at the front and/or the display tables and meandering my way around the store. You will also find me at the humor book section, reading weird things out loud to my husband while he tries to find something funnier with which to outdo me. He generally wins.

Et vous?

Musing Mondays — Series

Today’s Musing Mondays question is actually something I’ve been thinking about lately: “Do you read books that are part of a series? Do you collect all the books in the series before starting? What if the series is brand new, and the only book that’s been published so far is Book one? As subsequent books in the series are published, do you go back and re-read the preceding books?”

To the first question: Oh, heck yes, do I read series. Most recently I reported in on Flavia de Luce, but I’m also a sucker for a good Thursday Next, and I’ve mainlined series like the Codex Alera or the Bartimaeus trilogy or the Hitchhiker’s Guide “trilogy” after they were done or almost done and had a great time with them. And I often get tricked into reading series, like with the aforementioned Flavia, because I think they’ll stand alone but then they are totally series and I’m like, okay, sweet.

So, to the second: Yes. I’m generally not seeking out series to read, because I’m generally not planning my reading farther out than “Ooh shiny book,” so most of my series reading starts with the first book, or going back to the first book because the second one is shiny — but I do like to start at number one if I realize that that’s an option. If the series is finished and it’s reasonably short and I’ve heard good things, I’ll probably be interested in checking it out, but if it’s, say, fifteen or so 800-page books, it’s going to take some doing (see: my husband’s unending mission to get me to read the rest of the Wheel of Time series). Similarly, I re-read the then-entirety of Harry Potter before the fourth and fifth books came out, but for the last two I decided that there was just too much to go back for. So don’t ask me what happened in the last three books, because I’ve only read them once each!

The reason I’ve been thinking about series lately is that with the new job and all, I’m just not finding as much time to read as I did back in the days of grad school and unemployment, so I’m trying not to read things I’m not going to like. The problem with series, like, again, Flavia, is that sometimes one books is awesome and the next isn’t but then the next is awesome again and so I just don’t know what to do! I wasn’t thrilled with Tana French‘s third book, but I adored the first two… when the fourth comes out this summer, I know I’m going to read it but I don’t know if I’m going to like it. But I can’t not read it, because what if it’s amazing again? (See also: the third season of Coupling, which is absolutely terrible but I watched the whole dang thing.)

What about you guys? Do you get as anxious about series as I do? Are there any that I should give a chance?

Booking Through Thursday — Only Five

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question asks, “If you had to pick only 5 books to read ever again, what would they be and why?”

Okay. Five books that I wouldn’t get horribly terribly bored reading over and over again for the rest of my life. No big deal, right?

Well, the first one I would pick would be The Phantom Tollbooth, which I have already read about eight million times. I always find different parts to fall in love with all over again, so I could probably read it eight million more, easy.

The other four? That’s more difficult… there are plenty of books that I’ve read and would certainly love to read again, but forever? Or books that I’ve read twice or three times and enjoyed every time, but would I like them a fifth time? Augh!

So, let’s cheat a bit for the next one and pick Fragile Things, a short story collection I read recently and mostly enjoyed. So now I have like 30 stories I can pick and choose from, which makes the rest of my life a little more varied!

A hopeful choice would be The Sparrow, which I’ve only read once but I absolutely adored it and I keep telling everyone else to read it and now I kinda want to go read it again. So, fingers crossed that it has staying power!

Another book I’ve only read once but might be okay reading forever is The Manual of Detection — it’s technically a mystery novel, which would eliminate it from consideration because, hey, I already know whodunnit, but it’s so delightfully written that I think I could dip into it for a dose of wonderful every once in a while.

For a last book, let’s cheat some more and throw in the Oxford English Dictionary, because hey, I want value for my limit and that thing is honking big. And, I mean, it’s a dictionary! That’s useful AND educational AND entertaining if you’re a big enough nerd, which I totes am. I do miss my online access to the OED…

So there you go! Any objections to my list? Additions of your own?

Musing Mondays — Super Bowl Reading

Today’s Musing Mondays question is quite timely… “Did you do any reading in lieu of watching the football game, yesterday, or were you foregoing reading to watch the game? If you read a book (or books) what did you choose?”

I didn’t do anything in lieu of the football game… I actually had a bunch of friends over to watch the game, only one of whom had any care for who won. It was a good game, if you liked to bite your nails, but unfortunately my friend was a Pats fan, so… alas.

But, having people over meant I had to, like, vacuum and fold all the laundry and make the bed and stuff, and I thought it would take forever but it didn’t. This left me with some time to kill, so I picked up that Flavia de Luce mystery I mentioned last week and actually managed to finish it! I feel so accomplished now.