Musing Mondays (14 September)

Today’s Musing Mondays: “Do you find yourself forming trends in your reading? Is this a conscience act, influenced by either your own interests or current publishing fads?”

Back in July I read a bunch of thrillers because BookPage had done a write-up of some in one of their issues and the ones I requested all came in to the library at the same time, it seemed. But then I had to send some back unread because I read too many thrillers all at once.

And I’ve been re-reading books lately, because of a challenge. And sometimes I get caught up in series and just have to read the next one even though I totally meant to read something else.

And “current publishing fads” usually make me vomit a little (metaphorically, I promise) and then I totally don’t read about vampires or zombies or whatever the “cool” thing is that season.

But I did fall for those wizard shenanigans pretty hard, so I guess I can’t say it never happens!

Booking Through Thursday (10 September)

Booking Through Thursday this week is, “What’s the most informative book you’ve read recently?”

I have to giggle a little bit, because the answer to this question is not what I thought it would be. I was thinking I’d go to the archives and I’d see one of those non-fiction books I read so infrequently, but actually, the most recent informative book I’ve read is… B is for Beer, a silly novel written in a children’s style about a five-year-old who becomes intrigued by beer. The author throws a lot of facts about beer and beer-making into the story, capped off by a drunk brewery tour! I was constantly turning to Scott and saying things like, “Did you know that there are 39 billion gallons of beer sold every year?” So informative!

So… yeah! Moral of the story is, sometimes you learn more things from children’s books than you do from literary criticism

Musing Mondays (7 September)

Today’s Musing Monday is… “What is your preferred method of listening to audio books? Where and when do you listen to them?”

I don’t read many audiobooks, because I’m pretty bad about zoning out when reading and I need the safety net of being able to go back a few sentences or paragraphs to where I stopped paying attention.

But Scott likes having audiobooks to listen to while he’s playing video games and whatnot, so I’ve been trying to get more interested in them. We had success a few weeks ago with The Bad Beginning, probably because it’s short and not very complicated and also I’d already read it. Oh, and it’s narrated by Tim Curry and I could listen to him read the phone book. I’ve checked out The Reptile Room, and perhaps soon we will listen to that together as well.

Booking Through Thursday (3 September)

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question is… “What’s the biggest book you’ve read recently? (Feel free to think “big” as size, or as popularity, or in any other way you care to interpret.)”

Let me check my recent posts… hmm… I think I have to go with The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I re-read in August. It is pretty long (over 500 pages in my trade paperback) and when I read it it was rather popular, what with the movie coming out and everything.

I could (and will!) also list Princeps’ Fury, which is not a chunkster like some of its brethren but is part of one of those epic fantasy series (though not as epic as some).

Speaking of sweeping epic fantasy series, Scott is trying to get me to continue on with the Wheel of Time series, of which I have read the first book, more than a year ago. I would maybe be interested, but I feel like those are the sort of books you have to read at least rather close to each other or else lose the thread of the story. What do you think? If I’m not planning on reading more than, say, one every two months, is it worth getting into?

Musing Mondays (31 August)

Today’s Musing Mondays is rather appropriate considering my Friday post, I think. “Do you buy books as gifts for children – either your own or those of friends or family? Would you buy books for all children, or only children who are already practiced readers?”

Books are the only things I buy my youngest brother for present-giving days. My parents indulge him with collectible card games and video games and such; I give him paper. 🙂 He used to be a little miffed when he opened up a book from me, but now he lets me know what books he wants in advance! He actually told me over the weekend (his birthday’s not until practically December!) that he wants “learning books and A-Z Mysteries”, so we’ll see what he ends up with. My beloved Jo-Beth has its kids bargain book blowout coming up, and there’s always good stuff to be had there!

I don’t currently have any other kid-types to buy things for, but when I imagine tiny people and the gifts I would buy them, I definitely see books headed their way.

Farewell, Reading Rainbow

Reading Rainbow has its last episode today (after 26 years!), and NPR did a story on it. I think what’s interesting to note is that funding is shifting more toward TV shows that teach kids how to read rather than shows that give kids new books to read. I, personally, think that’s a crying shame.

I didn’t really watch Reading Rainbow on purpose as a kid, because I was generally well above the reading level of the books on the show. But part of the reason I read so well is because I read. A lot. I would regularly grab 10 books every time my mother took me to the library and have them read in a week or less. Did I grab so many books because someone once taught me phonics? Heck no!

I read then, and read now, because someone once gave me a love of reading. My teachers and my librarians said, “You should read these Baby-sitter’s Club books! Or how about some Bruce Coville? Oh, I bet you’d love Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys!” And I did. And I read them all, because they were good. And then those teachers and librarians looked at what I was reading and suggested similar but more difficult books. And I never stopped reading.

My 20-year-old brother hated reading until my grandmother gave him the first three Harry Potter books. Now he reads epic fantasy, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at! My 10-year-old brother has had to deal with all of the ridiculous Ohio achievement testing and teachers having to teach to these tests since he started school, and gets poor marks on the reading sections because he reads lower than his grade level. But he’s already given me his birthday and Christmas list of books I should buy him, so I think he’s going to turn out better than the good readers in his class who don’t want to read.

I was pondering taking some youth services courses for my library science degree, but this article, among other things, is really making that decision seem like an excellent one.

Booking Through Thursday (27 August)

Today’s Booking Through Thursday is… “What’s the lightest, most “fluff” kind of book you’ve read recently?”

Hmm. I’m not sure just what qualifies as fluff. If it’s “non-serious” reading, I think pretty much everything I read is fluff! For argument’s sake, I’m going to define fluff (for today only!) as something short, fun, and non-brain-needing.

And so, I offer you The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. It is weird, it is British, it has next to no plot, it takes a couple hours to read, and the only time you need your brain is to tell it not to worry about a hyperintelligent shade of the color blue. Because if you think too hard about that, your brain will explode.

Musing Mondays (24 August)

Today’s Musing Mondays is… “Do you prefer to read stand-alone books, or books in series? Do you stick with a series the whole way through or stop after the first instalment? Are there any particular series you enjoy?”

Oh, I love series. Love love love. The ones I’ve blogged to completion (or temporary completion, at least) are Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next and Nursery Crime and John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. I’m also chugging along through Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera at the moment, among many other series.

What I like about series novels is that you can really get to know the characters and that you pretty much know what to expect when you pick up the next book. Good comfort reading! Of course, there are downsides to series, as well, namely that you have to wait a while (or a long while) for a conclusion.

Generally I keep up with series until they disappoint me, at which point I stop reading. (For Twilight, this took only one book.) Then, if I know someone else who has read/is reading the same series, I’ll ask them to tell me what happens next and if I’m interested I’ll try one more book.

Booking Through Thursday (20 August)

It’s definitely been simple questions month over at Booking Through Thursday… this week’s is, “What’s the best book you’ve read recently?”

Well. The best book I’ve read recently is one that I’ve read before, The Time Traveler’s Wife. It is excellent and you should go read it right now.

I also want to mention the best new book I’ve read recently, and that’s Woman With Birthmark. It’s a neat little murder mystery wherein the reader gets to know the murderer first, then a murderee, then the police trying to solve the murder.

Both of these books would make good beach reads or good coffeehouse reads or good plane reads, etc., so no excuses! Go read them.

Musing Mondays (17 August)

Today’s Musing Mondays is… “How do you react to movies made of your favourite books (or even not-so-favourite books)? Do you look forward to seeing them, or avoid them? Do you like to have read the book before seeing the movie?”

This is appropriate, as I’m still sort of avoiding seeing The Time Traveler’s Wife (a review of which will be up tomorrow), since I loved the book so much both times I’ve read it and the clips I’ve seen on the NYT website looked rather unlike the scenes they were meant to represent from the book. You know.

Generally, I don’t much care for movie adaptations of books, though I do tend to read books that get made into movies. In the optimal case, I’ll see the movie first and then read the book, because the book is almost always better (unless it’s just different, which is also a good thing) and I’d rather have that be my second impression of a story.

But then you have things like the Harry Potter series, which I loved and adored and so I saw the movies, and they were sort of okay at first and then they got increasingly terrible after the third one (my favorite because it’s just different, as above). And that discourages me, so I try not to pay good money to see film versions of books I adore and rather wait until I can just rent or borrow them. Then I can just turn them off if I get too frustrated.