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 — 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!

On Serialized Novels

In case you haven’t noticed, my “pile I’m reading” sidebar has two books that have links on them, Makers and Dracula. These are the two serialized novels I’m currently reading and the first ones I’ve ever read as they were serialized. I have, of course, read a few Victorian serials in my life as an English major, but those were already put together as books! So what’s with this return to the serial?

While I sit around and read books cover-to-cover all the time, I know that there are employed people out there with less time on their hands for whom reading a quick blog post is much easier than picking up a book. There are also people, of which I was one while employed, who have some downtime at work but can’t be seen reading a book. To the internet!

An interesting thing is that I’m reading these two novels in serialized form for entirely different reasons. Dracula is a book that I’ve always meant to read, but never wanted to enough to just sit down and read it. Makers is an entirely new book that will be published as a whole in October but is being serialized from now until January. I started reading it because it’s by Cory Doctorow and I enjoyed Little Brother, and now I’m reading it because I’m curious about Doctorow’s vision of the future even if I think the book kind of stinks. And I can do that, because a new installment only comes out every other day and there are lots of other things I’m reading in between installments.

On the reading experience: Makers is easier to follow along, because installments come out regularly and are a chapter long each time. Dracula, the original novel, is epistolary and the blog version has a new post for each letter, with dates matching up in “real time” as it were. So near the beginning there were lots of journal entries from Jonathan Harker; right about now I’ve been reading many shorter entries from other characters. I think the blog is a great conceit, but some of the entries are so far apart, and the topics so disparate, that I have no idea what’s going on!

What do you guys think? Are you interested in serialized novels? Can you keep track of the action? Is there a book you’ve put down that you might read as a serial? Is there a serial you’ve stopped reading that you would have preferred as a book? Is your RSS reader too clogged up already?

Booking Through Thursday (23 July)

An easy Booking Through Thursday today… a list! I’m going to be extra-lazy and just bold the ones that apply to me.

Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date)

• Reading something frivolous? Or something serious?
Paperbacks? Or hardcovers?
Fiction? Or Nonfiction?
• Poetry? Or Prose?
Biographies? Or Autobiographies?
History? Or Historical Fiction?
• Series? Or Stand-alones? (No preference)
• Classics? Or best-sellers?
• Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose?
Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness?
Long books? Or Short?
• Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated? (No preference)
Borrowed? Or Owned?
New? Or Used?

How about you?

Booking Through Thursday (5 March)

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question:

“We’ve all seen the lists, we’ve all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet.

What’s the best book that YOU haven’t read yet?”

I… don’t know how to answer this question. Because, you know, I haven’t read these books I haven’t read. And previous “awesome books” I’ve tried to read (and even finished!) were just so awful to me that I couldn’t believe anyone would recommend them! Twilight and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, I’m looking at you.

But there are those truly awesome books… In the last year I’ve read a lot of great books, like The Sparrow, In the Woods and The Likeness, everything Jasper Fforde’s written, and Elantris, that I probably wouldn’t have read except that someone told me they were worth a read. Oh, and The Book Thief, which I’m reading right now and which is wonderful.

So you tell me. What are the best books out there that I should have read already?

Musing Mondays (2 March)

This week’s Musing Mondays question:

“When reading do you read every word? Do you ever skip chapters or skim over parts?”

I generally try not to skip over sections while reading fiction, because if I do I usually end up having to come back and read them again to see what I missed! That said, I often do have to come back to sections because I’ll zone out while reading and suddenly find myself in the middle of a page I can’t remember turning to. Oops.

Since I do end up reading everything, I will tell other people who are reading the same book what they can and can’t skip over and still understand the book, because sometimes there are just parts of a story that don’t matter to the plot, like the typewritten novel in Misery (which is also just difficult to read after some of the letters start going) or the comics in The Tenth Circle. They’re nice, but not necessary.

And, of course, in non-fiction books I don’t feel bad skipping over sections I don’t care about or already understand.

Booking Through Thursday (18 September)

This week’s question:

Autumn is starting (here in the US, anyway), and kids are heading back to school–does the changing season change your reading habits? Less time? More? Are you just in the mood for different kinds of books than you were over the summer?

This is a question I’ll be better able to answer next year… Now that I’m done with school my annual Summer Reading Project is essentially extended indefinitely. In previous years, I’ve barely read anything during the school year that wasn’t assigned, except for short kids books — the Wrinkle in Time series, the Lemony Snicket books, Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom (the newest of which I’m reading right now!).

Now that I live in summer vacation land, it’s much easier to keep up with books, so we’ll see how that goes. I’ve been reading more slowly than I thought because I have started a few new fall endeavors like orchestra and swing dancing, but I think I’ll be much better off without homework. 🙂