Category Archives: Memes

BTT: Booking it heavy

Booking through Thursday this week:

What’s the largest, thickest, heaviest book you ever read? Was it because you had to? For pleasure? For school?

Well, I’ve read both War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Anna I’ve read twice, and I think I would like to read again at some point. And yes, it was for school. I did an entire semester of Tolstoy and one of Gogol. I’m pretty well-versed in Tolstoy and Gogol (in fact, my senior paper was on The Church versus the Devil in Gogol’s Ukrainian stories, which is something everyone wants to know about).

I’ve also read Gone With the Wind, which is also pretty hefty. Oh, and let’s throw in some Dickens (Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities). There’s also Leon Uris (Mila 18 and Exodus) not to mention James A. Michener (although, at the moment, I can’t remember what I read, but it probably had a lot of setting).

And, of course, Jane Eyre. Who could forget Jane?

In other words, big, fat books? Bring. Them. On.

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WWW Wednesday: it’s here again!

Again, courtesy of Should Be Reading, comes WWW Wednesday:

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next? 

Currently reading:

  • Leaving A Trace: On Keeping a Journal by Alexandra Johnson (Taking a cue from Oh! and going through some of the many writing craft books I own. This one is very low key.)
  • The Hollow by Jessica Verday (commute book on audio)
  • An awesome manuscript written by a friend (on the Kindle. Man, I love my Kindle.)

Recently Read:

  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (Why hadn’t I read this before? It’s utterly charming.)
  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (I just finished this … OMG. I. Loved. It. It’s incredible. I’m going to have to do a fangirl post/review of this one.)

Up next:

  • Rita books. The box has not yet arrived, but I expect it any day now.
  • Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman

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Teaser Tuesday: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“History is a Rorschach test, people,” she said. “What you see when you look at it tells you as much about yourself as it does about the past.”

~ p. 300, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

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Teaser Tuesday: Ruby’s Slippers

From the blog Should be Reading comes Teaser Tuesday. What fun! I’ve seen this one a round for a while and finally decided to give it a try.

The rules:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Judging by his car, which is about a third of the size of Nana Dottie’s and looks like it only drives one speed–fast–Papa Harry must’ve been very fun. Momma’s never really talked about him, and whenever I ask any questions, she simply kisses my head, says that sometimes grown-ups do very silly things, and offers to make me a double-decker grilled cheese sandwich.

~ p. 51, Ruby’s Slippers, by Tricia Rayburn

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It’s been a while since I booked

It’s been a while since I Booked through Thursday and this was too tempting to resist.

(Side note: I used the new link helper in WordPress. Why it only found some books and not others, I don’t know. But there you have it.)

1. Favorite childhood book?

I’m not sure how to define “childhood” re: reading. Do I answer The Lonely Doll? The Secret Seven? Trixie Belden? The Chronicles of Narnia? Jane Eyre, which I (first) read when I was twelve or so. See? This list is endless.

2. What are you reading right now?

Insatiable by Meg Cabot (audio book in the car)

The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White (on the nightstand)

3. What books do you have on request at the library?

Many. Take a look:

  1. Beastly by Alex Flinn
  2. The Body at the Tower by Y. S. Lee
  3. A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth Bunce
  4. The Duff by Kody  Keplinger
  5. Faithful Place by Tana French
  6. The good soldiers by David Finkel
  7. The Hunger Games Book 3 by Suzanne Collins (CAN. NOT. WAIT)
  8. Infinite Days by Rebecca  Maizel
  9. A kiss in time by Alex Flinn
  10. Matched by Allyson  Condie
  11. Nomansland by Lesley  Hauge
  12. The passage by Justin Cronin
  13. Plain Kate by Erin Bow
  14. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
  15. Runaway by Meg Cabot
  16. The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek
  17. The talent code : [unlocking the secret of skill in sports, art, music, math, and just about anything] by Daniel Coyle
  18. The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
  19. War by Sebastian Junger

4. Bad book habit?

Buying and then not reading them, or at least not reading them for a very long time.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

  1. Insatiable by Meg Cabot
  2. I am not a serial killer by Dan Wells
  3. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
  4. Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford
  5. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

6. Do you have an e-reader?

Yes, a Kindle.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

I usually have two going at a time, one in the car and one for elsewhere.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

No, they’ve changed since I started writing. I read a little less (a girl needs time to write after all) and I read more carefully, not to mention slowly.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)

Probably one (or two/three) books I judged for the Rita. And because I judged them for the Rita, I can’t tell you what they are. (You’re consumed with curiosity, aren’t you?)

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?

Do I have list just one? In no particular order:

  1. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
  2. What I Saw And How I Lied by Judy Blundell
  3. The Likeness by Tana French
  4. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

I try to do this on a regular basis. I think it’s good for a writer to do this.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

Young Adult

13. Can you read on the bus?

Ack! No! Motion sickness! Motion sickness!

14. Favorite place to read?

Anywhere (relatively) quiet

15. What is your policy on book lending?

I give books away. If I need/want another copy, I’ll buy it.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?

No, but I don’t have a breakdown when other people do.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

Text books/books for research I might.

18.  Not even with text books?

See above.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

English, although I used to be able to read in German and Russian.

20. What makes you love a book?

A combination of things–compelling character(s), a story that won’t quit, and a theme that speaks to me.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

Probably the above, in #20.

22. Favorite genre?

Young adult. Ha. A cheat, since you can get anything in YA these days.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)

Historical nonfiction.

24. Favorite biography?

How about a memoir, which would have to be Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

Yes, I tend toward those that promise to make me smarter or a better writer. It’s a never-ending quest, really.

26. Favorite cookbook?

Bwhahahaha. That’s all I’m going to say.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?

Nonfiction: Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity was short and fun, with some good advice. I like a book with attitude. Outliers also had some interesting information. (See #25 where I’m trying to be smarter and a better writer.)

Fiction: See favorite books.

28. Favorite reading snack?

Tea.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

Ruined? Maybe When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, which I enjoyed very much and think it deserves all the awards it has received. But by the time I read it, I was expecting it to also clean my house and make me coffee in the morning.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

Meh. Totally depends. Many times I wonder if we’ve read the same book.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

I don’t. Give them, that is. I do read books that simply aren’t for me, since I try to read widely (I think that’s important as a writer.) And I do analyze why a book didn’t work for me, but I generally keep those conclusions to myself.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

I’d love to get back up to speed and read in Russian.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?

Anna Karenina–in Russian.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?

All those big fat historical nonfiction books I have.

35. Favorite Poet?

Pushkin.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

A handful.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?

For audio books if I cannot stand actor’s voice, I hit eject and back it goes. Commuting is bad enough. Commuting with someone whose voice grates on you? No thanks.

38. Favorite fictional character?

Elizabeth Bennet

39. Favorite fictional villain?

Um, I can’t think of one. Maybe because I tend to think villain = moustache-twirling bad guy, and I like books with antagonists who: 1) are often redeemed, 2) relatable and human, if tragically flawed.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?

Whatever is next in the queue.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.

I don’t know. I’m drawing a blank on this one. Probably when I was deployed to the Gulf, during that window of time when things were happening. I don’t think I read then.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.

Le Divorce. I got bored. I actually put it down at the 3/4 mark, right before the murder. That’s how much I didn’t care.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

Kids’ TV programs. Oy.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

The A&E version of Pride and Prejudice. Really, how can you not love this:

On a related note, I also think that Bridget Jones’s Diary is a better movie than book (especially the last act, structure-wise).

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

I’m sure there are many, but I often avoid movies made from books I love. My son would probably say The Lightning Thief.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?

A lot, especially around the holidays.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Not often. Plus, it’s really hard to skim an audio book.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?

Boredom.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

Since they’re not organized, I’m going with: no.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?

I do have books that are keepers, but I also like giving them away, especially if someone really wants a book.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

Like doubling back the way I came when I see them on the street … oh, wait. No. I don’t think I have. Except those exceptionally long historical nonfiction ones, that is.

52. Name a book that made you angry.

The Dark Side by Jane Mayer (Actually, I think this was an excellent book, it’s the subject matter that made me angry.)

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?

The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Interestingly enough, this one wasn’t working for me until the last fourth or so. I’m glad I listened to this one on audio, otherwise I might not have hung in there with it, but I’m glad I did.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?

The last in a YA trilogy I was reading. I really wanted to like it, but it felt off to me from the first chapters. I finally hit eject and went to read a spoiler-y review and realized I’d figured everything (pretty much) without having to read the last book. Sigh.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?

YA and now middle grade. I’ve been reading a lot in the Aladdin imprint of Simon and Schuster (market research). These are sweet, fun, fast-paced books and I’ve really enjoyed them.

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Writing practice ~ Write on Wednesday

From Becca’s Write on Wednesday:

How about you? Do you have a writing practice? What’s it like? How has it helped you become a better writer? If you’re thinking about starting a writing practice, how do you envision it? What would work for you?

Over on the Write on Wednesday site, Becca has a great summary of what writing practice is, along with author Natalie Goldberg’s take on it.

I do writing practice or morning pages or whatever you want to call it every morning. Like Becca I really need that first cup of coffee to get going. It goes pretty much like this:

  • Start the coffee
  • Open up my notebook
  • Write down the date and a few words
  • Zone out for a bit
  • Get coffee
  • Write

After that, I work out (after three cups of coffee, I’m beyond ready to work out). Over the years, I’ve experimented with the best time for writing practice/coffee/exercise. Starting back in November 2007, I finally hit upon the combination that works (at least for now).

Back in the day, as a young lieutenant, I used to laugh at the “old” warrant officers and sergeants who’d show up at first formation with a large cup of coffee. They’d say, “Just you wait, ma’am. Just you wait.”

These days, I so need that cup (or three) in the morning–both to write and exercise. And I hereby extend an apology to Chief Warrant Officers F. and M. along with Master Sergeant D. You guys were right.

A friend of mine called morning pages/practice “the best therapy money can’t buy.” Julia Cameron recommends them for all artists, not just writers. I think, initially, it’s hard to get past not writing something of significance.

These days, I happily litter my morning pages with Internet shorthand (I seem to LOL to myself a lot) and litanies about how tired I am (generally written before that second cup).

So, writing practice. Like the swearing (see yesterday’s post), it’s something I highly recommend.

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Booking literature

Booking Through Thursday

  • When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)
  • Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

Argh. I hate this literary vs. genre argument with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. I love Fitzgerald (Darcy and I have a serious thing for The Great Gatsby). Love “Shapespeare” as Andrew used to call him. Spent serious time with the Russians (Tolstoy, Pushkin, Chekhov).

I enjoy genre. I enjoy literary and literature. I think it’s important for writers to read outside their comfort zone. If, for no other reason, to understand what it is they don’t like about it and why.

But then, we love absolutes, don’t we? All genre is escapist fluff. All literary is pretentious, tragic, and obscure. All classics are boring. And sure, you could probably find plenty of evidence to support those statements.

And I don’t buy the: I’m busy, so when I read, I want to be entertained. Uh, same here. The way I see it, all fiction (and a great deal of nonfiction) is escapist. If it’s not my reality, then chances are I’m escaping.

Sometimes it is good to grab a comfort read, something you know will make you laugh, or has a guaranteed happy ending. And sometimes, those tougher reads help us make sense of the world, understand why the bad things happen.

As a reader, I need both of those. As a writer, I’d be negligent if I didn’t at least consider all types of writing.

I’ve been called a literary snob for not liking The Da Vinci Code. It wasn’t so much the writing (nothing to uh, write home about), but the topic. Conspiracy. Yawn. Whatev. If I’d been into the subject matter, then I probably would’ve been into the book.

On the flipside, it has also been suggested I’m somewhat less of a writer for choosing to write young adult fiction–that somehow fiction with teen characters aimed at a teen demographic is lacking in all the elements you’d find in adult fiction.

My response: whatev.

So, y’all go fight among yourselves. I’m going to go back to reading whatever happens to appeal to me, despite its label.

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Booking Through Thursday: Format

Booking through Thursday this week:

All other things (like price and storage space) being equal, given a choice in a perfect world, would you rather have paperbacks in your library? Or hardcovers? And why?

I was surfing around some of the responses and was delighted to discover I’m not the only one who likes trade paperback. I like the size. Mass market feels claustrophobic to me and hardcovers are heavy.

And since we’re in recovery mode from The Jonas Brothers concert last night, that’s about all I have to say on the great hardcover/trade/mass market debate.

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123 meme and One Love for Liv

I’ve been tagged (a really long time ago, well, a week, in any case)! Chris over at Book-a-Rama tagged me with the 1-2-3 meme (and a nice award as well):

1). Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
2). Open the book to page 123
3). Find the fifth sentence
4). Post the next three sentences
5). Tag five people

The closest book? The one in my inbox, which is One Love for Liv by Marianne Arkins. Here’s what’s five sentences in on page 123:

She set out two salmon steaks on sheets of foil, then seasoned them carefully according to the directions. She only hoped she got the right amount. Some of it called for a “pinch” or “to taste”.

Ha! Clearly a woman after my own heart. Yeah, what’s up with a pinch and taste? Sure, we can put a man on the moon, but we can’t figure out measurements for such things. Because let me tell you, salting to taste certainly means something different to you than it does to Andrew. Trust me on that one. 

I haven’t read the rest of the scene yet to find out how the salmon steaks turn out. Maybe Marianne will stop by and let us know.

I’m going to tag Anno, Jen, Judy, Marianne (yeah, I know you’re boycotting memes), and Mary. Totally voluntary, too. No meme-angst here.

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Booking Through Thursday: When all the love is gone

Hey, I had to do this one today, since it comes from Chris over at Book-a-Rama. Go, Chris!

I had a post ready for today, but I liked this suggestion from Chris even better, so … thanks, Chris!

Here’s something for Valentine’s Day.

Have you ever fallen out of love with a favorite author? Was the last book you read by the author so bad, you broke up with them and haven’t read their work since? Could they ever lure you back?

For me, there are two issues. The fall out of love one and the burn out one. If I really love an author, and want to keep that loving feeling, I ration his/her books. I don’t glom. True, if it’s someone trying to establish a career, I’ll go out buy his/her book (release week sales can be crucial), but I might not read it for a while.  

Then there’s the fall out of love issue.

Exhibit A:

The Body Farmby Patricia Cornwell. I put this one down when I was about one third of the way through. Never went back. In fact, I’d say this was the start of not reading mysteries in general for me, and in particular, serial killers. Sorry, I’ve reached my lifetime quota for serial killers.

Exhibit B:

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. About the time Bella decided to jump off that cliff (highlight to see spoiler text), I decided I was done. Now, I’m into teenage and/or teenage vampire angst as much as the next person (or quite possibly more), but there’s angst, and then there’s angst.  Thing is, I really enjoyed the back-story and vampire lore in the series, but I don’t see myself reading the remaining books any time soon.

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