Anybody remember my Bookish Etsy feature last summer? It's back, sort of. This time I won't present different shops, but instead focus on sprucing up the home with all kinds of lovingly handmade and, most importantly, bookish stuff from various shops I've discovered. And I will kick off this (short) summer series on the blog with the most important room (at least to my inner reader) of the house ...
I hear that some do and others don't. Picking books to read by the season. At first the whole idea sounded a bit weird to me, but after contemplating this phenomenon for a bit, I realized that it's not all that far fetched. After all, many will read according to their current mood and the weather, which is more often than not related to the seasons, can influence your mood. That being said, the indication for a relationship between reading choices and the calendar is certainly there.
Bring on the romance in the sweltering heat. Hand me a mystery when it's raining outside.
Looking back on the books I read throughout the year I was met with the realization that I am apparently immune to the whole seasonal reading thing. Obviously I'll listen to my mood-meter when it comes to picking a book from my TBR stacks, but I don't really see any connection to the temperatures or what month it is. Granted, I will rather go for a Christmas-themed novel in the cold season, but that's about it.
Still, I was wondering, what kind of genres fit into which season? Are hot and steamy romance novels the perfect choice for hot summer days at the beach? Do cozy mysteries make a suitable read for those days when you stay in, preferably bundled up in a, wait for it, cozy (!) blanket? I can well imagine that this works for some readers, just not for me.
Light reads in summer. Heavy tomes in winter.
Or how about a slightly different angle, one that's not so much about different genres. Winter seems to favor those heavy volumes, in length and content, while summer is cut out for those light and fluffy reads. After all, when it's cold and nasty chances are you have no desire to venture outside anyway, thus those heavy tomes are the perfect fit to fill those long afternoons and evenings. During summer on the other hand, you'll probably be out and about a lot more, thus short books might be more fitting.
So, looking at the books I read in recent months I did at least notice one little thing. There is no apparent pattern when it comes to genres, but I tend to neglect books with higher page-counts when it's warmer. I guess, in my case, the warm months do bring out the short-books-reader in me while cold weather turns this habit upside down.
Come rain or shine, just bring a book, and everything's fine!
Do the seasons influence your reading choices? Will you rather pick light reads in the summer heat and weightier ones when snow is falling? Any preferred genres when it's cold/hot? Or maybe the calendar doesn't affect what you read at all?
Yep, it's been a while, but I didn't bother to make a post with the only book I got in June, so it's a bi-monthly book haul presentation again. As you can see I did make up for not shopping in June (the one book I did receive I won in a giveaway) and seriously stocked up during July. Go ahead and feast your eyes on my loot ...
Granted, I haven't exactly had a lucky hand when it comes to picking books by Mr. King, but I'm not one to give up easily. To be on the safe side I choose a moderately sized novel of roughly 450 pages which, come to think of it, basically qualifies as novella when you keep the length of some of his other books in mind.
Thoughts. Things don't look pretty for those who did not get zombified by making a call on their cell phone. Written in his trademark descriptive style, King takes on the zombie myth from a different angle. Gripping all the way through to the heart-stopping end, it left me with too many unanswered questions and the wish for more.
Last words spoken. Hey, Johnny-Gee, fo-fo-you-you.
Verdict. Zombies go science fiction from the Master of Horror!
Oh look, it's summer and maybe you haven't even noticed, but somehow I didn't sign up for any giveaway hops during July and August which makes me feel a little lazy and bad too. So I thought why not throw in my own little summer giveaway in which you can't win a book, but something you might still like as it's obviously bookish!
I bought this little literary beauty from Mibbi Design on Etsy and now want to share it with one of you, so go ahead and enter already ...
Here we have one of the best know escape stories in American history, which sounds dramatic and adventurous enough to be fiction, yet isn't. Maybe the perfect read for those who usually steer clear from non-fiction?
Writers write and bloggers blog and authors ... oh my!
Argh Ink ... isn't merely another author website, but the blog by chick-lit author Jennifer Crusie. So this is the place to be if you're interested in front row seats when Jenny shares stuff about her writing process or contemplates Dr. Who. Fun and sassy like her novels!
P.S.: Don't skip checking out the More Stuff section with such things as recipes from her books or fun Book Collages!
Outlines are the last resource of bad fiction writers who wish to God they were writing masters' theses.
InkyGirl ... this site by author and illustrator Debbie Ohi is all about writing and more writing, including the perennial favorite Will Write for Chocolate cartoons. And when chocolate just doesn't do the trick, how about going for the Writing Challenge that'll inspire you to, well, write a certain amount of words every day? A great place for everyone bookishly obsessed!
It was one of those days when a dozen cover reveals attacked me at once. Same cover, obviously. Now don't get me wrong, this has nothing to do with the fact that I am not easily excited by book covers in general, and I also realize that authors and/or publishers want to get word out and make readers curious about upcoming books, but (and there is always a but) it's just one of many symptoms a lot of book blogs are suffering from. Next to no original content.
It's all the same to me.
When blog content is the same on many a blog, why follow them all? Of course it will rarely happen that a blog will have zero original content, but yes, I've encountered some who have an estimated 8:2 ratio of promotional to original content. Makes you wonder about what's the point in blogging at all if you don't come up with anything yourself? Well, obviously it won't keep some bloggers to continue doing what they're doing. As for myself, I find this boring on the verge to annoying.
Blog tours and cover reveals are valuable tools when it comes to promoting books and authors, yet sometimes it's way too much for my taste. The fact that these blog posts are often generic doesn't help much either. I mean, I like interviews and guest posts as much as the next reader, but if you find the exact same posts on countless blogs, I move from being interested to being turned off.
Quantity over quality?
To some bloggers it's more about keeping readers entertained by posting regularly, even on a daily basis, than to go post-less for too long. When I decided to switch from daily blogging to my current schedule of four days a week I did so knowing that I could put enough original content into those and I didn't feel like posting "fillers" in form of press releases and book blitz events just for the sake of having daily posts to boast about.
Personally, I wouldn't buy a newspaper that's 80% ads and 20% original content, but then again maybe that's just me. Reading blogs is free, yet do you really want to get the same ol' same ol' where ever you look? Didn't think so! When a blog starts to become all fluff and no substance to me, I'm sorry to say, I will unfollow. Of course the odd promo post here or there won't turn me off, because it's really about finding a good balance to make the content of a blog interesting to readers. Ultimately, of course, your blog = your decision.
Balance is key.
What's your take on blogs who lack original content? Are you as easily annoyed by blog tours or cover reveals as I am? How much is too much for you when it comes to promotional posts?
Guess what I found in one (of many) boxes? A whole stack of thrillers that I bought over two years ago at a flea market. Time to finally let those novels see the light of day. And apart from the murderous theme, guess what these two books also have in common? The first sentences are only two words long ...
Thoughts. Dead bodies are turning up at a cemetery, but not quite where you'd expect them. A gritty and intense thriller that pulled me in from the get go. Loved the story-line and particularly the hardly-perfect main character was excellently devised. Add that the author's engaging narrative voice is a definite winner.
First line. Blue fingernails.
Verdict. Dark and gripping psychological thriller!
Thoughts. Fresh skeleton popping up at archaeological dig and yet more dead bodies keep on coming. Enjoyable enough, offering plenty of story on Tempe Brennan herself, I didn't care much about the actual mystery which felt rather bland to me. Probably shouldn't have started with a novel so late in the series either.
First line. Never fails.
Verdict. Bestseller to some, but a thriller that's bordering on boring for me!
It ain't over till it's over, but when it is, well, then it's really the end ...
Don't I love looking at history from a bit of a, say, different angle! Maybe that's the headman in my family tree talking (no kidding), but this book immediately caught my attention (despite being a bit squeamish).
Bookshelf Porn ... this photoblog was created to allow people to treat themselves to titillating pictures of books, libraries, bookstores and bookcases by showcasing the best bookshelf photos from around the world. If Pinterest were nothing but books, this would be it!
I'd love to write some porn, but I don't know if I have the right engines. When I was a young man and I was tempted to write porn, imaginary parents would appear over my shoulder and read what I was writing; just about the point that I managed to banish the imaginary parents, real children would lean over my shoulder and read what I was writing.
Once this post goes live you have two days (48 hours) to enter by filling out the form!
Please note: This giveaway is open worldwide, but only for countries TBD offers free shipping to - please check here.
Comments do not count as entries - you must fill out the form!
Following my blog is no requirement, but greatly appreciated.
One entry per person.
One winner will be picked through random.org on July 18th and will then be contacted by e-mail as well as announced here on my blog. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and if he/she fails to do so I will draw a new winner.
Not many would actually admit to this, but here I am, not afraid to spill the terrible truth - sometimes I sneak a peek at the last pages of a book *gasp*.
Of course I'm doing really doing this on purpose. The scenario runs more along the lines of the book accidentally slipped from my hand and landed with the pages opened to the last page and ... all right, all right that ain't the full truth. Fact is, the books needs to fall out of my grasp repeatedly until it finally falls open at the right part of the book. It's sad, I know. One should think I had perfected the process by now.
Boredom vs Suspense
Actually there are two reasons why one would want to spoil the reading fun by reading the end first. For one the book could be amazingly boring and you simply want to find out how it ends before throwing it into a corner. And then there's the situation when suspense is literally killing you and you just can't go on reading the next chapter without knowing whether things will really end the way you hope they will.
Personally, when I'm bored by the book I don't really care about how it'll end. If it's a gripping plot on the other hand I've been known to battle my inner reading demons, but more often than not they win and I will eventually give in and risk a glance. Want an example? Mockingjay was one of those books where I just had to know which guy Katniss would go for. There, I said it.
Is there a cure for sneaky readers?
Actually there is a real good one, at least it works great for me. In short - read on your Kindle. Granted, you can also switch between pages, but it's a much more deliberate thing to do than, say, play the oops-the-book-fell-to-the-floor-with-the-last-pages-open-for-everyone-to-see game. So far this worked like a charm for me. I caught myself several times contemplating to get sneaky and head to the final pages, but up until now I've been a good reader and managed to resist.
What it all boils down to is that sneaking a peek is a bad habit. As far as those go, satisfying your curiosity is probably not the worst thing you could engage in. Of course I wish I had the willpower to always resist the temptation, but I am at least getting better, scolding myself when I think about a lil', errr, preview and it's honestly been a while since I turned to that last page. So, I'm getting there. Curious little me and her sneaky reading habit.
You might not be perfect, but you'll be in the know.
Are you just as sneaky as I am sometimes? Or would you never risk a tiny look at the last pages of a book? If you do what are your reasons - curiosity or boredom?
Thoughts. Girl falls for bad guy who isn't all that bad in the end, and how could he, considering the whole angel theme. Basically a run of the mill YA novel with an average and foreseeable plot line, though I did enjoy the author's voice which was refreshingly sassy.
First line. Chauncey was with a farmer's daughter on the grassy banks of the Loire River when the storm rolled in, and having let his gelding wander in the meadow, was left to his own two feet to carry him back to the chateau.
Thoughts. Poison. Assassination. Magic. A well rounded plot which reminded me of one of my favorite books with its character depiction and world building, so obviously I was instantly hooked. Surprisingly dark and brutal for YA it would have made an even better adult novel!
First line. Locked in darkness that surrounded me like a coffin, I had nothing to distract me from my memories.
A workplace filled with people who've got a smile on their face. If your day at the office is a tad more frustrating, you might want to get a few clues here, or better still, give your boss a copy of this book.
Many avid blog readers will already be familiar with these two havens of book purchases, so this is for those newbies who love to book shop while saving a buck or two!
The Book Depository ... founded in 2004 and based in the UK TBD is one of the world's largest dedicated online booksellers, currently offering over nine million unique titles, available for dispatch within 48 hours, to be shipped free of charge to over 100 countries. Can't make up your mind what to buy? Watch other people buying in real time!
The art of reading is in great part that of acquiring a better understanding of life from one's encounter with it in a book.
AwesomeBooks ... equally founded back in 2004, AwesomeBooks caters to customers who know a good bargain when they see one. Stocking over two million items, in both used or new condition, with free shipping to UK, USA, Canada and most of Europe at present (and low delivery charges to the rest of thew world), this is the go-to place for everyone who loves used books.
Now wouldn't it be nice to have our favorite characters with us on that notoriously deserted island? Sadly we can't always have what we want and so it's probably a whole lot more likely to be stranded with someone we positively do not want to be stranded with ...
Which literary characters wouldn't you want to be stranded on a deserted island with?
Seeing how summer is here, well at least in the northern hemisphere, and many folks are taking vacations to exotic and far away places, how about giving that whole deserted island scenario a whole new twist. I know many could think of nothing more horrible than being stuck there with their family (just kidding ... maybe), but things could always be worse. They usually are. So let's discuss our ultimate bad-dreams-cast for our stay on that island!
1. Hannibal Lecter
I guess I don't really have to explain that one, do I? Then again, making his acquaintance is probably better than ending up as shark food while trying to escape. At least he'd make fabulous dinner conversation (apart from the ugly fact that I'd be dinner *gulp*).
2. Bella Swan
Seriously, what would she be good for on that island? She doesn't quite strike me as the kind of girl who'd more than whine all the time. On the upside, she likes guys who're all fangy so with Hannibal eat... I mean distracting her, I could plan my getaway.
3. Hänsel & Gretel
Don't give me that look! Would you want to be stuck there with kids who'd shove you into the fire pit just so they could scoff the last piece of chocolate you've been hiding? I think not.
4. Robinson Crusoe
Granted, that'd be a guy who already knows the ropes, but let's not forget he must still be traumatized by having been stranded before, so he'd probably go completely nuts and things are already awful with all of the above mentioned folks.
As much as I might long for (wo)mans best friend as a companion on the island, I'm afraid a rabid dog is just bad news. Of course dear Bella might like the pooch, seeing how she's into the whole teethy biting thing, but as for myself, I would have to stay warm by not leaving the fire pit those brats previously pushed me into.
Which literary characters would you not want to be stuck with on an island? Maybe you wouldn't mind to find yourself with one of my nightmare-cast?
And who would have thought I'd be reading more cozy mysteries this week? Apart from Rikki who's already rubbing her hands in anticipation of getting a whole stack from me anytime soon (I just realized I first said that back in April or so, but the time has come ... hopefully maybe). So bring on the dead bodies!
Thoughts. Book restoration, bookbinding class, and murder ... over books! Perfectly themed for me, this was a fast and lighthearted read with a bit of reluctant sleuth which I found rather refreshing. The whole hippie-angle wasn't quite up my alley but I might read more of the series anyway.
Random quote. In his hand, he was clutching the Oliver Twist I'd restored so lovingly. In the middle of his forehead was a bullet hole.
Verdict. Fluffy almost chick-lity mystery of the bookish kind!
Thoughts. Why not write a cozy mystery from a new Mom's perspective? It could have worked, but didn't. The narrative is clipped and somewhat rushed. The characters are bland and far from likable. And overall the plot just isn't believable. Threw the diaper after chapter 5!
Random quote. "Can you tell me who the body was?" I asked. He scratched his head. "It was in the papers. Didn't you read about it?" "I just had a baby. I haven't been doing a lot of reading lately."
Verdict. Exceptionally dull and badly written Mom-ish mystery!
Thoughts. If knitting isn't cozy enough for you just throw in a murder of a yarn shop owner and have the knitting gals solve the crime. A light read and as cozy as cozy can get with a mystery that I saw through even before the dead body turned up. Totally smitten with the lovely cover!
Last line. Who could predict what new adventures - in knitting and in life - awaited?
Verdict. A crafty book for everyone who prefers mellow mysteries!
Looking back at the darkest chapter of the 20th century is usually, as far as books go, revolving around personal fates of people, a fate that sometimes comes with pictures and a soundtrack ...
Adolf was big on propaganda movies, but how about the film industry of the time in general? A bit of a neglected area of movie making, not just for fans of old Hollywood films, but history buffs alike.
Straight from the movies to the sonic landscape of WWII this book sounds (pun fully intended) like a fascinating approach to the relevance of music, be it propaganda (again) or simple entertainment, of the time.
Time to revisit some sites no blogger and/or reader can (or should) go without!
Goodreads ... launched in 2007 Goodreads has become the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Just add all the books you own, have read, plan to read, write reviews, browse lists, answer trivia questions, participate in reading challenges, chat in groups, and if there's time left, read the book you were lucky enough to win in the First Reads giveaways.
Don't classify me, read me. I'm a writer, not a genre.
LibraryThing ... created in 2006 LibraryThing is yet another online service to help people catalog their books easily. It's about quality cataloging, book-geekery, and of course, libraries. Available in more than half a dozen languages, with unique features such as book haikus and legacy libraries, all wrapped in the trademark "dead salmon color".
Time to fess up, guys. Time to share how old you really are ...
Have you ever read any book(s) published the year you were born?
When you reach a certain age it's actually not all that easy to even come up with books that were published during a certain year, especially when that year was many many maaany decades ago. The good thing though about living in the present is that you simply have to google your way to the needed information, which is basically what I did, because honestly, I was pretty clueless as to whether I've even read anything that hit the bookstore in 1974. There, I said it, I am old.
Oldies but Goldies.
Actually my googling adventures took me straight to Goodreads, namely this page. After browsing through this list I came to the conclusion that a) there are a number of books with a familiar ring to them (well, at least I heard about them, ahem) and b) I haven't read a whole lot of the books on the list (like I said, I know some of the titles, I'm just not familiar with what's between the covers). Looking on the bright side, I am happy to announce that I did find a (small) handful which I did in fact read over the many many maaany years of my existence.
The first book that jumped out at me was The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (Heinrich Böll) a book we had to aka were forced to read back in high school. Admittedly I don't remember this one all that fondly - too dry and too intellectual for my taste, at least back when I was still a teenager, it was just one of many dull reads I had to plow through for school. It's still a miracle to me how all those mandatory reads didn't turn me off reading for good.
From the hazards of tabloid journalism to equally horrible prom nights.
The second book I read is one that many of might have read as well, or maybe you at least watched the movie. The books is Carrie(Stephen King) which is a true horror classic up to this day. And did you know it was, obviously, one of Mr. King's earliest novels too? Back then he actually wrote relatively short books.
Now, only mentioning two books might be a bit lame, but for the life of me I couldn't find any other on that list. Of course I could have googled away some more, but then again I wouldn't want to discourage you, my dear readers, by listing pages and pages of books that have been published the year I was born (and which I've read, as I should probably add).
When people start referring to certain books as classics, you're bound to feel old.
Have you read book(s) that came out the year you were born? If so, why not share the titles and whether you liked them or not! Or in case you haven't, are there any books as old as yourself which you'd like to read?