Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

This fun hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week's question:

Are your reviews more of a rehash of the story or do you comment on writing style, characters, and reflection?

My response:

Before I respond, I should explain that I like to know as little as possible before I read a book, so I can experience it with a totally open mind. If I know too much about the plot, or about a plot twist or something (or I've heard a bunch of spoilers), I find that while I read I'm busy wondering when that twist is coming, or wondering when some event will happen, and I feel distracted from the reading. 

I've also found that many book summaries from publishing companies give away a lot of what happens in the book - in fact, that happened to me with a recent NetGalley read. It was a bummer, because if I hadn't known what to expect, I think the book would have been much more effective. I still enjoyed the book, but I would have preferred not to know so much, so I could have discovered it on my own, as I read. 

So because of that, I do whatever I can to avoid spoilers of any kind on my book blog. Consequently, I do more of the latter type of review. My reviews are usually pretty brief and are more about my overall, general impression of the book. I try to comment on specifics of writing style if there is something that jumped out at me, or focus on the characters I enjoy - stuff like that. 

How do you create your reviews? 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Making Up For Monday

It's time for another fun "Making Up For Monday" blog hop, as hosted by An Avid Reader; A Wannabe Writer.

This week's question is great:

How many books do you read at a time?

My response:

This is a real problem for me as I can't seem to focus on just one book at a time! I would say I typically have two physical books I'm reading at any given moment. Sometimes it's because I'll be reading on public transportation or have to take a book with me in a tote bag, and I don't want a brand-new-condition book banged up, so I'll grab a used paperback that isn't so pristine. Occasionally I might be reading a particularly heavy book (my copy of 1Q84 is a hardcover book and more than 900 pages, for example) so I want a smaller, lighter one to take with me someplace. And sometimes I just pick up another book off the shelf because it's what I'm feeling like at the moment. I really have to break that habit!

Another issue is that I'll have my couple of physical books on the go, and then I'll see a particularly tempting NetGalley email with an interesting-sounding book, and the next thing I know I've requested it, and ... well, you (may) know the rest! I guess it's all part of being an incurable bookworm.

Are you more disciplined about reading one book at a time - and finishing it before moving on to the next one?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

1Q84 - Haruki Murakami

There are so many things I love about Murakami's novels, but I have to say the main thing that comes to mind after reading this one is that underneath the surreal happenings, there is such a feeling of tranquility. Even when fantastical events happen, the characters do mundane things in the midst of them - have a "simple lunch" or listen to a classical music record. There is an element of calmness that I find very appealing in the writing - it's almost meditative. As usual, I have to say that I'm sorry it took me so long to read this book, but the good news is there is another one due out soon, so I won't have to wait very long for that. Recommended.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

We Are the Goldens - Dana Reinhardt

I couldn't resist this book when I saw the description in the NetGalley email - I had to find out the secret! This was a fast read, not the least because the pacing of the story kept me turning the pages. I really liked the sort of combined first- and second-person narrative; it made the story seem more realistic and immediate than a third person narration would have. I have to confess that at times the narrator's voice seemed much more mature than the average high school freshman, but in all honesty, an intelligent young person would most likely talk like this, so it worked for me overall. All in all this is a well written YA novel with appealing characters. Recommended. 

To be honest, another reason I couldn't resist this book is that I could use it for the Color-Coded Reading Challenge - hooray! And now back to my regularly scheduled reading. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Prince and the Pauper - Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain)

This was a fast, fun little read for the Back to the Classics Challenge. I read a bunch of books about Henry VIII and the Tudors a couple years ago so this was a nice little callback to those, even if it wasn't particularly historical.

My edition happens to be a vintage hardcover I scored on the Library Sale shelves. I'm not sure how old it is, as there's no date, but the illustration of a boy and girl reading a book on the inner cover seem like something from the 20s, so I'm guessing it's from the 1930s. Another clue might be that the author's name isn"t given as Mark Twain, but I don't know much about dating vintage books - if you do, please let me know in the comments!

Making Up For Monday

I have been meaning to participate in this fun blog hop for ages, but I keep forgetting until Wednesday or Thursday, and then it seems too late. It's hosted by Tiffany at An Avid Reader; A Wannabe Writer every Monday.

This week's question:

Do you like to eat or drink anything while reading? If so, what?

My response:

It depends on the time of day! If I'm reading first thing in the morning/before work, I'll drink my morning TaB Cola while I read. At other times of the day I will probably have a glass of water, and every now and again on a chilly day I'll have a cup of hot tea. I don't generally eat when I'm reading, unless I'm reading during my lunch break - but that depends on the book because some books just aren't conducive to reading and eating at the same time.

What do you like to drink or eat while you read?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

Readers, I feel as if I have been hit in the head with a shovel.

What an amazing book.

Do you see moving images in your mind when you read? I do, but to be honest the quality of these images varies from book to book, depending both on the skill of the writer and my own library of mental images I can use to flesh out the words on the page in my mind. Even though I have barely spent any time at all in the setting(s) of this book, and of course was not alive during the era in which it is set, this book produced unbelievably detailed, cinematic images the entire time I was reading.

And that doesn't even touch the story. The alternating chapters device worked very well for me. I was very drawn into the predicament of the Joad family, and all the others like them, and at times this book made me very deeply angry - angry that even today, the system is rigged by those who view anyone who is not part of their elite cadre to be a type of "Okie," a dunce who will toil for pennies under the threat of a "bad economy" that mysteriously takes away jobs. How the rich get richer and richer and richer while more and more of us "normal folk" lose our metaphorical farms. It's truly not hard to see the appeal of communism, and/or labor unions, in this era. It's a blight on humanity that there are so many shameless so-called human beings who will not hesitate to rip off someone who has an honest, hardworking nature; to take advantage of someone's need and use it against them to make a buck.

But enough soapbox philosophy! Suffice to say that this book has made a profound impression on me, and is an instant favorite. Highly recommended.