booking through thursday


 

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The 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?

The Answer:

I definitely know what this means. There are so many books like this, books I just have never gotten around to. Mostly, they’re books by authors I know I like and I just haven’t yet gotten around to them, but still have every intention of reading them eventually.  Just a few are Keeping The Moon by Sarah Dessen, Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn, Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, and Marly’s Ghost by David Levithan. 

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  • Hardcover? Or paperback? I like paperbacks a little more, because they’re easier to read while doing something else. However, since the title of today’s meme is “Collectibles,” perhaps it should be more about, I don’t know, appearance or something, and not readability? But why would I have books I didn’t want to read? I don’t understand collecting books if you’re not going to read them, and the most readable books, for a multitasker like myself, are trade paperbacks. Not mass market paperbacks, which annoy me.
  • Illustrations? Or just text? If the illustrations are good, and really add something, then I like them. Sometimes, though, they feel superflous. I never feel like I need illustrations, though, which is weird because I love art, I just don’t usually connect it with my love of reading.
  • First editions? Or you don’t care? I think it’s cool to have first editions of books that later become popular, but not in an important way, just, if you know it’s a first edition, you can think “oh, wow, cool, I have a first edition of  (insert popular book title here).” But, practically, it really doesn’t matter to me. 
  • Signed by the author? Or not? I love signed books, particularly if they’re personalized, because it means I’ve connected with the author in some way, and that is always cool. I’m always a little star-struck when I meet (in person or online) one of my favorite authors! 

 

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It’s been a few weeks. So now I’m answering all the BTT questions I’ve missed. I’ve missed a lot, really; my life is crazy right now. I’ll be back…sometime, but for now, I’m sorry about the spotty posting and the not-answering of many emails and the not-reading of many blogs and all of that.

Anyway. Booking Through Thursday.

 

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First. Go read this great article from Time MagazineBooks Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature. (Well worth reading.)

Second. Stop and think about it for moment. Computers and digital media are changing everything we do these days, whether we realize it or not, and that includes our beloved books.

Third. DISCUSS!

To be different, today, I’d love to see a discussion here, in the comments, rather than scattered amongst all our separate blogs. Because this is an issue that affects ALL of us, and I’d really like to see us hash out the merits and demerits of this evolution.

Tell us what you think. Do you have an ebook reader? Do you read ebooks on your computer? Do you hate the very thought? How do you feel about the fact that book publishing is changing and facing much the same existential dilemma as the music industry upon the creation of MP3s?

Sure, feel free to write about this on your blog, but honestly–I’d love to see an in-depth discussion, and you can’t do that by flitting about the internet reading 100 different, individual essays. You can only get that by having the back and forth of conversation.

Okay. I know. I was supposed to discuss in the comments there. However, seeing as this was weeks ago, that discussion is probably dead, so I’ll just post a few quick thoughts here. 

Right now, I don’t read ebooks. I spend enough time as it is in front of the computer screen. I don’t hate the thought, though. I mean, it’s convenient, it saves trees, all of that. It’s fine with me. And I might reconsider not reading ebooks if I move overseas next year; it might be the best way to get English-language books. I might buy a Kindle or something. I really don’t have a lot to say about ebooks, though; I don’t read them, but as long as they don’t replace printed books (and I don’t think they will, since I know a lot of people who don’t want to read off a screen all the time!), it’s a good idea: environmentally sound (as long as people recycle their e-book-reading-devices properly), at least. 

The article also mentions self-published books. It says that self-publishing doesn’t have the stigma attached to it that it used to, and that a lot of self-published authors now go on to be successful. I disagree. Those examples cited are wonderful, but they are the exception, not the rule, and I would still advise against self-publishing. Self-published novels will never get the attention that traditionally-published (even small press) books do; in fact a lot of reviewers won’t even look at them. I do accept self-published books, and, let me tell you, a lot of times there’s a reason no traditional publisher or agent would take them. If you’ve queried every agent possible, look again; there are probably still more who might be the right fit for your book. If you truly have queried every agent possible (and are doing your research and querying the right agents)…then I’d take another look at the manuscript and see what’s holding it back. Writing the right book is the hard part, and if you haven’t done that, of course you’re not going to find an agent. See Diana Peterfreund’s post about this. 

Not to say there aren’t good self-published books; there are. It’s just that there are a lot more bad ones, and the good ones, I believe, could have gotten published traditionally, if they’d just queried that one last (or ten last or more) agent. 

 

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Suggested by Simon Thomas:

Have you ever been put off an author’s books after reading a biography of them? Or the reverse – a biography has made you love an author more?

No. I’m in kind of a unique position among readers (as are all bloggers) in that I actually have contact with a lot of the authors whose books I read. Some of them are great people. And I don’t necessarily love their books. For example, I recently read a book of an author whose previous books I’ve loved. She’s really talented, and a great person, but I didn’t love this most recent book and didn’t feel it lived up to the high standards set by what she’s written previously. And that’s okay. On the flip side, I’ve read books by authors who are kind of obnoxious, and loved the books. That’s okay, too. I see the people (whether my impression comes from reading a biography or a blog or talking to them) as separate from the books; I have to, otherwise I’d feel like I had to write good reviews about the books of people I like and bad ones about the books of people I hate. And that would make me an awful reviewer. 

 

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Suggested by Barbara H.:

A comment on someone else’s BTT question this week inspired this question:

Do you read any author’s blogs? If so, are you looking for information on their next project? On the author personally? Something else?

I read a lot of author blogs! Check out my sidebar for a sampling. I have a whole folder in my feed reader for author blogs. Why do I read them? Several reasons. Maybe because they’re better writers than the average blogger, and even when they’re not writing about their books, they have a lot of interesting things to talk about. For some, I love their books and it leads me to their blogs; for others, I love their blogs and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with their books. When it’s the books leading me to the blogs or the blogs leading me to the books, I do like information on their upcoming projects, but it’s not a must. 

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This week’s question is suggested by Kat:

I recently got new bookshelves for my room, and I’m just loving them. Spent the afternoon putting up my books and sharing it on my blog . One of my friends asked a question and I thought it would be a great BTT question. So from Tina & myself, we’d like to know “How do you arrange your books on your shelves? Is it by author, by genre, or you just put it where it falls on?”

Storage is a big problem for me. See, the “shelves” part of this question throws me off. Yes, a lot of my books are on shelves. But a lot are in piles. Or boxes. Or drawers. Because I have a very difficult time parting with my books. Some of the mess is semi-organized; for instance, I try to keep most of my foreign language books on shelves behind my door. And my Harry Potter books are on the shelves at the head of my bed. And my Animorphs books are in a box next to my closet. But most of it is just random, wherever there’s room. I used to have them organized (at one time by author, another time by spine color–that looked really cool), but there’s just too many now! I should try harder, though; this means it’s hard to find things sometimes. 

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The question:

Since “Inspiration” is (or should be) the theme this week … what is your reading inspired by?

The answer:

I am inspired by everything I haven’t read, by knowing that the next great book could be on the next shelf. I am inspired by all the stories that have collected in my crowded brain over the years and beg to be reread. I am inspired by my fellow bloggers, who make me lust after awesome books. I am inspired by everything out there in the world, past and present, that I haven’t actually been able to experience for myself yet, or that I want to re-experience, and the way books can make those things come alive. I am inspired by my quest to understand the world and the people in it, and the insight books provide. I am inspired by the world and the people around me. 

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The question:

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But, enough about books … Other things have words, too, right? Like … songs!  

If you’re anything like me, there are songs that you love because of their lyrics; writers you admire because their songs have depth, meaning, or just a sheer playfulness that has nothing to do with the tunes.

So, today’s question?

  • What songs … either specific songs, or songs in general by a specific group or writer … have words that you love?
  • Why?
  • And … do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?

You don’t have to restrict yourself to modern songsters, either … anyone who wants to pick Gilbert & Sullivan, for example, is just fine with me. Lerner & Loewe? Steven Sondheim? Barenaked Ladies? Fountains of Wayne? The Beatles? Anyone at all… 

The answer:

I’m a sucker for catchy sometimes, so this question’s a little difficult for me; a lot of my music definitely does not have awesome lyrics, just catchy. 

However, I do have a few songs to point out. 

Hallelujah,’ by…I really don’t know, I have several versions of this song, and I know there’s more. I’ve been listening to Kate Voegele’s a lot lately. Gorgeous, gorgeous song, both in terms of lyrics and music. 

Actually, now that I think about it, all of Kate Voegele’s original songs have lovely lyrics, too. I particularly love ‘Chicago‘ and ‘It’s Only Life.’  They’re poetic but not too obscure and vague, and her songs are also usually pretty universally relatable without being trite and overused. Her voice is beautiful, too. Seriously, if you’ve never heard her songs, you’re missing out on a lot

I also really, really love the lyrics to Sara Bareilles’s ‘Love Song.’ There are just so many turns of phrase here that I love. The song itself is both catchy and original, which is fantastic. 

Odio Por Amor‘ by Juanes has a catchy refrain, is in Spanish, and is just an awesome song. The lyrics are powerful, and the song is catchy, so what more is there to love?

Raise It Up‘ from the August Rush soundtrack is a strong, soulful song both in terms of the music (gorgeous voices) and the lyrics (powerful). Actually, I love this whole soundtrack; Jonathan Rhys Meyers’s songs on here are also particularly amazing.

Carol of the Bells‘ has always meant Christmas to me. I’ve been listening to Emmy Rossum’s version of this song a lot lately, even though it’s not Christmas. The lyrics and the music are both lovely and traditional without being boring, and I really can’t get enough of this song.

And…I suppose I could think of more, but this seems like a good number. All songs with great lyrics that I highly recommend. Although I don’t seem to be able to articulate my thoughts very well; it’s not often that I review song lyrics!

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Question: It’s a week or two later than you’d expect, and it may be almost a trite question, but … what were your favorite books from 2008?

Answer: Since I already listed my top fifteen of 2008, I’ll take this opportunity to just expand a little on why I loved some of those books. Not all; just a handful.

Ten Cents A Dance is Christine Fletcher’s second novel, and it’s amazing. It’s set in 1940s Chicago, and the setting comes absolutely to life, and Ruby’s voice is captivating. I really can’t recommend this one enough.

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley is actually a February 2009 release, but I read it in 2008, and it is brilliant. It’s contemporary realistic fiction, and it really goes above and beyond what I expected (and I expected awesome). This is just me reminding everyone to buy it when it comes out!

I Love You, Beth Cooper is absolutely hilarious!  Larry Doyle manages to make it one of the funniest things I’ve ever read, while still keeping a reasonable level of intelligence (I am not one for too much stupid-funny).  

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is Stephanie Kuehnert’s debut, and it’s a real and gritty and honest and all things awesome book about life and music and all kinds of human relationships. It’s a wonderful book, and if you’re one of the few people who hasn’t read it already, what are you waiting for?

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart, is an excellently written and very intelligent, and also very enjoyable and relatable novel. If you haven’t read it–again, what are you waiting for? It’s fantastic.

And, though I loved many more books, I’ll stop talking now.

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The question:

Happy New Year, everyone!

So … any Reading Resolutions? Say, specific books you plan to read? A plan to read more ____? Anything at all?

Name me at least ONE thing you’re looking forward to reading this year!

My answer:

I was hesitant to make real resolutions this year, since I am almost never able to keep them, but I’ve decided that I want to have fun reading this year. I don’t want to make resolutions and set goals because my life is going to be crazy! I just want to read what I want, and blog about it, and enjoy it. The year of reading for fun!

I’m looking forward to reading a lot of things this year! I don’t think I’ve mentioned the new page I created on my blog, Books I Covet, but check it out; it’s all the books I want and don’t have. Well, not all the books because that would take forever to list, but just a sampling that have caught my eye. One of the things I’m most excited about, though, is Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert.

Have a great 2009, everyone, in reading and in life!

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