Book Chat

Taking a Peek at YOUR Bookshelf… and Mine Again

Thanks so much for participating in the polls!  I know I didn’t advertise much and I didn’t offer any prizes… so thanks to those who played along in my little game!  I had fun checking the results throughout the week.  I’m glad we hit 10 votes at least, any less and I would have had to start begging pathetically.  And you know you don’t want to see that!

Without further ado, here are my thoughts on each question and the results as of yesterday (7/6/12):

(Click on the poll to see it full size, my apologies for the minuscule images.)

Question #1

Do you keep track of the books you read, and if so, how?

My Bookshelf:

I’ve kept a written Reading Log since late 2008, which started out as a personal list kept in my diary.  When I started blogging in 2010, I began sharing my Reading Logs online.  After moving to CA, I’ve gone through a journaling drought and eventually I moved my written Reading Log to an Excel spreadsheet.  I also use GoodReads somewhat, although I’m not completely consistent.  I tend to forget about it, then I’ll add the books I’ve read or thought about in the past few months all at once, although I’m trying to be better about updating my account regularly.  I love getting email updates about books my friends are reading or mark as “To Read,” and often I’ll wait to see how a friend rates a book before I decide if I want to read it too.  It’s a great place to get book recommendations, especially their new feature that will give you new recommendations based on your favorite books.


YOUR bookshelves:

So most of you (all of 5 of you, woohoo!) don’t keep track in any way.  That’s probably healthy of you.  I was honestly surprised that anyone kept a traditional/written log, but it makes me happy 🙂

Question #2

How do you feel about audiobooks?

My Bookshelf:

I use to love them for commutes, because I require a little concentration on something else to be able to listen.  I can’t just sit and listen to a book or my mind wanders, so driving was the perfect preoccupation for me, and I audio books actually made me look forward to my work commute each day.  However, no car = no audiobooks anymore.  I’ve tried listening to an audiobook while sewing or knitting, but I just get too lost in what I’m doing to pay attention to the book.  Thanks to this question, I definitely miss audiobooks now that I’m thinking about them!

YOUR Bookshelves:

A little split here.  Lots of people (I’m using that term comparatively) had mixed feelings but didn’t care to explain why.  Apparently not everyone is compelled to share their innermost thoughts and feelings on the internet when it comes to audiobooks.  That’s ok… and again, probably a healthy sign of your self esteem.

Question #3

What’s your guilty pleasure genre or author?

My Bookshelf:

I used to read trashy romance novels, and that certainly qualifies, but I don’t anymore.  I used to read a lot of chick lit (Meg Cabot was my favorite) but I don’t do much of that anymore either.  I guess you could count YA Lit as guilty pleasure reading?  I like that the plots tend to moves at a breakneck speed to keep the readers’ interest, and any themes are pretty obvious and straightforward.  YA Lit rarely gets bogged down in description or tangents like adult novels.  It’s such a hot trend in publishing right now that I can hardly call it a guilty pleasure, but I guess sometimes I do feel like I should be reading something more age appropriate, so maybe it is a bit of a guilty pleasure to dip into a YA novel.  But there’s so much depth and honesty involved that you really can’t argue that YA Lit is in any way less valuable than fiction for adults.

YOUR Bookshelves:

Ooh, magazines is a good answer!  I didn’t even think about that!  Chick Lit and Other rules the day.  Hmmm, I really do want to know what “Other” is, but my curiosity shall have to remain unanswered.

Question #4

What do you do if you get partway into a book and realize you’re not loving it? Do you let yourself stop reading, or do you persevere? What are some books you haven’t finished?

(I didn’t include that last part of the question in the poll, but I answered it myself in this post.)

My Bookshelf:

It really depends on the book for me.  I will trudge through some pretty mediocre books just to get to the end because I always struggle with the nagging feeling that a book just might redeem itself eventually.  And even if I don’t like a book, if it intrigues me enough I’ll keep going.  For instance, I really disliked The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz, but it was compelling enough to read to the end even though I was recoiling the entire way.  But then again, sometimes I just can’t make it through a book and have to abandon it.  Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, by Susanna Clarke, was like that for me—I just couldn’t slog through it, it was putting me to sleep, and it wasn’t worth it to me to find out what happened.  I have another book still on the fence: My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales, edited by Kate Bernheimer.  I thought for sure I’d inhale each short story, but I got to the third or fourth and just stopped short.  It was just one little detail, describing a wall of photographs of a cat… that the main character molested.  And it stopped me short, I couldn’t get past that one sentence.  It had nothing to do with the story but I was so repulsed that I haven’t picked up the book since.  I can read a lot of gritty stories, but please don’t hurt animals; I can’t handle that thought in my head.  So, the book is there if I ever pick it up again, but I’m not sure if I will.

YOUR Bookshelf:

This one was really split, and this is always an interesting question.  Most people try for a little bit, a couple will give it another chance after some space, and a few say no way to bad books.  I love what Allie had to say (click on the comments).

Question #5

Do you enjoy having an outlet such as a book club or review website to process/talk about books, or do you prefer to savor them internally?

My Bookshelf:

All of the above!  I enjoy savoring certain phrases and feelings that are evoked, and that can be hard to explain in person or in writing.  But it’s also fun to talk with other people, because I always find new things to think about.  I love it when my Book Club devolves into people across the table heatedly exclaiming, “Really, you liked that part?”  Or, “You didn’t think that character was obnoxious?”  It’s the passion that comes out that I enjoy, whether or not I agree; and as long as no one in the group is overly possessive of the book, I love the mix of opinions. I think I’ve evolved somewhat into this tolerance, because I haven’t always been so open to expressing my feelings about my reading experience.

Now when it comes to review websites… I have my qualms.  I like to read reviews to gauge whether I want to try a book or not, but sometimes people can differ so much that it scares me off a book or sets my expectations too high and I’m disappointed.  For instance… the reviews on GoodReads for Among Others, by Jo Walton, made me put it off for a year, and then I loved reading it; alternately, I expected to love Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, based on the Amazon reviews but I could barely make it through the first 50 pages before I gave up on it.  So my mixed feelings boil down to never leaving reviews on websites like Goodreads beyond a star rating, but I still can’t help but read reviews before choosing a new book.  It’s a tricky cycle, but so is all of social media.

YOUR Bookshelf:

I love this question.  And everyone has a different opinion, which I also love.  It’s always interesting to see how people view their reading experience.  Did I say “reading experience” too many times?  I don’t know how else to describe that relationship between the words on the page and your eyes converting it into your brain and your thoughts and feelings that result.

Thanks again for participating!  It was fun 🙂

More guest posts coming soon… I love peeking at other people’s bookshelves, in real life or virtually!

One thought on “Taking a Peek at YOUR Bookshelf… and Mine Again

  1. I have been trying and trying to read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell based on years of hearing good things about it, and I’ve been having trouble with it too!! It’s currently in partially read purgatory on my Kindle, while I’ve moved on to more exciting things like Jennifer Weiner’s Good in Bed. Haha. I haven’t decided yet if I will try to go back to it at any point. It’s just so slow–I want some exciting magic to happen, or something to happen that I find believable and compelling that makes me like a character! I’m glad to know I’m not alone in disliking it.


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