Tag Archives: thoughts

You Picking Up What I’m Putting Down?

8 Dec

Really. It’s me. Or one of us. Or both of us.

In Which I Am Not a Finisher…Yet. Maybe.

Sometimes I pick up a book and KNOW immediately that we will be BFFs and I plow right through it (ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, LEGEND, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE). Sometimes I pick up a book and I’m excited to start it, but our relationship needs some work, and it takes me a while to realize that this book is MORE than I ever thought it would be (THE RAVEN BOYS, THE RED PYRAMID). Sometimes I pick up and book, immediately get a bad vibe, and wind up putting it down because I can just tell that we are NOT meant to be. (IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin comes to mind right away. Also, OCTAVIAN NOTHING by M.T. Anderson.)

SOMETIMES, though, I know that I pick up a book and I feel like our timing is just off. Maybe something else came in that I’ve been DYING to read. Maybe I’m not in the mood to read something serious/big/light-hearted, etc. Maybe, and this is increasingly becoming the case, I just don’t have the time to devote to a book that NEEDS time to grow on me. These books I pick up, put down, and mentally note that we have a date in the future. THANK GOD. Otherwise I never would have read any of the Cassandra Clare‘s Mortal Instruments series, Cinda William’s Chima‘s Seven Realms series, or anything by Jane Austen, just to name a few.

But here’s a thing that I always struggle with: sometimes a book straddles a line between a forever-DNF and a “let’s take a break for a little while.” And, further, what’s the difference between the two in my own reading? Sure, there have been some books that I’ve taken a breather from and gone back to later and enjoyed, but there are way more that I’ve been intending to pick up again and give another shot that remain unfinished and un-revisited. At some point should I just consider those books DNFs for real and move on?

Meh. Probably not. Because I know what I like. Just like every reader does. I can tell when it’s me and not the book that’s creating problems. Like, I can feel it sometimes before I even finish a chapter or less: this isn’t going to grab me RIGHT NOW. But LATER, maybe. And I’m willing to give myself some time to get in the right mood to give what appears to be an otherwise good book another go.

I don’t have any problems with officially DNFing books. I don’t like doing it because it makes me feel like I’m deserting things, but I also don’t have the luxury of giving lots of chances to books that increasingly irritate me/bore me/drag on/don’t make sense/disappoint me, etc. Not when I have so many other things to read, both for pleasure and for this blog. But maybe this “come back to me later” business is just my wussy way of DNFing. To be honest, I can totally see myself acting that way, and I’d believe that a little bit more if I’d put CITY OF BONES on my “later, gator” shelf and left it there. But I didn’t. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this means there’s still hope for me and THE MISTS OF AVALON, JELLICOE ROAD, LITTLE WOMEN, THE VICIOUS DEEP, and more.

What is the point of this RAMBLE? Basically this: Sometimes it’s me. Sometimes it’s the book. I know the difference, most of the time. Mostly, though, I’m glad that I know myself and my reading well enough to say, “don’t force it” if it’s not working. And if I feel like going back to it later, I will. If I don’t, that’s fine too. I make the rules here!

How about you guys? Do you do this a lot, putting books down to come back to them later? Or do you just give them one shot and DNF right away? What are some books that you picked up at the wrong time?

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Book Review: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

29 Nov

Book cover for The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Title: The Hallowed Ones

Author: Laura Bickle

Series: The Hallowed Ones #1

Genre: Horror YA, Paranormal YA, Post-Apocalyptic YA

Amazon | Goodreads

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Release date: September 25, 2012

Source: Bought

Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

Summary: Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

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Hear Me Out

24 Sep

Some Early Thoughts From an Audiobook Newbie

I have just recently hopped on the audiobook bandwagon, friends, and I’m pretty excited about it. So far I’ve listened to four books–THE NAME OF THE WIND, THE WISE MAN’S FEAR, and AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR, which was a reread, and THE GOLDEN COMPASS–and they were all mostly stellar. I’m in the middle of listening to THE SHADOW OF NIGHT, the sequel to A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, and it’s really good, but in my early days as a book listener, I’ve noticed a few things and I thought I’d share them with you.

1. I think I like single narrators better than full casts

So this one actually goes back to an assignment I had in library school to compare listening to a book and reading it. I picked the audiobook for GRACELING, and didn’t even finish listening to the first chapter. It was a full-cast recording, which I thought sounded kind of scattered or inconsistent. Fast-forward to THE NAME OF THE WIND, which was just one OUTSTANDING narrator, Nick Podehl. BIG difference. Big, awesome difference. It’s way easier for me to follow the thread of the story if I only have to listen to one voice. It helps me with continuity. Plus it seems less schizo.

2. The right voice can TOTALLY make an audiobook

Nick. Podehl. But also Suzy Jackson, the narrator for Amy & Roger. She was very listenable. I haven’t yet come across a book whose narrator(s) was annoying to listen to, but I’m sure they’re out there, and I can imagine that ruining an otherwise enjoyable book for me.

3. I hate not knowing how to spell things, like names of people or places. It keeps me from understanding what/who/where, etc.

This happens lots with the fantasies. THE GOLDEN COMPASS has tons of names of people and places that were strange or invented and I had trouble keeping track of some things because I couldn’t understand the words, because they were made up, and I couldn’t look at them to puzzle them out. Same with the Patrick Rothfuss books. Also, this is just plain annoying to me.

3a. On the flip side, I LOVE having a better idea of how to pronounce names/places/things.

Obviously. I NEVER would have known how to pronounce Pantalaimon (seriously had to look up the spelling) or Amyr or a ton of other things, although I could have guessed. Still, nice to hear.

4. Not being able to see a map, if there is one, sucks.

Not being able to see a map ALWAYS sucks. I don’t like not having a picture of the world I’m reading, especially when people are moving around a lot in the book. I always wind up feeling lost. This is obviously heightened when listening to a book. Checking a map isn’t even an option.

5. HEAVY BREATHERS ARE THE WORST.

So, ok. THE GOLDEN COMPASS–which I will be reviewing very soon–was a full-cast recording, but one of the guys did the voices for two characters, and you could hear him inhale before every word. WORST. It was icky sounding. Like, step away from the mike for a second.

6. Awkward pauses are awkward. And annoying.

This is a weird thing that has more to do with the production of an audiobook than the reading, I’d imagine. The book I’m listening to right now, THE SHADOW OF NIGHT, has this all over the place. Weird pauses in between words sometimes; weird pauses between the end of a chapter and the beginning of the next ALWAYS. It’s crazy inconsistent. Sometimes there’s a pause of a few beats, sometimes it’s a few whole seconds. I’m always checking to make sure that something didn’t go wrong with my iPod. ANNOYING.

Guys, I’m LOVING audiobooks right now. They’re the perfect way for me to pass the time on my commute. I’m not so good at listening to books when I’m at home, though. Too many other things to distract me, and I wind up not really listening. But in my car, I can pay more attention, and it makes the drive to and from work something I can look forward to. I’m officially in the fanclub, friends! So tell me: do you listen to audiobooks? What’s your favorite one to listen to?