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Questions 31-40 About Books and Reading

By now you should know that I’ve spent this week answering questions about books and reading. If not, that’s okay. You’re just out of the loop. You can change that by clicking here to navigate to the first post from Monday. And then Tuesday. And Wednesday. That will get you up to date and all caught up for today’s questions.

31. How do you feel about giving negative reviews?

Well anyone who reads my blog knows that I don’t write book reviews. Read this for my reasons why. But for the sake of this question let’s pretend that my entire blog is book reviews. I get ARCs from authors and publishers and whomever. I’m writing several reviews a week. If this were the case, I would have no reservations about writing a negative review. It really irks me to see all these blogs reviewing books every week and seeing that they won’t go below a four star review for any book. What is the reasoning for this? No really, tell me why you do this because you know you do. It’s stupid. And makes it seem like you give EVERYTHING a positive review even though you and I and everyone else knows that you can’t possibly like every book you read that much. So if you don’t post negative reviews, then I’d like to know why. Cause you’re not helping anyone.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which would it be?

Spanish. Because I already can read a little bit. And because if I could read it, then I could speak it, and I think Spanish is the sexiest language ever. Unless you’re speaking so fast that my mind is blowing up. Seriously, talk to me in Spanish while maybe wearing cowboy boots and perhaps a cowboy hat AND yeah, I’ll probably faint. And dream about your perfection.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read

I’m not intimidated by any books. Quick story, I remember my junior year of high school some kid who was a year behind me but in my Algebra II class made a comment about my not being able to understand whatever book he was reading in his English class. Maybe it was A Tale of Two Cities? Not sure, but I think it’s hilarious now. Some little shit who I can literally throw across the room with no effort at all saying something like that to me. We’ll forget the fact that I’d never even stepped foot inside a gym back then. And we’ll also forget that I finished my undergrad with honors in three years. But I can’t comprehend some book? This would be where I’d normally rattle off a few cuss words, but I won’t. Little prick.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin

Refer to previous question.

35. Favorite poet

I don’t have a favorite poet who you all would know. But I do have a favorite from here on WordPress. I’m not going to link to her blog because she doesn’t post her poems on here too often, but I’ve gotten to read more than what she has on here and I love every single one. Her name’s Mahrukh. Shhhhh I didn’t tell her I was writing this.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at one time?

Interesting. I’ve already made it clear that I don’t use the library at all. Zero.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?

I have no idea. Now stop asking about the library. Fair warning.

38. Favorite fictional character

I KNOW you all know the answer to this without reading my response. The Girl on Fire. Katniss Everdeen. I could go on and on about her day after day and week after week, but I won’t. She’s independent. Resourceful. Strong. She’s simply more than just a character in some book. And a million thousand other things that you can come up with because I will literally write thousands of words all about her if given the chance. So, moving on.

39. Favorite fictional villain

Ooooooh. I was sitting here trying to decide between Voldemort and President Snow. But then I realized that there’s someone who epitomizes the title of villain. Can you think of him? 19th century. One of the most widely recognized names in all of literature. Dracula. I really hope that you’ve read Bram Stoker’s classic by now. Especially if you read about vampires today. No. I don’t care what you’ve read written in recent years, Dracula is the vampire you want to read about. Period. That book is the first that comes to mind if I think of good vs. evil. And it’s one of the few stories that I will never forget. And it’s because of the impact that a single individual has on so many. Favorite villain, the Count. No doubt about it.

40. Books you’re most likely to bring on holiday

I’m not sure what this means. Like summer break? Or vacation? I don’t know. But I do know that I don’t take my books anywhere. They stay home. On the shelves. I’m not that reader who has to be reading something at all times. Eh. Those people annoy me.

So there you have today’s questions. And I must say that these may have been my favorite to answer so far. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Think I’m a crazy who needs help? Let me know. I’ll answer the final 15 questions tomorrow. Be on the lookout!

Questions 21-30 About Books and Reading

I surely hope you’ve been reading my posts this week. If not, well then I don’t much like you at the moment. BUT we can change that! On Monday I started a list of 55 questions about books and reading that I found on another blog. I’m answering 10 questions each day this week. You can read Monday’s post here and Tuesday’s post here. Let’s get to today’s questions!

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

I almost wanted to say “here, read this” to answer this question. I was going to link to my post titled Recommending Books. But no need to start off this set of questions on a bad note. I don’t recommend books. I have before, but just because I love something doesn’t mean that every person in the world is also going to love that same thing. You’ll get no recommendations from me unless you explicitly ask knowing that I never give them out and have no idea if you’ll even enjoy the book.

22. Favorite genre

How is it that we’re basically repeating questions already? How is one’s favorite genre any different from one’s reading comfort zone? I’m not repeating my answer. It’s question #12  here if you’re interested in going back to check it.

23. Genre you rarely read but wish you did

This is such a dumb question. Seriously. If there’s a genre I want to read then common sense would tell you that I’d read it. I’m starting to think a robot came up with these. I have no response.

24. Favorite biography

Shit. Do people read these? I don’t. I have no favorite. Come on with the questions!

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

I’m trying to think of topics I’d need help with that Google can’t help with. Can’t think of one. Maybe in an alternate universe in which Google and the internet don’t exist, then maybe I’ll read a self-help book. So no, I haven’t.

26. Favorite cookbook

Oh come on. Who the heck do I look like? I use the microwave. And occasionally a George Foreman. I don’t cook and I definitely don’t read cookbooks. It’s like all the bad questions on the list have been bunched together.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year

Anne Frank. Because Harry Potter and company or Hazel Grace Lancaster or Alex Cross just don’t meet the bill to be considered inspiring. Not by me, anyway.

28. Favorite reading snack

Another thing I do not understand is reading while eating. I can’t even watch TV while I eat. Unless it’s something I’m not paying attention to. I just don’t get how someone can touch some food and then touch their book right after. I mean, you’re stupid. And probably obese. I don’t eat anything while reading so I have no favorite reading snack.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience

First off, if you read a book because of its hype…you’re dumb. Second, hype has never ruined any book for me. The only one I can think of that I read while there was hype going on was The Fault in Our Stars. I thought it was great because I thought it was great. Not because every other person in the universe thought so. I did read The Hunger Games about a month before the first movie came out. Again, thought it was great because that’s what I thought of the book. All the other books I’m thinking of that have had a lot of hype surrounding them have not graced my Kindle or my shelves.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

Huh? I hope readers don’t care what critics have to say about books. A few of the James Patterson books I’ve read have received very negative reviews from critics and I haven’t read one that didn’t entertain me yet. Sure the writing may not be incredible and the stories may not be the most believable, but I don’t read fiction because I want to read something that I could see happen on the street. I read fiction because I want to be entertained. Critics mean absolutely nothing when it comes to what I think of books I’ve read.

Okay. I have to say that I was bit disappointed with these questions, but they got better toward the end. Any thoughts? 31-40 tomorrow!

Questions 11-20 About Books and Reading

Hopefully you read my post from yesterday in which I started a list of 55 questions about books and reading. If not, you can read my answers to the first 10 questions here. If you have, then let’s see what I have for you today.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

The answer to this question would normally be that I rarely do, but this year since I’ve started reading the Amazon List of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime I’ve managed to read out of my comfort zone several times.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

I think every person who’s ever read one of my posts knows this. Crime fiction.

13. Can you read on the bus?

Well I haven’t been on a bus since my junior year of high school. I rode the Monorail we have here a couple months ago. Does that count as a bus? Anyway, no. I hate reading in public around other people I can’t shut up. I’ve read in the ER waiting room and between college classes and a million other places. I’ve noticed that my reading pace slows down significantly when I read in public. That annoys me so I don’t do it.

14. Favorite place to read

Well the comforts of my bed, of course.

15. What is your policy on book lending?

I may be mistaken, but I can remember every time I’ve ever offered to lend one of my books to someone. It happened once during my senior year of high school. I think a friend of mine maybe asked about what he should read or maybe I just offered? I don’t remember, but I did lend him one of my books and he gave it back to me exactly the same way as I’d given it to him. In more recent years I’ve twice offered to lend out my THG books. The first person randomly texted me to tell me that she was newly obsessed with the series and another person said she hadn’t read them yet even though she saw the second movie with me. So I offered and both ultimately never happened. Thankfully. I would have been worried sick the whole time. I’ve never even offered to lend a book out besides those three times.

16. Do you ever dog ear books?

What the heck? Who came up with these questions? NO. And if you do I want to shoot you. You’re a book abuser.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

These questions are fast becoming annoying. NO. Again. You know, I’ve never understood someone reading for pleasure and then proceeding to take notes all over the book and underlining paragraphs everywhere. Like what the heck is wrong with you? Are you unable to retain the information from the story without doing all that? I didn’t even take notes or mark up books in college. But then proceeded to write the essay on it the night before it was due and oh wait, got a 97 on it. So I’ve never understood marking up the pages of your books. Makes me want to take it from you and hit you across the face with it.

18. Not even with textbooks?

No. Now shut up.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

What? I only know one language. I’m glad this set of questions is about over.

20. What makes you love a book?

Another mini rant is on the way. Okay. I seriously HATE how other people claim to be so moved by books. I’m just like “whaa?” Why do books suddenly have to move you, whatever the hell that even means, to be any good? I’ve read the first Harry Potter book, I thought it was pretty good, but I wasn’t moved by anything. I read The Fault in Our Stars, an even better book, but I wasn’t moved by it. And of course I’ve read Anne Frank. Again, no moving going on. I read because I love reading. But it seems everyone else has to have some further explanation. I love a book because of its story. Period. Especially since I read so many series that I already know the characters I read.

So that’s all for today. Any thoughts on this group of questions? 21-30 on the way tomorrow!

Questions About Books and Reading

So I found a list of 55 questions related to books and reading on Tara Therese’s blog. I thought they were interesting enough to answer myself. BUT there’s a twist. If I wrote out answers to all 55 questions in a single post you all would not read all the way through. I know because I wouldn’t. Instead I’m going to answer 10 questions each day this week with the final 15 coming on Friday. This is a little different from what I normally post, but eh. Let’s go ahead and get started.

1. Favorite childhood book

I wasn’t a big reader as a child. So I’m going to have to to say Crispin: The Cross of Lead. This is the first real book I remember reading, though I have no idea when it was. 2003 maybe? No clue. You’ll notice that this is the book I mention in my ridiculously long bio on my About page.

2. What are you currently reading?

It’s actually a book written by a fellow blogger. But we have some stuff coming for that so I won’t say.

3. What book do you have on request at the library?

Unfortunately, none. I haven’t used the library much in recent years. Maybe I should. Well see.

4. Bad book habit

Bad book habit? I have no bad book habits. Unless you’re damaging your books by dog earing the pages or bending the covers all the way back, then I don’t see what habits there could be. I mean, not talking to a human being for 12 hours straight because you’ve been reading isn’t bad, right?

5. What do you currently have checked out from the library?

Well this is stupid. Nothing. If I actually used the library, then I’d most likely have something on request, right? Dumb question asker. (Who am I yelling at?)

6. Do you have an e-reader?

Of course. But don’t go punching me in the face. It was given to me as a gift by someone I no longer talk to. It’s a Kindle Keyboard. So it’s one of the first models, though I’ve never had any problems with it. I’ve read maybe 20 books on it in three years.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?

I feel like I’ve written posts about all of these questions. One book for me. Everyone who reads several is a crazy person. Just kidding. Nope.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting your blog?

Well yes, but the blog has nothing to do with my reading. Last year I was finishing up my undergrad and then writing my first book. This year I’ve just been lazy.

9. Least favorite book you’ve read this year

Easy. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.Didn’t like it at all. Not going to explain further because I’ve already written about it.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year

Another easy one. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Best book I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read this for some reason, then you need to right now. Right now.

So there you have the first 10 questions and tomorrow shall bring 10 more. Any thoughts? Also, I just realized that she skips random numbers in her post, so I may have less than the 55 I’d said unless I start searching the internet for others who have answered the questions. We’ll see.

Listen to Audiobooks?

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Photo Credit: What Red Read

Many make the claim that the discussion is only about print vs. ebooks. And I’d tend to agree with that assessment, but audiobooks should at least be mentioned, right?

My experience with audiobooks is quite minimal. My art teacher in elementary school would play audiobooks while we worked. Did I enjoy these? Yes. Did I become fully immersed in the story like I do with print or ebooks? No. At my school we had three different outclasses (I think that’s what they were called). Art, Music, and PE. Which meant we had one every three days. So if I had art on a Wednesday, then I wouldn’t have it again until Monday. Not exactly ideal for getting lost in a story.

With that being said, I can still name a few of the audiobooks she played for us. Let’s see. Several books by Lemony Snicket. Holes by Louis Sachar. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And I’m certain that if I sat down and really thought about it that I could come up with more. One of the reasons that I remember this particular class so well is that there were some audiobooks that EVERYONE in the class would always want to hear over and over. The students didn’t care how often they’d already listened to something, they thoroughly enjoyed them.

Now I can sit back and think of other times in my life in which I could have taken advantage of the convenience of audiobooks and I realize I had the perfect opportunity just a few short years ago. In the fall of 2010 during my first semester in college I made the very stupid decision to take a 4:00-5:15 class. Why did I do this? Because a high school friend just happened to be in the class and we thought it would be in the same class. Well Jessica, it wasn’t (don’t worry, she doesn’t read this). My university was located in downtown Houston. So the normally 20-35 minute drive became almost two hours during rush hour traffic. I was getting home just before 7:00 every Tuesday and Thursday. Why am I telling you this? Because imagine the number of audiobooks I could have listened to throughout that semester. I had more than two hours in the car two of my four class days a week. Eh. Wasn’t meant to be.

So now that you know about when I did listen to audiobooks and when I missed out on the opportunity, tell me about you? Do you listen to them everyday or maybe a few times a month or not at all like me?

Kindle Unlimited Hmm…

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Another thing that I credit WordPress for bringing me into the loop about are the two Netflix for books type companies that have joined the e-book fun recently. Hopefully if you’re reading this you have some idea as to what I’m talking about. You don’t? Okay. The two companies I’m talking about are Scribd and Oyster. Like I said, Netflix for books is really all you need to know about them. But both companies are limited to a set number of devices. I think only iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook, and the various Apple and Android smartphones. You’ll notice no regular Kindle reading devices.

Before I continue, you all should be well aware by now that although I own a Kindle, I’ve never been a big user. I’ve read perhaps 20 books all the way through in the time I’ve had it (3+ years). I did read the last two THG books and also more recently The Fault in Our Stars. But those are the rare cases. I’m all for buying the paperback edition of my books so I can store them on my shelves right here next to me as I write this. I’ve read so much about people with too many books that they donate or give them away. I can tell you that I’ll never do this. Ever. So now you have an idea about how much I love my own books.

With all that being said, the announcement just this week that Amazon is in the testing phases of its own reading subscription service caught my attention. People say they have no money, but I really don’t. I work weekends and the little money I do make is gone rather quickly, but even I can afford $9.99 a month to read books. And I could still easily buy the books I really want because $9.99 is essentially the price of one book, so it’s not like price of the service would be astronomical.

I have to say it, Amazon first flipped the publishing industry on its head when it first released the Kindle just a few short years ago. And I think they’re about to do it again. Millions of readers read on their Kindle devices every single day. This service will be heaven on earth for all of those people. According to an article I read, Amazon doesn’t yet have any titles from any of the Big 5 publishers. Assuming this is eventually worked out (crossing my fingers) I’ll gladly fork over $9.99 a month for this service. Why now and not before with one of the other ones already available? Because who wants to read books on their phone? (I don’t have an iPad)

If Amazon is able to bring this service to market, I’ll definitely take part. Will you?

You can read a short article on the service here.

Writer’s Privilege is a Real Thing

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Photo Credit: Writers & Artists

Let’s face it. There are a number of professions that are outrageously difficult to break into. Professional sports. Music. Movies. Publishing. Every one of these professions has their critics, but are any of them on the level of the publishing industry?

Think about the fact that there are more than 300 NCAA Division I basketball programs in the country. Which puts a rough estimate of the number of players at maybe 3600. Guess how many are drafted each year in the NBA draft? 60. And typically the second half of those players drafted will never make an NBA roster. So 30. I’m no good at math, but that means less than 1% of all NCAA Division I basketball players will get a chance to play professionally. Sounds similar to the number of writers who ultimately gain representation through an agent, right? Also, let’s not forget that many foreign born and NCAA Division II and III players are also eligible.

Just one more example. The MLB draft is up to 40 rounds. Let’s say that every team chooses a player in every round, though this doesn’t happen, but let’s just say it does. That puts the number of players drafted at 1200. You’re probably thinking that’s a pretty high number, right? Wrong. MLB organizations have several minor league teams with rosters to fill. All of the 3200 players will at least have the opportunity to sign a professional contract. Guess how many will ultimately play in the MLB? Maybe 100 out of those 1200. A slightly higher percentage than the previous example, but still not high.

Anyway, the point that I’m making is that if you read blogs on WordPress or even op-eds written by authors there is a constant theme…the publishing industry doesn’t give us a chance to succeed. That agents and publishers have gone beyond the point of acting as gatekeepers to keep average or below average writing out of the traditional publishing world.

I mean, I’m sure you’ve read some rather angry rants directed toward the publishing industry in your time on WordPress. I know I have. This also all comes back to writer’s privilege, right? For some unknown reason writers think they’re owed something. A chance. A publishing deal. An agent. Whatever it may be, writers seem to think it should be theirs. Because there are other professions out there that have similar statistics to the publishing industry, but we aren’t constantly bombarded by people claiming that the NBA or Hollywood or the music industry all owe anyone anything.

Sure it sucks that so few authors actually make it, but so what? No one told you to write anything. And don’t give me that whole “I write because I have to” crap. You can also have a 9-5 job because you have to.

Writers, you don’t deserve anything. You need to go out and take it from someone else. So do it and stop complaining.

In my head I’m thinking writer’s privilege, but I’m seeing other people use that to talk about a million other things. Maybe I used the wrong term. Eh.

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