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!

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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.

Book Club, Anyone?

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Photo Credit: Torque

No. I will not be inviting you to join my WordPress book club. Cause there isn’t one. But I’ve read about a number of book clubs and although some may be surprised at what I’ve read, I’m not.

Before when I thought of book club, I’d think of a relatively small group of people who get together perhaps once a month to meet and discuss that month’s book. But I’m not so sure this is really happens at some book club meetings. I’ve read a few blog posts and plenty of memes about book clubs and they tell a slightly different story.

For one, the book club really functions only as their excuse to get together however often they do. And second, the book is minimally discussed. So now you might be wondering what the heck they’re doing. They just talk. About whatever. See, that’s fine and all, but why do you need a book club to do what you can via text, phone call, or over coffee? I’ve even heard that it’s how some guys pick up women because a “well read guy” is hard to find. Or maybe that means it’s women picking up men. Bahaha people are hilarious.

Anyway, I’ve never participated in a book club, though the wife of one of my co-workers supposedly wanted to read my book in her club earlier this year. I have no idea if they ever did or not because I only received a single text about it. So now I’m just wondering what your book club experience has been like? Is it strictly about the books or is there a lot of gossip going around?

Take me to the Library

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Photo Credit: Library of Congress

I may or may not have not told you guys about my experience with libraries. So let’s talk about it.

I’d hope you know by now that I love books. You have to know this. Well my elementary school was pretty old and its library was far from great. And there were only two computers. The fifth grade had its own mini computer lab and there were multiple computer labs in the school, but the library for some reason didn’t get in on the technology.

Suffice it to say that my very first library I spent some time in did not do anything for my love of books. And maybe I hadn’t even realized it yet.

My middle school library was something else. It was about four times the size of the elementary school library and had what I thought was a gazillion books. BUT as you all know, middle school is seven classes a day with very little time in between. I rarely had time to go to the library even though it was so nice.

My high school even added to what my middle school had in its library. More computers and more shelves of books than I could count. But I was a bad student in high school. My GPA and class rank were laughable. I never went to the library unless it was with my class.

BUT during my early high school years I found out that the county in which I live has a pretty sizeable library system. I got my library card and would do some really random Google searching to find my next book to check out almost weekly. Then I’d force my mom to drive me to the library so I could get my books.This lasted a couple of years because once I started working part-time I decided to desert the library for the bookstore.

My experience with libraries enabled and maintained my interest in reading. Sure I couldn’t always get the book I wanted because 100 other people wanted it before me, but that was okay. Because a few years of borrowing books has evolved into a few years of buying books and a love like no other. What’s your experience with libraries?

And if you look at my Bookish Bucket List you’ll see that visiting the Library of Congress is on there. I’m sure there are plenty of incredible libraries in the world, but we have one right here and I absolutely must see it. I’ll be like a little kid in a candy store.