Guest Post: Is gifting books classy or pompous?

Everyone lives in their own little world of social norms. Upon realizing this fact, I’ve enjoyed questioning many of my life choices. Who doesn’t enjoy a strong shot of self-reflection? It’s led to a few realizations of hypocrisy. For example, I’m mostly a pacifist except when it comes to spiders. Spiders should be smitten from the earth. With fire and lightning. Maybe firey lighting. Anyway, I digress. What I wanted to talk to the internet about is that I love gifting books, but don’t enjoy when people give me books. Is that craziness?

Probably. Let me explain my feelings. Then please, pretty please, give me your opinions.

Reasons to Gift Books

I frequently read a book and feel like it’s perfect for someone. I also frequently never know what to buy people on occasions when I’m supposed to give them presents. Thus I give books. I’m either lazy or efficient. My buying them the book and telling them to read it is nicer than alternative ways of making people read books. At least I don’t throw the books through their window, break into their rooms and write the book on their walls, or make them buy the book themselves. Most of my family members receive books for all major holidays. I get to make people read a book, usually one I enjoyed, and support book stores. Also authors. Win-win for me.

Giving a book can be extremely personalized. I hunt for the perfect book. The shopping is a thoughtful process. I don’t just buy everyone Harry Potter even though everyone in the world should read Harry Potter. No. I get deep into genres. I find out who enjoys mysteries with a scientific concentration and fast-pacing and a strong female lead. Time for a Bones novel. I try to personalize the gift as much as possible depending on how well I know the receiver.

I’ve gifted books for years and never had any complaints. However, my family and loved ones are polite. I’m not sure they’d tell me if they didn’t like my presents. I would never tell someone I didn’t like a present unless it really offended me. Maybe if I was given a book on being seen and not heard. That would spark sass. Otherwise I will cherish any item wrapped in shiny paper handed my way.

Reasons I Don’t Want Books as Presents

Please don’t buy me a book. Why, you shout at me. I have a whole blog about books. I love books. All the books. It would seem a logical conclusion to gift me a book. However, I already have many books. Lots of them. You don’t know me! You don’t know what I’m reading right now or already own. If I get a book that is part of a series then you’ve committed me to a whole series of books. This is committing time, emotion, and space I don’t necessarily possess. Stop being so presumptive.

Alternative Gifts for Book Lovers

If you do need to buy a book lover a gift and want to stab me for being a hypocrite, please wait. I will not leave you without hope. I’m a Pinterest addict and have a whole board full of nerdy loves. Booky presents that are not books do exist. Buy your book lover an awesome shelf for their books, a reading rack for the bath tub (the ones that also hold wine are coolest), nerdy apparel from already loved books, book lights, book ends, books that are actually hollow and store stuff, or book jewelry. All of these things exist. Promise.

Otherwise, give people cash. Give the people what they want! Who doesn’t want more cash? Cash can be turned into a book or any of these cool gift ideas. It can also be folded into cranes. So much potential!

That’s it. I have no more thoughts. Feed me your thoughts! Do you like giving or receiving books? Do you have a different go-to gift for book lovers? 

-Caitlin

The Book Bard

Reading From Start to Finish

All readers are different, right? They like what they like and they dislike whatever they dislike. But sometimes those differences make me scratch my head, like when someone doesn’t read a book from start to finish.

I’ve seen and been told by other readers that they don’t read from start to finish. They’ll start a book and then for whatever reason just skip to the ending. Or they’ll read from the middle outward. Like, huh? I don’t understand the point of doing anything like this. If you don’t like the book you’re reading, then read something else. I don’t see how you can fully grasp a story if you’re reading it in a manner that (in my opinion) simply cannot carry the same entertainment value as it would if it were being read from start to finish.

Perhaps I’m crazy here and people do this kind of thing all the time, but that wouldn’t make it any more reasonable to me. Do you read from start to finish?


On this day in 2014 I published An Agent Represents my Second Book! Whaaaaaat!?.

PS: I asked y’all to pick my next read in yesterday’s post, so go vote if you haven’t done so already! I’ll take votes for one week.

 

Should Certain Books be Read by Certain Readers?

No. It’s a simple answer to a dumb question.

Imagine if Barnes and Noble (online) or Amazon asked you prior to checkout if you’re a man or woman. Or if you went to your local bookstore and they took one look at you and said the book you’re trying to buy is only to be bought by someone who looks different. It’s crazy talk. And you probably read this as if it’s somehow funny. It isn’t.

Remember that article (even though everyone knows it was clickbait) about adults reading YA? And the big fuss that arose from it? When someone says that any book should only be read by a specific reader, they are embracing the same stupidity present in that article. Imagine if Harry Potter could only be read by young boys. No girls. No men. No women. Or if The Hunger Games could only be read by teen girls. The list could go on and on.

Most genres have a target audience, but any popular book will transcend that audience and be read by just about any reader. So if a guy wants to read YA or erotica or any genre generally perceived as female, then who’s to tell him he shouldn’t? I’d make the same case for girls reading “male” genres, but I’m not sure which genres fall into that particular group.

What do you think?


On this day in 2014 I published A Literary Tattoo? I think Yes!.

 

Will you Consider Downloading a Free Book?

free-ebooks

Photo Credit: GoodEReader

This question ultimately asks if you read self-published books, but not all self-published books are free at some point. In my experience I’ve found that people are typically “I read a lot of free books” or “I will not ever read a book if it’s free.” I’ve rarely found someone who sometimes reads free books and sometimes doesn’t. I’ll never sit here and say that one person’s reasoning for their decision is wrong while another person’s is right, so this is just me repeating what has been said about why people do or don’t download books that are free.

“If it’s free it must be bad”

This goes along with the stigma that still exists for self-publishing. Maybe self-published authors are making strides when it comes to their literary merit, but talk to someone who knows nothing about the publishing industry about your book. One of their first questions is sure to  be who published your book. I mean, there are MANY great books out their that have been self-published, but some readers will never find them because they don’t give them a chance. Like when they’re free.

“I have too many books I actually WANT to read”

There’s no doubt in my mind that when said in this context this statement is an excuse not to read a particular book or perhaps a book that is free. I understand that most avid readers have dozens and dozens of books they want to read, maybe hundreds cause some people are crazy, but the notion that reading one book that’s not necessarily on your never ending TBR list is going to mess with the alignment of the universe is simply absurd. After all, you have to keep adding new books to your TBR list if you intend to keep reading, right? Just say you don’t want to read the damn book and be done with it.

“I have too many books on my Kindle”

This is probably more valid than you might think. There are plenty of readers out there who navigate the Kindle free store on a daily basis just downloading books. This isn’t bad and I’m not going to knock anyone for it, but this really does create the dilemma of having too many books. I’m talking hundreds of unread books just collecting figurative dust in the depths of your Kindle. From what I’ve been told and understand, many of these readers just pick titles almost at random once downloaded because there’s no easy way to pick which book to read when you have hundreds at your fingertips.

I’m quite certain that I could continue the list here because the likelihood is that you’ve had some experience with this question. Maybe you’re a reader who never downloads free books. Or maybe you’re an author who has offered your book for free through KDP Select. Me? I’ve never actually downloaded a free book. And I have offered my book for free a couple of times. I think my best free promo garnered 6571 downloads in a couple of days, but obviously I don’t have a gazillion reviews of my book.

Do you download free books?

Ask Your Reader

judging-a-book-by-its-cover

Photo Credit: StandOutBooks

This will be a first for me. But who knows, maybe it could become a more regular thing. Maybe. Oh wait, I haven’t even told you what I’m doing yet. Whoops.

Okay. A Million years ago I took ideas from you all about potentially writing a guest post for me. And the response from you guys wasn’t astronomical, but I ended up with a GREAT post about pantsing vs. plotting. This will not be a call for a guest blogger.

But you still have a say in what I write. See, I’ve maintained for a long time that my favorite part of blogging is interacting with you guys. Yes, some of you avidly disagree with me on just about everything I post to the point that your comments are aimed more toward me than what I wrote, which I’m perfectly fine with. I’m a big boy and I can guarantee that nothing you say on here is going to hurt or negatively affect me. But keep it respectful. If I rant about something and you REALLY don’t like it then go ahead and comment and call me stupid and do whatever you want. I don’t care.

Anyway, I got way off topic with that paragraph. I’ve seen other bloggers ask their readers what they want them to write about. Honestly, I laugh when I see this because they end up with one Like and one comment because they really have no readers. Don’t read that as my thinking I’m better or something, but if you’re a regular reader of my posts then you know that there are several bloggers who come back day after day to read what I’ve written. So I think I’m in a better position than others to ask this question.

What would you like for me to write about? The one thing I would say is that your suggestion in some way pertain to books or writing. That’s all. Since I am posting this on a Sunday I definitely expect the response to be fairly minimal, but feel free to throw some ideas my way if you like and just maybe I’ll write a post and give you a little shoutout.

Comment away.

PS: I have a notepad of ideas right next to me. So don’t go thinking crazy thoughts that I’ve run out of ideas. Nope.