QUESTIONS for the Avid Reader

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QUESTIONS for the Avid Reader

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1SassyLassy
Jan. 1, 2018, 7:55am

This first question is prompted by avaland, and by many comments on the various CR threads in 2017.



QUESTION 1

Over the past year there were many, many mentions in a number of CR threads of the lack of focus when it came to reading, the difficulty with getting engaged. Major external events like the American election and its aftermath, Brexit, and other major issues of the day had intruded into people's consciousness to such a degree that reading habits were altered and reading itself suffered.

a) Did this past year's events affect your reading?

b) How -- quantity, quality, change of genre, change of focus -- you tell us.

2nohrt4me2
Jan. 1, 2018, 11:27am

a) No. If anything, I feel more alive and engaged than I have in a long time, despite retirement, age, and infirmity. I can no longer march, but I sent umpteen pink hats to those Pussyhat people with quotes from Emma Goldman attached on little tags. I imagined some vegan Millennials getting them and looking up old Emma on their i-phones.

b) I read a lot of dystopian novels with a kind of perverse pleasure. I often feel I am re-living the Nixon years, though Nixon was positively suave compared to what we have now. I also re-read a lot of Vonnegut and Poe. I didn't read any Austen, Trollope, or Henry James, unusual for me.

3avaland
Bearbeitet: Jan. 2, 2018, 7:21am

a) Apparently, yes.

b) 1. I could not read Joyce Carol Oates, a favorite author. And near year's end I noticed I had read only a few books by American authors and of the few I read there were a couple of dystopian fiction, one crime fiction, and the rest were nonfiction. That seemed unusual to me—not the kind of books, but the small percentage of American authors read.

ETA: We are reading more media on line and watching a few news commentary & discussion shows on television a bit more regularly — it all cuts into the regular reading time.

>2 nohrt4me2: Speaking of the Nixon years.... Did I tell you that I turned 18 the day of the Saturday Night Massacre?

4nohrt4me2
Jan. 1, 2018, 4:13pm

>2 nohrt4me2: I'll say one thing for Nixon: He sure got a lot of people to pay more attention to how government runs. Why this did not translate to better civics instruction in our schools remains a puzzle to me. For a good part of the last 30 years, I had to run journalism students through a kind of overview/boot camp so they understood levels of government, separation of powers, and tax issues. God, don't get me started.

5baswood
Jan. 1, 2018, 4:21pm

I tried not to let the events from last year affect my reading, but I did read 20 % less books. I followed the news and current events more than usual. However overall I found it all so depressing that I am determined not to get so emotionally involved in politics this year.

6rachbxl
Jan. 1, 2018, 4:23pm

a) well, something did.

b) I found it hard to concentrate and/or let myself get wrapped up in novels, not a problem I’ve had over such a sustained period of time before. I took refuge in crime novels, which I usually use as a ‘palate cleanser’. The term is avaland’s, but it describes exactly how I normally use crime fiction - when I don’t know what to read, either after an exceptionelly good read, or because I’m in a slump, a crime novel will generally sort me out. But this time I was reading one after the other, and they stopped hitting the spot, which left me not knowing where to turn. Hence my very low total for last year.

7RidgewayGirl
Jan. 1, 2018, 5:24pm

>2 nohrt4me2: I can no longer march, but I sent umpteen pink hats to those Pussyhat people with quotes from Emma Goldman attached on little tags.

That sentence made me so happy. Every word of it.

a) Yes, now and again. And at other times it was the valuable escape from all of that - inhabiting another world for the length of a novel. And it affected what I'm reading.

b) Yes, I read more books about current events and/or focused on issues we are going to have to deal with if we want to move forward as a society. And more books written by PoC and authors whose experiences are significantly different than my own. I expect that to continue in 2018.

8AnnieMod
Jan. 1, 2018, 7:18pm

1. a) Did this past year's events affect your reading?
Yes and no. It did not stop me from reading but it changed what I read and it diverted some of my reading times to other activities.

b) How -- quantity, quality, change of genre, change of focus -- you tell us.
For the first time in more than a decade, I started reading the local papers again. I read a lot more magazines and newspapers (current events ones) than I used to - I never really stopped doing that through the years but the last 16 months pushed me back into following them a lot more than before.

On a more personal level, I had somewhat bad issues with my eyes - so I had to look for something that was not stressing them when I was not working. As I was reading old-time crime and mysteries at the time (think Perry Mason) and I knew that there were a lot of radio detective series from that era, I looked them up. Then I realized that there are a lot of podcasts out there - current news, fiction, non-fiction - whatever you need. They do not cut in my reading time directly (I tend to listen while doing other things) but they replaced some of the audio books and in some cases replace things I might have read about.

9japaul22
Jan. 2, 2018, 12:27pm

I will admit that though I was deeply upset, confused, and angry about many of political events of the past year, it didn't affect my reading. I think I'm pretty good at compartmentalizing.

Also, living in Washington, D.C. and constantly working around politicians has given me a pretty jaded view of all of them. Even people whose politics I agree with often do not impress me (to say the least) when I observe how they interact with people from the most powerful and famous down to the ushers and servers at the White House. I find almost all of them to seem wildly out of touch with the average American.

This past year was definitely a new low though certainly some people in power must have their heart in the right place, but I've come to the conclusion that the way I choose to deal with this is by serving my local community where I can actually make a difference, voting in every election, and keeping myself educated. Beyond that, I can't let it affect my day to day existence, reading included.

10.Monkey.
Jan. 2, 2018, 3:32pm

Ugh, yes, very much. I wound up reading only 54 books, and only that many because when I got myself to read I was going through a book every 1-3 days, basically, so it was binging on books for a month or two and then huge slumps. For the longest time I couldn't read anything at all that was more serious/weighty, or depressing. I could basically only handle genrefic and even then only really specific stuff. Otherwise I'd just wind up not touching it. Near the end of the year I bounced back more again and I'm hoping I will be able to keep that going now. If things start weighing on me too much I am just going to go right to the genrefic and not worry about trying to read the more "literary" things like I did in 2017 (because I like reading those so it bugs me when I'm not in the headspace for it and they wind up sitting untouched), just so long as I'm reading, and work my way back up from the depths, heh.

11arubabookwoman
Bearbeitet: Jan. 2, 2018, 6:21pm

It probably has affected my reading. I'm definitely reading a lot of nonfiction in an attempt to understand current events (though in some cases this only makes me more depressed and fearful for the future). Nevertheless, some of these books were among my best reads of 2017, including Evicted, Nomadland, Another Day in the Death of America, The Making of Donald Trump and $2.00 a Day. I've purchased, but not yet read, many other books, including Democracy in Chains, A Tale of Two Americas, Dark Money, and several others.

12dchaikin
Jan. 3, 2018, 10:21am

Oye, yes. Watching my country was crushing last year...still is. My new word this year is shitgibbon and I have a passionate hatred of him.

My reading plunged until I found a way for it. I needed to not think about the state of the world for a period, in order to allow myself a place to enjoy reading. Over the summer I got lost into Ovid’s Metamorphosis and came out enjoying reading again. It’s a fragile thing. The world sucks right now. But I’m reading again.

My numbers were down. My reading jumped around 2005. This has been about my worst year since, in terms of numbers (excluding audiobooks).

13.Monkey.
Jan. 3, 2018, 10:37am

Shitgibbon, LOL, I like it.
The Metamophoses is one of my TBR books (it was actually one of the ones on last year's list that I didn't make it to, so it's been carried over to this year), so that is good to hear! :D

14dchaikin
Jan. 3, 2018, 11:45am

.monk - it’s actually a fun oddball read and can be approached in a number of different ways. (I mean, you don’t have to get lost in it)

15AnnieMod
Jan. 3, 2018, 12:31pm

>12 dchaikin:

I think that I was still trying to come in terms with what was happening at the time this one was coined (or used) so I somehow missed it but I love the word.

16markon
Jan. 3, 2018, 12:37pm

1. Possibly. I don't think I read less last year, but I didn't keep track of it. And that means I don't know how to evaluate it.

2. Focus going forward: I want to echo japaul22 who said

the way I choose to deal with this is by serving my local community where I can actually make a difference, voting in every election, and keeping myself educated. Beyond that, I can't let it affect my day to day existence, reading included.

In addition, I find focusing too much on what is actually happening can be quite depressing. I do try to stay informed, but I also try to focus on positive things happening in my community and online.

17dchaikin
Jan. 3, 2018, 1:02pm

>13 .Monkey.:,>15 AnnieMod: - the word, I got it from Richard yesterday in the 75ers. (I don’t have a thread thread there, just browsing).

... hmm, not sure if I’m blaming him or crediting him.

18mabith
Jan. 4, 2018, 2:41am

a) Did this past year's events affect your reading?
Yes. Political events, plus helping fix up a house with my mom, then packing my belongings and moving to said house, then unpacking (I have disabling chronic pain, and this pretty much destroyed me). Then in the summer my mom became ill and within three months died.

b) How -- quantity, quality, change of genre, change of focus -- you tell us.
Change of quantity mostly. My monthly tally varied hugely (one month I averaged a book per day!), depending on how much time I was at home or with others. In many ways it was a change in enjoyment as well. Hard to feel so numb and not have that bleed onto the books. I found it extremely difficult to choose the next book to read as well and nearly impossible to read in print (beyond children's novels and comics).

19thorold
Jan. 4, 2018, 7:05am

As far as politics goes, I had the bottom knocked out of my world in June 2016. Bad as it was, 2017 just felt like the inevitable working out of that piece of idiocy. Oddly enough, I don’t think I was spending more time on reading news - things often seemed so predictably bad that I couldn’t face going beyond the headlines.

I had quite a lot of distractions in my personal life last year as well, which might have affected the amount of time I had for reading in either direction (more stress in the first part of the year, enforced idleness in the middle, more freedom towards the end). But in the end I read about as many books as I would have expected to.

What definitely changes when you have external events on your mind is what you take from what you read. For me I think it made it more difficult to enjoy writers whose politics I disagree with - and perhaps also more liable to draw political messages from books that weren’t explicitly political. To the point of getting unnecessarily worked up about someone as harmless as Angela Thirkell...

20kac522
Jan. 5, 2018, 3:20am

>19 thorold: ...so now I'm curious... what bothered you about Angela Thirkell?

22.Monkey.
Jan. 5, 2018, 8:57am

>21 thorold: Oh yuck. I can certainly see being plenty bothered by that.

23kac522
Bearbeitet: Jan. 6, 2018, 12:30am

>21 thorold: Got it.

I loved Trollope's Barsetshire novels, and then on LT I read people raving about Thirkell in reference to Trollope and Barset. So I read High Rising. And there were so many anti-Semitic references in the thing that I just cannot stomach another book of hers. Seventy years earlier even Dickens changed his references in Oliver Twist from 'The Jew' to Fagin. And certainly Trollope has Ferdinand Lopez, but it's not the same somehow.

I suppose I'm missing out on some great reads, but I'll just have to live without.

24thorold
Jan. 6, 2018, 3:23am

>23 kac522: Yes. Sometimes you can put up with that sort of thing and tell yourself that it’s a triviality and the writer is just thoughtlessly repeating a stock prejudice of the time, but when it starts to get under your skin for whatever reason it’s probably time to remind yourself that you are reading this for pleasure, and put the book aside.

25AlisonY
Jan. 6, 2018, 10:12am

Given that the new Trump presidency seems to have affected so many in CR, will be interested in any reviews on the new Michael Wolff book if and when any of you read it (or would it just be far too depressing a read....?).

26.Monkey.
Jan. 6, 2018, 10:44am

>25 AlisonY: I guess that is something to do with the presidency? Or the situation around it? In any case no, definitely not interested. I've been reading some Civil Rights Movement stuff and just ordered several more on that theme, but stuff from the present is too much.

27nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Jan. 6, 2018, 11:41am

>25 AlisonY: Wolff's thesis is that "however bad you think it is, it's a whole lot worse." As a former journalist, I am concerned by the fact that he doesn't attribute sources, and where he quotes people, it's not clear how or where he heard the remarks. He resorts to a hardboiled noir style, so it's clear who the good and bad guys are. Trump has been accused of having no ability to convey nuance, and this book, ironically, doesn't do much better on that front.

If the extensive excerpts I've read are representative of the book, it doesn't tell you anything about Trump that you can't figure out from his tweets or just doing a word cloud of the text of one of his speeches.

As popular culture artifact, Wolff's book might be pretty interesting, though I doubt it's going to be a journalistic or political classic like, say, The Selling of the President. And Wolff is certainly going to be one of the privileged few who achieves significant financial benefits from the current administration.

What I wouldn't give to have seen what Hunter S. Thompson and a stash of Dexedrine would have done with the current political material. It would have been both choleric and hilarious.

But I vowed I would not get into religion or politics in here, so that's gonna have to be my only rant.

28avaland
Jan. 6, 2018, 6:49pm

>25 AlisonY: We sold the only 5 copies we had shortly after opening -- all to people swinging left, judging by their comments. I think the book is a flash in the pan and its appeal over as soon as the next thing comes along to knock it out of the news. I agree with Jean that it might be interesting as a popular culture artifact. But then, are all those Kitty Kelley unauthorized biographies thought of much these days?

29RidgewayGirl
Jan. 6, 2018, 9:19pm

>28 avaland: Well, Henry Holt & Co. did move up the release date to capitalize on the publicity. I don't think that Trump could have done a better job of selling the book if he'd been trying to. I agree that it's a flash in the pan and I'll keep my political reading to more serious and substantive fare.

30dchaikin
Jan. 7, 2018, 5:52pm

Can't not think about the Wolff book lately and the excerpts that have been released and the fact Wolff is such an iffy personality himself. The little bits I've read are pretty insane, and apparently not of suspect validity, but well known. Seems like he's reporting an open secret.

31AlisonY
Jan. 7, 2018, 6:30pm

Interesting comments. From this side of the pond I think the views are pretty similar. Wolff doesn't seem like a journalist of much authenticity and yes, his sources seem vague and probably over-exaggerated. Wolff pitches it as being a catalyst to getting rid of Trump, but I expect it will simply stir the hornet's nest for a while, spawn (many) more toe-curling Tweets and then be forgotten.

I must admit that I'm increasingly thinking of episodes of The Office every time I think of Trump....

32SassyLassy
Jan. 8, 2018, 6:51pm

The discussion seems to be veering toward this book, and I was going to ask about it anyway, so no better time than now. Even if you have commented on it above, feel free to do so again below.



QUESTION 2

a) Do you plan on reading Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House?

b) Are you discussing it even if you haven't read it?

c) If you are discussing it and haven't read it, where are you getting your information about it and on what are you basing your views?

d) Do you think we should make the effort to read those whose political views we may not agree with, if those views will have a major impact on the thinking of others?

e) Can you give an example of such a book you may have read?

33.Monkey.
Jan. 9, 2018, 3:05am

Q2 - No.
Except d), then potentially, but it certainly depends on the situation, and also whether those views are not widely enough known as it is. Generally if someone is a big enough deal that their views are "important," in some way, then they've normally already made them pretty clear. To me, getting an even more in-depth look in that case is just unnecessary torture.

34baswood
Bearbeitet: Jan. 9, 2018, 4:52pm

NO I am not going to read it as I think it is tittle-tattle. I have mentioned it but not discussed it in any depth. I have formed my view from various news reports.
I think it is important to read or at least know about views that are not in accordance with my thinking, but reading this book might make me angry, or at the very least more cynical about politicians than I already am (if that is possible)

35nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Jan. 9, 2018, 5:48pm

I read extensive excerpts from the book. No, not interested in reading it, based on the excerpts.

I do not become enraged by reading things I don't agree with. It may motivate me to write to my elected representatives, though.

I usually read thoughtful/intelligent commentary from "the other side" in magazines or newspaper. Most of the people at my work are from "the other side," and I have friendly, productive discussions with them.

36AnnieMod
Jan. 9, 2018, 3:41pm

Q2

No, I am not interested in reading more about him just now, let alone what amounts to a tabloid in a book form - plus the mix of podcasts, TV shows and radio shows I am listening to will discuss it for the next few weeks and I will get tired of listening about it. The book served its purpose as far as I am concerned - it kicked the hornet's nest. I don't discuss the content of books I had not read - I can discuss the journalistic practices or something else but not the content.

I try to read commentaries and articles that I disagree with but they need to be written properly and have some thought into them - the screeching and finger pointing works in the 3rd grade but not when you are an adult. It's the same with evolution and the sciences or religion - I would listen to anyone's arguments as long as there are arguments and it is not just "because I said so".

But I would not read a book about it - I read newspaper and magazine articles, I can read an essay in a topical anthology but I would not read a complete book on a topic I disagree with completely.

However - I would read an autobiography or biography of someone I disagree with - it is always interesting to find out why they have the views they had. And I would read history - even if I disagree with the treatment.

37.Monkey.
Jan. 9, 2018, 3:47pm

>36 AnnieMod: Pretty much all this, yes.

38avaland
Jan. 9, 2018, 7:08pm

Q2. No, not interested in reading the Wolff book. I have discussed it a bit with coworkers at the bookstore. Most of my info is from The Washington Post or MSNBC (Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow or Joy Reid) and various interviews with Wolff.

I may read David Cay Johnston's forthcoming book, It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America. If I can stomach the depressing contents. It will likely be succinct and to the point. I read few political books and I guess I don't want to get into much of a conversation here related to politics.

I wouldn't be such a big fiction reader if I didn't want to know how other people think....

39thorold
Jan. 10, 2018, 1:09am

Q2 - No plans to read Wolff. From all I’ve read about it, it sounds like a book that would simply feed my existing prejudices about Trump with unreliable gossip. I don’t need that.

Amused to see that a different book called Fire and fury (the one by a Canadian professor about bombing Germany in WWII, which still comes up as default on the LT touchstone as well) is suddenly doing well on Amazon.

I agree - in theory - that we should inform ourselves about the arguments and opinions of people we disagree with, and that it’s often best to do that at first hand. In real life, it’s also often tedious and disagreeable, so I don’t do it as often as I should.

There are risks in reading people you disagree with as well - simply putting their book on your shelf helps to make their arguments respectable, and some people have forfeited that sort of respect long before you get to the book. And of course propaganda sometimes works - if you aren’t in a position to weigh their facts and arguments critically, you risk starting to believe the misinformation. Reading the Daily Mail Every day might help you to understand how angry working-class people think, but it will also sooner or later start to convince you that all crimes are committed by immigrants, all disagreeable legislation comes from Brussels, and all foodstuffs either cause cancer or cure it.

40.Monkey.
Jan. 10, 2018, 3:28am

And of course propaganda sometimes works - if you aren’t in a position to weigh their facts and arguments critically, you risk starting to believe the misinformation
So much this. My mother is incredibly gullible (and fairly naïve about a lot as well), and with her and my dad divorced years ago, and me living on another continent, she somehow managed to start watching various things on the dreaded Fox "news" and she has no ability to discern how much bullshit the vast majority of what they say is. Her views on a lot have shifted a good bit over the last handful of years. Fortunately she despises 45 so that has put her off it a bit, but. :|

Also agreed that giving precious time & money to listen to their nonsense gives them credibility they don't deserve.

41AlisonY
Jan. 10, 2018, 4:51am

I won't be reading it either. From the snippets I've grasped in the media, Wolff seems to be a sensationalist opportunist. There have been so many 'gasp' moments from Trump's presidency already that I doubt any of Wolff's so-called revelations would be particularly surprising or shocking in any case.

42bragan
Jan. 12, 2018, 12:42am

Question 1:

Did this past year's events affect your reading?

The 2016 election definitely affected my reading at the time. For a few weeks, I felt like I was desperately flailing around trying to find the right book to take my mind off things or make me feel better, and failing miserably. It was not a good time.

This past year, not so much, although that may be due in large part to me doing entirely too much sticking my head in the sand and not engaging with the news or the wider world. Terrible citizenship, but helpful for my sanity levels. Sigh.

Question 2:

a) Do you plan on reading Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House?

I'm very mildy tempted to emerge from the sand and do so, just to see if it's all just as much of a trainwreck as I'd expect. But I doubt I will.

b) Are you discussing it even if you haven't read it?

No. I don't see that I have anything to discuss if I haven't read it. I have been hearing about it, though, of course.

d) Do you think we should make the effort to read those whose political views we may not agree with, if those views will have a major impact on the thinking of others?

To some extent, yes. Or at least, I think it's sometimes a good thing to read the views of people you disagree with, just to better understand what it is you're disagreeing with and to make sure you're not swinging at straw men. Which does not mean we all need to force ourselves to read stuff we find hideously offensive.

e) Can you give an example of such a book you may have read?

Well, I did read Same Sex Marriage: Pro and Con, half of which was by people who I thought were making very stupid, horrible, wrong arguments, indeed. To be honest, I'm not sure how enlightening their perspectives were, since they were basically nothing I wasn't already aware of. That seems to be the only example that's immediately leaping to mind of a book that completely fits the question, but it's probably safe to say I've read plenty of other things by people I didn't entirely agree with.

43SassyLassy
Jan. 13, 2018, 11:23am

QUESTION 3 This comes from a recent comment on a CR thread.



a) Do you read books you consider to be "guilty pleasures"?

b) If you own them, do you list them on LT?

c) Are you embarrassed to admit you have read particular books and enjoyed them? (if you didn't enjoy them it wouldn't be a pleasure)

d) If you are reading them in public, do you do so on an electronic device rather than a paper copy?

e) Do you know what sends you off for a binge read of these books?

f) Do these books necessarily have to be of lower quality than other reading you do?

g) Can you think of a title that once would have been considered in this category and now may have gained wider acceptance?

44baswood
Jan. 13, 2018, 2:07pm

What a question!

45nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Jan. 13, 2018, 2:51pm

>43 SassyLassy: I read alla those Charlie Huston vampire books. They were real page turners, and I don't feel guilty about it. Feel free to be embarrassed for me if you want. Some people enjoy feeling superior to others with inferior literary tastes, so there's my free gift to those folks!

46dchaikin
Bearbeitet: Jan. 13, 2018, 4:34pm

(Q3 is timely, but will require some thinking. )

QUESTION 2

a) Do you plan on reading Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House?

Probably not, but side note. I was reading an article recently on Trump and how he didn't want to win the election and I was gripped and fascinated. Halfway through I realized it was an excerpt from Wolff's book. That made me interested. I understand he's not the greatest and is an opportunist; I also suspect he didn't need to dig very deeply to come up with this.

b) Are you discussing it even if you haven't read it?

I was, on facebook. But not currently.

c) If you are discussing it and haven't read it, where are you getting your information about it and on what are you basing your views?

facebook and wikipedia and a few new articles on it.

d) Do you think we should make the effort to read those whose political views we may not agree with, if those views will have a major impact on the thinking of others?

Mark (thorold) answered this really well. The problem isn't the views, but the nature of the presentation. Is closed-mind a point-of-view? Obviously I'm not particularly tolerant. Communication across the political spectrum are tough these days with a wide swath of perspective coming from what feels like a celebration of willful ignorance.

e) Can you give an example of such a book you may have read?

Not one I read intentionally. When I sense that politically contaminated reasoning, I stop reading.

47dchaikin
Jan. 13, 2018, 4:58pm

I have a tough time with a definition. What is a gp? Is it just a fun book?, or does it need to be something trashy?, something illicit that you don't want anyone to know you enjoy reading? Is good quality fantasy, or mystery or whatnot a gp or just a good book.

Here's the thing, reading is a gp for me because of the time it takes, but what I read isn't, at least not intentionally. I don't read mysteries, fantasy, sci-fy, romance, or any other kind of book that might come to mind as a gp, and none of that would be, you know, embarrassing for me to read, except maybe romance. Sex (as a purpose of a book) is a little too taboo for me in reading, and something that I would consider hiding if I read a lot of it, but I don't search it out. Still, it's a very awkward thing to even mention here, IMO. But everything I've listed here can be considered trash. And, in reading, a gp isn't trash, by definition. It's in the eye of the reader and can be the absolute opposite of that. Which brings me back to the definition.

So..maybe we should try to define what a "guilty pleasure" in reading actually means.

I went through some of this reasoning when responding to a question on Lisa's (labfs39) thread just this morning when she asked me what I read for gp. I couldn't answer the question...

48avaland
Bearbeitet: Jan. 14, 2018, 8:35pm

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

49thorold
Bearbeitet: Jan. 13, 2018, 5:53pm

Q3: Guilty Pleasures
As >44 baswood: said, what a question! - if I do read things I’m ashamed of in some way, I’m hardly going to confess it here, am I...?

I’m a fairly shy and retiring person in real life, but I know by now that I’m not going to lose the respect of anyone whose opinion matters to me by admitting to reading something that I can find value in. Or indeed by rubbishing something I’ve read and didn’t find value in... So as far as LT and my friends in the real world go, I’m quite shameless about what I read.

Much the same goes for strangers - I know very well by now that 99% of them don’t know one book from another, and for the 1% who do I’m quite happy to justify whatever I’m reading. If that handsome stranger fails to chat me up on the train because he’s spotted that I’m reading a girly romantic comedy, it would probably never have worked out between us anyway...

Admittedly, I do avoid reading things in public with covers that other people might find offensive, like a lot of 70s paperbacks, but that’s more a matter of politeness than guilt.

50nohrt4me2
Jan. 13, 2018, 5:59pm

>47 dchaikin: Good point.

I took GP reading to be something other than literary fiction, or the "better class" genre fiction. Say spy novels, but by toney authors like Graham Greene.

51valkyrdeath
Jan. 13, 2018, 6:53pm

I've never liked the term guilty pleasure. To say something I like is a guilty pleasure seems to be making myself complicit in someone else's snobbery. If I enjoy reading something (or watching something, or listening to something, etc.) I'm not going to feel embarassed about it just because it doesn't fit with the critical consensus. So I guess the only definition I could use for guilty pleasure is getting pleasure from criminal activities which harm other people, in which case I have none!

52AnnieMod
Bearbeitet: Jan. 13, 2018, 7:03pm

>50 nohrt4me2:

Who determines what is "better class"? Tastes vary - one's better class fiction is someone else's worst example of literature.

Q3.

I really do not think of books as guilty pleasures - either I read or I do not. If i read it, I record it. If I feel like reading erotica, I read erotica; if I feel like reading something even harder than that, so be it. Most of my reading is genre reading (crime/mystery and the sf/f/h ones). I'd even read a romance novel once in awhile - and I am not ashamed to admit that I like some very popular authors as much as I like some of the classics.

53mabith
Jan. 13, 2018, 7:18pm

>47 dchaikin: Definition wise, it's one of those misnomers. Very few people will feel actual guilt about reading any particular type of book, they feel embarrassed because we've managed to be convinced that only certain types of books have value. What books those are can be different for each person.

54arubabookwoman
Jan. 13, 2018, 8:25pm

Q3

When I was a lot younger, I used to take "guilty pleasure" in reading "end of the world" books--usually post-apocalyptic, and because of the time period usually post-nuclear war. I say it was a guilty pleasure, because it somehow seemed shameful to be avidly reading about horrendous suffering (although of course a lot of the books were more about survival after such an event, often with glimmers of hope). Over the past few years I think this type of book has become very popular, and a lot of them are YA-oriented. I still like to read books on this theme, though I think I'm now much more aware of literary quality. The most recent example that comes to mind is Station Eleven.

Other than that, I can't think of any other "guilty pleasures," although I will say that recently I've become interested in and have been reading a lot of "doctor memoirs," maybe because as I've become older I've become fascinated with illness and aging, and also how doctors think vis a vis my own medical care. I've debated with myself as to whether I should review/list these books on my thread.

55japaul22
Jan. 13, 2018, 8:46pm

Q3

I have an idea of what "guilty pleasures" would be but I'm not sure I really read any of them. I think the term usually refers to someone who is known for loving the "high-art" form of any art but also likes the "low-brow" stuff and won't admit it publicly. So someone who watches and discusses all the Emmy winning TV shows but then spends hours also watching "16 and pregnant" or "real housewives of new york" but doesn't tell anyone that. I think there's a parallel for books that we could all imagine pretty easily.

I can admit that I value some books less than others in terms of their artistic value but I don't think anyone should feel "guilty" reading them and there is definitely a place for all of them. I don't judge anyone for getting enjoyment from reading them.

For me, I find almost the opposite of this definition is true though. I often feel uncomfortable telling "real life" friends about some of the classics I read. I don't want to come across as pretentious. So maybe Proust is my "guilty pleasure". ;-)

56wandering_star
Bearbeitet: Jan. 13, 2018, 9:29pm

Q3 To be honest, my real guilty pleasure is terrible pop songs - ones I know are terrible but love anyway. The ones that come to mind most quickly are 'Perfect Gentleman' by Wyclef (lyric: 'just cos she dances go-go, that don't make her a ho no') and 'The Vengabus Song'. There are more recent ones but I can't think of what they are right now.

This is different from good pop songs which some people might be snobbish about, such as Taylor Swift and Britney. I would happily defend the quality of those, whereas with the real 'guilty pleasures' ones I would just have to laugh and say I know they are awful but I still like them. I am also not embarrassed that I like fashion-based reality TV shows like 'America's Next Top Model' and 'Drag Race'.

There are a couple of chick-lit authors I really like, Marian Keyes and Sophie Kinsella. Early on I used to be a bit diffident about listing them on LT, especially on Club Read - I would often say something like 'I am reading this because I had a bad cold and needed something easy to get on with'. I don't think I feel the need to do that now.

I do have a small number of self-help books, generally to do with work (eg books about management or negotiation). They are the ones which I would feel most reluctant to list or write about on LT, and I would defend myself against this by saying 'well I didn't really *read* them, I referred to them'. I definitely wouldn't read them in public (good question) and I keep them in a different place (along with work and hobby books rather than on the main shelves). Not exactly a pleasure, then, but rather than being embarrassed that I enjoy them perhaps I am embarrassed that I feel that I need to read them. Thanks for these questions which set off an interesting train of thought!

57mabith
Jan. 14, 2018, 12:17pm

a) Do you read books you consider to be "guilty pleasures"?
As with most everyone it's embarrassment rather than guilt. There is a series of trashy vampire books that I quite enjoyed. They're probably the only ones that I feel really embarrassed about. Likewise I have a love for true crime books (and TV shows) which I had a hard time admitting until somewhat lately.

b) If you own them, do you list them on LT?
I do.

d) If you are reading them in public, do you do so on an electronic device rather than a paper copy?
Nope.

e) Do you know what sends you off for a binge read of these books?
Just a need for some silly fun? I rarely binge them, as my copies are mass market paperbacks which are murder for me to hold.

f) Do these books necessarily have to be of lower quality than other reading you do?
Quality is relative. The way these books are written works for those books. They are first person narration and the writing fits the character extremely well. They're not trying to be anything but what they are. These are the Anita Blake books (the first eight, after that they became one long sex scene and that's not why I read the books) by Laurel K. Hamilton.

g) Can you think of a title that once would have been considered in this category and now may have gained wider acceptance?
Maybe comics in general? Issue comics have much more acceptance now too, not just graphic novels and graphic memoirs.

58kac522
Jan. 14, 2018, 11:47pm

The most "guilty pleasure" reading I do is on LT! I feel the most guilty about wasting time reading the fascinating LT threads every day, which takes away from the books on my shelves staring me in the face.

I have plenty of books that give me pleasure, without requiring a lot of brain cell activity, but I don't feel guilty about them...I use them to give me a break from reading that's more challenging. And like >55 japaul22:, I rarely share what I'm reading with most people in RL because I'd probably come off even more nerdy than I already do.

59Dilara86
Bearbeitet: Jan. 17, 2018, 12:35pm

a) Do you read books you consider to be "guilty pleasures"?
By and large, no, but with the occasional exception. Just like >57 mabith:, I read a series of trashy vampire books once (Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series, to be precise). They were YA and belonged to my then teenage daughter. I liked to keep an eye on what she was reading, and I got sucked in. I also read and enjoyed Harry Potter for the same reason. And the Castañeda books. I don't feel guilty or embarrassed about it, but I acknowledge that some of the content was a bit silly or problematic.

b) If you own them, do you list them on LT?
Yes, of course.

c) Are you embarrassed to admit you have read particular books and enjoyed them? (if you didn't enjoy them it wouldn't be a pleasure)
No. For a start, nobody's interested and in any case, I read enough "serious" books to "offset" the odd frivolous novel. I tend to get the opposite reaction: people who don't know me well will try to force a Dan Brown novel on me, and when I decline, they'll lecture me on the importance of reading.

d) If you are reading them in public, do you do so on an electronic device rather than a paper copy?
I can't remember the last time I read a paper book in public, guilty pleasure or not. Kindles are so convenient! When I was younger, I always covered my books with plain paper to hide the covers, because my reading material (whatever the content) felt too personal and I didn't want to attract comments or for the books to be used as a pretext to strike a conversation. That wasn't unusual at the time. I think now, I wouldn't go to these lengths unless, like >49 thorold:, the covers could be considered offensive or might provoke a strong reaction in others. Certainly, I wouldn't be ashamed of my guilty pleasures in front of others.

e) Do you know what sends you off for a binge read of these books?
I stumble on someone else's book, get sucked into the story and want to know what will happen next.

f) Do these books necessarily have to be of lower quality than other reading you do?
That would depend on what you mean by "quality". They could be well-written but of questionable content, or they could be badly-written page-turners.

g) Can you think of a title that once would have been considered in this category and now may have gained wider acceptance?
All of Zola. I also remember a time when Stephen King was considered a hack. That doesn't seem to be the case so much these days.

60SassyLassy
Jan. 17, 2018, 10:45am

QUESTION 3 FOLLOWUP



This comes from some comments above

a) Do you ever find yourself having to downplay what you are reading to others?

b) Do you avoid or not participate in conversations about books at places like work or with people whom you may not know very well?

c) If you do, why do you think you do this?

61Dilara86
Jan. 17, 2018, 12:32pm

a) Do you ever find yourself having to downplay what you are reading to others?
I'm not sure... I don't often have conversations about books in real life. I've been told I minimise the number of books I read in a year, and the size of my library, but I feel that next to some LT members, my numbers are quite unremarkable. It's all relative. Obviously, I read more and own more books than the average person. About the content of my reading, I don't think I've ever had to downplay it to people I trust enough to open up on the subject, but then I'm not in a place where I have to conform, or else... People are quite accepting of my quirks.

b) Do you avoid or not participate in conversations about books at places like work or with people whom you may not know very well?
Yes.
c) If you do, why do you think you do this?
When conversations revolve around books I've not read or am not interested in, I'm happy to just listen.
When people wax lyrical about books and authors I hate, I shut up because I don't want to be drawn into endless, pointless arguments. Occasionally, people push through my disconfort, corner me, and force unpleasant conversations (generally about racism and sexism). They always leave a bad taste in my mouth and I never feel that they were fruitful. Also, because of the way I look, I get condescended to (admittedly, less so now that I am older and more experienced at projecting the right image). I'll not participate to preserve my sanity.
I also never offer unasked reading advice because I hate it when people who don't know me tell me what to read. When I sense some common ground however, I'm overjoyed, and I'll try and build up some kind of rapport from there. However, I tend to volunteer titles that are similar to what the other person says they read. For that reason, they might not have a complete picture of my reading tastes until much later. I also don't want to be seen as snobbish. To be precise, I'm OK with people thinking I have highbrow tastes, but I don't want anybody to feel I am condescending towards them, and because people tend to be very touchy on the subject and this is a tricky area to navigate, I'd rather say nothing.

62.Monkey.
Jan. 17, 2018, 2:26pm

>61 Dilara86: but I feel that next to some LT members, my numbers are quite unremarkable.
Hah, yeah. I get that kind of thing on some other social sites, I'll post my reading and people will comment how it's so much, and classics, etc, so overwhelming, meanwhile I avg like 70/yr, while many folks on here are reading 100, 150, 200... lol.

63baswood
Jan. 17, 2018, 2:28pm

>60 SassyLassy:
a No not really I very rarely get into conversations with friends about books. I don't think any of them read books.

64nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Jan. 17, 2018, 3:32pm

Underlying these questions seems to be an idea that reading certain books confers status on the reader (or reflects poorly on his/her taste).

If I enjoyed bodice-rippers, I would by god READ bodice-rippers (and I sorta did enjoy Linda Berdoll's soft porn Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, which is a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, but mostly just for the sex, and that was a long time ago, I am 63 now, and everybody knows nobody over 60 is interested in sex. Yes, that is sarcasm.).

I used to love buying pulp sci-fi and thrillers at the drug store when I was in high school. I don't remember any titles off hand except for one with the words "baby bunting" in it that will not come up on the touch stones.

I will pretty much read anything with a vampire in it, including that whole damn Twilight series, just because I think vampires have such interesting metaphorical possibilities (none of which came to fruition in the aforementioned "Twilight" saga).

I confess that I usually get bored with a series of books. I read all of Harry Potter, but I didn't think anything after Goblet of Fire was of much interest. I got through two of those George R. R. Martin things before I just got fed up with it. And I did not subscribe to my mother's notion that if one Nancy Drew is good, a whole bunch of them would be GREAT! I got sick of her boyfriend Ned Nickerson and George and Bess about two books in.

I also confess that I used to sit around the college student union pretending to read Lord of the Rings because I thought it would help me attract cool guys. It did not. Vonnegut tended to reel in a better class of men, and I didn't have to pretend to read Vonnegut.

I do not read the National Review in public for the same reason I would not hang a "kick me" sign on my back. But I am often interested in the articles in it and find them thought- (or apoplexy-) provoking.

Neither do I read Commonweal in public, a magazine for which I have written, because it may give the impression that I am a Catho-holic. In truth, I am a lapsed Catholic who still attends Mass occasionally and finds great wisdom in the Church, but also too many rules and regulations about things that strike me as morally neutral.

These, of course, are just my own musings, and I don't expect any or all people to agree.

65thorold
Jan. 17, 2018, 6:45pm

Q3:

No. I’ve never had any reason to restrain myself, other than the normal problem of trying to remember to stop talking before I bore people.

It’s patronising to assume people won’t be interested in something you care about until you’ve at least had a go at explaining to them why it interests you. After all, you don’t attempt to stop them talking about football, their children, restaurants, gardening, cars, etc., do you? And I’ve often been pleasantly surprised at how interested work colleagues and other non-bookish friends can be, and how many of them turn out to have something extraordinary to share as well...

66lilisin
Bearbeitet: Jan. 17, 2018, 7:17pm

a) Do you read books you consider to be "guilty pleasures"?

Reading in general has become a guilty pleasure. When I get home I let myself get distracted by social media, the internet and Netflix instead of reading a book which I'd actually rather do but for some reason I think I recently have placed in my head that reading is too much of a luxury and that I should be doing something else more fruitful. I think it's my guilt at not actively studying Japanese or studying more chemistry for job that is creating this mind-boggle.

b) If you own them, do you list them on LT?

Every book I own is listed on LT even the little bit of fantasy that I read in middle school. (I'm about to be 33.)

c) Are you embarrassed to admit you have read particular books and enjoyed them? (if you didn't enjoy them it wouldn't be a pleasure)

I feel there has to be a title or two in there somewhere but I don't think so...

d) If you are reading them in public, do you do so on an electronic device rather than a paper copy?

I'm reading my first book ever on ebook, Anna Karenina, but that is due to convenience and not feeling the need that I need to cover up my reading. I remember though in middle school when I carried around my big copy of Les Miserables to impress people. I was actually reading the book because I enjoyed it but I guess I wanted more friends. However, no one cared.

a) Do you ever find yourself having to downplay what you are reading to others? Do you avoid or not participate in conversations about books at places like work or with people whom you may not know very well?

Funny enough now I try to show off my books in Japanese everywhere I go (I live in Japan now) because I actually want people to approach me and this is the only way I can think of to let people around me know that I speak Japanese despite my Caucasian face.

Except at work. At work I got so many "you can read novels in Japanese!?!?!?!" comments that now I try to hide my book a bit when I'm reading. Plus, the whole reading at work thing. I am being productive of course but during the down times or when I'm waiting for an experiment to finish, I have made it a point to read in Japanese for pleasure and for active Japanese practice. (Although I should actually be reading chemistry-related books and here comes the previous question of guilt.)

67avaland
Jan. 18, 2018, 9:19am

>64 nohrt4me2: Jean, I really enjoyed your true confessions, and while I was reading some of it out loud to the hubby, who had his laptop out and he found this from the ISFDB (Internet Science Fiction Database), paraphrased by me:

There was a short story called "Baby Buntings" published in anthology titled Things With Claws, edited by Whit and Hallie Burnett, published in 1961 & 1965 by Ballantine books. The author was Radcliffe Squires, probably a pseudonym (because it was the only thing "he" published)

68mabith
Jan. 18, 2018, 2:22pm

a) Do you ever find yourself having to downplay what you are reading to others?
No, but I don't make it the first thing I say to people either. If asked, I answer, if the other person brings up books I'm happy to talk about them. The number of books I usually read in a year isn't actually relevant to book chat.

b) Do you avoid or not participate in conversations about books at places like work or with people whom you may not know very well?
No, but I avoid proclaiming hatred for particular titles or styles. Nothing more embarrassing than talking about how terrible an author's writing was and then the other person loves that book.

69nohrt4me2
Jan. 18, 2018, 5:38pm

>67 avaland: Ha ha, my true confessions. Don't encourage me. I am a congenital raconteur (raconteuse?) and one thing leads to another.

"Things with Claws"! I wish I'd found that title in the drugstore.

They made a thriller movie out of Baby Bunting whatever it was, but I don't remember the name of the movie, either. Possibly because it was at the drive-in ...

I do remember reading Algis Budrys' The Amsirs and the Iron Thorn with my friend Carol in high school. We would take our sci fi books over to the soda fountain counter at the drug store and take turns reading chapters aloud over cherry phosphates and a plate of French fries.

Good times!

70ALWINN
Jan. 19, 2018, 1:00pm

a) Do you read books you consider to be "guilty pleasures"?
Reading is a pleasures I guess the guilty pleasures would be a re-read of a book that I completely loved. Like Gone With the Wind

b) If you own them, do you list them on LT?
Yes, of course.

c) Are you embarrassed to admit you have read particular books and enjoyed them? (if you didn't enjoy them it wouldn't be a pleasure)
Nope

d) If you are reading them in public, do you do so on an electronic device rather than a paper copy?
Unless it is a small book I never carry a physical book anyways that will always be a kindle.

e) Do you know what sends you off for a binge read of these books?
I haven't had too much time to read the last couple of years due to little kids so this year Im making a point to get back into my reading so I am re-read several books.

f) Do these books necessarily have to be of lower quality than other reading you do?
Nope not really

g) Can you think of a title that once would have been considered in this category and now may have gained wider acceptance?
Stephen King would be the first author to come into mind

a) Do you ever find yourself having to downplay what you are reading to others?
No because most of the people around me does not read. I would be tickle pink to have a person to talk book.

b) Do you avoid or not participate in conversations about books at places like work or with people whom you may not know very well?
Again I would love to have someone I can talk books with.

c) If you do, why do you think you do this? n/a

71nohrt4me2
Jan. 19, 2018, 9:54pm

A couple of people have mentioned Stephen King. I used to use bits from his book On Writing with my comp students. It was a worthwhile read. I suggested we adopt it as our textbook at one point, but we used someone's vanity project instead. Sigh.

Also, my students used to love this little lecture on story construction from Kurt Vonnegut (yes, they still read Vonnegut, bless their little Millennial hearts). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP3c1h8v2ZQ&t=52s

72bragan
Bearbeitet: Jan. 22, 2018, 3:38pm

My answers to question 3:

a) Do you read books you consider to be "guilty pleasures"?

Like a lot of other people on this thread, I don't generally feel guilty about reading what I want to read. There's certainly nothing wrong with reading silly or lightweight books. Sometimes that's exactly what hits the spot.

There is, perhaps, an interesting sort of thing I feel when I'm reading something I recognize is actually very poorly written but am somehow enjoying it anyway, but I don't think "guilt" is necessarily the right word for it.

b) If you own them, do you list them on LT?

I list everything on LT. Even the things I genuinely am embarrassed by. Like, there is a sex manual in my catalog somewhere. If I'm willing to include that, I'm definitely willing to include the fluffy chick-lit zombie novels, or whatever. (My Life As a White Trash Zombie, by the way, was a lot of fun, even if I did eventually lose interest in the sequels.)

c) Are you embarrassed to admit you have read particular books and enjoyed them? (if you didn't enjoy them it wouldn't be a pleasure)

Generally no. But I guess I do have to admit that sometimes when I'm in a conversation with someone who really didn't like a particular book (or TV show, or movie, or any other such thing) that I enjoyed, and they have lots of completely valid, spot-on complaints about what it did wrong that I can't remotely disagree with, and all I find myself able to do in response is say "Yes, but... But I liked it, anyway" -- well, that's a little embarrassing, I guess. Or, if not embarrassing, it at least has the potential to make me feel shallow and inferior or something, if I let it.

d) If you are reading them in public, do you do so on an electronic device rather than a paper copy?

I read everything in paper. Although I don't necessarily go flashing the covers around, no matter what I'm reading, just because I don't particularly like people being nosy about what I'm reading. (Which is terribly hypocritical of me, because I always try to sneak peeks at other people's reading.)

e) Do you know what sends you off for a binge read of these books?

Nothing. I don't tend to binge on any kind of books, really. I like a lot of variety.

f) Do these books necessarily have to be of lower quality than other reading you do?

If I were going to feel guilty about anything I was reading, why would I feel guilty about stuff of reasonably good quality?

g) Can you think of a title that once would have been considered in this category and now may have gained wider acceptance?

I don't know, but aren't there lots of things that were once considered basically low entertainment for the masses that are now considered classics?

And the followup:

a) Do you ever find yourself having to downplay what you are reading to others?

Having to? Not necessarily. (Well, except for that time when some very small children -- I mean, young enough that they couldn't even read the title -- kept trying to ask me about the book I was reading, and I really, really was not going to attempt to explain the premise behind I Am Not a Serial Killer to pre-schoolers.) But sometimes it is easier. Like, I read a lot of SF, and other things whose plots or premises are really hard to explain or likely to sound very, very weird to anyone who's not into that sort of thing.

b) Do you avoid or not participate in conversations about books at places like work or with people whom you may not know very well?

c) If you do, why do you think you do this?

Combining these two answers into one reply:

Sometimes people at work give me book recommendations or want to talk about books, and they're people who know my tastes and who I know reasonably well, so it's OK, except for how I sometimes end up cursing them for adding stuff to my wishlist. But for strangers or casual acquaintances, and especially for people who just walk up to me to ask "What are you reading?," it's awkward, and I'm bad at talking to people I don't know well at the best of times, and I'd generally rather just not.

If the "Hey, what are you reading there?" folks have a very specific interest in the specific book I'm reading, like maybe they're familiar with the author and say something like, "Oh, is that her new one? I liked her previous book, is that one good?", then I'd probably be happy to talk to them. That's usually not what happens, though, especially with random strangers. Usually, they're just interrupting me out of idle curiosity. In which case, I usually just flash them the cover, maybe come up with some minimal statement about the book without having to actually explain it much -- "It's not bad," "It's science fiction," "It's a collection of short stories," whatever -- then go back to reading and hope they leave me alone. Because, again, I'm bad at people. And also because nine times out of ten if I do respond and engage, they don't actually have anything much to say about it, and aren't particularly interested in books at all, they're just extroverts and want an excuse to talk. And I'd much rather just keep reading.

73SassyLassy
Bearbeitet: Jan. 25, 2018, 4:46pm

This next question comes from a question posed on another thread. It was a good one, so I thought I would throw it out here, somewhat modified, for everyone to throw in their two cents.



QUESTION 4

a) When did you first start reading "chapter books" or having them read to you?

b) Which were your favourites?

c) If you were sitting down with a small child today, which ones would you choose?

d) Where do longer continuous stories, or series books fit in here, once the picture on every page book stage is past? (thinking here of books like Madeleine, Tim, some shorter Raoul Dahl books)


________________

image from justinmclachlan.com

74nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Jan. 25, 2018, 8:14pm

a) I don't really know. Someone was always reading me a chapter book from the time I can remember. It was the only thing that would make me shut up. First one I remember was an old book of my mother's, something about Raggedy Ann and her wishing pebble. I think there was a bad elf in there named Winkie? I liked him and demanded a whole book just on him. I guess I thought there was a book about anything you could want, you just had to go get it. I was frustrated my mother couldn't produce the one about Winkie, dammit!

b) Favorites were anything by Lois Lenski, I guess starting in the third grade. Why doesn't anyone still read her? Oh, and The Last Cruise of the Jeannette and Otto of the Silver Hand. I always loved a good adventure story!

c) No idea. Would depend in the kid, interests, attention span, and whether I wanted to teach or delight.

d) I don't understand the question, I guess. Fit in where? I never liked series books.

75avaland
Jan. 25, 2018, 9:50pm

Question 4.
a) I'm with Jean, I have no idea. I don't remember anyone reading chapter books to me.

b. Little Women, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Plain Girl, a book of folk tales, a thick book of Grimm's fairy tales, my older brothers' books.

c. I can't answer this, for the same reasons Jean states in #74 above

d. I read series chapter books, if that's what you are asking. The various Alcott books, the Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift... I read anything and everything.

76SassyLassy
Jan. 26, 2018, 9:10am

>74 nohrt4me2: >75 avaland: Parts c and d modified somewhat. I was wondering in part if series encouraged children, with their love of the familiar, to seek out the next book in a series, with now established fictional friend(s) rather than try something new.

77.Monkey.
Jan. 26, 2018, 10:26am

>76 SassyLassy: Ah, yeah I think for me at least, I always loved series when I was young, returning to already-loved characters to see their new adventures. I read countless singletons as well, but the series were often much nearer & dearer.

78AlisonY
Jan. 26, 2018, 11:04am

QUESTION 4

a) When did you first start reading "chapter books" or having them read to you?
Like others, no one read them to me, but I remember enjoying reading them myself from a fairly young age in primary school. My own kids probably got into reading simple early reader chapter books around the age of 6. I have to admit to missing the picture books - that was a lovely time.

b) Which were your favourites?
Lots of Enid Blyton books (Mallory Towers, Faraway Tree, Secret Seven, Famous Five, My Naughty Little Sister...). Also Mrs Pepperpot by Alf Proysen and the Nancy Drew series. As I got older, I liked Little Women, What Katy Did and anything by Judy Blume.

c) If you were sitting down with a small child today, which ones would you choose?
Judging by my own two kids, they are very much of their own minds, and what I loved isn't necessarily what they love. My youngest (8) enjoys the Faraway Tree series, but is more into anything by Roald Dahl, David Walliams or David Baddiel. My son (10) is getting into the Harry Potter series, but he's more of a reluctant novel reader than my daughter is.

d) Where do longer continuous stories, or series books fit in here, once the picture on every page book stage is past? (thinking here of books like Madeleine, Tim, some shorter Raoul Dahl books)

I think the early reader books such as Horrid Henry fit in well in between picture books and longer chapter books. There's definitely a stage where longer books seem off-putting to younger readers.

79nohrt4me2
Jan. 26, 2018, 11:14am

>76 SassyLassy: Thanks for clarifying.

My son really like the Marvin Redpost and Junie B. Jones books in first and second grade. He still enjoyed picture books like No, David!, if they were kind of subversive.

He also looked to Edward Eager as a reliable storyteller, even though the books are really stand-alones with similar themes.

I never enjoyed series books as a kid, but I did get on author or theme jags. I still read that way as an old lady.

80markon
Bearbeitet: Jan. 26, 2018, 11:35am

My responses to QUESTION 4

a) When did you first start reading "chapter books" or having them read to you?

Probably age 6-7-8 with the Bobbsey twins. I can't remember if I read one or my mom read one to me. They had twins, just like my family!

b) Which were your favourites?

Bobbsey twins, Happy Hollisters, Nancy Drew, Dana Girls . . .

c) If you were sitting down with a small child today, which ones would you choose?

It would depend in part on their interests. I remember giving my nephew Gary Paulsen's Hatchet and my niece one of Marguerite Henry's horse books in grade school. I might also start with Barbara Park's Junie B. Jones series, or Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Treehouse books.

The Little House books were popular and still circulate today, and I also like Louise Erdrich's Birchbark House series.

A question of my own - what series for children can you think of where the protagonist is of race or ethnicity other than white?

d) Where do longer continuous stories, or series books fit in here, once the picture on every page book stage is past? (thinking here of books like Madeleine, Tim, some shorter Raoul Dahl books)

I think the series books with the same character appeal to kids (and adults) who like coming back to familiar character(s) and settings and a predictable story. I've always known my interest in mysteries stems from Nancy Drew and the Dana Girls.

Of course I would read practically anything I could get my hands on, but the first story I remember that went on for more than one book was The Lord of the Rings, which I was loaned by my fifth grade teacher, who thought I might like it.

82mabith
Jan. 26, 2018, 7:02pm

QUESTION 4A

a) When did you first start reading "chapter books" or having them read to you?
I started hearing chapter books read from age three, basically, because that was the bedtime routine for my siblings (five and seven years older than me). I started reading them myself around age 8, with shorter chapter books (Help! Yelled Maxwell, My Father's Dragon) starting at age 7. I was devoted to comics and happy with the chapter a night being read to me. Maybe I was worried they'd stop once I started reading chapter books more on my own (they didn't). I think most children want to finish something faster than a chapter a night, so that spurs them to read more on their own. I was just a bit odd/lazy.

b) Which were your favourites?
For reading aloud, the Oz books were the big favorites, particularly Ozma of Oz and Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, also the Freddy the Pig books and everything by Eleanor Estes. My first great loves in chapter books were John Bellairs, Daniel Pinkwater, Karen Hesse, Lloyd Alexander, Karen Cushman and Uri Orlev.

c) If you were sitting down with a small child today, which ones would you choose?
Like most people have said, it depends on the kid! I think any child loves the My Father's Dragon trilogy though. It's a shorter, more bridging trilogy, still with a fair few illustrations. Likewise Walter R. Brooks' Freddy the pig books. Those still make me laugh. I've also started giving nieces and nephews the Time Warp Trio books.

d) Where do longer continuous stories, or series books fit in here, once the picture on every page book stage is past? (thinking here of books like Madeleine, Tim, some shorter Roald Dahl books)
I wasn't a big fan of more modern long series as a kid, though I read a bit of some. I wasn't all that big on contemporary stories in general, most of what I liked best was set at least 30 years before my birth. Most of the really long series didn't fall into my sweet spot. I wish I'd had some of the older 'girls' series (The Motion Picture Girls, the Motor Girls, Dorothy Dixon, etc...) because they tend to be so much fun and outwardly more interesting than Nancy Drew. I mean, could she fly and repair an airplane? Did she grab at every gun in sight?

83thorold
Jan. 27, 2018, 6:11am

QUESTION 4 - Chapter books

I can't contribute much to this one - either the notion of "chapter books" as a separate category didn't exist in the UK in the sixties, or for some reason it wasn't something that our parents, teachers and librarians wanted to push. As far as I can remember we went from picture books (fairy tales, Beatrix Potter, etc.) to "learning to read books" (mainly the Ladybird Peter and Jane series). From then on, the library was our oyster, and we didn't pay much attention to category. Like most people posting here, I read whatever I happened to come across from an early age. Cereal-packet labels or Enid Blyton when there was nothing else, but if I had the choice I usually ended up with rather old-fashioned stuff: E Nesbit, Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, Arthur Ransome, Erich Kästner, Captain Marryatt, bits of Dickens, etc. Occasionally my father would turn up with some modern book he had heard about at work - Stig of the dump, Alan Garner, The mule on the motorway, etc. - but they didn't often "take". I would have loved Roald Dahl, I suspect, but his children's books only really became known when I was already reading books meant for adults.

No idea what I would read with a small child today - the most recent small children I read to are at college now, and I haven't looked at what might have come out since then.

(I enjoyed the spelling-corrector's intervention in >73 SassyLassy: - imagining "Raoul Dahl" as a Cuban-Norwegian somehow makes so much more sense!)

84Stacy_Krout
Jan. 27, 2018, 6:17am

Nope... national nor international had no effect at all in my reading.

85nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Jan. 27, 2018, 9:33am

>83 thorold: Alice in Wonderland was more fun when I was about 13. The Bastable Children were great! I didn't know about Nesbit until I took Victorian lit in college, and I did a big paper in them.

A few years later, on a train in the UK, the lady sitting next to me was reading a Bastable to her kids. That trip from Edinburgh to London was considerably charmed by her reading. One of my favorite memories.

86dchaikin
Jan. 27, 2018, 10:36am

QUESTION 3 FOLLOWUP

a) Do you ever find yourself having to downplay what you are reading to others?

I need to preface these three questions that I’m pretty strongly introverted and don’t really talk to anyone outside work and family unless I’m really comfortable around them. But the answer is no, I don’t really say anything about what I read. My coworkers know I read during lunch but they don’t ask me about it.

b) Do you avoid or not participate in conversations about books at places like work or with people whom you may not know very well?

See above. But I have found conversions about books in RL remarkably disorienting because it’s rare someone is speaking the same language as me. A lot of people rave about what I consider popular mindless entertainment, as if it’s amazing literature. And people who read more serious books tend to say, “You need to read this.”, as if I should drop everything and commit all my reading time to their favorite book of the moment, or even come back the next day and talk about it. So, I don’t really talk about books much in RL. I have a had an especially nice conversation here or there over the years.

c) If you do, why do you think you do this?

Ah, I just answered above.

87dchaikin
Jan. 27, 2018, 10:44am

QUESTION 4

a) When did you first start reading "chapter books" or having them read to you?

Ok, I didn’t read anything I didn’t have to as a kid. I remember a few picture books and then maybe Black Beauty and then I’m in high school.

b) Which were your favourites?

: |

c) If you were sitting down with a small child today, which ones would you choose?

Picture books, I can come up with hundreds. Too many to name any, if that makes sense. Chapter books, no idea. That’s where we crossed the line where I could and couldn’t read to my own kids. The child would need to help me pick one out.

d) Where do longer continuous stories, or series books fit in here, once the picture on every page book stage is past? (thinking here of books like Madeleine, Tim, some shorter Raoul Dahl books)

Today we have lots of terrific graphic novels. So my kids migrated from picture books read by me to independently reading graphic novels (not always for kids, but including those) to chapter books on their own. So, for us independent reading marked the switch.

88nohrt4me2
Jan. 27, 2018, 11:15am

>87 dchaikin: That's interesting that graphic novels were part of your kids' reading development. I get the impression it went that way for our son.

89SassyLassy
Jan. 27, 2018, 11:38am

>80 markon: A question of my own - what series for children can you think of where the protagonist is of race or ethnicity other than white?

Great question and I am afraid I can't come up with any fictional ones. However, my school library never purged books and so they had books from the 19th century on. There was a series of books there, probably from the 1950s or even 1940s, each of which featured a brother and sister from a particular country. They were designed to give the child reader an idea of the housing, clothing, food and play of children around the world. Looking back I know that there were cultural stereotypes involved, some of which are probably cringe worthy today, but at the time I loved those books and pored over the illustrations to see details, and then would go away imagining myself chasing reindeer, hollowing out canoes, building shelters, or other such exciting challenges little girls did not have in their staid daily lives.

For individual books, I remember Kim, which I reread a few years ago, and a 1933 Newberry award winner Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Again, there are things which would be changed today, but I remember Fu and his struggles in the China of the 1920s, as he tried to keep himself and his widowed mother from warlords, poverty, disease and a host of other disasters. Given my later studies, I would have to think that these books helped shape my interests.

90avaland
Jan. 28, 2018, 1:16pm

>76 SassyLassy: Yes, thanks for clarifying. We did not live near a library (and my mother didn't drive), so I was limited to what was in the school library. It was a new school and the library was just the size of one back wall of a classroom, mostly donations, I think. My mother volunteered to do the clerical work of typing up the library cards and pockets...etc and I read all the books, and I do mean that I read ALL of them, series or no series. I don't remember being especially attracted to series, but there certainly were some. At home, we had books from holiday gifts, hand-me-downs, and Scholastic but I rarely had more than one book of any series (1 Cherry Ames, 1 Judy Bolton, maybe 2 Donna Parkers, 1 Annette Funicello--oy, this shows my age!)

>80 markon: Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea trilogy, beginning with the Wizard of Earthsea (1968)if that counts as a short series. Also Justice and Her Brothers (1978), the first book in a trilogy by Virginia Hamilton. Not the era of my childhood but they were around for my children.

91arubabookwoman
Jan. 28, 2018, 5:49pm

QUESTION 4

The first chapter book I remember reading for myself was a Bobbsey Twins book I got for my 6th birthday. I still have a very vivid memory of sitting on the front step, book in hand, and feeling like I was embarking on reading something like War and Peace. I was so proud of myself for reading an actual chapter book. I had a special bookmark too.

For my own kids, the chapter books I read them when they were younger were first The Little House on the Prairie books and the Winnie the Pooh books (the real ones, not the Disney versions). We went on to read The Chronicles of Narnia books, all the Ramona and Henry Huggins books by Beverly Cleary, E.B. White (Charlotte's Web and others), Wizard of Oz books, and others.

A series that the kids all loved for some reason (I hated them), not really chapter books though, were The Berenstain Bear books. I detested these, but had to read them over and over, day after day....

92nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Jan. 28, 2018, 5:55pm

>91 arubabookwoman: Kids always love the books you hate reading. When my son was 3, I wanted to tell him that Sir Topham Hat was a capitalist pig exploiting the really useful engines, who needed to go on strike and form a union instead of fearing they would be turned into chicken coops.

And don't get me started on The Poky Little Puppy.

93mabith
Jan. 29, 2018, 6:49am

>80 markon: The Time Warp Trio books have a black main character, and are quite fun. They're very much early readers though.

>91 arubabookwoman: My parents refused to have picture books they hated in the house. They also disliked the Berenstain Bears so whenever we were in a bookstore I went and read as many as I could! I wish my sister and brother-in-law had followed suit, I've read a lot of awful books to my niece and nephew.

94SassyLassy
Feb. 9, 2018, 9:49am

Thanks to avaland for a conversation on this.

QUESTION 5



a) Do you need a happy ending?

b) If not necessarily a happy ending, do you prefer a predictable one (the bad guys will be caught, the little girl will triumph...)?

c) Is fiction somehow "better" with a more nuanced ending?

d) Does finding out the ending before you have finished reading ruin a book for you?

e) What about books where the ending is revealed at the start, and then the author works back?

f) Does a weak ending destroy an otherwise good book?

g) Thinking of say five or so books which have genuinely moved you, what kind of ending did they have: happy, surprise, tragic, no resolution, ambiguous... What were the books?
_______________________________
image from Writer's Digest

95.Monkey.
Feb. 9, 2018, 10:31am

Q5
It doesn't have to be happy (though those are generally nice to have), but it does need to wrap things up somehow. I hate when there's no actual conclusion, threads are left hanging, stuff unresolved, etc. The book is ending, it has to be finished! Certainly no need to be predictable.
I despise spoilers. It doesn't ruin a book but it sure as heck ruins the experience of reading it. If you were meant to know things at the beginning, the author would have put them there. If you're not meant to know, then it completely alters everything that follows. If the author does reveal things, then it's not a spoiler, but the intention, and is entirely different and of course perfectly fine.
Yes absolutely a bad ending can completely kill a book for me. I always reserve my actual rating for a book until it is 100% finished, because who knows what the last pages will bring. I could love it up to the very last page, but if they then do something that is awful, the whole thing is soured.
As I said, I can't stand lack of resolution, and depending on just how it's done, ambiguous may fall under those same lines. Other than that, books I love have endings all over the place. It really doesn't matter how, so long as it's actually concluded.

96markon
Feb. 9, 2018, 12:53pm

>81 .Monkey.: Wow! thanks for these links. I will bone up on which ones we have where I work so I can use some of them.

>89 SassyLassy: I guess Mowgli falls in with this theme also. I haven't heard of the Young Fu series either.

>90 avaland: Earthsea, of course! I'm more aware of Virginia Hamilton as authoring collections of folktales.

>93 mabith: We have lots of Scieszka, but I'm not sure we have the Trio.

Thanks, everyone, for pitching in!

97nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Feb. 9, 2018, 1:00pm

>94 SassyLassy: I guess genre drives what I expect in an ending. An unsolved mystery novel would be unsatisfying.

Mostly, though, I think of "payoff" instead of ending as what makes a book satisfying. Does the story tell me something about what it means to be human? Does it elicit an "I recognize this" moment or moments? Do I care about the characters? Can I lose myself in the story, or am I constantly aware of its being "just a story"?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was the last book that hit me in the gut. It was about my grandmothers' generation. It ended with Francie finding the road to a career and independence, two things my grandmothers emphasized.

Whatever merits the book has as literature (many, I think), I read it as a message from Edith and Lucile, long gone, but telling me, at the close of my own working life, that they understood my own struggles and were proud of me.

So the books that get to me on the most intimate, visceral level are those under which my own real life has some points of connection. It's like reading two books at once: the actual text the author wrote, and my own story that unfolds in the parallel universe the author has created.

I'm sure that will sound like a lot of woo woo to some people.

For me, Sense and Sensibility is a complex story of divided feelings and possible responses to difficulties, romantic and economic ... and also the story of my own inappropriate varmint boyfriend, whom a small part of me still loves. Jane Eyre is the story of an English governess ... and the 12 year old gawky working class kid I was when I first read it, who felt marginalized by class and lack of beauty. The Once and Future King is about King Arthur and my own deeply dysfunctional family. The Last Cruise of the Jeanette was the story of a failed Arctic expedition and my own frequent desire to run away and what a mixed bag that might be.

Hmm. Maybe this is too personal to post ...

98AlisonY
Feb. 9, 2018, 4:51pm

Good question! Here we go:

a) Do you need a happy ending?

Not at all. In fact, I think my favourite reads all point to me enjoying a good dollop of trauma and tragedy at the end of a book (not sure that says anything positive about my personality). I like realism - possibly why SF has never floated my boat. A good ending for me is when my heart strings are tugged right at the end and I'm left staring at the cover bereft.

b) If not necessarily a happy ending, do you prefer a predictable one (the bad guys will be caught, the little girl will triumph...)?

Not really. I love it when an author derails me at the end of a book, so long as it's sympathetic and in keeping to the rest of the novel. Possibly this is why I'm such a McEwan fan - I'm never quite sure where his books are going to take me as a reader. On the other hand, plenty of writers try too hard to shock the reader at the end and don't quite get it right - I've read plenty of great books that have been spoiled forever in my mind because of some ridiculous writing in the last few pages.

A "quiet" ending works equally as well for me - again, so long as it's well executed and appropriate to the narrative.

c) Is fiction somehow "better" with a more nuanced ending?

It's nice for an ending to have various shades of depth, but I don't enjoy it when it's so nuanced that you're left wondering if you've got the gist of the ending correct or not. I admit to Googling a couple of books to check that I really did take away the right inference from the ending.

d) Does finding out the ending before you have finished reading ruin a book for you?

Yes, it does. I don't even like reading the blurb on the back of a book when I start it. Whilst I've probably picked up a book as my next up because it's been on my wish list for a while, when it comes to actually beginning it I don't want to know anything about the plot at all in advance.

e) What about books where the ending is revealed at the start, and then the author works back?

Done well that can work nicely. There's still scope for a satisfying build up to the ending.

f) Does a weak ending destroy an otherwise good book?
Definitely. I can be hooked for 498 pages and then hate it by page 500 if the ending is poor.

g) Thinking of say five or so books which have genuinely moved you, what kind of ending did they have: happy, surprise, tragic, no resolution, ambiguous... What were the books?

I have such a goldfish brain for remembering the details of even my favourite books, but I distinctly remember The Mayor of Casterbridge's ending being so desperately tragic I felt devastated.

99mabith
Feb. 9, 2018, 9:18pm

a) Do you need a happy ending?
No, though I think an unrelenting stream of totally grim endings would be hard to take.

b) If not necessarily a happy ending, do you prefer a predictable one (the bad guys will be caught, the little girl will triumph...)?
Like others say, it depends on the genre. A lot of fiction has mixed endings, which is probably what I like best. Some things end up happily, some don't, and that's probably what I like best.

c) Is fiction somehow "better" with a more nuanced ending? It depends on the type of book. A happy ending doesn't mean the characters didn't struggle and how sorrow in the rest of the book.

d) Does finding out the ending before you have finished reading ruin a book for you?
Not really. Knowing the ending doesn't mean you have any idea what happens in the rest of it, or how that ending is reached. With some very suspense based books I'm sure it can make a difference, but I don't read many of those.

e) What about books where the ending is revealed at the start, and then the author works back?
In those books you still don't know the ending of the book.

f) Does a weak ending destroy an otherwise good book?
It doesn't destroy it, but it's a disappointment. If it's the author's 20th book I'll judge a weak ending much more harshly than in an author's first novel.

g) Thinking of say five or so books which have genuinely moved you, what kind of ending did they have: happy, surprise, tragic, no resolution, ambiguous... What were the books?
Pretty much a mixed bag of all of those!

100thorold
Feb. 10, 2018, 9:07am

Q5 Endings:

As usual, I'm going to be annoyingly vague and say "It depends". If the ending makes sense in the context of the rest of the book, then I don't really care whether it's marriage, death, "nobody's perfect" or "this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship".

I'm fine with backwards novels or with endings that have been leaked in advance. Knowing the ending isn't likely to stop me reading to find out how the author gets to it.

Obviously, I don't like a jarring ending brought in to satisfy a rule that the author hasn't been following in the rest of the book (ironic rule-breaking is fine in ironic rule-breaking books, but not in Jane Austen), or an ending that is poorly constructed or (as some Victorian novels do, esp. Sir Walter Scott) rumbles on for pages and pages after the moment of climax tying up every loose end for every minor character.

101nohrt4me2
Feb. 10, 2018, 10:31am

>100 thorold: "I'm fine with backwards novels or with endings that have been leaked in advance."

Me too. Henry James (whom I love) used to diss Trollope (whom I also love) for telling the reader what would happen ahead of time. James had a lot of prissy ideas about the "rules" of story telling, but part of Trollope's charm is his narrative voice.

Also don't mind endings without resolutions, especially in character driven novels. Life often ends without resolving anything. Sometimes the point of a story isn't the end but the journey and how it changes the protagonist.

102thorold
Feb. 11, 2018, 6:07am

>101 nohrt4me2: Henry James - well, he sometimes takes it to the opposite extreme, doesn't he? Avoiding any risk of spoilers by not actually revealing how the story ends at all, just dropping some ambiguous hints and leaving you to work it out...

103nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Feb. 11, 2018, 9:57am

>101 nohrt4me2: James draws characters so well, that I don't think there's much doubt about where they go next. And many works do have clear resolutions. The Aspern Papers, one of my favorite black comedies, certainly does.

Portrait of a Lady has just been given an updated sequel, but I'm afraid to read it.

104avaland
Feb. 11, 2018, 10:26am

Q5 Endings:

Also don't mind endings without resolutions, especially in character driven novels. Life often ends without resolving anything. Sometimes the point of a story isn't the end but the journey and how it changes the protagonist. (nohrt4me2, >101 nohrt4me2:, above)

Cripes, Jean, you've taken the words right out of my typing fingers! I think most of the fiction I read these days that is not genre, ends without a hard resolution. Perhaps there is some emotional resolve but as you say life goes on. I'm reading a collection of short stories currently and they are beautifully told, and each of them end in a way that makes you yearn for more of the character's story. Would the short story be as good if we weren't left with that yearning? I think not.

I love all kinds of endings, and sometimes endings are not endings. In Woman at 1000 Degrees, a woman is on her deathbed telling her story and at the end she dies. Is her death the end? Sort of, but there is something immortal about that woman.... If we think about what fiction allows us to do, maybe how we feel about endings says more about us and our needs than the author or the book?
--------

I think there are expectations of genre fiction that are different: the girl gets the guy, the crime is solved* and the criminal is caught, the war is won... which is not to say there aren't author who mess with that (wasn't there a Susan Hill novel where *Simon did NOT solve the case? I almost threw the book across the room. There is something comforting about resolution; isn't that why we run to it?

105.Monkey.
Feb. 11, 2018, 12:00pm

See, that's part of why I hate like 90% of short stories. Most people have no idea how to actually come up with a complete story in limited pages. Sure, you can want to have more snippets of the characters and such, you can want the same thing with any novel, too. But if you can't figure out how to actually make some sort of ending to this particular thing? Nope. Not worth it. Same for it being someone's, real or fictional, life; life may go on, but the story does not.

106nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Feb. 11, 2018, 4:50pm

>104 avaland: Yes, genre fiction runs to a formula, and every formula has a solution, though this can vary, but not too much, or, as you say, book thrown across room.

" ... maybe how we feel about endings says more about us and our needs than the author or the book?"

I agree, and I find that one of the most interesting aspects of literature. When you watch what students gravitate to in a literature class, you learn a lot about them.

WARNING: LONG SIDE TRACK ON THE POPULARITY OF E.A. POE FOLLOWS

For instance, trying to figure out why college students for 30 years have greeted Edgar Allen Poe as a beloved friend in American literature class could have been my life's work. They all know him. They all read him voluntarily in adolescence. They've all looked him up on Wikipedia.

Objectively speaking, I think Poe is pretty much a hack writer, and his prose is archaic and sometimes convoluted. But, by golly, I went through my Poe phase at age 11 or 12, too, and there is no author more fun to teach, or more likely to mess up your course schedule.

Students, male or female, who will read nothing else with any care or interest, never have to be coaxed or threatened into reading Poe. They want to write papers and do presentations about him. They want to read him aloud in class. They want to listen to Christopher Walken read "The Raven." Or watch Vincent Price act out "The Tell-Tale Heart." They want to look at illustrations of Poe's work by famous artists and discuss how illustration changes the way they experience the story. They want to talk about rhyme scheme and meter, diction, and climax.

With all of American literature at their fingertips--Twain, Steinbeck, dos Passos, Lewis, Faulkner, just to name my favorites--why does Poe endure as such a beloved writer?

What about Poe so specifically draws them in when "deeper" and less predictable American Gothic stories such as "The Minister's Black Veil" or "Young Goodman Brown" leave them lukewarm? I think the endings, his reliable, unvarnished high anxiety and release, must have a good deal to do with it.

107avaland
Feb. 11, 2018, 1:03pm

>105 .Monkey.: Oh, I disagree, there are some wonderful short story writers, but I agree there are also many who write them who are not gifted in that kind of brevity. And certainly the great novelist isn't guaranteed to be adept in the short story and vice versa.

I hear what you are saying. When I said I yearned for more of the character's story, I didn't mean to suggest that the stories were incomplete because I think they are, the characters had some amount of healing, so my yearning was born out of that hope (and I hope I'm not being too obscure). Perhaps it's the particular kind of books I have been reading lately, but I find myself lingering thoughtfully over a novel's story even after it has officially ended.

108.Monkey.
Feb. 11, 2018, 1:41pm

>107 avaland: Oh I totally do that, when I really love a book/character they float in my head for days/weeks after.

109shadrach_anki
Feb. 12, 2018, 5:37pm

Q5 - Endings

Do you need a happy ending? - Need? No. I find I do tend to prefer them, but I do not need them. What I need is for an ending to be satisfying, and that can take any number of forms. In my case, satisfying endings often wind up being happy endings as well, but happy is not an absolute requirement.

If not necessarily a happy ending, do you prefer a predictable one (the bad guys will be caught, the little girl will triumph...)? - I have somewhat mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, if the ending to a story is completely predictable it tends to be less satisfying to me. On the other hand, I want to be able to look back over the course of the story and trace a pretty clear path to whatever the ending is (which is not the same thing as being predictable). Also, I read mostly genre fiction, and every genre has its conventions. While authors can play with those conventions, completely throwing them out doesn't work so well.

Is fiction somehow "better" with a more nuanced ending? - That is going to depend on the type of story being told and why I am reading it, but I would not say more nuanced endings are categorically better than other types of endings.

Does finding out the ending before you have finished reading ruin a book for you? - I am sure there are cases where finding out the ending before I am finished would ruin the book for me, but as I am one of those heathens who regularly jumps to the end of the book to find out what happens, I am going to have to say no on this one.

Does a weak ending destroy an otherwise good book? Destroy is a strong word, but a weak or unsatisfying ending can definitely turn an otherwise good book into a disappointing one. I have run across the occasional trilogy or series where the last book ruined the whole thing for me. Luckily, that doesn't happen often.

110ALWINN
Feb. 13, 2018, 8:57am

a) Do you need a happy ending? No not a happy ending but just an ending, I want a resolution happy or tragic just a resolution unless of course its part of a series.

b) If not necessarily a happy ending, do you prefer a predictable one (the bad guys will be caught, the little girl will triumph...)? It doesn't even have to a predictable one sometimes I love an ending that takes me by surprise.

c) Is fiction somehow "better" with a more nuanced ending? These endings are great for a book or group read that way there is something to talk about.

d) Does finding out the ending before you have finished reading ruin a book for you? Depends if it is a pysch thriller then yes. Sometimes going into a book blind it great.

e) What about books where the ending is revealed at the start, and then the author works back? No not really I have been known to read a couple of chapters and then reading the last chapter and then coming back.

f) Does a weak ending destroy an otherwise good book? YES and a great ending can make a meh book absolutely GREAT.

g) Thinking of say five or so books which have genuinely moved you, what kind of ending did they have: happy, surprise, tragic, no resolution, ambiguous... What were the books?
1) Life of PI--Ambiguous
2) The Grapes of Wrath- The whole book was a tragic but at the same time strong and faith in humanity.
3) Gone With The Wind- Tragic in a sense of lost Love but satisfying
4) The Master and Margarita- Ambiguous in a sense but satisfying
5) A Little Life- Tragic the whole book was tragic

111SassyLassy
Feb. 26, 2018, 11:22am

This is something I had been thinking about for awhile, and then bas's review of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales and a couple of conversations brought it to the fore.



First a quote from one of Canada's best loved grumps, a national radio host on air for three hours a day every weekday for fifteen years:

I wish they'd keep them to themselves. I'm sick of reading about people's childhoods: Peter Gzowski

QUESTION 6

a) Do you read "misery" books about childhood, books like Angela's Ashes, The Glass Castle, Oranges are not the Only Fruit?

b) If so, what do they offer? What is the reason for their popularity and the enduring popularity of this genre?

c) If the books are about wider matters, books like A Long Way Gone, or Born a Crime, what do they offer? Are they a different category in your mind?

d) Thinking back to stories like The Water Babies or The Little Match Girl, these are fictional stories of childhood misery and neglect that were once widely read, but which we now think are too unsettling for children, and so edit out the harsh realities. By editing them out, do children lose?

e) If real life children like the two above had lived and written memoirs, would we read them now? Would we let children read them?

112ALWINN
Feb. 26, 2018, 12:34pm

a) Do you read "misery" books about childhood, books like Angela's Ashes, The Glass Castle, Oranges are not the Only Fruit?

Yes I have read a few and another comes to mind A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as well.

b) If so, what do they offer? What is the reason for their popularity and the enduring popularity of this genre?

I read to get a better understanding of just people in general and when I read about peoples childhood they pack more of punch since most of the children where in surroundings not of their own making but of their parents, society or survival during wartime. Plus the ideas and thoughts of children that are put into situation like these they are raw and pure not jaded by what they should be thinking.

d) Thinking back to stories like The Water Babies or The Little Match Girl, these are fictional stories of childhood misery and neglect that were once widely read, but which we now think are too unsettling for children, and so edit out the harsh realities. By editing them out, do children lose?

Yes children do lose out, nothing makes you appreciate things that you have in your life to be able to read and experience someone else life that is a lot worst off then you.

e) If real life children like the two above had lived and written memoirs, would we read them now? Would we let children read them?

Yes I would, it would be interesting to see how their life would of turned out. Did they go on to beat the odds and make something of themselves or turning out to be horrible human beings and just how much their child hood played a part. Or just how many later on suffered from mental illness etc.

113Tess_W
Bearbeitet: Feb. 27, 2018, 12:18pm

a) Do you read "misery" books about childhood, books like Angela's Ashes, The Glass Castle, Oranges are not the Only Fruit?

I can't remember, but I doubt it. We were very poor and our school had no library. I only read what each individual teacher had on their personal bookshelves.

b) If so, what do they offer? What is the reason for their popularity and the enduring popularity of this genre?

N/A

c) N/A

d) Thinking back to stories like The Water Babies or The Little Match Girl, these are fictional stories of childhood misery and neglect that were once widely read, but which we now think are too unsettling for children, and so edit out the harsh realities. By editing them out, do children lose?

Yes, children lose in so many ways! They don't have empathy and they often think that everything always has a happy ending. They are not exposed to adversity or problem solving, for the most part.

e) If real life children like the two above had lived and written memoirs, would we read them now? Would we let children read them?

I read most anything except Scifi/Fantasy so yes, I would be interested to see if they recovered or "lost" it. As for children, depends upon the age. I let my children (who are now in their 40's) read anything except sexual sadist material and they turned out fine! Again, it is incumbent upon parents to teach their children the difference between reality and fiction; good and bad, etc.

114nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Feb. 26, 2018, 11:32pm

Do I read "misery books" about childhood? Not if I don't have to, one reason I don't read Dickens. I wouldn't read books about animal cruelty, either (Beautiful Joe, what a nightmare).

I had nutty parents and was extremely close to my grandmothers. "The Little Match Girl" left me in a puddle. I told my mother she could not read it to my son on Christmas Eve when he was about four. She was pissed off, but a) I felt it was inappropriate to read a kid a story in which the little girl was happier dead, especially on a holiday, and b) I knew her aim was to get the kid bawling so she could swoop in and play comforter, thus ginning up the kind of upset and drama she loves.

Other strokes for other folks. No, I don't think this story or those like it should be blanket-banned for all children.

I don't think "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is a misery story.

P.S., What about adult misery stories? The Painted Bird? Stoner? Or anything by Thomas Hardy? Not sure how I feel about those, though I used to go on Hardy jags between 18 and 25.

115ALWINN
Feb. 27, 2018, 9:52am

>114 nohrt4me2: I agree A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is not a pure misery book per say but the plot is based on a very hard time to be a little girl growing up in difficult times, the book touches base with poverty and alcoholism and in todays standard neglect. Kinda like Grapes of Wrath it really depends on how you look at the whole story is it a misery because of when the book was set during the great depression and just the amount of desperation for just basic survival or is it an aspiration on just how these people survived? But either way after reading either one of these you give thanks and appreciate your life a bit more.

A book about adult misery is A Little Life now you want to talk about a book that will get you thinking for a very long time it is this one. I think I read this a couple of years ago and it still a gut punch.

116thorold
Feb. 27, 2018, 10:05am

QUESTION 6 Do you read "misery" books about childhood?

Well, I have read Oranges are not the only fruit, but I'm not sure whether you can really call it a misery story. Why be happy when you could be normal?, Winterson's much later non-fiction treatment of her childhood, is a better candidate for that term, really. The Jeanette character in the novel is too strong and funny ever to come across as a victim who could be really hurt by something that happens to her.

My (English) grandparents and most of the other older adults I was in touch with as a child came from the Chapel-and-Socialism tradition, for whom all stories had to be framed as what we would call a "misery story", with someone struggling against terrible conditions early in life either to triumph heroically against impossible odds and found a Great Movement, or to succumb tragically and become the inspiration for someone else to found it in their memory (Even the reforming Earl of Shaftesbury was always said to have suffered terribly at Harrow in his youth...)

So that's obviously one reason why we need that kind of story - the Inspirational Example to Children. They had it harder than you, and still made something of their lives. So get off that couch...

Another one is obviously to make us aware of abuses that are going on around us (especially if they're safely in the past), the Anne Frank, Dickens and Charles Kingsley thing. Which is all to the good, but I suspect that most children who try to read The water babies are (initially at least) more interested in checking the house for potentially climbable chimneys than they are in the problem of child labour. And what modern child ever makes it through all that stuff about the Linnaean Society and Mr Doasyouwouldbedoneby? I don't think I ever did. It's become a book for adults who like sophisticated Victorian puns and sweet watercolours of swimming children. The Little Match Girl (is there a "little sports-shoe girl" story somewhere?) is probably tougher to deal with. I don't know whether it's good or bad to bring young children into contact with such things. For parents to decide.

Another one is to make us feel that someone else has gone through problems like ours and overcome them. That's more difficult, because it always turns out that you can't map the author's experiences onto yours, and anyway it's too late to change your childhood now. But it can be helpful in other ways, for instance in helping you to come to terms with the idea that whatever-it-was is something you can talk about with other people, and even giving you access to vocabulary for talking about it.

117mabith
Feb. 27, 2018, 10:18am

a) Do you read "misery" books about childhood, books like Angela's Ashes, The Glass Castle, Oranges are not the Only Fruit?
Oranges are Not the Only Fruit shouldn't really be in a list of memoirs. It's not all that autobiographical though people assume it is. I've read all of those (admittedly somewhat resenting Jeanette Walls for being considered a West Virginian when she only lived here for about five years (mostly high school).

b) If so, what do they offer? What is the reason for their popularity and the enduring popularity of this genre?
These books all have something to say, sometimes you need the lessons, sometimes they seem to have little purpose, it just depends on the book. There can be just as much interest in a happy childhood, but I think it takes a lot more skill to make those good vs the dysfunctional childhood.

c) If the books are about wider matters, books like A Long Way Gone, or Born a Crime, what do they offer? Are they a different category in your mind?
No, they're not a difference category to me, though it may be easier for people to see greater purpose or importance when they take place far from home (Born a Crime also felt largely like Noah bragging about avoiding getting in trouble for sometimes serious rule breaking).

d) Thinking back to stories like The Water Babies or The Little Match Girl, these are fictional stories of childhood misery and neglect that were once widely read, but which we now think are too unsettling for children, and so edit out the harsh realities. By editing them out, do children lose?
I don't think we are editing them out much, or not on a large scale. Also younger and younger kids today live with the serious reality of school shootings, which is a lot scarier. As a kid The Little Match Girl was sad-ish, but it was so far removed from my reality (and so maudlin and melodramatic). My friend whose fridge never had more than four things in it and who had never been out of West Virginia (despite the fact that we could see Ohio from our houses) was a lot more unsettling.

e) If real life children like the two above had lived and written memoirs, would we read them now? Would we let children read them?
Most kids have a lot of freedom about what they read. Unless parents notice problems caused by such books I think they keep reading them (and kids usually find ways to read disallowed books anyway). I started reading books about the Holocaust when I was 10, and read the Maus books when I was in fourth grade. For the next four or ifve years a huge portion of my reading was focused on the Holocaust, and ranged from children's books to adult fiction to adult non-fiction. Maybe some parents would have freaked out but I wasn't having nightmares or anything so my mom didn't worry (though did tell me not to lend out books to friends after I lent out Maus and it greatly disturbed my friend and her mom called to scold my mom).

118ALWINN
Feb. 27, 2018, 11:56am

I believe just reading in general is suppose to give us a sense of someones else reality. If the book is about a person and their lives, of a different time or place its a fly on the wall, you are there watching events or people without actually being there or living life. Most Dystopia I have read I always get a bit of anxiety and left with the thought what if this really happened and this is just how the world is now and my one thought is I just hope Im one of the 1st ones to be killed off. Would Dystopia be considered a "misery" book because this may happen its just a book of what if's.

For a well rounded reader and even children I do think its important to have the good and the bad in life. Life is not a bunch of rainbows and unicorns Life is harsh. I mentioned this book above
A Little Life was one of the hardest books to read and honestly would have to put it down of a day or so and come back but man I don't think I can ever forget it as long as I live and isn't that what reading is about?

But reading is personal as well if you only want to read about love with happy ending then to each their own.

119nohrt4me2
Feb. 27, 2018, 4:54pm

>118 ALWINN: I thought about dystopian novels as possible misery books. Ultimately, I don't class them with the bathos of a true misery story because the point is not to make you miserable, but to raise awareness. So Dickens, as social reformer, isn't "pure misery," though her comes perilously close to it at times.

A true "misery story," in my mind, is one which exists merely to pull the heartstrings and appeal to pure feeling, sort of similar to the "sensation novels" like Lady Audley's Secret. What do you say to that besides, "Boy, she was a piece of work"?

But I can see how someone would classify 1984 as a misery novel.

120ALWINN
Feb. 28, 2018, 9:43am

>119 nohrt4me2: I would agree dystopian novels is not a real misery book but it would be pure misery to live in some of these worlds. Smiles

121baswood
Feb. 28, 2018, 12:30pm

When I was a child there were plenty of children's misery books around and I probably read them all then. It is not a subject that particularly appeals, however if you read literature there is probably no way that you can avoid it. I am of the opinion that the less shielding of topics from children the better, although what do I know? not having any children myself and hardly ever coming in contact with children.

Reading Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales was a bit like stepping out of my comfort zone, but I survived and enjoyed the experience.

122ALWINN
Feb. 28, 2018, 4:12pm

My Granddaughter who is 12 recently picked up and read a couple of the Grimm's Fairy Tales and she called me and informed me these were no fairy tales and very violent. I tried to tell her that those were the original and she was thinking about the Disney versions and there is a big difference.

123avaland
Mrz. 2, 2018, 6:45am

Perhaps, these "misery" books are part of the literary tradition of tragedy. I have read a couple of books on tragedy and have another to read called, Why Does Tragedy Give Pleasure. I am a big Joyce Carol Oates fan, 'nuff said!

Or some, perhaps those aimed at children, could be considered part of a certain kind hero's/heroine's story. Hero overcomes terrible childhood as he/she goes out and navigates an adventure elsewhere and is changed.... Think Harry Potter. It certainly ramps up the "hero's journey" if he starts with a deficit.

124SassyLassy
Mrz. 16, 2018, 10:34am





image from the Irish Examiner

QUESTION 7

Library Thing is full of features. We all use Talk and Add books. Beyond that,

a) which features do you use regularly?

b) Do you wander in other people's libraries? "Borrow"?

c) Do you add information in areas like Common Knowledge or Cover Uploading?

d) Do you use the Combine function?

e) How do you search out books which are of interest to you?

f) What is your favourite part of LT?

125.Monkey.
Mrz. 16, 2018, 12:24pm

a) I use various parts of the site, I'd be hard-pressed to specify.
b) Not often. I "browse" by seeing posts of what people are reading in CR mostly. Only occasionally do I go to a profile and poke around.
c) Yes. I upload covers if there is not a high-quality applicable cover for my edition already there. I add tidbits to CK here & there. (According to my badge stats: "gold Common Knowledge for contributions to Common Knowledge (870)")
d) Whenever I see anything that needs combining. Or when I'm around and someone asks for help in the Combiners threads.
e) I more stumble over them from CR, or potentially when I check out a work page and see in the suggested ones something that looks interesting.

126avaland
Mrz. 16, 2018, 4:22pm

I have always liked to see the books another member and I share, I find it fascinating. I don't think the "recommendation" feature works well as I usually get recommended books I already own. I think a group like Club Read is better for that sort of thing.

I have used the "Combine" function once; I've uploaded a fair number of covers over the years, and a zillion reviews. I originally liked the "Favorite Authors" feature, but it kept growing and I find it cumbersome now. I do like to "Tag" my books.

I enjoy reading reviews of books I've reviewed. And I enjoy reading the reviews of a finite number of people (Club Read, at the moment). I do wander libraries but it cumbersome to load page after page (not like scanning real shelves).

*Searching out books: That used to be from browsing libraries and bookstores but as a bookseller in the late 90s I developed the habit of perusing publishers' catalogs and periodicals like Publishers Weekly -- so chasing down books ahead of publication (but not always getting around to reading them before publication). I have maintained the habit despite 10 years on LT. However, that said, one book can lead to another, so during this period I have read 35 Joyce Carol Oates' books, all of Angela Carter's works...and so on.

I would say that I equally enjoy having an electronic place for my library, and the chance to talk about books with other readers from all over this country and the world.

127thorold
Bearbeitet: Mrz. 16, 2018, 6:23pm

Library Thing is full of features. We all use Talk and Add books. Beyond that,

a) which features do you use regularly?
Mostly site search, reviews, tags, tag mash, work recommendations, CK, lists, some of the stats. I did quite a bit of Legacy Library work at one time, but that's rather faded into the background in the last few years.

b) Do you wander in other people's libraries? "Borrow"?
Occasionally, especially when I find someone who's got a library that's strong in one particular area. And RebeccaNYC, of course.

c) Do you add information in areas like Common Knowledge or Cover Uploading?
Sporadically - I did a lot of this at the beginning, now I usually only update the CK for books I've just been reading, if I see there's something important missing. Covers only if I add a book and find that there's no vaguely usable cover there.

d) Do you use the Combine function?
This is another thing I used to do a lot when I joined LT, because the data were so incomplete, but nowadays I mostly leave it to the experts.

e) How do you search out books which are of interest to you?
Most obviously from mentions by other people here, especially CR; also quite often by following the chain of work recommendations from a known start-point and checking reviews of the books I get to that way (I don't find the global recommendations much use - they tend to over-weight parts of my library I'm not interested in developing further just now); sometimes simply by tag(-mash) searches for topics of interest. But I also pick up recommendations outside LT - from within other books, from newspapers, from browsing bookshops and the public library, and from RL friends (incredibly, I still seem to have a few!).

f) What is your favourite part of LT?
The bits don't make much sense without the whole. I suppose Talk is where I spend most time, but Talk without the catalogueing features would just be a bulletin board.

128nohrt4me2
Mrz. 16, 2018, 6:58pm

I just look for groups that match my current reading jag. Then I join one and then get on it and blab, idly read profiles of people who say interesting things, get books that sound interesting (thank you to everyone who recommended Go, Went, Gone) in conversations, and sometimes feel kind of sluggish for not "keeping up" with my reading, reading about books, or cataloguing and whatnot.

129kac522
Bearbeitet: Mrz. 16, 2018, 11:59pm

I love being able to search my books by author, tag, sort by date acquired, etc.--all the ways I can sort, recombine, and search through my own collections. And the ability to download to an Excel file.

Once I find a book I want to know more about, I use the author's page frequently, to see what other books are out there, how many people have each book, etc. I also love when a book is part of a series, and I can then click on the link to see the list of the entire series. Very useful.

I am not so good at the social stuff. And despite having read it dozens of times, I still can't understand how to update a Wiki. I can sort of add a picture. I wish the instructions for some of that techie stuff was in easier, step-by-step language, or with links to .pdfs that you could print out and follow along.

130AlisonY
Mrz. 17, 2018, 10:23am

I haven't even heard of Common Knowledge or Combining, so I guess the short answer is that I only use a small number of the LT features!

I am pretty much a creature of habit on here. Beyond Talk and Add Books, the only other section I use regularly is Your Books to sort out my library. Really, those three sections hit the mark for me and provide pretty much all I want out of LT.

I'm glad this question was posed - I think I may learn something about other features I should be using.

131SassyLassy
Mrz. 18, 2018, 11:02am

>129 kac522: Here is a helpful thread in non jargon language: http://www.librarything.com/topic/59470 The website Photo Bucket has unfortunately locked the poster's account, so the pictures being posted don't show, but the instructions still hold.

>130 AlisonY: If you go to a book's page, you will see Common Knowledge on the left, under the cover photo and the heading Main Page. Selecting Common Knowledge on the page for Pride and Prejudice will take you here: http://www.librarything.com/work/2773690/commonknowledge

132AlisonY
Mrz. 18, 2018, 3:15pm

>131 SassyLassy: I can't believe I've not noticed that before. I tend to look as far as 'change cover' on the left and look no further. Thanks for explaining where to find that.

133.Monkey.
Mrz. 18, 2018, 3:23pm

>131 SassyLassy: Photobucket (which was always a crappy site, imho) has not done anything to the person's account, but to the service. One now has to pay a several hundred dollar fee, from what I heard, in order to share images anymore.

134SassyLassy
Mrz. 18, 2018, 7:27pm

>133 .Monkey.: Effectively blocking the person's account until they pay up seems to be the way most people feel about it. Had I had a Photobucket account, I would be inclined to take it personally!

135.Monkey.
Mrz. 19, 2018, 9:18am

>134 SassyLassy: The account is untouched. The ability to hotlink photos has been removed, for everyone, because that is now a paid service. It's completely shitty to suddenly implement, cutting off images all over the internet, but then so is the site, so it's really not surprising. Their ad-blasting clearly drove enough people away that they weren't generating the revenue they needed to sustain the millions and millions of uploaded images. Such is life on the internet. I quit using them back in 2005 because of how terrible they were, and went with a paid service, which I have been quite happy with ever since. :)

136LolaWalser
Mrz. 19, 2018, 10:08am

>135 .Monkey.:

But it means nothing that "the account is untouched" if they won't let you even log in before paying up. They are holding people's accounts/photos hostage and demanding ransom. No payment=no login, no adding new photos, no downloading existing albums AND no linking. It's not just "no linking". So yes, for people who won't pay (includes myself) the accounts are well and truly dead.

>134 SassyLassy:

I blame myself. I got a taste of their horribleness when they deleted my "vivacuba" account without announcement, without a single warning. No e-mail, nothing. (The owners are some flavour of rightwing gits and encourage members to report images rightwing gits object to. Among other things, nudity. One day I discovered my Renaissance painting gallery decimated, with messages that the deleted images violated terms of service.) It did spur me to download most of my other albums, something I stupidly wasn't doing from the start.

137tonikat
Bearbeitet: Mrz. 19, 2018, 3:55pm

QUESTION 7

Library Thing is full of features. We all use Talk and Add books. Beyond that,

a) which features do you use regularly?

depends how much time I have, I use collections and also have a list thing of al the books on all my threads since I started logging my reading here. tags too. I use the photos a bit. I've played with my profile a bit over the years. I don't read other people's profiles much - i used to look at interesting libraries quit a bit but not now and the shared books thing. I do sometimes like to look into legacy libraries and then wonder if it can be right e.g. that Emily Dickinson didn't have a copy of such and such (forget what). The interesting libraries/shared books thing and weighting I have not really figured out these days. i like to add friends sometimes. I hate the medal thing in some ways, feels like the corn of the last 5 mins of star wars, we're the rebs, so let us have medals too. I have common knowledged - sometimes looked up local things (not so much in my parts - follow zeitegist a bit - sometimes forget where some things are. I've never managed to export my library so it really works on goodreads, not that I really want to leave here. I use groups o course, i like that -- and of course darlings it is all of you I really love.

b) Do you wander in other people's libraries? "Borrow"?

you mean real other people or LT other people? I generally don't look further in their libraries than the interesting books, or occasionally if paths cross some - but I do not browse all your libraries, hadn't really occurred to me. I do use like proper libraries, university and local.

c) Do you add information in areas like Common Knowledge or Cover Uploading?

yes and yes (less so the second where I ave not mastered quality and it takes t - i - m - e for me to do it better)

d) Do you use the Combine function?

I have

e) How do you search out books which are of interest to you?

generally i find I can find out about books on amazon, a few others sources, but i do look 'em up ere too . . . I don't use reviews here much though, maybe as don't review.

f) What is your favourite part of LT?

der peeple (see above) -- oh and the organisation -- oh and how helps me focus

(is this data being harvested to the management? (or I suppose I should ask, anyone else?)

138tonikat
Mrz. 20, 2018, 4:58pm

was that in bad taste? (it wasn't meant seriously - the last bit)

139SassyLassy
Mrz. 20, 2018, 10:36pm

>138 tonikat: No worries. It did occur to me while I was posting it that it might be taken that way, especially in light of this week's news, but your avid questioner has no links to management or anyone else in this context! Glad to see you didn't take it that way.

140tonikat
Mrz. 22, 2018, 12:28pm

141baswood
Mrz. 23, 2018, 7:30pm

I use other areas of LibraryThing mainly for information. When I have started a novel I am tempted to read other reviews and this can lead to looking up the users information page and relating this to the reviews that they have written. I don't look at the Borrow section and don't look at the combine function. My favourite part of LT is interaction with other readers.

142nohrt4me2
Mrz. 23, 2018, 8:46pm

>141 baswood: Yes, I also do that. I'll click on the book link and sometimes read a review or two before I make a commitment. Most people are pretty good about spoilers. I don't get out much, so I'm here mostly for the interaction.

143arubabookwoman
Mrz. 30, 2018, 10:51pm

I like to use the Connections feature. It is an ongoing list of new books added and reviews posted by your "connections"--the people whose libraries are most similar to you, the people whose libraries you have named an interesting library, and your friends. The list starts with the most recent addition, and is 10 pages long, so if one person decides to enter beaucoup books on one day that's all you get in the 10 pages. Usually, I find that no more than 3 pages are added in a day.

144SassyLassy
Bearbeitet: Apr. 9, 2018, 6:57pm

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

145SassyLassy
Apr. 9, 2018, 7:01pm





A weekend at close quarters with a group of non readers led me to ponder this:

QUESTION 8

a) What is the longest interval you have gone without reading for pleasure (non work related material)?

b) What induced this halt?

c) Did you find other ways to occupy your mind? If so, what?

d) When you finally got back to reading, did you approach it with renewed vigour?

146avaland
Apr. 10, 2018, 2:45pm

Question 8 response:

a) A couple of years, generally.
b) In a bout of rebellion in the early 70s I got into an old black 1960 Mercedes (with red leather seats) with my longtime boyfriend and ran off and joined an evangelical group (it was the 70s, one either did drugs or religion, I did the latter. Judging from my experience, some people clearly did both)
c) My mind was busy with nonfiction reading (approved, of course. Francis Schaeffer, Robert Thiem...etc), working, volunteering, and save-the-world activities (yes, it involved passing out tracts on street corners... All was not a complete desert: I did have a couple of favorites with me, and once, while cleaning out a building—it had been a military school—that had just been bought by the church, we found a room in the basement literally FULL of classics. I managed to squirrel some of those away before they disappeared.
d) Reading (for pleasure) began to slip back as the enchantment wore off. One of the first things I did was join (too many) book "clubs" a la Book of the Month Club...(I forget the names of the other two). I would read almost anything.

Bet you weren't expecting a story like that!

147ALWINN
Apr. 10, 2018, 5:03pm

A) Im currently in one right now and it has been at least a couple of years and how I miss my reading time.

B) I have had to take care of my 2 very young grandchildren who is 4 and 2 years of age.

C) Kiddie activities and running after said kiddos etc

D) I really really miss my reading time but right now everytime I try to read I either have to defuse a situation, or I have a little person bouncing on me or just something so it doesn't really happen too often, but so look forward to when it will happen for more then 2 minutes at a time.

148AlisonY
Apr. 10, 2018, 5:48pm

>146 avaland: forget the question, I want to hear more about this story!!

149avaland
Apr. 10, 2018, 6:08pm

>148 AlisonY: Another platform, perhaps ;-)

150japaul22
Apr. 10, 2018, 8:00pm

I can't think of a time I completely stopped reading, but I did very little reading the last couple years of college and through my masters. I did textbook reading and read a classic here or there, and I remember reading and loving the John Adams book by David McCullough (starting my love of biographies), but I probably only read 3-5 books a year during that 4-5 year stretch. I was just busy with school and had a really active social life.

I started reading more once I got my current job because I had more time. I also remember reading an article that listed the 40 books that then-current President G. W. Bush had read over the year. I explicitly remember being sort of ashamed that with as much time as I had I was reading so little (especially compared to a President that in all honestly I wasn't a big fan of). I started keeping a list of books I read that year, 2006, and have been reading lots since then.

Reading is such a habit now that I can't imagine giving it up.

151mabith
Apr. 10, 2018, 8:29pm

a) What is the longest interval you have gone without reading for pleasure (non work related material)?
Wow, I don't know. A week or two? I grew up in libraries and then had to quit formal work at age 20, so there's not been much getting in the way of reading.

b) What induced this halt?
I don't know that anything did, I'm just guessing on the couple of weeks. I'm sure there's been some period without pleasure reading, but nothing I can specifically identify.

c) Did you find other ways to occupy your mind? If so, what?

d) When you finally got back to reading, did you approach it with renewed vigour?

Neither question is really applicable given my situation!

152lilisin
Apr. 10, 2018, 8:31pm

>146 avaland:

Way to titillate our curiosity!

---

My recent move to Japan led to a long interval without reading. It was a combination of wanting to read only in Japanese so that I'd be fully immersing myself and just wanting to experience every little bit of my new Japanese life just in case it was all a dream and I'd have to go back to the states prematurely. So instead of reading I just went to every festival, every event, every neighborhood and just had fun and didn't worry about reading the books on my TBR pile. The books will be there when I'm ready, Japan might not.

Now that I've moved out of Tokyo and to a slightly less hip town, my social butterfly-ness has calmed down and now I'm allowing myself to read in English and French again. Giving myself this permission made me realize how silly it is to limit myself out of self-appointed duties and that I should just let myself read what I want, even if my Japanese doesn't improve as quickly as I'd like to. This new permission to read what I want has led to a nice amount of reading that I'm very happy with. I actually want to read even more (there are days I just want to get home and start reading right away) but I have to practice the violin when I get home and if I don't do that early enough after getting home, it gets to late and I don't want to bother my neighbors. So by the time that happens and I've eaten dinner and I've watched some tv, the reading hype has died a bit. Fortunately I read a lot at work which is where all my reading updates have been coming from.

153thorold
Apr. 11, 2018, 1:21am

a) What is the longest interval you have gone without reading for pleasure?

Hmmm. Difficult to guess. Maybe 2-3 days? I honestly can’t think of any time in my life when I stopped wanting to read, but there have obviously been times when it wasn’t possible for a little while. Trips where private time and/or artificial light wasn’t available, moments when I was caught up in some project that took all my spare time for a little while. But I usually still managed to squeeze in ten minutes with a novel before going to sleep or over breakfast.

154AlisonY
Apr. 11, 2018, 4:44am

I've probably had quite a few periods over the past couple of decades where I've only read a small handful of books over the course of a year, with a few periods of up to 6 months without reading anything.

Looking back I can't think of any good reason other than I was busy doing other things instead outside of work, whether that was sport or raising babies or partying or travelling or decorating new homes. I'd go through periods of reading lots, and then months would pass by without me picking up anything.

I joined LT 4 years ago because I realised that I still loved books but was wasting a lot of time in the evenings watching rubbish TV when I could be reading. I hoped that using the platform would inspire me to keep it at more regularly, and it has worked 100%. I may not have got through that many books in the last couple of years due to work, but I'm still continually reading, even if that's only a few pages every day at times.

It wasn't habit forming for me to read before - I'd just forget to pick something up for a while. Now that I make more of an effort to plan out my reading and to have books ready to follow my current read I find that I'm more consistently reading.

155shadrach_anki
Apr. 11, 2018, 3:18pm

a) What is the longest interval you have gone without reading for pleasure (non work related material)?
Aside from a still-memorable period of several weeks (probably around six?) when I was in junior high school, I do not think I have gone more than a few days to a week without doing at least some pleasure reading. It may not be as much as I would like, but reading continues to be one of my primary forms of entertainment, and I get antsy when I don't have at least one book on the go.

b) What induced this halt?
That multi-week stretch of no pleasure reading in junior high school occurred because my father took away all my books (or at least all the ones he could find....), I think as punishment for my continued late nights spent reading. At this point I cannot remember all the particulars, and he did return all my books to me, so I came to no lasting harm or upset. I'm pretty sure it was the only way he could think to get through to me, and it...sort of worked? Maybe?

c) Did you find other ways to occupy your mind? If so, what?
As I was in junior high school at the time, I did have all my classes and classwork to occupy my mind, plus piano lessons and household chores and things like weekly church youth group activities. There may have been a few snatches of pleasure reading, but nothing of consequence (as I recall, I was more than a bit afraid that my father would throw away my books if he caught me reading during that time).

d) When you finally got back to reading, did you approach it with renewed vigour?
I was back to reading in basically every spare moment I had the minute I got my books returned to me, though I did try to be better about going to bed at a reasonable-ish hour. So, not so much renewed vigour as resumed vigour. With a dash of circumspection to ensure my library would continue to reside in my bedroom, and not in black garbage bags in the back of the family station wagon.

156baswood
Apr. 12, 2018, 12:42pm

a) What is the longest interval you have gone without reading for pleasure (non work related material)?
I am one of those people who always thought that they could catch up on their reading when they retired and this has proved to be largely true. I am not a quick reader and so I need to find a good number of hours to settle down with a book. I find reading in bed uncomfortable and anyway would fall asleep too easily. I have the ability to fall asleep almost anywhere which is both a blessing and a curse. I miss a lot sometimes.

b) What induced this halt?
There have been intervals in my life when I have not read very much this would usually coincide with a new craze like computer gaming or a new relationship.

c) Did you find other ways to occupy your mind? If so, what?
With new relationships er well...................yes.

d) When you finally got back to reading, did you approach it with renewed vigour?
Sometimes yes, because I like to set myself targets and reading is no exception.

157avaland
Apr. 12, 2018, 3:56pm

>156 baswood: c. that was rather coy....

158bragan
Apr. 15, 2018, 11:27pm

Question Eight:

Um... Maybe a few days, a long time ago? I remember coming to the conclusion, when I was in college (something like 30 years ago now), that no matter how overwhelming my course load or how much reading for class I was doing, if I didn't get manage at least 30 minutes or so of pleasure reading a day, on the average, my sanity suffered immensely. So I don't risk it anymore.

These days, there might be an occasional very busy day when I don't get in any reading time at all, but it's vanishingly rare. Even if it's just a few pages over my morning coffee, or a few stolen minutes during a family vacation, I'm pretty much always reading something sometime.

Which means, of course, that I don't have any responses to sub-questions b through d.

159LadyoftheLodge
Apr. 28, 2018, 5:24pm

Longest interval without reading--maybe a year. I read a handful of books.

A love relationship falling apart when I was in my 20s caused the halt. I don't think I did much of anything, maybe just thought a lot or watched inane TV. It was a long time ago, so I don't really remember much about that. I keep a journal of all the books I read, started in 1977, so that is how I recall my lack of reading at that dark time of life.

I am not sure how I got started reading again though. Maybe made some new friends or got involved in new activities, or started to hang out at the library. It was just time to move on.

160SassyLassy
Bearbeitet: Apr. 30, 2018, 7:16pm



QUESTION 9

a) Is there a particular time and place in fiction which draws you in again and again?

b) What is it that attracts you to it?

c) If you were to write a novel, would it be set then and there?

d) Does this time and place correspond to a favourite era in history or other topics in your reading?

161thorold
Bearbeitet: Apr. 30, 2018, 6:53am

QUESTION 9

a) Is there a particular time and place in fiction which draws you in again and again?


- Another difficult one for me. I'm very fickle in such things. Favourite themes and periods tend to come and go with the years. One year it might be Spain, another Africa, the DDR, or Norway...

If there's something I keep coming back to, then it would probably be England from about the 1930s to the 1960s. Think Barbara Pym, Anthony Powell, Simon Raven, Elizabeth Taylor.

b) What is it that attracts you to it?
Probably not because there's anything particularly special about that period, but simply that it's the lifetime of most of the writers I came into contact with when I was growing up. So probably largely a case of disguised nostalgia and comfort-reading. Even though it's mostly before I was born, it's a period I feel very familiar with. And of course there's a huge amount of very interesting fiction from that period, which I'm unlikely ever to exhaust.

c) If you were to write a novel, would it be set then and there?
Maybe it should be. If I did the obvious thing and wrote a first novel set in the period when I was growing up myself, it would probably turn out to be too much like The Rotters' Club.

d) Does this time and place correspond to a favourite era in history or other topics in your reading?
Not really - if there's a focus there, it's more concentrated a century earlier. Which was also a very interesting period for fiction that I keep coming back to, but not quite as much.

162RidgewayGirl
Apr. 30, 2018, 11:17am

QUESTION 9

a) Is there a particular time and place in fiction which draws you in again and again?

I've moved around a fair amount during my life and it's those places that I'm drawn to in my reading. At this point I'm enjoying reading Southern Lit - books written and set in the American South, with an emphasis on the southern part of the Appalachians. And Germany, those being the last two place I've hung my hat. I'm not a big reader of historical fiction and will choose books set near the present or, especially in the case of Germany, in the past century. So much of our near past informs our present after all.

b) What is it that attracts you to it?
I've lived in several places and while that's a wonderful way to get to know another part of the world, it does leave me needing a greater depth of understanding of a region I've lived in than what can be absorbed in a few years or even a decade.

c) If you were to write a novel, would it be set then and there?
Probably. It would be hard to write about a part of the world I'd never fully experienced with any degree of authenticity.

c) Does this time and place correspond to a favourite era in history or other topics in your reading?
I don't think so. I tend to read whatever catches my interest, instead of following a train of thought or anything more organized than a prize shortlist (I do love a shortlist, partially because of the randomness, partially because I, like a raven, am attracted to the new and shiny.)

163avaland
Apr. 30, 2018, 5:28pm

I'm afraid I can only answer part of QUESTION 9

a) Is there a particular time and place in fiction which draws you in again and again?

I'm tempted to say, no, there isn't a particular time, but several times. I have been attracted to 1. dystopian futures, 2. historical fiction from the 17th - 19th centuries (though these days it's also just as likely to be histories or biographies), and 3. fiction set in our current time but perhaps in a different country.

b) What is it that attracts you to it?

re: dystopian futures: possibilities and hope
re: 17th -18th century historical fiction: sometimes fiction can paint a vivid, living picture of time in a way that a history cannot.
re: Our current time. Different and similar viewpoints, different and similar life and cultural experiences...etc

c) If you were to write a novel, would it be set then and there?

There are too many possibilities. I wouldn't know until my fingers began to move across the keyboard!

164LadyoftheLodge
Mai 2, 2018, 5:06pm

A particular time and place that I read about would be England. I like historical novels set there. I also like mysteries and novels that involve small villages in England.

Not sure what brings me back to that location, other than a long-time interest in England. I visited there in 1980 and want to get back. Maybe my interest goes back to the 1960's when we were all nuts about anything British.

If I were to write a novel, it would take lots of research to write about England accurately, so probably not.

165bragan
Mai 5, 2018, 5:24am

Question 9:

I don't know that I have answers to most of the sub-questions in this one, but as far as this once goes...

a) Is there a particular time and place in fiction which draws you in again and again?

I read a lot of science fiction, so I think I have to say the future! But, of course, there are lots and lots of different possible futures, so that probably doesn't even count as one setting at all.

166nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Mai 12, 2018, 9:10am

I am drawn to dystopian futures and Victorian classics in equal measure. I think both types of novels explore the way society affects the individual, and there is social criticism in both.

I would never write a novel. I was born to observe and comment, not to create, alas.

167mabith
Mai 11, 2018, 5:19pm

QUESTION 9

a) Is there a particular time and place in fiction which draws you in again and again?
Not in fiction. There definitely are with non-fiction (so many now), but that doesn't really stretch to fiction in terms of actively seeking out those settings. In fact I think I'm more skeptical of those novels because I've read so much of the non-fiction.

c) If you were to write a novel, would it be set then and there?
I would pluck out my own eyes first just imagining the level of research it would take to do it well.

168LolaWalser
Mai 20, 2018, 2:01pm

QUESTION 9

a) Is there a particular time and place in fiction which draws you in again and again?

b) What is it that attracts you to it?

c) If you were to write a novel, would it be set then and there?

d) Does this time and place correspond to a favourite era in history or other topics in your reading?


a) & d) together--yes, there is a more or less singular time and "place" I'm obsessed with, roughly Europe during the four decades 1890-1930s. Since "favourite" has various connotations, I'd specify that while it's a favourite to read (and mull, and obsess) about, it's not a favourite in the sense that I'd love or prefer to have lived then.

b) in short, it's a sickened and nostalgic fascination with a civilizational catastrophe preparing, paradoxically, at a time of unprecedented progress. When I say paradoxically, I'm referring solely to appearances; I don't mean to imply anything fatalistic or mysterious. The progress was, briefly put, countered by opposing forces. Trends of liberation were fought against by those who wanted to enslave. The latter lost twice. They will lose again. They will always lose. But it does seem we can expect it to happen in oceans of blood.

Which is why the breaking points before the enslavers come to power obsess me. For a want of a nail a kingdom may be lost. The point isn't that there's always some single "nail" of a cause to identify in the haystack of contingencies, but that it doesn't take much for a catastrophe to occur. And conversely, that it doesn't take much to stop the catastrophe from occurring.

And so I keep going back in the past in my mind, looking for nails, wishing against hope, reality, history. For the future. (Needless to say, currently the mood isn't great.)

c) I can't wrap my head around being a novelist, so it's a tough hypothetical within a hypothetical, but if I could write fiction, I think I'd gravitate toward building new worlds, better worlds.

169LadyoftheLodge
Bearbeitet: Mai 21, 2018, 4:09pm

Question 10

Many LibraryThing-ers are avid book buyers and own many books.

a) What makes us so attracted to books?

b) Why do we acquire so many of them? Why are we reluctant to part with them?

c) What makes a person an avid reader, as opposed to those who are non-readers?

170nohrt4me2
Mai 21, 2018, 4:36pm

a) I don't have many physical books anymore. A few notable exceptions: My mother's copy of Jane Eyre, my great-grandfather's copy of Emma, and my 1959 copy of The Cat in the Hat. I have tried in vain to find my grandmother's Jules Verne books. The physical books I have kept were/are important to me as "totems," I guess. They connect me physically with the literary past of my family. Everything else goes to the local library sale or prison library donations.

b) Why do I buy e books instead of just borrowing from the library? So I can write in them.

c) An avid reader eagerly anticipates certain books/authors/topics because he/she believes reading these works are integral to understanding what it means to be human. An avid reader may read fiction, nonfiction, or a combo. An avid reader does not necessarily read huge numbers of books, but is rarely without a book to read.

171SassyLassy
Mai 21, 2018, 8:27pm



QUESTION 11>

You're home sick in bed - nothing that will carry you away, just something that feels like it will. Powers of concentration are nil.

a) Can you read under these circumstances?

b) Is there a particular genre you resort to?

c) Do you have a favourite author for such times, a stash just ready to go?

d) Do audio books work, or just put you to sleep?

e) When it's all over, are you easily able to return to whatever you were reading when you were first waylaid?

172nohrt4me2
Bearbeitet: Mai 21, 2018, 10:24pm

I have never been so sick I could not read or listen to a book. Reading on post-op narcotics was kind of trippy. I cannot read with a migraine, but I do listen. Ditto with occasional nausea from the oral chemo.

Yes! I have a stash of YA books I read as a kid I go to. When I'm sick, I want a familiar story, and something that is easy to read.

173thorold
Mai 22, 2018, 10:25am

Q10 - book-hoarding:

The core of this question seems to be why we are driven to amass permanent collections rather than just read-and-return. Like most of us, I do both of these things, in varying proportions. And I don't think there's a clear simple answer.

There can be good reasons to buy a book to keep: you might have a genuine need to refer to it again after you first read it; it might be the only way to get hold of that particular book; it might be a beautiful object you want to save for posterity; you might want to scrawl important notes in the margin for that monograph you're working on; you may have some particularly hideous wallpaper you want to hide, etc.

But the main reasons are probably bad: the hoarding instinct; the joy of the eternal TBR shelf; easier to order it from Amazon from your armchair than to get on the bus to the city library and look for it; you've got the money so why not; too fastidious to read a book sprinkled with the remains of someone else's sandwich; that fantasy of a book-lined study you've always had; too snobby about tech to use an e-reader, etc.

In my case (more than 3000 books on the shelves and still growing) the bad reasons have definitely been winning out. I'm trying to throttle the flow a bit now that I'm retired, but sometimes it just seems as if I'm letting the TBR build up whilst I fast-track library books that have to go back...

Q11 - sick-room reading:
It's probably not always like that, but I was out of action for about six weeks last summer and found that being ill actually improved my ability to focus on books for lengthy continuous periods by taking away my desire to do any of the other things that usually distract me. I went through a huge pile of books in what seemed like no time at all.

It seemed to work for all kinds of different genres and styles, but I was most drawn to fiction with a fairly strong narrative line and a reasonably upbeat character. Crime, romantic comedy, historical fiction - the sort of thing I usually read anyway. If in doubt, P.G. Wodehouse, Barbara Pym, Jane Austen, etc. are always available for re-reading, but I didn't need them this time.
(Just as they don't show air-disaster films as in-flight movies, I tried to stay away from any novel in which the heroine was likely to expire with consumption or similar...)

Audio books didn't work too well, going to sleep and then having to try to find your place again...

174lilisin
Mai 24, 2018, 3:37am

Answering question 9.

a) Is there a particular time and place in fiction which draws you in again and again?

- Japan during World War II
- 19th century French fiction

b) What is it that attracts you to it?

In general I'm fascinated by the idea of Japan as an aggressor followed immediately by Japan as a victim. The contradiction is fascinating and this time period led to a serious transition in Japan which created some of the most interesting fiction I've ever read. I can't help but go back to this time period both fictionalized as a non-fiction.

As for 19th century French fiction, this comes with my being French and loving the story making of the time. Whether that be adventurous stories like Dumas or darker reflections on society like Hugo, it's all fascinating.

c) If you were to write a novel, would it be set then and there?

Not at all.
I've had a few ideas for novels but have neither the talent (because I've never practiced), nor do I have the motivation, patience, nor endurance to undergo such a mission. But all my ideas were based off of incidents in my life that I found leading to an interesting perspective on human interactions with the self while exploring the boundaries of friendship.

d) Does this time and place correspond to a favorite era in history or other topics in your reading?

If in doubt, I always find myself in Japan when it comes to reading.

175avaland
Bearbeitet: Mai 25, 2018, 6:10am

Question 11. Illness & reading.

Depending what or how I am suffering, to a certain level I can resort to crime novels. Last year I was often in a lot of pain from a ruptured disc in my neck and I read 18 crime novels that year. Thus far this year I've only read 2 1/2. In the late 80s & 90s, in similar circumstances, that might also have been a medium weight SF novel.

I am not above resorting to television and am appreciative of the excellent offerings streaming has given us (and the fact that good writers are now more attracted to limited series for television than movies for the theaters).

176SassyLassy
Mai 25, 2018, 2:29pm

>175 avaland: Good point about writing in the limited series. Also that visual stimulation probably makes them easier to stay awake for than audio books (as in >173 thorold:)!

177nohrt4me2
Mai 25, 2018, 8:25pm

>175 avaland: Yes, there has been a lot of good TV in the last 15 years or so. I have a theory that three to five seasons is optimal. Beyond that, things get stale.

178avaland
Mai 26, 2018, 7:39am

>176 SassyLassy: I admit I am almost as much a television junkie these days as a book junkie. I find it harder to read in the evenings when I am tired (although I do regular read a chapter or two of something in bed before sleep) and I just can't watch news discussion shows all the time.

>177 nohrt4me2: agree about the 3-5 season run, but we digress!

179lisapeet
Bearbeitet: Mai 26, 2018, 6:58pm

Oh, I'll answer a whole bunch, why not. Long weekend FTW.

QUESTION 9
a) Is there a particular time and place in fiction which draws you in again and again?
b) What is it that attracts you to it?

Two settings I love to read about: '70s-'80s NYC, particularly about downtown/arts/music. I moved to the E. Village in 1981, when the ink on my high school diploma was not yet dry—I was one of those Lou Reed suburban kids listening to college radio at night under the covers and dreaming about coming to the city and hanging out with all the freaks and artists—and I by and large had a really good time. The other setting is 16th and 17th century Italy, just because the sensibilities are fun. I especially love tales of the age of enlightenment—scientific societies, wunderkammern/cabinets of curiosity, all that.

c) If you were to write a novel, would it be set then and there?
NYC no, but I have the outline of something I'd love to write someday set in Renaissance Italy. It would want so much research, though, I'll probably never have the time or concentration to do it.

d) Does this time and place correspond to a favourite era in history or other topics in your reading?
No, I read pretty broadly and love history as a whole. Those are just two that spark me for totally different reasons.

QUESTION 10
a) What makes us so attracted to books?

I imagine growing up in a house where there were so many books, in a home culture that really enjoyed and honored them. Both my parents were big readers—my dad was a professor—and they shared that generously with me as I grew up.

b) Why do we acquire so many of them? Why are we reluctant to part with them?
Dunno… again, maybe growing up in a house that was lined with bookshelves, though I don't know whether that's why I'm quite as fetishistic(ish) about books as I am. I associate them with abundance—not in a consumer way, but more abstractly than that. I love having physical books around me, and love having such a great collection of both print and ebooks, that feeling that I will always have something to read that fits my mood. I'll even browse the library ebook app and look at all the books that I COULD READ RIGHT NOW IF I WANTED TO and that makes me happy too. But there's something else that's probably a little more pathological, and I don't even care what that is because it's never taken food off my table, never kept me from paying my bills, and books still haven't quite overtaken the house in any kind of health hazard way.

c) What makes a person an avid reader, as opposed to those who are non-readers?
Don't know the answer to that either, other than my own personal reasons—grew up reading and loving books. I also don't like TV, so that's my main leisure activity/escape.

QUESTION 11> You're home sick in bed - nothing that will carry you away, just something that feels like it will. Powers of concentration are nil.
a) Can you read under these circumstances?
b) Is there a particular genre you resort to?
c) Do you have a favourite author for such times, a stash just ready to go?

Hahahaha. I'm never home sick in bed, for better or worse. Better because I rarely get sick, worse because when I am I'm either asleep or semi-working, even if I am in bed. I just had my first bad cold in two years and I missed exactly half a day of work—not bragging, it kind of sucked, but such is the woe of an understaffed newsroom. But when I'm at my foggiest, I tend to catch up on New Yorkers or read short stories, rather than novels or nonfiction, just because I nod off.

d) Do audio books work, or just put you to sleep?
I can't really do audiobooks, even when I'm well—the second my mind wanders I end up missing too much, and apparently my mind wanders a lot. I need print or e-ink, where I can go back and reread a sentence. I do like podcasts, but I use the rewind function often for that reason.

e) When it's all over, are you easily able to return to whatever you were reading when you were first waylaid?
Sure, I'm a multi-book reader anyway.

Well hey, y'all asked.

180bragan
Bearbeitet: Mai 29, 2018, 12:43am

You're home sick in bed - nothing that will carry you away, just something that feels like it will. Powers of concentration are nil.

a) Can you read under these circumstances?


The times when I've been too sick to read at all have been very few and far between, and incredibly memorable. Hell, I remember the first time it happened, when I was a teenager and had tonsillitis. The fact that I was too sick to even think about reading -- really, too sick to even think -- made me wonder if I was going to die. Which I suspect I actually might have if not for the miracle of antibiotics.

b) Is there a particular genre you resort to?

Not really. If I'm really super-duper sick, I'll probably try to read something light that doesn't require much brainpower. If I'm just sick enough not to want to get off the couch, but not enough that my brain doesn't function, it's actually a great excuse to spend all day reading something fairly invoving.

c) Do you have a favourite author for such times, a stash just ready to go?

No. But I have, at current count, 932 unread books. There is something on the TBR shelves for every mood and condition.

d) Do audio books work, or just put you to sleep?

I don't really do audio books, but I found podcasts to be really useful when I was recovering from surgery and was on drugs that made me sleepy enough that it was hard to focus on words on the page. I made it through the entire back catalog of Radiolab, I think.

e) When it's all over, are you easily able to return to whatever you were reading when you were first waylaid?

Well, I'm a strict one-book-at-a-time kind of gal, so whatever I'm reading when I fall ill, I'll power on through it. It's really just a question of what I pick up after that, if I'm still feeling sick.

Although that may not always be the best thing. I have very, very strange memories of reading Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith when so sick from the flu that I was actually kind of delirious. I'd read for a while, then drift off to sleep, and have these weird, weird meta dreams where I wasn't sure if the book was bleeding through into my dream or if I was reading the book but feeling like I was dreaming. And then the book itself started doing some kind of weird meta thing of jumbling up dreams and the real world and the world of the story... At least, I think it did. I'm honestly still not sure how much of it I might have hallucinated.

181nohrt4me2
Mai 29, 2018, 10:40am

>180 bragan: Reading on morphine is quite interesting. Reality starts to melt and merge with the book, much as you describe while reading with the flu. Reading on marijuana is also interesting, but you won't remember what you read next day, unlike morphine.

Not that I'm recommending it or anything.

182SassyLassy
Jun. 9, 2018, 7:25pm

QUESTION 12



photograph by George Hoyningen-Heune (1900-1968)

You're going out to a real bricks and mortar venue to buy books, not just one or two, but books with a capital B, a concerted expedition.

a) Do you approach it in an organised fashion, carefully prepared list in hand?

b) Do you prefer to cruise the shelves, looking for a telltale spine from that favourite publisher, or seeking out your favourite categories and authors?

c) Do you make room in your purchases for wonderful or quirky finds that you had not known of before?

d) Do you start out with a set limit, in currency or book number, or some combination of both?
- Confess, do you exceed that limit, possibly having made mental allowance for just such a contingency?

e) Do you prefer to make these excursions on your own, or do you go with someone who derives as much pleasure from them as you?

f) What prompts such excursions?


183tonikat
Bearbeitet: Jun. 10, 2018, 9:53am

You're home sick in bed - nothing that will carry you away, just something that feels like it will. Powers of concentration are nil.

a) Can you read under these circumstances?


It depends on the illness and circumstances, sometimes it is a great excuse to get at reading, sometimes I can't be bothered.

b) Is there a particular genre you resort to? - no

c) Do you have a favourite author for such times, a stash just ready to go? - no. Maybe I'd turn to a new book to me, one I have wanted to devote a large chunk of time to.

d) Do audio books work, or just put you to sleep? - I don't do audio books much, also am bad at listening to radio plays.

e) When it's all over, are you easily able to return to whatever you were reading when you were first waylaid?

that's an issue at any time being diverted. Books I enjoy can sometimes make it hard to go to others.

Question 12

usually I just head quickly to the poetry section, sometimes via fiction. Usually I know I will buy nothing in a real shop as sadly I will find it cheaper elsewhere. I do enjoy discovering things and going with the feeling browsing the book gives me to give it a try (Ashland & Vine did that this year). But mostly I have to avoid bookshops at the moment, and Amazon, need to save money and I have far more books than I can read anyway. The best prompt is a nice bit of flaneuring with not very much on my mind at all, those are my most enjoyable bookshop visits - the rest are more directed. Second hand books hops also great for this, but can really divert reading plans.

184nohrt4me2
Jun. 10, 2018, 11:22am

Question 12

I already built and dismantled my library of a lifetime. But I often have fantasies of developing a library for a newly married couple.

First, I'd find out what books they have, then I would ask them to give me their five most memorable books, and then I would develop a personalized 100 books list for them.

In the early and difficult first years of our marriage, my husband and I would take turns reading a book together in the evenings. This gave us something to talk about besides grievances and problems.

185SassyLassy
Jun. 10, 2018, 4:04pm

>183 tonikat: I was trying to word the question so that it wouldn't be restricted to book stores with only new books. There are so many other places like fairs, library sales, wonderful second hand book stores, church bazaars, and in your part of the world, charity stores, that splurging can be indulged in periodically. They do, however, ... really divert reading plans, but then that's part of the joy of it all.

Would love to find places with a real poetry section.

186LadyoftheLodge
Jun. 10, 2018, 4:43pm

Question 12

Mostly, I cruise the shelves, unless I am looking for a specific book. I usually visit the mystery section, as well as the sale sections.

I make room for a quirky find if it strikes my fancy. No limits, I always spend too much.

My husband usually goes along with me, but he is very impatient, so I have to work quickly if he is with me. I try to convince him to sit down and entertain himself, or spend time in the history section he loves. Sometimes I bribe him with the promise to pay for a book of his choice. He loves to read, but does not like to browse as I do.

These excursions can be prompted by coupons or whenever the urge to get a new book hits.

187thorold
Jun. 10, 2018, 4:58pm

Q12:

a) Sadly, the Internet has taken away the urge to make wanted lists - if I know what I want, then ABE and the like are so much more effective than random visits to places where old books are to be found. So browsing is directed at finding things I didn’t know I needed on my TBR shelf. I now sometimes check my LT catalogue (thank you, EU, for getting rid of roaming charges!) if in doubt about whether I already have something.

b) It varies according to where I am and inclination. But I’ll normally have a look at history, poetry, maybe travel and biography, and the LGBT and “foreign” sections if they have them, as well as browsing the fiction. In fiction, familiar spines are a good trigger, and I’m likely to have one or two recently-discovered authors I particularly want to follow up at any given moment. But if it’s something like a book-fair, I might just look at everything if I come to a stall that has interesting looking books.

c) see (a)

d) If I’m in Germany or the UK (where such incidents mostly occur for me...) the main consideration that holds me back is what I can fit in my luggage. But I have been known to get booksellers to mail things to me. Otherwise I just try not to buy things I’m never going to have time to read. Cost comes into it, of course, but mostly at the level of “this is a book I really don’t need, but it looks fun and it only costs...”

e) I don’t know what it is, but whoever happens to be with me, when they see me heading for a bookshop they say “I’ll come and look for you in an hour”. It can be fun for a little while browsing through someone else’s eyes, picking out things for them and they for you, but most of the time those get put back on the shelf after a discrete interval.

f) Mostly travel: in places where I go fairly often, I usually know at least one or two interesting bookshops and always try to find time to call in. But it’s happening more and more often that I go somewhere and find that the shops aren’t there any more. And I occasionally remember to go to book fairs or markets (mostly York and Deventer). Nearer to home, there are still significant numbers of interesting bookshops in Leiden, but I don’t seem to get the urge to go on an expedition there more than two or three times a year.

188tonikat
Jun. 10, 2018, 5:13pm

>185 SassyLassy: aha, yes just my funnelled thinking. Joy indeed, am coming at that in new way now, or not, sometimes.

Places with a real poetry section are few - though it can be real with comparatively few books.

189AlisonY
Jun. 10, 2018, 5:33pm

If I'm looking for a specific book I tend to buy it on line or on loan from the library. In bricks and mortar bookshops I'm drawn to the whole randomness of what I might come across (I like that about the library too). In recent years I've started to prefer charity bookshops, as I find it serendipitous when a title speaks to me and finds a place on my bookshelves.

I must admit I don't get that same enjoyment from high street bookshops. I find they are often filled with the mass market books that sell, and although they are often very fine titles, somehow it loses a little of the magic for me somewhere.

190tonikat
Jun. 11, 2018, 6:06am

>185 SassyLassy: sorry but this still has me. I think I’m avoiding book stores and all those places with some unjoy at knowing how many books I already have to read, want to read but am not getting very far. It’s a new aspect of my reading anxiety.

As to Poetry sections, maybe it’s me, I have to bring the poetry, or be open to hear it in what’s there, like discovered Poetry sections. But may be challenging. Maybe we could found a society for nurturing Poetry sections (apologies to all booksellers I am neglecting who are already living it).

191NanaCC
Jun. 11, 2018, 5:21pm

Q12: Like Alison, if I have a specific book in mind, I tend to get it online, or from the library. But I love taking my grandchildren to the bookstores near their homes. While they are picking out books (I usually give them a limit), I'm off looking for something to strike my fancy. I have my LT wishlist to use, but sometimes a cover will just catch me at the right time. And, I always wind up with more books than I intended to buy. The little bookshop near my house doesn't have a huge selection, but I like to give them business, so if they don't have something I'd like I will ask them for something specific, which they will usually get within a day or two.

192LadyoftheLodge
Jun. 12, 2018, 6:19pm

I am sorry to say that sometimes I use my phone to take a photo of a book cover at the big bookstore, and then look it up online and get a used copy.

193mabith
Jun. 12, 2018, 7:14pm

You're going out to a real bricks and mortar venue to buy books, not just one or two, but books with a capital B, a concerted expedition.

a) Do you approach it in an organised fashion, carefully prepared list in hand?

Finances don't allow me to buy all that many new books, and by inclination I'm library focused as well (my dad was a librarian most of my life). It's rare I'd be looking for more than one specific title, which I'd likely need the store to special order anyway.

b) Do you prefer to cruise the shelves, looking for a telltale spine from that favourite publisher, or seeking out your favourite categories and authors?
In used bookstores I do have specific authors and specific types of books i look for.

c) Do you make room in your purchases for wonderful or quirky finds that you had not known of before?
If I'm already buying one specific book I'm probably less likely to add an impulse purchase. I'm a pretty stingy person with my own things.

d) Do you start out with a set limit, in currency or book number, or some combination of both?
- Confess, do you exceed that limit, possibly having made mental allowance for just such a contingency?

I'm pretty good with this. It extends to my shelves. If I've filled up my current poetry shelves I won't buy more poetry until I make more room (unless it's something beyond special).

e) Do you prefer to make these excursions on your own, or do you go with someone who derives as much pleasure from them as you?
There's a nice used book store near a coffee spot I frequent with a friend now, so every few meetings we'll go peruse the stacks.

f) What prompts such excursions?
Proximity, mostly.

194nohrt4me2
Jun. 12, 2018, 11:16pm

>192 LadyoftheLodge: Why are you sorry? You're recycling and saving money!

195lilisin
Jun. 13, 2018, 1:30am

I have two sort of book outings.

The first is when I go home to the US or France for vacation. At that point I have a list of books that I want to pick up. And then I of course let myself browse recent releases or other titles that look of interest to add to my TBR pile. Since I never know when the next time it will be before I can go back, I never limit myself. My only concern is whether I can carry it all back to Japan with me on the plane and I always make it work.

The second is here in Japan where I tend to enter bookstores frequently as there seems to be a bookstore on every corner in Tokyo and I frequently use them as a means to pass the time either when I'm bored, or bored waiting for someone. For these excursions I leave everything to surprise.

I typically just browse by book cover and book title. Is the book cover interesting, colorful, intriguing, confusing? I also ask myself the same questions about the book title only eliminating the book titles that I can't read (as in, the Japanese is too hard). Then I'll read the blurb and finally I'll check a page in the beginning, middle and end to estimate the level of difficultly of the Japanese and see how much dialogue there is in the book.

This manner of shopping has led to many unexpected book purchases and nice surprises and has allowed me to discover new authors that haven't been translated in other languages yet. Since my reading in Japanese is obviously slower, I tend to only buy one book at a time and if another book looks interesting, I'll take a picture of it to remember until my next excursion. Since paperback books are so cheap in Japan (usually only 4 American dollars), while I do tend to purchase used (Japan has a great used book culture), I have no problem buying books at the new price.

I should add my other form of book shopping in Japan and that is when I stumble on book sales for foreign books. At that point I'll usually buy any book that looks of interest no matter how little or much research I've made into the book beforehand as I'll never know when these books will be on sale again (foreign books here are very expensive). Usually this means definitely buying up any classic, and usually buying any book on my "maybe someday" mental pile.

196lisapeet
Jun. 13, 2018, 6:30am

a) Do you approach it in an organised fashion, carefully prepared list in hand?
I do two kinds of book shopping. I almost never buy books new for myself anymore, since I have so many on my shelves already, get a steady stream of galleys from work, Edelweiss, and NetGalley, and am a dedicated library user for anything else that can't wait. But if I'm buying a book for a gift or something I need and want to have in hand, like for a book club, I will go with that specific goal in mind—and I try to always hit up a brick-and-mortar independent bookstore because they need the business more than I need a couple of dollars' discount, though if I'm really crunched for time I will grudgingly use Amazon.

I do love used bookstores, street vendors, and library sales, though, and will always stop and look—though these days I often don't walk away with anything, brought up short by the sheer number of books I see that I already own. But I love the thrill of the hunt and will gladly spend a dollar or two on something I might want to read, maybe. I also subscribe to every ebook deal newsletter around, and will drop a few bucks on an ebook that's on my wish list (or that looks good) because it's not taking up shelf space, so why not?

b) Do you prefer to cruise the shelves, looking for a telltale spine from that favourite publisher, or seeking out your favourite categories and authors?
In used bookstores/sales/street vendors or ebook deal newsletters, yes.

c) Do you make room in your purchases for wonderful or quirky finds that you had not known of before?
Not while shopping, but I'm constantly adding to my wish list and I have a remarkable memory when it comes to books. Nothing else, though...

d) Do you start out with a set limit, in currency or book number, or some combination of both?
- Confess, do you exceed that limit, possibly having made mental allowance for just such a contingency?

Nope. Whatever happens happens, though I generally don't surprise myself when shopping for a new book for the above reasons. When buying used, anything goes.

e) Do you prefer to make these excursions on your own, or do you go with someone who derives as much pleasure from them as you?
I love to shop with bookish friends, but don't often because life is a little too constrained lately... not much strolling around aimlessly these days, and the dates I make with friends don't often include bookstores (though when I'm on a work field trip we'll always hit a library used bookstore because we're all the same kind of book fiend).

197LadyoftheLodge
Jun. 14, 2018, 2:55pm

>194 nohrt4me2: Thanks for liberating me! No more bookstore guilt! (Seriously, sometimes I patronize brick and mortar bookstores because I hate to see them go out of existence due to online shopping. But I really prefer used books.)

198nohrt4me2
Jun. 14, 2018, 10:24pm

>197 LadyoftheLodge: The independent in my area installed an extensive used book section. They organize it nicely, too. Used book stores are usually a) too dusty, b) poorly organized, and c) given vision and mobility problems, I can only look at the two or three rows at eye level.

But I look back fondly on days when I could go to the university library, sit on the floor and browse shelves top to bottom.

One of my favorite finds was a book from the 1800s in with a bunch of books on public sanitation called "Rats and How to Kill Them." Culmination of somebody's life's work--breeding habits, preferred habitat, life cycle, diseases spread and how, and, of course, the best ways to exterminate large numbers of rats without harming people or domestic animals.

Also a look into a time in society in which rats were a real danger to human health, and sentiment about animals was limited.

Not everyone's cuppa, but I thought about starting a library of 19th century sanitation books for awhile.
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