Booking Through Thursday: Flapper? Or not a flapper?

Suggested by Prairie Progressive:

Do you read the inside flaps that describe a book before or while reading it?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

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I guess this is meme week.  Can you tell I’m procrastinating about writing reviews??

Yes, I’m a flapper.  I read the flap.  Maybe not EVERY time, but if I’m browsing in a bookstore and don’t really know what I want, I read flaps to help me decide if it’s a book I want to buy. Usually when I get a book in the mail I’ve already agreed to read it, so in that case I don’t read the flaps.  Except when I do.

I’m sure you’re all really happy you read this post, aren’t you?   Such insight!  So provocative!

I’ve lost my internet connection 3 TIMES while trying to publish this post.  Is that the universe’s way of telling me to get off my a$$ and write a review???  Hmmmm…

Are you a flapper?  Are you a procrastinator too??

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Sticky: Booking Through Thursday

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I saw this over at Shelley’s, and thought it sounded like a great question for all of you:

“This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”

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Ok, I’m going to follow directions and do this off the top of my head.  My answers today are probably different from the answers I would have given yesterday or the ones I would give tomorrow!  Some of these books are from my childhood, some I read years ago and some just recently. They are not equal in quality but all had a major impact on me in one way or another.  

So, my 15 “sticky” books, in no particular order are:

The Secret Garden

Angela’s Ashes

Little Women

Molokai

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

I Was Amelia Earhart

The Kite Runner

Ethan Fromme

We Need to Talk About Kevin

The Lovely Bones

Speak

A Thousand Splendid Suns

The Joy Luck Club

Johnny Got His Gun

Into Thin Air

How many of my “sticky” books have you read?  

What books have stuck with you over the years?

Best Bad Book? Booking Through Thursday

 

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Suggested by Janet:

The opposite of last week’s question: “What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?”

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imagedbTo answer this question, I did a little Google search of the worst books of 2008.  Lots of lists came up but I clicked on the first one I saw, which happened to be Entertainment Weekly’s list, because I remembered they had listed a book I loved as #3.  That is just WRONG.  Here’s what they had to say:

3. THE GARGOYLE, 
Andrew Davidson

Publisher Doubleday clearly had high hopes that this 
howlingly bad medieval thriller would be the next Da Vinci Code. It wasn’t. In fact, it turned out to be one of the biggest flops of the year.

While The Gargoyle wasn’t a perfect book, it was completely enthralling and utterly unique, and one I would have been sorry to miss.  Judging from the comments left on my review, I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed it!

What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read?

A Week of Memes- Catching Up

Mailbox Monday- 

What arrived in YOUR mailbox this week? Visit Marcia at The Printed Page to leave a link to your post and see what other readers acquired! Here is what arrived at my house:

us-cover-compressedIn the last week I’ve received 4 books:  

Sonata for Miriam by Linda Olsson from Penguin

The Mechanics of Falling by Catherine Brady from the author, for a TLC Book Tour stop

Who by Fire by Diana Spechler from the author

The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer from Penguin

 

 

Teaser Tuesdays~

tuesday-tMiz B and Teaser Tuesdays asks you to: Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two (2) sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

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imagedb-2cgiMine comes from page 140 of Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge, a memoir about the author’s years in foster care as a child.  

“And that day by the pool with Jason and me, if the camera had turned itself on our foster mother instead of us, the picture would have revealed a frightened girl who had eaten herself into omnipotent obesity.  Her form sloped with fat, as if the hungry belly she felt as a child had refused to be satisfied.”

 

Wordless Wednesday~

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Booking Through Thursday~

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Tami inspired this week’s question:

What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

Or, What book do you think should NEVER be made into a movie?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

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I’d love to see The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister on the big screen!   If I had the chance to cast the movie I could see Julia Roberts in the role of Lillian, the restaurant owner, and others I’d love to see in the ensemble cast would include Salma Hayak, Andrew McCarthy, and Betty White.  Hollywood, are you listening?

One book I NEVER want to see in the theater is The Road by Cormac McCarthy!  BLECH!  Bleak, ashen, awful wasteland with no explanation and no dialogue.  NO thanks.

 

Friday Fill-ins~

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And…here we go!    

1. When I look to the left, I see curtains

2. The upstairs bedroom is the room that has the best view in my home.

3. Let it work if it’s not broken.

4. Dirty Deeds done dirt cheap!

5. Voting is a responsibility that all qualified citizens must share.

6. If you have any chocolate or wine feel free to share it with me.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to PJs and popcorn with youngest daughter’s girl scout troop, tomorrow my plans include cleaning and Witch Mountain with my kids, Sheri and the twins, and Sunday, I want to relax and read!

Have a nice weekend, everybody!

Best Book I’ve Never Read: Booking Through Thursday

The Best Book You’ve Never Read March 5, 2009

Filed under: WordPress — –Deb @ 1:39 am 

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We’ve all seen the lists, we’ve all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet.

What’s the best book that YOU haven’t read yet?

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I should probably say something profound, like “War and Peace” or “Brave New World,” but let’s be serious.  I’m not going to read either of those anytime soon, if ever.  

Recent releases that I’ve missed out on are The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, The Book Thief, and Life of Pi.  Of those, I am most interested in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.  I hope to influence (pressure, persuade) my book club to vote it in for this summer.  We’ll see.

If everyone’s reading it, I tend to run the other way.  But sometimes I start feeling left out when I’m the only one who hasn’t read something, so I give in (hello, Twilight!)  

So, of my 3 choices, which would you recommend I read first?

Booking Through Thursday: Favorites

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1. Do you have a favorite author?

2. Have you read everything he or she has written?

3. Did you LIKE everything?

4. How about a least favorite author?

5. An author you wanted to like, but didn’t?

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I have a lot of favorites, but my MOST favorite (today) would have to be Khaled Hosseini. I read The Kite Runner for my book club in July 2007 and I declared it to be my favorite book ever, or at least in my top 3 (it’s so hard to decide on these things). I waited a long while to read his 2nd novel but finally picked it up, and today I finished it.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is my NEW favorite book ever! Without a doubt, it’s my favorite book I’ve read this year. I’m still processing it, but will write my review soon. If you’ve read it, what did you think? I cried like a baby in the last 5 pages, ugh. Thankfully, I was alone with tears streaming down my face. It was so, soooooo good. I would happily and greedily read anything this man has written. He can’t write fast enough for me.

I also just love Lisa See, Amy Tan, Frank McCourt, Jodi Picoult (I know, I know). Also Sue Grafton, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King when I was a young adult, and so many others. I can’t think of an author I wanted to like, but didn’t.

A least favorite author? That’s a tough one. I can think of a few books I didn’t care for, but I wouldn’t be ready to write the author off after one bad book. Then again, I probably wouldn’t pick up another by the same author if I didn’t like the first one I read.

Incidentally, A Thousand Splendid Suns came out in paperback last week. I’ve had it in hardcover since last Christmas but wasn’t ready to read it then. I didn’t want to be making too many comparisons between it and The Kite Runner.

What about you? Who are your favorites?

Booking Through Thursday: Book Meme

Book Meme October 9, 2008

Filed under: WordPress — –Deb @ 1:04 am 

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I’ve seen this series of questions floating around the ‘net the last few days, and thought it looked like a good one for us!

What was the last book you bought?

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

Name a book you have read MORE than once

Ethan Fromme by Edith Wharton

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?

I can’t think of a particular title but I read a lot of parenting books, so maybe one of those!

How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews

All of the above!  I love a good cover design and often check out this site for cover commentary:  COVERS

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

I read both but definitely prefer fiction.  I love to escape into an author’s imagination.

What’s more important in a novel – beautiful writing or a gripping plot?

Can I have both, please?  I can appreciate one without the other but I really like when both are present!

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)

Jo March from Little Women, Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird.

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff, Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy, Mexican High by Liza Monroy, Kandide and the Secret of the Mists by Dianna Zimmerman (reading aloud with my kids for my book club meeting in November)

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?

I’ve got about 100 pages to go in The 19th Wife (it’s over 500 pages)

Have you ever given up on a book half way in?

Yes, more times than I care to admit!  Generally if I put a book aside to start another one, I don’t go back to the first book.  That doesn’t always happen, but it happens often enough so that I know if I want to finish a book I better not start another one.

Booking Through Thursday: Stories

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If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite reasons to read is for the story. Not for the character development and interaction. Not because of the descriptive, emotive powers of the writer. Not because of deep, literary meaning hidden beneath layers of metaphor. (Even though those are all good things.) No … it’s because you want to know what happens next?

Or, um, is it just me?

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Yes, yes, YES!! The story is the thing! Give me a good story and I will follow you anywhere.

Storytelling is so basic to who we are as humans. Our family stories and cultural stories are passed down through parents and grandparents, teachers and leaders. It’s how we teach, entertain, and inform our young children- at bedtime, around campfires, at the dinner table. Kids love a good story; they lap it up like ice cream melting on a hot day, and some of us never grow out of that desire to know- what happens next?

Characters are important, of course, but you can take the most interesting character, plop him into a book, and give him nothing to do, and what have you got? A boring book with an interesting character. Or you can have an average Joe character, plunk him down into an action-packed adventure- and voila! You’ve got a page-turner. Of course if you can get BOTH- the interesting character AND the great story- well, that’s what all of us readers are looking for, right? But first and foremost is the story.

I want the great story. I want to be propelled forward with a need to know how things will all turn out. I want to be so sucked into the story that I forget what’s going on around me. I want to laugh, cry, be surprised. I want to be entertained. I want to care. A great story does that.

Here are some recent stories that did all that for me:

Sweetsmoke, The Last Queen, House and Home, The Septembers of Shiraz

Beginnings: Booking Through Thursday

 

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Suggested by: Nithin

Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?

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 I haven’t done a “Booking Through Thursday” in quite a while- half the time I forget about it until, oh, Saturday, when really it’s way too late.  Today, though, I realized AHA! It’s Thursday! while it was still Thursday, so I popped over to see what the question was, and it’s one I’ve actually thought about in the past.

I expect a book to give me a good first line.  I love it when I get a DAMN GOOD first line, one that sucks me in to the story immediately and makes me want more.  A memorable first line (“Call me Ishmael“) is even better, but so infrequent as to make me wonder if authors are really trying- maybe they don’t much care if the first line is memorable.  And maybe it really doesn’t matter.  Or maybe it does matter, but it’s just crazy-difficult to come up with something fabulous.  I can count on one hand how many first lines I actually know from memory, but here is a recent one:

“I have never looked into my sister’s eyes.”  The Girls by Lori Lansens (reviewed HERE)

I liked this book but did not love it, however that first line (and much of the first paragraph) was amazing and has remained with me for months.  I’m always interested in books about sisters, probably because I have a complicated relationship with my own sister.  The Girls is about conjoined twins- joined at the head- explaining why she has never looked into her sister’s eyes.  

I don’t think the first line of a book ever makes it or breaks it, so to speak, but when I’m in a book store, or even standing in front of my TBR pile, I will sometimes open a book to page one and read the first couple of lines to decide if this is going to be the next book I read.  This line grabbed me today:

“I was thirteen years old when my parents conquered Granada.”  from The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner.

Bam!  I have to read this book!  I can’t wait to read this book!!  It’s about Juana of Castile, also known as Juana la Loca, crazy Queen Jane, sister to Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon.  Why was she crazy?  I have no idea, but cant wait to find out.

How do you feel about the first line in a book?  Do any stand out in your memory?  

Oh, and don’t forget about my book giveaway!  Click HERE to read about how you can win a copy of Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion!

Booking Through Thursday: Clubbing

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This week’s Booking Through Thursday is a combo of two suggestions by: Heidi and by litlove

Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (or, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?

Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?

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Why yes indeed I am currently a member of a book club!  And Books on the Brain is ALL about book clubs, so this question is right up my alley.  

This is the second club I’ve been in.  The first club was very different from the one I’m in today.  

There were 6 of us and we would meet every other month.  The books were selected on a rotation, and we had no ‘rules’, so many times people picked a brand new bestseller that was only available in hardback.  Other times a 900 page tome would be picked.  One member always picked these off the wall titles that everyone hated.

Responsible, committed clubber that I am, I would read whatever book was selected, then I’d get to the meetings and find half the members didn’t read the book.  So when it came time to discuss it, they’d say, “Oh, don’t tell me what happens!  I haven’t finished the book yet!”  How do you have a discussion if you can’t talk about what happens in the book???  Four of the six members worked together (I was not one of them) so they would go off on a tangent about something at work, leaving the other 2 of us bored and scratching our heads.  After less than a year I’d had enough of this group.

I started my own group in March 2007 and it has been a wonderful experience.  We tried several ways of choosing books before landing on our current way of doing things.  Because I learned from my first group, I made a couple loose rules (choices should be under 400 pages, and must be available in paperback). Every quarter, members bring book selections to the meeting.  Each person has an opportunity to talk about their “nominees” and then we list all the possible choices.  The list is then passed around and everyone puts a check by their top 3.  The books with the most votes are the next 3 selections.  This has worked out so well.

I am more likely to appreciate a book read for book club than a book I read on my own, for a number of reasons.  I feel a responsibility to the other club members to pay more attention to what I’m reading.  I am guaranteed to get many different perspectives and reactions to the book from my book club buds and I love that kind of give and take.  I research the books we read so I learn more from them. Frequently we speak to the author, which gives us a tremendous amount of insight.  I carefully highlight passages and pages to refer back to during our meeting.  I think about major themes, characters, structure, and style of writing more analytically than if I was just reading for fun.  Being in a club definitely affects the reading experience for me.

What about you?  Does clubbing (not the drinking/dancing/staying out all night kind!) affect your reading?

For information about starting your own book club, click HERE.

For ways to make your book club even better, click HERE.

To hear what other bloggers think about their book clubs, check out my series In Praise of Book Clubs.  You can find that HERE.