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!


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??


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.”


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


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

I Was Amelia Earhart

The Kite Runner

Ethan Fromme

We Need to Talk About Kevin

The Lovely Bones


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?”


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:

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?

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?


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.

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?


 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?


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.

Booking Through Thursday: MAYDAY!

Mayday! May 1, 2008

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Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??

And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember….


If it was a true emergency, I’d probably be too distracted by it to enjoy a good book anyway.  More than likely I’d hit the gift shop and pick up People magazine or US Weekly- something mindless that I could flip through and look at the pictures would probably be enough if I was anxious about whatever was happening. Maybe I’d pick up a Sodoku or a crossword puzzle book.  Maybe I’d pick up USA Today.  I might also watch the in-flight movie, assuming there was one.

If it was a work emergency, or family drama that didn’t involve anyone being sick or hurt, I’d seek out a book.  Most airport gift shops and book stores are limited in their selection to the blockbusters, the mass market fiction, the stuff I typically pass over or have already read.  But I’m sure I could find something to read in a pinch.  And I’d be really pissed that I left my bookbag at home!  What would you do in this situation?

***NOTE*** If you haven’t already signed up for the giveaway for Matrimony by Joshua Henkin, click HERE and leave a comment by May 15.  *****The link works now!!

Booking Through Thursday: Springing

Springing April 24, 2008

Filed under: WordPress — –Deb @ 1:37 am 

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 What I want to know, is:

Do your reading habits change in the Spring? Do you read gardening books? Even if you don’t have a garden? More light fiction than during the Winter? Less? Travel books? Light paperbacks you can stick in a knapsack?

Or do you pretty much read the same kinds of things in the Spring as you do the rest of the year?


The change of seasons in Southern California is pretty subtle.  Winter brings some cold rainy days, but it’s not weeks of cold weather the way it is in other parts of the world.  It is a few random wet days interspersed with our normal mild and sunny “postcard” weather.  Spring is more of the same.  We have flowers blooming all year round.  I know… you’re jealous!  Talk to me during fire season in late summer/early fall, when you’re enjoying a lovely Indian Summer, picking out your pumpkins and wearing a light sweater, and we’re dealing with triple digit temps, devil winds and smoke and ash.  I’ll be jealous then!

Back to the question.  My reading habits don’t vary much with the season, except maybe in summer. Usually I’ll throw a magazine or something very light into the beach bag when I take the kids to the water park or the pool, since I know I’ll be distracted every few minutes by requests for drinks, ice cream, money, sunscreen, hot dogs, towels, etc.  Last year I was reading The Kite Runner in July at the water park and my 9 year old dumped her Icee all over it.  Luckily I’d just finished it, but I had to take it to book club that weekend all swollen and blue!  The next time we went I brought People magazine with me just in case there was another Icee mishap.

Do you vary your reading habits depending on the season?

Booking Through Thursday: Vocabulary

Vocabulary April 17, 2008


Filed under: Drafts — –Deb @ 1:11 am 

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Suggested by Nithin:

I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?


Rarely will I stop to look up a word.  I can generally figure out what it means by the context.  I’m always a little surprised when I run across a word that is so unfamiliar that I can’t even guess what it means.  I get annoyed by an author who uses 5-star words in every other sentence.  Just say it already!!  Don’t try to impress me with your ginormous vocabulary!

A book I read last year was like that in certain places.  Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer was, for the most part, an easy read.  I read it for my book club.  One sentence that I marked to read aloud at our meeting had 3 words that, not only did I not know them, I HAD NEVER EVEN SEEM THEM BEFORE.  I’ll write it here and you can guess which words I’m referring to:

“He liked the community’s stasis, it’s plebeian virtues and unassuming mien.”  pg. 18

Alrighty, then!  Obviously, Krakauer was showing off his big brain.  But I’d rather just read and not have to stumble on words that are rarely used in everyday language, not once, twice, but THREE TIMES in one sentence.  

My 10 year old generally asks me when she comes across a word she doesn’t know.  I usually tell her, “Look it up!” when we’re home, but the other day she asked me the meaning of a word while in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.  We were both reading our books.  She’d just started The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patton, a Newberry Award winner, 5 minutes before, when she loudly asked, “Mom, what does ‘scrotum’ mean?” 6 sets of eyeballs whipped around to look at us as I stammered, “Ummm, why do you want to know?”  “Because it’s right here in my book.”  My response:  “Let me see that book!”  When I explained what it was, she said, “I don’t think I want to read this book anymore!”

How do you handle it when you come across an unfamiliar word?