Reader Problems Tag

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Many thanks to Sara Letourneau for nominating me to answer these questions, after tackling these questions here herself. It’s always fascinating to discover how other people approach the very personal business of reading.

You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

Pile of Books @ Windham library

Pile of Books @ Windham library

Hm. You’ve been peeping, haven’t you? It feels as if there are nearer 50,000 actually… And I sort them into piles with complicated theories of how I’m going to spread my reading time between Indie books and traditionally published books; books written by men and written by women; science fiction, fantasy and outstanding other reads, while wearing my writing tutor hat.
Then comes the time when I’ve finished a book at 2 am and I’m still not ready for sleep, so I reach for the next book on the pile – and nine times out of ten my hand will skid sideways onto another volume I somehow feel more in the mood for. I’ve learnt to my cost that if I DO force myself to read the book I ‘ought’ to read, it’s rarely as enjoyable and fulfilling an experience as it is when I just go with the flow. So that’s what I do, these days.

You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or commit?
I’ll give most books twenty pages, though I have been known to abandon a book halfway through the first page. And if I’m not actively enjoying the book, then it gets tossed. I log it, explaining to myself what my problem with it was, and then move on. The world is FULL of wonderful books I haven’t yet read, why would I waste my precious time and energy slogging through something that makes my heart sink every time I pick it up?

The end of the year is coming and you’re so close yet so far away on your GoodReads challenge. Do you quit or commit?
Confession time – I’m not a member of Goodreads yet, although it’s something I keep meaning to join. But I’ve set myself the challenge to post 100 book reviews on my blog during 2015. As I wouldn’t consider reviewing any book I hadn’t finished, it follows that I have to read said 100 books. Last year I achieved it with ease, having read 143 books and written 126 books reviews. As it was so successful, I decided to keep the same challenge. So far I am on track, having read 53 books to date, although this time last year, I’d read 64.
However, if I do get to the middle of December and find that I’ve only read 75 books, then I’ll abandon the challenge and start a new one next year. I read primarily for enjoyment and review books for a hobby as a way of spreading the word about the good’uns.

The covers of a series you love DO. NOT. MATCH. How do you cope?
Roll my eyes over the avoidable mistake and take a deep, calming breath. I also get very fed up when heroines are described as red-headed/with a facial scar/dark-skinned all though the book – and end up on the cover looking completely different. But it isn’t a dealbreaker. At the end of the day, it’s all about the words.

Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?
You know that log I told you about earlier? It’s private, as I never publically really tear a book apart. After all, I’m also a writer and I know only too well the effort and hard work that goes into crafting a book, even a bad one. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have STRONG opinions. That log holds them all. It’s wonder the pages don’t catch fire at times, when I’m really venting…

You’re reading a book and you’re about to start crying in public. How do you deal?
It takes a lot to make me cry over a book, these days. And it hasn’t happened in public – if I saw where the scene was going, I’d stop reading. But I emptied a laundrette in St Peter Port on Guernsey on holiday many years ago, reading Terry Pratchett’s Moving Pictures and howling with laughter while waiting for the family’s washing to cycle through the machines…

A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a summary on GoodReads? Cry in frustration?
If it’s a book I loved, I’ve probably written a review, or failing that, a brief synopsis as I always record the books I’ve read. That always reminds me sufficiently to dive into the book knowing enough to fully enjoy the experience.

You don’t want ANYONE borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people “nope” when they ask?
There are only a handful of authors whose books I feel possessive about – and that’s chiefly because Himself is a great re-reader and enjoys going back again and again to books he really loves. I don’t. The other category of books I wouldn’t lend are those which are signed by the author. Other than that, come and get ‘em. You’re very welcome to borrow them!

You’ve picked up and put down five different books in the past month. How do you get over the reading slump?
It simply doesn’t happen. I pick a book up and read it. Or it goes flying across the room. There are times when I read less books, but that tends to happen if I’m busy writing course notes into the wee small hours. I don’t stop reading when I’m writing my own novels.

There are so many new books coming out that you are dying to read! How many do you actually buy?
*sigh* More than I should… I am truly a book addict – and so is Himself. Our house is crammed with far too many books and we MUST get around to sorting them out and getting rid of some. Though we’ll probably fill up the freed space with more books.

After you’ve bought a new book you want to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf until you actually read them?
It varies. Common sense dictates that if it’s newly published, then I’ll make it a priority – and mostly that’s the case. But there are times when it still just sits there, because I wasn’t in the mood to read it when the time came.

Nomination time
I quite understand if you don’t have the time or inclination to take part – but I’d love the following to ‘fess all about their reading habits!
Mhairi Simpson
Sophie E. Tallis
Joanna “Melfka” Maciejewska
Charles French
Leiah Cooper (So I Read This Book Today)

Though if your name isn’t on the above list and you feel inspired to answer these questions, do please go for it. I’d be delighted and insanely curious  interested to find out how other people go about the very private business of reading for pleasure…

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5 responses »

  1. Great answers, Sarah! And thanks for accepting the challenge. 😉

    Our reading habits seem quite different. I can’t help but feel committed to finishing a book, even if I’m not happy with it. I also feel compelled to share whatever my feelings were about a book I’ve read – honestly and enthusiastically (if I loved it) or tactfully (if I didn’t). But those differences are also interesting in a good way. It’s impossible for all of us to have exactly the same habits, right?

    “It simply doesn’t happen. I pick a book up and read it. Or it goes flying across the room.”

    Ha ha! I’ve actually fought the urge to throw books across the room in the past, so I got a good chuckle out of this.

  2. Yes, it struck me how different our approaches were when I read your answers. Which is why it is such a fascinating subject, and one that I don’t think we discuss enough – the very different way in which people read and PROCESS the books they are reading. I move on from a book I’ve read very quickly – even if I absolutely loved it, these days I rarely ever revisit a book.

    Whereas I know people who regularly reread beloved books at least once a year, every year since they encountered that particular book – my husband being a case in point. He can actually QUOTE chunks of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and I have to buy new volumes as he literally loves them to death… The only way I’d ever consider behaving like that is if I was stuck on a desert island with a handful of books. I think you’re noble for trudging through a book you dislike, by the way…:)

    • “… even if I absolutely loved it, these days I rarely ever revisit a book.”

      Same here. I have so many other books I want to get to that I don’t make re-reading favorites a priority. I’ll revisit certain passages or scenes from time to time, but not the entire story.

      ” I think you’re noble for trudging through a book you dislike, by the way…:)”

      *lol* That’s very kind of you. I did just that with the book I finished today, so I’m relieved to move on now…

  3. Hey SJ I liked his a lot as a book reviewer for SFReader.com, I get more books than I can read. (Luckily I have help) A 143 books I am in awe Shoot I might have nailed 30 or 40

    • Thank you for the comment, Mike:). It’s really interesting to see the different ways people approach reading, isn’t it?
      Hm… bear in mind you have a small person racketing around – for 5 years when my children were little I didn’t even OPEN a book, other than to read bedtime stories! So RESPECT for managing 30/40. And it’s already apparent I shan’t be managing that total this year.

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