What do you read? Popular books or the forgotten titles?

Ok my fellow book bloggers. I want to know your reading trends. Do you tend to read the trending, popular books, (i.e., the new releases, bestsellers or the hyped up books) or do you gravitate toward the books that people have forgotten about?

For me, it’s the latter. Usually I won’t read a book that is hyped up until way after the hype is over. Which is why I love the book clubs that I am part of. They tend not to read newer releases but instead, books that people may not have heard of. There have been so many books that I normally would never have read that I am so glad I did.

There is also nothing better than browsing through the stacks at the library in search of that hidden gem. I have done this ever since I was a kid in search of a book at the school library and still do it today. If I go to the library with no particular book in mind, I will start at one of the alphabet and work my way through each row of books until something catches my eye. It’s how I discovered The Obituary Writer and The Snow Child last year and When She Woke a few years ago. All of these books I had never heard of but had plucked them off the library shelf with interest and ended up loving them.

To finish or not finish? That is the question.

Fun Fact Friday is a meme that I started last year in an attempt to get to know my followers with a quick fun fact. In return, they get to know me. With the new year, I decided to start with one that I have seen a lot of people discussing on their blogs: Read a book in it’s entirety even if you don’t like it or drop it and move on?

reading memeFor me, that question has changed in the past year. I used to be the devoted reader that would finish a book with the hope that by the end it would redeem itself. Then for my Modern Library Book Club, where we are reading through the Modern Library’s Top 100 Classics list, we had to read to “The Ginger Man”.

Halfway through the book, I was bored to death and didn’t feel like I was getting anything out of it. But I persisted. It was a Top 100 Classic. It had to be good. WRONG! The ending was the same as the beginning and I felt I had just wasted a week of my life on drudgery. You can read my scathing review of this classic here but honestly, ever since then, I have taken the approach that if I am not enjoying it I should just move on to something better. After all, there is nothing to say that I can’t return to it years from now. Right?

What do you think?

 

FFF: One POV or multiple POV’s?

Fun Fact Friday is a weekly meme by Book Admirer with the purpose of getting to know fellow book bloggers.

I realized that there are many readers out there, and I have learned some of those in previous posts. However, one thing I was curious about was if people had a preference when it came to changing point of views. Do they prefer the story told by one character or a story that switches between character.

For me, I like the multiple POV. I find that it makes the plot more interesting in most cases. In some cases, you can see the same incident as seen through different eyes. I have also learned that usually an author switches to fill a potential story gap with a character while moving the story forward at the same time. While I do enjoy stories told by one character, I am often finding myself asking, “I wonder what that character thought.” It’s also helpful to flesh out and understand the main character’s motives.

What do you prefer? Why?

FFF: What book can you read a thousand times?

Fun Fact Friday is a weekly meme by Book Admirer with the purpose of getting to know fellow book bloggers. If you have an idea for a future FFF, please comment below!

We all have that one book that becomes our favorite. That one book that you continuously go to when there is nothing else to read or when you want something familiar.

Little WomenI hate to bore everyone but “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott still holds that top spot. I used to read it at least once a year. I feel like I am so familiar with the characters that I am one of the March sisters. Growing up, I totally related to Jo, probably because I was a fellow writer, but also because of Jo’s spirit and independence. She didn’t follow the societal trend of her sister Meg and get married and have children. Well not right away. She went to go live by herself and explore her passion. Reading this growing up, I couldn’t wait to go do just that.

Meg was that loving, protective older sister that can be annoying in her fussiness but you know it’s just out of love. You know that you can go to her to talk to her when your mother is not around.

Beth. Ahh poor Beth. I have lost count on how many times I have read this book and Beth’s story always makes me cry. I just can’t get over it. Maybe because I relate so much to Jo and can feel her emotion in those pages.

Amy is that annoying, younger sister that is always traipsing along. Just GO AWAY! Yet my heart still pounds every time Amy falls through the ice. You can’t help but love her for her vanity and selfishness. I loved reading her story and how she matured into a young woman.

Laurie is the next door neighbor that you grow up with but nothing ever happens. When I first read this I was so rooting for Laurie and Jo’s relationship but in the end I am so glad that Alcott weaved a new route for the two of them. Besides, I am totally gaga over the professor. So much more Jo’s (my?) style. I guess I had a thing for older men but I seriously think the professor is Jo’s match intellectually. Laurie sometimes annoyed me in his frivolous adventures.

And of course you have the loving parents. Who wouldn’t want parents like Mr. and Mrs. March? They love their children but know when to be stern with them. Although Jo is closer to her father, I like her relationship with her mother and her mother helps Jo through her faults. As mothers do with their daughters. It always reminded me of my relationship with my mother.

Ok this is turning more into a review of the book than a simple answer so I will stop. But these are just some of the reasons why I always have Little Women close by.  I do also enjoy Jo’s Boys and Little Men, the second and third book, but Little Women will always be close to my heart.


What book can you read a thousand times? Why? Let’s discuss! Post in the comments

FFF: How many books do you read at one time?

This used to be a simple answer: “1”. Now it’s two or three depending on what I have to read.

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I’m usually  reading a book for book club, a book for personal interest (especially  if my book club read is not as great as I thought) and listening to an audiobook in the car for my commutes to and from work.

Currently, I am reading “Nostromo” by Joseph Conrad for my classics book club,which is taking a little longer to get into than I thought. So to give me a break, and to reach my reading goal for the week, I decided to read “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man” by James Weldon Johnson. It’s only 135 pages so I should be done with this by today. And my audiobook is “Still Foolin Them” by Billy Crystal. I actually have the physical copy of this book but I thought it would be even funnier listening to Crystal narrate it. I  wasn’t wrong.


How many books are you currently reading? What are they? Let’s discuss!

FFF: What books did you hate reading in high school?

So of course I was a book lover growing up and would read whatever book was assigned and then some. In fact, at the beginning of senior AP English, the teacher gave us a list of books we were going to read that year. She knew we were all readers (hence why we were in that class) so she said that if the majority of the class had read a certain book we wouldn’t read it. My vote didn’t count in the end because I had read the majority of the list just for fun. That includes Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. Yeah, I didn’t have a life in high school except reading.

With that being said, there were three books that I remember hating in high school.

beowulf

Maybe it was the fact that our English teacher went on maternity and we had a substitute that barely knew how to teach AP students, but I remember hating this book. I can’t even remember what this book was about, I have blocked it out of my mind. I just remember it being such a guy’s book.

Catcher in the rye

I don’t necessarily HATE this book per se but I certainly didn’t like it. I actually read this junior year of high school, but I remember not relating to this book at all and wondering why we were reading it. Maybe, I wasn’t mature enough to read this at that age? I don’t know. I have sworn to try reading it again at some point but have yet to do it.

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OK so my senior AP class completely boycotted this book. Our teacher had assigned us the first chapter and by the next class, we had completely revolted. I remember trying to get past the first page and was like ‘What the hell am I reading?” I think part of the problem is the book is written in a stream of consciousness. It’s hard enough getting most teens to read, now you want them to read something they can’t even understand? Might as well be Latin! Um no.

What books did you hate reading in high school? Let’s discuss! Post in the comments 🙂


Fun Fact Friday is a weekly meme by Book Admirer with the purpose of getting to know fellow book bloggers. If you have an idea for a future FFF, please comment below!

Would you rather have a friend that loses your books or one that dog ears?

I would rather have a friend that dog ears. I have lost plenty a good book to a friend who

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never returned it. I actually had to go buy the book again because I never got the original back. I have since stopped lending books out unless I know I will get it back.

I try not to do it, but I am guilty to dog earring a page. So I can’t really hold it against someone for doing it. And as my best friend pointed out, it’s kind of interesting to see where someone marked a page and try to figure out why. Is that just where they stopped at the time? Did they want to mark the page because it had a significant passage to return to later? Hmmm. While I go get angry that someone else would mutilate something that doesn’t belong to them, I just bite the bullet and let it go. After all, at least I got the book back.

Fun Fact Friday: Do you prefer books that are character driven or plot driven?

I never thought of reading a book in these terms but I would probably have to say plot driven.

Often times, when there is no plot I find I am disappointed and think, “What was the point of all this?” A good plot keeps the story going and keeps my attention.

Of course, character make up a story line and keep the plot moving but unless I am totally connected with that character, a story that is character driven just doesn’t have the same impact on me as one with a good plot. In a way, I feel that they go hand in hand.


What kind of reader are you? Do you lean toward characters or plots? Let’s discuss!

Fun Fact Friday: What are three books you would recommend people read?

The list is endless but I will have to pick the most recent recommendations I have been making.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She WokeWhen She Woke is a fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, who embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.
Bellwether Prize Winner Hillary Jordan’s provocative new novel is the fiercely imagined story of a woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed – their skin color is genetically altered to match the class of their crime – and then released back into the population to survive as best they can. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder.

I read this book nearly  two years ago and I still think about it. It is the first book that I recommend when someone is asking for a good book to read. It is one of those hidden titles that not many know about but everyone should read.

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Underground AirlinesA young black man calling himself Victor has struck a bargain with federal law enforcement, working as a bounty hunter for the US Marshall Service in exchange for his freedom. He’s got plenty of work. In this version of America, slavery continues in four states called “the Hard Four.” On the trail of a runaway known as Jackdaw, Victor arrives in Indianapolis knowing that something isn’t right–with the case file, with his work, and with the country itself.
As he works to infiltrate the local cell of a abolitionist movement called the Underground Airlines, tracking Jackdaw through the back rooms of churches, empty parking garages, hotels, and medical offices, Victor believes he’s hot on the trail. But his strange, increasingly uncanny pursuit is complicated by a boss who won’t reveal the extraordinary stakes of Jackdaw’s case, as well as by a heartbreaking young woman and her child–who may be Victor’s salvation.
Victor believes himself to be a good man doing bad work, unwilling to give up the freedom he has worked so hard to earn. But in pursuing Jackdaw, Victor discovers secrets at the core of the country’s arrangement with the Hard Four, secrets the government will preserve at any cost.
Underground Airlines is a ground-breaking novel, a wickedly imaginative thriller, and a story of an America that is more like our own than we’d like to believe.

Definitely a good alternative history story that I read for book club. Another title I would never have thought to read. I am so glad I did. You check out my review here.

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Behold the Dreamers
Goodreads

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.
However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.
When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

I absolutely loved this book and it gave me a new look on the immigration system in America. You can read my review here.


What books would you recommend? Post in the comments below so we can discuss! 🙂

Fun Fact Friday: What is your dream reading space?

I pretty much read anywhere, but my dream spot is in a comfy wingback chair surrounded by books. As with most book lovers I know, my goal is to one day have my own personal library.

I am one step closer to making that dream a reality.

When my boyfriend and I moved in with each other last year, we found a 1,200 square foot apartment that we loved. He had claimed the spare guest bedroom to also serve as his office. That was fine, I had bigger dreams. I claimed a quarter of the living room as my reading nook.

My dream was coming true. My shelves fit just like I wanted and while it took a few months, my mother was able to find a second hand wing chair in beautiful condition that fit perfectly in the corner. The end result was exactly as I envisioned.

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The bookshelves to the left, fit cozily under a window that brings in plenty of sunlight during the day. They also act as my separator between my nook and my desk, which is just off camera.

When we get a house, my goal is to replace the shelves with floor to ceiling shelves but this is more than adequate for now. I love curling up in this chair on my days off and getting lost in my books.


Do you have a reading space? What is your dream spot? Post in the comments below.