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Booking through Thursday – Writing or Riveting

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme in which we answer a question about books or reading.

What’s more important: Good writing? Or a good story?

(Of course, a book should have BOTH, but…)

Yes, a book should have both, but…
It doesn’t help that the story is great if the prose is dismal, and it doesn’t help if the writing is great if the story is uninteresting. So, I guess the difference comes when the one thing is great and the other is passable.

Through the years I’ve figured out a few facts about myself. One of the is that I’m an action driven reader. If the story doesn’t grab my attention a book will never get top marks from me, however luminous the prose is. Sometimes I read a book, and I can gush about the language to anyone willing to listen (mostly Kristin), but if there’s something lacking in the story it still won’t be a favorite. On the other hand, a wonderful story with language good enough not to annoy me, might get top marks. That usually means that the prose is good, but not good enough to deserve special attention when I read.

The best reading experiences are when both the language and the writing is great. Thinking back to last year I can remember at least three books that had it all: Among Others by Jo Walton, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

So, yes, both is better. But if I have to choose between two evils, passable language and great story.


Booking through Thursday – Skipping

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme in which we answer a question about books or reading.

I saw this article the other day that asked, “Are you ashamed of skipping parts of books?” Which, naturally, made me want to ask all of YOU.

Do you skip ahead in a book? Do you feel badly about it when you do?

I sometimes do skip ahead, for a few different reasons.

Descriptions of how people look tend to make me impatient. I really don’t care about that kind of information, at least not when it takes more than two sentences, so I skip it.

Relationship angst, loves me, loves me not…. – aaaargh!!!! Skip.

When a book is really exciting I tend to skip ahead because I can’t wait to see what happens. At those times skipping is really a sort of compliment to the book.

I don’t feel bad about skipping. I don’t do it that much, and when I do it makes me happier with a book than I would otherwise have been.

2012 Short Story Challenge

Last year I read 58 short stories and was quite pleased with that. Pleased enough to decide that I was going to read at least 52 short stories this year too. To help me on my way I’ve entered a short story challenge at the blog Dead Book Darling.

If you want some encouragement in reading more short stories I urge you to sign up too. The challenge requirement is to read at least 12 short stories in 2012. That should be easy 🙂

Reading ambitions for 2012

I find that having some specific goals helps my reading, so I’ve decided on some reading goals for 2012.

  1. I’ll read at least 52 books in 2012. This include graphic novels, short story collections and non-fiction books.
  2. I’ll read at least 52 short stories (novellas, novelettes, short stories) in 2012.
  3. I’ll finish the 12 books I intend to read for the 2012 Speculative Fiction Challenge that I’ve joined. Most of those books are from my TBR-pile, so that’s a good thing. I might join other challenges too. Time will tell.
  4. I’ll read at least one book from each continent and at least one set in another world, another planet or in space.
  5. I’ll read the winners (novels) of the following awards:
    The Man Booker Prize (shortlist are presented in early September, winner announced mid-late October)
    The Lambda Literary Awards (SF/Fantasy/Horror and Lesbian Fiction. Maybe Lesbian Mystery too, we’ll see). Will be announced in June.
    The Spectrum Awards (usually announced in November)
    The Hugo Awards (presented at WorldCon, Aug.30th.-Sept.3rd. 2012)
    The Nebula Awards (the Nebulas for 2011 will be announced mid-May 2012)
  6. I’ll read at least 3 non-fiction books.
  7. I’ll read at least 2 short story collections.
  8. I’ll keep blogging about books I’ve read.

Fall into Reading 2011 – The Landing

This fall I joined a challenge called Fall into Reading 2011 at the blog Callapidder Days.

The challenge was to put up a list of books you intended to read from Sept.23rd. to Dec.21st. put a wrap up post in your blog before midnight on Christmas Eve and post the link to it on the Mr.Linky widget on the wrap up post on Callapidder Days. My list isat the bottom of this post.

Here’s how it went for me:

  • Did you finish reading all the books on your fall reading list? If not, why not?
    I finished all but one. I was half-way through it on Dec. 21st, but didn’t manage to finish it before today. Simply a matter of time.
  • Did you stick to your original goals or did you change your list as you went along?
    I stuck to my original goals.
  • What was your favorite book that you read this fall? Least favorite? Why?
    My favorite was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern with Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta following close on its heels. My least favorite was The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier. It was ok, but no more than that.
  • Did you discover a new author or genre this fall? Did you love them? Not love them?
    The books were from several different genres, but none of the new to me. The only author that I was familiar with was Charles de Lint, so there were a lot of new authors. I quite liked most of them.
  • Did you learn something new because of Fall Into Reading 2011 – something about reading, about yourself, or about a topic you read about?
    I learned that I like, and need a challenge or two to get through the books I intend to read.  So I’ve already decided to join a few challenges next year too.
  • What was your favorite thing about the challenge?
    That it kept me disciplined.

This was fun.

My Fall into Reading 2011 List:

From “The mores…”

Booking through Thursday – Mystery or Love Story

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme in which we answer a question about books or reading.

All things being equal, which would you prefer– a mystery? Or a love story?


Mysteries with a love story in there somewhere is ok too. Chick-lit is definitely not ok.

Booking through Thursday – Category

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme in which we answer a question about books or reading.

Of the books you own, what’s the biggest category/genre?

I guess it’s a toss up between crime, fantasy and science fiction. Of course, my book collection is a mirror of many years of book buying. On my Kindle the science fiction and the fantasy beat the crime novels.

In the non fiction parts of the shelves there’s books about history, science, literature and religion (to be expected from someone ending up as an atheist). Not to mention the large and ever increasing number of food books. I think we bought three new ones yesterday, a bad habit we both share.

Is this also the category that you actually read the most?

Yes, apart from crime novels. I don’t read as many of those as I used to a few years ago.

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