The TBR Tag

This tag is originally hosted/created by Dana Square and A Perfection Called Books.

I haven’t officially been tagged for this, but as my TBR pile/list is a constant source of wonder/horror/epicness (delete as appropriate on a daily basis!) which is constantly expanding at a rate that goes far beyond my reading pace, I thought it would be fun to join in.

I’ve always been a reader, so had a reasonable sized TBR pile already, but since I joined the book blogging community my pile/list has become something that’s beyond all reasonable control. I visit so many wonderful blogs which recommend all these amazing sounding books and I’m powerless to resist. I would probably need two or three lifetimes to read even half of what’s currently on my list. It’s frustrating knowing that I just can’t read all the books, all the time. The perils of being a bookworm!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

It’s beyond keeping track of these days, but I do try! I keep lists of books, which I’ve tried to organise a little; I have titles arranged by group – found through read-a-thons/events, books I must read soon, to be read at sometime in the future, probably.

I also have a TBR jar, which is an idea I first came across on Tumblr. You write out the titles of books you already own, add them to the jar, then pick one out at random when you’re looking for something to read. This jar contains all my e-books, which I want to read more of at the moment, so many of my upcoming reads will probably be chosen from this collection.

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

A long time ago it was print, but I pretty soon exhausted all the potential bookcase space, then resorted to boxes full of books stored in various hiding places around the house. Finally I decided I couldn’t go on in this way and tried to limit the amount of books I bought by making use of the local library more.
Then came a wonderful invention – The E-Reader.
Needless to say when I had my first e-reader my book buying continued, on a large scale, and now I have a massive list of e-books just waiting for my attention. It’s wonderful though, being able to buy a new book without the worry of where I’m going to store it.

How do you determine what to read next?

I’m a big fan of the library, so anything I borrow which other users have requested has to be put to the top of my TBR pile and read quite quickly, and the same goes for books which are due back within the next days/weeks. I read those first.
If there’s a book I’ve been looking forward to for a while before it is realised, by a favourite author, I’ll give that priority too.
Other than that it’s either random choice from the TBR jar, or decided on the spur of the moment by the mood I’m in at the time.
Sometimes after reading something heavy or particularly long I’ll choose a short, more light-hearted read, or I’ll go for a completely different subject, and vary my reading.
Sometimes it’s something as simple as an eye-catching cover which helps me decide what to read next.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?

There are many, many, many books which could fill this category, but a couple spring instantly to mind as they’re the ones people keep asking me if I’ve read yet, and I sheepishly admit that I haven’t, and these are Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Another one I just remembered is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

A book you recently added to your TBR:

The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher, The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, Cinder and the rest of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and Enchantress by James Maxwell.
I could go on and on and on with this list.
And of course, Revival by Stephen King also makes the list, but I don’t think this one will be TBR for long because I’ve been anticipating this book since I first heard months ago that it was going to be published.

A book on your TBR because of its beautiful cover:

This is one of the hardest questions for me. I’ve seen many books with beautiful covers on other blogs, but they’re books I don’t yet own (Suspicion by Alexandra Monir is one). I’m going to say all the Lunar Chronicles covers as I recently bought these books and they do have very striking covers.

A book on your TBR you never plan on reading:

I don’t think there’s anything on my list that I don’t really plan on reading, but there are many that I’ll probably just never get around to for one reason or another.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited about:

I’m reading The Diviners and really enjoying everything about it, and I believe there’s another book in the series due out sometime next year, so that’s one I’m pretty excited to read.

A book on your TBR that basically everyone’s read but you:

There are so many…
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is the first book that comes to mind. I really have been intending to read this book for a while now, and every time I see it mentioned on a blog it’s always with great praise and enthusiasm for the series which makes me feel I’m missing out on something great. I really must get around to starting it soon.
Anna and the French Kiss is another book that everyone seems to have read, along with the other books by the same author.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends you:

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – I saw the third book in the series in the bookshop a little while back and was so drawn in by the lovely cover, but I managed to resist by reminding myself that I haven’t even read the first book yet.

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read:

I’m dying to read all the books, all the time, and that’s a great problem at times. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to read all the books I want to read, and I’m always finding new things which look amazing. I’ll visit blogs and read about someone having read the most amazing new book, and before you know it I’m checking out if the library has that book, or if I should buy a copy. It’s wonderful and awful all at the same time. I really need to start limiting myself a little bit, but it’s an almost impossible ask.

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

Um, quite a few? And that’s not even the complete story when it comes to my TBR list. Sometimes I see something while I’m out and scribble a note for myself to recall the title. These notes very rarely get transferred to GR, but I do keep adding to the list.

 

So, there you have my answers to the TBR Tag. As I wasn’t originally tagged for this I won’t go on to tag anyone else, but if you’ve enjoyed reading this, and feel like having a go yourself then do feel free. Or, if you’ve already done it, drop me a line in the comments and a link to your entry and I can check out your blog (and no doubt find yet more books that I’ll want to read!)

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Thursday Thoughts – Reader Problems

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts is an original, weekly meme created on Ok, Let’s Read.  Each week a new, conversational topic is posted to encourage talking about a specific, book-related topic.

This weeks topic is Reader Problems – What are some of the “whiny” problems you find yourself coming across as a reader? Do you deal with book hangovers often? How do you react when a character you like is killed off? Do certain books you might be reading affect your daily life? Do you catch yourself day dreaming about characters in your books? In other words, how is the magical world of reading ruining your life?


 

Is it possible for the magical world of reading to ruin your life?
Unequivocally, completely, the answer is a resounding YES!!
How do I deal with character death? In certain instances not at all well. Allow me to explain…

I’ve been slowly but surely reading my way through The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Over the course of so many long and involving books it’s inevitable that as a reader I will become attached to the characters. By the final book I’d spent so long with them it was almost as if I knew them. And you just KNOW what’s coming next, don’t you?

I won’t go into details, or risk spoiling anything for anyone who wants to read this series (which you really should), but reading The Dark Tower was one of the most traumatic reading experiences I’ve had for a while.
Rarely does a book actually make me cry, but this one managed it on multiple occasions, for a variety of reasons. I was awfully torn between not wanting to go on reading and experience more upset, but needing to know how the whole saga played out and what happened to everyone right at the end. I found myself thinking ’No, that can’t REALLY be what happened, can it?’ and this hope that things would ultimately right themselves kept me turning the pages.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there was a certain death within one of the Song of Ice and Fire books which I gained a certain sense of satisfaction from, wicked as that may sound (although I would have settled for permanent exile of some kind too – it didn’t have to be death). This character had irritated me almost from the moment they appeared (again, I’m not going into spoiler territory here, I’ll keep it vague) and I was SO glad when I realised I wouldn’t have to read about them any more.

So, two completely different responses to the same narrative situation. Isn’t the power of good writing marvellous? To inspire such a range of emotions for readers is a wonderful thing, and I think it’s part of the reason I doubt reading will never lose its appeal for me.

As for book hangovers, I can’t really say I’ve experienced anything like that, so far. I can be utterly immersed within the world of a book, but when I put it down, even when the story and the characters remain in my thoughts for a long time afterwards, I do find myself seeking out my next read quite quickly.
I would imagine a book hangover and a reading slump all happening at about the same time would be a reader’s nightmare, and maybe I have that experience to come.
In fact, it’s probably inevitable, as I’ve been on a roll with some brilliant reads recently (including The Paying Guests, Fangirl, and The Bone Clocks, which I’ve yet to finish and review).

So, how does the magical world of books and reading affect you as a reader?

Trees of Reverie September 2014 Read-A-Thon: Bookish Challenges Part 2

Day Seven: Saturday, September 20:

What are the genres or types of books that you read least often or not at all?

The genre which comes to mind immediately for me is crime.
I can’t even explain really why I don’t read much in the way of crime, because I’ll watch a good crime drama on TV, but somehow I always feel as if that’s enough for me, and having watched something, be it a one-off or part of a series, I rarely feel compelled to go and read a crime novel.

When I do happen to venture into crime-y waters it tends to be along the lines of the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson, or Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole books, but never British or American crime.

Whilst thinking of answers for #bookadayuk I came to realise that I’ve never even read any Agatha Christie, and thought I should probably give it a go at least. So, my (very short) list of potential Crime reads is as follows..

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah (for a modern take on Poirot)
Any of the DCI Banks books by Peter Robinson (quite enjoyed this on TV)
Silent Scream by Lynda La Plante (again I enjoyed the tv series)

I’ll probably try to read at least one book from this list soon as I like variety in my reading.


 Day Ten: Tuesday, September 23:

Describe your perfect reading experience:

I would have a really long paperback book, just right for holding without being too heavy. My author of choice would probably be George R R Martin or Stephen King, a story I could really lose myself in.
It would be a bright and crisp autumn afternoon and I would be at a lakeside cabin out in the country, somewhere tranquil and quiet, with very few other people around to disturb the perfect peace for reading.
There would be a log fireplace, for lighting when the sun sets and night begins to draw in, but before retreating to read fireside I would sit beside a huge window, with a clear view down onto a vast, clear blue lake, and I’d pause every so often from my reading to watch the sunlight dance over the water, and listen to a gentle breeze rustling through the golden leaves while the birds sing and call out to each other.
I’d drink strong, hot tea with some biscuits, and when I needed a reading break I would walk down to the lake and stand watching the world go by.
Then I would return to my cabin, watch the sunset, then retreat back into my fictional world once more.


 

Day Eleven: Wednesday, September 24:

Which fictional food would you most like to try?

When I’m, feeling incredibly lazy I think it would be amazing to have a whole meal in one sweet, kind of like the chewing gum that Violet Beauregarde tries in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (although without those after-effects, and a sweet, or a toffee, rather than a chewing gum).
Just imagine, no preparing food, no cooking, no clearing everything away afterwards, you’d just take one sweet and have a full three course meal. What could be better? Think how much time it would save, and all the other things you could do instead. Sounds like a good idea to me.


 

Day Thirteen: Friday, September 26:

If you could choose one relatively unknown, underrated or under appreciated book to share with others, which book would you recommend to others?

I’m going to take this opportunity to recommend the North and South trilogy by John Jakes, because it’s such a wonderful series of books yet I’ve never seen anyone writing about having read it.

Set in the American Civil War it follows the fortunes of two families, the Hazards and the Mains who nurture a great friendship only to be divided when war comes due to the fact they are by necessity on opposing sides; one family is from the North and one from the South.
This series has everything – adventure, romance, danger, elegant heroines, strong heroines, dashing heroes and great villains – all set against he backdrop of a bygone age in American history. It’s a great read, and each volume is strong in its own way.

There’s also an excellent mini series starring Patrick Swayze and James Read, filmed in the 1980s, and that is just as great as the books.

Trees of Reverie September 2014 Read-A-Thon: Bookish Challenges Part 1

Day One: Sunday, September 14:

A curfew has been placed on book purchases for the remainder of the year and you are only allowed to purchase TEN more books for the rest of 2014. Which books will you buy?

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – I hear so much praise for this book whenever it is mentioned that I would love to own it.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo – I couldn’t not know how the Grisha trilogy concludes, so this one would make the list.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – after Fangirl I became a bit of a fan, and if I manage to read Eleanor and Park during the read-a-thon this will be the only one of her books that I haven’t read.

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb – never read anything by this author, but this book has had a lot of praise recently.

Revival by Stephen King – I love all things Stephen King, so his upcoming new book would be a must for me.

Emma by Alexander McCall Smith – I really love this author and I also love the idea of him writing his take on an Austen classic.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami – I wanted to get this from the library and for some reason they haven’t had any copies, so I would buy my own.

The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café by Alexander McCall Smith – I’ve read all the Ladies Detective Agency books to date. I love the gentle easy style of reading.

Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – I have the first in the series, and couldn’t not find out what happens.


 

Day Two: Monday, September 15:

Introduce us to your favourite author and their books!

Choosing only one author for this challenge was incredibly hard, and choosing between two in particular, well, it was so close that ask me another day and I might have chosen the other, but I’m going to say George R. R. Martin is my favourite author, for his amazing fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

I absolutely adore this series.
I’d never read a great deal in the way of fantasy before I came upon this series. It happened way back in the days of Livejournal, when I read someone’s post about this amazing series they were reading, and how much they were enjoying it. Always on the lookout for a good read I paid attention and decided to find out more.
I found out a Game of Thrones was fantasy, and was uncertain whether it would appeal to me. I’d seen the book in the library a few times and been put off by the unusual names of places and people. I can remember someone else commenting to me at the time they could never get into anything like that because they couldn’t get around the pronunciation issue.
This was some time before the first season of Game of Thrones aired on tv. I knew there was going to be a series, and this added to my interest, so I went ahead and borrowed the book from the library.
And I never looked back for one moment. Even now, years later, I can recall becoming totally enthralled during the Prologue of Game of Thrones as those rangers went out into the wilderness beyond the Wall.

There are so many things to praise about the series. The world building is amazing. So many locations are called to life in such vivid detail that even though they are totally fictional, I have as clear a picture of them in my mind as if they were real. I love the bleakness of the North, and Winterfell. I love the idea of the Eyrie, miles above the land, like a kingdom in the clouds. I love the plotting and intrigue of King’s Landing, and the exotic air of Dorne. And Braavos, like the Westeros version of Venice. Oh yes, I love all these intricately built places.

Then there are the characters, and the vast depth to which they are developed. Jaime Lannister is the first who comes to mind for a total turnaround, for, without giving spoilers to those who wish to read the series, the journey he goes on, and the vow he decides to uphold are a million miles away from the man who we first see. Tyrion Lannister, the Imp is a joy to read, with his wit and wisdom, and I really like him as a character.
There are also excellent villains, such as Joffrey, the boy king we love to hate. There are also those who fall into the grey areas, a mixture of both bad and good.

I love so many strong female characters too, including Brienne of Tarth, Asha Greyjoy and tomboy Arya Stark, a total contrast to her ladylike sister Sansa, who lives for stories and songs and dreams, but learns the harsh lesson of real life being nothing like a fairy tale at all.

Even the secondary characters are well developed. I like Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane, and all the weaving in of stories of characters who died before the Game of Thrones timeline, such as Lyanna Stark and her involvement with the Targaryens.

I could talk at length about this wonderful series, but I’ll resist, and just conclude by saying that I love each and every page, and cannot wait for the next book in the series. I only worry that eventually the tv series will catch up and overtake the books. I would dearly like to read the book first.


Day 3:  Tuesday 16th September 2014:

Describe your ultimate dream bookstore!

A few years ago there used to be a wonderful bookstore which I‘m pretty certain was my real-life dream place.
This particular place was a LONG car journey away from home, and situated on a shopping outlet park, so it was somewhere to go for a day out once in a while, and I absolutely adored it.
I don’t know why it closed, but I went back there and found the outlet standing empty and my heart just sank.
I would say that place was probably my perfect bookshop made real.

It was a HUGE place, and they stocked so many books. I don’t think there was a single subject that they didn’t cover, it was simply marvellous. Fiction, non-fiction, well known and lesser known topics, they seemed to cover it all.
They also stocked all the bookish stationery – bookmarks, book covers, reading lights, notebooks and journals, book stands, calendars, mugs and bags with bookish logos, they really did have the lot.
They also had a plentiful supply of DVDs and CDs on offer as well.

There were huge, comfortable armchairs situated at various places throughout the store, and I used to love the fact you could select a book from any shelf and take a seat to read a while, without even purchasing the book. The atmosphere was so welcoming and casual, and the staff were very approachable.

They had great displays, with new and recommended books, and it was always easy to find your next ‘must read’.

Within the bookstore there was a coffee shop, so you could find a great read then go and sit with a leisurely cup of tea or coffee and a piece of cake, then sit watching the world go by or reading a few pages.

It was a wonderful place, and I was sad to see it close as there’s nothing to rival that place closer to home, and it being some distance away made a trip there something to look forward to.

 

Thursday Thoughts – Where Do You Read?

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts is an original, weekly meme created on Ok, Let’s Read.  Each week a new, conversational topic is posted to encourage talking about a specific, book-related topic.

This weeks topic is Where Do You Read?

I am so glad this conversation topic came up, because I’m a read-anywhere-and-everywhere type of reader. I am the one you will see walking down the stairs blindly with my book held up in front of me, going cautiously because I can’t tear myself away from the page. I’m as happy reading wandering around the house as I am taking a comfortable seat, although this is preferable!
In my defence, I once saw a young man wandering casually through the main entrance of my university building holding his copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix aloft before his eyes, not looking where he was going and totally lost to the world, which really made me smile, and realise that I’m no the only person who does this.

I read sitting outside on my garden bench, listening to the birds, occasionally looking up towards a blue sky and the colours of the flowers that I’ve grown from seed.

I used to read on the train when I had a daily commute, which once led to the ticket collector enthusing about The Thorn Birds, which I was reading for about the 6th time. I remember it because the man was so enthusiastic, and seemed a real fan. Until that point, only other women had expressed any interest in that book.

I can dip in and out of books, reading only a couple of pages at a time, which people have remarked to me in the past they find pretty strange, in that they don’t know how I retain what I’ve read, reading in little portions like that. I don’t really have an adequate response, other than for some reason I just can. I do love to fully immerse myself in whichever fictional world I’m currently enjoying, but a quick few pages here and there works well for me too.

If I wake up early and have some time before I need to get up I’ll grab a few pages, and if I wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep I have a book on standby (usually something light and undemanding, as sometimes I don’t find I recall what I read during these hours as well as my usual reading). Strangely enough I don’t actually read before bed, possibly because there is the potential to become far too involved in my book and keep thinking to myself ‘just one more chapter’. We all know it’s rarely just one more chapter so I would become pretty sleep deprived if I started reading before I went to sleep at night.

As for my fantasy reading location, well…

My own personal library, wall to wall books, with a massive window, plenty of natural light, wooden floors and a thick rug, dark panelling on the walls, with a huge comfortable chair, near the window, looking out over a tree-lined lake, crystal clear. When the windows were open there would only be sounds of nature, and no intrusions of any kind, and I could read in perfect peace for as long as I wanted.

Also, a hammock strung between two palms trees on a white sandy beach with a vivid blue ocean, waves crashing to the shore, but, not being a natural sun-seeker, my reading area would be naturally shaded (this IS fantasy, right?).


Thursday Thoughts – Cover Changes

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts is an original, weekly meme created on Ok, Let’s Read.  Each weeka new, conversational topic is posted to encourage talking about a specific, book-related topic.

This weeks topic is Cover Changes.


In an ideal world, when I collect a series of books I would love to own a complete set with matching covers. It looks uniform and pleasing on the bookshelf, and the series is easily identifiable.

In reality, however, this isn’t always possible.
Take A Song of Ice and Fire – a series in progress. I’ve been collecting these books for a number of years, and I did manage to buy some of them with what I would consider to be a ‘set’ of covers; they look like they belong to the same series, and the books are the same size.
In more recent times the books were reprinted with different covers. The books themselves were also resized (larger than the books I already own).
Add to this another edition with tv-series tie-in covers and you’re left with a wide variety of choice in terms of cover art for the same books.

I first borrowed Game of Thrones from the library. It was my first forage into fantasy and I didn’t know whether I would enjoy it, so borrowing seemed favourable to buying.
I became so addicted to the world of Westeros that I immediately went out to buy the rest of the series available at that time, which I managed to get for a really good price (probably as they were phasing them out in favour of an updated edition with new covers, which still weren’t tv tie-in at that point).

I read my books almost in succession, and remained such a big fan that I wanted the complete set (remember I borrowed the first book from the library?). By the time I decided to buy the first book, the tv-tie in with Ned Stark on the cover seemed the most popular option, and the most readily available, so I bought that, and it definitely didn’t marry up with the rest of my books.
By the time Dance With Dragons came out in paperback, it had what I call the ‘newer’ edition covers, but again, not tv tie-in, so I bought what was available.

In the end, my collection of my all-time favourite book series is a bit of a mish mash in terms of covers, so now the cover issue tends not to bother me too much.
Ideally, of course I would love a matching set, and that’s the beauty of coming into a series once it’s already complete – you can buy the whole series as a ‘complete’ set and they will all match. I did this with the Chaos Walking trilogy and the Hunger Games trilogy.

As for movie tie-in covers, I don’t mind them, and think anything that brings a wonderful book into the mind of a potential new audience is a good thing. I really like the cover of my edition of The Book Thief, which is this one, but I also thought the movie tie-in was really nice too. Anything that encourages people to pick up a book has got to be a positive thing.

It’s easy to say don’t judge a book by its cover, and equally as easy to do exactly that, so I do think covers are important.
I noticed a book on a price drop website recently, and the cover design instantly caught my eye.
On further investigation I found it was a book that I’d actually purchased quite a while ago, with a different cover, and suddenly, mainly due to the redesign, my interest is back again and I’ve put that book high on my TBR list (Temeraire, just in case anyone was wondering).

Recent covers which have caught my eye (and are both books that I really want to read very soon) are those for The Paying Guests and The Bone Clocks, which I think is absolutely beautiful.

Thursday Thoughts – Audiobooks

Thursday Thoughts

 

Thursday Thoughts is an original, weekly meme created on Ok, Let’s Read.  Each weeka new, conversational topic is posted to encourage talking about a specific, book-related topic.

This weeks topic is Audiobooks.

Recently I received an email from my library, informing about upcoming events and activities. It also listed the newest additions to their online audiobook catalogue. I was immediately interested in the featured title, and decided to read up more about the story. I think it’s marvellous that libraries are starting to offer free access online to audiobooks, and I’m sure it will open up the service to new members, some of whom may never have considered using the library before.

My own relationship with audiobooks is a little contradictory. In theory, I think they after wonderful; you can have all the pleasure of a story, but the freedom to indulge in it whilst doing other things, like driving, or gardening, or, in my case, cross stitching.
Herein though lies the essential problem for me – when listening to an audiobook, I often don’t feel fully engaged or focused, and find myself needing to relisten to certain passages when I’ve lost the thread. It’s probably my own fault, for trying to do two things at once. A story needs the entirety of my attention to get the most of it, so then I come back to thinking that if I’m giving my undivided attention to a story, then I might as we’ll be reading a physical book instead.
I know someone who says something similar about reading on an e-reader; she doesn’t find that she takes in what she has read. I don’t find this, and like to read either books or e-books, but I do think the same thing applies to me and audiobooks. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of adapting to a different method of reading, and if I tried it more often I would become accustomed to it?

So, while I love audiobooks in theory, and that they’re so readily available, for the time being I think I’ll be sticking to physical books, although I do feel tempted to give audio another try at some point.