Life Update

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Ooops I did it again. So sorry that I have missed all of last week and have been on a hiatus for about two. Reason? I have moved to a new town in the UK and I have absolutely no wifi/internet in my new home and won’t until about the 13th of October. On top of all this I have had to commute about 2.5 hours to get to work nearly every morning (nightmare!), I have had very little time for myself, and any free time that I do have I try to invest into getting all settled into our new home. So, I think I can get a get out of jail free card right now.

Our new dig!

Our new dig!

Good news is I was a bit more prepared for this coming week as things are starting to settle down. Hence, I have posted my review for My Promised Land and have updated the new book I am reading. I am looking forward to catching up with all your adventures fellow bookworms, I desperately need new book options!

Wednesday Wonderings: How do you read?

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Wednesday Wonderings: A chance for me to muse about anything and everything literature.

Urgh, immediately after thinking up of the title for today’s Wednesday Wondering my mind immediately went to this:

Like really!? Jesse McCartney?! Bloody hell! Don’t judge. It’s a catchy song. Moving on…

This question popped into my head this week while commenting on a friend’s blog entry.

How do, how do you read? (sorry, last time I promise!)

There are so many different genres, sizes, styles and variations of literary works out there. The first thick book that you read when you were in elementary school and bragged to all your friends, the first classic you read and actually enjoyed, the series that you were most obsessed with in your teenage years, the weirdest book you ever read that scarred for life, the first time your read a book like the Fifty Shades of Gray, the first required reading book in school that you really enjoyed, the book that made you so angry that you can’t forget it even if you want to, the book that had that amazing although not entirely perfect protagonist that you related to perfectly, or how about that book written so well you wanted to track down the author and ask their hand in marriage. On top of all that there are all the books in between.

How do you remember it all?

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Many of the books we have read in school I have managed to remember key aspects and themes primarily because we have spent so much time on them. As I would peruse every page I would take careful colour-coded notes on the margins or on sticky pads. We would then dissect every character and action in class, using those carefully outlined notes to create magnificent arguments that proved universal themes. Now, as soon as I finish one I start the next one!

But when you are reading books for fun, do you really have the time to carefully study each page? How about keep track of all the characters (coughGameofThronescough)? What do you mean there are different themes, ‘I dunno what you would call this exactly it’s not one or the other’? Darn it, what page was that amazing quote on again? Why would I ever sit there and study a passage, I aint got the time for that!

SO I employed the “take notes” technique. However, I do most of my reading on the tub on my way to work I struggle take notes on what I am reading when I have about 4 different hands near my face and backs pressed against both sides of my body. Frequently, when I get home I continue reading and it would seem like I missed important passages merely because I was preoccupied with listening for the nasally voice on the speakerphone to mumble my station stop. More often then not brilliant ideas and questions pop into my head while I read a passage, but then vanish unless I write it down immediately leaving me often drawing a blank when I am writing the review.

How do you do it bookworm bloggers? Do you take notes? Do you just have a photographic memory where you can pretty much use the ctrl+F technique in your brain?

Wednesday Wonderings: Amazing Books, Where to Find Them?

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Wednesday Wonderings: A chance for me to muse about anything and everything literature.

 It seems when you are younger, books just present themselves to you. You read what your mom takes out from the library, what your best friend around the block is reading, you read what everyone in your class is reading, and you pick up books with appealing covers and promise of adventure.

If you carry on with literature in university you read what your professors assign and deem “good” books. Rarely, do you have time outside of the required reading list to stray into some popular fiction or bother re-reading some of your favourite ol’ books. You digest and pull apart every aspect of the book, whether you enjoy it or not, and really live and breath the selected works. You read the classics, Shakespeare, American, dystopian, Victorian and old english.

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Then you graduate. The world opens up to you. You no longer spend hundreds of dollars/pounds on required, yet carefully chosen books from your university library. You can read whatever you like. Well, if you find the time.

The choice rests in your hands.

What do you do now? This seems to be my most recent dilemma. As I am flying through my current Reading List I can’t help but figure out where do I go next? Do I use Goodreads? Other blooger’s recommendations? Do I peruse my old syllabuses for extra novels that I never bothered to read? Do I ask my friends what they are reading? Do I research a list of 100 books you have to read before you die? Do I find another random list?

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It seems that there is no easy way to determine what books to include or exclude from the infamous reading list. You don’t want to be disappointed or waste your time ploughing through a 1 star book. Your time is precious, and I don’t want to make a mistake of picking up a book that I may not like.

How do you determine what books make it on your list? What books do you absolutely love and recommend I should read?

I Found Summer!

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Greece

After a rather mild summer, and the slow approach of autumn near the end of August (gasp!So soon?!) I was convinced that summer was lost forever. Thankfully I found it in Greece!!! During my vacation time I only manage to finish two books, The Kite Runner and My Promised Land, both reviews hopefully coming end of this week. I super excited to review them as they were fun reads! Already started on my third book. Crossing m fingers that September will be a strong reading month. Hard to live up to as August I managed to get through seven.

Other plans for this week are pretty much getting back to the swing of things and catching up on the things that you guys have been up to!

Have you guys been planning any vacations recently? Have you been to Greece before?

Week Update

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Paradise

Hello fellow bookworms! Just wanted to update you and let you know that Teaser Tuesday and Wednesday wondering will no be happening this week as I am off to the lovely and beautiful Greece until Sept 15th! Unfortunately, I’ll be on a boat so I will most likely have no access to wifi and thus can’t even makes small updates. Having said that, it will give me ample opportunity to read, read, READ which means I’ll be writing plenty of book reviews when I get back (hopefully). I will leave you with an old classic.  Αντίο φίλους!

One Lovely Blog Award Nomination

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The Rules:

  • You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • You must list the rules and display the award.
  • You must add 7 facts about yourself.
  • You must nominate 5-15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they’ve been nominated.
  • You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

First and foremost I would like to thank Books for Fun for that nomination! I don’t need a set or rules to allow me to come out and say that!  It was such a pleasant surprise, as I have seen it on other people’s pages and wondered if I would ever receive one. It really makes me feel like I am part of the blogging community, especially since I still feel like such a newbie to the blogging world. Now enough about lil’ old me. Without further ado:

Seven facts about myself:

1. I grew up in a ex-communist country. Hardcore.

2. I love to bake, but hate to cook.

3. I can’t get enough of romantic comedies; it’s almost a curse and it’s something that drives my boyfriend insane.

4. The first proper novel I read in English was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Tough book to follow I’d say.

5. I absolutely, positively, metaphysically, quintessentially, love love love Bernese Mountain Dogs and long-haired Dachshunds.

6. I love to go running. One day I hope to be able to run a marathon.

7. Christmas is my favourite time of year. Buying presents for my loved ones, decorating the tree, skiing and drinking hot seasonal drinks (Pumpkin Spiced Latte say whhhaaatt??!). What can be better?

I nominate the following awesome bloggers out there:

1. It’s All About Books

2. ebook classics

3. alenaslife

4. One More Page

5. Check My Books

6. The Paperback Princess

7. Knownbliss

8. The New TESStament

9. The Ink Library

10. Bonnie Brown’s Book Reviews

11. Citygirlscapes

12. Reckless Indulgence of the Written Word

Can’t wait to read yours!!!

Wednesday Wonderings: To read, or not to read?

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Wednesday Wonderings: A chance for me to muse about anything and everything literature.

When I was younger I used to look at the title and cover of the book to determine whether or not it was a good read. I was also restricted to the options at my local public library because buying books was a birthday/Christmas/special occasion thing. The internet was just beginning to rise in my childhood, so reading reviews online and trying to connect in a reading community didn’t happen for me until fairly recently. My techniques to finding the perfect book would rely primarily on the following:

  • What my friends recommended
  • Perusing back/inside-cover teasers
  • Judging on visual appeal of the novel (*gasp*)
  • Availability of the book (could I borrow it from a friend or library)
  • Posters in the library/’New Books’ shelf

Nonetheless, now I have no restrictions at all. I can easily look up a review on just about any book on-line and get hundreds of people’s synopsis, readings or ramblings about the novel. It’s a lot easier to be instantly updated on new arrivals and past treasures. Trouble is now a person can get overexposed to a novel. Accidentally reading spoilers is prominent on my phobia list. They can jump out of anywhere.

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The fear of spoilers

Not all books by any means, but there are books out there that rely on the reader not knowing an important aspect of it for them to be enjoyable. For example **SPOILER ALERT** for me the greatness of Never Let Me Go by Kazua Ishiguro was NOT knowing that the children at the school were clones until a ways past the middle. Had I actually known what it was about it would not have sound appealing to me and I probably would have never read it. Yet, if I was writing a proper review on the book it would be very difficult for me not to mention that huge part, making me a criminal in my mind.

I am a book criminal.

I am a book criminal.

It’s tempting to research the book a little in order to see if it would be appealing. Yet frequently it’s the element of surprise that can make a book so amazing. It’s that “WOW!” factor that makes a book 5/5 . That’s difficult to get if you know what the book is about. I will never forget how in HP#5 a stupid kid at my school yelled out in the school hallway that Sirius was going to die.

Complete and utter rage.

Complete and utter rage.

Basically, The Order of the Pheonix would never make my top five. I’ve actually come to fear spoilers as you may have noticed, so I try and go in as blind as possible.

Do you research books that you are interested in or do you go in blind?

Wednesday Wonderings: Stars, or no stars?

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Wednesday Wonderings: A chance for me to muse about anything and everything literature.

After much deliberation and hard work I have decided to start my very own tradition called Wednesday Wonderings. As the subheading describes, this will give me the opportunity to discuss literature and practices more broadly. If you would like to join me feel free to copy and paste the image above and pass along this tradition! Without further ado….

Over my three month period of blogging about books (say that 5 times fast!) I have come across some wonderful bloggers, who I now follow quite religiously. They all have unique personalities, which come across in their posts, and each one brings something new to my literary world.

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YES, you are the BEST!

However, in each review there seems to be some common denominators. A photo of the novel is quite standard. Most include a short synapsis at some point in the post, and they end with either a recommendation or maybe a caution if they didn’t particularly like the book, explaining why it wasn’t their favourite. A rating system, either numeric or using another marking grid is either a yay or a nay in most.

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Where are you going with this??

There are so many ways to structure a review. I am sure if you have been to Goodreads you would know! There are some that are snappy, to the point, and others that are more detailed, explaining every aspect of the novel. The decision to either include or exclude a rating system has always been of interest to me.

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Personally I have always preferred to have a rating system, just because it clearly summed up the opinion of the reader. Yay, nay or meh. After glancing at that, I read the post to see their justifications for the rating. On WordPress, more people seem to be just detailing their opinion of the novel without putting giving the book a rating.

This way, people actually read the review instead of just scanning quickly over the rating assigned to the book. This way, it maintains a more professional look and feel, maybe? I know that certain books are difficult to class, or compare with other novels. Every once in a while I sit there thinking what number would I give this book, it’s got some good bits and some not so good bits. Where to draw the line between a three or a four? Are there defining lines?

I am not sure how I feel about ratings now. How to even start classing books? Anyway that’s my Wednesday Wonderings.

 

Why did you decide for/against ratings? How do you decide how to structure your reviews?

August Update

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Firstly, I would like to apologize for my short, unintentional hiatus from my blog. To be fair, I have not forgotten you my fellow bookworms. I have spent the past week reading through the 888 paged book, I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. So I have been keeping up with my reading goals. I didn’t speed through it like I have been going through the previous books, but that is largely due it’s numerous pages, and as you might tell by my review, rather disappointing plot.

Another reason why this post has been prolonged was because I spent the weekend here:

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I went to Geneva for the weekend, and we found some time to go hiking in the French Alps. More precisely we went to col de la golese. I had such a lovely time being out there in the wilderness for a little while, and breathing in the fresh mountain air. A little TMI: my bum hurt for days afterward though, got a proper workout!

This weekend was extra special because I got my hands on several new books, meaning that my reading list has changed once again! I brought back I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, The Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini,and  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson. Really excited to get through such a wide range of genres (although a Swedish pattern seems to be emerging…). Have you read any of these? How did you find them?

More great news; I have reached 100 followers!! I am so pleased that people find this blog at least mildly interesting. I hope that I can continue to provide some insightful reviews for books/novels that interest you.

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Lastly, I have put together a new page with My Top 10 Books of all time! Check them out, as there might be some surprises. Once again, I can’t wait to read your comments about them!