TBIF – Thank blog it’s Friday #4!

>>> Don’t forget to enter the Second Chance at (Summer) Reading Re-Gifting Giveaway – details are here, and the deadline is Friday, September 5! <<<

Tuesday Thingers 8/26 (hosted by The Boston Bibliophile)

Today’s topic: LibraryThing authors. Who are your LibraryThing authors? What books of theirs do you have? Do you ever comment on an author’s LT page? Have you received any comments from an author on your LT account?

My small, fairly pathetic collection of LibraryThing authors currently numbers just three. They are Laura Fitzgerald, author of Veil of Roses; Michelle Richmond, author of The Year of Fog and No One You Know; and Doreen Orion, author of Queen of the Road, recently added to the TBR Purgatory list. As Just a (Reading) Fool suggested in his response to this question, ARCs via LT’s Early Reviewers Program probably play a part in someone’s author connections on LT; while I’m a member of that group, I’m pretty selective about the requests I submit, and I have only won two ARCs so far, neither of which was by an LT author.

I’ve never commented on an author’s LT profile page, but that doesn’t mean I never will. I’m not particularly “sociable” on LT, so I really don’t do much commenting on anyone’s pages there, nor do I receive many comments on mine. Most of my online social contacts happen on blogs or Twitter, really. In fact, Michelle Richmond actually looked up my blog when I posted a review of The Year of Fog; we’ve exchanged e-mails, and she even gave me a guest post back in June. She’s also a blogger herself, and I subscribe to her blog, Sans Serif, in my Google Reader feeds.

Do you have any good author-interaction stories to share?

Teaser Tuesdays (Aug.26) (hosted at Should Be Reading)

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:

Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! Please avoid spoilers!

My Teaser for this week is actually going to come from Page 123 of the selected book, since Tanabata tagged me for the 123 Meme last week, and I’ve been intending to alternate that with Teaser Tuesday anyway.

I’m currently reading My Husband’s Sweethearts by Bridget Asher, and I’ve already given a Teaser from that, so I’m not going to do Page 123 from the same book. Instead, I’ll use the book that’s next on the stack, a review copy of Don’t You Forget About Me by Jancee Dunn.

Vi had a “girl” in midtown who had maintained her trademark coif for the past three decades. Once I joined Vi on her weekly trip to “Ilsa of New York” and met Ilsa herself – a “girl” of fifty-two. I inquired about Ilsa’s additional salons – the “of New York” implied that there were others – in Gstaad, perhaps, or Monte Carlo.

Stories – Booking Through Thursday

If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite reasons to read is for the story. Not for the character development and interaction. Not because of the descriptive, emotive powers of the writer. Not because of deep, literary meaning hidden beneath layers of metaphor. (Even though those are all good things.) No … it’s because you want to know what happens next?
Or, um, is it just me?
Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!
To be honest, I’m not sure I really get this question, but that won’t stop me from having something to say about it anyway.

If I recall correctly, the major elements of fiction are plot, character, theme, and setting. I’ve mentioned in numerous reviews here that character is the element that usually seems to make the most difference in whether or not I enjoy a story – but next to that, I find that it’s most important to have a story. It’s not just that I want to know what happens next; I want to know what happens to those characters.

It’s the interplay of those elements that makes a book work for me. The other elements, as well as the quality of the writing, may enhance or detract from the telling of the story, but the characters need a narrative arc. A convincingly-written character whom nothing happens to – one who just observes, who doesn’t reflect or grow, who has no real experiences – is just a sketch, and a story that pulls me forward without making a character connection is a pleasant, but forgettable, diversion. I’m perfectly happy to experience that in a movie or TV show, but I want more from a book.

For me, one of the most appealing things about reading is the insight it can offer into how people think, feel, and approach the world – it lets you right into people’s heads and hearts. My interest in learning about that is what draws me to character-driven fiction, as well as to memoir, history, and personal essays. But I find it more meaningful to get to know these things within a context, and for that reason, story matters. If there’s not something going on – it doesn’t have to be dangerous or dramatic, but it does have to hold my attention – there’s not much incentive for me to get to know and spend time with these characters.

So…yes, I want to know what happens next, but in the end I’ll probably be more likely to remember who it happened to than what happened.

Friday Fill-Ins #87 (hosted by Janet of Fond of Snape)

This week Michelle provided most of the questions; thank you, Michelle! And…here we go!

1. When I’m sick I’m one of those annoying people who (usually) goes to work anyway.

2. When I take a walk, I think about making sure I keep my dog from getting into things that she shouldn’t.

3. Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy a lot of things to distract you from your unhappiness.

4. Cotton makes me think of lightweight summer dresses and leather makes me feel sorry for cows (I eat meat, but I try not to wear it).

5. The strangest person/character I’ve had lewd thoughts about was …I’m not about to tell you THAT!.

6. My favorite color these days is purple because it looks good on me (and it’s my husband’s favorite color besides).

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to either a quiet evening at home with the family or a trip to Target, tomorrow my plans include a trip to CityWalk and dinner with friends at Benihana and Sunday, I want to score higher than a 75 when we go bowling with my sister’s family!

I’m not sure what we’ll be doing on Monday. What are your plans for the big summer-sendoff three-day weekend?

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  1. Across the expanse of stakes and seedlings, the stray stood, eating greedily and watching Edgar, its chest silver in the moonlight. He stood, slowly, and carried the bread bag, heavy and cold, into the shadow of the maple and knelt.
    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski

    re: #5 – oh, Florinda! Thanks for playing, hope you have a great weekend!

  2. Janet – I really couldn’t think of an answer for #5, so I just thought I’d have some fun with it :-).

    Interesting teaser. I appreciate that you always leave one here. Have a great weekend!

  3. Florinda: I think this is the second time you’ve mentioned me in a post in the last couple of weeks. Stop! I’m embarrassed (blushing and giggling like a little girl — which I’m not; I’m a grown man, for God’s sake!).

    As for your answer to Booking Through Thursday, that’s what I meant to say! I really couldn’t capture my thoughts very well about non-fiction, but I think what you said applies to both genres of fiction and non-fiction.

    The weekend: tonight, The Wife and I will probably watch more of Flight of the Conchords. Tomorrow, we’re off to a wedding. Sunday afternoon, a picnic. Sunday evening, watching NASCAR with my dad. Monday, crashing at home with The Wife…bowling: That’s one of those things at which I’m not good either. However, I’ve enjoyed it when I’ve done it. Probably if I did it more.

  4. JustAReadingFool – Buddy, you need a shorter blog name :-). But I’ll probably keep linking to you as long as you keep posting good material to link to, so you may have to get used to it.

    We really do have to watch Flight of the Conchords ourselves – the album is hilarious. Have a great weekend!

    Alisonwonderland – It will probably turn out to be just a little too busy, but it will probably be fun. Hope you have a good one too!

  5. In my opinion you want to know what happens next because of the character development. If you didn’t care what happens to the character you wouldn’t keep reading.

    This weekend is kind of busy. I’m running a race in the morning on Sunday and Jenn has one in the everning. On Monday I’m playing golf and the in-laws are coming over. At least tomorrow is free. 🙂

  6. Ti – They don’t. We have to backtrack to Encino to meet our friends at Benihana.

    Mike – Exactly. That’s why character is the most important element to me.

    Good luck to both you and Jenn in your races on Sunday! My mother-in-law is visiting us this weekend, which is part of why we’ll be so busy.

  7. I’ve been joining in a little more on the LT discussion boards, but I still think of the site more as a place to catalog my books (which I am behind in doing, now that I think about it).

    Stories – Theme! I knew I forgot something. I kept thinking there were four elements, but that fourth one eluded me. Your response is so much better out than my own, Florinda. I completely agree with everything you wrote in response to this week’s BTT question.

    My dog likes to get into things he shouldn’t on walks too. Luckily, I’m bigger than he is and so he has to follow my lead. Eventually.

    I don’t think I actually wear real leather. I always think of the fake leather when it comes to clothing made out of leather. Maybe because it’s more common?

    I hope you have a fun weekend, Florinda. Enjoy City Walk and your bowling game!

    I’m saving your Matrimony review until after I’ve written mine. 🙂 I’ll probably stop in when I’m done even though my own review won’t go up until next weekend.

  8. Literary Feline – I’d probably wait to read that review, too…but I’ll be looking forward to your posting yours!

    I thought your BTT response was good. I was actually hoping I got all four of those story elements right – I relied on my long-ago English-class memories rather than looking them up :-).

    Yeah, my dog “eventually” follows my lead too, after a bit of nagging.

    I’m actually not a good bowler – the kids can usually do better than me – but it’s still fun. Hope you and Anjin have a great weekend too, Wendy!

    Gautami – It works out well for my blog-posting schedule to combine all these memes into one post – glad you like it :-)! I liked your BTT answer too.

  9. I enjoyed your response to the BTT question. While plot is necessary to move the story forward, character development is really important to me too. I don’t mind reading plot-heavy books sometimes, like some thrillers or what have you, but they are usually soon forgotten. It’s the characters we remember, isn’t it?

  10. Tanabata – I still think it was a rather odd question, but I’m not sure I could have answered it another way. I agree, it’s the characters that tend to stick with us, even if we don’t quite remember what happened with them. I don’t read many series, but I would think it’s even more important there. If the reader can’t connect with the characters, she won’t be all that interested in their further adventures – well, I probably wouldn’t be, anyway.