TBIF – Thank blog it’s Friday! This week in memes and books

The questions at the end of each section are for you to answer in comments, should you choose to do so – I hope you will, at least for one or two!

“Mailbox Monday,” hosted at The Printed Page

I’ve given up bookstore shopping for Lent (how many weeks till Easter?), but I’m still picking up new books here and there…

I mentioned in TBIF a couple of weeks ago that a LibraryThing Early Reviewers book that I won went missing in November. Author William Elliott Hazelgrove found out about that post and offered to send me a replacement copy of his recent novel, Rocket Man, which arrived in last Friday’s mail.

Thanks to Shelby Sledge of Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists for offering a review copy of G.M. Weger‘s novel East Garrison, which arrived in Monday’s mail. (As of Tuesday, my copy was the only one on LibraryThing.)

Speaking of LibraryThing, my February Early Reviewer catch, The Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks, arrived at my door on Tuesday thanks to HarperCollins and the UPS guy.

So, have you met any new books lately?

“Musing Monday,” hosted at Just One More Page…

We were all warned as children to ‘never talk to strangers’, but how do you feel about book-talk with random people? When you see people reading, do you ask what it is? Do you talk to people in the book store or the library? Why or why not? What do you do if people talk to you? (question courtesy of Dena)

I’m not likely to strike up a book-related conversation with someone I don’t know unless I’ve already read the book I see them reading, and even then I might not say anything unless the book is one that no one else I know (except for me) has read. In that case, I’d probably be excited to find someone else who shared my interest. But since I don’t tend to get into conversations with strangers beyond the smallest of small talk (“Gee, this line is long. Hope it doesn’t rain.”), I’m not sure there’s a high probability that this would even happen.

On the other hand, if someone sees me with a book and asks me about what I’m reading, I’ll certainly answer them, and we can discuss the book if they’re interested. However, I’m not much of a genre or best-seller reader, and most of the time I’m reading books that aren’t familiar to random strangers I encounter in my travels, so I don’t even get the questions very often.

Do you initiate, or participate in, random book-talk with random people?

Tuesday Thingers: Questions for LibraryThing users, hosted at Wendi’s Book Corner

Wendi says: “When I first saw the memes section on LibraryThing, I thought of the memes many of us participate in: Mailbox Monday, Tuesday Thinger, Teaser Tuesday, etc., so I was expecting to see a list of weekly memes available for users to join in. I didn’t know that a meme was simply something that is imitated (on a most basic level, per one of the definitions on Wikipedia), or in this case, a list of statistics that you can pull from the LT database that pertains to your particular book shelf.”

Here are the current memes available on LT:

You and None Other. Books shared with exactly one member.
Dead or Alive? How many of your authors are dead?
Dead or Alive Comparison How do you stack up against others?
Male or Female? What gender are your authors?
Work Duplicates. Works you have more than one of.

Question: Do you visit the memes section often? Have you visited recently? Have you discovered anything that surprises you when you visit the memes for your library?

My Answer: I think this is the second time I’ve visited the Memes pages on LT, and the first time was also for Tuesday Thingers, back when Marie was doing it. Here are my results this time around:

You and None Other: None, but there are 6 books that I share with 5 or fewer people.

Dead or Alive?: 20 confirmed dead, 205 among the living, and 98 unknown (but I’ve skimmed over the list and I think most of them are alive, because they’re almost all contemporary writers)

Dead or Alive Comparison: Not sure why this one matters, but with 91.11% living authors, I’m in the top 4% of LT’ers (and if we could verify the status of the 98 unknowns, my rank would probably rise!)

Male or Female?: 88 male (28.95%), 215 female – that sounds about right balance-wise, given my reading habits. 19 authors in my library are “not set,” whatever that means, but none fall into the “other/contested/unknown” category.

Work Duplicates: Only two, and I already knew about both of them: Niagara Falls All Over Again, by Elizabeth McCracken, and Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris. In both cases, I’d given away my original copy and bought another one later.

Teaser Tuesday, 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!

Try to contain your shock – this Teaser is actually from the book I’m currently reading (yes, for once, I followed the rules)!

“According to Ruth, Chrissie and Rodney had been busy exploring this seaside town they’d gone to and had split up for awhile. When they met up again, Rodney was all excited and had told Chrissie how he’d been wondering the side streets off the High Street, and had gone past an office with a large glass front.” (page 140)
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Tell me what you’re reading right now!

Booking Through Thursday: The Worst “Best” Book You’ve Ever Read

btt button

Suggested by Janet:
How about, “What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?”

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!

I think there are a couple of different angles to this question, and I’ll answer it from both of them. (I also have a feeling I’ve answered a variation on this question before…)

On the more literary side of the equation – where the books are generally acknowledged and accepted to be of good quality and critical merit – I’ve been lukewarm on quite a few works from the canon. I’ve mentioned my disdain for Wuthering Heights a few times here. The Grapes of Wrath didn’t do too much for me either, although I love East of Eden, and they’re both by Steinbeck. And I’ve read Jane Austen and liked Jane Austen, but I just don’t get the widespread adoration for Jane Austen. (Sorry…ducking behind the couch now!)

I think I’ve had this experience more with very popular books – the ones that spend weeks on the bestseller lists and that everyone is reading, even people who don’t tend to read much. The thing is, I’ve noticed that it’s the people who don’t tend to read much who are sometimes the most vocal about how great a book is – “if it got ME to read, it must be good!” Exhibit A: The Da Vinci Code. I actually got pretty caught up in the story, but that was mostly in spite of the writing.

My most memorable experience with this kind of thing was probably with The Bridges of Madison County. I’ll never get those hours back – and fifteen or so years later, I still mourn them.

Then there are the two or three Anita Shreve books I’ve read for book club – they’ve all seriously annoyed me in one way or another, but I know some people (whose taste in books I respect) who really like her. I personally don’t plan to read anything of hers again, even if that makes me a bad book-clubber.

What books have you read that everyone seems to love – except you?

Friday Fill-ins #116


1. Why do we have to clean up after ourselves? (Because maybe you won’t make as big as mess if you know it will mean more work for yourself!)

2. Writing blog posts and reading blogs are now habits.

3. I have nine days to go until my birthday! (That was for my husband. He says I haven’t mentioned it very much this year.)

4. I had never heard the phrase “that dog won’t hunt” and it made me wonder who let the dogs out.

5. I met up with a waitress the way I always do.

6. How was I to know she was with the Russians too?*

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to an evening with my husband and the DVR, tomorrow my plans include some housecleaning, maybe some writing, and FINALLY getting to work on the taxes and Sunday, I want to help celebrate my dad’s birthday (he turns 80 on Monday)!

* 5 and 6 are the first two lines of a song – bragging rights to the first person (other than Janet) who correctly identifies it in comments!

*****Have you entered my Blogiversary Giveaway yet?*****

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  1. Kathy (Bermudaonion) – Thanks, I hope I do too. It may be a little while before I get to it, though. I can’t remember…have you read it yet?

    Janet – I did get #2, but didn’t use it 🙂 – I left you a comment.

    NOTE to Everyone Else: No cheating by clicking on that link to Janet’s post :-)!

  2. My experience of The Da Vinci Code was pretty similar to yours. Good yarn (almost) but terrible writing!

    I really like Anita Shreve, except I couldn’t stand her last book (which I mentioned in my BTT post).

  3. Usually, when I see a girl reading a book I’ll grab it out of her lap and say, “Hey, groovy chick, what are you reading?” Oh wait, that’s Greg Brady. 🙂

    We have old college friends coming over tomorrow. Sons we haven’t seen in over 15 years. Facebook can be good for something. 🙂

  4. Avisannchild – Someone else referred to an author in her BTT post that she’d subjected to the “three strikes rule” – I think that would be Anita Shreve in my case.

    Marcia – I’m always happy to join in when I have new books to share :-).

    Mike – That MUST be Greg Brady. No one has said “groovy chick” since 1974 :-).

    What, you’re not working this weekend? Enjoy the visit with your old friends!

  5. How are you finding Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel? I’ve heard good things about it.

    Did you see the movie, Bridges of Madison County? I was thinking of skipping the book and watching the movie . . .

    Shakespeare is one writer who immediately pops into my mind when I think of someone whose work I don’t care for. My husband keeps reminding me that plays aren’t meant to be read–their meant to be performed. He has a point. I have enjoyed some of the movies based on Shakespeare’s plays. And I do like some of his Sonnets.

    Your birthday is just a few more days away! You can never mention it enough times to your husband. Trust me, I know. 🙂

    I was gambling in Havana
    I took a little risk
    Send lawyers, guns and money
    Dad, get me out of this.

  6. Wendi B – Since I suspect most of the Thingers participants are women, I’m not too surprised by that statistic.

    Wendy (Literary Feline) – Thanks for taking the bait and giving us the second verse of Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns, and Money.” He is no longer among us, but his music is immortal :-).

    I’m posting my review of the Ishiguro novel on Thursday. I’m glad I read it.

    I haven’t seen The Bridges of Madison County, but I’ve heard that it’s one of those cases where the movie is more worthwhile than the book, which is not at all hard to believe.

    Now I’m hiding in Honduras
    I’m a desperate man
    Send lawyers, guns, and money
    The s— has hit the fan