TBIF: Thank book/blog it’s Friday! This week in books

BOOKKEEPING: The Reading Status Report

Book reviews posted this week: The Laws of Harmony, by Judith Ryan Hendricks
Next review scheduled: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

Still currently reading: Escape by Carolyn Jessop (I expect to finish reading it this weekend, for review next week)

TBR Next: The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist  (via LibraryThing Early Reviewers)

Teaser: “She had gone off with a small bag in one hand and a bathing towel around her shoulders. I found her in the sauna by the swimming pool along with Lena, a cheerful woman with white, short, unruly hair and and eyes as bright as a squirrel’s, and Vajna, whose appearance was the exact opposite of Lena’s; a serious expression and iron gray hair caught up in a long braid.” (page 82)

Latest additions to my “To be read” collection on LibraryThing:
Perfect Life by Jessica Shattuck (via LTER)

Book reviews I’ve noticed this week:
Everything Asian (a novel in stories), by Sung J. Woo
A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit, by Alan Lightman

** An unsolicited ARC just showed up in my mailbox this week. (And, apparently, I wasn’t the only one who got one.) It’s my first one…and honestly, it’s not one I would have asked for or accepted if offered by e-mail, but maybe it’s your thing. Book info is here: please e-mail me at 3.rsblog AT Gmail DOT com if you’re interested in reviewing it. US and Canada only, please – and first come, first served. Once it’s gone, it’s gone (but I can give you the publicist’s info…).**

Musing Mondays, hosted at Just One More Page: “Time”

Musing Mondays (BIG)Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about reading time…
Do you have a set reading time (before bed, perhaps)? Do you read more at night or during the day? Is there a day of the week, perhaps, that you set aside to catch up on reading?

I have two times each day that I’m guaranteed to be reading – at breakfast and at bedtime. Breakfast is a short time (maybe 10-15 minutes), and depending on how sleepy I am, bedtime reading may be brief as well, so I do try to dedicate some time to my books on the weekends. Over the course of a week, I’m honestly not sure if more of my reading minutes are at night or during daylight, but maybe I’ll track that sometime – now I’m curious. I’d say offhand that I read more at night, but since the amount of time I spend on that varies with how long I can stay awake, perhaps I really don’t. For the most part, though, I read when I find the time, day or night, pretty much anywhere.

Lately, I find I get my best reading time at Starbucks, although that technically is “breakfast” reading too. I like taking myself and my book over there on one of the weekend mornings and treating myself to a latte, a scone, and a breakfast sandwich. Some weeks it doesn’t work out, but I really enjoy it when it does.

Tuesday Thingers, hosted at Wendi’s Book Corner: “DNF – Did Not Finish”

This week, Wendi asks:

Yes, I know! There are times that you simply CAN’T finish a book! [gasp] . . . you either hate the subject, are disappointed in the writing, the characters are flat. . . the list is endless!

Questions: How often do you find yourself struggling through a book (if you HAD to estimate)? How far will you read before you stop and consider it a DNF (Did not finish)? Will you skim ahead and see if it gets any better? Once you put it down, do you still write a quick review? What do you do with the book when you are done?

My Answer: This is similar to the “Musing Mondays” question from last week. Here’s what I said then:

I don’t have a hard-and-fast rule about this, since I really don’t bail on books very often. If it’s not working for me, I’ll usually stop 1/4 to 1/3 in – but I won’t admit that I’m giving up on it. I’ll set the book aside for awhile and see if I feel getting back to it some other time, and I’ll leave a bookmark in it where I stopped. I rarely do come back, though, unless it’s to admit defeat…after a couple of years. Then I’ll take the bookmark out.

I have yet to quit on a book I’ve accepted for review – but I don’t get a ton of review books, so maybe being picky has helped in that respect. And if it’s for book club, I will stick with it regardless, although there have been several times when I was the only one in the group who did.

If I don’t finish a book, I don’t feel that I can write a review of it, so I won’t. If I’ve accepted the book for the purpose of reviewing it, I’ll force myself to finish it if necessary, but that may involve some skimming rather than a thorough reading – it hasn’t happened yet, so I’m guessing that’s what I would do.

I give away most of my books after I finish reading them – I end up with very few “keepers” these days. If I don’t know someone who might like the book, I’ll donate it to the Friends of the Library bookstore.

I really hate to write off a book as DNF, though. The Historian has been sitting with a bookmark in it, about 2/3 through, for over two years now, and The Know-it-All has been in that condition even longer (although I think I’m less than halfway into that one).

Booking Through Thursday: “Niche”

btt button

This week’s question from Deb:

There are certain types of books that I more or less assume all readers read. (Novels, for example.)
But then there are books that only YOU read. Instructional manuals for fly-fishing. How-to books for spinning yarn. How to cook the perfect souffle. Rebuilding car engines in three easy steps. Dog training for dummies. Rewiring your house without electrocuting yourself. Tips on how to build a NASCAR course in your backyard. Stuff like that.
What niche books do YOU read?

I wasn’t sure how to answer this question at first, particularly given the specialized examples here. I’m normally not that specific in what I read, and I really don’t have a major hobby other than reading – oh, and blogging, but I read about that online rather than in books. Most of what I read is general fiction – some of it more literary, some not so much – along with memoirs and the occasional detour into history or social commentary. I do read books about books and reading sometimes, though – does that count?

A few other themes and topics, in both fiction and nonfiction, tend to attract me:

  • Books with a Memphis connection, in setting, subject matter, and/or author
  • Food and cooking (but not specifically cookbooks)
  • Contemporary music and musicians
  • Life with dogs

I just hadn’t thought about them as “niche reading” before this, I guess.

Friday Fill-ins #128


1. I grew up thinking that the only kind of ethnic food was Italian (and it’s still my favorite kind).

2. Traffic.com was the last website I was at before coming here (I always check the traffic report before I get on the road home).

3. Why don’t you go and find something useful to do, instead of annoying your sister?

4. A good book and some time to read it helps me relax.

5. Thanks for the day off, boss! (Seriously, I’m taking a vacation day today.)

6. Rude customer service is very off-putting.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to nothing in particular (maybe Burn Notice on the DVR?), tomorrow my plans include hosting my dad for an early Father’s Day dinner and a movie at our house and Sunday, I want to have no particular plans, and have a nice day anyway!

It really is a weekend without much of an agenda around here – what about for you?

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  1. LOL just coming by to check out your Friday Fillin and there was that same ARC we got LOL.
    And no one wants it!!!!!!!! It sits in my car because I am so ready to mail it off, but I have a feeling it will be my companion in the car for awhile. If you happen to get more than one request for it let me know, and I'll mail mine to one of them if I still have mine!!

    And I agree about the rude Cust. Service.. and it seems to be a common occurrence these days. It is so sad. No wonder we buy everything via the internet these days.
    Otherwise.. enjoy your date with Dad, my Fill in is here at The Burton Review.
    Happy Weekend!!

  2. Interesting niche book selections. I hadn't thought about a preference for settings, but now that I think about it, if it includes Venice, I WANT to read it. 🙂

    Have a great weekend.

  3. I just reviewed Escape, so I'm looking forward to reading your take on it.

    The Unit and A Sense of the Mysterious are both on my wish list!

    I received two unsolicited books from the same publisher this week (both paperbacks, not ARCs) and I'm not sure what to do with them. The one I really don't want to read is a brick, so I'm unwilling to spend money on mailing it to someone else and so far none of my local blogging friends want it! (The worst part is I'd already mentioned to the publisher that I didn't want them to send me unsolicited books and they'd agreed not to do it.)

    Thanks for reminding me that it's Father's Day this weekend and have fun with your dad!

  4. Marie B – So far, I have no takers for that ARC either, but if I get two offers I'll send one your way! I really wasn't overjoyed to get this one, but I was glad to find someone else in the same boat :-).

    Karen H (Scobberlotcher) – I had some trouble figuring out my niches, as I mentioned, but Memphis did seem to fit there, since it's usually a particular draw for me.

    Avisannchild – I'll be sure to include a link to your review of Escape when I post mine.

    I'm not sure I understand randomly sending out unsolicited books. Is it the "better to ask for forgiveness than permission" concept in action, or something? Seems more like a potential waste of postage to me.

    It's actually Father's Day next weekend, but we weren't sure if we'd be in town, so we decided to do something with my dad this weekend instead. My husband's kids will be with us on Father's Day weekend, so we can focus that time on their dad :-).

  5. I keep meaning to stop by and say hi but keep forgetting, but also wanted to say how I love that you include your weekly memes in one post. Makes it a lot easier to read them.

  6. I can't wait to read your review for The 19th wife, Florinda. I'll be curious to read your thoughts on The Unit. I'm hearing good buzz about it, but nothing concrete just yet. I love your Reading Status Report. Would you mind if I copy you, if I do do it? Of course I'll give you credit. 🙂

    I sometimes get unsolicited ARCs. Sometimes they look like books I will enjoy, but other times, not so much. I hope you find a home for yours! I love your Starbucks routine. What a great idea! Sometimes I wished I liked coffee or tea.

    I need to adopt a "give away after reading policy" since We'll likely be having to move soon. Breaking that habit of keeping books is not easy though, let me tell you! I don't easily give up on books either. I have a few I've started that I hope to get back to someday–one that's hit that two mark just like The Historian has for you. 🙂 Others, I know I never will finish and those I usually give away.

    I love Italian food. Hubby and I stopped at the Olive Garden late last night for dinner. I don't know what it is, but being on vacation with my husband has turned me into a night owl. We eat really late and stay up until the wee hours of the morning. I still get up early, but I usually go back to bed for a nap at some point during the day. Lazy, lazy, lazy. I need to start turning my schedule back around or else I won't be good for anything come Monday when I have to be at work at 7 a.m.

    I hope you are enjoying your day off! Have a great weekend, Florinda.

  7. Jules – Glad you stopped by :-). I've been doing it this way for awhile – it works with my posting schedule, and people do seem to like it.

    Gautami – I should have the review up next week. It's a fascinating story.

    Janet – Leave a comment on the review after you finish the book, and tell me what you thought of it!

    Wendy (Literary Feline) – I read The 19th Wife for a TLC Book Tour; the review will be up on Monday, but I'll say now that I found it utterly compelling.

    I'd be flattered if you adapted the Reading Status Report! It was just my twist on the recaps that I see a lot of other book bloggers do, particularly in the Sunday Salon, but since I don't participate in that I came up with my own thing :-). And of course, as an accountant, I had to call it "Bookkeeping"!

    For some reason, I just can't bring myself to quit The Historian, but it never seems to be the right time to pick it up again, either. Weird…

    The only time books aren't fun is when you have to move them. My last big donation to the library was right before we moved, actually.

    I can't be a night owl. I was dozing off on the couch this evening at 8:30, watching Burn Notice, which is anything but boring – I just couldn't keep my eyes open! I did have a nice day off, though – didn't do very much except read and go out to do a little shopping (I had a Borders coupon :-).).

  8. Emily – I don't accept all that many review books, and a fair amount of the books I read and review are my own. But if I accept an offer, or request a review copy, I WILL review it, so I try to pick books I think I'd want to read and like. It usually works out, but even if I don't like it I try to be diplomatic.

    Since I never did ask for this ARC, though, I don't consider it "accepted for review," so I don't feel obligated.

  9. I am loving the Unit, so I look forward to your thoughts. I totally leave my house to read books…can't get them read when the computer is distracting me…terrible, huh?

  10. Amy – And THAT is a big part of the reason I enjoy my "reading breakfasts" at Starbucks – I'm not being distracted by the computer :-). I totally understand!

    I should be starting on The Unit shortly. The synopsis reminded me a little of Never Let Me Go, which I was intrigued by but didn't love, so I'm curious to see if they really are all that similar. I'm interested in seeing what you think of it too!