BOOKKEEPING: The Reading Status Report
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)
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
Musing Mondays, hosted at Just One More Page: “Time”
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.
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”
This week’s question from Deb:
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.
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?