30 Apr 2013

Top Ten Words/Themes That Trigger Book Buying

Saw this Top Ten at Giraffe Days and thought it was brilliant! It was originally posted at The Broke and the Bookish as "Top Ten Words", but Giraffe Days expanded it to Words/Topics, and I approve of that alteration ;) There are absolutely some topics/themes that make me instantly attracted to a book.

  1. Books
    I love books about books, and possibly fiction a tiny bit more than non-fiction (although "Ex-Libris" by Anne Fadiman is terrific!). Books like "People of the Book" (Geraldine Brooks) and "The City of Dreaming Books" (Walter Moers) are among my favourites.
  2. Amnesia
    GiraffeDays mentioned this, and I have to agree. I feel drawn to it in a way I can't quite explain. ... Unless the amnesia turns out to be schizophrenia-induced though. That's a cop-out along the lines of "And then he woke up and it was all a dream" and has unfortunately been used in a few too many books.
  3. Letters
    Epistolatory novels are right up my aisle. From "Daddy Long-Legs"/"Dear Enemy" (Jean Webster) to "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" (Mary Ann Shaffer) - I love them all.
    Not just letters either - it's the same with books made up of journal entries. I LOVED Bram Stoker's "Dracula", because it was a bit of everything :)
  4. Wacky/Long Titles
    Actually it was writing the above that made me thing of this. I picked up books like "TGL&PPPS", "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" (Mark Haddon) and "The Hundred-Year-Old Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" (Jonas Jonasson) purely because of their titles. Fortunately none of them have disappointed me yet ;)
  5. Knitting
    Not just knitting, but most apparent with knitting. It must be a craft thing...or rather, the social aspect of doing a craft, but I just love reading books with knitting circles, scrapbooking societies etc.
    The only problem with this kind of book is that I'm always of two minds! Do I want to read? Or do I want to knit? Both!!! I really need to learn how to do both!
  6. Dystopia (Post-Apocalypse)
    I've been on a dystopia/post-apocalypse kick lately (I know they aren't exactly the same, but they overlap enough for me to never be quite sure whether a book is one or the other or perhaps both), and there have been very, very few that I didn't love.
  7. New Zealand
    Granted, this is mostly when I feel particularly homesick but everything else being equal I'm more drawn to a book that takes place in New Zealand than to a book that takes place almost anywhere else.
    Soul-Country indeed :)
  8. Boarding Schools
    For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by the life at boarding schools - even before I attended one myself. I still love reading about them and one of the appeals of Harry Potter was definitely all the descriptions of life at Hogwarts.
  9. Cruise
    Possibly because I've always wanted to go on a cruise myself. One of these days...
    (Yes, I'm kidding with the example, but only kinda... after all, this WAS my first introduction to the topic and quite possibly what caused it to be a trigger)
  10. Happiness Project
    This is happiness projects as a theme rather than as the actual words (although I do love Gretchen Rubin's two books :) ). Memoirs of people who go on a quest - mentally or physically - to improve their own happiness. "Julie & Julia" (Julie Powell) and "Changing Gears" (Nancy Sathre-Vogel) are two excellent examples of this genre. If you have any other recommendations, please let me know! :)

27 Apr 2013

Mini-Challenge - Winner!

Congratulations to Agnes, you won the Best and Worst Cover mini-challenge!

Please leave me a comment with the email address you want me to send the book to.

Thank you all for playing along :) Feel free to keep leaving comments if you feel like it :)

Read-a-thon Mini-Challenge: Best and Worst Covers

After having participated and enjoyed several read-a-thons, I decided to sign up and volunteer for a Mini-Challenge this year - fully expecting that hosting one will be just as much fun as participating in one :D

I've written about covers before. How we all make judgments based on looks even though we know we shouldn't, and how fortunately sometimes we give a book a shot despite the cover, and discover it was ALL worth it [link].

However, quite often different editions of the same book will have different covers, and sometimes one of those covers is as gorgeous as the other is hideous.

Just check out Under the Dome by Stephen King as an example. I love the hardcover edition
But am really, really unimpressed by the paperback edition.

Or Outlander by Diana Gabaldon where the original cover was vibrant and colourful
and later editions were just... dull!

And don't even get me started on this hideous cover of Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery which any Kindred Spirit hated to see on their beloved book.

SO! Your challenge - should you choose to accept it (which I hope you will!) - is to look up one of the books you're reading for the read-a-thon on Goodreads or Amazon, pick out two or three covers and describe which one you like the best, which one you like the least and why.

The challenge will run until 10pm Central European Summer Time (or 2 hours in other words) at which time the winner will be selected randomly from all entries.

Your choice of any one of the following:
Gone by Michael Grant (PDF)
The Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce (EPUB, LIT)
More Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (EPUB)
Under the Dome by Stephen King (EPUB, MOBI)
Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson (MOBI)

(NB: If you'd like a certain book, but can't read the format, download Calibre. It'll convert books from pretty much any format to pretty much any other format - and it's completely free too! I highly recommend it :) )

Leave a comment with either your answer or a link to your blog post with the answer and which book you would like if you win :)

Happy Reading! :-)

Dewey's ReadAThon - Progress Report

Dewey's Readathon is almost upon us! Just 15 more minutes :) I'm all set - books have been found, snacks put out, dinner's in the crockpot and all that's left for me to do is to wait for the clock to turn to 2pm CEST.

Of COURSE I'll be reading in the library ;) Is there a more appropriate spot to pick? Besides, that leaves DH the free use of the TV without disturbing me ;) Love that the sun is streaming in - that makes this room the brightest and nicest room in the house :)

Hour 1 (2pm): I know from experience that it's best to start with a book that I know is/will be a pageturner, and since I've been wanting to reread Catching Fire for quite awhile in preparation for the movie release later this year, I figured that now was the perfect opportunity :)

Introductory Meme
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Copenhagen, Denmark
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Actually probably "Catching Fire". I've been wanting to reread that for ages.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Chili Chips and Peanut M&Ms
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I'm a 33-year-old bookworm who loves knitting and watching The Big Bang Theory... although not all at the same time.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? This is my fourth read-a-thon. I'm not doing anything different from the last years - it seems to work just fine :D

Hour 2 (3pm): 111 pages read. Katniss and Peeta have just returned from the Victory Tour. Just as good as I remembered it :)
The first challenge is an oldie but goodie - Book Spine Poetry, hosted by Ballet Bookworm. Using at least 3 books, make a short book poem from the titles. This has been a reoccurring challenge all 4 years now :) So with no further ado, here's my contribution:

Hour 3 (4pm): Another 116 pages read bringing me to a total of 227 and just under halfway through the book. I keep telling newcomers to start with short books, yet I pick a long one for myself.... go figure ;) I was right in assuming it'd be a page turner even as a reread - I'm having no problems at all keeping my attention focused on it.

This hour's challenge is from Book Journey and is the familiar "Book Appetite" challenge:
Come up a menu to go along with your current read or one of the books in your reading pile for today. Now... imagine that you have friends coming over to discuss the book with you. You have prepared food and beverage items to go with your meeting...

Book title and author Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. It seems almost obscene because of the many starving people in it, but so much food is mentioned as well!

The menu... well, we'll start off with Mockingjay cookies as people arrive. Dinner will be served once everybody is here.
For appetizers we'll have the pumpkin soup that Katniss fell in love with at the Victory Tour dinner.
Main course is roasted turkey - just as if Gale had gotten it for us.
And for dessert I'll make some sugar buns like the ones Peeta made for Katniss.

Of course the background music will be specially chosen from the soundtrack from the Hunger Games movie - especially Rue's theme.

As an after-dinner drink I'll be serving a special variety of white russian nicknamed "Russian Haymitch" in rememberance of the white liquor he drank.

Hour 4 (5pm): Mmmmm... the crockpot meal is really starting to smell fantastic now! I'm making Sun Dried Tomatoes and Chicken Pilaf and can smell the tomato-basil-garlic mixture - yum! It'll be ready in about 2 hours, so that should give me plenty of time to finish my current book. I've managed another 90 pages these past 40 minutes. From the sounds coming from the living room I can hear that DH has turned on the TV to watch his weekly football (=soccer since we're in Denmark), so I'm guessing he isn't missing me too much ;)

As for the challenge, Geeky Blogger asks us to re-title our current read. I guess mine would be "Katniss Gives the Finger to the Capitol and Once Again Saves Peeta's Life".... mostly because, like Geeky Blogger herself said, I don't have to worry about the number of words taking up all the room on the cover ;)

Hour 5 (6pm): I seem to average 2 pages a minute pretty consistently, which means that I should be able to finish Catching Fire in another 20 minutes or so :) Weirdly enough I don't love it quite as much as on my first read-through, but it's still definitely a captivating read. I haven't quite decided what's next, but probably either "Knitting" by Anne Bartlett, "Joy for Beginners" by Erica Bauermeister or "Debt of Bones" by Terry Goodkind. Have any of you read any of those and can make recommendations?

Reading isn't the most flattering activity ever, but Andi and Heather asked us to post self-portraits for our hour 5 challenge so... here goes :)

Hour 6 (7pm): "Catching Fire" is done :D And I immediately picked up "Debt of Bones". It's a really quick read, so I'm already almost half way through. I'll have to break for dinner now, and a single episode of BBT. I'll be back at 8pm with my very own challenge for hour 7 :-D

But first this hour's challenge - the ever-popular Book Puzzle... This one should be fairly easy ;)

No prices for guessing ;)

Hour 7 (8pm): Note to self - 5 hours on HIGH is too much for something with rice. They'd pretty much disintegrated. Ah well, it still tasted just fine :) No reading done this past hour, but I thought I'd give a small shout out to the mini challenge I'm hosting: Best and Worst Covers.

Hour 8 (9pm): Finished "Debt of Bones" at around the half-hour mark, and after a bit of hemming and hawing (and checking out some of the answers to my mini-challenge :) ) picked up "Running out of Time" by Margaret Petersen Haddix. I'm only 27 pages into it, but so far it seems good. Very "The Village"'ish.

This challenge is yet another Book Sentence challange - cohosted by Midnight Book Girl and The Fake Steph. I searched my bookshelves (how I love not having them double stacked any longer!) and came up with the following:
(Not sure how well it shows, it says: "The Novice Missing. Fear Kidnapped!"... and yes, that is a Sweet Valley High book you spotted at the bottom there... what can I say? I'm a child of the 90s.)

Hour 9 (10pm): Just over half-way through "Running Out of Time". I like it, but am wondering how it'll end. It's fascinating in a creepy kind of way... but captivating so perfect for a read-a-thon :)

The mini-challenge for this hour is a yoga challenge. That's not really my thing, so I think I'll skip this one.

Hour 10(11pm): This is where the spring read-a-thon starts getting tricky. The autumn one tends to start an hour earlier (due to summer time) so I don't tend to run into "I want to go to bed" problems quite as early. Usually I manage to stay awake until the mid-way challenge... not sure I'll manage that this time. Especially as I have to leave for church at 9am at the very latest. One of these days I'll manage to plan well enough ahead that I don't have Sunday School during a readathon! ;)

Aaaanyway, I'm going to keep reading for at least an hour longer - we'll see how long I hold out after that. In the past hour I've finished "Running Out of Time" and really enjoyed it. It had a couple of twists I had NOT seen coming. But great book! Now I've turned to an ARC of "School Spirits" by Rachel Hawkins that I'm reading for Netgalley. I'm only 5% into it so far (~15 pages), so much too early to say anything about it, but I enjoyed her Hex Hall trilogy, so I'm optimistic :)

This mini-challenge was a Book Cover Quiz which I sucked at majorly. I could only recognize 5 out of 17. I'm not impressed.

Hour 11 (Midnight): Heading off to bed shortly. Thought about sticking around for the mid-way challenge, but DH will be going to bed soon and as he's getting up at 5am tomorrow I thought I might as well get my few hours of sleep together with him :) If I feel REALLY motivated I might even get up at the same time and start reading before church... but I'm not sure I even believe that myself! However, I don't have any plans after the read-a-thon ends tomorrow, so a nap in the afternoon would be a real possibility. Anyway, we'll see. I'm currently at 37% of "School Spirits" and too tired to figure out what that is in actual page numbers - guess that'll come sometime tomorrow.

The challenge is fun and easy though - take a photo of the book and place I'm reading. Well the "place" is still my library, so that's the top photo, and here's a nice shot of my Kindle and the other books I've gotten out during the course of the read-a-thon. Thanks, Book Monsters for this challenge :)

Hour 12 (1am): Turned out DH wasn't quite as ready to go to bed as I'd thought he was, so here I am anyway :) Now at 50% of "School Spirit" - that kind of maths I CAN do - even when tired ;)

Mid-Event Survey
1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?
Very sleepy. It's waaay past my bedtime, so this will be my last hurrah for today.
2) What have you finished reading?
3.5 books so far :)
3) What is your favorite read so far?
Probably "Running Out of Time" by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Well written and engaging.
4) What about your favorite snacks?
Gotta love peanut M&Ms ;)
5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!
Can't say it's a new discovery, but Borough of Books is always worth a visit :)

Hour 19 (8am) Hello again! Did you miss me? I certainly didn't get enough sleep, but what does that matter when I have the chance to READ! ;) ... Well, until I'll be leaving for church in about an hour anyway ;)

The Bookish Diaries asked to see:
*The Books you have Read
*The Books you still have to Read
*The Food that you have eaten and maybe even the snacks you started with.
*Take a picture of that spot you have called home these last few hours.

... I'm going to change the last one to "that spot I have called home during the readathon" though, as I don't particularly feel like posting a photo of my bed ;)

Anyway, here goes - in one easy photograph:
I sat in that corner all day yesterday - cuddled up under blanket once the sun moved away from the couch. Three books read (one on the Kindle), one book currently reading (Kindle) and probably no books "still to be read"... I think I'll manage to finish the one I'm currently reading, but that'll probably be it. The peas in the pod and chips are all gone, but there's still more juice and peanut M&Ms :)

Hour 24 (1pm): Almost done - both with the readathon and my current book. Just 1 hour and 40 pages left. I'll be able to finish that with time to spare and might even be able to cram another book in there :) It's been a good readathon - I've managed to spend a good percentage of the time reading, and I've enjoyed all the books I've read!

With the end of the readathon comes the traditional end-of-event meme - so here goes :)
Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 12+. I don't think I've stayed up past hour 12 yet. By that time it's between 1-2am and I need to get my sleep... especially if I'm getting up at 8am to go to church.
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? "Running Out of Time" by Margaret Peterson Haddix, definitely. And come to think of it, probably also her "Among the Hidden" series.
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Not improve as such, but it could be fun to have a readathon that ran during a different time period.
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The cheer-leaders were really active - it was great to get comments from them all the time :)
How many books did you read?. 4. If I can find one that takes 20 minutes to read I might make it to 5 ;)
What were the names of the books you read? See below.
Which book did you enjoy most? "Running Out of Time" - great read!
Which did you enjoy least? "Debt of Bones". Not that it was bad, just not as good as the others.
If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A
How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? VERY likely! If I'm at all able to, I'm in :) I'll participate as a reader, and might do a mini-challenge again. That was fun! :)


Books read: Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins (472), Debt of Bones - Terry Goodkind (116), Running Out of Time - Margaret Peterson Haddix (192), School Spirits - Rachel Hawkins (304)
Pages read: 1133 + 40 minutes of an audiobook
Time spent reading: 11h0m
Currently reading: "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop" by Fannie Flagg & "Storm Front" by Jim Butcher (audiobook)