Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a meme started over on Should Be Reading that presents a different literary-themed question every week.

This week’s question is: What attracts you to a book blog? What puts you off in a book blog? Do you share personal stuff on your book blog?

If your blog looks anything like this amazing store display, chances are I’ll keep reading.

Nowadays, anyone can create a WordPress or Blogger account and start inundating the world with unsolicitated commentary, myself included. Much to my delight, book blogs abound, but as both a blogger and an avid reader of my fellow blogs, I know all too well the problem posed by the consistent deluge of new bloggers. Even many of those blogs that have been around for a few years and grown a sizable following are often not to my liking, despite being extraordiarily popular with readers and publishers alike. So what, in my opinion, makes for a good book blog?

I don’t want to sound like a literary snob, but to me, the main reason why I reach out to fellow bloggers is for reviews. I love reading what other people think about the books that I’m reading or those that are on my TBR list. It’s how I organize my reading schedule, find new authors, and reminisce about worlds and characters that I’m not yet ready to let go of. Unfortunately, while I think it’s great that so many people are choosing to channel their energy into blogs focused on the literary realm, so many bloggers seem to neglect thoughtful, incisive reviews in favor of cover reveals, author spotlights, and other posts that reign in viewership but do little to discuss the works themselves. Of those bloggers who do review, I often find myself crossing a blog off my potential follow list if the reviewer merely summarizes the work without discussing his or her personal reactions. Another pet peeve is when a reviewer peppers the review with gushing adjectives that make me feel as if I am reading a middle high school diary entry.

Another way in which bloggers tend to get my attention is if the blog is visually striking in a clean, organized way. I detest clicking on a link that leads to a website where fonts clash, colors abound, sidebars are littered with buttons, and I feel adrift in a chaotic cacophany of visuals. I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, and perhaps that applies to book blogs as well, but when I find a blog that seems to share my visual aesthetic, I am much more likely to return for future visits.

As far as my own blog goes, I try not to share too much personal information. I have mentioned random tidbits here and there, but for the most part I like to keep my anonymity, which seems like a good strategy amidst the recent blogger/author scandals.

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Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a meme started over on Should Be Reading that presents a different literary-themed question every week.

This week’s question is: What question(s) would you like to see asked in future Musing Mondays posts?

 

All of the questions that pop into my head seem to be character-related, which isn’t really a big surprise.

  • Is there a character that you absolutely love but that you cannot get a good mental picture of?
  • Do you tend to “cast” a book in your head as you read, or do you try to avoid associating characters with people you actually know (either personally or through the media)?
  • We’ve already discussed which characters we tend to see ourselves in; do you think that others would compare you to a different character?
  • Do you take notes while you read?
  • Which character(s) do you think deserve their own spinoff book or series?
  • Have you ever read a book after watching the movie/television version only to find that you don’t like the book as much as the adaptation?

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a meme started over on Should Be Reading that presents a different literary-themed question every week.

This week’s question is: 

What are you currently reading? Is it any good? Would you recommend it?

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I’m between books at the moment, but I’ve got one of my absolute favorites queued up to read later this week. I recently discovered a young adult-focused book club that meets in my town. I have been meaning to join a book club for years. Yet every time someone reminded me of this fact, I would find excuses: the only ones I knew of were too far away, they only read general fiction, they met on days I was unavailable. Well, now I have no excuse to avoid book clubs as I found one close-by that meets on the weekend, particularly as this month’s selection is Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I first read Howl’s Moving Castle on a car trip a few years back, and I was shocked when we reached our destination because I had become so thoroughly engrossed in the story. Howl’s Moving Castle is witty and whimsical and so unexpected in its execution, and Howl is one of my favorite literary characters of all time.
While browsing through my regular book blogs this morning, I came across this wonderful post by The Readventurer comparing the book and film versions of Howl’s Moving Castle. I have to agree with the post: while I like the movie, the book will forever hold a special place in my heart. Even Christian Bale’s dulcet tones cannot eclipse the epic awe of Jones’s story as it unfolds on the page.

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a meme started over on Should Be Reading that presents a different literary-themed question every week.

This week’s question is: 

Have you ever read a book that, at the time, you didn’t feel a strong connection towards, but as time goes by you find yourself thinking about it a lot?

I don’t think so, to be honest. My reactions toward books rarely tend to get better over time; if anything, I’m likely to read a book that I had looked back on with fond memories and find that it’s no longer quite as special as I had remembered it to be. I can’t think of an instance where the reverse was true, though it would be nice if it happened to me more often. My love, when given, tends to flare while I’m reading, not after I’ve finished.

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a meme started over on Should Be Reading that presents a different literary-themed question every week.

This week’s question is: When you’re stuck for a book to read next, what do you do?

Ah, the dreaded book bind. You want to read, but you’re not really in the mood to read…well, anything.  This happens to me more than I would like to admit, usually when I’ve burned my way through all of the highly-anticipated additions to my TBR pile and am left with the ones that seem to be permanent residents.  Being a genre reader, I also often get stuck in a funk regarding particular genres.  I’ve got a bunch of urban fantasies lining my bookshelves that I definitely want to read at some point, yet that I haven’t felt the urge to pick up for months now.  Aside from my standby favorite series and authors, I find I have difficulty getting into a lot of urban fantasies lately.  Of course, I go through this phase repeatedly with my young adults, contemporaries, high fantasies, and historical romances as well.

The worst is when I am in a definite genre mood yet there doesn’t seem to be anything that fits the bill. This usually happens when I have a craving for a particular book that I loved, yet I don’t simply want to re-read; I want the experience of falling in love with a new world, new characters, and a new story. Usually when this happens, I’ll either give up on reading for the day and troll goodreads in search of more books that fit the genre, or I’ll give in and reread the book that inspired the mood in the first place. If I try to shoehorn a different genre into my reading schedule, the odds are good that I’ll have to put it aside for another day.

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a meme started over on Should Be Reading that presents a different literary-themed question every week.

This week’s question is: Do you set goals for yourself while reading? For example, “I want to get this book finished this weekend,” or “I will read x pages today.” Why or why not?

I’d say that I do set goals for myself, although by and large they tend to be somewhat ambitious on a book-by-book level. I’m not a patient reader, and so if I start a book, I will endeavor to finish it that same day. For this reason, I don’t tend to set page-limit goals. However, I definitely set a goal for the number of books I wish to read in a given week. Thanks to the “It’s Monday! What are you reading?” meme that I participate in, every Monday I set out my week’s worth of desired reading. I have to admit, while organizing my reading schedule in this manner can be helpful in allowing me to scrutinize and prioritize my TBR pile, I often find that my mood has shifted by the time I actually get time to read. I’m not quite sure what my success rate is for reading the exact books I planned out for the week ahead, though I don’t think it ultimately matters as long as I’m consistent in getting some reading done, whatever form it happens to take.

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a meme started over on Should Be Reading that presents a different literary-themed question every week.

This week’s question is:

I read an article, this past week, about book covers, and the difference between print & digital covers; about how the digital covers have almost disappeared entirely, while publishers decide to just skip right to the content. 

What do you think about this? Do you think the book cover is “dead”? Do you care whether the “covers” on digital books exist or not?

If you have the time, read the article and then share your thoughts! 

While I find the above-mentioned article interesting, I don’t agree with many of its points. Perhaps this is partially a symptom of my vehement distaste for (and thus, ignorance regarding) ereaders. Yet I feel that the book cover is an integral facet of the reading experience that has and will continue to endure, regardless of the platform our reading material inevitably takes on.

Despite the axiom never to judge a book by its cover, I frequently find myself doing so, and I don’t think I’m alone. More often than not, this results in dragging me into a story whose substance doesn’t fulfill the promise of its beautiful cover art, yet whether the book is good or not, the important thing is it got me reading. Covers generate excitement. Venture onto any book blog geared toward young adult fiction and you will find yourself presented with a panoply of upcoming release covers. Enthusiasm is tangible the week of a cover release, and many bloggers vie for the opportunity to be the first to present a cover reveal. Cover artists such as Chris McGrath and Dan Dos Santos have become as recognizable in the genres they design for as the authors themselves. While more readers today are choosing digital formats for their books, that doesn’t mean that cover art is forsaken. Honestly, the majority of titles I stumble across in my searches for galleys have cover art; however, the quality of the cover is by no means a given. Unfortunately, self-published titles today can largely be pinpointed (and oftentimes ignored) due to the self-produced look of their covers. Still, even the ugliest of photoshopped covers represents an attempt to visualize the story that lay within.

While the author of this article seems to consider the eventual disappearance of cover art a foregone consequence of the increasing reliance on digital book formats, I personally haven’t witnessed a decrease in prevalence of cover art for the genres I read. If anything, I’ve noted a shift in the conception of cover art as a static medium to a dynamic one. For instance, the release of Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin earlier this year was accentuated by an enhanced, interactive cover for the digital edition. I’ve seen this phenomenon several times this year in young adult fiction and believe that it will soon make its way into other genres as well, particularly given the abundance of people who enjoy the tactile experience of utilizing apps.

I am an avid book collector. I enjoy being surrounded by physical books, displaying them in my home, and knowing that I can pull one off the shelf any time I feel the urge to delve into another world. For me, the experience of reading a book begins with the cover; it’s an art form unto itself. I don’t foresee cover art becoming obsolete, even if physical book sales continue to decrease. In any case, I have my fingers crossed.