Sunday, May 31, 2009

BTT: Unread

Though I'm late in responding to this week's Booking Through Thursday prompt, I really wanted to reply to the question asking “Is there a book that you wish you could “unread”? One that you disliked so thoroughly you wish you could just forget that you ever read it?”

Indeed! Not only have I read one that I simply hated, but that experience finally taught me that not all books have to be finished. I can't remember how long ago it was, but following recommendations from people that I respected, I picked up a copy of Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen Donaldson, the first book in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. Thomas Covenant is the most unlikeable lead character that I have ever encountered. Yes, there have been despicable villains in many of the books I have read, but Covenant is supposed to be the ‘hero’—or rather the ‘anti-hero’ of this series.

So, I hated the main character and got really annoyed by his whinging throughout the book. He just kept moaning and complaining about all the bad things in his life, and there was nothing likable about him. But, I kept thinking, “Surely it will get better. Too many people said this was a good book.” But it didn't get better and when I read the last page, I felt like my time had been stolen from me.

While I couldn't get that time back, I did decide that I would no longer consider it a failure if I abandoned a book part-way through. It's rare that I give up on a book. I have been known to set one aside for a very long time and eventually return to it. But when I just know I can't find anything to enjoy in the book and I'm not interested in any of the sequels, I'm now willing to just admit I picked a book that isn't going to work for me and move on.

Friday, May 22, 2009

BTT: Book Gluttony

In last week's Booking Through Thursday prompt, participants are asked to respond to this question: “Book Gluttony! Are your eyes bigger than your book belly? Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them? Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself? Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?”

Oh my gosh! Am I ever guilty of book gluttony, particularly when I have a chance to pick up an eBook for free or nearly free. I am not shy to admit that I have a humongous TBR stack—actually one stack 4 feet high and two full bookcases. And that's just the books printed on paper. I'm now just as guilty of collecting electronic books for my Kindle and Sony readers. When I first bought my Kindle, I went out and downloaded many (MANY ... err MANY) public domain and creative commons books formatted for the Kindle. I've done the same for the Sony reader. But I'm also guilty of downloaded every free book I've been offered by and the eBook Store at Sony. I've downloaded books offered by the authors from their web sites. I can honestly say that I could be totally cut off from book stores and the Internet and I have enough books to keep me busy reading for at least two years.

I even have accepted the free books that aren't really the kind of books that I currently enjoy reading. In conjunction with their 60th birthday celebration, Harlequin Books gave away 16 romance titles. I downloaded them in various formats directly from the Harlequin web site, but I also downloaded them in Kindle format when the offer was extended through Now I have them ready to read on the Kindle and I won't have to bother with any format shifting of the versions I downloaded from Harlequin's site. I read very little of this type of romance novel, but I figured I didn't want to pass up the free books because some day in the future they may be just exactly what I want to read and then I'll have them readily available.

I actually do something similar with paper books and that's why I have such a large TBR stack. I'm an active book swapper at BookObsessed and I exchange from 4 to 10 books a month with like-minded readers. Sometimes I choose a book that I'm not ready to read and then it will go into my TBR stack until the spirit moves me and I pull it out to enjoy. Then, I swap it onward for another book. J and I enjoy many of the same books—well, I wish I could interest her in SF/F and she wishes I read more romance, but if you compare our reading lists you'll see that there are a lot of books in common. And then my mother-in-law shares books with me. She's likely to read many of the books I've received in swaps and I do have to admit that she's responsible for introducing me to Nora Roberts and Dorothea Benton Frank.

Moderation is not a word often applied to me, and especially not when it comes to books and reading. Fortunately, I don't feel that “gluttony” is such a bad word when applied to something that is so enjoyable and so good for me too.