If this doesn't work, then I'll replace it with milk.
Seriously, though, I've been doing pretty good this year by my own standards. In the last couple of months, I've read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, The Breakaway, The Book Thief, a novella by Nina Barberova, and I'm partway through Cocke & Bull and Falconer.
I'm trying to figure out how to review these books in a way that writer's might appreciate. Maybe I'll do an analysis of the writing techniques or something.
Does anyone have any ideas?
I am an awful reviewer, so I can't help you there! haha. And I think I read tooooo much...especially when I'm procrastinating with my writing which has been often lately. I haven't really been "in the mood," and I'm not one of those writers who can force myself.ReplyDelete
But good luck to ya! The glass of water...not sure that would work for me if I were in your shoes, but here's hoping it works for you!
April, I may be wrong, but I hear that a lot of writers read far more than they actually write. Your course may be the best one. I can't force myself to write either. Those are usually the only days I spend a lot of time reading.ReplyDelete
If the books are boring you, then you probably ought to put them down and choose something else. Unless I have to read something for a class, I no longer force myself to read books I don't like. Why bother? Life's too short.ReplyDelete
As for reviewing, well, I go over the book's strengths and weaknesses. You're welcome to drop over to my blog and read some reviews if it'll give you any ideas. I also love the book reviews at bookshelvesofdoom.
You're doing better than me. I might have read four or five books so far this year. For some reason I read much slower lately than usual.ReplyDelete
This is an alien concept to me. I've read 34 books so far this year. I usually have 2-3 going at once, often more. There's the bus commute book, the evening read-while-the-baseball-game-is-on-in-the-background book, the bedroom nightstand book. There's one in the bathroom, too. If I didn't have a full-time job, I'd probably read more.ReplyDelete
I suspect it must be the books you are choosing. Try something different! I've certainly stopped reading books after the first chapter or so, but that's rare.
If it were me, I'd put a nice dark chocolate truffle on the nightstand which I wouldn't be allowed to eat until I'd finished a book.
Don't do the milk thing unless you want to end up in the hospital.ReplyDelete
I'm with those who've said to choose different books and not force yourself through the ones you're putting down.
My rule of thumb on reading a book is if I get interrupted, am I resenting the interruptions and eagerly counting down the time span until I can get back to the book? If I'm not, if I'm in no hurry to get back to it, then I move on. There are too many books for me to waste time on characters or stories that I can't invest myself in.
I just clicked in from the reader to echo what others have said - if the book is that boring...I walk away.ReplyDelete
What's the point if you aren't enjoying yourself? There are *so* many books out there...
The English Teacher and Mizmak and Stephanie and Jamie,ReplyDelete
I do sometimes feel obligated to read contemporary fiction and often those are the books that bore me. I hate to say this, because I know a lot of people liked the book, but The Book Thief bored me. I kept reading through to see what all the hype was about. I didn't understand, and now I want to write about it to see what people saw in it. (That will be another post soon.)
Taryn, I'm also an extremely slow reader. I probably get through 10 pages in half an hour.ReplyDelete
Domey: Well, now we are getting into deeper psychological territory. Why do you feel "obligated" to read contemporary fiction that you don't enjoy?ReplyDelete
I suppose that I have two categories of books - those I enjoy reading but would never want to write myself (e.g.natural history essays), and those I enjoy both reading and writing (e.g. mystery fiction). I can't say I feel obligated to read anything in either category.
Reading shouldn't feel like a college assignment - it should be fun. What was the last book you read that made you feel a sense of wonder? Make a list of all the books you truly got a big kick out of, and see if you can determine what they have in common, and then maybe you can find more like them.
Alex, I read Book Thief because it was recommended to me by two people I respect, both writers in my writer's group. As I was reading (and getting bored), I also looked up the book and saw that many people had read it and liked it. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I read Water For Elephants and The Kite Runner for the same reasons. I guess, to me, it's important to get a sense of what people are enjoying. It doesn't mean I'm trying to write like that. I'm not. But, I do feel the need to be plugged in to what's popular.ReplyDelete
Much of writing isn't the fun part for me. Reading what's popular isn't always fun. Copy editing isn't fun. Trying to get published isn't fun. Still, I do those things.
I have done what you suggested about the books I love. Ishiguro, Yoshimoto, Murakami, Lahiri, Bailey, Munro, Faulkner, Delillo, Tolstoy, and others have work that I truly love and want to read more of. That has helped me figure out what I want to do as a writer myself. It has been very useful!
Alex, by the way, feel free to debate me. If you can convince me to stop reading what's popular, you might be saving me a lot of time and irritation!ReplyDelete
Domey: You continue to intrigue me. I almost never choose books because they're popular; in fact, a book that is very popular is something I'll often steer clear of on the clearly unproven notion that if the hoi polloi like it, I'll hate it, because I am an elitist snob and not common at all.ReplyDelete
On the one hand, this has saved me from the likes of Dan Brown; on the other hand, it prevented me from discovering my enjoyment of J.K. Rowling until book 5.
I choose books based on 1) author familiarity (read 'em before), 2) reviews/recs by friends, 3) book jacket info and a quick read of the first few pages while standing in the bookstore.
I'll occasionally pick up a book that's gotten a lot of hype IF it looks like something I might like, but I won't buy it without reading the first page or two.
I confess I'm having a hard time grasping the concept of being plugged in to what's popular. I never look at bestseller lists or award lists or anything similar. Where's the fun and sense of exploration in following what everyone else is doing?
-Alex the Misfit Outcast Rebel
Also, I'll be stuck in a meeting for the next two hours, so feel free to tear apart my post at leisure!ReplyDelete
Aww, you have The Breakaway on there. I was impressed how fast you read it. :)ReplyDelete
I think the water idea is super gross, but hey, whatever works! Bribing yourself is actually pretty smart, and you know yourself better than anyone. I usually always finish books. I've noticed I'm less likely to finish if it's on my Kindle and I don't like it. It's not constantly on my shelf looking at me.
The conversation here has been really interesting, by the way!
I do see keeping up with trends as somehow valuable. I think I feel like I become aware of what the world is capable of and sort of what the world's values are. (Soon I'll do my Book Thief post which I started to write and then chickened out on.)
I see it this way: if a terrible disaster happens, like what happened in Japan, I feel like I have slightly more predictive power by having kept in touch with what the mainstream prefers. Just thinking about publication, they mainstream MAY control much of the book market. I want to know that. If I publish my own work, I want to know that it's not worth my time to reach out for those same people, that I'd have to search other avenues to find the smaller population that WOULD like my work.
Michelle, That's really interesting about the Kindle thing! I guess there's less commitment to it in a sense. And, yes, I was surprised by how quickly I read Breakaway too. And it was on my computer!ReplyDelete
Domey, I don't know how anyone can read 3 or 4 book simultaneously! I simply can't get out of the groove of one, to absorb another.ReplyDelete
That said, there are times when a book has been recommended to me (I rarely read what's popular--I have such a backlog of said referrals) and I get bored, but, like you, want to experience, or see for myself what it was that made someone I respect think it was share-worthy. So I keep reading, but there is a whole lot of skimming going on.
Don't know about the water thing. Maybe something more rewarding. Your favorite beverage. Commit to a certain number of pages, then reward yourself. Versus drinking scanky water over a period of a few days. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on Book Thief. It was far from boring - I thought. Given that you like Proust, it's probably a step down, a disappointment because it doesn't engage your brain.ReplyDelete
Are the books you find you can't finish, the ones that are too simple or don't engage your brain? Not esoteric enough? Me - I go back and forth between brain candy and the hard stuff.
Bridget, For stupid and childish reasons, I don't allow myself to skim. (Otherwise, it doesn't "count".) I keep trying to tell myself it's okay, but I'm stubborn.ReplyDelete
Robin, I do hope you'll chime in when I talk about Book Thief. I'll share my views, and I hope to hears from others as well because I wouldn't say the book was "bad". I don't mind a light read, but somehow with this book I felt cheated somehow.
Interesting. I've pretty much spent my whole life vaguely noticing what the mainstream is doing, thinking, and preferring and then steadfastly looking the other way.ReplyDelete
Everything I've ever read or heard about publishing indicates there is no predicting what will get bought and what will be popular based on what is currently selling or currently popular. I'm not sure it's worthwhile paying much attention to mainstream publishing or consumer tastes or trends; they change too quickly. In fact, all of publishing seems to be changing too quickly these days.
I don't read popular fiction either. I still have Eat, Pray, Love in my library (a gift) and I have yet to crack it open. I just now read The DaVinci Code. I also have two Anita Shreves and a Joyce Carol Oates to get through.ReplyDelete
I read when the whim strikes and I'm not writing. I can't read and write at the same time. I have tried reading for 45 minutes while picking up Monster Child at school, but that drives me crazy. I like to read a book in one sitting.
As for the water, that is disgusting, Domey. No offence, but yuck. Maybe you need a better reading place. A comfy chair with a great light instead of bed.
I wish I found more time to read. It's so difficult between my writing, school, the APUSH test coming up, blogging, homework, my life. I wish I could do nothing but read all day.ReplyDelete