Book Tag: Reader Problems

Book Tag: Reader Problems

I am currently traveling and supposed to be on holiday, but I had a moment to spare and decided to do a post so that I wouldn’t disappoint you guys, my dearest readers or just that one reader, who came out to my blog by mistake.

So here is the deal. I have been tagged by Dorka from Berries and Books to do a question and Answer session on Reader problems. All I had to do was reply to the questions truthfully and tag friends who would be interested in doing the tag. 

Well, I am nothing if not for truth and honesty *wink wink* and I don’t care if you guys are interested, or not. I AM tagging you, my bookish friends, because I wanna know more about you than just the books that books that you guys read.

Here are my answers.

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

Well you know me and system, they don’t work out very well. When I receive copies for review, I immediately ask for their preferred date for posting. I read them according those dates. And between every two books that I have been provided to review or so, I read a book that I choose to read or as I call it, for my pleasure.

Those books I pick for my pleasure only are based on my mood swings, and there are no systems that can tell me what I should read. Hence I have books shelved from the 2010s yet to be picked and books I got last week have been read. I sometimes wish I did the monthly ‘To Be Read’ post that some bloggers religiously do, but then I am not ready to face any more failures on account of not following the list. So the only rule that has been going well for me is ‘no rules’. Sticking to just that.

Another crazy fact about me, I have few books that I know I love crazily, or I am too excited (for years) to read that I don’t read because I don’t want it to end. I am terrified of the book withdrawal syndrome that I would face and the impending doom when the book ends. If I don’t begin it won’t end, right? I do these for Calvin & Hobbes, and this cartoon says exactly what I feel.

 

Reader problems
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2. You’re halfway through a book, and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

I have a problem. I can’t let go of books that do terrible things to me, not in a good way. I can’t stop reading how much ever bad the book is and continues to raise my blood pressure. But these I made my mind up not to torture myself if I don’t like the book. Thanks to that decision, I am now completing way lesser than my usual quota of books. *sigh*

3. The end of the year is coming, and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

I have been stuck here once or twice before, and last year I didn’t even complete my challenge even. That is okay, I tell myself now. But earlier I used to read like crazy to reach the goal. Luck has favored me mostly, and I have found some short stories that I now love, those I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

With the number of books that have been lying about in different places I have called home, I realize I have lost the appetite to collect (read as hoard) books. I still love buying books and calling them my own, but I have kinda switched over my obsession to E-books. At least you don’t have to leave them behind every time you move places. Oh, what was the question again?

I don’t really care much about the covers of books at all. I don’t understand the cover obsession at all, to be frank.

5. Everyone and their mother love a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

It has happened so many times, and it will happen again. I rarely have people with whom I share similar taste in books. And my need to share my thoughts about the books I read, loved or hated gave way to this blog. You readers are my go to listeners. You don’t have any other go but to read and then maybe send me hate comments, but you at least listen don’t you? I love you guys!

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

Rarely a book makes me all teary. But I am known to grin like an idiot when some character does or says something cheesy. I have had people wondering whom I am typing so many messages to, when all I would have been doing is sharing quotes from my favorite e-book to my friends or even just exporting them to Evernote. 

I may not be quite okay with people staring at me while I have a special moment with my book or e-book in public if only I realize they are doing that. Sorry, I am too engrossed in the book even to know that you are looking at me.

Also: I am the girl that walks into posts having her eyes glued to the mobile, that might or might not involve e-books. Don’t judge me.

 

Reader problems
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7. A sequel to a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?

This is exactly why I don’t read many books that are part of a series. Also read 5. I usually have my review up on my blog of the books I read and I can always come here for a refresher.

 

Reader problems
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8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people no when they ask?

I have very few friends who borrow books from me anymore. I used to borrow and not return them (gasp!). But now I don’t mind as long as they would read and not take care of my books, I don’t mind sharing.

Since the premise of the question says I don’t wanna share the book with them I just would tell them that I don’t own the book and it was a borrowed copy. I don’t mind lying to save my treasures. That is called survival instinct; it ain’t wrong FYIP.

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

Don’t start me on that. The beginning of 2017 saw my longest reader’s block period. I struggled to complete everything I picked. Then someone recommended a short story that blew me out of the world. It was kinda tough read, but then it broke my slump. ‘The chess’ was a god sent, and I have not even written a review for it because I am sure I would not do justice to it. Read it right away please.

 

Reader problems
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 10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

Usually, I don’t even know about the books until they are sent to me for a review, or someone I know has already read it. I don’t follow publication dates even. If I fancy a book, I get it, that is all. I don’t go by the hype. I know I don’t go by the book blogger/book nerd standards set by the internet world.

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

That depends on .. Actually, I have no clue; I am stumped. There are books that I start reading on the way home or the second I get my hands on them. And there are others that are in the pile that I may or may not eventually read. I did a shelf on Goodreads called I own for the books I have newly acquired so that I would get to them in an order, and then once I finish it, I would move it to read shelf. But DO NOT ASK me how well that has been working for me.

Phew, that was fun. Now I am tagging

Terri @ Terri Luvs Books

DJ @ Books and Bindings

Emily @ It’s Novel To Me

So chop chop. Go on, share your answers with a link to my post.

And even if you aren’t tagged by anyone but you wanna do this – consider tagged.

Book Tag: Reader Problems

Like it or not, reading is social now


Most of us read to escape into new worlds of our own. Imagine curling up in the bed with a cup of coffee and a book on a rainy day. (Scratch that, I don’t need a cup of joe if it would mean I have to stop reading while I sip the drink.) What could be better than that? Maybe sitting in a library amongst thousands of books with your nose buried in a book. Go ahead tell me what else could a book lover enjoy more?

I read comfortably in public, especially during our commute. Many of us do. Some readers put on their headset to drown the white noise, to drown the chaos around them, to focus better on their book. Few of us do not even need a headset, we zone off and turn deaf while we pick an interesting read until your mother (or someone else) pulls you back to Earth. Books and reading are our solaces, a Zen zone where nothing could go wrong or even if it did things would turn better before you reach the last page. Mostly. One way or the other.

As far as I remember I always had a book for a company when the going got any slower. Of course, there have been phases in my life when I enjoyed sharing the passion of reading with others by discussing whatever I read with them, but they have always been short-lived. I even started this blog to primarily talk about the books I read, since I couldn’t find anyone to listening to my rants. But things have changed. A lot. You ask why? Reading became social.

 

elgeewrites Like it or not, reading is social now Reading%2BAlone1
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Don’t get me wrong. I love being online as much as do, even more than the average Jane does. But still reading is a lonely activity for me. I like to choose my books to obsess hate or write about on my own. My reading interests do not confine to any one single genre. I read about the Holocaust with as much interest as I have about boys worshiping girls. I love Stephen King and Gillian Flynn as deep as my love for Agatha Christie and Mark Twain. I even read Warran Buffet for the heck of it. You get my drift? This means I get to ‘ ‘ship’ or ‘fangirling’ over too many characters.

Of course, social reading is fun and there is always something on your plate to read. You get to meet so many like minded people who will love join your tribe to defend the character you so much. Someone who keeps you updated with the latest gossip from the book world. A book turning into a TV series? You will know it before others. Oh, and the free books that you get to review!

 

elgeewrites Like it or not, reading is social now book%2Btoo
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Yet, reading these days could be exhausting.

Once I finish reading a book, and after having the proper emotional break down the book deserves, that includes but not limited to crying, grinning, shaking your head ‘cuz you can’t even‘, scared that you would be having nightmares and even understandable relief that it ended, I update that I have finished reading the book and what I thought about it in few words on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and only because Google is the Lord, Google+. And then talk about it in every one of the Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter groups that I am part of. Defend whatever my thoughts were and defend or accuse the characters’ behavior, as need be, in that book and the series. If someone doesn’t agree, of course, attack another character that the person loves and if you can, make them cry. Well, after all this is done, start the process over by writing a review and posting in all the channels mentioned above.

 

elgeewrites Like it or not, reading is social now Reading%2BSocial%2B1
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Well if you think that is too much, you have not heard the half of it. We just covered the process I go through for a book I read. There are books that I want to read because  I do, I have to read because everyone is reading it, I want to own because they look cute and go with my shelf and even books whose cover do not match with the covers of the books I own in the series. Then I follow the authors, their new releases and the requests I have to place and that I have received from the authors for review. Well, it is too tedious even to explain anymore, I give up trying to.

One of my coolest friends was telling me he stopped updating his Goodreads profile after seeing people desperately bumping their ‘read counts’  just to show off. How did a self-satisfying hobby turn into a community driven project so soon? Do we not desire to disconnect from the world anymore? Or have ‘the books’ become the next ‘cool sport’ to bond over? Is reading still a selfish, solitary process or a shared social experience for you? Let me know in the comment section.

Book Tag: Reader Problems

Why I do not rate books on my blog?

I started Musings Over Nothing as a personal catalog of the books that I read among other things. About 7 years ago (when I had not met Goodreads) I wanted a place to pour out all my thoughts and feelings about books, as if making my friends bored was not enough. And, I started writing book reviews.

A lot has changed since my first review (of sorts) that makes me cringe every time I read it. While some of the changes are what I call as impromptu, there are a few that have been made after careful consideration. One of those significant changes was the decision to not rate the books in my blog. And I should say it works great for me and there are no regrets at all. 
 
See, long ago I used to rate the books or what everyone calls as stars, like everyone else. But then things got complicated and I didn’t feel the rating system was not working well for me. I understand that people think rating gave a conclusive statement on if they should pick the book or not. But that is where exactly I don’t agree.
 
Why I stopped rating books
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My reviews usually consist of what I feel about the book in general. It then breaks down to what worked for me and what didn’t. I sometimes mention the particular crowd that the books may appeal to like if you love The book thief you might enjoy And the mountains echoed. There are caveats about the strong language or graphic violence. Oh, I worship some characters and boo some. I rant out a lot about the author’s writing style or how the editor messed up. Some reviews are clouded by the quotes that made me go gaga.
 
The rating system reduces all the above to a score or a star. When I say I had problems with the writing but one still might enjoy the fast paced storyline, the reader can make a choice. But when I slap a 2 star near the title the mind of the reader is made for them. Tell me, would you still pick the book?
 
Why I stopped rating books
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Much like the labels like the feminist, every rating system means something different. Most of my books that I have shelved in Goodreads would have a 3-star rating meaning I liked the book, and I might recommend it to some people, but the same 3-star rating means the book was okay. Now how you interpret the okay is up to you. But I usually give the same book a 4-star, which according to Amazon means I like it. Do you get what I mean?
 
Even if you take a particular system alone, say Goodreads, into account, no two books are alike. One can not like any two books in the same way. For example, I gave a 4-star rating to both A Dog’s tale, a classic by Mark Twain and The Grownup, a psychological thriller. Does that mean I like them both equally? Absolutely not! Even among the same genre, my rating can not be a reliable guide, without reading my review.
 
Why I Dont rate books
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I believe the reviews and rating systems by extension are sought out for a reason. To some authors, that reason may seem about their books getting more publicity. Some book promoters and review sites may consider their books only if they have a higher rating. I understand the point from their business angle, but reviews, at least to me, are more than saying ‘I lovvvvee the book’ or ‘It was a crap’ and toss a 4-star or 1-star as the case may be.
 
I know several reviewers, including me, who put a lot of hard work and thought while writing an honest review. For us, it is more than the informal ‘4-star trade’. Book reviews are here to create a healthy balance between helping the readers take an informed decision to read or not and letting the authors know their work is being discussed.
 
Why I stopped rating books
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I still add my long reviews on Goodreads and Amazon and I even use their rating system, but that stops there. Since I stopped rating books in my blog, to be honest; I feel liberated from having to justify the stars I gave or the vice versa.
 
What do you say? Do you think ratings or stars on books, or for that matter on anything, are important? How do you choose your product – stars or reviews? Let me know.
Book Tag: Reader Problems

10 reasons why I hate your book – Part 2

How often do you drop a book down because you could not take it anymore? Not in the positive, overwhelming, OMG I-need-a-moment kind. But more of a what-in-the-crap-did-I-read way that you reserve when hate books. The kind that made us wish we had the book in its physical form, so that we would have had the pleasure of throwing it against the wall.

How often do you hate books? What are your reasons? And what makes you decide to stop putting yourself through hell? Let us talk. Share on X

We pay for the sin of having not taken the hint when their friends warn us about the book in not so subtle ways. We want to taste the poison for ourselves. We are masochistic. We persevere. We suffer through books with half baked plots, overcompensating sex scenes, subplots that adds nothing but pages and what not.

10 reasons why I hate your books

Yet it does not stop us from reaching to the next book you have not heard reviews or rather not good reviews about. Now that is what they call ‘the adventurous life of a book lover’. We already discussed a few things that would make you stop reading a book, if you can help it. Here we are on the second part. Go on.

6) Show not tell me:

Why would you spend 25 lines saying what a badass your villain is when you can tell me what he did and I could form an opinion myself? We readers like visualizing the horrors your villain could unleash, not just accept your word for it. Now, Twilight lovers do not harm me but I have to add this excerpt hides away under the table

“You know Bella, Jacob?” Lauren asked—in what Iimagined was an insolent tone-from across the fire.
“We’ve sort of known each other since I was born,” he laughed, smiling at me again.
“How nice.”She didn’t sound like she thought it was nice at all, and her pale, fishy eyes narrowed.
“Bella,” she called again, watching my face carefully, “I was just saying to Tyler that it was too bad none of the Cullens could come out today. Didn’t anyone think to invite them?” Her expression of concern wasunconvincing.
“You mean Dr. Carlisle Cullen’s family?” the tall, older boy asked before I could respond, much to Lauren’s irritation. He was really closer to a man than a boy, and his voice was very deep.
“Yes, do you know them?” she askedcondescendingly, turning halfway toward him.
– Twilight, Stephenie Meyer.

I am going to ignore every other problem with the above prose and focus on the topic. What does Meyers tell us? Lauren is unlikeable. Yet she does not show us anything to help the fact. I am annoyed; Period!

5)I can not care less for your characters:

We all have heroes that we have fallen for, some that we have rooted for and even characters that we hate, sometimes for a reason or not. Maybe there are protagonists that we can not relate to, yet we understand them. I love roles that fall into the gray area, the broken ones and the one that breaks others.

Why I hate your book


But what I truly abhor are characters that I cannot feel anything for. Why would I want to read about people who do not do anything or just not interesting enough, for 150 pages or more?

4)Too crowded and suffocating:

We have all read books that have too many things going on. Too many sub plots and too many characters do overwhelm us, the readers. Imagine if only we had had a story for each of the seven dwarfs in the Snow White, would we have enjoyed it as much?

While JK Rowling did a commendable job indelving into so many sub plots, not all authors do that with such success, And to be honest, I have fallen too many a times nowharderfor the characters from the sub plot than the actual protagonists.

Yet the number of times I had to skim through the story of the side kick because it does not help the story move forward nor to understand the characters better is too many. They simply might have been filling the pages andbe distracting. If so, why would I have to read them to reach the end of the book?

3)What did I read now!:

One of the major issues I have with the YA and fantasy world is that I can’t make myself believe in them, this from someone who adores horror fiction and might possibly be scared that one could walk in and out of a picture frame.

Credibility of the story or plot doesn’t mean that these things should be able to happen in the real world, but they should be plausible in the world that the author has spun for me. For instance, I don’t care if vampires are real or not, but I do mind if you tell me vampires do not drink blood.

Why I hate your book


I hate books that has characters who are not credible – they do something quite not like themselves at all without proper reasons. Likewise, when books lack cultural and historical authenticity readers tend to stop getting into the characters. Book with no credibility means lazy writing, which is an excellent way to make me hate your book.

2) Plain bad writing and editing:

I linger in the doorway of Command, the high-tech meeting/war council room complete with computerized talking walls, electronic maps showing the troop movements in various districts, and a giant rectangular table with control panels I’m not supposed to touch.-Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

The above excerpt is a narration by Katniss, how are we supposed to ‘hear’ the ‘meeting/war’ part? Does she say slash? Does anybody around here say slash when you are talking to IRL? Minor quirks like these usually end up to form a huge ball of hatred even before I could even complete the book.

“So today is the day,” she says.
“Yes,” I reply.
“Are you nervous?” I stare into my own eyes for a moment.
…..
“No,” I say. “The tests don’t have to change our choices.”
“Right.” She smiles.
“Let’s go eat breakfast.”
“Thank you. For cutting my hair.”-Divergent by Veronica Roth

Brevity might be the soul of wit. But having to read conversations like the one above or the much infamous

“Sorry,” Brom apologized– Eragon,Christopher Paolini

Grammatically they might have no errors but they do nothing but make the readers interest drop as fast as it can.

1) Bad grammar:

Though we all dread the Grammar Nazis in the Internet forums and FB posts, bad grammar in books and manuscripts are still acceptable.

One can be able to tolerate a typo here and there but not those with terrible tenses, senseless smilies and cringe-worthy cliches.

To this day, I can never shake the connection between this boy, Peeta Mellark, and the bread that gave me hope, and the dandelion that reminded me that I was not doomed. –The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

While even the classic writers have once in a while chosen to break the rules of English grammar, the number of new age writers who argue that grammar 101 as a restriction to their free thoughts and writing style is simply appalling and their arguments are ridiculous.

Let’s Chat

How often do you quit a book that you do not enjoy? And what makes you decide to stop putting yourself through hell? When do you say “I hate your book”? Let me know in the comments.

Book Tag: Reader Problems

10 reasons why I hated your book – Part 1

I am, like several others here, a reading addict. I read everything I can lay hands on, though the number of books I read has become drastically fewer these days. I push myself to be selective about the books I choose to read, and I almost have a half read book always at my arm’s distance – be it on my mobile or the old-fashioned hard bound. 
 
 I almost never stop a book half way before completing it. I remember struggling to complete Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure, when I was in my 3rd grade, though I understood almost nothing about it. To this day I am a little bit skeptical about reading a play. 
 
But of late, I have realized that not all books deserve that endurance and am still teaching myself to let go if I do not enjoy what I read. It is a tough act, but I finally realized that books are like people. We love some, we put up with a few and then there are truly some that we wanna hurl across the hall. Most of us do not talk about those terrible books in our blogs, not as we are nice people but because we value our sanity more.
 
So, as much as I continue to feel guilty about the books I did not finish, I revisited them and tried to understand what makes us commit such blasphemy. I could summarize almost everything that I discussed with my fellow bibliophiles under a single head ‘bad writing.’ Some of my friends decide to stop reading a book if they are not intrigued by the first few pages, while others like me can persevere through them, even if they are poorly written – well mostly.
Bad writing is usually a combination of bland plot, characters without depth, unnatural dialogues or all above and more. Of course deciding what is bad writing is extremely subjective and we may never reach a consensus on that matter. While somehow the reader’s world agree that Twilight and Fifty Shades series are the worst written books, what turns you off, as a reader or a writer?
 
I am writing this series of posts because I feel compelled to and I do owe it to all the great books I love. Here are a few things that would make me love a book a lot lesser.
 

10) Trying too hard to sound clever

 
I must be the color of The Communist Manifesto. – Fifty shades of Grey, E L James
 
How hard is to say ‘red’? Won’t ‘I turned a shade of crimson’ suffice? Where did the communist manifesto even come from?
 
#Discussion: 10 reasons why I could not finish your book - Part 1
We all know the difference between being smart and sounding smart. If your writing made you feel smarter than your audience then there is something amiss. If your writing sounds like writing, rewrite it. 
 
I almost refrained from quoting this line from the same golden 50 Shades of grey, but I wanted to know. 
 

The elevator whisks me with terminal velocity to the twentieth floor. – Fifty shades of Grey, E L James

 
Ain’t terminal velocity something else?
 
9) Sentences that make me cringe:
 
I am not talking about graphic sex or violence imagery. Oh, them I could take. There is cutesy and there is crass, and there is a great distance between them. 
 

My inner goddess is doing a triple axel dismount off the uneven bars, and abruptly my mouth is dry – Fifty shades of Grey, E L James.

 
I can not think of one person who would describe themselves or any part of them as ‘inner goddess’? If that did not put you off, then this line from E L James’ latest book Grey would do the trick.
#Discussion: 10 reasons why I could not finish your book - Part 1
 

Her sharp intake of breath is music to my dick – Grey, E L James

(Ermm.. how does that even work?)
 
8) Slangs:
 
Okaye! We all like being part of the hip crowd and we may use these words, like in our everyday life (see what I did there?). But can we keep them off our beloved novels, if we can help it? This might be a pet peeve and maybe there are others who are okay with your ‘cool lingo,’ but you will have to excuse me. I can understand the usage sparingly in a YA, but too many of them spoil my interest. So please do not LOL, ha ha or heart it. I would hate it, totes! 
 
7) Purple Prose:
 
How does this excerpt settle on you?
 

The trawler plunged into the angry swells of the dark, furious sea like an awkward animal trying desperately to break out of an impenetrable swamp. The waves rose to goliathan heights, crashing into the hull with the power of raw tonnage; the white sprays caught in the night sky cascaded downward over the deck under the force of the night wind.  – The Bourne Identity, Robert Ludlum.

 
The trawler plunged into the sea with high tides, didn’t it? Sorry I could not focus beyond that. I get fed up reading too many technicalities that do not matter to me, as a reader. 
 
Do I care what gun he shot them with?
Yes, if it is a whodunnit and if it would matter in finding the evil mastermind.
Result: I skim them if they seem irrelevant.
In fact, this is what made me stop reading Forsyth and Dan Brown after I devoured one or two of their books initially. Telegraph even made a not-so-satirical article on Brown’s notorious purple prose.
 
Keep a look out for the second part of the series on 10 reasons why I could not finish your book. Why not, go ahead share the reasons that would make you shelf a book without reading it?