Blog Hop: To Buy or Not to Buy

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you buy all your books? If yes, do you keep them all? If no, where do you source them?

I buy almost none of my books.  Virtually everything I read comes from my local library.  I’ve said for years that I could never afford my book habit if I had to actually pay for my books.  Last year I read around a hundred books, and it was a serious drop-off from most years.

Shall we run some math?  I’d guess at least a third of what I read last year were audiobooks, which are typically more expensive than print ones.  So let’s say I got really good used book deals on the paper books and spent an average of $5 per book.  If I went the ebook route, I think that’s still realistic.  Audiobooks, I think we have to say $15 to be even faintly plausible.  So that’s…[calculator on my phone]…approximately $1,000.  I could buy a signed L. M. Montgomery book for that.  Let’s assume that a decent number of those paper books were new books I had to buy at higher prices, call it a $15 average for the paper books too, and we’re up to $1,500.  And remember, I’ve typically read twice that many books.  Some are coming off of my own shelves, especially when I’m reading at a higher quantity, but I think we can still conservatively say that a typical year of reading, if purchased, would cost me around $2,500.  That’s most of a trip to England, right there.

Continue reading “Blog Hop: To Buy or Not to Buy”

Blog Hop: Paper or Pixels?

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Have you made the switch from print to e-books? Is either one exclusive?

I am still holding out with paper books.  Too much of my life involves a screen: professionally, in my personal projects (writing, blogging, and so on) and in my entertainment (TV).  I still like looking at paper when I read.

I get it, though.  I understand the appeal of carrying many, many books in a light-weight fashion.  Right now I’m reading an 1,100 page behemoth that even in paperback has some weight to it.  I find myself less likely to wax poetic about the joy of paper and the smell of old books (although it is a nice smell) than I might have done five or ten years ago.  I feel like the big ebook vs. paper book debate has actually settled down.

People got intense when ebooks first arrived.  Now it seems like people have settled into their preferences, and ebooks have not been the death of paper books.  Which is nice.  Because I still like reading on paper instead of looking at a screen.  And I still don’t trust that digital books I buy will remain accessible as long as my paper books.

I have gone over to digital audiobooks.  And that is nice, to just download books from the library onto my phone, instantly, and carry them around.  I may get into ebooks some day, especially borrowed from the library.  But for now?  I still like paper.

Blog Hop: Time-Travel Book Browsing

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: If you could travel back in time to purchase the first printing of a specific novel, what book would that be?

Seems to me there’s two ways to approach this…is this a book I’d buy to keep and cherish, or is it an investment?  If we’re looking at it as an investment, than the three that come to mind (although none are actually novels) are the Gutenberg Bible, a Shakespeare First Folio, and Action #1 comic book (the first Superman story).  I think any of those would be a very tidy investment!

Aside: I saw a First Folio once in Stratford, and just for fun I tucked one into the Phantom’s bookshelf in my Phantom trilogy, on the theory that he has a lot of money, and they may have been less sought after 140 years ago anyway.  I don’t call it a First Folio, just mention the title sitting on the shelf in one paragraph–and Hamlet, surprisingly enough, has a bit of a prominent role in the story.  /End Aside.

If we say I can buy the book but not re-sell it, then of course my brain goes towards L. M. Montgomery.  I probably wouldn’t get a first edition Anne of Green Gables (although I do have a “Thirty-Eighth Impression” 1914 copy, which I believe to be in the style of the first edition–$10, I kid you not).  I’d actually rather have a first edition of The Blue Castle, seeing as it’s my favorite.

Truth is, I’m not that enthralled with first editions, though.  I’d much rather have a signed copy of a favorite book than a first edition.  The cheapest L. M. Montgomery signed book I can find online is over $1,000 though, so…not something I’m purchasing!  At least, not right now. 🙂  But if I could time-travel to buy a book, see Montgomery and have it signed…yeah, that would definitely be what I’d do!

I’d also be rather tempted to get pre-first editions–to get a Strand magazine edition of a Sherlock Holmes story, or the original magazine installments of A Princess of Mars or The Phantom of the Opera.  I think that would be great fun!

If you could time-travel to buy a book, what would you get?  Would you sell your purchase, or would you buy something sentimental?

Blog Hop: Studious Reading

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you take notes about the book you are reading as you read?

In brief, no.  I don’t take notes of any fiction I’m reading, which is a big bulk of my reading.  The closest I come is that I will occasionally flag or underline (in a book I own, of course) a quote that strikes me, often to be written down in my quotes notebook later–but not in the midst of reading.  And even that happens…I don’t know, one book in fifty?  Or even a hundred?

I will note, when the fifth book of Valente’s Fairyland series came out, I reread the previous four with a pencil in hand, and did copious underlining (like, every page…) because they’re that brilliant.  But that’s a vanishingly rare situation.

I also read spiritual books, and for those books I do a lot more flagging or underlining.  I have a spiritual journal as well, and after I read one of my spiritual books I transcribe quotes into my journal.  But again, it’s after I read the book–I don’t stop reading to copy things out.  I tried that and didn’t like it.

Reading is relaxing for me–or it’s a quick snatch in a small space of time.  In either case, it’s not conducive to copying down notes.

Do you take notes while you read?  Or do you flag things to make notes later?

Blog Hop: Not Too Horrible Horror

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Recommend one horror novel for non-horror readers.

Well, I’m a non-horror reader, so I suppose I can recommend the very few horror novels I’ve read!  My Stephen King reading stands only at Secret Window, Secret Garden, which I read long ago after the movie came out–I remember it being pretty good, though I thought King had a cleverer ending, only the movie told theirs better.  Make of that what you will!

I’ve done a few classic horror books.  I didn’t find Stoker’s Dracula very disturbing.  A friend who read the book alone late at night disagreed though, so your experience may vary!

I think Frankenstein is considered very early sci fi, but if it can be considered horror, I did like that one very much–despite the fact that I hated Victor Frankenstein, the narrator.  One of the cleverest things I’ve seen on Facebook was a meme reading “Knowledge is knowing that Frankenstein is not the Monster.  Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein is the monster.”

Gothic is not exactly horror (ish?) but I greatly enjoy Northanger Abbey, Austen’s gothic parody.  It gets a bad rap somehow, but it’s my favorite!

And perhaps Gaston Leroux’s classic Phantom of the Opera would fall into the horror category too.  An interesting read, though more interesting through the lens of the versions that came afterwards.  I really wonder, had no one made the Lon Chaney silent Phantom, if Leroux’s book would have quietly sunk into obscurity.  But I’m glad it didn’t!

Do you have a favorite horror read to recommend for non-horror readers like me?

Blog Hop: Literary Disguise

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: If you were to dress up as a literary figure {author or character} for Halloween, who would it be?

I have dressed up as a literary figure–I was September from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland several years ago.  Probably long enough that I could bring it out for another Halloween!  I still have the orange dress in my closet (it’s not especially attractive, unfortunately), and I periodically wear the Coat of the Green Wind.

Lately I’ve been toying with the idea of dressing as Lyra, my lead character from The Storyteller and Her Sisters.  I have a blue cloak that would be period-appropriate, and it wouldn’t be too hard to find a blue medieval-ish dress.  And I’m sure I have a nice old book I could carry under one arm…

I’ve thought about other costumes, but the dilemma is to find a favorite character with a distinctive enough look to be recognizable–which is harder than you’d think.  Though no one recognized my September costume anyway!

Have you dressed as a literary figure?  Did people know who you were?

Blog Hop: Genre Choice for Halloween

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: It’s getting close to Halloween. If you HAD to read one of these two genres, which would you prefer — urban fantasy, or horror, and why?

Urban fantasy–no contest at all.  I have read the odd horror story here and there, mostly classics.  But urban fantasy is a genre I like.  It can be a little dark too, but I don’t think that’s necessarily assumed.  And I like a dark story sometimes–I just don’t like it to be twisted, which is much more of a given with horror!

Charles de Lint is a favorite urban fantasy writer, particularly his Newford stories.  He tackles a lot of very real, gritty issues with a fantasy angle, sometimes with an element of Native American spirituality.  And my friend R. A. Gates writes urban fantasy too, with an awesome Sleeping Beauty retelling (loosely!)

Which is your preference–urban fantasy or horror?  And which would you rather read for Halloween?  Because even though I like urban fantasy much better–I have to admit horror seems much more appropriate for Halloween!