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?

Top Ten “Tuesday” – Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

I love Top Ten Tuesday and rarely post for it–but this week’s Book Blogger Hop question didn’t appeal to me, so I thought I’d see what was happening on Tuesday, and it was a pretty good one!  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, with a new topic each Tuesday.  This week, it’s the longest books I’ve ever read.

Off the top of my head, very long books that come to mind…

  1. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (though I admit I skipped past large portions of the history)
  2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (a little skimming, much less though)
  3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien (which are not actually that long, they were just built up in my head as massive)
  4. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens (32 hours on audiobook, I kid you not, and he kind of lost focus about halfway through)
  5. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (I read this 800 page book in a week for a book club meeting that I ended up missing due to a confusion of dates.  It was sad.  And I never read the rest of the series because I couldn’t figure out why this one took 800 pages!)
  6. Winston and Clementine: Personal Letters of the Churchills (they were married for…60 years?  So that adds up to a lot of letters, even for people who were together most of the time.)
  7. The Bridei Chronicles by Juliet Marillier (long historical fantasy books, with 100+ page climaxes…they get intense)
  8. The Mrs. Quent Trilogy by Galen Beckett (fantasy books inspired by Bronte and Austen, delightful but big)

Since I put some series on here, let’s call it good at eight.  The only two that seemed longer than they needed to be were The Eye of the World and The Pickwick Papers.  All were fairly serious undertakings, but that also makes them some of the most satisfying books I’ve read.

What are the longest books you’ve undertaken?

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!

2018 Goals – Third Quarter Update

I missed my mid-year update, but we’ve come around to the end of September and time for my next usual update.  Things are a little different this year, with some big goals outside of my reading challenges.  And some big progress has happened.

Getting married was my biggest goal this year and on May 12th, reader, I married him.  It took a lot of work to get there, practically and emotionally, but in the end the wedding was a really wonderful day and all I could have hoped for.  We’re still getting used to a new normal, but things are very good on that front.

Although I haven’t been reading as much, reading challenges are still moving forward.  I did some pretty intense focusing on the Newbery Medals, and got to the end of the list at the end of August.  I already wrote about what that was like, and here’s my list of reads. Continue reading “2018 Goals – Third Quarter Update”

Blog Hop: Concurrent Reading

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you like to finish one book before starting the next or do you read several at once?

Yes to both?  I used to have a strict one-book-at-a-time policy, and in my heart I still feel like that’s what I do…only it’s become more complicated!  I am, actually, in the middle of two books right now–but it only feels like one or possibly two.

You see, I read one book before I go to bed (at the moment, L. M. Montgomery’s Journals), one spiritual or psychological book (How to Live in Fear by Lance Hahn), one audiobook (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott), my husband and I are in the midst of reading two books out loud (The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett and The People the Fairies Forget by me), and there’s a book I’m just reading (The Improbable Sherlock Holmes).

But somehow in my head, I’m only properly reading the last one, or possibly that one and the audiobook.  And I try not to start a second book in any category (out loud reading aside) without finishing the ongoing one.

So…the answer is yes.  Sort of.

Do you read multiple books at once?  Are they all equivalent, or do you divide them up into categories?

Book Review: The World’s Religions

I’ve heard it said that we all carry more knowledge than was contained in the Library of Alexandria in our pockets all the time—by way of the internet, of course.  And there’s more information in any local library than even the most studious scholar would have been able to access a few centuries ago.  I’m sure it’s true—but it doesn’t usually feel that way.  However—the other day I was poking rather idly through the library’s book sale table, and encountered The World’s Religions by Huston Smith.  And now I rather feel as though I bought the collected wisdom of the world for a dollar on a random Tuesday.

I’ve heard of The World’s Religions for years, actually read a chapter (the Christianity one) in a college class, but never got around to reading the full book.  It’s excellent.  With a chapter (some of them very long) on each of the major world religions, Smith puts together a compelling collection of the world’s wisdom traditions.  He explains doctrine and major features of each religion, but I feel like he approached it from the angle of what each of these religions has to say about the big questions—how to live your life, what life’s purpose is, how to live in harmony with others.  Basically, how all these different cultures have made sense of the world through their religious traditions. Continue reading “Book Review: The World’s Religions”