Friday, February 13, 2009

TGIF: Friday Catch Up

This week's Musings Monday question:
What do you use to mark your place while reading? Do you have a definite preference? Do you use bookmarks, paper, or (gasp) turn down the pages? If you use bookmarks, do you have a favorite one?

There are some who might think that I have a bookmark for each book, but that would not be true. Not even close. I imagine it might look that way though when you do see how many bookmarks I have. I have all kinds. Metal bookmarks, paperclip like ones, paper bookmarks with tassels, homemade book marks, cloth ones, plastic bookmarks, ribbon bookmarks, book jewelry, and a bookworm. My favorite is one a friend of mine cross stitched for me--it is personalized to match my personality and interests. I don't actually that use one though; I keep it on my desk on display. Even with all those bookmarks you will still find me using a scrap of paper, a corner of a tissue, an envelope, a postcard, or a receipt to hold my place now and then. If I am desperate and the book is my own, I may resort to dog-earring, but that is very rare. Usually I am able to scrounge something up to put in my book.

Are you a bookmark user or do you prefer to mark your book some other way?

For this week's Mailbox Monday on Friday, I have two books to report:

Bedlam South by Mark Grisham & David Donaldson ~ This is a book I first heard about from Nancy of Bookfoolery and Babble, and I had made a note of the title for future consideration. I was quite thrilled then when a publicist contacted me for possible review of the novel.

The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life by Ben Herwood ~ Many thanks to Lisa from Books Ahoy! for a copy of this one.

What did you find in your mailbox this week?

For this week's Tuesday Thingers, Wendi asks
Do you use a rating system on your blog? How do you feel about using the rating system provided on sites like Library Thing and Amazon? When looking up information on a book you are interested in, do you use the ratings provided by these sites (or similar sites) to help you make the decision on purchasing the book?
I have gone back and forth about whether or not to use a rating system when reviewing the books I read. It is a very subjective process based solely on my impressions of the book I read. There are technical aspects I look for in any book, but my overall thoughts and feelings about a book do play a large part in how I end up rating the book. I do not know if anyone else finds my ratings useful, but they do help me in capturing my general opinion of a book. The rating can say so much, and yet, at the same time, it says so little. Because I tend to like most of what I read, my rating scale is top heavy. My rating scale looks something like this:
  • 1 (Poor) - Occasionally my cat climbs on my chest and makes me pet him instead of reading. This time, I should have listened to the cat more carefully.
  • 2 (Fair) - This book kept me guessing until the very end. The problem was I was guessing whether I really liked it or not.
  • 3 (Good) - By the end of this book, I was happy to have read it. Not so much that I don't have some very pointed comments to make, Mr. or Mrs. Author, but I liked it.
  • 4 (Very Good) - Now that was a book. It really is too bad more books aren't as good as that. Really, what's wrong with you authors? I want to like your books. Here's an example of what I'm looking for. Hop to it!
  • 5 (Outstanding) - This book is the reason I read. The book made me say "WOW!" when it was all over. Six months to a year later I'm still talking about it almost nonstop and wondering why everyone hasn't read it. It might annoy my husband but I don't care. The book is that good.
I do pay attention to book ratings made by other bloggers and on sites like Amazon and LibraryThing to a certain degree. I always keep in mind that ratings are subjective and not everyone interprets each level of a rating like I might. A low rating will not necessarily stop me from reading a book I really want to read, nor will a negative review. If I am on the fence about a book, I may look at the overall ratings, but it rarely is the deciding factor. I prefer to read a review to go along with the rating. I have found that I get a better sense of the reviewer's opinion of a book this way, rather than just going by the rating.

What about you? Do you rate the books you read? Do you find ratings useful?

Suggested by Barbara H.: Do you read any author’s blogs? If so, are you looking for information on their next project? On the author personally? Something else?
I follow a number of authors' blogs. Many are joint efforts, where a group of authors have come together and take turns blogging. The subjects the authors address vary from their current projects or writing process to current events and more personal matters. I enjoy getting a peek into the authors' lives. It also is another way for readers and authors to stay connected and for writers to support one another. My favorite author posts tend to be the ones that make me laugh out loud.

Author blogs I follow regularly:
  • The Bastion (Author:John Marco)
  • Buzz, Balls & Hype (Author: MJ Rose)
  • Cats & Crime & Rock & Roll (Author: Clea Simon)
  • First Offenders (Authors: Jeff Shelby, Alison Gaylin, Anthony Neil Smith, Karen E. Olson, & Lori G. Armstrong)
  • For All the World to See (Author: Colleen Gleason)
  • Jungle Red (Authors: Rosemary Harris, Hallie Ephron, Hank Phillipp Ryan, Rhys Bowen, Jan Brogan, & Roberta Isleib)
  • The Lipstick Chronicles (Authors: Harley Jane Kozak, Nancy Martin, Sarah Strohmeyer, Elaine Viets, & Michele Martinez)
  • Murderati (Authors: Pari Noskin Taichert, Louise Ure, Tess Gerritsen, Robert Gregory Browne, J.D. Rhoades, Brett Battles, Zoe Sharp, JT Ellison, Alexandra Sokoloff, Cornelia Read, Toni McGee Causey, & Allison Brennan)
  • Naked Authors (Authors: Ridley Pearson, Jacqueline Winspear, Paul Levine, Paticia Smiley, James O. Born, & Cornelia Read)
  • Scobberlotch (Author: Karen Harrington)
Do you visit authors' blogs? Do you have a favorite? If you are an author and have a blog, I'd love to know about it!

1. It seems like just yesterday I was last straightening out my TBR room, and yet it's been at least a couple of months now.

2. Return the book when you're done, please?

3. If I knew she was going to give my book away, I'd never have loaned it to her in the first place!

4. What a great person you are to turn to for book recommendations is what I think of most when I think of you.

5. To me, Valentine's Day means long lines at the candy and stationary stores and crowded restaurants.

6. Exercising everyday gives me strength.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to my husband getting home from work; tomorrow my plans include catching up on my blog hopping; and Sunday, I want to lose myself in a book or two!

Be sure and stop by my husband's blog to check out his thoughts on his latest books read!

Review of Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds (Graphic Novel)
Review of Fifty-to-One by Charles Ardai (Crime Fiction)


  1. Great question!
    I've FINALLY broken the old and very bad habit of turning down corners. I often use my own bookmarks (which I have made up each time one of my own books comes out)! I sometimes buy pretty bookmarks; I have one made by a woman who does paper cut-outs that I love. But I've found that my best quick-substitute bookmark, and one that I always seem to have around, are the paper wrappers for disposable chopsticks. Stiff paper, long and narrow. And I don't feel too bad if I lose them!

  2. I love bookmarks. My favorite one is one I got from my mom that is stamped metal with turquoise on top.

    I also rate my books on the 5 point scale and do look at the ratings on others blogs. It's a quick way to get an idea if you want to read more, especially if rated by a blogger with similar tastes.

  3. Your idea of Valentine's day sounds just like mine! I can't believe that about the book though...I would be so upset if I loaned it to someone and they gave it away! Loaning a book, to me, is like loaning a part of myself. Perhaps that's why i rarely do it!!

    Great list! Love your blog too, you have some interesting stuff!
    Happy FF!

  4. OH I read Buzz, Balls, and Hype, too, I forgot that one. :)

  5. TBR...ROOM? WOW!!! That's pretty damn cool :-)

  6. You are the second person I've seen who did all the memes in one post. I like it!

  7. My bookmark is my Kindle
    No TBR room
    or library house needed
    With the occasional dead tree
    I still have 3x5 cards
    out of habit

  8. Is doing a week's worth of memes in one post becoming a trend? I've been doing it for months, and for some reason, today a bunch of people commented on it. It definitely has advantages, though, don't you agree :-)?

    I liked your answers to #3 and #4 for the Fill-ins, and I love your explanation of your rating scale.

    My favorite bookmarks are Book Bungees from the Levenger catalog/website. When you use them correctly, they never fall out.

    Have a great weekend, Wendy!

  9. awesome post, Bookish Kitty! :) Obviously I use a BookWorm, which can be found at ! Prior to making these little bundles of delight, however, I used to turn down the pages... not so good for my collection. :)

  10. Thank you for stopping by the mailbox this week. I've read 'Bedlam South' and enjoyed it but then civil war era reading is some of my favorite so rarely do I not enjoy a book in that setting.

  11. So many questions!!...I always use some type of bookmark, be it a piece of paper, a sticky note, receipt, whatever is at my fingertips. I hardly ever turn down a corner!

    My son is the only one that got anything good in the mail. Volume 2 of The Walking Dead graphic novel series. He's really into them and has insisted that start reading them this weekend. I will!!

    I do read some authors blogs but find I can barely keep up with all my book buddy blogs and still find time to read an actual book. If I get started I'm sure I'll never stop!!

    I like it when people use ratings, especially if I really trust their judgement. Helps me weed out the so-so from the absolutely brilliant must read this book now choices!

    Loved your FFI, haven't done mine yet...I'm a slacker today.

    I am going to check out your hubby's thoughts right now!!

    have a great and romantic weekend!!!

  12. On the subject of bookmarks... I try to NEVER dogear a book and cringe when I see it down. I do own several nice bookmarks. Okay, 20+ but usually use whatever is at hand.

  13. Clea - I forgot to mention the bookmarks I've picked up advertising books! I have quite a few of those too. The chopsticks wrappers sound like a good idea. I can see why they would work well.

    Melissa - The bookmark your mom gave you sounds really nice!

    Ratings are great for a quick impression, I agree.

    Bella - It's been a while since that book incident happened, but as you can see, I'm still not over it. LOL

    Thank you for stopping in!

    Amy - M.J. Rose provides some of the best book related links.

    Janet - LOL. I probably should refer to it as "my library" but it really is just the spare bedroom, bursting at the seams with my TBR books. :-)

    Lisa - It seems to be the new fad. I was just following Florinda's example. It gives me more time during the week to think up responses since I can't always get to the memes the day they are scheduled to go up.

  14. Tomlin - Home wouldn't be home without my collection of books. :-) I love to be surrounded by books. I may someday venture into the world of e-readers, but even then, I will always want to have my paper books around me if I am able.

    Florinda - I think the end of the week meme pile up is catching on. :-) You had a good idea there.

    I'll have to check out these Book Bungees you mention.

    Rachel - And your BookWorms are quite handy!

    Marcia - I am glad you enjoyed Bedlam South, Marcia. That's good news for me!

    Staci - Thank you so much for your response! You sound just like me when it comes to what to use as a bookmark. :-)

    Your mention of what your son received in the mail this past week reminded me that my husband also got a book in the mail. Thank you, by the way, for stopping by his blog and leaving a comment. He loves it when people leave him comments. He doesn't get very many.

    I hope you had a great weekend too.

    Book Dragon - You never have too many bookmarks! :-)

  15. Wow, you do have a lot of bookmark! I'm thinking of making some on my own...

    I love your book rating! Rating 1 makes me laugh.

    I do read Colleen Gleason's blog once in a while through RSS.

    Have a great week, Wendy!

  16. I'm lucky; I have a friend in Florida who is always sending me bookmarks. They are all over my house and desk at school. BUT, what am I using right now? A letter from her, instead!

    The only author blog I read is Susan Beth Pfeffer's. I loved her two Moon books, Life As We Knew It and the dead & the gone and since she's at work on a third book to blend the other two, I've been following her progress.

    Have a great week!

  17. Alice - Yes, I have quite a collection of bookmarks. I've been collecting them for over 25 years now. :-)

    I hope you have a great week too, Alice!

    Linda - Haha! That sounds like something you'd find me doing. :-)

    I'm not really familiar with Susan Beth Pfeffer's books. I'll have to check out her blog. I hope you have a great week too.

  18. Even with all those bookmarks you will still find me using a scrap of paper, a corner of a tissue, an envelope, a postcard, or a receipt to hold my place now and then.

    This is me exactly! I have all sorts of bookmarks and keep buying pretty ones whenever I come across them, but often end up using free ones or postcards or whatnot. LOL.

    I suppose my own ratings are mostly for myself, but I do notice when others use them. I always look at your ratings when reading your reviews.

    As for your answer to #3, that happened to me once too many years ago. I lent it to a co-worker and then instead of it being returned to me it was passed on to someone else and then another person, and I never did get it back. At that point it was just as well since it was mostly likely all beat up anyway. I ended up buying myself a nice, new replacement copy.

  19. I'm the same way with bookmarks... I have tons and yet I sometimes still use a scrap of paper.

    Hope you guys had a great Valentine's Day!

  20. I love bookmarks! I keep those prettier ones as I'm too afraid of dirtying them! LOL. Then again, I use anything that's handy. I especially love those namecard size calendar or C5 size paper folded into half. ;)

    I hope you had a great weekend, Wendy!

  21. I either use a piece of paper or a book mark. I never turn down the corners. I freak when I see people doing that to their books LOL

  22. Lately I've became addicted to the bookmarks that Sheri makes.

    How cool that your husband has a blog!

  23. I am really not too particular about bookmarks, I use any that is handy.

    Rating systems is very difficult for me. And I think 5 is too less anumber to accomodate all the books. If I ever rate books, it would like to keep it from 1-10.

  24. I used to be all proud of the fact that I never needed a bookmark, but now I usually keep a post-it or a library receipt to mark my place just because I hate wasting my time shuffling through the pages.

  25. Nat - Whatever is most handy right, Nat? LOL

    That's exactly what happened in my situation--I loaned the book to a coworker and it made the rounds in the office, never to be seen again. I actually loaned her two books at the same time (series books) and I did get one back--but only because I found someone else reading it and made a comment about it. The person was really nice about it. She wanted to give it right back to me, but I told her to finish it and asked that she return it to me when she finished. She did.

    You are right though, by the time a book makes it through so many hands, it is pretty worn. I should just buy myself a new copy and be happy I have one in pristine condition. :-)

    Iliana - It seems to be a common practice. LOL I hope you had a nice Valentine's Day too!

    Melody - With the cats, I have to be careful which tasseled ones I use. They have a way of making the tassels disappear. :-)

    I hope you have a great week, Melody.

    Cindy - My husband's the same way--about the freaking out at dog earring. :-) I don't mind as long as the person isn't doing it to a book that doesn't actually belong to her.

    Shana - I took a peek at the book charms and they are nice!

    Eliza - I am not too particular about the ones I use, but I sure do like collecting ones that catch my fancy. :-)

    I do know what you mean about a 1-5 scale not being enough. That's why I use halves. I sometimes think I should use a 7 scale but that would probably be too confusing.

    Janssen - I sometimes remember the page number I am on, especially if I'm reading in bed and there's a chance I'll fall asleep while reading and lose my place.

  26. Regarding Tuesday Thingers - I LOVE your rating system! I've often wondered if others would rate the book similarly to me, and wondered if my rating of a book wouldn't be more useful to me than to anyone else! LOL

    Thanks for stopping by and participating in Thingers last week! I've got the post up for this week. ~ Wendi


Thank you for taking the time to visit Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Don't be shy! I would love to hear from you. Due to a recent increase in spam, I will be moderating all comments for the foreseeable future. Please be patient with me as it may take a few hours before I am able to approve your comment.