Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunday Salon: Random Bookish Thoughts

I have several ideas for today's post running through my head, colliding with each other since they have no sense of direction. Most of them are half thoughts--or rather, unfinished thoughts.

~ I learned this week that I have to be careful just how much I rant about a particular aspect of a book. It's like that time when I was about 9 years old and used to complain to my friend about my brother. She didn't think much of him as a result and so when I had something nice to say about him, she didn't quite believe me. It's the same when I nitpick about a book.

~ Sometimes I am more critical of a book by an author whose work I love than I am on a new author's book.

~ Whenever I mail a book to someone, I always worry about its arrival, and then, when I get that e-mail telling me it has arrived, I let out a big sigh of relief.

~ I had never really given much thought to the distinction between third person limited and third person omniscient until recently. Some authors are definitely better at it then others.

~ I still have two bookstore gift cards left over from my birthday. How long do you think I can hold off on spending them? I think my husband and friends are taking bets . . .

~ Recently, I read a book in which I thought the writing was mediocre, not to mention all the grammatical errors throughout. Intentional or not (and I think it wasn't), it bothered me. When I read the reviews of some of my fellow bloggers, most of which were glowing, I put my head in my hands and cried, "What's wrong with me?"

~ The little weather bug on my computer screen says it is supposed to be raining right now. Why isn't it?

~ What bookish thoughts have been on your mind lately?

This Week In Reading Mews:

Reviews Posted:
In the Woods by Tana French

Currently Reading:
Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal

New Additions to my TBR collection:
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos

Posts of Interest This Week:
Monday At the Movies: Going Back to School and the New Fall TV Schedule
Three Princesses: A Guest Post by Author Michelle Moran

© 2009, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. My latest bookish thoughts? How not to buy anymore books. LOL!

  2. When I read the reviews of some of my fellow bloggers, most of which were glowing, I put my head in my hands and cried, "What's wrong with me?"

    Don't worry about it - I think it shows you have a greater appreciation for good writing. I was recently very disapponited by the writing quality of Catching Fire - almost everyone else seems to love it though. I think it is a great oppurtunity to find those people who really share the same taste in books as you!

  3. I tend not to notice writing quality if the author can tell a good story. The writing can just disappear if the author is a good enough storyteller. I have had moments when I don't love something everyone else does, though, and it makes me sad.

    Also, I'm always more critical of authors I love! I think it's because we expect something from them, whereas new authors have less baggage.

  4. Rain?? CA might get rain??? That would be awesome! I'm so ready for fall.

    (I have lots of bookish thoughts, but evidently they fly out of my head at the chance of rain.)

  5. ZOMG i'm the same with gift cards! i'm usually too scared to use them just in case i see something even better right afterwards :P

  6. My latest bookish thoughts? How much I love all the book bloggers out there, because they give me so many great ideas for what to add to my TBR list. Yes, the list is out of control, but I love it. I get twitchy when my pile of unread books gets too low...

  7. I'm getting tired of shifting viewpoints and authors juggling several stories that don't really go together. All wrapped up in pretty writing. zzzz.

  8. What a wonderful collection of bookish thoughts!

    I have also wondered "what is wrong with me" when I read a highly praised book and only find it to be mediocre. I assume that I "missed something" and it is my fault (I am sure that is a psychological study in and of itself).

    I always try to make my gift cards last. I still have money left in my Amazon account from last Christmas :)

  9. Rain? It's raining here and I wish it'd go away. :)

    Sometimes I'll read a book that impacts me emotionally or sweeps me up in the story so much so that I'll forgive or overlook bad writing.

    Hope you're having a good weekend!

  10. I am more critical of authors I love if they disappoint me.

    I was just thinking last night (as I was writing my review of A Bend in the River) how some writers seem to get a pass when it comes to their writing. Naipaul is a Nobel Laureate and so I think most people think he must be great...I found his writing dry, dull, and not all that great...and yet I read all these glowing reviews of his work and some people just GUSH! It makes me wonder if we are reading the same thing.

    Have a great week, Wendy!

  11. Latest bookish thoughts:

    Wish I had those 2 gift cards you are having trouble spending LOL

    I can't wait to read your thoughts on Haunting Bombay. I'd love to read that book at some point.

    Have a great week.

  12. I read Haunting Bombay. I will be looking for your opinion when you finish it. I don't imagine it will be very long before I break down and get the Audrey Niffenegger book as well.

  13. I get a little irked when I know that a book was so-so and I see it getting rave reviews from other bloggers. They make me look as if 'I' am the one that is off. Sometimes the author thinks so too although I have been pretty lucky in that regard and most have taken it well.

  14. I think a lot of people get the sensation that they're wrong for not liking a very popular book (and by popular, I mean a book popular in one's own circle, not necessarily popular in the general public) and it's quite sad that this happens. I'm sorry you got this impression as well. I think the reason for this comes from different standards and points of view. Someone might be willing to overlook poor writing for a story they find engaging, interesting and moving while someone else might not be able to move past it. For some people, it is the quality of the writing which determines the quality and for others the writing is a small factor. You should never feel bad for having a different opinion of a book - diversity in thought is what leads to discussions and further discoveries.

  15. I have the same reaction whenever I read a glowing review for a book that just didn't work for me.

    Lately, I've been thinking about how tough it is for me to settle down and read when I'm watching a really good TV series on DVD. It's like the TV show becomes that wonderful, amazing book I just can't put down, no matter what else I've got on my plate.

  16. My latest bookish thoughts? How can I find more time to read?

  17. I'm trying to think of my non-bookish thoughts this week...uh...mmmm...nope, can't come up with any.

  18. My bookish thoughts for the day are review related. I just finished a book that I didn't care for much and am having a hard time wanting to write the review. I understand what you mean about reading others reviews and feeling the opposite way.
    We have fall weather here but the rain has finally gone away (it rained the past few days though).

  19. I"m guessing those birthday gift cards won't last long. I know they wouldn't if they were mine. My bookish thoughts are all about Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier and how I have to read half the book by early this week for the online book group I signed up with!

  20. I have so many bookish thoughts, they escape my brain before I can get them down. I'm about to try though, with my first Sunday Salon.

    I think you are in good company on feeling like sometimes you are the only one who doesn't like a book. Obviously by the comments, you aren't the only one! I immediately turn my doubt inward, and think that I am dense and am missing something important that everyone else got.

    I did receive your book a couple of days ago, and hadn't told you yet. I hope you weren't holding your breath for me...if you were I am sorry! Thank you so much for your ever-present generosity and kindness!

  21. I find that I am more critical of a new authors work. More so because I feel like they need to enter the literary world with a "bang". Then I'll see their reviews that are glowing and think, "Wow - what are these people thinking?"

    I critiqued a book in August that I thought was absolutely horrific, and yet it got great reviews. *shrug* (Grammatical errors on purpose, etc) Drove me nuts!

    Well-Read Reviews

  22. I have a gift card for Borders to use as well. I've had it for about a week and still haven't used it. That must be some kind of a record for me!!

  23. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you! I think you are able to tell the difference between good writing and mediocre writing and the difference is important to you.

    My bookish thoughts? I'm gathering a pile of books to have available for my first 24-hour Read-a-thon and trying to write my final post for the 2666 read-along. Wish me luck!

  24. Wow! I want to know what book it is now. ;)

    I wish it was raining!!!

  25. I feel the same way about critiquing books! That's why I stopped the rating system I used to employ on my blog. I seemed to be turning some people off books that I think they might have liked, even if I was not thrilled with them. So now I just list without saying how highly I would rate a book.

    Just read the author guest post on your blog, with the author mentioning Wolf Hall and other long, winding stories. I think she is an author I will have to check out! And I definitely think Hilary Mantel's novels- at least, the big chunky ones- are the sorts you can sit inside on a cold, rainy day with, sipping a glass of wine.

  26. I'm glad you keep it honest! And I can understand being more critical of a book by a favorite author than a new author- it's a personal injury if it's not as good as their previous work!

    Loved your Random Bookish Thoughts today! Now I'm going to the bookstore and spend money! Want to join me?! :D


  27. Alice - LOL That's a good one, Alice. And here I can't decide how to spend my gift cards. :-)

    Jackie - Good points! I can be forgiving to some degree, but there is only so far I am able to go when it comes to writing.

    Meghan - For me I think it depends on what it is that I would be overlooking. I can overlook some things for the sake of a great story, but there are other things I find myself not being able to. One or two grammatical errors are no big deal, but many I can't ignore, for example.

    Yes, I think it could very well have to do with expectations in regards to our favorite authors. Good point!

    Softdrink - I know that believing the weather reports can sometimes be equal to believing one's horoscope, but I was so hoping this time they'd be right. No rain though. Hrmphf.

    Elena - You too?! That's exactly why I have such a hard time spending gift cards.

    Ingrid - Oh yes! Book bloggers are amazing! I love them too. :-) My wish list is out of control too. And like you, I don't mind.

    Bybee - I don't tend to mind the shifting viewpoints in general but sometimes I think it is so poorly done that it can hurt my enjoyment of a book significantly.

  28. Molly - I really was beginning to wonder if I was being too critical or maybe the book was supposed to be written that way. I actually liked the book--at least the story. I don't mean to make it sound like the book was horrible. But the grammatical errors really bothered me and to have no one else mention them? Maybe they were reading ARC's and expected the errors to be fixed by final copy.

    Now, I'm not sure I could make a gift card last quite as long as you have. :-) That's some willpower you've got there, Molly!

    Trish - Please send your rain to me. Pretty please?

    That has happened to me too. I wish it had in this case. I was surprised I enjoyed the story as much as I did given the writing, to be honest. I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more without the issues though.

    Wendy - Yes, the disappointment in a favorite author does tend to hurt more, doesn't it?

    I've wondered that too, about writers getting a free pass sometimes. I realize that we all have different standards and tastes. You may think it is dull and dry but the next person might think it is witty and exciting. It's hard though sometimes not to wonder if we are reading different books.

    Diane - LOL If you lived closer, I'd take you shopping with me and you could help me pick out a few books. :-)

    Christine - What did you think of Haunting Bombay, Christine? I will be posting my review on the book later this week. :-)

    Ti - I am sure the author won't be thrilled with my review, but it's something I think is worth noting. My readers have a right to know. Fortunately, there were things I liked about the book so the review will be more mixed than an actual negative review.

    Anonymous Child - You raise several good points. And you're definitely right--there are many different standards and points of view out there.

  29. Oh, you lucky! To have all that gold in your purse! My son gave me a $100 one for Mother's Day and I stretched it out all summer. What a joy!

    I was pretty worried about this Lisa See novel I'm reading after my disappointment with Peony in Love. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was so wonderful that I got turned off when her second book turned out to be such a dud. Luckily, this third one has restored my faith in her story-telling abilities!

  30. Memory - Sometimes that happens to me too. Instead of reading, I want to get back to that TV show I just can't get enough of. What are you watching that has you so enthralled?

    Kathy - Tell me about it! I wonder that frequently!

    Deb Nance - LOL Sometimes the best thoughts are the bookish ones. :-)

    Samantha - Good luck with your review writing. Those negative reviews can be the hardest sometimes.

    I am so glad to have the cooler weather here at last. Now if only those clouds outside would let loose some rain.

    Kathleen - They probably won't. :-) I'm not very good at holding onto gift cards. I do, however, have a hard time deciding how to spend them.

    Good luck with your reading. Hopefully you are enjoying Rebecca enough that reading half of it in a short time won't be a problem. :-)

    Sandy - My thoughts often escape my brain before I can jot them down too, unfortunately.

    I'm so glad to see you joining in the Sunday Salon this week. I've noticed a couple of others had the same idea as well. :-)

    I am glad you received the book. I hope you enjoy it. I wasn't referring to anyone specifically, I promise. :-)

  31. Allison - I guess I tend to give new authors a benefit of the doubt. I don't usually have high expectations yet of their work. I can see your point though. Thanks for sharing! :-)

    Kristie - LOL It's so hard to hold onto those. I always have the urge to drop everything and make a trip to the bookstore.

    Gavin - Thanks, Gavin. I appreciate your support. :-)

    I won't be able to participate in this season's read-a-thon, but I look forward to being an unofficial cheerleader. Good luck with both choosing your books for the read-a-thon and writing that wrap up post for the 2666 read-along!

    Amy - I bet you do! Soon enough. After all these comments, I think everyone will be disappointed my review isn't scathing. The book does have its positive points. :-)

    I wish it was raining too. The weather bug promised! Now it's telling me it will rain tonight. What are the chances of that though?

    Aarti - I go back and forth about whether to keep my rating system. I will always use it for personal reasons, but whether I continue to post it publicly is where I fall into doubt. I would hate to be the sole reason someone is turned off from a book.

    I definitely will have to give Hilary Mantel a try. I'm glad you mentioned her on your blog. :-)

    Suzanne - Honesty is important to me.

    I definitely think I set my expectations higher when it comes to a favorite author, and as a result, it's easier to be let down.

    I'd love to join you at the bookstore. ;-) Have fun!

    Linda - I really enjoy trying to make those gift cares stretch. Unfortunately I'm not always so good at that. A $100 gift card is pure bliss!

    I am glad you are enjoying Shangai Girls so much. I haven't read Peony in Love yet, partly because of the mixed reviews I've read. I loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

  32. I liked this post of Random Bookish Thoughts. I too worry about a book arriving at its destination until the person lets me know that it is there. Your rain ended up here!!

  33. I am definitely more critical of authors I love.

  34. Dudette, I have an award for you:

  35. I also tend to be more critical of books by authors I love, because the expectations I bring to the book are different.

    I've read a few books lately that haven't struck the same note with me that they have with other readers, and like you, I tend to wonder if it's me and not the book. Interestingly, one of the books I felt that way about was one where I was distracted by typos and grammar (it was an ARC) that just took me out of the story. I totally understand being distracted by the writing!

    We went to the movies this afternoon to see The Invention of Lying - I'd totally recommend it; it's very sharp. I considered going to Borders afterwards since I have $5 in Borders Bucks for this weekend only...and then decided NOT to go! Do you think I'm coming down with something :-)?

  36. I have such a hard time holding onto gift cards for any length of time. I'm really feeling the urge to do some book shopping even though I obviously don't need any more.

    I'm wondering how you're liking Haunting Bombay. I really enjoyed it. My review will be up tomorrow. Unfortunately for me I don't have another book grabbing my attention quite so much.

  37. I like Kathy would like to find more time to read.

    I'm trying to stop myself from starting so many books the same time but I can't help myself because I have so much good stuff that I want to read.

    At some point I really need to stop buying books.

    At another point I really need to get caught up with my reviews.

    I always have bookish thoughts going through ny head!

  38. Lots of good bookish thoughts! The two I've been thinking of lately is that I need to start doing posts of stuff I get and I also need to find a good book to start...

  39. Wow, that's a lot of comments!

    Anyways, I got a gift card yesterday and will probably have it spent tomorrow... lol

  40. My latest bookish thoughts will be: how to make a dent out of my TBR pile, LOL!

    I hope you've a great week ahead, Wendy! :)

  41. So I have to admit that I read through all of these comments to see if you were going to reveal which book it was! :) I really want to know!

  42. I can't get past the fact that you have gift cards to bookstores and haven't spent them! :)

    (I usually spend a gift card - at least for an online bookseller - within a day of receiving them.)

  43. Staci - Thank you. :-) So you're the one who got my rain! I was wondering where it went.

    Stacy - It's nice to know I am not alone :-) And from the responses, it sounds like quite a few of us feel that way.

    Elena - Thanks so much, Elena!

    Florinda - Yes, I do think our expectations of a book by an author we love are definitely different than when trying out a new author.

    It's not good when the errors can pull you out of a book. Sometimes I'm able to overlook them if the story is good enough, but if there are too many, it's asking too much.

    I am glad you enjoyed The Invention of Lying. I've been wanting to see a movie, but none have really caught my attention. We'll have to check this one out though. Thanks for the recommendation!

    I hope you aren't coming down with something. Passing up a chance to use a coupon for a bookstore. That's pretty bad. ;-)

    Dar - I really don't need to go book shopping either, so it's better that I haven't. We'll see how long this last though. :-)

    I look forward to reading your thoughts on Haunting Bombay, Dar.

    Nicole - I can generally only handle one or two books at a time so starting more than that is never a problem for me. LOL I just look longingly at those I can't yet start. :-)

  44. Jen - I hope you've found something good to read!

    Kelly - I am surprised by how many people dropped in today--happy though. It's nice to receive comments. :-)

    Be sure and let us know how you spend that gift card of yours!

    Melody - Oh, yes! I'm always wondering about that too. It doesn't help when we keep adding to that TBR pile too.

    I hope you have a great week too, Melody.

    Alyce - I'll be posting my review soon. :-)

    Carrie (B&M) - I'm testing my willpower. :-)

  45. Bookish thoughts? Oh man, I really need to finish the book I'm in the middle of! It is beautifully written but unrelentingly depressing. Argh!

    I can't believe you still have gift cards? I can only hold onto them for about 6 nanoseconds.

    I often wonder if I've read the same book everyone else read when they gush and I have had problems with it. Then I wonder what I missed that they all clearly saw. Then I start to feel guilty for my reaction to the book. Seriously unhealthy!

  46. Kristen - Sounds like you're reading my kind of book. LOL I hope you are able to finish your current book soon for your sake. :-)

    I did spend one of the gift cards I received for my birthday almost immediately--the next day, anyway. I just can't decide how to spend these last two.

    I wonder if the bloggers who reviewed the book were ones I didn't know, I would feel differently?

  47. {{When I read the reviews of some of my fellow bloggers, most of which were glowing, I put my head in my hands and cried, "What's wrong with me?"}}

    I frequently feel this way! In fact there have been a few books recently that I read and didn't even review because my viewpoint was so entirely different than the general (blogging) consensus. OH, and grammatical errors really annoy me.

  48. You know thats a very funny observation on grammatical errors. Most of the time i do notice the very obvious one, but I do not notice complicated grammatical errors :) So if you ever find me saying a book had those errors, it has to be something real major.

    I'm critical of authors I love too. I tend to be more leniant with debut authors.

  49. Lisa - Oh, you should review them, Lisa! I like hearing dissenting opinions and find them helpful. Plus it can lead to interesting discussions.

    Violet - When I'm really enjoying a book, only major errors--and lots of them--would be enough to pull me out of the story.


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