Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Salon: What Book Surprised You?

I love to read. I read a wide variety of books and have enjoyed books from nearly every category I have tried. In my reading, I have also discovered which types of books I like less. As a reader who reads for pleasure and has so little time to spare for reading in the first place, it's important to me to spend more time reading books I will enjoy rather than books I won't. That isn't to say I am not up for a challenge or afraid to read outside the box. Reading books I think I will like and stepping outside of my comfort zone are not mutually exclusive. I enjoy a good challenge just as much as I like stepping inside the familiar.

There is such a thing as book snobbery. There are people who look down on a particular type of book for one reason or another, judging the readers, making assumptions about an entire group of books without really trying it out. I have seen readers put down those who like genre fiction just as often as I have heard readers snub their noses at those who like to read literary fiction and classics. It irks me either way.

But just because someone doesn't care for a particular genre or book category, does not mean that the person is a book snob. Sometimes it's just a matter of taste. As I mentioned before, I have read a lot of books in my life time (although not nearly as many as some of you) and so have a good sense of which types of books I prefer over others. I have also learned that even though I may not care for a particular type of book in the general sense, there are gems to be found within each category.

In some cases, I've discovered sub-genres within the main that I have fallen in love with, opening a whole new bookish world to me. Had I not been willing to take a chance now and then, I might not have figured that out. As a result, I never say I will not read a certain type of book.

Have you run into any surprises in your reading?

I had the misfortune of falling ill last week and it impacted my reading. I was in the middle of reading Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney, and it wasn't exactly the best book to read when my attention span was that of a gnat. So, I have not made it too far in just yet, not wanting to short change the novel. The novel is set in Ireland during a time of political unrest. It's cleverly written and requires my full attention. I plan to continue reading it today and into next week.

I am a bit envious of those participating in the week long Huge TBR Readathon hosted by Kristen of Bookworming in the 21st Century this week. The festivities start tomorrow and run through Sunday, June 20th. Oh, to have that kind of time! I'm not sure my boss would appreciate my reading when I should be working though.

Also, Book Blogger Appreciation Week sign-ups are under way. BBAW is scheduled for September 13th to 17th this year. The registration form is a long one, so you might want to set aside a little extra time to fill it out. My favorite part was nominating my favorite books of the year for awards!

The Spotlight Tour Series continues next month, featuring small publisher GraywolfPress. I wasn't originally going to sign up because my July is already pretty busy, but I found two books that I am dying to read. Now to decide which one of the two to read for the tour . . .

Here's to another great week, hopefully a healthier one. Happy Reading!

This Week In Reading Mews:

Reading Now:
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show
by Frank Delaney

Reviews Posted:
Little Green by Loretta Stinson
Dead in the Family & A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris (along with Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge Wrap Up)

Posts of Interest This Week:
(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Play Time
TGIF: Next Week's Temptations and Fill In Fun

Coming This Week:
Monday at the Movies: Rachel's Getting Married
A Page in the Life of Jennifer from Girls Gone Reading

© 2010, 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. Yes.

    Okay, I guess you'd like a bit of a longer comment! I agree that the longer you read, the more you get to know your own tastes. And I also agree that there is book snobbery. It's a fine line to walk -- I don't like X books because I've given them a try and I'm always disappointed vs. Oh I never read X books, they are so shallow.

    But books are like food -- you have to keep tasting every once in a while, no matter how much you think you hate it, because tastes change ... they really do.

  2. I would love to participate in a week long read-athon --- but I know there is no way I would come close to reading 15 books like Kristen hopes to complete!

    I do plan to spend quite a few hours reading though - mostly books that are due back to the library within the next few days :)

  3. The TBR Readathon sounds like oodles of fun, but I too have to be practical. After recovering (Yeah) from my struggle to read over the past couple of months while sick, this would be fun.

    I was surprised by a book recently..speaking of book snobbery. I wasn't up to reading about baseball, but found Diamond Ruby, inspired by the true story of Jackie Mitchell was excellent. never know.

  4. A week-long readathon would be awesome if I didn't already have other vacation plans :-D. I am planning to do some reading on the airplanes, trains, and other in-between times, though.

    I used to be a bigger book snob - looking down on certain types of books on general principles - than I am now. My horizons have widened. But like you, I've read enough to know what appeals to me and what doesn't - and I don't think that's snobbery. It's knowing your own tastes. Great question, Wendy!

  5. I used to be a much bigger book snob than I am now - only read classics, only purchased hardbacks. I have learned that just because I may not like a particular genre, that does not mean it does not have merit in the literary world. Every book fills a void for someone. Are there genres I refuse to read? Yes, but I am not going to look down my nose at those who do. It is merely a case of personal preference.

    A week-long TBR readathon? That sounds like heaven!

  6. I am pretty open with most genres but the one that I think I am rather snobby about is Chick Lit. I will never understand the need for it. If I see someone reading chick lit, I won't bat an eye over it but if that person reads nothing BUT chick lit, then I tend to lump those readers into a particular category.

    It's not nice and it's something that I can't seem to help but there's my confession. I find myself wanting to put good literature into their hands.

  7. Wendy, I am in the process of reading/listening to Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show. I am liking it a lot; hope you are enjoying it as well.

  8. I hope you like Venetia Kelly, Wendy. It was really slow going for me as well but I really liked it in the end.

    Book snobbery. I've always kind of considered myself a book snob but after reading your post I think it's just that I know which genres I'm most comfortable in and those I'm not. I don't look down on people for the types of books that they prefer--it really bothers me when people make judgments about my reading! That said, I love diversity and don't like to be pigeonholed as I know others don't either. In short--great topic, Wendy. :)

    There's a week long TBR readathon? Wish some of these people would share their free time with me!

  9. I'm not good about reading different genres. I think I read my fill of a lot of them when I was younger. I did a whole Stephen King period, a chick lit period, a crime thriller period. But I do think I need to through one of those in periodically just to break things up.

  10. If only there was a way to rid the world of books of snobbery, in whichever way, shape of form! We'd all be much, much happier.

    I haven't read Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show, but I really loved his book Ireland.

  11. I sincerely hope that your health is much better this week!!! I will try almost anything, but I know that chick lit is a huge draw for me!

    Have a great week Wendy!

  12. I'm pretty open to reading in almost any genre ... but I do find myself partial to some more than others. Also, I've found there are genres I feel I've outgrown after awhile. But I do agree with you that you can find a gem in any genre if you just take the time to look. But I sometimes don't want to take the time to read a book in a genre that isn't my favorite.

  13. Ha! I was actually thinking about asking this particular question, or a variant of, on my blog this week. I hate animal stories. HATE them. But I've been reading Watership Down to my son, and I'm actually kind of starting to enjoy it. Will wonders never cease...

  14. Bookblogging has expanded my reading horizons and I've to say I'm much more open when choosing certain genres as compared to my pre-blogging days, and I love it!

    Hope you're feeling better and that you've a great week ahead, Wendy!

  15. I am constantly amazed by how surprised I can be by books! And I hate book snobbery....I'm a snob about it. :P

    So glad you'll be joining in the small press tour for Graywolf!

  16. Yay for the Spotlight Series!! :-)

    I am sure I've been surprised by a book in the past, but at this point I can't actually name one that did so. I think I've expected to like certain books and then ended up LOVING them. And some, I expect to adore and then don't like quite so much. But it's nice to get a surprise every once in a while :-)

  17. I always think anything goes, so long as they are reading. There are genres that I don't seek out, but I don't think I'd ever say something along the lines of "Genre X is a waste of time, only for losers!" I really get upset when I see people talk smack about romance novels, for example, and while they aren't a huge part of my reading diet I do read and enjoy them.

    I don't understand how other people can NOT understand that there are gems in EVERY genre. Just as you might find a stinker in your favorite type, you'll find them in the others.

  18. I am just now discovering that I really love historical fiction, possibly a lot more than other genres that I thought I liked better. I also am surprised to find that I really enjoy non-fiction so much, particularly history writing. I am finding that through the years of blogging, I am finding so many new genres to get excited about. Now I just have to try some fantasy and science-fiction!!

  19. Oh sorry to hear you weren't feeling well last week. Hope you are much better now!

    And, I totally agree with you, down with book snobbery. I probably was a bit of a book snob a long time ago but I'm just about celebrating the love of reading. So if someone just wants to read all sci/fi or mysteries or whatever, great.

  20. My biggest reading surprise has been graphic novels. I definitely had my own belief that I wouldn't like them. I remembered not liking comic books that much as a kid. I couldn't have been more wrong about them. When I read my first one a few months ago, I LOVED it. I'll definitely be reading more in the future.

  21. I hope you're feeling better and that you enjoy Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show as much as I did!


  22. Beth - I am not sure I'll ever develop a taste for seafood or coffee even in time. LOL But I know what you mean. Tastes do change when it comes to books. I think most of us have experienced that at one point or another.

    Molly - I doubt I'd be able to read 15 books in a week either. It's a worthy goal though and I hope she was able to achieve it.

    Wisteria - Doesn't it? A week of reading sounds wonderful.

    You never do know when it comes to books. I've been surprised by books before and I imagine I will be for many years to come. :-)

    Florinda - Yes, I'm not sure my brother would appreciate my not coming to his wedding because I have to read. LOL I do hope you are able to fit in lots of reading on your trip, Florinda.

    My horizons have definitely widened in terms of what I read. I also accept the fact that I won't like everything. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

    Michelle - I agree, Michelle. People read for a variety of reasons and every book does fill a void for someone.

    Ti - At least you are aware of your bias. That's something!

    Diane - I did enjoy it, Diane. I hope to get my review up of it next week.

  23. Trish - Venetia Kelly is definitely not a book to rush through, that's for sure.

    For me, the damage is in thinking poorly of someone because of what they read. As you said, no one wants to be judged for his or her reading. This topic came to mind originally because of how guilty I felt for admitting I didn't especially like a type of book and found myself trying to couch it om such a way that it didn't come off badly. Then it dawned on me. Why should I feel that way? I don't look down on those who do read it. I've tried the genre. I like some books that fall into that category from time to time, but in the main, I don't. I find it lacking. Why should I be afraid to admit that? We all have our likes and dislikes after all.

    Nymeth - I bought a copy of Ireland the other day and am looking forward to reading it. I am so glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    Staci - I am doing better this week, Staci. Thanks! Chick Lit is one of those genres I'm picky about, but I have enjoyed it from time to time. With the good ones, there's a lot more to them than I think the critics realize. But, like with everything, they ar not for everyone.

    Jenners - Yes, that is so true. I can think of a couple types of books I read when I was a teen and through my early college years that I have no interest in now.

    I sometimes find myself procrastinating to read a book in a genre I am not overly fond of even when the book really appeals to me.

    Stephanie - Isn't it funny how that happens sometimes? I admit I haven't read Watership Down because of the animal angle. Did you end up liking it in the end?

    Melody - I am too, Melody. I've been introduced to books and book types I never would have found had it not been for blogging.

  24. Amy - LOL I am too!

    I'm looking forward to the next Spotlight Tour series. I'm still wobbling between two books, one I have in hand and the other I'm waiting for.

    Aarti - Books surprise me all the time, even ones I think I'll like but am still not sure about. And then, as you say, I end up loving them. And, yes, there are the disappointments.

    Lisa - Me too! I hate it when people put down others for their reading choices. We all get different things out of books and are drawn to books for a variety of reasons. I like that there is diversity in reading tastes.

    Heather - There are certain types of historical fiction that I do not care for, but, oh, how I love the books I do enjoy in the genre. I've been surprised too in regards to nonfiction. I'm still growing into that particular type of book.

    There are some really good fantasy and science fiction books out there. It's such a diverse genre.

    Iliana - It's nice to see people reading, regardless, isn't it? I agree!

    Kathleen - Me too! I had so many preconceived notions about graphic novels before I met my husband--and even for years after. And bloggers have continued to help me broaden my horizons in that regard.

    Anna - I am on both counts, Anna! Thank you.

  25. Sorry to see you've been under the weather. I think it's fine to dislike certain genres of books but it's not okay to look down on others who enjoy it.

  26. Kathy - Thank you, Kathy. I am feeling much better now. And I agree completely. It's the looking down on others part that bugs me.


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