Friday, June 04, 2010

TGIF: Bookish Fun

This week MizB's Musings Monday question:
Do you ever read a word or phrase that sparks a specific place or setting in your mind and makes you crave to read a book with that type of place/setting in it?

Whenever I travel, I get an urge to read about the places I visit. Sometimes I read about a particular period of time or an event in history and I want to know more; so I'll search out other books related to that subject or time. And in these ways, my interest in a specific place or setting is sparked.

Literary references occasionally catch my attention as well. Perhaps a fictional character is reading an actual book as part of the story or mentions a title or author. My interest is immediately piqued and I just have to learn more.

More often than not, my cravings tend to be more general. It could be that I am in the mood for a mystery or urban fantasy today, and then tomorrow it will be nonfiction or a historical novel. One of the first signs a craving is coming on is my sudden interest in a book of a particular subject or type. A visit to the bookstore will find me picking up those types of books more than others or paying more attention to blogger reviews of such books. My cravings come and go, which is fortunate because I would hate to burn out on any one type of book.

Hosted by MizB Should Be Reading

A little tease from where I was:
At night when Stella was at work reading kept her mind full of someone else's stories. She had to have a book or she'd go crazy at every little noise or shadow in the night. [pg 49, Little Green by Loretta Stinson]
A little tease from where I am:
I love spring for all the obvious reasons. I love the flowers blooming (which happens early in Louisiana); I love the birds twittering; I love the squirrels scampering across my yard.

I love the sound of werewolves howling in the distance.
[pg 37, Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris]
A little tease from where I will be:
When at last this day is finally over, after I've made it through a wretched afternoon spent in faceless hotel splendor and a plane ride during which I became airsick for the first time since I was a child, a taxi lets me out in front of my house in Newton, and I discover I've been found. My yard is scoured with artificial light, and fifteen or twenty people with cameras and microphones and other technological paraphernalia are standing, waiting for me, in the drizzle. As I open the door of the taxi, they move toward me in a single clot. [pg 25, The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst]

Hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

As I was browsing the new release list for June, I came across mention of Not Untrue and Not Unkind. One of my many reading interests is in books related to or set in Africa, and so it caught my eye.

Not Untrue and Not Unkind by Ed O'Loughlin
Overlook, 2010
Fiction; 288 pgs

Blurb from the publisher:
In Dublin, a newspaper editor called Cartwright is found dead. One of his colleagues, Owen Simmons, discovers a dossier on Cartwright’s desk containing a photograph that brings him back to a dusty road in Africa and to a woman he once loved.

Not Untrue & Not Unkind is Owen’s story—a gripping tale of friendship, rivalry, and betrayal among a group of journalists and photographers covering Africa’s wars. It is an astonishingly powerful and accomplished debut that immediately establishes Ed O’Loughlin as a mature master of the novel, and was longlisted for the Booker Prize.

Other books coming out next week that have caught my attention:

The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Lion by Nelson DeMille
Backsteat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
Book of Shadows by Alexandra Sokoloff

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Booking Through Thursday Question:
Which do you prefer? Short stories? Or full-length novels?

One of my favorite Bible verses goes something like this:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens . . .
There was a time when the answer to such a question came easily to me. And I suppose, in some respects, it still does. Eight times out of ten, I will pick the novel over the short story. It is because of those two times I would select a short story over a novel that I hesitate to make the blanket statement that I prefer full length novels. But there you have it.

I tend to prefer the novel for all the usual reasons. Full length novels tend to be more satisfying when everything is said and done. There is more time to lose myself in a story and get to know the characters. Reading a novel is like eating a three course meal. The short story is more of a light lunch or a snack. It curbs the appetite for awhile, but the feeling doesn't last long. Mostly.

Short stories have the advantage of being great for those in between moments, when I need something to read but do not want to settle down with a full length novel; maybe I just finished an especially wonderful novel and am not quite ready to commit to another one yet. Or I am on my lunch break and know if I break out my novel I'll forget to go back to work.

The truth is, short stories can be pretty amazing--and satisfying--if done right. I did not always believe that. A couple or so years ago I discovered a new appreciation for the art of short stories, realizing that, like with novels, some appeal to me more than others. It would be easy to lump them all into the same category; but short stories come in all shapes and sizes, genres and types. For me, it was just a matter of finding that right fit.

Even so, I am more likely to pick up that full length novel when all is said and done. Well, at least eight times out of ten.

Graphic courtesy of Tonya!
*Click on the image above graphic to get to the Friday Fill-In headquarters, hosted by Janet!*

1. The bookstore is my favorite place to travel to.

2. When I think about my childhood, I often remember those endless summer days reading in the forest.

3. A book makes for a good friend.

4. The wind in the trees, the rain on my skin, the umbrella over my book to keep it from getting wet.

5. Discovering a new favorite author is so exciting!

6. My best friend knows where all the bodies are hidden.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to welcoming my in-laws to town and sneaking off to read while my husband and his brother play games into the wee hours of the morning; tomorrow my plans include catching a movie and celebrating my husband's birthday with his family (his actual birthday is this coming Monday); and Sunday, I want to settle in for a quiet weekend once the company leaves!

© 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. I'd love to read in a forest even now, especially if the mosquitoes were scarce! I love visiting bookstores, and often think it should be a requirement for us bibliophiles while searching for a soulmate. Mine is perfect in so many other ways. ;) Blessings on your weekend.

  2. Someone else answered #1 with a bookstore, too. I dig old, funky, used bookshops.

  3. I'm much more of a novel person. It's pretty rare that I'll pick up a book of short stories.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  4. Loving your list. Have a great weekend, I hope you are able to get some reading done :)

  5. Ooh that book by O'Loughlin sounds interesting.

    Have a great time with your in-laws and celebrating. I have a friend coming in town so it's going to be a busy weekend but hopefully we'll add in some excursions to the bookstore :)

  6. Any type of bookstore is a favorite place to travel to for sure!!

  7. I too am inspired to read about a different place by travelling to it. Even the anticipation of such travel has me looking for books to fit.

    My husband's birthday is Monday as well, but we are celebrating Sunday with his family and friends. (Our house is small, so I have a tent arriving today to cover us in case of rain).

  8. I hadn't seen Not Untrue & Not Unkind but it sounds so interesting. Adding it to the wishlist.

  9. I love your Friday Fill-Ins...particularly the one with the umbrella over your book. LOL

  10. I'm waiting for my copy of The Passage to arrive! That said, I'm not sure if I'd read it immediately as I'm still intimidated by the thought of the volume, hehe.

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend, Wendy!

  11. I'm at the stage of a new relationship where I'd like to watch a tivo'd show or read a bit, but I don't want to be rude LOL! Damn it all :-)

  12. I just finished the fantastic "The Lost City of Z" by David Grann. Grann's description of the exploration of the Amazon by Percy Fawcett has greatly whetting my "Waiting On" appetite for "1491," the story of Indian life before the arrival of Europeans. Should be absolutely fascinating!

  13. I still haven't gotten to the point where I choose to read short stories. I joined a short story challenge this year so I'd make myself try more.

  14. Dolcebellezza - I don't recall the mosquitoes being a big problem when we were camping in the woods, thank goodness. Except at night. They were all attracted to the lantern we used. :-S

    Billy - I like a good cozy used bookstore best. :-)

    Jill - I'm starting to read more essay collections along with the short stories. It'll be interesting to see how that goes.

    Ann Marie - Thank you! I hope you're having a great week.

    Iliana - I thought so too! We had a very nice visit with the in-laws, and hubby seemed happy with his birthday celebrations. :-) I hope you enjoyed your visit with your friend.

    Staci - Oh, yes! I can't resist a bookstore. :-)

  15. Shonna - Me too! Reading about places I'm about to travel to can really help set the mood.

    I hope your husband had a wonderful birthday. We celebrated my husband's Saturday since his family returned home Sunday. I did take him out to dinner on Monday night though, just the two of us. :-)

    Christine - Haha! My husband thought up that one and I couldn't resist using it. :-)

    Lisa - It sounds like it will be a good one.

    Wisteria - I can't let the book get wet, right?

  16. Melody - I can't wait to read your thoughts on The Passage, Melody. I've still managed to resist getting myself a copy.

    Janet - That is hard! Hopefully you'll get to the point where you can read a bit or watch a show soon. :-)

    Frances Hunter - Grann's book does sound good. I have another one of his sitting on my shelf. It's a collection of essays he's written over the years. Fawcett's book also sounds interesting. That's such a fascinating time period.

    Stacy - Has being a part of the challenge helped you to read more short stories? I tried that the other year but find I do better on my own.


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