Booking Through Thursday: Weeding

Booking Through ThursdayOh, my, how long has it been since I participated in Booking Through Thursday?

If you can’t tell, I’m attempting to give my blog a little more love this year. Let’s see how long that lasts. While I’m still in the resolution honeymoon period, though, I thought I’d rejoin some of the old memes I used to enjoy. This week’s question:

Do you ever weed out unwanted books from your library? And if so, what do you do with them?

I do indeed weed out books occasionally. Most often, what I do is put them up for grabs on PaperBackSwap. I suppose I could donate them to a used bookstore, but a) I’m not really sure where one is (I know, I’ve only lived here 2½ years, and I should have it figured out, right?), and b) I kind of like the fact that it’s sort of an even trade. With PaperBackSwap, I receive a credit when I send one of my books to someone, and I can use those credits to select a book I want.

The two major problems with PBS are that it’s not always easy to find books you want because books have to be posted by other members, and the waiting lists for popular books are looooong. Obviously, the first issue is a problem with any used bookstore as well. After all, any used bookstore is only going to carry books someone donated because they didn’t want them for some reason. On PBS, the pool is a little larger, so it seems like books can be somewhat easier to find than in a used bookstore. The second problem is just like the library waiting lists. Bestsellers and popular books or books that are in high demand for some reason are always hard to get. On the plus side, that means if you post one because you yourself don’t want it anymore, it’s snatched up right away, and you get a credit. On the minus side, there are books that I’ve had on my wishlist for years at PBS, and I’m not really closer to getting them.

I mostly select books I want at PBS if I’m not sure enough that I’ll like the book, so I am not sure I want to pay full price. I could get some of these books at my library, but not all of them. All in all, PBS is a pretty good deal.

Other books I don’t want in my own library, I donate to my classroom library. I still technically am keeping the book, but placing in that library means if a student really wants to keep it, that’s okay, and if it’s lost or never returned, that’s okay, too. Of course, I also buy books expressly for my classroom library as well.

So what do you do? Do you weed out books?

Best Books of 2012

Booking Through Thursday

In my last post I listed my favorite reads of the year. Here’s why I liked them and why I’m still thinking about them.

  1. Moloka’i, Alan Brennert: This book was a bit of a departure for me. I had never read anything set in Hawaii, and I knew next to nothing about the leper colony on Moloka’i. I absolutely loved this story of Rachel. I think the part I liked best was that she was able to leave and reunite with her sister before the end, and that she was able to connect with her daughter. I was truly swept up into the story. In fact, it might have been my absolute favorite book of the year, and it was also the first one I finished.
  2. Divergent, Veronica Roth: Roth manages to capture her futuristic Chicago in clear detail, and the world she describes is so different. I read on, unable to stop turning pages, so I could find out what would happen to Tris and Four.
  3. The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Margot Livesey: I didn’t give this book five stars, but it’s one that I continued to think about long after I read it. One of my new colleagues was reading it earlier this year, and we talked about it a little bit. I thought it was a great modern retelling of Jane Eyre that made sense. I loved the settings in the book: Scotland’s Orkneys and Iceland. So exotic!
  4. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi: I haven’t read a lot of graphic novels, but this one made me want to read more. It’s an interesting memoir, and I enjoyed both the artwork and the story.
  5. A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway: Actually this may also be the best book I read this year. I love Hemingway’s writing, and this book felt like reading gossip about other writers. He captures that time and place, Paris in the 1920’s, so well that he made me long to go. I created a Paris board on Pinterest after reading it.
  6. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce: This book really opened my eyes to the direction that books can go in the future. If you haven’t seen this book, check it out on the iPad. It’s a completely interactive storybook. The story itself is charming—it’s about a man who discovers the joy of caring for books, a monument to librarians. This book isn’t read—it’s experienced.
  7. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green: I am convinced after this book that John Green is the Judy Blume for this generation. This book was excellent. I enjoyed the plucky protagonist Hazel. The book doesn’t flinch in its portrayal of teens with cancer, but it is surprisingly uplifting. In the end, I felt it was much more about living than dying.
  8. Smart Soapmaking and Milk Soapmaking, Anne L. Watson: My new soapmaking hobby has taken over my life! I enjoy it a great deal, and almost all the nonfiction I read this year was about soapmaking. These two books were, by far, the best books I read about the craft of making handmade soap.


Booking Through Thursday: Interview Me!

:: When you re-read a classic you do not see in the book more than you did before. You see more in you than there was before ::

  1. What’s your favorite time of day to read? I can’t say that I have one. I read when I have the opportunity.
  2. Do you read during breakfast? (Assuming you eat breakfast.) I don’t really eat breakfast, but I do read on the bus in the morning on the way to work. If I am eating alone in a restaurant, I will read.
  3. What’s your favorite breakfast food? (Noting that breakfast foods can be eaten any time of day.) I guess it would be bacon. Love good bacon.
  4. How many hours a day would you say you read? If I am really into a book, I might read it all day, but on average, I’d say one to two hours.
  5. Do you read more or less now than you did, say, 10 years ago? Much more. I know there’s no way I read anything close to 50 books in 2001, for instance.
  6. Do you consider yourself a speed reader? Not really. I have learned to read faster than I used to, but I wouldn’t describe myself as a speed reader at all.
  7. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I would like to fly. I think flying would be so cool. First, it cuts down on travel time because you aren’t bound by roads. Second, you’re flying.
  8. Do you carry a book with you everywhere you go? Only if I suspect I will have time to read. I bring one back and forth to work so I can read on the bus. I always bring one if I think I’m going to wait, but I don’t bring one to, say, the grocery store.
  9. What KIND of book? Whatever I’m reading at the time. Lately it’s been my Kindle.
  10. How old were you when you got your first library card? I honestly don’t know. I think maybe second or third grade, but I couldn’t say for sure.
  11. What’s the oldest book you have in your collection? (Oldest physical copy? Longest in the collection? Oldest copyright?) Another one I have no idea about. I do have a dinosaur book that I have owned since I was in second or third grade. That’s probably the longest in the collection. I am not really a book collector.
  12. Do you read in bed? Pretty much every night.
  13. Do you write in your books? Sometimes. Depends on the book. I highlight notes in my Kindle a lot. I only rarely write in paper novels, but I almost always write in professional (education) books I read.
  14. If you had one piece of advice to a new reader, what would it be? Read what you like. Don’t worry that other people don’t like it or think it’s not “good” literature. It’s more important to find enjoyment in reading than to allow someone’s opinion of what you read turn you off all the good books you could be enjoying. At the same time, be open to reading books you might not think you’re necessarily interested in. You might find you like them.
  15. What question have I NOT asked at BTT that you’d love me to ask? (Actually, leave the answer to this one in the comments on this post, huh? So I can find them when I need inspiration!) I have had a blog post in the hopper for some time about literary crushes, but I haven’t ever finished it. Maybe I would if it were an official BTT prompt.

photo credit: » Zitona «

Booking Through Thursday: Loud

stock image

This week’s Booking Through Thursday prompt asks

  1. What do you think of reading aloud/being read to? Does it bring back memories of your childhood? Your children’s childhood?
  2. Does this affect the way you feel about audio books?
  3. Do you now have times when you read aloud or are read to?

I have always loved being read aloud to. I contest the notion that being read to is something that should be associated with childhood alone. I love reading to others, and I love hearing others read, particularly wonderful readers like Neil Gaiman or Jim Dale. I suppose that is one reason I do like audio books. Sometimes books are even better when they’re read aloud by an excellent reader. I read to my children, too, and I sometimes read to my students. My husband and I sometimes read each other excerpts of whatever it is we’re reading at the moment. He has a very interesting cadence in his voice when he reads that is simply not there when he is just speaking. I sometimes wish I were a better reader: I have trouble with different voices and the like. Reading the Harry Potter books to my daughters formed some of my happiest memories. If you want to hear a great reader in action, head over to Neil Gaiman’s website for his children’s books and listen to [amazon_link id=”0062081551″ target=”_blank” ]The Graveyard Book[/amazon_link].

photo credit: Michael Casey

Booking Through Thursday: Stormy Weather

Good Night Irene [hd video]

No, your calendar is not wrong. I didn’t do Booking Through Thursday on Thursday mainly because I had a book to review that day, but I liked the topic:

What’s your [favorite] book with weather events? Hurricanes? Tornadoes? Blizzards? Real? Fiction? Doesn’t matter … weather comes up a lot in books, so there’s got to be a favorite somewhere, huh?

My absolute favorite book featuring a weather event is [amazon_link id=”0061120065″ target=”_blank” ]Their Eyes Were Watching God[/amazon_link] by Zora Neale Hurston. First of all, let’s say a quick prayer of thanks to Alice Walker for bringing that book out of obscurity and doing everything she did to ensure Hurston wouldn’t be forgotten again. Thank you, Alice Walker. In that book, Janie and Tea Cake are caught in a hurricane in Florida. In the ensuing flood, something terrible happens that will change both their destinies forever. Oh, it’s such a wonderful book.

I have to give honorable mentions to the rainstorm at the end of [amazon_link id=”0684801469″ target=”_blank” ]A Farewell To Arms[/amazon_link], too. And without the tempest, we wouldn’t have [amazon_link id=”0743482832″ target=”_blank” ]The Tempest[/amazon_link]. [amazon_link id=”0743484959″ target=”_blank” ]King Lear[/amazon_link] also has a great storm: “Blow winds, and crack your cheeks!”

photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Booking Through Thursday: National Book Week


This week’s Booking Through Thursday prompt: “It’s National Book Week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you. Go to page 56. Copy the 5th sentence as your status. (We’ve done something similar to this before, but it’s always fun, so … why not?)”

Yes, his body remembered how it curled before he hit the hard-packed sand—how they lifted his feet up and over his head and he spiraled out of the open-ended truck.

[amazon_link id=”0061579289″ target=”_blank” ]Adam & Eve[/amazon_link] by Sena Jeter Naslund

photo credit: the bbp

Booking Through Thursday: Anticipation

This week’s Booking Through Thursday prompt asks:

What’s the last book you were really EXCITED to read?

And, were you excited about it in advance? Or did the excitement bloom while you were reading it?

Are there any books you’re excited about right NOW?

I think the last book I was really excited to read was probably [amazon_link id=”0439023513″ target=”_blank” ]Mockingjay[/amazon_link] by Suzanne Collins (review), which I read last September (almost a year ago!). I had just finished the first two [amazon_link id=”0545265355″ target=”_blank” ]Hunger Games[/amazon_link] books, and I just couldn’t stop turning the pages. I suppose the last time I enjoyed a book so much might have been [amazon_link id=”0545139708″ target=”_blank” ]Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows[/amazon_link]. I didn’t really have enough time to be excited about it in advance because by the time I became intrigued enough by Hunger Games to read it, the third novel had already been published. I bought it at the Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, and I remember carrying it around that day at the Decatur Book Festival, anticipating cracking it open when I went home later.

I am excited about some books coming out or in my to-read list. I really want to read [amazon_link id=”0312558171″ target=”_blank” ]The Ballad of Tom Dooley[/amazon_link] by Sharyn McCrumb. I’m also looking forward to the R.I.P. Challenge, when I plan to read Ransom Riggs’s [amazon_link id=”1594744769″ target=”_blank” ]Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children[/amazon_link]. I am excited for Katherine Howe’s next book (I read and reviewed [amazon_link id=”1401341330″ target=”_blank”]The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane[/amazon_link]). I follow her on Twitter, so I know she’s editing it right now. I’m also excited for the sequel to Deborah Harkness’s [amazon_link id=”0670022411″ target=”_blank” ]A Discovery of Witches[/amazon_link] (review). I’m also looking forward to [amazon_link id=”031262168X” target=”_blank” ]The Witch’s Daughter[/amazon_link] by Paula Brackston. It’s not a book, but I’m mad with anticipation over the unveiling of Pottermore. I managed to get a beta registration, and I’m waiting on tenterhooks for my welcome email saying I can officially get in the site.

photo credit: Lori Greig

Reading with Candlelight

Booking Through Thursday: Night Owl

Reading with Candlelight

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks a question that will amuse just about anyone who knows me: “What’s the latest you’ve ever stayed up reading a book? Is staying up late reading a usual thing for you?”

My answer? How late have you got? I have stayed up ALL NIGHT, BABY! On many occasions, as a matter of fact. I am actually scheduling this post to publish at about 8:00 A.M. to disguise how late I stayed up reading last night, as a matter of fact. I don’t make a practice of staying up so late during the school year, but my husband made a crack on Google+ the other day to the effect that summer is the time of year when he discovers he’s married to a vampire. I have always been more of a night owl than a morning person, and when I have any sort of lengthy holiday from work—even one week will do it—my body clock naturally rotates around to the same time that creatures of the night keep. I always thought when I read Anne Rice’s vampire books that I would have made an outstanding vampire. Even during the school year when I must report to work by around 7:30 A.M., I feel off—sluggish, sleepy, and generally not with it—until afternoon. I love the evenings and early night the best. I do start getting tired on the other side of about 2:00 A.M., even during the summer, and I am no longer at any sort of creative peak. During the school year, I usually have to conk by 10:00 or 11:00 P.M. or I will never make it through the next day.

I am so going to laugh if some participants post that they have stayed up all the way until 10:00 once! All kidding aside, this is a morning person’s world in many ways, and sometimes it really stinks to have a body clock that is out of sync with what almost everyone else has decided is wakey time.

Image by Simeon

Booking Through Thursday: Biographies

people who are more important than you.

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question: “There are so many crappy biographies … would you rather read a poorly-written biography of a fascinating life, OR an exquisitely well-written, wonderful one of a not-so-interesting life?”

No question—I’d rather read the well-written one. The poorly-written biography will be chore, no matter now fascinating its subject, but the well-written one might just render its subject more interesting. Case in point—while “cancer” is a disease and not a person, I have hardly ever read a more well-written biography than [amazon_link id=”1439170916″ target=”_blank” ]The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer[/amazon_link] by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Of course, I’m only about 10% into the book, but Mukherjee has managed to almost make it sound like a sentient villain on an evolutionary quest.

Of course, this question doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition, as one can usually choose to read a well-written biography of a fascinating person, like Amanda Foreman’s [amazon_link id=”0375753834″ target=”_blank” ]Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire[/amazon_link] (review). I read the book after seeing the Keira Knightley movie [amazon_link id=”B001L57ZZG” target=”_blank” ]The Duchess[/amazon_link].

Truth be told, I don’t read a lot of biographies. I currently only have eight books on my Goodreads biography shelf, and of those eight, I haven’t read six of them yet. I have autobiographies or memoirs on a different shelf. I welcome recommendations. Any must-read biographies?

photo credit: striatic

Booking Through Thursday: Dog Days

Shelf the cat I

This week’s Booking Through Thursday prompt asks, “Since my dog is turning 10 today … what animal-related books have you read? Which do you love? Do you have a favorite literary dog? (Snoopy, anyone?)”

I am actually reading an animal-related short story right now. It’s in P. G. Wodehouse’s collection [amazon_link id=”1604500689″ target=”_blank” ]The Man With Two Left Feet & Other Stories[/amazon_link] via DailyLit. It’s called “The Mixer: He Meets a Shy Gentleman,” and it’s told from the viewpoint of a dog. It’s really funny so far, as you might imagine with Wodehouse.

Most of the animal-related books I can recall reading I read during childhood, but here’s a list:

  • [amazon_link id=”1565125606″ target=”_blank” ]Water for Elephants[/amazon_link] by Sara Gruen (review): Features Rosie the elephant.
  • [amazon_link id=”0142402524″ target=”_blank” ]Rascal[/amazon_link] by Sterling North (reflection): Features Rascal the raccoon.
  • [amazon_link id=”0380709260″ target=”_blank” ]Socks[/amazon_link] by Beverly Cleary: Featuring Socks the cat.
  • [amazon_link id=”0064410935″ target=”_blank” ]Charlotte’s Web[/amazon_link] by E. B. White: Featuring Wilbur the Pig, and a host of other animals, including a spider named Charlotte.
  • [amazon_link id=”0312380038″ target=”_blank” ]The Cricket in Times Square[/amazon_link] by George Selden: Featuring Chester the Cricket, Tucker Mouse, and friends.

I can’t say I really have a favorite literary dog. I am kind of a cat person. I do love Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes, and I was a pretty big fan of Garfield as a child. Snoopy is fine, but I always thought he was a little bit mean.

photo credit: tillwe