Booking Through Thursday: Influence

Are your book choices influenced by friends and family? Do their recommendations carry weight for you? Or do you choose your books solely by what you want to read?

When I was a wee lass, my mother occasionally tried to make me read great classics, but that plan backfired–I was told to read Silas Marner before I could dig into Good Omens. (I read most of the Gaiman novels at twelve or thirteen, because geeky children have no concept of inappropriate.) Good Omens is one of my favorite novels, and I don’t remember a thing about Silas Marner to this day. Perhaps because of this, my friends and family don’t really influence my reading.

Most of my book recommendations come from either the book blogosphere or reading professional reviews in The New York Times. It’s a matter of two things–either I’ve already read what they would recommend, or their taste is wildly different than mine. For instance, my brother is aghast at my hatred of The Historian, which he quite enjoyed, so it’s clear our tastes in books are so wildly different that we can’t really recommend books to each other. It doesn’t really occur to me to ask for recommendations, and my friends and family simply don’t recommend books to me.

Booking Through Thursday: Plotting

Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness? Which would you rather read?

This is one of the easiest questions I’ve seen on Booking Through Thursday. It’s plots. I love good stories, great twists, and epic battles. The plot is the spine of a book for me, and if the plot is weak–no matter how fun or realistically rendered the characters are–then the whole book is weak. I recently had a discussion with my brother over The Historian, which I despise and he loves, and I think that’s our main difference–my brother is a nonfiction kind of guy, so he enjoyed all the research that made the novel so bloated to me, and I found the story’s resolution nonexistent.

Stream-of-consciousness gives me flashbacks to reading Faulkner in high school. However, a book written in stream-of-consciousness can still have a good plot (Absalom, Absalom! is a prime example), so I feel that making a distinction between the two is a little disingenuous. Still, stream-of-consciousness is a choice that is rarely well done, and usually spooks me away from novels.

The Sunday Salon: Digital Readers

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As you may have heard, Barnes & Noble rolled out their foray into the digital reader market on Tuesday– the Nook. It boasts the ability to lend purchased e-books to friends and family, a display meant to mimic a traditional book, and being able to purchase and download books in seconds. It’s meant to compete with the Amazon Kindle. Both are priced at $259, with most book titles running a consumer $9.99 a pop. Digital readers are causing massive waves in publishing at the moment.

I don’t like digital readers.

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Review: The Historian

The Historian
by Elizabeth Kostova

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I’m not sure where I picked up the recommendation for this–judging by its placement in my book recommendation journal, I seemed to have picked it up in England, probably in a Waterstone’s. My brother has a copy, which I almost read about two years ago, but I didn’t. The story appealed to me–from the inside flap, it sounded like a thriller about a family torn apart by studying Dracula.

Let me tell you, it failed to deliver.

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