Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingIt’s simple: turn to a random page of a book you’re currently reading and post two ‘teaser’ sentences. (I’m breaking the rules and posting 3 sentences.) 

coraline cover
“Small world,” said Coraline.
“It’s big enough for her,” said the cat. “Spiders’ web only have to be large enough to catch flies.”

–  Coraline by Neil Gaiman

It might be a kids’ novel but halfway through I’m finding it really interesting.  Neil Gaiman’s mind must be a truly remarkable place.

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Changing a Reader’s Spots

Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, with a series of questions to kick-start discussions about reading habits. Anyone can join in. Just choose a question and leave a link to your post here.

Today I hope my post will act as a lead-in for discussion.  I’d love to hear your views, opinions, memories and stories.  Respond with a comment or post an extended response on your blog and leave a link in the comments.  Respond to each other.  I want to hear what you have to say, and I’m sure others do as well.

It’s amazing how  a book can change your life.  A certain selection of words arranged just so, that forms an idea that penetrates your mind and changes the way you think.

Sometimes it’s instantaneous. It just hits you, and you walk around for days feeling like the wires of your mind and indeed reality itself, actually have been blown apart

But sometimes  it’s slow.  It nags at your brain – maybe for weeks, maybe for months.  You don’t notice the change because it creeps in so slowly. The wires inside your brain are moving, rearranging themselves into a newer you. It might be less dramatic, but it some ways it’s the more powerful change. The subconscious change.

No matter how the wires are reorganised, the eventual end point is the same: you have changed.  An intricate pattern of lines, letters and words that have been in development for thousands of years just changed how you think.  If you think that this has never happened to you, you’re not looking deep enough.

The change I’m most aware of in myself came from a peculiar place – from a book I still to this day have been unable to finish: Moby Dick.  I don’t know why I find this book so difficult.  Maybe it’s my lack of historical knowledge.  I certainly struggle with the concept of two strangers sharing a bed because the inn is full.  But as the two men – a hopeful sailor and harpoon-wielding cannibal – share the bed, Herman Melville shares an interesting thought:

Truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so for a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable anymore.

moby-dick-coverAs our protagonist, Ahab, lies in bed with the cannibal, they poke only their noses out of the cosy blanket cave.  If their noses weren’t cold, the bodies under the blankets wouldn’t feel comfortable.  This quote barely registered with me when I read it, but the idea comes up over and over in my life – in my bed, in my car, in the shower… And it has changed how I act. I’m no longer bothered that my nose is cold as I fall asleep in winter.  Or that my feet are hot as I blast the air conditioning in my car. Or that my neck gets cold in the shower.  Because if that wasn’t happening, how would I know the rest of my body is comfortable?

I’ve read to halfway in Moby Dick, and it’s the most a book has ever consciously impacted my life.  Sometimes I wonder how much each book I’ve actually finished has changed me.

Now share your stories with me.  Has anything you’ve ever read had an impact on your day-to-day life?  Are there any books you just haven’t been able to finish?  Share your experiences in the comments.

Reading Habits Tag

monster-reading-a-book
The wonderful Spines & Covers tagged me for this. Get to know me and my reading habits a bit better.
Question #1: Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
Usually I read in my bed at night, but since I’ve taken this semester off I’ve had a lot more time during the day to read.  Pair that with two new baby chicks, and you can pretty much always find me reading outside with the chicks on my lap.
Question #2: Bookmark or a random piece of paper?
I love bookmarks, but usually I end up using receipts or random paper.  If I know I’m reviewing book, I make remarks on my bookmark to remember for the review.  So random scraps of paper can be really useful.
Question #3: Can you stop reading anytime you want or do you have to stop at a certain page, chapter, part, ect.?
I hate stopping partway through a chapter.  Sometimes I’ll stop at a big gap (Suddenly I realise I don’t know the name of those extra big gaps between two paragraphs) but usually always the end of a chapter.
Question #4: Do you eat or drink while reading?
During the day I’ll usually have some tea next me (getting cold if it’s a really great book)
Question #5: Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?
No, I have to choose one.
Question #6: One book at a time, or several at once?
I usually have one fiction novel going, plus something easily read in small bits, like a collection of stories or a non-fiction book.
Question #7: Reading at home or everywhere?
I usually read at home, but I also read on buses and when I’m at uni it’s a great way to fill in an hour.
Question #8: Reading out loud or silently in your head?
Silently in my head.
Question #9: Do you read ahead or skip pages?
I only skip forward to check how far away a gap/chapter end is.  I try to never look for spoilers.
Question #10: Breaking the spine or keeping it new?
I like my books looking new.  There’s something about harming a book that makes me feel like I’ve bruised my soul.
Question #11: Do you write in books?
No, but I love books that have been written in. Plus no one else usually reads my books to see any notes I could write. Maybe in a library book (Shh… don’t tell the librarians it was me).

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading to showcase books you ‘found’ during the week.  I’ll be posting a summary of the book I’m most excited to have discovered.

Top find: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Vintage Calvino

if on a winters night traveller coverAs soon as I read the description on Book Depository I knew I had to read this book.

Calvino’s masterpiece opens with a scene that’s reassuringly commonplace: apparently. Indeed, it’s taking place now. A reader goes into a bookshop to buy a book: not any book, but the latest Calvino, the book you are holding in your hands. Or is it? Are you the reader? Is this the book? Beware. All assumptions are dangerous on this most bewitching switch-back ride to the heart of storytelling.

There’s something I love about reading stories that mess with my mind. Sometimes when I finish them, I spend the next week walking around with what I like to call “mind blown syndrome”.  Sometimes I throw them across the room screaming “WHAT???” I wonder how this one will end…

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, with a series of questions to kick-start discussions about reading habits. Anyone can join in. Just choose a question and leave a link to your post here.

  • Describe one of your reading habits.
  • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
  • What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
  • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
  • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
  • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
The Harry Potter novels aren't numbered. The titles and their order is ingrained into my mind from countless re-readings. But what if an unfamiliar reader was to pick one up?

The Harry Potter novels aren’t numbered. The titles and their order is ingrained into my mind from countless re-readings. But what if an unfamiliar reader was to pick one up?

Today’s musing is a bookish rant

There is one particular issue I have with a number of publishers.  It’s a simple concept that I find obvious and I cannot fathom why it isn’t standard practice when designing a book cover: series numbers.

Books in a series are written in that order for a reason. Sure, often they’re written so that you should be able to start anywhere, but the simple fact is that starting at book number one is the most obvious way to begin a series.

So why do publishers rarely number each book in a series? I often find myself at a library staring a novel with its series name proudly written below its title.  So I scrutinise the cover to check that I’ve got the first one. No number. At this point, I already consider the publisher to have failed but I open the book up to see if it’s written inside the cover.  Somewhere, usually several pages in, there’ll be an “other books in the series” page. Perfect! Exactly what I need. Except the list isn’t numbered.  And this particular novel doesn’t appear on it.  Initially, yes, it seems like I’ve got the latest novel in the series and there are several before it.  Put it back on the shelf and go look for the first.

But what if this is a late edition, and novels printed after it are added to this page? Are publishers leaving this book off the list because it’s obvious it’s a part of the series, or because it’s the latest in the series? Is it truly so difficult to, at the very least, number the books on the “other books” page or, something I don’t imagine can be very difficult, find a place on the spine for the book’s position in the series?

I cannot count the number of series I never began reading because I couldn’t figure out which book on the shelf came first. And I cannot think of a single reason not to include a simple number somewhere on the cover.

What do you guys think? Have you ever been frustrated by this?

WWW Wednesdays

WWW_Wednesdays4

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, focused around three questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

the bone season coverCurrently reading: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
I’ve been excited to read this book since I heard about it. The beginning is incredibly intimidating. It’s a detailed dystopian world and you’re dropped right into the world from the beginning.  But I picked up the essence of the world by the end of the first chapter, and the story is really captivating me.

hexed coverJust finished: Hexed by Kevin Hearne
This is the second book in the Iron Druid Chronicles.  The first time I read this series, I absolutely adored it.  On the second read, I’ve started to notice a lack of depth in the story and characters. But it doesn’t take itself seriously so I guess I shouldn’t either.  It’s still a light, entertaining story.

coraline coverReading next: Coraline by Neil Gaiman
I recently read American Gods and Interworld, both by Neil Gaiman and I was impressed with his amazing creativity and ability to create incredibly interesting worlds and characters.  I’ve heard fantastic things about the story of Coraline. I just hope it’s not too scary for me.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingIt’s simple: turn to a random page of a book you’re currently reading and post two ‘teaser’ sentences.

the bone season coverI broke through the darkest part of his dreamscape, straining against the impossibly powerful barriers, aiming for the distant patch of light that was his sunlit zone, but it wasn’t as easy as it had been on the train. The centre of his dreamscape was so far away, and my spirit was already being driven out.

–  The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I’m loving this book so far, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopian novels. I’ll write a full review when I’ve finished reading it.