Meme

Let’s Talk Bookish ~ A Bookish Confession

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



SEPTEMBER 10:

PETS/CHILDREN & BOOKS 
by DANI

Prompts: Having physical books can be fantastic, but it can also be scary to have them damaged. If you have pets or children what is your experience with them and your books? Has your child ever torn pages out of a treasured classic? Has your puppy ever chewed on a limited edition? Cat claws in a leather bound? How do you protect books from destruction?

I think my brother would have been a better person to give this prompt to. I can still remember his childhood bookshelves, meticulously organised alphabetically by author. You couldn’t even tell when he had read a book because it’s spine remained pristine, it’s pages looked as fresh as the day they were printed and the cover remained undamaged.


On the other hand my books were bent and creased, the spines were cracked and there were numerous pages folded at the corner to track my reading progress. They might be found on the floor, under my bed, squashed down the side of a cushion on the couch, stuffed under a plate or buried in the bottom of a bag. I have a few books on a shelf more because it’s kind of expected of me, to be honest they could just as easily be shoved in a box in the loft. I’m not precious about books, my children – who admittedly are now all adults – and husband are what is important. Things can easily be replaced, people can’t. So my TL;DR answer is quite simply that I don’t protect my books.


It’s probably why I’ve found the transition to e-books so easy. I was never one to stroke a book cover, sniff a page, or revel in the perfection of a newly purchased book. I was more of a ‘crack it open and jump right in’ reader. Is it bad that I’m imagining most of you reacting like this…..

as well as thinking…

Meme

Let’s Talk Bookish ~~ Bookish Gender Choices

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



DO YOU PREFER MALE OR FEMALE PROTAGONISTS? 

by MAHI

Prompts: When it comes to books, do you prefer male or female protagonists and why? Do you not have a preference? Have you ever not read a book because the protagonist was male/female? Do you think it’s important for children to read protagonists of the opposite gender from them? Do you feel like certain genres have more of a certain gender of protagonist than the other? 

When it comes to books, do you prefer male or female protagonists and why? Do you not have a preference?

I prefer dual or multiple points of view, depending on the genre. I mainly read books that involve romance, so the dual POV allows me to understand both the thoughts and feelings of both protagonists. With only a single perspective it can be difficult to connect to both characters, become invested in their relationship or to believe in their love. If I had to choose only one then I would say female because, for me, it’s a viewpoint that is akin to my own and therefore feels more natural to me.

Have you ever not read a book because the protagonist was male/female?

Sometimes, though not actually for romance where I’ve read a few books written entirely from the male’s view, as well as a fair amount of M/M too. If I’m choosing a fantasy or science fiction story I will generally look for the inclusion of a female POV, though I’ve read plenty over the years that were written by men and featured men as the protagonists. However if I’m perusing Netgalley, and deciding which books I have time to fit into my schedule, I have chosen based on gender of the main character. However I have never started a book and DNF’d it because of the gender of the protagonist.

Do you think it’s important for children to read protagonists of the opposite gender from them?

No actually I don’t. I think it’s important children read, and that those books are both diverse and inclusive, but a work of fiction isn’t really going to teach them, or help them relate to, the opposite gender. However it is important that stories include protagonists the reader can identify with, in terms of race, colour, gender, sexuality etc.

Do you feel like certain genres have more of a certain gender of protagonist than the other? 

I can only speak from experience but in romance if the book is from only one perspective then there are far more female than male books, though dual POV is equally prevalent. In fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction I can’t say I’ve noticed a significant difference.

Meme

Let’s Talk Bookish – Blogger Identity Crisis

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



HAVING A BLOGGER IDENTITY CRISIS 

by RUKKY

Prompts: Have you ever had a blogger identity crisis? What triggered it? How did you get over it? Has an identity crisis ever led you to significantly change the direction for your blog? Do you think having an identity crisis every once in a while can help you become a better blogger, or is it just a sign of insecurity?

For me the answer is theoretical since I haven’t had such a crisis, but I would say it all depends on what exactly triggers the identity crisis, along with how severe it is. It’s good to regularly reflect on blogging, to avoid feeling stale, getting bored, losing focus etc. However if you are constantly comparing your own blog in a negative way to other blogs, then that speaks of problems that are probably bigger than just blogging. There is a difference between working hard/wanting to be as good as you can and never feeling as though you are good enough. A huge difference.


I do this for fun. I’m sure if I did it to earn income and gain a huge following I would be much more self critical but over analysing, when blogging for pleasure, seems counterproductive. That said I do look for ideas of how to improve both my content and how I present it, though only in a fairly limited way. I like to visit other blogs and read what they say on meme posts such as this, but as a rule I don’t spend a lot of time trawling through book blogs looking for inspiration, ideas or ways to build a following. What can I say, I’m lazy and just not that driven by/interested in social media. And yes it very probably IS an age thing. Growing up (in 80’s Britain) not every house had a landline phone!


My original blog was originally focused on scrapbooking, where I connected with a few others via memes such as Me On Monday, but as I grew bored of the hobby I gradually transitioned to blogging book reviews. For a long time I blogged a lot of promotion material, with very little personalised content, exactly the type of blog that I avoided reading! Lockdown gave me the time to focus on my blog and find a few idea’s that I hoped would make it more interesting, so self-reflection can certainly help you improve and become a better blogger.



Have you had a blogging identity crisis? If so, how did it change your blog?

Meme

Let’s Talk Bookish – 20th August

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



WHAT IS ONE BOOK EVERYONE MUST READ? 


MIKAELA @ MIKAELA READS

Prompts: There are some books that are just required…or at least you personally think they are! Maybe it’s a book that changed your view on everything, or maybe it’s just the BEST vampire book ever written. What book do you try to get everyone in your life to read, even the non-readers?

This is the first topic that has really challenged me, and that’s because I really don’t have an answer. If I know someone enjoys similar books to myself then I’m happy to recommend a book, but I don’t believe there is a book that everyone should read because we all have such very different likes, wants and needs in our reading material.


There will be a must read book for a particular genre but I know from the blogs that I follow that some people don’t read YA, some only read YA, some read Thrillers whilst others read Romance. However a book that provides enough common ground to bring something to the table for every permutation of reader? To presume or assume that such a book exists is either delusional or naïve.


My reading is done purely for pleasure. I don’t care for “the classics” (they either bore me or I get bogged down trying to ‘translate’ the outdated language), I don’t read for cultural enlightenment, nor to have my beliefs challenged. As a rule I don’t enjoy non-fiction, whereas the only books my husband will read ARE non-fiction. So other than a book of maps or a cook book I don’t think there is much, if anything, in the house that both of us have read.


Finally, I would worry about recommending a book to someone in case they dislike it as that would leave me feeling guilty that they had wasted their money.

Meme

Let’s Talk Bookish – AUGUST 13th

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.




CAN BOOKS BE EFFECTIVE HORROR?

by DANI

Prompts: Some people love to be scared – others not so much. When it comes to reading do you think books can be scary? Are you less scared because there are no pictures? Do you feel other mediums such as film are more effective for horror? Have you ever been kept up at night by a book?

My response this week will be fairly brief because horror is so NOT my thing 😂😂😂. A well written book can definitely be scary – the imagination is a very powerful tool. I recall reading a story as a child – probably somewhere around the age of 10 or 11 – that definitely had me scared. I’ve not read something as an adult that has scared me -at least not in fiction! However that is probably due more to my whole avoidance of the genre than anything else. There are books that have certainly made me anxious, left me feeling on edge with a similar adrenaline fuelled response to that of reading/watching horror.


Ghost and horror stories were popular long before the invention of celluloid and the moving picture, so I think we can safely say that books can be just as scary, even minus the visual images. Telling scary stories around the camp fire is pretty much a childhood rite of passage whilst spoken stories were the only way of passing on history for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Films may generate a much stronger response, but that is totally down to the wider experience of a movie. If you removed the stirring sound track the scene would probably lose a massive chunk of it’s potency, not to mention all the cinematography “tricks” being used, the lighting, the editing, etc which all play a part in creating a terrifying experience. It is somewhat similar to way music and lighting is used to create an atmosphere whilst queuing for rides at a theme park.


The only time I’ve been kept up by a book is when it’s been so good I “just need to read the next page“. Alternatively if can also be when it’s so bad that I’m left wound up and irritated by it!


What do you think? Can a book be scary and, if so, can it be scarier than a film?

Meme

Let’s Talk Bookish ~~~ 6th August

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



WHAT IS YOUR POSTING TYPE? 

SUGGESTED BY NICOLE @ THOUGHTS STAINED WITH INK


Prompts: Everyone blogs differently, how do you do it? Do you schedule posts long before they’re published, how long? Do you write several drafts of a post and edit them, or do you not edit at all? Perhaps you simply write a post and put it up for the world to see immediately? There’s no right or wrong answer!

I love this prompt and am really looking forward to reading all the other answers and perhaps picking up a tip or two along the way. My posting type is quite fluid over time, and can vary depending on how busy my working life is and how motivated I am to blog. However I’ve answered for how I currently blog as it seems to be working well for me at present.

Everyone blogs differently, how do you do it? Do you schedule posts long before they’re published, how long?

I write many posts, especially reviews, way in advance of publishing them. However I go through fits and starts of scheduling them in advance. I never schedule more than a few days to a week ahead, mainly because I tend do everything last minute. That deadline pressure seems to help focus my thoughts.

Do you write several drafts of a post and edit them, or do you not edit at all?

I’m very much a write and edit blogger, which is another reason that I don’t schedule far in advance. I often find that on a final read through, just before the post is due to go live, I totally change an entire paragraph. It also gives me a chance to check formatting issues that seem o occur between saving and closing a draft post and re-opening it.

Perhaps you simply write a post and put it up for the world to see immediately?

I used to do that, but generally I have the post in at least draft form a few days prior to publishing it. Occasionally, if I have a very quick turn around on an arc book, I will create the review post and publish immediately but that is very much an exception to the rule of “written in advance”.


What is your blogging style? Are you scheduled and prepared to the nth degree or are you a total last minute fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants blogger?

Meme

Let’s Talk Bookish – July 30th

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



WHAT MAKES A BOOK A 5 STAR READ? 

SUGGESTED BY M.T. WILSON @ THE LAST BOOK ON THE LEFT

Prompts: How do you decide whether a book should get 5 stars? Do you try to keep 5 stars rating prestigious, or do you give them generously? Do you have a checklist of things a book must accomplish to be 5 stars? Are 5 star books perfect, or just very good? What are some of your favourite 5 star reads? What made them stand out?

So the TL:DR is that it’s a mixture of gut instinct and feeling as though no other rating would do the book justice.

How do you decide whether a book should get 5 stars? Do you try to keep 5 stars rating prestigious, or do you give them generously?

It’s a very instinctual feeling and based on how I feel on closing the book. There are so many different elements that have to gel together in order achieve that rating for me. The biggest deciding factor is if I think the book will stay with me for a long time, will remember it for years to come. I do often review ratings and lower them if the book hasn’t had the lasting impact that I expected it to.


Back in my formative reading years there was no internet, no Goodreads or Amazon and no way to rate or review books. Despite being a voracious reader as I child, teen and young adult, I slipped out the reading habit when my children were little. It wasn’t until I got a kindle for Christmas 2015 that I began to read regularly again. Initially I was quite generous with my 5 stars, sprinkling them around like confetti. However, over the last few years of actively reviewing books, I feel as though I’ve grown and matured as a reader, so am now much more discerning in how many stars I award.

Do you have a checklist of things a book must accomplish to be 5 stars? Are 5 star books perfect, or just very good?

Whilst I don’t have a specific checklist, I do have certain requirements or standards that a book must achieve in order to gain 5 stars. They are all massively subjective because I am reviewing purely from an enjoyment perspective, not a literary one. So the big deciders for me are emotion and connection. I have to feel something as I read, and I don’t mean bored! Making me cry definitely has a book halfway to the top spot, because if you have moved me to tears then I am totally invested in your book and characters. Talking of characters they are the other main decider, they need to move beyond mere words on paper and become living, breathing people. I have to feel a connection to them, want to get know them in real life, be desperate to bump into them out on the street, even though they don’t actually exist.


I don’t believe any book is perfect because there will always be something, no matter how tiny, that you would have changed or added or improved on. It can even be something as trivial as a character name or a particular word that is used. At the end of the day the author needs to sell books, so there are times when they have to write to the market, and some of those elements are not for me. Or the author might have chosen to steer in a direction that was different from the one I was hoping for. The sheer fact that the author still persuades me to adore the book despite that is a sign of great storytelling and again pushes the book towards those elusive 5 stars.

What are some of your favourite 5 star reads? What made them stand out?

Chances are you won’t have heard of these books, they’re by Indie Authors that aren’t generally found on Netgalley. What made them stand out? The fact that not only can I still remember the characters but that I can still feel the emotions those characters and the story evoked. If I think too hard about some of them I even get quite teary eyed and emotional.

In no particular order –


So what makes something a five star read for you?

Meme

Let’s Talk Bookish – July 23rd

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.


DOES HAVING A POSITIVE MESSAGE AUTOMATICALLY MAKE A BOOK GOOD? 


by RUKKY

Prompts: If you see good representation in a bad story, do you still consider it a good book? Are you more lenient with an ‘okay’ book if it has an important message? How do you deal with a book that you disliked/hated if you think it still has an important theme? Do you think we should actively recommend books with positive/important messages even if we personally didn’t like the book?

I have to say that this isn’t something I’ve really thought about, mainly because I’m not the type of reader who looks for messages in books. I read purely for fun, I’m here to be entertained not preached to, and since I don’t read non-fiction (been there, tried that, wasn’t for me) then my focus is usually on character and plot.


Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that the underlying meanings, metaphors and messages of books are totally lost on me. I recently had to work with a student who was studying Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as part of her GCSE English Literature course. I always thought it was just a story of some mean old bloke who saw three ghosts and suddenly became a changed man. Apparently there is a LOT more to the story, including a commentary on Victorian England and how the rich (mis)treated the poor. Part of me wants to argue that he wrote it simply as an entertaining story and to make money, rather than a social commentary and that is probably why I teach Maths and not English!


That said, I do like to see good representations made within a book. As a reader of romance I’m frequently saddened by how much misogyny there is in books purportedly written by women, so I’m always pleased when I read a book featuring women who are truly empowered, are allowed autonomy and have genuine friends who are not just there so they can discuss how amazing the male protagonist is. I also like to read about diverse characters who are not just there to tick a box or, even worse, are stereotypes. I feel as though a poorly portrayed diverse character is almost as bad as no diversity at all. Neither of these are a good thing. I also think that good secondary characters are as important to the story as the main protagonist(s) is.

If you see good representation in a bad story, do you still consider it a good book? Are you more lenient with an ‘okay’ book if it has an important message?

So the answer to both of these is no. If the book failed to entertain, if it didn’t hit the mark, if it was poorly written then that is what my judgement will be based on. My review would still be negative, though I would include the “good representation” as a high point. That said, the chances are that if the rest of the book was bad then the message would not have been well executed either thus rendering the point mute. An okay book is one that isn’t truly memorable, if I felt the book carried a positive message it would already have moved above that level for me.

How do you deal with a book that you disliked/hated if you think it still has an important theme?

I don’t think I’ve come across this issue – probably because I avoid “Literature” at all costs. It bores me to tears and I’d rather watch paint dry to be brutally honest. If I disliked a book then I disliked it and any important theme has lost it’s impact.

Do you think we should actively recommend books with positive/important messages even if we personally didn’t like the book?

If someone asks for a recommendation and you feel the book fits the bill, then recommend away, or at least make them aware of the books existence. As my dear dad loves to say, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”, just because I hated the book doesn’t mean everyone will so I would still mention it. However I would also be honest about my dislike of the book and leave them to make their own decision whether to read or not.


In terms of unsolicited recommendations based on it having in your view a “positive/important message” the answer is no, because what you are actually doing is foisting YOUR beliefs/opinions/values onto somebody else. That answer would remain the same even if I had LOVED the book, though I would recommend it as a “great read” to those who I know enjoy similar works.

Meme

Let’s Talk Bookish – July 16th

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO GET OVER READING SLUMPS?


RAFAELA @ THE PORTUGESE BIBLIOPHILE


Prompts: Sometimes you just don’t want to read anymore, how do you get back into it? Do you give yourself a break? Watch booktube or read blogs? Read an old favourite book to reignite that spark? Do you just force yourself through it? Maybe you read a picture book or a graphic novel?

Sometimes you just don’t want to read anymore, how do you get back into it? Do you just force yourself through it?

The truth is that usually when I don’t want to read anymore it’s because I’ve overcommitted to beta or arc reading and have looming deadlines for far too many books. It does mean in the past I have had to force myself to read the books, though this has very often ended up in me skim-reading if I’m being honest. Forcing myself to read through a slump is the WORST thing to do. It doesn’t even come close to appearing on the list of possible solutions.


Something that does have a proven track record of working is just to swap genres. So if I’ve had a run on one genre, swapping to another can clear the mind and refresh the palette. If I’m struggling to engage with anything then often a really trashy, smutty novel can trigger the reset button.


Unlike in the past, it’s now quite rare for me to end up with too many arc books and too little time to read them. Occasionally I do agree to reading something “in a few weeks” and promptly forget about them. Then I agree to more, or an unexpected book appears from an author I arc read for, and suddenly the pressure is on. When I’m being super organised I use google calendar to log any books I’ve agreed to read or am expecting to be sent to my kindle. The last month or so I’ve been more than a little remiss in that endeavour, which is why only last week the pressure levels rose.

Do you give yourself a break?

If time allows, this is one successful strategy that works for me. We aren’t talking a reading hiatus of any significant length, it can literally be setting aside my kindle for a day or so. Recognising I won’t be able to hit that (often self imposed) deadline, as well as acknowledging that nothing terrible will happen if I don’t, is usually part of the process too.

Maybe you read a picture book or a graphic novel? Watch booktube or read blogs? Read an old favourite book to reignite that spark?

I could be wrong but those books just don’t appeal at all, so I’m doubtful they would be successful in beating a slump. DItto booktube, mainly because a fair amount of the time I find the presenter’s accent is incredibly annoying. I guess I do read blogs, but in the same way that I would fill my “normal” reading time by browsing social media, playing games on my phone and watching TV.


I did hit a reading slump in the early weeks of the first UK lockdown due to Covid. Nothing was catching my attention and I was DNF’ing books like they were going out of fashion. That was when I discovered the power of the re-read, and it is probably now my go-to method of overcoming a reading slump. Dipping into the pages of an old faithful really does have magical rejuvenating powers.




How do you deal with a reading slump?

Photo by Karina Zhukovskaya on Pexels.com

Meme

Let’s Talk Bookish – July #2

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



SHOULD BOOKS HAVE CONTENT RATINGS? 


topic suggested by DANI @The Literary Lion

Prompts: Movies, television, video games and most other forms of media have content ratings…but not books. Why do you think it is that books have no rating system to determine what is and isn’t appropriate? Should there be books that are kept out of the hands of children? Is it the responsibility of parents or should there be a standard book rating system to deem what’s appropriate? 

Movies, television, video games and most other forms of media have content ratings…but not books. Why do you think it is that books have no rating system to determine what is and isn’t appropriate?

The trouble with rating systems is that they are very subjective and even though most books do seem to be categorised somewhat by age eg MG, YA, NA or Adult, it really doesn’t give you the full picture. Just what age is young adult exactly? In the UK you are officially an adult at 18, though the age of consent it 16. I read an interesting post a few weeks ago by Cheri @All In Good Time, who was trying to improve on the age rating and trigger warnings she gave. The points she made were very pertinent, it inspired me to try and include similar warnings/guidance in my own reviews.


Perhaps it’s because books aren’t visual but rely instead on the imagination that resulted in no rating system. Maybe it’s just because their format is so much older than visual media. I recall, many years ago, my chemistry teacher saying that if alcohol had been invented/discovered in the 20th Century it would have been made illegal, just like many “recreational” drugs are. Perhaps there is no warning because of “tradition”.

Should there be books that are kept out of the hands of children?

Pretty much anything I read contains content inappropriate for mid-teens and younger, so that would be a definite YES! Though how many of us had sneaky reads of those boddice-rippers and Jackie Collins books that we found in our mother’s possession? I was perhaps naive, but some of that content went straight over my head, or maybe I was in self denial 😂!

Is it the responsibility of parents or should there be a standard book rating system to deem what’s appropriate? 

Whilst parents do need to try and be aware of what their children are reading, it isn’t possible for them to pre-read every book in advance. In particular I’m thinking of those books aimed at the YA market. I recently read a YA fantasy that contained a sex scene, albeit a very glossed over non-specific one. It also contained other content that would make me feel it was inappropriate for some younger readers, putting it more in the 16+ category.


Then of course there is the indisputable fact that all people mature at different rates, so what might be fine for one 15 year old would be totally wrong for another. However at least it would give parents, and anyone gifting a book to a young person, some guidance. Whilst the internet and social media have made it easier to research a book’s content, an age rating system would make choosing an appropriate book so much easier to do.