Would You Rather Book Tag

I’ve seen several booktubers do this book tag (TOTALLY addicted to booktube!!) but I decided to partake after reading Ashley’s post over at Socially Awkward Bookworm …. I like the questions and I enjoyed reading her answers as well as that of others (tagged below) so I thought to myself, “Why not?!”

Well, here I go:

Would you rather only read trilogies or only read standalones?

Hmm… not an easy question to answer since I like it when a story I love continues in several books. Still, it’s highly satisfying to read a story that’s completed in one book. So… I’ll go with trilogies. That way there’s more to look forward to and explore.

Would you rather only read male or female authors?

It doesn’t matter to me since I hardly pay attention to the author’s gender when I read a story.

Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?

BARNES & NOBLE!! 😀 Although they’re more expensive. I just realize that I don’t get much benefits as a B&N member when I shop in the stores. I hardly purchase current bestsellers and I tend to shy away from hardbacks so all I get off my purchases is a measly 10%, which works out to about $1 off. If I shop online at B&N, my purchases would be a bit cheaper AND I’ll get free shipping; but I love visiting the bookstore so much that it’s hard to tell if I’ll ever stop buying in store. As for Amazon, I do like purchasing e-books from them and Instant Movies.

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The Ultimate Book Tag

I’m fairly new to these tag features in the book-o-sphere but I think they are fun and a great way to get to know book bloggers and what they love. I discovered The Ultimate Book Tag over on The Diary of a Bibliophile and decided to participate. My plan was to do this later this week but I changed my mind since I’m in a writing slump and currently find it hard to write a review of the three books I’ve recently completed. Hopefully doing this will help me rise from the slump. So here we go:

  1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Nope, never have. Actually, I enjoy reading in vehicles and these days I do most of my reading while travelling. For some reason, I’m more susceptible to distractions when at home, especially social media, so for now my favorite reading places are on the train and in cars.

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Wishes for My TBR Pile: 5 Books for Thoughts and Motivation

I began getting antsy about my Barnes & Noble coupons a few days ago since I hadn’t gotten any since the year began. But last Thursday I came home to a wonderful surprise—coupons for books! I was elated though my joy quickly soured some when I recalled that part of my Lent commitment is to not purchase any books (or shoes).

This might be an easy feat for some but for those like me who LOVE to purchase books (and shoes), it’s torture. I’ve been tempted many times since the beginning of Lent to purchase a book and barely resisted doing so. Especially since this is my birthday month, which makes it easy for me to punch loopholes into my commitment: “Obviously I should be able to purchase presents for myself despite Lent,” I’ve often thought followed by, “Why am I even doing this? I’m not even Catholic.” Luckily the coupons will expire after the Lent period so I’ll have ample time to purchase a few books. So in April when Lent is over, I’ll treat myself to one of these as a birthday gift:

Comma Queen

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris (April 6, 2015)

Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in the New Yorker’s copy department, maintaining its celebrated high standards. Now she brings her vast experience, good cheer, and finely sharpened pencils to help the rest of us in a boisterous language book as full of life as it is of practical advice.

Between You & Me features Norris’s laugh-out-loud descriptions of some of the most common and vexing problems in spelling, punctuation, and usage….and her clear explanations of how to handle them. Down-to-earth and always open-minded, she draws on examples from Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and the Lord’s Prayer, as well as from The Honeymooners, The Simpsons, David Foster Wallace, and Gillian Flynn. 

I can’t recall where I first read about this book—it must have been in a Shelf Awareness newsletter—but I immediately added it to my TBR list. I enjoy reading books on writing and Norris’ book promises to be a thrill. Also, it comes out just in time for the end of Lent and my coupon’s expiration date.

Another reason why I’m getting this book is because I would like to work as a copy editor. I just began training as one and it has improved my writing, though I still make mistakes. I’ve found that it’s easier to edit the works of others than my own, though it helps if I return to what I’ve written after some time has passed to edit. But I’m usually too impatient to wait.

Related articles:

A short feature on Shelf Awareness

And an entertaining article by Norris in the New Yorker (If the book is like this, I will definitely enjoy it.)

Speaking of books on writing and grammar that aren’t a bore, see Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams.

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Wishes for my TBR Pile: 5 Books I Want to Buy

I’m super excited because I came home to find two 20%-off coupons from Barnes & Noble waiting for me in the mail. I can’t wait for the weekend so I can get to shopping. The following are books I’m eager to add to my TBR list. I’ll be honest here and state that most likely these books will be bought and placed on my bookshelf, where it will sit and collect dust for a few months before I actually read them. But I am a book-lover, a bibliophile at heart, so I can’t pass up an opportunity to collect more books. Though I am on a book-buying ban, I shall lift it for the weekend because—coupons!! Possible purchases might include:

The World of Ice & Fire

The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (Bantam, Oct. 28, 2014)

“This lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vividly constructed accounts of the epic battles, bitter rivalries, and daring rebellions that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones. In a collaboration that’s been years in the making, Martin has teamed with Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonsson, the founders of the renowned fan site Westeros.org—perhaps the only people who know this world almost as well as its visionary creator.”

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Mess is Where the Books Are

Daily Prompt: Sweeping Motions

What’s messier right now — your bedroom or you computer’s desktop (or your favorite device’s home screen)? Tell us how and why it got to that state.

It used to be my bedroom. Papers and books scattered across the floor like a second layer of carpeting with art supplies lining the walls but all that has been picked up and cleared away because of the attack of the silverfish. Now the messy place is my nightstand, where bills are thrown and forgotten.

Actually, it’s not a nightstand but a small office bookcase (too broke to buy a nightstand). The spillover from my bookcase is stocked on it as well as art supplies and a few electronics. On top, I have a lamp, alarm radio, batteries, medicine, Bible (of course), an exiled Nook Color, a few articles I’ve printed, an old purse, Our Daily Bread (a daily devotional), Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm (which I just completed), pens and highlighter, a bottled water, booklight, and a stack of bills I try hard to make invisible by the force of my mind.

I’ve tried tidying it but every time I succeed in doing so, it refills within a few days. Sometimes I wonder if my family contributes to the mess. It simple cannot be just me. The thing is my nightstand has become an easy place to throw things I’d rather not think about—bills—or to place things that I can quickly access from my bed—currently-reading books, medicine, Bible, and water, a bit in that order.

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A Wandering Mind and Other Things

Blogging 101 Assignment: Make a Prompt Personal

I guess this post can be a mash-up of today’s assignment and an assignment from a few weeks ago that I didn’t get to: Be Inspired by the Community.

Today’s Daily Prompt—The Great Divide: When reading for fun, do you usually choose fiction or nonfiction? Do you have an idea why you prefer one over the other?—made me immediately think of a quote from a recent post over at The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shh! The quote explains how a person’s personality influences her preference for either science fiction or fantasy:

“Fans of science fiction (and dystopia) want to explore ways to change our existing world. Fans of fantasy want to explore ways to escape the limitations of this world.”

I begin with this because when I read for fun, I always gravitate towards fiction and the type of fiction I tend to choose is fantasy. Even when I decide to take a break from fiction and choose a nonfiction book, I still tend to pick up compendiums of essays that discuss fiction or mythology.

The quote above helps to explain why these are my choices. I do seek ways to escape the limitations of this world, even in my simple everyday tasks. While walking down the road, I may see a structure or doorway that tickles my imagination into wondering if it’s a portal to a world that operates on a different time (faster or slower than ours), and that’s filled with magical creatures and odd experiences waiting to happen. Sometimes I walk through such imagined portals, excited at the prospect of what could happen to me: Would I immediately exit through the other side, or would I first live a separate life before exiting to continue my present one? Sometimes I think C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has left too strong an impression on my imagination. (My friends and family probably think this too.)

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The Odd Thing I Discovered Today: Book Scorpions

The pseudoscorpion Chelifer cancroides was nam...
The pseudoscorpion Chelifer cancroides was named Acarus cancroides in 1758. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This may come as no surprise to a few of you who read Bec Crew’s blog post on Scientific American’s website a few weeks ago but there is such a thing as book scorpions. Yes, you’ve read correctly: book scorpions. They are real, unfortunately.

I discovered their existence this morning while catching up on emails. I’m way behind. I’ve subscribed to one too many newsletters. I think it was while reading a newsletter from Shelf Awareness that I found a link directing me to Crew’s blog post. My morning was going great until then. One of my biggest book peeves is bugs that eat books and while I should love book scorpions since they feed on such pests, their appearance is not one I would be glad to see.

According to Crew, book scorpions, properly known as pseudoscorpions, are tiny insects that hunt booklice and dust mites that feed on the starch-based glue used to bind books. Like a scorpion, they have long, pincer-like claws protruding from their sides called pedipalps that are twice as long as their legs (I wonder if they ever get tired carrying those around). The one thing I found cool about these bugs is that their respiratory organs are called book lungs because they “look just like the warped pages of an old book.” They’re more bookish than me.

Book scorpions grow to about 4mm in length. They look a bit like bed bugs to me. When not hunting and feeding, book scorpions can be found engaging in a mating dance, prepping to create the next batch eewy-looking bugs. Crew provides a quick run-down of this mating exercise. Though helpful, I do not want to see these bugs scuttling about my bookshelves. As with the silverfish, I will war against them. And since I’m a bit paranoid after reading this article, I shall now proceed to cleaning my bookshelf and reinforcing it with book spray. (A link to Bec Crew’s article is below.)

 

Bookish Pet Peeves

So I’m sitting in my room lost in a daydream when I see an insect scamper across the wall. Shocked, I immediately jump out of bed and hunt him down. I had never seen an insect like that before and it prompted me to run a Google search. The more I discovered, the more pissed I became which led me to do this post on my bookish pet peeves.

  1. Bending the pages
    • I HATE when people do this to my books. I can hardly tolerate it when they do it to their own or to library books. Treat the books with some respect! Though, there is something charming about a well-worn book that is all bended, folded, scraped, and torn. A book that has been held in many hands and read in myriad places.from frabz
  2. Asking to borrow my books
    • Yes, I am one of those snobbish bibliophiles who hate to loan a book. I’ll even go so far as to purchase the book for you so you’ll leave mine alone (family members and close friends only). It’s selfish and silly but loaning books lead to bended covers, torn pages, and possible loss of the book since borrowers never seem to remember to RETURN what they borrow….speaking from experience on that last one. I refrain from borrowing books. I have a library card. I hardly use it. I’m one of those people who usually have an unnecessarily high library debt. Why? Because I forget. I can’t help it. It’s not intentional, I just do.
  3. Silverfish….and other book-eating bugs
    • The reason for this post. Unfortunately in this world there are insects who love to eat books and even more unfortunate is that my house is plagued with them. Where are they coming from? I don’t know. We recently moved and I guess they were here awaiting our arrival. I’ve seen them a few times at night, lurking in corners, crawling on walls, waiting for me to turn off the lights and go to sleep so they can attack my precious. These bugs are quick, little scampers. They are silvery-grey and have too many legs. They like warm, humid climes and love to feed on starch. They do not bite or spread any diseases and it seems that one could live peaceably with them if one does not mind many-legged insects crawling about the house but I’m not such a person. The mere sight of them is enough to rile me and have me running for the insect spray. So I’ve declared war on them. Prepare to be eliminated little fuckers!
  4. Soggy books
    • I had the misfortune of being caught in a deluge the other day. I was returning from a trip to New York and the sky was bright and sunny. No need to worry about a thunderstorm, I thought. A few minutes walking down the road proved me wrong. The sky quickly grayed and it suddenly began to rain as if the clouds were unable to hold their water once they appeared. Luckily, I had an umbrella but it was of little use! I was soaked within minutes. My suitcase was as well. I was dragging it behind me and it was filled with paperbacks given to me by my aunt. Once I got home and started to unpack, I saw that my books were all crinkled and soggy, the pages sticking together. I almost cried. They were new books. I just hate it when my books are ruined before I’ve had the chance to read them.book overload
  5. Unnecessary tomes
    • I’m thinking of Robert Jordan’s 13-book series (which I am nowhere near finishing). It’s too damn long for no good reason. I am on book five of the Wheel of Time series and I wonder if I will ever finish the books in this lifetime. I am not daunted by large books or long series. What turns me off is when a book is large because the author is stalling, or when chapters are filled with pointless internal dialogue or an overkill on landscape descriptions (all of which Jordan does). I am sure the books could have been condensed to a series that is half of its current amount.

Well, that’s it for my tirade. What are your bookish pet peeves?

Note on the featured image because it’s so cool. It’s a photograph taken by Cara Barer, a photographer based in Houston, Tex. She transforms damaged books into art and also does book-sculpting. I’m in love with her work. I guess it’s the only way I can tolerate a damaged book.

Confessions of a Book Whore

I Am a Book Whore

I’m such a book whore! Seriously, why can’t I just stick to one? No, instead I start reading one and then another catches my eye and then I’m off with that one too, reading them both at once. Sometimes I feel guilty because I tend to give more attention to one than the other – most times, to the second than the first. I wish I could settle down with just one book but whenever I try to do so, my mind wanders and I begin to wonder if there’s something better out there that I’m missing out on.

For the New Year, I decided to read 30 books. It’s a doable goal. Last year’s 60 books didn’t work out well and I only read 45 by pushing myself hard. “30 books” is more relaxed. So far I’ve read 5 books, which has surprised me because I didn’t expect to read that much in just a month. The month isn’t even over yet.

The first book read was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I was so captivated by this book that it didn’t even cross my mind to consider running off with another. This book lassoed me and held fast. Most times I couldn’t even tear my eyes from the pages. Everything was done one-handed and with a quarter of my attention while I read, which caused many accidents to happen—especially in the kitchen—and shoddy clean-up jobs.

After completing The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I jumped into The Magician’s Guild by Trudi Canavan. This one is a bore. I’m still trying to make my way through it. The chemistry is simply not there and I kept wandering off so I began reading The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. Although Dillard’s book kept me interested, it was not enough to turn me from my whorish ways so I began reading A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin.

I ran off with A Wizard of Earthsea and had a blissful affair. We were involved once when I was a teenager but then I forgot about it—it’s hard to keep up when you’ve been involved with so many books. But it was great hooking up again and rediscovering what we once had. I promise this time I will not forget. It was a good lay.

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