Getting a Kindle: Why I Finally Gave In [BTT]

Booking through ThursdayE-readers like the Kindle and iPad are sweeping the nation … do you have one? Do you like it? Do you find it changes your reading/buying habits? If you don’t have one, do you plan to?

After years of holding out hope that this e-reader business would just go away… I am getting a Kindle (this one, to be specific). It’s official – feel free to alert the press.

Seeing as how I am a devoted real-book lover, how on Earth did I come to such a conclusion? I’ll give you two words: Law Books. In case I’ve never mentioned it, I started studying Law part time last year. And whilst I do love spreading the books around me in a sort of research seance, travelling with them is a bitch. Altogether, they weigh – I kid you not – 20 kilos. Twenty kilograms. After putting them on the scale, my only thought was, “I really, really need a Kindle”.

But there are other things that I am looking forward to using my Kindle for. For starters, Netgalley is probably going to become my main new source of reading material. I have read and reviewed books from Netgalley before, but I have always found that reading them on the computer diminishes my enjoyment of the book. Which is odd, considering I have read fanfiction online for years without a problem. Oh, I suppose I could put fics on my Kindle as well… now that would just be odd.

But why the Kindle and not the iPad or another tablet computer? I present my list of well-thought-out reasons:

  • E-ink. Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful, shiny, high-resolution screens as much as the next girl. But I spend all day reading and typing in front of a computer. My reading time is the only time my eyes catch a break. Also, I will want to take my Kindle on day trips… the type that involve reading during the, ya know, daytime.
  • Price. I am a reluctant e-book buyer. As such, I really have no desire to spend an excessive amount of money on my new e-book. The Kindle fits that requirement perfectly.
  • International usage. The new Kindle can be used anywhere in the world, which is brilliant. I cannot wait to be stuck on a train to Russia (or whatever) and saying “ooh, I think I’ll get the latest book in the X series”. 
  • Internet browser. When desperate, the Kindle can be used as a tablet computer. One never knows.
Also, the Kindle’s new lending library couldn’t be better timed. I am just waiting for Amazon UK to set it up!
For those of you who are thinking about getting a Kindle I hope this helped!

Wishing sequels into existence [BTT]

booking through thursday

Booking through Thursday: If you could get a sequel for any book, what would it be?

I love this question because – usually – I complain bitterly about the quantity of sequels out there. My fellow YA and UF fans know exactly what I mean when I say that most books never die. They recycle the same material over and over and over again until you’ve forgotten why you ever liked the book in the first place.

But there are some fabulous books out there that I would totally read the sequel to… if only they existed. Most recently, Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund. I just finished it a few weeks ago and was heartbroken to hear it had no sequel. It’s a fantastic YA Science Fiction novel (read my review here). Hell, I could read a companion novel set in this verse, and I’d be in love.

I would also read absolutely anything set in the Darkest Powers verse by Kelley Armstrong. While I realise that I have been rather blessed in this respect (the series are 3 novels, 4 short stories, and an entire spin-off trilogy), I would love love love to read another Chloe Saunders book. Now, if possible. *waits*

And on a literary fiction note, I would love a sequel to Run by Ann Patchett. It was one of my favourite reads back in 2009 and lately I’ve been thinking about the characters. What are they up to now, I wonder…

Something old, something new [BTT]

Booking through ThursdayAll other things being equal–do you prefer used books? Or new books? (The physical speciman, that is, not the title.) Does your preference differentiate between a standard kind of used book, and a pristine, leather-bound copy?

I have been having a not-so-secret love affair with used books for years.  As a child, my mother would take me to a local used  bookstore where I would dig out old hardback classics from the turn of the century.  I loved finding letters and postcards, reading dedications on the covers, and – in one memorable classic – discovering exotic flowers artistically pressed between the pages.  I love books with tangible history, and that’s something easy to see in used books.

Does that count as the physicality of the book?  To me, the marks left behind by previous owners make the book that much more special.  I felt a wonderful bond with the former owner of my copy of Chocolat by Joanne Harris when I saw chocolate stains on the corners of the pages.  Perhaps not the most hygienic of tells to leave behind, but certainly an appropriate one!

Speaking of hygiene, I have seen used books that I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.  “Used” does not have to mean “disgusting”, but sometimes it really does.  So, in that respect, I do prefer pristine new books.  They have a wonderful, oh-so-distinguishing smell to them – one whiff and I am in love.  And there is nothing better than cracking the spine of a new paperback, leaving behind your own mark on a novel.

But above all, what sets used books apart is the search. There’s nothing better than digging through dusty piles of books to find a copy of a book you’d always meant to read. Or discovering a first edition Tolkien on the bottom shelf of a charity store. The process of purchasing new books is rather like internet dating, while buying a used book feels like fate. Sure, you could find your soulmate through either one, but there will always be something special about the book that found you.  

When does a series jump the shark? [BTT]

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If you read series, do you ever find a series “jumping the shark?” How do you feel about that? And, do you keep reading anyway?

I read a lot of different series and – as a general rule – love doing so. When you find a character you love and a setting that you want to live in, it is easy to want the good times to go on! But sometimes I do worry that a series will jump the shark. And when it does, I tell myself it is ok to let go. I will read on if I truly loved the first books, but I try not to let the new books affect the way I think about the characters I love.

There are a lot of examples out there of series-gone-bad. In UF, the most common example is Laurrell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake books. I am only 4 books into that series – supposedly the pre-shark jumping phase – and love it. But I have no idea how I will feel when basically Anita turns her home into a brothel, and shall have to read before I judge. Nevertheless, I completely understand why fans were rather horrified – it is quite the change from the horror and action of the first books!

In YA, Twilight is example of good-gone-very-bad. Honestly, even though I enjoyed Breaking Dawn, it was such a change from the first books that I struggled to accept it. When I think of Twilight, I try only to remember the teenage swoon-worthy romance of the first book – and perhaps the heartbreak of the second book – and leave the rest. While I wouldn’t say Meyer “jumped the shark”, she certainly got in the water with it.

But for me, the most unfortunate case of good-going-very-bad was the Study series by Maria V. Snyder. I adored the first book, loved the second – but had to force myself to finish the third. Epic disappointment. The characters were self-centred shadows of their former selves, and my only consolation was that at least the series was ending. It was actually very sad.

Other than those, most of the series I am following have stayed on track. Although sometimes I can read the first in a series – love it – and then hate the rest of the books. Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series is one I won’t be continuing – after the sour taste that the second book left in my mouth. Vicki Pettersson’s second book in the Sign of the Zodiac Series was also a supreme disappointment, and while I haven’t gotten rid of the rest of the series yet, I am hesitant to pick up book three.

Perhaps series do better when there is only a set number of books? In other words, when the author has a contained plan where the end is known right from the beginning. My favourite series, Harry Potter and the Darkest Powers Trilogy, seem to be prime examples of that!

Jump the shark?  To those of you wondering where this peculiarly phrase came from, watch this highly informative video featuring The Fonz!

Booking Through Thursday: Reading Preferences

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Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–more detail at some later date)

Reading something frivolous? Or something serious?

Paperbacks? Or hardcovers?

Fiction? Or Nonfiction?

Poetry? Or Prose?

Biographies? Or Autobiographies?

History? Or Historical Fiction?

Series? Or Stand-alones?
Hmmm… Series.

Classics? Or best-sellers?

Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose?
Lurid and fruity.

Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness?

Long books? Or Short?

Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated?

Borrowed? Or Owned?

New? Or Used?