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Book sluts, reading moods, and giveaways oh my!

March 29, 2008

Monday will mark the beginning of normal operations, since tomorrow I’m driving back to the Rockies. Oh for constant internet access! (of course, I’m sure my book reading will lower accordingly, but it’s worth it) But I just realised that I never did write my post on Emily’s great topic: booksluttishness (sluttony?). Her post is much funnier than mine will be, so if you haven’t read so, you ought to. At first I thought, “Heck yeah, I’m a book slut!” (I might have thought it a bit more strongly in my head, but you can use your imaginations) And around certain kinds of books, I definitely am. If the book boasts an author name of non-English origin, I’ll throw myself at it. Who cares if it’s about a war (and thus guaranteed to be depressing), or insanely post-modern, or has an ugly cover? If it’s international, I want a piece of it. Then there’s a book size. And for this reader, size does matter. If a bookhas a definite heft, I’m going to want to bring it home. And if it’s a an international biggie, it can count on an extended stay. Oh, and how could I forget the attractiveness of those classics? I always have a variety of covers to pick from, and whether it’s a well-mannered domestic story or something a bit racier, I’m helpless before its practiced charms. Then there’s books about international relations: balance of power, globalization, political intrigue, diplomacy…words like these make me just swoon. These books don’t have be the most eloquent, or engaging, but they must take caution all the same, because I soon realise whether they’re serious or not. And woe to those who don’t live up to my standards-they’ll be kicked to the curb before morning! And yet, there are other books that would be hard pressed to get a warm welcome. Contemporary American fiction, for example, could hit on me all night and not even leave with a phone number. Chick lit knows to steer clear, as do poorly written thrillers or mysteries of the hard-boiled variety. I have a healthy suspicion towards memoirs (sometimes justified), but several good books recently have made me rethink that one. So, I’d say I’m more of a genre-slut than full-blown book one. I know what I like, and when I see it I go after it, but I’m not going home with any book that happens to catch my eye, just because it has a nice cover or great texture. Susan and Poodlerat have both fessed up. What about you?

And because I like talking about personal reading habits so much, here are my reading moods, inspired by the hilarious post over at Musings From the Sofa:
Because we all have it, there’s definitely the guilt read. For me, this comes in two main flavours: the “oh my God, China has one-sixth of the world’s population and I’ve never read a single book by a Chinese author” style thoughts and the “I really ought to read [Philip Roth/Don deLillio/any other contemporary American author] since they’re so well-known and ‘literary.” The former I read from all the time; the latter, not so much-sometimes I even buy/mooch/borrow from the library a book by one of these authors, but I often just stare at it malevolently for awhile before putting it back on the shelf.

Then there’s the one of my favourite bloggers really liked this book/author read: this one is often attendent by a strong sense of paranoia that I won’t like the book, and will then have to sheepishly admit that and the blogger will no longer like me. Fortunately, of all the books recommended by bloggers, I’ve only had bad luck with one series (no, I’m not going to name it), and all of those bloggers forgave me. ;)

Another common reaction for me is I’ve been reading a bunch of YA lit recently, so now I need to read a classic; because after all, teens have required reading for high school, and I love authors like Austen, Trollope, Collins, Balzac, Eliot, etc. Sometimes, this backfires into the next category….well, I haven’t enjoyed a single book by this author ever, but s/he’s really popular, so I ought to give it another go. Sometimes, this works out for the best (I strongly disliked The Eyre Affair the first time round, whereas I loved it when I reread it a few years later). Usually, though, it just confirms that the author and I are not going to be friends any time soon (the main one that pops into my head right now is Dickens, but I’m sure there are more).

Of course, there’s the why does the world suck so much? read, whose main job is to make me completely forget all of my problems. For me, this is usually great fantasy or mysteries (though I am very picky about my mysteries)-usually after two or three I’m ready to face real life again.

Then there’s the I’m going somewhere and need a book small enough to fit in my purse/suitcase/etc choice: much as I might have loved to bring War and Peace to keep my company in the doctor’s waiting room, a mass market paperback is likely to beat it out. Of course, I tend to buy larger purses for the express reason of being able to fit more/larger books in them, but there’s a limit to how much my shoulder can take!

And I mustn’t forget the random seduction read. This usually happens at libraries for me, since I then I don’t have to risk money on a book I might not like. Either the cover, or the book summary, or the topic has really intrigued me, so I take it home with me and read it right away, usually straight through. These are the source of some of my greatest finds and greatest disappointments.

And I think we all know the I bought this X years ago, and I still haven’t read it, which is a horrible waste of money read, which provides a strong incentive to get those books off the TBR shelf. Usually, this is a good thing, since I rarely buy a book that I don’t like (good luck, I suppose). I can’t say I experienced this much before book blogging (when I only bought books to read in the relatively immediate future), but this mood has governed much of my reading for this entire year, since I’m trying not to buy new books until I’ve read all the ones on my shelves.

And last but not least (for now, since my imagination’s running dry), there’s the I call X one of my favourite authors, and I haven’t read anything by him/her in forever read: this is somewhat of a guilty read, but since it always results in pleasure, I believe it deserves its own category! I might suddenly realise (as I did last week) that though I claim to adore Salman Rushdie, and I used to be faithfully working my way through his oevre (is there a less pretentious way to say that?), I only read one book by him last year and none this year. Oops! Then, I will desperately rush to my bookshelves/the library/bookmooch to fix this.

Finally, more giveaways! Care (of Care’s Online Book Club) is offering a prize package that includes Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the short story collection St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves by Karen Russell, and a Mary Kay ‘look’ (which is exciting for those of us who like make-up!). You have until April 3rd to comment for one entry, and blog about it for an extra one. Also, since I gushed about Mistress of the Revolution, J. Kaye is offering a copy on her book blog. You only have a day (until March 30th-tomorrow) to run over and comment for your chance to win. Jeane from Dog Ear Diary is giving away her copy of The Artist by Norman Garbo: comment by March 30th, aka tomorrow. And over on A Book Blogger’s Diary, a copy of The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly is up for grabs if you’re an American blogger who posts a link to the giveaway by March 31st. Finally, Nymeth is holding five drawings: to be entered in any or all of them (you can only win once), just go comment. To be entered again, link to it.

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2008 9:01 pm

    Wow…way to much fun stuff to comment on it all but let me just say that I thoroughly enjoyed this post and related to it all to well :)

  2. March 29, 2008 11:02 pm

    I wish I had more “I bought this X years ago, and I still haven’t read it, which is a horrible waste of money reads.” My shelves are ridiculously overpopulated with utter strangers. They just looked so handsome in the bookstore…

  3. March 29, 2008 11:31 pm

    Sigh…it’s all too true. Every word, each category…

  4. March 29, 2008 11:51 pm

    I love this post, too. Love it.

    Can’t really say more than that because it will be a comment as long as your post.

    Just: love it.

  5. March 30, 2008 2:25 am

    Fantastic post! I just read one of these: I bought this X years ago, and I still haven’t read it, which is a horrible waste of money read – and really enjoyed it :)

    I’ve organised my imminent TBR shelf to mix up the long standing books with the new ones so that I have to get them read! When I get through that pile there are some even older ones hidden away upstairs to get to! *lol*

  6. aparkavenueprincess permalink
    March 30, 2008 4:08 am

    This is a really adorable post! I couldn’t stop laughing! It’s so true for A LOT of us!

    : )
    Amy

  7. March 30, 2008 5:42 am

    What fun, Eva! I’m afraid my main “category” of reading has become…”Damn, I’m never going to finish this challenge in time if I don’t read ______________!”

  8. March 30, 2008 5:50 am

    I felt my stress level increase as I recognized myself in several categories….

  9. March 30, 2008 6:36 am

    So on my post tomorrow, I will take your inspiration and list my reasons for reading things, which will in all likelihood require me to parse out guilt into a number of sub-categories. Meanwhile, if you could help me out by also categorizing why you eat certain “bad for you” foods (unless of course you’re perfect – as you may well be – and don’t do that), I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks for the great read today.

  10. March 30, 2008 8:26 am

    Ha! Loooved this post. I might have to craft one of my very own.

  11. March 30, 2008 9:28 am

    Heehee I liked this post. So very true.

  12. March 30, 2008 9:58 am

    Always a pleasure to read your posts! And about the giveaways too!

    :D

  13. March 30, 2008 11:40 am

    You hated the ending of The Friday Night Knitting Club, which I sent to you, but I still like you anyway! :)

  14. March 30, 2008 12:39 pm

    Wonderful post :D

    I’ve done my share of guilt read, but mostly of the first kind. The “one of my favourite bloggers really liked this book/author” read is becoming more and more common. But, like Debi, lately I have been immersed in “I must read this for challenge x or y” reads.

    Thanks for spreading the word about my giveaway!

  15. March 30, 2008 3:06 pm

    Oh, I think you did your “genre slut” far better than I managed to do my “book slut.” I love picturing you throwing yourself at the different genres. And just as I could with Becky’s, I can relate to all your different reading moods.

  16. March 30, 2008 3:45 pm

    This is a meme waiting to happen!(And I don’t even like memes, as a rule, but yours are always fun.) I’ll have to steal this idea from you.

  17. March 30, 2008 4:43 pm

    Great post, Eva! It’s been fun reading them, as always. ;)

  18. March 30, 2008 4:57 pm

    This was so clever, Eva. But it made me tired just thinking about all those reasons for reading ;)

  19. March 30, 2008 5:03 pm

    I love your list of different types of reads, especially the one about book bloggers and the wonderful books they recommend — I keep wanting to read what so-and-so just read, and then I think about how I’ll seem like such a copy-cat and I’m not sure what to do!

  20. March 30, 2008 6:21 pm

    Yep, I have way too many of those “bought this x years ago…” sad thing, I still haven’t learned a thing as I keep buying more books :)
    Loved this post!

  21. March 30, 2008 9:17 pm

    Since I wrote about this on my blog – and thank you sooo much for linking to me!! what a great book-blogging friend you’re becoming! – I’ll just say – between you and Emily, I think you have covered many of the ways we fall into booksluttiness ;-)
    and yes, I’m afraid I’m having problems with a book I’m reading now, desperately hoping it will get better or NO ONE will like me…my big fear – am I missing something in reading the book? Or is everyone else wrong and going along with it and I’m calling the Emperor’s clothes? It won so many awards….Yikes….so fingers crossed Inkheart (YES! Inkheart, everyone’s favourite! I’ve actually avoided reading it this weekend at almost halfway through!!) gets better!
    …..and my shelves are FULL of “I bought this years ago” hence all the challenges I was easily able to join since I had the books right there! I won’t add that I am now busy buying more books for next year, since I get anxious when it looks like I have too many books read on my shelves and not enough to look forward to. (Bookslut category # 20: “Anxiety when not enough unread books are around”)

  22. March 31, 2008 9:04 am

    I hope you had a good vacation, but I’m glad you’ll be back to regular posting. I love your ‘book slut” categories–i’m going to have to go and read the post that initiated this! Did you know the Les Misérables blog is up and running? You’ll have to join!

  23. March 31, 2008 12:13 pm

    Hmm, maybe I’ll do this this week.

    The giveaways are very exciting! And I have to post my giveaway post today.

  24. musingsfromthesofa permalink
    March 31, 2008 1:27 pm

    Yes, I recognise a few of those categories too!

  25. March 31, 2008 1:51 pm

    I can definitely relate to most of your categories, and you expressed your book sluttiness so eloquently! Thanks for sharing your thoughts in such a fun way.

  26. March 31, 2008 4:11 pm

    Chris, thanks!

    Sarah, lol-at least they’re not ugly strangers. ;)

    Bybee, lol!

    Nik, aww-thanks so much. :) You should do one too, when you have time to blog again!

    Mrs. Ms, thanks for stopping by. :)I keep all of my TBR books and read books together as well-I don’t want the TBR books to feel unfortable.

    Amy, thanks! And thanks for commenting. :)

    Debi, I can’t believe I forgot challenges! Sometimes I’m so ditsy-that’s definitely a mood for me as well.

    Jenclair, deep breaths, deep breaths.

    Andi, awesome-I’ll look forward to the post! lol @ the “bad for you” foods-that’d be a whole nother blog. ;)

    Andi, thanks-you should!

    Kim, thanks!

    Gautami, you’re so sweet. :)

    Stephanie, I know-and that was even worse because you sent it to me. I’m glad that you still like me. :)

    Nymeth, like I said earlier to Debi, I can’t believe I forgot to mention challenges. Whoops.

    Emily, you’re sweet, but yours had me almost rolling on the floor it was so funny.;)

    Imani, awesome!

    Melody, I’m glad you liked it. :)

    RavenousReader, lol-it was pretty tiring writing about them all too!

    Dorothy, I don’t think you’ll look like a copy-cat! Sometimes I’ll just direct people to the review that inspired me to read the book as well, so the other blogger gets some credit too. But I think what’s fun about book blogging is seeing how different people react to the same book.

    Iliana, I accumalated so many in only a year, I’m sure by the time I’m done with school I’ll be swamped!

    Susan, I wouldn’t worry about Inkheart-I enjoyed it, but I had some definite qualms, so it wouldn’t surprise me if others didn’t like it. :) I’m doing the joining challenges to get the books I own read too! lol @ the anxiety-very true.

    Danielle, thanks!! I’ll definitely go join the Les Mis blog, even if I’m too lazy to add the accent (my French professors would be appalled!)

    Dew, I’d love to read your version. :)

    Musingsfromthesofa, I still think your ‘hangover’ read is the best category ever!!

    Lisa, thanks! You should do it too. :D

  27. April 3, 2008 10:40 am

    A delight, this post…

  28. January 11, 2009 10:18 pm

    Here I thought I had such a good-girl reputation. I had no idea it was endangered, and by the ones I hold so dear-books! LOL!

    Great post, Eva-your moods are spot on!

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