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let's talk bookish weekly meme

Let’s Talk Bookish – How has reading shaped your life?

It’s Friday and time for another Let’s Talk Bookish. This is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky at Eternity Books where participants are invited to discuss a topic. This week’s topic is “How has reading shaped/changed your life?”

I have always been a reader. My parents read to me from an early age, and I grew up with a great love of books and reading. Some of my earliest memories are going to the library and checking out stacks of books to take home and devour. I participated in the library summer reading program and tore through books, wanting to read the most (I never did, though). Reading has always been a huge part of my life.

When I was in fourth grade, I transferred schools. It was an incredibly difficult transition and the girls at the new school could be incredibly cruel to me. They teased and bullied me, sometimes physically. I took solace in books. I’d always had an active imagination, and having that escape really helped. It didn’t matter that I didn’t live near any of the few friends I had; I had friends in my mind. Stories and books became a solace and a refuge. If the girls were being too mean, I could take a book out to recess and escape or even just walk away and imagine myself into another world.

In high school, I met another girl who loved to read as much as me. We initially bonded over Star Trek, but quickly found we had so much more in common. We would spend hours at the bookstores, pouring over books. We lent and recommended books to each other all the time. We never ran out of things to say to one another.

Reading has also shaped my writing life. Although I was always adamant about not wanting to be a writer (a stance I’ve since reversed), I’ve always been writing because I was influenced by reading. My earliest scribblings were poems. In fourth grade, I wrote a sequel to Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM as a gift for my teacher who read it to us. I wrote Star Wars fanfiction in high school, then graduated to pirate romances after I started reading romances. I started writing vampires after Interview with the Vampire and the Anita Blake books by Laurel K. Hamilton. I realized I could connect all my writing into a shared universe from Cassandra Clare, which led to me writing two books this year. Reading has guided and directed my writing from the beginning.

My identity as a reader has always been important to me. I’ve always been proud of it and excited to share my love. Without reading, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I honestly can’t imagine who I’d be without it.

How has reading shaped or changed your life? Drop a comment below and let me know!

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discussion

Let’s Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky at Eternity Books. This week’s topic is “Should readers read books that aren’t for their target age?”

I think yes, for several reason. First, books don’t really have a target age. Publishers, stores, and libraries categorize books based on what they think the audience is, but that doesn’t mean those categories define who is allowed or not allowed to read them. They’re grouped together as a guess as to who would enjoy them the most. Children tend to enjoy books about children and animals. Teens like books about teens. Adults often like to read about the lives of other adults. But that doesn’t mean the books are solely for them. I doubt most authors are crying over the fact that there’s a huge population of adults who love, buy, and read children’s books. It means those authors did their job. I can’t think of anyone who wants their book to only be appreciated by a narrow audience. They want their stories to be read by as wide a population as possible.

It goes both ways, of course. Should children be reading adult books? And, yeah, if they’re ready. There are some books that kids aren’t ready to be reading, but they aren’t going to gravitate those. They’ll read books they can understand and feel comfortable with. For example, many years ago, a fifth grade student went to her teacher upset because the book she was reading mentioned condoms and safer sex between adults (the mother of the main character) . She didn’t want to read it anymore. She clearly wasn’t ready to read that book, and that’s fine. I, on the other hand, sought out romance and even sexually explicit books when I was a preteen. I got an elicit thrill, and I got to read about safe, consensual relationships between adults. On the other hand, I’ve never been old enough to read the book A Child Called It, and I never will be. But it’s hugely popular with fifth and sixth graders to this day. Different strokes.

Books shouldn’t be kept in cages. Stories are universal, no matter what the publisher stamps as the age category. Not allowing people to read the books that they want is banning books, and that’s not okay by any stretch of the imagination.

Two quotes to sum up my thoughts:

Well, in all my years I ain’t never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about.”  Hopkins, 1776 (Replace “talked about” with “read about” and that’s where I stand)

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” C.S. Lewis

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discussion weekly meme

Let’s Talk Bookish – Star Ratings: Are they fair or necessary?

It’s Friday, so that means it’s once again time fro Let’s Talk Bookish, a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books.

This week’s discussion is Star Ratings – Are they fair or necessary?

So, I’m going to preface this by saying that this is something I’ve never thought about before. I just sort of took for granted it’s what people did. You read a book, you rate it, end of story. But the issue is more complex with that.

I’ll start out by saying that, no, they probably aren’t very fair. For one thing, stars mean different things to different people. This is what my star ratings mean:

Five stars: I loved it, I cherish it, I want to own it and reread it.

Four stars: I really liked it a lot.

Three stars: It was okay, I liked it.

Two stars: I didn’t enjoy it much, but there was something redeeming about it.

One star: I hated it.

However, not everyone attaches the same meaning to starts. To some people, giving a three star review is a huge insult to the book. To others, it means they enjoyed it a lot. So, star ratings aren’t standard and, except for five and one star ratings, it’s hard to tell what the person means when they star.

At the same time, I think it’s the easiest way to get across our relative enjoyment of the book. Reviews are great, but sometimes I don’t want to read a review, I just want to know if someone liked it or not. Stars give me a quick and easy guide to figuring that out.

On the other hand, tastes vary wildly and reviews are really a better metric of what a person thought about a book. I can get a clearer idea of how our star ratings align by reading a review. Maybe they rated it two stars, but they really liked the book and thought it was okay. That gives me a better idea of what they think that just looking at a star. And reading a review also helps me understand why someone rated something five stars when I really didn’t like the book and gave it a two.

So, I guess star ratings aren’t really fair, but, until we come up with a better way to rate things, they’re necessary. They can be useful to a degree and help give a quick idea of a book’s quality. But, they have to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

What do you think? Are star ratings fair or necessary? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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discussion weekly meme

Let’s Talk Bookish – Questions for More Experienced Bloggers

Let’s talk Bookish is a new weekly meme hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books. Each week, Rukky offers a topic to discuss and people are invited to chime in. This week the topic is Things You Wish You could Ask Other or More Experienced Bloggers.

So, I’m quite shy when it comes to asking questions, but I do have a few burning ones on my list.

  1. How do you come up with such wonderful discussion posts?
  2. When did you get the courage to start commenting on bloggers with 1,000+ followers?
  3. What do you do when you’re busy or in a reading slump and haven’t finished a book to read?
  4. When did you start contacting publishers directly for ARCs? Any advice?
  5. What are some tried and true methods for gaining more followers?
  6. What made you decide to start a book blog?
  7. What are some of your favorite books that you don’t get around to talking about as much?
  8. What are you writing/blogging inspirations?
  9. What’s your favorite post of all time?
  10. How do you encourage others to comment on your posts?

Okay, I think that’s all the questions I have. Got any answers for me? Any questions you have? Drop a comment below and let me know!