Category: reading

The Difference between a Good Book and a Great Book

I’m still plugging away at my weekly reading goal, something that’s been harder this year than it’s been in years past. Not really because I’m reading less, but I got hooked into reading Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen. 10 books that are each over 1,000 pages, and a lot of those 1,000 pages are pretty bewildering, especially at the beginning. I’ve only read two of them this year (I’ve got three to go), but when you plot 1,000 pages in front of you and try to read it in a week, you don’t get very far. (At least you don’t if your name is Bryce.)

Which is definitely a downside of the reading goal, because at the moment I have a number of 1,000 word books I’d really like to be reading. I’d like to finish the Malazan series, and I’d like to reread The Way of Kings so that I can finally read the new one Brandon just published. But instead of reading those books, I keep reading shorter books to try to make up the time so that I can stay on target. This doesn’t always lead to the best of reading experiences. Reading something because you feel like you should is very different from reading something that you want to.

This is something that I’ve really been reminded of as I read my current choice: Bloodline, by Will Wight. It’s book 9 of the Cradle series, and it’s very much a popcorn book for me. I love the series. It zips along, has great action scenes, and is just very . . . readable. I’m breezing through the pages in a way that other books that are just “good” don’t.

One of the tricks of the Malazan books is that for long swathes of them, they can be just “good.” And when you’ve got tons of pages left in a “good” book, it’s hard to push yourself to get through them. I would have set the series aside long ago, except usually about a third into each book, it goes from “good” to “great,” and it’s very much worth the price to get there.

A great book demands to be read. A great book is one that you give up sleep for. That you find yourself skipping Netflix or video games or basic hygiene so that you can have more time for reading. I don’t mean “great” as in “a work of great literature.” Those aren’t always (or often) synonymous. In this form of “great,” it can be very unique from person to person. You typically find an author that really works for you. The style clicks, and you can just devour books by the chapter.

So maybe I should just set the reading goal aside for the moment and read what I want. I’m not sure about that just yet. Or maybe I just need more great books to read. Anyone got any recommendations? I don’t need a book to change me for life: I just want something that keeps me turning the pages at a feverish pace.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Podcast: Encouraging Teens to Read

Today’s post actually isn’t about my typical library podcast. Rather, this is one I did with my Bryce Moore hat on, as a guest on a podcast run by my cousin over at Pulling Curls. Here’s the description she gives for it. If that sounds like something up your alley, give it a listen. It was a fun discussion, and I got the chance to recommend some great books.:

Elementary aged kids LOVE to read, but that love seems to wane as our kids get older. How do we get teenagers to read, and what are some good books to suggest if you can’t seem to get them interested in reading?

In this episode we’re going to talk about:

  • Why the love of reading lessens as kids get older
  • The things we’re doing wrong with our teens that makes them not read.
  • Emphasize that reading shouldn’t be approached as a punishment.
  • Why teens need to keep reading

Listen to it here!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Does Reading Speed Affect Enjoyment?

I was going to write a post about superstitions today. I had it all blocked out in my head and ready to go. Then I did a search through my blog and realized I already wrote that exact post five years ago. One of the downsides of having a blog that’s so old at that point is that sometimes I retread ground I’ve trod before.

So I’m bringing you something new today. A thought I’ve been wondering for the last while. I read fairly quickly, but not nearly as fast as some people. My agents can burn through a book in a couple of hours. It takes me much longer than that. I’d say I’m about three times as slow as they are. 6 hours for an average book, or maybe a bit shorter than that. Still much faster than some, but there are times that I wonder if I really want to read any faster than I already do.

On the one hand, yay for reading faster. That would mean I’d get to read more books, which would be a definitely plus. I love reading, so why not do more of it? But on the other hand, I worry that reading faster would be like watching movies in fast forward. I love movies, but I don’t think they’d have the same impact if all the people were speaking in chipmunk voices the whole time.

I can’t imagine that’s what actually happens for people who read fast. I mean, when I try to read slowly, it just doesn’t work. It’s boring and why would I want to do that to myself? But isn’t reading just consuming a story through a different mechanism? If a storyteller told their story twice as fast, that wouldn’t be as impactful . . .

Hence my question to you all. If you’re a fast reader, does it feel like everything’s happening super fast in the story to you? Why or why not?

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

A Reading Update

Just wanted to check in with an accountability update on my goal to read one book a week this year. I knew ahead of time this would be challenging, but I hadn’t quite realized just how much of a push it would be for me to stick to it. I’ve really had to keep forcing myself to read, staying up later, squeezing in reading at times when I have a ton of other things on my plate.

But I’m still on track.

I’ve finished 32 books so far this year, and I’m halfway through my 33rd. The question, of course, is whether this is a good idea or not. Honestly, I’m not sure. It might be a goal I’d be better of letting slip. Mainly because it’s causing me more stress than I wanted it to. I have enough going on to make me busy; why make things harder on myself?

I believe I’m going to finish out the year with the goal, however. I’ve come this far, and it doesn’t make sense to me to give up just now. I mean, I’m almost through with my latest MEMORY THIEF 2 revision, and that’s what’s been taking up most of my time. Once I’m on the flip side of that, things should improve. And then, if I’ve successfully done it this year, when things have been so crazy, why not try to make it into a habit and do it every year? They can’t always be this hectic, right?

With all these books I’ve been reading, where have been all my reviews? I’ve written up some, but I generally am only writing reviews when I really love a book and can recommend it to others. I don’t write reviews where I’m lukewarm or ambivalent, and I definitely don’t review books I disliked. I consider it all a matter of professional courtesy. You never know when I’m going to meet an author. So I keep things positive.

Anyway. I was looking for a topic to write about today, and this seemed apropos. I’m off at a library training meeting, so try to do something fun for me today, okay?

Got any great books to recommend?

A Flaw in My Reading Goal

So the other day I came across a problem the other day. A problem with my reading goal. My past approach to books has been to read into them a bit and then decide if I was going to finish them or not. If I wasn’t loving the book, I’d set it aside and move on to the next novel. This is one of the main reasons that my ratings for books were as high as they were. I’d only rate a book I finished, and I’d only finish a book I liked.

But this year my goal is to read more books. One a week, specifically. And I’ve figured I can get that done by reading 14% of a book each day, give or take. It’s been a stretch for me to find the time to do that, and I’ve definitely had to work so far to get it done. (Although I managed to finish 6 books in January, so I have a bit of a cushion now, which makes me feel much better about things.)

The thing is, this goal doesn’t give me the leeway to just give up on a book 14% or 28% in. If I set a book aside, then I’m also setting aside all of the effort I made of reading that book. I’m supposed to be 70% of the way through a book by Thursday night, but if I set one aside on Tuesday, then I have to really read a ton to be able to make up the lost progress.

So the other day I gave my first 2/10 rating to a book in a long time. A very long time. Because I finished a book I had no desire to read. I’d enjoyed it a bit at the beginning. (It was a sequel to a book I really liked.) But by halfway through, I knew where it was going and I had no desire to go there. I knew it was setting up a third book, and that it was going to cliffhanger, and I already knew there was no way I was going to want to read the third book, so why even bother?

But I was 40% of the way through the book, and I didn’t have time to turn to a different book, so I finished it. It wasn’t fun. On the other hand, it only took me a few days to finish it, since I still had the goal.

In the end, I think the goal still works. I’ll still be reading much more than I was without it, and that’s great. And I think I’ll enjoy many more books. Now and then there will be a bad apple, but as long as I’m careful with what I select, I should be okay.

But I’m not telling you what book it was. Sorry.

If it proves too problematic, I’ll have to change the goal. I could give myself partial credit for a book, I suppose, but I’d really rather not. I want to read entire novels, not a patchwork of pieces. Cross your fingers that it all works out.

How do you motivate yourself to keep doing something you love, despite not having time to do it?

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