WWW Wednesday October 16

Oh, boy, has it been a week. Especially last night when ALL THE THINGS went wrong. But I’m not here to talk about all the things. I’m here to talk about books. It’s Wednesday, and that means it’s WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you just finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently listening to 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do by Amy Morin, which is a companion to her book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, which I read earlier this year. I find myself relating to a lot of the things she says and recognize myself in a lot of the “Do any of these sound like you?” section. I hope that changes.

I’m reading Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. I read her The Happiness Project a few years ago, and this is a companion where she concentrates on how she can be happier at home (duh). It’s a nice, easy read.

I also started Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, and I’m already hooked. I was so sad last night when my exhausted brain stopped understanding what was going on and I had to put it down.

I’m also sort of rereading Girl, Stop Apologizing, which I had listened to earlier this year. I’m just going through my copy and making notes.

What did you just finish?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have no idea. I have a huge stack of books and I’m barely remembering to pull from it. Instead, I keep checking out books from the library. I might read My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams, since that’s on top of the pile.

What are you reading this week?

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!

Review: As You Wish

Title: As You Wish Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride

Author: Cary Elwes and Joe Layden

Publisher: Atria Books

Date: October 14, 2014

Genre: Memoir

As a young, fairly unknown actor, Cary Elwes was chosen to play the dashing and romantic Westly in William Goldman’s adaptation of his book, The Princess Bride. Years later, he writes about his memories, recollections, and experiences on set. He also gets others who worked on the film to add their thoughts as well.

This was such a wonderful book. Told with love and a lot of heat, Cary goes back to the moment his agent called him about auditioning to years later when this little film that almost didn’t had turned into a huge hit. He tells personal stories about the other actors with a lot of fondness, especially about Andre the Giant, whom he greatly admired.

I put off reading this for a long time, and I wish I hadn’t. This book made me super excited to both rewatch and reread Princess Bride again. The way Cary wrote about it made me remember how much I love it.

Story time: When my parents decided to rent the movie, I flat out refused to watch it. I threw a fit in the middle of the video store (a small one, just tears) because I was so sure I’d hate it. On the back of the box was Westly lying in Pit of Despair with his shoulder bloody and torn, and I. Did. Not. Want. To. See. It!

Fast forward three hours later, it was my favorite movie and I was going to marry Westly when I grew up. I wrote two books with him as my hero. I’ve memorized almost every line. It’s magic.

As is this book. If you haven’t read it yet, get a copy. Even better, go get it on audio and have him read it to you. You won’t be sorry.

Top 5 Favorite Booktube Channels

It’s Tuesday once again, and you know what that means: Top 5 Tuesday! Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm . This week’s theme is Top 5 Favorite Booktube Channels.

I have to admit, I don’t watch a lot of Booktube anymore. When I first discovered it two years ago, I consumed and subscribed to every Booktuber I could find. I even tried to do it for awhile, until I decided the medium wasn’t for me. But I’ve fallen out of watching lately and don’t really have favorites. But, here are 5 that I really liked.

GabsAboutBooks was delightfully enthusiastic and sincere. I liked the books she chose and the way she talked about them. She got me to try the Raven Cycle and while, at the time at least, it wasn’t for me, I loved the way she reviewed them.

RememberedReads always has a very soothing quality about her. I like the way she talks about her books and the diversity of books she chooses. She introduced me to the graphic novel, Velvet, which I loved, and a lot of other books that I still haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

Royaevereads seems to have taken down all her videos, which is sad. I have to admit, I loved her accent, but I also liked the intellectual way she talked about books and her excitement when she discovered a new read she loved. I also liked when she didn’t like the book, too.

ReadbyLiv seems to be on hiatus (or maybe she’s stopped posting), but her bubbly enthusiasm gave me a lot of joy.

ProblemsofABookNerd is my go-to if I need a LGBTQA+ rec. I love her dedication and focus on queer themes.

And, that’s my list.

Who are some of your favorite Booktubers? Give me some recs and I’ll check them out!

Weekly Review

Today I’m going to be looking back over my week. I’m not doing the official Sunday Post for no reason other than I don’t want to right now. But, this functions as basically the same thing.

So, this week had its ups and downs. I got to see a great speaker on Monday, Barbara Collorosa, who talks about bullying, empathy, and teaching. I’ve seen her a few times before and when I heard she was speaking in my district again, I jumped at the chance to see her again. She really has some wonderful things to say about how to relate to kids, and I want to be her when I grow up.

Then, on Tuesday, I had another asthma attack. My chest was really hurting, so I left work to go to the doctor. By the time I got there, my inhaler had worked, but I was wrung out and exhausted. The doctor prescribed me some prednisone and sent me home. I went back to work the next two days, but by Thursday, I was done. I took Friday off to recover.

Also on Friday, I went to the Pebble Beach Author’s and Ideas Festival. I bought a ton of books, most of which were presents or for my class, but I got a few for me as well, and saw some wonderful speakers. Ridley Pearson, who wrote Peter and the Star-Catchers with Dave Barry was first. He was so funny and well spoken. He told about his experience pushing a train up a mountain in Taiwan and said that’s what writing a novel is right, and I’d never felt so seen. The next speaker was Michael Alec Rose, a music teacher, who connected Beethoven and the Beatles, deconstructed songs of each, and got everyone totally fired up. He was amazing.

Then, yesterday, I spent the whole day writing and working on my new novel. I’ve got the entire outline done, plus a scene by scene breakdown, character studies, and overview. I’ve never done so much prework on a novel before, and it feels great.

Reading wise, I didn’t get much done. I’ve been so tired from being sick, that I can only read a chapter a night. But, with any luck, I’m on the mend and can get back to normal reading speed.

Monday: Legendary by Stephanie Garber (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Fall Recommendations

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Favorite Banned Books

Friday: Let’s Talk Bookish – Questions for More Experienced Bloggers

Saturday: Snippet Saturday – Dark Goddess

Monday: TBD (review?)

Tuesday: Top 5 Favorite Booktube Channels

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: TBD (review?)/Monthly Wrap up?

Friday: Star Ratings – Are they Fair or Necessary?

Saturday: Snippet Saturday – Dark Goddess

How was your week? Drop me a comment and let me know!

Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Title: Legendary

Author: Stephanie Garber

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: May 28, 2018

Length: 451 pages

For years, Donatella Dragna has been corresponding with a mysterious “friend”, desperately trying her mother, who disappeared leaving Tella and her sister Scarlett at the mercy of their abusive father. Now, that friend has demanded his price for the information: Tella must tell him Legend’s true identity.

The only way to find out the master of Caravel’s true name is to win the game, so Tella plunges into the game once again. But this game is different. Played in the very capitol the week before the Empress’s birthday celebration, the game changes and becomes all to real. With each clue, Tella finds herself closer to the truth–about Legend, about her mother, about herself. But will the price be too much? Or can Tella manage to win this game?

As excited as I was to read this book, I have to admit that excitement was a little tempered when I realized that Donatella was the protagonist. I liked her okay, but Scarlett reminds me so much of me, that I felt an affinity for her. But, man, did Tella win me over. I love her wild heart and the way she plunges herself into everything with a passion. I love how she’s hedonistic and adventurous, and I love how she was open to romance at the same time she shied away from love.

I also really enjoyed the romance in this book. I admit, at first I wasn’t too sure of Dante, but he had some wonderfully romantic lines that I’m going to have to copy down and save. They thrilled my heart.

The game was interesting and fun to follow. It didn’t feel as prominent as it did in Caravel, but it’s a different story. It’s still important, but the ancillary characters, while they made an appearance, aren’t as central to the world.

I thought the mythology and world building were very well done. I’m so interested in the Fates and their powers. The descriptions of the different Fates were so vivid, I began imagining them as Halloween costumes.

I am so in love with this series. I cannot wait to read the final book.

Let’s Talk Bookish – Reading Slumps

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 Reading Slumps and Ways to Overcome Them.

So, I only became aware of reading slumps as a “thing” when I dipped my toes in the bookish community. It’s not that I never went through periods of not wanting to read or not being able to concentrate, I just wasn’t aware it was a widespread thing. I just thought it was me. I was glad I wasn’t alone.

For me, reading slumps hit when I’m especially stressed or overwhelmed. When that happens, the best thing to keep me afloat is to turn to comfort reads. I turn back to childhood favorites, like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I’ll quite often turn to my Robin McKinley favorites of Beauty and The Outlaws of Sherwood.

If I’m not in the mood for fairy tales or fantasy, I might turn to movie novelizations or spinoffs. My favorite movie novelizations are the original Star Trek movies. Vonda M. McIntyre wrote Wrath of Kahn through The Voyage Home, and I love the details included that flesh out the universe. I mean, I enjoy the main story we get about the movie, but all the characters McIntyre wrote and the subplots are just magnificent. I love going back to those.

The last few years has been good for m/m historical romance, which is my jam. When I’m in a reading slump, especially if it’s not related to feeling stressed and is just me not knowing what to read, I go to Amazon and type in “m/m historical” and get a plethora of choices. This is how I discovered the Whyborne & Griffin novels by Jordan L. Hawk. I went from reading slump to tearing through the first 8 in no time.

So, I guess my advice for getting out of a reading slump is:

  1. Turn to old favorites, especially from your childhood.
  2. Reread books that gave you a sense of peace and happiness when you read the first time.
  3. Find a genre that you love with books that are fairly easy to read to get back into the flow of things. Soon, you’ll be ready to transition back to more challenging books.

So, those are my thoughts on reading slumps and how to get out of them.

What are some of your tips and tricks to get out of a reading slump? Drop a comment below and let me know!