Tag Archives: Monday Musings

Musing Mondays: A Book By It’s Cover

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Time to kick-off the week with Musing Mondays (hosted by A Daily Rhythm).

This week’s random question asks: Have you ever chosen a book, mostly because of its cover art, and then regretted it because the content didn’t live up to your expectations?

There’s the old adage that we should never judge a book by its cover.  But it’s something that I know I do.  In my college days, I learned that magazines have six seconds to get someone to pick them up and/or purchase them on impulse.  I think the same thing is true for books.

I’ve judged a lot of books worthy of my attention and reading time by their cover over the years. And many times this pays off. And then, there are others where it did not.   Continue reading

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Musing Mondays: What Do You Recommend?

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Time again for Musing Mondays hosted by a Daily Rhythm.

This week’s random question asks: What book would you currently recommend to someone? Why?

I just re-read To Kill A Mockingbird a couple of weeks ago and loved it all over again.   And with the sequel set to hit shelves again in a few days, it’s just another good reason to read or re-read this classic novel!

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Musing Mondays: Seasonal Reading

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Time to start the week of with Musing Mondays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

This week’s random question asks: Do you have different genres for different seasons? For example, do you choose lighter reading material for the summer, and chunkier books in the winter?

It’s rare that the change of seasons affects my reading choices that much.  Often I find the change of seasons makes me take a moment to re-assess my to-be-read pile and pull some things up closer to the top that have been languishing there for a while.   I will sometimes make a list of books to read during a certain season and get through a quarter of it before I get distracted by books coming in at the library, new books coming out or just being in a different reading mood.

That said, I do enjoy a good scary story or novel around Halloween and there are certain stories I want to hear or read during the Christmas season.

I’m curious to know what others have to say or if there are certain types of books or genres you want to read during a certain season?

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Musing Mondays: Hardcover or softcover?

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This week’s Monday Musings (hosted by A Daily Rhythm) asks us to look at the following random question. Do you prefer Hardcover, Trade Paperback, or Mass Market Paperback? Why?

Interesting to note that e-book isn’t included here.  🙂

If I’m collecting a book as part of a series or one that I might get signed, I generally prefer hardcover is available.  If I’m purchasing, I prefer mass market paperback because they’re more priced lower and it’s easier to take a large collection of them to my local used bookstore to trade in.

If I’m checking out from the library, I don’t really have a preference in most cases.

The one caveat I will put on it is when it comes to thicker books (like the longer tomes from Stephen King or George R.R. Martin) I prefer the e-book.  The last couple of 800+ pages books I read were heavy and could be unwieldy for the first quarter and the last quarter of the book.

And with that statement, I am off to get my early bird special at the Picadilly….

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Musing Mondays: I Want To Tell You About The Happy Hour Choir

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Time to kick-off this week with Monday Musings hosted by A Daily Rhythm.   Instead of answering the random question this week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to recommend an upcoming book.

The Happy Hour Choir by Sally Kilpatrick

happyhourNow, let me start this off by saying that I’m probably a bit biased when it comes to this book because it’s written by a friend of mine from college, who shared a couple of interesting classes with me — from short story writing to anthropology.   (I don’t think any of us will ever forget that anthropology class, if only because it was in the auditorium of our university’s museum during the spring and the heat was kept on despite the fact that it was wonderfully spring-like outside!  It didn’t always make things conducive to staying awake, much less learning about anthropology).

I’d lost track of Sally and her husband Ryan after they and I moved away from our college town but thanks to the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been able to re-connect after all these years.  It was when we reconnected that I found out that Sally had a)written a book and b)was having it published.   And so, like many of her friends, I was eagerly waiting the novel to hit stores later this month (I almost felt like haunting book stores on the off chance they might put it out on shelves early).    But thanks to the good folks over at NetGalley, I was able to get a copy of the book and read it early.  That way I can let all of you know the books is coming and encourage you to pick up a copy.

I ask this for several reasons.   On a purely selfish level, Sally has written such an enjoyable book that I can only hope it’s a first installment in a series and I want to spend more time with her characters.   So, if getting some of you to buy a copy (dead tree, digital, carving it on a cave wall) means that we get more books with these characters, then I’m all for that. (I see that we’re getting a second installment later this year, but dang nabbit, I want more!)   On a less selfish level, I will admit I was moved Sally’s forward and talking about all the steps of encouragement she got from the important people in her life along the way.   I want this book to do well because I think it proves their faith in her was completely and totally on the money.   And finally, I ask this because I think if you pick it up, you’re going to enjoy it.

One of the highest praises I can give a book (or any form of artistic output for that matter) is that in our world of a myriad of choices and demands for my free time, it caught my attention and held it.   I read this book despite having a stack of other books that were piling up to read, a DVR loaded with movies I should watch before I pass away and new installments of some of my favorite TV shows and while in the midst of binging on season two of Orange is the New Black.  And yet, The Happy Hour Choir was a novel that held my attention and kept it focused there instead of all these other distractions for my free time.   It’s a story that is rich and highly authentic with characters that I loved and a story of redemption and forgiveness that had me getting a lump in my throat similar to the one I get every damn time I watch the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

If you’re still on the fence, let me give you the blurb for the book.

From author Sally Kilpatrick comes a hopeful tale of love and redemption in a quiet Southern town where a lost soul finds her way with the help of an unlikely circle of friends…

Life has dealt Beulah Land a tough hand to play, least of all being named after a hymn. A teenage pregnancy estranged her from her family, and a tragedy caused her to lose what little faith remained. The wayward daughter of a Baptist deacon, she spends her nights playing the piano at The Fountain, a honky-tonk located just across the road from County Line Methodist. But when she learns that a dear friend’s dying wish is for her to take over as the church’s piano player, she realizes it may be time to face the music…

Beulah butts heads with Luke Daniels, the new pastor at County Line, who is determined to cling to tradition even though he needs to attract more congregants to the aging church. But the choir also isn’t enthusiastic about Beulah’s contemporary take on the old songs and refuses to perform. Undaunted, Beulah assembles a ragtag group of patrons from The Fountain to form the Happy Hour Choir. And as the unexpected gig helps her let go of her painful past—and accept the love she didn’t think she deserved—she just may be able to prove to Luke that she can toe the line between sinner and saint…

So go and pre-order your copy now.  And then you can join me in the long wait until the next book hits the market later this year!

Congratulations Sally! I just wish I could be there to get a copy at your launch party later this month.   I will be there in spirit.

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Monday Musings: Influences

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Welcome to a new week and the latest installment of Monday Musings, hosted by A Daily Rhythm 

This week’s random question asks, “Who (or what) influences your reading most?”

I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to literary material that can be one of the first things to draw me in.  Not just the artwork on the cover, but the author name or the title or sometimes even a blurb or pull quote, if it’s by an author or reviewer that I’ve got good recommendations from in the past.

Another influence can be the source of the book and if there is a time limit to it.  If it’s a library book, I may read it first because the book is due by a certain date.  And if it’s a book that is high demand and my check out time is less, it may get bumped up to the top of the reading list.  This can also happen digitally — borrowing books from the library is great, but they expire on the exact date and time they are due.  Sometimes with physical books I will keep them an extra day or so and pay the fine to finish them up.  This can’t and doesn’t happen with digital library books — once I hit the due date, they’re gone!

On another level, an influence can be whether or not I enjoyed the author’s previous work I read. If I did, I’m likely to try some of his or her back catalog or be on the lookout for a new book.

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Musing Mondays: What Are You Reading?

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It’s time again for Musing Mondays, hosted by Should Be Reading.

This week due to President’s Day, there’s no random question.   So, instead I’m going to answer one of the weekly questions the meme poses.

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

What I’m currently reading — I’m currently participating in the NetGalley challenge to try and clear some of my backlog of ARCs.  I’ve modified it to include both NetGalley and the Amazon Vine program.  That’s why I’ve got a lot of books on my “currently reading” plate right now.

Up next, I’ve got a couple of Doctor Who tie-in novels.  One is an audio book and the other is ARC of the latest Peter Capaldi era novel.

In the past week, I’ve been busy blogging as well.  Here’s some of what I posted.

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Monday Musings: Recycling Books

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It’s Monday and time again for the Monday Musings hosted by Should Be Reading.

This week’s random topic asks:

What do you think about re-purposing old books (eg. into art journals, etc)? Why?

If the books are John Norman, I’m all for anything that gets them out of circulation and inflicting themselves upon unsuspecting readers.

Overall though, I prefer to take the books to a used bookstore to get trade credit or donate them to the local library or to a group that might use them.  Just because I’m finished with the book doesn’t mean that someone else might not enjoy reading it or someone else might want it.  Even a book I didn’t like could find a reader who likes it out there in the wide world.

Again, except for books by John Norman.  Because I despised every last second of the only book I’ve read by him.

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Musing Monday: My Collection Is So Big….

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Welcome to this week’s Musing Monday, a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

As I complete this week’s meme, I am celebrating my birthday.  I’m now officially as old as the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  If you haven’t read the book or listened to the original radio show, I highly encourage you to add it to your TBR or TBL immediately!

How many books, approximately, do you think you have in your personal collection?

Honestly, I’ve lost count of how many books I have.  We’re fortunate to live close to a great used book store and so we make a trip once a quarter or so to exchange one round of  books for another.

I do have some books that I’ve kept for various reasons.  Some are autographed copies of books (I’ve got a couple of books autographed by Garrison Keillor,  one by Peter David (should be two, but my ex-wife kept my autographed copy of one of my favorite, first-edition TNG novels…no, I’m not bitter, why do you ask?) and a few others).   I’ve kept some books that I enjoyed or are on my favorite list (To Kill A Mockingbird, for example) or that we wanted to have a full set.

But a lot of books I read and put onto a shelf that is the transition shelf.  They may be kept, they may go to the used book store as a trade credit for more books or donated to our local library or VA for others to enjoy.

So, needless to say the exact number of books in my personal collection varies and can be a bit fluid.

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Monday Musings: Influential Author

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Has any author ever had a huge influence on your reading? Who, and why?

Stephen King.

One of the things I like about King is not only does he write books that I enjoy reading, but he also shares his influences and offers recommendations. Reading these, I’ve been influenced to pick up books and authors that have also become favorites for me. It’s because of King’s recommendation that I started reading Richard Matheson and Laura Lippman, two of my favorite writers.

I’ve found that King’s recommendations are usually something I will enjoy 90% of the time. Every once in a while, he loves something that I find I don’t love (I liked but didn’t love Justin Cronin’s The Passage, for example), but that’s OK. He’s usually spot on the rest of the time.

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