365 Days of Random

Random musings about nothing at all

Book Clubs

So I read a lot… and I have a lot of friends who read a lot. For the most part we tend to like a lot of the same books. When I am looking for something new to read there are certain people I always go to first for a recommendation… and more often than not I LOVE the books they suggest. I’ve often thought of joining a book club but every time I’ve started to seriously consider it I started to think it would make my reading feel like work. Which is definitely NOT why I read. While book clubs are great for sharing books and getting ideas for something to read… having a deadline to have read the book and a plan to have thought in some detail about the book so that I can discuss with others just takes some of the escape and fun factor out of reading for me.

However, I think having some shared catalog of books that can be rated and categorized and organized by a group of people is a fantastic idea. Especially if it’s shared and editable by that group of friends who all like the same kind of reading material. This idea came up again today as I reached out to one of my ‘go to’s’ for a recommendation for trashy beach reading for this weekend’s girls day at the beach. We started talking about how great it would be to have a living book list that was shared and we could all add to. When we read something, heard about something, etc. The challenge of course would be to have it be in a system where we would actually go to LOOK for stuff… perhaps something we already use regularly (like Facebook). I don’t really tend to be one that adopts new tools often and then when I do I don’t often stick to them. The novelty tends to wear off quickly for me. Which is why services like “Good Reads” appeal to me for a about 10 minutes and then I realize it’s just one more thing to check.

So, I am considering adding a new “Blog” here on WordPress and providing access to those people I currently share book recommendations with. That way we can all post stuff to it … and search for new books and ideas. We can leave comments about what we thought about the books. Perhaps we can even enable the “post ratings” as a way to rate the books we read. I don’t know if it will really work but I personally am looking for something that will be quick and easy and not something new that I have to go figure out. I just want to have a great tool for finding and posting good books. But, it honestly may be easier (and more valuable) to create a page on some tool that’s built for this kind of ‘book list’ thing. The advantages there are that you can actually see lists from loads of other people and it’s not a fixed list.

Anyway, I think that might be a project for this weekend – since Little League is now over and one of my softball teams wraps up this Friday (I think). Suddenly I will have a lot more time on my hands than I am used to. I think spending some time finding a tool and pulling this book list together is a great way to keep track of what I’ve read, as well as find new things to read. Who knows… maybe it will even help me develop or find a book club format that’s really just about sharing books rather than requiring you to read a book by a date and be ready to talk about it at a level that reminds you of high school english class.

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Books & Stories | , , , | Leave a comment

“The End”

These are two of the happiest and saddest words at the end of a story or book – depending on your outlook and the outcome of the story of course. When I finish a book or a story that I was really engaged in, one where I connected with the characters, it always makes me feel a tad lost when I get to the end. I am happy to know the end of the story but I am sad that I am not going to spend more time with those characters. It’s even worse when the ‘story’ was told over a multi-book series.

A few years ago there was a lot of buzz about the “Twilight” series and while I fully enjoyed those characters (I’ve read the books twice and seen all the movies) I didn’t get the same lost feeling when the story ended as I do with other books and series. Perhaps that’s because, while entertaining, there wasn’t as much ‘depth’ to the characters. Perhaps it’s because those books were really quick reads so the quantity of time spent with the characters wasn’t as much as with the characters in others. Regardless, there are a few ‘series’ I’ve read in recent years that really did leave me with that feeling of “well what do I do now” feeling when I finished the last book: The Outlander Series (by Diana Gabaldon – which is not yet complete); The “Wilderness Series” (by Sara Donati); The “Sword of Truth” series (by Terry Goodkind) and most recently the “Fever Series” by (Karen Marie Moning). Each of these stories unfolded over many books. Bringing you deeper and deeper in the world the characters explored. Each of these stories made me connect with the characters on a very emotional level. It takes a very gifted writer and storyteller to accomplish that and it’s one of the things I enjoy the most about reading. While in most cases I am ‘happy’ with the end of the story I am generally very sad to know that it’s the end of my ‘relationship’ with the characters. I will no longer know ‘what happens next’ in their world. It is (admittedly) a strange experience that avid readers have.. and it doesn’t happen all the time.

So, the reason this is so much on my mind today…. well, over lunch I finished the last book in the “Fever” series. This series was 5 books that followed the life of one “MacKayla Lane” as she arrived in Dublin (from rural Georgia) to avenge her sisters brutal murder. But nothing is as she expected – not even ‘what’ killed her sister. The series takes you on a journey through the fantastical other world of the “Fae” (fairies) as they war with each other and people of their race attempt to obliterate humanity and gain the ultimate power. Ok – Yes – I enjoy Fantasy and Science Fiction – a lot. Not ashamed to admit that, they generally make up some of my favorite stories. It’s complete implausibility makes it the perfect escape from reality – which is the whole point of reading Fiction. Anyway, in the Fever Series I got really attached to Mac and Barrons and Dani and all the other characters – even Rowena. I really enjoyed learning about them and what part they played in diving the path that Mac was walking. Mac’s story ended in a very good place but, as is always the case with good stories, a lot of questions were left unanswered. I had become so attached to some of the characters and I wanted to know how THEIR stories ended too. It’s very disconcerting to know that there isn’t a ‘book 6’ (at least not yet). I can’t keep reading about this world. I need to find a new one and I am not sure what that should be.

I felt the very same way when the “Sword of Truth” and “Wilderness” series ended. I wanted more. I actually didn’t read ANYTHING new for a couple of weeks I was so caught up in speculating what could be going on in these fictional worlds. But, eventually you find another story, another character to connect with, and the cycle begins all over again.

As I start to put Mac and the Fae and the Fever Series behind me I wonder what my next ‘world’ will entail.

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Books & Stories | , , , , , , | Leave a comment