Thoughtful Thursday • Book of Choice

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:

Book of Choice

What is your book of choice? Romance? Horror? Thriller? Mystery? Coming-of-age? Feel free to get as specific or as broad as possible.

I’m a giant mood reader who is shallow beyond belief, so in the broadest sense: ideally a boarding school teen/YA book with a shiny cover. Ideally with a female narrator rather than a male one (though exceptions shall be made).

I don’t really have a book of choice, honestly. I’ll grab whatever is shiniest or has an interesting title. I’ll probably veer towards middle grade/teen/YA books, though chances are that if it proclaims great romance I’ll pass (though I did enjoy Twilight at the time and I really do love the Vampire Academy books).

I think I’m pretty boring in this regard, I don’t really have a go-to genre. I just pick up whatever is shiniest, whatever my gut tells me to, and that can be anything from steampunk over teenage vampires to children’s books, and I love me some cute chick lit as well. (This is an excellent opportunity to lament the lack of queer chick lit. I just want some cute queer people being awfully cute!)
Isa

Thoughtful Thursday • Character Crushes

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:

Character Crushes

Do you have character crushes? Are there characters that you want to be your BFF?

Usually any and all character crushes that I have are limited to visual characters, i.e. in films and television, but occasionally a book character just has that certain magic that draws me in and then oops, I’m head over heels.

Most notably:

Madame Genevieve (Vieve) Lefoux

Genevieve Lefoux is a character in Gail Carriger’s book universe. She first appears in her Parasol Protectorate series and then later (though in-universe it would be earlier) a younger version of her (that goes by the name Vieve) appears in the Finishing School series. To make it short, Vieve is my boo. I love her to the point of ridiculousness and while her character kind of does things I disagree with in the last two instalments of the Parasol Protectorate I just can’t help myself. She’s cute and witty and incredibly smart and she makes hats and knows how to build things and occasionally she’s also blatantly gay in the face of Victorian mores. I love it!

I even made a cracky fanmix once! It’s cracky and belies my somewhat shady taste in music, but man, it’s perfect for Vieve. ♥_♥

french lesbian inventors who own hat shops
french lesbian inventors who own hat shops

As for bffs, I think I would love being besties with the girls from Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series or maybe all the lovely people from Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles! Especially Iko. Gosh, I wanna be besties with Iko, negl. Iko is the fabbest of the fab and I adore her.
Isa

Thoughtful Thursday • Favourite Series Type

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:

Favourite Series Type

There are lots of different types of series. For example, there are series that are just one long story (e.g., The Lord of the Rings), there are series that follow a character on a set of different adventures (e.g., The Dresden Files and the Sookie Stackhouse novels), and there are series that are a collection of stand alone novels all within the same universe (e.g., Star Wars Universe). What is your favorite type of series?

There’s another type of series not mentioned in the examples: the series that follow the same character(s) but where each book is basically a standalone. For example, the Hercule Poirot series and the Sebastian St. Cyr series are both mystery books, but while you can read Poirot in any order you want because he never changes, Sebastian goes through a lot of character development and finds out family secrets over the course of the books, so if you don’t read his books in order you wouldn’t understand why his personality changed or why he’s not speaking to his father or what’s up with his love interest. Out of the two, I think I like books like Sebastian St. Cyr better, because I like to see the characters’ evolution and how they get on with their life, while Hercule Poirot is flatter and two-dimensional as a character.

I read a lot of series, and they’re all different types, but I have to admit that my favourite (and the one I usually look for) is the series with an overarching arc but where every book is self-contained. There’s something satisfying in knowing that the fourth book is the one where Harry is entered in the Triwizard Tournament, or that Red Seas Under Red Skies is the book about pirates. Much more satisfying than saying, er, I think A Storm of Swords is the third ASOIAF book? It’s the one in which Robb… or did that happen in the previous book? There was a battle, or possibly a wedding, or something like that…

I like series that are one long story, I’m just not good at keeping characters and events straight in my head. It’s fine as long as I have all the books and I can read them one after the other, but if I have to wait a year (or more!) for the next instalment to be published, then I start getting confused, and by the time the book comes out I’ll have to read the previous ones as a refresher or risk being completely lost. And if you’ve read some of my reviews you may know that a pet peeve of mine is the pointless cliffhanger: I don’t like it when authors put a cliffhanger at the end of a book that’s simply a not-so-subtle way of saying BUY MY NEXT BOOK!!!

My favourite series (The Lies of Locke Lamora, Discworld, A Natural History of Dragons just to mention a few) have self-contained books, but I’m still looking forward to the next book because I grew attached to the characters and the author’s writing style is great and the plots are satisfying. I hate it when an author drops a bunch of plot hooks on me and doesn’t follow through with any of them, which is why I didn’t like Peacemaker very much: I felt like I was cheated, like I read a book but it was just a bit of a larger story and nothing at all was solved, it was all up in the air. I had the same feeling about the first Lunar Chronicles book, but at least that book had resolution for some of the plot points (like the ball) so I kept reading, and I’m glad I did because by now I’m hooked and I don’t even mind the cliffhangers, because I trust Marissa Meyer will be able to deliver.

That, I think, is the crux of the matter. If an author keeps piling up mysteries but never gives any answers, I become suspicious that they’re pulling a Lost and that they have no idea where the story is going. Instead, if the author gives me a self-contained first book with a satisfying conclusion, I’m more inclined to trust them with future cliffhangers because I believe they’ll be capable to write a good ending for their story.

Ren

Thoughtful Thursday • Multiple Editions

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:

Multiple Editions

Have you ever bought multiple editions of the same book? What inspires you to do that (e.g., covers, language, author revisions)?

Like everyone and they grandmother, I’ll just state the obvious:

Harry Potter

I got PS for my eleventh birthday, so it comes as no surprise that I’ve got a full German set. And obviously once I got older and developed more of an interest in English, I just had to have the English editions. Especially because the German translations weren’t available until months later! I’d have to wait for aaaaaages and that was just no good. By now I’ve got a full German hardcover set (excluding Beedle, and sadly they don’t all match, woe), a full English hardcover set (again excluding Beedle) with the shiny adult covers, one additional English HBP because I bought that one before the adult covers happened and in the end I just had to have matching covers in at least one set of books! These days I’m eyeballing this shiny new paperback set (I just love how gritty they look) and also the signature edition because a) hardcovers are just difficult to carry (not that I’d need to because, uhm, did I mention I’ve got an American set of ebooks?) and b) I really do sometimes wish I could have a set specifically for taking notes in and highlighting my favourite passages, you know? Except I shan’t because there are better ways to spend money (alas, a girl has to eat!).

Aside from Harry Potter, I’ve also got Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning twice, because they redid the covers mid-series and initially I wanted to get them all with the new covers but then I lost interest. Oh well. So now I’ve got Darkfever twice. (Which is fine because the one I bought first is nearly falling apart.)

And of course, I was a teenager once, so I’ve got a full set of Twilight in English and all but the last book in German too. On the upside: the translation is somewhat better than the original (less grammar and spelling and punctuation mistakes, for one thing)!

Generally as for the whys and whatfors, uhhhhhh it just really really hurts when book covers aren’t matching???? Chances are I’ll invest in a new set of Old Kingdom books because I don’t think they’ll release Clariel with a cover matching the ones I already have. Woe. :(
Isa

Thoughtful Thursday • What is your favorite POV style?

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:

What is your favorite POV style?

First person? Second person? Third person?

 
Never. Ever. Second. Person.

(9:41:58 PM) Isa: oh i wanted to ask you
(9:42:02 PM) Isa: if you had any opinions
(9:42:07 PM) Isa: on tomorrow’s thursday post
(9:42:39 PM) Ren: I HATE 2ND PERSON POV
(9:42:40 PM) Ren: the end
(9:42:58 PM) Isa: good excellent
(9:43:01 PM) Isa: i will incorporate this

In other words: Second person was spawned by the devil and should be eradicated from the literary world. I haven’t actually read any books in second person, but I’ve read plenty of fanfic because I am a curious and masochistic young humanoid being. Maybe somebody can pull it off perfectly, but it’s not for me or Ren at all. I know that when I read stuff written in second person, I just spend the entire time contradicting the author, my brain going “yeah but I’m not tied to a chair and I’m not wearing a skirt, you got it all wrong, loser.”

Moving on.

Out of the remaining two, I definitely prefer third person because it often gives me some much needed distance to the characters. First person can make it or break it. Like, I (and Ren as well) enjoyed Keeping the Castle and that one was written in first person, but then I dread to imagine what Harry Potter would be like if it were written in first person. (I’d probably want to shoot myself.) And I couldn’t get through Hunger Games, for instance, because Katniss’ POV just ticked me off. (Now everyone else probably wants to shoot me.)

Sure, first person can provide a lot of insight into a character’s thoughts, but with the ongoing trends in fiction, there’s only so many times I can read about a girl who thinks she’s not pretty, a girl who pines hopelessly over a dude (with success at the end, probably), a girl who manages to be more emo than the kids with the razorblades standing in front of the Central Station in Hamburg. And besides, first person often entices authors to switch POVs, like in… Breaking Dawn, Allegiant, or Mind Games… Shoot me now. Please. Take pity on me.

Third person can have its problems and faults as well, for sure, and it invites people to use alternating POVs as well, like in Lirael or Boneshaker, but it also allows me, as a reader, to find out more about the universe. Third person’s not quite as limited as first person is. Of course I still only get to see Hogwarts from Harry’s POV (you have disappointed me, JKR), but there’s a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t get if it were in first person. First person relies heavily on thoughts and feelings and inner monologue (to the point of ignoring the plot… looking at you, Mind Games…). Third person on the other hand? We get to actually see the world that the character is in because the narrator often mentions things that I am sure little Harry James Potter would never consciously notice, considering that he’s blind as a bat and has the brain capacity of a goldfish and the academic speed of a slug. If it weren’t for Hermione the boy would’ve flunked his OWLs, lbr.
Isa

Thoughtful Thursday • Protagonist and Author Genders

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:

Do you prefer to read books with a male or female protagonist? Does the author’s gender matter?

 
I very nearly forgot about this post because, you guessed it, Orphan Black happened to me. This week I’m stuck in a world of conspiracies and plot theories. Go me. (Everything is a conspiracy. Trust no one unless they have Tatiana Maslany’s face.) But anyhow, a short break for breathing before I dive back in!

Protagonists

Generally, despite my deep love for the Harry Potter books, I heavily dislike male characters. It’s not on purpose, but I just have no patience at all for all the whiny bullshit they let loose. Sure, I’ve read a bunch of John Green novels that have male protags, I’ve read two Dan Brown novels and one of my favourite reads is a delightful contemporary m/m romance set in an arts and crafts store, but all in all I gravitate towards female characters.

I went so far as to make two new shelves on my goodreads just now to see how I actually had read that had male protagonists and the numbers are rather telling. Out of all the books I tagged (with some I just wasn’t sure anymore because I simply can’t remember), there are 207 for female protagonists and only 52 for male protagonists. Ouch. Among those 52, uhm, let’s call them male books there are a lot of books for children. And two sets of Harry Potter books. It’s not looking good for the boys, is it?

The problem with male characters is that they just piss. me. off. I can’t really connect with them on an emotional level and I have no time for their whiny emO CAPSLOCK RAGE!!!1!! (I’m looking at you, Harry.) I don’t hate them on purpose and I don’t avoid them, but I’d say at least 7 times out of 10 if the protagonist is male, I’ll just end up wanting to punch them in the face. Like, wow, such a hard life. (Now I’m not looking at you, Harry. You actually have my sympathy. I just think you could’ve maybe used your goddamn brain instead of whining and whinging and being a brat.) Look at Holden Caulfield. Or better yet, don’t, because he’s going to analyse that and drive you insane with all the reasons he’s totally figured out for why you are looking at him, this wonderful specimen of humanity, and what it all means and whether or not it’s going to change the way the world works. But still, personally I think you can lump at least half of the male protagonists together — Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye, Miles “Pudge” Halter from Looking for Alaska, Colin Singleton from An Abundance of Katherines, that one guy whose name I forgot because I DNFed that book so fast from High Fidelity… They’re all obnoxious, self-absorbed Nice Guys™.

Not all male characters are like that, of course not, but it’s overwhelming how many of them are. And even those who aren’t, they’re just frustrating to me as a reader. Is that really how they think, is that really their reactionary process to events, is that really how they think they should behave? REALLY?! And then some of them have the audacity to whine and complain, and I realise I am being unfair now because boys don’t have to be always strong, never showing weakness, but as a girl I just get highly offended that these male characters get to whine about the unfairness of the world. Try being a girl. Not even with the weight of the world on your shoulders. Just a normal girl. It’s really difficult and hard and I don’t get to whine either.

Sure, female characters aren’t perfect, not by a long shot, and there are enough out there who frustrate me just as much, but I can at least comprehend their thought processes, the way they feel and behave. It may not make sense, but it doesn’t feel like I’m seeing the world through the eyes of an alien. I just don’t get boys, and I don’t get their POVs either. Besides, I’d rather read a shitty novel with an idiotic female protag who has some kind of bamf moment, no matter how ludicrous it is, than a story about a boy who is oh so heroic and oh so great and oh so wonderful and oh so perfect. Sorry, not here for all that boy propaganda. (Except for Harry Potter. He may not be my favourite character of all time and heaven knows I wanted to punch him in the dick all throughout OotP and HBP but those books are part of my childhood and teenage years and they mean the world to me, frustrating male protagonist notwithstanding.)

Authors

As for authors, I should probably be ashamed to admit this, but I avoid male authors where I can. I don’t know exactly why but their writing is different. It just is. I feel like male authors are focussed more on the different points of action in the plot and objective details, whereas female authors know how to give a character life with emotions and motivations. I read an article somewhere at one point, I can’t find it anymore unfortunately, that detailed that difference in focus and subsequently the writing. When I read books written by men I often struggle with the overload of almost clinical descriptions and run-on sentences.Take, for example, Dan Brown. I liked the books I read by him but by god, would it hurt you to calm the farm a bit and tone down the unnecessarily long rambling about stuff that has nothing to do with the protagonist themselves. Now take any female writer and chances are we’ll get more talk about their protag’s feelings and thoughts instead.

The thing is that despite having read some interesting books by male authors, I tend to struggle with their characters. Robert Langdon isn’t particularly dear to me nor are his adversaries and Bond girls particularly enticing as characters. In fact, I can’t even begin to figure them out. It’s like male authors often (not always! there are always exceptions, just as there are female authors who fuck shit up) ignore character growth and character personalities in favour of the plot. Now it might have just been bad luck, but the last book I read by a male author was The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. I thought it might be interesting, you know, a book about Nicholas Flamel and his adventures. In the end I was very disappointed because Flamel barely featured and was inconsistent as fuck and the protagonists, Josh and Sophie Newman, were obnoxious and even less consistent than Flamel. Sophie was a convenient plot device and Josh was mentally five years old. If at all. That’s how he acted anyway. I don’t know if that’s how male authors think teenagers act?

Another book that comes to mind is Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane. It wasn’t bad per se, but the author exchanged a logical plot for commercial value — the amount of times Google as a company was mentioned was incredible, and not in a good way. In general I’ve made the experience that male authors struggle with writing real characters — it’s like they can’t empathise with them, can’t put themselves in their shoes (unless they’re Nice Guy™ shoes, to be honest), and it’s especially noticeable with female characters — which is what I actually look for in a story. I can overlook a bad plot for characters I like. It’s difficult to overlook shoddily written characters for unnecessary amounts of technobabble or pages upon pages of exposition to make it clear that a character does in fact possess the traits A, B and C.

I suppose though, that I’m also not a perfect human being and I know I am very opinionated, even when my opinions are shit. I know that my reactions towards male authors are partly based on the fact that I have yet to face a man in any position of power over me (and that’s how I see authors as well, really, because they have power over my imagination and my pleasure and joy (or the opposite) when I am reading) who hasn’t treated me like I’m not worth their attention. I know that it’s partly because — despite having liked some of his books — the fact that John Green is treated like the messiah of YA, even though loads of female writers before him truly awakened the genre and its readers, and yet he gets all the credit in news articles and stuff like that, pisses me off to no end. It’s not even that John Green himself bothers me, but the hullaballoo around him and how he’s hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread, when the honour should go to a whole bunch of women who came before him. It’s partly distaste in regards to their writing style and partly rebellious boycott, I think.

TL;DR: I LIKE GIRLS IN ALL THE WAYS AND GIRLS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> BOYS FOREVER. Sorry not sorry. I’ll now go back to my regular programming of Orphan Black conspiracies.
Isa

Thoughtful Thursday • Have you ever continued to read a series, because you really liked the secondary characters but you didn’t like the protagonist’s very much?

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:

Have you ever continued to read a series, because you really liked the secondary characters but you didn’t like the protagonists very much?

Just a short one this week, I think. Real life, you know.

I genuinely cannot think of any series that I may have read because I liked the secondary characters despite not liking the protagonist(s). I talked a bit about this phenomenon with Ren and we kind of agreed that when this happens – not liking the protag, that is – it’s often due to shoddy writing or characterisation, something that often affects all the characters. I find though that if there is something that keeps me reading despite bleh characters and protags it’s the plot. Or my curiosity and hope that the plot will make up for the shitty writing. >.>

That said, I have to backtrack a little because, trololol, I’m reading Siege & Storm at the moment and, boy, does Alina tick me off (especially together with Mal). If it weren’t for Sturmhond, I might’ve moved on to something else already. So we’ll see how I feel about reading Ruin & Rising when I am done with this. Who knows, I might want to read it solely because of a secondary character!
Isa

Thoughtful Thursday • Book Covers

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:

What features do you like in a book cover?

Do you like plain covers? Do you like covers with drawings on them? Do you like covers with photographs on them? Do you like movie-tie in covers?

 

Alright, answering the easy question first!

Generally, I do not like movie-tie in covers. Even if I love a movie version to pieces, it tears at my heart when movie related covers happen. Like. Casting choices may be fab and all, but I still prefer to keep the actual book story in my head, without anyone, even the movie-tie in cover, telling me what a character should look like. Or a place. Or a thing. I find that it takes away the magic for me and puts me off a book, actually. Chances are that if there are movie-tie in covers to a book that I haven’t read yet, it’ll totally move down the list on my mental TBR and end up somewhere between school-assigned literature and textbooks about chemistry.

Now with that off my chest, let’s go into all the covers that I love. >.> Life is hard and I am a shallow cow who tends to pick books solely based on their covers, so I’ve got a vast array of HEY THIS IS PRETTY to choose from.

AND NOW TO THE THINGS I LIKE! Orphan Black. I like Orphan Black. You should all watch it.

Let’s just cry a little because when I started writing this post I was pretty sure I was going to be all “oh I prefer covers without people on them etc blah blah” and stuff like that. Well. Let’s just say I’m sitting here with my head in my hands, mortified at how well I respond to certain trends. But then again, I like lots of things!

 

For example, completely illustrated covers.

covers of 'Unspoken' by Sarah Rees Brennan, 'Shadow and Bone' by Leigh Bardugo, 'The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls' by Claire Legrand, 'Fangirl' by Rainbow Rowell, 'The Nightmare Affair' by Mindee Arnett

On Goodreads:
UnspokenShadow and BoneThe Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
FangirlThe Nightmare Affair

Three of these are actually pretty similar as you can see. I’ve only read Shadow and Bone and The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls out of these and, uh, I won’t touch some of them, to be honest, but ugh they’re all so pretty????? The symbolism on Shadow and Bone with the antlers is wonderfully done and it looks so dark and mystifying! I love the mysteriousness that Unspoken and The Nightmare Affair play into, and I adore how simple they look despite being really intricate. I bet they’d look awesome in my bookshelf. >.> And then there’s Fangirl with the gorgeous cover drawn by Noelle Stevenson, whose art and comics are just so stunning. Just like the cover she illustrated!

 

Of course, because I am a shallow cow I love lots of things, not just drawn covers. In my search for examples of what I love, I realised just how drawn I am to blue covers. Oops?

covers of 'Miss Fortune Cookie' by Lauren Björkman, 'The Death of Bees' by Lisa O'Donnell, 'The Whispering Road' by Livi Michael, 'The Assassin's Curse' by Cassandra Rose Clarke, 'The Diviners' by Libba Bray, 'Cress' by Marissa Meyer, 'Lirael' by Garth Nix, 'Curtsies & Conspiracies' by Gail Carriger, 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' by Neil Gaiman

On Goodreads:
Miss Fortune CookieThe Death of BeesThe Whispering Road
The Assassin’s CurseThe DivinersCressLirael
Curtsies & ConspiraciesThe Ocean at the End of the Lane

I genuinely hadn’t realised just how much blue covers call to me. Of course I would’ve read Curtsies & Conspiracies even if it had been brown or green or some kind of putrid yellow because it’s the second in a series that I love, but you know? The blue background? It’s gorgeous. I don’t know what it is about blues, but for me they make books look really refined, like they’re worth the money I’m spending on them, like they’re going to reveal really fascinating information. Wit and wisdom, you know. They’re just incredibly stimulating with the coolness they exude.

 

Of course it doesn’t have to be all blue! You know that trend with the red dresses? Yeah. That one works on me. Like a charm.

covers of 'The Elite' by Kiera Cass, 'The Girl in the Steel Corset' by Kady Cross, 'Supernaturally' by Kiersten White, 'Grave Mercy' by Robin LaFevers, 'Illuminate' by Aimee Agresti, 'Ruby Red' by Kerstin Gier, 'Scarlet' by Marissa Meyer, 'Clockwork Princess' by Cassandra Clare

On Goodreads:
The EliteThe Girl in the Steel CorsetSupernaturallyGrave Mercy
IlluminateRuby RedScarletClockwork Princess

So far I’ve only touched three of these – The Girl in the Steel Corset (which I DNFed), Scarlet (who doesn’t wear a red dress per se, but the red cloak still worked wonders on me) and Grave Mercy. Let me tell you that the cover was the only thing that mattered when I first saw Grave Mercy. Yeah. 10/10 would bang. I know it’s done to be eye-catching and heaven knows it works on me so well. I probably won’t touch at least two of the ones I haven’t read and the other three are sort of on my TBR, but boy those covers make me want to buy these books and stroke them lovingly. I find they’re so incredibly seductive to the eye. I don’t even know, but ladies wearing red is such a strong statement, one that exudes power and bravery, elegance and beauty. I’m just really into these covers, especially Clockwork Princess with the beautiful light effects.

 

Speaking of light effects, I also really love covers that look almost magical.

covers of 'The Peach Keeper' by Sarah Addison Allen, 'The Oracle Glass' by Judith Merkle Riley, 'The Ghost Bride' by Yangsze Choo, 'Lost Lake' by Sarah Addison Allen

On Goodreads:
The Peach KeeperThe Oracle GlassThe Ghost BrideLost Lake

They’re such simple effects but I really do adore the flowers and sparkles. Graphic sparkles, that is. No physical glitter sparkles for me, thank you very much. I haven’t read any of these but I know that Sarah Addison Allen’s books are very magical reads and her covers up there? They just feel right for her books. I don’t know what it is with this graphic effect but they make the books look soft, make the world they’re set in seem dreamy and wistful, which I think really adds to the reading experience.

 

What also adds to the reading experience is when books are about books and actually happen to have covers that imitate books.

covers of 'The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen' by Syrie James, 'Inkheart', 'Inkspell' and 'Inkdeath' by Cornelia Funke

On Goodreads:
The Lost Memoirs of Jane AustenInkheartInkspellInkdeath

I wasn’t particularly interested in the content when I bought The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen but the cover lured me in. It was just sitting there in the bookshop and basically urging me to buy it. I love the entire composition of it, the manuscript pages, the ribbon, the flowers… it’s a very good look altogether. Same goes for the German covers of Cornelia Funke’s Inkworld books. I love that they’re made up solely of initials and an open book or two. They’re very symbolic for the book too! The bird on Tintenherz (Inkheart) plays a role in the book, and I love the decorations that the initials carry. Just. It’s something different from the usual middle grade fiction covers, you know?

 

And speaking of different, something that is actually truly important to me when consciously selecting books: the title writing.

covers of 'Cinder' by Marissa Meyer, 'Siege and Storm' by Leigh Bardugo, 'Etiquette & Espionage' by Gail Carriger, 'Born Wicked' by Jessica Spotswood

On Goodreads:
CinderSiege and StormEtiquette & EspionageBorn Wicked

I’m going to be honest here: fonts can make it or break it. You cover can be super pretty and I might even still pick it up despite any issues I find with it if the summary sounds good, but I’m going to go into your book with a negative attitude if the title is fugly. Papyrus and the like should be outlawed, honestly. Which is why I love these particular covers. I love the swirls in the capitals of Marissa Meyer’s books, I love the sharp edges and curves of the Grisha series and the way the writing always is involved with whatever symbolism the rest of the cover is on about, I love the boldness of the Finishing School titles and the way the ampersand is weaved through the words and I love the simplicity and sort of enticing playfulness of the Born Wicked writing. Good font choices and title design can elevate a cover from good to excellent, and bad ones… well, really I don’t care if you paid for the image you used if your title looks like it was slapped on randomly like there was no time left.

I guess all in all I don’t quite have preferences so much as things that I am subconsciously drawn to and having thought about this deeply now I am actually surprised by how unbothered I am by models on a cover. I thought that I was one of the people who dislikes it because I really don’t like being told by a stupid book cover that the main character should look like this, but oddly enough unless it’s really jarring I don’t seem to mind.

(Not included in this post: Redheads. REDHEADS. >.>)
Isa

Thoughtful Thursday • Series reading order

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:

Series reading order

Assuming that you are late to the party with a book series (and the entire series is completed) and you want to read every piece of text within a series’ universe that you can get your hands on, in what order to you read the books, short stories, and novellas within the universe? Do you read the books first and then the short stories and novellas if you want more? Do you read the books, short stories, and novellas in order (either publication or chronological)? Do you read them in some other order?

Isa seems to think I insisted to answer this question myself… It’s true that I’m a bit of a stickler about reading order. I could never read books in the wrong order, or start with the newest instalment. I’d have the constant feeling that I was missing out on something, be that plot or character development. So I usually start with the first book and then I go in order, unless it looks like there might be some other order, in which case I look for a reading guide. Goodreads is very helpful in this regard, but Google works too. I usually stick with chronological order, so I can follow the story along with the characters, but sometimes I make exceptions. For example, if there’s a prequel book written years after the rest of the series, I’ll probably follow publication order in that case and read the prequel after the other books.

My aim is always to minimize confusion and spoilers for the other books. I expect that the books written first will explain about the series’ world, while books written later will expect the reader to be already familiar with it. I follow this same idea for short stories and novellas too. Usually I read them in chronological order, so if a story is labelled #2.5 I’ll read it after the second book and just before the third. It doesn’t always work, for example a short story was marked as #1.5 in the Lunar Chronicles series but it turned out to contain some minor spoilers for the second book… But I try to check beforehand if some of the additional material contains spoilers, by skimming reviews and author notes, and if I find that it does I’ll just read the books first and then come back to the rest at the end. Of course, this only applies to series that I really like, because unless I’m a fan of a series I won’t bother reading all the bonus material. If I like it, though… gotta catch ’em all!

This is what I do most of the time, but there are two notable exceptions: Agatha Christie and Terry Pratchett. Agatha Christie because I started by reading the ones that my mum had, and the bookstores had a limited selection. Luckily reading order doesn’t matter much in this case, because there is no character development and no links between the stories. As for Terry Pratchett, his Discworld series is a mess and people always have problems figuring out where to start from because there’s several different subseries. There are a couple of novels that would be good starting points, but I myself started from the earliest book and went by publication order. However I wasn’t a fan of the Tiffany Aching books (which are YA unlike the rest of the series) so I skipped those, and I’m only getting to them now. That only works because Discworld is not as linear as most series, though!
Ren

Thoughtful Thursday • What is one of the best changes in the literary/book world?

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:

What is one of the best changes in the literary/book world?

What is one of the best changes in the literary/book world that you have noticed, since you have begun reading? What makes this change so great for you?

Late post is late because I was busy wallowing these past few days. Oops.

This was a really difficult question and I’m side-eyeing Pam a lot for it. Seriously, Pam, give me the drugs you were on when you thought of this question. I’m going to be uncreative today and sort of steal my answer from Pam actually. Because hers is a very good answer, heh.

I’m still in my early 20s so I haven’t noticed THAT many changes, really, but I have to agree with Pam that the internet is probably one of the best changes ever, especially in regards to books. It changed the way we interact with books a lot, after all. Not just because we’re blogging, but it brought me most of my friends (most of whom I met due to Harry, and most of those that I didn’t meet due to that I met because my Harry Potter friends ran in the same circles) and it brought me a way to catalogue my books on goodreads (sure, I could’ve kept lists, but oddly enough it never occurred to me until I found goodreads). It’s also given me sheer endless amounts of information about books and authors, something that wasn’t really around when I was a kid. If a bookshop didn’t have other books by the same author, I’d never find out about them. Now I can check on goodreads, and I can check on amazon and I’ll find everything I need. And with that of course also comes easier access to books. We don’t have a bookshop or library in my village (or anywhere close really), and I’d’ve run out of finding new books to read pretty quickly after finishing school. I just love that access to the book world and books themselves has become easier!
Isa