Saturday, September 07, 2013

Week in Review: September 1-7

The Phantom Tollbooth. Norton Juster. Illustrated by Jules Feiffer. 1961/2011. Random House. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Creative Writing: The Plot Thickens. Mary Budzik. 2013. Kingfisher. 64 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
No Shame, No Fear. Ann Turnbull. 2003. Candlewick. 304 pages. [Source: Library]
Bath Tangle. Georgette Heyer. 1955/2011. Sourcebooks. 368 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
Sprig Muslin. Georgette Heyer. 1956/2011. Sourcebooks. 304 pages. [Source: Library] 

April Lady. Georgette Heyer. 1957/2005. Harlequin. 270 pages. [Source: Library]
Rookwood. William Harrison Ainsworth. 1834. 464 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Romance of Grace. Jim McNeely III. 2013. Libertary Co. 148 pages. [Source: Bought] 

I thought I would try something new. I thought I would try to answer questions each week that have been asked via comment or even email. So if you have questions or want recommendations, leave me a comment and we'll see! (Hint: "Will you review my book it is available to purchase at..." is not the question I have in mind of answering.) If I don't have enough questions to do this week-to-week, I may do it in my monthly reflection post:

An email question:

How often do you actually read? & how long does it takes you to get through a book?

I read every day. Some days I might only get in two hours of reading. Other days I might read four or five hours. Occasionally I participate in read-a-thons and read even more. 

As for how long it takes to read a particular book, it depends on the book. If it is a Middle Grade book like Ramona Quimby Age 8, for example, about twenty or twenty-five minutes. I often read MG books in one sitting. YA and adult it just depends. It might take one or two days if I'm concentrating on it exclusively. Or it might take six or eight weeks if it's a LONG classic by Charles Dickens or Anthony Trollope or Wilkie Collins. 

From comments:

I really wished you had 1 minute to share with us your secret to reading so many books/month.
Is it THAT secret that I have never received the answer to my question? (from words and peace)

There isn't an easy way to answer this one! Picture books and children's books are very quick reads. It is very easy to sit down with a stack of five to ten picture books and just read. If I'm not in the mood to review them right away, they might get pushed to the side. Eventually, I'll be in the mood to do a post or two with various picture books. Before I write a review for a picture book, I always read OR reread it. Sometimes my second or third impression is very different from my first! Children's books take longer than picture books, of course, but they're still quick reads for the most part! What takes the most time, of course, is YA and Adult. Some is fiction. Some is nonfiction. I read books for Becky's Book Reviews and Operation Actually Read Bible. I try to have one to three reviews per week for Operation Actually. I try to have six reviews per week for Becky's Book Reviews. That doesn't mean that those are books I've just read that very week. I schedule my posts. This helps considerably! If I've had a bad week--migraines, for example--I might only have gotten two or three books read. If I've had a good week, I might have finished ten books. Everything balances in the end. As for how I read so many books in a week, well, I read every day.

So what would indicate that I'm in the right mood for one of these Georgette Heyer romances? A frivolous, light-hearted mood? The desire for something comedic? (from Sherry)

Heyer has written so many romances. If I had to guess there would be at least four or five "kinds" of Heyer romances in terms of heroes and heroines; plots, stories, and formulas. Some are definitely over-the-top dramatic. Some are very much romantic comedy emphasis on the comedy. Some heroines are so silly and mindless that they would drive you crazy if you thought they were meant to be taken seriously as an ideal. Some heroes are definitely bold, dashing, arrogant. Others are quieter and prefer to be out of the spotlight. This goes beyond preferring city or country. The key to best enjoying Heyer may be finding out which sort suits you best.

About mood. For me it is all about comfort and satisfaction. Heyer's romances are very much comfort reads. Books that I go back to again and again when I want to feel good. I would say that they are all about the journey. The books are meant to be enjoyed for what they are and not rushed through. It is about spending time getting to that happily ever after. It is about taking each conversation and each scene as it comes. The pace varies with each book. Some are very fast-paced. Others are much slower. The slow ones usually have a very exciting, very intense last seventy-or-eighty pages.

Heyer's novels are "light" in the sense that most readers don't particularly struggle during the reading process. Not because they are simple or lacking depth and substance. Heyer's novels are rich in detail; they are very much grounded in historical fact--a certain time and place in history. Heyer also did a great job with characterization and dialogue! They are "light" because they are pleasurable and you don't mind the effort it takes to read. 

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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