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The Sunday Salon: Bookish Rambling

tssbadge1It’s looking like my reading totals for August are going to be down from the past three months.  I’ve finished 10 books so far and we’re halfway through, so that will leave me with 20, a fairly significant drop from 30 and 31 in June and July.  I’ll be back up there in September though.  My dissertation is due in completed form to my supervisor on September 3rd, and while I’ll probably have some edits to do after that, I won’t have time for the intense reworking I’m doing now.  I’ve actually done most of the work already (go me!)  so I have about 2 weeks just to form a conclusion from an essay I’ve already written and my own thoughts.

I’ve been feeling very nostalgic this month; it’s my last month in full-time school and I find myself missing my undergrad university and friends more than ever.  I don’t like stages of transition, I prefer to be one place or another, not in between.  I’m sure it’s because I haven’t been reading as much.  Do you find that not having time to read as much as you’re used to reflects in your mood as well?

Well, that brings us to what I have been reading this week.  I just finished Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen last night and found myself enjoying it far more than I’d expected by the end.  What got me was that even though she plays with the facts, none of it is needless or derogatory and I found it a refreshing new spin – for fiction – on a story I’ve read in various forms many, many times.  Not even the magic really bothered me, because I don’t believe that anyone is going to go around convinced that Jacquetta and Elizabeth were witches.  Historical accuracy only gets to me if I think people are going to believe that something wrong is true, and that’s not the case here, so I liked it.  I bet that’s a surprise to many who know me – it was a surprise for me too!

Right now I’m reading The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan so my mom can get a book off Amazon Vine on Thursday.  It’s billed as a love story with some tragedy tossed in, set around Niagara Falls in the early 20th century and loosely based on the life of a real man.  So far, it’s not earth shattering, but I like it.  This brings me to another point; both this and The White Queen are written in present tense.  It gives a certain feel, but I’m not sure I like it as much as past tense.  It can dissolve into the story if I read long enough, but it always bugs me a little in the beginning.  What do you think?  Do you prefer past or present tense?  What about 1st or 3rd person?  Or do you not care?

That’s enough from me for now.  I’ll leave you with two bits of news.  One, the wonderful Michelle Moran, whose Cleopatra’s Daughter I will be reading and giving away shortly, has asked that I mention her contests.  You can find details about them here.  They sound exciting, and I know if I was still in the US I’d go hunting in a few of those independent bookstores.  Two, you have until Wednesday to enter to win a copy of American Lion by Jon Meacham from me, and you can do that here.

Next weekend I will be in Cornwall, so expect pictures when I come back!  Have a great week everyone!

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18 comments to The Sunday Salon: Bookish Rambling

  • I know just what you mean about being in between stages. For me this is the waiting time before I start Graduate School in September and I shall feel so much better about it all once everything is officially on the go.

    I really must get round to reading some Philippa Gregory. Unfortunately, I associate her with an ex-partner. It isn’t her fault he liked her books. I must get over this. Where would you suggest I start?

  • I remember seeing you mention The White Queen on twitter, so I’m surprised, and happy, to see you enjoyed it!! I used to love Phillipa Gregory but had kind of forgotten about her. I may have to give it a go at some point.

    Most of the time, I don’t pay much attention to tenses. One that does bother me on occasion is first person. If I don’t like the character, it really colors my opinion of the book overall. I’ve hated otherwise good books because I didn’t like that main character – although, after more thought, I don’t think I was supposed to like that character. But it still made me not like a well written book.

  • I think it’s hard to compare reading stats from one month to the next since the size and intensity of books vary so much. I checked out Michelle Moran’s contest and nothing will be hidden at our local stores. :(

  • Transitions can be hard and you’re facing a lot in a shot time! I have the White Queen here and I’m glad you liked it as fiction. I’ve been dying to read the Buchanan book — so I’ll look for your review.

  • I’m SUPER surprised to hear that about The White Queen! Now I’m going to have to read it, because we have similar views on Gregory.

  • I just finished THE WHITE QUEEN and loved it. I was pleasantly surprised!

  • I think it’s amazing what you have gotten read, considering you are working on a dissertation! I’m glad to hear that you liked The White Queen because I will be reading it soon. I look forward to the photos from Cornwall.

  • I’m glad you enjoyed The White Queen – I liked it a lot more than I expected to as well (especially after the mess that was her last book – The Other Queen).

  • I only read The Other Boleyn Girl which I loved, but I do have the White Queen to read soon. So you won’t look down your nose at me if I like it? ;)

    I can’t believe you can read so much while working on a dissertation!

  • I do find that less reading time, (or less TBR progress, as has been the case this month), affects my mood. I always stress out just a little bit more when I’m not reading much.

    As far as past tense vs. present tense goes, I tend to prefer past. I find that present tense can be very effective with short fiction and the like, but it’s tough to pull off over a novel. I won’t shy away from a novel that’s written that way, but I do sometimes find it tougher to sink into them.

    I don’t really have a preference for first person over third.

  • Pam

    I think I liked the end of Falls better than the beginning. I’m interested to see what you think of the whole thing. I’m not sure it matters to me what tense the story is told in but I find it a little bit distracting to have a story told in present that also tells past tense stories along the way.

  • I’ve seen The Day the Falls Stood Still on another blog–I forgot where. I think it sounds good, but I usually prefer reading books in the past tense. I think it sounds more like a story to me that way, whereas using the present tense can feel a little gimmicky or unnatural sometimes.

  • That is crazy!! I think in June I probably finished one book. It really was a insane month, and I barely had time to breathe, but you are so cool to average 30 books per month! My ARCs would be way more under control if that were my average. I think my average is around 10 per month.

    Keep it up, you are awesome!Happy Sunday Salon too.

  • You really have been reading alot each month. I think my August numbers are going to be down too but there’s still 2 weeks left to the month.

  • I can relate, Meghan! I don’t like transition stages either. I guess it’s the uncertainty of it all. Even if I do know what the next phase of my life will bring, I’m not there yet to know the exact shape of my days, you know? And yes, having less reading time definitely has an effect on my mood.

  • Excellent question about moods and the opportunity to read. I think I agree that when I don’t have as much time to read I get (at the very least) cranky. I feel like I’m missing out on something if I don’t have the chance to read at least a little bit each day. Heck, I’ve even taken to sitting in my car at lunch to read a few chapters since we don’t really have anywhere here at work to accommodate. haha

    Good luck with the dissertation :)

  • Kay

    I understand what you mean about transition! I find myself usually loving the change once it’s done, but that time in between often makes me feel nostalgic, sad, stressed, etc. depending on what kind of transition that is.
    I think 20 books a month is still good! I’ve been reading about that in June and July, I’m not sure about August yet but I’m pretty sure the numbers will go down once university starts in September – I’ll be glad if I can finish one book a week!