October 2018
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Tuesday Thingers: Twitter

ttQuestions: Do you Tweet? If so, what do you like best about Twitter? What do you like the least? Do you have any Twitter applications or extras that you use frequently (TweetDeck, TwitterFeed, etc)? Do you belong to any of the Twitter groups on LT?

I am on twitter, you can find me right here. I think it’s a lot of fun and that the many, many twitter nay-sayers don’t really understand its purpose. I use twitter for chatting with bookish friends and networking with bookish people, not for just saying what I’m doing at any given time (although sometimes I do that too).  I can follow my favorite comedian and my favorite musician and have a fast track to their news which otherwise would require me remembering visit websites, myspace (yuck!) and so on.  I have a couple of “real life” friends on twitter, but I think it works best as a platform to broadcast debates, questions, and have discussions involving lots of people.  I’d say I like twitter spam the least; I go check out every one of my new followers and I’m very often disappointed.  I have strange followers, like people trying to sell me pet food when at present I am sadly pet-less, so I think it has to be monitored somewhat carefully, but the rewards are greater than the hassle.

I use TweetDeck to keep up with the tweets.  I find the website often down and painfully slow, so in a sense TweetDeck is fantastic.  It does slow everything else down, so I have to turn it off if I’m using my VoIP phone to talk with my parents or people in the USA, but when I’m just browsing, it’s great.

I don’t belong to any twitter groups on LT.  I already belong to too many groups and I’m more of a lurker than a poster, so it’s best if I keep away.

If you want to participate in Tuesday Thingers, just click the button above.  I am working on a month wrap-up post for later, so I hope no one minds me posting more than once today!

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TT: Library Style

ttQuestions: Have you explored the different styles? Have you customized any of the styles? If so, what are your favorite customized items (isbn, Dewey Decimal, Reviews, Book-Swap, etc)?

I use the style B with some modification, but in a strange way that suits probably only me.  I chose it because I like to see my book covers.  The rest of the style is purely for my own needs.  I like to use LT to keep track of recent reads and I normally sort my books by their entry date into LT.  This is because I read books that I’ve entered recently more frequently than books that are a couple of years old, so with my massive TBR tag, it’s easier to find what I’m looking for and browse what I probably have with me.  So I have columns for the picture, author, title, tags, entry date, read date, and social info.  I use my read date column for when I add reviews.  It’s easy to sort my latest “read 2009″ tag by date read to add in my latest reviews because usually they’re in some sort of order.  It also makes my yearly reading list accessible for when I’m not with my computer.

I modified a few of the other styles, but I almost never switch to them, so this one really suits me best!

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TT: The New LT widget

ttQuestions: Do you have a LT widget on your blog? If so, what is your favorite thing about it? Have you had a chance to go see the all new widget building page, and if so, have you built a new widget? If so, what do you like about it?

I did build a new widget.  You can see it over on my right sidebar.  I keep up with the LT blog, so I went to play with it almost immediately.  This widget is much nicer in many respects.  I like the addition of my Amazon Associates code.  I like the changing covers, although I’ve noticed it only cycles through three different “pages” of covers.  That’s still better than just a static widget, though, and who really stares at it long enough for the same books to come up (except me)?  I even like that the loading image can be a book turning pages.  It seems much more customizable though I haven’t changed the basics much.

I also think it just looks prettier, don’t you?

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Tuesday Thingers: Least Favorite Book

ttFrom Wendi at Wendi’s Book Corner:

Questions (yes – there are a bunch – answer one or two . . . or all of them!): What is your least-favorite book(s)? Is your least-favorite book listed in your LT library? If it is listed, do you have anything special in the tags or comments section? How have others rated your least-favorite book?

This is a tricky one.  I have read several books that I despised at the time, but which I suspect I would really enjoy on another reading.  These are books like The Grapes of Wrath, The Scarlet Letter, or Silas Marner, and since I know I have a much greater appreciation for classics now than I did in high school, I’d probably like them.  As such I can’t count any of them as my least favorite book.  I went looking through the lists of books I’ve read in the last 3 or so years and I managed to find one that I think I liked the least.  That book is Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson.  There are several reasons why I dislike this book, not all of which are the book’s fault:

  1. I didn’t like it while I was reading it.  It was confusing and while I liked the characters, I couldn’t even figure out what they were supposed to be doing, where they were, or how the magic system worked.  I read it in February 2007 and it took me so long to read that I only read 3 other books that month, which is very unusual for me.
  2. Everyone raved about the series so I was absolutely certain I was going to like it when I bought it, especially when they recommended it for fans of George R. R. Martin, one of my favorite authors.
  3. I was so convinced that I should like the series that I bought books 2 and 3, forced myself to read book 2, and hated that.  Now I have the third book hanging around and I know I’m never going to read it.
  4. Actually, I still think that I *should* love this series, so I’m always tempted to reread the first two to see if they improve on further reading.  I’ve kept them for this very reason.  How stupid is that?

This book is in my LT library, but it’s not tagged as anything special.  It annoys me that the hype made me go back to the series when I should have been done with it, but I don’t seem to have added anything to suggest that to someone looking at my library.  Others have rated this book very highly and labeled it as the best in epic fantasy, which is why it frustrates me so much that I might be missing something, even though I hated the books.

What’s your least favorite book?

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TT: Member Giveaway

ttToday’s Question: Were you aware of the Member Giveaways Program? Have you posted any books in the giveaway? If so, what are your thoughts on the program? Have you requested any books, and if so, did you win any?

I’m a big fan of the LT blog and I head over there every time my home page tells me there is a new post, so I’ve been aware of Member Giveaway since it started.   I think it’s a neat idea. It’s another way to get books into the hands of readers who really want them and I like that it’s completely random.  I think it will be more useful for people with small or odd libraries who struggle to get books from the regular Early Reviewers program.  Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from requesting.  So far I have won two, the second one just yesterday.  I’ll admit that I go there about once a week and request the ones I’m interested in.  I don’t mind reviewing, as I review everything anyway, and I can’t resist free books.  Of course, given the state of my TBR pile, I probably should learn to resist, but we’ll save that for another day.

I haven’t posted any to the giveaway and I don’t plan to.  In fact, I don’t really understand why ordinary people do.  I can see the benefits for an author to get a little extra publicity for their book, but for the rest of us, there are many swap websites where you can get a new book in exchange for the one you no longer want.  It makes sense if you are simply clearing out your shelves and do not want to acquire new books, but I suppose that mindset is completely foreign to me!  I’d also post some to support LibraryThing, but I think I’d rather do that without giving up my precious books.  If I wanted to give some away, I’d just hold my own contest here.  It’s been a while!

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TT: Early Reviewers

ttQuestion: Were you aware of the Early Reviewer Program? Have you received any books from the program? If you have, how have you liked the book(s)? Any other thoughts on the LTER program?

I’m quite fond of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program!  I’ve actually received 9 books so far and have been incredibly lucky.  I’ve been in the program from the beginning though, sometime in 2007, so I’ve had many more opportunities than most people, who seem to be newcomers.  It took me a few months to get my first book and I’ve had some substantial gaps, but I love choosing and waiting for the notification.

I’ve received:

Luminous Cities by Eduardo Garcia Aguilar
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
The Girl with No Shadow by Joanne Harris
The Venetian Mask by Rosalind Laker
Sweetsmoke by David Fuller
Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland
The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee
Serendipity by Louise Shaffer
The Red Siren by M. L. (Marylu) Tyndall

If you do click through to the first few – be kind, my reviewing career was in the very early stages back then!  And the last two link to LT because I haven’t read them yet.  I know, I’m horrible, I don’t even have them in my possession.  To be fair, I didn’t expect to get any after I left because The Piano Teacher was the first in months!  That might be why I didn’t get one this month, though!

As far as how I’ve liked them, it varies a lot.  Looking at my list, I’ve only really loved two.  I have moderately enjoyed two more.  I disliked two, and I absolutely hated one.  So my success rate is really not fantastic, very even actually, but I love the program anyway.  It’s also led me to do a few cold requests for books I didn’t win, and I’ve enjoyed those.  I think this is a great way to get interested readers in touch with new books.  I love looking at the list because it means I know what’s coming out soon and I have gone to bookstore tables and remembered all the ones that were offered.  I’ve even purchased books that were offered on the program because I still wanted them.  Overall, I’m a fan!

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TT: Where Do You Get Your Books?

ttToday’s question: How do you get your books for reviewing?  Do you track them somehow (excel, database, etc), or just put them in a tbr (To Be Read for anyone that doesn’t know) pile?

I get books from all over.  I request from publishers, mainly through Shelf Awareness, and sometimes authors if a book sounds really, really good.  I have received a fair number from LT Early Reviewers and just won a book the other day from Member Giveaway.  I have several contacts who reliably offer me books I’ll like.  Most of my ARCs now come from contacts and the odd lone offer.  I also buy books, both new and used, and I even get books out from the library if I’m not sure I’ll like them but still want to give them a shot, or if they’re romance novels because I’m 99.9% sure I’m not going to reread them.

When I get a book, I stick its release date or blog tour date on my google calendar, and then I make sure I read it by then.  Easy enough.  I thought about tagging them in LT, but that seems purposeless when I can just glance at my calendar to see when I need to review everything.  An Excel spreadsheet would probably be a good idea, but since I go to google calendar all the time anyway, it’s the easiest.  I also keep the books in their own pile and try to read them in chronological order.  If I’m ahead, like I am now, I then know I can read other books for fun, or I can try to get further ahead because I have essays coming up!

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TT: Ratings

ttToday’s question: Do you use a rating system on your blog? How do you feel about using the rating system provided on sites like Library Thing and Amazon? When looking up information on a book you are interested in, do you use the ratings provided by these sites (or similar sites) to help you make the decision on purchasing the book?

This is a very good question for me because I’ve always wondered if I should institute some sort of rating system around here.  I’ve seen number ratings, letter ratings, and star ratings around the blogosphere.  Something in me, however, has always resisted just giving a book a number or a letter.  They are complex and I think almost all of them have bits that are good and bits that are bad.  It’s very hard to categorize, especially after I’ve given my review, and sometimes I’m not sure the star rating I’d give a book matches what I’m trying to get across.  This is why I don’t use them here.

That said, I do use star ratings on LT.  Half the time, it’s a month or more before my review gets over there, and I know that I’m always a bit irritated by people who write reviews and then don’t put a star rating in.  Maybe that’s hypocritical of me given my policy here, and given that I never miss it on other blogs if they lack a rating system, but since the mechanism is there, I like to see both, and I like to add my opinion to the little graph on the side so that it is the most accurate possible.  I have a system for these.  5-star books are perfect, 4-star books I really liked, 3-star books are okay, 2-star books I disliked, and 1-star books I either didn’t finish or I hated the whole way through.

I hate the star system on Amazon, though.  It seems there is something wrong with you there if you use anything less than 4 or 5 stars for a book that perhaps deserves only 3 stars.  3 stars is not bad, in fact, it usually means that the book is fine but it’s not really my cup of tea or didn’t draw me in for some reason.  On Amazon, however, it seems that if you like a book, you must give it a 5 star rating.  As such, it has lost its meaning.  I’ve more or less stopped posting reviews there and only do so for review copies and books that have no reviews but mine.

I’d say I use the star ratings on LT to help me evaluate eventual books to be purchased, but most of my choices are spur-of-the-moment, buying a book I’ve heard of before.  Since I don’t read reviews before I read a book myself (or I put sufficient time between the review and the reading to forget what the plot is about), I don’t have many other choices.

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TT: Posting Reviews

ttToday’s question: Do you post links to your reviews? Here on Library Thing, or anywhere else? How else do you like to promote your site?

I do cross-post links to my blog on my LT reviews.  I post the reviews on Amazon if they’re ARCs or if I think they need my review, but I don’t stick in reference to my site. I don’t really do much promoting otherwise! I can’t afford to fund giveaways on a regular basis these days, so I’m not intent on promoting those either. I mostly just visit other blogs and leave comments. I know that I should promote my blog a bit more, but really I’m just here because I like to talk about books. I’m not aiming to be the most popular blogger around, I just like to have a few people reading my words and provide some posts of interest to everyone on a regular basis. Perhaps my ambitions for it will grow at some point, but right now I have too much to do for the rest of my life to really put the time and energy needed to make it awesome and get it out there. Maybe someday though.

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TT: Open Shelves Classification

ttToday’s question from Wendi: Prior to today, were you aware of Open Shelves Classification? Have you helped to classify any books yet? Is this something you are interested in? Did you know that if you classify any books, it will also show you who else has classified the book?

I am indeed aware of it! I saw the blog post on it when it was first added to the bottom of pages. (I love the blog). I’ve since classified a few books. I usually try to whenever I visit a book’s work page, which doesn’t happen all that often. I did see that other people can classify the book too, but usually very few have done so. Overall, I think it’s pretty cool. I’m cycling through my list of possible jobs that do not involve PhDs (for my forthcoming time off) and I think I’d quite like to work in a library, so this is fun for me. It just annoys me that there is only one category for fiction. I think it would be more useful if it was more specific. Although some books cross genre boundaries, I think most of them are firmly in one spot or another, and I know the library in my parents’ town puts little stickers on the book lamination to show which genre the book is. It’s very helpful.

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