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Posts from the ‘Thoughts on Reading’ Category

Are Book Trailers Effective?

I’m not much of a marketer, but here’s my amateurish opinion on whether or not book trailers are effective.

Really, a book trailer is nothing but a glorified commercial. I don’t know about you, but do you know what I do when a commercial comes on my television? I press the fast-forward button. Thank God for DVR.

Not that a movie trailer is any different. It’s all about branding and sales and visibility. A good movie trailer can make the crappiest Van Damme film seem like a sure-fire Academy Award winner. Read more

5 Literary Legends That Just Aren’t True

You’ve seen the chain emails and the Facebook posts that spread urban legends and myth like they are truth.

Maybe your crazy Tea Party Aunt posts something like “Barack Obama is actually a Pakistani Muslim working undercover for the Pakistani government!!!” Then she’ll link to some whacked-out conspiracy theory site. Doesn’t that stuff just drive you crazy?

Well, it drives me crazy. And the literary world is no stranger to conspiracy theory, myth and urban legend. So I thought I’d use our old friends at Snopes and a few other sites to compile some literary myths in this post.

Here’s some of the better ones that I could find. Read more

What’s The Best Book You’ve Read In The Last Year?

All of us love a good book recommendation.

Except for me. You can give me book recommendations, but I can’t really act on them right now because of some stupid book list I’m reading through.

But you’re not confined to a list. You are a free reader, are you not? So this post is all about you.

Tell me and everyone else what’s your favorite book you’ve read in the last year. Read more

20 Fictional Characters I’d Have A Beer With

Ranking books is a fruitless exercise. It’s inherently subjective and people get pissed.

For example, I loathe Mrs. Dalloway. But when a Woolfite sees that I have Mrs. Dalloway ranked almost last in my rankings, I’m the equivalent of an abortion protestor screaming at the front door of a clinic. THESE DOCTORS MUST DIE!!!

I have an opinion. They have an opinion. We argue, everybody leaves angry, and nothing gets changed.

So, yeah, it’s kind of fruitless to rank books, but I do it anyway ‘cause it’s fun. But what about book characters? Can I rank them in some sort of sensible, somewhat objective way?

That’s doubtful too. But I’m going to try it today anyway.

And here’s how I’ll do it. I’ll ask myself the following question: Which fictional characters would I most (and maybe not so much) like to have a beer with? Then, I’ll rank accordingly.

You’ve been warned. And, please, don’t try and make any sense of this madness.

Read more

What Does It Mean To Be “Well Read?”

Someone recently told me I was “well read,” which I find interesting. The whole reason I started 101 Books was because I felt like I wasn’t “well read” enough, whatever that means.

So now that I’ve read nearly 70 books in four years, am I well read all of the sudden?

Seriously? That’s all it takes–70 books in four years?

According to Google, 129 million books have been published in the history of the history. 129 million!

Read more

All 32 NFL Teams Reimagined As Famous Authors

This is probably the worst idea I’ve ever had for a blog post. So you’ll probably want to stop reading now.

Yet onward I go, wasting an hour of my life reimagining NFL teams as famous authors.

Why? I have no idea, other than, well, the Super Bowl is on Sunday.

I fashion myself a renaissance man. Not really, but I can carry on a conversation about both the Dallas Cowboys and Cormac McCarthy without missing a beat. If you’re the same, maybe you’ll dig this post.

So without further delay, here are all 32 NFL teams reimagined as famous authors.

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Was Your English Lit Teacher Wrong About Symbolism?

You always wondered if your college lit professor was just making crap up.

Turns out, maybe they were.

This article from The Paris Review offers a revealing take by many famous authors on how much symbolism played a part in their work.

Their comments were prompted by a letter from a 16-year-old Bruce McCallister in 1963. He was tired of the constant find-the-symbolism game in English class, so he took it upon himself to ask them what the big deal was with symbolism.

He mailed a simple four-question survey to more than 150 novelists. About half of them responded. The responses were varied, but most of the authors seemed to think symbolism is overanalyzed. Their comments were awesome:

The survey included the following questions:

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My 7 Rules Of Loaning Books

Last week’s post about The Book Borrower, one of my bookish pet peeves, seemed to have hit a nerve with a lot of people.

So I thought I’d dig a little deeper. Playing off last week’s post, I created some rules to help you navigate the muddy waters of loaning books.

Is it okay to loan books? Of course it is. But if you want your book back, you’ll need some guidelines. Here are mine:

Establish a book-loaning circle of trust, then never loan outside of it.

Who are the most trustworthy people in your life? That’s your book-loaning circle of trust, right there. If you wouldn’t loan them money, if you don’t trust them to be on time for your wedding, if they talk about you behind your back, then they don’t belong in your book loaning circle of trust.

Also, the book loaning circle of trust is an unforgiving place. One strike and you’re out. If a member of said circle of trust loses my book, then said member no longer belongs in my circle of trust.

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The Do’s And Don’ts Of Reading On A Plane

Reading on an airplane shouldn’t be that difficult.

You sit down, open a book, flip on your overhead light, and quietly read for a couple of hours while your flight is in transit. So simple, right?

Yet, things always seem to get complicated. Or, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I make reading on a plane complicated.

There’s a lot to think about, isn’t there? You have so many factors to consider if you want to make your plane-reading experience pleasant.

Like what?

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9 Book Recommendations For People You Hate

Here’s hoping you don’t really hate anyone.

But let’s assume you have a “strong dislike” for someone in your life. And let’s further assume that this person recently asked you for a book recommendation.

You, the holder of all book-related wisdom, have a decision to make. Do you give them an honest recommendation, or is this your chance for revenge?

If you’d like to give them the old literary screw job, then I’m here to help.

Here are 9 book recommendations for people you hate:

Read more

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