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Posts from the ‘Thoughts on Reading’ Category

When Your Favorite Author Turns Out To Be A Jerk

Don’t you just hate that?

If you want, you can replace “author” with “celebrity” or “athlete” or “actor.” It’s all so disappointing when that person appears one way in public, then turns out to be a complete you-know-what when you have an opportunity to interact with them personally, or even on social media.

I won’t name names, because that’s not what this is about. But I’ve had an experience with particular nonfiction author in the past year that changed my view of him and his writing. It’s sad.

It’s sad when you’ve read several books from one writer—and you mistakenly perceive him to be one way—but in a few interactions with him, he turns out to be a total butt munch.

This is particularly true for nonfiction authors. Let’s be honest—the bar is really low for novelists, right? I mean, it takes a little crazy to write good fiction, doesn’t it?  Just read a few bios about famous authors. A lot of them are a bit crazy and neurotic and would have no problem cussing you out–that just comes with the territory.  Read more

The Troubling Stats About Kids And Reading

Frank Bruni at The New York Times wrote an outstanding op-ed last week about kids who read—and why our society needs them.

He quotes a recent report by Common Sense Media showing some sad trends: Read more

One Reason eReaders Could Bust Your Budget

I’ve talked about eBooks and paper books a lot on here. Many of you might know that I’m a traditional book guy—and I won’t badger you for liking eBooks, but they simply aren’t for me at this point in my life.

With that, I thought this article from Mint does a great job of diving into the economics of e-readers versus paper books.

We all know about cost. E-readers these days can be pretty cheap, as low as $50, but you’ll pay more for e-reading on the front end. However, you’ll save money with each book purchase—typically $8 or so for an eBook versus $15-20 for a paperback or hardback.

Eventually, you might have to replace that e-reader and you’ll take a larger ding, but you’ll more than make up for it if you read a lot of books because of all the savings from each book purchase.

But here’s a stat from the Mint article that I find interesting: Read more

Can You Respect A Novel But Still Dislike It?

Here’s a problem I face when I’m reviewing or offering my opinion on famous, well-received novels.

I have to separate my subjective opinion from a much wider objective opinion. For example, I recently wrote about how much I really disliked Possession. I’ve called the novel “dull,” “a slog,” and all sorts of other negative things. The same goes for other novels at the bottom of my highly subjective and basically meaningless rankings, like Mrs. Dalloway, A Dance To The Music of Time, and The Sound and the Fury.

I have to recognize that though I dislike, and even greatly dislike, these novels, many literature critics who know much more than me believe these are some of the best novels ever written. Read more

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.

Read more


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