Walking on Sunshine

Posts tagged ‘book reviews’

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

My studying efforts have ceased for the moment (the new term starts in October) and I’m looking forward to catching up on my reading.  My goal of reading 100 books this year is looking rather daunting and I’ll be happy to get 52, thus averaging one a week.  Here are this week’s reviews:

  1. John Ortberg – The Me I Want to Be – 2010/036
  2. Dorothy Elbury – The Major and the Country Miss – 2010/037
  3. Pat Conlon – Handbook of Devotion to Our Lady – 2010/038

And the incoming books:

  1. Muriel Spark – Omnibus 2

And my stack for the coming week:

  1. Linda Nichols – At the Scent of Water – currently reading
  2. Max Lucado – Just Like Jesus
  3. Carol Steward – Journey to Forever
  4. Chris Baty – No Plot?  No Problem!
  5. Mona Hodgson – Two Brides too Many
  6. Fr Tadeusz Dajczer – The Gift of Faith
  7. Tamera Alexander – Rekindled (Started a couple of weeks ago but set aside.   This may be a DNF.)

It’s Monday!  What are you reading? is hosted by BookJourney.

Books Read & Reviewed (June 2010)

  1. Elizabeth George – Finding God’s Path Through Your Trials – 2010/025
  2. Francine Rivers – The Atonement Child – 2010/026
  3. Michael Shaughnessy – A Concise Catholic Catechism – 2010/027
  4. Helena Scott & Ethel Tolansky – Josemaria Escriva – 2010/028
  5. John Powell – The Christian Vision – 2010/DNF

Book Admin: Week Ending 15/5/20

This has not been my most glorious fortnight of reading.  I’ve been studying and knitting a lot so my reading-time has been much reduced.  Meantime, I seem to have an awful lot of books coming into the house …

As I’ve only read once book, my pile of forthcoming reads remains unchanged.  Hopefully I’ll do somewhat better this week …

Books Read & Reviewed:

Incoming Books

Book Admin – Week Ending 1 May 2010

I’m late in posting this and for no very good reason.  So I shall tell you that I’m enjoying my reading to the detriment of my studying and knitting and set off to tell you about the books I’ve had in my hands this week.

Incoming Books

Books Read & Reviewed

Books out of Seven

  1. Vanessa del Fabbro – The Road to Home (currently reading)
  2. Susan Squellati Florence – The Gift of Now
  3. Colleen McCullough – The Thorn Birds
  4. Ian Petit – God is not Angry
  5. Wendy Moore – Wedlock
  6. Kader Abdolah – The House of the Mosque
  7. Michael Shaughnessy – A Concise Catholic Catechism

Book Admin: Week ending – 24th April 2010

Welcome to this week’s book round-up.  I know I’ve read a lot but I don’t actually feel like I’ve finished many.  But, hey, what matters is that I’m enjoying it!  I do have a lot of new books to tell you about this week but I feel I have to point out that I was lent a small stack at RCIA last night and will be giving them back once they’ve been digested.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t be putting them onto the wishlist if I like them!  I also realised after I posted last week’s round-up that I’d omitted to list the books I had lined up to read in the forthcoming week even though I’d chosen them and put them in their place to await my attention.  So I’ll be sure and remember to do so this week.  I really enjoy picking out my books, seeing what has a higher priority and what would go well (or contrast) with its neighbour.

How has your reading week gone?

Incoming Books

  1. Max Lucado – Just Like Jesus
  2. Evelyn Underhill – The School of Charity
  3. LaVonne Neff – A Life for God
  4. John Powell – The Christian Vision
  5. Fr Tadeusz Dajczer – The Gift of Faith
  6. Ian Petit – God is Not Angry
  7. Ian Sansom – The Case of the Missing Books

Books Read and Reviewed

  1. Jon McGregor – So Many Ways to Begin – 2010/018
  2. CTS – A Simple Rosary Book – 2010/019
  3. Sean McEvoy – Shakespeare:  The Basics – 2010/020

The Week Ahead

  1. Angela Huth – Land Girls
  2. Blessed Mother Teresa
  3. Vanessa Del Fabbro – The Road to Home
  4. Susan Squellati Florence – The Gift of Now
  5. Colleen McCullough – The Thorn Birds
  6. Ian Petit – God is Not Angry
  7. Wendy Moore – Wedlock


Over on Facebook, there’s a group called ‘No, I do NOT have too many books’.  I don’t remember which of my friends found it but, when I saw it, I knew it was one I had to join.  Even though I do (kind of) know that I DO have too many books.  But there’s always room for one more.  And I am trying to release them through BookMooch.  Incidentally, I’m OldFashionedGirl over there.  If I’ve reviewed a book recently which you would like to read then it’s worth checking my inventory as it may be available for Mooching.  But I digress.

The owner of the ‘too many books’ group asked:

So tell me, if a book is popular, do you find yourself having slightly different expectations of it?

It’s an interesting question and rather ties in with the current debates about bloggers accepting review copies of books from publishing houses which I wrote about recently.  As we now know that some of the hype surrounding books is artificially managed by the marketing people, what expectations do we have when (or if) we finally read it for ourselves?

In all honesty, I’m not sure that hype really affects me as a reader.  It’s true that I acquire books under influence of reviews – whether in blogland, magazines, or wherever – but it’s usually so long before they reach the top of Mt ToBeRead and I start reading that I’ve long forgotten what the reviewers said.  All I know is that I heard about the book, wanted to read it and now so shall do.

There are a few exceptions – if a book is part of a series (think Harry Potter) then the hype is so much more and much more long-lasting.  People may be talking about the fourth volume when I pick up the first.  And I guess that does alter my expectations.  I may be sick of hearing about it and skip the reading altogether.  Or I may expect ‘great things’ from the volume in my hand and, perhaps, be disappointed.

But, really, we’re all individuals.  Someone else liking or not liking a book doesn’t mean you will or you won’t.  A reviewer may flag up something you feel strongly about and that will influence whether or not you read the book.  But, at the end of the day, you’re going to have to make up your own mind.  And you’ve got the pleasure of reading while you do.

B O O K L U S T: Sunday Salon: Do you fall for the hype?

B O O K L U S T: Sunday Salon: Do you fall for the hype?.

A friend drew my attention to the aforementioned blog recently, so I thought it appropriate to write about some of the issues raised.  This is not, however, a bid to raise controversy or heated debate!

Aarti discusses the growing number of books provided free to bloggers by publishing houses in exchange for a review published to said bloggers’ blogs.  S/he concludes by asking:

Does this system bother you, or am I just a drama queen?  Do you also feel that sometimes blogs are manipulated to create artificial hype?  Do you like the blog tour system?  Do you feel it’s unfair to the smaller presses?

Let me say firstly that I don’t read many book blogs.  I used to but found that it left me less time for reading while creating an enormous desire to purchase new books which my finances had no hope of ever satisfying.  This didn’t lead to a content mind-set so I stopped.  Yes, sometimes I make mature decisions.  At other times, I behave like a brat!  Because I don’t read the blogs, I haven’t experienced the situation Aarti describes of reading many reviews of the same (free) book.  But I can see how this would get old very quickly.  And, yes, it does create a hype which the book may or may not deserve.  Unfortunately, this is the world in which we live – money buys advertising, advertising results in more sales, more sales generate more money … and round we go again.  And it is unfair to those who start the cycle with less.  Books and blogs are not the only example – how many times have you heard a song ‘played to death’ on the radio?

I’m selfish.  I love books and have limited funds.  I also enjoy reviewing and blogging.  So I do accept books from publishers – sometimes they approach me and sometimes I approach them – and I’m not going to stop anytime soon.  In this respect, I’m a biased reviewer – I don’t accept books I don’t fancy reading, based on the information I have available.  But I am honest – if I hate a book or can’t finish it then I say so.  And I also go out and buy many, many more books than I am offered in return for a review.  So the smaller presses also have a chance.

My reviews here will always state it if I book was given to me in exchange for the review.  No one has to accept a book from a publisher and no one has to read the resulting review.

Bookish Topics

I’m reading a lot at the moment.  And I’m also blogging.  Both of which are good.  But I’m beginning to think about the way I marry the two activities.

At the moment, I provide three types of bookish posts:

  • Incoming Books:  Whether new or just newly entered on the site, I keep a list of books and post it when I’ve done ten.
  • Book Reviews:  I review as I read and then post a list of the books reviewed at the end of each month.
  • Books out of Seven:  I like planning my reading and having a list of titles to work on but I’ve been really bad at posting it.

Meantime, I’ve rejoined BookMooch in an effort to rehome books I’m finished with while replacing them with new-to-me books so there are a fair few volumes coming and going each week.

All of the above requires me to spend a portion of time on what I refer to as ‘book admin.’  I’d like to move towards having one or two large sessions each week rather than working piecemeal as I am at the moment and my preference would be to confine my book admin to weekends.  So here’s what I propose:

  • A list of Incoming Books will be posted once a week.  This post will contain however many books received or put onto the site in the past seven days.
  • A list of Book Reviews will also be posted once a week.
  • I’ll restart posting for Books out of Seven and do it as part of my book admin in the hope that it will actually happen.

My hope is that these changes will make me a more efficient and reliable blogger.  They are, of course, subject to review and change without notice.

Book Read & Reviewed – January 2010

Book Reviews