Reading Habits Tag

Geoffrey at High Tea Dreams was kind enough to nominate me for this book tag, which I am very excited to do because the questions are right up my alley (at long last!!).
Go visit his blog and give him a follow, will ya?

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
Yep, my bed! I don’t own a really comfy chair or have any other nook, and I absolutely love to read myself to sleep, so it all works well.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Always a bookmark. I have many and some are so cute!

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?
It usually depends on how tired I am and long the chapters are. Lately the books I have read have pretty long chapters, so I am unable to finish them when the letters start dancing around. I will however try to stop where I can easily get back on a track, like a clearly marked paragraph, especially if there is an empty line or some sort of a page break.

Do you eat or drink while reading?
You will catch me reading while having lunch and dinner fairly often, but if what I need is a quick snack then I will take a break from the book and resume when done, otherwise it’s just too distracting.
So I don’t really snack while reading or anything of the sort, just main meals.

Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?
Nope, too distracting. I think just about the only sound I can tolerate is waves crashing on the beach :) Or maybe birds singing. So yes, nature!

One book at a time or several at once?
I very rarely read more than one book at a time, unless it’s a different genre and in a different format – audiobook and e-book are the most popular combo.

Reading at home or everywhere?
I will read anywhere I can catch a break, but I focus much better when I am home.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?
Silently, though I may make some funny faces when I am deeply engrossed – I really wouldn’t know, I have rarely caught myself doing it. I may read the odd sentence out loud, if it is not making sense to me or I am not quite there yet.

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?
Heck no. As a rule of thumb I don’t even skim passages. I think I can count by the fingers of one hand the amount of times I have done it, and only because I felt that, if I didn’t, then I would not be able to finish the book because I was just not being able to focus.
Other than that, I will take as long as I need to finish a book, because I feel that any book deserves my undivided attention if I am going to provide a fair review.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
I strive to keep my books as pristine as possible.
That said, I have been known to maybe be a bit forceful on the spine, so I can try and get the book not to close without me holding it because I need my hands to urgently do something else.

Do you write in your books?
Never. As I mentioned above, I want to keep every single one as pristine as possible. When I am reading a paperback, I usually have a separate piece of paper or even a notebook where I can jot down my notes.

And now I nominate…

Every single person who has not done this tag yet and wants to!
It’s getting hard keeping track of who’s done what and has not already being nominated!
So please post your link here if you do it, k?

Much love <3

Gallery

The Good Things in Life

This gallery contains 5 photos.

I have been in an instrospective mood lately and, quite frankly, I needed a breather. So in a last minute decision, I threw myself in the car and off I went. There are few things that make me a happy as being on the beach with a good book. Throw in lovely weather and fresh […]

Would You Rather Book Tag

I was tagged by Tiffani @ Book Venom. I found her blog very recently but it has become one of my favourites already and you should definitely check it out!

Would you rather only read trilogies or only read standalones?
I would have to go with standalones. My reading habits are too sporadic. Meaning I cannot stick to the same genre for long, I have to switch every now and then, and reading a whole trilogy would not really let me do that. Not to mention I would most likely not always be able to read them back to back, which I don’t appreciate at all. When I read a book, I want to live and breathe in that world and watch the characters grow, so if I am reading a trilogy, I want to read everything at once; no waiting and no other books in between. But only trilogies would get tiresome, for me.

Would you rather only read male or female authors?
Hmm I think the author’s genre does not really matter much… To be honest, sometimes I do not even know whether I am writing a book by a female or male author, since they seem to love using initials these days!
What matters to me the most is what they write about. I have to tell you, I am sick and tired of reading books where the main character is a rebellious teenager. That just does not cut it for me anymore and has become one of my main pet peeves because it just seems to be everywhere.
I don’t know if women write about that more than men or vice-versa, so whoever doesn’t do that will have my preference!

Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?
I actually have no experience with Barnes and Noble. I have used Amazon for a while now and am happy enough with it. I love my Kindle Paperwhite too! So I will go with Amazon.

Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?
I will have to go with movies.
I generally do not like adaptations, since they vary too much from the book. When I read a book, I get immersed in it, I build the characters in my head and grow fond of them that way. If they are made into something completely different, I would rather be done with it in a couple of hours than a whole season.

Would you rather read only 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?
Oh gosh, this one is hard. It depends on how busy I am!! If I am doing my night job I will most likely only have time for 5 pages per day! However, I could never do that while I am on vacation, for instance. I love dedicating as much time as possible to reading then, especially at the beach, so 5 books a week would probably not be a problem, depending on their size, of course.

Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?
Oh, this one is easy. I have no desire whatsoever to write a book, so reviewer it is. I love travelling to different worlds!

Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?
Hmm I honestly don’t know. Whatever requires less book knowledge? I tend to stick to my preferred genres and would not really be able to help someone outside of that box.
I have to say I love libraries, though, even though they are slowly becoming extinct, at least where I live. But the thought of being surrounded by books, in the midst of all the silence, especially if it is a more traditional one with great architecture and shelves thoroughly appeals to me.

Would you rather read only your favorite genre, or every other genre but your favorite?
Oh, come on. That is just plain evil.
Well, as I mentioned in my first answer, I feel the need to switch genres often, so I suppose I would have to go with every other genre but my favourite.
But I would not be a happy camper. -.-

Would you rather only read ebooks or physical books?
Oh man… That is haaard! I love the feeling of a physical book but the fact is they are not as practical as e-books. My e-reader contains almost 1000 books, I can choose font type and size, margin and line space, brightness, can accompany the progress by percentage, chapter and time till book is over, not to mention the battery lasts weeks… I guess my choice is made, huh?


My nominees:

I tag every single person reading this post!
I promise it is not because I am lazy, I would honestly love to know everyone’s answers, so consider yourselves tagged and, if you decide to do it, please post below a link to your answers so I can read them!

Random Chat: To finish or not to finish

What makes a good blurb?

Step up, take a seat, make yourself at home and let’s chat!

I posted previously about this topic and would like to elaborate on it now.

So today’s random chat is:
TO FINISH OR NOT TO FINISH A BOOK YOU ARE JUST NOT INTO?

Ever since I started writing reviews of the books I read, I have never left a book unfinished.
Before that, I can probably count by the fingers on one hand the amount of books I dropped before finishing.
Why? Let’s see.

1) I hate leaving anything unfinished.
Quitting on something, be it a book or something else, always leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
I never feel closure and this dreadful feeling will usually keep gnawing on my mind long after the deed is done. Or rather, not done.
Telling myself I will get to it later also does not help, since leaving things pending puts an insane amount of pressure on me.
Weird, I know. Been like that my whole life, though.

2) Guilt.
Most of the books I get these days are free from authors or sites like Netgalley. That means I will feel obligated to read the whole thing because a review is expected, or rather, required. Which gets us to point 3:

3) Not fair to rate.
If I don’t finish a book, how can I rate it? How will I ever know if the pages I have not read don’t turn my opinion around, even if just by one star? Granted, some sites allow people to only write reviews and not rate, but that does not really matter to me because of problem #2.

4) I already spent time reading it, might as well finish.
If I don’t finish it, then it won’t count to my read books count – not that I worry about it too much. But if I have already wasted time reading a chunk, why not finish? Because as far as I can see, you need to read quite a bit before realizing you don’t like it, right?

5) I will never know if the book will grow on me.
On more than one occasion, I started by not enjoying a book and then it completely turned on me and my opinion changed and actually did feel engaged by the story.


So these are the main reasons why I don’t leave a book unfinished.

Now I realize this is probably not the best attitude to have towards the situation. Why?

1) Since I try to be fair in my reviews, especially the negative ones, I don’t skim. If I do not like a book, I try to include specific examples of what and why, and even citations. Obviously, that means it will take me even longer to finish the book.

2) Taking so long to finish a book I am not enjoying often leads to reading slumps.
Reading for obligation is the worst. It takes the joy out of an act that is supposed to bring relaxation to one’s life.

3) Sure, I may have wasted a bit of time reading the beginning of the book, but that doesn’t mean I need to keep wasting more time, right? I should probably pick up something I know I will enjoy reading, to avoid a creeping slump.


So I keep weighing the pros and cons and have not really been able to reach a conclusion. Ultimately, what keeps me from dropping a book unfinished is the commitment I took to the writer or publisher to rate and review it.

At the end of the day, time is precious, and so is keeping such an amazing activity enjoyable, so I do wonder if I should change my attitude.

What do you think of all this?
Have you ever had similar issues?
What is your method for leaving a book unfinished? As in, how do you decide to drop it? And do you write a review? What about posting a rating?

Tell me everything!

My Top 10 Book Related Sites

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen.
There are a few websites where I tend to spend most of my free time online and I thought I would share them with you.
So without further ado, let us begin!


1

GoodReads revolutionized my world.
First of all, the shelves. Oh eme gee, how I needed that feature! My books are all over the place and I got to a point where I would buy a book I already owned because I could not keep track.
Then I started writing my reviews, something I had never done before.
As I am sure you know by now, this site has all sorts of amazing features. I love pretty much all of them.
I also created my group Book Lair, met a bunch of lovely folks and get to discuss books and other random stuff with them.


2

So I discovered I enjoy reviewing the books I read. Now I need books, right? However, my budget is very limited, so what to do?…
Netgalley came to my rescue. It has become my main source of free books, closely followed by the authors themselves.
Though not all requests get approved, I have to say I absolutely love this site for two main reasons:
1) I get to choose what I read;
2) I don’t deal directly with people, so feel more motivated to write everything I think in the most honest way, whereas I always feel guilty writing something negative when the author approached me or vice-versa.


3

Book Depository is the main source of my bought physical copies.
Not only are their prices great, but the shipment is free worldwide.
The orders take a few weeks to arrive, which is fine by me. Kind of like Christmas every time I get a new book, especially if I pre-ordered it (even cheaper) and forgot about it by the time it arrives in my mailbox.


4

I started following Book Riot on facebook because I found their book related pics beautiful.
Then I found they also posted great articles and got even more into it.
I can tell I will be featuring them as part of my Random Chats feature quit often.


5

This is a very recent discovery.
Like Book Depository, it has worldwide free shipment, but you can order not only new but also used books. Living in Portugal, this is a great find for me. Whenever I tried to order used books, I always had to pay shipping costs, and they weren’t cheap either…
But more importantly than that, they have all sorts of environmental friendly options. I cannot really tell you what I chose, but I payed only a few more cents to reduce carbon emissions in the process of getting the book. Or something like that. It was nice for our planet, anyhow.
Oh and have I mentioned that every time you order a book from them, they donate one to people in need? How cool is that?? These folks have their heart in the right place.
The only downside I can see is that their catalogue is quite limited.
I have placed my first order but have not received it yet, so cannot comment on that. The order confirmation e-mail I got was just adorable though so, so far, I am enjoying the experience very much.


6

I found this site maybe a couple of weeks ago.
Like Netgalley, it provides advanced reading copies in exchange for reviews – but not just e-books, physical copies too.
They seem to be automatically accepted (I have only requested one book so cannot be 100% sure), but the amount of books you may have access to request depends on several factors. Two of the ones I have realized is where you live and your Klout score – the higher it is, the bigger the catalogue you can request from.
Unlike Netgalley, you can only request a book at a time. From the day you requested it, you need to wait 5 days to post your review, and then you may request another one.


7

After finding BfB, I tried out Klout. Though there has been a bit of a controversy around the site, since the concept is that your score supposedly rises according to how often you post and therefore influence people and that is not so easily measured, I can tell it contains some features I might enjoy, particularly the Explore one. Once you set your tastes, it will display related information.
Now if it would only stop glitching… I have not been able to login to my account for close to three weeks now… If you use this site, please post in comments below whether you can, I am curious if it’s just me. Customer support hasn’t been much help. Anyway, it’s a cool site which will show you information based on your set interests.


8

Also a recent discovery but I can already tell it is going to be hard to stay away from RedBubble, and not let it tempt me.
Technically it’s not exactly a book related site, since there is plenty other content. There is all sorts of products featuring amazing art.
I ran a search for book and was lost for hours. I already ordered a t-shirt and am currently trying my best to keep from ordering the cutest mug.
Again, main issue is the shipping costs…


9

BookBub alerts me everyday to promotions and even free e-books of the genres I most enjoy reading, not only from Amazon, though that’s the site I mainly use, since I own a Kindle Paperwhite.
Because one’s TBR pile can never be big enough… Right?


10

Probably silly but my WordPress reader is still one of my main sources for all things bookish.
I have followed quite a few blogs, and most folks have been kind enough to follow me back, and I have read some very interesting stuff!
So much so that I have decided to include a widget on the sidebar showcasing all you lovely people who have taken the time to follow the blog!
Thank you so much for making Ana’s Lair what it is today and giving me the motivation to keep going.

Enough gushing!!
What are your top book related sites? I would love to know! Please post them below.

How I Read Book Tag

I have seen this tag around, first at It’s All About Books and then at The Bookish Monsters’, and I thought it might be fun to do it here.
It’s a simple one, only 7 questions to answer, so that helped. Cause, you know, I am lazy.

Here are my answers:

1. How do you find out about new books to read?
These days it’s mostly a mixture of browsing GoodReads and other blog review posts.
Sometimes I also browse Netgalley’s catalogue, but I try hard to stay away from temptation because my TBR list is already too big!

2. How did you get into reading?
Unfortunately I cannot recall much of my childhood when it comes to reading. I have a vague recollection of reading adventure and horror books for kids and thoroughly enjoying them, but I cannot remember how I got into it per se or what my first book was.
Pretty sure my mother got me into reading.

3. How has your taste in books changed as you’ve gotten older?
Now that I think about it, probably not by much! I still enjoy horror, but I also got into fantasy, sci-fi, thrillers, mysteries… So I suppose I expanded my horizons a bit, but I still enjoy most of the things I used to read back then, only more adjusted to my current age group.

4. How often do you buy books?
Not nearly as often as I wish due to budget and space limitations; thankfully, I manage to exert quite a good amount of self-control when it comes to purchasing books, but probably only because I get so many free ones.

5. How did you get into book reviewing?
Well, this one is easy. I discovered GoodReads in August last year. Initially, I only used it to organize my books, through the shelves, but then I found the reviewing option and discovered that I enjoyed not only reading but also writing them! I love sharing my opinions; knowing people out there might actually enjoy reading them and getting to practice my English are welcome bonuses.

6. How do you react when you don’t like the end of a book?
I try to appreciate the journey and not focus on the ending so much. Generally speaking, it does not happen too often. If I am reading a book that is part of a series I will already be expecting a disappointing ending beforehand, since those usually end in cliffhangers.
If that is not the case, well then I will probably want to rant about it. In my blog, I will hide the rants in spoiler form (blue highlight) so I do not influence folks who have not read the book and still want to.
I will also post in my GR group Book Lair, opening a new topic in Book Discussions folder, asking if anyone has read it or and wait till someone does and posts their opinion. That folder is meant for those who have already read said book, so I openly rant in those topics ^_^

7. How often do you take a “sneak peak” at the end of a book to see if there is a happy ending?
Never.
To me, a book is about the whole journey, not the ending. I think I would be doing myself a disservice by reading something out of context. Not only will it not make much sense but it would severely impair my reading experience.
No, I have never felt that tempted to find out how a book ends.


Please feel free to do this tag in your own blog and don’t forget to come here and post a link to your post so I can check out your answers!

Random Chat: Banned Books

What makes a good blurb?

Step up, take a seat, make yourself at home and let’s chat!

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!
I came across this article a few days ago:

7 banned books that everyone should read

And it got me thinking… In today’s society, is it feasible that a book be banned?
Are people throughout the globe yet not allowed to form their own decisions to read a book or not, and respective opinions?

Have I even read any banned books? I have to admit I am not sure. I have not read any of the ones listed in the article.

Have you knowingly read a banned book and know the story behind its ban?
I would really like to know, please post below!