Category: And On That Note

To DNF Or Not To DNF…That Is A Bookworm’s Biggest Dilemma

Posted November 3, 2016 by Hannah in And On That Note, Features / 5 Comments

 

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One of my firm reading rules since the beginning of time has always been Thou Shalt Finish Every Book Thou Starts.

It’s always been a no brainer: finish what you started, even if you hate it. Why? Because I feel like I can’t make an informed opinion or review on a book that I haven’t finished reading. That and I absolutely must need to know what happens.

But recently…

I’ve been having doubts about this reading policy of mine. Is DNFing a book really that bad? I don’t have a lot of time on my hands, so reading is precious. When I’m not working a crazy full time job, I’m studying full time. Now that it’s November, I’ll have more time for reading on my hands, but it’s also #NaNoWriMo, and I want to spend a lot of time focusing on my novel. And I have a lot of books I want (and need) to read.

Which is why this year, I’ve DNF’d three books, and started to read two that I almost immediately put down and moved on from. It’s sad, because those three books (if you’re curious, they were Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, Passenger by Alex Bracken and Ruined by Amy Tintera) were three that I was looking forward to soooo much…and yet they turned out to be a disappointment. Do I never want to try and read them again? No! Of course not!

When I struggle through a book, it starts to invoke the dreaded reading slump, and I’m wasting away through a novel that I’m not enjoying for the sake of reading it, when there are plenty of other books on my shelves I could be reading instead. And enjoying.

So where do I go from here? Well, it’s not as easy as just giving up. When you’ve been oh so strict on yourself for many years, it’s hard to break out of a habit. So I have a new reading rule: Thou Is Allowed To Pass On A Book; As Long As It Is Not A Review Book. Okay, okay, it’s a little harsh, but considering that my review list is mainly Netgalley and Edelweiss books these days, I think it’s a fair enough rule.

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Spoilers: The Good, The Bad, & The Downright Ugly

Posted September 3, 2016 by Hannah in And On That Note, Features / 15 Comments

top ten t (1)And On That Note is a sporadic feature discussing everything bookish.

Spoilers. It seems as if even in 2016, the age of the internet, there is no escaping from the horror that is the spoiler, a nasty parasite of a word that can shatter our dreams in an instant. But are spoilers as bad as we make them out to be, why are they so universally hated and what is all the fuss about them?

There are no escaping spoilers nowadays. Unless you live under a rock, pretty much anything with a major fan base will have been subjected to the spoiler curse at some point in its life. And in our little corner of the bookish world, every now and often again, it rears its ugly head.

I remember the first major spoiler I was ever subjected to. It was 2006, I’d just finished my mock exams and we were going over them in English Lit. Heavily detracted from the actual subject, the conversation had turned to Harry Potter, which had been released the week before, when one of the boys in my class loudly exclaimed how sad it was over a character (who I shall not name, considering after all we are talking about spoilers) who had died. I’d yet to read the book, as had half our class, because well, exams. Needless to say we were all pretty mad.

It’s no coincidence I’m talking spoilers when one of 2016’s biggest YA titles, Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas is days away from it September 6th release. If you’ve been living under that particular rock, you wouldn’t have known that the book has been released weeks early in some parts of the world, and after a YA author popped up on Instagram with a copy (found at a local airport), the book world exploded. Suddenly, people had copies of their own, read the book, and….were not okay.

It seems like in this day and age of technology, we have to tell everybody everything – and I think that’s where the nitty gritty of spoilers, especially in the book community, come about. This constant need to prove ourselves to other people has led to us over sharing everything. There seems to be something about the validation we get when we tell people, “I know something you don’t know, here it is!”

But spoilers are never okay. Blogger of awesomeness, Rachel from The Beauty and the Bookshelf, has a really good thread on Twitter about why spoilers are not good. And I completely agree with her – even the barest hint of a spoiler can ruin the perspective of a book for someone. And no matter how you may feel about something you’ve read or heard, it is not okay to ruin someone else’s experience. No matter what you think. Taking your anger out on someone via social media – on Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram or whatever it is, is not acceptable. We are adults, after all, and we, especially in the book community, are better than that.

On that note, when does a spoiler become obsolete? How long does the spoiler free zone last? I gave up on shielding myself from Game of Throne spoilers for years because they were part of even every day news. But when I finally watched it, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I didn’t know – and maybe because I was in part smart enough to not click on that Buzzfeed article about Jon Snow (even though ugh so tempting!). This weekend was the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, and I heard a lot of people were upset in one particular session when certain books that had been out for a while were being discussed in spoilerish ways. Does the time since publication affect the no spoilers barrier?

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And on the subject of spoilers…no matter how angry you might be, it is never okay to lash out violently at someone, intentionally or not, verbally or not. Being in front of a keyboard gives you no less power than you had before. If you want to rant & rave, do so in a private format, with people are in the know like you. Or write down your feelings on paper and burn it. But don’t ever take it out on other people – especially the authors themselves, no matter how problematic you might think their works are (and trust me, I could write a thesis on this spoiler subject at the moment).

 

So. Spoilers! Yay, or nay? For, or against? What do you deem to be the Spoiler Free Length of Time?

And just remember, if you spoil people…

 

 

 

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Falling In & Out of Love With Books

Posted May 25, 2016 by Hannah in And On That Note, Features / 4 Comments

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And On That Note is a sporadic discussion feature where I muse on pressing bookish and non bookish topics.

Confession: Some days, I dread opening a book. Despite the fact that I’ve been dying to read it, more often than not in the past two years books have been forgotten, staying firmly put on shelves or desk or in my handbag when I catch the bus to work (which is my designated reading time). I want to read, but I can’t.

Is it that I’ve fallen out of love with reading? Oh God no. Can you ever, really? Literature has been ingrained into pretty much every aspect of my life since I was young, and it’s my future as well, so I don’t think I’ll ever fall out of love with reading.

But I have fallen out of love with books. I’ve fallen out of love with favourite genres and authors who are problematic. I’ve fallen out of love the constant pressure behind blogging when personal life took over, when the summers became too hot and my body decided it didn’t like me any more. Something that once provided a comfort became a chore, and I fell deeply into the deep dark cavern of the Reader’s Slump.

In saying that, as often as I fall out of love with books, I fall back in love so easily. My reading range has matured as I’ve gotten older – I’m reading more nonfiction, I’ve discovered the easy joy of women’s fiction and my newest guilty pleasure is historical romances.

Every single time though, I keep coming back to Young Adult. Sure, I’ve outgrown a lot of the books I read when I first really begun reading YA, and my tastes have shifted to more mature YA protagonists, but for each cycle of the cursed reading slump that I go through, there’s always one book that brings me back, and there’s always the thought that there are people out there, even at my age, that enjoy those books as much as I do.

Do reading slumps affect how you perceive books? Have you ever fallen out of reading a particular genre at all, or is there always one book that brings you home again?

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