Freestyle Friday: June 20, 2014

This was a week that should have been “easy” compared to the weeks ahead, but it felt especially draining. I remember an interview with Sarah Waters where she said that she is such an introvert, if she has an evening appointment it ruins the entire day for her because she spends most of her day trying gear up for the event. That’s exactly what this week was like. I won’t go on about it, though. Yesterday I saw this tweet from author Chuck Wendig:


Yes. I must focus on being a fountain. I love my husband, my cats, my family, my friends, books, music, running, writing…I don’t need to give any more time and energy than is absolutely required to things I dislike. So let’s do this.

  • All week you’ve probably (not) been wondering about how the running is going. Well, Sunday was good, Tuesday was less than okay, and yesterday I completely crapped out and didn’t run at all. The next four weeks include a great deal of travel, so sticking to a program will be next to impossible, (fountain…fountain) so I will probably just be running whenever I can. I also got a subscription to YogaDownload so I am hoping I can try that out in the hotel(s). (As I write this, RunKeeper just notified me that IT IS TIME TO RUN NOW YOU LAZY HUMAN. Not today, RunKeeper. Not today.) On the positive side, I am trying out new shoes! That will keep me excited about running for at least a few weeks.
  • I’ve pretty much come to grips with the fact that I am never going to write a review of The People in the Trees. Instead, I will simply point you to reviews by two of my favorite bookish enablers, Jenny at Reading the End and Teresa at Shelf Love. They are the reason I read the book in the first place, and they say it all.
  • Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness has another, more in-depth post about book blogging and review copies. This is timely because I received an email from NetGalley this week telling me (in a nutshell) that I haven’t reviewed enough books and so have not been approved for anything new. The email also mentioned that I might want to take some course they offer on doing a better job at this. In her post, Kim mentions an excellent point made by Teresa that using the word exchange (as in, “I received this copy in exchange for a review”) implies a payment of sorts, or that someone is owed something. I never thought about it that way, and I am guilty of being one of the people who use that term. Clearly, I do not feel obligated to review all of the books I get through NetGalley. Sometimes I request a book I think I will like and after I’ve read some of it I find it doesn’t appeal to me at all. I don’t think it’s fair to the author for me to rate or review a book I haven’t finished. In this case it would be easier if there were a “Revert Request” button, so I could “return” the book. In a few cases, I’ve finished books I didn’t like much. That’s what happened with Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys, and I did post a review. But I also didn’t care for Kaui Hart Hemmings’ The Possibilities, and I chose to post the review only at NetGalley and to leave it off the blog, because for the most part, I really do not like to write negative reviews (FOUNTAIN!), especially of brand new books that haven’t found an audience yet.
  • I am a little more than halfway through Lisa Robinson’s There Goes Gravity. So far I’ve read chapters about The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, The Ramones, Michael Jackson, and U2, among others. Some of it is fascinating, but it takes some time getting used to her…style. She writes without any sort of narrative line, including a lot of (snarky) asides and non-sequiturs. She also likes to name drop. All the names. A lot.
  • Is anyone else sad that Fargo is over? That show could have gone either way but I thought it was terrifically well done. We’ll probably finish up Orange Is the New Black this weekend as well, as we only have two episodes left to watch. On Sunday the last season of True Blood begins, and we are going to see it through, even though the last few seasons were…not up to par.

Have a great weekend everyone. Remember, be a fountain!

Bellagio Fountain

6 thoughts on “Freestyle Friday: June 20, 2014

  1. I am once again delighted that you liked People in the Trees. Man, I need to get a copy of that book now that it’s out in paperback.

    Pooh to Netgalley! I was anxious about my own averages on Netgalley so I sneakily downloaded the Buzz books things and gave very brief feedback on them. (I also just wanted to read those excerpts — I think it’s a neat thing that NetGalley does.)

  2. NetGalley used to have a way for you to set your current status – Reading, Finished, Approved, Rejected. I used to set books to Rejected if I wasn’t planning on reading them. That has disappeared long ago. I am tired of how many times publishers try to “bring us in line”. I like reviewing books but I like to be respected for the effort. I don’t think any reader has anything to gain from an unread ARC sitting abandoned on our shelves. If anything, they make me feel very bad, which also I don’t want to feel.

  3. I request more books on Netgalley than I’m likely to read, because it is a handy way to get a taste of something I think I might like. I’ll read a couple of chapters and decide whether it’s worth more time. One thing I’ve started doing is just noting in the “Thoughts for the Publisher” box that I decided it wasn’t a good fit and won’t be finishing. I leave the rating and review box blank. I don’t know how that affects the percentage, but I suspect the system isn’t smart enough to know the difference. Plus, it shows publishers that I do take a look at books I request, which seems like a reasonable courtesy.

    I’m thrilled to pieces that you liked People in the Tree so much. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.

  4. Athira, I agree. I feel terrible when I’ve requested a book and I either A) find I will not actually have time to read/review within deadline or B) dislike the book so much I cannot finish it.

  5. Teresa, I also think it’s a reasonable courtesy to offer some kind of feedback when a reader does not like a book. I have used the Thoughts for the Publisher box to indicate a DNF as well. Unfortunately, I had a handful of those before they had ever implemented that feature, so that has affected my average.

    Oh, The People in the Trees is a stunner. I hope her next one is as good!

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