Reading Buddies: A Monster Calls (3)

Part 1 | Part 2
Possible spoilers below.

Part 1 – From Americans Don’t Get Much Holidays to No Tale

1. In the monster’s second tale, the parson’s home was destroyed. Do you think it was the right thing for the monster to do, given his explanation?

I think we’ve already established from the monster’s first story that he likes gray areas, and it’s the same for this one. I don’t really feel that the parson’s house should have been destroyed — I found that it was too cruel. But if you’re willing to give up everything, then you should also be ready to lose everything, too — after all, you’ve given them up. Sometimes, we just don’t know how much that everything is.

This reminds me of one line I read from a YFC conference: If you don’t stand for anything, you will fall for everything. In this case, everything fell for the parson because he let go of all he stood for.

2. Why do you think people find it easy to give up everything they believe in when times are harder?

I think it’s because people want something concrete to hold on to in times of trials. They want some surefire solutions for their problems, or at least, something that will tell them that it will be okay. Beliefs are usually abstract, something that requires faith, and faith requires you to believe even without seeing or knowing if it will be okay. It’s not easy to surrender and trust that everything will be okay so people will grasp anything that comes their way, regardless if it’s for or against their beliefs, if it means ensuring everything will be fine.

3. “Belief is the half of all healing. Belief is the cure, belief in the future that awaits.” Do you think Conor had this kind of belief?

No. Not yet, anyway. He wanted to believe it, I think, but at the back of his mind, there are still those doubts. I’m sure we’ve all had this moment — wanting to believe that things will be okay, but also preparing ourselves for things to not go well in case it doesn’t.

4. Why do you think his Grandmother reacted that way to Conor’s actions? What about his dad?

Like what everyone else in the discussion said, I think his grandma is also just trying to be strong. You know how when want to cry but you stop yourself because you can’t cry yet for some reason? But then when someone else cries, or when someone hugs you, the tears just come? I think it’s the same situation with Conor’s grandmother — she’s been trying to be strong for her daughter, but when she saw her grandson lose control, she finds permission to do so, too.

As for his dad — like I mentioned in the last post, his relationship with Conor is already strained, and I don’t think his dad knew how to really talk to Conor. It doesn’t make it right, but I don’t think it’s wrong either. It’s just sad — sad to be strangers with someone you’re not supposed to be strangers with.


On Cross-posting Reviews

I guess it’s common knowledge now that most book bloggers have other book-related accounts, such as Goodreads or Shelfari or Library Thing. These accounts are really more to keep track of books or participate in online book clubs, but I know of some people who post more there than their blogs.

Ever since I started my blog, though, I’ve been cross-posting all the reviews I write to my Goodreads account. I admit that this is really just for extra hits before (and it works). However, now I realize that sometimes I go to Goodreads to look for reviews first rather than look at other blogs. It just requires less effort for me, since I just have to look for the book and immediately see reviews instead of jumping from one blog to another.

Now back during ReaderCon, I remember Mina saying that my review of one of her books was one of the most helpful reviews there. I rarely cross-post reviews on Amazon or any other book-selling site unless an author requests for me to do so. I just feel that it’s a bit tedious to do so, and I’ve been so used to Goodreads that it’s only always been the one I’ve been cross-posting to. I am thinking about doing it — it’s just that I kind of have a lot of reviews to cross-post there if I decide to do that. :P

To cross post or not?

So now here’s my question: does cross-posting on Amazon (or B&N, or any other book-selling site) make a big difference? Do you do it? How long have you been doing it? For authors (assuming there are authors who read my blog), do you prefer that reviews are posted on Amazon (or insert preferred book-selling site here) more or as well as in Goodreads/Shelfari/etc and in blogs?

Reading Buddies: A Monster Calls (1)

You’d think I would have had enough of A Monster Calls after I sung praises to it when I reviewed it, and then sang more praises to it after I saw the trailer. And truth be told, as beautiful as the book was, it’s really not a book that you’d want to reread immediately. Okay, I would reread it for the writing, but not really for the story, especially because I think it has that The Passion of the Christ movie ((Hold your horses! I’m not saying that this book is religious or I am comparing the story to Jesus’ and all that. I am merely using the movie as an analogy. Because I really liked that movie, but I cannot, for the life of me, ask my friends to watch it with me again because it hurts to watch it.))  effect: you only want to read it once, but it’s not the kind of book you’d read again for pleasure. Unless you’re looking for a good cry.

But that doesn’t stop me from pushing it to people, of course. And push I did, especially when I saw a copy in Fully Booked. Anyway, long story short, Aaron and I convinced Ariel to get this book (And I quote: “It’s Patrick Ness. Of course it’s auto-buy.”). Ariel caved in, and got so excited about it after ((This might be my fault, with all the “I really think you will like this!” I said to him.)) that he roped me and other friends to read the book together. And since I’ve read the book already, I was the default discussion leader.

And so here I am again, reading the book for the second time, and this time, paying more attention to the details because I had to ask some questions. This time, though, I’m more prepared — I have tissues with me all the time. :P

Anyway, so I’m hosting the first blog-based Reading Buddies discussion in the Goodreads Filipino Group. Basically, we’d read the book together, the leader would ask some questions, and we’d answer it on our blogs and discuss further in the thread. I know there’s a lot of channels with this, but think of it this way: more people can participate, even those who are not a part of the group (this means you, whoever you are who is reading this).

For A Monster Calls, we divided the book into five parts, based on how the story goes. Since there are no chapter numbers, we just used chapter titles:

Part 1 – From A Monster Calls to Grandma

Part 2 – From The Wildness of Stories to Champ

Part 3 – From Americans Don’t Get Much Holidays to No Tale

Part 4 – From I No Longer See You to 100 Years

Part 5 – From What’s the Use of You to The Truth

Each part will have about 3-4 questions which we will answer on our blogs and I will round up here. The discussion will run during the month of October. If you haven’t read the book but would like to, you can join us by writing a post on your own blog, or just leaving a comment. If you do decide to write a post about it, you can leave a link to your blog on the widget below so we can drop by and read your answers, too. :)

So! After that long introduction, I’ve got the first set of questions and my answers under the cut below. Disclaimer: Some questions were taken from Candlewick’s discussion guide for the book. Slight spoiler warning for those who haven’t read the book yet. :) Mister Linky widget is waaay below, scroll down if you want to just leave a link.

Continue Reading →

What to read next?

It’s summer here in the Philippines and as expected, it’s scorching hot again. My blogger friend Chachic put up a post yesterday about summer reads, and her question got me thinking of something else, something that I’m sure readers with mountains of books waiting to be read always face: how do you choose what to read next?

I know some people choose their next books on a whim. Some follow a schedule, or let reading challenges guide them. For those who have to go through review copies, they have to follow a schedule based on release dates. I want to know — how do you pick your next read?

I tend to go through the following:

  • I usually pick what I read next based on the genre of what I just finished reading. For example, right now, I’m readingtwo fantasy books (On the Edge by Ilona Andrews and Unearthly by Cynthia Hand) because I realized that I’ve finished reading 4 contemporary YA novels almost one after the other. I needed a dose of magic, quick! I don’t always switch genres like that — it really depends on the mood. I try not to read too many of one genre one after the other, though, because variety is good.
  • If it’s a series, I try to hold off on it, unless I really, really want to know what happens next. Perfect example: Kate Daniels series. I just had to read one after the other. Another example of holding off on reading the next books after reading one or two: Chaos Walking series. I have yet to read the second and third book.
  • I don’t receive much ARCs except for e-galleys and that’s where I’m kind of crummy with scheduling. I try to read all the galleys I acquire but sometimes I just forget. That’s why I don’t get too many galleys nowadays because I forget, and I feel bad for not posting it on time of publication/release.
  • Challenges also can dictate what I read next. I tend to space them out through the year, although that often fails for the classics challenge since it takes me longer to read them, and sometimes when I try to pick one up, it’s a little too late in the year. Well, at least I’m trying. Required Reading mini-challenge helps A LOT in making me pick the next book to read, and it helps me pay attention to the older books in the TBR pile.
  • Again on moods — I pick up a book based on moods sometimes. Best example is when I reread This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen right after my brother’s wedding. I had to drop the dystopia reads for a while then because of the love in the air. ;) Valentine’s Day also did that too me. :p
  • Book discussions also tell me what to read next, although I haven’t really participated in that many.
  • Finally, peer pressure. :P It works. Sometimes.

Now that I’ve rambled there…what about you? How do you pick which book to read next?

Completion Compulsion

The series that I obviously had to complete.

A couple of days ago, my bookish Twitter list was buzzing with excitement, which left me a bit at a loss because I wasn’t paying much attention to that lately with the move back to the house and such. It didn’t take me long to figure out why they were excited — it was the release date for City of Fallen Angels, the latest installment in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series.

I was all: Oh okay.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

I can still wait. I can still wait.

Don’t get me wrong here. I liked The Mortal Instruments series, and it was one of the books that got me reading again. I loved City of Glass, and I thought the ending was just perfect, so the idea of releasing another three more books after the trilogy has ended didn’t sit quite well. Still, I was curious, and that didn’t lessen the love I had for the original trilogy.

But in the time between reading City of Glass and now that City of Fallen Angels has been released, I have read so many other books in between, both good and bad, that somehow, the excitement and need I had to always complete a series has diminished, almost to a little disinterest over the entire thing.

Never mind that I am on book buying fast for Lent. I feel that even if I wasn’t on fasting, I still wouldn’t prioritize buying this. I haven’t even read Clockwork Angel yet — I don’t even have my own copy.

Again, this isn’t anything against the series or Cassandra Clare’s work. In fact, I am still curious about her books, and given the time and money, I’d get them. I’m talking about book series in general. You see, years before, I had this compulsion to complete everything. If it’s a trilogy, I must have all three books and I must read them in order. If a new book comes out, I must read it up to the end, even if some of the books weren’t really that good. I hesitate in buying books that I know are a part of a series because I know that I would need to get ALL books. Sometimes I won’t even read the first book if I know I don’t have the next books with me because I didn’t want to be left hanging. I don’t know why, but I must complete the books. I must see it all the way to the bitter end. (See, this is why I read the Twilight series all the way to Breaking Dawn and even The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.)

Now, I don’t feel that need to complete. Maybe it depends on how much I liked the first two books (I’m setting two because sometimes the first book isn’t always that good and sometimes it picks up on the second book). Sometimes it depends on how much I like the author. Sometimes, it depends on the hype (but I’m very wary of hype nowadays). Maybe this is me being choosy, or growing up in terms of my choice of reading.

Cliffhanger endings are a different story, though, but again, it would depend on how much I loved the first book before I decide to get the next one, if there was a next one.

Have you ever felt the same need I used to, to complete a series no matter how bad it may be? Were there series you used to love but now you don’t feel the need to get them all? Or were you never a series person and you’re happy with just one?