Confessions of Two Bibliophiles

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Confessions of Two Bibliophiles #5

Published April 5, 2014 by bibliobeth

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CHAPTER FIVE – CHICK LIT: For or Against?

Beth,

I’ve been analysing my reading recently and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t enjoy chick-lit as much as I used to. As you know, it used to be pretty much all that I read. I’m not knocking it, I have read so many good chick-lit books, but I’m wondering why I don’t enjoy it much anymore. I’ve only found one author that I continue to adore. My old favourites are no longer favourites anymore! Do you think it’s because I’m reading more widely and opening my mind to new genres?

Now, I know that you really detest chick-lit! I want to know what it is that puts you off it so much? I know I don’t read it as much as I used to, but have you ever given chick-lit a chance?

Chrissi 
x

Chrissi,
Oh dear, I just knew this chick-lit question was going to come up sooner or later! For anyone that doesn’t know my sister is slightly more of a fan than me of this particular genre and we enjoy teasing each other about it. I am quite surprised that you aren’t enjoying chick-lit as much as you used to but I have just a teensy tiny smile on my face as I hope that I have opened your eyes up to some exciting new genres! I think this is probably why you aren’t enjoying it as much as you did, that used to be the only thing you would really read – were you scared of trying something new and did you prefer to stick with your comfortable chick-lit that you knew you would always enjoy?
For me, chick-lit just doesn’t float my boat. I have no problems with people who do read it as I think people should be encouraged to read whatever they like. As long as people are actually reading books who cares what the subject is? Why do I have a problem with chick-lit. Well…. (braces herself)…. I just don’t think it has much “substance?” It always seems to be the same old story, and I just don’t think there’s enough excitement or thrills in there to get me going. I have read some Cecilia Ahern and enjoyed it, and one of my favourite authors is Jojo Moyes, do you think they are classed as chick-lit? What does the word chick-lit mean to you?
I would certainly always give a book a chance (even if you see me screw up my face at a particularly slushy cover), do you think there’s a chick-lit book out there you could recommend that I could possibly enjoy?
Beth 
x
Beth,

I think you’re right, it is because I’m reading more genres. It just feels a bit sad to not enjoy it as much as I used to. I definitely need to find a good recommendation for you out of the many chick-lit authors I’ve enjoyed. You need to try one! I’ve tried Stephen King… it’s your turn now… Mwahahahaha!

I think some chick-lit can be a bit samey and happily ever after. But there are some exceptions to the rule.

I define chick-lit as something that is aimed towards females. I definitely think Cecelia Ahern fits into that mould. I’m not so sure about Jojo Moyes. I know Goodreads defines her as ‘women’s fiction’… well isn’t that chick-lit? Maybe there should be a new sub-genre…chick-lit-with-depth. She’d fit into there nicely.

Chrissi 
 x

Chrissi,
I now set you a challenge! You must recommend to me a chick-lit book that I promise faithfully that I will read and then let you know my opinion. Do you accept this challenge? I may have proved you wrong with Stephen King maybe you will prove me wrong with chick-lit?
I agree that chick-lit is something that is aimed towards women, although don’t you think that’s such a sexist category? Like we could only read those types of books otherwise our brains may implode?! And what’s the difference between women’s fiction and chick-lit anyway? Maybe the former appeals to women but isn’t necessarily as easy to read as chick-lit?
Beth
x
Beth,
 
I totally accept your challenge. I must now think hard about the book that I’m going to recommend you.

I’ve never really thought about it before, but you’re right, it is a sexist category. I’m sure both sexes would enjoy a lighter read.

I always assumed that woman’s fiction and chick-lit were the same thing, but I’ve recently seen it categorised as two different things. Maybe woman’s fiction might be more directed towards those that don’t fit into that Young Adult age range and as you say it’s not as easy to read as chick-lit. I kind of have a problem with putting an age limit on books though. Adults enjoy young adult and i’m sure some Young Adult fans like chick-lit. Again, why should it be easier to read if you’re a ‘chick’? We’re not stupid, and it feels like that term is dumbing down our reading choices.

So I don’t know the official distinction between woman’s fiction and chick-lit, but our chat has given me lots to think about.

Chrissi 

x
So now it’s over to you! We’d love to hear some of your comments and ideas about chick-lit, are you in my camp or Chrissi’s? Am I totally wrong about chick-lit and if so why? Please feel free to join in our little debate.
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Confessions of Two Bibliophiles #4

Published January 8, 2014 by bibliobeth

CHAPTER FOUR: DO YOU BELIEVE THE HYPE?

Chrissi,
The hype about books is all around us, especially since we both joined the blogging world! What I was wondering is if you get taken in from the hype surrounding certain books? And then what happens if the book doesn’t live up to your expectations? In my case, usually bitter disappointment. I think the advertising around books is quite strong with the amount of media we have at our fingertips, and as I commute a lot to work, I often see books on the billboards around the tube which catch my attention. One that stood out for me recently was The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. As soon as I saw the poster, I knew I just had to read that book, and luckily for me, it lived up to the hype. What do you think?
Beth x
Beth,Oh my God, I know! I seem to have learned about so many more books that I NEED to read since starting book blogging. It’s nice, but in a way, I start to feel a bit overwhelmed with it all.  There are so many series that I see so many of my favourite bloggers raving about that make me really want to read them. My TBR pile really did boom in 2013 and I don’t really see it decreasing any time soon. Don’t you ever wish that they could stop publishing books for a while so you could catch up?!I did have a few books in 2013 that I just couldn’t get on with. I think sometimes books do suffer from being so hyped. You imagine them to be amazing and unfortunately go into reading it with massive expectations. I hate being let down.

I do sometimes get pulled in by billboards, but it tends to be bloggers that influence me the most. I’ve mentioned before I feel pressure to read what’s popular and spoken about. Do you feel that way too?

Chrissi x

Chrissi,

I agree, it can be very overwhelming! I often feel like I shouldn’t go out the house, go on the internet or watch television because I often seem to see another book that I want. You know the state of my bookshelves as it is, packed to bursting with books I haven’t read and am desperately trying to get round to. If they could stop publishing, just for a year, I might be able to catch up a bit, hehe.
I also agree with you that books can suffer from being over-hyped. An example of this for me was The Passage by Justin Cronin. VERY hyped and a nice thick hardback that I have had to give away to the charity shop, as I was so disappointed by it. It has a fairly good rating on GoodReads, so I know there are people out there who do love it, but it just fell so flat for me and felt too “busy.” I haven’t even bothered with the second book in the series, that’s how let down I was by it!
I know you’ve done a post recently about feeling pressure in the book blogging world, and I think that bloggers can have a lot of influence, (my TBR pile is shocking!) but I’m trying not to feel bad if I don’t manage to get as many books read as I wanted. There are a few books hyped for this year I think. I know a few of the YA series have books coming out and as ever I’m looking forward to reading as much debut novels as I can. Have we become a bit wiser to hype do you think or will it still affect you?
Beth x
Beth,We definitely don’t need anymore on our TBR piles.. that’s for sure. I know I’ll add to mine though, I always do!I think I’m somewhat wiser to the hype now, and I definitely approach a hyped book with caution. I’m starting to realise that it doesn’t matter if I don’t like a certain book as there are plenty of books for me to dive into that I will like. I read for me, not anyone else at the end of the day.

Chrissi x

What do you think? Do you believe the hype? Have hyped books ever let you down? Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!

Confessions of Two Bibliophiles #3

Published October 1, 2013 by bibliobeth

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CHAPTER THREE: OLD VERSUS NEW?

Beth,

I had such a great time at Foyles with you. I think we could’ve spent more hours in there. We’ll have to go again soon for sure. I just love the book shopping experience. But I have to admit, they have to be new books.

I don’t know why I have such a problem with second hand books. I think it could be something to do with not knowing where it’s been, or receiving a second hand book that has been really battered, its spine broken and stains all over it. Yuck!  I don’t mind borrowing books off people that I know have treated their books well (like you or Luna), so it’s not exactly because I’m a book snob who only likes their hands to have touched a book.

What do you think of second hand books?

Chrissi x

Chrissi,

I had such a great time at Foyles too! I think it has to be one of my favourite bookshops around (on Charing Cross Rd, London). The mere size of it filled with all those lovely books is a sight to send a bibliophile like me weak at the knees. There’s also nothing like buying a brand new book, no marks, no dog-eared pages, and don’t get me started about the smell when you crack it open. I think this probably ties in with our first conversation about bending the spines on books and how slightly obsessive we are about keeping the spines intact?
As for second-hand books, I’m probably slightly more easy-going about it. I do enjoy going into second-hand bookshops where the books are just clumped everywhere and you’re never sure what you’re going to find. Plus, you do get some pretty good bargains, and may get a book you like much cheaper than you would if it was brand new. For me though, if I’m not terribly bothered about the author, I might buy a copy of their book second-hand as it works out cheaper. On the other hand, for my favourite authors, the books just HAVE to be new.
Beth x
Beth,

I think the only problem with Foyles is that we’re going to want to revisit it every time we’re in the area.. Oops! I actually noticed a lot of second hand bookshops surrounding it, which I’d usually just dismiss. You’re right though, they are usually a hell of a lot cheaper, so I should at least give them more of a try.  Hopefully I wouldn’t pick up a book that I found interesting that it’s previous owner abused!

Chrissi x

So what does everyone think of second hand books? A great bargain to be had, or can you not resist the lure of a brand spanking new version? Please share your thoughts, we’d love to hear them.

Confessions of Two Bibliophiles #2

Published August 25, 2013 by bibliobeth

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CHAPTER TWO: THE E-READER vs THE ORIGINAL BOOK

 

Chrissi,
 
There’s been a lot of talk about which is better, the e-reader or the original “tree” book, and I know we have a lot to say about this! First of all I must hang my head in shame, as pre-Kindle, I was so vehemently opposed to e-readers, I swore I would never have one and would (puts hand on heart) stay loyal to the paper book. Well, that didn’t last very long! Now I have my Kindle, I love it to bits, and can’t remember how I coped without it. Its easy to read on and so convenient – I have quite a long commute to work and it’s been my life saver on the tube as I squeeze myself into precarious positions amongst the other Londoners, which I have to say, is much easier with a Kindle than a bulky hard/paperback book. Also, going on holiday! I devour books at quite a pace, and the memory of over-loading my suitcase with books (probably books rather than clothes…) is a thing of the past! Hundreds of books come right with me, no questions asked.
 
This isn’t to say I don’t love real books. Of course I do! And my bulging bookshelves at home agree with me. I will never stop buying them as I love the smell and touch and they look so beautiful in their righteous hard copy self. I will usually always buy an especially brilliant real book even if I have it already on Kindle, just for the joy of having it in its real form.
 
What do you think?
 
Beth

Beth,

Ah, this topic. There are so many pros and cons to both! I think you’re more of a fan of the Kindle than me, even though I am slowly coming around to the idea.

The kindle definitely makes my life as a book blogger easier, and I have to admit, it’s much easier to take out with me rather than lug around books. It’s easy for commuting and I can read a Kindle on a coach, but I can’t read a real book in a coach. What’s that about? I also use my kindle for ARCs from NetGalley, so that’s a bonus.

However, the Kindle just isn’t a book. It may be cheaper than physical books, but you can’t beat going into a bookshop and buying a beautiful smelling, perfect condition book. I’m obsessed with smelling a physical book. They just smell SO good. I want to bottle that smell. Oh I do. (Now I sound weird, but I’m sure fellow bibliophiles know exactly what I mean!) I also love browsing in bookshops and it’s just not the same with Kindle shopping.

It’s the same for me with buying books on Amazon. I love their Kindle sales, but nothing beats getting an Amazon package, opening it and just admiring all of your pretties.

Do you think the e-book will eventually take over the physical book? That thought terrifies me.

Chrissi

Chrissi,

Yes, I think I am a bit more of a Kindle fan than you! Although since you’ve discovered the joy of Net Galley, I think you are appreciating the little beast a bit more? I’m not sure why you can read a Kindle on a coach but not a book, I haven’t tried myself, I’m too scared I’ll get travel sick, but maybe it’s to do with not having to manually turn pages and your eye movements? Who knows!
But yes, I do agree with you that the Kindle can’t ever beat a real book – maybe this is why I think (in answer to your last question) that the e-book will never replace the real book. You can’t beat a bookstore, even if you don’t have the money to buy anything, just browsing is enough to get me excited! Plus, they just look so gooooooood. At the moment, we just buy an e-book by clicking a button, which doesn’t give me nearly the same feeling as walking out of a shop with a bag full of books and a smug grin on my face. Although, I am slightly worried I’ve developed Kindle 1-click itis…. it’s just to easy to keep hitting that button don’t you think?
 
Beth
Beth,
Yes it’s far too easy to click that Kindle 1-click button. Sometimes the Kindle books are just SO much cheaper as well. Perhaps real books need to become a bit cheaper? But then I guess someone is losing out in some way. Hmm.

Something I always do is buy a ‘real’ copy of my favourite authors books. You can’t beat having them all lined up on your shelf. They just look SO good.

It’s certainly a tough one but I for one know that the e-book will never, ever, ever replace my real book.  I can’t wait until we go to Foyles on Charing Cross Road and I can see you revel in the book glory. There’s NOTHING like a good bookstore as you say. I just wonder how many books we’ll pick up and add to our already bulging TBR piles both with real books and kindle books…

Chrissi

So what does everyone else think? Please feel free to join in our conversation, we’d love to hear your opinions!

Confessions of Two Bibliophiles #1

Published July 4, 2013 by bibliobeth

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CHAPTER ONE: SPINE-BENDING

Beth,

I was just looking through my mountain of books in the spare room and I’ve found a huge pile from when Gran was here. But wait.. I didn’t rejoice at new reading material! As I picked them up I ran my hand down the spine and….. it was completely ruined. She had clearly bent the spine RIGHT back and completely creased it. I thought she said she took care of her books! As much as I love her, I’m afraid I’m almost obsessive about keeping a perfect spine, even if I have to hold my book at a weird angle. HELP! Am I strange?!

Chrissi x

Chrissi,

Are you strange? Well, I don’t think so, but maybe we are both freaks? I too am a “non-spine bender” and can’t stand to see books being bent right back. I lent the Larsson “Dragon Tattoo” series of books out to someone recently which were in pristine condition after I had read them (of course!) and they were given back to me completely bent and creased – arrgh! What do you do in that situation? I’ve got to the point now where I hate to lend books out unless I know I’m going to get them back in an acceptable condition – thats why I lend books to you! Are we going to far? Are we book spine Nazi’s? I’m so silly about it that if I see someone bending a book back I physically wince.

Beth x

Beth,

I totally think we are book spine Nazi’s! I get so funny about lending out my books that I only really lend them if I know they’re going to someone who respects the spine! (Like you!) Oh dear, that really is obsessive bookish behaviour.  Hmm… but I’m much happier knowing my books are as perfect as when I first opened them. It’s so awkward though. I don’t know how to deal with a spine-bender.  “Can I borrow that after you’ve read it?” Me: “Um… how do you treat your books?” I usually try and encourage them to buy their own copy!

Chrissi x

So… what do you guys think? Are we crazy or do you feel our pain? We hope to have a really great discussion about this so please feel free to join in!

Love Beth and Chrissi xx