Discussion Challenge 2018

Gossiping WomenLast year, I took part in the 2017 Discussion Challenge.  The aim was to build up the courage to write more than reviews, to start expressing my opinion beyond my thoughts on what I had read, even if only just a little bit.  I’m not going to lie, it was hard.  There is something about writing a discussion post, the putting myself out there that had me thinking twice more than once.

In the end, I wrote six posts that I classed as discussions (including one on what made a discussion a discussion, a question I still haven’t quite answered for myself).  This made me a “discussion dabbler” but it was kind of where I thought I would end up.  This year, I want to do more, in fact it’s one of my new year blogging resolutions.  How much better I’m not sure but I’m aiming to at least double my discussion posts to 12 – one a month.  Hopefully, I’ll succeed!

When is a discussion a discussion (or not?)

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This year, I am taking part in Feed Your Fiction Addiction’s discussion challenge.  I’d like to say I’m doing well, though I’m not really.  Just doing an update of where I was for this last quarter of the year, though, I started to wonder if maybe I was doing better than I thought and if some of the posts I had written, that I hadn’t classed as discussions really were.  Confused?  Yes, me too!

So, last month for example, I wrote two non-review, non-linky related posts.  One, Crime series I’m officially given up on catching up on…, I tagged as the discussion challenge.  The other, Rarely read genres – suggestions please…, I didn’t.  Why was one tagged and not the other?  The first had a question at the end that asked whether people had series they had given up on or would never get rund to finishing either; the second asked for suggested books I could read. This month, I talked about my favourite female detectives and tagged that too. Again, there was a question at the end.  

Month in review: August, 2017

Month in reviewSo it’s here – September – the time of year in my neck of the woods where the weather turns (or not, the last couple of years we’ve had indian summers), the nights draw in, and the sweaters come out of hiding.  I quite like it to be honest.  It makes the world a little snugglier (if that’s a word) and I’m sure I get more reading done as I’m not taking time off to enjoy the sun (well, when there is sun!).

Saying that, I didn’t do too bad in August with some great reads.  In fact, there wasn’t one duff book amongst them.  Here’s what I read, and how I felt about it…

Crime series I'm officially given up on catching up on…

For the Cloak and Dagger reading challenge I have set myself a mini-challenge of finishing up (or catching up rather) with two series – M. J. Arlidge DI Helen Grace series and the Nikki Galena series by Joy Ellis – and I have to say, with so many other books on my to read list and September fast approaching, I am starting to panic a bit.  The books are all loaded up on the kindle or the shelves but others keep making their way to the top of the pile.

Reading concept. Vintage tone of  woman selecting book from a bo

Sitting there, thinking about when I might find the time to read them (or which books I wouldn’t read instead), I got to also thinking about all the other series I had planned at some point to catch-up on and decided to have a bit of look on goodreads to see if my plans were every likely to become a reality.  For three, I have officially decided they won’t be.  After reading the first book in each series and a couple more along the way, I have decided I am just too far behind and I’m giving up….

Rarely read genres – suggestions please…

read-1342499_1920I often say I never read romance novels, or historical fiction, or sci-fi, but none off these are completely true…well, maybe other than romance novels as I am not much of a hearts and flowers type of girl, even in real life.  I’ve also never read a graphic novel.

Looking back over my list of reads for the past year or so, I have definitely read books that would fall into the sci-fi category (though likely only just…none have been set in space, which probably shows my ignorance of what makes a sci-fi book sci-fi) and a few were set in the past, which means they classify as historical fiction (I think?).

My perception of what falls into these genres is part of my problem – so thinking sci-fi books should be set in space for example or my initial reaction each time someone uses the term historical fiction to think of Philippa Gregory and her Tudor set novels.

Are you the same – do you have genres you stay away from (which ones and why?) or perceptions about what you might be reading if you pick up a book from a particularly type?

As I try to stretch my reading chops, I have decided that reading genres I say I don’t read would be a good way to go.  And, rather than floundering about and picking books which end up just confirming my perceptions because they aren’t the best of their ilk, I thought I would ask my fellow bloggers out there for suggestions.

So, if you love romance (pun intended), sci-fi or historical fiction, what should I read – new or old – what will convince me that I do like these genres after all?

I thank you kindly in advance for your suggestions.

Emma x

 

Note: image courtesy of Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California reading

imageAnyone who spends any time on my blog will know that I am more than a little excited about my upcoming holidays, half of which will be spent in California, one of my favourite holiday destinations.  Slowly but surely, my hubbie and I are working our way around the state and, this time, I get to visit San Francisco for the first time which I am really looking forward to.

In honour of our upcoming trip, I thought it might be fun to share my five favourite books set in California…

Reading red lines?

spray paintEarlier this month I read a book that had scenes in it of a paedophile grooming a young girl.  They have haunted me since.  I keep flashing back to one scene in particular that made me squirm.  Even though I really enjoyed the book, there is part of me that wishes I hadn’t read it because I still don’t feel comfortable with what was written.

The other part of me though would still recommend the book – because it was well written and a good story.  Without the uncomfortable scenes it wouldn’t have been the same book (and definitely not as good).  My review mentioned that there were parts of the story that made me uncomfortable but I didn’t go further because it would have meant spoilers in the story.  I am now wondering if I should go back and be more explicit?

I know other bloggers do this and I have to say this has put me off some books, books which I think I might actually have enjoyed and I wondered what others thought about “warnings”?.  It’s a fine line I suppose, because we all have personal red lines, ones we don’t or won’t cross when reading books or watching TV.

Based on comments on some of my recent reviews, where there seems to have been a bit of a glut of books with missing children or children in danger, that seems to be a red line for a lot of parents (or at least parents of younger children).  They can too easily put themselves in the place of the central characters, imagine their own children missing.  Yet, as a parent myself, I can’t say I have that reaction.

For me, rape is a difficult one to read about.  When it’s mentioned in a blurb or review I tend to steer clear.  But then I read He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly not so long ago, where rape – and it’s aftermath – was the driver for the story and I was o.k. As with the book I read recently, He Said / She Said was well written and thought provoking as well as a great story that kept me wondering where the truth lay right till the last.

I’ve also found that I can no longer read books which portray violent or graphic scenes anymore (something I never batted an eye at a few years ago).  I used to be a big fan of the Graham Masterton Katie Maguire series, for example, but the fact that there always seemed to be at least one (and generally more) gruesome deaths – described in quite a lot of detail – meant I’ve had to stop reading them.

The problem is, how to do you know unless you read a book?  But if you do read it and your reaction to it is negative, have you done yourself any favours – especially if, like me, books stay with you for a while?  What are your thoughts – do you have reading red lines, and what are they? And would you prefer to know more or less about whether there might be something upsetting in a book?

Emma

This post is part of the 2017 Book Blog Discussion Challenge, linking in with Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon at It Start’s at Midnight.

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