Unpopular book opinion: Excerpts/Previews


Have you noticed the trend recently of authors and publishers releasing excerpts/previews/sneak peaks? They’ll market them as huge news! or a giveaway! or even a pre-order bonus. When I go to book conferences, many authors give them away at their signing tables.

But here’s the thing.

I don’t read excerpts. In fact, I prefer as little preview of a book as possible. That wasn’t always the case. As a kid, I didn’t know a lot about book news, but I obsessively followed the trailers and hype for movies. And eventually I learned that I enjoyed a movie less when I’d seen all the good parts first. The jokes are less funny when you’ve watched clips of them ad infinitum. But in my early years around the book community, I did the same thing. I’d read the synopses and the previews and follow all the pre-release hype. And no joke, I have sitting on my shelf right now 2 books that I pre-ordered last year and still have not read.

I’ve realized that excitement about a release often has more to do with the event than it does the story in the book. When I get caught up in hype, it’s normally about being part of the community–fangirling with other fans, getting likes and retweets from authors, participating in the collective hullabaloo.

Enjoying stories, on the other hand, happens most often when I pick up a book out of curiosity. “Hey, I think I’m in the mood for this.” “Oh, I remember people posting about this. Let’s see what it’s about.” Some of the books I’ve enjoyed most are the ones I didn’t know much about ahead of time.

So I don’t read excerpts or synopses anymore. And I kinda wish publishers would stop making such a big deal out of them. Even if, from a marketing standpoint, I understand why previews are an easy move.

Side note: nonfiction is a different story. I read The Undoing Project 100% because of excerpts released as articles.

What about you? Do you love excerpts and previews?

A Scientific Guide to Paperfury’s Favorite Books


I might have too much time on my hands. Today, giving in to a silly idea I’ve had for awhile now, I trawled through 7 months of Cait/Paperfury‘s Instagram feed to track how many times she featured a Stiefvater or Schwab book. If you follow Cait, you’ve probably wondered about that yourself. It seems like every other post is one of the queens of lyrical darkness.

Now I have the answers for you.

According to a very scientific analysis, Continue reading

Reading Recap: April 2017


2017 Reading Goals | January Recap | March Recap

I am having a great reading year! Feels good to dedicate so much time to my favorite hobby. 🙂

2017 Goals

As a reminder, here are my goals:

  • Total: 150
  • Pages: 60,000
  • 40 non-fiction
  • 10 classics
  • 10 translations
  • 22 books from my TBR list (my current list is at 52, and that’s a pretty limited list)
  • 50 book reviews

Totals Through April

Continue reading

Reading Recap: March 2017


Well, I missed February’s recap, so we need to catch up a lot. It’s been a good reading year!

As a reminder, here are my goals:

  • Total: 150
  • Pages: 60,000
  • 40 non-fiction
  • 10 classics
  • 10 translations
  • 22 books from my TBR list (my current list is at 52, and that’s a pretty limited list)
  • 50 book reviews

(see this post for more details)

Here are the totals from the end of March: Continue reading

ARC Review: The Takedown


thetakedownThe Takedown by Corrie Wang

Note: advanced copy received from publisher through NetGalley. (I don’t think that influences my review, but it’s fair to know.)

Summary

Kyla Cheng is a straight A senior at a fancy school in NYC. She’s one of four popular girls, her applications to the Ivy League schools are nearly ready, the hottest boy at school is her very close “just friend,” and her biggest problem is that her mom doesn’t seem to like her much now. Until a much bigger problem: a viral video of her having sex with a teacher. The video is fake, but Kyla has trouble convincing people of that. The only solution is to find the original file and delete. But Kyla’s hater is completely anonymous.

Initial Thoughts

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Can’t Believe I Met at SEYA Fest


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

SEYAThe Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival has become one of my favorite festivals in just two years. The event is super well-run and the authors have been amazing. Even with 2-3 days of events, they have been (almost) unfailingly friendly, funny, and and really inspiring. I’ve enjoyed meeting all of them, but here are a few stand-outs!

Maggie StiefvaterIMG_0101

There are not words for how cool Maggie Stiefvater is. She has rockstar style, writes swoon-worthy words, creates haunting music, raises a farm, and fixes/drives/decorates growlly cars. I was in complete shock about getting to meet her at the inaugural SEYA Fest. (I almost cried. But I didn’t. I did fangirl a lot.) She was hilarious and insightful and amazing.

Lauren Oliver

I read Before I Fall in high school, long before it became a huge movie, so meeting Lauren Oliver was a very cool feeling. She intro’d Replica at a panel and I just Continue reading

Chabon & Childhood


Michael Chabon keeps popping up in my feeds. First it was random mentions on Twitter (I didn’t pay much attention to those). Then it was the much-lauded essay about attending Paris Fashion Week with his son, Abe. I eventually read and loved the piece, but didn’t do any further research. Today it was a Buzzfeed piece by Doree Shafrir. I read it in fascination, slowly falling in love with this funny, thoughtful, geeky author.

Each time I saw his name, a memory niggled. I can very clearly see a thick, brightly-colored book on the shelf in my local library. My memory thinks that it is called Summerland. My memory also thinks that Michael Chabon wrote it. But each time that I read about him, I am less sure. There’s no mention of this book in the Twitter posts, the essay, the profile. The more I know—about his literary connections, about his current work—the less he seems like a man who would have written the middle grade book, which, if my memory serves me correctly, was about baseball. I start to wonder if I’m remembering the wrong author’s name. At one point, I even think I might be confusing the title with Ally Condie’s haunting middle-grade, Summerlost.

Finally, I resort to Wikipedia to confirm my very specific but now doubtful memory. The world’s free encyclopedia confirms that I’m right: Michael Chabon is the author of Summerland. It’s about a magical quest and baseball plays a big role.

I click through the references to see what reviewers of the time thought about Summerland. They’re not complimentary.

And these discoveries, while they reassure me that my memory for books is exactly as good as I expect it to be, trouble me. Figuring out why requires a bit of a journey. Continue reading