July 11, 2012

Picking Readers' Brains: ROW80 Update

Tonight my book club discussed Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. I will be reviewing it soon on Mom in Love with Fiction, but I can tell you it's amazing read, intricate in both emotions and characters. However, it's sad and depressing. Sometimes the best books are the hardest to read.

As much as I need to surround myself with writers, it is just as important to surround myself with readers. We all have a love of books and words in common. My love of writing comes first from a love of reading. If I don't nourish that part of myself, I think the writer in me suffers.

Hearing how each woman was affected by this book differently reinforced several things.

1. A writer can't reach every reader in one work.

There's no way to write a book that all readers will like and want to read. It's a success to write a book that people choose to read and a good majority of them enjoy. I've rarely been to a book club where everyone agreed on a book. And even more rare where everyone loved a book.

2. A reader may love a book and still not recommend it.

I asked my book club if they would recommend this book, one that many of us agreed was expertly written and memorable. Several said No. Mainly because they know some friends who don't like overly depressing books. But everyone agreed it was an excellent book club book, plenty of juicy material to talk about. Easy, fun reads rarely make for good book club discussions.

3. Readers trust their reading community.

I never leave book club without a list of books to add to my to be read pile. As we were talking about this book, people would talk about other books with similar themes. I recommended The Book Thief, because amazingly I read that and Winter Garden back to back and both were WWII based and another woman mentioned a mother-daughter drama. Yet another said she'd read several Kristin Hannah books and Firefly Lane was her favorite. I never question a book recommended by a fellow book lover.

That being said, I trust a book recommendation verbally from a friend much more than I trust book reviews. I like to see that a book has consistent 4 to 5 stars, but I prefer to know a reader I respect loves a book. Not just some random Amazon reader.

4. Readers miss bookstores.

My group brings their Kindles and other eReaders, but it never fails that someone laments browsing in a bookstore. They say they are even more reliant on friends' recommendations now that they are buying eBooks, since they find browsing online overwhelming. 

Do you surround yourself with people who love to read? How often do you find yourself talking about books with your friends?


A Round of Words in 80 Days Update

It's Wednesday, time for another ROW80 update.

Writing: 30 minutes a day is really working well for me. I reported my Sunday check in on Monday, but I did 30 minutes of writing on Tuesday and tried a character writing exercise for 30 minutes today. It keeps my head in the game even on days when I'm not putting up impressive wordcount numbers.

Reading: Just started a new book, and I'm not far enough in to form an opinion. I'm excited to post some reviews on Mom in Love with Fiction. A couple of 5-star reads lately.

Blogging: Monday and today, so I'm on schedule.

Social Media: The last two days I've stayed above goal by reading 15 posts and commenting on at least 10. Still, I'd like to do more.

Editing: Fail, especially the last two days. We spent a good portion of yesterday in Fairfax, Virginia (an hour each way minimum, and hour and a half coming home in traffic) seeing a specialist for my daughter. I appreciate any good thoughts you care willing to send her/my way.


Elise Fallson said...

Hoping all gets better for your daughter soon. Hugs.

Jo Michaels said...

I'd like to say I surround myself with real people in real life, but I don't. I'm a bit of a reclusive. I have a difficult time trusting people. Ah well, such is life. Sending best wishes and hugs for your daughter. WRITE ON!

Nancy said...

I agree completely with your thoughts on surrounding yourself with readers. I find much the same in my book club. And, I loved the Kristin Hannah book you wrote about. Depressing in some respects but also a wonderful study of mothers and daughters and many good moments in it, too. She's a great writer.

Hope you found what you needed with the specialist for your daughter.

Lynnette Conroy said...

I couldn't agree more with your readers assessment. I miss bookstores too, and I am 100% in your camp - I'll go with a single trusted recommendation over a bunch of anonymous Amazon 5 stars any day. Good luck with your goals this round, and I hope all turns out well for your daughter.

julieglover.com said...

It's interesting that I read this post tonight as I'm missing my book club's meeting. We also have very few books all six of us enjoyed, but I've kept a list of those in case anyone asks for a recommendation. (By the way, I ruined it for LIFE OF PI because I HATED that book with an intense passion, while the others liked it. Anyway.) I agree with your assessment of friends' reviews. There are also a couple of members of my club that I know by experience I'm more likely to jive with as far as taste goes. Great observations, Tia.

Congrats on the ROW80 progress! And a prayer for you and your daughter.

Christine said...

I love Kristin Hannah books! I haven't read Winter Garden yet, but I'd like to soon! Surrounding yourself with readers is definitely a great idea. Your daughter is in my thoughts and prayers.

Tia Bach said...

Elise, Thanks. Can't wait to see you!

Jo, I am a people person. I find people fascinating. But I'm often disappointed because I trust too easily. ;-(

Nancy, I agree, and thanks for your well wishes.

Lynette, Thanks. Luckily, my daughter's a trooper.

Julie, Thanks for the prayer. I think you should do a blog post on the ones you all agreed on. Hmmm. (I know I'd love to know!)

Christine, Thanks for the thoughts & prayers! What was your fave Hannah book?

Steph said...

The last chapter of one of my favourite books had me sobbing aloud. (I don't think I've done that before or since.) The epilogue took the edge off and made it more palatable, but it wasn't as powerful as the last chapter.
Congrats on your ROW progress. All the best for the rest of the round.

Tia Bach said...

Steph, Thanks. Wow, sobbing. That says a lot. Care to share the book?

Shah Wharton said...

I have never been part of a book club. I feel quite sad about that now. I am like Jo - happiest with very few people. But if someone I know reads a book and like it, it is possibly going to end up in my TBR pile. I tend to read a lot for review, so rarely get my choice. I also judge books differently to some folks - I would take great character over plot, and although in some books bad writing is unforgivable, in others its excusable because I'm invested in the plot/character arcs.

Re your goals - good going. Re your daughter - all the very best. Hugs. XX