Reading Blind – Discussion

Since this blog started, I’ve only done two discussion posts. Since then, the majority of my posts have been memes, tags, and reviews, so I’m really going to try and do some more discussions. It may be over ambitious, but let’s say at least one a week, if not one every other week.

For me, there’s two types of reading/picking the book you read. One is when you know what you’re in for, when you’ve read some reviews, Goodreads synopsis, etc. and the other is reading blind (note: I’m not sure if reading blind is the ‘official’ term for this, but oh well 🙂 ).

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As you can see from the title, this week’s discussion post is going to be on reading blind. Okay, this isn’t Braille or anything – although I did learn a few words in Braille when I was younger, but I doubt I can remember them. Reading blind is basically starting a book without knowing what it’s going to be about. Sometimes, I like to just read the blurb of the book – sometimes not even that. Reading blind is when you keep your knowledge of the book as little as possible, because then even the smallest little detail surprises you. It makes the plot much more exciting, the character’s that little bit more ~enhanced~ because almost everything is told through the book, with nothing being given away from a blurb/review. Of course, you will know small details, such as the genre, but that’s about it.

Reading blind is often fine if the book is super popular. Take, for example, Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn. I haven’t read this book yet, although I would like to get to it asap, however I know a considerable amount of detail on the book, taking into account that I haven’t actually read its synopsis, and only skimmed through a couple of reviews.

With over-hyped books, reading blind is fine – because you feel slightly more ‘safe’ in the sense that you know that it’s much more likely that the book will actually be a good book, with an interesting plot and well developed characters. I mean, they must be recieving all this hype for a reason!

However, when you take a look at under hyped books, reading blind isn’t always the best option. These are books that not many people have read, not many people talk about, so of course, you really won’t know what you’re in for, and whether what you’re going to read will be good or not. I often use my local library, and in the physical ‘library’ library (as we have an online version as well), the majority of the books in the YA section are usually super under-hyped books written by authors I have never heard of, and titles which I don’t know about. This is why I usually use the website, so I can get the books I want, but sometimes when I feel like trying something new and different, I like to pick a random under-hyped book.

One of the books that sticks out the most to me, in my memory, is the book The New Girl, which I read without looking at the blurb. I tried to search for the book on Goodreads but couldn’t find the author as there were many books named The New Girl, but from my memory I think it was something like S.L Grey? I really enjoyed that book. I remember it so well, and I remember recommending it to my friend, a friend who is kinds a YA hater, and she actually seemed interested. Only later, say, 4-5 months later, did I realise that The New Girl was actually the third and final book in a trilogy. And it was strange to think that although this was the final book, it still made sense.

The New Girl is a perfect example of both an upside and a downside of reading blind. I found a good book and a new author, I enjoyed it, I was surprised and the most minor details in the blurb didn’t spoil the most minor details in the book. But, however, it was the third in the series. And naturally you’d want to read the first two books as well, but then such an under hyped book means A) it’s hard to find and B) I didn’t know who wrote it.

So that wasn’t really a very major downside, so away from The New Girl, here’s some other downsides on reading blind, quickly summarised. Sometimes, going straight into the book without knowing what to expect can make your reading experience LESS enjoyable. You want to know what is coming, you want to look forward to it, and sometimes that motivates you to read more and read quicker. I knew Carry On would be about Snowbaz, as although the blurb didn’t give away much, I’d read Fangirl. And that’s why, despite Baz’s arrival being pretty far into the book, and the actual canon-ness happening 61 chapters in, I still sped through the book in like 1 hour. BECAUSE MY SOUL LIVES ON SNOWBAZ. SNOWBAZ EQUALS OTP GOALS. Sorry. Off topic.

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Another reason why reading blind isn’t great is that maybe the vague idea you had of the book was wrong. You may have assumed, based on your skim through the blurb, that the book was going to be say, a fantasy dystopia. However on reading, it may have in fact turned out to be a sci-fi, a genre that you aren’t particularly interested in.

One con for NOT reading blind is, of course, that you may get spoiled. This isn’t likely, as most of the time reviews often have warnings on them, but everyone has different opinions on what counts as a spoiler and what doesn’t. Someone may think a small detail, which isn’t really the ‘ending’ of the book, isn’t a spoiler, whereas another person may think that it’s better for the surprise to be told during the story, even if it’s not technically part of the plot (I’m talking about *cough* mini-spoiler *cough* Solangelo here….).

So what do you think on reading blind? Do you do it often, or do you prefer to have a good idea of the book beforehand? Tell me what you think in the comments!

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The Three Words of Eleanor and Park – A Discussion

I must’ve read Eleanor and Park around…a month ago? Yet, I just can’t stop thinking about what those stupid three words are! If you haven’t yet read Eleanor and Park, you’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about. But then again, if you haven’t yet read Eleanor and Park, it’d probably be best if you didn’t read this post. It’s full of spoilers. Usually, I’d redirect you to a review of Eleanor and Park but we haven’t one got one up yet – I think Mia will write one later on.

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Yeah, sorry I’m kinda obsessed with Doctor Who right now.

Anyways, as I was saying, I’ve reread the last chapter so many times, read tons of author interviews, and fan discussions, and there is not a single place where Rainbow Rowell has accidentally slipped up those three words. I mean, come on, even her own mother doesn’t know what those words are!

Here’s a refresher of the last paragraph, if you can’t remember it.

“Eleanor hadn’t written him a letter.
It was a postcard. ‘Greetings from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.’ it said on the front. Park turned it over and recognized her scratchy handwriting. It filled his head with song lyrics.
He sat up. He smiled. Something heavy and winged took off from his chest.
Eleanor hadn’t written him a letter, it was a postcard.
Just three words long.”

What! You do not just end a book like that! Aaaah! Apart from *spoilers for Heroes of Olympus* the Percabeth Tartarus fall, Eleanor and Park was probably the second worst ending in a book I’ve ever read. *spoilers ended, you may continue* My initial thoughts, like probably everybody else, was that the three words would be ‘I love you.’ Park told Eleanor how much he loved her throughout the book, but Eleanor knew she couldn’t say the same about Park, not yet. ‘I love you’ seems most logical, doesn’t it? It must be ‘I love you’!

But no, why would it be that? If you’ve read any other of Rainbow Rowell’s books, you’d know she won’t let you off that easily. She wouldn’t write something as predictable as ‘I love you.’ That would be insane! Rainbow Rowell’s books are way too open and mysterious, there’s no way she’d use something as cliché as I love you.

Now that we’ve abandoned ‘I love you.’, I’m thinking about something along similar lines, like ‘I miss you.’, or, ‘It’s not over.’ But I’m still not too sure…I don’t think it’s very likely that it would be something like that. Rainbow Rowell obviously wanted the readers to think it would be something along the lines of ‘I love you’, so I’m guessing that in reality, it’s something far, far away from that.

Here’s a snippet of an interview with Rainbow Rowell. It was in the back of my copy of Eleanor and Park, but you can also find the full interview on Rainbow Rowell’s website – it’s definitely worth reading, it’s hilarious!

“What are the three words at the end of Eleanor & Park?

Smell. You. Later.

What are the three words!?

Get. A. Job.”

Then there’s this really long passage about how the words are most definitely NOT ‘I love you.’ I told you it would be too nice of Rainbow Rowell to do that 😂. To be honest though, Rainbow Rowell is way nicer to the readers than some other authors – at least she doesn’t KILL OFF HER MAIN CHARACTER *cough* Veronica Roth *cough*. Okay, we’re going off topic here. Back to those three words.

Do you know what I think the three words are? Well, I can’t give any specific words, as I’m rubbish at that kinda stuff, but I think Eleanor said something stupid, something funny, something…Eleanor-y. Everybody else thinks it would be something deep, something serious, such as ‘It’s not over.’. But I don’t think that’s like Eleanor. She’d want to pull a joke on Park, do something hilarious after months of no contact with him. The weight that left Park’s shoulder after reading the postcard must’ve been his worry lost. Park now knew that Eleanor wasn’t mad at him, or ignoring him on purpose. Of course he smiled at her joke. I think the three words were something light and humorous, far away from some of the deeper words other readers have come up with.

I wish Rainbow Rowell would write another book, or at least another story! It doesn’t have to be a whole book, chapter, or even a paragraph, I’d be just as happy with THREE WORDS!

What do you think? What were the last three words of Eleanor and Park? Do you agree with my thoughts, or are you still staying strong with ‘I love you.’?

Hope you enjoyed my first book discussion post! I’ll hopefully do a few more soon!

– V

Thoughts On Reading Slumps

Oh, I hate reading slumps. When you have, like me, a TBR list consisting of 160 books, you’ll definitely want to get through them as quickly as possible. This is over ambitious, but I’m aiming to whittle down my TBR to at least 50 books by next year. That means I need to read 100 books. And how am I supposed to do if I’m in a reading slump!

Usually, switching books gets me out of a slump, but that didn’t work this time. I switched from Another Day (by David Levithan) to More Than This (by Patrick Ness) to Red Queen (by Victoria Aveyard). I just couldn’t get into Another Day or More Than This, and I’m actually really enjoying Red Queen, but I just have no motivation to read. Usually when I see a book just lying there, near me, I feel an urge to abandon what I’m doing and sit and read, but now I just walk past. Finally, when all else failed, I decided to reread Carry On. A book I love, my favourite book actually. Surely I’d want to keep reading this?

Well, we’ll see if I manage to read Red Queen again, and if I do I’ll certainly write a review, as the little bits I did read, I loved. But, for now, here are my tips on how to get out of a reading slump.

Locate your reason – This can be kinda hard, but if you can, try and locate the reason as to why you aren’t reading. It may be stress, or distracting noises around you. Maybe you’d rather be doing something else. I discovered that my reason was that I am way to addicted to Doctor Who at the moment. Well that’s fine, and maybe you should do what you want to do, rather than force yourself to read the book, when your mind is clearly not there. It’s okay to take a break from reading once in a while, and maybe after your little break you can get back to reading the book.

Start afresh – If you can’t locate the reason as to why you aren’t reading, then I’d suggest you start afresh. If you were near the beginning of the book, then maybe start the book again. However if you were more towards the middle/end, then rewind a few chapters back, refresh yourself, remind yourself what’s going on. Maybe then you’ll be able to get into the book more.

Read a new book – Maybe it’s best if you just abandon the book. Perhaps the book just wasn’t…you. Maybe the author, genre or writing style wasn’t suited to you. Like I said earlier, it’s no use forcing yourself to read the book, so just try something new. If you really want, you could go back to said book later, but for now, just start something else.

Listen to the book – Try out an audio book. You could purchase the audio book version instead of reading it. Personally I’ve never tried an audio book or an ebook, but I can see why it may work. You can have the book playing in the background, and whilst you do something else you can still listen to book. You may listen to music whilst travelling or working, so why not listen to a book? Maybe you just need to read the book in a different voice.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope it will help you get out of any reading slumps you may have. Hopefully Carry On will bring me out of MY slump..fingers crossed. If you haven’t read Carry On check out our review over here, by Mia.

Note – Header image by Risa Rodil.

– V