Thursday, June 7, 2012

Armchair BEA 2012: Beyond the Blog

As I have not taken my writing beyond my blog yet, I do not have any tips or words of wisdom to impart to my fellow bloggers. However, I would like to share one thing that I have found very enjoyable about my blogging experience. You can find links to other peoples' posts here.

Confessions of a Read Along Addict

This is an adaptation of my post from April 23rd.

Thanks to someone's reTweet, I joined up to the Read Along for The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, a book that I totally fell in love with. However, it was not simply the quality of that book that has turned me into a self-confessed Read Along Addict: it is the process itself. I am assuming that the RAs that I have experienced are fairly typical in that a host blog or website divides a book up into several sections, each of which can be read in a week relatively easily. The host posts a schedule of each week's reading and chooses a day of the week for people to receive an email with questions about that section of the book. The bloggers taking part agree to post their answers to the questions two days later and usually the host asks them to provide links to their posts so that everyone can read and comment on each other's thoughts.

Sounds pretty dull, but it is actually a great way to read a book. For a start, you are forced to take the reading slowly. I actually found it very satisfying to dedicate one day a week to my reading and I looked forward to it, just like the latest episode of my favorite TV show. Then, to add to the experience, once a week I had a set of questions to make me think about what I had been reading. This made me concentrate on aspects of the book that I might not have paid much attention to and brought out details that I had not seen as important at the time of reading. However, the very best part of the experience is reading all the other answers and getting into discussions with other people about what has happened, what it means, what will happen next, etc, etc. This is a fairly new experience for me, because I rarely read something at the same time as someone else that I can communicate with during the process. I have been a member of my book group for almost two years now, and I love the discussions we have about the books we have read, but we only talk about them once we have finished. The chance to discuss books whilst still in the process of reading them is a true delight that I did not expect.

As another unexpected pleasure, I have now found a list of blogs that I like reading and friendly bloggers that I enjoy communicating with. Reading and writing the last posts for The Lies of Locke Lamora was a bitter-sweet experience: bitter that such a great book was over but sweet because I knew that we would all be reading Mr Lynch's second Gentleman Bastard book: Red Seas Under Red Skies.

Since I wrote my original post in April I have completed three more RAs and I have loved every moment of them. We finished Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson a few weeks ago. Shortly after that we came to the conclusion of Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, while we finished Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere on Monday of this week, both of which I have yet to review.

Next week I will have only Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson to discuss, but then I am joining a RA of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, with the first posts due on June 18th. The RA for the second Mistborn book, The Well of Ascension, will begin soon, although we may be using a slightly different method for that one.

If you would like to join in, you can check out the following links:

Carl will be hosting the The Well of Ascension Read Along


  1. I like your point about how readalongs allow you to discuss a book as you are reading it, rather than after you have finished it.  Sometimes the impact of passages or scenes fade after even a short period of time.

  2. I've always loved doing readalongs! I tend to find out about them too late though. I'll check out the ones you linked.

  3. Very true, and I like the way that your ideas about characters and situations evolve during the reading process. 

  4. Finding them can be a problem: I have been very lucky so far this year! :)

  5. I bet you're excited for the third Gentleman Bastard book coming out soon!

  6. You can say that again! If it doesn't arrive this year I think we will organize a road trip to 'persuade' Scott Lynch to write faster! :D

  7. That is a seriously awesome perk! I've seen several read alongs, but have never joined in because I don't tend to have that kind of patience. I might give one a try though. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Tattooed Books

  8. I know that some people have found it impossible to not read ahead, especially at the very end of the event, but I actually enjoyed having to restrain myself. I'm not sure if that makes me freaky or not, but it does make a nice change in our 'on demand' kind of world. :)

  9. The only readalong I've ever done was of Lorna Doone. I wound up enjoying the book, but it was a haul. I'm not sure I would have finished it if I didn't take it slowly.

  10. I haven't really had that experience yet: maybe I've just been lucky. :)

  11. I haven't participated in any readalong before, but I love readathons :)

  12. See if you can find one: they are great fun! :)


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