“Summer In the City” and the Blogging is Blah

At Ros Clarke‘s instigation and inspiration, Miss Bates joined her and others in reading a BIG FAT BOOK in July. Lately, Miss Bates reads romance restlessly, ARC after ARC, writing reviews … it feels flat, too much of the same for too long. She had difficulty articulating her malaise until she read this latest post by Jessica of Read React Review. Jessica is forthcoming about her own bloggingย and reviewing blehs-mehs. When Jessica didn’t feel the blogging love anymore, when blogging was a chore and burden, she put her blog on hiatus. Miss B. missed her terribly, but she understood. Then, Jessica returned, to all our joy! It was enlightening and comforting for Miss Bates to read Jessica’s blogging take because it’s positive, helpful, and hopeful. In a nutshell, blogging blahs happen: don’t feel guilty, take a break, make some changes; you will blog again and enjoy it. Your blog is bigger than you: let it brood while you brood. Miss Bates knows that she would miss MBRR terribly, so it’s not a hiatus she needs.

The blogging blahs after only a year? 106 posts later? Regular readers and commentators and you’re restless? For shame, Miss Bates. Miss Bates has always had a short attention span, a tendency to master a skill, or task and move on. As a result, she’s left behind things that have given her pleasure and fulfillment: cue in knitting projects and attempts at bread-making. Writing Miss Bates Reads Romance has given her great pleasure and she’s so grateful to everyone who’s read and commented on her posts. And truly blessed by the people she’s met and chatted with (also in her latest most addictive cross-over meeting-ground, Twitter). In the end, she’d miss it: she’s not where Jessica was when she called a blogging hiatus. Miss Bates still reads and loves romance. She still loves to write her posts. She is, however, tired of the sameness of read review, read review, ARC after ARC. She’s lost her blogging edge. What she’s proposing is to shake things up a tad: she’ll still review new and old romance titles. She’ll mostly be writing about romance, romance with romantic elements, classic romance especially, and romance-related anything-that-strikes-her-fancy. She’s not laying down her keyboard, just tapping away a little differently. Posting about her Big Fat Summer Book and what it feels like to be reading something outside the romance genre, after exclusively reading romance for five years, will be one such experiment, even if an utter failure. After reading Mantel’s Wolf Hall for a 25-minute increment, a “Pomodoro” (again, a method of work discipline she learned from Jessica and Sunita), failure may be where she’s headed.

Readingย Wolf Hall is hard work. Miss Bates realized how comfortable she is with the familiarity of romance reading. Sunk in it and stagnated a tad, like her blog.

Readingย Wolf Hall isn’t fun. The style is elliptical. There’s no meet-cute, or meet-angry, or meet-hate, or meet-awkward; it’s devoid of the conventions of romance fiction. Miss Bates has to re-read bits of the opening chapter, to flip back and forth between the text and list of characters to make sense of who’s who. Miss Bates has a good moment when she realizes Wolf Hall is third-person POV. She’s grateful to Ros who pointed out in a tweet that “he” is always Cromwell. The opening scene is of fifteen-year-old Cromwell being beaten by his father. It’s messy, ugly, and the description of Thomas’s slit eye, bleeding nose, and vomit turns her stomach. She doesn’t like it.

Reading Wolf Hall, Miss Bates has difficulty … blush … following the dialogue. The bruised and bloodied Thomas crawled to his sister and her husband’s pub. They were sympathetic, these two, Kat and (*MissB scurries off to consult the list of characters*) ah, here it is, Morgan. They were appalled by, but familiar with, Walter Cromwell’s abuse. Morgan talked big; his wife, fish-wifey, set him straight on his bravado. She knows her father; she knows their limitations. They care about Thomas, these two; they try to help him. They’re good people, but they’re not admirable, nor heroic.

They were small, these characters, decent, but limited, human, familiar. Miss Bate is a bit depressed.

Things pick up in the next chapter: Thomas made his way in the world most marvelously. Years later, he is Cardinal Wolsey’s man of business. The scene with Wolsey sent a thrill of craft-admiration through Miss Bates. Mantel is a master: the Cardinal came alive in his rueful humour and charm.

Reading Wold Hall is slow. But when the Pomodoro chime went off, Miss B. barely noticed the time go by. Her page count compared to reading a romance: abysmal. Pathetic.

Turning to other books in Miss Bates summer reading: Mary Ann Rivers’s Laugh=trying-too-hard prose, Miss B. is not looking forward to the rest after it’s insta-lust mingled with excessive angst start. She’s reading Mary Stewart’s elegant prose in Madam, Will You Talk? The mystery is set; the heroine is diffidently making her way into the heart of danger. Charity (the name’s the thing) is a loving person, cares about this boy who seems/might be the target. She is lonely and isn’t afraid to say it. Miss Bates feels lonely without a romance.

Thanks to The Lovin’ Spoonful: Miss Bates bowdlerized their lyric, or is that blogderized?

48 thoughts on ““Summer In the City” and the Blogging is Blah

  1. I love, love, love Wolf Hall, but I know exactly what you mean about the adjustment to non-romance reading after a close focus on the genre for so long. I read Guy Gavriel Kay’s most recent (gorgeously written) doorstop of a novel the other weekend and the pace of the reading was so different as to make me look up occasionally, sure that it must be the next morning since I was reading so slowly! That said, I think you will find that the wit and humor shine throughout Wolf Hall in a way that had me abusing the highlighting feature on my Kindle. I also read it much like I read long Russian novels: when I am not entirely sure about what character I am reading, I just roll along and figure that it will all make sense by the end of the scene. It *usually* does. ๐Ÿ™‚ Mantel is a master and Bring Up the Bodies was equally amazing to read. They are the kind of books that are so well-written that my brain decides that this was obviously the way things *must* have happened. I find that my learning from history classes is utterly over-written by my memories of books like this. Which, since it can only embarrass me in occasional conversations with historians, suits me just fine.

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    • Ha, Miss Bates loves your championing of Wolf Hall and she knows that absolutely everything you’ve said here is true. And she loved your comment about the Russian novel: she’s wanted to reread War and Peace for years and remembers your sanguine reading strategy most fondly. Who knows, maybe that will be her next BFB?

      Back when Miss Bates spent her summers in Greece, she’d visit the local UBS and stock up on whatever litfic caught her fancy for a lazy summer of beach reading. She’d make a point of choosing books and authors she’d never before read: getting on the plane with a limited number of books was thrilling. Occasionally it was disastrous, but it was reading-adventurous to know you were “trapped” with these books, no Kindle, nor Wifi available in those days! In any case, three of those that she picked up and read and loved were Mantel’s Eight Months On Ghazzah Street, Fludd, and A Place of Greater Safety (which struck home in particular, if she recalls correctly, because there was a lot of body image pain in it) … these are wonderfully pain-filled yet transcendent novels. She hopes they’re still being read. If you haven’t read them, she believes you’d love them too.

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      • I *haven’t* read Mantel’s other books, but I’ll definitely pick them up! Thank you for the rec. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I’ll return encouragement for War and Peace being one of your BFBs. It’s a glorious book, with battle scenes that struck me as some of the most realistic I’ve ever read in their depiction of the confusion and chaos and lack of much coherent action. I enjoyed it very much. (Okay, except for the last hundred pages or so, which is not part of the novel section of the book, but a meditation on the nature of history in narrative. It was fascinating, but I kept on waiting for a return to the story, which never happened, and then that made me mad.)

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        • Mantel is such an interesting writer, an interesting person. Someone who’s shown such growth in her writing … and, like romance writers (which is one of the many things Miss Bates loves about them), there’s no navel-gazing. She tells a good story and she doesn’t “interfere” with it; it’s not self-conscious yet it’s so well-written, fresh.

          Miss B. read War and Peace so many years ago, that she has next to no memory of it. She read it young too and we change and bring so many different things when we read as … ahem … quite ripened adults. Tolstoy, Miss Bates would say, became more and more Orthodox/religious as his career went on and he translated that into politics, so she’s not surprised that he ended this marvelous, epic novel with a treatise. Too bad it spoiled your enjoyment; forget about it and remember the power of the story. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I had a blog for 6 years and finally had to stop (it was a “mom blog”…..sorta) and deleted it, but I occasionally miss it, as I am alone with my thoughts too often and need to put them somewhere. I think about starting a book blog now and again, but I really don’t ever want to read something that I don’t want to read. I used to enjoy a thriller (Daniel Silva, Steve Berry) thrown in with my romance, but with the enormous volume of reading material out there, I’m reading nothing but contemporary romance these days. And in my summer malaise, I’m rereading old favorites rather than anything new. The TBR list on my kindle is enormous, but I go back to old favorites again and again. I can’t read literary fiction anymore–so depressing and not interesting to me–so I’ll just stick to what I love and what makes me happy.

    Or I could clean my house.

    Or not.

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    • LOL, Kim, your closing comments are hilarious. Miss Bates’s love for romance hasn’t abated (incurable punster, sorry), she thinks what has is the routine of her blog. She wants to write about romance (and once in a while about books outside her favourite genre) in a different way, very much the way that you read. Letting her interest and whim take her whither they list.

      She also left litfic for the very reasons you describe and she would say that they are legitimate and interesting because litfic, as narrowly defined as it is, is experiencing a malaise. Except here we are, talking about books passionately and with commitment to the the act of reading. So read what you enjoy, when you’re enjoying it, and continue to do so. Romance still makes Miss B., like you, happy; it was her blogging about it that was making her unhappy. The “comedic” nature of romance is what makes it so beloved to so many and getting into a rut has made Miss B. forget that.

      BTW, she’d encourage you to reconsider a blog, just your comment says good writer, with wit and fine turn of phrase. Make it eclectic, like your reading, and about what makes you happy. Or not. A little venting, with sagely nodding friends, is good for the soul. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • Kim, I also love Steve Berry and Daniel Silva! And I highly recommend Christopher Reich if you haven’t read him yet, the Jonathon Ransom series is fabulous (Rules of Deception is the first one). I was reading exclusively these types of books from the early 2000s until about 2 years ago when I switched back to contemporary and historical romance after picking up Joanna Bourne’s My Lord and Spymaster on a whim at the library (don’t you just love that new book section?!) and got hooked on romance again (at the time when I stopped reading them, I was just tired of the same plots over and over again, I wanted more excitement in my reading). Now I am very much enjoying my immersion in romance books again (though I occasionally eye the new book shelf still at the library, and I know Steve and Daniel have new books I haven’t read yet…). My ereader has over 800 books on it (mostly due to my one-click addiction so completely my fault) and I do feel the pressure of that list a bit sometimes. As well, I will pick reading over cleaning any time (hence the giant laundry pile that goes back and forth from my bed to the basket instead of actually getting put away).

      Kay, I look forward to your reading of Wolf Hall ( and blogging about it if you are so inclined). I haven’t read it yet (it is on my ereader, miracle of miracles!). I very much enjoyed the historical fiction by C.J.Sansom with the humpback lawyer Matthew Shardlake which is set in the same era. And if you take a blogging hiatus, that is fine too, I know where to find you ๐Ÿ˜‰

      P.S. Happy Canada Day!
      P.P.S. I enjoyed Laugh very much, though I think Live was my favourite of the series so far.

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      • Miss B finds your irrepressible love of books and reading utterly charming! One-click addiction or not! Miss Bates loved the Sansom books and still has two in the TBR. No blogging hiatus for Miss Bates, just breaking out of constant ARC review rut to read romance at her whim and return with greater vim and, hopefully, more original commentary, or try to, anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        And a happy Canada Day to you too! Laugh is not endearing itself to Miss B., though, like you, she loved Live. These two paw each other in the first chapter: Miss Bates prefers some build-up to pawing.

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  3. I know what you mean about the sameness, although fortunately, there are still enough good books out there to be able to cope with it! In my youth (yes, I’m that old!) I read mostly historical fiction and classic literature – I’m a relative newcomer to the world of romance in many ways, as it’s only been in the last three or four years that it’s become my staple reading diet. I still love HF and classics, but, like you, do find that I miss the more overly romantic elements sometimes.

    Within romance reading, I tend to stick to historicals – I’m not a fan of contemps or paranormal or whatever else is out there. I know it’s a narrow focus, but I know what I like and I like what I know, and I’m old enough now to feel happy with the line I’ve drawn! But I do agree that sometimes the writing of reviews palls. I write because I enjoy writing as well as reading, but there are times it’s a drudge, especially when the fifth book in a row has turned out to be a dud and it’s hard to think up new ways of saying “this is cr@p” without being so obviously rude!

    I haven’t read Wolf Hall, although it’s on my bucket list somewhere. Hang in there!

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    • You’ve voiced exactly how Miss Bates feels … she most definitely still loves romance, but it was becoming very hard to say, actually, not necessarily “crap” (that’s more fun, in a way) but “meh.” It’s okay. It’s also been disheartening to go the route of ARC review when Miss B. wants to talk about romance, as Jessica said in her article, in different ways. She’s been dreaming, for example, about a post on gifting in romance for just ages. But it’ll take time and rereading to write it … so, it’s been put-off.

      Miss B. loves to read and write, like you, and that’s not going to change: she thinks Jessica’s article struck some discontent chords and Miss B. wanted to be proactive than reactive. Your words are so thoughtful and encouraging, thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

      As for Wolf Hall, it’s a pretty loose commitment. She’ll give it a fighting chance, but one of the beautiful things that romance has taught her is that DNF is a-okay.

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      • DNF is, of course, okay, but I would encourage you to persevere with Wolf Hall a little longer. The style is so different from romance (and indeed different from most literary fiction) that I think it does take a while to read yourself into it. For me, it was the scenes with Cromwell’s daughters and his wife which completely hooked me into the book, and by the second half of the book I couldn’t read it fast enough.

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        • (Miss B. loves your new gravatar.) Miss B. wouldn’t DNF Wolf Hall, it’s … well … just too well-written. There is no doubt that the characters and circumstances are alienating, but she cannot resist a writer so good at her craft. As a matter of fact, she’s just about to read the first scene with his wife and daughters. She thought the scene with his sister that comes after the beating quite fine.

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  4. Reblogged this on the passionate reader and commented:
    I have been busy on All About Romance and thus have not been here, at the passionate reader. Part of the reason for my shift in emphasis is that, like Miss Bates, I too am easily bored. Perhaps that’s why I couldn’t continue to slog through Wolf Hall.

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    • LOL! Miss Bates is loving these varied responses to Wolf Hall … so many readers, so many different ways of thinking and loving and approaching their reading. It’s been really wonderful. Thank you so much for the Reblog. Miss Bates, however, is starting to get attached to Wolf Hall quite differently than she does a romance novel. It’s definitely bringing her out of her comfort zone and she’ll see how long she’s be able to keep it up.

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  5. I can really relate to this, my blog has turned into random thoughts, and I now review for others. I noticed that even after a few months of solely romance picking something non- fictional was a test of endurance. Stick with Wolfie, and seriously Bring up the bodies is even better. I think it’s important to listen to ourselves, and remember that we do this for pleasure as well.

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    • “I think it’s important to listen to ourselves, and remember that we do this for pleasure as well.” So true and what Miss Bates was trying to figure out for herself. She hoped that by writing the post, pinning down the malaise, she might be able to redress it, not lose sight of why she’s here to begin with … to learn, to express herself, and to exchange thoughts and feelings with others. Of course, comments are always the greatest boon of blogging.

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  6. I am very much looking forward to your future blog posts. I loved Olivia Waite’s magnificent series of posts in April, and that sort of blogging about ideas and themes in romance really appeals to me. I’m sure Miss Bates has plenty that will be interesting to read and think about.

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    • Miss Bates loved Olivia Waite’s posts too! And they remind her of another great point in Jessica’s blogging blahs advice article: that posts become part of a network of understanding and referrals in a community. (This was why she argued that, even if you’re taking a blogging hiatus, you should NOT delete your blog.) Miss Bates believes that Olivia’s magnificent posts are and will continue to be reference points of ideas for those who write about romance. To say anything takes time, rumination, incubation of ideas and a lot of rewriting, as you well know better than most, as you are a scholar and romance writer, and Miss Bates found that that she was repeating herself, was boring herself. As every good schoolmarm knows about her teaching, if you’re bored, the children are too, probably more so. She certainly hopes to have something, occasionally, interesting to read and think about. ๐Ÿ˜‰ She’ll try her humble best.

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      • I had a review blog for a while, when I came back to romance reading. I found that writing reviews of books I didn’t love was much more fun than ones I did. But I love reading the books I love and I got much better at picking them out. So the reviews subsided. I think it’s much better to blog about the things you’re interested in thinking about than to feel you have to stick to a formula. Though I hope you will still review from time to time, because your reviews are really wonderful examples of the art.

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        • That’s it! That’s it! Miss Bates was getting very very good at only requesting those titles/authors she knew she’d like. As a result, every review became, “This was good, very good, great” “Miss B. recommends it.” “It has some flaws.” “It wasn’t as good as the previous one, first one, other series, but it’s still worth reading.” Blah blah blah … till her eyes were rolling into the back of her head with ennui.

          Of course she’ll still write reviews (and thank you very much for the kind words ๐Ÿ™‚ ), she’d really miss it if she didn’t. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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      • I find it fascinating to watch bloggers change and develop as they grow in their familiarity with a genre. Perhaps all readers go through this same thing of first being thrilled by everything, then learning to discern what they like, then losing their rush of enthusiasm. Liz was talking about it on her blog recently.

        I see the same thing in the increasingly hysterical calls to ‘save the contemporary’ or ‘save the historical’ or ‘show me something new and edgy’. I don’t think the books are changing all that much, but of course individual readers will change. I suspect this is why very few book review blogs (at least those which focus on genre fiction) have much longevity. It’s hard to sustain. A great part of the attraction of genre fiction is the comfort of familiarity and the reliable expectations. But those don’t make for exciting reviews. And who wants to deliberately seek out books to read that don’t meet our expectations or give us that comfort?

        I am hopeful that conversations about books, rather than reviews, have a longer shelf life. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed twitter readalongs, even when I haven’t loved the book we’re reading, for instance. I will read outside of my comfort zone for the sake of a good conversation.

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        • Miss Bates also read Liz’s struggles with her romance reading with fascination and some trepidation because the stirrings of discontent, though masked by overwork, were creeping in. She thinks your analysis is right on regarding “arriving” at romance reading and holds the same hope. That whatever she does differently, mixed in with the reviews, inspires some conversation occasionally. Of course, she now has to re-think her “About” page! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. I think Laugh really picks up if you stick with it… I didn’t care for the beginning much either. But sometimes it’s better to just toss instead of hope.

    Good for you for figuring out what you need.

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    • Miss Bates is glad to hear that about Laugh because Sam is insufferable initially and Nina is unreadable. The “un” have piled up. On the other hand, she love Live and will be it another chance when she’s more forgiving and patient about those things which have annoyed her in the first four chapters. Thank you for your encouragement.

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  8. Another vote for sticking with Wolf Hall! I’m in a similar place right now with Dorothy Dunnett’s King Hereafter, though, so I know how it feels to know that in this case, at least for a while, reading means persevering, not relaxing. I love Dunnett and trust her implicitly — and trust the other smart readers who have championed King Hereafter as her best — so I’m quite committed to pressing on, but 200 pages in I STILL get confused about who’s who. At least with Wolf Hall I had the advantage that I’ve been reading Tudor novels literally since I was 5 (I started with Jean Plaidy’s “The Young Elizabeth”!) — so I pretty much knew the whole cast. As for blogging blahs, who doesn’t have them? For me, it seems the best cure is to sit down and write something up: once I’ve started, I remember why I like doing it. I don’t deal with any ARCs, though, and there are really no obligations for me at my blog.

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    • Miss Bates will persevere with Wolf Hall: it gets better and better with every snippet of reading. And, like you’ve said, you trust Dunnett implicitly and Miss Bates can say the same about Mantel. She read her early work and admires her in every way: her struggles, writing, example. Other writers may be tossed onto the dust heap of DNF obscurity pretty cavalierly, but not Mantel.

      “For me, it seems the best cure is to sit down and write something up: once I’ve started, I remember why I like doing it.” This struck a chord with Miss Bates because it’s been her experience too. When she felt the slog of review writing coming on, she just find it more and more difficult to start writing. Once she did, though, even when it was same-old same-old, she still liked the twisting and turning of words into something she wanted to say. So, what you’ve said her is both true and heartening.

      As for the ARC business, as Jessica astutely pointed out, if you’re not enjoying it, you just have to stop doing it. ARC and Netgalley/Edelweiss are a bit of what Frye calls, “the wandering of desire,” or what Miss Bates calls, “I see pretty and delicious things and me want all of them.” Focus and choice of reading driven by one’s soul, or intellectual curiosity are what will cure Miss B. of her malaise.

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  9. You are not alone in finding that your reading speed varies from genre to genre. I really need to be in the mood to invest the time (and concentration) in the Big Fat Book–especially if it a BFB that I’ve not read before. I’ve had the ‘new’ translation of ‘War and Peace’ sitting in my TBR for (mumble, mumble) years now and haven’t gotten to it, even though I have read ‘War and Peace’ twice before. I haven’t tried ‘Wolf Hall’ because, basically, I’m totally burned out on all things Tudor. By the time I figure out which one I want to tackle for Ros’s read-along, it will be August!

    Regarding the ‘mehs’: I feel fortunate that I enjoy reading several different genres–so it is sometimes easy to avoid the blahs. For example, after I finished Miranda Neville’s ‘Lady Windermere’s Lover’ I read the new Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) mystery ‘The Silkworm’ (fabulous, twisted ). Now I’m half-way through Katherine Addison’s fantasy ‘The Goblin Emperor’. That’s a rarity for me–three good books in a row! It is often read a good book, DNF 3 more (for several cycles) and then hit the comfort read shelf because nothing in the TBR seems ‘right’ or worth the effort. Then pick up the next round of library books (I can borrow from three different systems) and start the process all over again.

    It’s your blog–do what you want to do with it.(with apologies to the Isley Brothers) I’m sure I’ll keep reading.

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    • Miss Bates has that same new translation of War and Peace in the TBR: the entire romance behind the couple who did this latest translation is one of the reasons she ordered it when it first came out. And it IS truly a big, heavy, hardcover beauty of a book. Pevear and Volokhonsky, husband and wife, Miss B. heard them interviewed on CBC Radio, are fascinating: he doesn’t know Russian; she is not a translator. She does a “literal” translation from the Russian and then he takes her “literal” translation, the English one, and makes it literary. So interesting. Also, because the romance reader reigns in Miss Bates: what a romance novel this could be!

      Miss Bates loves the way you describe your reading ups-and-downs because really, that is so familiar to her and others, she’s sure. The great book, the “meh” book, the reread … so true. It’s also the best strategy to read several genres: this IS the best way not to “burn out” on reading … or blogging. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • I had not known this about the translators, Miss Bates, so thank you for sharing that little aside. It’s marvelous! Now I am particularly happy that I chose that translation, based on recommendations that didn’t mention their method. ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • Isn’t it a fascinating story?! Miss B. bought the translation also on recommendations other than their method. It was serendipitous that Miss Bates heard this radio interview with them. What a marriage and such an unusual method of proceeding. Some Russian purist friends don’t like their translations much, but Miss B. does: their looser. They don’t mimic the can-be ponderous style of 19th English prose, which is how most translations sound. They allow us some glimpse into how stylistically great and inventive Tolstoy and Dostoevsky were …

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  10. I will also add my voice to the chorus for sticking with Wolf Hall. I had a difficult time slogging through the beginning, but I am glad I did not give up. It was one of the best books I read last year.

    I have been in the same “blah space” with respect to romance novels for about a year. I have read a few very good ones (mostly by my favourite authors), but, for the most part, I read the blurbs and have very little interest in even trying a sample. This is particularly true for historical romances. I think that my reading this summer will be very light on the romance front.

    I look forward to hearing Miss Bates’ comments on her summer reading ๐Ÿ™‚ and hope that she finds Wolf Hall to be as satisfying a read as I did.

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    • There is just too much elegance and thought and sharp wit to Wolf Hall, though it’s daunting too, to have Miss Bates dropping it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Oh, boy, does she ever hear you about historical romance: she’s been trying to read a blurb or two on Netgalley in order to request and do her bit for histrom. By the time she’s reading the third or fourth line, especially in new-to-her authors, bleh bleh … her mind has already wandered. If the basic set-up does this, what will reading the novel do?

      Miss Bates too is now greatly looking forward to her summer reading and writing … phew, a little burden lifted. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • If Miss Bates is looking for other alternate summer reading and if she has not had the pleasure of reading Guy Gavriel Kay, that she might want to consider reading some of his gorgeously written (to quote @Amy Jo Cousins above re River of Stars) books.

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        • You’re the THIRD person to recommend this Kay book! Sunita also mentioned it to Miss B. on Twitter! And he was just given the Order of Canada for his contribution to speculative fiction. Miss B. has always been curious to read his alternate Constantinople.

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      • DO IT! Tigana and Lions of Al Rassan are my favourites, but the Sarantine Mosaic is a very close 2nd. Also both books in the duology are on sale at Kobo for $4.99 (along with several others including Tigana and Lions).

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      • I can’t comment on your GGK conversation below, but I just wanted to say, Yes! He is a magical writer. Well-deserving of his various awards and always a true pleasure to read.

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        • Arghy-argh WordPress: comments threads are brought to an abrupt end, Miss B. wishes she knew why. With apologies for that! Another flare of admiration for GGK going up! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. So many people have said such on point things before me – I struggled to find something else to say. And I think have come up with it ๐Ÿ˜‰ You could be reading Atlas Shrugged ! It would be just as long, ten times as wordy, philosophically grinding, and with a world view inimical to much of what makes the world a better place! Don’t you feel better now Miss Bates?

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    • Well, you’ve said: the one book, the one author … that Miss Bates hasn’t read and yet is utterly vindicated in abhorring. LOL!!

      Nevertheless, she would encourage, urge, and supplicate EVERYONE to read Tobias Woolf’s coming-of-age novel, Old School … here’s a great review … for its wicked, funny, and frightening portrayal (among many other brilliances of this novel) of Ayn Rand.

      Phew, thank you, Miss Bates is hugging Wolf Hall to her chest …

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  12. Best of luck shaking your blogging blahs. Changing your reading/writing pattern will help it be more interesting to you in the long run.

    No shame in breaks either.

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    • Thank you for blogging wishes. The more Miss B. thinks about this latest malaise, the more it is the review blahs she’s feeling. Now, that she’s admitted that to herself and kind of let go of the pressures of reviewing every few days, she’s been dreaming up so many different romance-related posts she’d like to write.

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  13. Pingback: Update: Big Fat Book and Other Reading | Something More

  14. Oh, yes, I feel Miss B’s pain. I used to find such joy in writing about books — mostly because I was too terrified to talk to actual people about books, and I was desperate for an outlet — but now I procrastinate dreadfully and have difficulty forcing myself to write even a few paragraphs about a book that I genuinely loved. So I’m on a sort of unofficial hiatus (ish) while I figure out what’s going on and how I can fix it.

    Because — like you — I love blogging, and I love my blog, and I don’t want to give it up. But I’m not that into slamming myself into the same brick wall without at least trying to find another path (or learning how to climb). Maybe it will be as simple as learning not to take myself so seriously, and maybe it will be as involved as exploring other media. Who knows?!

    One thing I have learned throughout my time away from the blog is that I’ve never reviewed books, really. It’s always been talking about books, whether I’m writing something by myself or writing with my friends. It’s always been about discussion. I’m hoping that my understanding that distinction will help me find my way back to the fun I used to have.

    Thanks for this post!

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    • No pressure or anything, but Miss B. really misses your blog, though she understands that it is not always easy to do … and it is so darn time-consuming. The time spent on it is always so much fun and Miss B. loves it, but with all those obligations that one has: the day jobs, parents, kids, etc. it’s just exhausting. Miss B. hopes you just need a rest, a vacation, from your blog and you’ll find your way back. She thought that Jessica’s post was so good, balanced, helpful.

      And we are all at different places in the journey: certainly, Miss B. loves her blog, reading, writing about books, and putting an idea out there that some people may find interesting, whether they disagree with it, or not. She got bogged down in the review and way too many ARCs, which now will fall by the wayside and her name on Netgalley will be mud … and hey, that’s okay. People make a living out of books, they should not be subject to Miss B’s whims. But blogging, for Miss B., is about serving a bookish whim. So, you’ll figure it out.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  15. Pingback: Summer Reading and My Slacker Blogging Slump | Badass Romance

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