5 Reasons I Don’t Like Hardbacks (And One Reason I Do)

IMG_9156When I used to work in mobile crisis, we periodically had downtime. One day, when my partner was out for the day, I worked with an older guy. When he asked if I wanted to go to a bookstore, I couldn’t say “yes!” loud enough.

We ended up in this dim, narrow bookstore which mostly had hardback books. It smelled the way old bookstores should: book glue, dust, and leather. This guy explained that he liked this store because they had so many hardbacks, and he could get them “wrapped.” As in, wrapped in some kind of plastic to preserve the cover.

I was perplexed. This might be a naive thing to say, but I didn’t think people voluntarily bought hard backed books. I thought people only bought hardbacks when they couldn’t wait for the paperback. And in the Kindle age, even that’s not necessary.

Another friend of mine prefers hardbacks because she likes to keep things neat and new-looking, and hardbacks are easier to do that with. I suppose I should be a good supporter of other authors and buy the hardbacks, but I’m just not into them. Even if I find a cheap copy of something I want at Goodwill, if it’s in hardback, I’ll probably pass.

  1. They take up too much room on my bookshelf. I only have a limited amount of space, and I want to maximize the number of books they can house.
  2. They’re too big/ bulky/ heavy. Hardbacks are heavy! I have to hold them two-handed, which is annoying, since I like to read when I eat, am in the bathtub, sometimes when I’m outside playing with the dogs. Plus, hardbacks weigh down my purse and make it feel like I’m carrying bricks.
  3. The paper cover! Do I leave it on and let it get raggedy? (I’m really hard on books) Or do I take it off, likely put it in a safe place (so safe I can’t find it) and then lose it?
  4. I have to wait. Or buy it twice. I wanted to buy Our Dark Duet when it was released back in July, but I have This Savage Song (the first in the series) in paperback. Since I prefer series to match, when possible, I knew that no matter how I bought it, I was going to have to re-buy it in paperback. The library wouldn’t get it quickly enough to suit me. So… I went with Kindle. It doesn’t take up any room on my shelves, and I won’t have to get rid of it when I buy it in paperback.
  5. They’re not recyclable. This isn’t a huge issue for me because the idea is that I’ll keep my books. But I know, from reading bookstore blogs, that sometimes they throw out books because there are just too many of them. The DaVinci Code and Twilight come to mind. (I’m not hating on either of these books; I just remember the article identified these two as ones they get too many of.)

A caveat:

Hardbacks are more durable. They’re normally made from better paper, and the binding is put together better. So, if I owned my collection in hardback, I wouldn’t have tape holding together my copies of Watership Down and Lightning (by Dean Koontz). I actually own Harry Potter and most Dean Koontz books in both hardback and paperback for that reason.

Are you Team Hardback or Team Paperback?

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Our Dark Duet- A Review

Our Dark Duet is the sequel to This Savage Song. The first part of the review will be spoiler-free. I’ll warn you before you get to the spoilers.

I read This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab, last November, and I fell in love. I may have screamed in frustration when I found out there was going to be a sequel that wasn’t due out for 11 months! It had a fresh premise, interesting and flawed characters. And monsters. (I like monsters.) It also had moral dilemmas and was a thoroughly discussable book. I partially reviewed it here.

Our Dark Duet¬†came out on June 13th, and I bought a Kindle copy immediately. The story picks up six months later,¬†letting us know what August and Kate have been doing since This Savage Song ended. Kate’s been fighting monsters in another town, and August has been trying to save South City.

For me, Our Dark Duet is a solidly good book, though I didn’t love it as much as the first one. But apparently I’m in the minority there. Folks on Goodreads and Amazon have rated the second higher than the first.

The Spoiler Free Good

Our Dark Duet has all the things I loved about the first one, plus a new and fascinating monster. We get to see more from insight the Flynn compound, and wrap up with all the characters who were in the first book.

The Spoiler Free Bad

Part of what I loved in the first book was the relationship between August and Kate. It wasn’t just about chemistry and shipping them (though that was an element for me). It was also about how they grew to depend on one another. They’re separated for most of the second book.

*Spoiler alert below the picture, including discussion of the ending. You’ve been warned.*

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The Good, With Spoilers

I love that they finally try to kiss, and that it brings Kate’s soul to the surface. I loved that they explore moral complexity more. Kate’s soul is “stained” because she shot someone in self-defense. She admits that maybe she could have done something different, but she didn’t because she assumed the person was a monster. Previously, when August has been reaping a soul, the confession clearly shows that the person is a bad guy. But they reveal that other people have done bad things with good intentions, or that they did bad things previously, changed. I appreciated that acknowledgement, because ignoring that always bothered me in the first one.

The Bad, With Spoilers

I don’t love it that Kate and Ilsa die. I’ve been thinking about it (which is why this review is written almost 2 weeks after I finished the book), and it’s probably the right ending. But it feels so hopeless. Kate and Ilsa helped August keep himself sane and in check. They remind him of the best parts of himself. Having them die and then it just end makes me worry about what August will do going forward. Not that he’ll go dark or lose his way again. But just that we all need to connect with someone, or what’s the point? And I know August loves his parents (even though Henry is dying too… ugh), but it’s not the same. Ilsa and Kate were the people August connected to the most.

I guess the implication was that August and Soro are going to form more of a connection, but… I neither liked nor disliked Soro, so that’s not comforting to me.

It almost feels like a loose end to me, and I want to know what happens to August next. Even though, honestly, I probably wouldn’t like if the author tried to stretch the premise into another book. It’s over… but it doesn’t feel that way.

I don’t mind that Kate and Ilsa died; it kind of feels right to me. And it’s life, isn’t it, that sometimes we don’t get what we want, and endings hurt? I just… I guess I wanted more for Kate and August; a chance for them to see who they could be together when they were a team.

What did you think of this book or this series? Have there ever been books where you both loved and hated the ending?

F is for August Flynn

Hello, and welcome to Blogging A to Z 2017! Thanks for stopping by. Fellow A to Z-ers, please make sure to leave a link to your blog in the comments.

My theme this month is 26 of the Best Characters in Fiction.

UnknownAugust Flynn is a main character in This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab.

Violent acts create real monsters, and the worst of the violent acts creates a very special monster. August Flynn is one of them.

He’s a monster who can steal someone’s soul through music. He doesn’t want to be a monster; he wants to be a good person. But you can’t choose what you are; you can only choose how you act.

The whole book is wonderful, but it was the monsters created by violence that really grabbed me. Imagine a world where those acts have real, concrete effects. Imagine being what’s created by those violent acts.

Being a teenager is hard enough without knowing that you were created from something awful.

Technically young adult, the story is multilayered and meaningful. But if you decide to read it, be warned: the sequel doesn’t come out until this summer.

 

What I Read in November

Apparently, I was in an eclectic mood again this month.

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  1. Another Man’s Moccasins & The Dark Horse, by Craig Johnson (Longmire 4 & 5) It’s the continuing chronicles of Walt Longmire.
  2. The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black This was a reread for me. It’s an excellent YA book about a town where fae folk live, and one day one of them breaks out of the glass coffin where he’s been imprisoned. Hazel has to solve the mystery before the monster from the forest kills all the townspeople.
  3. This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab This may be one of my favorite books I read this year. It’s about a town overrun by monsters, and how the daughter and son of the opposing factions meet and, after a failed kidnapping attempt, go on the run together. My only complaint about this book is that there’s a sequel, but it doesn’t come out until summer 2017. This can be read as a standalone book, but that’s not much consolation when you get to the last page.
  4. The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware This book got rave reviews, and lots of people loved it. But it just didn’t do it for me. I liked it, but I didn’t get caught up until about halfway through the book. It’s good, worth reading once, but I found the main character somewhat annoying.
  5. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George This was a surprising hit with me. The main character runs a bookshop and is the book apothecary, dispensing books like medicine for what ails people. But the main character has a secret, that he’s been pining for a lost love for 20 years. And when he finally starts to process it, he ends up going on a journey and finding out he’s not the only one with secrets. An interesting, life affirming read. (Plus, I loved the idea of a book apothecary.)
  6. Infomocracy, by Malka Older A friend and I both started reading this book together, and we both hated it. To be fair, we both abandoned it about 10% in, so maybe it gets better. I’m not entirely sure what it was supposed to be about, but something about politics set in a future where everyone is wired in to information.
  7. I,Robot, by Isaac Asimov There’s a reason he’s considered one of the best science fiction writers of all time. Plus, he came up with the three laws. While the movie of the same name is quite a bit different from this book, there’s enough similarities that I can see how the book inspired the movie. I love all the robot psychology in the book. I can’t believe I’ve never read this before.

What’s the best book you read this month?