Welcome to another month of WOYBS!
It’s great to have you join us for another month of our What’s On Your Bookshelf Challenge (WOYBS), #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge. I’m happy to co-host this link party with my good friends, Sue, Donna, & Jo and enjoy discovering new books to add to my ever increasing pile.
What makes a book a good read?
Last month I talked about when you stop reading a book you’re not enjoying so this month I thought I’d like to hear your thoughts on what makes a book a good book to read or one you can’t put down.
For me, it’s a mix of characters, storyline, plot, setting and even the mood I’m in at the time can play a part in whether I like a book or not. It’s weird but true!
Everyone has their own reasons on why they choose a book in the first place, the cover, the blurb, the author, the hype, but it’s interesting to hear from others what makes a book worth picking up and persevering with it. I’m keen to hear your thoughts.
At my local Bookclub meeting last week, we read a book I’d read last year and rated 5 stars – which means I really liked it. It was one I’d not heard of before but the title and the blurb had me interested before I even opened it.
Why? Because it was set in a men’s prison and my career had been as an Education Manager in a men’s prison for 22 years. Now this book could have failed because of incorrect or salacious content but the author had obviously researched the subject and knew what she was writing about. It was fiction but I could relate to it having spent years in that environment.
I loved the unusual subject – men in prison joining a sewing circle and deciding to make a wedding dress. Not out of the question at all from my experience of arranging courses for inmates, although I’m not sure if I would have supported such a program when I was in charge as we were a working farm and priority was given to courses to support work. The ‘inside’ knowledge was mainly spot on and I was back in my job as I read the book.
But at the discussion last week, a few of the members felt the book was ‘predictable’ and not that well written. Was it only my prior knowledge of the gaol setting that led me to rate it so highly? I didn’t think it was predictable in the slightest and actually found a few things to criticise that shouldn’t have happened procedurally. But it was still a good read to me so I stuck with my 5 star rating while they rated it 3 stars.
If a book is predictable is that a good or bad thing? Sometimes I like knowing or think I know, what is about to happen, and simply enjoy the story unfolding and being wrapped up in a way that makes me happy. Other times it can be annoying!
The Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison – My review on Goodreads May 26, 2021
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. From the moment I picked it up in the book shop and read the back I was hooked and had to buy it immediately. I worked in a men’s prison (correctional centre) as a teacher and the Manager of Education programs for over 20 years before being made redundant (along with most of the teachers around the state of NSW), so you can imagine how much of this book resonated with me! The story was fun in places but also showed the life that goes on ‘inside’ with great clarity. It also dealt well with the emotions of the inmate and their family.
The daily goings on, the emotions, the staffing issues, the feelings and the thoughts expressed were just right.
This paragraph particularly spoke to me – ‘I told him he was wrong. I reminded him that learning to read and write allows a man to expand his horizons, develop a trade or gain a qualification. It’s money well spent. As opposed to releasing us back into the community the same way we came in, so we’ll reoffend and end up back in here.’
I could have written that myself as I used to explain it this way to anyone who would listen to me, time after time!
A great read, well written, well researched and very timely.
It leads me to suggest that we are all different – wow what big news!!
What we read, why we choose one book over another, why we continue reading, what compels us to read, how we read, fiction or non-fiction – is all subjective and depends on many things.
I like a book that interests me, keeps me entertained, takes me out of my ‘normal’ world, shows me how others think or see the world and ultimately one that makes me keep turning the pages.
There’s no right or wrong books to read, no right or wrong way to read and that’s why I enjoy my two bookclubs so much. I hear what others have thought of the book, how they’ve felt when reading the book, what they’ve learnt from the book and I in turn learn from them.
I can share my thoughts in a safe environment, knowing I won’t be mocked and will be listened to when I try to explain my thinking. We rarely agree on a rating for the book but we all enjoy the process of reading the same book and coming at it from our own individual perspectives and backgrounds.
That’s why these monthly What’s on Your Bookshelf posts are so much fun, I read what others have enjoyed (or not) and if interested I go and find them to see for myself. Sometimes they hit the mark and other times they don’t but I’ve given it a go and made my own mind up. I really just love reading!
So to answer the question I posed at the beginning of my post, it’s a hard one as we are all individuals and unique so our reading decisions are also unique. Thankfully we are all different, otherwise the world would be a pretty boring place!!
Everyone wants to feel special, but nobody wants to feel different.Richard Osman, The Bullet that Missed
What have I read lately?
My favourites for the month
They all had something different to keep me interested, whether it was the character Danny in Sincerely, Me, or learning about Myf’s musical life and career or the fun group of elderly citizens in The Bullet that Missed and all they manage to get up to (I love Joyce). I enjoyed the other books I read during the month but these three stand out for me. Have you read any of them?
What I’m reading at the moment
- Sand Talk: How Indigenous thinking can save the world by Tyson Yunkaporta via Audible
- Date with Death by Julia Chapman #1 The Dales Detective via BorrowBox audio
- The Banksia Bay Beach Shack by Sandie Docker – library book
Will you join us?
If you’re into reading, please join us, even if it’s just to leave a comment with what you’ve been reading lately, as I always enjoy seeing what books are being read. We’ve added a linkup (at the end of my post) so you can add your posts directly there and see what others have posted about for the month as well.
Sue, Donna, Jo and I hope that you will join us in this fun series. I love making notes of new books to read as I go through everyone’s posts each month. Do you do that too?
You can read more from my stunning co-hosts here:
Sue from Women Living Well After 50
Donna from Retirement Reflections
Jo from And Anyways
We’re all in this together, sharing our love of reading 🙂
Guidelines for WOYBS:
What: What’s On Your Bookshelf #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge
When: Third Thursday PM (Northern Hemisphere)/ Third Friday AM (Southern Hemisphere). Next linkup: Friday 16 December 2022
Why: Share a love of reading.
Where: Linkup below, Blog, Blog Comments, Instagram or other Social Media.
Who: This linkup is open to everyone.
How: You can share in the comments, with a blog post, or on other social media of your choice. You can use the hashtag #Whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge
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