Sunday, 24 February 2013

Chatting with Sujay

My next cosy chat is with Sujay from KUForum.

If you could live in the age and setting of a book, which book, and why?

I love historical books especially those set in late Victorian working class London, so I would probably like to experience life in that setting, though I am not sure I could manage without some of the luxuries of today. Saying that, I would also love to go back even further and experience the lives of Thomas Hardy’s characters and the simple country existence they used to endure at that time.

Does it annoy you the book finishes well before 100% because the author mentions their other works at the back of the novel. Do you mind if the author includes a synopsis or even an excerpt?

It all depends on the book really. If the book is part of a series, I don’t think it does any harm to include a small excerpt from the next book, just to set the scene, but when they use it to advertise all of their other books then I do get a bit annoyed.

Are you put off if you see a book is part of a series? Or does that entice you, knowing that if you like it there are more books to enjoy?

Not really, as long as there aren’t too many of them. When I discover a new author it probably would put me off if there were a dozen books that came before the current one. However if I find a new author who has just started publishing and their books are going to be part of a series, it wouldn’t bother me at all, especially if I enjoy the book.

Do you read the Look Inside before purchasing? Always? Sometimes, depending on the reviews? Never?

If the author is new to me I will often have a look and see if I like the style of the author, but if it is one I have already know and have enjoyed in the past I usually go ahead and buy the book without looking.

Do you read for hours at a time, or in short bursts, or a mixture of the two?

It all depends what I have to do. I like nothing better on a wet cold afternoon than snuggling down in the chair with a good book and spending a couple of hours reading. Other times I only have a few minutes to spare so don’t get a chance to get comfortable. I often read in bed at night, and have found a couple of hours have passed if it is an author I like or I have reached an exciting part of a book. Also if I am very close to the end of a book I will carry on reading because I hate coming back to a book with just a few pages left to read.

How important are reviews of a book to you? Would they influence your choice to buy it?

Again it all depends if it is an author I have read before. I do usually have a look at the reviews, but don’t always take much notice of them. I have read a book recently which has had almost 1,400 five star reviews so thought I would give it a go just because the reviews were good. How wrong could I be? After I reached about 30% I wanted to give up, but because of the reviews I carried on going thinking it would get better, but I was totally wrong. It was so repetitive and farfetched I felt totally let down in the end.

Do you think you remain unbiased when reviewing books by people you know or interact with on the internet?

I certainly hope I am unbiased. There are obviously some authors whose work I prefer to others, but I try and separate any friendships when I am writing a review.

How do you feel about leaving negative reviews?

If I really don’t like a book I usually don’t review it, because I accept that we all have different opinions and I wouldn’t want to put someone off of purchasing a book, just because I didn’t like it. I try and live by the saying that ‘if I can’t say anything nice, then I won’t say anything at all’.

Are you more lenient with regards mistakes if you know a book is self published, or do you believe the authors should have hired an editor to make sure it's the best it can be?

There is no real reason for there to be a mass of mistakes in a book that is self published. I don’t necessarily think that an author has to hire an editor to make sure books are the best they can be, but if the author has done their homework properly and had it proofread, usually mistakes can be picked up and corrected. I don’t deny the odd mistake or formatting error can always get through, you find then in printed books from the major publishers, but I have read a book recently that had no end of both spelling mistakes and errors in formatting. This has now been corrected and the book updated on Amazon, but in my opinion a lot of the errors were obvious simple errors that should have been put right before publication.

If something an author did upset or bothered you, would it stop you reading more of their work, even if you've read their stuff before and enjoyed it?

In an ideal world I would say I wouldn’t let the author’s actions influence any future purchases but in reality I think it probably would.

Do you prefer male or female protagonists?

I don’t have a preference for either, as long as the story is good and keeps moving at a good pace I don’t mind if the character is male or female.

Where do you like to see the acknowledgements, if at all; front or back.

I don’t mind where they are as all of my reading is done on the Kindle these days, and the Kindle tends to open at the beginning of the book rather than at any acknowledgements. I do usually read them when I have finished the book, as long as they don’t go on for pages on end.

Do you always buy books in the same genre? Would you experiment with a different type of book if it seemed worth a try?

Since I have had my Kindle I have definitely read different genres than I would not have chosen previously. I am prepared to give most things a try now, though science fiction and most fantasy still leaves me cold and I can’t settles into it.

Do you prefer long novels or shorter ones?

That one is easy; give me a long book I can get stuck into any day. I love to get lost in a tale and immerse myself totally in the world of the book if I can. I feel there is something missing if I just get into a story and it end’s after a couple of hours.

Do you finish every book you start reading, no matter how bad it is?

I would say I usually finish about 90% of the books I start, unless it is one that I really can’t get on with. The minimum I try and read is about 30% before I make up my mind about any book. There have been books which I thought I would never finish after only a few pages, but have stuck with and enjoyed in the end.

Do you read the reviews?

I do usually have a look at reviews, but I try not to let them influence me on my final choice. We are all different and like different aspects of a book, as long as there aren’t too many one stars I usually give a book a try.

Do you like it when writers put excerpts of reviews in the blurb? What about puffs from famous authors?

It doesn’t really bother me as long as the whole of the blurb isn’t made up of reviews. I do like to have some idea of what I am about to read. I don’t mind puffs from famous authors, but tend to totally ignore them. I have seen a few blurbs recently that contain nothing but reviews and puffs and I usually pass the book by, as I think if the author can’t be bothered to take the time to write a blurb for me to read, they aren’t that interested in me reading the book.

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