Friday, October 12, 2012

Retreat Guest Blogger Natalie Damschroder

Website  ~ blog
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Natalie carves her day up into a million small increments to accommodate her fiction schedule, freelance editing, day job as a chiropractic assistant, and the needs of her family, dominated by the Anti-Teenagers, who make all of the above really easy. When everything goes right, she gets to top off the day trying to guess the plot twists of her favorite TV shows before her husband does. 

Her latest release is Under the Moon, the first book in her Goddesses Rising trilogy. Heavy Metal, book 2, will be out in March 2013.


“Coerced” into Reading

I’m a voracious reader. There are always more titles in my to-be-read files (e-books) and on my to-be-read shelves (print books) than I could ever read, mainly because more good ones are released every week and I keep adding to them! Once when I was trying to be very good financially and not spend money on books, my TBR fell to about 20 books. I panicked. What if I got sick or something?! I’d be done in two days! Never letting that happen again.

So because I love to read and always have plenty of books, I’m selective about my choices. There are some genres I just never (okay, almost never) read, and if a book doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, it doesn’t matter how much other people rave about it. I don’t bother to check it out.

But there are exceptions. Once in a while, a book or series gets so much hype, or the right kind of hype, that I can’t help myself. Here are the biggest ones:

1. Harry Potter
I didn’t read these right away. I’d heard the fuss, and rolled my eyes at the extremists and naysayers, but none of that compelled me to try the books. After book 3 came out but before book 4 was released, my husband and I were taking a trip that would mean driving home in the middle of the night, getting home around 4:00 a.m. We wanted an audiobook to keep us awake. Alas, I fell asleep before Vernon Dursley made it to work that first morning, but I was hooked by the cat reading the street sign. I confess I’ve never actually read any of the books, but I’ve listened to Jim Dale’s fantastic performance well over a dozen times. My husband and kids are devoted fans, too.

Buy the book
2. Twilight
I hadn’t even heard of this series when a parent asked me at the soccer field if Number One, then in middle school, was looking forward to the release of Eclipse. Her son was super-excited for it, and I was intrigued. What kind of books were so compelling that both boys and girls were reading them? I read the series through to the end, just to find out what happened, and it’s led to some good discussions with my girls. I was very proud of Number One when she shifted from Team Edward to Team Jacob. :)

3. Percy Jackson
Number Two was reading this series first. I’d been aware of it, but hadn’t had much interest. But she loved it so much, and was so into the revelations and twists that she pushed all the rest of us to read it so we could discuss. And all three of the rest of us fell in love, prodding each other to finish the next book so we could have our turn. This was the best experience for me out of the whole group, because my kids were at ages where their interests had begun to separate, and this brought us all together.

4. Hunger Games
I started this one. I decided to read it because it kept popping up in my Twitter feed. It wasn’t a type of story that interested me much, but people who share my taste in books were raving about the series. I ended up loving the overall story more than some of the actual writing, but again, we got the whole household involved, so much that my husband passionately expressed his casting views before the first movie came out.

When I started this blog post, my point was simply that it’s amusing that sometimes, despite my independent nature, I can be coerced into jumping on the bandwagon. But in writing it, I realized that the value wasn’t in joining people all over the world in a bit of entertainment, but in sharing the joy of that entertainment with people I love. How about that? :)

Let's Chat:
Have you ever found yourself coerced into reading something you wouldn’t normally? How did it turn out? (I’ll be back to respond to comments when I get home from my day job!)




40 comments:

brandi said...

Yes and it was the fifty shades books. So much hype and when i read them all i could think of was i have read more erotic/hardcore that was better written.

Linda Henderson said...

I've read the Harry Potter's and loved them. My daughter finally convinced me to read the Twilight books but in return I told her she had to read The Hunger Games trilogy. Twilight was okay but for me it's a definite one time read. She loved the Hunger Games trilogy. I also convinced her to read Amanda Hocking's Trylle books, we both enjoyed them. I'm 60 by the way and she is 30.

Christine Mead said...

Mine too was The Fifty Shades trilogy. I'm not usually into erotic romance, but these books quickly changed my mind!

Mybradybunch6 said...

Mine would be a non-fiction about the Kennedy assasination. I love history and some one was giving me another perspective and WOW what a different side of the story.

brandi said...

i actually didn't get into Twilight til I watched the 2nd movie. I watched the first on demand and then went to see the second in the theatre and was like, I need to know what happened. So I borrowed them from my sister and never looked back.

Beth Reimer said...

I was late to read the Harry Potter series and my whole family loved it. When we started my kids where a little younger and I would read it to them. By the time book 7 came out both my daughter and I had to have our own copies as we couldn't wait for the other one to finish it. I didn't read Hunger Games until after the movie came out. Twilight my daughter and I shared that series.
My mother is a retired libraian so she read a lot and as kids we read a lot. As an adult I still reall enjoy reading - Beth

calstephanie said...

Hi Natalie!

Can't say I've ever been coerced into reading anything. I pick what appeals to me.

I've never read the Harry Potter books because I just couldn't get into the first one, but I LOVE the movies.

Lorna said...

I got sucked into reading the Shades of Grey trilogy. My mom bought the first book and insisted I read it. I wasn't a fan of the writing style, however I did finish all 3 books and did find that I cared for the characters.

What types of books do you avoid (other than the ones you read because of peer pressure)? Sci-fi is the one I tend to avoid :-)

brandi said...

I avoid crime drama, whether fiction/non fiction. I am not a fan.

d3dff3b4-7447-11e1-9bc9-000bcdcb471e said...

In grade school, teachers always used to make me read really upsetting "message" stories (kid's dog dies, etc.), when I just wanted to take a break with lighter stuff (I was one of those really serious nerdy kids). I often found out that THEY hadn't read 'em yet, and wanted to test them on someone! Grr.

vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

Mybradybunch6 said...

I have a rule that is to read at least 3 chapters of a book before I put it down and say I don't like it. Do you have a similar rule?

rinnajonesmartin said...

Recently, I was coerced into reading the first book of the Fifty Shades series. I did this only because I wanted to participate in the conversation at work. Reading it was a let down. It had so much hype and yet I was unimpressed. the embarrassing part was explaining this my coworkers. Diplomacy not being my strong suit, I ended up pointing them to a Goodreads article that laid my thoughts out.

On a positive note, a friend recently purchased an ebook of John Scalzi's Old Man's War for me and insisted that I read it. I loved it and am starting the rest o the series as its in my genre of Space Opera..

calstephanie said...

Fifty Shades isn't for everyone. I read a lot of reviews about it (50% good and 50% bad) before I decided to read them. However, I don't let the reviews influence what I choose to read, I just like to see what other people thought of it. I was hooked right away and ended up reading all 3 in a matter of days.

I don't care for true crime books, sci-fi, Stephen King-ish horror, stuff like that.

SiNn said...

id have to say the only books ive ever ha dto be conned or cohersed in to reading where a child called IT series and honestly im glad i did they are atrue story about horrific child hood but rising above it all and over coming it

robertsonreads said...

Hi Natalie,
I love to read. I don't really care for paranormal or historicals. But I do have to admit to reading Harry Potter with my son. He had to read for school and it could be his choice, so we would take turns at night reading HP. I think I new as much about him as my son. And to be honest, I was ok with this, as long as it encouraged him to read. That's what worked with me, desperately needed to improve my reading. The summer prior to entering high school, I picked up a romance book, and that was it for me.

Thank you for spending time with us here at ORR. Your time is greatly appreciated.
Ginger

PaulaL said...

Does work reading count?! Once I was out of school, my fiction reading because reading I mostly choose to read. I did force myself through A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold to explain to other people why/what about it kept me bouncing off it (tired of partiarchal Barrayar and not interested in the Miles/Ekaterin romance, the previous book, Komarr, had as much of it as I could stand. I massively did NOT enjoy being given their internal obsessing over one another, and it was only the second half of the book, with other characters with other foci, which was for me worthwhile reading. The main plot and character interactions of the Mile/Ekaterin interactions, irritated me. On the other hand, I very much like the author's Wide Green World/Sharing Knife quartet of books, which start out with Fawn, a young Farmer woman leaving home having been led astray by a lout and not wanting her family aware of her folly and consequence, running into misadventure and meeting up with Dag, a Lakewalker patroller. Fawn's young but intrepid and her rescue from peril, she takes a strong part in. And the Lakewalker society is not a 1980s partriarchy. (sigh, having to use Google ID rather than the one I signed up with. Sigh...)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Brandi, I heard that so many times, I never had any inkling of interest. I have to admit, though, they're not my type of book in any way. All the others I listed did have *something* I thought I might like.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Linda, that's awesome! I love the reciprocity. I was at work one day, talking to a teenage patient about the upcoming Harry Potter movie, and one of the 60+ patients on the other side of the room chimed in about how much she loved them. :)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Christine, *so* many people have found the appeal in erotic romance because of 50 Shades! That's a very good thing! :)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Very cool, Mybradybunch! My husband often finds his historical reading in the same way. He's a history buff, too.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Ooh, brandi, the dreaded "need to know what happened." Many a show or movie has sucked me in just because I wandered into the room at the wrong time. LOL Actually, that's why I finished the Twilight series, too. I didn't *love* it, but I was inexplicably hooked and had to find out where it all wound up.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Beth, we had a similar situation with book 7! LOL We went to the midnight release party to get our copies. Luckily, my oldest was reading it and I was listening to the audiobook, so we didn't have to share. Except she tried to start on the drive home, which I was NOT cool with. LOL

The problem was her sister wanting the book asap, and her father wanting the audiobook asap. He snatched those tapes the instant I finished each one. :)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

calstephanie, I have great respect for your independence. :) If you ever find yourself wanting to try the HP books again, I HEARTILY recommend the audiobooks. Jim Dale won Grammys for his performances, and they really made the books come alive. I'm not sure I'd have been as into them as I am if I'd tried to actually read them instead.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Good question, Lorna! I used to read a lot of historicals, but I read almost none now. I don't care for inspirationals as a rule, and it will take something truly momentous to get me to read a vampire or shifter story. :) I do like sci fi, but not dry stuff with slow pacing bogged down in hardware and physics descriptions. :)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

OMG, vitajex, what a dirty trick! LOL My daughter writes a lot of dark stuff where half the characters die. I tell her she'd better not expect me to be reading those, because I'm all about the happy endings. :)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Another good question, mybradybunch!

I used to try to plow through any book, for several reasons. I'd usually paid for it, and didn't want the money to be wasted. By the time I graduated from college, I was aspiring to be a writer, and I was supposed to learn from any book I read. Once I had kids, though, and time became a premium commodity, I changed my perspective. Life is too short to read something I'm not enjoying.

So the answer is that I don't have a definitive point. I've stopped some books within a page because of exhausting dialogue or a lack of hyphenations in compound adjectives. :) (I know, that sounds so harsh! I just couldn't stand it, though.) My "rule" is that if I'm finding other things to do because I don't want to pick up the book again, I'll move on to something else. Probably within 3 chapters is the average, but occasionally it's as far as 3/4 of the way through the book, or even in the first chapter.

I've got 16 books on my DNF list for this year, and 57 completed.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Rinna, you've hit the nail on the head with your comment. "Participate in the conversation" is the perfect description. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, because connecting over literature is always awesome.

There's also *nothing* to be embarrassed by if you didn't get into it. That's the thing about entertainment. 100% subjective! :) Luckily, technology and society have evolved to the point that we can all find what we like, whether "everyone" else likes it or not. :)

So glad you balanced out the bad result with a good one with Scalzi! He's one of my father-in-law's favorites, I think.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Paula, work reading definitely counts, and earns you extra sympathy points. LOL

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

SiNh, I'm glad your "coercion" experience had a good outcome. :) Sounds like very thought-provoking reading!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Ginger, I believe in reading so strongly that I don't care *what* it is that starts someone reading. I love that HP got so many kids into books. Others that are looked down upon but had similar results are Captain Underpants and Goosebumps. :) And, of course, romance is responsible for turning millions of people into regular readers. :)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks so much to everyone for coming by and commenting! I apologize for not being here when it first posted. I'll be monitoring the thread from now on, so don't hesitate to chat with me! :)

joder said...

I'm not a fan of YA books but my sister kept recommending The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. After months of her nagging I finally gave in, and boy was I glad! That series is awesome and I too now recommend it to no-YA fans to change their minds.

gogi1_2 AT yahoo DOT com

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Hi, joder! So glad you gave in and enjoyed it! :) There are flaws in the books (in any books, of course), but the overall stories are so compelling, and really don't have much to do with the protagonist being young. A lot of YA fiction is like that, I think.

calstephanie said...

I'll have to look for those HP audio books. That might be the way to go for that series. Thanks for the tip Natalie! :)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

You're welcome! :)

alainala said...

every once in awhile... usually fantasy/sci fi books my bf recommends.. sometimes theyre really good (found a couple keeper authors this way) but most of the time.. bleh

Jan Douglas said...

I try not to be coerced into reading anything. BUT when my niece was 13, she said, "Aunt Jan, you HAVE to read this book." It was Twilight. I did read it because she was so excited about it. Not my favorite books but I'm glad I read them.
Recently friends tried to get me to read the Fifty Shades trilogy. Thank you no.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Alainala, it's always hit or miss for me like that when I'm trying someone new, no matter how they came to my attention or what the genre is. :)

Jan, it's so hard to say no to the kids! LOL

flchen1 said...

Hmm... I'm not too easily coerced about stuff except for books ;) But I do tend to stick to romance these days, even when people rave about those fiction books... Not that I don't occasionally venture there, but I know what I like, and sometimes I really don't want to be convinced to try say, 50 Shades :) But I did hear loads of raves about say Ann Aguirre or Joanna Bourne, and well, I'm glad I did cave and pick those up! Amazing reads! I clearly sound like I don't know my own mind--and I guess sometimes I just don't! ;p

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Hee! flchen, I think it's more that you have an OPEN mind--and that's a good thing! :)