Some questions on reading, books and Goodreads.

So today I’ve found a little survey on BTN message board about Goodreads, books and reading and thought I’d ask you the same questions, just for fun, and will answer them as well. Feel free to join in, either in the comments, or in your own post, don’t forget to pingback. 🙂 You don’t have to have Goodreads to answer most of these questions, if you don’t, just skip the ones that don’t apply to you.

Do you use Goodreads?

I have a Goodreads account, but I hardly ever use it nowadays, I used to do it more in the past.

What do you think of book social media in general? Does it make you want to read more, does it discourage you from reading long books because you want to read as many books as possible, does it make you feel pressured to read certain things etc.?

Book social media are a generally good thing and it’s good that they promote reading, I think. However I myself don’t use them excessively, and, although I like to use them from time to time for some book recommendations, they don’t influence me that much in my book choices. However what I find slightly amusing is how people tend to read books as if it was sort of competition, who will read more. It’s good that book social media encourage people to read more and more, like Goodreads, which lets people set a goal for every year, how many books they want to read, but in my opinion, what is far more important, is what you read, than how much. It’s sad that people tend to read less nowadays, than in the past, but even if they’ll read three books in a year, but will enjoy them, get something valuable out of tem, learn something new, it’s much better than if they’d read 50 rubbish books, or such that aren’t completely of interest for them, just because they’re popular. I feel like if you want to read for the sake of quantity, you can’t really focus on the book you read, because you still think how much you still have left to achieve your goal, try to hurry up with reading, and so often don’t get out of the book as much as if you wouldn’t be so crazy as for how much you read. But I might be wrong, for me numbers were never particularly important, and I always appreciate quality way more than quantity. As for feeling pressured to read certain things, no, it’s actually otherwise. Often I don’t read things that are popular, unless I truly see something valuable in them for me personally, something I could truly enjoy. I never read something because others do it. I’ve never read “Twilight” or “Harry Potter” – well, those two I also haven’t read because they’re against many of my views, but that’s another thing. – So if I see something’s very popular, yes, I might look at reviews, or ask people about what they like in this book so much, but unless I just don’t feel it in my gut that I can like it, I don’t read it.

Do you care about the rating scale? What is your opinion about 5 star ratings for books?

Ratings, in whatever field, have been always a rather tricky thing for me. I dunno, maybe it’s again my brain that is allergic to numbers and finds them quite abstractive. If I rate books, I tend to look individually at each one, so sometimes my ratings may seem sort of inconsistent logically, and I never care about others’ ratings, it’s just a little scale and it can’t say much about your impressions, plus numbers are so boring. I much prefer reviews.

What shelves do you have (if not on Goodreads, do you have a physical TBR shelf, favourites shelf etc.)?

I don’t have any particular shelves on Goodreads nor other websites recommending books, I just have everything I read cramped on one shelf, I guess I’m too chaotic and not systematic enough to make it more organised. The books I have, I have also in one big folder, without any particular order. I do have physical bookshelves in my room with physical books I bought, mainly Swedish ones or books about names, etc. but once I scanned them, they only have a decorative function, and a bit sentimental, since I love all of them so wouldn’t sell them or anything and want to have them in my room even if I can’t read them physically. And they’re pretty organised, usually according to the genre.

Do you d reading challenges and/or trivia?

I used to in the past a lot, but now almost not at all.

Do you write reviews?

I used to on my Polish blogs, but very inconsistently, nowadays I don’t do it, but when I read an interesting book, I often take notes and put them into my diary so that I can remember my impressions later on.

Do the reviews often change your mind or whether you want to read something?

Usually not, but it may happen at times. Sometimes, when I look for something new to read, I check my recommendations in Goodreads or its sort of Polish equivalent Biblionetka, and then when I can’t decide if I’d really like to read a book that is recommended to me, I look into reviews, and sometimes they help me to make the decision. Also when I find a book particularly interesting, I like to read some reviews after I finish it, to compare my impressions with others’. I also regularly check reviews of my favourite authors’ books, but since they’re my favourite authors, reviews rather aren’t able to change my mind and discourage me from reading their new book, even when they’re very critical.

Do you follow authors (if not on Goodreads, on any social media)?

Not really, I only tend to check my all time most favourite Polish author – Małgorzata Musierowicz’s – website, because she has a sort of blog and often writes very interesting things, and in an awesome style, but recently I don’t do it very regularly.

Do you trust the “recommendations” algorithm?

I never blindly get a book to read just because I saw it in my recommendations on whichever site, I first always look if it can actually interest me. ANd it can be really different.

Best and worst books you’ve read because of Goodreads (if you’ve read anything because of Goodreads)?

It was a long time since I’ve read anything because it was recommended to me by Goodreads, so I just can’t remember. And as for the worst books, if I feel like something is bad, and just can’t get through it, and really don’t have a strong motivation to read it, I usually just leave it, why force to read something you don’t like.

I’m curious about your answers. 🙂

A little name survey.

I’ve found this on the Internet and thought it could be fun to do it. This is not much about naming, but rather about names of other people. I’m curious what your answers will be. This is just for fun, plus I suppose we can have some unusual names here, even just because I’m Polish and live in Poland, so many of our names might be rather unfamiliar for people from English-speaking countries, and from other countries too. Feel free to participate and leave me your answers in the comments, or if you prefer make a pingback. Because these questions are often about people you know and their names, please only reveal what the question is about and don’t share their full name unless you’re sure they wouldn’t mind and it wouldn’t harm them in any way. OK so here we go:

1. What is your supervisor’s/manager’s first name?

Jacek. I work at my Dad’s company so he employs me and his name is Jacek. Jacek looks almost like Jack and they are both often confused, but in fact Jacek is Hyacinth in English.

2. What are the first names of your neighbours (that you know)?

Piotr (Peter) and Marzena (may be some slavicised form of Margaret), Wojciech and Joanna and the other couple of our neighbours whose names I don’t know have two daughters named Martyna (Martina) and Sandra.

3. What is the first name of the coworker closest (in proximity) to you?

Don’t have any coworkers, there is only my Dad and me in his company.

4. What is one of your doctors’/dentists’/etc. first name?

My endocrinologist’s name is Anna.

5. What was your childhood best friend’s first name?

Don’t know whom to choose because I was hanging out with a few friends and liked them a lot. They were Klaudia and Nikola, I also often talked with Oliwia and Maja… But I think I thought about Klaudia as my best friend. Oh and I was writing a lot online with a girl called Angelika.

6. What were your childhood best friend’s parents’ first names?

Klaudia’s parents were Monika and Krzysztof (Chrystopher).

7. Tell me the last name of someone you know that starts with an L.

Leszczyński is my cousin’s hubby’s last name.

8. Tell me the last name of someone you know that starts with a B.

Banaś is my only Polish pen pal’s last name.

9. If you had to use a last name in your family tree for your child’s first name which would you choose?

This one made me laugh. Gosh our surnames aren’t usable at all as last names! I can’t even imagine that! 😀

10. What is a last name of any of your local TV journalists/weathermen/sports casters?

No idea. I hardly ever watch TV and if I do, it’s only because there’s some film that is really interesting for me, I don’t think I’ve watched any news on TV in a couple of years. If you asked me about radio, I think I’d be less clueless.

Your turn… 🙂

Some random survey for you and me.

I’ve found some random get to know me kind of questions on the web and thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to share them with all of you, my readers, so that we could answer them and you could get to know me more and I could get to know you.
So if you like this idea, please give me your answers in the comments, or if you prefer you can pingback. Keep your answers as short or long as you want, as there’s nothing that could be too long in terms of writing and I myself always like to hear about other people, their likes, dislikes etc. 1. If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I often feel like I am much more creative at night if I don’t sleep, and beautiful things seem to move me more, so I think it be something creative, like writing. I am sure I would read loads of books and other interesting things and would dedicate this time for discovering as many beautiful things in the world as possible. 2. What would your perfect bedroom look like?
Mm, my current one is great, very cosy and pleasant and very much like me. What’s sure, I would ask my Mum to make it beautiful, I find my Mum an expert in interior design and everything house related. I would like my bedroom to be classy, cosy, rather not too modern, I would like to keep my current bed which is definitely too big for one person, but very comfy and I am very happy I don’t need to share it with anyone. I would like to have a place for all my gem stones and stone figurines, have some flowers and I would like it to be in harmony with my personality. as for colours I wouldn’t like to have anything red and I’d prefer colours like black, white, grey, blue and green. My current bedroom is dominated by green and I like that. 3. What fictional place would you most like to go?
Avalon, Valhalla or Asgard.
4. When was the last time you went for a walk?
On Wednesday, we went with my Mum for a long walk almost across our whole town. Now I don’t think it will be very soon I’ll go out for a longer walk because of my current issues with the leg. 5. What songs have you completely memorised?
When I get a musical crush, and I am always having some musical crush since 2009, I tend to listen to his/her music over and over and over and over again, with some breaks, but still very frequently, so I can memorise a lot of their music. I know Enya’s “Evacuee” and “Exile” by heart, some songs by Cornelis Vreeswijk, especially those that i’ve translated or tried to translate into Polish, I knew a lot of Declan Galbraith’s songs quite well, but now I forgot a lot of it. It’s different with Gwilym now, my current crush, because I am still not very efficient in Welsh language so it’s hard for me to memorise songs if I don’t put a conscious effort into it. However before I started my Welsh course, I tried different methods of learning vocab and my Swedish teacher recommended me to memorise a lot of songs, poems and everything rhyming or that is easy to remember. So I know quite a few traditional Welsh songs like “Calon Lân”, “Gwydr Glas”, “Lisa Lân” or “Arhyd Y Nos” etc. Oh and some Zofijka’s stupid songs she plays over and over so everyone at home knows them and there are things ranging from One Direction to kids songs to disco polo. 6. What are some small things that make your day better?
Misha (oops, I think he wouldn’t be happy if he saw I called him a “small thing”, but oh well, he’s not here, anyway, Misha’s affection and all he does for me, just his presence), beautiful things, like if I hear some beautiful words in any of my languages that I’ve never heard before, great music, an interesting book, a good laugh with Zofijka, delicious food, and so on and so on. A lot of things really. 7. How often do you people watch?
Honestly? All the time. You may think it’s hard or impossible if you’re blind, but I love to observe people’s behaviours, personalities, reactions, emotions, what they do and how they talk and about what. Just of curiosity. I like to imagine different things about them. My Mum and Zofijka are the same, just total, compulsive people watchers, but about looks. They will tell you all the details about a person they’ve seen even if it was just for a while – how she was dressed, how she walked, how she looked at people, etc. etc. It’s a bit like addiction. Sometimes it annoys me I pay so much attention to other people especially if things they do are in any way annoying for me. 8. What have you only recently formed an opinion about?
Hm, not sure. I like to have opinions about many things, but once I form them, I always internalise them and think about them a lot, so I get used to having them quickly, but although I don’t remember now any of my recent opinions, I’m sure I formed at least one new recently. 9. What is the most annoying question people ask you?
As much as I like to educate people about my blindness and answer their constructive questions about it, it always annoys me when people ask about things that are completely unrelated to my blindness, but people think that because I am blind, I can’t do them. For instance people ask me horribly often how can I have dreams if I can’t see. Where do you have a connection between dreams and sight? I don’t believe sighted people’s dreams are only visual and all the other senses are completely not involved. The absolute hit was when I was on a pilgrimage with my family and one elderly lady asked my gramma with total amazement: “How does she walk if she can’t see?”. 😀 Also, some members of my Dad’s family annoy me greatly asking me every time they see me (so once a month or more often) how many languages do I speak already. 😀 I don’t know if they really think I am such a genius that I can learn a language in a month or if it is ironic or something. But most probably they just feel obliged to talk to me and confused about what to talk about, as we don’t have much in common. 10. What is the best thing that happened to you this week?
That I finally got a confirmation that I can pass my final exam in a school for the blind, not in the school I’m at right now. It will be much easier, because my school isn’t really adjusted for the blind and it would be very hard for me (and for them) technically to take the exams here. The exam stress alone is definitely enough. 11. What are some things you’ve had to unlearn?
Ooooh quite a few. Most of them I’m still unlearning. Bitting my nails and lips, suppressing emotions, self harming when I’m very emotional, panicky avoiding anxiety provoking situations or things, thinking in Polish while speaking/writing in another language, judging people too quickly sometimes just because I have a good instinct and can “feel” them easily. 12. What takes up too much of your time?
13. What kind of art do you enjoy the most?
Literature and music. I’ve had a friend who was a great sculpturer and he introduced the world of sculpture a little bit to me and I like to look at some beautiful sculptures, but I don’t feel like I know much about that and like I can really appreciate it. 14. What dumb accomplishment are you most proud of?
Dumb accomplishment? I assume it is the kind of accomplishment that isn’t very big and seems easy, but still is an accomplishment? If so… hm, let’s think. Managing Misha’s food, so that I can feed him on my own even if no one else is around. 15. What stereotype do you completely live up to?
I guess there can be many of such stereotypes. It’s hard to think about one in particular though… Well I am half Kashubian (it is an ethnic minority living here in the north of Poland in case you didn’t know) and although I don’t feel very much of a Kashubian myself and am not close to their culture, they say Kashubians are phlegmatic and at least a half of me is surely phlegmatic too. I think I may fit some stereotypes about the blind people too, but not that many. 16. What’s something horrible that everyone should try, at least once?
Fall from the horse. Definitely unforgettable experience. And not that scary after all, at least if you have someone to catch you or you are in the forest or anywhere where the ground is possibly soft and safe, brain concussion is definitely not worthy experiencing. 17. Do you have any scars, or birthmarks?
Unfortunately birthmarks are common thing in my family and as I have a very white complexion I have them quite a few, luckily they are rather small, but I would remove all of them most willingly. I have some scars after self harming mainly in boarding school, but since I didn’t want anyone to see, you wouldn’t see them at a first or even third glance, I think, or at least most of them. I had achilles tendons surgery and I have little scars after it and two scars on my calves after skin infections I had that were very hard to heal. 18. What is the last thing you created that you are proud of?
I am working on translating another Vreeswijk’s poem into Polish. If I’ll succeed and if it will really be a good translation, not a parody, I’ll be extremely proud. I am always so hyper every time I translate something by Vreeswijk. I’d love to translate his poems into Polish and show them to people. I don’t know if this makes sense because some people say only Swedes can get him fully as he wrote in Sweden and in Swedish, but I feel like I need to try for some reason, after all he was Dutch, not Swedish, so I am sure his poetry can be more accessible. 19. What is the most immature thing that you do?
The same as I’ve always had a tendency to act more mature that I was, I’ve always had some pretty immature habits or behaviours, so it’s hard to pick something that’s “the most”. I can laugh at very silly things with Zofijka, like toilet humour or very primitive word games or what other people do or say that we find funny, we play very silly games, everyday when we play with Zofijka we pretend Misha can talk and I talk for him, I still bit my nails sometimes, it’s often hard for me to be responsible for many things, I definitely hate changes, which many kids also do I think, especially that my hatred for changes can be really big sometimes, I can make laugh of pretty much anything, of course there are things I am serious about because they matter a lot to me or things like values etc. but it is never hard for me to find something funny about things or be sarcastic about serious things, sometimes it happens a bit involuntarily, that I have quite odd, sarcastic thoughts about things that I think I definitely should stay serious about.
20. What incredibly strong opinion or belief do you have that is completely unimportant in the grand scheme of things?
Nothing comes to mind right now, but I am more than sure I might have a few such opinions.
OK, that’s all from me. I can’t wait to see your answers. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it.