pleasure junkie

The class almost didn’t happen because the director didn’t think anyone would want to tinker with sentences for seven weeks.  To his surprise and my delight, Beautiful Sentences opened with a waiting-list 10 students long.

The writing class felt like a gathering of kindred spirits.  We introduced ourselves by sharing our favorite sentences, and then we played “who wrote it?”  The game involves, that’s right, guessing the author of various sentences.  For example, can you guess who wrote the following:

  • “I’m anything but fine. I feel like the sun has set and not risen for five days. I’m in perpetual night here”.”
  • “She talked all the time and at first it was about people and places.”

It’s a bit tricky, so I’ll give you the answers: the first sentence is EL James from 50 Shades of Grey, and the second is Ernst Hemingway from A Moveable Feast.  Surprisingly, the entire class thought the first sentences was ‘more beautiful’ than the second.

Is this post nerdy enough for you?  ‘Cause I’m about to go all out and confess that I belong to three book clubs.  That’s not a typo — I legit read and discuss three books a month.  I created a graphic of the top-rated books from my clubs:
My nerdy-ness will cease after I tell you about a recent article in The WSJ that featured ‘the most popular books that no one reads.”  Interesting, right?

Researchers mined Kindle data to name books people quit after reading after 25%, 50% or 75% of the novel. Their findings? People rarely finish 50 Shades of Grey or The Great Gatsby, but they absolutely never finish Capital in the 21st Century.

Do you finish every book you start?  Are you learning a new skill this summer? Get geeky and tell me your favorite sentence.


33 thoughts on “pleasure junkie

  1. This post was SOOO fascinating to me! I can’t believe that first sentence was 50 Shades of Grey and that people don’t finish The Great Gatsby (which is tragic because the ending is probably the most important).
    -Kaitlyn 🙂

  2. Favorite recent books – The Night Circus (must read if you haven’t!), Little Bee (it’s what I read on my honeymoon), and I LOVED the Mindy Kaling book that you read with one of your clubs 🙂 I might have to check out some of the other ones you have up there!

  3. I love this post and I want to attend that class!! I allow myself two chapters to get into a book. If I go past two chapters, I must finish it. If I realize in those first two chapters that I’m just not feeling it, I’m allowed to put the book aside and not feel guilty.

    My favorite sentence: I fell in love like you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once. Do you know the book??

  4. I love that you are in so many book clubs, and of your book club favorites, I have either read or want to read all of them! I tried to read 50 Shades of Grey, but outside that first sentence, I found the writing too painful to continue.

  5. I didn’t finish 50 Shades of Grey….but that’s because I was sneaking it out of my roommates room when she wasn’t home. That plan didn’t work out and I never finished it, ha!

  6. I always try to finish every book I choose to read. Even if I don’t enjoy it completely, there always seems to be something to garner from an author’s perspective. And it’s the ebb and flow of great and not-so-great books that help me to appreciate the really good ones.

  7. “There once was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.” – History of Love by Nicole Krauss

    I love that sentence so much, I even had our wedding officiant open our ceremony with it. LOVE this nerdy post! Also, I am incredibly amazed and envious at your participation in book clubs. Wish I could join (at least) one of those with you!

  8. Ernest Hemingway might be a famous classic writer, but he is not a beautiful writer, in my opinion. Although I really did enjoy A Moveable Feast. Never read 50 Shades (and… I never will). I don’t have a favorite sentence that I can think of off the top of my head. Shoot! I need to find one.

  9. What a great post! There is nothing like summer beach reading–sun, sky, sand, and a great novel to pass the day away. I LOVED Gone Girl, and just finished reading both Gillian Flynn’s other two books (Dark Places and Sharp Objects). A bit disturbing, but I love reading a book where I. Can. Not. Figure. Out. The. Ending. Those are the very best kind! I’m on to The Devil Wears Revenge now. Happy reading! xo

  10. It’s rare that I don’t finish a book I start. The only one I can think of recently was “The Scorch Trials” (Maze Runner #2). I just didn’t love the direction that the story was going in (zombies aren’t really my thing). But in general, I know what type of books I like so I keep to books like those and it’s rare that I quit reading a book. Also, I’m not part of a book club, but my friends here in Memphis are big readers too so we talk about books together all the time. So that sort of counts, right? 😉

  11. I don’t finish books unless they hold my interest. That sounds terrible, but I try to pick books that I intend to finish & I do finish most. I think it has more to do with knowing what I like than not being persistent enough. 🙂

  12. I don’t know what that really colorful building in the pictures is, but I love it. Probably my favorite sentences of all time have been crafted by C.S. Lewis. I’ve been known to run around my house in joy telling everyone in the family about his latest and greatest sentence that thrills me to my toes. One that stands out that I read recently is “…a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But of course, it is better to be neither.” He has a awesome combination of wit and harcore truth that I find irresistible.

  13. When it comes to reading books I realllllyyy try to finish them, but if they don’t capture me by the time I’m 1/3 of the way in, I usually don’t finish it. It’s also partially because by this time the books is already due back at the library!

  14. I alwayssss finish the books I start. I just have to! I can’t believe you have time for 3 book clubs, that is serious dedication girl! I am definitely pinning your image for future reference, there are a few on there I haven’t read yet!

  15. I rarely finish books I’m not enjoying. Life is too short for bad books! I’m jealous of your three legit book clubs…In my book club we spend about 10 minutes discussing why none of us read the book, and then we move on to other topics. 😉

  16. I’m pretty jealous that you’re a member of three book clubs! That’s so awesome! I just moved, so I need to get a library card and check if there are any clubs…. you definitely inspired me! And about finishing/not finishing books… I really try to always finish a book, haha. I make sure to research the books I pick to read so I really like them and not quit on ’em!

  17. 3 book clubs! I am so jealous! Also, I love so many of the books in your collage, especially Mindy and Bernadette 🙂 I also love that people researched Kindle to find those books! I try to finish every single book I start but ever since I discovered that I can check out ebooks at my library, I rarely finish all the ones I check out because I can’t read that fast!

  18. I will be referring to your graphic next time I need a good book to read! I didn’t understand the whole bruhaha about 50 shades…but I always finish a book I start (almost).

  19. I love this post!! This sounds like a summer course I took a couple of years ago. Except it was focusing on “summer reads.” What do we count as summer reads? Easy beach reads, memoirs, classics, etc. We read How Stella Got Her Groove Back, the Tigers Wife, A Tale of Two Cities, and some others. It was great!!!

  20. Oh gosh, this post makes my book-loving heart happy! That is so amazing that you are in 3 book clubs — kudos to you girl, I’d completely lose track of what book I was reading! So many of the books you mentioned in your 2014 reads graphic are on my ‘to be read’ list, so I can’t wait to dive into them 🙂

    I very rarely discontinue reading a book, but it’s happened. It’s so hard for me to put a book down + say ‘enough’, no matter how terrible it is. I always hold out hope the end will make it worth it!

  21. There are so many books I want to be reading right now!!! I have been reading one on my phone and loving it!! Just wish I had more time to read more 🙂

  22. I always try to finish books that I start, I hate returning them unread, it feels very non-committal, but then, life is too short to read boring books. I’m feeling pretty happy though that I did read Gatsby from start to finish, and loved it!

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