What Do Readers Think? I Really Want to Know.

flickr-2200500024-originalI’ve been hoping to have more renovation photos for you to enjoy (?) this week. The workmen are finishing up, so it’s a slow morning here in Chautauqua, New York. We only have a plumber, electrician, wallboard guy and flooring guy cutting tile. I can almost hear the birds sing.

More photos will be up soon, but in the meantime? I thought I would ask YOU to blog with me. While writers are always asked questions about their books, their work habits, their creative inspiration, readers are usually only consulted if they’re lucky enough to be in a book group.

I’ve created a new blog category and named it “I Really Want to Know.” And I do want to know. I so often have questions for you as I’m writing, and I’d love your input. Today’s questions are a bit general, but I think they’re a good place to start. Please answer as many as you would like to under comments.

Never commented? Here are easy instructions.

  • Commenting is as easy as clicking on the word “comment,” under the title of this blog on the right. If you’re the first, the link will say “No Comment.” And when you click that link, it wil take you to a little box to add one.
  • You will be asked to fill in my last name, to help us avoid spam. Isn’t that a lot more fun than those impossible to decipher letters that some sites require? (If you don’t know my last name, you may be in the wrong place.)
  • Then comment away. Of course if someone else has already commented, it won’t say “No Comment,” will it? Just click on the link that says Comment (1), etc. instead.

I’m looking forward to finding out more about the readers who enjoy my blog, so let’s begin. And remember, there are no wrong answers.

  1. What kinds of books do you most like to read? For example: Biographies. Romances. Novels set in England.  
  2. What book do you have waiting to be read next on your nightstand, or reserved at your local library, or on your “to purchase” list?
  3. What was the LAST book you read?
  4. What do you most want to find in a novel?
  5. What will make you close a book and never open it again?

So many questions and so little space here. I hope you’ll find this intriguing enough to let us know what you think. If you do, we’ll do it again.


  1. Evelyn Ferguson on May 30, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    There’s a wide variety of books I like – women’s friendships especially with quilting or book club themes, family sagas, and Holocaust/WWII.

    Dorothea Benton Clark’s new book due out in several weeks

    The Art of Fielding for book club -not one which I’d normally read.

    Good plot, good writing, believable and very descriptive.

    Slow paced and unnecessary content just to fill up pages.

    Favorite books: Rising Tides and Iron Lace, Shenandoah Album series, Elm Creek Quilt series (most of them), Sarah’s Key, The Help, Cobbled Quilt series, many from Mary Alice Monroe and Dorothea Benton Clark

  2. Joan Blocher on May 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    I read for escape, to take a break from quilting, when I am not up to par. I like “cozy” books–Emilie Richards, Joan Medlicott, Marie Bostwick, Maeve Binchy, some Nora Roberts, Barbara Delinsky, Kathleen Gilles Seidel, Debbie Macomber, Earleen Fowler, Jennifer Chiaverini, Brabara Kingsolver. I am currently reading Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Chiaverini, Memory Keeper’s daughter by Kim Edwards, and books by E. L. Konigsburg (she just died and I had never read her books). I most recently zoomed through Between Heaven and Texas by Bostwick.
    When I am reading I want to like the people, even if they are wacky, like Wanda. I will close a book if it is too dark (I don’t read P. D. James) and if the life depicted includes too much drinking, smoking and cheating as if it was all okay.

  3. Marjorie Roberts on May 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I like contemporary romance and fiction. The next book I will be reading is Sea Glass Island by Sherryl Woods, followed by Endless Chain by you! I just purchased Lover’s Knot, too. I have so many series that I have been reading. My TBR pile is huge! I wish I could read all day, every day. On my Kindle, I’m about to read the prequel to Lori Wilde’s new series. I like books that show the transformation of people into better persons through all of the situations they face and through the help they get from others. Small towns where everyone knows everyone else’s business are my favorites for series. If a book is too confusing, such as too many characters in the first chapter, I’ll put it down. I read to relax, not to stress out.

  4. Flo Hay on May 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I like like to read books about women that have hobbies like mine- knitting, sewing, quilting and general crafting. I’m waiting to read Deadly Patterns by Melissa Bourbon. The last books I’ve read are the Seaside Knitters series by Sally Goldenbaum. I’m also waiting for Jennifer Chiaverini, newest book. I like a series and always want to know more about the characters ( such as Sam in your books ). If I have to slog through the first chapter I’ll give up on it!!

  5. Patti on May 30, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    The books I like would probably be classified as women’s fiction. My TBR include Sea Glass Island by Sherryl Woods and Big Sky Summer by Linda Lael Miller. Lots to look forward to this summer – new books by you, Mary Alice Monroe, Dorothea Benton Frank, Robyn Carr, and Barbara Delinsky. The last book I read was Table for Seven. Before that I read The Lost Husband which I liked a lot. Two books I closed recently never to be opened again contained scenes where men made unwelcome advances and in the story they were characterized as romantic.

  6. Lynn Ross on May 31, 2013 at 1:16 am

    I study Metaphysics mostly, so I have to take a break from the intensity of that subject now and then. Naturally, any book by Emilie Richards takes precedent over all others. I like romances involving Wicca (Nora Roberts), and Evelyn Vaughn wrote some books back in the 80’s that I still re-read, Wicca and the paranormal. I love historical romances. Diana Palmer is a long-time favorite for something light. I enjoyed John Edward, psychic medium’s, fictional novels as well as his non-fiction. I like James VanPraagh’s books. Deepak Chopra’s fictional novel, “Lord of Lights” (quite old)I found fascinating. Wayne Dyer, Alan Cohen and numerous “new age” writers are favorites of mine. A book I will close to never open again would be graphic violence under the guise of romance. Two of my favorite authors who went over to “the dark side” are Katherine Graham and Elizabeth Lowell – excellent writers. I dropped them years ago. Some of Nora Roberts books seem to be drifting close to my tolerance level. I may have to drop her, too. There is enough blood and gore in the world. The most violent books I can tolerate are Emilie Richards’ “Ministry is Murder” series. LOL!

  7. Kay Myhrman-Toso on June 1, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I love to read a wide variety of genres, ranging from historical fiction to theology (and about everything in between except sci-fi or books with gratuitous violence or horror.) Most like? That’s answered by another of your questions, what I most want to find in a novel. Characters that are well developed, as though the author had spent considerable time sitting down and really getting to know them, warts and all. Plots that draw one along, unfolding with twists & turns, rather than being predictable. Language that dances on the page. Connections to time or place that are both realistic and that enhance the novel. Interweaving of “issues”, particularly complex issues that can be explored through the relationships of the characters. I thus love to read books by authors such as Geraldine Brooks (People of the Book, March, Year of Wonder); Barbara Kingsolver (The Bean Trees, Pigs in Heaven, Prodigal Summer, Poisonwood Bible); Mary Alice Monroe (inclusion of environmental issues). Not surprisingly, books by Emilie remain my all time favorites! I have happened upon authors, whose books I may not have discovered, simply because of car trips and needing to find an audio book that could appeal to both my husband and me. David Baldacci’s Camel Club series, Tony Hillerman’s Joe Leaphorn mysteries, and Janet Evanovich’s mad-cap Stephanie Plum misadventures all started as trip books.
    I just finished Amy Tan’s “The Joy Luck Club”, having read number of her more recent works but not this earlier novel. “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” remains my favorite of her novels. “The Book of Air and Shadows” is now on my nightstand, with Celtic theologian John Philip Newell’s “A New Harmony” patiently waiting in the wings. Newell may have to wait a bit longer if I have not finished his book by June 25th, when everything stops so I may read “Somewhere Between Trust & Luck”. I can hardly wait!
    While I use to try to finish every novel I started, no more. I recently gave up on “The Casual Vacancy” by J. K. Rowling, after listening to 8 out of 15 CDs. It is safe to say that this book does not take one on the train to Hogwarts! By the midpoint of the book, neither the characters nor the plot had drawn me in or made me care about them – a bit of a vacant sense, to borrow from the title – even though there were many complex, contemporary issues woven into the story (e.g. poverty, class issues, drug use, immigration, adolescent angst.) In addition, it would seem that Rowling was out to see just how many times she could use the F-word. I don’t consider myself a word-prude, but this excess felt like Rowling was trying too hard to say, “See, this isn’t Harry Potter.”

  8. SueAnn Beer on June 1, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    I read romances/mystery, first….and when I find an author I like..I read the whole series of any books they have written…so I get to know the author better..and what they are trying to convey in their writings.
    I like scenes set in England, Scotland, Ireland.
    I am reading on Whiskey Beach right now, and have Murder By Mocha on tap…and then I have all of Alice Kimberly’s “ghost” series all in a row…..reason for that book to have been written..what is the story? And does it follow all the way thru the book?It does not matter if it is a happy or sad ending…depends on what the story is about.
    I put books down asap…if they use way too fowl language…way too detailed sex(I mean come on..I see, hear..all that in real life…I don’t want it in my imagination),and also too much slang…poor grammer…..there was a book series I started…hearing high praises from the cozy chicks..and I will not read any of her books…she had no story to tell..she used way too much slang, and foul language..it became boring and mundane to me.
    These are what I read for entertainment…and learning too..if they are written towards that direction……then I will read biographies, history about places…things….events…I read just about anything except futuristic things..and vampires and bloody things…..Phillipa Gregory wrote AWESOME books about the beginnings of the Kings in England….then she has another series..and it was all witches, fairies, wings here, wings there…and I was not interested in sci-fi..so I took that series back to the Library.
    Hope this helps you….

  9. Joan Blocher on June 2, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    There is no way to edit what I wrote, so here is an addendum.

    My list of authors sounds as if I only read romances, but I have read a lot of science fiction and mysteries in my life. I am currently rereading Name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss, prior to reading its sequel, Wise man’s fear. I read all of Harry Potter. Two books I often think about (but I read the library copies so do not own them) are Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie by Mary Ann Shaffer and Broken for you by Stephanie Kallos. My favorite Emilie Richards book is Prospect Street

  10. Pat Pollock on June 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I read a lot of things: yours, of course, Nora Roberts, J.D. Robb, Sharon Sala, Stephen Covey, and Bill Grimbol. I don’t like heavy, depressing books (like my mom keeps suggesting) because a good author brings me into the book, and I don’t want the negativity. I just started Don’t Cry for Me by Sharon Sala, and next on the list is A Wrinkle in Time. I love to read and re-read good children’s books for two reasons: They bring back good memories, and I can share them with my five grandchildren. When I read a novel, I expect it to entertain, have likeable characters, strong women, and s happy ending. When I read, I become part of the book. If that doesn’t happen, I’m bored and close it up. I have never closed any of your books and find them very entertaining during my breaks from school and the business books that I HAVE to read.

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