Season 2. Episode 6: Dave Astor on Connecting via Books

Welcome to Tea, Toast and Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

Today, Dave Astor and I are bridging the 3,923 kilometers between New Jersey to Vancouver.

Winter is a time for books, tea, great conversations and more books.  Dave will be sharing his thoughts on how to decide what to read next, how to write a book review and should you read a book you don’t like?

Put the kettle on and add to this exciting conversation on TeaToastTrivia.com

I am your host Rebecca Budd and I’m looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

Thank you for joining Dave and me on Tea Toast & Trivia. And a very special thank you and shout out to Dave from the blog, Dave Astor on Literature.

In closing, I wanted to share a quote from Dave’s book, Fascinating Facts: “Literature can send our minds to another time and place, allowing us to forget our lives and troubles for a few precious hours.  It can educate us about history, open our minds, increase our empathy, make us think, give us things to converse about, and/or provide plenty of excitement along with the escapism.

Connect with Dave on Dave Astor on Literature.  Be prepared for an adventure.

Until next time, dear friends, safe travels.

Music by Sven Karlsson “Wait for the Night” Epidemic Sound

33 Comments

  1. Dave Astor says:

    Thanks so much, Rebecca, for interviewing me again! I loved your questions and the wide-ranging discussion of various reading-related topics. 🙂 Your podcasts are a “must-listen”!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you Dave for joining me from a distance and sharing your thoughts on connecting via books. We are sounding more and more like we are in the same room. I’m already on the road to creating more questions for our upcoming podcast. I love our conversations. Your participation is what makes TTT a “must-listen.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dave Astor says:

        Yes, Rebecca, the audio quality is as impressive as your podcast hosting! Kudos to you and your tech-wizard husband Don. I greatly look forward to the next podcast!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        Thank you for being a wonderful part of our exploration, Dave! So much fun!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I can attest to the quality of the audio. My husband and I listened to this episode in the car via my iPhone, and the audio was excellent.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Clanmother says:

        You have made our day!!! I have relayed your comments to my husband Don, who is the techie behind the audio. He is extremely pleased – I will add three exclamation mark on this!!! In our research on podcasting we have found that many podcasts have excellent content but are difficult to understand because of the audio quality. Thank you so much for this feedback! Hugs!

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Great conversation; always enjoy Dave’s insights into books!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am delighted that you joined the conversation and have enjoyed your comments on Dave’s blog. Books bring us together. It is an exciting and comforting thought.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Dave Astor says:

      Thanks so much, Becky! 🙂

      I share Rebecca’s opinion of your excellent comments on my blog — and greatly enjoy YOUR blog, too!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Dave Astor says:

      Thank you very much, Becky! 🙂

      I agree with Rebecca about your excellent comments on my blog — and I greatly enjoy YOUR blog as well!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Mary Jo Malo says:

    Stimulating conversation! I love reading and talking about books and seize nearly any opportunity to do so. Listening to this podcast, especially about the future of reading, I’m reminded of several brain scan studies which show the brain uses far more areas when reading than when passively looking at a screen. It’s especially important for seniors to add reading to their routine if they haven’t already. Other studies show that children exposed to high amounts of screen time are lacking in critical thinking and intuitive reason. So at any age, reading articles and books in any format will likely use the brain more extensively. As to book clubs…I think in-person comments are kinder and gentler. There’s just something about being in a room of fellow readers that lends itself to mutual respect and good humor.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      You have the best information, Mary Jo! And serendipity has come once again. I was just have a conversation with mom about aging. She will be turning 89 in a few weeks and the way in which she keeps focused and engaged is through reading. She chooses complex books like Ivan Turgenev’s “Fathers and Sons” and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. Let’s keep on reading and reading and reading. 2020 will be an extraordinary year.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Mary Jo Malo says:

        She’s truly an inspiration for us all!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Dave Astor says:

        Thank you, Mary Jo! Those sound like VERY interesting brain-scan studies. More strong reasons for reading! 🙂 And, Rebecca, your impressive mother is a reading inspiration!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. My mother became an avid reader of fiction after she moved into assisted living. She enjoyed discussing the books she read with me, but I couldn’t keep up with her!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Clanmother says:

        I know the feeling. Frances is now reading the second book by Hilary Mantel and has preordered the third. I am still thinking about reading “Sapiens.” By Yuval Harari YIKES!

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Dave Astor says:

        Liz, so great to hear that your mother — like Rebecca’s mother — is an avid reader! One wonderful way to keep the mind engaged! My parents unfortunately never read much. Maybe the back of a cereal box or two… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I was particularly interested in Dave’s comments about how difficult it is to write book reviews. Books rise or fall now on the strength of their Amazon reviews, and it’s pretty much a game of numbers and algorithms. I’ve been writing reviews of the books I read for the past year, and I set myself the challenge of describing my reading experience in a way that will give other readers a good sense of whether they would enjoy reading the book. I also try to accurately understand and describe what the book actually does (which gets at author’s intent). Publishing and readership feels very much in flux at this moment in our history.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I value your book reviews as I know that have integrity and reflect the author’s intent. We have limited time to devote to reading so we rely heavily on book reviews. We can’t read them all so are looking for ways in which to choose our reading material. Goodread’s introduction page, “meet your next favourite book” says it all. What I am learning is that I need to assess the reviewer by the way he or she views life, in general. I believe that we know a great deal about people through their writing even in reviews we read. There are unmistakable nuances. Sometimes it takes a “bad” or 1 out of 5 to pique my interest in a book.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Dave Astor says:

        Yes, Liz — Amazon reviews are SO important. It sounds like you take a lot of care when writing them, which is great. I write some Amazon reviews myself, and one thing I try to do is keep them short enough to attract the eye but long enough to give a decent sense of the book — maybe 100-150 words. And I agree, Rebecca, that Amazon reviews are heavily relied upon — and that one can tell a lot about reviewers by reading their words. “Windows” to their souls, even if one is on an Apple device… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “What I am learning is that I need to assess the reviewer by the way he or she views life, in general.” You’ve piqued my interest, Rebecca. Could you say more about this?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Clanmother says:

        This is a wonderful conversation, Liz. I have been reading reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads lately as I recognize that reviewers hold power over writers. People listen, especially to those who are active and known for their reviews. As I read the reviews, I hear the voices of the reviewers. I know whether they are kind, patient, compassionate. Most of all, I can tell whether they are able to entertain an idea, without accepting it. As Aristotle once wrote, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” It is easy to give a book a 1 out of 5, but noting a “book is a waste of time” without anything meaningful to support this opinion, says more about the reviewer than the author. That is when I am more likely to read the book.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. You make a very good point about the need for readers to evaluate the validity of other readers’ reviews. I learned my lesson about being dismissive of a story didn’t like when I was in a graduate literature seminar, and we were assigned to read Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River.” I HATED that story and dismissed it out of hand as pointless depiction of a pointless male experience (fishing) rendered in prose that came within a hair’s breadth of parody. However, when the classmate assigned to present on the story and lead the discussion provided the historical and biographical context for the story, I realized how wrong I was–not to dislike the story–that was my personal reading experience–but to dismiss it.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Clanmother says:

        And that is why I trust the reviews that you provide. It is so easy to be dismissive. A few years ago, I turned my back on “Nothing to be Frightened Of” by Julian Barnes. I even wrote about why I was annoyed. That was 8 years ago. I have decided that I will return to read it this year. Perhaps I have reached the level of maturity to “consider” his thoughts. Or perhaps there is a serendipity of time that brings us to the moment when we are ready for the book.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. I would be interested in hearing how your rereading of “Nothing to be Frightened Of” goes. With books I don’t respond well to, I like to ask myself, what have I learned from my experience of reading this book, what insights have I gained? Invariably, I’ve learned something about myself. However, that type of self-reflection isn’t appropriate for a book review!

        Liked by 2 people

      7. Clanmother says:

        Will let you know how it goes. Stay tuned!!!

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Dave Astor says:

        Liz, I totally hear you about Hemingway. I’m not a big fan, either, though I did like “For Whom the Bell Tolls” a lot. And, Rebecca, I totally hear you about how people can like some novels better at a different time of their lives. In my case, I was much more fond of “Middlemarch,” “Moby-Dick,” and “The Scarlet Letter” when trying them again years later.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary Jo Malo says:

    Writing book reviews is definitely difficult. I’ve written treatise style, Goodreads style, and blurb style. Not giving away significant plot is important, but giving away yourself is important too! I feel if a reviewer tells me how the book affected them, it helps me decide whether or not to read 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree wholeheartedly , Mary Jo. Hearing someone speak about how a book had a influence is a marvelous way to measure whether I will chose a book. I am currently reading “Secrets we Kept” by Lara Prescott because of Elisabeth van der Meer’s recommendation, which included her personal reflections. Your recommendations have been invaluable and have been added to my 2020 “to read.” I appreciated Dave’s thoughts on “Outlander.” He would never have read the book unless a friend had recommended it. We are truly connected via books! Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

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