Category: General


A bibliophilic problem, redux

Posted 30 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 5 Comments

So a while back my mother made a bargain with me: £5 for every so many books I managed to finish from my to read list. Well, I never finished that list, but now it’s back! And we have renegotiated so that I get £5 for every ten books I finish. This seems fair. Wish me luck! And here’s the list.

(I’ll even come back and update it with strikethroughs, this time.)

Bold denotes that I’ve already started it, underline that it’s an ARC.

Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells.
Rosie Best, Skulk.

Lauren Beukes, Zoo City.
Katherine Beutner, Alcestis.
Alan Bradley, Speaking from Among the Bones.
Alan Bradley, The Dead in their Vaulted Arches.
Gillian Bradshaw, Render Unto Caesar.
Wesley Chu, Deaths of Tao.
Cassandra Rose Clarke, The Assassin’s Curse.
Anna Cowan, Untamed.
Jeffery Deaver, The Empty Chair.
Diane Duane, The Door into Shadow.
Diane Duane, The Door into Sunset.
Steven Erikson, Deadhouse Gates.
Steven Erikson, Memories of Ice.
Ian C. Esslemont, Night of Knives.
David Gemmell, Ironhand’s Daughter.
David Gemmell, The Hawk Eternal.
Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber.
Jason M. Hough, The Darwin Elevator.
Jason M. Hough, The Exodus Towers.
Jason M. Hough, The Plague Force.
Matthew Hughes, Costume Not Included.
Matthew Hughes, Hell to Pay.
Guy Gavriel Kay, A Song for Arbonne.
Nicola Griffith, Hild.
Caspar Henderson, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings.
Bruce Holsinger, A Burnable Book.
Margo Lanagan, Tender Morsels.

Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice.
Fritz Leiber, Swords Against Death.
Fritz Leiber, Swords in the Mist.
Fritz Leiber, Swords Against Wizardry.
Stephen Leigh, Dance of the Hag.
Stephen Leigh, A Quiet of Stone.
Karen Lord, The Best of All Possible Worlds.
Scott Lynch, Republic of Thieves.
James A. Moore, Seven Forges.
Christopher Morley, The Haunted Bookshop.
Rachel Neumeier, Black Dog.
Thomas Penn, The Winter King.
James Renner, The Man from Primrose Lane.
Brandon Sanderson, Elantris.
C.J. Sansom, Heartstone.
Julianna Scott, The Holders.
Julianna Scott, The Seers.
Melissa Scott, Shadow Man.
Michael J. Sullivan, Avempartha.
Michael Swanwick, Dancing With Bears.
David Weber, The Honor of the Queen.
David Weber, The Short Victorious War.
David Weber, Field of Dishonor.
David Weber, Flag in Exile.
David Weber, Honor Among Enemies.
David Weber, In Enemy Hands.
Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Djinni.
Chuck Wendig, Mockingbird.
Chuck Wendig, Cormorant.
Tad Williams, The Dirty Streets of Heaven.
Chris Wooding, Retribution Falls.

Gulp.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 29 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, by Simon Baker, which was okay but not wondrous. And before that, Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great, which is wondrous and a joy to read — it distracted me from work, a lot (or made work easier to handle).

What are you currently reading?
Slow Fall to Dawn, by Stephen Leigh. It’s one of the books I found in Belgium that I’d never heard of before. Apparently it’s from the 80s, but it doesn’t seem too dated, probably because the author sensibly decided to set it after a civilisation crash (and rebuild). I’m enjoying it: at times, the writing seems a little clunky (like introducing a tiny detail and then two pages later, in the next chapter, bashing you over the head with the This Is Plot Relevant mallet).

Aaand Black Dog, by Rachel Neumeier. I’m taking my time with it, really. I’m quite enjoying that it doesn’t feel like YA, aside from in having adolescent protagonists — the characters aren’t instantly falling in love, they’re wary around each other, things aren’t easy, sibling bonds are more important than most other things… Rachel Neumeier’s blog tour swings by my blog tomorrow, so look out for that if you’re interested. There’s a giveaway as well.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Well, so far this year I’ve followed a fairly steady pattern of working on books I’ve already got started while reading one new, recently bought book that I obviously thought was shiny, while it’s fresh in my mind. So after Slow Fall to Dawn, I’ll probably read the two sequels, and after that… I might get round to Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen.

As for finishing books I’ve already got started, I think Katharine Beutner’s Alcestis and Gillian Bradshaw’s Render Unto Caesar are my next targets.

And I’d like to note that I haven’t bought any books since the Jo Walton, yet. I’m expecting an ARC and I won a LibraryThing giveaway, but I’ve been restrained.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 25 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 22 Comments

It’s time for Stacking the Shelves again! If you’re new to it, basically we all show off what books we’ve got in the past week. It’s hosted at Tynga’s Reviews, and you can find a ton of other people’s posts linked there too. So here’s my haul for the week — very restrained, for me: I think my partner will be shocked. At least if she discounts the ARCs, some of which I requested ages ago and some of which were unsolicited.

Ebooks

Cover of What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton

ARCs/review copies

Cover of Gretel and the Dark, by Eliza Granville Cover of The New Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko Cover of biography of Sally Ride Cover of Charles Darwin: Destroyer of Myths Cover of The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan

I think I’m most excited about reading Jo Walton’s book. It’s sort of a companion to Among Others, in a way, talking about fantasy/SF, a lot of which is probably mentioned in Among Others. That book meant a lot to me for personal reasons, but the range of books discussed in it was amazing too. I’m interested in the Sally Ride biography, too; women in space!

And for those who’re just dropping by this blog for this post, and aren’t planning to look around at the rest of it, may I tempt you to stay?

Posts coming up on The Bibliophibian sometime soon:
-Comparison of ereaders.
-Reading and the blind/partially sighted (written as an RNIB volunteer, but however not officially representing the RNIB or blind people in any way, just my personal experiences).
-Lord of the Rings Online as an adaptation of the books.
-A post in Rachel Neumeier’s blog tour for Black Dog, with giveaway!

Plus, of course, the usual reviews of a range of books and comics!

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 23 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
The last thing I read was the Ultimate Hawkeye comic, I think. Not a big fan. And before that, J.G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Archive, which again, not a big fan of. Before that, though, it was Emilie & the Hollow World (Martha Wells), which makes a great girl’s own adventure story.

What are you currently reading?
Fiction: Emilie & the Sky World (Martha Wells), the sequel to the book mentioned above! It’s an ARC and I’m very much enjoying it. I wanted to finish it today, but work got in the way…

Non-fiction: Through the Language Glass: Why the world looks different in other languages? (Guy Deutscher). It’s fascinating to read a longer explanation of the issues like the Ancient Greek epithet for the sea, the “wine-dark sea”, and why that arose from seeing colour differently.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Black Dog (Rachel Neumeier), as she’s stopping by my blog on her blog tour (post coming up on 31st January, if I remember rightly), from my ARCs. I also want to start on Stolen Songbird (Danielle L. Jensen).

And then there’s also What Makes This Book So Great (Jo Walton), which I will be buying in the morning. (Not now, I don’t need another excuse to procrastinate and get distra

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 18 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 36 Comments

Welcome to another week of lookit-my-new-shinies, aka Tynga’s Reviews’ Stacking the Shelves. I’ve been fairly good this week: I did go shopping in Leuven’s bookshops, but I set myself a goal: only get books that you’ve never heard of before, preferably by authors you’ve never heard of. This took me some time and deliberation and paging through reviews on Goodreads, but it was pretty fun. The dead tree books below are the result!

Dead tree books

Cover of Bear Daughter by Judith Berman Cover of A Secret Atlas, by Michael A. Stackpole Cover of Assassin's Dawn, the Hoorka trilogy omnibus by Stephen Leigh

ARCs/review copies

Cover of DC's Wonder Woman: War Cover of A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon Cover of Out on Blue Six by Ian McDonald Cover of Blades of the Old Empire by Anna Kashina Cover of Emilie and the Sky World by Martha Wells Cover of Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert Cover of Windwalker by Natasha Mostert Cover of The Midnight Side by Natasha Mostert Cover of A Burnable Book, by Bruce Holsinger

Obviously I’m pretty excited about my ARC of A Burnable Book, since that was the book I picked for Waiting on Wednesday. Of my dead tree books, I’m most interested by Bear Daughter — it’s based on West Coast mythology, if I remember rightly (I’ve packed the book in my suitcase, so I can’t check), and sounds pretty good. I’m also excited about Emilie & The Sky World; I haven’t read the first book yet, but that may well be what I read on the Eurostar today. I’ve loved what I’ve read of Martha Wells’ work.

What’ve you all been getting?

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 15 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

A quick post!

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished The Female Man (Joanna Russ) yesterday. I wanted to think so much better of it, but it felt like one of those stories where the message overruns the plot. Which is to say, I’m not sure what the plot even was.

What are you currently reading?
Actively, I’m back to working on reading Silhouette of a Sparrow (Molly Beth Griffin). I’ve nearly finished that one. It’s cute, I’m wondering exactly how far it will go. I think Sarah Diemer recommended this one at some point?

What do you think you’ll read next?
Bruce Holsinger’s A Burnable Book! I was talking to him on twitter earlier and he actually sent me an ARC, so after all that I’m moving it right up my list.

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Waiting On Wednesday: Bruce Holsinger’s A Burnable Book

Posted 15 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 11 Comments

A lot of posts are going to be turning up today, I’m afraid. Like buses, post topics seem to come up all at once. (I could schedule them, but this is specifically a Wednesday meme, and the other thing I’ll post later is something I always do on Wednesdays. So!)

Anyway, this post is about Waiting On Wednesday, a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which people highlight books they’re eagerly waiting for. Mine for this week is Bruce Holsinger’s A Burnable Book. I was part of Holsinger’s Plagues, Witches and War Coursera MOOC on historical fiction, and I really enjoyed his teaching style, and appreciated the way he engaged with the students. So I’m looking forward to the book because I’m interested professionally/academically, so to speak, but also because it involves Gower and Chaucer and — well, I’ll let the blurb speak for itself, shall I?

Cover of A Burnable Book, by Bruce HolsingerIn Chaucer’s London, betrayal, murder and intrigue swirl around the existence of a prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England’s kings. A Burnable Book is an irresistible thriller, reminiscent of classics like An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Name of the Rose and The Crimson Petal and the White.

London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers—including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt’s flamboyant mistress, Katherine Swynford—England’s young, still untested king, Richard II, is in mortal peril, and the danger is only beginning. Songs are heard across London—catchy verses said to originate from an
ancient book that prophesies the end of England’s kings—and among the book’s predictions is Richard’s assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a “burnable book,” a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm. To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low.

Gower discovers that the book and incriminating evidence about its author have fallen into the unwitting hands of innocents, who will be drawn into a labyrinthine conspiracy that reaches from the king’s court to London’s slums and stews–and potentially implicates his own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may be the last hope to save a king from a terrible fate.

Medieval scholar Bruce Holsinger draws on his vast knowledge of the period to add colorful, authentic detail—on everything from poetry and bookbinding to court intrigues and brothels—to this highly entertaining and brilliantly constructed epic literary mystery that brings medieval England gloriously to life.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 11 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 29 Comments

Well, I’ve bought my first new books of 2014, and I’ve got a bunch of ARCs, so this post will be more exciting than I expected…

See Stacking the Shelves at Tynga’s Reviews to see what this is all about and find other people’s posts!

Dead tree

Cover of The White Queen, by Philippa Gregory Cover of The Atrocity Exhibition by JG Ballard Cover of Through the Language Glas by Guy Deutscher Cover of The Universe Versus Alex Woods, by Gavin Extence

ARCs

Cover of Dawn of Swords by David Dalglish Cover of Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins Cover of The City by Stella Gemmell Cover of Red Sonja, by Gail Simone Cover of The Waking Engine by David Edison Cover of The Palace Job, by Patrick Weekes Cover of Romulus Buckle and the City of FoundersCover of Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War

Of the books I bought myself, I think I’m probably most interested in Through the Language Glass, though I have some academic interest in The White Queen (I’m generally interested in the portrayal of real queens in fiction, and the interaction between their depiction in fiction and the real nobility). My partner bought me that one!

Of the ARCs, I’ve been keeping an eye on Stella Gemmell’s The City, since I enjoyed her husband’s work, which I believe she had some input on. Red Sonja is intriguing, since I’ve never read a Gail Simone comic but I’ve heard good things about her work, and I’ve never read anything about Red Sonja before.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 8 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
100 Must-Read Fantasy Novels, by Nick Rennison, review coming up tomorrow on the blog. Before that, it was volume 19 of Ultimate Spider-man, which I’m still working my way through. It was a pretty good volume.

What are you currently reading?
Most of the things I was reading last time I posted this, still, and Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse. I heard some bad things about it, which was sad after how much I loved The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, but actually I’m enjoying it. I’m not far into it, but the narration is fun.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Well, some more Spider-man, probably. Also Red Sonja vol. 1, which I got an ARC of via Netgalley this week. I’m curious about Red Sonja, she’s not a character I’ve actually read anything about, but I have heard about her. So this should be interesting. After that, I’m thinking of The Phoenix and the Mirror, by Avram Davidson.

Books acquired:
None bought! Some ARCs. But I’m gonna start saving this kind of thing for Saturday and Stacking the Shelves.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 5 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 10 Comments

This week has involved a bit of a spree, because of Christmas money and my sister being a terrible influence. She will try and claim it’s the other way round, but that’s lies and slander. Anyway, as you might’ve realised, it’s time for Tynga’s Reviews’ Stacking the Shelves. I would like to take this moment to note that we’re the 4th January and I haven’t yet bought any books in 2014. That’s big stuff for me.

Anyway, breaking these down into sections just for ease…

Graphic novels

Cover of Wonder Woman vol. 2, Guts
Non-fiction

Cover of Robert Hutchinson's biography of Thomas Cromwell Cover of Carl Sagan's Cosmos Cover of Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

Dead tree (other)

Cover of The Dragon Griaule by Lucius Shepard Cover of The Phoenix and the Mirror by Avram Davidson

Ebook (other)

Cover of The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells  Cover of Dark Benediction by Walter M. Miller Cover of the first Apex collection Cover of Meta by Tom Reynolds Cover of Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem Cover of The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt  Cover of Riley Parra: Season 1. by Geonn CannonCover of Riley Parra: Season 2. by Geonn CannonCover of Riley Parra: Season 3. by Geonn Cannon Cover of Untamed by Anna Cowan

ARCs/review copies

Cover of Wolverine's Daughter by Doranna Durgin Cover of Taste of Darkness, by Maria V. Snyder Cover of Stolen Songbird, by Danielle L. Jensen

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