Tag: reading meme


Seven Deadly Sins (of reading)

Posted 10 August, 2014 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Quite like this meme which I lifted from Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts.

GREED – What is your most inexpensive book?

Well, aside from all the freebies, bookmooched stuff, etc, I think it’d have been something from a charity shop. I have a copy of Raymond E. Feist’s Magician that cost me 20p, for example. (Why I bought it when I already own it in paperback and ebook is a mystery I’ll leave for you to ponder.)

WRATH – What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

Philip Palmer. The books of his I’ve loved, I’ve really loved (despite having giant problems with them, in some cases). And then two of his other books were so meh I wanted to shake him.

GLUTTONY – What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?

The Lord of the Rings, of course. Well, and The Hobbit; they come as a pair for me, really, but I’ve probably read The Hobbit more, since Mum wouldn’t let me read LOTR until I was old enough to appreciate it. I could pretty much start it again once I’ve finished it; it’d have to go with me to a desert island.

SLOTH – What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

An awful lot of books. One example… Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest. I’ve had it on my shelves for ages now.

PRIDE – What book do you talk most about to sound like an intellectual reader?

I don’t think I do that much. Maybe Tolstoy’s War and Peace? Which I honestly do love, though. I’d rather show you how smart I am by telling you all about how Tolkien used his sources in The Lord of the Rings, for all that it’s looked down upon by some “intellectuals”. He was a clever, clever man.

LUST – What attributes do you find attractive in male or female characters?

In any characters, male, female or otherwise, it’s compassion and loyalty. I am gaga for the stupidly loyal ones.

ENVY – What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

Other than a first edition of LOTR? Honestly, I’m not too acquisitive about books in that sense — I’m not envious of the books other people have, generally. Sometimes there’s an ARC that makes me flail — like, I missed out on Kim Curran’s Delete when it was on Netgalley, since I expected to be able to buy it soon after, except then there was Strange Chemistry’s demise… Now I’m jealous of everyone with a copy.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 6 August, 2014 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
Mindstar Rising, by Peter F. Hamilton. I think it was his first novel, according to the back of it, so I might try something from his later stuff, but this didn’t impress me that much. It was aaaaall about the male gaze, as well: the first thing we know about female characters is whether they’ve “let themselves go” or how young and nubile they are. Ugh. So in the end, not impressed.

What are you currently reading?
Some of the things I’ve been featuring on this list for a while are quite big books, so they don’t go on the bus with me, etc. So The Vanishing Witch (Karen Maitland) and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Thomas Sweterlitsch) are still in progress…

My reading in the clinic is currently Gwenda Bond’s Blackwood, which works for the Strange Chem reading month, and which I’ve had for a while. Because of it, I ended up on Wikipedia last night reading up about Roanoke, Croatoan, and then all sorts of missing persons stuff — though I did also read about the genetic testing being done to see if the lost colonists actually assimilated with the local Native American tribes, which is more plausible than some theories, and quite interesting. I want to know what they find!

At home, for ARC August, along with the others I’ve also picked up Marcus Sedgwick’s A Love Like Blood. I’ve been slightly spoilered for the ending by an injudicious review, but I don’t have a great problem with spoilers, so I don’t mind too much. It’s interesting, though very similar in tone to other books in the genre in many ways.

Aaaand from my epic library clean-up, I’m reading Jurassic Mary: Mary Anning and the Primeval Monsters (Patricia Pierce), which is very interesting, although there’s a lot about the various men in the profession who overshadowed Mary Anning, which I regret a little in a book that wants to cast light on her.

What will you be reading next?
As usual, heaven knows, but Strange Chem-wise, I think I’m going to fiiiiinally read Stolen Songbird, and that also covers ARC August as well. Even if the “advance” part is kind of dead in the water, I still received it as an ARC and I feel obligated to get round to it.

Library-wise, I think it’ll be Sarah Canary (Karen Joy Fowler), which will also cover my ten-new-to-me SF Masterworks goal.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 31 July, 2014 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
The King of Elfland’s Daughter. It’s bloody beautiful. There were some aspects that annoyed me, but mostly it all came together just right. I wouldn’t approach it as a fantasy novel, though: I would approach it as an inspiration for later fantasy, that’s maybe more at home as an extended fairytale/folktale.

The other thing was The 101 Best Science Fiction Novels 1985-2010, which is an interesting list. No more definitive than any other, I’d say, and prone to the straight white men end of the scale, but some interesting-looking stuff I hadn’t come across elsewhere before.

What are you currently reading?
Still should be focusing on The Vanishing Witch (Karen Maitland), but I’ve started doling that out in little bits instead of devouring it all at once. I feel like I’ve got an idea of the shape of the work now, so I feel less compulsion to push on through.

Mostly, though, today it’s been Michael Moorcock’s Gloriana, or the Unfulfill’d Queen. Aside from the fact that the plot revolves around Gloriana not being able to have orgasms (no, really) and the focus on sex that comes with it, I’m actually quite enjoying the creation of the alternative Elizabethan court, and the way Moorcock writes.

What will you read next?
Probably one of the ARCs I’ve got here to read: after that, I think I’ll terrify myself with non-fiction about rare brain diseases, namely Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan. Should be, uh, fun.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 24 July, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell) and a book about panic attacks. Both have been on my currently reading list for a while, so I’m actually super pleased about that. I have a lot of complicated feelings about Rainbow Rowell’s work.

What are you currently reading?
The Language Instinct (Steven Pinker) is at the top of my pile, since I’m hoping to get on and finish that. There’s a few ARCs I’ve apparently started all at once, too: The Vanishing Witch (Karen Maitland), which is so far very typical of her work; Yesterday’s Kin (Nancy Kress), which is currently reminding me of her novel Steal Across the Sky quite a bit; and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Thomas Sweterlitsch), which has me intrigued so far, but I’m not far into it yet at all.

What will you read next?
Like I’m not busy enough? Heh. Probably I’ll finish Darwin’s Ghost (Steve Jones), since that’s well past due back at the library, and then probably Genes, Peoples and Languages (Luigi Luca Cavella Sforza), since I’ve been reading Steven Pinker.

Fiction-wise, I’m thinking that I’m going to reread After the Golden Age (Carrie Vaughn) and then read the sequel, Dreams of the Golden Age, next. But there’s plenty of fiction I’m partway through, too, and some ARCs I should get to. Maybe A Suitable Replacement (Megan Derr), because I’ve been meaning to try something by Derr for a while.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 17 July, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
Legends of Red Sonja (Gail Simone) et al, which was not as good as the first Red Sonja TPB under Gail Simone’s leadership, but still pretty fun, and also Rocket Girl: Times Squared (Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder), which was… okay, but I wasn’t enamoured.

What are you currently reading?
I’m slowly-slowly making my way through Death, Disability and the Superhero (José Alaniz), which is very academic and hard going, because I haven’t had to use my brain like this in a while. I’m enjoying it, though; I’m wondering if it’s going to mention Hawkeye in, what was it, the 70s? Who was deaf, according to the internet. I think Gail Simone’s Vengeance Moth is a bit too recent for this study, but I’m gonna be interested in the stuff about Daredevil. I haven’t read any Daredevil yet, but it is something I’m interested in.

I’m also reading The Serpent’s Promise (Steve Jones), which… I’m not sure how I feel about it. He’s one of those people who is very, very dismissive of faith/religion and basically holds it up as an intellectual truth that there’s no God. Which obviously, I’m not so sure about it. Anyway, the aim is to explain events in the Bible through science.

And finally, I’m reading The Vanishing Witch (Karen Maitland). It only arrived this morning, so I probably shouldn’t jump straight to it, but I’ve enjoyed all of Karen Maitland’s books and I’m excited about this one. I accidentally read the back page (I read so fast that if my eyes fall on it, it’s read), so I have some idea of what’s going to happen, and for once I’m a little disappointed about that. Normally I don’t mind spoilers.

What will you read next?
I’m trying to work on my Netgalley ratio right now, so next is probably Yesterday’s Kin (Nancy Kress). Although I’m also thinking of Illusive (Emily Lloyd-Jones), because hey, superpowered heist story!

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 9 July, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
The Planets, by Dava Sobel, which was… more literary than I expected. I mean, it’s more of a history of the way we’ve seen the planets than a gathering of scientific knowledge about them, though there’s some of that too.

What are you currently reading?
I’m trying to narrow my focus to one or two books at a time, which actually leaves me with two non-fiction books this week: The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker, which I think I’ve talked about here before, and Black and Brown Planets (ed. Isiah Lavender III). This is a perspective I don’t think I’ve really come across elsewhere: SF fandom through the eyes of POC, critiqued using the same rigour of any academic essays in any subject. I’m more used to fandom stuff, tumblr rants and DW posts, which are often deeply thoughtful and informative, but not in this format. I’m really enjoying it — and it’s increasing my interest in reading Samuel R. Delany’s stuff and rewatching Deep Space 9.

(I’m also getting a list of books I want to pick up that’re referenced in it; this is bad for me, in one way, but hey, I get to practice having restraint!)

What will you read next?
I’m going to focus on finishing Darwin’s Ghost (Steve Jones) and Elantris (Brandon Sanderson), I think. Maybe Knight’s Fee (Rosemary Sutcliff) and/or Hounded (Kevin Hearne), since the library is cruelly refusing to let me renew them anymore, and it’s high time I returned them anyway.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 2 July, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

Responses to emails and posts and such still pending. Sorry. On the bright side, emails have gone out to all the winners of my Strange Chemistry/Exhibit A giveaway, and all the books are ordered apart from one, so at least I’m doing something.

What have you recently finished reading?
The Brain That Changes Itself (Norman Doidge), which was… very problematic for me. Full review will be on the blog tomorrow, but I found some of his attitudes repugnant, despite how interesting the actual topic is for me.

What are you currently reading?
Many things, as usual, but most notably The Righteous Mind (Jonathan Haidt), which is very interesting so far. It’s actually an expansion of concepts I came across in my moralities class on Coursera, with a lot of overlap with things the professor of that course, Paul Bloom, already mentioned. But it’s nice to read it laid out in such a detailed way, and from another perspective. I haven’t knee-jerked yet, but I can confirm I am definitely very WEIRD (White, educated, industrialised, rich, democratic) in my responses to this kind of thing: of the various moral “receptors” Haidt mentions, I am most pinged by care/harm, and least affected by sanctity/degradation — although I also lack some other interesting features (for example, people who are easily disgusted tend to be politically, socially, etc, conservative: I’m very much a liberal) which are more universal.

And second most actively, Evil Dark (Justin Gustainis). I wasn’t incredibly won over by the first book, despite finding it fun. It’s a bit tropey. I mean, there’s even a fridged wife. But the detective character is actually showing some ability to adapt to changing situations, even when it goes against his deeply held feelings, so I’m intrigued by that.

I’ve also started, if barely, Kameron Hurley’s new book, The Mirror Empire. So far, there’s too much to hold in my head to have made any like/dislike decision yet. I’m intrigued by the gender system and how that works grammatically and socially in this world.

What will you read next?
I’m planning to read The Moral Landscape (Sam Harris), as his views are often touted as the opposite of Haidt’s. (This is another thing that makes me somewhat odd: I have not decided based on the fact that I like Haidt so far that I will dislike Sam Harris; I know he’s considered intelligent and thus will give him a chance.)

Other than that, no plans. I would say I’m somewhat limited by the books I brought with me on my visit to my parents’, but I have my Kobo with me and that’s stocked up like you wouldn’t believe, so that’s not really true. Still, I’m trying to limit myself to the books I’ve brought here or left here before. Some Ngaio Marsh is likely on the horizon.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 26 June, 2014 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
Agatha H. and the Airship City, which… I’m not too impressed. It’s the novelisation rather than the (I gather) original comics, but still. I don’t think I could stand to hear much more about Agatha’s gorgeous figure.

What are you currently reading?
Lirael, by Garth Nix. I love love love the exploring-in-the-library parts. I’m less keen on Sameth in general; I find Lirael more compelling, though they’re both fairly typical teenagers.

What will you read next?
Abhorsen, probably, the third book in Garth Nix’s series. I’m also eying some Angry Robot books, particularly the Justin Gustainis ones for some reason. I’ve brought my book on the history of Marvel with me, too.

In short, as usual: who knows?

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 18 June, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
Yesterday I finished Fortune’s Pawn (Rachel Bach) while I was at the clinic — man, I’m glad they let me read when it’s quiet now. It was a fun book, anyway: I loved the fighting scenes and the fact that the main character is a woman in an awesome mech. I was less fond of the heavy romance skew, partially because there were some tropes I’m less than fond of.

Today, I finished reading Death in a White Tie (Ngaio Marsh), which was the first of these mysteries that really got to me in terms of the feeling. In many ways it was typical, but I cared about the victim, genuinely felt he was a nice guy. I actually felt more about that than about Alleyn’s love affair. He hasn’t got a patch on Lord Peter, still, and ugh, that whole bit about women liking men who can bully them.

What are you reading now?
Lots and lots. But to highlight two, I’ve just started on Wen Spencer’s A Brother’s Price. It’s very interesting to read something that flips the gender roles like this, and I think I’m going to get along with the main character. I did read a review quite critical of it because it makes it seem like women are just as bad/worse than men, but I don’t see it that way. I mean, the situation as set up so far seems logical: men are scarce, and therefore precious and protected. Women are very defensive of them, and possessive too.

All of this makes sense for either gender, and here the women actually have a reason for it, unlike men IRL, because in our world, natural selection will always keep the number of babies of each gender born roughly equal. (It might dip to 49%-51% in a generation, or something like that, but it’s always going to self-correct.) I am wondering if it’s explained why men are rare and why natural selection isn’t fixing it. (I.e. if it’s something that can be adapted to, nature would quickly re-select for men who are fertile and have male children, because those male children will do well and go on to have more fertile male children. Eventually the balance would get to male 60-40 female or something, and then natural selection would select for women who bear more fertile female children, etc. I don’t know if I’m overthinking this for a speculative book that’s just reversing the genders, but this is the kind of thing I wonder.)

And of course, I’ve started on the next Alleyn book, Overture to Death, but I’m really not far into it.

What will you read next?
Death at the Bar (Ngaio Marsh) is a reasonable bet. Other than that, I don’t know. I’ll probably read some of my ARCs, particularly the comics — Pretty Deadly (Kelly Sue DeConnick & Emma Rios) and Noir (Victor Gischler). Also, I have a handful of pages left of Seven Forges (James A. Moore), which I enjoyed greatly and yet somehow have not yet managed to finish. That might well be next, so I can read the sequel.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 12 June, 2014 by Nikki in General / 3 Comments

Running a little behind on answering email, returning comments, etc. Soon!

What have you recently finished reading?
Artists in Crime (Ngaio Marsh). I’m really tearing through these books. I don’t think they’re as accomplished or interesting as Sayers’ Lord Peter books — not least because Alleyn is plainly reading from Wimsey’s crib sheet — but they’re just right to tuck myself up with and spend a few hours. I’m slowly getting fond of Alleyn, too.

What are you currently reading?
As usual, far too much, but only three things really actively. One is the current Ngaio Marsh I’m onto, of course, which is Death in a White Tie. Then I’m a chunk of the way into Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct, which is interesting. I don’t know enough about linguistics to really argue with Pinker, but I’m not completely convinced that language is genetically coded into us. Mind you, it shares some features with other things — in the same way as it becomes harder to learn a new language as you get older, it’s also hard to learn to use senses you didn’t have at a formative age. Still, that might be more to do with the way we learn and the plasticity of the brain… Anyway, the third book is Out on Blue Six (Ian McDonald). I feel quite deja vu-ish about this one, though. Or maybe it’s just that people have copied it since: it was originally published in the year I was born.

Oh, and I’m also dipping into Long Hidden (ed. Daniel José Older and Rose Fox). I actually got myself a print copy since I was taking so long to get to the ARC and felt guilty. Interesting that there’s a Welsh story in here.

What will you read next?
Well, it’s a reasonably good guess that Overture to Death (Ngaio Marsh) is coming up next. Other than that, there’s tons of stuff from previous weeks that I keep ignoring, so I probably should refrain from starting anything new.

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