Tag: reading memes

What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 5 April, 2017 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?

I juuust finished The Vital Question, by Nick Lane. I’d like to read some papers on this kind of thing, rather than a pop science book; he seems so certain about how life evolved and why life anywhere in the universe is probably under the same constraints! And the best bit is, this is kind of my field, so I probably can follow up on some of it. It does give me that wonder-of-science feeling.

What are you currently reading?

I just started The Furthest Station, by Ben Aaronovitch, and other than that I think Samuel R. Delany’s Nova is next on my list to finish.

What will you read next?

I haven’t really decided that yet… I have a new method which my wife taught me. I pick five books out that I’d like to read, she picks two of them, and then I pick one of those two. It seems to be working surprisingly well so far. And I should do that now, probably.

Tags: ,


What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 1 March, 2017 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?

T. Kingfisher’s Summer in Orcus! For which I have many hearts, as it is the kind of self-aware portal fantasy that I needed right now. I love Reginald and Glorious and even the Antelope Woman, and I want to wander through Orcus and see the birds dancing.

What are you currently reading?

Um, well, I might still be partway through more or less the same books as last week: After Atlas, The Dragonbone Chair (reread), The Stars are Legion… I think that’s it. Probably.

What are you planning to read next?

Probably a couple of ARCs — Kiernan’s Agents of Dreamland is next up on the list, I think. After that, some non-fiction. A friend told me that Nick Lane’s The Vital Question is a difficult one, so now I’m curious.

Tags: ,


What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 15 February, 2017 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?

Francis Pryor’s Britain AD, with which I had a lot of arguments. I don’t dispute his understanding of archaeology, but I’m not sure about his grasp of linguistics, genetics or literature, which unfortunately come into this somewhat and appear to counter some of his theories. But I have a whooole post on that coming in… uh, April. So I’ll stop now.

What are you currently reading?

I’m still reading Ellen Klages’ Wicked Wonders, rereading Tad Williams’ The Dragonbone Chair, and I’ve started on On the Origin of Species — Darwin, of course. It’s a little slow going, but as a biologist in the making, I feel like I really should read it — and he argued his case very, very well. I’ve also still got The Stars are Legion…

What are you planning to read next?

I’m trying not to plan what to read next! I need to get some of the books I’m already reading squared away. I’m going to focus on Wicked Wonders next, I think.

Tags: ,


What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 25 January, 2017 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Every time I firmly promise myself I won’t miss this again, something comes up and I miss it for weeks. Sorryyy.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished up a reread of Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon — and have raided the library here in Leuven for the next few books. It’s better than I remembered, actually; the alternate history is careful and clever, and Laurence’s relationship with Temeraire is sweet. Things which are meant to be emotionally affecting really, really are. And corners are not cut just to give you a nice ending to a story arc.

What are you currently reading?

The Burning Page, by Genevieve Cogman. I’ve nearly finished it now, which is both exciting and a little daunting. There are going to be more books, right? Right??

What are you planning to read next?

I’m not sure. I might try and finish Dark Sky, by Mike Brooks, as I am enjoying it and I’m not sure why I put it down. I’ve also been meaning to reread The Summer Tree, by Guy Gavriel Kay, or possibly his Sailing to Sarantium. Hmmmm, so many choices…

Tags: ,


What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 7 December, 2016 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did this last because I’ve been so busy with assignments. Fortunately, I’ve had a bit more time to myself this week, so this feature is back!

What have you recently finished reading?

I’ve been rereading the Narnia books, so I just finished The Horse and his Boy. I read in chronological, rather than publishing order, so I’ve already read The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I still love the narration. Lewis managed to get something wonderfully warm into it, particularly in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and less so in some of the others. But it is so preachy. Partly just because of the target audience (kids) and writing style (somewhat didactic), but also because of the Christian overtones.

I actually spoke to someone recently who hadn’t figured out that Aslan = Jesus? I actually miss having that kind of innocence about the books, because knowing it’s an allegory and being able to identify all the various points with clear correspondences takes away some of the fun.

I’ve also been rereading Sarah Zettel’s Camelot books, though so far I’ve only finished Camelot’s Shadow. It’s probably my favourite of the four because it has the story of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle. There’s some minor typographical and editing issues that are driving me a little bit nuts in the UK editions. Like when Father is used as a name but not capitalised! But it’s a very interesting take on the Arthurian legends, even with the romances being the foreground. I love the fact that the matter of succession has been considered, and Gawain is openly being groomed to follow Arthur, while Guinevere has an active role in running Camelot, and… so on. I need to write my review, clearly.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve finished most of the books I have on the go at the moment. I’m partway through rereading Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas; hopefully, I’ll catch up with the series this time. I still feel the same about it as I did the first time. It’s fun, but it’s not nearly perfect.

Next up: Camelot’s Honour, Prince Caspian, Crown of Midnight…

What are you planning to read next?

After dropping my reading goals, I’m trying to find more joy in my reading again, so I’m doing quite a bit of rereading. I know I want to reread The Invisible Library and The Masked City, by Genevieve Cogman, so I can get round to reading the new one. I just got approved for the ARC! I also want to reread Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry trilogy, and Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, as well as finish rereading Sarah Zettel’s Camelot books, the Narnia books and of course, Tolkien’s The Return of the King.

I’m also trying not to plan too far ahead. I finish a book; I pick up the next one which makes me smile.

Tags: , , , ,


This Is My Genre, Show Me Yours

Posted 17 November, 2016 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

Saw this tag out in the wilds of Lucille @ A Dragon in Space‘s blog, and thought, yep! This sounds interesting.

This is my genre, show me yours!

The Rules:

  • Credit Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek as the creator of the tag, either use the created tag name graphic or create your own and link back to my blog.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag as many people as you want.

Because I’m contrary and have no art skills, I am not creating a graphic.

1. What’s your favourite genre?

Probably fantasy. I mean, I’m really eclectic and wander into science fiction, crime/mystery, non-fiction and even romance. But unless I can sneak in sci-fi too by calling it speculative fiction… actually, yes, let’s do that. My favourite genre is speculative fiction.

2. Who’s your favourite author from the genre?

This is a really big ask. I mean, there’s Tolkien, because his work is an enduring love of mine. Well, I faltered a bit as a teen, but then read Ursula Le Guin’s essays and came to appreciate all over again the good parts of The Lord of the Rings, like the wry notes of humour. And then my degree taught me to appreciate the deep background, linguistic brilliance, etc.

And come to that, there’s Ursula Le Guin, whose works were also formative for me.

But if we’re talking whose work I pounce on immediately, I guess we’re at Jo Walton. She is not only an awesome writer who wrote Among Others, a book which reflects my own heart, but she is also a friend and giver of great advice.

3. What is it about the genre that keeps pulling you back?

The sheer variety, I think. One minute I can travel with Bilbo from the Shire, and the next I can travel by sandworm across Arrakis, or struggle to get home from Mars with Mark Watney. There seems to be just about no limit to the different books I could easily lay hand on even in my own collection.

4. What’s the book that started your love for your favourite genre?

That’s an easy one! The Hobbit! I probably wrecked my eyes reading that book — my parents told me I had to sleep and to stop turning my bedside light on. So I read by the light of the streetlamp… two houses away.

5. If you had to recommend at least one book from your favourite genre to a non-reader/someone looking to start reading that genre, what book would you choose and why?

No, no, this is silly, I’d need to know the person and their preferences. You have to tailor your recs, or it makes no sense. But for a lot of people, I might go with Harry Potter. It seems to have been a gateway drug for many, and it’s a pretty pacy, easy read.

6. Why do you read?

Why can’t I stop? Not that I want to.

Tags: , ,


What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 16 November, 2016 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
Mara Wilson’s biography, Where Am I Now? Obviously, I wanted to be Matilda as a kid, so it was interesting to catch up with the life of someone who lived the dream… sort of. It’s quite touching in places, and she writes frankly about her anxiety disorder. I found it entertaining and worth the read.

What are you currently reading?
On the go right now… The Return of the King, as I finally finish off my reread, and Dark Sky, by Mike Brooks — the sequel to Dark Run. Tolkien’s work is fascinating, of course, although for once I think maybe I’m not quite in the right mood. Dark Sky is entertaining, though I’ve got a bit bogged down in the current section with the riot. I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps I’m just being picky in general about my books. It wouldn’t be the first time…

What are you planning to read next?
I’ve got a tonne of non-fiction reviews all lined up to post at around the same time, so I think I’m going to try and make sure it’s fiction, at least. I have to look at my reading challenge prompts that are left; stuff like ‘a book I haven’t read since high school’ and ‘a book and its prequel’. Hmm…

Tags: ,


A-Z Book Blogger Tag

Posted 10 November, 2016 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Picked up from Chuckles, this tag looked kind of fun. Obviously, consider yourself tagged if you agree!

Author you’ve read the most books from:
I have a suspicion it’s probably Ursula Le Guin, just because she’s written so many books. But the number on my Goodreads might be misleading, due to rereads, so it could also be Mary Stewart — I might’ve read more unique books by her, especially when you consider both the mystery/thrillers and the very different Arthurian novels.

Best sequel ever:
Well, I think I might be contractually obligated to say The Lord of the Rings… no, but really. The Hobbit is fun, but The Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece.

Currently reading: 
The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu. By the time this posts I’ll have finished it, but for right now I don’t quite know what I think of it. Might have to go round some other blogs and see what people I trust have said!

Drink choice when reading:
Diet Coke, always. Well, not always — at one point I wasn’t drinking caffeine, and then the drink of choice was Fanta, usually the passionfruit flavour.

Ereader or physical book:

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:
Uh, Hermione Granger? She was probably the main thing about Harry Potter that I’d never get tired of. Although I have a sneaking suspicion my sister might give the same answer, which is kind of weird.

Glad you gave this book a chance:
Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire. It took me so long to get round to it, feeling like it couldn’t match up!

Hidden Gem book:
Critical Nikki error: I have no idea right now.

Important moment in your reading life:
My first year of my English Lit BA. Suddenly, I was being challenged and really taught analytical skills, and I took to it like a duck to water. I will never understand people who say they no longer read after their English Lit degree, because analysing books so much spoilt them. How? Knowing more, having a bigger toolkit, was just an encouragement for me. Incidentally, the first year of my degree is also when I first ran into what I guess some people would call Social Justice Warriorism. In a different way, that also made me more aware of what I was reading, and more able to analyse it.

Just finished:
The last book I finished was A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. Gah, is all I have to say.

Kind of books you won’t read:
Books where I know in advance they’re really gross about race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. I’m sure some of those are even worth reading in their way, but I don’t have the time and energy to spare for books that’ll make my blood boil.

Longest book you’ve read:
I don’t know, but Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is probably high on the list.

Major book hangover because of:
I don’t tend to get that feeling.

Number of bookcases you own:
Oh, heck. Eight or nine? It’s hard to gauge, because I also have random shelves everywhere all over my room at my parents’ house, plus a set on wheels, plus a coffee table that’s actually a bookshelf…

One book you have read multiple times: 
Just one? Uh. The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison, then.

Preferred place to read:
I’m not too picky, honestly. I read anywhere and everywhere. As a kid, I used to like sitting on stairs, for some reason, but they’re a bit narrow for me to sit on comfortably now.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
“Lord, if I thought you were listening, I’d pray for this above all: that any church set up in your name should remain poor, and powerless, and modest. That it should wield no authority except that of love. That it should never cast anyone out. That it should own no property and make no laws. That it should not condemn, but only forgive. That it should be not like a palace with marble walls and polished floors, and guards standing at the door, but like a tree with its roots deep in the soil, that shelters every kind of bird and beast and gives blossom in the spring and shade in the hot sun and fruit in the season, and in time gives up its good sound wood for the carpenter; but that sheds many thousands of seeds so that new trees can grow in its place. Does the tree say to the sparrow, ‘Get out, you don’t belong here?’ Does the tree say to the hungry man, ‘This fruit is not for you?’ Does the tree test the loyalty of the beasts before it allows them into the shade?”
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Philip Pullman

Reading Regret:
I took so freakin’ long to get round to reading Seanan McGuire’s books!

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out in series):
I don’t even know and I’m not sure I want to.

Three of your all time favourite books:
The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison; The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien; A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula Le Guin. 

Unapologetic fangirl for:
J.R.R. Tolkien, Jo Walton, Dorothy L. Sayers, Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, Jacqueline Carey, Guy Gavriel Kay, Scott Lynch…

Very excited for this release more than all the others:
The Burning Page, by Genevieve Cogman. Gimme, gimme, gimme.

X marks the spot-start at top left of your shelf and pick 27th book:
Taking my shelves at my wife’s place, it’s The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers. 

Your latest book purchase:
Bought for myself, it’d be Dark Sky, by Mike Brooks. Assuming I haven’t bought anything as I passed through London between writing this and it going up on the blog.

ZZZ snatcher book (the last book that kept you up way late):
I think that’d be The Talisman Ring, a reread. But that was more because I didn’t feel like sleeping…

Tags: ,


What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 9 November, 2016 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

So, uh, that was a politics, am I right. Let’s talk about books instead.

What have you recently finished reading?
The last thing I finished reading was The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu (trans. Ken Liu). I’m still processing what I thought of it. The hard science passed me by, but other aspects intrigued me. I wasn’t that much of a fan of the translation, and yet I feel that it probably did catch something of the original prose. It’s just that the aesthetics are different between Chinese culture and mine. I think I’ll pick up the next book, soon.

What are you currently reading?
I picked up my ARC of The Lost City of the Monkey God, after noticing it on Bob @ Beauty in Ruins‘ blog. I’m fascinated; it is a bit populist and treasure-hunty, but that’s part of the fun of it, too. I’m also reading Nick Clegg’s Politics: Between the Extremes. I was a Lib Dem voter at one point, so I was interested to see what account he made of himself. So far, so self-pitying. He has a point about the way politics needs to be shaped as a story, though. Why he seems to have been surprised that the heart rules the head when the average person makes political decisions, I don’t know. It feels particularly topical today, given the US elections.

But that’s politics again.

What are you planning to read next?
I’ve actually assembled a shortlist of books to read by the end of 2016, so ideally I should just pick from the list. I’m thinking I should get stuck back into Cleopatra’s Heir, by Gillian Bradshaw — I’m partway through it, and it’s a very interesting exploration of Caesarion and what could have happened to him.

Tags: ,


The TBR Tag

Posted 28 October, 2016 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

1. What book have you been unable to finish?
The most recent book I just skimmed in order to finish it was Moon Tiger, by Penelope Lively. Just not my thing at all, and the main character and the narrative structure drove me bananas. I try to at least skim most books to the end, so it’s a rare one where I just put it down.

2. Which book haven’t you read yet because you haven’t had the time?
Hahahaha… Yeah, many. Six of Crows is one that I’ve only recently picked up, and which I’m kind of stalled on, for example. Stuff just keeps happening and I pick up something Cover of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugoquicker/shinier/more suiting to my mood.

3. Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s a sequel?
Again, this could apply to many, many books of my acquaintance. There’s a bunch of ARCs to which this applies, for example — Seanan McGuire’s Once Broken Faith, Juliet Marillier’s Den of Wolves, Sylvia Izzo Hunter’s A Season of Spells… Must catch up.

4. Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s brand new?
The Hanging Tree, by Ben Aaronovitch. I got an e-ARC yesterday, for which I am excited, but I’m not sure I’ve even loaded it on my Kindle yet.

5. Which book haven’t you read yet because you read a book by the same author and didn’t enjoy it?
Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass. I don’t dislike his writing that much, but the Dresden Files books bothered me somewhat. With that in mind, it’s hard to make myself get round to this, no matter how intrigued I was by the opening pages.

6. Which book haven’t you read yet because you’re just not in the mood for it?
Like the person I borrowed this tag from, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. Or worse, Scott Lynch’s The Republic of Thieves. I have no real excuse.

Cover of In Ashes Lie by Marie Brennan7. Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s humongous?
It doesn’t actually take much to discourage me from reading a book at the moment, because I know I have reading goals I should be meeting. Terrible, isn’t it? Even Marie Brennan’s In Ashes Lie is daunting me.

8. Which book haven’t you read yet because because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?
With these, I actually tend to move them forward in the list and just get it over with.

9. What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?
The easy answer is Joyce’s Ulysses, though I’m not sure I’ve ever actually committed to reading that. There’s a few science books on my TBR that daunt me a little, mostly because I have a stupid notion that I’m not good at science. (I got a distinction for my first year of my BSc. It’s all good. I am not bad at science by any means. And yet…)

10. Who do you tag?
I forget who likes tags and who doesn’t, so tag yourself if you so wish!

Tags: ,