Category: General


Weekly Roundup

Posted 29 December, 2018 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Well, that was a Christmas! Lots of books have been acquired, including a vast amount of Daisy Dalrymple, and with that I have nooo problem!

Books acquired:

Cover of An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris Cover of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. Cover of An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. Cover of Antidote to Venom by Freeman Wills Crofts

Cover of The Santa Klaus Murder by Mavis Doriel Hay Cover of A Mourning Wedding by Carola Dunn. Cover of Fall of a Philanderer by Carola Dunn Cover of Gunpowder Plot by Carola Dunn.

Cover of The Bloody Tower by Carola Dunn Cover of Black Ship by Carola Dunn. Cover of Sheer Folly by Carola Dunn. Cover of Anthem for Doomed Youth by Carola Dunn.

Books read this week:

 Cover of Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper Cover of Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers Cover of Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon Cover of Striding Folly by Dorothy L. Sayers

Number of books in: 12
Number of books read: 5
Number of books from the backlog read: 1
Rereads: 3
Library books: 0
Bought 2018: 1

Out and about:

Once Upon A Blue Moon: ‘Christmas Limericks.‘ I wrote a limerick for each of our bunnies for the tag of their Christmas presents. This post has all four.
NEAT science: ‘Types of flu vaccine. Why are there three different types, and why do people get a different one based on age? I tell all!

And that’s it for this week! It’s been a very quiet week around here. Back to normal operations soon!

So how’s everyone else been? Good Christmas, if you celebrate?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted 22 December, 2018 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Hey all! It’s getting really close to Christmas, and everything’s being flung to the wind as I finish up the last few hand-crafted items I need to do. Am I overdoing it? Probably! Anyway, that’s why I’ve been quiet — I hope to be around a lot more once Christmas is done.

Still, there’s some new books this week, so this post needn’t be empty excuses!

Books acquired:

Cover of Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan  Cover of Mistletoe and Murder by Carola Dunn Cover of Die Laughing by Carola Dunn Cover of The Cobbler's Boy by Elizabeth Bear and Katherine Addison.

Cover of Bloodsworn by Erin Lindsey. Cover of Bloodforged by Erin Lindsey. Cover of The Books of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin and Charles Vess

Books read this week:

Cover of Rivers of London audiobook Cover of Styx and Stones by Carola Dunn

Reviews posted this week:

The Roman Forum, by David Watkin. A fascinating, if somewhat anti-archaeology, view of the Roman Forum through time. 3/5 stars
Damsel in Distress, by Carola Dunn. Don’t worry, the damsel in the title isn’t Daisy, as she gets herself in and out of trouble with her usual aplomb. A fun entry in the series. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

Discussion: Libraries. Do you use ’em?
WWW Wednesday. The usual weekly update!

Out and about:

Once Upon A Blue Moon: ‘Transcript from the interview that contributed material for the article ‘Aliens from Outer Space: Make Us Into Your Leaders’, published Oct 2036‘. A short story about science, progress, and aliens. I wrote it for submission to an anthology, but it was rejected, so now it’s out in the world for free!

How’s everyone doing?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 19 December, 2018 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

The three ‘W’s are what are you reading now, what have you recently finished reading, and what are you going to read next, and you can find this week’s post at the host’s blog here if you want to check out other posts.

Cover of Ninja by John ManWhat are you currently reading?

Really actively, I think I’ve only got John Man’s book on ninjas on the go now. It’s the usual sort of light non-fiction he always writes, with some bits of travel and chasing down the true story, talking to descendents, etc, and some chapters based on the documented facts from sources. It has significant overlap with his book on samurai, of course.

Cover of Styx and Stones by Carola DunnWhat have you recently finished reading?

I just finished Styx and Stones, which is the… sixth? Daisy Dalrymple mystery. I enjoyed it a lot, though the argument between Alec and Daisy in the middle just felt rather manufactured. I do enjoy Daisy’s sympathy for women like the Scarlet Woman of the village, while she remains pretty wholesome and clean-cut herself. She’s a bit of a Mary Sue, I suppose, but in a male detective no one would think anything of it.

Cover of The Books of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin and Charles VessWhat will you be reading next?

Most likely it’ll be the copy of the collected Earthsea books and stories that my wife gave me as an early Christmas present! It’s gorgeous, though a bit of a handful to settle down and read. I might have to ration it to avoid wrist strain!

What are you currently reading?

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Discussion: Libraries

Posted 17 December, 2018 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

I’m a pretty unabashed lover of libraries. Free books! And so many of them! Okay, I sometimes have trouble finding the exact books I want, but I do get exposed to all kinds of books I might not otherwise have tried. And, well, having four different local library cards helps, too. If the most local library doesn’t have a book, the next one out just might (without having to figure out the individual library’s interlibrary loan system).

And it’s great, of course, to support librarians and prove to councils that people need and use libraries. Especially given the fact that I was on the committee of and volunteered at a community library — a noble endeavour and one that did a lot of good, but also made it obvious just how important funding and backup are in running an effective and useful library. Energetic volunteers aren’t really a replacement for money, and community-led libraries are limited (though better than nothing, by a long long way!).

On the other hand, I have an entire shelf of library books, menacing me slightly with their due dates and sheer profusion. The problem with libraries is that they tempt me to bite off more than I can chew, and unlike the books I own, they don’t wait patiently. So currently I’m in the process of whittling down the number of library books hanging out on my shelves. It’s going slowly… I’m on about 30 left, though, from 60ish to begin with, so I guess I’m doing okay.

Thank goodness libraries let you renew loans…

All the same, it’s important to remember that libraries are pretty great. Librarians, you have my love!

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 15 December, 2018 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Good morning, folks! Another week closer to Christmas, and so many parcels arriving with books… which aren’t for me! 😱 No new books this week at all.

Read this week:

Cover of A Most Novel Revenge by Ashley Weaver Cover of Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge Cover of Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers Cover of The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers

Stats:

Number of books in: 0
Number of books read: 4
Number of books from the backlog read: 0
Rereads: 2
Library books: 1
Bought 2018: 1

Reviews posted this week:

Murder on the Flying Scotsman, by Carola Dunn. Another entertaining entry in the series, this one featuring Alec’s daughter. 4/5 stars
The Greeks, by H.D.F. Kitto. Out of date, in attitude as well as facts, but the guy was so darn enthusiastic about the Greeks it was kind of charming anyway. 3/5 stars
The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard. A Sherlock Holmes inspired story where Watson is a sentient ship. Definitely enjoyable, though more about the characters and their interactions (very early in their relationship — they meet at the start of the book) than the mystery or even the world they inhabit, part of Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya universe. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

Discussion: When To Give Up. I have stacks and stacks of books in my backlog. When should I admit that I may never read them? Hmm… never!
WWW Wednesday. The usual weekly update.

Out and about:

NEAT science: ‘The deep biosphere. Wanna know about the weird and wonderful lifeforms found deep under the surface of the Earth?
NEAT science: ‘Antibiotic use in lifestock: surely it’s a good thing! Spoiler: it really isn’t. Wondering about the news that McDonald’s are looking to use fewer antibiotics in the livestock animals they source their beef from? Hopefully I’ve explained why clearly enough to show why it’s probably a very good thing.

So how’s everyone doing? Any good books this week? Been holding back for sales?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 12 December, 2018 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

The three ‘W’s are what are you reading now, what have you recently finished reading, and what are you going to read next, and you can find this week’s post at the host’s blog here if you want to check out other posts.

What are you currently reading?

Cover of Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-LodgeI’m still partway through Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. There are no major surprises for me, but despite knowing better I’m still a little surprised by how recent some of these racial issues are, and how recently there have been really, really gross racist views going unchallenged. The issue about policing… I thought it was better in the UK than in the US, but aside from fewer fatalities, some of it sounds very familiar from the US news.

We’re also listening to Rivers of London while doing crafts various,

Cover of A Most Novel Revenge by Ashley WeaverWhat have you recently finished reading?

A Most Novel Revenge, by Ashley Weaver. Amory isn’t as charming to me as Daisy, and Milo’s far from being the kind of character I enjoy, but the mysteries are a nice way to while away an afternoon or two, so I’ve stuck with them so far. They’re a bit lukewarm in many ways, and my reviews are probably gonna end up damning them with faint praise.

Cover of Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel KayWhat will you be reading next?

I don’t know. I’m tempted to read Sailing to Sarantium, since my wife’s reading it at the moment. Then there’s always the Daisy Dalrymple books, and a plethora of library books I’ve been telling myself I’ll get to any minute now. Or there’s one of the British Library Crime Classics I haven’t read… Or one of the books I already have in progress but half-abandoned.

What are you currently reading?

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Discussion: When To Give Up

Posted 10 December, 2018 by Nikki in General / 11 Comments

It’s probably not a shock to anyone reading this that I have a large number of books I own, in both ebook and dead tree, that I haven’t yet read. Somewhere around 1,200, I would guess. No, I don’t mean that’s the number of books on my wishlist. I own them, and will quite possibly be crushed to death by them if I’m not careful. My darling wife (who knew full well what she was in for when she married me) kindly went through and figured out exactly how many I have remaining from each year, after Chuckles’ post breaking down her TBR inspired me!

2011: 28 unread (60 listed) – 47% unread
2012: 152 unread (208 listed) – 73% unread
2013: 363 unread (519 listed) – 70% unread
2014: 198 unread (392 listed) – 51% unread
2015: 103 unread (255 listed) – 40% unread
2016: 109 unread (228 listed) – 48% unread
2017: 101 unread (233 listed) – 43% unread
2018: 158 unread (210 listed) – 75% unread

It looks like I was amazingly bad at picking books I actually wanted to read at some point in the last five years in 2012 and 2013 — but it’s not quite so, since the pre-2013 lists don’t include books I bought and had read before the blog started in late 2013. 2018, I put down to the year not being finished yet. The dust hasn’t settled!

The reason this entry is titled “When To Give Up” is because I don’t know when that is. It’s very rare for me to strike off a book on my backlist without trying it, and sometimes even when I have tried it. I guess I’m just reluctant to miss out on something that could be good through feeling like I should have fewer books. Also, I know I’m a mood reader and that you never can guess when I’ll suddenly want to read something obscure from the backlog.

Still, as a little experiment in public accountability, I’m going to include some stats in my Weekly Roundup posts from now on: number of books in, number of books read, and number of books from the backlog read. Let’s see how that goes! I suspect it’s going to find that I am easily distracted by — oh look, a library!

Anyway, there, Mum — was it as bad as you thought? And other readers, how do you think you compare? Do you read books right away, or hoard them like a book dragon?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted 8 December, 2018 by Nikki in General / 7 Comments

Good morning, folks! It’s starting to look kind of like Christmas here — me and my wife have our very first Christmas tree (since this is the first time we’ve lived together and been together at Christmas), and we have the very best (if unconventional) topper.

 

Books bought this week:

Cover of Rattle His Bones by Carola Dunn Cover of To Davy Jones Below by Carola Dunn Cover of The Case of the Murdered Muckraker by Carola Dunn

Books read this week:

Cover of Dead in the Water by Carola Dunn Cover of Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver

Reviews posted this week:

Rogue Protocol, by Martha Wells. A fun entry in the series, though I miss ART and feel it’s a little… episodic for my tastes. 4/5 stars
Requiem for a Mezzo, by Carola Dunn. One of those cosies where the dead person is so awful you can’t really help but root for whoever did them in… Fun, but not demanding. 4/5 stars
Pax Romana, by Adrian Goldsworthy. Definitely an interesting re-examination of the Roman Empire and its benefits for those under its banner. 4/5 stars
The Division Bell Mystery, by Ellen Wilkinson. Mostly stands out because of the setting, but has some surprising moments of pathos near the end. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

Habitica Bookclub: Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About RaceAn intro post about my pick for December’s readalong.
WWW Wednesday. The usual update on what exactly I’m reading right now.

Out and about:

NEAT science: ‘Gecko Jesus‘. Or, “how exactly do geckos walk on water?”

So yeah, how’s everyone doing? Getting Christmas-y, if you celebrate? Any good books lately? Tell all!

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 5 December, 2018 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

The three ‘W’s are what are you reading now, what have you recently finished reading, and what are you going to read next, and you can find this week’s post at the host’s blog here if you want to check out other posts.

Cover of Rosewater by Tade ThompsonWhat are you currently reading?

At the gym (where I go on the treadmill and sulkily walk 45 minutes, at the moment) I’m reading Rosewater by Tade Thompson; I got a good chunk read last time, so I’m starting to get a handle on the world. I’m slightly put-off by the amount of sex; it’s not actually excessive if I try to enumerate the number of times it’s come up, but it sticks in my mind when I think about the book.

At home, I’m reading Dead in the Water, the next Daisy Dalrymple book I’ve got to. That’s rather more restful!

Cover of Damsel in Distress by Carola DunnWhat have you recently finished reading?

Ugh, I think the last thing I finished might just have been the last Daisy Dalrymple book, Damsel in Distress! It was fun too, with Phillip Petrie getting a bit more development and a little story of his own. He may not be the brightest, but he is a dear.

Cover of Styx and Stones by Carola DunnWhat will you be reading next?

I’d like to say any one of the many books I’ve been wanting for ages and desperate to pounce on, or one of the books I’ve been intending to reread, or whatever. But apparently my stress levels say it’s cosy mysteries all the way, so I’m going to guess it’ll be Styx and Stones and then Rattle His Bones, the next two Daisy Dalrymple books! I might try and finish rereading Murder Must Advertise as well, though…

What are you currently reading?

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Habitica Bookclub: Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Posted 3 December, 2018 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

This month’s randomish pick for the Legendary Book Club on Habitica is Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge. I’ve been seeing it around a fair bit, but haven’t read it — and then there it was, in a buy-one-get-one-half-price sale in Waterstones. It seemed like the ideal time, so I added it to the stack, and now it’s my pick for the book club run solely by my own caprice.

I’m particularly interested in the fact that it’s based on experiences of race from a British non-white perspective. So much of the discourse online is based around the experience of black people in the US, which I’ve always been convinced is a different kettle of fish — cue the protests of white Americans who think that I’m being racist to suggest that maybe race isn’t experienced in the same way universally. The idea that it might be different for a African-American person born in the South whose family has been in the US since the 1700s and a hijabi born in Bradford whose parents emigrated as children… is not really widely considered, at least in the circles I run in. The model of racism discussed online has always been rather US-based, ignoring those differences. (And of course the inevitable differences in the ingrained ways of thinking about race.)

I’m also interested because people have such a kneejerk reaction to it, but often when you actually read pieces like that, it turns out the title is really all a lot of other folks have read. (See also: Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit. So much kneejerk angsting from men over an essay that is plainly talking about the habits of a certain kind of man.)

So that’s the background! Assuming I actually get to reading this book within the month this time (alas for The Genius Plague), I’ll try and get a review up and maybe even a discussion post. For now, feel free to comment here if you’ve read the book/plan to read it/think it’s obvious rot from the title alone, and let’s chat!

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