Category: General


What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 24 April, 2014 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
I reread Among Others (Jo Walton) on the train today, which was fun because when I got to the bits about reading on trains it felt terribly meta. It ended too soon, and I still feel completely gushy about this book, and I love the way it’s put together and, and, and. You get the general gist. Also nice being sat on a train into Wales at the same point as I’m reading about the main character being on a train into Wales.

When I got back, I just read a Superman comic I need to return to the library, uh, today. By which I mean I shall have a tiny fine to pay in the morning. It’s okay, but I don’t think I’m really ever going to be much of a DC fan. Gail Simone’s Batgirl is the only one I get really enthusiastic about.

What are you currently reading?
The Broken Land (Ian McDonald). I thought I’d be able to finish it today, on the train, but people on the last leg of the trip were very loud. I am wondering why I was so hesitant to start on Ian McDonald, and why people keep saying his work is ‘difficult’, but while it’s different in some ways (the narrative style isn’t always straightforward, there’s more reported than direct speech, he’s representing non-verbal communication a lot), I don’t find that challenging. Just interesting!

What do you think you’ll read next?
Do you guys believe a word I say here? I can tell you that what I’ll dip into before I go to bed tonight is Gulp (Mary Roach), but beyond that, you may even have a better idea than I do. Half a King (Joe Abercrombie) is definitely coming up soon, after I read a review from someone I trust about it being very enthusiastic, but otherwise, it beats me.

(It strikes me that I could make a sort of lottery out of guessing what book I’ll actually read next. Or a raffle. It really would be very random.)

Tags: ,

Divider

Readathon stack

Posted 22 April, 2014 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

So it’s about time I did my readathon stack post, since Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is this weekend, and I’ll be hosting a challenge here (look out for it in hour 16 of the ‘thon). As always, I think most people on this blog are used to this, but for newcomers, there’s very little chance of me sticking very closely to this, but it’s a good jumping off point for me.

Because I like organising things and then ignoring my carefully put together lists, I’m gonna set up some categories and pick five books for each. The idea is to read at least one from each category.

Library:
-Diana Wynne Jones, The Islands of Chaldea.
-Clive Finlayson, The Humans Who Went Extinct.
-Ilona Andrews, Magic Burns.
-Rosemary Sutcliff, Knight’s Fee.
-Lisa Tuttle, The Silver Bough.

Netgalley/review copies:
-James A. Moore, Seven Forges.
-Danielle L. Jensen, Stolen Songbird.
-Cassandra Rose Clarke, The Wizard’s Promise.
-Jason M. Hough, The Darwin Elevator.
-Malinda Lo, Adaptation.

2011-2013 unread:
-Gillian Bradshaw, Magic’s Poison.
-Jennifer Pelland, Machine.
-Frances Hardinge, Fly By Night.
-Janny Wurts, That Way Lies Camelot.
-Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice.

2014 unread:
-Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl.
-Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale.
-Lisa Shearin, The Grendel Affair.
-Rachel Bach, Fortune’s Pawn.
-Jo Walton, Farthing.

Comics:
-Marvel, Young Avengers: Dark Reign.
-Marvel, Ultimate Spider-man: vol. 20.
-Marvel, Ultimate Spider-man: vol. 21.
-Marvel, Ultimate Spider-man: vol. 22.
-DC, Stormwatch: vol. 1.

Subject to some editing over the next few days as I sprawl all over the place reading.

Tags: ,

Divider

Stacking the Shelves

Posted 19 April, 2014 by Nikki in General / 49 Comments

Aaaas usual for a Saturday, here’s my Stacking the Shelves post, a meme as hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It’s been a busy week!

Library

Cover of Astonishing X-men: Torn by Joss Whedon Cover of House of M by Brian Michael Bendis. Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction by Paul Bahn Cover of And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou Cover of There and Back Again: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Origins of the Hobbit by Mark Atherton

Books I Love So Much I Got Them Again For A Reread

Cover of The Steerswoman, by Rosemary Kirstein Cover of Farthing, by Jo Walton Cover of Ha'penny by Jo Walton Cover of Half a Crown by Jo Walton Cover of Among Others by Jo Walton

New

Cover of The Outskirter's Secret by Rosemary Kirstein Cover of The Lost Steersman by Rosemary Kirstein Cover of Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor Cover of Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan Cover of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon Cover of The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann

Review copies

Cover of A Kingdom Lost by Barbara Ann Wright Cover of The Very Best of Tad Williams Cover of Fool's Assassin, by Robin Hobb Cover of Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Comics (issues)

Cover of Ms Marvel Issue #3 Captain Marvel issue #2

Pre-order

Cover of My Real Children by Jo Walton

You can maybe sense a Jo Walton shaped theme going on here. I can’t wait for My Real Children, and decided to do some rereading while I’m waiting. Among Others should be especially interesting, as the first read had me very emotional and wrapped up in it, and my friends claim that they see me in it a lot.

Obviously, I’ve been excited about Dreams of Gods and Monsters for a while and I am so glad I finally have it. I’ve been looking for ARCs of Tropic of Serpents, too, and I haven’t read much Robin Hobb lately, but you better believe I’m excited about Fool’s Assassin. I’m surprised I got approved for it. I’m pretty excited by Half a King, too. In short, I’ve had a really lucky week.

Tags: ,

Divider

What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 16 April, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
A couple of books I had to review that didn’t impress me very much, and Art Spiegelman’s Maus. I feel weird talking about liking/disliking Maus, given what it is, so I’m trying to steer clear of that. It was interesting, certainly, and worth taking the time to read.

What are you currently reading?
Most actively working on my reread of Wicked (Gregory Maguire), which I really do like more now I know the musical so well, somehow. I guess it’s a symbiotic sort of thing, experiencing it in multiple media and seeing it differently, etc. I’m also rereading Assassin’s Apprentice (Robin Hobb), since I’ve been approved for Fool’s Assassin, her new book.

My only new-to-me read at the moment, in terms of what I’m actively reading, is The Broken Land (Ian McDonald). I wasn’t very hopeful after looking at some reviews, but I’m actually really intrigued and drawn in.

What do you think you’ll read next?
I’m going to finish The Wizard’s Promise (Cassandra Rose Clarke) and Seven Forges (James A. Moore) next, possibly even tomorrow. I’ll be slower working on Wicked and Assassin’s Apprentice, since they’re rereads, but in general it looks like a mass reread of Robin Hobb’s work, plus trying to keep up with my review copies and such. Probably the next of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce books next, in that line.

Tags: ,

Divider

Stacking the Shelves

Posted 12 April, 2014 by Nikki in General / 34 Comments

Stacking the Shelves, as per Tynga’s Reviews.

Today’s been a quiet week for me. I got two books in Kindle sale deals, and two because I was recommended them for a challenge I’m doing (get twenty book recommendations from friends and read them).

Cover of Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Blunt Cover of The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff Metropolitan by Walter Jon Williams Cover of Rhys Davies: A Writer's Life by Meic Stephens

Can you guess which is which? Heh. What’s everyone else been reading?

I’ll be late to respond to comments and such, as today I am meeting my partner’s parents!

Tags: ,

Divider

Cover reveal – The Buried Life

Posted 11 April, 2014 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

TheBuried-Life-400Remember way back in, what was it, November? When I won the Robot For a Day prize with Angry Robot, and attended an acquisitions meeting where they decided to acquire Carrie Patel’s The Buried Life?

Well, now the cover’s been revealed by SF Signal, and there’s a giveaway running there too! Go here to enter the giveaway and get a better look at the cover.

I really hope I get hold of a copy soon… It’s pretty exciting to be however minor a part of this process and see it all actually happening. I read the first few chapters back when I was preparing for the acquisitions meeting, and I can’t wait to read the rest.

Tags: , , ,

Divider

What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 9 April, 2014 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
After the Apocalypse (Maureen F. McHugh), which I really wasn’t too taken with. There was nothing major wrong with the stories, it just seemed so bland. I think I’ve had that problem with McHugh’s writing before. The last book before that was a reread of Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic; I’m planning to finally get round to reading the whole Discworld series for my 101 things/1001 days challenge list, so this is a start.

What are you currently reading?
Delusions of Gender (Cordelia Fine). I’ve been meaning to read this one for ages. It’s more recent than I thought, but I’ve seen a lot of people talking about it. I’m not very far into it yet, though, so I’ll reserve judgement.

I’m also just getting started on The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Catherynne M. Valente) — I’m about 20% of the way through, I think. It’s very typical of Valente, of course; whimsical and sweet, with a touch of Peter Pan about it. I’m enjoying it.

Everything else I’m currently reading, well, you can find out here. It’s a tad ridiculous.

What do you think you’ll read next?
I think I’m gonna finally finish up The Best of All Possible Worlds (Karen Lord), and I’m planning to get through a whole stack of comics — Wonder Woman, Spider-man, Avengers vs. X-men, Neil Gaiman’s Eternals. I want to finish Maus (Art Spiegelman), too, and after seeing the Wicked musical on tour last week, I want to reread Gregory Maguire’s Wicked.

I think that’s enough to be getting on with…

Tags: ,

Divider

Stacking the Shelves

Posted 5 April, 2014 by Nikki in General / 48 Comments

It wasn’t going to be a busy week for books. Then there were libraries, and my sister wanted to go to Waterstones, and… yeah. So, as usual, here’s my Stacking the Shelves post!

Fiction (library)

Cover of Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov Cover of More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon Cover of The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey Cover of The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones & Ursula Jones

Fiction (bought)

Cover of Jacques the Fatalist and his Master by Diderot Cover of A Widow in Waiting by Anne B. Walsh Cover of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson Cover of Taste of Darkness, by Maria V. Snyder Cover of Tamburlaine Must Die by Louise Welsh

Non-fiction (bought)

Cover of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe

Non-fiction (library)

Cover of Life: An Unauthorised Biography by Richard Fortey Cover of The Humans Who Went Extinct by Clive Finlayson Cover of The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz

Comics (bought)

Cover of Marvel's Young Avengers: Alternative Culture Cover of Marvel's Young Avengers: Mic-Drop at the Edge of Time and Space

Comics (library)

Stormwatch by Warren Ellis Cover of DC's Superman: What Price Tomorrow?

That may have got a little… out of hand. Anyway, I’ve read a couple of these already, and I’m partway through a couple more. I’m actually looking forward to the non-fiction book about Marvel quite a bit, but also The Girl With All The Gifts, as someone in a book club I’m in praised it to the skies. And Steelheart I’ve been coveting for a couple of weeks now.

What’s anyone else excited about?

Tags: ,

Divider

What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 3 April, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
Stephen Grosz’s The Examined Life, which was a rec from someone on twitter. I need to digest it a bit more, I think, but it was certainly interesting, sometimes very touching. Before that, it was Tamburlaine Must Die, which was actually a rec for the same challenge (get recommendations from twenty people and read them all), which… I liked it well enough, but I’m not sure it all connected up for me.

What are you currently reading?
With the usual caveat of “actively”, let’s see — Death and the Penguin, by Andrey Kurkov, which is for the same challenge again. Other than that, still working through The Earth: An Intimate History by Richard Fortey. Somewhat taking my time here, but enjoying it. I mean, someone who can make geology fascinating to me needs to be cherished, I think. He talks about Earth with such power!

Fiction-wise, I am being terrible about Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Wizard’s Promise and Rosemary Sutcliff’s Knight’s Fee, which are both in progress without any actual progress being made. (Along with Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale, and various others.)

What do you think you’ll read next?
Probably Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones’ The Islands of Chaldea, since the library informed me yesterday that they’ve got their orders in and I am, oh glory, first in the queue for it. I have Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson on hold, too, but the person ahead of me in the queue is taking an age.

Tags: ,

Divider

If you can afford this, you can afford that

Posted 2 April, 2014 by Nikki in General / 10 Comments

So today Chuck Wendig posted a thing about piracy and why he won’t put out a tip jar, which I’m not interested in arguing with. What I am interested in arguing with is this whole idea in the comments that if you’re reading ebooks, you must have an ereader, therefore you must be able to afford ebooks. Which is complete crap, guys, I can’t even tell you. Here’s some examples of what’s been said — it’s been said in public, so I think it’s fair to copy/paste:

My thoughts on the “but I can’t afford it!” argument are thus –

1. You can’t afford a $5 e-book, but you can afford monthly internet? My internet bill (whether via my computer line or smart phone) is roughly thirty times my cost for an average e-book. Granted, that’s an average. I buy a lot of low-cost author-pubbed items at 99c to level out the $6-10 fare. Still, internet costs a lot more than an e-book.
2. You can’t afford a $5 e-book, but you can afford something to read that it on? Whether it’s a computer, smart phone, tablet, or e-reader, these things out-cost the average e-book by at least 5 times if not more. Yes, the e-reader, etc, could be a gift, but seriously? If I was so broke I couldn’t afford a $5 e-book (or the internet service to download it), then getting an e-reader is pretty crappy and mean-spirited unless they were showering me with gift cards throughout the year. It’s like buying someone a saddle when they can’t afford the pony.

And:

So wait…. this guy ‘can’t afford’ to buy all the ebooks he wants (I know that feeling – I can’t afford to buy all the designer dresses I want either… so sad…) but he CAN afford to have bought whatever ebook reader-thingy he reads his pirated books on? Strange, I thought compared to ebooks those things were WAY more expensive… I had to save up for three years to get mine…

So yeah, the first quote is roughly correct, even given my £25 ereader: let’s say an average retail ebook is £5, going by, say, Angry Robot (who publish, among many others, Chuck Wendig). That comes out about right: my reader cost five times the book. But it’s a window to many, many more books, including free books from a range of sources (Project Gutenberg, Smashwords, my local library, Baen, Netgalley, Edelweiss, publishers, authors) and cheap books. It’s easily worth it.

What really gets me is the sniffy judgement going on here. “You don’t spend your money the way I approve of, how dare you pay for internet and an ereader instead of books” — in fact, phrased like that, it’s downright snobbish. I get that it’s not fair authors aren’t getting paid, and some authors and series have suffered from it. But you don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life.

Like hey, let me paint you a picture: me, a year ago. I live with my grandmother; my mother pays her some rent for me. I had no job, and I didn’t go on benefits, so I lived entirely on the kindness of my family. Depressing enough to start with, right? And then there was my grandfather’s death, and my spiral into depression and anxiety that had been going on and getting worse since my second year of university. Guess what I clung onto when I was too depressed and scared to get out of bed?

Yup. Since you’re reading this blog, I’m gonna assume you’ve figured it out: books, and the internet.* I was too damn scared to leave the house some days. Going to the library where there were people, and germs, and possibly the need to communicate with people I don’t know — gah. Buying books in a store? Well, like I said, any money I had was my mother’s. So my ereader was a lifeline, and my grandmother paid for the internet, so it was easy enough to download books from Netgalley, the library, etc, etc.

Those are not the only reasons that scraping together £25 for an ereader instead of five books (or rather, three, given UK pricing for dead tree books, or less than five trips to my nearest library last year) might be more cost effective for someone. You just don’t know. So please stop making these assumptions and trying to police how people spend their money, and go back to making the very fair argument that authors deserve to be paid.

(Not to mention the sensible point someone else is making that you don’t need a dedicated ereader to read ebooks. Your most basic smartphone can do it, your computer can do it, my five year old iPod can do it…)

ETA: Since I’ve been accused of piracy/theft in the comments, I will just point out that every method of obtaining books mentioned in this post is both legal and moral. It’s not an argument for piracy, it’s an argument for getting your nose the fuck out of other people’s financial decisions.

 

*Me: Here’s a thing. Imagine the prospect of me without an ereader, especially during the worst times in the last two years. Is there a quotable quote of your reaction to that idea?
Partner: A damn wreck? You’d have been a wreck going in circles, driving yourself insane.
(Pretty fair assessment.)

Tags: , , , ,

Divider