Tag: reading meme

Reading Habits

Posted September 22, 2014 by in General / 1 Comment

I’m not sure where I picked this up from, but it seemed like fun, and touched on some stuff I’ve never thought to mention before. So, another meme!

(1) Do you have a certain place for reading at home?
Mostly, I flop down on my bed for it when I’m with my grandmother. I used to have all sorts of hidey-holes where I’d go to read, but I’m bigger now and can’t fit into them so well, or Grandma’s filled them with boxes or junk or something. When I’m at home, I generally read at my desk with my feet on something, or up in my bunk bed. If I’m feeling particularly bleh, I make myself a blanket fort by hanging blankets down the sides of my bunk bed and curling up on the sofa underneath.

(2) Do you use a bookmark or a random piece of paper?
Mostly bookmarks. A random piece of paper may happen if I can’t find one, but I don’t really have a good excuse for that since I have a pile of about fifty bookmarks. Wherever I go, I try and pick up some bookmarks if they’ve got any free or cheap ones. I have some very nice ones from the Bodleian library shop.

(3) Can you just stop reading or does it need to be at the end of a chapter or a certain number of pages?
I have rules about this shit. It always has to be at the end of a page or, if the paragraph goes onto the next page, the end of that paragraph. I much prefer to stop at paragraph breaks or, even better, the end of even-numbered chapters. I remember when I was a kid, I didn’t like finishing at even the end of a chapter if the last sentence was dialogue.

(4) Do you eat or drink while reading?
Yep. Snacks, water, pop — it sometimes depends, though. If I’m reading something by a writer who is really good with the sound of words, I don’t eat/drink while reading so that I can whisper the words along. I’m a synaesthete, so the words have a ‘taste’, and for writers like Tolkien, Le Guin or Richard Fortey, that’s a part of the experience I wouldn’t want to miss. I don’t eat at mealtimes; Dad trained me firmly out of that.

(5) Do you read one book at a time or several at once?
Many, many at once. I shouldn’t, in that I inevitably end up neglecting something, but I like to have different things on the go for different moods and situations. I don’t read stuff by the fine prose writers in public, because I’m embarrassed about the fact that I want to whisper them. But seriously, ‘swept’ and ‘stepped’ and ‘crept’, or pretty much anything Tolkien ever wrote, they have such a satisfying mouth-feel and taste: I don’t really get why other people find that concept so strange.

(6) Do you read out loud or silently in your head?
Oh, I didn’t notice this question in advance! Silently, mostly, but with fine prose, in a whisper. I don’t like reading aloud to someone else, though. That’s when I start stammering and tripping over the words, which is not fun for anyone involved.

(7) Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?
I don’t mind spoilers, so yes, sometimes I do. Especially in comics, I find. I flick through the book, stop at a pretty page, and end up reading quite a bit to try and figure out what’s going on. Whoops. Obviously, I don’t end up doing this with ebooks, because it’s much harder to skip ahead. And I would never, ever skip the section with Tom Bombadil, and I don’t care what everyone has to say about that.

(8) Breaking the spine or keeping it new?
Keeping it new. And therefore not lending it to my mother.

(9) Do you write in your books?
Neveeeer.

(10) What are you currently reading?
Oh, cripes. The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff, primarily. And also We Are Here by Michael Marshall Smith. And… and… it’s a long list, let’s just leave it at that.

Tagging: 
As usual, whoever wants to!

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted September 17, 2014 by in General / 2 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
Georgette Heyer’s Beauvallet, which I still need to review. Fun, but definitely not my favourite of Heyer’s so far, and I don’t like Beauvallet and his grabby hands half as much as I think I’m meant to. Different times, different sensibilities, I know, but still. Before that, Peas & Queues by Sandi Toksvig, review upcoming — generally pretty fun.

What are you currently reading?
As usual, too much. There’s A Game of Thrones, of course, and various other things I’ve mentioned in previous weeks, plus Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, which is about mindfulness meditation and is helpful so far, though I don’t know if I’d give it to a beginner, and I obviously don’t agree with everything/find everything useful.

What are you going to read next?
Nary the faintest idea, really. I’m actually feeling tempted to read the Harry Potter books and actually finish the series — I only ever got up to The Goblet of Fire — but I’m not sure if it’s been long enough since a) everyone wanted to force it on me and b) I studied it at college and university several years in a row. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to see the pure genius that other people see, but it would be good if I could just enjoy the books for what they are.

I’m also contemplating closing my eyes and pointing, and reading whatever book is in line with my pointy finger. Just for the sheer unpredictability of it.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted September 3, 2014 by in General / 0 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
The Hidden Landscape (Richard Fortey), which is gorgeous even though it’s about geology, a subject I care very little about. I think he could actually make me interested in gardening, a subject which I often point out to Grandma I know less than nothing about except I guess I know plant biology.

What are you currently reading?
I’m in a bit of a slump, actually, which makes all my ARCs and review copies a little awkward. Still, I’ve got Dead Harvest (Chris F. Holm) on the go as an audiobook, and Manon Lescaut (Abbé Prévost) has been loaded onto my ereader ready for a class. I think I’m 10% of the way through that? So yeah, not too bad, though I know the plot basically because of the reference in Clouds of Witness (Dorothy L. Sayers).

Oh, there is also We Are Here (Michael Marshall), which I’m enjoying in a slowly-unravelling sort of way. I like Michael Marshall (Smith)’s writing in general, so. There’s also Black Unicorn and Book of Skulls, still, which I probably mentioned last week, and The Toll-Gate (Georgette Heyer). As you can see, I’m not taking the reading slump lying down…

What will you read next?
For one of my Coursera classes, I need to reread Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte), so that’s most likely what I’ll do. I also have a biography of the Brontes out of the library, so maybe I’ll read that too.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted August 28, 2014 by in General / 0 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
The Selfish Genius (Fern Elsdon-Baker). It critiques Richard Dawkins from the point of view of another scientist who is also an atheist, which makes it quite interesting — the title is meant to be just a glib reference rather than a particularly accusation. I need to write a review of this, but I’m going to mull it over a bit longer first.

What are you currently reading?
As usual, way too much. I most recently picked up We Are Here, a thriller by Michael Marshall; I’ve read some of his SF before, but not his thrillers. So far, I’m enjoying the writing style, but I don’t know how much I’m going to like the thing as a whole.

There’s also Black Unicorn (Tanith Lee), which is, shockingly, my first Tanith Lee read. I’m intrigued so far. It’s quite short, so no doubt I’ll finish it soon.

What will you read next?
Well, I got a book on photosynthesis and its importance for/impact on our world today — Eating the Sun (Oliver Morton) — which, along with my books on genetics, prompted my dad to suggest I must be planning to create Groot and Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy. So just for that, I think that might be up next.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted August 21, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
Monster of God (David Quammen) and The Naked Ape (Desmond Morris). I need to review both, still. Quammen’s book is interesting, looking at the role of alpha predators in our lives, sometimes with very literary references. I enjoyed it, though it felt a bit rambling. As for The Naked Ape, it’s an interesting and worthwhile approach, but I think Morris kept too much of his cultural baggage in mind re: gender roles, etc. It is a really old book, though, so.

What are you currently reading?
Various things, but the newest thing is a fresh attempt at Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) with my HabitRPG bookclub. I read about half when I was younger, but didn’t really get it — a lot of it went over my head. It’s going better now.

Also, Two Boys Kissing (David Levithan), which is… interesting. I expected it to be very sweet (like Boy Meets Boy), but with a narrating chorus of AIDs-victims, it’s not as straightforward as that. I like the differing relationships that it brings out, though I am feeling slightly weird about the fact that it’s addressed to contemporary gay men — it doesn’t feel very welcoming, despite the queer community usually being pretty strongly bonded together.

What will you read next?
I think I’ll dig into some comics — a new Guardians of the Galaxy TPB, and some Avengers Assemble a la Kelly Sue DeConnick.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted August 13, 2014 by Nikki in General / 5 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
Coral: A Pessimist in Paradise by Steve Jones, which I still need to review. Interesting, and a better read than his update of The Origin of Species. Before that, Sarah Canary (Karen Joy Fowler), about which I still feel pretty ambivalent.

What are you currently reading?
I’m working hardest on my stack of books from the library, before I go away for a few weeks, so I’m nearly finished with Y: The Descent of Men (Steve Jones), which is definitely more entertaining than either of the other books of his I’ve already mentioned. I’ve also got This Is the Way The World Ends (James Morrow) on the go, because it fits both my finish-library-books bet and my SF Masterworks challenge; I’m really enjoying it, actually, although I thought from reading the back that it might be too absurd for me. I’ve juuuust started Windhaven (George R.R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle), which is interesting but not blowing me away so far.

ARC-wise, I’ve got the longer books I’ve mentioned before in hand, plus Gutenberg’s Apprentice (Alix Christie), since I now have one of the limited edition Bookbridgr copies.

What will you read next?
I’ll go back on the attack with Elantris (Brandon Sanderson) and Monster of God (David Quammen), I think. They’re both library books. After that, probably Steve Jones’ Darwin’s Island, which is actually not about Galapagos but about the UK.

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Seven Deadly Sins (of reading)

Posted August 10, 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 August 6, 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 July 31, 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 July 24, 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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