Tag: reading memes

A-Z Book Blogger Tag

Posted November 10, 2016 by Nicky 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…

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted November 9, 2016 by Nicky 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.

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The TBR Tag

Posted October 28, 2016 by Nicky 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!

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted October 26, 2016 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
I juuuust finished reading Terra, by Mitch Benn; it was for the prompt “book by a comedian” for a reading challenge, and I’m actually really glad I read it. It was sweet, relatively uplifting, and really easy to read — exactly what I needed right now.

The book I finished before that was Joyce Tyldesley’s biography of Cleopatra; that is also good for a bad mood in a different way, since I like reading non-fiction while I’m cranky. Cleopatra was a pretty fascinating woman, and Tyldesley’s style is very readable as well as informative.

What are you currently reading?
I’m about 9% of the way into Robin Lane Fox’s Alexander the Great, and feeling a bit conflicted about it. It doesn’t read quite like biography, but it’s definitely not fiction. Something about it just indefinably bothers me. I’m also reading Invisible Planets, a collection of SF/F short stories translated from Chinese by Ken Liu. I’m not sure what I think of those, yet; I’ve only read the first three, all by the same author.

What are you planning to read next?
Foxglove Summer, I think. And my copy of Dark Sky by Mike Brooks should arrive tomorrow; I might well read that soon too, since it’s very Firefly-ish and that’s kind of comfort-reading-ish too. Alternatively, I have a couple of Georgette Heyer books I want to read/reread, and I might pick up one of those.

I do also need to crack on with my reading challenge goals. Idea for a book written by a celebrity, anyone?

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted October 19, 2016 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
Today, I finished off reading Augustus, by John Williams. Very slow and contemplative; I’m still pondering whether I really liked it or not, but it sure is an interesting exploration of Octavius Caesar and his life and relationships. I also read volume one of the complete collection of Dan Slott’s She-Hulk; that was pretty fun, although it started to feel a bit like a drag. I do prefer my comics to be in shorter packaging; this one stole half my day.

What are you currently reading?
I’m rereading This Rough Magic, by Mary Stewart, because I felt the need for a comfort read and I couldn’t remember the plot of this one. I’m also rereading Broken Homes, by Ben Aaronovitch, and wincing ready for the end.

What are you planning to read next?
I should finally get round to Foxglove Summer! Also, I want to get on with reading Deadline and Blackout, by Mira Grant. I think I’ve said that before already…

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What are you reading… Thursday?

Posted October 13, 2016 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

Oops. That’s all I have to say. I blame the fact that I had a tutorial last night!

What have you recently finished reading?
The last things I finished were The Two Towers and Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe, by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee. The former, well, it’s interesting how my ability to visualise Tolkien’s world ends with Frodo and Sam entering Mordor. For, of course, I haven’t gone to Mordor in LOTRO. Nothing changes about Tolkien’s writing, or even his ability to evoke atmosphere and mood for me… but the visual aspect is just gone.

As for Rare Earth, it’s very informative (although somewhat out of date now), but honestly, finishing it still hasn’t convinced me one way or another about the likelihood of intelligent life somewhere else in the universe. We just don’t know enough.

What are you currently reading?
Probably too many things that I’m not even thinking of right now, but I most recently picked up Dark Run, by Mike Brooks. It’s very, very Firefly-ish, except more diverse, so there’s a Mexican captain, Chinese and Maori crew members, etc. It’s fun, though I haven’t read that much of it yet.

What are you planning to read next?
Other than The Return of the King, I think I’ll get on with Deadline and Blackout, by Mira Grant. That way I can finish one of the series I’ve had floating around unfinished, heh. ARC-wise, I need to read Winter Tide, by Ruthanna Emrys. And for my next comic, I think it’ll be Dan Slott’s She-Hulk. For some reason, I’m in the mood for that right now.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted October 5, 2016 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

Wait, it’s Wednesday again already? Ack!

What have you recently finished reading?
I finished my reread of The Fellowship of the Ring! I’ve already written a long and rambling review, but suffice it to say, trekking across Middle-earth in Lord of the Rings Online has really enhanced my appreciation of the books and the work Tolkien put in. This time, I could see everything so much more clearly. It’s not Tolkien’s fault I couldn’t before; that’s all down to my lack of visual imagination. But with LOTRO to base it on, wow, suddenly there’s a whole new layer of complexity.

I’ve also been reading Ultimate X-Men, the first four volumes, and I’m… not greatly impressed. I guess the Avengers are more my team?

What are you currently reading?
I’m technically still reading Blood Pact, which I was reading last week. I haven’t really got any further with it, to be perfectly honest. I generally enjoy Tanya Huff’s work, but this series just doesn’t seem to work for me. It’s a shame, because Vicky Nelson in herself is an awesome character, but something about the rivalry between Celluci and Henry just makes my eyes roll.

I’m also reading Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe, by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee. I have the same problem with it I always do with books about life in the universe: we have a sample size of one. They have compelling arguments, and yet even when you expand it to what we know about the potential for life just in our solar system, that’s still only a sample size of one. We only have intimate detail on one way a solar system is formed. Even then, there’s plenty we don’t know. So I’m enjoying the science, but still unconvinced by the premise.

I’m still reading Emma, via Serial Reader. That’s okay, but I’m glad I’m reading it in small chunks. I keep getting terribly embarrassed for Emma when she misinterprets things and thinks herself so… superior. I know how it ends, but I can’t quite see what the gentleman in question sees in her given his general practicality.

What are you planning to read next?
The Two Towers, definitely. I’m not going to let this reread be derailed! But tomorrow I’m travelling all day, and I think I might beguile the time with some of Tor.com’s upcoming novellas: I’ve been approved for Winter Tide (Ruthanna Emrys), A Taste of Honey (Kai Ashante Wilson), Everything Belongs to the Future (Laurie Penny), The Lost Child of Lychford (Paul Cornell) and Hammers on Bone (Cassandra Khaw). 

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Totally Should’ve…

Posted September 29, 2016 by Nicky in General / 4 Comments

Well, Cait @ Paper Fury did it, so how can I resist?

Cover of The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison1. A book that totally should’ve… gotten a sequel.

Are you kidding? You know the answer, right? The Goblin Emperor, of course. I mean, I know there’s another book in the same world due, but I want more of Maia and Csevet and Cala and…

2. A book that totally should’ve… had a spin-off series.

Impulsively, I’m going to go with The Lord of the Rings, because you know the epic adventures of Eowyn and Faramir would’ve been amazing. Or just Eowyn.

Or, I know! Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons series — spinoff with Tom Wilker’s adventures in polite society, being confronted with Lady Trent’s eccentricities. And losing his temper, because how is he meant to control that woman?Cover of A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

3. An author who should totally… write more books.

Katherine Addison? Is that predictable? Oh dear. Most authors I love have written plenty, but I always want more. And I’d say Tolkien, but I don’t want Christopher Tolkien to get more ideas about dragging out old unfinished manuscripts, and nor do I want some kind of zombie situation.

4. A character who totally should’ve… ended up with someone else.

I have this reaction in a lot of Guy Gavriel Kay’s books, so I can’t help but frustratedly yelp about Kim and Aileron in The Fionavar Tapestry books.

Cover of The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay5. A book that totally should’ve… ended differently.

The first one that jumps to mind is The Fionavar Tapestry again, because I don’t understand why Paul stayed in Fionavar with Jaelle, with whom I never felt he had a genuine connection. Also, anything Arthurian where Gawain dies at the end. And though I acknowledge the beauty of the plot and the sense it makes, the end of Ursula Le Guin’s The Furthest Shore (and, uh, consequently large aspects of the following books) can definitely go away. I prefer Ged with his mage powers, sorry.

6. A book that totally should’ve… had a movie franchise.

The Hobbit. Isn’t it a shame that after they did such a great job with The Lord of the Rings, adapting it so faithfully (but adjusting for the demands of the screen), that they never did the same with such a children’s classic? It would be hard to make the tone match the book and the LotR films, but hey, J.R.R. did it, so it must be Cover of The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkienpossible.

Ssh, I can’t hear you. Who is Martin Freeman?

7. A book that totally should’ve… had just one point of view.

More or less anything with multiple first person segments, I’m afraid. I’m not a fan of switching between character perspectives like that, most of the time. It’d be easier for me to think of books that didn’t mess that up. Like Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana — okay, that’s third person limited, but it gives such differing and powerful views on the same conflict. That’s multiple POVs done right.

8. A book that totally should’ve… had a cover change. 

Ummm. I’m not a visual person, so for this I actually have to go look at my shelves… Nope, nothing’s jumping out at me. Is there something which should be leaping to mind?

9. A book that totally should’ve… kept the same cover.

Kushiel’s Dart and sequels. I mean, just look. One has gorgeous art that fits the world and looks sensual. The other looks like a vampire novel. And if that is Phèdre on the cover of Kushiel’s Chosen, where is her marque?

Original covers of the first three Kushiel books by Jacqueline Carey


 Cover of Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey Cover of Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey Cover of Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey

10. A series that totally should’ve… stopped at book one.

Uh. Tongue in cheek, I declare Seanan McGuire’s October Daye books — because then I wouldn’t have so much to catch up on.

Well, I’m not tagging anyone in particular, but what about you guys? Any books that totally should’ve [x] that leap to mind?

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted September 28, 2016 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

It’s been a while since I did this feature round here! I’ve been meaning to resurrect it for a while. I think it started on Dreamwidth, but it seems worth having a weekly reflection on what I’m reading right now.

What have you recently finished reading?
I just finished In the Forests of Serre, last night. It’s not exactly a retelling of Russian fairytales like Baba Yaga and Ivan and the Firebird, but those character types are in the story. I think it might be one of my favourites of McKillip’s books so far; while the prose is lyrical as ever, the story is a little less dream-like and follows quite logically. At least, most of it — I wasn’t as sure about Unciel and Gyre’s part of the story.

What are you currently reading?
I just finally started on the next of Tanya Huff’s Blood Books, which is Blood Pact. So far it’s okay; I’m sick to death of Celluci and Henry bickering over Vicky, but I’m intrigued by the zombie plot. I think it’s a little too obvious where it’s all going, but it’s an interesting take on it — almost more Frankenstein than zombies, and with a scientific background.

What are you planning to read next?
I’m not sure. I’m still behind on my backlog reading goal, so it’ll be something from the backlog. I’ve been very tempted to reread The Lord of the Rings, but that’s definitely not from my backlog. That said, I’ve got some X-Men comics on the backlog, so I might read those for that and dig into LotR — it’ll save me from taking my boxset of the books back to my wife’s, because goodness knows I have enough I want to pack without those too.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted September 10, 2014 by in General / 0 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
On My Way to Jorvik, by John Sunderland, which is an autobiography by one of the people involved in creating the Jorvik museum, talking about how he got there considering he actually had no experience with museums at all. It’s okay, but it gets more interesting once he actually gets onto Jorvik — I was less interested in his personal life. And there was also Radio Free Albemuth, which I’ve already posted my review of.

What are you currently reading?
We Are Here, by Michael Marshall Smith. Which I got spoilered for a bit, but spoilers don’t tend to bother me, and I was already figuring it out anyway. I love the way this guy writes, and have really enjoyed everything of his I’ve read, but this one is kinda slow — well written, but slow. It’s driving me a little batty because I really want to love it, and there’s so much to like, but… not enough happening. Or not enough happening that makes sense, anyway.

I’m also still reading Manon Lescaut, and next week in Fiction of Relationships is (I think) Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, which I love and adore. So I’m partway through a reread of that.

What will you read next?
For once, I’m pretty sure — my books from the library ’round here, since soon I’m going back to where I normally live. So Timescape (Gregory Benford), Book of Skulls (Robert Silverberg) and, if there’s time, Magic Strikes (Ilona Andrews). If not, I know I can get that one from the local library.

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