Thursday, July 06, 2017

Book Sales, Books Sales!

I'm in Maine and I've already attended the first of the two library sales I look forward to all year.  And I have spoils, oh do I!

Yeah, it's an addiction, I admit it.  But 20 books for $20 bucks!  Plus a not pictured handful I got at Bull Moose that are already shelved and mixed in, $5.50 for 11 books with a few more real treats in the pile. (Did I take a picture of those?  Yes, I took a picture of those!

I didn't even know there was a follow up/sequel to Island of the Blue Dolphins until I happened upon it.

And, of course, Zeus helped me book shop by guarding my pile while I scoured the shelves.

I did manage to read "The Whipping Boy" by one of my childhood favorite authors, Sid Fleischman.  I'm currently reading an e-version of  one of the "The Saint" books -- the print is TINY so that's not going very quickly.  And I'm working my way into China Mieville's Railsea.  I like it and I don't know why I'm reading so slowly.

Tomorrow will be spent writing, as I have a deadline.  Whoo hoo!  Am I weird in that I love deadlines?  I need something to scare me through the roadblocks in my head.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The Ever Increasing Mount To-Be-Read

I spend the weekend at ConCarolinas and had a wonderful time.  Lots and lots of authors there, some of whom I have read, many I have not.

Thus, all the books.  I met authors, chatted with them, and the ones I liked got to sell me books. That is the stack of what I bought (only three are from the used book booth).

So, what did I get?

Sound and Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

The Green Hornet Casefiles by Joe Gentile, with contributions by Bobby Nash

Gretchen Thyrd: On the Bridge by Jason T. Graves

Bill the Vampire by Rick Gualtieri

Steeplejack, MacBeth: A Novel, and Cathedrals of Glass: A Planet of Blood and Ice by A.J. Hartley

We Are Not This (anthology) Edited by Melissa M. Gilbert

Chains of Fate, Blades of Fate, and Dark King Rising by Alledria Hurt

Lawless Lands:  Tales from the Weird Frontier (anthology) Edited by Misty Massey

Badass and the Beast: 10 "Tails" of Kickass Heroines and the Beasts Who Love Them (Anthology)

Timebound, Time's Edge, and Time's Divide by Rysa Walker

Perishables and Tooth & Nail by Michael G. Williams

My plan is to read and review ALL OF THEM by the end of the year (Yeah, I have ambitions.  We Shall See.)  I hope I love every single book because I really liked all the authors and editors I met and I want to like them.  Well, face it, I want to at least like every book I read -- who wants to waste hours with a book that doesn't work for you?  It's like wearing shoes that don't fit -- it doesn't matter how good the shoes look,  how well made or expensive they are, what outfit they match, or anything else.  If your feet hurt, all you want is to get those shoes off.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Losing and Gaining Time

I haven't been reading so much so far this year.  I'm not even listening to audio books.

Why?  Politics.

Ok, lemme 'splain here.

The election last year and the resulting shit-show going on has me upset.  So, I felt like maybe, after some 30 years of being politically indifferent, maybe it was time I got off my ass and started paying attention.  The easiest way to do this available to me was via podcasts.  I've spent much of 2017 trying and culling various podcasts to find the ones that spoke to me, that made sense to me, that seemed less like idiocy to me.

I have a surprisingly long list.

Of course, not everything I listen to is politically related.  There are science podcasts, humor podcasts, podcasts about books and writing, and a few that are pure entertainment.  Listening to podcasts eats up a lot of the brain power I would normally use in reading.   I'm following the stories, trying to keep my eye on the smaller, important ones and not get distracted by the splashy big headlines of the latest rumor or gaffe.  I'm watching court cases, keeping an eye on legislation in committee, and of course, watching the White House.

I'm also having a current brain problem with emotionally connecting with fiction.  This is related to my depression and anxiety disorder.  I've started I can't count how many books recently, was reading along with interest, when -- at a point where I had to emotionally engage with a character -- a giant NOPE spider would drop metaphorically on the page and I would just ...go away.  I'll push through this at some point, but right now it's a spoon too many.

I'm also dealing with physical issues -- arthritis in my already borked spine has reached a level where I need pain management to do things like walk or stand.  What I've got going works, and works pretty well, but it requires regular "updates" and has some side effects that aren't so wonderful (my first 7 day total migraine, for one).  Again, these will be handled in time, but that time issue is important.  Physical pain and mental pain eat up a lot of my time and energy these days.  This seriously cuts into reading time.

I have ambitions to catch up this summer and read at least 6 books.  I intend to spend my time in Maine reading, writing, doing a few craft projects, swimming and kayaking, and staring at trees.

So, actual reading done -- I read through the second volume of Noah Lugeons' Diatribes, which I enjoyed.  I got to meet him in April at ReasonCon. Everything I said the with the first one stays true here.  I enjoy Noah's voice.

I also read yet another Pride and Prejudice fanfic called Unequal Affections by Lara S. Ormiston, which was unusual and pretty good. It explored the "road untaken" of having Elizabeth accept Darcy's first proposal --upon conditions.  It didn't pull too many non-sequiturs and anachronisms, and did a nice job of sticking to the original material where it could.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Catch up and Diatribes by Noah Lugeons

It's been a long, difficult few months for me and many of the people I know.  I don't bring politics onto this blog anymore but suffice to say my interest in politics has increased greatly since November.  I'm joining, I'm marching (as far as my back and hips and knees will allow), I'm writing, I'm attending meetings.  I'm becoming, at 52, radicalized.  It feels strange.

My first completed book this year was Diatribes V. 1, the first collection of the Diatribes of the podcast The Scathing Atheist.
Noah Lugeons is the voice of my anger.  He's far better at it than I am -- I wish I had his access to the sharp, vulgar, accurate insult.

These Diatribes are from the first year of an over 4 year old podcast that drops an episode every week.  Noah is sometimes topical, but often his wit and fury are directed at more universal wrongs, so they don't age.

I'm not much of a reviewer.  I write about my experience with a particular book, and not in a very professional way, so I'm at something of a loss here.  I'm attached to the voices of this podcast, and especially to Noah's voice, so it's hard to be objective about this book.  Noah expands upon the Diatribes here, giving his thoughts upon rereading, filling in background and context, which makes this more than just a collection of angry and often funny essays.  I read through them pretty quickly, in part because I'd heard them all before at least once (yes, I've plundered the archives of the podcast) and in part because they were written to be spoken, and so flow nicely.  The act of reading them is pleasant even if the subjects (and, occasionally, the language) is rough and pointy.

Negatives?  If you aren't a person friendly to the ideas of secularism, humanism, and especially atheism, this book will piss you off.  In fact, it's intended to do so.  It's not for a general audience.  Also, I had to restrain my inner pedant because there are typos and the occasional grammar error, the casual kind that happen when someone is trying to compile a large collection of writings created over a long period (mostly problems with "it's" and "its".  I would happily go into the original file, remove the unnecessary apostrophes, add in the missing commas and periods, and fix that one subjective pronoun into an objective pronoun.

If you aren't familiar with the podcast, I enthusiastically recommend it, especially if you are curious or enjoy dick jokes with an underlying layer of smarts.  If you aren't into podcasts, or just want to sample before you tune in, this book will give you a taste.