Archive for the ‘for the love of reading’ Category
So, I have this issue with e-books. I forget I have them. it’s an “outta sight, outta mind” thing. I know one of the benefits of an e-reader is that you can carry a bazillion books around with you, and they don’t take up any space and they don’t weigh anything, and they don’t fill up your house and make people worry you might be a hoarder.
but you see, that’s part of my problem with e-books. I don’t see ‘em, so I totally forget that I have them, don’t prioritize them, etc. this is a bad thing. like, a really bad thing.
My brain interprets the word book as a physical object that is experienced. Something with weight, something that has a certain amount of heft, something that requires a bookmark. the act of reading is a very physical, whole-body experience for me. what’s the texture of the paper? how much does the book weigh? is the cover shiny or matte? (Matte is better, for TMI reasons) What’s on the spine? how is it bound? is it a “fancy” limited edition or special edition book? what’s the typesetting like? does the ink come off on my fingers? (i love it when that happens, btw) How old is the book? where did I get it? Who do I know who has read it before? how long have I owned it? When I’m reading for a review, I like to take notes on a piece of paper and use that paper as my bookmark. The answers to those questions don’t matter, because they are not questions that are answered with your voice. All of these things are part and parcel of my physical experience with a book, and it’s the uniqueness of the heft of the thing, the cover art, the spine, the binding, where it came from, the act of writing notes, the for lack of a better term the mental impression that makes looking at a tumble of words on a page into “reading”. And the experience of reading every book is completely different, making the mental impressions different.
still with me?
and when I say “goodies”, I mean books. It’s been one of those weeks where I just want to curl up in a ball with a book (or six) and hibernate. So i did.
A business trip last week with lots of down time (not to mention 2 hours stuck on an airplane each way) meant I had plenty of time to read. Finished Tobias Buckell’s Hurricane Fever, and got half way through Nexus by Ramez Naam. Was craving laziness, comfort reads, and aliens when I got home, so zipped through Issola by Steven Brust and got a good start on Migration by Julie Czerneda.
then I checked the mail, to find these beauties:
Echopraxia I won from a giveaway over at Bibliotropic, and I’d requested Gleam from Jo Fletcher Books. The Watts I’ve been drooling over since I first heard about it (Blindsight will, as one blogger put it, will “blow your mindhole”), so yeah, I’m just a little excited about Echopraxia. And this Gleam book just looks hella fun.
Then I checked my e-mail and the twitters. Accepted a review copy of Bastion Science Fiction Magazine #6, and was in the right place at the right time to get a review copy of Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s Scale-Bright. And Scale-Bright? it’s gorgeous. Do you like edgy, gorgeous prose, mythology that shimmers and glints like the surface of a summer stream, and frustrated deities? If yes, you’re gonna want Scale-Bright.
What does all this mean for you? That hopefully I’ll be kicking out some smart reviews soon! oh, and did I mention I’m frying my brain over my review of Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs? Sometimes when I’m reading a galley, I’ll dog-ear a page that’s got something I want to remember. Here’s what the book looked like after 1st reading. 2nd time through I wrote down a list of page #s I wanted to remember. That list was very long, and didn’t include any of the already dog-eared pages.
Here’s to hoping my brain is in high gear review writin’ mode pretty soon!
I’ve got books to give away! But we’re gonna do this the fun way. And by fun way, I mean blind date with a book! that means I give you a little bit of info about the book, and you get to decide if it looks interesting. I won’t tell you the title, or the author, but I can tell you that these are all new books published in the last 12 months, from publishers like Orbit, Tachyon, and Titan Books. They were all sent to me as review copies, and either I have duplicates, I’ve read them and don’t plan to read them again, or it’s a title I opted to skip on.
Here’s the rules:
- due to the cost of shipping overseas, this give away is for US only
- let me know in the comments which book(s) you’re interested in, and yes, you can request more than one. To be eligible, you *must* specify your choices (None of this lazy “they all look good!” stuff), by referring to the wrapping paper color, or one of it’s descriptors, or something useful. If we don’t already know each other, please leave me a way to reach you – twitter, e-mail, etc.
- Give away closes midnight, eastern time, Sunday Aug 31st.
Winners will be announced in early September.
now that the pesky rules are out of the way, here’s what is up for grabs:
A little bit of everything here: bought new, bought used, received from publishers, gotten from paperbackswap. Some new goodies on the kindle too. Those are much harder to photograph.
What looks good to you?
Goodies from Orbit and Tachyon:
Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress
We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory
The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction Vol 2, edited by Gordon Can Gelder
Bird Box by Josh Malerman – have already read this, and omgIntense! Look for a book review soon. Josh Malerman is doing a booksigning in my city later this week, I am super excited for that!
The Graveyard Book by Kage Baker – book 4 of Baker’s Company series. Looks like this is a Joseph book? sweet.
Life’s Lottery by Kim Newman – randomly saw it at the bookstore, and omg you guys, it’s a choose your own adventure book! it’s a different story every time you read it!!! and hello, it’s a choose your own adventure book! Maybe this time I won’t get eaten by the dragon. Because you know, I am tasty with ketchup.
Purchased used and from paperback swap:
Illusion by Paula Voksly
This Immortal by Roger Zelazny
The Jesus Incident by Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom
Players at the Game of People by John Brunner
And some E-book anthologies, to round out the goodies:
(these were all provided either directly by the publisher, or by other venues I review for)
Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From The Margins of History, edited by Rose Fox and Daniel Jose Older, featuring fiction by Nnedi Okorafor, Nicolette Barischoff, Ken Liu, Tananarive Due, Sofia Samatar, Thoraiya Dyer and more. I’ve already finished reading this one, so look for a review soon!
Apex Book of World SF Vol #3, edited by Lavie Tidhar, featuring fiction by Athena Andreadis, Amal El-Mohtar, Karin Tidbeck, Xia Jia, Benjanun Sridaungkaew and more
Clarkesworld Year 6, edited by Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace. Featuring a boat load of award winning and award nominated fiction, including Catherynne Valente’s Fade to White and Silently and Very Fast, Immersion by Aliette de Bodard, and Mantis Wives by Kij Johnson. Also featuring David Klecha and Tobias Buckell, Suzanne Church, Sarah Stanton, Robert Reed, and a ton more people. This one I think is going to take me a while to get through. But even so…. watch for a review soon!
Lightspeed Magazine special issue Women Destroy Science Fiction, with short stories, flash fiction, essays and interviews. Another one that might take me a while to get through.
Alright kids, what looks good? What should I prioritize? If all of these books were sitting on your coffee table, which would YOU read first?
I tweeted this earlier today:
You should totally go through your house and find all your Hachette books and post a photo! On your blog, on twitter, on facebook, on tumblr, anywhere! I was hoping my stack would be as tall as I am, but alas, it wasn’t. Means I need more Orbit books!
I never get caught up on all the stuff I want to read, because I keep buying more stuff. that I want to read. Such is the life of a book-aholic.
Mendoza in Hollywood by Kage Baker – I am slowly filling out my Kage Baker Company collection. She’s one of those authors who I just collect. period.
The Best Japanese Science Fiction Stories – Couldn’t say no to this one! this one is especially interesting because it’s from 1989. It’s a short collection, I read the whole thing in an afternoon. I should probably write a review, yeah?
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle – can you believe I’ve never read this? nope, me neither! I suppose I better see what all the fuss is about.
I’ve always been a little jealous of how fast my Mom can read. Books she zips through in two days will take me over a week to read. She finally admitted the other day that she’d taken a speed reading course in college, and I jokingly responded with “that’s cheating!”. Another friend in the conversation defended the speed reading course, because she’d taken the same one, and she said that this particular famous speed reading course taught one how to quickly get the most important information out of sentences and paragraphs. Presumably so you weren’t wasting your time on the unimportant stuff.
so, that assumes there is unimportant stuff?
And all I could think of was Catherynne M. Valente’s Prester John books, The Habitation of the Blessed, and The Folded World. Her prose in those novels reads like a stained glass window, where as the sun moves through the sky, the colors shift in the window, giving an illusion of continual movement and shadow as the story unfolds in the rainbow race of color across the floor and over your body. And on the other side of that stained glass window a symphony orchestra, complete with leitmotifs, counterpoints and returns, movements, and five or ten minutes of that gorgeous grey noise of pure potentiality when everyone is warming up before the conductor takes to the stage.
I realize I sound little melodramatic and over the top. And I do understand that when I say “that sounds like a sunset”, or “that sounds like purple”, that I am not actually seeing a sunset or that color (or seeing them consistently), but my brain is telling me those are the only words in my vocabulary that match what I’m experiencing at that moment. There is certainly an element of metaphor happening here, but there is also my complete confidence that those adjectives and phrases are the rightest ones.
For example, Shania Twain’s singing voice sounds like the color orange. I’m not seeing orange when I hear her voice, but in my brain, that is the adjective that best fits what I’m hearing. Singing voices tend to sound orange or like shades of blueish-purple, and men’s singing voices often taste like metal. I think there’s something to it that orange and blue are complimentary colors. Although Maluka’s voice sounds like sandstone, which isn’t part of the color wheel at all, so um, there’s that.
Which the long way around brings me back to: If I was speed reading, how much of would I miss? Would the stained glass window become simple clear leaded glass? Would there be no sun moving behind it, no movement of colors on the floor for me to chase after? Would the symphony be reduced to only the brass section, or just a string quartet, or one very bemused yet confusingly lonely oboe?
My Mom gets through way more books that I do. But I’ll keep my slower pace, thanks.