the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘reading

hot damn that was a lot of responses to my post yesterday on how we decide what to read next!  just…. wow!  Thanks to everyone who responded, it’s going to take me a while to respond to everyone’s comments, please don’t hate me too much.

There was something that prompted that post.  I ordered a couple of titles I’ve been meaning to buy for a long time. I requested a few ARCs from publishers (I try to only request something that I KNOW I am going to read). I found some old stuff I wanted on paperback swap.

Everything showed up at the same time, nearly gave the poor mailman a coronary.  and this doesn’t include the three other ARCs I requested, which should show up any day.

Thanks to an Amazon giftcard I   purchased:

Miserere 3 parts dead

I did specifically request the Jon Sprunk, but the others were just happy surprises. Sent to me by very kind and friendly publishers:

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Open Discussion:

 

We all own a ton of books. And then we buy some more books. And then we borrow from the library or from friends. and then there is netgalley. you might have a few of ARCs sitting on the coffee table.

How do you decide what to read next?  How do you prioritize?

 

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Wow, where did the beginning of December go?  Christmas is right around the corner, and then January. . .  and then, well, January is sort of the start of some explosions for me.  So in preparation for that, I won’t be doing much in the way of formal book reviews and expected blog posts for the rest of the year.  Sure, I’ve got another read along post (N.K. Jemisin is holy shit AMAZING btw), a “best of the year” post, and one more book review in the works, but I’m taking the rest of December easy.   Taking a breather to mentally prepare for January.

That said, let’s just have some fun discussions.   I’ll shamelessly steal discussion questions from i09,  Sunday Salon posts, and discussion memes, and we can just sit around and chat in the comments.

First random discussion question:

What’s your guilty pleasure in books?

this was on my mind recently, because I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that super hot sex scenes is a major guilty pleasure of mine.  No thanks to reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which for not having a ton of actual sex, has a ton of insanely steamy scenes.

I also have a major weakness for snarky, swear word filled dialog.  But that’s not so much a guilty pleasure, as I can find it just about anywhere.

 

Your turn!  Take it over in the comments!

Vintage SF badge
I knew Vintage Month was going to be awesome, but ya’ll broke the mold this time!

20 bloggers posted over 40 reviews and discussions, there were guest posts, a giveaway (which still has a few hours left in it, go win yourself some goodies!), and new bonds formed in the blogging community. Wow people, is there anything we can’t do?  The only bad thing was that there was so much going on I couldn’t keep up with it! I wasn’t even able to comment on all the reviews, and I do apologize for that.

And I couldn’t have done any of this without YOU.  Give yourselves a round of applause for rocking it out AGAIN. Here’s a listing of everyone I know of who participated. If you should be on this list, and aren’t, shout at the top of your lungs in the comments, and I’ll fix it up.

tomtificate
Marvelous tales
Over the Effing Rainbow
Nashville Bookworm
Bitter Tea And Mystery
Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers
There’s a right broad
Pan Spectrum Analyzer
Two Dudes in an Attic
Lynn’s Book Blog
Impressions of a Reader
Stainess Steel Droppings
The Finch and Pea
You Can Never Have Too Many Books
Ready When You Are, C.B.
Geeky Daddy
Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations
Geek Banter
Dab of Darkness
Science Fiction times

Whether you posted one book review or ten, or did a discussion post or a guest post, or tweeted or retweeted or simply lurked and enjoyed what you saw on other people’s blogs, I give you my heartfelt and sincerest thanks for spending the darkest days of winter with me and being willing to read some crunchy paperbacks by authors we’d never heard of.

I got some totally sweet stuff coming up in February too. A little less in the crunchy-dead-person department, but still, rockin’ cool stuff is heading our way! (also, spring might be heading our way, which is also damn cool)

After the second call in a week from our local bookstore letting us know something I’d ordered had come in, my hubby says to me “What would you do if you had to read all the unread books in the house before you could bring any more books home?”  My response was a look of utter terror.  Me, not bring books home? it’s against the laws of physics!

on a scale of one to ten of enjoyment, I give reading a ten.

on a scale of one to ten of enjoyment, I give finding new interesting books a ten.

But I buy/borrow/library them far faster than I can possibly read them.

Our home really does look like a library threw up. books are stacked upon and stacked upon each other, the bookshelves are sagging. I have no discipline, whatsoever.  It isn’t a spending problem, as most of the books are purchased used or on loan from friends or the library. It’s a space thing. and a discipline thing. I don’t have the kind of free time that I did once upon a time, but I’m still interacting with books like I have all the free time in the world.

So dear bookish friends, how do you manage to get through the stack of books you want to read without getting distracted by a hundred other books that you want to read?  Or should I just revel in the beauty of being surrounded by hundreds of my favorite fetish object, the book?

Mine has a cat that greets me at the door.

and before you suggest it, “just don’t go to the bookstore/library!” isn’t going to work for me. the bookstore lures me in with their friendly cat, and everyone there knows me.  it’s my Cheers.  and don’t go to the library? yeah, like that’s going to happen. the library is my place of zen, my monastery, where I go when I need to relax and mentally detox.

I wonder if they do interlibrary loan?

thoughts? suggestions? maybe I should put my library card in a sooper seekrit hiding place, so seekrit that I forget where it is?  Move further into the country, so the bookstore isn’t so convenient?

I’m feeling some anxiety about this whole thing.  Nothing a quick trip to the library won’t cure! ;)

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as a surprise, a very good friend of mine lent me her kindle, preloaded with a few anthologies I’m interested in, and two Neal Asher novels, which I was very interested in. She certainly knew how to tease me.

Change, to mis-quote Agent Smith, is inevitable.

After a few days of staring at the thing, I decided I better pick it up and start using it. What if I couldn’t figure out how it worked?  what if I broke it (Don’t worry E, it’s perfectly safe!)?  GULP, what if I liked it, and had all this time been a super-hypocrite of e-readers??

Here’s goes nuthin’, right?

Granted, I have read PDFs of books before, but they were usually exactly that – a PDF of the printed version, complete with page numbers at the bottom, identifiers at the top, chapter page breaks, etc. On the screen it looked exactly like the page of a book, and if I printed it out, it looked like I’d photocopied a page out of the printed book.

but these true e-books? these are  interesting beasts.  I feel like a scifi character on a mission of first contact. Will I be able to communicate with the alien? will their technology dwarf mine? how does their language and syntax compare to what I’m used to?
Some nice surprises that I liked about the Kindle, and the e-book experience:

The skinnyness of the thing is very nice. It nestles perfectly in my purse, and I feel very sophisticated reading from it during lunchtime at work. It also has a super durable leather cover, offering a little bit of tactile interaction, and a lot of protection.  I’m not a klutz, but a little extra protection on an expensive electronic gizmo is always a plus.

The buttons and menus are very intuitive. it holds a battery charge a long time, and even better it uses the same universal charger as my cell phone. It took me less than 5 minutes of messing with the thing to figure out the basic menu options, how to tell how much battery was left, etc. Intuitiveness is a big plus for non-techies like me.

And the things that shouldn’t have been a surprise, but were:

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We’ve all read them. Some of us like them. Some of us are utterly turned off by them. Some of us find them deliciously alluring, and find that we crave them. Sounds like i’m talking about an anti-hero, but nope, I’m talking about antihero’s black sheep of a redheaded stepchild, the unlikeable character.

And the sixty four thousand dollar question is, how unlikeable does a protagonist have to be for the reader to truly and utterly dislike them, to the point of not giving a shit about the end of the story?

First of all, what makes a character unlikeable? It’s going to be different for every reader,  because we all have our own very personal hangups, everyone is annoyed and/or deeply troubled by different things. Maybe the character never grows beyond a weakness and enjoys their own helplessness. Maybe they hate them self. Maybe they are a sociopath, or apathetic or a manipulative jerk or nihilistic or something more obvious like being cruel to animals. The thing is, if we read enough, we will all eventually run into a character we can’t stand.

Okay, so we’ve met a protagonist we can’t stand. The person  eats live kittens for breakfast and then tasers kindergarteners followed by watching entire seasons of Keeping up with the Kardashians and Jerseylicious on TiVo.  or something equally horrific.

Now what?

Is it possible to enjoy a book that stars an unlikeable character, or is populated by them?

What’s been your experience with characters like that?

Is it sometimes a good thing to be exposed to characters and character traits that we can’t stand?

Since we’re talking about books, do you respond differently to unlikeable characters in movies or on tv?

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spoiler of uselessness: I finished two books in the last 24 hours.  I gotsta write me some reviews and post ‘em.  One of the books involves a severely unlikeable character, someone who I had a hard time giving a rat’s ass about, and thus, a difficult time figuring out how i felt about the book, yet I found the book impossible to put down and zipped through it. The other features supremely delightful characters, and I adored every page of it. When you see the titles of the books, I hope to hell it is obvious which book is which.

Hi Ya’ll,

just a quickie reminder (quiche, anyone? if you know that joke, raise your hand!) that our read along of Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies starts this week.  Hosted by Dark Cargo, Ashley at SFSignal, My Awful Reviews, Lynn’s Book Blog and yours truly, our first discussion will be next weekend.

Get the details (reading schedule, etc) here.

AND to add to your wonderful weekend, Jennie Ivens (@Autumn2May), staff member at Fantasy Faction, went to the Lynch & Bear reading the other night in New York, where she got a recording of Scott Lynch reading from The Mad Baron’s Mechanical Attic, a prequel of sorts to The Lies of Locke Lamora.

yes, you read that right: reading.  prequel. novella.

Also, infuriating guards and a very odd courtyard garden.  just go click the link, watch the reading, and we’ll all start going nuts for Red Seas Under Red Skies next weekend.

And thanks to Bente from The Bente Way of Life for providing us with the great read-along graphic!

When you suddenly discover that the book you just picked up is sublimely brilliant, how do you proceed?

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do you savor every word and every sentence, tantrically drawing the experience out as long as possible,  enjoying new portions of the book every day for over a week, waking up each morning looking forward to your precious moments spent reading those mind blowing words and hearing the breathless sound of your hand turning the soft, smooth pages?

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or do you devour the book with an unrestrained animal urge,  foregoing food, sleep and social interaction, in your desperate, pleading need to reach the climactic ending,  secretly hoping it will end with a cliffhanger so you can smile crookedly at the promise of a repeat performance?

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photo courtesy of the Hot Guys Reading Books Tumblr feed.  Go check it out.

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What are you up to this weekend? Forget shoveling snow or getting caught up on laundry or making fun of people who are shoveling snow, I’m gonna be attending AtHomeCon over at DarkCargo(twitter handle @djerfisherite )

What’s this AtHomeCon you say?   As DarkCargo says:

“AtHomeCon is a flurry of frequently-published posts over a weekend. The idea is to sit your jams, with a cuppa whatever in one hand and Count Chocula in the other, reading up on what folks are doing and reading via the convenience of your laptop. As Barbara Friend-Ish said, Really, what you’re wearing is fine.”

And I am all about teh chillaxin’ for a weekend and doing nothing but taking books with all my favorite people (that’s you, by the way).  So pull up a chair, refill your mug, and get ready for a weekend of giveaways, author chat, and gaming nerdiness. Basically all the fun you’d have at a con except the food is better, the prices are cheaper, and you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in the elevator with that smelly guy.

(All the best giveaways, author chats and gaming nerd awesomeness will be taking place over at DarkCargo .  You didn’t hear it from me, but I heard she’s giving away some vintage SF goodies. . .   might come in handy for my January Vintage SF month!)

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.