the Little Red Reviewer

random ponderings

Posted on: March 7, 2016

In the last few days, I’ve zipped through about two thirds of Gabaldon’s Outlander, read Tim Powers’ forthcoming novella Down and Out in Purgatory (very fun, wish it was longer!), and have been randomly pondering the following:

1.Whose point of view are you more interested in, the protagonist or the antagonist? Who has a more interesting story to tell – the “good guy”, or the “villain”?

2. What’s the book that took you the longest to read? How long did it take?

3. How embarrassed should I be that my bookshelves aren’t organized, like, at all? All the cookbooks are together, and the manga is mostly together, and some shelves are 100% paperbacks, but mostly the shelves are just a mish mash of books. Are your bookshelves organized? What’s your organization method?

4. home made chicken stock – start with raw chicken, or stock up the carcass from last night’s roasted bird?


See? I told you. totally random.


23 Responses to "random ponderings"

I mostly like the pov of the protagonist as the antagonist is often motivated by things I can’t relate to. However, if I had total choice I prefer someone who is neither – The Great Gatsby would be less of a book if we had Gatsby’s pov.


I group all my fiction together and all my nonfiction together. That’s as far as my bookshelf organization goes. I don’t separate by format. Sometimes I think it would look pretty to put all the blue books together, all the red books together, all the white books together, but I soon get over that idea. Life’s too short.


I paused reading Aegypt by John Crowley for, um, over 20 years! I bought it the day it came out but only read the first 140+ pages before pausing for a lot longer than i expected. I ended up starting form the beginning again.
Aegypt B

But I’ve now also read the sequel, which I owned for 19 years before I read it; obviously it had to wait until i finished the first one! As for the other two in the quartet – they’re still waiting…


I have a similar organization method! My cookbooks are in my kitchen, my kids’ books are in their room, other than that, it’s mostly a free-for-all!

As for chicken stock, the only time I ever make it is when I buy the rotisserie chicken from Costco. I take it home, break it up for dinner later, and throw the bones and the rest in to make soup.


My books are organized alphabetically by author last names, and divided up into sections (hardcover, trade paperbacks, graphics novels, manga, and then mass market), and I have box or comics which are sorted alphabetically by series title.
However, once I ran out of room on bookshelf, I have sever random, and large, towers of books in my room on the ground, on desks, TV stands, and even an empty aquarium tank XD


when can you come to my house and organize our shelves? 😉

I’ll pay you in tupperwares of frozen chicken stock.


We generally make stock with whatever is left from latest cooking project – ham bones, chicken carcasses, shoulder bones from the bbq pork, etc. We end up with an interesting array of flavored stocks this way; some are smoky, some are Jamaican jerk, some are Chinese/Japanese roast pork, and some are just plain. Have to be careful when pulling a bottle out of the freezer, or the chili tastes weird.

Everyone has their own bookshelf at our house, so the organization is a bit random. I do have the Asian poly sci separate from the SFF, but that’s about as far as it goes.


i’ve certainly noticed that whatever the meat was cooked with before flavors the stock. I’d stocked up a chicken carcass that was cooked with italian seasoning and then made miso ramen with it, yeah that was a little weird.


For #3, I don’t think you have to be embarrassed at all. I don’t organize anything, and in fact, most of my books are currently “shelved” in a linen closet because I don’t have any real shelf space left. I should be the one feeling embarrassed!


we are like organizational sisters! at our old apartment I had stacks going against two walls in the bedroom. luckily now we have more room for bookshelves.


I don’t mind the POV so long as it’s good!
The longest book – mmm, I’ve read some really chunky books that have felt short and some really quite short books that have felt very long. It depends really on how much I’m enjoying the book.
My shelves are a total pigsty and I don’t give a flying fig! They’re my shelves after all.
I like to use the remains of my roast chicken. Throw it in a pot and cook it down, add some rough chopped carrots, onions, celery and a couple of peppercorns, cook up and then strain. Makes great soup if you add leftover chicken and sweetcorn and is also good for risotto stock.
Lynn 😀

Liked by 1 person

we got the same stock recipe! and yum, risotto! i haven’t made that in ages. but it is SO GOOD.


Took longest may have been Shogun by James Clavell, but for SF it would probably be Heinlein’s Time Enough For Love. I dig you can grok that.

Stock from the carcass.

Shelves organized: by genre (SF & Fantasy intermixed), then by format, hardcover vs. softcover, then (of course) alphabetical by author last name. So if I know the genre, author and format I can lay hands on any book instantly, and if I can’t remember, I have a complete catalog of every book on the computer (backed up!).


Totally grok it. I may have given up on Time Enough for Love half way through… or maybe it was Sail beyond the Sunset. One of those i just got frustrated with and didn’t finish.

you and DJ are coming to my house to organize my books. 😀


Be there at 7:00. Have doughnuts. 😉


My books are not organized right now because I basically did a purge and then just threw books in spaces… Now I don’t know where anything is. So, either I will adjust or eventually I will have to rearrange so I can find things. lol


you’ll adjust. 🙂


1. well, if you primarily have the POV of the antagonist, they’re no longer the antagonist. Generally the POV of the protagonist is best, because that’s why the author chose to make them the protagonist – but the POV of any antagonist is more intriguing, precisely because we don’t get to see as much of their side of the story. But of course it also depends on the story. As for “good guy” vs “villain” – usually in books where it’s that easy to say who is who, neither viewpoint is interesting… but there are exceptions in both directions. To give a concrete example: in Hobb’s Farseer novels, Fitz is a good guy with an interesting perspective (and more interesting in the sequels), but in Liveships I think that Kennit, the villain, has a more interesting POV than any of the ‘good guys’ (if there are any).

2. in fiction books… Shardik. Took me years, as a child. There was a point where I just kept getting too angry to read on. Eventually solved it by starting at that point and then going back to read up from the beginning.
Related to an above comment, however: it took me a long time to grind through Crowley’s “Little, Big”, and eventually stalled out about 20 pages from the end. Not sure I’ll ever go back to it. Really good book, but… emotional.

3. why would you be embarrassed? Do people come round and grade your shelving often?
Personally, when I’m filling new shelving, I try to do it in an organised way, by author (or world) and then in genre, etc, though I’ve never bothered having anything strictly alphabetical. And then I rarely if ever go and reassert order, so as I take things out and put things back the order gradually decays.

4. I don’t know, I’ve never done it, but my vague understanding is that it’s done from the leftover roast. But as you say above, it might depend what you cooked the roast with.


I just read Ship of Magic, so your Hobb comment has perfect timing! Kennit doesn’t see himself as a villain tho, does he? Villains, antagonists, they always think they are the protag. they never think “I’m the mustache twirling bad guy!” you know?

omg, Shardik. I suffered through that think for like 6 weeks, and I know EXACTLY what you mean about the point where you just angry and do not want to continue. I appreciate that I read it, but i’ll never read it again.

Now that we have a larger apartment, I want to entertain more. Have friends over to watch movies, play board games, and such. we’ve got 3 bookshelves in the living room, and they are all, hmm… messy is a kind word.


I think a better word is… “used.” They’re working bookshelves!

I appreciated Shardik re-reading it as an adult, understanding the themes more. But it has an intensity (and thematic focus) that’s unusual for the fantasy genre, and it’s not the easiest read if it’s not what you’re expecting or used to.

Kennit obviously thinks of himself as the protagonist – all good characters do. I think he might think of himself as a villain, though, at least in some ways (and more than the people around him do, certainly). It’s been too long for me to be sure of my memory, though…
(enjoy ‘The Mad Ship’!)


Back to that stock thing. If I am oven roasting the bird, I save the drippings. Then I pull the skin and add it to the drippings and store until I’m ready to make stock (after I’ve eaten the chicken). Then I put carcass, skin and drippings, along with vegetable stock, in a pot big and proceed, adding herbs, spices, and so forth.I also like to add a slice or two of half cooked bacon (it will cook the rest of the way while the stock reduces) for extra flavor. The last thing I do when it’s all done is to strain it, then portion it out (usually 2 cups, sometimes 4 cups) into freezer bags, label and freeze


use the drippings in the stockpot too? I never thought of that. if we have enough drippings we make gravy, but i like the idea of putting it into the stock pot. We do a lot of oven roasted birds, i do a compound butter with half stick of butter, tbsp chopped craisins, and sage leaves. smear it all over the chicken and under the skin. makes for super tasty! I love those cheapy ziploc leftover containers for freezing stock in 2 cup portions.


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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.
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