the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘for the love of reading’ Category

The big mega-grocery store near us sells live lobsters at the fish counter. I’ve never bought one, I don’t know if they knock it out before you take it home, or what.  But they always have live lobsters in an aquarium, and I am fascinated/terrified of them.  A few times a year, I get brave enough to wander up to the tank, maybe tap on it a few times, and watch the writhing mass of articulated legs, eye stalks, and rubber-banded snapping claws crawl over and around itself.  To the amusement of the folks working at the fish counter  I last about 10 seconds before running away like a scared little girl. Those lobster critters really creep me out!!  But every time we go to that store, a little voice inside me says “let’s go  look at the lobsters!”.  because although they creep me out, I still want to go look at them.   see if maybe I can last more than 10 seconds.

(East coasters forgive me! I am a midwesterner!)

Sheri S. Tepper’s Sideshow is one of my all time favorite novels.  the 3rd book in a very loose series, you can read the books as stand alones and in any order, but if you read them in somewhat chronological order, you’ll want to read them GrassRaising the Stones, and then finally Sideshow.  It’s a very loose  series, the books take place on different planets in the same universe, but there are some behind the scenes things that make more sense if you read the books in the order they were published.  I’ve read Raising the Stones a handful of times, and Sideshow probably six or seven times, but I’ve only read Grass once.  All I remember about Grass was something about horses that were not horses, and that the book scared the shit out of me.

But, I wanted to reread this trilogy in the order in which it was published, so I took Grass down from the shelf on Saturday morning. By Sunday night, I’d read about half of it.

I remembered this book scaring me.  I remember being disturbed by it.  I didn’t remember how viscerally terrifying it was.  But I can’t put it down.  Every time I’ve put it down, I keep coming back, touching the cover, thinking to myself “I’ll just read a few pages, then I’ll go do something else”, and suddenly I’ve read 40 pages and an hour has gone by.

This book is a lobster. It scares the shit out of me and makes me feel all creepy crawly and I’m afraid of the nightmares it might give me, but a little voice inside me keeps saying “let’s go read that book!”.

 

 

 

Remember when you were a kid, and someone read you a story? Didn’t matter if you liked the story or not, but I bet you enjoyed being read to.

If you’re a parent, I’m sure you read or have read to your kids.  Didn’t matter if you liked the story, but I bet you enjoy the experience of reading to someone.

Ever notice how the feel of the story changes when you read it out loud? When you’re reading out loud, you can control the pace of the words, where the pauses between phrases are,  you can use inflection how and when you want. The words on the page take on entirely new dimensions when they become sounds in the air, and if you are one doing the reading, you can connect with those words in an entirely new way.

I picked up an anthology the other day, and flipped right to a story by one of my favorite authors. One of the many reasons I love her work is because much of it is a combination of organic and cyber, and metaphors that shouldn’t make sense but work perfectly. This is a lady who speaks my language through her words.   This particular story was especially gorgeous, with the words practically making music on the page.  While chatting with my husband that evening, I wouldn’t shut up about how much I loved this story, and that this story was such a perfect example of why I love this author’s work.

I told him This is why I love her work, and I read out loud to him the first few sentences.

That’s really good writing, he said.

So I read a few more sentences.

he said he liked it.

And the entire story is more of that, I told him.

As beautiful as this story is to read to myself, I do wonder how much prettier it would get if I read the entire thing out loud. Would I find a metered pattern in the metaphors? Would a rhythm rise from the words and the pacing of the action?  Would my pace of speaking speed up right at the end, or slow down? During the dialog, would I pause a long time between the lines, as if the characters were thinking about what they wanted to say next? Would I play certain lines for laughs, for sarcasm, or seriously?  So many different ways to experience this (and any) story!

I’m sure plenty of you are thinking “duh, I listen to audiobooks! it’s the same thing that Andrea is talking about!”. That’s *nearly* the same thing, but not quite.  When you listen to an audiobook you are on the listener side of the equation.  What’s I’m getting at is being on the speaker side of the equation.  I do listen to the occassional audiobook, but I often get so distracted by the narrator’s voice that I tend to lose track of what they are saying (yes, i’m weird, but you guys knew that already!)

 

By the way, the story is Synecdoche Oracles by Benjanun Sriduangkaew, out of Upgraded, edited by Neil Clarke.

Seems like every time I sit down and chat with my book buddies, the following phrase comes up over and over again:

“That was such a good book. I should really reread that sometime”

As a book blogger, once I’ve read something and posted a review, what’s the point of reading it again? I’ve already reviewed it,right? Shouldn’t I move on to bigger, better, and brand newer things? Netgalley is all about reading the newest stuff,  we all brag about ARCs we’ve received, and all that jazz.  Isn’t that what being a book blogger is all about?

there is a huge chunk of my brain that is saying “screw that” right now.

I *want* to reread stuff I enjoyed last year, or two years or five years or ten years ago. I want to see if it’s still as good if it still gives me chills if it still scares me shitless if i still have an emotional reaction to it if it still blows my mind and shows me that words are magic. All these books that I keep telling people how good they are, I want to experience again how good they are, damnit!

Books I’d like to reread this year and experience again include:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Grass/Raising the Stones/Sideshow by Sheri S Tepper

Jeff Vandermeer’s Ambergris books

The Scar/Iron Council by China Mieville

Scale-bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Just about anything by Iain. M. Banks

Defenders by Will McIntosh – will it scare me as much the 2nd time around? I want to know!

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell – I’ve read this I don’t know, five times? Even though I know what’s going to happen the book is a shot to the heart every single time

Faith by John Love

Habitation of the Blessed / The Folded World by Catherynne Valente

I’m sure there are more, but these were at the top of my mind as books that made me fall in love with reading, and made me want to share that love with everyone I meet. I’d like to experience them again.  And this isn’t to say I won’t be reading new and new-to-me books in 2017. In January alone I bought 5 books that are new-to-me, and some of them are brand spanking new.

So who knows? Maybe 2017 will be the year of the reread. It’s certainly going to be the year of not feeling guilty about not reading new stuff all the time.

what books would you like to reread, if you had time?

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I’ve been dabbling in a few books lately, reading a few pages or a few chapters here and there, not really committing to any of them for the long haul. Book Attention Deficit Disorder? that’s badd.

 

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

add-books

Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson was written in 1998, won the Prix Aurora, and was nominated for a Hugo. The premise is that in 1912, a large portion of Europe and Northern Africa disappeared overnight and was replaced with alien flora and fauna. A new age of discovery and exploration begins.  I’m maybe 40 pages in so far, and having a good time.  It’s the little details so far that are really pulling me in – momentary discussion of Europeans living in America and Canada who realize they may be the last people on Earth who speak their native language, characters mention reading Tarzan like stories in pulp magazines,  it’s just a ton of fun all around. I hope the rest of it is as good as the beginning!

 

Terra Incognita by Sara Wheeler is about her experiences in Antarctica. I’m reading a non-fiction book, can you believe it?  In the early chapters that I’ve read so far, she’s mostly talking about early explorers who went to the poles, people who got stranded, areas of Antarctica that were named after who, etc. Many years ago, I read an article (or maybe short novel? or excerpt?) that described the two kinds of people who are interested in Antarctica: those who have never visited the continent, and those who are trying to get back. Basically, once you go, all you want to do is go back. It’s been interesting jumping from this book to Darwinia. They are both about exploration, survival, and the unknown.

 

Red Rising by Pierce Brown was written in 2014. It’s the first of a trilogy, and the final book in the series, Morning Star, came out earlier in 2016.  Imagine if Hunger Games took place in the world of Gattaca, throw in a lot of Machiavellian social expectations and a very angry teenager who has lost someone he loves, and you’ll have something approaching Red Rising. I really want to like this book, but it’s just way to YA for me. That isn’t a knock against YA, it’s just me saying there are things I enjoy reading and things I don’t enjoy reading. And I’ve read some great YA, this just isn’t one of those great YA books. I’ll probably DNF this one. If you’ve read this book, or this series, what did you think of it?

It’s been a fun week!  reading something dark, something fantastical and unexpectedly funny, and something unputdownable that also made me think. Good times!

I really enjoyed Teresa Frohock’s Los Nefilim, and I’ve had her Miserere on my bookshelf for at least a year.  This is one that I’m slowly savoring. Gorgeous visuals, broken characters, and wow is it grim. Not grimdark, but dark and grim. If this book had a soundtrack it would be deep cello and percussion, very low pitched with lots of sustained vibrations that you feel before you realize you’re hearing them. But you’d need something sunny in there , because reasons and those sunset sherbet visuals. Maybe clarinet?

starlit-wood-miserere

 

On the opposite end of the spectrum is The Starlit Wood, a new anthology of retold and reinvented fairy tales.  When hubby saw me reading it, the first thing he asked was “so, it’s like Snow White, Blood Red?” (edited by Datlow and Windling), and i said it was sorta like that, that each story is a take on a different fairy tale, but this new one is way more modern and the first few stories I read (I read them out of order) had me laughing my head off, which was a nice surprise!   Review coming soon!  But in the meantime, if you like to be entertained, and you like fairy tales,  this is a book you should watch for!

faller

 

 

I netgalleyed Faller,  Will McIntosh’s forthcoming novel (dude, I still have nightmares about Soft Apocalypse, I can NOT believe I bought a bamboo plant!).  Not only did I have to refamiliarize myself with how netgalley works, but I also had to remember how to use my kindle.  I can’t really talk about this book yet, but erm, I got the file last week, and I’ve already finished the book.

red-rising

I also acquired a novel called Red Rising, that came out a while ago, but it’s a trilogy and the 3rd  book is coming out pretty soon. It was described to me as “kinda YA-ish, but really good”. It’s the October book for my local SciFi bookclub, so we shall see!

 

So, that’s what I’ve been up to recently.  how about you?

 

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Hey friends, it’s been a while.   I’ve been reading, I’ve been doing, just haven’t been doing anything worthwhile on the interwebs. While all ya’ll were out getting your ten thousand steps and playing PokemonGo, I’ve been sitting on my butt playing Candy Crush and reading dumb stuff on Buzzfeed.

 

But, I did get some reading done, and got some beautiful new books.

necessary evil

I finished reading Necessary Evil, by Ian Tregillis, and wow, what a punch to the guts! This book, what the characters go through, just wow.  when I do get around to writing the review, be warned, there will be plenty of spoilers. So much crazy stuff happens at the end of book 2, and this 3rd book in the series is such an emotional juggernaut that I’m gonna have spoil stuff that happens in book 2 and spoil some stuff that happens in book 3 to write a halfway decent review.  If you’ve read the entire trilogy, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

jemisin

I was head over heels for N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season last year, so I’m super excited to read the next book in this series (duology? trilogy? open ended? I have no idea), The Obelisk Gate.  I loved the worldbuilding of the first book, I loved the “twist” about the main characters, although it wasn’t much of a twist, maybe more a creative way of presenting information?  I liked the little boy who ate rocks.  As soon as I’m done with current read, this is mostly likely the book I’ll pick up next.

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Books are wonderful little things, and it’s a true bond between two bookish people when one says to the other “I picked out some books I think you might like”.   It’s a special part of your brain that clicks on when you think about “would my friend like this book?”.

My friend Richard, of Tip the Wink, e-mailed me one day and said “I’m sending you a box of books”.  Little did he know the look of glee that appeared on my face when I saw that e-mail.  Someone was sending me books they think I might like? and even better, these were used, pre-loved books.  I’d  be able to say “my friend gave me these”. And I love getting to say that. I’m one of those weirdos who gives additional brownie points to friends who gift me their used books.

A week later, Richard’s box arrived.  It was like Christmas. In May.

that evening, I so very carefully opened it:

(be warned, this is a booknerd unboxing post, full of photos, squeeing, happy, and questions about stuff I’ve heard of but never read. Photos may be slow in loading)

the box_

The squeeing begun right away.  Arthur C. Clarke? Ben Bova? Neal Asher!   So far so good! Let’s see what else is in here…..

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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.