the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘for the love of reading’ Category

well, new to me!  Some of these are hot off the presses, some of them are reprints, one is so new I can’t talk about it until release day, and I’m surrounded by so many things I want to read RIGHTNOW that I don’t know where to start!

 

Hot off the presses and imma talk all about it:

The May issue of Apex Magazine is out, and it is a doozy! Garbage photo I know, but this jam packed TOC includes fiction from Nisi Shawl, Matthew Sanborn Smith, Rich Larson, Cherie Priest, and more. Lots of ghost stories, horror stories, and this one from Larson – you will never use social media again. Fantastic interview with the cover artist, who also did the beautiful cover art for Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew.  So, anyway, read this magazine.

Yes, yes! Apex is currently available in print!  A reader can purchase a print version of the magazine for (what in my opinion is) a reasonable price, but for a publisher, print is expensive.  The magazine needs a certain number of print subscribers to continue producing a print magazine. And we’re not there yet.  If you like the idea of a print mag, join me in putting your money where your mouth is.

ok, stepping off soapbox.

Lotus Blue was recommended to me by my friend Alex, she and I need to swap book rec’s more often!   And of course I had to get a copy of Beholder’s Eye after this happened!   This is an older series that was recently reprinted.

I’m also reading a new release that comes out on Tuesday. Can’t talk about it because my friendly bookseller probably wasn’t supposed to sell it to me early.  But, nothing says I can’t publish a review of it on Tuesday or Wednesday!

Is the suspense killing you?

 

What goodies have you recently acquired?

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Us book reviewers love to joke about our out of control ToBeRead piles. We post photos of our TBRs online, we have the “priority” stack, the “read later” stack, the “these are the books I want to read when I have time” stack, which we never get to, because ARCs  keep the first two stacks a few feet high.  We enjoy discussing how many books we want to read, need to read, hope to find time to read. In the blogosphere, this is a thing.

 

I think we joke about it so much, because deciding what book to read next can be paralyzing. And what better way to deal with that stress than to laugh about it?  There are so many choices, so many obligations, it’s easy to get analysis paralysis.  Will you pick up the book you promised the publicist you’d review? Will you pick up the book from your favorite author? Will you pick up the book that your best friend said “hey, I think you’d like this, read it so we can talk about it”. Will you pick up a comfort read that you’ve read a million times but it’s the only thing you feel like reading right now?

 

Fellow Book Bloggers, how do you decide what book to read next?  How do you get past the analysis paralysis? Do you choose your next book based on what you want to read, what you should be reading, what you think other people want you to read?

 

To tell the truth, I’m jealous of organized book bloggers. They are organized. they have a system. they have spreadsheets, and a review publishing schedule. They read books in a particular order, and if they deviate from that order, they don’t tell anyone.

 

Organization is like broccoli, or getting up at the same time every day. I know it’s good for me, I know i should make it part of my life, and sometimes I do for a few weeks at a time. And then I realize that shit is not for me.

 

Don’t get me wrong, i love the excitement of all the TBR photos online, the Mailbox Monday posts, i’m just not organized enough, or committed enough to actually follow through on it.  All those posts I’ve done where I say “Look at all these books I’m going to review soon!” Yep, I’m lucky if I review a third of them in the next few months.

 

I am not organized when it comes to deciding what book to read next.  Nope.  But I am organic.

 

My To Be Read pile is the living room coffee table, and the stacks of book that are underneath it. The corner of the kitchen table, too.

Next to the bed, is what I call the “book graveyard”. Books I picked up, started reading before bed, put down, and didn’t care enough about to ever pick up again.

 

But how do I decide what to read next?

I read next whatever strikes my fancy. Maybe it’s something that caught my eye at a used bookstore.  Maybe it’s something a friend lent or gave me, maybe I got talking to the author at a book event, maybe a bookseller friend or librarian friend recommended the book to me, maybe the cover art got my attention. Maybe it’s the newest book from my favorite author, maybe it’s an ARC that just arrived, maybe it’s an ARC that’s been sitting under the table for 6 months and hit bookstore shelves 3 months ago, maybe it’s a random older title I’m finally getting around to, maybe it’s something a friend recommended. Maybe it’s  a comfort read I’m re-reading for the 2nd or 10th time.  There is no logic to any of this.

 

My decisions about what to read next are completely random, organic, and unorganized.  If I really liked the book I just finished, I will often look for something similar to read next. If I DNF’d a book, I will often look for something completely different as a palette cleanser. Except for the ARCs that are floating around, I choose what to read next with not a care in the world that I have a book review blog.

 

Your turn. How do you decide what to read next?

 

Let’s see, what new book goodies have come into my collection lately?  So much good stuff I don’t even know where to start! What looks good to you?

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin is the last book in her Broken Earth trilogy.  Oh, I should probably mention that both book 1 and book 2 of this series won Hugo awards. I’m kinda waiting for the right time to read this one, because I expect it will break my brain (in a good way!) more than a little bit. I don’t know too much about Noumenon by Marina Lostetter, but I know I’ve got till Sept 20th to read it because that’s when Book Club meets to discuss it.

To Guard Against the Dark by Julie Czerneda doesn’t come out until October, but expect the internet to collectively lose its shit when we are finally allowed to talk about this book.   Yes, I know, the cover says “Reunification #3”, and yes, this is the final book in the Reunification trilogy. However, that trilogy is the final trilogy in Czerneda’s long running Clan Chronicles. You know how Robin Hobb does interconnected trilogies? Clan Chronicles is a little bit like that. But in outer space, and with aliens. The end of this story has been 20 years in the making, and this long reaching series coming to a close is truly the end of an era.  I can’t tell you much except I’m about 1/4 way through To Guard Against the Dark and that my spoiler-y (#sorrynotsorry) review of The Gate to Futures Past (Reunification #2) will be posting soon.  We can of course, talk about Gate to Futures Past as much as we want, since that book came out last year.

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I am out of  bookshelves, and there are now stacks of books next to the shelves, stacks that grow taller by the week and are threatening to fall over. I may have to start hiding books under the bed. There is a book cull in my future, that is for sure.

So of course I couldn’t help myself, and bought some more books!

At book club last week, instead of having the whole group read the same book, the club’s organizer put a stack of Hugo award winning authors on the table and told us each to pick something that looked interesting.  I grabbed The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Leguin. I may have read this when I was a kid? But if I did I was too young to understand it.

Over the weekend, I went to one of Michigan’s largest used bookstores (not the largest, but it’s pretty big!!) with a friend, and although I wanted to buy everything, I came home with just a few items. And yes, I got lost in the bookstore.

from the non-fiction rooms

Maximum City is about Mumbai, and the Carl Sagan book is, I’m not 100% sure what it covers but it is sure to be enlightening.  I hope that while I read it I hear Sagan’s comforting voice.

 

And now for the scifi!

Connie Willis is one of those authors I keep meaning to read more from, as I recommend her Doomsday Book novel to anyone who will listen.  I’ve been meaning to read Blackout forever. As for Venus on the Halfshell, I’ve been a Vonnegut since high school. If the book is as entertaining as the opening biographical sketch of Trout, you’ll be hearing me laughing from miles away. For those of you not familiar with Kilgore Trout, I’ll just leave this here.

 

Happy Reading!

 

The three volumes of Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy are strewn about my house, like a path of breadcrumbs. Annihilation, the shortest of the three, sits on the coffee table in the living room, positioned in such a way that if you sit on the smushy sofa, you can easily pick it up. There is a still a ring on the coffee table where my coffee mug sat this morning, dark liquid cooling as I slowly read the last few pages of the book. Everyone talks about the tower, the crawler, the border, the colonization. I do too, as those are the physical stars of the book, the things everyone talks about, the things you can point a finger at and be relatively sure that you experienced them in a similar fashion as others. For me, the star of this show is the Biologist. How her relationship with society is the same as her relationship with her tide pools and environs – to observe but not to interfere. That she doesn’t really care what other people do. She is aggressively self sufficient. That she and her husband loved each other, but that their struggles to understand each and meet each other half way was damaging to their relationship. His extrovertedness versus her introverted self sufficiency. Through the lens of his gregariousness, he saw her as walled off and uninterested in sharing her inner self. His experience in Area X allowed him to gain a deeper understanding of her, and she of him. I like that she found something that she was looking for. And maybe her husband did too. The entire story is tense but comforting at the same time. It’s like a giant tide pool or terrarium, where every rock you turn over shows you more you don’t know, which is why you came to explore in the first place. To realize how much you don’t know.

Authority sits on the kitchen table, where I was reading it over coffee this morning. I’ve read this novel before, and I’m only a few pages into it now. What a different feel from Annihilation! The first novel is soft moss, swaying ferns, chirping birds, clouds that come and go in the breeze. Like the biologist, I wonder why everyone is so afraid of what happens in Annihilation. Authority, on the other hand, feels all sharp angles, florescent lights, clicky shoes clattering on metal staircases, knowing everyone is biting their nails. There is plenty of the unknown here too, but no quiet contemplation, no comfort. The tenseness feels like staring at a phone, willing it to ring, but not wanting it to ring. Authority feels like Finch, like you are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. From what I recall from my first read, Ghost Bird makes an appearance. Maybe her calmness will comfort me, maybe not.

Acceptance sits on the other end of the kitchen table, opened, but unread. What a terrible fan I am, that I have not yet read Acceptance! I think it because I am not ready, mentally, for this story to end. I do not want Area X to cease being. I want to continue to pick up rocks, turn over starfish, find new tadpoles and thistles. I want there to always be things I don’t know. The idea that every question answered means I have ten more questions is comforting to me, not annoying or frustrating.

It sure is nice to have all three books here, that I can just binge read them right through. The weather is perfect for reading outside.

We opened that bottle of champagne last week. After an anxiety filled three months of unemployment, I am scheduled to start a new full time job next week. It’s been eight years since I had a traditional office job, it’ll be nice to have an office gig again. I’m even looking forward to dealing with rush hour traffic.

It’s time to read Acceptance.  Let’s see where the breadcrumb path leads.

 

Book Reviews coming soon to a review blog near you!

and by “a review blog near you”, I mean this one.

Some books I recently finished, and am working on reviews for:

The friendly folks at Subterranean Press sent me Final Girls by Mira Grand, and The Dispatcher by John Scalzi.  Both are novellas, and can be enjoyed over the course of an afternoon. Reviews coming soon!

I am ever so slowly working my way through Kage Baker’s company novels. Gods and Pawns is a collection of short stories. Lots of Lewis (Yay!!!), some Joseph, and a smidgen of Mendoza.  Every time I see Lewis, I can’t help but picture Cyril Figgis from Archer.  I’d had this book sitting on the kitchen table next to some cookbooks, and hubs said at first glance he thought it said “Gods and Prawns”.  that would be a weird but probably good cookbook?

 

My book I’m reading right now is Turbulence, by Samit Basu.  I’d been interested in his superhero novel since interviewing him for SFSignal way back when, so I was excited to come across a copy of this book. It’s hilarious! And engaging! And the characters snark at each other!  much fun is being had.  Husband said the cover art made him dizzy, I told him that’s what you get for wearing lineless trifocals. Looking at the cover art makes me think I need some red and blue 3-D glasses.

I’ve been getting plenty of reading done lately, now I just need to actually write the reviews!

 

I find I write best in the morning.  My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I love the time of day between 4am and 8am.   I get to hear the city wake up around me – the early city buses, delivery trucks, first shifters scraping ice and snow off their cars in the neighborhood, the apartment building creaking as the air temperature changes.  My apartment is up on a hill, so this time of year when the trees haven’t budded out yet I can see pretty far. I can watch the sun rise over the city and change the colors of the clouds. I can  watch the businesses across the street get ready to open for the day. I can watch the college kids run across the street to catch the city bus for their 8am classes at the campus.  I can watch the traffic on the hill go from a trickle to what passes for rush hour around here. It’s a nice time of morning.  Any those of you lucky enough to have received e-mails from me time stamped at 5am know I do some crazy stuff before the sun comes up.

 

But anyways, we were talking about books I need to review!

novellas

Kelley Armstrong’s Lost Souls is a forthcoming novella that takes place in her Cainsville series. I’ve not ready any of the books in that series, but this was a quite fun little mystery story.  I wish more authors would write short stories and/or novellas within their series, they are often very nice entry points. review is coming soon!

 

Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor.  When I bought this novella about a month ago, I told myself i was going to read the first novella, Binti, again, so I could read them back to back. Did that happen? Of course it didn’t.  I zipped through Binti: Home without digging out my copy of the precursor. So before I review this book, I’m going to reread the two novellas back to back, because that will mean I get to spend more time with Binti and her family.

 

arkwright

I’m nearly done with Arkwright, by Allen Steele,  which means very soon I’ll have another book I need to write a review of. While I really like the overarching plot of this book, as a whole it’s not really working for me.  There is a lot to enjoy in this book, but a lot that frustrated me too. This is the March book for my local book club, so it’ll be interesting to see what everyone else things.

 

Because no week is complete without a stop at my local bookstore,  these beauties came home with me:

osc-blish

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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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