the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘for the love of reading’ Category

The While I’ve been devouring Kage Baker books to keep ahead of spoilers in this read-along, some new goodies showed up at the house. And my friend Andy took me to the ginormous Lowry’s Books.  And I bought some other stuff.

 

What of these look good to you?

What of these have you read? Which of these should I read first?

 

Goodies from the used bookstore:

russ herbert

The Proteus Operation, by James P Hogan, published 1985.

We Who Are About To… by Joanna Russ, published 1977

Destination Void, by Frank Herbert, published in 1966. Oops, turns out I already have a copy of this one, but apparently there is the original version of the novel, and an updated version… so if I’m lucky, now I have one of each.

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it’s been how long since I did a blind date with a book give away??   that’s way too long.  let’s do it again!

 

here’s how it works:

  • All these books are new. Some of them I’ve read, some are ARCs that got mailed to me that I’m passing on. Some won’t be available in bookstores for months yet.
  • Due to the cost of shipping, this give away is for US only. (if you survived doing your taxes, you deserve a little give away, right?)
  • 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.
  • this give away will close in two weeks, on Sunday April 17.

Winners will be announced in late April. Chances are, by the time these books get mailed out, I will have forgotten which title was under what wrapping paper.

alright, enough with the rules, let’s see those books!

flowers

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Flowers wrapping paper

Magical Realism!

Vivid Characters!

Artwork that comes alive!

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blue.

 

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Blue Wrapping Paper

Steampunk-ish

Possible Alien Technology

Pirates!

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birds on branches

Bsdf

Birds Wrapping Paper

Adventure!

Old Timey Hollywood

Circus Shows!

Detective’s Dilemma

..

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black and white.

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Black & White wrapping paper

This is exactly what it sounds like: a surprise bundle of SciFi/Fantasy/Horror novellas.   Super awesome grab bag!

Remember all those plans I had?  To pick up The Goblin Emperor, or finally write a review of Hearne’s Hounded or Pinborough’s The Death House?

Yeah, those got completely and thoroughly disrupted. Because, on a whim, I picked this up instead:

outlander

and oh good god it is amazing. it’s a bazillion pages long and I am devouring it.  Ladies? You’re gonna want to read this.  Gents?  this is a girly book. Buy it for a lady in your life, she will thank you. it’s sexy, has tons of awesome history stuff, it’s fast paced, and also, very sexy.

 

This stuff came into the house fairly recently too:

Lyre Thief

Down and Out in Purgatory, by Tim Powers, out in June from Subterranean Press. It’s Tim Powers, so I know it’s going to be good.

84 Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff’s famous 1970 account of her twenty year correspondence relationship with a rare book dealer.  I haven’t seen the movie, but I know how this story ends. please don’t wreck it in the comments for people who don’t know.

Worst Contact, edited by Hank Davis – a  new anthology of mostly older first contact stories. Promises to be entertaining

The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon – out next week from Tor.  Neat premise, giggle-worthy character names.

 

too many books, not enough time,  reading plans turned upside down on a lark. the life of a book blogger, yeah?

 

One of my favorite things about being involved with SFSignal is I get to coordinate Mind Melds. I come up with a fun question, and then ask a bunch of people who I hope will have an interesting response.   Most recently, I asked about Alternate   History.  Why we like it, what we like about it, and how to do it right.  Click on the words to visit the post, there is some great stuff there! (Actually, don’t click the links. they will explode your list of books you want to read!)

 

I’ve always enjoyed Tim Powers, but his books are technically more Secret History than anything else.  Right now I’m about half way through Ian Tregillis’s The Coldest War which is a sort of if World War II was won not by the military, but by secret sorcerers working with Deep Ones vs X-Men type people. In the 2nd book in the series, we’re up to the 1960s, and it’s the Cold War. But this is worse, because there is a psychic, and someone who can be invisible, and we know they didn’t just wake up one day with superpowers, they had to be, erm, is “convinced” the right word? Now that’s some alternate history!   So far, The Coldest War isn’t quite as good as the first book in the series, Bitter Seeds, but I’m still enjoying it. I have some sneaky suspicions as to what the third book might bring, and I want to know if I guessed right!

 

So, what are some of your favorite alternate history books?

 

 

the title of this post is a lie.

Letter writing is not a lost art. It happens all the time.

I hated writing letters as a child. I hated writing Thank You notes for birthday gifts, I hated writing out holiday cards.  I didn’t like addressing envelopes, I didn’t like pretty stationary.

Luckily, I grew out of that.  Way out.  These days I voluntarily write letters,  purchase fun cards and stationary,  go to Postcard expos, and I even enjoy addressing envelopes!  Did any of you hear on the radio the other day that the Post Office had good profits last year?  well, me and my letter writing friends go through a lot of postage.

It probably shouldn’t surprise me that I’ve come to really enjoy epilostery, epistoler, stories told through letter writing.  Characters writing letters back and forth? that sounds so cheesy! so old fashioned!!  but somehow,  I find this method of telling a story so much more effective than a bunch of characters wandering around doing things together. It’s strange, how the limits of letter writing flip themselves inside out to something infinite when used to tell a story.   Think about it – when you write a letter you only have so much space on the page.  It limits your space, so it limits what you can say (unless you want to send a 10 page letter, which is totally OK), so you have to prioritize what you want to say, and details may get left out. Letters also contain far less internal monologue, more inside jokes, the opportunity to add a doodle, misspelled words that may be crossed out, and handwriting that changes sizes or may be difficult to read.  Handwriting is a personal and non-verbal communication method all by itself.

 

So, anyway, I like those kinds of stories, and was lucky enough to run into three fantastic ones recently. Unfortunately, some of these aren’t available for public consumption yet, but they will be soon!

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How things were in my life until January 2015:

Most days it was easy to find a half hour to read slush and at least an hour (and sometimes 3) to read a book.  I had a super cushy job that mostly involved waiting around.  If nothing was happening at work, it was totally OK for me to sit around and read a book.  Finding a few hours here and there to write long and passionate reviews as also pretty easy.  I’d spend Saturday mornings catching up on my RSS feed, commenting on other blogs, arranging author interviews,  plotting and planning read-alongs with other bloggers, requesting ARCs, and all those other fun things that come with being a passionate blogger. For four years, I was in book blogger heaven.  I was ridiculously spoiled and I no concept of how good I had it.

 

Things changed, as they do, and in Oct of 2014 my employer reorganized and downsized, which resulted in me having a nice and relaxing depressing and terrifying 3 month vacation from working.  In January of 2015 I landed a job with a very large and very stable company.  They wanted to pay me a lot of money to do something I truly do enjoy: field management.   The hours are long, and the job is incredibly intense and challenging.  Finding time to read and blog has practically disappeared, as you can see from the drop in my published reviews and general online presence.

 

I’m not giving up my blog. She’s my labor of love, my  baby. She’s not going anywhere. But, if I’m going to keep her alive, I need to change gears.  But I only have so many spoons.

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It is just me, or has Epic Fantasy gotten really bloody lately?  More battles depicted, more violence, more people getting run through with varied weapons, more plots that revolve around action, battle scenes, and killing people. Maybe that’s just what is being advertised right now, maybe it’s the sign of the times, maybe publishers see how well Game of Thrones is doing and want to publish more stuff like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed a lot of grimdark, and I certainly don’t mind some violence. I don’t mean to knock battlefield fantasy, but like a brand new sword that’s seen recent use, the shiny has worn off for me.  Ultraviolence was a novelty for me, and now that I’m past it (or maybe I’m just getting old), I find that I prefer fantasy titles that are more in the vein of Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice, Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind , Jemisin’s Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora, etc. Fantasy that focuses on plot, characters, consequences, adventure, magic, relationships, changes in perspective and such.

 

That said, I recently put the following question to the Twittersphere:

looking for epic fantasy

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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.