the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘books

I love buying books.  If I read an author and fall in love with their work, I try to buy more of their books.  I can’t seem to leave a bookstore without purchasing a cookbook.

 

I’ve been waiting for Seth Dickinson’s next Baru Cormorant book since, oh, I dunno, about 5 seconds after finishing the first book in the series, The Traitor Baru Cormorant. I was so excited for the next book in the series, The Monster Baru Cormorant, that I reread the first one, managed to purchase a copy of the new book the day it came out, and started reading it that night. It’s super dense, I’m madly in love with all the economics talk (but wait, i thought I hated economics?),  and I really miss Tain Hu. Might have to reread the first book just to be able to spend some more time with her. I’m about half way through The Monster Baru Cormorant, and am pretty sure I’ll need to read it twice if I’m gonna write a coherent review.

About five minutes after I finished Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee,  I ordered a copy of Lee’s short story collection, Conservation of Shadows.    And I finally, finally, after everyone I know has said how amazing this series is, bought a copy of Vicious by V.E. Schwab.  the problem is going to be deciding which one of these to read first!!!   The Lee looks enjoyable because it’s short stories, i can read one or two before bed or in the morning before I leave for work.   If Vicious turns out to be an emotional roller coaster, I might need to wait a few weeks to read it,  as I’m still recovering from Revenant Gun, and a little voice is telling me that Baru is going to take me on another emotional roller coaster!

 

Even if I don’t get to either of these books any time soon, I like that they are in my house.

 

 

And because I apparently can’t leave a bookstore without buying a cookbook, lets make some Gyudon.   and there’s a whole chapter on Japanese Curry!  Curry Rice FTW!

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I love autumn.  I love sweater weather, and snuggling under blankets, and chili or stew bubbling on the stove, I love the crinkle of dry leaves, the smell of burning leaves, the honks of migrating geese, how the world sounds and smells so different all of sudden.   Orion is in the sky when I leave for work, and I get to watch a beautiful sunrise every morning.

 

Yep, I love autumn.

 

There are also some really fun bloggy, booky, and book-blogosphere events happening in the autumn and into winter!   Here’s a run down of the fall/winter SciFi events I’ll be involved with:

 

As always, I am super excited for #RRSciFiMonth, this year hosted by Imyril of One More and Lisa of Dear Geek Place! For the month of November, if you’re not sure that SciFi is your thing, or if it just sounds too weird, this is the time to dip your toes in!  There will be give aways and twitter threads, and other cool stuff too!  Scif Fi Month has no deadlines, no challenges, no minimums, no bouts of books. Sci Fi Month is a community, a conversation, an invitation.

Science Fiction is basically my life,  and any opportunity to help a non-scifi reader find the scifi book that works for them is a good thing, in my opinion. There are so many flavors of science fiction,  (just like there are different types of TV shows!),  so if the first scifi book you pick up isn’t the one for you,  there are  million other ones out there to try that might work for you.  Yay SciFiMonth!

So that’s November.

 

In early December, I will have a super awesome, super huge announcement about a super secret project I’m working on.  The project will go live (not sure if that is even the right word!) in January.  And I need your help!  I’ll be promoting the living hell out of this thing, so if you’re willing to give me a corner of you blog I’d be happy to write you a guest post (easy content for you!). Want to interview me about the project? that’s awesome too!   Public announcement goes up in early December, but if you’d like to know the secret ahead of time?  Leave me a way to get a hold of you in the comments (e-mail, twitter, link to the contact page on your website) and I’ll be in touch.

 

And in January?

It will be #VintageSciFiMonth!  Hosted by yours truly and Jacob at Red Star Reviews! Yay! muppet flail!!!!!!!!   I haven’t even picked out my books yet!  #endlessscreaming!

VintageScifi Month started on a lark I don’t know how many years ago, and has grown into this wonderful huge thing. here’s how it works:  During the month of January,  read, watch, or listen to something science fiction-y that was written/created before 1979, and talk about it on the internet. on your blog, on facebook, on twitter, on booktube. You can read a book, flip through an old magazine, watch an old movie, listen to some old audio of War of the Worlds.  Have fun downloading old books from Project Gutenberg, visit a used bookstore, find an old gem at the library, ask your parents what their favorite science fiction book was when they were younger.

Vintage month is like taking a community college course in the history of science fiction, and you’re taking the class with all your friends.  Just like RRSciFiMonth,  Vintage month is a community, a conversation, and an invitation.  There is no sign up, you just show up.  Can’t wait!

 

 

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?

 

This post is mostly book photos.  Some of these I’ve read, some of them I plan to get to shortly, some of them were happy surprises from publishers, or random acquisitions.  What looks good?

Starting off with books I’ve read:  The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette De Bodard is forthcoming from Subterranean Press, what a gem of a novella!  More to come in a longer post, but if you like shipminds who are pretty sure they are people (because they *are* people), this book is for you.  Immortal Clay by Michael Lucas was a compelling post-apocalyptic novel based on the premise that at the end of John Carpenter’s The Thing, humanity lost.  Again, more to come in a longer post, but I most noticed and most appreciated the slower pace of this story.  After all, when you’re already dead, what’s the hurry?

 

In the category of Want To Read Very Soon is Binti:The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor (what? you haven’t read the Binti novellas? holy shit, DO IT!) and The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, which is the February book for my local book club.

 

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I’ve been bouncing around a lot of books lately. I’ll pick something up, read a hundred pages, put it down. In one case, I got 200 pages through a book, got annoyed by it, got so annoyed that I didn’t care that i was only a hundred pages from the end, and put it down.

Oh October, month of my DNF’ing.

Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe I’m picking up books that I’m just not in the mood for. Maybe i’m picking up books that aren’t as awesome as they could be. Who knows.

I did finish two books recently. Both are book 3’s in ongoing series, both were let downs. They weren’t terrible, they just weren’t as good as the first or second books in those series, and the first two books were so good that my expectations were pretty high for book 3.  I was disappointed in both books, but I did finish both of them, so that must mean something.

When I fall into this funk of DNF’ing, of nothing meeting my expectations, of getting frustrated, I lean on some old classics.  Something that will either be a popcorn adventure, something that will transport me to another world,  maybe something with language that borders on the poetic.  You can’t go wrong with Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun.

I’ve read a handful of Gene Wolfe, some of it amazing, some of it annoying.  I’ve only read the first two books (bound together in the volume Shadow and Claw) of The Book of the New Sun, so this is my chance to read all four books and actually complete the series.  Or, I’ll get through Shadow and Claw and that book alone will cure my funk of DNF’ing.   Or, I’ll get through Shadow and Claw,  realize how many clues I missed, and read the entire thing all over again.  Any one of these results will make me a happy person.

 

In the category of books I can’t remember if I own or not, I bought these the other day:

please, please, ignore the huge “Blade Runner” words on the cover of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep!  This is NOT a novelization of the movie, or at least it better not be.  I read DADoES years ago, and quite enjoyed it.  I grew up watching Bladerunner, and very much enjoyed the new Bladerunner2049.   I thought I had a crumbly paperback somewhere of DADoES? But maybe not?  And there’s a chance I already have a copy of the Wasp Factory, but maybe not?  and if i remember correctly, The Wasp Factory predates The Culture?  Banks peeps, help me out! this “maybe not” problem was easily solved for less than $20.

 

Have you read any Gene Wolfe?

Have you read any Philip K. Dick?

Have you read any Iain Banks / Iain M. Banks?

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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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It’s been a good week for reading!  A little too good, actually, as I keep wanting to start new books even though I’m enjoying what I’m currently reading.

I finished Pilot X by Tom Merritt, and need to write a review of it.  If you like Doctor Who, you’ll like Pilot X.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been on and off reading The Physician, by Noah Gordon, and can you believe I’m reading a book that is not a scifi or fantasy book!!  Straight up historical fiction, it’s like an Edward Rutherford only way more focused and far more enjoyable to read.  My mom lent me the paperback, and it sat unread until I saw the movie version on Netflix. The movie of The Physician is very good, and they completely smashed up the plot and characters to jam what is a ten year story into a 3 hour movie.  Also? the movie got me interested in reading the book, so mission accomplished. I’m about halfway through the book, and while I am enjoying myself and the book is very readable, I am losing steam.

Peter Watts’ Blindsight is one of my favorite hard scifi novels, and I’ve had a copy of Echopraxia for at least 2 years and I haven’t picked it up until now. What is wrong with me?  Anyways, Echopraxia is a sort of companion novel to Blindsight. Same universe, same time period, but one is not the sequel or prequel of the other.  Now that I’m about 2/3 of the way through Echopraxia,  wow the paranoia and visceral terror is just ramped all the way up!! If like me, you are still trying to get the terrible taste of the movie Prometheus out of your mouth, read some Watts.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, this unassuming volume came into the house by way of loan:

A Requiem for Astounding is part history of the magazine, part love letter to the golden age, and part pure nostalgia.  I come across all these “classic” short stories all over the place, in raggedy “best of” volumes, as reprints, but I have no context for any of it. Here’s hoping this book of essays will give me some much needed context.  I enjoy non-fiction scifi related stuff like this, these older ones are getting near impossible to find!

 

And in the department of new ARCs that have arrived, we have these:

Emerald Circus is a collection of re-imagined fairy tales and includes Yolen’s famous short story “Sister Emily’s Lightship”.  I’m excited for this one, and as it is all short stories that means I can read it a little at a time and not be asking myself “who are these characters again? What were these people doing?”

Like Yolen, Ann Leckie needs no introduction.  Provenance is Leckie’s new novel, out in September. I was not a fan of her famous awards sweeping Ancillary trilogy, but I like what she says on twitter, I respect her editing philosophy, and I’m interested to try Provenance, if only to see how much range her writing has.


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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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