I have all my SRP stuff ready at work, all printed out, and I've got a stack of books at home, so that I've got plenty to put down if I don't like the one in hand. I haven't been totally excited about reading for the last week or so, and that makes me sad.
The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance by Lara Adrian, et al. I ordered (and checked out) this book so I could read the Gail Carriger story inside ("Marine Biology"). I didn't read any of the other short stories.
Carriger's story was a little too short for it's own good. The main character is pretty good, but the secondary characters are a bit flat/stereotypical. They are quite forward, to move the plot speedily. I think readers familiar with the involved pack structure and detailed werewolf abilities she set up in her Parasol series will get a bit more out of the story, but that background is probably not strictly necessary.
Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield. 686.2. By the time I decided I didn't want to finish this book, I was so close to the end that I finished it just so I could count it. I can't say I retained any information from reading this, because I can't tell how this book is organized, if at all: not by font name, by designer name, or even geographically. It is probably supposed to be organized by design families (serif/sans/etc.), but this meant we were jumping around in time,talking about the same artists in chapters far-separated.
I know some people who are really into fonts. For the first couple of chapters, I was really into it, too. But now I'm just frustrated and leaving all my programs on their default fonts.
Four Seasons in Rome (928) and parts of The Education of Werner Pfennig (in Tin House vol.14(3)) by Anthony Doerr. This author's name has been tossed around as a possibility for our 2014 Everybody Reads author. (Everybody Reads is like One Book, One Bloomington or whatever it might be called in your area.) I'd never heard of him, so figured I should arm myself to be able to make intelligent decisions.
I would be totally happy to have Doerr as our ER author. His writing style reminded me a little bit of Jim Lynch. I really enjoyed his writing, although I did find a handful of places in Four Seasons when it seemed he was trying a bit too hard.
(The reason I only read parts of The Education... is because it isn't out until 2014, but a couple chapters were published in this literary magazine.) Four Seasons was good, but this new book is going to be much better. I already care very much about Werner.
In Four Seasons he talks about trying to write The Education... but he gets sidetracked by a short story he ends up spending quite a bit of time on. If anyone knows what that short story is, please share.
We have (or will soon, since I ordered what we didn't have) Doerr's other works, some fiction and some nonfiction. I intend to read them even if we don't have him come.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
I have all my SRP stuff ready at work, all printed out, and I've got a stack of books at home, so that I've got plenty to put down if I don't like the one in hand. I haven't been totally excited about reading for the last week or so, and that makes me sad.
at 10:53 AM
Monday, May 06, 2013
I was so glad to be done with non-required reading that I tore through half a dozen books. Now I've settled down a bit.
His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles, Tongues of Serpents, and Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik. Note to self: new book (Blood of Tyrants) out in August. I skimmed through portions of the first two books looking for descriptions of the aviator uniforms; for National Library Week in April, the staff dressed as book characters for two days. The first day, I was Jane Roland. I couldn't find a green coat, but I think the ensemble came off rather well.
Previously when I've read the series, I always felt let down after book three or so. I didn't feel that way this time. I do feel it's a little bit ridiculous how these characters manage to go over the whole world. I realize books are written about extraordinary people, but it seems a wee bit forced.
Gulp by Mary Roach. 613.2 A new book by Mary Roach? Yes, please! Great, amazing, weird, as always.
at 11:28 AM
Thursday, April 18, 2013
The Rising at Roxbury Crossing by James Redfearn. This will appeal to a very small group of readers. There are also quite a lot of characters, not well introduced. A little bit of editing goes a long way. Also, there is quite a bit of swearing, which I'm sure the author thinks make them sound realistic. It just makes them sound crass.
Blues in the Wind-- ReVisited [sic] by Whitney J.LeBlanc. What is it with all these "American Saga"s? They are uniformly bad.
Angels at Sunset by Tom Mach. Another book inside a book? Use those pages to better tell the real story. The story is told in third person, but has so many italicized thoughts for the main character that first person would have been more appropriate, more natural, and more powerful.
Also, all the conversations feel contrived.
But By the Chance of War by Richard C. Lyons. A screen play spanning from 535 to the modern day? How could this go wrong? This is not a novel. These rhymes are ridiculous: someone is trying way, waaaayyy to hard.
The Kabbalist: A Cinematic Novel by Michael Laitman. No, no, no! Not a novel! And so many fonts; my eyes, they hurt.
The Widow of Port Seaton by Susan Gibbs. This one is off to a good start; I put it off so long because the cover art is so very terrible, but the book inside will be worth having another read-through in the future.
Recorded Books. Not my normal thing, but it definitely falls inside the library world. Here's what happened: we have an audiobook (I don't remember which one now, not that it matters) and one disc was damaged. The rest of the dozen-or-so discs played perfectly well and the title was popular, so I wanted to replace the damaged disc. I didn't want to buy a full replacement as this was somewhere in the $90 area, if I remember right. I tried my normal vendors to no luck. The audiobook's publisher was Recorded Books, so I called to see about getting a replacement disc straight from them. I've worked with other publishers before, it's pretty straight forward. However, Recorded Books wouldn't sell me a replacement disc. I was told over the phone that they won't sell replacement discs if we didn't buy the original directly from them. Since this audiobook has been at the library far longer than I, I have no idea who purchased it or from which vendor. Because there has been alot of turnover at the library over the last few years, we have different, frequently multiple accounts for single vendors, in different librarians' names. We also don't have the acquisitions add-on for our ILS, so without going back through years and years of paper invoices, I have no idea where it came from.
I think it very small and petty of Recorded Books to have this policy. They published the audiobook; no matter who eventually shipped it to our library, they got paid for it. This practice does not motivate me in the least to buy directly from them; if I had more time, or stronger standards, I wouldn't purchase anything by them at all, no matter who I was buying it from. Boo on you, Recorded Books.
The Olympian. This year's periodicals budget is smaller than last year's, so we decided we couldn't afford to keep the Seattle Times along with everything else. We signed up for a 6-month subscription to the Olympian instead, to still provide some cross-state coverage. Let me just say, those people are on drugs. We've had problems with the website and the mail-delivery, but that doesn't compare at all to trying to call them. Our patrons like the paper, but it's hardly worth the staff time trying to keep everything straight. Drugs, man.
at 8:25 AM
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
I have been almost exclusively reading my books for judging, and quite honestly I'm putting them off. They are a real crap shoot.
You Slay Me Katie MacAlister. This was quite fun. I haven't managed to follow up with the next one yet.
Founding Fathers Know Best, by Ross Edward Puskar.
For your subtitle choose among the following, all of which appear as separate lines on the cover and on the title page:
Is the President Leading the Country in the Wrong Direction?
The Past Presidents Return tot he White House to Provide Counsel on Current Issues
not fiction. not good.
The Raven's Heart by Jesse Blackadder. A near-perfect score. I have added it to my library.
Chojun by Goran Powell. This book, upon reflection, had two very different parts, but it flowed very well.
Maps of Fate by Reid Lance Rosenthal. This says it is book 2 of a "saga." I have no idea what book 1 may have included; this could stand on its own, although there were too many characters and story lines. The writing tried to be a little too flowery; simple can be so much better.
A Texas Destiny by Joe G. Bax. Not super great, many problems with the writing, including random switches from first person to third person and back. Like other books recently read, this tried to cover a large amount of time in too short a space. The first portion of the book covered only a few years, but the second part of the book covered decades, poorly.
Giddyap Tin Lizzie by Harold William Thorpe. I'm sure it's hard to write about the Great Depression without being, well, depressing. But surely the book should be a little bit depressing? This was more like a book about the Slightly Less Full Bank Account.
To Know You by Rebecca Del Reye. What is the point of couching the main story inside another story? Those pages could have been better used just plain telling the actual story instead of introducing more characters.
at 9:00 PM
Sunday, March 03, 2013
or paranormal horror.
XP by Alison Bailey. Points for originality, because I haven't seen this topic before. However, negative points for the writing. Throughout the entire work, the author only used the shortest of sentences, with nearly no variation. And that's aside from the other disastrous aspects of the writing style, like the fragments-- fully 50% of the "sentences"-- and the verb tense changes all over the place. Let's take a paragraph at random here...
He was damn tired a being called skinny. Out behind Jacob's Well station he danced in the sand, avoided the other's swings. Could count the ribs on the fella,so pale below the neck and face. Knew he musta looked the same, scrawny,like a loser. The wranglers egged them on, shoutin' and wagerin'. He took a swipe in the chin, spat out blood,felt his tooth loosen. A taste of iron in his mouth. (247)That's one of the longer paragraphs available. Most are only one or two sentences. Now imagine 280 odd pages of that, over and over. It was like sand in my brain.
The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Lofthouse. I read this a while ago but don't see a review, so I apologize. I was so glad to be done with it I could see myself not wanting to pick it up again.
What a disaster. After the first two pages, I started keeping track of the proofing errors. I counted 97 "big" errors: "her's," for example, or having some lists use Oxford commas but not other lists, and typos on the back cover (!). This does not address that I could have sprinkled literally hundreds of commas throughout the book.
The writing is poor in many other ways. The narrative is interspersed with information the main character learned many years later. The book is historical fiction but lacks a period feel: there are few details about daily life or even enough to give a good feel for the setting, and the author included some modern slang.
One of my notes from mid-way through slogging through this is, "I resent that this book is so heavy." At 550 pages even, in trade paperback, with tiny, tiny print, I hold it against the author. Poorly formatted, hard on the eyes, heavy, and terrible? Boo!
Water to my Soul: The Story of Eliza Lucas Pinckney by Pamela Bauer Mueller. I'm automatically leary of any author who feels it necessary to list every writing award she's won on the front of the book.
The historical person and events this book is build around were interesting. The building could have been better. First, the book is neatly divided right down the half-way point; the first half takes place over the course of about 3 years, and the second half takes place over about 80 years. Also, the half-way point is marked by several pages of photos and artwork on that glossy paper. Most of the pictures would fall squarely in the "spoiler" category. It would have been better to include them either throughout, as relevant, or at the back.
I don't know how big a deal this is to others, but it certainly annoyed me: the main character is the white daughter of a white plantation owner in South Carolina in the early 1700s. They owned slaves. However, they are never referred to as such. The word "slave" is used fewer than 5 times in the whole book; at every other time, they are "the staff," "the workers," etc. Along with several other things about the main character,either she or the author is out of touch with reality, I'm not sure which.
A Hard Road to Travel by Patty Tyson Wilson. First of all, the author should remove herself from the delusion that this is a book. It is 75 pages; it is a short story.
Also, this isn't usually the thing I immediately notice, but let me note some of the formatting errors in this publication: the first paragraph is not left-aligned properly; the font changes at page 26; sometimes there is an extra break between paragraphs, sometimes not, and I don't see a pattern; and it looks like there are 2 spaces between words several times per page. Anyone accurately using Microsoft Word could have fixed most of these.
This novelette doesn't even read like a story; instead, it is an account. The generals moved, the men made camp. Two lines of dialogue. The men build a bridge; there is a skirmish; "the Union's casualty list for the battle showed 1,754 killed; 8,408 wounded; 2,885 captured or missing" (31). Seriously, why not just read the textbook.
Whiskey Cove by Denise Frisino. The framing for this story didn't work. We didn't get to really know the narrator, so she seemed moody and mercurial. Narration or letter-writing by the main character would have worked better, if the author was so opposed to a real-time story.
at 2:52 PM
Sunday, February 17, 2013
I was going back through my archives looking for something, I don't know what, and blogger told me this post here at 289 views. 289 page views! Why? Maybe it returns for the giraffe knitting pattern somehow? Wait, let me google it...although the original flicker images for the original pattern come up for a "knit giraffe" search, my image doesn't, or do any of those return for "giraffe amigurumi." It's not linked from my ravelry page. I can't think of why. 289!
A Midsummer Tights Dream by Louise Rennison. In another place in my life I would have been all over this. But I'm just not into it, and that is through no fault of the book.
Surviving the Island of Grace by Leslie Leyland Fields. I only made it to page 23. While the story seems like it would be interesting, it isn't picking up. I'm not terribly interested in fishing, it turns out, and already the story can't tell where inside the story it wants to begin. After the third false start, I quit.
Also, there are some pen drawings scattered about. They... aren't to my taste.
Black Books, season 2, with Dylan Moran. These are not for everyone. And I don't think alcoholism is funny. But I do think it's funny that the popular opinion is that any job related to books (book-store-owning or librarying, etc.) would inevitably be easy. That's probably why used book stores are the small business with the highest failure rate.
Stephen Fry in American: Fifty States and the Man Who Set Out to See them All, by Stephen Fry. I thought I liked this guy. I thought this would be fun. I mean, one of the reasons I like sci-fi novels is because they examine our culture from the outside. I anticipated this would be similar in a way. And some parts were; I didn't know we Americans have an abnormal attachment to cinnamon. But I couldn't finish the book-- mainly because the author sounded so pretentious all the time. Sorry, Stephen. I actually made it all the way through to pg. 208, then skipped ahead to read the Washington entry. It's actually one of the longer entries but, big surprise, doesn't leave the I-5 corridor.
Don't buy for the library, not worth the money.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, by Lauren Willing. I have been putting this off for years. I ought not have done so. It turned out to be a little bit silly, with some quick-we-are-running-out-of-pages! plot jumps, but on the whole very fun. And there's a whole fleet of them!
at 7:22 PM
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
I can't think of anything I want to do this evening,my hands being cramped from a serious ton of knitting I've done this weekend. This is a little bit less intense. Especially since I'm doing this during the commercials of watching junk on Hulu. (this is what I'm doing, by the way.)
The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster by Bobby Henderson. This book spoofs religion while ripping holes in evolution and making fun of science. Most of it is just made up and I don't think you can trust a single fact, but it is hilarious and makes the reader think about one's own religious choices.
(I don't remember this book at all.)
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. This may well be the funniest book I have ever read. I absolutely love the authors' style. Not only was it funny,but the story-- plot and all that-- was great. Plus there was plenty there to think about if the reader so desired. I absolutely must have a copy of my own. (I do now.) (Also, this was my introduction to Terry Pratchett and so I must thank this book for changing the course of my reading life.)
The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley. Another book I didn't finish. The interesting thing about this book was the style the author chose-- it copied early novels well, which give no account of emotions, do not have a main character,or focus on one theme. It is merely a historical accounting. While this is interesting, it was very boring, and I quit.
The Grey King by Susan Cooper. They really should put warning labels on these things: caution, this book has prerequisites. I thought the book seemed kind of odd, like I was missing something, but it didn't say anything in the front anywhere about a series. It was on the last page. So I didn't really get into it.
The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket. These have definitely taken a u-turn toward evil. The question posed is, is it "good" because you are on that side? Where is the evidence, if there is any? The fight against evil is no longer black and white, but gray and less gray.
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett. As to the story and all that, it was the same as usual. This was quite an early one, though, so a lot more came out about the characters. Someday I'm going to really have to go through these all again, in order.
This book says a lot about people: rulers, sheeply masses, the idle, the discontent. I thought there was a very poignant section beginning on the bottom of page 12, which could be useful as a starter quote. I typed it down and saved it; it's a bit long for my front-of-the-collection collection.
Guises of the Mind by Rebecca Neason. This book did not have many endearing qualities. Like most others in the set, it employed italics to specify emphasis within a spoken sentence or personal thought; I find this distasteful. It relied heavily on the reader intimately knowing all past books, episodes, and movies.
The story was very action-oriented and the characters stayed mostly true to themselves; I find these books marginally enjoyable in the absence of any TV. I would not recommend them for serious reading.
The Halfling's Gem by R.A. Salvatore. This book had mostly action in it, not so much traveling as in the last book. These battles are quite detailed and gory, which is more noticeable in this book because there are so very many of them. Possibly because of this, the author tries to throw in a bunch of sentimental crap that obviously doesn't below. And he is still doing that annoying
But for all that the writing style gets on my nerves, the story, the action was compelling, really drew me in. I want to read the next book though, because the ending wasn't much of an ending at all.
The Hammer of Eden by Ken Follett. The plot progressed fairly well, kept the reader involved; this was a mystery, with a geology flair which I actually enjoyed. There was a fair amount of swearing, but it was by characters only. ...
What I really disliked about this book was that it took the last chapter and said, this is what happened to this person and this what happened to this person right through the whole cast. It had no flavor, felt rushed,and felt compartmentalized.
Also, I watched Black Books, season 1, with Dylan Moran. On hulu, actually. I've been meaning to watch this for years. It's not perfect, but it's funny. I'm glad I'm watching it.
at 1:43 PM
Saturday, February 09, 2013
Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr. 417. I thought I reviewed this but cannot find the review. I learned so much! It was so interesting! I immediately bought a copy for the library (read this as an ARC on netgalley). And fyi, that's exactly how the title appears on the cover.
This is pretty much exactly how I like my nonfiction: long enough to cover the subject fully but not long-winded, informative but not dry, and pulling in relevant information from a lot of different areas or subjects. (Who would have thought the invention of the fireplace would have a direct result on the ways we have historically used cussing?)
Eureka, Season 5, with Colin Ferguson. Having watched all the previous seasons, I thought it was right for me to watch the final one. I'm sad, on the one hand,that the show is over, because it was pretty cool and Jack was a really great character. On the other hand, it's time. It was never the same after Jack and Henry were first thrown back in time and Henry flash-thing'ed him. And it was totally never the same after they went to the1940s and came back.
I like the season 5 story line with Holly. Although some stuff didn't get resolved, that story line was worth continuing. The final episode was a pretty crappy wrap-up. It's not like having the show end was a surprise for the writers, they could have had the whole season to work up to it. Instead, season 5 as normal then boom, done.
at 12:48 PM
Sunday, January 27, 2013
At the Hot Gates: An Account of the Battle of Thermopylae by Donald Samson; illustrations by Adam Agee. The publisher's information lists this for ages 12 and up, but it seems appropriate for even younger readers. It is a very (very) short story about one specific historical event. Characters experience no growth, since the whole story is about 3 days long.
The book is a really weird size, I assume to allow for the illustrations, which, by the way, are really bad.
The story is well-written enough, few errors, that sort of thing. I can see it having a place in school libraries-- it's really short, it is totally historical fiction, it features exclusively male characters.
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen. I'm not normally attracted by mysteries-- too many bad experiences. But I allowed myself to write this one down, so I picked it up one day when I needed something for my lunch break and had left all my other things at home.
I enjoyed this quite a bit. I was right in my who-done-it guess, but there was enough going on to keep me interested. There were a few things not tied up in the end, but they weren't major points. It's obvious there is more to the series. I might continue it.
Who am I kidding, we all know my OCD with series.
Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland by Bryan Sykes. I keep coming back to this author, because his work sounds so interesting. But with everything else on my bedside table, and stacks from the awards committee, and prepubs on my Nook, this didn't hold my attention. It let my mind wander.
A Little History of Science by William Bynum. This is good, well written, informative. A good history of (pretty much exclusively) Western science, with some medicine in there, too. I haven't finished this yet, and I may not get to before it expires. Worth having in public libraries.
The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord. This is the kind of sci-fi I haven't tried in a long time. It seems like it will eventually get interesting, but there isn't enough being explained for me as we go along.
Wolves in the Land of Salmon by David Moskowitz. I've only made it to page 94 (of the 332 rendered in the ebook version). While very interesting, especially since it so local, it makes me fall asleep.
When most people think of caribou (Rangifer tarandus), they probably imagine enormous herds of barren ground caribou (R.t. groenlandicus) streaming across the open tundra. However, mountain caribou, a specific subset of woodland caribou (R.t.caribou), the subspecies that inhabits the mountains of the interior of our region, travel in smaller groups and frequent forests and steep mountainous terrain. (93)
The Blind Eye: A Sephardic journey by Marcia Fine. Full-on spoilers ahead.
I was really interested when I thought this was two parallel stories and a modern-day person would discover her family past and all that. When the story revealed that the historical story was in fact a novel written by one of the characters, I was very cross. First, it made the history less real. Second, the history is about 2 female characters and is supposed to be written by the modern male character, who is utterly hopeless with women. Third, the modern story is very shallow. Things happen not because they ought to, but because the author feels it necessary to inflict romance into the story or it won't sell...or something like that. It would have been much better without the forced relationships.
Also, I have no idea where the title came from.
at 9:04 PM
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Bold Spirit by Linda Hunt. A friend recommended this; it had already been on my read-it list and the recommendation pushed me over to checking it out. After I checked it out, I then realized I have a snagged-from-the-books-sale copy at home.
I started reading it and, while interesting, it couldn't hold my attention against more pressing (pre-pub or checked-out) books. It's like coming into the house and being safe on my shelves is almost a guarantee I won't read it. Made it page 26; pretending to save it for a vacation.
Jeeves and Wooster, seasons 1 through 4 (almost), with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. I've watched these before, just gave them another try. I enjoy them very much, but they are difficult for me to watch:
1. the utter lack of subtitles in my busy house.
2. there are a ton-- quite literally, I think-- of minor characters. They would be hard enough to keep track of, but many of the characters switch actors throughout the seasons. It throws me off.
Now that my boy and his daddy are at a sports practice a few nights per week, I actually have a shot at watching things I want to watch, and being able to hear them to boot.
Augusta's Daughter: Life in Nineteenth Century Sweden by Judit Martin. This... was kind of weird. The level of historical detail was great, especially since the focus was on typically-un(der)represented portions of populations. However, I could never get over the writing. The prose/narration was fine, if a little instrution-y, but let me find a good piece here for ya...
(there are only 2 people in this conversation, Gustaf and Olov, and the conversation has already been going on for a full page.)
"Could Gustaf take it upon himself to be godfather to the lass?" he asked.(from page 26.) This was consistent throughout the book. Is this a big flaw in the writing? It's presented as if people talked that way. If so, some sort of forward or author's note is totally lacking. I can't get over this; it ruined it for me.
"It would be and honor," he replied. "But Olov is not thinking about asking my Greta, is he?"
"No. That will have to be another time..."
"Can Gustav and Stina..."he began.
at 9:24 PM
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Sheep in a Ship and Sheep Blast Off, by Nancy Shaw and illustrated by Margot Apple. We have as part of our home picture book library Sheep in a Jeep. It's a bed-time favorite, appearing at least a few times a month. Without even deliberately looking for them, these jumped out at me from the shelf when the boy and I were in the children's section last week.
The rhythm of the writing reminds me of what DinoTrain was trying for. Only these are much better. And apparently there are more!
Slant of Light: A Novel of Utopian Dreams and Civil War, by Steve Wiegenstein. Oh Steve, you have restored (a small portion of) my faith in self-publishing... or self-publishers, I'm not sure which. An interesting story line I've not seen before. There could easily have been too many secondary characters but the author managed to keep it to a reasonable number and without forcing-- or abandoning-- any of them to the life of mere caricatures. Some of the inter-personal story line reminded me of another historical fiction title I read... and now I can't find. I've spent an unfortunate amount of time trying to find or remember this title; it's something I had to weed from my previous library based on circ/condition, I read it before Courting Emma Howe, and (yes, it's terrible) I'm pretty sure it was yellow. Anyway, although some of the plot elements seemed for a while like they were going in the same direction, Slant of Light went it's own way. Hurrah. Adding to my library.
Nerd Gone Wild, by Vicki Lewis Thompson. I've had this one my list a while, so when I felt myself coming down with a cold on Thursday, I grabbed it. Therefore I already and conveniently had it on my nightstand when I came home early from work Friday to wallow in my misery among the tissues. Our only copy is large print, so it was nice and easy to read with my glasses off, an unexpected bonus. One note on formatting: the book was a little too thick, I thought, to be a trade paperback. About 530 pages, I don't think the binding works well to hold on to, nor will it hold out very well over time.
I'd previously read one of the author's other books in this theme and it was enjoyable. This one, I thought, wasn't as good. First, the male main character is supposed to be disguised as a nerd, but aside from purposefully displaying poor fashion choices, the innate ability to master details, and a tendency to mention aliens, there is no depth to this front. Nerds are so numerous and multifaceted (see Geektastic); I think the author took the easy way out by playing off a few lame stereotypes. This was a let-down for me.
As I was thinking earlier today about what I would write in reaction to this book, I found myself ruminating over "geek" and "nerd." "Nerd" is being owned by alot of people now; I know I've been saying it for a while. It doesn't have the connotations it used to; or, if it does, it now has some good ones, too. "Geek" doesn't seem to be having quite the same resurgence. Don't let's go into the "Geek the Library" thing. And, and I could be wrong about this, they've been used to refer to different types of groups. In trying to list the different types of geek/nerd groups I've been a part of, it seems that "nerd" is a book-ish thing (history nerd, math nerd, speech nerd) and "geek" is an arts thing (music geek, band geek). But that could just be some kind of coincidence,or the result of not enough data. Not that this is really relevant; I was just thinking.
Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation, by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim. (612) This actually covered quite a few subjects besides the titular topic. The book isn't very thick, though, so there's definitely room for something more comprehensive. The best part was by far the historical ads (well I say historical but some were from the 80s and 90s) throughout (which took up quite a bit of the space).
Homo Mysterious: Evolutionary Puzzles of Human Nature, by David P. Barash. This book was not what I was expecting, from the title or the summaries I'd read. It may be interesting, but I think the author is doing a poor job of acknowledging arguments that make his look bad. The reason I closed it, however, is that the author was talking on at some length about females being the more ostentatious dressers, etc. etc. He doesn't acknowledge that this has not always been the set-up throughout human history. That would mess up his argument. Poor science and poor writing.
Also, fyi, the author is very anti-religious-people. He's not only against organized religion, but fairly offensive toward followers. I shouldn't expect too much, I suppose, from anyone who feels the need to put their PhD status on the cover.
Only made it o page 95.
at 10:12 PM
Thursday, January 10, 2013
every time I add a new tag, I need to go back and alter/clarify old tags. I'm starting to include first names with all new last names to save time in the future.
Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Toys by Susan B. Anderson. We have one book by this author, which I've looked at before. I didn't really like the way most of the toys in that other book looked, although I can't particularly say why. Despite my opinion of the first book, I requested this title on netgalley, and I liked most of these patterns significantly better. Here is the one I made; the pattern is called "Egg to Alligator" and I made it in one afternoon* . I think the pattern could use some improvement: I don't particularly like the eyes, and the body is a bit too wide for an alligator; adapting it to some kind of herbivore dinosaur would be good. The ridge along the back was also problematic; I tried it a few times as written and it didn't seem to work. I don't know if it's written poorly or I was just doing it wrong, so I made up my own thing for the ridge.
The other truly inside-out toys listed in the book are "Egg to Penguin" and "Chrysalis to Monarch." The other patterns all looked like items that flip or even just turn over or turn around. I do want to try the "Snowman & Tree" flipper.
There were some serious issues with the egalley that I hope are not a representation of a final print or final e- product. This was largely limited to page order and page completeness problems. I shared the alligator with my knitting coworkers and our library knitting program group and many people were so taken with it that I have ordered the book for work already.
*actually, I made the legs wrong and had to redo them the next day, but someone a little more experienced would have been able to do it just fine. And to be specific, that was a didn't-leave-the-house-all-day kind of afternoon, so it really took me from 1 to 6 pm, sprinkled with other household chores.
Red Dwarf, Season 10 by Doug Naylor. We've downloaded and watched the new season of Red Dwarf. It's not breaking copyright because it hasn't been released in the U.S. yet. Right? This is the best season, I think, because the writing does the best job so far of capturing the characters. The only better characterization is seasons 1 and 2 Cat. Fans must watch.
at 7:58 PM
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Rowan Atkinson Live!, with Rowan Atkinson and Angus Deayton (DVD). I didn't get to watch the whole of this, but I definitely enjoyed the bits I did get to see. It seems like most people like his sketch comedy that is more like his Mr. Bean stuff, but I really don't like that at all. I do really enjoy the rest of it, not so physical and more dependent on knowing a few things, enough to get the jokes.
I didn't get to finish this because it doesn't have subtitles, so I can't watch while my son is awake, and I now go to bed pretty much immediately after he does, so evening film viewing is right out.
Dirty Jobs, collection 3, with Mike Rowe (DVD). Didn't quite finish this either, but because I have been sated of my need for Dirty Jobs.
Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart; read by Coleen Marlo. I was doing a ton of knitting before Christmas, and I thought that I could probably handle knitting while listening to an audiobook. I can totally handle it, but again, the boy, oi. So I got through disc 1 only. :( Great book, very interesting stuff, just not in my house.
I am now a reviewer and judge for the IPBA Ben Franklin Awards. I'm excited, because this is a bit bigger and more well-known than some of the other reviewing I've done (although I'm still not getting paid or anything), and-- I checked-- I can actually talk about it. I've received my first shipment of 18 titles with another box to follow later in January. All reviews must be complete by March 31st. I'm not going to reveal my category, and the reviews I post here will have different comments and focus on different aspects of the book than my official reviews submitted. Because I don't enjoy authors who take things too personally. I'm almost done reading my first book, and it can only get better from here.
So far it's been interesting, not too challenging, and I'm looking forward to it. I encourage people to sign up for next year-- some of the books are pre-pub (which doesn't quite excite me like it used to, now that at any given time I have about a dozen books on my Nook from NetGalley, but it's still pretty cool) and you get to keep (or donate, or burn) all the books sent.
at 12:56 PM
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
My son is so enraptured with his new toys that he is actually leaving me alone. I ordered my son a play kitchen for his big Christmas present, and then I went about knitting a larder of food for him. I was working on a baked potato at the library's knitting group last week and when asked, I explained. Several of the ladies in the group, especially older ladies, surprised me the vehemence of their "good for you!" comments. I didn't realize buying my son-- who already enjoys helping me cook-- a play kitchen that comes in gender-neutral colors, was a huge feminist move. Of course, I am part of a heterosexual couple in which the female part (that's me) has very short hair and wears the pants monetarily, and the male part has long hair, prefers kilts, and does most of the weekday-dinner cooking (because he gets home earlier than me every afternoon). Anyway, he's busy shoving knitted eggs into a plastic mini fridge so I am free to type.
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. What have I just read? Partly I'm sure I was confused because the first half of the book I read over the course of about two weeks, fighting sleep the whole time. The second half of the book I read all in one go while definitely awake. And this is not the fault of the author; it's actually very carefully cultivated confusion, I think: the reader doesn't get to know the back story because none of the characters even know there is a back story. But everything, all the details,etc., are very consistent throughout. There must be a very developed timeline; we just don't know it.
Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives by Thomas French. 590.7. This book was less about zoos in general, actually a history of a specific zoo. The author did a great job of depicting both (all) sides of the captivity question. Well written, engaging.
Law and Order: SVU, seasons 1 through 8, created by Dick Wolf. We love this show. But since we don't get TV, we only get to watch it when we are on vacation. (Yes, I know about Netflix.) Recently, someone donated to the library SVU seasons 1-8 and also season 14 of the original series. I have abused my power and we watched all of them. Mwah-ha-ha.
The only bad thing is, I was patron number 3 on some of these discs. Part of season 4 is already so damaged that we had to skip several episodes. Come on, people.
at 5:43 PM
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Y: The Last Man: Unmanned, by Brian K Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan Jr.. This has been on my list for a long time; you know of my long-running love affair with post-apocalyptic novels. I keep putting it off because I have a decidedly difficult time reading graphic novels.
I gave it a try the other day and read it right through. The layout was great, a very nice amount of text versus images, not too many characters, drawings were consistent throughout; a very enjoyable graphic novel experience. I have the next few in the series checked out, again just waiting for the right frame of mind to strike so I can read them.
Adam's Curse: The Science the Reveals our Genetic Destiny, by Bryan Sykes. I must admit, I only made it to page 33; unlike the weather, this was exceedingly dry.
Creature Comforts and Creature Comforts: America DVDs, by Aardman Animations Ltd. I actually had ("had") to watch these at work because someone challenged them. They aren't rated and this was the root of the complaint. It's not up to the library to impose ratings on materials not rated by the MPAA, it was on the Entertainment DVD shelf which is for all ages, and we encourage a parent's right to preview and oversee the media their children consume.
Now, these are hilarious and I'm glad we have them. More people should watch them, including you. The best thing for me was the amazing detail on the faces of the characters. You've got to watch this attentively, the bigger the screen the better.
at 12:38 PM