julieandrews: (manga)
Just a quick update on what I read/watched in 2013.

Goodreads widget says I read 96 books of my ambitious pi in the sky goal of 314. This is really, really pathetic for me. And though I was taking classes, this isn't really much of a change in the busy-ness of my life since 2012. Either I'm watching more or playing more games or... who knows what.

The books I rated 4 or 5 stars in 2013:

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves / Karen Joy Fowler
Contagious: Why Things Catch On / Jonah Berger
Miles in Love (reread) / Lois McMaster Bujold
Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus 1 & 2 / CLAMP

Bi-Normal / M. G. Higgins
Fortunately, The Milk / Neil Gaiman
If You Could Be Mine / Sara Farizan
The Reason I Jump / Naoki Higashida
Pink and Say / Patricia Polacco
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library / Chris Grabenstein
The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett / Tom Angelberger
Code Name Verity / Elizabeth Wein
The Power of Poppy Pendle / Natasha Lowe
The Ocean at the End of the Lane / Neil Gaiman
Magic Below Stairs / Caroline Stevermer
The Story of Saiunkoku Vol 1 & 2 / Kairi Yura
Doubleblind / Ann Aguirre
The Summer Prince / Alaya Dawn Johnson (even though I gave it 4 stars, I tagged it 'awesome')
Will in Scarlet / Matthew Cody
Squire / Tamora Pierce
The Language Inside / Holly Thompson
School Spirits / Rachel Hawkins
Destiny, Rewritten / Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Doll Bones / Holly Black
Gulp / Mary Roach
A Bride's Story Vol 2 & Vol 4 / Kaoru Mori
First Test / Tamora Pierce
Seraphina / Rachel Hartman
Stranger Here / Jen Larsen
Monument 14 / Emmy Laybourne
Ignore Everybody / Hugh MacLeod
Diplomatic Immunity (reread) / Lois McMaster Bujold
The Millionaire Messenger / Brendon Burchard
The $100 Startup / Chris Guillebeau
Rainbow Man / MJ Engh
Steal Like an Artist / Austin Kleon
Animal Academy Vol. 6 / Moyamu Fujino
Miles Errant (reread) / Lois McMaster Bujold

--- Well, there's one book I forgot to mark down! Because I did read the latest Bujold. It would've been silly to reread them all and then stop! ----

But it looks like I was rating roughly half the things I read as 4 or 5 stars. Maybe I'm getting better at not bothering with the lower-rated books. Of course I say that, but I read all of that Ann Aguirre series.

Let me just wrap this up with things I watched. Just, in addition to keeping up with probably too many shows, particularly reality shows, here's what I watched once we got a good Internet connection:

* All of Eureka
* All of Warehouse 13 so I'm caught up for the final mini-season
* Up to somewhere in season 8 of Stargate SG-1
* Somewhere towards the beginning of season 1 of Stargate Atlantis

I'm trying to watch the Stargates in airdate order, so I'm flipping back and forth now.

New Sherlock tonight!
julieandrews: (manga)
So I waded through the comments on the io9 article about the Strange Horizons number-crunching. A lot of people replied to one specific request for female authors, with varying levels of enthusiasm, for lots of women to check out.

I did a tally.

Any time a female author was mentioned, I noted it. Whether they were directly a suggestion or just came up in the discussion. Here's the results:

Six Times
Ursula K. Le Guin
Octavia Butler

Five Times
Connie Willis (once in the context of Harlan Ellison)

Four Times
Lois McMaster Bujold
Anne McCaffrey

Three Times
N. K. Jemisin
Nalo Hopkinson
Robin McKinley
C. J. Cherryh
Tanith Lee
Jacqueline Carey
Kage Baker
Mira Grant/Seanan Maguire

More behind the cut )

Things I noticed:

* The Jane Austen Book Club was referred to without mention of the author, Karen Joy Fowler (who also isn't in the above list)
* Harry Potter was referred to without mention of the author, J. K. Rowling (who also isn't in the above list)
* The Hunger Games was referred to without mention of the author, Suzanne Collins (who also isn't in the above list)

Who's Missing?

(This isn't a trick question.)
(Or is it?)
julieandrews: (Default)
Books I failed to buy, that I had intended to:

Steam-powered 2 -- Didn't find it in the dealer's room.
Are You My Mother? -- Decided it was too heavy and also that I didn't want to pay full price. Sorry, AROOO!
a & e 4ever -- Intended to buy it from Lethe Press, but they weren't there(!) I saw it at one point somewhere, but then when I realized Lethe Press wasn't there, I couldn't find it again.
Diamond Eyes by aa bell -- I admit I didn't search assiduously for this one.
Courier's New Bicycle -- This is only out in Australia, but since it's on the Tiptree list, I thought AROOO might have it. If they did, it wasn't in the dealer's room. I asked. I never did get over to the actual store.
Legends of Australian Fantasy -- Also only Australia. I didn't ask, since if they didn't have one, they didn't have this. It's older, I think.
Subscription to Cascadia Subduction Zone -- I tried to get a deal, but Aqueduct Press seemed a little thrown by the idea. They had a new checkout system. I'll consider subbing online.

ARCs acquired at Galley Ho! at the Gathering:
Zombie Stories - Kelly Link and a few other people were in it. Otherwise, zombies, meh.
Losers in Space - Had this on my wish list, so score!
I'll Get There, It Better Be Worth the Trip - The 'first' gay YA. I read it recently, but thought it'd be nice to have a copy.
Buffy and the Heroine's Journey
wow, the resolution on this photo is bad...
Vampire ???.. I can't read it. Have to check the actual book later.
?? by Alex Sanchez - An Alex Sanchez I haven't read. (I've only read a couple, so it's not that unusual.)
Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead - This is like book 3 of a series I haven't read, but I like her other stuff.
Seven Princes by ??? Fultz - I walked by this a couple times, then finally got it. I like the title more than anything.

ARC won at Outer Alliance Party, yay!!
Adaptation by Malinda Lo - Yay!!

More books under cut! More more! )
Yay, books!
julieandrews: (Default)
Not reading, as in, I'm reading, though I probably will be in the Broad Universe RapidFire Reading. No, I mean reading as in... homework!

It occurred to me I should start my Wiscon reading. Get a good start on it. The Tiptree Awards won't be announced for several months yet, so I could read all the recommendations so far, but that could add up to a lot of reading! I could also read more of the honor list from last year, and in general fill out my Tiptree reading.

I should also read some GoH books. I have Andrea Hairston's Mindscape, bought at a previous Wiscon. Which is also on a Tiptree honor list, so.. double score there.

I expect people to be talking about N. K. Jemisin's The Kingdom of Gods and I've finished that. Oh, I should catch up on Ooku. First I have to figure out which ones I've bought and not read! So I can figure out which other ones to buy. I can also read more Fumi Yoshinaga. Again, some bought and not read.

I should also do some more reading of women in SF anthologies, of which I have several. More Joanna Russ couldn't hurt.

Are there any particular books out this year/coming soon that you guys think will be a hot topic at Wiscon?

And if you have any books/stories/poems to suggest to the Tiptree jury, you can do it at the link above. Deadline is December 31st.


Aug. 6th, 2011 01:03 am
julieandrews: (Default)
Tried to update earlier.. yesterday, I think, and the posting page wasn't loading with CSS. But, not it is. So.

My bookfast has ended. I even went into the giant used bookstore... the day before Harry's birthday, was it? And did not buy anything. Gasp shock. There was a sale and a coupon on top of that and everything.

I general, I don't know that the bookfast helped much. Maybe it wasn't long enough. Maybe I just need to dump all these library books I still have kicking around.

On the day of breaking my bookfast, I grabbed Beauty Queens by Libba Bray on my way out the library door. (Okay, yes, I swung back around to get it checked out first!) In a way it was an impulse checkout, but in a way it wasn't, because I'd had my eye on it for awhile.

Lord of the Flies. With beauty pageant contestants.

Only more awesome than that.

Maybe it's whatever the reverse of Stockholm Syndrome in that I had just finished The Feminine Mystique, which I did not find very easy to get through. So a nice, funny sf-y YA was just what I needed. And it was new and shiny! Or maybe it really is as awesome as I think. Have not finished it yet. Because very busy...

I started library school also on August 1st. The first class is a 1-credit pass/fail self-paced course just designed to get me used to using the courseware and the school library and things like that. (Oh, it's online. But that's a given, right? No such thing as meat schools anymore, is there?) I'm blazing through it, because it's.. new and shiny. And easy. And because that's the best way to fight procastination. I'm also going on a mini-vacation with the family next weekend-ish, and then a longer break... also with family. (Did I say 'break'? Hrm.) That's around Labor Day, which is about the time my first 'real' class starts.

So if I can get the first course mostly done by next week and finally done before the other class starts, it'll be real good.

Still reading and reviewing and discussing for Triple Take, including our Nebula Project.

Between those things and laundry and not being here next weekend, this weekend is feeling a bit full. Meh.

Oh! And the Clarion Write-a-Thon ends tomorrow, so I want to bang out as many stories as I can in a final push. (Did I mention I'm a procrastinator? Oh, I did? I wonder I didn't save saying that for the end of the post...)

Thanks to all my wonderful sponsors so far! I say so far, because it's still not too late!

Sponsor Me!

So.. yes... off to chill some more tonight before the big push on er.. several things.. tomorrow.

1d5h until I can watch Torchwood. Unless some seeds start to sprout (JA said cryptically.)

Movie Update: Have not watched movies! Have not watched Harry Potter 7.2! Have not watched Cowboys v Aliens! & Aliens? Or Aliens? NOT Aliens? Have not watched Captain America. Have not watched Neil Patrick Harris make out with Brainy Smurf. Last movie I saw was X-Men. ------- Have watched some DVDs, generally on LGBT themes. It was a substitute for not being able to bring books home from the library. Have yet to figure out where the Band is in The Boys in the Band. (You mean the movie isn't about glam rock? Srsly?)

Okay, really going now.
julieandrews: (Default)
Well, the bookfast has slowed the flood of books I'm bringing into the house to a trickle, but it's still not non-existent. First there was the Amazon order I'd placed May 31st. Then there was the pre-order I'd nearly forgotten about that finally shipped. Then there was contributor's copies!

Plus I can borrow books for Triple Take, which means not just the book we're reading that month, but the Nebula novels, and the quarterly selection of all the Little House books. And I can't read A Strange Stirring without first reading The Feminine Mystique, right?

So books keep coming in. Somehow.

I think it's actually negatively impacted my reading though. I haven't read and completed too many books in the last 6 weeks. Been playing games, watching TV, borrowing DVDs because I let myself borrow DVDs from the library. And then I just bought HP 7.1 and all of Buffy (free birthday present to myself with Amazon points!)

I haven't reduced the number of library books I actually have checked out by more than a couple. But at least I haven't made that situation worse.

I might have to go on a longer bookfast, but I'm looking forward to being able to buy books again, or bring home books that look interesting in the moment, or put holds on books I'm eager to read..

Really must whittle down that library book stack(s).

Well, I'll be level 50 in Empires & Allies soon, and that game will get boring after that.. so at least there's that. Except then I also started playing Gardens of Time. (Despite all the Time Agents in it, I haven't run into Jack yet.)
julieandrews: (Default)
The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer will be out on July 12th. So if you want to be one of the self-selected few who can say you pre-ordered it, you'd better do that now!

Do so on Amazon!
Do so on IndieBound!
Do so on Barnes & Noble!

Do so on all three if you'd like, it's fine with me. :)

After the death of Dr. Thackery T. Lambshead at his house in Wimpering-on-the-Brook, England, a remarkable discovery was unearthed: the remains of an astonishing cabinet of curiosities. Many of these artifacts, curios, and wonders related to anecdotes and stories in the doctor's personal journals. Others, when shown to the doctor's friends, elicited further tales from a life like no other. Thus, in keeping with the bold spirit exemplified by Dr. LambsĀ­head and his exploits, we now proudly present highlights from the doctor's cabinet, reconstructed not only through visual representations but also through exciting stories of intrigue and adventure. A carefully selected group of popular artists and acclaimed, bestselling authors has been assembled to bring this cabinet of curiosities to life.

Contributors include Holly Black, Greg Broadmore, Ted Chiang, John Coulthart, Rikki Ducornet, Amal El-Mohtar, Minister Faust, Jeffrey Ford, Lev Grossman, N.K. Jemisin, Caitlin R. Kiernan, China Mieville, Mike Mignola, Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, James A. Owen, Helen Oyeyemi, J.K. Potter, Cherie Priest, Ekaterina Sedia, Jan Svankmajer, Rachel Swirsky, Carrie Vaughn, Jake von Slatt, Tad Williams, Charles Yu, and many more

Did you see the 'many more'? That's me! I slipped something into the back of the cabinet. When I'm big in 2012, you're going to be scrambling to get your hands on this. So might as well beat the rush and not procrastinate about it.

julieandrews: (Default)
Katharine Quarmby's top 10 disability stories

This is from the author of a new book, Scapegoat: Why We are Failing Disabled People.

That subtitle reads a little funny to me. Maybe it's the Us Versus Them of it.

Because of my bookfast, I can't read this book, or any of the books on the list (unless they happen to be in the house, which actually, several of them probably are).

I am puzzled as to why Gulliver's Travels is on there. The size difference is not related to a disability. Dwarfism and gigantism are not solely about size, there are often medical complications. And just.. yea.

"It's also interesting to note that there are fewer disabled characters in the canon nowadays, except in children's literature, where there has been a deliberate attempt to promote positive images of disabled children and adults, thanks to activists like Richard Rieser and Susie Burrows."

I'd say it's probably because it's gone beyond the careless use of disabled characters to 'I'd better not get it wrong and offend people, so I won't do it at all.' Except that I wonder what she's been reading? Because I can think of a ton of examples. And at least three of her examples are considered children's/teen books anyway.

Though I have to weed through my mental list to remove the children's books. (Odd. Why did I think Count Olaf had a hook? Was that one of his disguises?)

You can read most any of Bujold's books to find disabled main characters. Look at television and there's House front and center. And having just watched X-Men, there's Professor Xavier, and the whole extended mutant metaphor.

Blind characters make great superheroes and detectives, apparently. Deaf characters make great murder victims or witnesses. Characters on the autism spectrum (I know some have trouble with the label disabled on this one) are appearing more and more.

Then again, what's 'canon'? Maybe it's 'books everyone is supposed to read'.

Looking at my most recently read books, here's some:

Skyfall by Catherine Asaro - One of the main characters is epileptic
The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin - Main character is blind
The Colony by Jillian Weise - The book is pretty much about the main character's disability (a 'missing' leg + other stuff)
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (1960s) - Main character has mental retardation brought on by untreated PKU.

Those are all adult books, and only two are recent releases. But this is just my reading for less than 2 months. And while I might specifically read a book for the presence of a disabled character, that was not the case with any of these. Two were for Triple Take. One was because it made the Tiptree list, and the other was because I knew it would be awesome. I wasn't even aware there were disabled characters except for in Flowers for Algernon.

Now, it so happens that two of those are about disability. And all of these are generally positive portrayals, I think.

So, yea.. what have you been reading, Quarmby?

Other notable books I've read from this past year that would also qualify:

Among Others by Jo Walton
A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane (perhaps iffy)
Babel-17 by Samuel Delany (also perhaps iffy)
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Mean Little deaf Queer by Terry Galloway (memoir)
Forest Mage by Robin Hobb (if obesity counts, which it does according to Quarmby's list)

The iffyness because there are autistic characters that have been in some way 'cured', and I'm not sure if it's been done well or not.

If I go too far back, I find books I barely remember, so whether they had disabled characters or not isn't something I can easily answer!

But you can tell most of those are sf/f, even if they are adult sf/f. So maybe those don't count as 'canon'.
julieandrews: (Default)
Clarion classmate Kater Cheek released her first novel in ebook form.

You can go find it up at Smashwords. For right now, it's free!

As I was downloading it, I realized.. 'wait, eep, in just a couple clicks, I broke my bookfast'. It's so freaking easy to get books these days! You can do it without even thinking about it and a second later, it's done!

Not on my ereader just yet, but it is on my computer.

But this book totally doesn't count as breaking my fast, okay?

Because Kater is awesome and I'm not going to wait until August 1st to start reading it. That's why.

Oh! The title is Seeing Things and it's urban fantasy. I hear some of you like that sort of thing.

More details after I've read it. :)

If you'd like to check out some of her short fiction first, she also has several of those up. You can find those here.
julieandrews: (Default)
So it's going okay so far. I have not borrowed or bought any new books!

However, I did have two packages come in from Amazon with my last minute end-of-May purchases. No more books arriving in the mail for me. :(

I also had a book on hold for me when I got back to work. And an Overdrive also came up for me.

So so far for June, I've received/brought home more books than have gone out the door. But that trend shouldn't last!

I did have to give in the other day and start a list of books to get after July 31st. Rather frustrating to know this interesting-sounding book is actually sitting on a shelf a scant 30 second walk away (if that). But there's plenty of other interesting books I have at home!

Another thing that's hard is I like to request books through ILL. Since I process these myself, it's kind of nice to have a book for MEEEEEEE arrive on the van, rather than just a bunch of books for other people. It's like a present. I couldn't even request our next Nebula Project book, because no libraries in the state were listed as having it and willing to lend it. And since we already have one copy at home, it's just not worth the effort of trying to call libraries or go out of state for it. (Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin, for the curious.)

And the next book is The Left Hand of Darkness. And if I don't have a copy, I know between K and I and two libraries, we ought to be able to get our hands on at least one copy! (I do have at least one copy, but it might be back in New York.) Also the next two books after that aren't something we'll have to ILL either. Ditto the Triple Take books. Woe!

Enough ramblyness.
julieandrews: (Default)
Wiscon Chronicles 5 is quite good! Really interesting and engaging and thought-provoking. I also think it has the best cover of all the Wiscon Chronicles.

I read about half of it on the plane back from Wiscon and I've just picked it up again after having finished Skyfall (Catherine Asaro). I am not even really into steampunk and I just read two lengthy steampunk-related pieces and could hardly put them down.

I mean, seriously people, you need to buy this and read it!

Even if you're a white dude or a white chick (or a white nondude-nonchick) with only a marginal or non-existent interest in race and racial issues. Maybe even especially then. But not because it's like medicine for you/us. More like healthy food that happens to be good for you while also tasting really yummy.

Yea. Like that.

Linkies: Aqueduct Link, and drat.. don't see it on Amazon yet. Well, buy it from your favorite local or feminist bookstore or order it from Aqueduct.
julieandrews: (Default)
My 2-month long bookfast starts tomorrow. I can read books. I'd better read books! But I can't borrow any from the library or download any unless I had a pre-existing hold on it, or if it's for Triple Take. And I can't buy any! With that in mind, these Wiscon purchases and the followup Amazon purchases I made today based on Wiscon reqs will be the last books I acquire for 2 whole months! They will be the only ones that look shiny.

ARCs from Galley Ho at the Gathering. 1$ donation to Wiscon gets you an ARC.

Catching Santa
Lost Voices
The Academy Year 1
Television Without Pity
Eona (yay!)
Iron Crowned (Richelle Mead ftw)

Books bought from Dealer's Room:

Eon (already read, needed my own copy) (Also tiptree)
Mindscape by Andrea Hairston (Tiptree!)
Distances by Vandana Singh (Tiptree!)
Dangerous Space by Kelley Eskridge (Tiptree!)
Wiscon Chronicles 4 edited by Nisi Shawl

Used paperbacks:
Ace double with The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Tiptree
Ace double with The New Atlantis by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Falling Woman by Pat Murphy (Nebula Project)
The Sable Moon by Nancy Springer
The Black Beast by Nancy Springer
The Book of Suns by Nancy Springer
The White Hart by Nancy Springer

Books bought on Monday from Avol's and A Room of One's Own:

Earth Magic by Alexei and Cory Panshin
The Drowning City by Amanda Downum (sequel is on Tiptree list)
The Inheritance & Other Stories by Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm
Will Supervillains be on the Final? by Naomi Novik (NA manga!)

Books ordered on Amazon:

Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde (genderfloomp list)
Gender Outlaws (genderfloomp)
Whipping Girl by Julia Serano (mentioned on Princess Boys panel and then on genderfloomp)
Eclipse 4 (because AROOO couldn't find a copy to sell me Monday)
Cue for Treason by Geoffrey Trease (mentioned on a Tiptree panel)

I begin to see more and more why I need to do this bookfast thing..

Book Fast

May. 17th, 2011 10:25 am
julieandrews: (Default)
Starting after Wiscon, June 1st, I'm going on a book fast. For two months. The rules are as follows.

1. If it's in the house already, I can read it.
2. If it's a book to read for Triple Take, I can borrow/buy it to read it.
3. If a book I have on hold at the library comes in, I can check it out, but it has to stay at the library.
4. No other books can be checked out, even if left at the library. Unless it's for work.
5. If books come in the mail, well, what am I going to do, leave them outside in the rain?!
6. I cannot order any new books. Exceptions may be made for pre-orders for books coming out in August or later. We'll see.
7. If I need a book for class, obviously I can acquire that.

All of this above also applies to ebooks and audiobooks. It does not apply to DVDs. I may later regret that.

What I'm undecided on is if I should return all the library books I currently have out before I start this. Or at least return the overdue ones. I could easily live off the ones I have for 2 months, without even digging into my own personal books.

What does the peanut gallery think?

ETA: I forgot to add why I'm doing this. It's because I borrow books from the library faster than I can read them. And I buy books from all sorts of sources. It's bad, me having some money! I have more duplicate books than I probably even think I do, just because I would buy it, not read it, then forgot I bought it, and buy it again.

Bonus points: Bonus points for me if I actually get rid of some books!
julieandrews: (Default)
Things I want to read before Wiscon:

Carmen Dog, by Carol Emshwiller
Steam-powered, edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft
The Secret Feminist Cabal, by Helen Merrick
Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor (I asked for this on librarything and 'won' an arc, but I never received it. So I don't think I own it yet...)
Half-Life, by Shelley Jackson
"Eros, Philia, Agape", by Rachel Swirsky

Man, that's a lot of reading, and I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff. I requested at least 2 of the Tiptree honor/long list books through ILL. They should come in this week.

On top of that, I need to read the following for Triple Take before Wiscon:
Turing book, Science of Doctor Who, A Spy in the House, Flowers for Algernon, The Einstein Intersection, and I am J.

I should also make a list of books to buy at Wiscon, so I don't end up buying books I already have and just haven't read yet. Or I could just buy books I haven't even heard of until Wiscon. That might be safer.

It'll be my first time doing Wiscon with a smartphone. I can have lists in my pocket! Er.. wait, I could always have lists in my pocket, couldn't I? Well, um.. yea.

If there's something else I should read before Wiscon, or buy at Wiscon, let me know in the comments!
julieandrews: (Default)
I feel like maybe I already wrote a post like this, but hey, you can never have too many posts with book reqs, right?

Here are some books on writing that really made an impression on me. They're worth checking out. In no particular order. Some are OOP, but a lot of them should be easily found in your local library, through ILL, or by buying off teh interwebs.

Zen and the Art of Writing - Ray Bradbury
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction - Cory Doctorow and Karl Schroeder
Hooked: write fiction that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go - Les Edgerton
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft - Stephen King

I feel like there's more. Then again, if those are the four that spring to mind, they must have been the four to make the biggest impression. Delany and LeGuin both have essays and collections on sf/f and writing which are definitely worth checking out too.

What prompted this post is that I started reading a children's book Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine, and there's some really good stuff in there already. Not just for kids. Though I kind of wish I had read this book as a kid. One thing she says is that the writing you do as a kid can be a bridge later on for your adult self to try to get back into the mindset of the time it was written. Otherwise you'll really forget and have very little clue.

She's really covering all of the.. I was going to say basics, but they're not really basic if you don't know them, are they? She's covering all of the important stuff, let's put it that way. And she's doing it in an easy to read and funny style, knowing her audience. Which just makes it that much more enjoyable to read this as an adult.

I'm trying not to hold the fact that she won a Newbery against her. After all, Neil Gaiman won one too.
julieandrews: (Default)
Over on SF Signal, they asked a bunch of writers Q: What science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror books do read and re-read again? (sic)

And why should they get to have all the fun?

I have started keeping track of everything I read from about the middle of 2002. And I did my best to mark those that were rereads with an (R). So this should be a fairly easy question to answer. I may not limit myself to sf/f books. I won't list everything I've reread. These are ones I will probably reread yet again.

-- Ender's Game | Orson Scott Card

Not necessarily the rest of the serieses, although the next time I reread it, I will probably follow it up with Ender's Shadow. This was my all time favorite book from the time I discovered it in junior high until I discovered OSC was a homophobic jerkwad. So now I still like it, but it's tainted.

-- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series | Douglas Adams

Probably my gateway to British television. Not necessarily to British science fiction novels.

-- The Seafort Saga | David Feintuch & The Still and The King | David Feintuch

I was really really bummed when I learned of his death. I had only recently discovered him and didn't even have a real chance to be eagerly awaiting each new book as it was published. For those who don't know, the Seafort Saga is like.. the Royal Navy, in space. Very male, but in an interesting way. The author seems to want the best out of men. And brotherhood, fatherhood, friendship, all of that is a very central theme. Gay characters are portrayed well. At least I think so. Wikipedia says he had announced another book was finished and at the publishers, but.. what happened to it? It's been 5 years now. :(

-- Harry Potter series | J. K. Rowling

As each new book came out, I felt compelled to reread. Though I probably didn't for book 6 and definitely didn't when we got to book 7. Book 5 loomed large as a lead weight in the middle. Nonetheless, I have reread a number of these. My favorite is book 3, though it was really book 4 that got me hooked on the series. I still play on a Harry Potter MUSH, although my Gryffindor backpack needs to be retired. It's falling apart.

-- The Last Herald-Mage trilogy | Mercedes Lackey

After I found this series, I went on a Lackey binge. But none of them were ever as good as this series. And the most recent one I read, just about a year ago, was absolute drek. So I'm kind of wary of rereading these, but the library has them as ebooks, so I probably will eventually.

-- Luna | Julie Anne Peters

I know I've mostly listed series so far, but Luna is just like.. awesome. I've read it twice and I want to read it again.

And finally two series that I have not really reread, but fully intend to at some point:

-- The Vorkosigan Saga | Lois McMaster Bujold

If only to remind myself of what happened up until this point so I can finally read the latest book. And Baen gave us all (but one) as ebooks, so I can totally do this.

-- The Smoke series | Tanya Huff

My favorite of Tanya Huff's series. And since the main character in this started off in the Blood series, I may have to reread that as well.


So what does this all tell us? Series are where it's at, man. And I guess female authors win. Would not have guessed that before I made this list. I figured more 50/50. Though with the exception of Luna, all of the main characters of these series are male. And if you know anything about Luna, you know there's a bit of an asterisk there.


Will add to this list if something else occurs to me.

ETA: Thinking it over while making food, I also realized that, while some of the main characters are gay or transgender, young and old, even disabled, they are all, so far as I know, white. With a tendency to also be British.
julieandrews: (Default)
I just read this piece, one author's view on how illegal downloads of books may be hurting her career and her ability to get more work out there.

And I got to thinking. And since it's a snowday, I might as well think out loud.

Numbers below are rough estimates, and I may be completely deluding myself in one direction or another.

Library books -- I borrow, on average, about 5 library books a week. This includes at least 2 ILLs a month. Working in a library is very bad for my self-control! Note, I do not read 5 books a week. I read a little over 3 books a week total. Some of these books go back, eventually, unread, or barely skimmed, or begun and abandoned. -- The author has gotten paid for these books, albeit they would have gotten more if I'd bought my own copy. However, in 90% of the cases, if they weren't available through the library, I wouldn't have had enough interest in them to buy them.

Library e-books -- I borrow, on average, hrm, 1-2 ebooks a week. I only get 2 weeks to read them, as I can't play the renew/don't return game with them. They expire in 2 weeks if you don't return them before that. Because I can only have 3 checked out at a time, and 5 holds, these tend to be books I want to read. I tend to make more of an effort to read them. But I still do not read all of them. Maybe 2/3rds? -- The author has been paid for these books (or their publisher is screwing them!). If they weren't available as library ebooks, I would have borrowed them as regular library books. I probably would not have bought any of them. I may or may not have cracked the DRM on some of them. These hypothetical books would have been ones I already owned physical copies of and had already read. So, hypothetically, the author had already been paid twice by me and my (very hypothetical) tax dollars.

In both of the above cases, I'm contributing to stats. If the book is circulating well, another copy will be bought. In the case of physical books, if they wear out or get damaged, a replacement copy will be bought.

Used or remaindered books -- I buy.. a lot of these, in fits and spurts. I just bought maybe half a dozen from Amazon and most should arrive today, all in separate packages, snow-willing. Included in here is bookcloseouts or overstock.com or half.com or Amazon marketplace or is it bookdepository.uk, something like that. Also included are library booksales, the Used Book Superstore down the street, stores that happen to have random used manga, etc, etc. I do not end up reading like 95% of them. But they where cheap, dangit! -- The author is not getting paid for these. The ones that are out of print, the author wouldn't get paid for in any case, unless and until they were reprinted. I'm a little hard-pressed to say how this helps the author in a direct or closely indirect financial way. Though it might make them feel better to know people are still buying their books and if supply exceeds demand, the used book price will go up, another ego-boo. But.. still.

New books bought! -- Yes, I do buy books and I buy them new! I have not yet bought an e-book, so these are only print books. Do I average maybe 2 a month of these? If I'm at a con, such as Wiscon in particular, I might buy 10-15 of them, until I start to realize I need to lug all this home in my luggage. I will buy from small publishers directly. I will buy from independent bookstores (A Room of One's Own in particular). I will buy from Amazon, especially when it comes to pre-ordering books. I will buy from Borders or Barnes and Noble if I have a gift card or a good coupon. How many of these books do I read? Theoretically these are books I really want. Yet I have no deadline for reading them. So the library books weigh heavily on my mind, as well as books I'm due to review on Triple Take. I think it'd be pushing it to say I read a third of these. Though I always intend to read them all eventually! -- The author has been paid. And if they're new releases, they've been given stats at the very best time to get them.

ARCs received -- I get very few review copies. Yet I have gotten some from Netgalley and LibraryThing. I struggle with the obligation to review them. I would've reviewed them anyway, since I try to review everything I read, but now it's a review I have to write, or that I strongly should write. And that makes me not do it. Sigh. I also don't read all of them. When it's a DRM PDF with BAD FORMATTING, then I'm not going to bother. If you're going to take the trouble to put them on Netgalley, make them readable, please. --- I don't believe authors get paid for these in any way, but ARCs are part of the accepted system. They go to reviewers and bookbuyers and help get the word out. They lead to sales. If it was a book I was going to buy anyway, I'll still buy it when it comes out, to have a nicer copy.

Ebooks legally downloaded free -- I think it's great when the first book in a series is provided free and easily online. I think it's great what Cory Doctorow's trying to do. It's a model that's working for him. I have downloaded ebooks from both of these scenarios. I have also downloaded public domain works, but nobody expects to be getting checks there. -- Authors aren't directly getting paid. But they've agreed to this and they or their publisher/agent believe it will lead to more sales. And I tend to agree.

Ebooks illegally downloaded -- Apart from the hypothetical DRM cracking, I have not done this. I have poked around and tried to find sites to do it on, but not found one with the content I wanted. -- If I were to do this, the author would not get paid.. except for the initial book the scan or crack was taken from. Would I have bought the book anyway though? Probably not. Or I might read it and really like it and buy a copy after the fact. Would this has come from the pool of books I borrow from the library? Probably, yes. These would be books I'd be taking a punt on. A no obligation, no fee punt. I might like it, I might not, I'm not obliged to read it.

So, taking all of the above.. for the authors, in decreasing order of bestitude, it's best if I:

1. Buy new, especially right when it comes out, especially in hard cover.
2. Borrow from the library. In print or ebook format.
3. Get ARCs or legally download for free, because it's legal and it gets the word out and leads indirectly to more sales.
4. Buy used/remaindered books.
5. Illegally download books for free.

And I kind of have a hard time seeing why 5 is vastly worse than 4. 4 could be lending support to libraries (booksales) and small bookstores, which are both good for authors in a wide-lens view. And somehow it's legal and not stepping on copyright. Somehow. Not that authors have actually signed something to say they agree to have their used books sold.

With 5, you're doing something people generally accept as illegal, against copyright. And most authors haven't agreed to it, though some tacitly approve.

I guess my point in all of this is that people, at least me!, get their books from various sources and for various reasons. And that just because I might have gotten the book through methods 5, 4, 3, or 2, doesn't mean I'm stealing a sale away from the author, because I would not have bought my own, new copy.

And that all the methods, even 5, contribute indirectly to help the author, even financially. No matter how I've gotten ahold of a book, if I read it, I will likely review it. I'll at least list it on my list of read books. If I liked it, and it's part of a series, I'll read more in the series. If I liked it, I'll try some of the author's other books. If I liked it, I might buy my own copy. If I liked it, I might buy a copy for someone else. If I liked it, I might recommend it to someone else. If I liked it a lot, I might check out your author blog and start keeping up with what you're doing and thinking currently.

So what I'm saying is that yes, we should all be buying as many new books as we believe we can afford and have room for. And when we can't, we should be borrowing from the library or trying to get our hands on review copies (not an option for most people!). But that we shouldn't blow the illegally downloaded books all out of proportion. Some people download them because they can. Some like having a big virtual library. They're hoarders. They're not actually reading your stuff. They would not have bought your book. And those that do read this illegal copy of your book may then go on to do all or some of the things I listed in the above paragraph.

But I do agree in general with the essay I linked to above. As readers, we should all be aware of where the money goes. How our actions impact the creators of the works we love. If you want to read more awesome stuff, they need to get paid! And if you can't afford to pay them, do everything you can to make sure SOMEONE is -- your library, the friend you convinced to buy a copy, the 10 people reading your review you convinced, et. al.

Tangential thought.. that J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, other mega-bestselling authors, and ABC construction Richard Castle, are leading people to think that most authors are well-off, if not rich, and so you're not really hurting anyone. It's like stealing from Walmart or an insurance company, right? They'll hardly feel it. Fight the rich author stereotype!

Thanks for reading.

If you'd like to support ME as an author, then please consider contributing to Clarion. I'm trying to pay it backwards. And you'll be supporting future awesome sf/f writers.

P.P.S. (I left out books borrowed from friends. I only read one of those a year maybe, though I'll be doing it for a TT review shortly. There's also BookCrossing, but I've never captured a book from there. And oh, Christmas and birthday presents. And.. well, other methods, in which the author got paid at some point, but not by me.)
julieandrews: (Default)
I read 164 books in 2010, which is 3 more than I've ever read in a year, and double my average since I started keeping track. And while there were kid's books and manga in there, it wasn't disproportionate compared to some other years.

Best books I read in 2010. I was going to list all the ones I gave 5 star reviews to on Goodreads, but apparently I was generous. Consider this list the 5+s. In order of awesomeness:

A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman
Oooku: The Inner Chambers by Yoshinaga Fumi
Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath

The other 5s were: the final volume of Afterschool Nightmare (you really have to read to the end), a couple of Jeeves/Wooster collections, and also a book on ASL for kids called A Show of Hands.

And I sort of think it's not a coincidence that the books I really loved were somewhere on a Tiptree list. So that is spurring me to read more, as is the fact that a number of the authors should be at Wiscon this year.

Here's a link to my goodreads account, if you're curious. I have not reviewed every book in 2010, but most of them.
julieandrews: (Default)
So I had this plan to read holiday books. I think I read.. 2.

I read and reviewed (on goodreads) The Best Christmas Pageant ever. It motivated me to buy the DVD, which we all watched in a lull today. Not bad, not bad. I don't read/watch a lot of books that are like 'yes, yes, church is exactly like that'. With all the gossippy/do-everything ladies and whatnot.

I read and failed to review Herschel and the Hannukah Goblins, which I did like quite a bit. It's a picturebook and a bit like a haunted house story and a bit like a tricking (well, goblins in this case) story. And I actually learned a little bit about how to play the dreidel and what the shamash candle is for. I'm still sore about missing playing with a dreidel in 4th grade because I got sick. I believe it was chicken pox.

I also started to read the book based on the movie based on the essays "A Christmas Story". There's several essays that he turned into the screenplay. I haven't gotten very far in them, but I actually think watching it is more enjoyable. And I never did get to see all of it this year! True story or not true story? I'm still confused on that. Can you be a fictional 'essay'? Isn't that a short story?

My sister-in-law also recommended another book, which turned out to have a lot more text than I thought! I didn't actually start to read that. I may yet, since I did go to the trouble of ILLing it.

Time to watch Dr. Who.
julieandrews: (Default)
Been thinking about posting here about wanting to read Christmas books and asking y'all for suggestions. But work is going to be crappy this month. And it's December. Hectic and stressful and sick people everywhere and blah.

But, hey, if you have any suggestions for Christmas books I should read, let me know. I'm thinking of reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, because it's my favorite. And perhaps A Christmas Story. You know, with the Red Rider BB Gun. Never read that one.

And if you are looking for suggestions, I recommend Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It's an easier read than what you had to read in school, I promise. And Connie Willis's Christmas story collection.

Yea, that's right, I just dropped the 's on the possessive of Dickens and kept it for Willis. Deal.

I also liked The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming by Lemony Snicket. For those whose holiday season is a little more blue than red and green.


julieandrews: (Default)

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