Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Are all bloggers fakers?

Hooray for the internet because it lets you sort-of-interact with some of your favorite authors. Patrick Rothfuss makes a good point about the public blogging persona that people can easily create. 

"There’s a difference between putting your best foot forward and subtly misrepresenting yourself."

"But the truth is, the thought of maintaining that sort of professional persona makes me distinctly uncomfortable. Given the choice, I think I’d rather be too honest and have you like me a little less. I’d much prefer to look like a bit of an ass, because… well… I am a bit of an ass."

In the interest of presenting himself more fully as a person, not just as An Author, he shares some things he's not proud of.  It's interesting to think about. 

In this hyper-marketing, self-promoting cutlure, is it wise to be so transparent, or is it something only seriously famous (or seriously obscure) people can get away with?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jim Butcher is evil (in a good way)

  1. In the words of Kel from Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small series (specifically Squire, I think), Jim Butcher is "a very bad man."  So, so bad. 
  2. Changes, the latest book in the Dresden files, is incredible.
  3. Dresden Files = best urban fantasy I've ever read (caveat: I haven't read much in this subgenre)
  4. The next book better come out soon.  If he starts a new series and writes a couple of books in that series before returning to this one (I am glaring at you, Mr. Horowitz), I shall be vexed.
  5. Extremely vexed.
  6. Seriously.
  7. Poor Harry.
  8. This book is really brutal.
  9. "The last couple of pages could easily have been the first of the next book without leaving readers annoyed."  - a reviewer on Amazon
  10. Don't read this one first.  Don't read it if you haven't read the last five, either.  :)  Don't read spoilers for it.
  11. Read it if you like dark, modern-day fantasy.
  12. Poor Harry.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Did your favorites make the list?

I thought I'd point your attention here to a School Library Journal project to pick the top 100 kids' books (children's novels).

What's your score (how many have you read)? Which books/authors (if any) do you think were robbed by not being on the list?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reading Changes

Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: Making insomnia more bearable since 200X

You know those movies they make based on book series where they try to cram in as many characters as possible, and sometimes that means they sacrifice some plot and/or character development so everyone has the chance to be there and be cool? How does Butcher manage to make that work when I normally hate it?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hurry Down Sunshine

Finished reading Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg.  This stark and powerful book covers the time just before Greenberg's then-teenaged daughter had a mental breakdown through the time she resurfaced.  He immerses you into that summer in New York, his family interactions, his awkwardness and helpless agony.

I decided to read this book because I'm trying to hash through some family-related stuff in my writing, and I wanted to see a writer dealing with the sudden mental illness of a family member.  I read some reviews, and they all seemed to indicate that if I was going to read one memoir about mental illness and family, this was a good choice.

Best technique moment:  Greenberg's sitting in this diner, and the TV is showing the current presidential campaign clips, and the way he describes what he's feeling and thinking about the presidential candidates says so impossibly much about him in his specific situation that I am in awe.  What an incredible way to show.

Another impressive technique: no table of contents (in the hardcover edition).  You don't know how many chapters there are or how long they are.  You just have to read until you hit the end of a section or run out of time.  When will this end, you wonder as blow after blow happens on page after page after page.  Genius.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book I want to read: Just Do Something

It has a lovely long title. Just Do Something: or, How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc.  That is, of course, not the only reason I want to read it, but after reading the title, you can't say that 1) you don't know what the book is about and 2) it will be dry and humorless.
I think a lot of people freeze while they try to figure out what they're supposed to be doing here on the earth, and they forget that God told them about all sorts of good they should all be doing.  It's interesting to think about.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Books I'm going to love this April: Jim Butcher's Changes

Oh, Jim Butcher, it was worth it to wait a bit longer for this one.  I know this without reading it.

At first, I was miffed that you didn't continue your trend of publishing a new Dresden Files book every Octoberish because I am an addict, and I didn't think I could wait that long for my next fix, but, because I love you, I was patient.  Plus, you finished another series, and I'm willing to cut you some slack for that accomplishment alone.  The whole publishing two books a year for several years all while writing them yourself and not as a corporation also earns you some deep forgiveness, should you need to utilize it in the future.

When I eventually get my pre-ordered copy and can carve myself out a whole day to just binge on it, I will love this book.  So much.  So, so much.  This is why I cannot save this one as a book to hold off on until I get a better job.  I have no willpower.

April 6, you're finally here!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Books I Want to Read: Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide?

Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide?: ('Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV) by Karen Spears Zacharias

I am not a big fan of the "prosperity gospel" crap some people preach.  I'm pretty sure the Bible says you're going to have a lot of trouble in this world if you really love and follow Jesus.  I'm all for smart books that skewer non-biblical preaching in amusing ways.  Paul was quite the witty criticizer himself, and Jesus had no time for false gospels or people using His Father's name to propagate lies.

If you've ever found yourself buying into the health and wealth gospel (that God wants to give you nothing but success and money and influence and if you're not successful and healthy and wealthy, you're sinning) even a little, please read this book.

Anyone have any thoughts on the "prosperity gospel" or this book?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Books I'm not sure I Want to Read: Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets
or Less is by Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin.  I'm pretty sure alcohol was involved.

I'm not even on Twitter, but when I saw that this book is a Penguin imprint book, it made me take another look.  Any book that lists The Hobbit and Ender's Game among the World's Greatest Books at least gets my attention.  The DaVinci Code's in there, too, though, so I'm not sure what that says.  Did I mention Penguin published this?  Pardon me while I scratch my head.

It probably can't live up to the sheer awesomeness that is Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook or the terribly helpful for studying to beat the CLEP works of Richard Armour (I am indebted to American Lit Relit: a short history of American Literature for long-suffering students especially), but I don't think it's trying to be either of those books, so I can't really condemn it for failing.

I wish more Armour books were still in print.  :)  Or that I had more time and money to scour the Internet and used book stores looking for cheap but serviceable copies of his delightful Relights, which cover everything from history to art to literature.