Monday, March 28, 2011

On the shelf in 2011

Blackveil by Kristen Britain.  I was so busy, I didn't even know this one was coming until I saw it on a shelf.  It hasn't been as long as usual between books, so that's a surprise, too.  Also, I can't really remember what happened.  I suppose I'll have to read them all again.  What a hardship . . . :)

Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales by Tamora Pierce.  Ah, short stories.  It's always fun to find all the parallel characters from her other books, and she has made a splendid world.  I think I may have actually missed another short story collection called Melting Stones somewhere along the way, too.  There isn't much of a market for YA sf/f short stories, so it's nice when someone has enough clout to publish a collection.

Mastiff: The Legend of Beka Cooper #3 by Tamora Pierce.  October, are you here yet?  This series is fun.  Even when it's covered in sewage.  Not many police procedurals get this dirty . . .

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher.  Oh, July.  Wherefore art thou?  Not like I should complain since I thought it was coming out in October.  July is much more doable.  When last we left our hero, he was in a rather tough spot.  How will he recover?  I can't wait to find out.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare.  There's a fourth one?!  Hooray!  Good!  The third and theoretically last one sort of fumbled in its conclusory duties.  I hope this one has a lot of Simon because gosh darn it, poor Simon.  Also, I hope the next prequel comes out before I forget what was going on in that fabulous steampunk tragedy.

I'm currently two behind in Heather Brewer's Chronicles of Vladimir Tod.  The last two are on my library chair waiting for me.  I wasn't very happy with the choices Vlad made at the end of book three, so I hope he redeems himself here in the end.  However, he's entitled to make a few mistakes and be emo about it because, well, he has a rough life.  It's easy to second guess and view in hindsight, and who am I to cast stakes?

I'm also two behind on Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider novels.  These are excellent books to exercise while reading because the secret ingredient is adrenaline (not love, sorry).  In theory, this most recent one might be the last . . .  I can't tell if that's just marketing copy madness.  Then again, they did kill poor Alex off at the end of an earlier one and then make me wait two years to find out what really happened.  (I kind of wonder if that wasn't like Doyle killing off Sherlock Holmes and then having to resurrect him because thousands of angry teenagers sent email and whined online.  :)

Lots of good reads out there waiting for me and calling my name.  Ah, I miss summer break, where I could kick back and read 100 books.  Pardon me while I wipe nostalgia-drool off the computer keyboard.

Read anything you liked lately?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The perils of interlibrary loan

I think it's a good thing that I didn't know how to use inter-library loan back when I was a kid.  Granted, back then it was a big, cumbersome thing, but if I had really understood that I could get other books in a series my library didn't have all of, well, I would have been reading a book a day for a lot longer than I did.

I also wouldn't have later hunted down enticing books my library didn't have.  For example, I re-discovered Tamora Pierce and Diana Wynne Jones in college when I finally decided to make a concerted effort to track down the books I never got to read.  (They had better covers back then . . .)  The series makes more sense if you, you know, read it in order.

I also think the book industry should thank me for not fully using inter-library loan.  They made a lot of money off of me even if I do only buy when I'm basically paying cost . . .

Now that I'm more careful about pinching pennies than ever, being able to have a huge selection from all the libraries in my county is coming in handy.  They may not actually have the books I really want, but they have a huge quantity of other books I can read until
  1. they get the books I want.
  2. I forget about the books I wanted because there are so many others to read.
  3. I find the books I want at a used bookstore (or with a really good coupon). 
  4. I break down and go to a new bookstore and read them.
Support your local library!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Outrage (not mine)

I found this write-up interesting because there's some truth to it, especially the second part. 
'One easy way for an author to break out is to offend Christians—easier, apparently, than writing something beautiful or profound.'
. . .
'Authors are certainly aware of the manifold blessings of being condemned. Pullman, also the author of the His Dark Materials series, expressed palpable disappointment in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald: "I've been surprised by how little criticism I've got. Harry Potter's been taking all the flak. I'm a great fan of J. K. Rowling, but the people—mainly from America's Bible Belt—who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven't got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God.'
I remember saying very similar things after reading His Dark Materials.  HDM is a series where you can feel the author's hatred of God.  I could never figure out why people were accusing HP of trying to do what HDM was actually doing.  I thought that if lots of people ever read HDM, things might get really ugly for Pullman because Christians in the U.S. do tend to respond with outrage before thinking.

When I heard that The Golden Compass was going to be made into a movie targeted at children (especially because of how brutal the second book in the trilogy gets in addition to all the God-hating), I was shocked.  I was surprised to read Nicole Kidman saying it wasn't anti-God at all because she was a Catholic, and she wouldn't star in something anti-God.  (I mean, that's just kind of hard to deal with for other reasons, but, well . . .) 

The film-makers did manage to twist it into something more anti-establishment than anti-God, but they also made a crappy movie.  By taking out the rage and intensity that drove the books, they created a tasteless mush of a movie that couldn't succeed nearly as well as Harry Potter because it couldn't engage anyone.  You can't rip out something's beating heart and expect it to continue to live.  In the name of marketing, they made a lot of poor choices.  Adapters, beware.

To be fair, there was some brilliant stuff in the movie, too.  It just couldn't generate the same interest and passion as the original overall.  It also didn't get the notoriety it would have gotten had it taken a few more honest risks and followed the heart of the original source material. 

Then again, I'm pretty sure it couldn't be a good movie at all because of how intricate everything in the book is.  This is another one that would have made a great TV series, with plenty of time to sprawl out and develop characters and make us care for them before slaughtering and/or maiming them.

 I still can't get over the fact that these are popular children's books in other countries.  They're brilliant, but they're darkly brilliant.  There aren't easy endings nor happy endings.  They're too complicated and realistic for that.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'd rather be reading

The story of my life: I'd rather be reading.

I think I need this made into a bumper sticker.  Or perhaps a forehead sticker. 

I am a crabby jerk when I am in the midst of a long book I like but can't take time out to binge on.  Irritable and snappish.  It's not anyone else's fault that
  • the book is 1,000 pages.
  • it came late.
  • I can't hold the monstrous thing while exercising for three hours.
  • I'm being responsible right now and doing work first before I play. 

It's probably best that I pace myself.  I should string out the joy of this first read because I will likely be waiting at least two years for the next/final chapter.  I should let myself be happy that I'm being responsible and doing this in small bits in moderation in tandem with other things that really need to be done.  I should.

But I don't.  Sigh.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Point of view and the graphic novel connection

As a writer fascinated with point-of-view, I'm always unconsciously looking for examples of really well done analysis and/or execution.  I was charmed and impressed by this one.

"I think narrative complexity was a factor. Though the story is a rich tapestry of political history and myth, Shimizu refuses to spoon feed information to the reader; we’re just as confused and disoriented as Qwan himself is. That kind of reading experience can be quite rewarding, but the absence of an omniscient narrator demands more of the audience, forcing us to pore over the text and make connections on our own. Shimizu’s artwork and characterizations are up to the task, but impatient readers will easily miss crucial details in their haste to get to the fight scenes." - Katherine Dacey

Yeah, what she said. 

Having read the graphic novels in question, I found myself agreeing.  It's interesting to compare how storytellers in different mediums use point of view.  Now I want to go read this series again with an eye on what this point of view requires from readers (pros and cons) and what I can learn from it. 

I love being a big geeky, nerd.  There are so many places I can draw creativity from!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just once more

Since I still don't have The Wise Man's Fear (my pre-order is on backorder), I'll just obsess over The Name of the Wind.  Again.

Here's a quick and sort of funny summary of the first book to prepare readers who didn't have time to reread (you had three years) for the second book. 

And here is another author I like (John Scalzi) talking about NotW at Tor, where they had that poll about the best sci-fi/fantasy books of the decade.  (They're posting pieces in praise of the top ten.)

I love writers. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's not like I would have had time to read it yet, but . . .

Dear Borders,

I pre-ordered Wise Man's Fear from you because I felt sorry for your situation, but I have to tell you, unless you start getting those books shipped out at the latest on their release dates, I have to be honest and say I'm going to start going with Amazon. 

If this were the first time this had happened, I might be generous and chalk it up to the trouble you're going through, but this is a repeating pattern.  Every time I pre-order with you, I have to wait at least a week after the release date to get the book.  Sometimes I have to wait two or three weeks. 

If people go so far as to give you money in advance, you should give them their books as close to the release date as possible.  Otherwise, you'll lose money when they go buy the book somewhere else and return your copy whenever it gets there.  Most people won't give you fifteenth and sixteenth chances like I do.

The Moon in Autumn