Friday, January 30, 2015

Reading in the Here and Now...

On December 16, 2005, I posted my very first post on The Written World. I was all ready starting to see my reading being influenced by the online world, that's why I read The Red Tent in 2005, but I was just reading books that looked and sounded good. My reading back then was way different than it is 10 years later, though. For example, in 2005 I read at least 7 books by Anita Shreve. That was the year I read The Pilot's Wife, loved it, and then ran out and got a bunch of her other books at the second hand bookstore. And, actually read a bunch of them!

That's how I used to read. I would find a new author, go on a buying spree at the second hand bookstore, and then proceed to read their backlist. In 2005 I probably had a TBR pile, but it was nothing like it would become as the years went on. I had a lot of books all ready, but I remember having a little tiny bookcase in my bedroom that contained my unread books and then all the rest of the shelves were read books. I only really blogged for one month in 2005, so in many ways 2006 was the first year... And, it is when things started to change for me as a reader...

In 2006 I commented on a blog and the blogger turned out to work for Random House Canada. A few quick emails back and forth and I entered my foray into review copies. And, it was a blessing. I was in university and review copies kept me in books until I graduated without doing bad things to my tiny bank account. But, between the review copies and the blogging, my reading was changing. In the early months of 2006 there are all ready posts about books I am hoping to get to soon and books that I haven't had a chance to read yet. And, I believe, 2006 is one of the last years of reading multiple books by the same authors. (In most recent years only really graphic novel series and Susanna Kearsley spring to mind.)

Blogging and getting review copies was a very fun experience. I loved hearing about new books and the constant parcels in the mail. In the beginning it was nothing like it would become... I actually was able to keep up! And then blogging and reviewing books for publishers became a lot bigger and I started to put more and more pressure on myself. It lead to reading more in the 'now' and less with exploring older books and backlists. I am sure there are many years where I mostly only read books published that year. It was fun always knowing what was going on and having read the 'big' books before they were really big. But, it started to get too overwhelming and lead to many long hiatuses from the blog and really spurred out of control last year when I hardly read at all.

Now it is 2015 and there is always that feeling that with a new year comes a fresh start. And, I have been trying to make that apply to my reading and blogging. I will likely always be tempted by the new and shiny books, but this year is also about all that backlist that I never got around to reading... Over the years I have posted big lists of books that I have bought. I bet I have hardly read any of them... Favourite authors come out with new books and they just gather dust on my shelves because often I haven't read the book before it.

So, 2015 is quickly becoming the year of 'no pressure'. I wander over to my shelves and just pick something... And, if it doesn't work for me, I put it aside and grab something else. I have probably started 30 books in 2015 so far and only actually finished 16. I am sure many of the others will call to me later, but they were not at the time. And, I am finally getting to books I just HAD to have and backlists from authors I have loved and never read again. For example, finally reading another book by Patricia McKillip like 2 years after I read her for the first time. Or, yesterday, I finished Shine by Lauren Myracle because it was one of those books I bought because I had to have it. I am hoping this mixture will finish for the rest of the year...

When you look back, how has your reading and blogging changed over the years?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Week in Review (4)

Random Thoughts
I did a bit better in blogging more than once this week, but everything is still a bit sporadic... We have a snowstorm headed this way so hopefully I will get some to read while hiding from the snow... We may not even get what they are calling for... Maybe Mackie will be able to run around and play in the snow a bit. I have been looking forward to that. I want him to really get to appreciate it before he is a dog instead of a puppy. He definitely has a lot of energy that it would burn off! 

Graphic Novel Year

Part of the reason that my reading has quieted down is because I am saving the rest of the graphic novels I really want to read for February because that is Graphic Novel Month. I also don't want to read so many that I get burned out!

Audiobooks

I finished Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews. That means I finished two audiobooks in January. Yay! I have since moved on to The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. How have I never read this before now??? It is so my series and I am so excited!

Currently Reading

I am not sure... I sort of have been starting things and then putting them aside. We will see what sticks!

Weekly Reading

(January 20, 2015) - Read a standalone, I thought... Enjoy it and find out it is a series is what happens. Oh, well, it was enjoyable and I may like the main character, Dina, better than Kate Daniels. But then, I have only read one book in the Kate Daniels series. 





(January 23, 2015) - I love Patricia McKillip and even reviewed this one.










Weekly Posts


New Additions

Thanks to Amanda I got these audiobooks really cheap...

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review: Alphabet of Thorns by Patricia McKillip

Alphabet of Thorns by Patricia McKillip


Completion Date: January 23, 2015
Length: 291 Pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Deep inside a palace on the edge of the world, the orphan Nepenthe pores over books in the royal library, translating their languages and learning their secrets. Now sixteen, she knows little of the outside world—except for the documents that traders and travelers bring her to interpret.
Then, during the coronation of the new Queen of Raine, a young mage gives Nepenthe a book that has defied translation. Written in a language of thorns, it speaks to Nepenthe's soul—and becomes her secret obsession. And, as the words escape the brambles and reveal themselves, Nepenthe finds her destiny entwined with that of the young queen's. Sooner than she thinks, she will have to choose between the life she has led and the life she was born to lead...
Fiction or Non-Fiction? Genre?: Fiction. Fantasy.

What Lead You to Pick-up This Book?: On Tuesday I posted a list of Ten Authors I Have Read One Book By, Loved, and Yet Have Never Read Again. In the list I mentioned Patricia McKillip because I read The Bell at Sealey Head by her back in 2013, loved it, and have never read her again. I said on Tuesday that if I read more by her she would probably be one of my favourite fantasy authors and that inspired me to put aside everything else and read another book I owned by her.

Summarize the Plot: I didn't know what to read by her, but I just liked the title of this one. I didn't really know what the book was about when I went into reading it. It turned out to be a book essentially about a book and takes place largely in a library. It was definitely a good pick! The novel takes place in Raine where the Queen has recently been crowned and is still learning how to be a queen. In the background there is Nepenthe who is a translator. She is given a book to take to be translated, but is so taken with it that she keeps it for herself. The book and translator play a central role throughout the book, but it takes a while for the true meaning to surface. The book safely intertwines past and present to make a very readable book.

What Did You Like Most About the Book?: That is was a book where another book takes a central role. I also loved the library and wish I could visit! And the mage school. Just like The Bell at Sealey Head I want to experience everything for myself.

What Did You Like the Least?: There were a couple instances where my curiosity was not rewarded. It still made for a good book, but I want to know! Unfortunately these things are spoilers, so I won't elaborate.

What Did You Think of the Writing Style?: I really like McKillip's writing style. She writes in such a way that you get drawn into the story and the experiences. Even when there is not a lot of action, you still want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. You also have a lot of questions that you want answered in her books and I really enjoy seeing how they all play out!

What Did You Think of the Main Character?: I really liked Nepenthe. She was an orphan book translator who worked in a library. What wasn't to love? It was interesting to see how her simple life worked into the bigger picture. And, to meet the characters that circulated around her.

What Did You Think of the Ending?: It seemed a bit rushed, but at the same time tied things up nicely. McKillip's books are often on the shorter side, which works for her, but I wish we had a chance to visit longer. This is why I don't like short stories and novellas because you just get drawn into the world and the characters and then it is over...

Strongly Recommended!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Authors I Read One Book By, Loved, and Yet Have Never Read Again

Connie Willis - I really liked this book and have basically everything else by her in some manner... Have never read them!

Kate Atkinson - I LOVED this book and can't wait until the sequel of sorts later this year... I just have never read any of her older stuff.

Kate Lord Brown - This is one of my favourite historical fiction novels. I bought her next book... Haven't read it...

Kate Summerscale - This book was really well written. Her other books all sound really good, too! I need to read more!

Marissa Meyer - I liked this book enough that I own all the sequels... Now to read them!

Octavia Butler - She is often included in e-book sales so I have a bunch by her... Haven't read them...

Patricia McKillip - I think if I had read more she would be one of my all-time favourite fantasy authors... And yet, I have only read one book by her!

Patrick Rothfuss - I have read this book twice... Still never read the sequels...

Simon Scarrow - I have also read this book twice and never read any of the sequels!

Cathy Marie Buchanan - I love this book! I need to read her recent offerings.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week in Review (3) - I Have Been...

Okay... I only read one book last week, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, so hopefully this break-down of my week will be more interesting!

Writing... I am keeping up one blog post a week, but I would like to up it to a bit more. We will see what happens... Otherwise I haven't really been writing anything.

Reading... Well, I read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Finally! I have started that book a couple times... I also started Landline by her, but haven't had a chance to read much yet. Otherwise, I am going through a 'moody' spell and have started a bunch of stuff so far this month that is not necessarily bad, but I am having a hard time getting back to. I hardly have read the last couple years so I think I am rusty... The Rainbow Rowell back-to-back is a project ruminating in the back of my mind about how many unread books I have on my shelves from favourite authors. I need to read them!

Listening... I am still listening to Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews. I continue to really like it and even listened to while not on the treadmill. I am still struggling with getting back in a rhythm... I also have been trying to get back into Podcasts but only seem to be listening to Books on the Nightstand at the moment. I will see about listening to something else soon...

Looking... At snow. We actually have some. Mackie will go out and actually stay out a bit to play in it. He then comes in the house with snow on his nose. Cute!

Learning... That I suck at time management... Time just goes by SO FAST and I neglect a lot of things. I am not sure if I am just learning this... Just continue struggling with it...

Anticipating... Pay day. Thanks to a glitch at work I did not get paid last week, as well as everyone else that works with me... Other banks have got it straightened out, but apparently my bank doesn't do weekends. I am thinking about changing banks. It isn't even a NEED for my pay cheque as much as feeling better when I get it...

Loving... Watching the dog play in the snow... The fact that I work from home and haven't had to leave my house in the cold... Not to mention not driving on bad roads!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week in Review (2)

Random Thoughts

Well, I am a day late... But, better late than never! I sat down to write this yesterday.... I just didn't... So, here I am to reflect on last week in reading. I might go back to including pictures, too... We will see. Baby steps! I continue to work on reading all the graphic novels that I own, but I also am trying to get back to reading novels and listening to audiobooks. The audiobook goal works because it also means that I am using the treadmill which I also have been slacking on... We will see how it goes!

Graphic Novel Year

In my goal to not have any unread graphic novels on my shelf... I continue to read them! This week I read:

Fables - Volume 20: Camelot by Bill Willingham
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Captain Marvel - Volume 1: Higher, Faster, Further, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Pretty Deadly - Volume 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Morning Glories - Volume 2: All Will Be Free by Nick Spencer

Audiobooks

I finished The Snow Child. Yay! Finally! I really really liked it. I will have reread the hardcover I own one of these days. I started Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews. I thought it was a standalone... I should have known better! Still good, though!

Currently Reading

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxanne Gay
By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life from the New York Book Review
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Weekly Reading

(January 8, 2015)  - Yay!! I love this series and am so happy that I finally got a copy and caught up!!! Maybe not my absolute favourite volume ever, but I still love this series!!







(January 8, 2015) - The art in this book was absolutely fabulous! And the stories were creepy and well-written. Glad I got a copy of this!







(January 8, 2015) - I don't read a lot of superhero comics, but I am so glad I read this one! It crosses over with The Avengers and Guardians and the Galaxy. I think there is a movie coming with her? Be interesting to see what happens! 






(January 8, 2015) - I loved the art in this. I am not sure what I think of the story. I think I will have to see where Volume 2 goes. I like it, but I kind of felt like there was a lot happening and I wasn't taking everything in. Reading with a puppy in your face doesn't help either...





(January 10, 2015) - I LOVED this!! I am so glad that I finally finished it because it was fabulous and I loved listening to it. I will definitely be reading this again one day. I bought it in hardcover after positive reviews and then listened to the audio... At least I read it!





(January 10, 2015) - I really like this series so far. The annoying thing is that the volumes just get going and then they are over... Unfortunately it will be a while before I get Volume 3 and see what happens next...






Weekly Posts


New Additions

Through the Woods
Captain Marvel - Volume 1: Higher, Faster, Further, More
Pretty Deadly - Volume 1: The Shrike
Fables - Volume 20: Camelot
Morning Glories - Volume 2: All Will Be Free
100 Bullets - Volume 2: Split Second Chance
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (One of my favourite books in 2014... It was Costco... I didn't own it...)
After the War is Over

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Week in Review (1)

Random Thoughts

We will see how long I can keep this up for... It would be nice if even if I don't blog the rest of the week I can maintain Sunday's... It is a good excuse to blather on about things, right? The year has started pretty quiet so far, but I have been blogging AND reading. That's a good start, right? Maybe 2015 will be more balanced than 2014 and I will get back to things I enjoy and sort of neglected last year... They don't have to dominate my time, but it would be nice to include them... And, blogging and reading are just a good way to keep up with people. We will see how it goes!

Graphic Novel Year

One of my goals for 2015 is to not have a single unread graphic novel by the end of the year. I just kind of fell behind in basically everything last year! I am off to a good start even though they are rereads. I wasn't entirely sure where I was in The Unwritten by Mike Carey, so I decided to start from the beginning because I got the latest two volumes for Christmas. So far I have read five of them! (Two were in 2014) and started a new series... Yes, well, at least it is technically caught up because book 2 isn't out yet...

1. Ms. Marvel - Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson 
2. The Unwritten - Volume 3: Dead Man's Knock by Mike Carey
3. The Unwritten - Volume 4: Leviathan by Mike Carey
4. The Unwritten - Volume 5: On To Genesis by Mike Carey

Audiobooks

I am finally listening to The Snow Child  by Eowyn Ivey. Really good so far!

Currently Reading

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxanne Gay
By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life from the New York Times Book Review
The Unwritten - Volume 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words by Mike Carey

Weekly Reading

(January 1, 2015) - Loved this comic! A great start to a series. I am very excited to get the sequel a bit later this year. I am all for series with strong female characters and I think this one has a lot of potential. (Graphic Novel)






(January 1, 2015) - I am still thinking about this one... It was a bit different. I enjoyed it, though. I am not sure it knocked my socks off, but I am glad I read it and enjoyed the art. (Not really sure.)







(January 3, 2015) - (A Reread) - In an attempt to catch-up in this series, I decided to reread the ones I had read before. I am enjoying this series more with the reread than I did with initial read through. (Graphic Novel)






(January 4, 2015) - (A Reread) - Another volume in The Unwritten series in my attempt to catch-up on the series. (Graphic Novel)








(January 4, 2015) - (A Reread) - Another volume in The Unwritten series in my attempt to catch-up on the series. (Graphic Novel)








Weekly Posts


New Additions

My Christmas books started arriving:
Ms. Marvel - Volume 1: No Normal
By the Book
Fool's Assassin: Book One of the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy
Station Eleven
The Secret History of Wonder Woman
The Strange Library
The Paying Guests
How Star Wars Conquered the Universe
Visions: The Cainesville Series
The Back of the Turtle
All the Light we Cannot See

Saturday, January 03, 2015

2015 ~~ Looking Ahead



1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015? 
~~ haha! There are so many! I am behind on Fables. I need to catch-up.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
~~ Who can pick one? Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman. I always look forward to new books by Patricia Briggs and Susanna Kearsley. And then... Fables.

 3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
~~ Honestly, I am so far behind on non-debuts that I haven't even looked at debuts yet.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015? 
~~ Fables is ending!!!! *cries* Honestly, when that series ends that might kill my reading for the rest of the year because I am a Fables fangirl and I am devastated that it is ending.

 5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015? 
~~ um, well, reading would be good... Catching up on things would be even better... Actually BLOGGING AND READING would be AWESOME.

 6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
~~ pfft. I am lucky I have read 2014 reads let alone 2015.

Friday, January 02, 2015

A Very Bookish Year ~ 2015 Releases I am Looking Forward To!

Hopefully this is all I want in 2015 because this list is insane... And, what is up with March. Did the publishers get together and decide everything should come out then? I am going to have to tweak my list this year because I generally do pre-orders and I can't order like 15 books in one month. (It is actually only 7, but it just seems like a lot...)
Ms. Marvel Volume 2: Generation Why
I read Volume 1 of this yesterday and it is AWESOME! Seriously, if you haven't checked this series out yet, you must!!
March 24, 2015

Black Dove, White Raven
I still have to read Rose Under Fire, but still really want this!
March 31, 2015

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story 
Yay! David Levithan is one of my favourite YA authors.
March 17, 2015

Carry On
I love Rainbow Rowell!
October 6, 2015

A Dangerous Place
New Maisie Dobbs!
March 17, 2015

Shadow Scale
Finally!!!
March 10, 2015

Vision in Silver
I haven't actually started this series yet, but I just keep hoping I will love it. With all the other March releases, though, I am not sure when I will actually get a copy...
March 3, 2015

Dead Heat
Yay! Not Mercy, but this series is good, too. It just means no Mercy this year. :(
March 3, 2015

A Desperate Fortune
A new Susanna Kearsley. Always exciting!
April 7, 2015

A God in Ruins
I loved Life After Life so I am excited about this one.
May 5, 2015

The Philosopher Kings
Love Jo Walton!
June 30, 2015

Uprooted
I am sooo far behind in her other series, but this sounds awesome!
May 19, 2015

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
Alan Bradley! Flavia is one of the best characters out there.
January 6, 2015

Fairest
I keep buying these books but I am so behind on this series!
January 27, 2015

The Just City
oops, this comes out first. But, yay!
January 13, 2015

Captain Marvel Volume 2: Stay Fly
I haven't read Volume 1 yet, but hopefully I will like it enough to get the sequel.
April 21, 2015

Fables Volume 21
I am pretty sure this is the last trade... I may cry...
May 5, 2015

Fairest Volume 5
I just got Volume 4 for Christmas!
August 25, 2015

The Unwritten Volume 11: Apocalypse
One of my goals for January is to catch-up in this series. I decided to reread because I can't entirely remember where I left off and I got Volume 9 and 10 for Christmas.
May 26, 2015

There is also a Bess Crawford book out on May 5, 2015, An Unwilling Accomplice, but there was no cover at all for it.