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So, that'd be A, with the bonus that it was a short enough book that I finished at 12:30 and will have time to sleep.

I was incorrect in my description. It was a world and characters entirely different from the ones I knew, but the main character has the same name. The plot is... "related" is perhaps the best word. The theme is the same and the culminating sequence is remarkably similar given the differences leading up to it.

I strongly recommend Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi. Thus, no spoilers provided at all. I'll be seeking out some of Scalzi's other work.

I also recommend the original, Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper. It was published in 1962, so it may be a little dated, although I think it holds up pretty well.
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I have just downloaded to my Kindle a newly published book by an author I've never read but who has been recommended to me many times, about a world and characters I grew up loving.

The Kindle and I are going to bed together now.

I predict that one of the following will occur: a) it will be the best thing ever and I will read it straight through and get almost no sleep tonight; b) it will be terribly horribly wrong and I will be sad I didn't wait a year to get a paperback I could throw across the room; or c) I will fall asleep in ten minutes and repeat this attempt tomorrow night.

Hoping for A. Betting on C.
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I'm loving my Kindle. It was very convenient in Boston to have a small bookshelf with me in my shoulder-bag, at least until I ran out of charge.

So far, I've been reading mostly free books. Rather a lot of the contents of Project Gutenberg are available for the Kindle from Amazon, which is the most convenient way to get books. I've been indulging in a lot of late-nineteenth-century girls' novels. I'm beginning to notice the flaws, however. For one thing, there's a distressing lack of adult supervision. This is to be expected in the boarding-school stories, where part of the point is to sneak around the books. But I've read a few too many in a row where the mother dies, leaving the teenage daughter to keep house for her absent-minded father and raise her multitudinous younger siblings All By Herself -- which is to say, with the help of between two and six servants. All of this with nary a mention of the decades of therapy they're all going to need as adults. At lunchtime today, I found myself growling, "Well, doctor, if you'd just kept it in your pants from time to time, you wouldn't have nine motherless children!" Methinks it's time to change genre.

I intend to put myself through a virtual stack of literature with which all well-educated people are familiar, but I have somehow missed. I've got Poe and Doyle and a smattering of others queued up already. Of course, after last weekend, I think I need to catch up on my Norse mythology first. Foolishly, I stipulated that Andrew couldn't use any of the Cthulhu mythos in the game. It didn't occur to me to make him promise not to drive my character insane through other mythologies.
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What I'm reading: Finished What Life was Like in the Jewel in the Crown. I bought this whole series of Time Life books a few years back. A couple of the early volumes were on periods that I do have knowledge about, and I could tell from those that the books give a decent overview of the history and culture of their respective periods. Also, the bibliographies are extensive and are an excellent resource for continuing to learn. So, I bought the rest on the theory that it would be a good way for me to pick up a little bit of information about some times and places I didn't know much about -- in this case, English involvement in India. This was exactly the sort of circumstance I had in mind.

Next up: one final attempt to finish Steamed! by Katie MacAlister. She's written romance novels with geeky settings that I've really enjoyed in the past. When I picked this one up earlier this year, I hoped it would serve as the "gateway drug" for me to understand steampunk. I've tried several times, and just haven't been able to get into it. Honestly, I'm used to being disappointed in romance, but being disappointed even by the romance novels is a bit unfair!
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Question for those who know more about cars than I do (which is just about everyone): If a rock hit my windshield, resulting in a star at the point of impact, with no cracks spreading, and nothing coming through to the inside of the glass, does it still need to be replaced or is that something one lives with? How does one go about replacing the windshield? Is that something handled through an insurance agency, or do I call my mechanic, or do I look it up in the phone book and call someone directly?
____________________________

I have about three months left on my current cell phone contract, which means I am eligible for the upgrade discounts now if I want to renew. I've been poking at my friends' phones a little. I'm envious of people with the internet in their pockets. But I've had mixed results attempting to use iPhones (which is better than six months ago, when I'd had uniformly bad results). My hands just don't always do what I want. So this will require further thought and investigation. Anyway, this afternoon I compared plans at Verizon and AT&T, mostly to see how much more expensive it would be than what I've got now. And the answer is that it would pretty much double my bill, either way, and I'll have to think about whether I want it that much.

Anyway, I was appalled to see that Verizon's only option for a text messaging plan is now $20 per month for unlimited texts. So, for the record, I would have to receive TEN TIMES the maximum number of texts I've ever received in a month to even come close to it being worthwhile to get a plan while still with Verizon. (This is not a challenge.) AT&T does still have a $5 per month plan, although that's not unlimited any more either.
_________________________________

What I'm reading: Just finished The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurens. This took me a surprisingly long time to get through. I think the author was trying to do too much with the book, and it suffered. She's one of the most successful current authors of historical romances, with two extensive interrelated series to her credit. With these books (this is the third of four), she's stepping outside the predictable formula of the genre. There's an unfamiliar setting (colonial India) and a fair bit of action, suspense, and even actual plot. I think she must have gotten tired of writing the same thing over and over, and wanted to try her hand at something with more substance. While I think that's commendable, I happen to think she's a better writer than this book demonstrates. Meanwhile, it still has the same general romance plot, the prescribed sex scenes (though not necessarily at the same page counts) and some of the usual themes that go along with the subgenre. This feels like trying to keep all of the same readers, despite changing it up a little. As a result, it doesn't end up being good action/adventure or good romance.

Next up: What Life Was Like in the Jewel in the Crown. Because now I want to get a bit more of the feel of colonial India without sex getting in the way.

Books

Sep. 22nd, 2010 05:16 pm
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Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] daeron, I've wasted some time thinking about books:

questions and answers about books )
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I have just finished reading Lois McMaster Bujold's Cryoburn, the latest Miles Vorkosigan novel, which will be published in November but is available electronically now.

It's a good story, mostly plot-driven. It's not one of the strongest of the series, but not the weakest either. And almost everything else I could say would be a spoiler of some sort.

Bujold had said, years ago, that this book would be a while in coming for a particular reason. That reason is not part of the main plot, but occupies the last chapter and a bit. She did something unusual with that last chapter. On the one hand, I feel a little cheated. On the other hand, I think the last hundred words, by themselves, were entirely worth both the wait, and the price to read the book today instead of waiting any longer.

The spoilery opinions I shall hold for a little while.
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I used to read all the time. I had a book-a-day habit, sometimes more. Like many voracious readers, I read quickly, averaging 100 pages an hour or more with most fiction. Yes, I miss details, and yes, I don't retain everything. Reading more slowly wouldn't change that for me because it's not a question of speed, but the way I absorb information.

A few years back – probably about the same time that Ginny left and my workload doubled – I stopped reading as much. I started watching more TV and playing more computer games. Even when I'm really into a book, I usually can't devour it the way I used to. My attention span and concentration are fractions of what they used to be. I have to put the book down every 45 minutes or so and do something else, at least for a few minutes. Also, I'm re-reading less than I used to. At this point, I'd say I'm probably not averaging more than a book a week. I'm not happy about that.

So, I was quite pleased last night when I finished my third book this week, especially since I'd been deeply enough into it that I'd been reading for several hours without interruption. Until I looked at the clock and saw that it was almost 3 AM. The 7:30 alarm is never a happy moment for me, but it was particularly unfortunate this morning. I can keep going on roughly six hours' sleep per night for weeks at a time. Less than five hours used to be no problem ten years ago, but now I find it hard to just shrug it off and keep going. Today is going to be a LOOONG day.

Last night's book: Shalador’s Lady by Anne Bishop.
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I find that when other people post pictures, I'm as much interested in the background of the pictures as I am of the subject matter. Sure, this is what you look like - but if I can see your desk, or your bookcases, that could tell me something about who you are, or about what we have in common.

Or possibly I'm just nosy.

Anyway, I know that on the Internet, no one is alone. So, for whoever may be out there wanting to learn about me from my stuff: Here are pictures of my bookcases. )

After I took that last photo, I pulled the plastic off the atlas and lost myself just flipping through the pages for about half an hour. I've wanted a really good atlas for years, and this one was a gift from my parents this Christmas.
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It's been seven months since my last public entry, and six since the last locked entry. It's like I've fallen off the edge of the earth - or at least into the black hole known as Facebook.

But where have I been? )

In other news, I need a new picture of myself. My default userpic is what, five years old? Six? Time to try again.
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WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW THE CUT! Do not click on the link if you haven't read the book and think you might someday want to! Don't click on the comment link either, because it shows you the post. If you want to leave comments without seeing spoilers, leave them to one of my prior posts on the subject...

But if you've read it and want to see my review WITH SPOILERS... )
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It's Harry Potter time. [1] [2] Read more... )
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Read any good books lately? )
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I re-read Memory yesterday. I picked it up mostly because I wanted something good, serious, but familiar. I realized partway through that there was a lot I needed to get from it this time.

some general thoughts )

I now wish I'd been taking notes while I read. I have never yet managed to do that, but there are a couple of authors that make me want to. Or to have multiple copies of the books, so I can highlight and write in the margins of one...

Cyteen

Oct. 7th, 2003 04:29 pm
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I've been re-reading my favorite book again. It's somewhat interesting that my favorite book is not by my favorite author. My favorite author is definitely Lois McMaster Bujold, who I recommend highly to anyone who likes either science fiction or fantasy. Or, for that matter, mystery or romance, if you can tolerate a certain level of SF background.

However, my favorite book is Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh. It's a single book, although the MMPB version I have was published in three volumes. I've read both my dad's set and mine halfway to shreds. This is a book I make sure to read at least once a year, and I get more out of it every time. I would love to see the discussions out of a thorough close reading of Cyteen, the kind of deep analysis the Bujold list does of her works. I'd love to see my friends' perspectives on it as well - but Cyteen is not for everyone, and I think it likely some of them would be either frustrated or disgusted by it.

It's hard to say what it's about. It is certainly complex political intrigue. It's deeply psychological in nature, on a number of levels. It's about friends, family, enemies, and lovers. It's about growing up, and especially about growing up intelligent and isolated. And it is about something a little different each time I read it, because my own perceptions at any given time are shaped by more factors than just the words on the page. And that's what it's about too.

I'm no Ariane Emory, but there is a lot of her in me. And, in fact, some of it is there on purpose. She's been one of my role models since I was young. Anyone who has actually read Cyteen may find that scary; I've seen Ari described as morally ambiguous, the most evil woman ever, and a cold inhuman bitch. I would agree that she's morally ambiguous, as it happens, but frankly I think most morality is pretty ambiguous. The world isn't black and white. As for the other two, all I can say is that in my opinion she is human, very human indeed. It is also true that Ari Junior avoids a lot of Ari Senior's worst flaws, and that it is Ari Junior and her potential that I find fascinating more than Ari Senior.

I've read a fair number of Cherryh's other books, and have more on my shelves waiting, but so far none of the others have captured my attention so thoroughly. The depth and complexity of Cyteen would be difficult to match. Part of me wishes she'd write a sequel - and she's been talking about it for years - but another part of me thinks that no matter what, it would be a disappointment.

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