2013 Books Read & Year in Review

Ha! I'm actually off today. And posting! Twice in as many weeks! But really, this year got off to a rocky start after all the trouble last fall what with the needing the new roof, new boiler, new tenants, etc, but now things have moved on and hopefully up.

I've been working two full time jobs since October, partly from home (where I am pawning some of it off so I don't have to do it), and while suddenly doubling my income for a time is nice, I'm also feeling overworked, and I never took any vacation days this year. I hope to fully make up for that this new year by renovating the bedroom and taking some actual, for real, deserved vacations where I go places I want to go. Like Readercon! I really want to go to Readercon.

And now, my books read in 2013. I had to reduce my goal back to 75 because 150 isn't always feasible for me, and between playing Pokemon and sometimes being too tired to read anything for weeks I'm actually surprised I made the 75 goal at all. I also abandoned some books for the first time, and I was ok with that. Progress :) (The numbers on my list sometimes repeat if I don't think the book should count towards my total either because I abandoned it or it didn't have words.)  I think made a decent showing:

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Links to previous years:
2008 List 61/50
2009 List 74/50
2010 List 150/75
2011 List 88/75
2012 List 161/150

Home for the holidays

I have re-emerged, complete with picture of my Christmas tree which we finally finished putting up a few moments ago. I swear that lens flare wasn't on purpose, but I do think it made a cool effect.

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I also swear that one day I will stop neglecting this blog, especially considering the fun I used to have with it. I have read so many good books lately. So many!
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Happy solstice!

New Glasses

I don't know how long it's been since the last time I got new glasses. 4 years? Probably. I hate adjusting to new glasses, but mostly I hate the cost. $500 is a lot, mostly for the lenses. Granted, being able to see is always worth it after the fact, but it's so easy to get used to bad vision.

My current pair of glasses haven't sat well on my face for years which makes them refract wrongly, and all the anti-glare covering is peeling off and making the lenses fuzzy, and my skin chemistry is making frames half disintegrate, and, you know, I can't read license plates or street signs, and yesterday I tried to read a manga and the furigana were impossible so a replacement is long overdue. I got a $600 bonus at work today, so ... no more excuses.

Turns out that my vision has gotten worse (-7.5) after having been more or less stable for many years at -7.1 to -7.2. It will be interesting for the world to be in focus again, and probably help the headaches.

Stay tuned for adventures resulting from adequate vision!

BookExpo America 2013

First time at the BookExpo today. Brought home a huge haul: 49 books in 5 tote bags on 2 bruised and aching shoulders. All huge trade paperbacks or hardcovers too. Quite the strength-building workout and when this ibuprofen wears off I'm going to regret it.

I just learned of it last week and decided to go. (It is ridiculous, btw, that I hang out on bookish social websites all day every day and still I don't learn of these events. Same with the Brooklyn book festival that I discover every year the day after.)

After the big disappointment NY Comic Con was this year (a way too crowded disappointment) I think I'm going to trade off to the Book Expo instead for the next year or two. Most of the swag I bring home from NYCC are books anyway at this point. Also one day as a pack mule beats 2-3 days of pack-muling.

Pseudo-review (of sorts) for Legend by Marie Lu

Because usomitai helped choose the last book I read, I agreed I'd offer my opinion in exchange.

This is not exactly a review because writing does not come naturally to me at all. For me, as a means to communicate, putting words on paper/screen is like undergoing a tracheotomy. I've been composing this entry in my head for two days now, organizing thoughts, editing sentences, rearranging paragraphs, and this end result is not going to be anything like it's supposed to be at all. It already isn't. Those last sentences? Not part of the plan! But the point is this: part of my appreciation for the art of the written word comes from the fact that I am under no delusion that I'm going to write the great American novel one day. Not in a self-deprecating way, in a knowing my own abilities way. So any criticisms I make are made with the full knowledge that I could not do better myself. (Sure, I'd like to think I could, though. Wouldn't we all.)

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See, it's not really a review, and I deleted all the extraneous paragraphs where I rambled about genre and how I approach books and yadda yadda yadda. It's better that way.
Sasuke crotch

TBR Dartboard

I decided not to do a hard goal this year for my reading challenge to recharge after doing so well last year, so, as I expected, without a fire lit under my butt I have read only 3 books so far this month. This is not a very good start to my non-goal. Alas.

And even though I own thousands of books (no, really, thousands) sometimes I just don't know what I want to read. I am a moody reader and have to be in the right state of mind for any book at a given time. It's so bad that I can't say, "these are the next three books I will read" because I won't. I can't even say, "I will read this book next," because when I wake up in the morning I'll just change my mind.


What does work, though, is someone TELLING me to read something. So someone, please, throw a mental dart at my TBR dart board to narrow down a genre for me. I can probably take it from there, but if not I'll choose 3-5 and have you pick. This has worked for me before when I have reader's block.

Behold, the TBR Dartboard: *oooooo*

*Note this is not a mathematical representation of my library which in reality is more like 95% pink and 40% white (due to crossover). I purposely enlarged the smaller groups as incentive to get me to read them.

150 Books 2012 and New Year's Resolutions

While I didn't manage to post as often as I'd like, I did manage to complete the resolution I made for this year which was to read 150 books (manga counts) and for them all to be books off my own shelves, not any that had been loaned to me... argh... no wait, that last batch of scanslations wasn't off my shelf, DARN IT! but I still hit 150 without it.

The standouts include:
  • Everything by Beagle and Valente (does this even need to be said?)
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which is a beautiful, romantic, and passionate metaphor for capital-A Art, Artists, and their Audiences. (Well, that's how I read it.) I have a particular love for the performing arts precisely because of the way that the audience participates in the creation of the art and the ephemeral nature of it all. Audience is important to all art, because ultimately art is communication, but there is a unique vitality that comes with being able to respond real-time that causes recursive feedback. If I were a writer I could explain it better, but I'm not, and that's ok because this book exists to say it for me.
  • and the Long Price quartet by Daniel Abraham which knocked my socks off! Seriously, It's been a year and still can't stop thinking about it. The fourth book was a dagger in the gut and a freaking revelation. It was like nothing I've ever encountered in the sff genre. The closest thing I can compare it to is Dune, and that's because of the emphasis on the difficulty of making complicated choices with long-term consequences. This is unusual because fantasy normally has a tendency to be short-sighted. Anyway, the first book is A Shadow in Summer, and it's getting a new reprint and it's totally worth your dollars.

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Hmm... this probably means I need a shorter commute, since I read this whole list to and from work and on my lunch breaks. I never read when I'm home or sick, only when waiting or traveling.

2008 List 61/50
2009 List 74/50
2010 List 150/75
2011 List 88/75

Day 20: YAY HEAT!

Yay heat! Finally.

Though, lest the day be without drama, Grr got himself and the boiler guys locked IN the house. Both the main door and the basement door were stuck and wouldn't open, and one front window is bolted with the AC and the other is broken and doesn't open so they eventually had to break the lock to the front door and call a locksmith. At 9 o'clock at night. I was still on the bus trying to get home. [insert bus rant here].

But yay heat! And I'm in the middle of book #142 for the year, so I should not have any trouble reaching my goal 150 by December 31st.