Well That Was Exciting!
So thanks to my last post, we had a couple of days where the blog was waaaaay busier than usual. Sunita has a round-up of this and other “mansplaining” incidents of the week. About that. In my academic world, the goal of an argument is not necessarily to “win” (there’s no one right way to interpret a text) but to make a persuasive case for your point of view. So I value conversation with people who disagree with me. However, I prefer they acknowledge that I have a different perspective for a reason (and maybe even concede a few points), especially when I grant them the same courtesy. I do think gender has something to do with this, though I know plenty of men who are capable of differing from me without mansplaining or condescending.
I tried to crowd-source super boring blog topics on Twitter to help me slip back into obscurity, but all I can say about plastic/contact paper covers for books is “I hates them.” So instead, a few words about what I’m reading–and what I’m not.
I’ve mentioned before that my TBR is so big that it creates anxiety: I have so much I “should” read that sometimes it’s hard to read anything. A while back I decided I needed to stop buying books and make a dent in the TBR pile instead. And I feel as if I followed that resolve. I don’t head over to Harlequin’s e-bookstore each month when they release new titles, and snap up 4 or 5 that look interesting. I don’t make a list of the books I want for the month and go to Kobo or other e-bookstores to pick up several at a time. I am spending less on books.
However. I check out Dear Author’s daily deal posts and have picked up several bargains. The iPad + Kindle app are dangerous. I think I barely even register that I am adding these books, it’s so easy to do. Killing time one day, I picked up some books at my favorite indie bookstore. Then I decided to check out the used bookstore near work. I acquired two Mary Stewart books, two by Betty Neels, and the first of Laura Griffin’s Tracers series. Oops. Then there’s the library, which is free, but still keeps me out of the TBR pile.
The thing is, as many of you know, books can go “stale” in the TBR pile/file. There are books in there I really wanted to read, but somehow as I browse my shelves or scroll through my reader’s menu, none seem just right. It’s easier to grab a new one. I think I need to create some kind of challenge for myself so that I’ll be forced to choose. Or just a coin flip. Any ideas?
I’ve been in kind of a reading slump, or just easily distracted, for a while. This may be part of my TBR problem. I don’t want to ruin a good book because I’m not in the mood. But in the last week, I’ve read or listened to several library books that I really enjoyed. Books that engrossed me, that I couldn’t put down, that I stayed up too late reading.
Rachel Hartman, Seraphina (read by Mandy Williams and Justine Eyre) I can see why this fantasy is marketed as YA–it’s a coming of age story, in part. But it’s also got a sophisticated political plot that would appeal to many adult fantasy readers. It reminded me of Megan Whelan Turner or Kristin Cashore in the richness of its invention. There are dragons, which I love, and they are both the familiar dragons of high fantasy and completely original. Here’s the Goodreads friend review that sold me. This was great to listen to (Williams is a good narrator, though her character voices weren’t that distinguishable), but I also felt I missed out, because the writing is lovely and there were passages I wanted to linger over. I look forward to more.
Marion Chesney, Lady Fortescue Steps Out (Poor Relations #1) (read by Davina Porter) I’d previously listened to Chesney’s Edwardian mysteries featuring Lady Rose, also read by Porter, and really enjoyed them. This is a frothy Regency comedy of manners, about a group of “poor relations” who band together to find independence, financial security, and companionship. They start a highly successful hotel, to the horror of their relatives. It’s very funny, but the characters’ desire for self-respect and meaningful lives keeps it from being pure fluff. The romance subplot is predictable but nonetheless enjoyable. My library doesn’t have more of the series (there are six in all), but I see they are on e-book. Hmm. . . perhaps I’ll wait and see if they get more audio. Very relaxing bedtime listening.
Catherine McKenzie, Arranged This was in a Dear Author deals post a week or so ago, but not as cheap in Canada (ironically, as the author’s Canadian). My library had it, though. I guess you’d call it chick lit: young single protagonist, check; unlucky in love, check; first-person narration, check; funny, check. Aside from romance, though, Anne is more competent and less the butt of the plot’s jokes than many chick lit heroines, and the plot is highly unusual: Anne decides to try an arranged marriage with a stranger found by an agency. That concept is pretty implausible, and the twist in the final third is more implausible still. But I pretty much ignored the holes, and found this a real page-turner. It’s light, but thoughtful about love. The middle section, is especially good, with a more charming and realistic depiction of falling in love than many romance novels I read. I liked the basic way the relationship was resolved, but the final third (it’s in three roughly equal sections) was a bit of a let-down. A lot was hand-waved away, including the amount Anne drinks, or too easily resolved, and I felt the novel missed a shot at being the more thoughtful, serious and moving book it almost was. It was still awfully good, though, and I think I’ll check out more McKenzie.
The only problem is, I’m not sure what to read next, and I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed after this great run.