books, reading

Print books and the rise of an old desire

Since finishing study, I have accumulated a pile of paper books. Now, I’ve been an e-book convert or close to 3 years now, so this is a strange occurrence for me. I (hate to confess this but have to…) actually do not have a bookshelf. *waits for the gasps and outrage*. Hear me out, please? I have kids, and in their early years they liked nothing more than to trash my book shelves. I had two. The moment I was out of the room for anything, the books would end up all over the floor and I just couldn’t stand it. Those book defenseless books 😦

So, I packed up the ones I couldn’t part with and kept them in boxes under the bed, and I donated the rest to charity. The bookshelves became toy shelves and I no longer had to worry that any books would be destroyed in the making of my small people.

IMG_20141016_072540564That was about 5 years ago.

And now that they are all substantially older, I am beginning to think it might be time to start a new bookshelf*. Break open the boxes and set my books free. Because, as much as I love to read on my kindle, as much time as I’ve spent teaching them that it isn’t just a book, but a whole library, I don’t think they really get it. Since I’ve started reading print books again, they have started realizing that I do spend a fair bit of time reading. The kindle appears to be just another ‘screen’ as far as they are concerned lol. So, lead by example right?

Now, onto the books…. I grabbed The Strain a few months ago because it was going for 50c at the library. And then I went to the Warehouse on Saturday morning to find they were getting rid of books for a ridiculous $1.47. So I grabbed Doctor Sleep, Cujo, and Grim. And then yesterday Carnival of Souls(officially Carnival of Secrets) arrived in the post from the lovely Book Chatter Cath. I’m looking forward to doing a lot of reading!!!

*Naturally, the kids have bookshelves, two, jam packed with books.

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Great Kiwi Reads

I’ve been reading a bunch of stuff from New Zealand writers this last week, so wanted to give a shout out to some of the great fiction coming out of Aotearoa.

The first book I read was Night’s Favour, the debut novel by Richard Parry. It has werewolves, and action, and cop stuff, and witty banter between friends, with a slice of romance on the side. I really enjoyed it, and it was AWESOME to read a werewolf book where they aren’t sexy and lusty and saturated with romance and bleh (not that there is anything wrong with that,  I’m just sick of werewolves not being wolfish and primal and raw). I think I must now go in search of more werewolf books that are werewolf books and not YA or paranormal romance, because it was a really nice change.

Night’s Favour is a very easy read, and Parry has a great style that should appeal to a broad range of people. Well worth checking out.

Next on the list was At the Bay of Chtulhu by the awesome Matt and Debbie Cowens, of Mansfield with Monsters fame. I have to admit that I still haven’t read any of Katherine Mansfield’s original works (only the Cowen’s versions), and I’m not overly familiar with Lovecraft’s stuff either (however I am going to have to change that stat). I enjoyed the hell out of this novella, more than I thought I would! It was dark and creepy and intriguing and I could have done with a lot more. MORE I SAY! A delicious story.

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve started in on the juicy gem that I received in the mail end in the weekend from Steam Press – an advanced copy of The Wind City by another debut author, Summer Wigmore.

I saw the cover a few weeks back and thought it was gorgeous – it’s even better in print, actually the whole design of the book is lovely and that’s something I really appreciate about Steam Press. They obviously take a lot of time and care into making their books different from the rest, and they have a really special quality to them.

(Is it totally weird and nerdy of me to say that I adore the font used for the page numbering? It’s like the numbers are both floating on air AND drifting in the sea. Totally cool. And there are these beautiful partial images above the chapter numbers… it’s lovely, really. Yeah okay, I’m a weirdo…).

Anyway, so far I am only a few chapters into the book, but I am loving it. The characters are unique and jump right off the page, and it’s so awesome to see a book set in Wellington (one of my favourite cities in NZ), which taps into local mythology. If it continues the same way it has started out, this could well end up being my favourite Steam Press book to date.

I think you should definitely check it when it hits the shelves in November. I can’t wait to get deeper into it.

So, that’s what I’ve been reading this week! What about you?

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Oh that familiar siren song of a shiny new idea…

Okay, maybe not a NEW idea, because Saving Tomorrow has been around and in the works for probably two years now. I started writing it once (beginning of last year? all the months are blurring together), but it never sat right and I struggled with several aspects of the story, including the fact that unwittingly I’d created something kind of abhorrent and which could easily be taken the wrong way. So it’s been back on the drawing board indefinitely.

Until now. I’ve been reading some books, different to my normal reads, and I think I know what I want to do with it. The issues I had haven’t been resolved, but I’ve pushed a few thoughts around and realized what it needs, and how I need to write it in order to make it sit right for me. It still has kinks to work out, big time, but I know I can resolve those, and now that I’m kind of a planner, everything (well mostly) will be laid out in advance and I will know that I have a story that works before I kick start draft one, again.

I’m really excited about this again, folks, but there is so much to do before I can get started on it! Burn still needs it’s final round before I kick it out the door, and then there is Sun-Touched to revise. I adore that novel and I want to make it shine and find a home for it. And then, after that (and the novella in between that I am trying hard not to think about!) it will be time for Saving Tomorrow. I figure I have a good six months to nail the plot down and smooth out the many rough edges. But still, six months is a very long time.

Damn that whole ‘finishing’ thing I’m trying to work on. Truth is, I’m never going to get anything published if I don’t knuckle down and finish what I’ve started though, so I guess it’s onwards with these revisions!

What’s tempting you right now? Anyone with a new shiny?

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Best Book of 2011?

image via Charles Chan

I am currently reading my ninety seventh book of the year (97!!) and am mulling over which book to make my 100th. It’s a pretty big number – I don’t know when I will have the opportunity to read that many books in a year again – I want it to be something special. Something wonderful. 

So I need your help.

What was the BEST book you read this year? The most amazing, mind-blowing read. Something that blew your mind, made you FEEL, took you on a journey and left you feeling satisfied/amazed/in awe.

I love sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, horror. I’m not mad-keen on teenage romance, and I’d like to avoid YA for my 100th book – pretty much all of what I’ve read in the last month has been YA.

Help me out, folks 🙂 What would you recommend??

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Why I need a Kindle

I turn 30 in December, which is awesome. I’ve been looking forward to 30 for half my life.

I think that in honour of this lovely number I should get a Kindle, for the following reasons:

1) an e-reader is light, which means I can read big books while holding babies and not worry about dropping those big books on baby’s head.

2) my children can’t  tear pages from it.

3) I’ll never lose my page/the kids can’t pull my book mark out.

4) I don’t get free books as it is. I always incur late fees at the library, might as well buy an e-book!

5) I want to read more, but taking (my) 3 kids to a bookstore is just asking for trouble.

6) there is no room in my nappy bag for paper books.

7) Because I want one!

We have limited everything in NZ, but a Kindle would do me fine. I still like paper books, but there is no reason I can’t read both. Why choose sides in the e-book/paper book war? Make the most of all books, I say.

Now I just have to convince people to pitch in…. lol wish me luck!

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Books: readers vs readers/writers

I’ve had some interesting chats to a couple of people lately about books – the books we love, the books we can reread without getting halfway through and putting them down again, books that we outgrew – and I started wondering if there was a difference between people who write, and people who don’t.

When I first read a book I’m happy to let myself enjoy it, throw myself in and make a few allowances along the way should I need to for the story. But lately I’ve been finding that books I thought I loved, thought were amazing, aren’t really all that flash on second reading. Now, I don’t normally re-read books (perhaps this is why? I like to keep the idea of wonderful writing alive in my head?), but I have been making a point of flicking through some of my old favourites to see who has stood the test of time.

As a writer, I think I read in a different way now (slightly, anyway), even from a few years ago. If a book is badly written or is ridiculous (in a bad way) then chances are very high I’m not going to spend time on it – unless of course I’m trying to get to the bottom of why it’s so damn popular. But if it’s a reasonably well written and the story is engaging I’ll finish it. I don’t have the highest standards, but I’ve been putting down a lot more books lately than I used to.

There are a few novels that have fallen out of grace simply because as an older reader, a more experienced person, I crave slightly more intricate story lines. As a writer who is working on her craft, I’m more likely to notice clumsy word choices, head hopping and other things which detract from a story.

Do you find this? Do you have non writer friends who can re-read novels constantly and never get sick of them or pick up on the faults? I do, and I scratch my head sometimes wondering how they can do it over and over again. It might not be a difference between readers and reader/writers at all, it might just be the kind of person I am, but so much is lost from a novel when I read it a second or third time – or at least, the ones I have tried anyway, I’m obviously consuming a lot of ‘read once’ novels!

I did however start reading a series again recently and am so pleased that it’s just as good this time around. The writing is still solid, the story line captivating and I’m pretty sure I’ll be working my way through the three trilogies I have.

Unless of course you want to tell me what I could read instead?

What has stood the test of time for you? Are there novels you’d recommend that writers read as wonderful examples of writing? Are there things you thought you loved but have since found lacking?

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Yay, not so yay.

Today the courier came, he dropped me off a box of writing books! Kerryn has loaned me her stash while she’s away in the UK and I am looking forward to diving into them and learning some new things.

Also, last night I got my first phone call about the writer’s group! I’ve since dropped her an email and we’re going to try and set up a time for the three of us to catch up – hopefully we get some more phone calls soon. That would be cool.

The not so yay news is that my laptop had an accident last night. I think I only lost a little bit of writing (thank goodness!) and am pretty sure that all the important things on it were backed up. That’s what I’m telling myself anyways! Hopefully we’ll hear back from the repair place tomorrow, and then from the insurance company as well. I’m already missing it actually, it’s been cold and I’d much rather be sitting in the lounge with the laptop where it’s warm. Fingers crossed that I get a laptop of some kind or another in the near future!

P.S I think the body snatching cleaning alien has further released me from it’s hold. I’ve had quite large chunks today where I didn’t think about cleaning, and the thoughts are coming at a more reasonable pace than yesterday – woo!

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Books! Help me out please

For my birthday I asked for book vouchers from my Dad and in laws – most people think this is boring and have told me so. I don’t care though. As a stay at home mum I bring no money in, hubby doesn’t read (unless it’s on a computer screen) so I just can’t justify book purchases. The most I spend (and it feels like I’m cheating the system every time) is $2 at the library to buy 5 of their cast offs, so cheap… love it, it’s amazing what you can find.

So, Dad offered me cash instead and suggested I hit up the second hand book stores – why on earth did I not think of that? I guess having the occasional nice shiny new book is a guilty pleasure, but getting more books works for me too.

Anyway – I need some ideas. I want to read some things I might not normally opt for. I’m open to all suggestions! What are some of your favorite books/authors?

I’m going to see if I can hunt out some David Weber as per Anthony‘s recommendation. Tama has listed his top books for 2008 so I’ll see if I can find any of those.

If there are any books which would fit the categories for the ‘what’s in a name’ reading challenge for 2009, suggest those too! The list is as follows:

1. A book with a “profession” in its title.
2. A book with a “time of day” in its title.
3. A book with a “relative” in its title.
4. A book with a “body part” in its title.
5. A book with a “building” in its title.
6. A book with a “medical condition” in its title.

I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with, and then seeing how many of them I can hunt down. Fun times ahead!

Thanks in advance 🙂