sibyllevance: (Default)
[personal profile] sibyllevance
Someone remind me to make a separate post about Boardwalk Empire once the first season is over. This is not related to what follows but here it is anyway.

I think I want to talk about books more on this journal. As some of you may know, I already have a separate book blog but I think I need a place to talk about my bookish life in a more informal manner (having a blog is nice and all and I've already met wonderful people through it but I'm not sure the book blogging community is for me... it's so, well, formal and proper and apart from the people I met it's a bit hard to find like-minded people).

Anyway, I have a Goodreads account which I really cherish - if you don't have one already, I suggest you have look around, it's a really good way of 1) organizing your book collection 2) keeping track of the books you've read & plan to read 3) motivating you to leave your thoughts on each book you finish 4) finding good recommendations 5) checking out what people you know are reading/plan on reading and get even more recommendations. Goodreads also has groups but since my taste is a bit eccentric I don't feel like I belong to a specific group of readers (like fantasy readers or mystery readers or whatever).

My favourite reads recently have been:

- Soulless by Gail Carriger, which is a steampunk/comedy of manners novel taking place in Victorian London with a great heroine who's soulless (which means she can kill supernaturals, such as vampires). It's hilarious. It's the first in a series of 5 books, 3 of which have been released thus far: Soulless, Changeless and the latest Blameless. The series is called the Parasol Protectorate series. Goodreads link

- A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee, which is about girl spies in Victorian London. It's the first in a trilogy, two of which have been released - A Spy in the House and The Body at the Tower. Feminist.  Goodreads.

- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E.Lockhart, which is a stand-alone novel about a 15-year-old girl called Frankie who attends Alabaster, an elite prep-school and who's going to, to put it plainly, disturb the peace and rebel against this elitist system. Feminist. Goodreads link.

- Unnatural Fire by Fidelis Morgan, which is the first in a series of five novels, all released. It's funny (very funny, think bawdy humour) mysteries set in Restoration England. The series is called the Countess Ashby de la Zouche series (after one of the main characters). Goodreads link.

I look forward to reading Moonshine by Alaya Dawn Johnson, which is about Zephyr, a teacher & social activist in New York in the 1920s. It's urban fantasy with vampires and other creatures (everybody knows they exist in this world). It's the first in a series but the second one hasn't been published yet. Goodreads link.
I also bought a copy of Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, whom a lot of my favourite people seem to love. Goodreads link.

Other things I want to buy but really can't afford:

- Downton Abbey box set, according to Amazon there are audio commentaries, which is also my favourite extra so I seriously look forward to that. GO SYBIL.

- Boardwalk Empire by Nelson Johnson, which is a book about Atlantic City in the 1920s and was the starting point for the new HBO series. The author just published another book, The Northside, which is specifically about African-Americans at that time and which I'm eager to read too.

I find it so hard to find good books. You wouldn't believe the number of books I try when you see how few I finish. I think for about one really good book, I have to try (and in my case trying means buying so you see how this is going to be the death of me) at least 4 or 5. It's that dire. I still have no idea what 'group' I belong to and I think I'm actually alright with that, even if it makes it incredibly difficult to find new books to read, I enjoy the challenge. Sometimes non-fiction seems like a safer bet because I do know I'm interested in the 20s and in screwball comedies and in LGBTQ and in feminism and in humanism and in academic essays about my favourite TV shows so chances are if it's about any of these topics, I'll at least not be bored.

How do you find new books to read? How long do you spend making sure it's a book you want to read?


(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-07 11:15 am (UTC)
littlebutfierce: (books kurt halsey)
From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce
I used to be on LibraryThing back in the day -- I still have my collection listed on there but I never updated it w/all the culling I did before I moved across the pond, so it's near-pointless. So I quake at the thought of going over to GoodReads & starting there, heh.

I find books I want to read mainly by my friends blogging about them, heh (or them suggesting things in response to what I read, which I keep vague track of at [personal profile] furyofvissarion). That or from places like [ profile] 50books_poc (there are other such comms, like there's a general feminist one on DW, but that's the only one I follow). Plus there are a few authors who I'll read almost anything by, & then if they blog about something they really like...

That book about girl spies sounds AWESOME. Also I keep hearing my friends rave about the Lockhart book (& I liked another one), so I must get around to reading it finally!

I love Diana Wynne Jones (actually the next tattoo I want to get -- whenever that happens -- is going to be a quote from one of her books)! Howl is good, but it isn't even one of my absolute favorites from her, heh.


(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-07 11:49 am (UTC)
littlebutfierce: (dwj fandom)
From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce
Yeah, though since I have a separate book blog I don't really want to start another place where I post about things I'm reading.

Hahaha, while we are confessing about having different tastes, I could not get through Soulless at all. I was waiting in a bus station & then had a 2.5 hour bus ride but still couldn't make myself get past page 60 or so. It's a shame b/c it sounds like the sort of thing I would really like!

[ profile] 50books_poc has really gotten a lot quieter over the past couple of years, which is a shame. It used to have a lot more content. The tags are pretty well-maintained; maybe there's more stuff you might be interested in from the past? (I mean, there doesn't have to be, heh.)

I didn't read Fire & Hemlock until I was an adult (though I first read it 10+ years ago, I've reread it several times since then). I read it originally b/c I love Pamela Dean's novel Tam Lin (which takes the old ballad & sets it in the Vietnam War era at a college campus in Minnesota & is... kind of the ideal version of being a college student studying literature & having ridiculous friends who are constantly quoting books at each other & trying to figure out social relationships & life in general). Fire & Hemlock is also based on the same ballad, but v. different. I didn't read any other DWJ books for years b/c I was sure they would all disappoint afterwards, hahaha. To be fair I don't love all her books, but that one I do, & the Chrestomanci books especially, & also Deep Secret, which is possibly funnier for con-goers as it gently skewers sf/f cons.

(But yeah, I am sure there are a lot of books I read & loved as a kid which would disappoint me now--I wouldn't pick up a book that solely had reviews like that either.)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-07 09:55 pm (UTC)
littlebutfierce: (lovecom nobu darling not me)
From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce
It did appear contrived to me -- I could see what she was trying to do, but I just didn't think it worked. I think it was trying to be something along the same lines as the Kate & Cecy books but... yeah, I wasn't feeling it.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-07 07:12 pm (UTC)
renay: Text: Reading is for awesome people (but only if it's critical)
From: [personal profile] renay
I used to have a book blog, as well, but! I had the same formality issues, and also I tend to be loud and obnoxious and opinionated and want to include like, six topics in one post. I am better off reading book blogs than having one, also, I was done once some jerk author decided to tell me that my review of his book was homophobic. Like: no thanks, do not want. Social justice sometimes can irk me when it turns into a dogpile, but I don't want to be in a community where authors can just get away with that crap. And he DID get away with it. I had to watch him get lauded all over the place during a GLBT Week celebration. *holds grudges forever*

I loved Soulless but haven't managed to read any of the follow ups. Maybe once I get through this semester, ha. Have you managed any of the others?

I find new books by following some of the big name blogs and spiraling out from there. I am kind of picky with blogs because they tend to follow formula? There's less a critical engagement with something that's following a formula for me, unless I am specifically looking for a trope I like and browsing formulaic reviews to see if anything pops out at me (I found a couple of my favorite books this way). For the last six months I've been adding new books to my list but not getting to read any. TEARS EVERYWHERE.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-07 07:38 pm (UTC)
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
It's kind of like a video by Jay Smooth I like, where he talks about being first. It seems like there's such a rush to be FIRST that people kind of lose the plot and forget to put themselves into it, because that's what makes it interesting, and rush things? I mean, my favorite bloggers don't do this, and it shows. They wait and it's their voice and their opinion and that's what I like about it.

The appealing thing, yes. I get you. I am so picky and it makes no sense. Books I thought I would love I just don't. I bet we could compare DNF piles and they would be pretty similar in size. *g*

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-08 08:55 pm (UTC)
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Yes, he makes lots of thoughtful videos. <3

I donated a bunch of my books (library, schools, etc), but it might work differently in your location! I am in the rural American south, so places like that like free books. *g*

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-07 08:27 pm (UTC)
timeasmymeasure: a little girl with holding a book steady on her head (stock: girl with book on her head)
From: [personal profile] timeasmymeasure
How do you find new books to read? How long do you spend making sure it's a book you want to read?
I must admit that I'm a bit random when it comes to my reading choices. Of course, I take my friends' recommendations. I find that that's always a great option because I can have an idea of what to expect from the book. It usually means I'm less likely to be offended by aspects of the book thanks to friends' pre-screening, if you will. If I'm feeling lucky or a bit reckless, I literally type in a keyword into my local library's catalog, e.g. "medieval fiction", place the book on reserve, pick it up and go with that. It's not always the best way to go about it, but it's my way of finding new authors to scope out (I have a tendency to seek out all the work by the same author if I liked one of their books). I also have a habit of spotting titles at random in random places. I discovered Harry Potter when I found the book lying on a table at a cousin's house. I thought the cover looked interesting so I noted the title and the author and went hunting in the local library. Can't say I regretted that, at all =D

Edited Date: 2010-11-07 08:28 pm (UTC)

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