Thursday, October 29, 2009


I know it's still 2009, but I've started to ponder 2010. Specifically, book challenges in 2010.

I think I might not do any.

It's scary, saying that, because I love book challenges. I love reading something new, something in a genre I don't normally read, something I've never heard of before... but I never seem to complete them. Looking at my sideboard, I can see that I have finished one challenge, and only one. I didn't even start the challenge I made for myself!

So yeah, I'm thinking next year, I'm not going to do any reading challenges. I'll just track what I read and go from there.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So much to write about

Like my thoughts on Dear Mr Unabomber, The Return, and Catching Fire, but my time is not my own.

And even if it was, I'm still fuming over this recent interview with Anne Rice.

It's like fate knew I was going to write something similar for NaNo.

Speaking of, I'm doing NaNo again; cheer me on?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Free book

Remember when I raved over The Alphabet Challenge by Olga Gardner Galvin? A future U.S., where things like chocolate and salt were outlawed, where the needs of the few could completely outweigh the needs of the many? A place where it was perfectly OK to drive without a license or insurance?

Well I just found out the the publisher is giving away 100 free e-copies via LibraryThing. Have an account there? Curious what a future without salt looks like?

I'd love to hear what you thought of The Alphabet Challenge.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This actually appeals to me, even though I know it's a horrible idea. There's no guarantee that anything uploaded to Wikipedia is correct and there have been several recent issues with the founders blocking people because they don't like what they have to say, but for some reason I kind of want to do this.

The founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia said on Wednesday he had entered into a partnership with computer company Hewlett Packard that will allow users to create and print magazines.

Following on this trend, there is an interesting article at Bookslut today, which says that we are living in an era where anyone can--and does--publish, either in the more traditional forms or via social networking sites.

Also at Bookslut today, a link to a BBC article. It seems the Spanish government is preparing to exhume a mass grave where it's believed that the body of Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca, poet, might be located. While normally this would not be something I'd jump on, one of the main characters in The Return is a fan of Lorca's work; there is a scene in the book where she goes on a tour of his home. I'd never heard of Lorca before, but based on what Hislop wrote, I think I'll have to add some of his poetry to my reading list.

From Bookshelves of Doom, Gentlemen by Michael Northrop; sounds too good to pass up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New authors, old series

So, first it was Sebastian Faulks, who wrote Devil May Care, a new book in Ian Fleming's James Bond series. Now we have Eoin Colfer, who was tapped to write the sixth book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.

What series and what author do you think will be next?

ETA:Sassymonkey wrote "[T]here's a new Winnie The Pooh book too (clearly not written by Milne)," which for some reason reminded me of all the Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice continuations (I won't read them, no matter how good you tell me they are).

ETA 2: Thank you Tor/Forge, for reminding me about The Gathering Storm, which has Brandon Sanderson finishing/completing Robert Jordan’s Book 12 in the Wheel of Time series.

ETA 3: Looks like I'm not the only person musing on this subject these days. Bookninja put up a post on this subject as well (found via Books, Inq.), which linked to a recent article written by the Washington Post.

Tuesday Teaser Times Two

Hee, I love alliteration!

The Return by Victoria Hislop. I've only just started this, so my random page isn't going to be super random (I don't want to spoil myself!)

Page 49:

Purposefully, she strode toward the sunniest table and sat down. She hastily scribbled the postcard to her father and then began to read her guidebook. It seemed that the city had much more to offer than the famed Alhambra and its gardens.

Dear Mr Unabomber by Ray Cavanaugh. Again, a book I've just started reading, so I think this teaser will also be from the first third of the book.

Page 44:
I tried to console her, but then it dawned on me that I was supposed to be angry. I was actually getting a bit irritated by her histrionics. I went to her refrigerator and began helping myself to some of her food. There was a package of brownies I knew she liked, and I ate them all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Librarians + Teamsters = Unionized Library?

Telling her mother that she wanted to come to the aid of a library under attack, 11-year-old Sydney Sabbagha stood at the podium before the Oak Brook village board.

Mr. Xions, you totally have my vote. Seriously. Right after I jump off that cliff.

Sick, sick, sick

Sick, sick, sick...

From over at A Work in Progress, Danielle is recommending her recent read, “We Were Young and At War,” which looks very good. I’m adding that to my library queue.

I finished my reread of “Good Omens” and I have to say that it was funnier the second time around. That dry, British humor gets me every time.

I’ve started reading two new books, “The Return” by Victoria Hislop—found this one on a newsletter I subscribe to—and “Dear Mr. Unabomber” by Ray Cavanaugh. I’ll be posting reviews this week, and snippets tomorrow!

I think I’m trying to cram everything I want to read—and can get my hands on—into October, because I know once November starts, I’m not going to have any free time left, not with NaNoWriMo taking up all my non-work and non-sleep time. Oh, the insanity that is NaNoWriMo.

I can’t wait!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thoughts on the FTC

I've been reading and rereading other people's posts on the announcement from the FTC regarding book bloggers and endorsements. There have a lot of thoughtful, detailed posts on the subject, ranging from bloggers who have said they will no longer review books received from publishers to those who say they already have a disclaimer on their site to the ones who think the whole thing is a joke and there is no way the FTC can actually enforce this ruling.

I'm not 100% sure what I think.

One the one hand, I do think that acknowledging where I got a book is fair. I'm fairly confident that I do that now with any ARCs I receive, although I suppose that I'll need to be extra sure going forward. As it stands, most of the books I read now are from the library (I read about a book on another blogger's site* or I saw it at B&N but didn't want to pay for it**). Do I have to acknowledge where I get books that aren't ARCs? Won them in a giveaway? Received as a gift? Borrowed from someplace other than the library?

And what about those of us who have no ads on our site? Or don't link the book to Amazon, etc.?
And also, an ARC--by nature--has no value, so how exactly am I supposed to value it? And I don't think anyone has touched on electronic copies of texts...

There's also the fact that blogging, even about books, is a hobby for a lot of people; we want to talk about books that we like with other people, who might also like the same books we like, that like a different book, or with people who just like books. It's not a paying job for us.

Really, I guess I'm left with more questions. I don't understand how the FTC will track this (requiring publishers to submit a list of all the people they've sent books to seems ridiculous and impractical) and I don't get how I--or any other non-paid book blogger--can be required to send back a book, especially when in some cases we haven't asked for it.

I just don't get it.

*I've actually been meaning to start this, because I always forget where I find books. But if I do that, am I endorsing someone else's endorsement?

**I know that they are worth it, but books are expensive! I have a really hard time justifying to myself the cost when I could spend that $22.95 on food for a week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ill, ill, ill

And for this, someone must pay. I'm thinking... biblically.

Since my brain has been nothing but cotton wool for days now, bullets!

  • National Book Foundation has released the finalists for the 2009 award.
  • I read the last three books in the Sookie Stackhouse series over the weekend while on cold medicine.
  • Summers at Castle Auburn is as good around the eighth time as it was the sixith.
  • The FTC is not going away, although they are, because we bloggers are responsible people. (Thanks for the tip, Mr. Wilson.)
  • NaNo is getting closer and closer and I'm so not ready to write anything worth writing right now. (Stupid cold.)
  • Neil Gaiman is a very smart man: "When I was a child, adults would tell me not to make things up, warning me of what would happen if I did. As far as I can tell so far, it seems to involve lots of foreign travel and not having to get up too early in the morning. (From Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions)
  • Regarding above, I need new career goals. I miss sleeping in.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Picked up

I swung by the library on Tuesday to return a few items and as I was leaving, spotted an old favorite on a shelf, Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn. It's has been a delightful read this time around--my sixth or seventh--and I enjoy it all the more for the slow way that Shinn gives us pieces of the overall plot.

I may read it again this weekend.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I think I'm in a slump

Because nothing sounds good to me right now.

Hmm. Anyone have any recommendations?

Monday, October 05, 2009

What do you do with your books?

This morning, the Federal Trade Commission announced that its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials would be revised in relation to bloggers. The new guidelines (PDF) specified that bloggers making any representation of a product must disclose the material connections they (the presumed endorsers) share with the advertisers. What this means is that, under the new guidelines, a blogger’s positive review of a product may qualify as an “endorsement” and that keeping a product after a review may qualify as “compensation.”

These guidelines, which will be effective as of December 1, 2009, require all bloggers to disclose any tangible connections.

There's more at here at EdRants, including an interview with the FTC's Richard Cleland.

The part that really struck me was where Cleland said that book bloggers would have to send the books back, because keeping them was a form of compensation.

Yeah, that's going to happen. I can see it now.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Banned Book Week

Every year, I tell myself I'm going to read the ALA's top ten banned or challenged books... and every year I don't. Well, that isn't exactly true. I've read The Kite Runner and the Dark Materials trilogy and liked them all.

Maybe going forward I'll just choose, at random, books from the list of the top 100 challenged or banned books.

Also, a reply to a would-be book banner by someone much more eloquent--and patience--than I am: Jamie at MYLIBBOG