The final bookstore stop during our trip to Oregon was Powell's Books on Hawthorne. This is one of the “smaller” Powell's at only 10,000 square feet.
I, of course, bought some books:
The final bookstore stop during our trip to Oregon was Powell's Books on Hawthorne. This is one of the “smaller” Powell's at only 10,000 square feet.
I, of course, bought some books:
When you vacation with Marisa chances are good you'll be visiting a thrift store or 4. While we were in Portland we headed on down to the Goodwill where Marisa found herself some fancy, expensive shoes for a steal (though she wasn't as thrilled with my reaction when she excitedly told me. I was all like, “That's good!” She texted her sister to get the correct reaction).
Goodwills usually have a selection of used books, which I enjoy browsing through. Now, I should say that since the books at Goodwill are so cheap I tend to err on the side of buying a book I'm even slightly interested in.
That's how I ended up finding three books in less than 5 minutes to purchase:
So much so that I bought the second one as soon as it came out. And then I didn't read it for awhile because, life, ya know?
I stayed up late last night to finish this book because I was enjoying it so. The main character has a raft of issues, and yet she uses what many would consider weaknesses to her advantage. She's great, and she reacts to supernatural situations in a pretty believable way (well, as believable as possible!).
I will say that I thought the final climactic scene was… well not really climactic or exciting. It sort of fizzles away, which in the story makes sense… but it left me unsatisfied. Luckily, the actual ending of the book won me back.
Who should read it: Anyone who has read the first book (and you should read it if you haven't!).
Would I read it again: You're probably picking up by now that I rarely re-read books, and this book isn't good enough to be an exception to that rule. It is quite good, don't get me wrong.
Any book lover who visits Portland, OR has got to go to at least one Powell's. I went to two whilst I was in Portland, because why not?
The City of Books is their biggest store right in the middle of downtown Portland. It is billed as the largest independent bookstore in the world, and I believe it! They carry something like a million titles. Displaying admirable restraint I purchased 6 books:
One of the things I love about Powell's is the fact they shelve new and used books together. That just makes me happy… and did I mention the mind boggling amount of books they have in that store? It is crazy!
Powell's, like any successful bookstore, also carries a bunch of other things. I picked up this super cool robot pin (though I have no idea where I'm going to put it):
And given who I am, I had to buy this:
Stay tuned to see what I purchased at the other Powell's I visited. Can you contain your excitement?
Tor.com has always been a favorite of mine, and when they started publishing novellas I bought a few. I didn't read any, since I'm a very busy man and all, but I bought them and that has got to count for something!
I finally decided to read All Systems Red, and on one hand I wish I had read it sooner but then again if I had the wait for the second novella would be even longer.
The main character calls itself Murderbot, but I don't want to talk too much about it since that might give away some things that are better off discovered while reading. I will say that Wells manages to paint a very comprehensive world in less than 200 pages. I know there's lots more to discover in this universe and I hope that she is working on a full raft of books!
The ebook is super cheap, and it isn't a big commitment of time so just read it already.
Who should read it: If you like introspective robots, this is the book for you!
Would I read it again: Sure! Though I'd rather read the next one.
Simon R. Green writes several series and Ghost Finders is my least favorite. I only pick them up if I find them for cheap in used bookstores which is why I just read “Ghost of a Dream.” I paid $2. That might have been too much.
This isn't a good book, though it is a quick read. Why isn't it good? Well, in it we follow the adventures of a ghost finding team. The one thing, we are told, these people are very good at is knowing if something is a ghost or not. In the first part of the novel, which is totally unrelated to the rest of the book, the characters meet someone who turns out to be a ghost, but hid it from them. This is treated as a big deal since it can't ever happen. Then it proceeds to happen at least two more times in the book. Ug. And that's just one example of why you shouldn't read this book.
Plus, in the book one of the characters always wears a white suit and sunglasses. The cover features three people, who I can only assume are the three ghost finders we follow in the book, and none of them are wearing a white suit OR sunglasses. Sheesh.
Who should read it: No one.
Would I read it again: No.
Missing, Presumed is a modern day (well, set in 2011) police procedural; a genre that I typically eschew. I generally look for reading material that takes me away from the real world, not stories which highlight real world problems (I get enough of that watching the news, am I right?).
That being said, this book is set in England which is far enough removed from my daily existence that I could enjoy it (you won't find me reading any of the many, many NY/LA based police mysteries!).
Manon Bradshaw, the main character, is a 39 year old woman working for the Cambridgeshire police force and assigned to a high profile missing person case. It looks like foul play was involved, and to make things even more complicated the missing person is the scion of a physician to the Royal Family. Add in a motley assortment of characters, a handsome boyfriend, and a corpse and you've got yourself a fine mystery.
Each chapter of the book switches from character to character, which works well to paint the complicated picture of the case and Manon's life. That's what makes this book so interesting to me: the mystery is a good hook but I really wanted to learn more about Manon and her life. Good thing this is the first in a series! I'll certainly be reading the next book (I almost bought it the other day, but it is only about 300 pages and the hardcover cost $27. I'll probably get it the from library and then write about it!).
Who should read it: Fans complex characters trying to do their jobs.
Would I read it again: I'll read the next one!
Seaside, Oregon isn't my favorite Oregon coast town. It feels to me what I imagine the Jersey Shore feels like, though to be fair I've never “gone down the shore,” as they say in Philadelphia.
It is a town populated with arcades, souvenir shops, and family friendly restaurants. Not really a place I would opt to go on my own, but Marisa has spent many a happy hour at Seaside with her family so there we stopped. Plus my nephews had fun at the arcade, so who am I to judge?
Luckily for me, there's a bookstore called Beach Books and I was able to spend a few minutes, and dollars, there. The bookstore itself is yet another typical beach bookstore: lots of fiction (with an emphasis on mysteries) and not too much else (Marisa found their cookbook section to be lacking).
I did pick up “The Crossing Places” by Elly Griffiths. I read “The Zig Zag Girl” by the same author last year on a lark without knowing she had written a long lived series. Based on my enjoyment of the book of hers I had read I bought this one, which is the first in her series (and was recommended by an employee at the book shop).
The second book purchased on vacation is a brand new copy of “Blueprints of the Afterlife” by Ryan Boudinot (the cover of which assures you that is it, in fact, a novel). Why this book? Well, I've looked at it countless times and I thought I should give it a whirl.
I picked this up from the Cloud & Leaf Bookstore in Manzanita, Oregon which is a lovely little beach town bookstore. Not much science fiction (boo), but lots of non-fiction, mysteries, and things that you'd read on the beach.
Oh, and if you're in Manzanita and are craving Mexican food I can highly recommend El Trio Loco 2.
I'm on vacation, and you know what that means: I buy books!
The first two books were purchased at the Goodwill in Tillamook, Oregon.
I don't expect the Simon R. Green book to be good, but I enjoy reading his stuff and it cost $2. The Pratchett will go on my pile of to be read Pratchett (I've read some of his stuff, but not enough!).
Another day, another mystery! Though I tend to think that a book qualifies as a mystery only if it is possible for the reader to figure out the answer before the main character. Given my definition, I suppose “Celine” by Peter Heller isn't a mystery at all (though I guess a reader smarter than me could have figured it out which would make it a mystery again!) but it is a compelling novel just like it says on the cover [A little aside here: Why are publishers increasingly feeling the need to put “a novel” on book covers? My pal Dan Moren wrote a book recently on which the cover helpfully assures you it is a novel. Just in case you confused it for a… parrot? I don't get it. Anyway, read Dan's book. You'll like it! I did. And look, a bonus book recommendation within the text of another recommendation. Aren't you the luckiest blog reader in the world?]. Celine, the main character, is a lot of fun and one of those detectives you jus know you'd enjoy following around all the time. I'm hopeful that this is the start of a series, but given that Heller seems to be shooting for literary stand alone books I imagine this will be Celine's only adventure that we get to read.
Heller is a talented author whose work I have enjoyed previously, and I didn't even realize he had written this until I started reading it and his bio mentioned that he had written “The Dog Star.” Both share his spare prose style, with occasional eruptions of words to describe mostly natural settings (which makes sense given Heller is an adventure/outdoorsy writer), and memorable characters.
I did enjoy The Dog Star more because it seemed fresher, which is tough to do in the post apocalyptic genre. Celine is certainly a fresh-ish take on the detective, which is a feat unto itself!
Who should read it: People who are looking for a well written book featuring an older female main character who is quite handy with a gun.
Would I read it again: I would read another book featuring Celine in a second!
K.J. Parker is one of my favorite writers, which is odd because they don't exist. Well, I mean they do but that's not their name. K.J. Parker is the pen name of Tom Holt, another author, when he feels like writing fantasy (though this isn't high fantasy, so no magic here. Low fantasy, I suppose, is the term though it more often feel like alternate history without having to worry about actual history).
I like K.J. Parker so much, in fact, that I have purposefully not read several of his novels. Why? Just so I won't find myself in the position of having read everything has has written thus far.
The funny thing is, I have a hard time getting into Tim Holt novels but I drink up Parker novels like delicious Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper.
Imagine my surprise, and glee, when I found out that there was a new novella out (found via the New York Times Book section, of course). I immediately hastened to Amazon and bought it.
And I have just devoured it on my flight to Portland, Oregon (the same flight on which I finished reading Amatka). It is a short book following a typical Parker character: someone involved in the ruling class, good at his job but doesn't want to be, and thrust into lots of intrigue. The book also features another of Parker's favorite things: long lists. Lists of fictional books, lists of fictional provinces, and lists of supplies.
I loved it all, and it doesn't hurt that the central mystery (if you can really call it that, since it is pretty incidental to the story) revolves around monks who love books (as does the main character).
Who should read it: I'm always hesitant to actually recommend Parker's books to people because I think they are to a very specific taste, and there's nothing worse than telling someone to read a book you really liked only to find out that they didn't enjoy it. Therefore, you shouldn't read this book.
Would I read it again: I would, but that would be very silly since I still have so much unread Parker left to enjoy!
As I was reading Amatka I kept thinking about Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, which I very much enjoyed. Each work (I consider the entire trilogy to be one thing, because I'm cool like that) is what the kids would call “high concept.”
VanderMeer's work combines a high concept story idea with what can only be described as “writerly writing.” Some people love it (i.e. me), and others not so much.
Tidbeck takes a super high concept idea, what if people went to a strange place where you had to constantly name things to keep them from dissolving, and bolts on a very personal story about a woman trying to adjust to life in a new place, meeting a partner she never thought she could, and questioning the very foundations of her society.
I was doubtful about how long Tidbeck could make her core concept work. There's only so many times I want to read about someone calling a pencil a pencil so it doesn't turn into goop, but she did a masterful job of quickly building this strange little world and populating it with very real, and believable, characters.
Who should read it: People who love high concept worlds populated by very relatable characters.
Would I read it again: I would, which is saying something since I don't normally re-read things. I'm certainly going to be reading her next book (whatever it is!).
Marisa and I often head up to Western Mass to visit our friends Becky and Eric over Memorial Day weekend, and we did just that this weekend. This was a special trip because we finally got to meet Reed (their son).
Overall, it was a successful and relaxing trip. However, I didn't get much reading done. Bummer.
We did, however, manage to visit three bookstores:
Where I purchased the books pictured above. Did I need any of these books? I don't understand the question.
I read 75 books in 2016 (I thought I had read 76 but Goodreads counted a book that I hadn't read in 2016, that sassy website).
The Sparrow by Mary Russel Doria
A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) by Becky Chambers
The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2) by Liu Cixin
Woman with a Blue Pencil: A Novel by Gordon McAlpine
Slade House by David Mitchell
Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) by V.E. Schwab
Anatomy of Evil (Barker & Llewelyn, #7) by Will Thomas
The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson
Stiletto (The Checquy Files, #2) by Daniel O'Malley
Zero K: A Novel by Don DeLillo
Necessity (Thessaly, #3) by Jo Walton
The Yard (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #1) by Alex Grecian
The Devil's Workshop (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #3) by Alex Grecian
The Harvest Man (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #4) by Alex Grecian
Lost and Gone Forever (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #5) by Alex Grecian
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Lady Cop Makes Trouble (Kopp Sisters, #2) by Amy Stewart
The Privilege of the Sword (Riverside, #2) by Ellen Kushner
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The Trials (The Red Trilogy Book 2) by Linda Nagata
Night Life (Michael Cassidy, #1) by David C. Taylor
Staked (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #8) by Kevin Hearne
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Strangler Vine (Avery & Blake, #1) by M.J. Carter
The Steel Remains (A Land Fit for Heroes #1) by Richard K. Morgan
Acceptance (Southern Reach, #3) by Jeff VanderMeer
Updraft (Bone Universe, #1) by Fran Wilde
The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1) by N.K. Jemisin
Linesman (Linesman, #1) by S.K. Dunstall
Alliance by S.K. Dunstall
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Singer from Memphis (The Athenian Mysteries #6) by Gary Corby
Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand
The House of Shattered Wings (Dominion of the Fallen, #1) by Aliette de Bodard
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris
Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey
The Black Country (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #2) by Alex Grecian
Four Roads Cross (Craft Sequence, #5) by Max Gladstone
Dark Run by Mike Brooks
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
The Regional Office Is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales
Throne of Jade (Temeraire, #2) by Naomi Novik
The Big Sheep by Robert Kroese
The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay
The Zig Zag Girl (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery, #1) by Elly Griffiths
The Cold Between (Central Corps, #1) by Elizabeth Bonesteel
A Night Without Stars by Peter F. Hamilton
Look to Windward (Culture, #7) by Iain M. Banks
Blind Justice (Sir John Fielding, #1) by Bruce Alexander
Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Daggerspell (Deverry, #1) by Katharine Kerr
In the Land of Giants: A Journey Through the Dark Ages by Max Adams
Swordspoint (Riverside, #1) by Ellen Kushner
The Fall of the Kings by Ellen Kushner
Hell Bay (Barker & Llewelyn, #8) by Will Thomas
Murder at the 42nd Street Library (Raymond Ambler #1) by Con Lehane
Expo 58 by Jonathan Coe
The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires, #1) by Jim Butcher
Dr. DOA (Secret Histories, #10) by Simon R. Green
Hour of Judgment (Jurisdiction, #4) by Susan R. Matthews
Smoke by Dan Vyleta
Wolf Star (Tour of the Merrimack, #2) by R.M. Meluch
Dead Man Walking (Ishmael Jones, #2) by Simon R. Green
All Those Vanished Engines by Paul Park
Manhattans & Murder (Murder, She Wrote, #2) by Jessica Fletcher
Raising Caine (Tales of the Terran Republic, #3) by Charles E. Gannon
Surrender, New York by Caleb Carr
The Myriad by R.M. Meluch
I read lots of books from a variety of publishers, but here's the top three:
Tor Books: 8
Del Rey: 4
G.P. Putnam's Sons:4
I got to wonder about the author gender breakdown of the books I read in 2016, and it is pretty good:
I didn't make an effort to read any particular kind of author's work, and I don't plan to. I read whatever strikes my fancy, but I think these numbers are telling me that I'm hearing about more books written by women, which Im all for!
2015 was a pretty rough year here at Blankbaby Manor which impacted my reading. I try to read at least 52 books a year, and I did't quite make it but I got close!
In 2015 I read 51 books (though if you follow me on Goodreads it appears as though I read 49 books. I read an omnibus edition of 3 novels in one, so I counted that as 3. Goodreads counts it as 1).
For some historical perspective, here's my book numbers since 2011:
Not my worst year, but very far from my best (I have no idea why I was able to read so much in 2013!).
I did read a number of very good books, and here are the ones I would recommend you read (note, these are Amazon affiliate links. You can probably find most of these books in your local library too, but then I don't get any money):
Ken Liu is a very talented short story writer (and translator), but I wasn't sure if that would translate into being a great novelist. Well, "The Grace of Kings" didn't disappoint me. I will admit that I'm fascinated by fantasty/scifi books which are roots in non-western traditions so if that isn't your thing this book isn't for you.
Having this book grounded in traditions that aren't familiar to me gave it an added level of otherworldliness (which mostly speaks to my lack of knowledge about eastern traditions).
This book features two men who overthrow an empire and then struggle with what to do with the results. There are mechanical sea monsters, airships and more. Plus it is all written with Ken Liu's lyrical prose.
When I'm not reading science fiction or fantasy I'm usually reading a mystery and "Girl Waits with Gun" is a great one. I mean, it is kind of a mystery but mostly it is a retelling of a crazy true story.
The main characters are the Kopp sisters are unique believable characters who border on ridiculous but never stray past the line.
The novel starts with a carriage being sideswiped by a car and goes from there. Lots of fun, and an interesting snapshot of a particular time in American history when technology and society were at a tipping point.
People aren't supposed to bring things back and forth with them, but it happens with unforeseen circumstances. A great read, and quick too!
If superheroes are more your cup of tea check out Vicious by the same author. I liked it very much (though not as much as this one).
This was probably my favorite fantasy book that I read in 2015. Now, it isn't for everyone because it is pretty brutal. The ending isn't satisfying if you're hoping for a good ending, but Baru is a great character and I thought the world building was very well done.
It reminded me very much of K.J. Parker, and that's a big compliment!
Aurora is fantastic, and I'm pretty sure it'll be nominated for the Hugo. A clever tale of a generation ship falling apart with an interesting conceit. You should read it. Plus, this time around the main character isn't totally awful (until 2312, which I liked but can see how others might not).
I imagine somewhere the pitch for this book (which is soon to be a TV series) was something like, "Imagine the Game of Thrones only on the Mooooon!"
That gives you the flavor of the book, kind of, but undersells it. McDonald has been writing YA novels for a few years and I've read them. But I'm glad to have him back writing "adult fiction." This book is the start of a series and I look forward to reading the rest with great gusto.
Also, the opening scene of this book is just perfect.
Generally, I don't re-read things but I suggested we discuss The Foundation Trilogy on The Incomparable and other folks agreed (listen to the podcast).
I was a little worried that I wouldn't like the Foundation Trilogy anymore. I read it when I was in high school and it is pretty much responsible for my love of science fiction. Good news! I still love these three books, and if you haven't read them you should. Now. Go. Read them! Every library in the world probably has copies (not to mention used bookstores).
Kevin Hearne, author of the Iron Druid books, wrote a great post listing some underrated series of books for adults. He wrote this in reaction to having his own series of books listed on this Buzzfeed list of underrated YA series (which lists a bunch of stuff that isn't YA).
I love this idea, and it has inspired me to create my own list of underrated series, one of which appears on Kevin's list (he has good taste!).
I'll start off listing Kevin's series: The Iron Druid Chronicles. I'm not generally a fan of Urban Fantasy, it isn't my bag. However, Atticus O'Sullivan, the ancient Druid who is the last of his kind, is a lot of fun to read about. And his dog is fantastic (this makes sense if you read the books).
Ok, these books aren't literary gems but they aren't meant to be. They are fast, fun reads. All I can say is that I read one in a couple of hours and then bought every single available novel right afterwards and devoured them all.
Books in the series:
Jane Austin with a touch of magic is how I describe Mary Robinette Kowal's The Glamourist Histories. That's true of the first book, though the later entries in the series have a heck of a lot more action than you'll find in an Austin book.
Jane and Vincent, the main characters, are glamourists (they can create illusions, and do so for installation in manor houses and the like) who are very much in love and end up in many interesting situations. These situations include everything from encountering Napoleon's army to being fleeced in Venice.
Sadly, the final installment of this series is coming out this month. I'll read it and look forward to what else Mary Robinette Kowal has in store for us.
Books in the series:
I'm a sucker for a period mysteries series, and Gary Corby's The Athenian Mysteries fit the bill. Set in ancient Greece, the books follows Nicolaos who has a knack for solving mysteries but has trouble making a living out of it. Pericles is sort of his sponsor, though they have a fragile relationship. Oh, and did I mention Nicolaos has a young brother by the name of Socrates? Yeah, that Socrates.
Once again, these books are fun, light, quick reads that always entertain.
Books in the series:
Rachel Aaron, writing as Rachel Bach, wrote a damn fine trilogy of scifi books called The Paradox Trilogy. Devi, the main character, has some sweet power armor and dreams of serving her King. Those dreams don't work out as she had hoped, but she does get to encounter some "monsters" and fall in love.
I enjoy the fact that these books feature a strong female protagonist who falls in love, but isn't super happy about it (it is very complicated, as you'll find out when you read it). Also, did I mention the sweet power armor? It is pretty sweet.
The books in the series:
I've said time and again that K.J. Parker books are great. The Engineer Trilogy follows an engineer who is exiled for creating things that are out of spec, and he get his revenge. A lot of revenge.
This is a fantasy series, but there isn't any magic to be found. There is a lot of blood, gears, and betrayal. This isn't a lighthearted read, but man is it compelling.
The books in the series:
Since it is the holidays here in the good US of A (and elsewhere I presume, but I don't concern myself with the goings on outside of our fine borders) I thought it only appropriate to share some of the best books I've read this year. Along with affiliate links and a plea for you to buy them for friends, loved ones, or enemies.
Hard to believe I read this book in 2014, but I did (finished it on Jan. 25th, 2014). This is a great book, as discussed on this episode of The Incomparable. And at the moment it is only $2.99 in ebook format. Why haven't you purchased it already?
Ok, so you want to hear a little bit of what this book is about. A golem is shipped to NYC, as you do, and he master dies. She's left to fend for herself and ends up meeting a Jinni. It is great.
I love Jo Walton. Well, I love her writing (I'm sure she's a lovely person though). After reading her Small Change series I decided that I would just buy whatever her next novel is without question. That's why I preordered My Real Children and read it as soon as it appeared on my Kindle.
This book is science fiction, but with a light touch. The main character is an old lady who is in a old folks home and remembers living two lifetimes. Is she crazy? Nope, she is just remembering two different timelines of her own life.
Fantastic. And there are moon-bases, so: science fiction.
David Mitchell knows how to write a book I tells ya. The Bone Clocks is definitely science fiction, but since Mitchell wrote it people you'll find it shelved in the "Fiction" section of the bookstore (serious writers don't do science fiction, you see. Even though the Cloud Atlas was also SciFi).
This book pings around the world and history following the story of Holly Sykes who ends up involved in a war that she knows nothing about. I devoured this book (after I got through the first 30 pages or so).
I'd never heard of Emily St. John Mandel before (but what a name), however, this book is crazy good. It is a post-apocalypse book, but it isn't apocalypse porn. Most of the action happens a good while after the fall of society, when new rules and societies have been formed and life is somewhat stable (though nothing like we know it).
A traveling band of Shakespearean actors are the main vehicle of the plot with characters connecting threads across time before, during and after the pandemic.
There are two other books that I quite enjoyed this year, but it is difficult to recommend them since they are both a part of a larger series.
The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi blew my mind with the bizarre stuff that it contains. This is a science fiction lovers science fiction book (though if you don't like rather baroque writing, this might not be your cup of tea).
Last year Ancillary Justice was my favorite book, and this year the sequel (Ancillary Sword) is on my best of list. You should read the first one though, and then pick up the second.
Hey, I wrote another book! This one, as you might suspect from the title, is all about the Amazon Fire Phone.
The phone didn't get rave reviews from the tech press, but I think it is a pretty nifty device (I may be biased). It has a bunch of neat features, the OS is pretty clear and easy to use, and it makes getting your Amazon content (books, movies, and music) very simple. Also, can I tell you how much I love browsing the Kindle book store in a native app? Because I do (you can't do that on the iPhone because Amazon won't give Apple the 30% that they charge for in app purchasing).
Anyway, buy my book if you have a Fire Phone. Or if you want a Fire Phone. Or if you want to support my writing career. Or if you're bored. You know, just buy the dang book!
Note: Some people will wonder why I wrote a book about the Fire when my every day phone is an iPhone (a 6 plus to be precise). I wrote about why I really can't switch from an iPhone before but it boils down to: unlimited data and iMessages.
I was on vacation, and so I bought some books. Well, I bought about 28 books or so. Hey, most of them were used (and the new ones were from independent bookstores, so that's cool.. right?).
10 of those books cost me $2. Marisa and I went into Bull Moose Music and saw a bunch of mystery bags filled with themed books. I had to pick up a sci-fi and Star Trek bag because I'm me!
The Star Trek bag had:
If you'd like to buy them for yourself here are some links to Amazon:
And here's the sci-fi haul (which included a bonus Star Trek novel!):
I've read a few of these (noted with asterisks) still, $1:
And here's a picture of all the books I bought in my travels. I'm not going to bother linking to all these books because I'm a lazy, lazy man.
As in past years, Jason Snell is forcing me to read all the Hugo nominated novels (ok, he isn't forcing me but we have entered into a strange pact wherein we both read all of them and talk about them on the Incomparable with others who generally lack the fortitude to read all the works. Listen to 2013, 2012, and 2011. Also, I can't believe this will be the fourth time we're doing this!).
This year is an odd year for the Hugos (my friend Barry points out that I say that every year, but this year I mean it). Since the Hugo nominations are open to anyone with a WorldCon membership, wacky things can get nominated given an author's popularity.
Now, I should say that given this is how the Hugos are set up I have nothing against any author for rallying the troops and getting themselves on the ballot. Kudos to them, I say! However, it doesn't mean I'm going to read everything that's nominated (more on that in a moment).
The other oddity this year is the nomination of an entire series as best novel. That's wacky, and I won't be reading all 14,000 Wheel of Times books.
Here are the nominated novels, some thoughts about them and if I am going to actually read them:
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie - Not only did I read this book already, but I was one of the people who nominated it. Given that this is the only book on the list I've read thus far I can't say I will definitely vote for it, but I'm probably going to vote for it. I spoke about it on an episode of the Incomparable if you'd like to hear some learned opinions about the book from my fellow panelists.
Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross - Mr. Stross is an author whose books I've purchased but I don't think I've ever actually read. I didn't even know this book existed, so I don't have an opinion about it. I am glad to see I was wrong in thinking it is a sequel. It seems as though it is a standalone book in a loose series, so I'll be reading it and probably voting for Ancillary Justice.
Parasite by Mira Grant - Oh, Mira Grant. I actually figured that this book would be nominated because Grant's audience REALLY likes her work. I REALLY disliked her Newsflesh series but hope springs eternal. I might like this version of her one voiced characters facing zombies better. But if someone drinks a Coke and pokes something with a stick I might just stop reading and walk away.
Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia - This is a controversial nomination because Larry posted a list of works on his website and suggested that his readers vote for them. I have nothing against that tactic given what the Hugos are, though I do find it a bit ingenious that Larry spins it as an experiment to see if the voting was rigged to keep politically conservative authors off the ballot. Anyway, I don't really care about that but I do care that this book is the 3rd in a series and I haven't read book 1 or 2. I am probably going to skip reading this book because of that (and not because of the so called controversy surrounding it, I have no trouble separating the author from the work).
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson - If I were a betting man I'd put my money on this series to win. That being said I attempted to read the first book in this series long ago and couldn't get through it. It won't get my vote, and I have no plans on attempting to read it.
There you have it, since absolutely no one asked me about the Hugos but NOW YOU KNOW!
I like to read, though I seem to acquire books at a far faster rate than I can ever hope to read. The Kindle hasn't helped this at all, though now the books take up less space (I still buy physical books too, though).
Anyway, here is a list of the last 15 books I've purchased for my Kindle. I'll include a quick thought about the book if I have read it:
If case you haven't used Manage Your Kindle before (and I'm willing to bet most Kindle users haven't) it allows you to delete ebooks, send them to particular Kindles and even download a book to your computer and transfer it to your Kindle via USB.
Here's what it used to look like (and still does in Chrome for me):
The design isn't very exciting, but that's not my main issue with the old MYK site. You couldn't perform actions on multiple books, so if you wanted to delete 3 books from your library you had to click on the drop down for each and then click delete. I don't have time for 6 clicks!
The new version makes that a thing of the past, and looks much nicer (at the moment I'm only seeing this in Safari):
A lovely gird of your book covers is displayed by default. Click on a book and it gets a little green check mark. Click on another one, and another check mark appears. Then you can click on one of the action buttons and have that action apply to all the selected items. Magic:
Amazon has also made it easier to find details about your Kindles by displaying all of your them along the top of the page. Clicking on one Kindle allows you to deregister it (if you want to have someone else use it with their Amazon account), your Kindle's email address (you did know you can email documents to your Kindle, right?), and the type and serial number.
It is also now much easier to turn off Special Offers (i.e. ads) on your Kindles that sport them, just by clicking a link and paying a few bucks:
Well done, Amazon!