Reading Plans For 2014

I got some good reading in last year, but, like most things last year, my reading fell short of what I’d hoped for. The biggest failure was not succeeding at the 2013 Women in Genre Reading Challenge from World’s Without End. My other big reading fail of 2013 was buying way too many ebooks, digital comics, and audiobooks. My ‘to be read’ pile would probably fill up a couple rooms in our apartment if it were physical instead of digital.

So, reading in 2014 is going to be about addressing the mistakes of reading in 2013. My two big goals are succeeding at my reading challenge this year (a Speculative Fiction by Authors of Color Challenge) and cutting a large swath through my TBR pile.

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2012: My Year of Horror (Fiction)

I’ve always been a fan of horror movies. Old school horror movies anyway. The Shining is one of my favorite movies ever. Alien and Aliens were both great. Psycho! What a movie. I also enjoy a good scream-queen fronted b-level horror or slasher film. The Nightmare on Elm Street series, for example. I am not a fan of the more modern gore and gross-out centered “torture-porn” kind of movie though. Assume I’ve never and will never watch most things that fall in that category. Until last year though, I’d never really read horror.

I don’t know why that is. Before 2012 I think I had read exactly two horror novels: The Shining by Stephen King and Dean Koontz’s From the Corner of His Eye, and one of those may not even really qualify as horror. While I didn’t hate either of them I didn’t love them either. I’d also read a handful of short stories that could be considered horror – all written by Harlan Ellison. That was the extent of my literacy in horror prose. 2012 was the year that changed.

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2012: My Year of the Audiobook

I have become an audiophile! Or, at least an audiobookphile. 2012 was definitely the year I fell in love with the audiobook. I joined audible at the end of 2011, but only thought of it as a little experiment at the time. I’d always had a bit of a snobbish feeling that we should look down on audiobooks or “books on tape” as somehow being inferior to “real reading”, but I don’t really know why. Having spent a year enjoying some great audiobooks I certainly don’t feel that way anymore.

In fact, I’m starting to wonder if audio books aren’t sometimes superior to their original written form.

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Audiobook Addendum

I noted in my post on audiobooks yesterday that I was currently listening to Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell. That is no longer true. I finished it about an hour ago and it was great.

I know I’m 4 or 5 years late in discovering this book but I’m very glad I finally did. I’m also glad I listened to this instead of read it, because the narration brings the accents of the characters to life and I think it made it easier to immerse myself in the wonderful cultural flavors of the story. I liked it so much that I can’t wait to start on Buckell’s second book in the same universe (which is not a direct sequel).

I want to listen to that one as well, but I’ve got so much on my Audidble wishlist that I decided I was going to need a better subscription. So Crystal Rain is officially the book that made me upgrade my Audbile membership to platinum.

NOTE: Uh, do to a weird thing I did about changing the timezone my blog is set in this post actually appears before the post on audiobooks I am referring to in it. Whoops.

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Review – Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti

So I’ve been meaning to write this review for about 2 weeks now. As soon as I finished Mechanique I knew I wanted to write about it, but I haven’t had the time. I teach English as a Foreign Language at a university in South Korea and the end of semester always means two weeks of exhausting work. I mostly teach English Conversation so final exams mean I have to sit down and talk to students. It doesn’t sound so bad but going over the same questions and hearing the same sorts of answers (often with the same sorts of mistakes) over and over again for hours a day over the course of a week is surprisingly draining. There is also the fact that when you’re marking someone’s conversation skill and language ability you really have to give them your full and undivided attention. If you let your mind wander you risk being unfair in your marking. The week after exams is always long too as I usually have a backlog of final tests and homework assignments to mark before I can compile final grades. The payoff for those two weeks of mental exhaustion though are a generally easy job and two months of paid vacation per semester, so I’m not complaining.

This means I’m going to have lots of time for writing and blogging, assuming I don’t let the joy of freedom devolve into long hours of TV, computer games and naps. That’s always a danger. Anyway, expect to see more action here on Looking For a Rabbit Hole (still pondering a name change on that front…). To start us off I should get to that review, yes?

To be clear, I am reviewing the audiobook of Mechanique, which means I’m really reviewing the work of two different storytellers: the book’s author, Genevieve Valentine [ her blog here] [her twitter here], and the audiobook’s narrator, Scott Aiello [other books narrated by Scott here]. Both of these fine artists did a great job in making Mechanique an enjoyable audiobook experience. Early on in my listening I realized that, as someone aiming sqaurely at the goal becoming a proffessional writer, I was very jealous of the writing here. Mechanique is not your standard novel. The narrative is non-linear, effortlessly jumping back and forth through time, and uses multiple points of view; many of the Circus Tresaulti’s performers take their turn in the spotlight.

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