28 April 2010

The Tortoise And The Hare

I have a theory (please bear with me as I ramble my way around this theory and eventually [one hopes] reach a conclusion). Y'all remember Aesop's fable of the tortoise and the hare? Well, I'm attempting to apply the fable to books... Not so much the actual premise, that slow and steady wins the race, but more that the running styles of the competitors can be applied to books. (I did mention there would be rambling, yes?) For example, some books are like the hare - fast and nimble - whereas others are like the tortoise - slow and steady.
 
Where did all this come from? I started reading Carol Berg's Flesh & Spirit. (Maybe it's just me, but from where I sit its predominately fantasy books that fall into the slow & steady category - all that world-building detail *grin*) So far, I'm on Page 92...and it's not like I'm not reading at all...it's just that it isn't a fast book. Compared with...Nalini Singh's Archangel's Kiss, which I read earlier this month and zoomed through, and with Kat Richardson's Underground, which was slightly slower...maybe a genetic cross between the tortoise and the hare.

Now, I'm not saying one is better than the other. Books of both the tortoise and the hare persuasions definitely have their place. I do like to mix them up - reading too many tortoise books can be demoralizing, especially when the TBR pile is breeding...

So, I'm curious. Where do you stand tortoise versus hare books? Is my theory completely out the window? And, if not, do you prefer one over the other or do you like them both? And would you agree that you have to be in the right mood for a tortoise book?

Edited to add: I'm worried that my Big Book Challenge book - Kushiel's Dart (it of the 900 plus pages) will be a tortoise book. Tortoise book plus
lots of pages... *worried*

21 April 2010

Peeking

I was planning on posting something entirely different today, but this post suddenly appeared and demanded discussion. See, I'm currently reading Keeping Promise Rock (Amy Lane). It's an amazing book IMO - the two main characters, Deacon & Carrick (Crick), are...so clear it's like they are sitting right next to me. They feel real...human - who they are, the situations they get themselves into. And as a consequence of this fantastic writing I've become incredibly invested in them...in their HEA. And that's the problem. I'm just over halfway through the book and...I'm not entirely convinced that they will have a HEA. I keep thinking something terrible is going to happen to either Deacon or Crick...or both! So...confession time. I'm very tempted to peak at the end of the book just to reassure myself that everything will be OK...that there will be a HEA. (And those of you on GoodReads will have noticed my plea this morning for confirmation of a HEA.)

I don't usually peek ahead in a book. If I do, it's usually because I'm bored with the current scene (the characters and/or the plot - there's nothing worse that reading a book with an ensemble of characters and only being interested in some of them IMO, but that's a whole different kettle of fish), not because I'm so invested (read petrified) in the characters.

So, I'm wondering if I'm the only person who is tempted to peek. Have you been tempted to peek? Do you peek? And, if so, why?

19 April 2010

The Spare

For those of you who read historical romance, the phrase 'an heir and a spare' will be rather familiar. That is exactly how I see books. I always like to have one...waiting in the wings so to speak, because I never know if perhaps a book and I won't...connect and I'll need a new one ASAP. (Note: this policy does not apply to other areas of my life, e.g. males *grin*)

Occasionally, the 'heir and a spare' policy doesn't work because I don't quite keep on top of things, and I end up staring down the barrel of one of two 'unacceptable' scenarios: a) drowning in library books (which can lead to stress WRT return dates); or b) the 'spare' hasn't arrived in time (and thus I have nothing to read). The latter occurred last night. I started reading Shadow Kiss (Richelle Mead) and realized after approximately 10 pages that I just didn't want to continue. Result: panic! What do I read? (And, yes, before you ask, I have keeper books I could pick up, but I have learnt that there picking up a keeper may result in madness...reading dribs and drabs of various books but not one whole book. Does that happen to anyone else out of interest?)

And then it struck me. *slow grin* I have an iPhone. And on that iPhone are books....books I've bought but haven't read yet. So then it became fun again. Do I read Keeping Caught Running (Madeline Urban & Abigail Roux)? Promise Keeping Rock (Amy Lane)? Shades of Greay? (Brooke McKinley) [It's very hard to remember that the US spelling of grey is with an 'a', not an 'e'.] Or Zero to the Bone (Jane Seville)? (Yes, all the books on my iPhone are m/m.) I finally decided on Keeping Promise Rock and have come to the conclusion that an iPhone is a dream solution to the 'heir and a spare' dilemma.

So, do you adopt the 'heir and a spare' policy, or do you have an entirely different policy that you would be willing to share?

15 April 2010

The Fine Print

In Learning By Degrees I mentioned that I LOATHE invasions into my privacy. (And I know that probably sounds...well, hypocritical considering how detailed the previous post was, but I chose to disclose that information.) Anyway, this 'invasion' resulted because I didn't read the fine print in a document...well, I did, but my interpretation of the fine print differed from that of the writers of the document. But, what is done, is...done. In hindsight, I've learnt that not only should I read the fine print, I should question it to the nth degree to make sure that my interpretation is accurate.

Anyway, in an effort to cheer myself up tonight, I watched an episode of one of my favourite TV shows - Glee.

I'm so hanging out for the new season...well, the second half of the season. (The whole splitting of a season thing is very confusing IMO.) And from this one quote Sue Sylvester seems to be on form:
'Oh, I will bring it William. Know what else I'm gonna bring? I'm gonna bring some Asian Cookery to rub your head with, 'cause right now you've got enough product in your hair to season a wok.'
I've also discovered that Sue Sylvester has a Twitter account...no, I'm not joining Twitter. I may just haunt it a bit more *grin*

So, when you're feeling...low, what picks you up, makes you laugh?

Edited because...I feel more comfortable with this version *grin*

12 April 2010

Learning By Degrees

Please note that this post is personal and probably TMI.
The wisest mind has something yet to learn.
So said George Santayana. And while this past week has been a week of learning, it has reinforced just how far I still have to travel.

I've learnt that I can't dissociate like I used too when emotions come calling. This is supposedly a good thing, but I prefer dissociating to panicking.

I've learnt that I find it next to impossible to relax. This past week I have been on annual leave...and I've, among other chores, cleaned the pantry, composted the vegetable garden, stacked firewood and cleaned the house. I've also attended numerous appointments...until the middle of the week when I cracked and rescheduled a number of appointments. Oh, and I've organized dental appointments for various family members (which is not a good thing as one of my New Year's resolutions for 2010 was to avoid spending my annual leave on the family, because that's all my annual leave was spent on last year - the family. And I still have to suffer through said dental appointments. I can't wait until April is over). Yes, these are all things you want to do when you're exhausted and haven't had a break since who knows when. But...I seem to have this compulsion to complete chores. If I don't, I feel guilty. Why? I'm still not quite sure. Reading is something I do to relax; I read during meals, but only because I can't fix/sort/organize something while eating, or at the end of the day when I'm in bed. But outside of those times...reading is hard.

I've learnt (again) that I'm a control freak, who likes order, rules and defined boundaries. And my current job, unlike my previous one, doesn't really have rules and defined boundaries - there is no right or wrong...every project is different. And I've realized that I'm just not built for that. At least now I know why I find my job so difficult. Not sure if that helps much though.

I've learnt that I'm petrified of being a narcissist. I know everyone has narcissistic tendencies to a greater or lesser degree..but I live in fear of becoming like certain family members.

I've also learnt that I LOATHE invasions into my privacy. With a passion! If someone invades my privacy then I am vulnerable. Not good for a control freak.

So, up until Thursday this week was...hell. And then I started reading By Degrees (JB McDonald). This was one amazing book - I laughed in places, held my breath in others. And the tenderness the characters demonstrated - it was so beautiful it hurt. (And the tension *grin*) Plus...apart from a few differences (one of which is that I'm female), one of the characters and I are very alike. Reading a book in which I can relate to a character is rare. But there I was, on the page, in black and white. And...I didn't feel...so alone....so abnormal. This character doesn't like to touch or be touched...like me; this character is a control freak...like me; this character worried they were asexual or frigid - the steps they took to try and ascertain otherwise...I took those same steps; and like me this character has anorgasmia. I wrote the author an incredibly gushy and TMI email because I wanted her to know how much this book meant to me. At the beginning of the book, I honestly thought that the author would sidestep the issues raised, as happened in a book I discussed in a previous post (Baggage). But the issues didn't vanish; there was no quick fix but slow character development and growth. And it gave me hope.

By Degrees will join a small but select list of book that have spoken to me. These include Blackmailed into Marriage (Lucy Monroe), Blue-Eyed Devil (Lisa Kleypas) and Mine to Possess (Nalini Singh). So, if it's not too personal a question, have you ever read a book that speaks to you? (And yes, I know I asked this question just over a year ago [in a post entitled Avoidance], but I'm curious if, the past year, you have made any new discoveries.)

Edited to add TMI warning.

07 April 2010

What Ya Watching? (Part II)

Following on from the original What Ya Watching? post (January 2010), I am pleased to report that I have finally finished watching Season 1 of Fringe. The final episode was...interesting to say the least (I'm referring specifically to the gravestone), and I'm looking forward to Season 2...if the TV network that screened Season 1 stops sitting on Season 2 (which, unfortunately, happens all too frequently).

So, what's next I hear you ask? The lovely Starfire has lent me Season 1 of Criminal Minds, so I'm hoping to watch an episode or two of that this week, in amongst my usual viewing for the week - The Good Wife and Lie to Me. Oh, and I have been informed that Season 4 of The Tudors will be screened in New Zealand - YAH! I always worry about such things, as the TV networks here are...not consistent.

So, what ya watching?

05 April 2010

Please Sir...

...can I have some more?

So, I just finished reading The Dark Tide, the fifth and final book in the Adrien English series. And although I know it's the final book *sob* all I can think of is 'Please Sir, can I have some more?' I was trying to read The Dark Tide s l o w l y so that I could savour it, and yet I couldn't put it down! (It took me a lot longer than planned to compost the vegetable garden and clean the pantry [and I still haven't finished washing the dishes] because I kept having 'breaks' throughout the day *grin*) I haven't read a series this good, that has spoken to me so clearly, since first picking up Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labryinths series early last year. The characters fairly leap off the page in The Darkest Tide (and the earlier books) and I am now even more of a Josh Lanyon fan than before (if that is possible).

The downside to finishing an amazing series is that I have to come down off the high - all it takes is a few hours and everything seems...flat...and no book is comparable. (I felt the same way when I finished Mine to Possess [Nalini Singh].) I think the fall is because I connect with certain characters so strongly...and miss that connection when I finish reading the book. *SIGH* It's like my emotions are a little more accessible when I read...

Since I can't have a sixth Adrien English book - and I so want it, although in the immortal words of the Rolling Stones 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' - I would like to know where I should turn my attention too next? Which Josh Lanyon book should I read? And are there any other authors I should investigate? (Note: I am aware Jordan Castillo Price's PsyCop series is very good so I'm adding the first book in that series to the TBR list.) And do you ever come down with a thump after finishing an extraordinary series?

04 April 2010

Fate? (Part II)

Yesterday, in my post entitled Fate? (Part I) [yes, I added 'Part I' to the title], I waxed lyrical on how Death of a Pirate King (Josh Lanyon) appeared on the horizon demanding to be read. I started reading Death of a Pirate King yesterday...and finished it this afternoon - I couldn't put it down! And when I'd finished? Well, there was absolutely no question about the next book I was going to read - The Dark Tide (the fifth and final *sob* book in the Adrien English series). I simply had to find out what happened to Adrien...and Jake! (And yes, I'm being careful with my wrists.) (Note: if I wasn't already a 'fan' of Josh Lanyon on GoodReads, I would be after reading Death of a Pirate King.)

So, I've been wondering, has anyone else immersed themselves in a series so thoroughly, they've gloomed (I hope that is the right use of the word :) one book after another?

03 April 2010

Fate? (Part I)

Last night, in the middle of texting my best friend, the lovely Starfire, the power went out. What was ironic was that my text was explaining my next steps for the evening - closing down the computer, completing a few chores (e.g. washing the dishes), having a shower and then curling up in bed with the last 60 pages of Archangel's Kiss. Yes, the last 60 pages! But there was a power cut. So, I had to improvise. The computer was off (thanks to the cut), so I washed the dishes and had a shower...by candlelight. Let me tell you, having a shower by candlelight sounds romantic...not so much, particularly when there is no one (say Dmitri *grin*) to assist. Where is this going you ask? Well...I like to read before I go to sleep, but reading by candlelight...is a bit tricky to put it mildly. So, I pulled out my iPhone and read the first chapter of Death of A Pirate King (Josh Lanyon). YAH for back lighting!

Now, I'm currently trying to avoid reading on my iPhone owing to the tendonitis flare in both wrists. But I had to read something, right? So I did. I was able to finish reading Archangel's Kiss this morning (it was good) and then dithered. What should I read next? Should I read Eve of Destruction (SJ Day) or In Golden Blood (Stephen Woodworth)? Both currently sitting by my bed. Or should I continue reading the book I started? I like finishing something before I start something else, which is the complete opposite of what I was like when I was young - I used to read two or three books at a time, much to my family's amusement. But I caved. I wanted to be back with Jake & Adrian... So, I'm reading Death Of A Pirate King carefully!

And all of this has got me to thinking, have you ever thought you were about to read one book when suddenly another book appeared on the horizon demanding to be read? And do you ever read two or more books concurrently?

Edited to change the title to Fate? (Part I).

02 April 2010

Books 2010: March Update

Total to date: 31 books (17 books this month: fantasy [one book]; graphic novel [one book]; historical romance [one book]; manga [five books]; m/m romantic suspense [one book]; yaoi manga [eight books])

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge total to date: nine books (three books this month)

The 2010 Big Book Challenge total to date: one book

The M/M Romance Challenge 2010 total to date: three books (one book this month)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.

Favourite book of the month?

* The Hell You Say (Josh Lanyon)

Books I 'did not finish':

* Burn (Linda Howard)

* The Scarecrow (Michael Connelly)

* The Adamantine Palace (Stephen Deas) [Yes, it was a bad month for DNF books...]

Currently reading: Archangel's Kiss (Nalini Singh)

And the book I'm most looking forward to reading next month: I'm honestly not sure...it depends on what I haul out from my TBR list. I am rather tempted to read Death of a Pirate King...

So, what did you read last month?