29 July 2010

Throwing In The Towel

When do you decide enough is enough? When does a series stop becoming a joy and start becoming a...drag? When all you want is for the series to finish so that you can finally obtain an ending and move on... I've broken up with a number of series this year, when the effort required to continue reading outweighed the interest I had in both the series and the ending. And since a picture is worth a thousand words:

series interest/reading effort = passion (positive or negative)

And which series have fallen into the negatives already this year? Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series, Richelle Meade's Vampire Academy series and Laurell K Hamilton's Meredith Gentry series. (Apologies to those of who you believe I have just committed sacrilege.) Do I want to know what happens in these series? Well, yes, but not enough to keep reading.

When this post first popped into my head last weekend (because that's exactly how my posts arise :) I was in the process of divesting myself of yet another series - Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake. I picked up Skin Trade from the library on Saturday, but I just couldn't make myself read it. I started questioning whether I cared what was happening and realized I didn't. I thought that was it, and then I read the lovely Kerry from Saving My Sanity's post on her attempts to read Jacob's Faith (Lora Leigh). And it tied in with my musings over the weekend. I realized that I was seriously considering throwing in the towel on the Breed series too. I have been hanging out for Jonas' book (Lion's Heat) but...I've read a few reviews and I don't think the heroine and I are going to get on. And then I began to question whether I was reading the books for the characters, the overall plot arc or both...and if it's just the overall plot arc is that a good enough of a reason to actually continue reading a series?

When do you decide to throw in the towel on a series?

27 July 2010

Apathy

On Sunday night I was kind of at a loss as to what to read. I KNOW! There I was looking at the 80 books on my library hold list (and yes I will admit to being an idiot and not looking at either my eBook library on my iPhone or those books sitting in the corner of my room) and I was drawing a blank. A complete blank. Not one book appealed. I did manage to delete six books though that didn't interest me...oh such a sin *grin* I finally settled on Stalking Darkness (Lynn Flewelling) and Temptation Ridge (Robyn Carr)...or whichever arrived at the library first, which was Stalking Darkness.

And all of this got me to thinking. There I was surrounded by books and...I couldn't pick one. It's like the Rime of the Ancient Mariner says:
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
It's not the nightmare that haunts readers everywhere - book fail! No sirree! It's just that nothing appealed, even though I wanted to read. Hmm. Maybe it's not apathy but is instead complete and utter indecision. Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?

Edited to add: I wanted to apologise for being AWOL from the online universe of late....and for my lack of blog hopping. RL has been getting in the way, but fingers crossed this has settled and I'm back :)

23 July 2010

Making History

Those of you who have read Noel Streatfeild's delightful book Ballet Shoes (or seen the film adaptation[s]) will (hopefully) remember the following quote:
...get our names in the history books, because it's our own, and nobody can say it's because of our grandfathers.
I don't think I will ever be in the history books. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just...a thing *grin* And what brought all of this on you may ask? Well, I've been thinking about history lately...the history you make ever day. And the history of a family.

Yesterday I had two firsts. I bought my first every pair of ballet shoes!
 
And I attended my first ever ballet technique class! It was...interesting. I say that because being in a class of ten-year-olds was trickier than I had imagined. Mainly because they played the fool at lot, so I felt the teacher spent almost as much time explaining steps and asking them to calm down as we did dancing. The teacher thinks I might be better with the Advanced class. (Yes, the word Advanced had me freaking, but she said the ability range in this class is huge so I should be fine, especially considering I have been learning Jazz for a number of years. So, Advanced class here I come :)
Today was a reminder of the history we make just by existing. I walked past my old primary school (which I think is the same thing as elementary school and junior high [middle school] in the US) and met one of the current teachers. The school has had a number of recent renovations, including the building of a 14 classroom block. I pointed out to the teacher that the school was over 100 years old (something she didn't know). And then I remembered...I went to that school, my brother went to that school...and his niece, and our aunt, and my maternal grandmother's husband. Four generations. And while that won't got down in the history books I like the continuity.
So, I'm curious, how has history touched you today? (Not sure if I've written this question very well.)
Edited to add: the installation of the ventilation system is part way through. One of the installers is returning tomorrow afternoon to complete the installation.

20 July 2010

Hitting The Ceiling

You may have noticed I've been AWOL for the past few days. I haven't been on holiday, I've been...renovating. Yes, my first ever renovation project. (And I'm tempted to call it my last!) The plan was simple - install a ventilation system. First problem - the house is made of concrete blocks. So, I had to have a hole drilled in an internal wall (for a vent). And concrete drillers use water. I was absolutely....packing myself. But, the drillers did a bang up job. It's a lovely looking hole (if one can say that about a hole :) I should take a photo of it actually - document this project for posterity :)

Next was the ceiling. See, one of my roof cavities (where said ventilation system will be installed) has a ceiling, but it shouldn't if I want the heat to come streaming in through the roof. A family friend said I should be able to take the ceiling down myself...with a hammer. So, that's what I attempted to do. If you can, picture me in an enclosed space with ear muffs and safety glasses wielding a hammer. I had a small freak-out about asbestos, but...it's all fine - no asbestos in my ceiling, thank goodness. So, how far did I get? About one-third of the way. The material used for part of the ceiling should (supposedly) never be used for an internal ceiling! It was tough! And while trying to remove an annoying piece of ceiling (it didn't shatter very well and BTW my hammer handle is munted!) I suddenly saw daylight. It seems that part of the ceiling of the roof cavity is also part of an eave. So now I have a new addition - a crack in an eave! And the other two-thirds of the ceiling is an entirely new material that won't smash well with a hammer. So, I'm retiring from this form of building work.
And have I learnt anything from all of this? Yes. I've learnt that each job will take way longer than anticipated. I've also learnt that that where you see one job there will probably be at least two! I don't think I will survive renovating the bathroom! I'm also beginning to wonder whether painting the fence might be beyond me.
So, have you ever renovated anything? And, if so, are you good with your hands? *grin*
Edited to add: I hope to be back visiting everyone tomorrow.

15 July 2010

Speed

No, the title was not an excuse to include a photo of Keanu Reeves...

Anyway, I was looking at the lovely Kristen from Fantasy Cafe's latest Leaning Pile of Books and it got me to thinking about the publication dates for various series. For two of the books listed, the sequels are being released in quick succession. And the same has happened/is happening with a number of other series. Why? I know readers are rapacious for stories but...and maybe this is just me...sometimes it's overwhelming. Where is the chance to savour the story already told and to anticipate the one to come? The chance to chew the fat over the various outcomes (and rant about the delay)? Isn't it our right to rant about the delay between books? *grin*

I have to be honest, I like delays between books in a series. *ducks* Sometimes it's nice to have a break. I always worry I'll get tired of a series, tired of characters rather than just tired of a subgenre. So, why the short publication time? Does anyone know? And do you like the short publication times for some series or do you prefer to wait?

13 July 2010

Pulling A Tale

Sock puppets! Why? Well, this story starts...and ends...with socks... As to why I am telling this tale...I don't know. But in pulling the answer to a simply question - Where are your socks? - out from a family member I felt like I was involved in a game of 20 questions...or as I used to call it - Animal, Vegetable or Mineral.

I picked up said family member of Deja Vu fame to visit another family member on Saturday morning. Said family member had no socks on. So I asked why. It is very cold here ATM - it was 5 degrees Celsius at this morning - and I knew said family member was getting over a cold...and as every ailment is amplified and discussed I thought this was strange. But I had forgotten the first rule when dealing with this family member...any answer given can not be taken at face value. I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just what is. The answer I was given to my question about the whereabouts of the socks was that the family member had decided not to wear any (as it wasn't cold). Cue suspicious music. Remember the temperature...and said family member's cold? More questions followed. Eventually I was informed that all socks were in the wash. Hmmm. This hasn't happened (to my knowledge before). Yet more questions were asked. And then I was informed that socks had been worn that morning but were in the wash because they were wet. And why were they wet? Well, someone had thrown water over said family member...well, her legs. And so she had thrown water back.

A discussion then ensued about the rightness or otherwise in throwing water at someone when they had upset you. I had to explain that even though someone had upset said family member and thrown water, that did not mean that said family member could thrown water back. Someone else being 'naughty' did not mean she could be naughty. I'm not sure how well I did explaining that. I did not yell or shout or use bad language. I had to repeatedly explain I was not angry, just disappointed. However, as long as it did not happen again, and said family member walked away from future...confrontations, we would move on.

Oh, and the story doesn't end there. While I hope no further incidents of the liquid persuasion occur, I thought it might be a good idea to provide additional supplies (no, not of water!). So, we detoured and went sock shopping. The staff in the store were in hysterics as I had to keep explaining why we were buying men's socks. (Woman's socks just aren't thick enough or long enough IMHO, and since I wear men's socks I didn't think that would be a problem. In the end I explained the socks were for both men and women and said family member was happy to select an appropriate number.) And so on Sunday night I labelled nine pairs of socks! My new labelling tape & pen even came with a stencil...

I did discuss the situation with the residential care facility's nursing staff and we (said family member and I) apologised. And all was settled. Except...I don't know if I handled the situation correctly. Getting the story (and whether that was the whole story or said family member's 'interpretation' I don't know) was a struggle. Whether what I said will prevent it from happening again? I don't know. Said family member didn't come with a rule book. Sometime I wish she did, but humans, in all their shapes and sizes, don't come with instruction manuals. All I do is try and remain calm and explain things simply.

So, do you have any unusual tales from your weekend? Any interesting tales involving socks?

10 July 2010

Rinse And Repeat

Warning: this post rambles...more than my usual posts (if that's possible *grin*).

Last week the lovely Kati from Katidom wrote a fantastic post entitled In Which Kati Starts in the Middle (I love Kati's post titles). The post is all about the how behind re-reading. And after thinking about it I realized that for most re-reads I don't actually start at the beginning...or in the middle, but instead just re-read my favourites scenes. And sometimes I don't even read those scenes in order - sometimes I just flit forwards and then backwards to whichever scene I most want to read next...
The bottom line? I rarely re-read a book in its entirety. However, as part of the GoodReads Beyond Reality Group I am about to start re-reading (properly) the War of Light and Shadow series by Janny Wurts, starting with the first book - The Curse of the Mistwraith. And I'm both worried and excited about reading this book. I worry that it won't live up to what I remember, that it won't work for me as well as it did and that it will lose that magical...aura that it has had since I first picked it up. Saying that, I like to think that I've matured in the 17 years since The Curse of the Mistwraith was published , so I'm hoping that I'll not only enjoy it as much as I did, but that I'll also pick up more of the nuances and layers that I missed as a younger reader. And this is definitely a book that has both...in spades!

So, do you re-read and, if so, how do you do it? From the first page to the last? From the middle (like Kati) or do you flit (like me)? And...have you ever re-read a book that was one of your favourites? A book that you haven't read in years but have loved unconditionally? And how did you find it upon re-reading it? (Yes, I'm full of questions tonight. My mother used to joke that my first word was 'Why?'.)

07 July 2010

Twilight's Dawn (Anne Bishop)

Twilight's Dawn is the ninth book in Anne Bishop's Black Jewel series. And the anticipated publication date is March 2011! Thank you so much to the lovely Kerry from Saving My Sanity for the heads up about the cover!

05 July 2010

First Kiss

I know y'all sitting there wondering why I have post entitled First Kiss. There is method to my madness (isn't there always?) *grin* Who remembers the song Eternal Flame by The Bangles? I heard it on the weekend. And hearing it always brings up a very special memory....of my first kiss. Now, the number of kisses I've had could probably be counted on two hands...I don't want to try for an actual count because I'll probably end up depressed and watching chick flick *grin* See, I tend to over think...well, everything. But particularly emotions. So a kiss is never just a kiss and is instead...well, too many things to name. Which is probably why my kissing experience (among other things) is so limited *grin* I can't just...feel things. (Although that might have something to do with the rather large wall-like structure between my body and the rest of me.) However, my first kiss was...I didn't over think...come to think of it I didn't think at all.

His name was James and he was younger than me...perhaps by a year. *cue cradle-snatching jokes* He was my friend's cousin, and I remember thinking he was gorgeous when I first met him. And in case you're still wondering, this is where the photo of Taylor Lautner comes in. James looked a lot like Taylor, although he wasn't quite that toned. He was leaner, but otherwise a close match IIRC. Anyway, my friend's younger sister did what younger sisters normally do and worked out that we liked each other (think 20 questions)...and spilled the beans. And I was shocked. No one had ever liked me. Cue chase scenes a la The Italian Job as all the various siblings decided to stalk us to witness the first kiss. Talk about pressure! But we doubled back and lost them and found ourselves all alone, at dusk, at the end of an alleyway/walkway. And was the first kiss (my first ever kiss) memorable? Yes. No pressure from him, no slobbering (hopefully that goes for both parties). It was soft, and gentle and...perfect. *SIGH*

Did we stay in touch? Yes. He used to ring and we'd spend ages on the phone just...talking and laughing. I'm sure I'm looking back through rose-coloured glasses, but...he made me laugh. I could be me around him...and that didn't seem to bother either him or me. In fact, he seemed to like that I was...me, which is probably why our phone conversations were so long *grin* My parents didn't approve of this time spent on the phone talking to 'a boy'. They never said anything, but...the disapproval was evident. What happened? I don't know. I can't remember, but I know I screwed up, jumped to a conclusion about something and we stopped talking. But, regardless, it is a lovely memory. And I guess that's what I want in the future. No, I'm not comparing the kisses as memories always seem better than the actual incident in question. But I want that feeling...of not thinking, but just...being...there, in the moment. Does that make sense?

So, can you remember your first kiss and, if so, do you remember it fondly?

02 July 2010

Poll: What To Read?

So, for reasons completely unknown to me (and I really would like to know) I can now access my Fictionwise Bookshelf directly from my iPhone. Not indirectly. Not via steps that would take me so far off the beaten track that I would be required to send an SOS in semaphore (which is my response to being told that I could download my eBook and then transfer it to my iPhone via iTunes, which I hate BTW because it never seems to do anything organically [but that's another rant - now I'm in my happy place]). I'm not sure if it's the lovely contact at Fictionwise or the iPhone Operating System 4.0 installation or what, but...IT WORKS! (I've spent the past 2 months unable to download anything, which equals frustration in my world as there was no point in buying anything.)

To celebrate such a momentous occasion (I hope it lasts *touch wood*) I thought I would read an eBook before tackling Fragile Eternity (Melissa Marr) [I have a library book traffic jam coming up so probably shouldn't, but I really feel like diving into an eBook ATM]. But what to read? I have a few eBooks that I should have read but...haven't :( So, I've compiled a list! I was hoping for a top five, but it ended up being a top six - sorry. And why the apology? Well...I haven't actually read any of these books yet. And..because they all sound so good and I can't decide I thought I would let you do it for me *evil grin* I've added a poll, so please vote as to which of the following eBooks you think I should read next:

* Caught Running (Madeline Urban & Abigail Roux)

* Cheating Chance (James Buchanan)

* Faith & Fidelity (Tere Michaels)

* A Fostered Love (Cameron Dane)

* Shades of Grey (Brooke McKinley)

* Zero at the Bone (Jane Seville)

So, vote away! (And you can select multiple answers :) I won't say 'And may the best book win' because I want to read them all...

01 July 2010

Books 2010: June Update

Total to date: 65 books (10 books this month: fantasy [two books]; graphic novel [one book]; historical romance [one book]; m/m romance [one book]; urban fantasy [three books]; yaoi [two books])

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge total to date: 24 books (five books this month) [Almost half way through!]

The 2010 Big Book Challenge total to date: one book (Not Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey) - but watch this space!]

The M/M Romance Challenge 2010 total to date: 12 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?

* Magic Bleeds (Ilona Andrews)

Books I 'did not finish':

* The Reality Dysfunction (Peter F Hamilton)

Currently reading: Unfallen Dead (Mark Del Franco)

And the book I'm most looking forward to reading next month:
* Fragile Eternity (Melissa Marr)

So, what did you read last month?