30 March 2011

The Count

Are you ever shocked by how much you read? I met my lovely friend cyphomandra for brunch (OK, so I had lunch, but who's counting? *grin*) earlier this month and we got to talking, among other things, about the rather....large fantasy series (War of Light and Shadow) [Janny Wurts] that I've been reading over the last several months. (FYI - I'm on the last book...well, the last book published [the next book is scheduled for release in October 2011].) Anyway, cyphomandra asked me how many pages I had read (because each book in the series is definitely a paperweight). Ohhh, a challenge I thought. So, based on the pages listed on GoodReads (and please note that those page counts include a glossary so this number will be overinflated and I have selected the version [hardback versus paperback] of each book), I've read...

*drum roll please*

841 + 656 + 576 + 565 + 736 + 960 + 542 = 6949 pages!

*faints* Of one series!

Hmmm. *sly grin* For those of you that follow the In Death series, I wonder how many pages you have read... I suppose this could be considered a meme. A Count Meme. So, here's me laying down the challenge: pick a series you've read and count the number of pages! And be prepared to be afraid...

28 March 2011

Fit To Fly

I think this safety video pretty much speaks for itself. (The majority of participants may not be familiar to most of you, but keep an eye out for Phil Keoghan!)


Edited to add: Those of you who glimpsed this post this morning weren't mistaken. I was trying to get it to fit a little better, but I've decided it's worth watching regardless :)

Edited again to add: You can see the original video here!

26 March 2011

That Way!

So *rubs hands with glee* I have finally been able to get my hands on Season Seven of Foyle's War, a British detective drama set during World War II. And it's brilliant! (Well, the first episode anyway :)

But...I caught myself doing something in the middle of the first episode that I have been previously unaware of doing. (I'm sure I've done it before.) See...I started telling the characters what to do. Picture this: London, June 1945. Our..hero and heroine (or the lovely young lady in the photo and the gentleman to the far right [FYI - they have a father-daughter type of relationship]) are being chased by someone with a gun. And where do they decide to go? Into a crypt! Yes! A crypt! Not towards lots of people, thus making it harder for the gunman to shot them (but I suppose also increasing the risk of collateral damage), but away from people. Towards somewhere that is just bound to have a dead end. (Which this crypt did...in more ways than one :) Hence the 'No! That way!' comments.

So, I'm curious, have you ever found yourself talking to the characters of a book or to those in a movie or TV episode and telling them what to do?

23 March 2011

Guilt And Responsibility

Or should that be responsibility and guilt? Regardless, they come as a pair. So...decisions. Any decision that weighs responsibility and guilt against self will never be an easy one. But sometimes one has to be selfish. And in order to be selfish, to take that first step, one (to paraphrase from the words of a very wise and beloved Kris) can't just know it's the right step...one has to feel it.

Family and I...family is a dirty word. Don't get me wrong, there were good times. Not many, but some. But they, along with two people I loved, two people who...accepted me, are gone. And what's left is...in a word wrong. The relationships I have with two of my three remaining family members are unhealthy. In hindsight, they've always been so. And when those I loved left (not deliberately I know, but..it feels like it on occasion) I stepped up to the plate and shouldered the responsibility of acting on behalf of two family members (one of whom belongs in the aforementioned unhealthy relationship category and who played a major role in my formative years) who are, for the most part, unable to do so. And I've done this for over 3 years. To the best of my ability. All the while dealing with a third family member (another of the unhealthy relationship duo). Some apples don't fall far from the tree. (Such a comment is beneath me I know, but...considering the...prevalence of a certain character trait...apt.) I accept responsibility for my part in these unhealthy relationships. I compromise, I hide, I say and do whatever in order to keep the peace. I build situations up inside my head and panic over them. Maybe our relationships would have been different if I was stronger, confident. Then again, maybe not.

But I can't do it any more. I'm...drowning. In responsibility, in...everything. My whole life is in limbo... I keep thinking things will change, things will get better. But they haven't. And those two aforementioned family members won't change. And then I keep thinking I'll catch up and have some time for me. But I never do. And so the internal struggle commenced...do I walk away? Do I stay? Do I reduce but not discontinue my involvement? And the whispers start. You're responsible. There is no one else. And then guilt charges in on a white horse. They are family. It's your duty. You can't walk away... But that's what I have to do. Not from both of those family members who need me. Just from one. In all honesty I've wanted to walk away from this family member before. Not just in the last year, but earlier - back at the dawn of civilization when I was a teenager. I used to drive to dance class and look at houses and picture living there without him. Where I could be me and that would be good enough. And I need to be honest, if he was hale and whole I'd be gone.

I was watching the pilot episode of Battlestar Galactica on Sunday (I know, it seems like an abrupt subject change but please bear with me) and near the end Commander Adama makes a comment - I have it written on a piece of paper and tacked to my bedroom wall, but I always forget it (to my detriment):
It's not enough to just live. You have to have something to live for.
And I think he (Commander Adama) means something for you. Not something for someone else. But I don't...have something. And, I have also forgotten, again to my detriment, my promise to my mother not to spend the rest of my life looking after these two family members. She...knew! Because she was that person. But...I needed to make this decision for me, not because of a promise to her. Because if I don't then it will be the right decision for the wrong reasons, and..I won't go through with it. I've cave, like I always do. And I can't. Not this time.

Anyway, you'd think making this decision would make things easier, but...there is so much to do. I've given one month's notice - I'm not just walking away - and will work with said family member, his residential care facility and his solicitor to ensure a smooth transition. And yes the past tense was deliberate. I announced my decision to said family member today. He (unsurprisingly) reacted stoically. I also know not everyone will understand this decision, will think I am being selfish. And I am. Being selfish. But my life is just as important as those family members I act on behalf of. And I deserve a chance to be happy. And if I sublimate what I want for what is considered to be for the best, I won't have my life. I will have theirs. And I refuse to bow to that fate.

Edited to add: I wanted to say thank you very much for all your comments on my previous post (Pushing Water) - I appreciate your thoughts and your support more than I can say. I'm very lucky and privileged to have met you all.

20 March 2011

Pushing Water

There are days when it honestly feels like I am pushing water. Uphill. With my bare hands. Today has been one such day. I don't know why...I just feel overwhelmed and...like I could cry until I have no more tears. The more I try and do the less I seem to accomplish. My weekends just don't feel long enough. I feel like I barely scratch the surface and then another week dawns and I'm left scrambling.

As I mentioned in (Re-)Release, I've been arguing with myself over a rather big (family-specific) decision. And I've reached a decision...which is right for me. And I promise I will explain rather that write cryptic sentences *grin* But...I think I need to be in a slightly better place to write such a post...and ATM all I want to do is curl up in bed with Jordan Castillo Price's GhosTV. So that is what I'm going to do. I'm sorry I haven't been online, haven't visited. I will. I just need to find the balance I seem to have lost. And in the interim, I would like to introduce you to one of my favourite songs. It's the perfect song on such days.

17 March 2011

(Re-)Release

This was not my originally intended post. But...to write that post I need to work out just how I'm feeling ATM. (You may have noticed that of late I've been...infrequently online. I've been arguing with myself over a rather big [family-specific] decision, but more on that [she says hopefully] on the weekend.)

In late 2009 I wrote a post entitled A Rose By Any Other Name in which I ranted waxed lyrical on the three (yes, three) titles for an Allison Goodman book (Eon: DragonEye Reborn; Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye; and The Two Peals of Wisdom). The why behind the publishers' decision to release one book under three different titles still eludes me. Yes, I understand that two of the titles reflect different geographical locations, but...in the current (Internet) age all the different titles are doing is confusing readers. In the comments on this post, a number of examples were proffered, including the Outlander (US) and A Stitch in Time (UK) titles for the first book in the Outlander series (thank you azteclady).

Well, I just found another. I was reading a post last night entitled A Leaning Pile of Books written by the lovely Kristen from Fantasy CafĂ©. (I love Kristen's Leaning Pile of Books posts as I always discover new and interesting fantasy novels to add to my TBR list.) Included in the latest post was reference to a book entitled The Returning (Christine Hinwood):
The Returning, a young adult novel set in a medieval fantasy world, will be released in hardcover and as an e-book on April 14. The moment I saw this book it grabbed my attention due to the cover quote by one of my favorite young adult authors, Megan Whalen Turner.
Ohhh, I thought. I completely missed the anticipated release date and hared off to my library to see if it was listed. It wasn't, but another book entitled Blood Flower, also by Christine Hinwood, was.

I went back to Kristen's post and read the following:
Vivid, compassionate and totally absorbing, Bloodflower follows the fortunes of young Cam Attling and all those whose fates entwine with his.
Bloodflower? The Returning? Bloodflower? The Returning? So I went straight to GoodReads (and did not pass 'Go'). The only book listed for Christine Hinwood is The Returning. But, in the author summary is the following sentence:
Bloodflower is her first novel.
Bloodflower appears to be another edition...but it has to be an earlier edition (even though it's publication date [in paperback] is listed on both GoodReads and Amazon as April 2011) as, according my library, Bloodflower was published in 2009...and my library has multiple copies.

So, I'm guessing The Returning is a re-release (in conjunction with a change in format and title) of Bloodflower. But, shouldn't the publisher be clear about that? (Obviously they don't have to be [or else they would]). So, is it up to the reader to inform themselves or the publisher to disclose previous editions?

Edited to add: Happy St Patrick's Day!

13 March 2011

Piecemeal

I've had a number of potential posts whizzing around my head (yes, like snitches [if you've read Harry Potter that will make sense, if not...um...never mind]) of late. But none of them are fully developed, so I decided to stitch them all together and make a piecemeal post.

Saving or splurging. If you have been desperately waiting for a book (or books) and it (they) finally appear, do you read them straight away, regardless of what is on your plate or do you save them? Save them for either a time when you can focus on them to the exclusion of all else or perhaps as a reward for surviving an unpleasant event. For example, I had to spend time with two family members over the weekend. One...is who she is. Yes, spending time with her is exhausting, but...positive. Spending time with the other family member is not positive. It's...well, it's like talking to a wall. A concrete wall. Three metres thick. So, I've been saving two books (The Shattered Gates [Ginn Hale] and GhosTV [Jordan Castillo Price]) as a reward for surviving Saturday morning and also finishing The Admiral's Penniless Bride (Carla Kelly) and the three chapter sets of Traitor's Knot (Janny Wurts) that I had to read by Friday. But...is that weird? Saving the books I mean? I save lots of things for 'special occasions'. My mother did the same. (Maybe that is where I learnt it from?) I do remember her asking me once when I was young why I had put on my 'best' shorts (on Christmas Day no less - it occurs during summer here in case you're all fainting at the thought of shorts in winter :) I pointed out Christmas Day was special, but I remember her not looking convinced.

Last weekend I read Rescue Me (Scarlet Blackwell), which took me on an angst-filled roller coaster ride. And that, combined with rather a messy week family wise left me in the mood for more angst m/m. So, I spent parts of last week re-reading my favourite scenes in Keeping Promise Rock (Amy Lane) and By Degrees (JB MacDonald). I love Keeping Promise Rock. Jenre has the most amazing review of this book on GoodReads, and this sentence really stood out:
Another theme is that of family and how being part of a family can either make or destroy a person.
The family that is built in Keeping Promise Rock, and extended in Making Promises entices me. If you haven't already worked this out, family is...pretty much a dirty word for me. But the family in Keeping Promise Rock... I don't know if I could cope with the...acceptance they have for each other, but I would like to think I would make an exception...if not now then in the future. I'm trying, I'm working towards being able to do so. Does that make sense? I'm not sure why, when I am feeling so...lost at sea...I would want to read such an angst-filled book? Maybe it's because the characters come out the other side. Not whole, but...attempting to put themselves back together... And best of all, according to a GoodReads post by Amy Lane there will be two more books in the Promises series! *happy dance*

So, do you save books (or anything) for special occasions? And what are your thoughts on angst-filled books? Love them? Avoid them?

07 March 2011

Lengths

On Tuesday 8 March, Ginn Hale's new serial The Rifter will be available at Weightless Books:
When John opens a letter addressed to his missing roommate, Kyle, he expects to find a house key, but instead he is swept into a strange realm of magic, mysticism, revolutionaries and assassins. Though he struggles to escape, John is drawn steadily closer to a fate he share with Kyle—to wake the destroyer god, the Rifter, and shatter a world.
Do I want to read this serial? Is the sky blue? But...and isn't there always a but? But...I'm not quite sure of Weightless Books' payment options. I think they may require payment via PayPal (but I've emailed to check). If they do, then I have me a bit of a dilemma. See, I don't have a PayPal account. But I really want to read The Rifter. So I am thinking...seriously thinking...of opening a PayPal account...or at least investigating the positives and negatives of said account and perhaps asking a close friend (who I know has one) for her thoughts.

I was in a similar situation last week. Jordan Castillo Price (JCP) released the sixth book in the PsyCop series - GhosTV. (I went on a glom of this series over the Christmas/New Year period - I was only planning on reading the first book, but found I just couldn't stop! Isn't that the way with all good series?) But, the book is currently only available at JCPBooks, which utilizes Google Checkout...and that stores your credit card details. And I wasn't comfortable with that so decided to wait until the book was available at All Romance eBooks. However, a very lovely friend of mine (I wasn't sure whether you wanted to be outed lovely friend, so decided to leave you nameless :) kindly purchased the book for me, so I have it to look forward to this weekend (after surviving a morning with my family *sickly smile*) Thank you so much lovely friend!

And all this has got me to thinking about the lengths I will go too to read a book. Having my credit card details stored is a no go zone....joining PayPal? Hmmmm. Maybe. What about suggesting books to the library so that they purchase them? Yup, done than. (My library is amazing in the breadth of books it purchases - I noticed today that it had purchased Ginn Hale's Wicked Gentlemen, so I immediately requested it to show my support :)

So, what lengths will you go too to read a book?

05 March 2011

Avatar...

Approximately 2 years ago (have I been blogging that long?) I was dithering over what avatar (profile icon) to chose to represent me online. In the end I picked the leopard (perhaps because at the time I was head over heels in love with Nalini Singh's leopard Changelings [who isn't?]).

The thing is, the more I think about it, the more I...feel (which come to think of it is rather weird for me :) that the leopard doesn't represent me any more. It's who I was, not who I am. The problem is, I (still) don't know who I am, and what would best represent me. And I'm still not sure what the rules are regarding avatars, or if there are indeed rules covering what can and cannot be used.

So, how did you chose your avatar? (I'm hoping from your responses I can point myself in the right direction :)

02 March 2011

Books 2011: February Update

Total to date: 25 books (seven books this month: fantasy [one book]; historical romance [one book]; m/m [five books])

The 2011 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge total to date: three books (two books this month)

The M/M Romance Challenge 2011 total to date: 22 books (five books 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?

* Bound By Your Touch (Meredith Duran)

Currently reading:

* Traitor's Gate (Janny Wurts)

And the book I'm most looking forward to reading this month:

* GhosTV (Jordan Castillo Price) [Vic? Jacob? I a comin'!]

* Rescue Me (Scarlett Blackwell) [Read the excerpt, and ohhhh!]

* Stormed Fortress (Janny Wurts) [Because it's the final book in the series (to date)]

So, what did you read last month?