Saturday Miscellany—5/30/20

Once again, the last week of the month translates into a short collection of links and new releases (a short work week here in the States probably contributes to that, too). Still, I hope you find something fun to read here.

Odds n ends about books and reading that caught my eye this week. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
bullet 6 Unconventional Tips for Building a Reading Habit—I’ve shared many posts over the years about creating a reading habit–this is the most unconventional (truth in advertising!), it’s possibly also the best list. I can think of many people who’ve done some/all of these and become readers (possibly more of them than those who’ve done the usual steps)
bullet On The Tolkienic Hero
bullet Interview with M. W. Craven—the promotional build-up for The Curator goes into full-swing.
bullet Five Books That Will Make Your Child a Future Crime Writer—I had completely forgotten about the third book she talks about here…Some good suggestions for readers young or older.
bullet It’s Not You, It’s Me..—one blogger bravely makes her stand on the paper vs. ebook debate. She’s not wrong.
bullet What is the Best Fantasy Mode of Transportation?—This episode of the Great Fantasy Debate features Marie Lu and Naomi Novik

This Week's New Releases That I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
bullet Fair Warning by Michael Connelly—On the one hand, I don’t remember the Jack McEvoy novels as being particular favorites. On the other, I remember being incredibly gripped by them. And, hey, it’s Connelly. Gotta read it.

Lastly I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome towonderouspages for following the blog this week. Don’t be a stranger, and use that comment box, would you?

Saturday Miscellany—5/23/20

Odds n ends about books and reading that caught my eye this week. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
          bullet I’ve been starting off with ways to support Indie Bookstores during all the shutdown, etc. I don’t have a broad, all of us can do it, for this week. But here’s what my local store is starting, which is a great idea. Book a Private Shopping Experience at Rediscovered Books—are stores near you doing clever things like this? I’m curious about what strategies individual stores are taking up.
          bullet On the origin of the word “blurb.”—One of those things you didn’t know you wanted to know.
          bullet Why We Need Family Adventure Stories
          bullet Penguin Worlds Book Club: Jim Butcher in conversation with Patrick Rothfuss—A fun chat between the two
          bullet The Great Fantasy Debate continues with What is the Best Fantasy Mode of Transportation? with authors Marie Lu and Naomi Novik
          bullet A lot of people were talking about reviews this week, some of those that stuck out to me are:
                    bullet Markk over on Booklikes asked this provocative question: Why do YOU review books?
                    bullet Why Do I Review Books: An Answer to A Question—Moonlight Reader’s response to Marrk
                    bullet Why Should You Write Book Reviews?—Ramona Mead takes on the topic from a different angle
                    bullet Why I don’t believe in unbiased reviews—Not only does The Orangutan Librarian have some good things to say about the craft (for lack of a less pretentious term), but she includes
          bullet Obligated Reading: A Book Blogger’s Conundrum—I have tried to write a post like this several times, and it just comes out whiny.
          bullet Why I Love Reading Fantasy (Hint: Dragons Are Involved)—a great list

A Book-ish Related Podcast Episode (or two) you might want to give a listen to:
          bullet Blood Brothers Podcast Episode 9 with M.W. Craven—I had a lot of fun listening to this one, and am all the more eager for Craven’s The Curator now.

This Week's New Releases That I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
          bullet The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins—You may have heard of Collins YA series, The Hunger Games, it got a little bit of buzz a few years ago. Well, here’s the prequel. Which seems to have scared almost the entire publishing industry away from publishing anything else this week.
          bullet One Man by Harry Connolly and Stephen Bel Davies—Connolly’s One Man is out on audio!

Lastly I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to Matt Sweeney, indiefan20, Susan and Bookworm Blogger for following the blog this week. Don’t be a stranger, and use that comment box, would you?

Saturday Miscellany—5/16/20

I had huge plans for this week—and accomplished absolutely none of them. Of the 3 posts that went up this week, 2 of them were written last week! I really don’t know what happened. I do know that I’m the only one who thinks about it, but…it bugs me. Hope you fared better this week.

I have nothing whatsoever planned for next week. Let’s see what happens…

Enough of that, on with the stuff you came here to see:

Odds n ends about books and reading that caught my eye this week. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
          bullet Inside the Book Industry’s Battle to Stay Afloat During the COVID-19 Crisis
          bullet The Great Big Book Club—a new site set up for bookish folks in the lockdown, featuring interviews, live-streams, reviews and more
          bullet Science fiction builds mental resiliency in young readers—a bit too focused on reading for moral/educational benefit, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
          bullet The Different Types of Book Formats Explained—nice to see it layed out like this.
          bullet The Most Iconic Detective Sidekicks, Ranked: 45 of the greatest detective-adjacent crime-solvers in history.—I really enjoyed this list—I’d quibble with it a bit (as you’re supposed to with lists like this), for example Natalie Teeger should be there instead of Sharona Fleming. Bonus points for including Mozzie and Mac. Regardless, a near perfect Top 5 (indisputable top 2)
          bullet 20 Books of Summer—I saw a few people do this last year (and maybe the one before), and told myself I had to play along. But first I have to come to grips with the idea that June is right over the horizon (how is that possible?)
          bullet The Great Fantasy Debate: What is the Best Fantasy World for Vacation? with authors Pierce Brown and Jim Butcher—I liked the first one enough to make sure I tuned in for #2
          bullet The Benefits of Reading—I always appreciate it when Lashaan decides to goof around.
          bullet Book Characters I’d Love to Spend Isolation With… And Ones I Wouldn’t!—ditto for The Orangutan Librarian
          bullet Never judge a book by its cover?! – Part Two: The Truth—Bookends and Bagends continues this series.
          bullet How to write book reviews, my reviewing process—always good to read someone else’s process (her new rating system intrigues me)
          bullet Book Slumps—two posts about Slumps in two weeks, not an auspicious trend.

Lastly I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to Murder by Death, EmilyJane1995, Tea With Stevie (which I first misread as “Tea with Stevia” and thought “ew”), Christine, Katie @ Melting Pages and pen2m3 for following the blog this week. Don’t be a stranger, and use that comment box, would you?

Saturday Miscellany—5/9/20

I actually left the house this week, for a whole 20 minutes. Thankfully, I do remember how to drive. You all doing okay?

I didn’t see anything about supporting Indie Bookstores this week—the first time since the COVID-19 shutdowns began. So…no article/blogpost/etc this week just me urging you to support your local (or someone’s local—I’m partial to Rediscovered Books) Indie Bookstore. Use: IndieBound.org, Bookshop.org, or Libro.fm (for Audiobooks) to help you find one or order online.

Odds n ends about books and reading that caught my eye this week. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
bullet Lockdown diaries: the indie publisher—Orenda Books’s Karen Sullivan talks about her COVID-19 experience, and looks at how it’s affecting the publishing world (particularly the independent publishing world).
bullet Small presses fear being ‘wiped out’ by autumn—This focuses on UK & Irish presses, but am willing to bet that things look similar in the US.
bullet The world turns on stories…—It’s an Indie Book Blog talks about how great Indie Presses are, how much trouble they’re in and calls for us to keep buying from them (directly, when possible). I should take the time to write things like this, I know. But I’ll just point you to this one instead.
bullet DEAD GIRL BLUES-How My New Novel Came About and Why I’m Publishing It Myself—the famed, inestimable, and prolific Lawrence Block talks about the process of writing his upcoming novel and why he chose to self-publish it.
bullet Book Pirates Don’t Think They’re Stealing: In the pandemic age, a fight about e-books tests the limits of free information—…and they’re wrong. It’s clear-cut and indefensible, in my not at all humble opinion.
bullet My First Thriller: Michael Connelly—”How the creator of Harry Bosch discovered Chandler, forged a career, overcame rejection, and got his first book published”
bullet The Great Fantasy Debate Video Series Tackles Fantasy’s Greatest “What Ifs?”—This looks like it could be a brilliant series.
bullet Bosch covers re-imagined—Graphic Designer Rusell Walks merges Titus Welliver with Bosch’s love for jazz to come up with new covers for all the novels. Love this.
bullet Five fantasy series that are great for beginners —for Wyrd and Wonder, Mug Full of Books provides this handy guide.
bullet Women in Fantasy: the good, the bad, and the hardcore—Witty and Sarcastic Book Club kicks off their Wyrd and Wonder month with this.
bullet The Standard Post About Reading Slumps—a few thoughts on the dreaded Reading Slump from The Fantasy Inn’s Kopratic
bullet Never judge a book by its cover?! – Part One: Musings—Bookends and Bagends kicks off a series focusing book covers
bullet ARC Overload?! – My Ity Opinion—something I battle with all-too-frequently (and keep opening myself to)

This Week's New Releases That I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
bullet Why Don’t Sheep Shrink? by M. W. Craven—a Poe & Tilly short story exclusively on The Crime Vault.

Lastly I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome toSakari Lacross, The Apocalypse Daddy, and Stine Writing for following the blog this week. Don’t be a stranger, and use that comment box, would you?

Saturday Miscellany—5/2/20

Hey, it’s Saturday. Which looks a lot like every other day lately, but I’m sitting at a different computer than I was yesterday at this time. And I’m not typing nearly as quickly. How’re you all doing?

Odds n ends about books and reading that caught my eye this week. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
          bullet Independent Bookstores Get Creative to Survive the Long Lockdown: A business that relied on walk-ins and impulse buys has to find new ways to connect with customers.
          bullet Coronavirus: Library books rearranged in size order by cleaner—The strangest COVID-19 symptom yet. (Hat Tip: Mike Finn)
          bullet Fiction, fact and crows: How I wrote a zombie pandemic heist novel—Russell Day talks about the writing of his new novel, King of the Crows, and its strange publication context.
          bullet One Man Audiobook Drops in a Few Weeks—Harry Connolly comes to audio! One Man soon, and the Twenty Palaces novels soon after. Hopefully this helps a lot more people discover the work (and helps me decide how to use Libro.fm credits for the next few months)
          bullet SFF World Tour—Spells and Spaceships launched a series this week promoting “Science Fiction and Fantasy inspired by, set in and written by authors from every continent.” Cool series.
          bullet Welcome to Wyrd and Wonder—a month-long celebration of Fantasy fiction kicked off yesterday. I’d hoped to come up with a few things to contribute, but…Reality has set in and that’s just not going to happen. Check out this great-looking set of posts instead.
          bullet Why Read Fiction? 4 Common Reasons (and a New Rating System)—Blacksail Books wades into the choppy waters around rating/evaluating books with an interesting angle.
          bullet Does My Mood Affect My Ratings?—Obviously, the answer is a yes—but how many of us take the time to reflect on it?
          bullet How to Listen to Audiobooks!—a handy guide to diving into the medium (something I could’ve used a few years ago, turns out that I stumbled my way into a lot of these ideas on my own, would’ve been nice to avoid the stumbling though.)
          bullet Pacing: What’s Good, Bad, and in Between—I didn’t mean to grab 2 Blacksail posts in one list, but I had to share this one, too. Good thoughts on pacing—and citing Sepinwall on Breaking Bad‘s “Fly” is a nice bit of icing on the cake.

This Week's New Releases That I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
          bullet King Of The Crows by Russell Day—I’m only 1/4 through with this, but I’m already stressing about how I’m going to possibly talk about it (thankfully, I’m not alone). But the essence will be: BUY THIS NOW. Don’t care how long your TBR is, make it your next read…click the link there, read the Day piece above. I’m really excited about this thing, and will probably talk about it a lot this year.
          bullet Critical Point by S. L. Huang—Cas Russell deals with the fallout from Null Set‘s revelations and tries to save a friend. This should be a blast.
          bullet Of Honey and Wildfires by Sarah Chorn—a fantasy set in a Wild West-esque world, about family, love, loss and a magic that’s mined. I talked about it a bit earlier this week.
          bullet Firefly – The Ghost Machine by James Lovegrove—hard to believe, but a run for Badger goes very, very wrong. River plays a significant role in this one, so it has to be good.

Lastly I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome tojyvurentropy and Om Prakash Khare for following the blog this week. Don’t be a stranger, and use that comment box, would you?

Saturday Miscellany—4/18/20

Really don’t have any prologue material today…just hope you’re all staying healthy. Let’s just dive in:

Odds n ends about books and reading that caught my eye this week. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
          bullet Idaho’s Independent Bookstores and the COVID-19 Crisis—Idaho Public TV talks with the owners of three Indie Bookstores (two of which make my personal Top 3 Bookstore list–the third would, too, because of the name alone, if I’d ever been there) about the current mess
          bullet Read 300 books in a year: The surprising benefits of reading more: According to studies, reading is a healthy way to help combat feelings of isolation and depression.
          bullet Escape Into These Fantastical, Imaginary Maps: When the real world feels unbearable, why not chart a course through lands that are literally unreal?
          bullet 5 Mistakes That Will Doom Any Self-Published Book—Paul “Goat” Allen speaks for many readers here. I’ve had a post percolating about mistake one for a couple of months (but I keep coming across as too harsh, so I haven’t posted yet), the rest are spot-on, too.
          bullet How to Break Out of a Reading Slump—some handy tips—a good time for this kind of post, it seems many are in a pandemic-induced slump. Don’t know if this’ll fix it, but it can’t hurt.
          bullet What is With All of the Self-Help Books With Swear Words in the Title?—right?
          bullet FAKE TRUTH: Five Questions with Lee Goldberg
          bullet Is Harry Bosch the Last Great American TV Detective?—a good look at both the print and screen versions of Bosch (and I hope the answer to the question is no)
          bullet Rex Stout: Meet the Legendary Mystery Author Who Created Nero Wolfe: His larger-than-life sleuth left an indelible legacy on crime fiction.—I’m always game to post a link to a profile about Stout or Wolfe (always), the publication of The Misadventures of Nero Wolfe this week gives me another opportunity to do so.
          bullet Speaking of which, COVID-19 forced The Misadventures of Nero Wolfe Launch Party to go online. Which means I could “attend”
          bullet Those Classic Detective Series You’ve Always Been Meaning To Read, Anyway—I would’ve linked to this without the Wolfe mention, but…
          bullet 20 Must-Read Feel-Good Science Fiction Books
          bullet The importance of pace in thrillers—This is something we all instinctively know (I believe), but it’s nice to see someone take the time to think it through
          bullet What is Your Bookworm Dystopia Like?—Loved this post
          bullet How I Turned Into An Audiobook Listener—point 2 is vital for someone trying to get into Audiobooks.
          bullet How was the book? – Describing the Reading Experience: 8 criteria of the Reading Experience—fantastic post
          bullet The Orangutan Librarian hits us with two good posts about DNFing this week: Why do I struggle to DNF? (I’d co-sign this post) and Books I Successfully DNF’d!
          bullet Reader Confessions: 10 Ways I’m A Bad Reader—was a lot of fun

A Book-ish Related Podcast Episode (or two) you might want to give a listen to:
          bullet Episode Ninety Eight – Can You Fit a Pinball Machine in the Oxford Bar? – with Ian Rankin—a fun chat with the legend, that includes a tidbit about the upcoming Rebus novel.
          bullet Sbooks podcast It’s A Fair Cop, Guv.—talks to Neil Lancaster about his time with the Metropolitan police and turning to Crime Fiction

This Week's New Releases That I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
          bullet The Misadventures of Nero Wolfe: Parodies and Pastiches Featuring the Great Detective of West 35th Street edited by Josh Pachter—a great looking collection celebrating Wolfe—I’ve dipped my toe in and am enjoying it a lot

Lastly I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to Quinn Patrick Fernandez, Neriman K., Not Quite Home, Caroline Paquin and SarahSansom for following the blog (in one form or another) this week. Don’t be a stranger, and use that comment box, would you?

Saturday Miscellany—4/11/20

Everyone hanging in there? Hope you’re all safe and relatively healthy. I don’t have anything really to say, so I’ll just dive into the links.

You’ll note below that somehow I listened to a lot of podcasts this week, despite not driving anywhere. The one I’ve spent the most time listening to over the last two weeks isn’t listed below, but you’ll be seeing something a little different from me about that soon. (I’m working on my teases, did that one work?)

Odds n ends about books and reading that caught my eye this week. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
          bullet How You Can Support Your Local Bookstores Right Now—Simon & Schuster brings us this week’s version of the list.
          bullet The Truth About Escapism—Black Sail Books talks about the value of escapism in a world increasingly focused on productivity.
          bullet Ann Patchett on Why We Need Life-Changing Books Right Now—It might not sound like it, but it’s an excellent follow-up to the above (also, I heartily concur with Patchett’s take on the author in question)
          bullet Say ‘I Do’ to Doorstopper Novels: Trust us, they’re worth the commitment.—I’m prudish enough to prefer a different opening, but eh…I get the point.
          bullet Don Winslow: My First Experience With Hollywood Math—not really that related to books, but it’s a fun little story spun by Winslow
          bullet Red Herrings in Contemporary Crime Literature: Celebrating the 21st century masters of misdirection.
          bullet 6 Completed Sci Fi Fantasy Series You Probably Haven’t Binged Yet
          bullet Feel-Good Fiction: Books to Read in Difficult Times—A nice list for our current circumstance from the Witty and Sarcastic Book Club.
          bullet Book Blogging is Bullsh*t
          bullet Full circle—Don’t tell the other bloggers/essayists/etc., but this piece on the circle of appreciation between reader and writer is probably my favorite of the week.
          bullet Book Reviewing, Is There a Happy Medium for Readers, Writers, & Bloggers—Mz Brooklyn Jay talked to writers, readers and bloggers for material to this piece. I really liked it.
          bullet The ‘DNF’—an excellent post on this perennial topic

A Book-ish Related Podcast Episode (or more) you might want to give a listen to:
          bullet To help publicize the release of Fake Truth this week, Lee Goldberg appeared on two podcasts (yes, there’s some overlap in his answers, but not that much). Meet the Thriller Author 94 and Author Stories Podcast Episode 849 (I’ve toyed with writing a post about that travesty Netflix recently released called Spenser: Confidential, no need. Goldberg’s take on it here said everything I’d want to say).
          bullet Author’s on a Podcast Talking Books Ep. 35 – Nicholas Eames was plenty of fun.
          bullet Two Crime Writers And A Microphone have been on fire since they’ve returned this year, Episode Ninety Six – Two Rolls Gets You A Squirrel – with Adrian McKinty was just brilliant, I laughed so much at this one.
          bullet Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach and Donald—this new podcast with Braff and Faison revisiting each Scrubs episode has nothing to do with books but is so much fun that I’m sharing it anyway.

This Week's New Releases That I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
          bullet King of Crows by Russell Day—isn’t actually going to be released until next month, but the date was announced this week (Fahrenheit almost never gives any book this much advance warning, which I was I’m struggling to read their stuff when it’s new). But take a look at the link and order it now, Day’s one of the best authors I’ve read in the last couple of years and this epic (“Ocean’s Eleven meets 28 Days Later”) is only going to make me keep calling him that.
          bullet Broken by Don Winslow—Six novellas from the master. The early buzz on this collection is loud.
          bullet Fake Truth by Lee Goldberg—Ian Ludlow is back in trouble, this time stumbling over a Russian fake news plot.
          bullet A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones—Funny and exciting. This novel about a single mom and small-town sheriff is so much fun. I gushed about it here.

Lastly I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome toMayank Sharma, youngcreativepress, Oaks CastleCollections and the reading chemist for following the blog this week. Don’t be a stranger, and use that comment box, would you?