seems like a good day to post this…
Odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
- US Independent Bookstores Thriving and Growing — I’ve posted variations on this theme before, but it’s always encouraging to read.
- Fast-Growing Independent Publishers, 2019 — don’t think I’ve brushed up against any of those mentioned here, but this is encouraging, too.
- Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, Tom Holland, and Others Stand Against Piracy
- Publishing 2025: a vision — From The Bookseller
- Publishing Killing Libraries? — a thought-provoking thread
- Traditional Books vs. Ebooks: A Comparison — I’m not sure there’s anything new here, but a nice post nonethelss.
- Beowulf the work of single author, research suggests — I didn’t realize this was a thing (I think we covered Beowulf in 3 lit classes in college, too — where it should’ve come up). Still, I find this kind of thing fascinating.
- To the Librarian Who Changed My Life — awwww
- 5 Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book — fun post. (and a great blog name/tag line, too…)
- How I write book reviews — another nice BTS book blogger post — thanks to the Tattooed Book Geek for retweeting it.
- Tell Us Your Drinking Preferences, We’ll Tell You What Genre You Are! — Other than identifying me as a Horror lover (check the archives here, see how wrong that is), fun dumb quiz
- Fantasy Book Covers Intimidate Me—Here’s Why — I get this. Been there.
- Nero Wolfe — the detective who loves his grub
- Hilariously Honest Book Titles (Adaptations Edition) and Hilariously Honest Book Titles (Part 4) both have some really winners.
Today is the 103rd anniversary of Beverly Cleary’s birth, and drawing inspiration from Ramona Quimby some years ago, a group of people started commemorating her birth with a focus on families reading together. Which is just a cool idea. There’s a pretty good website with details and activities here.
I don’t really know if I can get my family to come together and read as a family anymore — but I can at least encourage them all to do it on their own. But for those of you who have younger kids (or more compliant teenagers), take a half-hour today and read together.
If you’re like me, or single, or just not into spending time with your family — it’s still a decent way to spend 30 minutes.
This weekend I received a request to review an indie published book from the author. His name rang a bell, so I assumed I knew him from twitter or had read him before.
Yup. I had read him before. The same book, actually, two years ago. Clearly, record-keeping isn’t his strong suit. But, that’s no big deal. I figured I’d hit him with the URL to my original post, say something jokey in response, and call it a day.
But, I hated the book — gave it 1 1/2 stars. My post on it was sketchy, because to really get into what I thought of the book, I said, “it’d just be mean.”
So, yeah, I think this’ll be one of those emails I forget to reply to…
Seriously, if Real Life would just shut up for a minute and let me focus on my blog/prep for my blog, it’d be nice. And I’m not talking about huge, important things like — my kid had life saving surgery, or I was distracted by the tragic events unfolding in [insert important sounding city], or whatever. It’s just been busy and I find myself very tired lately. I really look forward to compiling these weekly posts, and the last few have just seemed . . . empty?
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me — I do like what we have for this week by way of the odds ‘n ends about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
- Blackstone & Story Factory Deal Pulls Bestselling Authors Steve Hamilton, Reed Farrel Coleman, Meg Gardiner Away From Penguin Random House — I don’t like what this means for Jesse Stone, but I do like what it means for Nick Mason, Hamilton, Coleman and Gardiner. Blackstone, too, come to think of it. The dollar amounts being thrown around here boggle the mind — I didn’t think numbers like this existed for mystery writers not portrayed by Nathan Fillion.
- Vonda N McIntyre obituary — I won’t say I was the biggest McIntyre fan in the world — I barely read any of her stuff. But I bought two novels in high school by her, and read them an unhealthy amount of times. She perhaps shaped more of my impression of Kirk, Spock and McCoy than anyone else (including Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley, and Roddenberry). Seeing her death announced this week hit harder than it should’ve for someone I haven’t read in decades.
- ‘I can write in that American voice quite easily. For everything else I cheat’ — a very nice profile of blog favorite author and podcast host Steve Cavanagh.
- How to Cuss Like No One’s Listening: Katherine Dunn on the Importance of Specificity in Swearing — I cuss/swear more than I should and wish I didn’t (and have friends who won’t believe that I do at all). But I get its use as a narrative and character-building tool. I rather enjoyed this piece.
- My Time on West Thirty-Fifth Street — one writer’s fictional and real experiences with Nero Wolfe, and Archie Goodwin (one of the best paragraphs on Archie ever written!). I will not stop posting about Wolfe and Goodwin until everyone who follows this blog reads them. And then I still won’t, because you’ll want to read more about them.
- This Week’s New Releases I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
- Postgraduate by Ian Shane — Recovering from a divorce, a former college DJ reconnects with his roots and maybe finds a path forward. I gushed about it yesterday.
- You Die Next by Stephanie Marland — To be honest, I groaned when this showed up on my Kindle Thursday because I’d just finalized my reading schedule for the rest of the month and we feeling pretty good about life. I have no idea when I can fit it in, but I really want it to be now. Anyway, this follow up to last year’s My Little Eye is gonna be great.
20 Books, 6258 pages (finished — a few were started earlier, and I’ve never done that page count before, and now I feel tired), an average of 3.8ish (my indecision on a couple of titles is stopping me from having a hard number — but I have to write my way to a conclusion on those). Overall, a decent month here. I hit a couple of hot streaks — there’s a few books here that will be in contention when I do the Best of 2019 lists, but man, there’s a couple I wish I hadn’t read. You take the good, you take the bad, and now you have the same song stuck in my head that I do.
So, here’s what happened here in March.
Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:
I really don’t like being this flaky.
- The Great Brain (Audiobook) by John D. Fitzgerald, Ron McLarty: A frequently pleasant stroll down memory lane
- The Last Act by Brad Parks: He’s in the jailhouse now
- My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing: I don’t think John Gray’s books cover marriages like this one
- And Drink I Did: One Man’s Story of Growing Through Recovery by Jay Keefe: An underdeveloped, but powerful memoir of addiction and recovery
- Not Everyone is Special by Josh Denslow: A Short Story Collection that’ll Gobsmack You at Least Once
- Killing State by Judith O’Reilly: I Can’t Suitably Encapsulate this Gripping Thriller
- Slow Horses by Mick Herron: A solid, if slow-building, entry point to a spy series
- Rogue Superheroes by Matt Cowper: Unintended Consequences Wreak All Sorts of Havoc on the Heroes’ Lives
- Who Killed the Fonz? by James Boice will leave you groovin’ all week
- Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinski: The Once and Future Lagotti Family
- No Country for Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne is a very foine booke that surpässes the original while showing full respect to the umlaut
- The First World Problems of Jason Van Otterloo by James Bailey: This Kid’s Struggles will Bring A Smile to Your Face
- Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles by Thomas Lennon, John Hendrix: A Young Irish Police Officer Takes on Leprechauns and other sorts of faerie folk.
- Crossline by Russ Colchamiro: Out along the edges, Always where they burn to be
Physical Books: 5 Added, 1 Read, 29 Remaining
E-Books: 1 Added, 0 Read, 20 Remaining
Audiobooks: 4 Added, 2 Read, 6 Remaining
Book Challenge Progress:
2019 Library Love Challenge
While I Was Reading 2019 Challenge
#LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge
2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge
Humor Reading Challenge 2019
2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge
How was your month?
Another week of slim pickings . . . odd. Is it just end of month malaise? But there’s some good stuff here nonetheless. The odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
- The Best Bookstores in All 50 States — according to MentalFloss. I’ve posted similar lists in the past, but who can resist a new version — especially if you are curious about nearby bookstores. I can sign off on 2 of the 3 Idaho bookstores mentioned.
- How a Fourth-Grader Turned Me Into a Book Detective — awww
- Crime Reads had an interesting twitter thread this week about authors who could bench press Jack Reacher, because who doesn’t think about that??
- Books Whose Endings Made-Up for Their Lackluster Start — I’ve only read one of these, and I disagree with almost everything this post said about Persepolis, but it’s an interesting idea. Can you think of anything that fits the headline?
- Official: Perry Mason gets full series order from HBO — I posted about this when it was still in the “maybe” stage, but now it’s official. I’m still incredibly skeptical about taking Mason out of the courtroom, but will likely end up giving this a chance.
- Bookdragon Lingo: A [Short] Guide to Bookish Talk — is a fun, and informative, post. Most of these I knew, some I even use. But I still learned a thing or three.
- Book-ish Related Podcast Episodes you might want to give a listen to, both from Hank Garner’s Author Stories:
- S3E06 Ben Aaronovitch and James Swallow of Book Off! (“A literary podcast with a difference…”)This is the first I’ve heard of this podcast, but it’s a cool concept and I’ll take any excuse to listen to Aaronovitch (and I need to track down Swallow’s series).
- This Week’s New Releases I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
- Not Everyone is Special by Josh Denslow — a short story collection with some fantastic writing — and a couple of good stories. My longer take on it is here.
- My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing — this tale of a husband and wife serial killer team is fun, and almost as good as I’d hoped. I really did like it, but had a reservation or two.
- Ruff vs. Fluff by Spencer Quinn — Quinn gets controversially inclusive here by having a cat as one of his protagonists in his new MG series. This is likely pretty cute, and I am curious how he’ll handle a feline lead, but is only a placeholder in my mind until we get a new Chet & Bernie book this summer.
- Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by sRajeev Balasubramanyam — I wish I could remember how this ended up on my radar, but it looks like it’ll appeal to the Maria Semple, Fredrick Bachman, etc. side of me. Probably you, too.
Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to amiiiesbooks for following the blog this week.