2018 While I Was Reading Challenge

I finished this challenge last night (the other reading challenges I participated in this year were just “how many of X can you read?, so there’s no real end point). When I signed up for this last year, I thought it’d be no trouble whatsoever (except the poetry thing), and I’d just finish this by reading what I’d normally read. I was almost right. But not really.

I had to go hunt down about half the titles here — and even that didn’t go right. I tracked down one book (that I ended up enjoying) for “Read a book with a child narrator” that turned out to have a child protagonist and a third-person narrator. Thankfully, I had read a book that qualified about 5 months earlier, and didn’t think of using it for the list. Similarly, I re-read/listened to Robin Sloane’s Sourdough because I couldn’t think of anything else to work for “favorite food in the title,” and sourdough’s close enough to a favorite that I could live with it. Then a month later than I got a book tour review request for Mr. Pizza (which was incredibly accurate). So with patience, I might have been able to handle it all without much effort (except the poetry).

I’m doing this challenge again next year, because I did it, but I’m planning it better — I have things in mind for about half of the items already, and am pretty sure I can fill the rest of it out with little effort. But I’m not waiting until the Fall before I get serious about it.

✔ Read a book that takes place in one day: The United Smiths of America by Jon Voss
✔ Read a memoir or biography of a musician you like: So Let It Be Written by Mark Eglinton
✔ Read a collection of poetry: Dog Songs by Mary Oliver, John Burgoyne
✔ Read an audio book with multiple narrators: Ways to die in Glasgow by Heather Wilds, Napoleon Ryan
✔ Read a self published book: Profane Fire at the Altar of the Lord by Dennis Malley
✔ Read a book you received as a gift: The Crescent and the Cross by Kurt Scheffler
✔ Read a book about a historical event you’re interested in (fiction or non): The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865 by Janet Elizabeth Croon, ed.
✔ Read a book written by an author from the state where you grew up: Arsenal by Jeffery H. Haskelll/Twisted Magics by J. C. Jackson
✔ Read a book recommended by one of your parents (in-laws count): Ross Poldark by Winston Graham (link forthcoming)
✔ Read a book with your favorite food in the title: Mr. Pizza by J. F. Pandolfi
✔ Read a book with a child narrator: Picket Town by Chris von Halle
✔ Read a book you chose based on the cover: Know Me from Smoke by Matt Phillips

Thanksgiving 2018

Happy Thanksgiving/Turkey Day/Thursday

(depending on your location/preference)

When I think about all the great things that have happened around the blog and behind the scenes this year leaves me at a loss for words, let me list a few things I’m thankful for — a very incomplete list, I assure you:

    • The readers of this blog, the authors who’ve corresponded with me/provided books for me to read/encouraged me — even promoted this here project. The messages of support/care/encouragement that we received from you all when my son got his kidney were inexpressibly helpful.
    • The publicists, publishers, book tour hosts, etc. I’ve been working with this year who’ve especially made things great — I typically hesitate to mention any by name, so as to not inadvertently miss anyone and cause offense (and make me feel bad). But I want to mention two by name this year — Lori Hettler of TNBBC Publicity and Emma at damppebbles blog tours. You two have expanded (and pushed) my boundaries this year, exposed me to some great reads I’d have not tried, and put up with my quirks and memory lapses with grace.
    • Books
    • Authors!
    • Books
    • Coffee (and other beverages both caffeinated and adult)
    • Books
    • Time to read
    • Books
    • Easily finding an appropriate image for this post for the second year in a row
    • Books
    • Easily finding an appropriate image for this post for a change
    • Audiobooks and talented narrators
    • The Nampa Public Library (and The LYNX! Consortium) — and their generous grace period
    • Books
    • Rediscovered Books and Libro.fm
    • Books
    • Goodreads, WordPress, NetGalley, BookLikes
    • Books
    • Evernote (but you’re making it harder)
    • Books
    • Organ Transplants (just to get serious for a moment)</li)
    • Authors!
    • Authors!

My supportive, understanding and encouraging wife and kids who do a pretty decent job pretending to care when their old man drones on and on about what he’s reading or what’s going on with the blog.

  • Again, all of you who read, follow, like, tweet, comment, email, etc. this page — you have no idea how much every little bit is appreciated.

The Mail I Get – While I was Out Edition

More than a few book bloggers, bookstagrammers, and other book types that I follow here and there will occasionally post pictures of the books they get in the mail — I’ve never done that, because usually the stuff I’m given is in e-form, and it’s hard to get a good picture of those (not that I’m a fantastic source of good pictures — I’m working on it).

But, while being gone for 30+ days, I got a few books/book-related items in the mail, so I figured I’d share a picture–

So, that’s a copy of Kill the Farm Boy by Deliah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne (and some pins the publisher sent because I preordered); The Annotated Big Sleep which I’m really looking forward to diving into; a copy of The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady’s Daughter by Charles Kriel with a snazzy new cover; ditto for A Mint Condition Corpse by Duncan MacMaster, Pugs Unleashed by Dave Kellet (and some nifty postcards I got for Kickstarting it); and that furry fella — (a better picture is below) is Oberon from the Iron Druid Chronicles (via Worldbuilders) — I wish I could take a better picture of him, because he’s adorable (and a little larger than I assumed), click the link for a photo taken by a capable photographer.

I may leave home more often if that’s what’s waiting for me when I get back.

A Trip to Powell’s: The Mothership Called Me Home

So, on this little sabbatical to while my son does his initial recuperation, I’ve done some good damage to my TBR pile (the literal, I’ve purchased TBR pile, not the “I wanna read” mountain), particularly the hard copies — I’ve knocked off 12 of them in the past few weeks. And then we made a mistake, we went to Powell’s City of Books — a very fitting name, btw. Somehow I’ve managed to live in the Pacific Northwest my entire life and have never been there.

I honestly felt a little overwhelmed, the place was so big. I spent over an hour there, and didn’t get to browse nearly as much as I should have. I’m not complaining, I’m just stating. Honestly, I was tempted to walk out in the first 5 minutes and go find some tiny little hole-in-the-wall shop. I’m glad I didn’t, it’s an awesome collection of books, clearly run by people who know their product and how to sell it. If you’ve never been, and have the opportunity, take advantage of it.

I indulged, but not as much as I could have:

So I’ve knocked off 12 hard copy books and I walked out of Powell’s with a decent stack — 7 books replaced those. I know there are 8 in the picture, I may have math struggles, but come on. The other is for my son (I still may end up reading it, who are we kidding). I got a nice assortment of new, used, and remaindered — by the way, who takes a signed Don Winslow to a used bookstore? I know who left a used bookstore with one. There were 6 books I left on the shelf through will-power — plus who knows how many I could’ve added had I just wandered around aimlessly for another hour.

Now, I’ve got to get to work reducing ye olde TBR pile . . .

The Mail I Get . . . 5/15/18

(with apologies to Lee Goldberg for stealing his title for blog posts to describe the strange, the obnoxious, the puzzling emails that he gets.)

I don’t normally do this, but come on.

I received this review request today:

[Title Redacted] is for the 21st century woman who is ready for a new narrative about dating, romance, sex and life! [Title Redacted] helps women move from fear to freedom. It offers practical dating advice, teaching women to navigate through the often challenging and daunting dating world, while countering the sexist, stereotypical and, frankly, stupid “instructions” spewed at women by self-professed male “dating experts.”

[Title Redacted] puts the FUN back into dating while also providing no-nonsense guidance that empowers and encourages women who have grown weary, been disappointed, and are still holding on to outmoded and unrealistic expectations about their dating choices. [Title Redacted] reminds women of their worth, helping them understand that they do not need to fit some antiquated model of being “accepted” or “chosen” by men.

For women who are so ready to sever the cord – quickly, forcefully and permanently – that has kept them bound by dangerous dogma and silly, sexist “thought leaders,” [Title Redacted] offers fresh, funny advice for discovering themselves, deciding what they really want, and enjoying dating!

I’m not expecting some author/editor/representative to exhibit an exhaustive knowledge of this blog — but what on Earth suggests for a second that this is the kind of book I’d read (much less appreciate)??? Why spend the time filling out my form without taking a quick glance around to see if it’s in my wheelhouse (the form pretty much makes it clear that it’s not).

2018 Independent Bookstore Day

I didn’t celebrate Independent Bookstore Day in quite the same way I did in 2017. Last year, we went to Rediscovered Books, bought a couple of books and then went elsewhere and adopted a dog. This year, we went to Rediscovered Books — played a game (which got me a Blind Date with a Book) — bought a couple of books and chatted with an author.

Altogether less expensive, and I didn’t have to talk in a higher-pitched voice — not even once.

Yeah, I clearly need more practice at taking pics like that. Anyway, I grabbed The Vinyl Detective – Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmell (mostly because Ben Aaronovitch talked a lot about the books on Twitter and whatnot). My Blind Date is with Fonda Lee’s Jade City, described as “Fantasy/Adult” and “The Godfather but with magic” (or words to that effect). And then I also purchased — and got signed — the new version of Devri Wall’s Venators.

Back in 2016, I read and blogged about Devri Wall’s The Wizard’s Heir and Venators: Through the Arch, and she was nice enough to answer A Few Quick Questions for me. We got to chat about why there’s a new version of the book, when to expect the next in the series, and what not. My wife, who actually thinks about things other than books, suggested getting a picture (ever the rookie, my fingers are covering the title).

As part of the game at RD, I had to take a couple of pics, I might as well throw them up here. One task was to take a picture of the bookstore — here’s the rare empty spot today (filled up seconds later). Another task was to take a photo of a Non-Fiction book with a great cover. I don’t know that I’ll read Best Before: The Evolution and Future of Processed Food, but that’s just a great cover.

Misc. Notes 4/19/18 (a.k.a. Real Life(™) is Interfering with Blogging)

There are 3 books that I really wanted to talk about this week — and so far, I haven’t. I’ve got 1/3 (maybe less) of a post about Steve Cavanagh’s The Plea written, but I just don’t have time to finish it in time to post; I think sleep deprivation might be the best way to write about the insane (and insanely froody) Jimbo Yojimbo by David W. Barbee — but that’ll have to wait (alas); and lastly Life Begins When The Kids Leave Home And The Dog Dies by Barb Taub is going to be fun to talk about.

I got Noirville, the short story collection in the mail today from Fahrenheit Press — it looks great. I’m sure the stories are as nifty as the book they’re printed in.

I was reminded yesterday that I hadn’t started, much less posted about, a particular book this month. I’d totally forgotten I’d agreed to it. Which makes 3 more books I have to read this month (plus three from March I ran out of time for). If only I wasn’t in the middle of the busiest month of the year at work. I have to learn how to say no . . . but there’s so many good-looking books out there, it’s so hard to say anything but “yes.”

Lastly, Luca Veste’s The Bone Keeper is chillingly cool. I’m hoping to get to post about it next week (and hoping to finish reading it …well, probably about the time this posts).