Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Thingers

Recommendations. Do you use LT's recommendations feature? Have you found any good books by using it? Do you use the anti-recommendations, or the "special sauce" recommendations? How do you find out about books you want to read?

I don’t find Library Thing’s recommendations very helpful and do not use them. It comes up with such obvious recommendations: I have some Jose Saramago in my library so I would like other books that he has written or I have some Franz Kafka in my library so I would enjoy reading a biography about him. I am not saying these recommendations are wrong, just obvious. The unsuggester recommendations seem to all be books about Christianity which apparently is a typical response judging from other posts. The member recommendations seem way off base to me. I liked Good Omen’s so I should like the Eyre Affair and Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff? I loved Good Omen’s but wasn’t thrilled with either the Eyre Affair or Lamb, both of which I thought were good concepts that didn’t live up to their potential.

I have no problems finding lots of books that I would like to read. I subscribed to Book magazine before it went out of business and now to Bookmarks magazine and always find interesting suggestions there. The best source are friends who share your reading tastes but unfortunately that is not as common as I would like which is why I have turned to the internet. I get so many ideas from both web sites and emailed newsletters such as the New York Times Book Review as well as numerous bookish blogs. Some books just grab me after just reading one review and I know I have to have it like Carl V’s review of Wastelands. Most books I will read one review and then if I start reading about it on the blogs I will really consider it. At the moment the Lace Reader and Gargoyle both seem hot books that I will keep in mind as I read more about them. I also tend to get interested in a subject or genre and follow that path for a while. Recently I was in the mood for science fiction and came across Tor's new web site that is currently giving away free ebooks many of which were already on my wish lists. There are far more books in the world then I will ever have time for and I have at least a couple of years worth of books to be read in my house so I never really need to search for books. Books just seem to find me and I cannot resist them.

It's Tuesday, Where Are You.

Where is reading taking you today?

Today I just started to visit a broken down horse ranch in Desert Valley Colorado. (God of Animals by Aryn Kyle)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

July/August Bookmarks

Here are the books that looked interesting in the July/August Bookmarks magazine.

Why the Wind Blows and Other Mysteries of the Atmosphere by Gabrielle Walker - NF
The Boat by Nam Le - S, Short Stories
Olive Kitterage by Elizabeth Srout
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson - SF

It also had a article on Great Science Fiction
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr.
Philip K. Dick
Peace War by Vernor Vinge
Pat Cadigan
Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
Alfred Bester

Time Travel:
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
John Crowley - AegyptCycle or Lord Byron's Novel

Space Opera:
Poul Anderson
Polity series (Gridlinked) by Neal Asher
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's Tuesday, Where Are You?

I just discovered Raidergirl3's It's Tuesday, Where Are You? which asks where is reading taking you today. I loved the idea so thought I would join in.

Today I am in the year 2018 inside the multiplayer on line virtual reality game Avalon 4 with a forensic accountant who is trying to figure out how a band of orcs with a dragon managed to rob a virtual bank and we have just been attacked by intruders. Having last played a computer game not long after the pong era, I am a little lost but am finding the world intriguing and the story compelling. (Halting State by Charles Stross).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Japanese Literature Challenge 2

Bellezza is hosting the second Japanese Literature Challenge. I said I wasn't going to join any more challenges right away but this one is only three books in six months and is a topic that really interests me so here it goes. Here are some of the books that I will consider reading for this challenge but I reserve the right to add to this list (and most likely will) at any time.

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle - Murakami
Sea of Fertility - Yukio Mishima
The Tatoo Murder Case - Akimitsu Takagi
Out - Natsuo Kirino
something by Banana Yoshimoto
Tales of Moonlight and Rain - Ueda
Tale of Genji - Shikibu
All She Was Worth- Miyuki Miyabe

Bellezza has some book suggestions here and Tanabata of In Spring it is the Dawn has interesting ones from her Reading Japan project here which I would like to explore more.

I have been meaning to read the Tale of Genji for years but it is quite daunting. If anyone is going to read the Tale of Genji for the challenge I would love to have someone read along with me.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Since we're past the Fourth of July and the summer season has officially started, what are your plans for the summer? Vacations, trips? Trips that involve reading? Reading plans? If you're going somewhere, do you do any reading to prepare? Do you read local literature as part of your trip? Have you thought about using the LT Local feature to help plan your book-buying?

We don’t have any exciting travel plans scheduled for the summer. We went to California for a vacation in May and just got back from a five day weekend diving in St. Eustatius. I may try and fit in some family obligations this summer in Nebraska and upstate New York but work is very busy and I don’t know if I will be able to get away.

I don’t have any specific reading plans for the summer but I tend to think of the classics as summer reading. When I was in college I often took a literature course or two when I was home during the summer for fun and to rack up a couple extra credits so when I think of D.H. Lawrence, Henry James, Theodore Dreiser and Willa Cather I associate them with summer time. I may not read any classics this summer but as it gets hotter and hotter I tend to read more. Instead of feeling compelled to do chores and be productive with my spare time, keeping cool becomes an actual activity and lounging by the pool with a good book becomes justified indolence.

When I do travel I always try and read a few books set in my destination before the trip. Before our trip to India last fall I read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie. Before visiting Vietnam I read the Quiet American by Graham Greene, Catfish and Mandala by Andrew Pham and Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong. Before I visited Peru I read the Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thorton Wilder, Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield and the Puma’s Shadow by A.B. Daniel, a fictionalized story about the Incas. It can sometimes be hard to find fiction set in the location that you are visiting but usually Lonely Planet guides have a small section on further reading and Longitude Books ( A web site of “Recommended Reading for Travelers”) often has good ideas.

I have tried the LT local feature and have not found it helpful. I don’t tend to read much while I am actually traveling but do take my ipod with audio books for the plane rides.