rmc28: (books2010)
A few weeks ago I got new bookshelves up in the children's room.   Before today I had achieved moving about 2/3 of the books across from Charles's old room (now the spare room).

Today, helped (or hindered) by Nico I have:
  • moved the remaining children's books over
  • added more shelves to the spare room, making 16m of shelving space
  • filled those 16m with books-read from the shelves in my room that have been double-stacked for years
  • vacuumed up a disturbing amount of dust from books and shelves
Still to do (not today!):
  • clear assorted clutter off that bookcase in my room
  • move and add shelves, creating another 12-16m of shelving space in my room
  • move my to-read pile and Tony's to this space (and stop my to-read pile in particular encroaching all over the house)
  • move my library books and OU textbooks there too
  • move books-in-living-room to space freed up in study by previous steps
  • move children's books in living room to their bedroom
  • move remaining books-read to living room
The end goal is to have books-read in shared space, and books-to-read in private space, and children's books in children's space.  And as much as possible single-stacked for ease of viewing and access.

Also each move of books and things is an opportunity to declutter.  So far in this project I've taken 3 bags to the charity shop and I've another one ready to go.  Plus an awful lot of general rubbish uncovered and (mostly) recycled.

(Worst thing about getting back to single-spaced books: I uncovered my MZB books and had to make a decision about what to do with them; for now I've stacked them in a Really Useful Box and stuck that in a corner behind other things.  I'm not quite ready to throw them away but for sure I don't want to see them now.)
rmc28: (OMG)
I write the kind of exciting stories I want to read.
You keep bringing politics into your stories.
They churn out tedious message fiction.

(inspired by reading the comments on George RR Martin's thoughtful set of posts about The Hugo Mess)


There also seems to be some confusion between noting a political thing a book does (that pleases me) and only liking that book for the political thing that pleases me.   Not realising it is additive: here is a good book and it does this cool thing.  

And often that "cool thing" is merely refraining from treating non-straight-ablebodied-white-men horribly: the Bechdel test is a really low bar and yet so few things pass it, let alone if you also look at ethnicity or disability or sexuality etc.  It's not "come and read this politically correct yet tedious book" it's "come and read this cool book that won't kick you in the teeth, at least on this axis".

rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
[personal profile] ceb pointed me at a kickstarter for Queers Destroy Science Fiction, by Lightspeed Magazine who did the Women Destroy Science Fiction! collection that I'm currently reading and Women Destroy Fantasy! that I read recently.  I've been pretty impressed with both of those.

With 5 days to go, it's already well past funded and most of the way through the stretch goals.  Additional collections about Horror and Filk have already been unlocked, and Queers Destroy Fantasy! is about $1.5k away.  Also they are offering extra flexibility about exact combinations of rewards with "addons" that will be manually processed (this was a good move on their part, I more than doubled my pledge as a result).

I am selfishly hoping for the Fantasy stretch goal to get unlocked, thus the signal-boost :-)

rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I've been following with a certain horrified fascination the discussions following the reveal of Benjanun Sriduangkaew as Requires Hate / Winterfox. I was vaguely aware of all three: BS as a well-regarded nominee for the not-a-Hugo award for new authors (though I never did get around to reading that part of my Hugo packet earlier this year); RH for vicious reviews and nasty tweets that occasionally had a point, but I found the ratio of venom-to-point too high for my taste and after a while stopped following links to her that were shared; Winterfox for being vicious online to some people I know slightly.

I spent a long time reading the (hundreds of) comments to James Nicoll's post about the revelation and many of the links people posted in the course of that.  I came to my own conclusion after all that reading, which is basically that this person repeatedly acted to bully and intimidate people.  She was destructive to more than one fandom community.  And she deleted most of the evidence, so you are left looking at comment threads with only the responses by others framing the negative space where her words used to be.

I'm not so bothered about the nasty reviews.  It's the bullying and the community destruction I find particularly abhorrent. 

Laura J Mixon did a rather more systematic analysis.  This helpfully includes a couple of tables in the appendix of people targeted for bullying by BS/RH.  It's that time of year when my family shares seasonal gift wishlists.  I made a point of putting works by authors on that list onto my public wishlist; some were already on my private list of things-I've-been-recommended, some after a quick google looked as though they'd be My Sort Of Thing.

I have mostly come to terms with the fact that I'll never read all the good books.  I have literally hundreds of books on my to-read piles and wishlists; if I never added another recommendation I'd be set for reading for the next decade or two.  Right now I don't feel like prioritising Benjanun Sriduangkaew's works, and I do feel like prioritising the works of people whom she attacked.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Poll #16126 Reading guilt
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 27


I feel guilty about not finishing a book I

View Answers

bought
12 (46.2%)

borrowed from a friend
12 (46.2%)

borrowed from the library
7 (26.9%)

started reading on recommendation from a friend
15 (57.7%)

started reading on recommendation from a more formal review (whether by friend or not)
5 (19.2%)

was given to review
11 (42.3%)

was assigned for study
10 (38.5%)

tickybox
5 (19.2%)

I feel no guilt
8 (30.8%)

I feel guilty about not even starting to read a book I

View Answers

was lent by a friend
16 (61.5%)

was lent by a friend who wants it back soon
19 (73.1%)

borrowed from the library
4 (15.4%)

borrowed from the library and renewed once
5 (19.2%)

borrowed from the library and renewed the maximum number of times allowed
12 (46.2%)

bought
8 (30.8%)

bought more than a month ago
3 (11.5%)

bought more than three months ago
2 (7.7%)

bought more than six months ago
2 (7.7%)

bought more than a year ago
6 (23.1%)

bought more than five years ago
6 (23.1%)

bought more than ten years ago
6 (23.1%)

tickybox
7 (26.9%)

I feel no guilt
5 (19.2%)

rmc28: (reading)
At his request, I just read the opening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as Charles's bedtime reading.   He was really engaged until sleepiness won.    We've also got the films, but he was quite definite about reading each book first before watching its film(s). 

I haven't actually seen the last four films either, and it's been a while since I read the books.  I'm so looking forward to sharing this with him.
rmc28: (books2010)
Today's Kindle Daily Deals includes Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal for 99p, which is the second in the Glamourist Histories series, and I think readable without having read the first.  [personal profile] hilarita's reviews (one, two, three) convinced me to try the series, which are sort-of "Jane Austen with magic", and I enjoyed all three very much when I bought and read them a couple of weeks ago (not, sadly, at 99p each).

Also I was looking for the Kushiel novels by Jacqueline Carey to stick on my to-buy list, and noticed that the first three (Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar) are on Kindle at 59p, £1.19 & £1.79 respectively.   I like them a lot, a quick rustle through my friends list turned up this brief review of the third one by [livejournal.com profile] nwhyte 

rmc28: (books2010)
Bold the ones you've read, italicise the ones you own.  The Fantasy Mistressworks blog is soliciting reviews of the books on the list.

Read more... )

I've read 11 of the fifty - any recommendations for the other 39?
rmc28: (books2010)
From Ian Sales, via [livejournal.com profile] nwhyte

Book meme! Here are the 25 titles chosen for 2012's World Book Night. Do the usual: bold for read, italics for owned but unread.

Read more... )
[I thought this was a very British-centric "World" book list; it turns out that the event covers the UK and the USA ... and that's it. I want a real World Books list, with authors from every continent.]

So basically I've read - and liked - three and got one on the to-read pile. I've read a sequel to Harlequin by Bernard Cornwell, and enjoyed it; and the film of Touching the Void was amazing in a climbers-are-mad way. Is there anything else on the list people would recommend?
rmc28: (books2010)
From Sunday's post:

For the authors you have read, discuss or rec at least one of their books with at least one sentence of explanation about why you do or don’t like it.

Lois McMaster Bujold
Ethan of Athos is a delightful space opera/espionage thriller aboard a space station. Read more... )

Barbara Hambly
Children of the Jedi is the only book by Hambly I've read, and I've only hazy recollection of it. As you can probably guess, it's a Star Wars spinoff. I seem to remember that it had believable characterisation of Han, Leia and Luke. It wasn't as good as Zahn's Thrawn trilogy but far better than Anderson's Jedi Academy trilogy (though the latter is faint praise I'm afraid).


Janet Kagan
Uhura's Song is a Star WarsTrek[1] novel where the clue to treating a plague-hit society lies in their folk songs and the long-lost planet they were exiled from centuries ago. I adored it as a teenager for bringing depth to the characters, though my older self finds the cat-people a bit cutesy and the original character Evan Wilson rather less believably competent at everything. The Kirk in this book is much more engaging than the one on TV.

[1] I wrote this last night; I was tired; I'd just been writing about Star Wars. Any excuse.

Katharine Kerr
Polar City Blues is a murder mystery with aliens and psychics and AI and baseball; lots of fun and I don't want to spoil it by giving too much plot away. There is a sequel called Polar City Nightmare which is at least as good. I own them both.


Mercedes Lackey
The Ship Who Searched was cowritten with Anne McCaffrey, one of the brainships series that McCaffrey cowrote with several different authors in the 1990s. It's a readable and enjoyable space opera adventure but there are several aspects which make me uncomfortable with wholeheartedly recommending the book:
Read more... )

Still to write up:
Elizabeth Moon
Eluki Bes Shahar (AKA Rosemary Edghill)
Sheri S. Tepper
Deborah Wheeler (Deborah J. Ross)

(and [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll has posted more lists, one for each year 1990-1993)
rmc28: (books2010)
As created by [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll here, women authors of SF&F who were first published in the 1980s.

Italicize the authors you've heard of before reading this list of authors, bold the ones you've read at least one work by, underline the ones of whose work you own at least one example of. Come up with improvements to flavour your versions.

I like [personal profile] rachelmanija's version, as signalboosted by [personal profile] coffeeandink:
Drop the authors you’ve never read to the bottom. For the remainder, discuss or rec at least one of their books with at least one sentence of explanation about why you do or don’t like it. Ask your readers to tell you about the authors you’ve never read.

I've only time for the sorting and markup tonight (i.e. the easy-memey part) but I'll come back with the recs soon.

Lois McMaster Bujold
Barbara Hambly
Janet Kagan
Katharine Kerr
Mercedes Lackey
Elizabeth Moon
Eluki Bes Shahar (AKA Rosemary Edghill)
Sheri S. Tepper
Deborah Wheeler (Deborah J. Ross)

the rest I've never read, oh tell me more of them )
rmc28: (books2010)
There are 32 books in my to-read pile which are identifiably SFF by women and which I'm sure I've never read. Dear readers, please tick up to six that you recommend I try to read before the end of this year, and feel free to enthuse about why in the comments ...

Read more... )
rmc28: (books2010)
As created by [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll, women authors of SF&F who were first published in the 1970s.

Italicize the authors you've heard of before reading this list of authors, bold the ones you've read at least one work by, underline the ones of whose work you own at least one example of.

Read more... )

Gosh there are lots there I didn't recognise.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] nwhyte

Usual rules: bold if you've read, strike through if you hated, italics if it's on the shelf waiting to be read.

Both these lists are from Ian Sales. The first is his list of "Mistressworks":
Read more... )
Of 91, I've read 8, with two waiting to be read, and several more of [livejournal.com profile] fanf's books I've not got around to reading.

The second list, also from Ian Sales, is the list of sf novels published by the Women's Press in the 1980s.

Read more... )
Of 37, I've read 4 and 1 to read. I think I started reading one of the Joanna Russ books but can't remember which one or why I stopped.

Anyway, plenty of new ideas for things to read there.

Books

2011-01-09 00:58
rmc28: (books2010)
I wrote I think trying to enforce 22 books out before I get any more is seriously setting myself up to fail

Yeah, unless I read a seriously challenging book, look at the quality of my two latest supernatural fantasy fluff reservations from the library, look at the two teenage werewolf fantasies by the bed, and decide that actually all the Mills & Boon in the to-read pile can go to the charity shop. There's more in the library if I really want an easy romance fix, or I could just reread Cotillion or Bet Me.

So that was 21 out, and 1 in because I found a book my mother-in-law left when I was tidying up. So 3 more books off the to-read pile and I'm all caught up without any complicated schemes. Yay.

I feel mild guilt and a bit of worry about being snobbish; but maybe throwing out masses of unread magazines earlier in the week has hardened my heart to guilt.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
From Time To Time is an adaptation of The Chimneys of Green Knowe, with Maggie Smith playing Mrs Oldknow. It's a sort of ghost/time travel story with children from different generations of the family that have lived in the same house over the centuries. I loved the Green Knowe stories as a child and earlier this year I visited the house which inspired them, which is about 20 minutes drive from Cambridge. Diana Boston, the daughter-in-law of the author and current resident of the house, mentioned the film on our visit, but I haven't been able to get to any of the showings until now.

The film is on at the Arts Picturehouse, Tuesday 7th December at 16:30, which is a little early but I should just be able to make it if I leave work promptly (I'm in early that day anyway). It doesn't look like assigned seating & tickets are a slightly eye-watering £7.50 unless you have membership discount. I've got to be in the city centre tomorrow evening anyway, so will save myself the £1.50 booking fee on top by getting my ticket in person. I will get tickets for others at the same time if you email me before 5pm tomorrow (Friday).
rmc28: (books2010)
High water mark on 12th October: 338 in the to-read pile + 9 library books.

Today: 337 in the to-read pile + 9 library books (not quite the same 9). That is exactly 2 out and 1 in (a BookMooch wishlist item it would have been rude not to claim). At least twice in the last month I have stood in front of temptation (the bookshelves in the local charity shop) and thought "no, 2 out first". So that rule is holding up where "no buying books" has failed in the past.

I am doing reasonably well at sublimating the "ooh, must have shiny new books" into the city library instead, both in spontaneous picks from the shelves and in reserving books. I'm also doing better at actually reading the library books before they have to go back. The online system really helps here, by telling me how many times I've renewed each book (max is 3, unless someone else has reserved it). I really like the reservation system's ease of use, and that I can see what "holds" I have and where I am in the queue.

(Today, for reference:
The dead girls' dance, Rachel Caine: 5
Linger, Maggie Stiefvater: 9
Dime store magic, Kelley Armstrong: 1
Prey, Rachel Vincent: 2
My soul to take, Rachel Vincent: 1 )

Unsurprisingly the longest waits are for the young-adult werewolf/vampire books. Still, I started out at 15 for Linger, so there's hope of getting it before the hold expires and I have to go to the back of the queue again.

In the meantime I'm still very slowly working my way through the rest of the books in the house and adding them to my LibraryThing catalogue. I'm hand-typing the ISBNs, but what's really slowing me down is deciding which Collection to put them in and how to tag them. Addictive fun, when I have the time.
rmc28: (books)
I think I've found and catalogued all the to-read books now. So the total stands at 347, of which 9 are library books. This is not meant as a contest; I'm fed up with myself for continually acquiring rather than actually getting on and reading the acquisitions. I think when I buy books I'm also buying the happy fantasy that I have time to read them.

Anyway, from now on I want to do at least 2-out, 1-in on the to-read pile (not counting the library books). Trying to stop obtaining new books outright has failed lots of times in the past, but this seems a more achievable target. Also having a computer do the counting should help me stick to it.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I have spent my afternoon off playing around with social library sites (ok, mostly LibraryThing) and starting the slow process of logging the contents of my to-read shelves. I found a copy of Mort in Cyrillic script. (I think [livejournal.com profile] ruthcoleman gave it to me after getting it at one of the DWCons she attended.) My Russian-speaking lodger says it is not in Russian but might be in Ukranian. It doesn't have an ISBN, and I can't read any of the information about where it was published.

What language is this book in? And do any of my internet friends or their friends want it?

Mystery book
rmc28: (books)
I have a supporting membership of Aussiecon 4 and a list of Hugo nominees. So I have set myself a reading project to:
  1. Read the nominees for Novel, Novella, Novelette and Short Story (and Related Work & Graphic Novel if I have time/inclination).
  2. Write and post "something coherent" about each of them.
  3. Vote by the deadline of 31st July.
The project has 3 purposes:
  1. Read more SF!  I have read exactly 3 of the nominated authors, and only one of the nominated works.
  2. Practice writing something other than "what I did on my holidays" and the occasional rant.
  3. Be part of the conversation: other people do this (notably Nicholas Whyte, whose Hugo reviews last year and this I have really enjoyed reading), and maybe some of my other friends would like to join in.
Aussiecon promise an online "packet" of the nominees to members, but as I prefer to read in paperback format where I can, I've been spending some quality time with Cambridgeshire Libraries online catalogue: looking up what they have, and slightly cheekily making new stock suggestions where they don't.  (Though I'm not sure it is really cheeky to expect a good library to have the Hugo nominees in the SF section - I think they get in mainstream fiction award winners, and the Richard & Judy book club etc.)  Notes under the cut mainly for my own benefit, though other Cambridgeshire-based people might be interested.

Read more... )
rmc28: (books)
Most books I read are bought from charity shops, given/lent by friends and (since it reopened) borrowed from the library. There are many authors whose books I generally enjoy but I'm happy to leave until I spy them in the library or a charity shop. But there is a small and select list of authors for whom I will not wait - the moment their book is out (in paperback, drat my RSI and the already-full bookcases) I will buy it, or preferably have it pre-ordered to arrive with me as early as humanly possible.

In no particular order my current "unmissables" are:

Terry Pratchett
Elizabeth Bear
Lois McMaster Bujold
Jim Butcher
Sarah Monette
C.E. Murphy
Charles Stross

The authors in bold are also unmissables for Tony. I wonder if it's significant that all our shared unmissable authors are male, and all my unmissables are female.

Who are your unmissable authors?
rmc28: (books)
About a month ago I stepped into Oxfam to check if they sold donated VHS tapes, and came out with:

* a box set of 9 Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House" books
* the latest Marian Keyes paperback
* the latest Sue Grafton paperback (T)
* a book by a Fellow of my old College set in a fictional but similar women-only College

A month later I have read one, count it, one of these (the Sue Grafton). My to-read pile is measured in triple-stacked shelves, and yet I still struggle to not buy books I like the look of if they are in front of me. My buying habits were formed in the teenage years where my local bookshops were WHSmith and the charity shops. Then my disposable income roughly matched the incidence of finding books I wanted to buy and the rate at which I read them. My disposable income has grown and my spare time to read has shrunk but I don't seem to have adjusted.

I am hoping the reopened central library will help here. It is 5 minutes at my pace and 10 at Charles's from where I pick him up each evening, so we should be able to pop in once a week or so to change books. I can take out my quota of New Shiny Books (and at the moment it looks like every book is new and shiny in there) without costing myself money and more space than 10 books at a time. I am hoping this will displace at least a little the urge to buy up "everything good" in the Oxfam bookshop every few weeks.
rmc28: (charles-summer09)
About a month ago, Charles had a sudden leap in his attention span and we were able to bring out a whole pile of books previously stashed away as "too long". As children do, he wants the same few over and over for a while before trying something new. I think Tony and I can now recite the whole of The Gruffalo, but not quite as correctly as Charles.

At Louise's in August we discovered he would sit still for the whole of an original Railway Stories (Thomas) book. I did some hunting around once we got back and eventually managed to get a second-hand box set of all the original books for a bearable price. We are now slowly working our way through them and admiring the faithfulness of the tv adaptations narrated by Ringo Starr.

Charles has also started "reading" his favourite books to himself, turning the pages and reciting the appropriate bits at each stage. It is terribly cute.
rmc28: (books)
[livejournal.com profile] nwhyte recently mentioned BookMooch, and I had some fun listing books and making my first symbolic mooch on Saturday. At first it was just the slightly-too-tatty-for-Oxfam books that I still think someone will love. And then I found myself looking at my books and wondering which ones I'm never going to read again.

I also reminded myself again of BookCrossing which is rather more altruistic, informal and social than BookMooch. I think on the whole I prefer BookMooch - it's quicker, it's simpler, and the points system formalises the benefit-to-individuals that happens informally with BookCrossing. I find it interesting that the very simple reward scheme of BookMooch has prompted me to seriously look at my permanent book collection in the way that my use of charity shops and BookCrossing has not.

The funding model for BookMooch appears to be partly Amazon sales referrals, and partly a tipbox. I do wonder how sustainable this is.

[Note on Amazon: while the gay books teacup-storm has died down now, and apologies have been made, various people pointed out other reasons to avoid Amazon which matter to me, and of which I had not previously been aware. So I am hesitant to leap back into giving them money, even though they make it so very easy to do so. I also feel I have to check on any alternative that they aren't doing the same kind of things of which I disapprove, before I definitely spend money elsewhere. The whole thing just makes me freeze up on buying new books, which may be no bad thing! But then where does that leave using BookMooch, which appears to be financially dependent on at least some people spending money at Amazon?]


But back to the weekend of books: for some time now we have been meaning to make a slight adjustment to the bookcases in our bedroom. The bookshelves are deep enough to double-stack but to discourage this we had placed the books at the front of the shelves. The inevitable hideous build up of dust behind the books took place. In the meantime we had accumulated a great many books to insert into the alphabetically-sorted shelves. The trouble with a large book collection and alphabetic sorting is that insertion takes a lot of effort, so I like to save it up for months at a time.

I therefore spent a lot of Sunday afternoon and evening moving books around, vacuuming books and shelves, filtering in newly-read books, and putting aside books to give away. With the exception of the top shelf (because otherwise I can neither see nor reach the books there), all the books are now at the back of the shelves, which will make it easier to dust regularly. It also makes it easier to stack books ready to filter in.

My cull resulted in a small pile of books to give away immediately, and another pile approximately 3 times bigger to read one more time to decide whether to keep or give away. I had to find somewhere to put these two new piles, so I implemented a plan I've had for a while to swap my to-read pile in the living room with the anthologies in the study. This means when people look at those shelves in the living room, they see nice interesting books grouped sensibly together, rather than my haphazard never-shrinking to-read pile.

This involved more vacuuming, and the drafting of the dining table as swap space. I took the opportunity to roughly sort the to-read pile into:

* non-fiction
* Mills & Boon
* "last chance saloon" fiction culled from my permanent collection
* all other fiction

I'm hoping this will make it easier for me to find the kind of book I'm after when I want something new to read, which in turn might make the to-read pile seem more like a source of entertainment and pleasure than a burden of guilt.

The immediate giveaway pile is slowly going onto BookMooch as I have time, and I'm already receiving and responding to requests. The main problem I foresee is resisting the urge to acquire even more books with the points I'm earning. Apart from that first mooch, I'm going to try to only mooch books when I'm ahead of my 1-item-per-day decluttering target. Let's see how long that lasts.
rmc28: (books)
On holiday I spent a happy evening reading all of Jo Walton's reviews of the Vorkosigan books, in publication order, and was inspired to reread.

Can anyone lend me The Warrior's Apprentice and/or Mirror Dance? Those are the only ones I don't have on the shelf.

Edit: Solved, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] hilarityallen.

Haha

2008-07-23 21:02
rmc28: (silly)
An advert in the back of the most recently-read ancient M&B romance (formatting theirs):

"Each Romance features British heroines and their encounters with dark and desirable Mediterranean men. Plus, a free Elmlea recipe booklet inside every pack."

Yeah, that's the way to attract those dark and desirable Mediterranean men: fake cream.

Annoyed by two books in a row featuring wimpy women and sexual assault justified by "she wanted it really".
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf-2)
I picked these up at the library on impulse a few weeks ago and in my enforced bed rest yesterday finally got around to reading them.

Babycalming by Caroline Deacon is an NCT publication aimed at parents of children aged 0-2. I realised fairly quickly that it covered mostly things I've learned by trial and error with Charles, but for that reason I'd recommend it unhesitatingly to other new parents or parents-to-be. It has research statistics to back up its recommendations and for amusement there are quotes on childcare from the last 200 years on the chapter headings - so you get to see how some things never change and advice goes in and out of fashion. Most of all though, it isn't prescriptive, and it puts the power in the hands of the parents: more "you could try this, and these are the reasons why it might work, and these are some reasons why it might not" than "follow My Grand Plan For Parenting". If I'd had this 15 months ago I'd probably have started cosleeping much sooner, and maybe had more confidence sooner in other things I did.

If Babycalming was really being read a year or two late, then the other book, How to Say No and Mean It, is really a year or two early but still interesting. After an introduction about the general concept of its approach to child discipline, the book is in 2 parts. The first part is shorter and is simply a list of tools one might make use of to manage your children, in alphabetical order, with expansion and discussion under each heading. The second part is longer and is a list, again alphabetised, of problems or situations with more discussion and reference to the tools in the first part. It runs from small children up to adolescents and I skimmed quite a lot of it. Still, most of it felt like good common-sense (model the behaviour you want to see, don't have double-standards, explain and teach rather than order, remember that children are not small adults and amend your expectations accordingly, treat children as individual people not labels). I can see it being a useful reference book in a year or two. I didn't agree with absolutely everything in it, but the vast majority of it made sense.

2 for 2 on "not throwing across room in disgust" there. Perhaps I am getting better at spotting the ones I won't like.
rmc28: (glowy)
A while ago Ingi recommended Raising Boys to me, and while I was browsing Amazon for that I also looked at Raising Babies by the same author. I requested both of them through the local library system along with What Mothers Do (about which I have enthused before). I read Raising Babies very quickly and it has completely changed my mind about what I want to do for Charles's childcare.

Until now I have been working on the assumption we would place him in the university nursery at 18 months so I could return to full-time work, as the cheapest and most convenient option. I started to feel warning signs recently when the nursery wouldn't confirm whether I had a place "as we are only processing applications for this year at this time" and I found myself pointing out to a friend that it appeared that the administration was run for the convenience of the nursery rather than the parents or the children.

The book is unapologetically campaigning, with the central thesis that children under three should not go to nursery, but should instead be cared for by parents, or if that is not possible, by a single dedicated carer. The points made are:

* Nursery is a qualitatively different environment from the parental home or a nanny or childminder arrangement, with children being grouped and looked after by multiple staff, often with a high turnover. The very frequent interaction that characterises most parent-child relationships (and certainly does ours with Charles) does not occur in a nursery setting, and has been shown not to by filmed observation, even when the workers knew they were being observed and presumably trying to look as good as possible.
* 0-3 is exactly the age where children are learning to socialise and need to have strong bonds with a very few loving carers who will give them the frequent intense interaction described above.
* There is evidence from several large UK-based studies that children placed in nursery before three are at much higher risk of developing anti-social behaviour in later life.
* Cortisol tests show that apparently calm babies/children are in fact very stressed when isolated from their primary carers.

The author has clear strong views on the "right" way to parent, but these happen to be the way Tony and I parent: with strong attachment and attention to the child, letting the child set the pace of development, and so on (all the stuff that tends to get wrapped up in the label "attachment parenting"). In particular the point about young babies wanting/needing to have a strong bond with a very few people really resonated with my observations of Charles: he wants me most of all, then Tony as a second-best and there are a very small number of other adults with whom he seems to relax, and then not always. He will be friendly to almost everyone, but he needs that reassurance of someone he knows really well being around. I am sure there are thousands of people who went to nursery under 3 who are just fine, but I am now convinced it is not the right thing for Charles or us.

In essence, this book was not so much telling me things I didn't know (with the exception of some of the studies) as exposing opinions/beliefs I already had and showing me how they were incompatible with sending Charles to nursery at 18 months old. In addition, I'd always thought I should go back to full-time work sooner, as the higher earner, but in fact I am happy with my current workload, while Tony is beginning to chafe. So it may be him going back first, as that is (probably) still a financial win as well as a happiness win. I am beginning to think about childminders and budgets.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I went out late, and then just missed the bus 10 minutes after the ideal one to catch. No problem, think I, it's an every 10 minute service. Half an hour later two buses turned up at once. So I was rather late to meet Tony et al for lunch but they were very tolerant. I just managed to finish in time to pick up some CUMC stuff from Pembroke and get to the midwife on time.

Lovely lovely midwife. She confirmed she's happy for me to home birth despite the big baby - the things that could go wrong are "all things we can spot coming and discuss transfer". We have provisionally booked an induction at the hospital for 42 weeks, though I can probably refuse it at the time if I'm feeling unhappy. If I do so, she will have to "strongly recommend" I go into the hospital and talk through the choices and risks with an obstetrician, and they will want to do full fetal monitoring. Fine by me, so long as I actually get to talk through choices and risks and don't get ordered around again.

She also wrote in my notes (with my agreement) that I declined to see the obstetrician again at 41 weeks, as I already have a midwife appointment at home at 41w2d, where if I want she can do a stretch-and-sweep. But she was very clear that I was under no pressure to accept that offer, and that she'd respect my fear of vaginal exams, be very careful, and stop the moment I told her to.

Should baby and I actually make it to next Wednesday without parting company I am probably likely to accept the stretch-and-sweep. Of the methods of attempting induction it is the least offensive, and I do trust my midwife to stop if I can't cope. I'd certainly rather try that in the relaxed environment of my home if it keeps me from the hospital the following week.

After all that, she checked the baby and thinks it has engaged a little more, and we both heard the heartbeat strongly. All continues healthily.

After the appointment I did more walking - paying in rent money from Sue, paying in CUMC cheques, and going into Cambridge Library for the first time in about 7 years. My membership had expired so I had to reregister, but at least that avoided the "I've changed my name to this complicated alternative" conversation. I borrowed four books. One I've read before, two unread ones by authors I already know and one completely new one.

I'm hoping to get back in the habit of using a library - yes I have a giant to-read pile and yes I have all of Tony's books that I haven't yet read, but for some reason I have this urge for variety at times, for books that haven't been staring at me for the last n months or years. Up till now I've just bought more books in that mood, but I'm going to see if the library makes a good substitute. I already noticed that it certainly makes me more willing to try random new authors.
rmc28: (books)
123. Web of the Witch World, Andre Norton
124. Innocent Blood, P.D. James
125. The Chrysalids, John Wyndham

126-128. Baby Love, Gill Sanderson/Fiona McArthur/Janet Ferguson
Three-in-one Mills and Boon novel picked up in Oxfam. All three have midwife heroines (and consultant heroes, how dull) and funnily enough involve babies a lot. The middle book of the three is essentially propaganda for the active/natural birth movement, with the romantic formula serving as a useful framework on which to hang a series of birth stories where the midwife heroine helps mothers have a normal birth, and argues her case each time with the obstetrician hero. I found it great fun to read these dramatised versions of things I've been reading and researching in a more sober manner over the last few months. It helps that I think the midwife is right, of course ;)

129. X-Wing: Wedge's Gamble, Michael A. Stackpole
130. The Railway Children, E Nesbit
131. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
132. Hot Money, Dick Francis
133. The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
134. Learning The World, Ken MacLeod
135. Total Recall, Sara Paretsky
136. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
137. Banner of Souls, Liz Williams
138. Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

I've been working through a job lot of children's classics I bought last year, interspersed with two books bought from Oxfam at the same time as the Mills & Boon, another 'less-frequently read' Dick Francis, and some science fiction that ambushed [livejournal.com profile] fanf when he innocently walked through a bookshop.

139. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
And I've finally read this, about four years after the first person told me earnestly I should. I enjoyed it, but not quite as much as people seemed to want me to believe I would. I will read Fforde's other books at some point, although right now what I really want to read is Jane Eyre. I haven't read any of the Brontë books so perhaps now is a good time to start.
rmc28: (books)
109. Pompeii, Robert Harris
Actually I read this somewhere in the middle of my Georgette Heyer fest, but I forgot because I made the mistake of reshelving it. It's an utterly gripping thriller that happens to be set in convincing (sometimes unpleasantly so) historical detail, following the official in charge of the aqueduct who is trying to work out why it has stopped flowing somewhere on Mount Vesuvius ... Tony has other books by Robert Harris so no doubt I will get around to reading those in time.

110. A Cat Called Birmingham, Chris Pascoe
Tony's mother lent us this, a silly book about a very unfortunate cat and the various bad things that happen to him. I didn't find it quite as laugh-out-loud amusing as Tony and his mum, but it definitely had its moments.

111. Rat Race, Dick Francis
Planes! Unfortunately my copy of this is falling to bits so will need replacing at some point.

112. Frank Skinner, Frank Skinner
Enjoyable autobiography, and unsurprisingly very funny in places (though I felt never inappropriately).

113. A Taste for Death, P.D. James
114. Devices and Desires, P.D. James
I'm finally working through some of my to-read pile, which includes a lot of P.D. James which my mother was getting rid of. They're very absorbing and beautifully written, but I'm not sure whether I'd really want to re-read any of them. I guess I'll hang on to them for a year or two and then decide.

115. Madam, Will You Talk?, Mary Stewart
116. Wildfire At Midnight, Mary Stewart
117. Thunder on the Right, Mary Stewart
I lent these to Kate some time ago and she returned them to me when packing. So obviously I had to read them (and they are still as good as last year when I discovered them).

118. Smokescreen, Dick Francis
119. Trial Run, Dick Francis
I've been picking out some of my Dick Francis collection that I know 'less well' and am really enjoying them. These two are vivid (if rather outdated) depictions of South Africa and Moscow. I'm resisting the urge to 'fill in' the gaps in my collection right now, on the grounds of not enough space and still too many books on the to-read shelves.

120. The Other Side of Paradise, Laurie Page
[livejournal.com profile] nassus lent me this - I've managed not to read any M&B for a while, but it was just what I needed on Tuesday when flaked out from heat.

121. Shroud for a Nightingale, P.D. James

122. Witch World, Andre Norton
Earlier this year I read most of my 'Witch World' books, but in a slightly idiosyncratic order. Finally I decided to pick up the first one (and the one I know best) and reread it, and it's still very enjoyable.
rmc28: (books)
Which Hugo-winning novels have I read? (in bold)
Read more... )

More than I would have guessed, given the question. At least some of the ones I haven't read are on the bookshelves thanks to Tony, so maybe I can get completionist about it.
rmc28: (books)
87. Venetia, Georgette Heyer
88. The Grand Sophy, Georgette Heyer
89. Cotillion, Georgette Heyer
90. Pistols for Two, Georgette Heyer
91. The Quiet Gentleman, Georgette Heyer
92. Frederica, Georgette Heyer
93. The Nonesuch, Georgette Heyer

94. The Hidden Family, Charles Stross
I already enthused about this in its own entry.

95. These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer
96. Powder and Patch, Georgette Heyer

97. Accelerando, Charles Stross
This arrived in the middle of my Heyer-fest, and everything else got dropped to read it. I loved it, it sparked with brilliant ideas and made me laugh only 3 pages in (and repeatedly thereafter). I forced my eyelids open to finish reading it, only to have to reread the final chapter the next day because I hadn't remembered any of it. It's brilliant, and should be read (and just won the Locus award for Best Science Fiction Novel of 2005.)

98. The Spanish Bride, Georgette Heyer
99. Beauvallet, Georgette Heyer
100. Royal Escape, Georgette Heyer
101. A Civil Contract, Georgette Heyer

102. Chocky, John Wyndham
That is apparently the same ISBN as the book I have, but the cover has definitely been changed.

103. Charity Girl, Georgette Heyer
104. The Toll Gate, Georgette Heyer

105. Skunk Works, Ben Rich & Leo Janos
Interesting non-fiction book about Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works, and the development of the F117A stealth fighter, the U2 and the Blackbird aeroplanes.

106. Death to the Landlords, Ellis Peters
Murder mystery set in 1970s India. As always, Peters writes beautifully and delivers a good plot, but what jumped out at me was the apparent need to describe Indian food that is commonplace today. It was first published in 1971 and then I guess a British author might feel it necessary to describe a picnic lunch made up of "little three-cornered pastry cases stuffed with vegetables, and crisp pancakes sprinkled with paprika, the dough-cake type of bread called nan, and joints of chicken fried in golden batter."

107. Sari & Sins, Nisha Minhas
Continuing the Indian theme a little, this is an entertaining bit of British chick-lit, where some of the characters happen to be second-generation Indians and two of them are just starting an arranged marriage at the start of the book. I don't think I'll bother keeping it, but I'll look out for others by the same author.

108. Blood Sport, Dick Francis
A typical Francis novel, with horses and skulduggery and a bit of romance. I've only read it a few times, and I'm still struck by the portrayal of depression in the narrator/hero character.
rmc28: (books)
Earlier this week we received The Hidden Family, book 2 of Charles Stross' "Merchant Princes" series. [livejournal.com profile] fanf got to it first because I was in the middle of a Heyer, but once he'd finished it, I read it in nearly one sitting, only the necessity of actually sleeping breaking it up. It's really really good. It does show that it's the second half of a book begun with The Family Trade, but together they make an excellent start to a trilogy appearing in six books. I have thus far resisted reading the trailer-chapter of The Clan Corporate handily included at the back.

I'm mildly disconcerted to realise that the only Stross on our shelves is Singularity Sky. I think that [livejournal.com profile] emperor has The Atrocity Archives and [livejournal.com profile] crazyscot has Iron Sunrise, Toast and The Family Trade. But I could be wrong, especially about the latter two books. Anyway, when we have The Family Trade back, I will happily lend it and The Hidden Family out as a pair, as they should be read.

Accelerando should be arriving from Amazon in less than 2 weeks. Maybe this time I'll get in first.
rmc28: (books)
56. Shardik, Richard Adams
57. The Laughing Policeman, Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö

58. Four From The Witch World, Andre Norton
The four stories in here are by Elizabeth H. Boyer, C.J. Cherryh, Meredith Ann Pierce & Judith Tarr. It was Tarr's story that stood out as truly excellent. I would like to read more by her.

59. Tales of the Witch World, Andre Norton
60. Gryphon's Eyrie, Andre Norton and A.C. Crispin
61. The Deep Blue Goodbye, John D. MacDonald
62. Flight In Yiktor, Andre Norton

63. Antarctica, Kim Stanley Robinson
Still as absorbing as the first time I read it (when I was on summer placement at British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge)

64. Engaging The Enemy, Elizabeth Moon
Not fair, she still hasn't finished the story and I'll have to wait another year or two for the next instalment. (Amazon have "Vatta's War" paperback with no cover image for publication 1st March 2007).

65. Borders of Infinity, Lois McMaster Bujold
66. Ethan of Athos, Lois McMaster Bujold
rmc28: (books)
Cut because it's long )
Special mention for Kamila Shamsie, who I discovered recently thanks to a short story she had published in Prospect. She writes literary family stories set in Karachi, in the sort of family that has relations in London and America, and is rich enough to avoid the worst of life in the overcrowded city. I've enjoyed everything I've read by her and will happily lend out to share the joy.

Also for the Best Friend's Guide to Pregnancy, which [livejournal.com profile] j4 kindly gave me, and which made me laugh a lot on on the ferry last Friday. There are some minor irritations, like the constant capitalising of Friend, but overall it's a good book for the emotional/practical aspects of pregnancy, rather than the medical. It's so useful to have repeated reassurances that I'm not going insane (or at least no more than any pregnant woman). The heavy US bias is compensated by frequent footnotes explaining how it's different in the UK, almost every one of which made me glad I'm in the UK. I'm going to pass it on to my nearly-as-pregnant-as-me colleague.
rmc28: (books)
Cut to save those that aren't interested! )
Anyway, now I've caught up on my book-blogging, I can actually reshelve the books that have been stacking up in the study waiting for me to do so, so I can get at the lever-arch files they're blocking so I can file away lots of bits of paper so I have some hope of clearing the overflowing intray this weekend. Tony points and laughs and accuses me of yak shaving. I think I disagree - I've been wanting to get the books sorted for several weeks but keeping being ill/away/asleep/at work.
rmc28: (books)
211. Startide Rising, David Brin
Sequel, a couple of centuries on, to Sundiver. Better, I thought, and more engrossing, going into a lot more detail of the Uplift universe and the species therein. Genetically-enhanced dolphins in space - what's not to like?

212. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling
213. See Jane Score, Rachel Gibson
214. After Ever After, Rowan Coleman
Light reading while I was migrainey. The first two met the criteria admirably, the last one less so. It's a book about "after the fairy tale wedding", well-written and with interesting characters, but not exactly happy. The 'big idea' it portrays is that marriage doesn't stay as fairy-tale as the whirlwind romance and wedding, and if a couple goes into the marriage thinking it will always be perfect, they're very ill-prepared when trouble sneaks up. Which I don't think is that big or new an idea, but sure enough rarely features in the average romance or chick-lit.

215. Short, Sharp Shock, Kim Stanley Robinson
I read this quickly before wrapping it (ahem). It's a very odd little story, beautifully told and atmospheric but without much of a structure. At one point they cross a tidal causeway following a guide called Birsay, but if there were other references in the story, I didn't get them.

216. The Uplift War, David Brin
This book made me late for work two days in a row, through being too good to put down. Follows one of the consequences of the actions in Startide Rising, on another planet a long way away. If I have a criticism of this series, it's that it makes humans and other Earthly species just too special and wonderful - Mary Sue on a grand scale.

I did pick up the next Uplift book, Brightness Reef. which is apparently the first of another trilogy, but found it too irritating in the first couple of chapters to continue. I will probaby skip the others of the trilogy too unless someone wants to persuade me that it's worth wading through reams of invented words and slang to get a good story.
rmc28: (books)
7 weeks' reading. In my last books entry I said I wasn't buying any more books because five shelves of to-read was enough. I've now managed to get it down to four shelves, but I did accidentally buy some books earlier this week, as well as the replacement Moons last week.
Read more... )
rmc28: (books)
144. Their New Family, Janice Kay Johnson
145. Operation: Texas, Roxanne Rustand
Superromances. Amused to note that the first obviously had a name change very close to publication ...

146. The Crystal Cave, Mary Stewart
147. The Hollow Hills, Mary Stewart
148. The Last Enchantment, Mary Stewart
The King Arthur legend, retold with some effort at historical context, all told from Merlin's point of view. The first one is really Merlin's life up until the conception of Arthur. The second picks up the story until the young Arthur is proclaimed King. The third runs over Arthur's reign until Merlin's death. Throughout the main characters are portrayed fairly sympathetically, and with an moderation of the common stereotypes in the legend. I add these to my collection of Arthurian versions (must find the Rosemary Sutcliff one now).

149. The Wicked Day, Mary Stewart
Mordred's story, and rescues him from villainy nearly as well as The Mists of Avalon rescues Morgan le Fay.

150. The Prince and the Pilgrim, Mary Stewart
A fairly short, sweet little romance, adapted from one of the existing legends around Arthur, although the characters never quite make it to Camelot.

151. Return to Little Hills, Janice MacDonald
Superromance.

152. The Family Trade, Charles Stross
Recommended to me by [livejournal.com profile] bellinghwoman and very gripping - I read it in about a day. Fantasy rather than SF if you care about genre distinction, much more readable than Singularity Sky (but on a par with Concrete Jungle, which is what redeemed Stross for me). Annoyingly it ends on something of a cliff-hanger, and the sequel is only just out in hardback. (I don't like reading hardbacks).

153. Faro's Daughter, Georgette Heyer
Because it was lying around and I had a spare few hours and it always makes me laugh.
rmc28: (books)
Lots of light reading, some childhood favourites and some books I wish had been.
Read more... )
rmc28: (books)
I've been reading a lot of books in the last three weeks.
Read more... )
rmc28: (grouchy)
Last night it all got a bit much and with Tony's help I rang NHS Direct to ask about the safety of taking my paracetamol+codeine pills rather than just paracetamol, on top of the diclofenac. I also rang home, but mum was out, so I rang his mum instead, who calmed me down - hurrah for second mothers. She also urged me to get more pushy with the doctors if I didn't improve. My own mother said the same thing this morning, so I'm currently waiting for an NHS Direct nurse to ring me back (calling the Daphne ward directly didn't get an answer).

I hate hate hate the recorded message that says they are facing exceptional demand and to hold the line if my call is urgent, or call back later. It takes both my mothers' voices in my head to keep me telliing myself that taking three different painkillers and still hurting too much to sit upright counts as "urgent".

Both mothers have told me to consider going private. I don't want to be someone who uses money to jump the queue, but it's amazing how that objection starts melting away in the face of everything hurting.

Yes, I'm whining. When I have something good to talk about, I will.

Well, I am reading some good books: Jenny Crusie writes very good romantic comedy, which is helping to keep me sane, and a whole stack of Diane Duane books arrived yesterday for me from Canada when I finish those. Hurrah for Abebooks.
rmc28: (books)
75. Nine Coaches Waiting, Mary Stewart
76. My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart
77. The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart
78. This Rough Magic, Mary Stewart

79. The Whale Rider, Witi Ihimaera

80. The Gabriel Hounds, Mary Stewart

Still working through the Mary Stewart "dashing heroines" books. They're all excellent reads, thoroughly recommended. Set in, respectively, France, Greece, England, Corfu and Lebanon. I read the Whale Rider in the middle for a bit of contrast: it's beautifully atmospheric.

81. Digital Fortress, Dan Brown
This on the other hand, comes thoroughly disrecommended. To be honest, I don't know why I stuck with it to the predictably disappointing and clunky ending. I bought it, together with Angels and Demons, because WH Smith had them on buy-one-get-one-half-price at King's Cross and I'd only two chapters of The Gabriel Hounds to go, and I thought "The Da Vinci Code was quite worth reading, maybe his other books are worth reading too". Oh what a mistake that was.

Dan Brown does his research well enough, but he then has his characters regurgitate it in clunky dialogue. For extra fun, in Digital Fortress he also narrates in tedious detail what the dialogue means, so the reader Is In No Doubt. Unfortunately, I think he simply doesn't understand what he's been researching, at least on the computer/cryptography side. The plot is deeply implausible and the characters even more so, and everything is just at best mediocre and often far worse.

I tried to read Angels and Demons but on the prelude page he spouts a lot of bollocks about antimatter under the heading "Fact", and then he has more painful dialogue and Helpful Explanatory Narration and badly-understood physics (again, painstakingly researched, just not understood). And the bloody Illuminati are involved. When he brought in yet another Terribly Clever Gorgeous Mysterious Heroine. All I can think if he's so clearly got his crypto research wrong and his physics research wrong, how much faith can I put in his "art history and architecture" research in the Da Vinci Code? Probably not much - in fact [livejournal.com profile] sierra_le_oli pointed out at least one mistake about Paris.

So in summary: Dan Brown: Just Say No.

82. Faking It, Jenny Crusie
By contrast, this book had me laughing out loud. Brilliantly-written rom-com, cleverly plotted and using the best farce cliches (in a good way). Thoroughly enjoyable, I will have to get my own copy of this (it's a lend from [livejournal.com profile] fanf's mother) and there are at least five more listed on http://www.jennycrusie.com/ ...

83. Reflex, Dick Francis
An old favourite I found lying around at [livejournal.com profile] fanf's father's place. Still as good a read as the first time I read it, even if it definitely shows its age. Particularly good in contrast to the abysmal Dan Browns.

84. The Partner, John Grisham
85. The Last Juror, John Grisham
I haven't read Grisham in ages, but I generally enjoy him when I do, and these two are no exception: good characterisation, plotting, dialogue, narration. I also seem to have hooked Tony, who has been digging out the existing Grishams on our shared shelves.

86. A Murder on the Appian Way, Steven Saylor
Another "Roman detective" book, with the same character as in Roman Blood which I read a month or two ago. Gordianus The Finder is about 20 years older in this book, and I gather there are two other books set in the intervening years. Steven Saylor's books seem to be based on enormous amounts of research and the cases involved are matters of historical record, as he describes in the appendix.

87. The Moon Spinners, Mary Stewart
This book's dashing heroine is in Crete. The quality remains excellent.
rmc28: (books)
Time to tidy up the read-books pile, but I'm a bit tired for detailed comments, so really just a few notes for my benefit. I have finally cancelled getting any more romances, as I have two large piles of those, plus a load of second-hand Mary Stewart books, and a load of Diane Duane on the way. (Abebooks is a truly dangerous website)
Read more... )
rmc28: (books)
52. Heartsease, Peter Dickinson
The sequel to The Weathermonger, which I remember as an excellent children's book. I'm not sure if this is Tony's book or one of mine that I failed to read before shelving. Anyway, it's a well-told adventure and I enjoyed it.

53. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
Well, it's a fun read, and it's made me want to look at some famous works of art, but I'm not quite sure why it's a massive bestseller. I suppose it's the same as Harry Potter: not brilliant, but good and with a broad appeal. And of course a conspiracy theory. Anyway, I may look out for other books by the same chap if I want some pleasant reading.

54. Digital Dreams, edited by David V. Barrett
[livejournal.com profile] fanf handed this to me so I could read Langford's What Happened at Cambridge IV which was indeed excellent and creepy. Of the others in the book, Gaiman's Virus, Grant's The Machine It Was That Cried and Fearn's Twister of Words particularly stood out, and although I enjoyed Pratchett's # ifdefDEBUG + "world/enough" + "time" I didn't find it amazing. There were also a few I didn't enjoy at all, but the advantage of short stories is at least those ones are over quickly.

55. Nobody's Baby, Debra Webb
56. The One That Got Away, Leslie Kelly
57. Secret Lullaby, Isabel Sharpe
The last three of the Forrester Square romance series. The first one repeated too much of the previous book, from different people's points of view admittedly, but was mildly irritating. However the last two neatly finished off the second ongoing mystery of the series in a reasonably competent manner.

[livejournal.com profile] fanf's mother Louise lent me a load of other books apart from The Da Vinci Code and in parallel with that I think I may be finally hitting my limit on the romances. I signed up for another 16-book series, 11 of which have arrived and I've read only one, plus I'm building up a backlog of the normal monthlies. I think when my last batch of "Code Red" books arrives I'll cancel the ongoing monthly series, leaving me with a nice stock to snack on occasionally if I really can't find anything I want to bother with in my own to-read pile or the loans from Louise.
rmc28: (books)
19. Fool's Errand, Robin Hobb
20. The Golden Fool, Robin Hobb
21. Fool's Fate, Robin Hobb
Another trilogy set in the same world as the Assassins and Liveship books, continuing mostly with the characters from the Six Duchies (although not entirely, as it turns out) and very very satisfying.

22. Disappear, Kay David
23. The Daddy Quest, Lori Handeland
The other half of January's trashy romance pile.

24. Moving Target, Elizabeth Moon
Second in the Vatta's war series. The first one (Trading in Danger) was excellent, and this one is definitely not an afterthought kind of sequel, nor is the story in any way ended before the book finishes. (Entertainingly, I discovered that in the US, this book was released as "Marque and Reprisal". Yes, because that sounds really far cooler than Moving Target and is so much more relevant to the plot. What are these people smoking?) Unfortunately the next one doesn't appear to be yet, although one can pre-order a book called "Vatta's War" from Amazon due in November, if one is willing to do so when there is little more information than that.

25. Keeping Faith, Day LeClaire
26. Word of Honour, Dani Sinclair
Two more of the 16-book "Forrester Square" romance book project series thingy. Two at a time is definitely a good limit, stopping before I get fed up with them.

27. Harpy's Flight, Megan Lindholm
Megan Lindholm is Robin Hobb's other (real?) name, and this is one of her books written before the Six Duchies/Liveships trilogies. Engrossing enough, and there are apparently another three in the same world, but this one doesn't really compare with the Robin Hobb books. I might get more Megan Lindholm, but not while the to-read pile is so large.

I did also attempt to read two free Mills and Boon "Blaze" (i.e. porn) books, but they were both so dire it wasn't worth the effort. I may joke about the Superromances being trashy romance, but at least it's readable trashy romance.
rmc28: (books)
4. Ship of Magic, Robin Hobb
5. The Mad Ship, Robin Hobb
6. Ship of Destiny, Robin Hobb
This is definitely a rather epic fantasy trilogy. I estimate each book to be at least 1.5 times as long as the Assassin books, and the breadth of the story is much greater, the viewpoint moving around among the major characters (without losing the reader in just who is who, which is a good skill). The character development is fascinating - to take one example a spoiled brat I was really wishing accidents on during the first book becomes someone I was thoroughly rooting for by the end of the second. And the plot development is similarly engrossing, and the final bringing-together of all the threads at the end is deeply satisfying. I thoroughly recommend.

7. The Fake Husband, Lynette Kent
8. The Prodigal Cousin, Anna Adams
Had migraine. Trashy romances arrived. Hurrah.

9. Treasure of Green Knowe, Lucy M Boston
10. The River at Green Knowe, Lucy M Boston
11. An Enemy at Green Knowe, Lucy M Boston
Christmas presents from Tony's mum, from my wishlist, these lovely books were childhood favourites. "Treasure of Green Knowe" is actually "The Chimneys of Green Knowe" renamed for the American market. That and "An Enemy at .." were American editions, but reminded me of this post by [livejournal.com profile] clanwilliam about Lucy Boston's daugher-in-law republishing all the books. So I went to the Green Knowe website for details and posted off an order to Diana Boston, which arrived within a few days. The American editions are now in the charity-shop box, unless anyone would like them before I next go (which could be a while, I tend to wait until it's quite full).

12. Reinventing Julia, Muriel Jensen (Forrester Square 1)
13. Twice and For Always, Cathy Gillen Thacker (Forrester Square 2)
14. All She Needed, Kate Hoffmann (Forrester Square 3)
15. Ring of Deception, Sandra Marton (Forrester Square 4)
This is one of those things I signed up for in a moment of weakness - a 16-book romance series set "in and around" the same square. The first four have been reasonably engaging, although to be honest it's actually the ongoing links between the books that make them interesting enough to stick with. The implausible plots so far have been: single mum goes into labour on man's doorstep; divorced parents who each took one twin baby discover they've moved to the same city and are sending their children to the same day-care nursery; career-focused woman is given guardianship of her best friend's children when said best friend dies just as gorgeous bloke (handily single but good with kids) moves in opposite; cop working undercover in the nursery falls for woman working at the place he's investigating (and her cutesy daughter at the nursery). Given that one of the linking features is the nursery, I suppose it's not surprising there are lots of children involved, but I'm pretty certain most of the small children I've met aren't this consistently cutesy and sweet.

The authors are at least managing to keep the linking characters and places consistent across the books, though some of them are better than others at working the master-plot into their own romantic plots - once or twice the "project plot" bits have stuck out like sore thumbs. I got six books in the first package, but I think four is more than enough to be going on with for now.

16. A Stranger at Green Knowe, Lucy M Boston
17. The Stones of Green Knowe, Lucy M Boston
18. The Sea Egg, Lucy M Boston
The first two complete my set of Green Knowe books, and were just as good as the first time I read them. The Sea Egg isn't a Green Knowe book, but is a lovely short book about two boys who find an egg on a Cornish beach, which hatches ... I bought it on impulse when I was ordering the other Green Knowes, and am glad I did.

After reading 7-18 in just over a week, I'm getting back into more meaty reading again. having picked up Fools Errand to start another Robin Hobb trilogy.
rmc28: (books)
The last of 2004:
134. The Last Honest Man, Lynnette Kent
January's escapism package arrived early.

135. Assassin's Apprentice, Robin Hobb
136. Royal Assassin, Robin Hobb
137. Assassin's Quest, Robin Hobb
One of the more engrossing fantasy trilogies I've ever read. I remember being sold the first book by a friendly seller on the Andromeda stall at the first Discworld Convention and not being able to put it down on the train home. One of those rare times when I've discovered a series before it's all been published, and had to hang on in frustration for each book to appear. I was delighted to find that I enjoy these as much as the first time around. There are two more Robin Hobb trilogies: the entire next one is on my to-read shelf and [livejournal.com profile] fanf has the first of the one after that.

And the first of 2005:
1. Nothing Sacred, Tara Taylor Quinn
2. The Good Daughter, Jean Brashear
3. The Bride Ran Away, Anna Adams
The rest of the January romance pile, all read in the aftermath of my New Year migraine.

Today is devoted to the unfortunate necessity of housework. One of the things I plan to do is tidy up the to-read piles which have been breeding and spreading around the house. Then I might take a 'start of year' photo to see if I can improve matters over the year. The usericon for this post is taken from a photo I took for [livejournal.com profile] mutster101 in May, and not much has changed since then, except the aforementioned breeding.

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rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Rachel Coleman

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