I'm taking advantage of the day off to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
Sometime in October, I appear to have lost the urge to blog about books. I'll be back eventually if the energy, time, and interest returns.
Bibliomaniac. Daughter of a Bookaholic. Wife of a Bibliovore. Mother of 2 Bibliophiles.
While my first love was SF and fantasy, I read widely in YA, urban fantasy, police procedurals, and non-fiction.
Also occassionally on GoodReads as J L's Bibliomania:
and Litsy @jlsbibliomania
I finally finished my first book for Halloween Bingo by re-reading The Raven Boys. While it can go many places I am counting it for the Raven Square.
The first time I read The Raven Boys, I listened to the audiobook, and was enchanted. This time, while my delight was somewhat lessened by already knowing the major reveals, Maggie Stiefvater's language was almost as magical in print as it was as an audiobook.
Reducing my rating from 5 stars to 4.5 because you can't be delighted by a book for the first time twice.
Blue, largely against her will, glanced to the booth he pointed to. Three boys sat at it: one was smudgy, just as he said, with a rumpled, faded look about his person, like his body had been laundered too many times. The one who'd hit the light was handsome and his head was shaved; a soldier in world where where the enemy was everyone else. And the third was -- elegant. It was not the right word for him, but it was close. He was fine boned and a little fragile looking, with blue eyes pretty enough for a girl.
I'm very much enjoying this re-read of The Raven Boys. My first time through was the audiobook read by Will Patton, which forced me to take the time to savor the language. I'm finding this time through different, with the major reveals no longer a surprise, but still loving how Maggie Stiefvater crafts language.
While The Raven Boys could fit many squares, I'm intending to use it for
Through Chapter 1. So far it's a very light read.
I don't know whether to be fascinated by Ms. Wright's attempt to make the material approachable by references to current pop culture (such as the allusion to the West Wing in the Chapter on the Antonine plague), or if these references will quickly make Get Well Soon horribly dated.
I've not made the time to read the other reviews coming out, in part because I don't want to prejudice the rest of my read.
Between procrastinating the book for my IRL book club, getting hooked on an online farming game, and starting to watch Dr. Who with my husband, I’ve spent a surprising amount of August not reading. I’m especially surprised because I’ve been on vacation for the past week and instead of my usual book a day, I have only finished one book (though I did DNF 2 others).
During August, I finished 3 books in print and 1 audiobook.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - J.E. Vance got a lot of press right after the 2016 presidential election, but it took me until now to listen to it as an audiobook. As advertised, Hillbilly Elegy discusses the plight of whites of Appalachia in the story of one family told by the son who "made it" and moved away. Like many personal narratives, I think Hillbilly Elegy would have made a wonderful long-form article, but the full book was a bit thin and repetitive. While Hillbilly Elegy does a good job of personalizing one segment of the white working class and their struggles, I found it long on anecdote and short on rigorous analysis that would have deserved the reviews saying that it explained the appeal of Mr. Trump to these voters who swung the election.
My IRL book club read The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware for August. After procrastinating starting it, I did finish it in time for the book club meeting, due in part to insomnia the night before the meeting. I didn't find the protagonist appealing, but once the story got going, the pages turned. The opinion of the book club was that The Woman in Cabin 10 was the suspenseful/thriller-like story that we were expecting for our previous selection Before the Fall - Noah Hawley.
My husband has been trying to get me to read Tinker - Wen Spencer for over a year. My younger son devoured the series this summer. I brought the opening volume of this urban fantasy-like series based on the premise that an orbital gate transfers a near-future Pittsburgh to the planet of the Elves on vacation with me. Tinker had some rough edges and Mary-sue-like moments, but I was right, it did make a good vacation read. I am curious to see where the series goes, but not quite sure how it might fit into Halloween Bingo (while you could stretch and call elves cryptozoological and there is a murder, at least this first book doesn't fit the suspense/mystery/horror requirement).
I've been intentionally trying to read more books by African-American authors. So after seeing glowing reviews, I started the 2017 National Book Award winner Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel - Jesmyn Ward. I can't articulate why, but the book just didn't grab me (The extended episode with the car-sick little girl was the penultimate straw). So, despite feeling that Sing Unburied Sing is something that I should have read, and a book that would be good to be conversant with as part of cultural literacy, I guiltily decided to DNF.
The rest of the family has also devoured Leviathan Wakes - James S.A. Corey this summer. DH is on book 4 of the series and older son is up to book 6. I started Leviathan Wakes late last week. After getting about 50 pages in on August 31st, I decided to throw it back onto the someday/maybe pile and move on to Halloween Bingo selections instead.
Note: I'm writing this a little hungover. That's my disclaimer if anything sounds snarky.
A common grumble in BookLikesandia is that the database could be better (my polite translation). This is a perennial grumble that rolls across BookLikesandia regardless of search/import outages or other unfortunate and annoying bugs.
I and the other librarians scurry around the records like ... ants, trying our best to fix things and make the database a solid body of reliable, verified data. No flag waving, but Themis-Athena and I have done over 100,000 edits combined - and in reality, the number is much higher because the system only counts how many times we open a record, not the number of edits we make while its open. With other librarians, the count is almost 150,000. We've been scurrying.
We have so much more work yet to do. Tip of the iceberg stuff.
But changes on BookLikes take a lot of time. There are no bulk-edit librarian tools; every book and author record has to be edited, merged, or tied together one at a time. Today, I did 7 pages of queued up edits, 20 to a page, in 5 different languages. It took me over 2.5 hours.
I enjoy doing it - I'm a nerd and get a great sense of satisfaction out of seeing an accurate and complete record. BUT - and this is the point of my lead up: if edits and new books were added correctly by most users, 2 hours of my time this morning could have been spent fixing old problems and cleaning up old records.
If records are submitted correctly (including edits), I could have gone through the 7 pages in the queue today in 30 minutes, instead of 2.5 hours. I've done posts before - repeatedly - about do's and don't's, and, let me be clear a lot of people DO submit wonderful records. Really, and it's really appreciated. We remember your names, and smile when you submit stuff. Ok, I do anyway.
But a lot of people are still missing the details. So. I have pictures. Screenshots of the two biggest time wasters for librarians processing the queue: mis-labelling formats, and adding ASINs where they should NOT be added.
Let's start with E-books:
Both of these are wrong, and have to be fixed. The first one because it's a KINDLE, not an ebook, and the second because it's an EBOOK, not a kindle, and the ASIN should NOT be theres. It should be on a KINDLE edition, seperate from the ebook edition.
This is what a correct ebook edition should look like.
This is what a correct KINDLE edition should look like.
Now, paperbacks and hardcovers:
Both of these are wrong and have to be fixed. Paperbacks and hardcovers NEVER HAVE AN ASIN.
This is an example of what a paperback edition should look like (and hardcover - except, of course, it should say "hardcover").
This record is doubly wrong:
No format was included, so we don't know if this is supposed to be a paperback, hardcover, ebook or kindle - hell, it could be an audiobook for all we know. So we have to leave Booklikes to search the web (because most of these include a GoodReads source URL that doesn't specify the format) to find out what format it is before we can correct it.
Sometimes shit happens. Sometimes mistakes are made, or someone is in a hurry, no biggie. But most of these aren't mistakes, most of them are submitted by serial offenders. And please understand that I'm not complaining about a few - almost half of the queued lists are usually made up of records like these, that have to be opened and corrected before they're approved. Today's count would have been close to 70 records. On top of the records missing covers, ISBNs, etc. Out of 140 records today, only about 40 were submissions I could just approve as is.
As I said, I enjoy doing this, as do the other librarians, but our time is finite, so whatever we spend on new submissions that have to be corrected is time we can't spend on fixing old records, bad imports, combining scattered editions and merging duplicate author records. The records that cause all the grumbling in the first place.
Please help us make the BookLikes database better for everyone. Rant over. Send aspirin.
I typically average about 5 books a month, so unlike many of the more voracious readers here, I’m not even going to attempt to black out my Bingo card*. So I think I’m going to follow the same strategy that I used last year – pick a likely row with a handful of interesting books and then just wait for the calls to catch up. Here are some of the books I'm debating for the start.
A3 – Slasher Stories
B3 – Spellbound (an embarrassment of choices)
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead - Kim Harrison (can also fit Deadlands, Cryptozoologist, Shifters et c.) available as an audiobok
The Book of Life - Deborah Harkness (might also fit Relics & Curiosities) - available as an audiobook but at 24 hours is longer than might commit to in audiobook during Bingo
A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab (one of many places this can go since I don’t have the Darkest London Square).
C3 – Raven
The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater (reread - though this can also go many places)
one of the overflow from Spellbound
A short story TBD
D3 – 13
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson (even though I think this will stretch my comfort zone and could go elsewhere)
Or more Raven Boys
E3 – Ghost Stories
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown - Seanan McGuire (could also fit New Release)
*Yes, I know short stories count towards Halloween Bingo, but I can’t see reading 25 of them in a 2-month span either. (And I’m just too likely to get sucked into the anthology and not move to other squares anyway)
I've now seen A Darker Shade of Magic on half a dozen reading plans for Halloween Bingo 2018. Who'd be interested in turning it into an unofficial buddy read?
I suggest that we start either over the weekend of September 15/16 or the weekend of September 22/23, though I'm open to any time that doesn't conflict with the official Buddy Read.
So who's interested and what dates do you suggest?
Even though I haven't picked books yet, I can't wait to show off my glorious card!
I'm amazed at those of you who already have a TBR list. While I have a few things I'm thinking about, I plan to spend the next few days window-shopping the reading lists ably compiled by Murder by Death and all of your TBR posts before announcing my intentions.
And if you aren't already spooked into joining us, you have until August 30, 2018 to become enthralled. Cards requests for the newly enspelled are placed here
TITLE: The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions
AUTHOR: Thomas McNamee
DATE PUBLISHED: 2017
"Our feline companions are much-loved but often mysterious. In The Inner Life of Cats, Thomas McNamee blends scientific reportage with engaging, illustrative anecdotes about his own beloved cat, Augusta, to explore and illuminate the secrets and enigmas of her kind.
As it begins, The Inner Life of Cats follows the development of the young Augusta while simultaneously explaining the basics of a kitten's physiological and psychological development. As the narrative progresses, McNamee also charts cats' evolution, explores a feral cat colony in Rome, tells the story of Augusta's life and adventures, and consults with behavioral experts, animal activists, and researchers, who will help readers more fully understand cats.
McNamee shows that with deeper knowledge of cats' developmental phases and individual idiosyncrasies, we can do a better job of guiding cats' maturation and improving the quality of their lives. Readers' relationships with their feline friends will be happier and more harmonious because of this book."
This book was less about the inner lives of cats, or the science and secrets of cats than an ode and memoir about the author's cat, Augusta.
The science bits were interesting though some of the numbers quoted lack a reference and make verification difficult. There were also many interesting sections on feral cats in Rome, sensory input and raising kittens and the semi-domestic nature of cats, as well as the stupidity of humans who keep wild animals in their homes and are surprised when it eats them or shreds the house. The majority of the book involves stories about Augusta. Sometimes these stories tied in with the more informative parts of the book, sometimes they didn't.
I haven't lived with a cat for years, so I'm not as inclined as cat-owners to go all soppy over the Augusta sections (maybe if Augusta was a German Shepherd it might have been different), but I did find the book entertaining and well-written though lacking in science.
-The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World by Abigail Tucker
- Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life by Matin Durrani & Liz Kalaugher
- Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World by Richard C. Francis
It's the first weekend in August, and Quincy (our dog) woke me before the rest of the household. Which means that it's time for an July reading roundup.
During July I read 5 novels (1 as an audio-book), 1 essay, and most of 1 non-fiction book
As I said previously,The 3rd volume in the Emberverse Universe was a disappointing read.
Deliverer - C.J. Cherryh , Book 9 in the Foreigner Universe. While reading this whole series (now up to 19 books) is a time commitment, and it takes the first trilogy to hit its stride, I recommend starting at the beginning. If you like stories that stick close to a single viewpoint, these books can be an interesting jaunt into what makes us human and how humans can/do interact with the other.
I’m still processing my feelings about All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel - Anthony Doerr, Zach Appelman . But it usually takes me a lot of time to process any stories set during WWII. Despite the hopscotching through time, All The Light We Cannot See worked well as an audiobook.
James Baldwin’s classic The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin is unfortunately still timely. I read this in part because a volume of recent essays called The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race - Jesmyn Ward is sitting on my shelf and I felt that I needed to understand what they were paying homage to.
The rhythm and swing of the prose shows Mr. Baldwin’s origins as a preacher composing for the listening experience. I recommend listening to the audiobook or reading The Fire Next Time out loud to savor the cadences.
I’m counting The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee as a July read, even though I didn’t finish it until last night. The Inner Life of Cats is more a memoir of the author’s life with cat with a side of science than a rigorous look at the science of cat ownership or cat behavior. If you’re a cat lover or a cat owner, Mr. McNamee assembled an easy to read stroll through his cat's life and you might learn some cat psychology along the way.
Well it's actually hour 20 of the Readathon, but I'm finally out from my life interruptions to be able to participate for a while.
What are you reading right now?
Currently trying to decide on my next book – Jump into Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel - Jesmyn Ward in print, or start something else right now and wait to “read” this as an audiobook mid-week.
How many books have you read so far?
I’ve read in 3.
Finished the last section of Deliverer - C.J. Cherryh
Listened to about 90 minutes of All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel - Anthony Doerr, Zach Appelman while driving to the Farmer’s Market and then to and from work
Read several chapters in The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee
All of these were the books I already happened to have in progress when the Readathon Hit.
What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Not sure – I hope to actually get some reading time in the last 4 hours of Readathon around putting up the veggies from my CSA share
Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
My whole day has been an interruption, but I knew that going in
What surprises you most about the Reverse Readathon so far?
I love how much more active the Facebook Group has been than in previous Readathons.
If you stick with the Foreigner series by CJ Cherryh for more than a few pages, you know that numbers are very, very important to the Atevi. And they have a strong preference for odd numbers, so tonight I can declare that I have finished the fortunate 9th book, the end of the 3rd trilogy in the saga of Bren Cameron.
Finishing my current book seemed like fortunate way to celebrate Dewey's Readathon!
I've also finished another chapter in The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee (the one about the feral cats of Rome).
In addition to mine - I've seen Readathon Posts by:
Booklikes addresses are also listed in the participant database
Though they are so far either hiding in their books, or participating via another social media outlet.
Well it's been a long, long week and tomorrow is a dizzy bay, so after cheering on the other Readathon participants, I'm heading off to bed.
What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
South Jersey (near Philadelphia)
Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
What stack? Other than the stack of possible next reads that I always have.
I first heard about the Readathon yesterday and work has been insane. I’m planning to finish Deliverer - C.J. Cherryh and make progress on The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee , two books I already have in progress. I haven’t planned past that, but have my usual collection of library books and ebooks to explore.
Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Tea and chocolate.
Tell us a little something about yourself!
I can’t believe that I’ve been doing this book-logging/book blogging thang since 2011!
If you want to know more about me, I was featured on the Booklikes Follow Friday just last week!
If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?
I am squeezing my usual few weekend hours of reading around a jam-packed weekend. But I love cheering and the energy of Readathon, and there’s a big cheering challenge this weekend so I couldn’t resist.
The Dewey's Readathon folks decided that #24in48 last weekend wasn't enough summer Readathon fun and that they didn't want to wait until the fall. So they're running another readathon this weekend!
Hours are 8 pm Friday July 27 to 8 pm Saturday July 28 (Eastern Standard time).
I missed the announcement at the beginning of the month so I'm not sure whether I can participate on 1-day's notice. But I hope some of you decide to read along.
P.S. You DON'T need to be able to read all 24-hours to participate