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My return to audio.

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

I haven’t listened to an audiobook in about a year. I don’t know why, really – I have several I’ve not listened to, and just haven’t gotten around to putting them in iTunes. The wrap-up posts across the book blogging world, especially among my Twitter friends, prompted me to get back to it, though, with many rave reviews of Wil Wheaton’s narration of Ready Player One. I’ve just finished Chapter Zero, and I think this is going to be a lot of fun. Have you read and/or listened to it? Drop a link to your review below and I’ll check them all out when I’m done (unless you specify that there are no spoilers in your review – then I’ll head over now).

Now, back to the game!

Blankets.

Monday, October 10th, 2011

I’ve only ever read one graphic novel before this year, and that was for a queer lit course – Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. I enjoyed it, and the format wasn’t really what I was expecting, but still didn’t go out of my way to read others.

Yesterday, a friend presented me with a copy of Blankets by Craig Thompson. Despite the fact that I’m in the middle of two other books, I dutifully began it immediately, as requested, and was engrossed from the first frames. The story is compelling enough, but the added visual mayhem, details of a life remembered, even the small grammatical errors – they create such an experience.

And panels like this one… so simple, but so expressive. I’m maybe a bit smitten.

If you’re a graphic novel reader, was there one that got you hooked? Which one? What are some of your favorites? Have links to reviews that aren’t spoiler-y? Drop them in the comments!

Readathon prep.

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

So anyone who has participated in Dewey’s Readathon knows that there are dangers – not the least of which is the explosion of your chosen feed reader both during and in the days following the event. Nearly every blog I subscribe to is one I discovered when I very first started blogging in the bookish world, and many are from Readathon connections. Part of me is tempted to unsub from anything whose author I’m not also connected with on Twitter, LibraryThing, etc., or to remove those blogs without an entry in the last year. But you know what? I’ve gone months at a time without updating here, and while my subscribers certainly haven’t grown, they haven’t dropped, either. So instead, I’ve marked my 1000+ unread as read, will make a point to actively go through my reader each day until the readathon, and only weed out those blogs I really don’t get anything from reading. Any blogs that aren’t updated will be put into a single folder together, and I’ll go through that one every once in a while to move updated blogs either into a category folder or unsub.

I’m also going to organize my reader more categorically; currently, it’s rather a hodgepodge, with book blogs in a couple of different places, social media and networking blogs mixed in with random internet funnies, and it really just needs tidying once and for all. I think that’ll make it far more manageable, not to mention that when it’s organized, I won’t be as overwhelmed by the sheer number of unread posts.

How do you read your favorite blogs and websites; do you use a reader, subscribe primarily via email, use browser bookmarks? Do you read daily, read everything at once once a week, give up and mark all as read and promise to do better next week? :)

Love-hate relationship.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

My brother is reading Ender’s Game, one of my absolute favorite books since I was his age, and it makes my heart happy. However.
I frequently struggle with the fact that the author of one of my favorite books is a known homo-hater. I know that if we restricted ourselves to art created by people who wouldn’t discriminate against us, we would miss out on a lot of incredible works of literature, graphic art, and music, not to mention that all artists’/authors’ opinions are not so widely known. So I compromise in the only way I know how – I purchase his books second-hand when possible, or if I really want one when it’s just published, I buy it from an indie bookseller (as I do with all new books). What are your thoughts on the artist vs the art?

Nook love

Friday, February 4th, 2011

So I haven’t talked about e-reading here in a while, and it’s definitely overdue. This fall I received a Nook 3G as a gift, and it has completely changed my reading life. I read more, and in more situations, than I previously did, or could, and for longer periods. The convenience of a single flat surface rather than an open book makes it truly hands-free, it weighs significantly less than most hardcovers, and the ease with which I can have a book to hand when I think of a title is almost scary.

This does NOT mean I’m going to convert entirely to e-books from here on out, nor will I get rid of any of my physical books just because I can get them on my Nook. I have chosen to check out e-book versions of some titles I own but hadn’t read yet simply because my books are still mostly in boxes and it doesn’t cost me anything to use the library, but bookbuying is one of my greatest pleasures, and browsing online doesn’t even remotely touch the feeling I get lingering in a brick and mortar store, particularly one with lots of awesomely musty volumes.

So, your turn – do you own an e-reader? What would you say, if any, is the difference it has made in your reading?

Asperger’s and reading

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

There were a few factors that weighed in when I was deciding whether or not to return to Maine. One that has remained is my need to be a part of my youngest brother’s life. He’s 12, will be 13 in December, and he has Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s only one of several challenges he faces,  and it’s one about which I know very little right now. I intend to read Temple Grandin, as I’ve heard that she is an incredible resource and powerful advocate for Aspies, but I’m hoping to find some local community, as well, or at least some online forum for support and advice. My brother is 100% tuned in to video games, has no interest in anything that doesn’t show up on a TV screen or monitor, has significant trouble communicating verbally, and refuses to eat vegetables. (Or potatoes – the kid is Irish. WTF?) I’m hoping to work on “unplugging” him via graphic novels based on the same stories as video games he loves, but haven’t yet had much luck (though I give major props to the guys at Coast City Comics – they were extremely supportive and helpful and showed me that generous and caring people do still exist in this world – if you live in Portland and ever want something they can get for you, please purchase it there – it’s a great shop with amazing staff.)

Do you know of a great resource for parents, guardians, supporters of kids with Asperger’s? Can you recommend a book, web resource, or individual who might be able to educate me and assist with my ability to give my brother what he needs? I don’t want the fact that I am a very verbal/word-based communicator to keep me from being able to connect with him, but I also honestly don’t know where to start. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Book clubs

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Only once before have I attempted to start a book club. The other two women and I lived in three different cities, worked very different schedules, and had busy social lives; these ingredients do not a successful book club make. So for those of you who have participated in or organized book clubs, what would you recommend when kicking off a new one? What pitfalls can you advise against, and what tips have you found to be helpful in maintaining the energy? Have you read full books for each meeting, or segments? How many people do you think is a comfortable number that allows for everyone to be heard?

Psst…

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

… Anyone still here? :)

I apologize for the lengthy absence. My life got turned rather upside-down, in more ways than one, and I really hadn’t the heart for reading, or writing, or writing about reading, for a long time.

I’m back, though. At least physically. I probably won’t be diving right into daily posting, but then, that was never a strong suit of mine, anyway. I mostly just wanted to break the silence, and finally felt inspired to do so when I started reading The Perks of being a Wallflower last night.

For those of you who have read both Chbosky’s Wallflower and Loser by Jerry Spinelli, I think you’ll understand why the former brought the latter to mind within the first five pages. If you’ve read one but not the other, or not read either, FIX IT. Soon.

This also made me think about the book pairings we offered for Sync over on ABC – The Lottery with The Hunger Games. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with The Looking Glass Wars. Treasure Island with Bloody Jack. What are some other read-alikes/listen-alikes you’ve particularly enjoyed? Do you prefer not to read them too closely so as not to judge one against another?  Do you seek out similar stories to, or stories deliberately based upon, ones you’ve read and enjoyed?

Free-form Friday

Friday, May 7th, 2010

It’s official: I am now the Social Media Editor for AudioFile magazine, the print and online resource for audiobooks! Tim Spalding, the founder of LibraryThing, let me know about the opportunity a couple of weeks ago, and it is truly a dream job for me on many levels. I’m very excited about the new community we’re launching on May 14, and will be sure to post an open invitation here once we’ve officially come out of beta. I hope you’ll join us even if you aren’t a regular audiobook listener; we’re going to have some exciting guest moderators, YA titles that you can download free from the publishing partners in our Sync teen summer listening program, and lively discussions about new and upcoming titles, technology in the publishing world, and so much more. I’m new to audiobooks myself, and have already been introduced to some great books and fabulous narrators.

That being said, what would your dream job in the bookish world be?

Out of the comfort zone

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Last year I read three memoirs, a genre I’d never really gotten into in the past. My now-girlfriend (Rachel – she’s going to be around for a while, so you may as well get to know her by name, *grin*) recommended Augusten Burroughs, and I read (or rather, devoured) Running with Scissors and Dry, followed by Lillian Faderman’s Naked in the Promised Land, a suggestion from my best friend, Melissa.

I think I always expected memoirs to be slow-moving, rather musty reads – I’m not sure why, but I think I connect them to “history” in my mind. These books busted my expectation of the genre wide open, and I realize now that this is an accessible way for me – the history dunce – to absorb history on some level: through the life stories of people with whom I share common traits or experiences.

Is there a genre you always swore you could never, would never, get into? Were you “tricked” into reading something in that category, or someone you know insisted that you borrow a specific title? Did you decide to suck it up and give it a shot, and find yourself immersed?