Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Where to find me

I decided to go for split reading and stitching blogs and set them up on Wordpress. I post at both sporadically, but keep up as best I can. Please come over for a look.

Books: Too Many Books, Too Hard to Choose

Stitching: Sometimes Stitching

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Did I really do that?

Yes, I did. I started a new blog over at WordPress. I had a few reasons and the easy way to explain them is to copy here the first post from over there.

It’s called Too Many Books and I hope to do better at keeping it up than I’m doing over here, mostly because I’m not planning to try to do complicated things like reviews, but simply to post the odd book thing (including pictures of Marcus I admit) when I think of it.

Please do come over if it sounds interesting.

(There’s going to be a stitching one too, again where I can just toss something up, but that’s only a template right now. All the same, you’re welcome to follow it if you wish. It’s called Sometimes Stitching.)

GOOD GRIEF, ANOTHER BLOG (from Too Many Books)

Why do I do this to myself? Here I am, starting another blog…

The thing is that at present I can’t manage to provide the kind of depth of content I’d prefer for Saving My Sanity… (darned Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you know), but I don’t want to retool the blog in case things change and I can go back to it. Also, I’ve been using WordPress to work on a fan “site” for Catherine Asaro (called Prism, but not yet publically online as I still have plenty of content to add) and I find it’s easier to use to quickly toss out a post than Blogger.

So here we go, another blog.

The key phrase above is “toss out a post”. That’s what I want to be able to do. A quote, a thought, a pretty cover, an upcoming release, anything book related like that. Short, quick stuff rather than trying to do in depth reviews or analysis (although if I am so inspired, I’ll “toss” one of those up here as well).

Secondly, I have several authors where I dream of slowly reading my way through their series and/or standalone books, often in an order of my own devising rather than ones readily available on other sites. This will also be a place to store those orders and my progress through the books.

Lastly (for now), some older favourite series/authors are beginning to be reprinted in lovely, matching editions (and in hardcover or trade which I prefer these days) where I drool over them and dream about buying them if I had the money. My books were often either purchased as they came out, or bought later and mostly second hand. Both those things tend to mean my collections are in multiple formats and with differing cover art. And in the case of those second hand purchases, old, ratty and sometimes musty and falling apart. The very thought of a lovely new set of books, all matching size and matching covers makes me happy. So I’ll also be using this blog to imagine my own dream library.

That’s the plan. Will it eventuate? I don’t know. I hope so, but the dreaded fatigue monster always remains on the horizon and I remain at its mercy. We’ll see. I shall continue to hope and dream – and read of course.

Please do come over and try Too Many Books.

Just for fun

I saw this over on Geek Art Gallery today.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie WarWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can't believe I'm reading a zombie book. It's all Calico Reaction's fault.

Wow, I really don't know what to say about this book.

It's a good book, but it's so different from what I usually read that I feel like I don't have any context for commenting on it.

I'll say up front that I am not a zombie person. They just don't appeal to me. So you won't get me to watch zombie movies (although I have seen 28 Days or whatever the first one was called) and you generally won't get me to read zombie books.

The two I have tried (and liked) were this one and Mira Grant's Feed. And both, I have felt count as zombie books for people who don't like zombies. In both, the focus is not on blood, guts and gore and killing as many zombies as you can, but one what effect a zombie plague has on people and society and how people adapt and change to meet this new challenge. They are about science and psychology more than gore. This is something I find I do like.

In World War Z, this is in fact quite a bit of zombie killing, but by structuring the narrative as Brooks has done - make it a transcription of first hand reports after the fact - adds a distance that allows me to take on the facts without having to be traumatized by the gory details. The book almost reads as non-fiction (which I assume was the author's intention) but with a touch of the personal.

I really enjoy the scientific puzzle of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic books and this book gave me that. I never did find out what caused the virus, but I got to see how it developed, how it was dealt with and even a touch of the effect it has had on people a decade later.

That really did work for me.

I can't say that I "loved" this book in a "rave and squee about it" kind of way, but I certainly didn't dislike it either. That implies my reaction of sort of "meh" but it wasn't that either. This was a very satisfying book for me, even if I'm usually a character reader and this book was lacking in characterisation.

As I said at the beginning, it's a very different style of book from my usual as I find it hard to vocalise my reaction.

Satisfying sounds like damning it with faint praise, which isn't what I mean to do at all. I recommend the book, and while I can easily describe its basic ideas and conceits, I don't know how to describe my reaction to it. So go and try it for yourself. I do think it's worth it.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Winter is Coming

And no, I’m not talking about A Game of Thrones. I may be the only person on the internet to use that title and not be talking about George R. R. Martin and HBO.

Winter really is coming here. We’ve hit the middle of autumn and the temperature seriously dropped yesterday. Enough that we pulled out all the heaters and searched for our slippers.

Cally, being a cat, thought this was brilliant of course and it didn’t take long before she was happily sprawled in front of the heater, claiming the warmest spot in the house.

Heater + cat = winter on the way.


I don’t think she’s really sticking her tongue out at me, but it sure does look that way.

Family Photos #7 - Change


The theme for FP#7 was CHANGE, as chosen by Dave.

Since he picked it, we’ll start with him. I suspect he was inspired by the change of seasons (it’s autumn here now, and cold enough that yesterday we turned the heater on for the first time). Certainly, that’s what he chose to photograph with this beauty.


Marcus wasn’t quite sure about the idea of change until he found 10 cents in the car on Sunday and his Grandad Ross gave him an Australian 10-cent coin to go with the New Zealand one. I don’t remember the details exactly, but we were talking one day in the supermarket and a lady gave him some Japanese small change she had in her purse after getting back to New Zealand the day before. So here we have New Zealand, Australian and Japanese change. (Marcus hasn’t quite grasped the idea of close ups and focusing the camera yet.)


Pam got in quickly with her photo, which wasn’t anything I had thought of when I considered the idea of change. But as she pointed out, a generation ago you wouldn’t have found a pizza oven in a friends’ garden where you could sit in the sun and cook your lunch. Times change.


When I told Sally the theme, her reaction was, “that’s easy”. She moved house at the weekend, so it’s all about change for her right now. Here are a lot of boxes and a cat who probably isn’t so keen on the whole idea of change right now.


As for me, the theme turned out to be pretty easy for me too. It was my birthday at the end of March and while I’m not going to tell you what number changed to the next one, I had a lovely day. Family and friends got together to buy me a Kindle which I absolutely love and I was well looked after all round. (The very cool card Sally sent me is sadly missing from the photo as I hadn’t checked the letterbox when I took this.)


And this week you get a bonus, lucky viewers. Marcus has developed a fascination with Doctor Who (that isn’t quite matched by his ability to sit down and actually watch it) and having a mother who is a fan and gets given Doctor Who-style presents means there are several TARDISes (TARDIi?) around the place. He recently lined them all up and took a photo. The TARDIS is meant to be all about change, so I’m including his picture just for fun. (Although I’m rather embarrassed to discover there were five!)


After talking to Mum, who has just been down to Christchurch, I chose the next theme and it is MUNTED (if you scroll down the page linked you’ll come to the specific Christchurch definition).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Twilight’s Dawn by Anne Bishop

Twilight's Dawn (The Black Jewels, #9)Twilight's Dawn by Anne Bishop
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read 13-4-11 to 16-4-11

Just so you know, there are no spoilers here - although that does make this a post about feelings rather that details. I figured vagueness was better than spoilers.

This was wonderful. All of it, including the last story. In fact, especially the last story, which I thought was perfect.

This book is not an ending; it's stories of resolution, again including and especially the last one. It lets me breathe easy for all the characters and look forward to learning more about them and their lives should Ms Bishop share them with me (and she has plenty of scope to do so - again, this book is not an ending). I hope she does; I love these people and their world. But if she doesn't (please, please do), then I know everyone has finished with their hearts at peace.

I didn't read any of the reviews that came out about it because I didn't want to be spoiled, but I understood some people weren't happy (or had issues, as I said I didn't read them) with what Ms Bishop did here (that last story again) and/or felt this was the end.

I chose to trust the author; she hasn't let me down yet. And once again she didn't here. She was true to her world, true to her characters, true to their stories and the rules she had set up. To me, this was a wonderful collection of stories about easing hearts and loving family and I loved it. Especially that last story; it built from everything that had gone before and for me, it was perfect.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sign some equations

I found this in my Google Reader Feeds tonight. Apparently it came from here.

After having a mental confusion moment today and confusing the equations for the area of a circle and the volume of a sphere (at least when the numbers came out I realised they couldn’t be right), this seemed to appear at a perfect time.



Friday, April 01, 2011

Family Photos #6 - Warmth


Once again I am late. I shall endeavour to improve.

The theme for FP#6 was WARMTH, as chosen by Sally.

Marcus had a few choices, including Mummy sleeping with her socks on (okay, pretending to sleep for the photo, but it’s true I can’t get to sleep if my feet are cold) and Marcus himself tucked up in bed with Boris the white tiger (taken by me). In the end though, he chose a picture of his very favourite, woolly red socks, which were bought a couple of years ago for Red Socks Day and have remained favourites ever since.


Pam provided a lovely, late summer picture that I’m guessing is from her garden.


Sally sent us this darling bunny. If you live in Wellington, he’s looking for a new home and can be found at the Wellington SPCA.


I admit that I’m the one who actually took Dave’s photo, but it was at his request and you’ll see, when you take a look, why he couldn’t do it himself. Cally considers him to be her rightful sleeping place at night – I took this when I woke up at 1am to take a trip to the bathroom.


I thought about this one quite a lot. I have a picture of Cally curled up behind the TV having a sleep, but I decided this one of our Galileo thermometer showing it to be a balmy 24C in late March.


Dave has chosen the next theme and it is CHANGE.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Family Photos – Week Five = Rest and Relaxation


Sorry this is so late. It took everyone, including me, a while to get our photos taken and then I got a head cold when I was just getting organised to put up the post.

Given the fact we all have busy lives, we’ve decided to make this a fortnightly challenge rather than a weekly one. That gives everyone a bit more time to find a good photo.

The theme for Week 4 was REST AND RELAXATION.

Marcus had an excellent idea and set up a photo-shoot for his favourite bedtime friend, Brown Bear Barney.


Pam sent us a photo of Grandad Len taking a moment for a bit of R&R. You can see who influenced me to be a reader, which Dave and I then passed on to Marcus.


Sally’s photo shows one of her workmates getting in a nap on the job.


Dave pointed out that he seems to get very little time for any rest or relaxation, but that if he did, this is what he’d choose to do with it.


As for me, I couldn’t resist this picture of Marcus sleeping. He has always slept in some very strange positions or with an interesting array of friends. (I have sneaked into his room and snapped a photo many times and fortunately he never responds to the flash at all and keeps right on sleeping.)


Sally chose the next theme and it is WARMTH.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

DarkShip Thieves by Sarah A. Hoyt

DarkShip ThievesDarkShip Thieves by Sarah A. Hoyt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars (8/10)
Read: 3-3-11 to 8-3-11

This book ended up being a bit up and down, but overall I really liked it.

It stared off well, then seemed to slow a bit (although not in a bad way) when Athena got to Eden. At that point, I could see it turning into SF Romance, and while I don't mind that at all, it wasn't exactly what I had been expecting.

But I was wrong. While the romance is there, it's nicely done and not dwelled upon on its own account too much. Instead, the SF plot begins to build up, tying in a lot of threads that I had thought were only background world-building, into a generally satisfying whole.

I did especially enjoy the parts back on Earth where Thena began to put all the pieces together and work out what was really going on. I did think she was a little slow on the uptake, as I'd worked out the basics (although I admit, not the specifics) back when she was on Eden, but I can also kind of see how they were pieces her back brain probably didn't want to put together, so I'll forgive it.

However, after all that excellent third quarter or more, it all seemed to resolve very easily and suddenly. I was reading the ebook and keeping a mild eye on my progress through the book. I had seen that part three started at something like chapter 46, with another 6 or 7 chapters to go to get to the end. That meant I was very surprised to find I was at over 90% of the book when I was still in the early 40s, chapter wise and in the middle of the action on Earth. I was wondering how Ms Hoyt was going to tie everything up and get them rescued and home again in the short space left.

Very quickly, turned out to be the answer. Suddenly escape becomes easy, the villain is dealt with with surprising speed (and really, very little action on the part of the main protagonists) and they're off home, to end on an ironic note, rather than a satisfying one.

Yes, finishing with the same officious controller was clever, but I wanted to see the family's reaction to having them back, and Doc Bartholomeu's response to all they had learned. Not to mention, whatever the heck is happening back on Earth and where the other Mules might have gone.

If this is the beginning of a series, hopefully I'll still learn those things, but for a standalone, the ending didn't work for me.

All the same, I really enjoyed myself reading this one. I loved the world Ms Hoyt created (and in a way, I'm not sure why) and the characters (well, I had a love/hate relationship with Thena, but I loved Kit and I want to see how they both live beyond the parental legacies they were given). I'll happily read more books by her, but next time, I really would like a more satisfying ending please.

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