Booking Through Thursday: Wintery Books

December 25, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

What I want to know today is … what are the most “wintery” books you can think of? The ones that almost embody Winter?

Offhand, not very many for me.  The one that first jumps to mind for me in association with the word “winter” is Dragons of Winter’s Night, the 2nd book in Weis & Hickman’s original Dragonlance trilogy. Related to that, I can also associate the fourth book–Dragons of Summer Flame–with winter solely on the fact that I read that book in the winter of ’95-into-’96. (For that matter, Weis/Perrin’s The Doom Brigade, which was a Christmas gift from my parents Christmas 1996, and which I read within the first couple days).

There’s the Ice Age trilogy from the Magic: The Gathering series (The Gathering Dark, Eternal Ice, and The Shattered Alliance).

Also, as referenced by the original poster for the topic–Helprin’s Winter’s Tale–is a good one to note, though I’ve not read the entire book yet.

EDIT: how can I forget Jenkins’ Midnight Clear? I haven’t read the book (shame on me!), but I did watch the movie…and assuming the book to be better than the movie, it’ll be a great read, and is certainly one TO note. The movie was quite moving.

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Booking Through Thursday: Never IS enough time, is there?

December 11, 2008

Booking Through Thursday.

1. Do you get to read as much as you WANT to read?

(I’m guessing #1 is an easy question for everyone?)

2. If you had (magically) more time to read–what would you read? Something educational? Classic? Comfort Reading? Escapism? Magazines?

Nope, not at all.  I would love to read so much more, but there’s too much in the way of other stuff in life that I give time to.  That’s what I’ve come to love about audio/podio books: not the same as actually reading the words on a page, but at least they help redeem the time at work, allowing me to experience the books.

If I had more time to read, I’d probably read a lot more of most everything.  My bible is far too often neglected in favor of other texts.  Thanks to a the first of a 5-issue comic adaptation I read last week, I’m now engrossed in Ender’s Shadow for the first time.  I have far too many books and comics and graphic novels/etc. sitting around waiting to be read.

And yet, much of what I deal with online is reading: reading comics news, reading other news, reading emails and blogs and facebook.  Reading IMs, etc.


Booking Through Thursday…on Friday

December 5, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

1. Do you have a favorite author?

2. Have you read everything he or she has written?

3. Did you LIKE everything?

4. How about a least favorite author?

5. An author you wanted to like, but didn’t?

(focusing on BOOKS, not dealing with comics/graphic novels this time around)

1. I have a few…
a. Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
b. Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins
c. Stephen King
d. John Grisham
e. Brad Meltzer
f. J.C. Hutchins
g. J.R.R. Tolkien
h. C.S. Lewis
i. Neil Gaiman

2. Nope.  Book wise, I’ve read all of Meltzer’s books and listened to all of Hutchins’ 7th Son. Not sure if I’ll ever have time to read all of the books by all of the others.

3. I’ve generally enjoyed everything I *have* read/listened to by these authors.  In the case of series, I’ve yet to get beyond the first Dark Tower volume by King; and I thought the first six Left Behind books were the best/most engaging of the series.

4. Book-wise, not sure there are any authors I’d really actively avoid…there’s SO MUCH on my reading list/backlog, though, that it’s not often someone “new” manages to make to my “actually reading” status.  However, I supposed I do/will avoid books from authors with overt “agendas” I do not support/believe in, especially if the “agenda” is why I might be urged to give ’em a shot.

5. Hmm…Can’t think of any offhand that fit that category.


Booking Through Thursday: Thankfulness?

November 27, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Today is Thanksgiving here in the U.S.

Now, you may have noticed that the global economy isn’t exactly doing well. There’s war. Starvation. All sorts of bad, scary things going on.

So–just for today–how about sharing 7 things that you’re thankful for?

This can be about books, sure–authors you appreciate, books you love, an ode to your public library–but also, how about other things, too? Because in times like these, with bills piling up and disaster seemingly lurking around every corner, it’s more important than ever to stop and take stock of the things we’re grateful for. Family. Friends. Good health (I hope). Coffee and tea. Turkey. Sunshine. Wagging tails. Curling up with a good book.

So, how about it? Spread a little positive thinking and tell the world what there is to be thankful for.

  1. I live in a country where I am free to practice/express my faith without fear of fatal repercussions.
  2. My parents are safely in NY with my sister with no road troubles or other incidents.
  3. I don’t have to work tomorrow
  4. I got one more Thanksgiving with Kayla (my cat)
  5. I am employed.
  6. I have lots of good memories with lots of great people (see my blog post earlier today)
  7. DC’s (Waid/Ross) Kingdom Come: excellent story, still holds up in TPB format all these years later

This has been my first-ever solo (except for the cat) Thanksgiving.  Very low-key, and other than consciously knowing it is–and these blog posts–hasn’t felt like it. Been consciously trying to keep my mind occupied/distracted…today is eight weeks now since losing Christy. I am thankful for the 13-some years we had her…but I still miss her so. Kayla reminded me of her tonight: pawing at the floor as she drank, just the way Christy used to.


Booking Through Thursday: Honesty

November 20, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.

Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?

I’ve yet to get to really review any books in this capacity–I’ve posted a single book review so far at my Walt’s Book Reviews blog. However, I have reviewed more comics than I can recall, across the past four years, and speak from that experience. (Primarily been reviewing through Comixtreme.com, though recently have begun posting additional comic reviews at my Walt’s Comic Reviews blog).

I do think one should remain true to their feelings, and be honest with those who’d be reading the review(s). I think that providing a reviewer with a free copy of something should be done as a way of getting his/her attention, not extracting blurbs for future printings. Right now, for example, I have no real interest in any of Aspen Comics’ offerings. However, if I were to be sent a free copy of something they publish, I’d be willing to read it and share my thoughts on the product in and of itself, since I haven’t laid out any cash on it (and hey, if I like it, they’d get a positive review, and perhaps someone (me) new buying the series).

I do NOT believe in absolutely “impartial” reviews–a reader IS going to be biased one way or the other. The important thing is to let the reader know where you as the reviewer are coming from (contextualize) and why you feel about the product the way you do.


Booking Through Thursday: “Why buy?”

November 13, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?

If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

I tend to find that much as I love the “free” factor of libraries, I still wind up paying something, as I’m guilty of returning items late more often than not.  When I buy a book (this applies to movies as well) I now HAVE the book, and am not constrained to a specific 2-3 week timeframe in which I absolutely MUST finish the book…thus, more freedom to read (or not read) as my schedule allows. Just yesterday I finished reading a book that I began reading eight or nine weeks ago–I was able to read several other books that gained my attention, and then return to this, and no late fees involved.

There’s also that notion of having the book and then being able to–upon choice–bestow it upon someone else.  Marley & Me might be a great book and a strong recommendation to a friend–but is she going to remember to look for it? By buying the book, I can put it in her hands myself (the strongest display of recommendation I can think of for anything).

As my schedule tends to be all over the place, and reading is broken amidst books, comics, and graphic novels, I rarely know when or where I’m going to have what amount of time TO read. If I was on a waiting-list at a library for the new Grisham Novel, I might get it when I’ve just started another book, and by the time I get to Grisham, the book’s overdue.

Additionally, owning a book allows for re-readability and reference. If I read something and return it, I don’t have the book on-hand to go back through to catch stuff I didn’t catch on first read, and I’m unable to refer back to specific packages if I decide to talk about it to others (particularly in terms of writing about it).

On the guilty side, I’m sure I also fall into the trap of “collecting.”  Not for value, mind you–but the enjoyment of the hunt, of tracking down (or in case of the newer books, building) a series (combine this with above-mentioned reasons, too).

Why buy? Because I’m probably going to wind up shelling out money anyway, and this way I have more convenient access to the volume, as well as the ability to pass it along directly to others of my choosing.


Booking Through Thursday: Presents!

November 6, 2008

Booking Through Thursday – Presents!

What, if any, memorable or special book have you ever gotten as a present? Birthday or otherwise. What made it so notable? The person who gave it? The book itself? The “gift aura?”

I’ve gotten quite a number of books as presents through the years. Some special ones include the following (In no particular order):

The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told
I received this book as a Christmas present back in 1989 or 1990 from a friend and his parents. To my recollection, it is the FIRST “graphic novel” or “trade paperbck” or “collected volume” I’ve ever owned. It introduced me to a number of great (I disagree about them being the greatEST) Superman stories from the 1940s to the mid-1980s. A lot of my “early knowledge” of Superman came from that book, and I still have it (battered and worn though it is) all these years later.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Last year, my mom and sister went to Europe for a month or so. Mom brought me back a copy of the UK edition of the first Harry Potter book. At present, it is that edition that sits on the shelf with my other battered and wel-read paperback volumes of the series. It’s just cool to have that edition rather than “just” the American/Scholastic edition.

New X-Men vol. 3
A friend located and purchased/gave this volume to me. I’d acquired vols. 1 & 2 in October 2003, and then wound up reading the single issues, and when I finally–in late 2007 or so–decided to actually track this hardback down to finish the set, it was out of print and impossible to find anywhere I looked–and online prices were horrific ($256?!? who pays that for a $30 book they want to READ?) He found it at a local comic shop and nabbed it, giving it to me early this year.

The Sandman vols. 3 & 6: Dream Country and Fables & Reflections
Having acquired an interest in The Sandman during the summer of 2001, and talking about it for months, my parents gave me these two volumes for my birthday that year. They then gave me the other 8 volumes for Christmas less than a month later. Though it’d be sorta cool to get the hardbacks, or “update” to the newer editions…I can’t see ever getting rid of this set, as they were a gift from my parents, and a great read. They’re also representative of one of the very few times my parents have specifically gifted anything comics/graphic-novel to me, and mean that much more as such.

– my NIV Bible
When I became a Christian early in my college career, I found that one rather important thing I did not have was my own bible. I’d borrowed a family bible for a few weeks, and for my 19th birthday, my parents gave me my own NIV study bible. Though I keep a much smaller pocket edition of the NIV on me/with me, this full-size study edition represents that period of time in my life, and is again important to me not only in and of itself, but for being a gift from my parents–that they were supportive.

I’m sure I could list plenty of other volumes of significance to me, many of them for the sheer fact of being gifts. But I’ll leave off with the above–this has already become a fairly long post as-is.