24 November 2006 by Published in: in my life 8 comments

Alas, with yesterday’s failure to post, I’m up to three strikes on the every day posting thing for November. On the other hand, in the past 24 days you’ve been able to read posts from me 21 of them, so you know, not so bad. It’s possible we were achieving saturation anyway. Probably 3-5 days a week is more realistic for the long term (which is way more than you were getting pre-November). We’ll re-evaluate once this experiment is concluded.

So, audience participation time. In a mere four weeks, I’ll be going on my reading vacation, and I must decide which books to take. You can help! Below is a list of potential candidates. You may pick up to five, and you may rank them if you wish. I don’t care what criteria you use for your ranking : you can pick books that look interesting or books you’d recommend or assign each book a number and roll dice. Please make a note of your criteria in the comment field, especially if it was especially amusing, or used complex computer modeling.

Possible books to take to Michigan :

  • Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear. An urban fantasy.
  • Shadows over Baker Street Edited by Michael Reaves and John Pelan. Sherlock Holmes/Lovecraft crossover short stories.
  • Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold. Probably a fun, fast, uncomplicated read.
  • Zen and the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. Obligatory craft nominee. I read Stephen King’s On Writing up there on a previous visit.
  • Girls will be girls by Joann Deak with Teresa Barker. Parenting non-fiction.
  • Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones. What, you seriously thought there wasn’t going to be any YA to choose from?
  • The Other Wind by Ursula K. Le Guin. More Earthsea, anyone?
  • Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren’t as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, … Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out edited by Ted Thompson. YA short story anthology from McSweeneys with the really long title.
  • The Female Man by Joanna Russ. Classic SF!
  • Freedom’s Gate by Naomi Kritzer. Fantasy. I read her blog so I bought her book. See? Don’t let anyone tell you having a blog doesn’t sell books. That’s pretty much how I decided to read Elizabeth Bear, too, though her available online fiction got me to buy three (four if you count secondhand) of her books, instead of just the one.
  • Buenos Aires: A cultural and literary companion by Jason Wilson. Part of the cities of the imagination series; non-fiction, guidebook. Trip prep, I guess. Not that I don’t love reading about Buenos Aires whenever I can, though this book’s languished on the shelf like all the others. Maybe this is its year to be read!
  • Planetes volumes 1 & 2 by Makuto Yukimura. I already read 1, but apparently, I don’t remember it at all, so if I’m going to read volume 2, I’ll probably need to re-read volume 1. Both only count as one book though because they’re physically compact, and the pictures make them pretty quick reads. See, even graphic novels for choices. Am I generous or what? There’s precedent, one year I read two volumes of Skeleton Key.
  • Clan Apis by Jay Hosler. This would be fun to read. Graphic novel.
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. Non-fiction, humorous, grammar geek. Ok, I have a bookmark in this one, on page 44. I remember really liking it, but it got lost in the move and never finished. I’ll restart it, probably.

Remember, only five of these can go (ok, so maybe six can go). Make your vote count! The losing books must stay home and languish even longer on the TBR shelf, along with that Neal Stephenson book I still don’t feel like reading and the William S. Burroughs biography I’m not interested in at the moment. Yes, it’s true, I give you only a small sampling to choose from. There are so, so, so many more books where those came from. Help make a dent in the pile! I know I can count on you, dear reader.


Sat 25th Nov 2006 at 12:36 am

Of those, the only ones I’ve read are:

1) Zen and the Art of Writing. I remember enjoying it, though I can’t recall any particular advice that Bradbury gave that I took immediately to heart. Which may explain why I’m not currently writing as well as he does. Or maybe not.

2) The Female Man. I read this in 1995 in a "Race Class and Gender in American SF" class. I couldn’t pass up credit for reading science fiction. I thought it was a good novel, but it is not a fast, uncomplicated read.

Sat 25th Nov 2006 at 12:56 am

1.) I liked The Other Wind, but did you read Tales from Earthsea already? That’s the one that comes between Tehanu and TOW. Without reading one of the stories from Tales you may find yourself saying "zuh?" during TOW.

2.) Planetes is certainly worth reading, though it will go fast.

Sat 25th Nov 2006 at 9:40 am

Ethan of Athos would be a great choice…

I didn’t really enjoy Cart and Cwidder as much as I could have… if that makes sense… but I trudged through the first three books of the series and then fell in love with the whole shebang when I read Crown of Dalemark, which ties together the three disparate-seeming books *beautifully*. So, my rec is to read C&C if you can leap through the next three soon.

Sat 25th Nov 2006 at 10:43 am

I’m going to pick as many as I can – not because I’ve managed to read all (or even enough) of these already, but because I have a system for picking just that number from such a list.

1. (Adult fiction with F/SF theme) I’m inclined to go with the Earthsea book, because I have fond memories of my mother reading it to me.

2. (A book of short stories – usually for those bit of journeys where you are going to be interrupted, or for times when you can’t really settle to anything) You have the YA anthology.

3. (Something factual) Eats Shoots and Leaves is a good read, and informative.

4. (Graphic novel/book with pictures/magazine) This usually comes down to me caving in and buying Harpers and wanting to justify it later, as graphic novels never sit for more than a week on my ‘to read’ shelf. I haven’t read any of your options, but on titles I’d go for Clan Apis.

5. (YA novel) Cart and Cwidder, if only because she has the nerve to invent a new welsh word. Although given previous comments, maybe not a good choice. But there’s a system to be upheld…

6. (Optional – The "something someone loaned me/recommended to me and I really should read because I can’t avoid it for much longer. I don’t even know if I’m really going to like it, but I should give it a go," category) That would be your decision.

Sat 25th Nov 2006 at 8:43 pm

Take the McSweeney’s anthology so you can tell me if it’s good.

I disagree with the central serial comma argument in Eats, Shoots and Leaves, but I’m sure it’s a cute little book. The problem with grammar books is how often they state their rules as fact, not as style.

Sun 26th Nov 2006 at 8:14 am

Infinite Jest.

(I kid. I’ll look at the titles and make real suggestions in a bit.)

Wed 29th Nov 2006 at 8:28 pm

I looked the first one up on Amazon and can assure anyone interested that this sentence in the blurb: "Seeker, formerly Elaine Andraste, is a changeling bound to the Mebd, the queen of the Daoine Sidhe, to find other changelings and bring them to the Faerie court." is pretty much guaranteed to make me put the book back on the shelf.

Haven’t you read Clan Apis? There are only 5 volumes in Planetes and I suspect if you don’t want to read volume one 5 times, you might want to buy or borrow the others before you continue.

My vote goes to the Holmes/Lovecraft crossovers, but ONLY if Holmes goes gradually insane(r) through the book.

Fri 01st Dec 2006 at 3:25 pm

I really liked Infinite Jest.

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