What’s hanging around on your Kindle?

(… or other e-reader?)

A copy of Jane Eyre; Persuasion; Northanger Abbey; Carmilla; Middlemarch; Barchester Towers; a Jeeves book.  Father Brown mysteries by G. K. Chesterton.

Several books from the Liaden universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Fledgling).  Lots of short stories by Seanan McGuire.

Almost everything K. J. Charles has ever published!  Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger.  Amethyst by Lauren Royal.  (#2 thinks she deleted Amethyst, but she loves the Temptation series, especially the Consent is Sexy parts of Tempting Juiliana, even if sometimes that heroine is pretty silly– note that the first in that series is still 100% free for kindle and a good read/reread)

Serpentine by Cindy Pon.  At least 1 collection by John Scalzi.  The Corpse Reader by Antonio Garrido.

Random fantasy novels that I got a deal on:  The Native Star by M. K. Hobson; Not Dark Yet by Berit Ellingsen (I don’t remember reading this but apparently I did; I have no memory of it); The Final Formula by Becca Andre (tried to read further in this series but petered out); Ghosts of Tsavo by Vered Ehsani.  Here’s me talking about some of this before.

The Amsterdam Assassin series by Martyn V. Halm.

Several books by Martha Wells (Wheel of the Infinite; City of Bones; etc.). (#2 has all of these in paperback because her hardbacks from high school disappeared for some reason… maybe her BIL ended up with them?)

Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk.  A romance novel I haven’t read yet that I heard about on a podcast.  Novellas by Tiffany Reisz.

Most of Sarah McLean’s Rule of Scoundrels series (A Rogue by Any Other Name), plus some Courtney Milan.  (Some of the Milan has nifty behind the scenes commentary throughout!)

Assorted detritus, short story collections, un-great romance novels, terribly-written fantasy (although I’m trying to delete most of this stuff).  [#2 only keeps very good and great romance novels on hers– even the sub-par Heyer got deleted.]

A couple of the Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold; I have most of them in paper books instead.

Here’s some earlier posts on this topic, with links to mostly free or in a few cases inexpensive stuff.  (#2 has literally hundreds of books on her kindle– btw, did you know you could get Shellabarger and Sabatini books for free on your kindle?  #2 had no idea that Sabatini wrote so many boring terrible books in addition to classics like Captain Blood, Scaramouche, and The Sea Hawk.)  (#1 still prefers paper books.) (#2 does too except for traveling which she does a lot of, thus the need for more ebooks.  I’m pretty sure my sister ended up with my Sabatini hardbacks.)

We’re gearing up for holiday reading [and conference trips]… be sure to click our “books” tag to see all kinds of things we’ve read and loved in 2018 (and before).

That oughta keep me occupied for a while!  Whatcha got, Grumpeteers?

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Artists to support with money

We need art to keep us sane in this crazy world.  Donating to worthy causes is all very good, but if you want to consume some media, here are some suggestions.

 

Do you wish you could read more widely with low effort?  Great news!  I found out that if you subscribe to Open Letter publications, they’ll just send you their books in the mail.  The price is really surprisingly low, and all the books are translated from around the world.  They didn’t pay me to say this.

Patreon finds:  I need diverse games; award-winning author and podcaster Mur Lafferty; sure-to-be-award-winning writer Rivers Solomon; necessary words from The Bookavid; I’ve also read K. Tempest Bradford; I have enjoyed writing by Liz Bourke.  Amazing writer Nisi Shawl will also send you tea blends!  McMansion Hell makes us laugh.

I think LaGuardia Cross’s videos are hilarious and occasionally poignant.  Subscribe to his channel so he can keep getting endorsement contracts and stuff.  (Ok, this one isn’t spending money.)

I like podcasts from the maximumfun.org family of pods.  Some suggestions:

I recommend (again) buying things by Sarah Gailey.  If you aren’t convinced, try reading this story; that oughta do it.  And if you want to cry, you can read the sequel.

Get a t-shirt from the Call Your Girlfriend podcast.

Buy comics from Lions Forge (diversity and all-ages).

The Worldbuilders shop is a place to buy cool bookish things (like this rad bookmark). You can buy lots of foreign-language translations of fantasy novels (Hungarian!  Catalan!  Canadian French!  Polish!  Brazilian Portuguese!), jewelry, stickers, a sword, mugs, etc. Proceeds are given to charities such as Heifer International and First Book.

 

What kinds of art should people toss their dollars at, Grumpeteers? 

Where the Books Are

Where are the books in your household?

Growing up, I saw both my parents reading a lot.  We have tons of pictures of me as a baby pretending to read, or being read to.  My parents are divorced, and both their houses are full of books.

I have what I consider a “medium” amount of books (over 1500 books are mine, in our 2BR apartment; but my husband has at least an additional 1500, judging by comparative shelf space).  My mother has more space for bookshelves than I do.  My father has fewer, but more overstuffed, bookshelves than I do.  Non-fiction is in his living room, fiction is in the guest room; Terry Pratchett and J.K. Rowling are in his bedroom.   My mom has fiction and non-fiction in the living room, with religion, spirituality, and self-help in her bedroom.  My sister and her husband have carefully alphabetized their shared books across their living room (starting with A), dining room, and guest room.

I have fiction and non-fiction in my bedroom, with various piles of books stacked haphazardly in the living room, kitchen, etc.  (And cookbooks in our kitchen; Mom’s cookbooks are in her pantry, and I think Dad’s are in his pantry too.)  I have a couple “emergency” books in a cabinet in the bathroom.  They just ended up there.

Also, sleeping in a room full of books is cozy and it gives you something nice to look at while you’re in bed.

#2 has 3 large bookcases in the bedroom, two in the living room, one in the entry-way, two in DC1’s room, and 1 in DC2’s room (DC1 has more wall space, DC2 has more windows– DC2’s books also take up the bottom two shelves of the entry-way bookcase and one of the living room cases– toddler height even though zie is now 6 and reading chapter books).  There’s also some books in the great room, but those are mostly related to the games that are also in that room.  And a 3 shelf bookcase in the informal kitchen for our cookbooks (which are also piled in the kitchen).  Basically wherever there is wall space there’s a bookshelf.  Sometimes I feel like we have too many windows…  Oh, and the guest bathroom and our bathroom have little book nooks.  Ours usually has a book for me and one for DH.  The guest bathroom usually has the latest alumni magazine or two and something with short funny bits like cakewrecks.  DH and I also have piles of books on our nightstands and there’s a pile of read library books usually next to the door to the garage.  The kids scatter books everywhere as well– on the couches in the great room, on their floors, on their bathroom floors, on the living room ottoman, all over the dining room, etc.  It’s pretty homey, I think.  I need to go read something now.

I like talking about books.  Where are yours?

Count Dracula’s Reading List

The quote that I talked about here came to me again as I re-read the same book.  The quote is about Dracula (by Bram Stoker).

This is a what-are-we-reading post that I will try to fancy up by relating books I have read to Dracula.

Undertow by Elizabeth Bear (assassin!)

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (relevant to Dracula’s un-aging nature)

The Bright Side vol. 1: Dee & Em by A. Francis (death and philosophy!)

MFK by Nilah Magruder (who is the real monster?)

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson (ditto-ish)

The High King’s Golden Tongue by Megan Derr (uh… people wear fancy clothes.)

Sleepless Vol. 1 by Sarah Vaughn, Leila Del Duca, and others (gorgeous, gorgeous clothes; people that are only mostly dead; a little stabbing)

That’s all I got.  What’ve you got, readers?

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What are we reading in romance?

A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen was good!  Not perfect, but good.  I think with some editing and if it were maybe a bit longer it would have been great.

Only one of the Sally MacKenzies I read is worth reading (and not worth owning), and yet I almost read them all (the library didn’t have two of the spinster house books).  I guess that can happen when books are easily available as library ebooks.  Two of them have attempted rape as a plot point (and with a third both the hero and the villain force themselves on the heroine, but it’s somehow ok when the hero does it).  And in The Naked Duke, the bad guy rapes and murders a woman onscreen pretty graphically.  Unnecessary.  Naked king has rape as a backstory. That aside, the author has a small grab-bag of plot-like things to choose from and just randomly pulls for each book.  So much repetition across books.  In case you’re wondering, the only one that wasn’t a drag and actually had some plot was Surprising Lord Jack.  Bonus points on that one for having a hero who respects “no” and isn’t a douche.  It did have a mass murderer who targeted prostitutes and women with bad reputations though, so not completely misogyny trope-free.

Oooh, ooh.  Henchmen of Zenda by K. J. Charles.  We love her.  This improves upon the original.

Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope.  It’s a fantasy adventure that feels a lot like a romance (I believe the author has written romance novels before).  I think there’s a sequel out soon, but to me this felt like a complete book that didn’t need one.  Give it a try.

Read a bunch of Sabrina Jeffries.  None worth owning so far.  Lots of the hero kissing the heroine after he’s been told no.  The pleasures of passion starts out with rape as a macguffin.  Yuck.  (That one so far is the only one I quit in the middle– it was just all around not good.  I assume the macguffin’s romance is also in that series, so that’s probably got rape as a backstory which means I won’t even pick it up.)  Update– quit a bunch more in the School for Heiresses series, which has a great premise, but turns out to be chock full of horribleness.  (Brooding jerky kidnapping heroes, ginormous age differences between 17 year old heiresses and the heroes, lots of focus on “innocent but eager” and girls wanting to explore what they read about in a harem book but being soooo innocent, lots of sex after meeting the hero for the second time ever, usually when he turns up someplace super creepy like the heroine’s bedroom in the middle of the night etc., supposedly intelligent but also TSTL heroines and heroes making bizarre choices…, sex as a tool of manipulation except during sex they fall in love etc.)  So… I guess her Duke’s Men series is worth reading and her Hellions of Hallstead Hall series is readable, but not ownable and the rest shouldn’t be bothered with.  Or if you’re just looking at covers:  If there’s a bare female back or a bare male chest, pick it up from the library, otherwise give it a miss.  (I’m guessing that this is probably a date of publication thing– the series that have more skin on the covers also have more feminism inside.)

After a slow start (by which I mean the hero seemed not that great at first), enjoyed A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase enough to put it on my amazon list.  It really felt like the second in a series, but turns out it is the first.  I’m curious about the other two dukes and the aunt, but one of them has the “troubled married couple” trope and the other dude is an alcoholic who doesn’t seem all that bright, but maybe he also has hidden depths that will become apparent.  Or maybe he’ll be the B-story in a book with the aunt and this guy’s uncle as the A-story.

Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James had a promising start but then kind of petered out into stupidity.  Worth a library read, possibly.  But I really do want to read the next in the series!

The Doctor’s Discretion by EE Ottoman turned up on a couple of “you must read” lists, so I gave it a spin for $3.99 on kindle.  It starts out really clunky… definitely an early novel in need of professional editing.   But it was on those lists, so I persisted… and it did get much better and was well worth getting through the clunky opening.  Is it worth buying?  I dunno.  It’s definitely not perfect, but it became an enjoyable read.

Amanda Quick’s Deception made me laugh out loud several times and I had to explain why I was laughing to DH.  It is different!  And I love the heroine and her relationship with the hero.  A++ will read again.

Ask the grumpies: Systems to catalogue books? Thoughts on endnote vs. librarything?

Lisa asks:

I was going to ask you and your readers [ed:  emphasis added] for recommendations on book catalogue systems, but then I saw your Library Thing icon and I read your very positive thoughts on that. I also see a brief reference to Endnote, so assume that you use Endnote for research.

Can you share your thoughts on the two different systems? I want to start a book catalogue for non-fiction books and texts, mainly based on my reading list so I have a central system for compiling book information (eg reviews, quotes, recommendations, “to buy”, “to borrow”, summaries, quotes etc etc). If I was to go into academic research (a possibility in a few years time), it is likely that I would use endnote for “real” research. At the moment I need something to manage my non-fiction reading list and “hobby research” which currently is a hodgepodge of messy notes, lists and links. I want to invest my time into a good catalogue system, but unsure if Library Thing is sufficient, or if I should take it a step further and look at Endnote. I can get a discount version of Endnote through my uni alumni, so cost is not a deciding factor. My preference is always just to use one system, but I am unsure if I am trying to force one system to do two different things (ie use Endnote as a book catalogue system, or use Library Thing for storing notes and quotes etc).

Can you compare Library Thing and Endnote? How you use each of them? How much cross-over is there? Would there be any scenario where you would recommend just using Endnote, ie for someone starting out with their book catalogue and notation systems? At what point do you prefer to segregate your work research and personal research systems?

also interested in your reader’s thoughts … particularly any librarians out there (I am in a regional area, otherwise I would be hassling the librarians in the city about this)

Also just out of curiosity, does anyone know what systems Journalists use for this sort of thing? I am not planning to become a journalist, but I am wondering if what I want to do is similar to what some journalists might do to keep track of their source information and ideas etc.

(I am not going to catalogue fiction books and I assume that Library Thing would be the best product for that scenario).

#1 says:
We’re glad you asked! To take the last question first, we have no idea what journalists do, but maybe someone in the comments will!

Other thoughts:
https://libguides.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/c.php?g=423116&p=3851803

I think you might want two solutions for this.

For fiction and non-fiction books that I have for my own use, I love LibraryThing. Their cataloging setup works for me and I like its display options. The books I have for ‘professional’ purposes are in there too, although in my field we don’t use books so much as articles. You could have separate collections under one account if you want to separate things. The site is specialized for books and does not have an easy way to output citations or include page numbers. You can export a list of your library but that’s about it. No uploading files, although you can put some pictures in your account if you want to show them to people. It’s good for books in that it’s got ways you can put on your own tags and sort collections. You can put in up to 200 books for free before paying for an account. The lifetime membership I bought in 2003 is the best $25 I ever spent.

For articles, book chapters, web pages, etc., I use Zotero. I used to use EndNote but Zotero is free and open-source. You should choose one or the other, as it’s not easy to exchange libraries back and forth between them. These days I’m loving how Zotero lets me work across multiple computers and have access to my library everywhere both through a webpage and through a downloadable (free) program that sits on the local hard drive and integrates with word processing software for doing citations and bibliographies. Zotero, or anything like it, will reformat your paper and works cited for various formats required by publications with just a few clicks (e.g., Chicago style, APA, MLA). You can upload PDFs of your articles and Zotero will suck in the info you need for cataloging, such as date, title, DOI, etc. Then those PDFs (and your library) are accessible anywhere you can see a webpage. There’s a limited amount of free storage, but buying more isn’t expensive, and the amount they give you is totally fine for most purposes.

You could also do everything in Zotero if you wanted, although it doesn’t have pretty cover displays for books the way LibraryThing does. It’s certainly better to put books in Zotero than it is to put other media in LibraryThing, because Zotero is built with more flexibility as far as media type and cataloging it all correctly. You can put interviews, talks, government documents, films, etc. in there, and you can also use tagging and notes. Zotero doesn’t do quite as well as LT in managing, editing, and arranging collections of books, but it’s better for everything else and better for citations.

Does that help?

#2 says:  I use Endnote because it is free through my work, no other reason.  The best thing about librarything in my opinion is that you can buy a cuecat and scan in the barcodes of the physical books into library thing and it pulls everything up. With endnote/refworks/zotero, you have to look up the book in your library system or possibly some other way (maybe googlescholar will pull down cites, I don’t know) or else manually input the data. Endnote is lovely for making lists of works cited in any format that you need, which is the main reason I use it. I have zero crossover between the two systems– librarything is solely for my home library, endnote is solely for my research. But I mostly deal with articles and only the occasional book or book chapter for my work work.  If I were only allowed the use of one, I would go with endnote and just not catalog my fiction.

Why I like the Rake/Bluestocking trope

I don’t always like it.  I don’t like it when the rake is just a womanizing jerk.  I like it when the rake likes women and sees them as people who enjoy having a good time (generally merry widows or wives in unhappy arranged marriages or happy marriages of convenience).  He hasn’t found one he wants to settle down with yet, until he meets the bluestocking.

They’re both fighting against the strictures of society.  He accepts her ways because he hates society’s ways.  She craves the knowledge she believes only he can give her.

And yet, they’re also both rebelling in ways that society has prescribed them.  The woman cannot be a rake, she can only be a bluestocking.  The man cannot be a bluestocking and still rebel.  When they meet, she allows herself to indulge in sensuality, and he is allowed to share (and wallow in) his love of whatever academic subject he has hidden from his rakish friends.

They’re smart.  They have intelligent conversations.  They have witty senses of humor.  They share jokes that nobody else gets.  There’s lots of narration about their eyes, which sparkle with intelligence and humor.  They like each other.

They are people that the reader might like to know in person.  Or that the reader might even be, in another world.

And by meeting each other, they are allowed to be even more themselves, not less.  They free each other.  She allows him the ability to settle down and follow his true loves without caring what society thinks.  He allows her the freedom that she can only get through marriage to a husband who does not view her as property (or as a wealthy widow).  And they share many passions.