Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Soup - June 2

Sunday Soup is... a little of this, a little of that, not too much work, and hopefully a tasty result.

Big News for Alpha Heroes!
A few weeks ago I mentioned that my review of Tempestuous Eden, by Heather Graham, was also an application to the RetroReads reader program.  I'm very happy to announce that I was chosen to be a part of this nifty deal, and I look forward to taking you back in time on a regular basis.  Look for the Retro Reader badge around the internet for other participants!

Soup Dish:  book people are talking about...
June! June? how on earth did it get to be June? that's like halfway through the year. I should start my Christmas shopping, right? And I haven't booked our summer travel yet, OMG.  (Yep, it's June. This happens every year.)  OK, anyway, so book people are talking about...

Kensington has re-released Robin Schone's The Lady's Tutor.  It looks like it's been available in Kindle format since at least 2009, but the print version has a gorgeous new cover.  If you've never read this book, I highly recommend it.  Interestingly, it's being marketed as erotic romance, which is a category that did not explicitly exist when it was first published in 1999. Although it will likely be considered fairly mild by today's erotica standards, as a genre historical romance, it raised my eyebrows, I can tell you that. Wikipedia references a dispute with the publisher, now resolved, that prevented her from publishing for a few years.  Hopefully this means more good things to come from Ms. Schone's talented pen.

An author takes a risky public stand: What Authors Owe You. Authors, being in the public eye, are often put in awkward positions when there are problems with their books that are out of their control.   I thought this was particularly interesting:

Readers are not an author’s customers. Readers are our readers. Readers are customers of bookstores (real and virtual) and other retail venues. Unless you bought the book directly from the author, you are not the author’s customer and all you are entitled to is the story we wrote. If there’s a problem with the delivery system, you take it up with the folks who run the delivery system.

If you buy a shirt and it’s missing a button, do you call up Versace or do you take it back to the store?

If you buy a videogame and the disc is scratched, do you bitch at Electronic Arts or do you get your ass back to GameStop for a refund?

Just because social media allows you to reach out to an author, doesn’t mean you necessarily should.
I'm not sure I agree that readers are not customers, and I happen to know that lots of people bitch at places like Electronic Arts for all kinds of stupid things.

But this all gets to one of the reasons why the perennial "Authors Behaving Badly" kerfuffles irritate me.   I don't really want to know. I don't want my enjoyment of an authors' work tainted by some kind of stupid lapse of judgment that had the misfortune of being splashed all over the internet.  If an artist (author, musician, cinematographer, etc) crosses the line into overtly racist, cruel, or criminal behavior, then I might want to make an informed vote with my dollars.  But a B or C list author having a tantrum over a two star review? DON'T CARE.

On the other hand, book people ARE talking about the sexism kerfuffle going on at SFWA. As far as I can tell, it was kicked off by this blog post, which outlines the problem pretty well. Spoiler: the Old White Guys pretty much show their ass here, and not at all in a good way. Late edit: good grief there are a lot of people talking about this! The latest to deconstruct and utterly destroy the puny, flaccid arguments coming from Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg is Foz Meadows. She also has lots of links if you feel like going way in-depth.

This headline caught my eye.  Until I got down into the article, I didn't realize it was essentially a review for a book on How to Read Literature, which, based on title alone, sounded kind of interesting. The rest of the article was sort of a pan, but I might look at some other opinions.  I was too busy inhaling stories when I was a kid (still am) to pay much attention to literature--that just slowed me down. I don't know if education failed me or if I just had too much attitude to be open to it.  I remember scoffing pretty hard at a lesson on alliteration in 9th grade. But it would be nice to get better at expressing why some authors just have a treatment of language that moves me more than others.

It's not really about romance, but this article on the physiological effects of corsets can't help but catch the interest of historical romance lovers.  There are X-rays! I mean, we all figure it was bad, but really, it was pretty bad.

I absolutely loved this BuzzFeed article: Can You Guess What These NYC Subway Riders Are Reading?

On my list, haven't gotten to it yet, but certainly strikes a chord with me: The Curse of Reading and Forgetting.

What I'm reading
It's been a bit of a down week in reading - just super busy with other stuff and too brain-dead to read once the day finally settles down.  So this week is more about quality than quantity:

Fire and Frost, an anthology with stories by Jessica Sims, Carolyn Crane, and Meljean Brook. It was AWESOME. I'm hoping to get a review up, but in the meantime, I don't know how long the $0.99 price will last, so you should go get it right now.

Currently in the middle of Eternal Demon by Laura Wright. I do enjoy this author quite a lot, and this book is so far right in the pocket for expectations.

I was out and about on Saturday and left my Kindle at home. Now, if I were absolutely desperate, I could've used my iPhone to sync and keep reading, but I just happened to be at a little local mall with a Half Price Books and thought I'd nab something in an old-fashioned paper format. I'm way behind on Anna Campbell's backlist, so I have just dipped into Midnight's Wild Passion. Sometimes, your average regency rake is really just teddy bear with a thin facade, but so far Ranelaw is looking like the real deal -- actually quite dissolute, actually quite amoral, and with an unsavory ulterior motive. Campbell is awesome at redeeming these bad guys though, so I'm looking forward to the ride.

On Tap... what soup isn't a little better with a slosh or two of an adult beverage? 
OK, so writing this little blurb once a week is making me realize that I really don't know very much about beer at all. So when I was at the fancy mega store looking for my delicious Sam Adams Cream Stout (I got the last six pack, w00t!), I noticed a stack of these booklets and picked one up.

I've been browsing it, and it really is genius marketing because it's not only just general, good-to-know stuff, but it's quite handy to tell what specific brands and varieties--which the store JUST HAPPENS to carry-- might suit the category that you're learning about or that might sound good from the fancy descriptions.  (The book mentioned the existence of cherry porter beer, the acquisition of which just might be my next obsession.)  Meanwhile, I've mostly been alternating between the Sam Adams Cream Stout and the Blue Moon Belgian-style white.

Want to Join In?
I'm thinking about doing a couple of read-alongs in the not too distant future.  I'm thinking sheiks for one, and a specific Lisa Hendrix title for another. Anyone interested?

Just Because It Cracked Me Up:

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