Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Soup - November 10

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

Soup Dish:  book people are talking about...

To be honest, this week's kerfuffle about what authors are allowed to say and what reviewers are allowed to say just makes me go:

I feel like the same thing just gets re-hashed over and over again, and the line is not clear and never will be. If people criticize you or your work, take from it what you find useful and move along. Honest reactions should be respected.  Personal attacks are best ignored, IMO, but if you must respond, I would suggest limiting your response to ONE interaction, along the lines of "I saw what you wrote and felt it was uncalled for. I welcome honest critique of my work, but your attack on [ ] was out of line."  Then mute, block, ignore, step away.  Because if you're going to fling shit, no matter how much your target deserves it, you're going to end up smelling bad too.

Notice that I have suggestions, not prescriptions, for what Everyone Should Do, because everyone has a different tolerance for debate, flames, and what I would term negativity. Also, I have been at this internet thing long enough to know that my odds of changing anyone's behavior is vanishingly small, and I prefer not to waste my energy.

On a related note, if we could agree on a book bloggers' motto, what would it be?  Something short and pithy... I rather like: "I read, therefore I blog."  I was trying to get some kind of play on "veni, vedi, vici" with something like "I read, I opined, I blogged," but I don't think I can get that to work. :D  What do you think? do you have a motto?

Amazon has floated an offer to independent bookstores to carry Kindles. Reaction has been mixed:
OK, no, it hasn't been mixed at all. 

New to me: Bloggers Recommend - a bit more litfic/generalized that works for me, but if you're looking for a small number of standout titles, it looks like a good blog to check out.

What I'm reading
I was in the mood for a contemporary, so I picked up Kristan Higgins' The Next Best Thing, which fit the bill perfectly.  Light and sweet, Higgins ramps up the poignancy with a story of a young widow falling for her deceased husband's brother.

I hit the bookstore last week, as I imagine most of us did, with so many big names releasing the same week.  It's boggling really.  Have a look at Jackie's roundup, if you don't believe me. The new acquisition that has me hiding from my children this week is Devon Monk's Hell Bent, a new series spun off from her popular (and beloved by me, anyway) Allie Beckstrom series.  It truly is a different series though, as the Allie Beckstrom climactic ending broke up and changed all the magical rules.  A few years later, one of my favorite characters becomes the focal point for the subsequent fallout and realignment of power structures.  I'm about halfway through and loving it. I also came home with Thea Harrison's last two full length Elder Races books, which I'm just so behind on but adore.

On the electronic front, I had pre-ordered Nora Roberts' Dark Witch, and ordered a Laura Kinsale title (Prince of Midnight) that I somehow missed in my original Kinsale binge. Many of her titles are being released in electronic and e-format, so now is a good time to re-read or catch up. Shout out to Blithely Bookish for her review last September that I finally dug out of my feed reader. I also nabbed Driven by Eve Silver - it was on a discount price and I've been on a post-apocolyptic kick recently thanks to Joss Ware and Kit Rocha.

On Tap... what soup isn't a little better with a slosh or two?

I've decided I need to watch my calories a bit closer, so I have to strategize a bit with my beer consumption. So for Friday's happy hour, I decided to go with a stout, which is heavy enough to slow down my drinking. Young's Double Chocolate Stout was just the ticket - it's rich and sweet; it's basically an alcoholic brownie in a glass.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Soup - November 3

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

Soup Dish:  book people are talking about...
HarperCollins to join the online bookselling business. I'm pretty happy about this. While I love the ease that Amazon has brought to buying and reading ebooks in particular, their near-monopoly makes me very uneasy. To me, an ideal outcome would be a reversal of the consolidation of publishing houses, all with good distribution platforms. Access to books means access to ideas, and as that shrinks to only a few outlets, I think that's BAD FOR CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT. Not to be dramatic or anything.

Big news for frequent travelers - you can now keep your e-readers on during takeoff and landing! I don't travel that often but when I do, that is a big deal for a book addict.  Note: I will probably still carry an emergency "real" book in the event of a battery problem.

In one of the week's more ridiculous stories, Yelp reviewers are suing for wages. I could see how an unexpected ruling in that case might affect review bloggers, for instance if publishers became wary of distributing review copies for fear that they'd be sued for wages.  Seems like crazycakes to me.

Ilona Andrews is working on something new and awesome and there's a little bit of it up on their website (and may I just say to the critiquing commentators? SHE DIDN'T ASK FOR YOUR ADVICE).

In general, I'm not big on reading challenges. The best way to make me dislike a book is to tell me that I have to read it. Even though I have always loved reading, I hated almost all of the assigned reading back in school.  Because it was assigned. But there are exceptions.  Jackie's New Author Challenge is so simple and such a good idea.  Because it's so easy to fall into familiar ruts, it sometimes take a nudge to get out of them.  If you need that sort of nudge or just enjoy the community of a good reading challenge, I really do recommend this one.  I will try to do better about linking up my New Author Reviews.

The latest in the ongoing dissection of the reader/author relationship, fan reaction to a YA trilogy-closer titled Allegiant hit a feverish pitch last week. I confess I just don't get the rhetoric around what an author "owes" fans, and how readers "should" read a story, and whether I'm being a "good" reader or not. Sure, I have been disappointed by authors before (I'm lookin' at you, J.R. Ward). I mean, a series that dwindles off into WTF or repetitive or boring territory might actually be more the norm than one that is just consistently fantastic from beginning to end. But... I don't take it personally. I don't get angry at the author. I don't think she owes me a specific kind of story. I don't understand readers who do. Perhaps this is the line that divides the fans from the fanatics.

What I'm reading
Nora Roberts, The Perfect Hope. Very enjoyable. The resolution of the ghost story seemed a bit too easy, but the main romance was entirely satisfying. I've also got her latest paranormal downloaded and waiting.

I'm almost done with Alexa Egan's Shadow's Curse and it might be a new favorite.  Dark, paranormal, Regency, but NOT the ton. Good stuff.

I finished up Wallbanger by Alice Clayton and thought it was a ton of fun. I found the premise a little off-putting at first: the couple start out as next door neighbors with thin walls, and she hears every little spank and, uh, meow.  Yeah. Clayton knows how to write Excruciating Embarrassment, I will say.  Light-hearted with nice character arcs and fun secondary characters.

On Tap... what soup isn't a little better with a slosh or two?
This week I'm all super happy that the Blue Moon Mountain Abbey Ale seasonal is out and about. This stuff is like candy to me. Love it. I haven't found the Elysian Pumpkin I mentioned before -- haven't made it to any of the Super Boozy places lately.


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