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.


Kathryn said...

Glad you're back.

pamela1740 said...

Love what you said about the author/fan relationship here! I agree - they disappoint us, and/or can even make us sort of angry if we don't like where they take a story or a character we're invested in....but it's still entirely the author's enterprise and they don't really "owe" readers a particular outcome. I do think authors owe readers the courtesy of not dissing them, and not engaging in flame wars over negative reviews.

Nicola O. said...

Thanks Kathryn!

Pamela, flame wars are just stupid and do no one any favors. I think it might be one of those lessons most people have to learn from experience though.

I very rarely engage in controversy on Twitter - in my opinion, most of the time, outrage is what the instigators are looking for, and the more you give it to them, the happier they are.

The flip side of that, of course, is that silence may imply agreement or at least tolerance. Perhaps the vocal folks are right and I'm wrong, but that sort of thing 1) raises my blood pressure 2) isn't effective, IMO and 3) is not why I'm on social media, ie, entertainment.

It is fascinating to me though, how entertainment bleeds into art which bleeds into cultural values which bleeds into the political.


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